Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just an old pic

Just a picture that I found today, a friend commented on it and I remember how much I love this photo and this ERGO!


"The Club No One Wanted to Join"



Wall Street,  Investments, Banking, trusting people we don't know with our  money.
Its a common practice today to invest, and why not? It helps business to grow and it helps investors to make some cash back for their good faith.

But what happens when one of those investors is only out for themselves? What happens when hard working people put all their eggs in a basket, and then that basket drops? Well it leaves them all crashing to the floor, and thats what happened to the Madoff Victims.  The large group of investors who trusted Bernard Madoff with their money ended up with their lives shattered all over the floor just like that basket.

Most people thought of these investors as rich people who got what they deserved. How could they trust someone in Wall Street with all this money. Why didn't they do more research? What were they thinking?

The truth is that most of these people were hard working Americans, many of them growing up with nothing during the depression, and working hard to make ends meet. These people thought they were going to be protected by their government. But they haven't been, the insurance that was supposedly on their money is nowhere to be found. A life savings gone in a day.

"The Club No One Wanted to Join" is a collection of personal stories, written by the people who lived them. It tells of their struggles and disappointment. It explains how their families lost everything. Reading this book puts a face on those people, it gives them a personality and a soul. Which is obviously what Bernard Madoff was lacking. Innocent people scammed by someone who wanted no more then a fortune, what he got was jail. 

My favorite thing about this book is how these people have learned to rebuild thier lives afterward. These people have found comfort in their families and in remembering that it was just money in an account.

This book is absolutely on my 'must read' list. If you're not into Wall Street, don't worry because thats not what this book is all about. Its about Americans working hard and losing it all, and then rebuilding thier lives. It helps to put into perspective how lucky we really are and that money really is just some numbers in a bank.


Buy It:
is available on amazon.com

Win It:

I am so excited about this giveaway because I know that you will love this book.
To Enter:

  1. You must be a follower of Mommypants! Leave a comment telling me you are and be sure to leave your e-mail address.
I will choose one winner on January 21st 2011 via Random.org

Good Luck and be sure to check out this book!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Energy Star

My friend Audra who blogs at "Turning a New Leaf"

Just put a great post up about saving energy in your home

Tons of great tips check it out

Merry Christmas

Bittersweet being her without Annabella's dad
But I'm glad that I'm with my family
and I can't wait to watch my little booger open gifts!

Merry Christmas and I hope that Everyone  has a great one

Monday, December 20, 2010

Home for Christmas

After a slightly hectic plane ride (other passangers and not Annbella this time)
We made it back to the East coast for good

I'm so glad to be back, it feels good to watch family enjoy Annabella. Her favorite person absolutly has to be my little cousin Kolt, he's 8 years old and they have become absolutly infatcuated with each other. Kolt is glad that he's not the baby anymore and Annabella follows him around all day long and copies exaclty what he does!

She warms up to each family member quickly (except for the men that don't have beards) Its great to see how much they enjoy her, each family member finding a special way to entertain her. Its been 8 years since we had a baby in the family! I look forward to her having the opportunity out here to form an individual and special bond with each member of this HUGE family that I do!

As for myself, I have been getting some well needed breaks. I attended a Christmas party the other day with some of my friends that I haven't seen in ages. It was right back to where we were when we started!  We shared so many laughs and smiles.

Of course getting back and starting from scrach, isnt' easy. I feel stressed out a lot and am trying to take this one day at a time. Its good though to have friends to talk it through with. I have some friends who have been through situations similar to mine and its good too see them thriving with great lives.


Its nice to have four generations of family together!

Smart & Sexy Extreme Push Up Bra

Its an understatement to say that early motherhood and pregnancy changes your bra size a couple times. Its been a while since I thought that I may need a pushup bra. But these days, since we are almost done with breastfeeding, my ladies are back to about thier usual size (I even think a little smaller) No complaints

When I was sent the Extereme Push Up Bra in Lepord from Smart and Sexy Lingere. I was excited, its probably been since high school that I had a push up bra. I was super excited to see how the girls looked in it!


The bra looked great I love the design, it also felt comfy and I didn't feel like my boobs were being forced to be pushed up, it felt natural like a regular bra.  The bra claims to add a whole cup size! Now I don't know if it did because I'm not sure how to tell but it did make them look bigger and more perky! Which is always nice

The bra is made of strech satin, and its very comfortable and feels smooth on the skin. It has adjustable shoulder straps as well as a closure in the back. The only downfall to the bra in my opinion is that it only has one hook in the back rather then two or three. Personally I like to have at least two hooks on the back I think it helps keep the bra even. But it stayed on okay and it didn't seem to ride up my back.

The padding on the bra is heavy at the bottom then gets lighter at the top of the bra. I really liked how the padding sat under my breasts and lifted them up.  I also really liked how smooth the bra was not lacy like other bras which makes it easy for me to wear under a t-shirt.

Overally I'd say for the price of $15 Smart&Sexy's Extreme push up bra is a good bra. I question whether this bra would work well for larger breasts due to the lack of support in the back of the bra. But for ladies with smaller chests looking to add some clevage, this is the affordable bra for you!


I recieved a free smart and sexy bra for this review, all opinions are my own.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Enjoying Christmas movies with Hershey's Drops

Oh my goodness
When I first heard of the Hershey's Drops, I didn't think too much of them. I'm not a fan of convince store candy, and yes I consider myself a chocolate snob. Besides that  I thought that they would be small and probably not have many pieces of cookies in the Cookies and Cream (one of my favorite candy bars ever)

Now I thought that they would be about the size of an M&M 
But was I wrong, they are about two and a half times the size of an M&M, just the perfect size to put on your tongue an let melt in your mouth.. (And yes I'm doing it now, because its the best way to eat the cookies and cream bars too)

At first I was concerned because of the glaze or wax or whatever it is on the outside, I thought that I would taste it, that it would be thick because when I held the candy in my hand for a minute, they didn't melt. But when I tried it I was surprised, All I tasted was chocolate and that stuff on the outside, It didn't even seem to be there, even on the ones that I ate straight from the bag
No mess
No waxy tasting outer cover

They come in 8oz as well as a king size pack.  They would make great stocking suffers as they were released nationwide in December.

Overall I like the drops better then the Hershey Cookies and Cream Candy Bar. My only issue with them is that they contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, which in general I try to avoid, but I think this may be one of those exceptions!

I love that the packages that they come in are resealable. It makes it good for when I attempt to hide them from myself... not that it has worked yet. They are also good to keep in my purse for a good chocolate fix.

I received a sample of Hershey's Drops in my Swag Bag from the SheBlogs twitter party..... I didn't receive any money for this review. Its my honest opinion... these things are good yo..... 


This is going surprisingly well

Almost done!!

Annabella is taking her naps in the pack-n-play which is probably where she'll sleep tonight, and tomorrow night. 
The  relo-cube got here early today so I have plenty of time to pack it up

I'm pretty much already done, here's a picture of it as of about two hours ago

I even moved Annabella's dresser by myself. The crib was no problem to get apart, since I have done it myself every-time anyways.

I'm a little disappointed with myself for not being more conscious about Annabella's changing table. It flips over into a dresser but the top now needs to be refinished because we had towel floors. It never occurred to me to put something UNDER it. but I guess live and learn,.

Anyways, now that its almost all packed I find myself wondering what in the world I will do all day tomorrow and then of course I still have most of the day on Thursday to wait. Hopefully we can find something fun to do that day before our big airplane trip!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Amazing Cows! Review and Giveaway

Its no secret to my friends that I love cows, I think that they are pretty darn neat, I like how they hang out in herds and I love cheese. So naturally things having to do with cows interest me.

So when I was asked to review Sandra Boynton's newest book Amazing Cows I was ever so happy to oblige! Written for children, this book is a great addition to any collection.


Whats it about? 

Cows!! Its a hilarious book filled with jokes, short stories, comic books, hidden pictures, poems as well as lots of other crazy topics that are sure to have your kids stuck to the book! (Ahh quiet time!)

When I first picked up the book, I was first drawn to all the great illustrations, I love how cute and comical all the cows look. The pictures are colorful and have lots going on, which makes this book great for lots of ages because even though my toddler might not understand the words yet, she can for sure appreciate what the cows are doing and wearing.

My niece liked how the stories were short and easy to read. The book is big, and has lots of little stories, and poems that can be read in a short period of time making this a great book for bedtime! The jokes got lots of belly laughs out of her, and I could see her reading the book later choosing ones to bring to school the next day to share with her friends.

I especially appreciated the poems, growing up I read lots of poetry at my grandmother's house and it can be lots of fun, when you know how to read it. Amazing Cows had lots of poems that I could read to the kids. 

I have a feeling that this is going to be a book that we read a lot in my house. It is a great book for teaching little ones to read on, as well as a good book for older kids to read to younger kids because the short stories don't require long attention spans. But be warned, this is one of those books that its easy to get caught up in! It didn't take long for me to reach the end of the book!



Who Will Love this?

Anybody, I guess thats a little vague but its true, the book is great for grandparents who like old fashioned comedy and don't quite get the newer comedy. Its also wonderful for them to read to grandkids.

If you have someone who has a farm in your life this would be a great gift for them as well. As a fellow cow lover I can appreciate Sandra Boynton's love for cows. 

Kids! Any kid will love this book, because funny books are great ways to get them reading! 



Get Your Own

Sandra Boynton's Amazing Cows is available Here at workman.com
Be sure to check out her other books, as well as her Mom's Family Planner Calendar which was sent to me as well, I'll have a review for that later this week

Win A Copy!

One of you lucky readers will win a copy of this book for yourself or the cow lover on your list!

To enter:
1. You must be a follower of Mommypants!, and leave me a comment telling me your favorite thing about cows!
2. For an extra entry blog about this giveaway! Leave a comment with the link please
Be sure to leave a comment for each entry!

Be sure to leave your e-mail address on your comments so that I can contact you! I will choose one winner via random.com on January 10, 2011


These photos were Excerpted from AMAZING COWS by Sandra Boynton 
Copyright 2010 by Sandra Boynton
Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ten Tips for Making this the Ultimate Holiday Season

Hooray! I just love posting about the Holidays, there are so many ways to make it great! I have been thinking hard on ways to make it special for my daughter and I as well as the family that we are soon going to be with. Of course, I am always open to suggestions, and I'm sure that you readers are just as excited to make this season shine!

So here are Ten Tips to make this the Ultimate Holiday

  1. Spend it with Family: There is nothing better then family at the holidays, though it can be stressful at times, they are the people who the season is best spent with, even if you don't go spend Christmas day with everyone, make a point to visit them all. Check out  this post on Tips on Starting Holiday Traditions
  2. Shop early: don't spend the twelve days of Christmas battling shoppers, do it now so that you can spend Christmas vacation with you loved ones rather then standing in line.
  3. Shop Online: Its so easy when everything is just delivered to the house, avoiding icy roads and angry drivers check out Hasbro Toy Shop for all the toys that your little one could possibly want! They even have the "Ultimate Toy Line" a line of toys that are sure to make your little one jolly this year, a great place to shop to be sure you get the top toys! You won't have to risk running to the toy store only to find out they are already out of the season's hottest toys like Fur Real Friends, or a Star Wars Millennium Falcon 
  4. Avoid lots of shipping: when shopping online be sure to make a list so that you can get everything shipped together at once, this can take a huge chunk of change off your bill
  5. Bake: Make cookies! Make pies, this is the season for eating sweet, so don't worry about your diet, because everybody puts on some pounds this time of year. You can cut those calories for the new year!
  6. Believe in Santa: Do your best to appreciate the spirit of the holidays and not be a Grinch, I know its commercial, its hectic and its stressful. But all these things are stresses that we put on ourselves during a Holiday that really should be about spending time with the people that we love
  7. Share: Help others, have your kids get rid of some of their old toys before Santa comes and fills their stockings. If your kids are anything like my daughter, what about getting rid of a toy from the forgotten toy chest everyday for Hanukkah or the Twelve days of Christmas?  Work in the soup kitchen or with your church. Remind family that this season is also about giving not just getting. (And make room for all those new toys on the way)
  8. Take a walk: Enjoy the winter weather, I know its cold and snowy, but its only like this for a little while, so take your kids out and help them notice the seasonal differences. Whats making those tracks in the snow? What trees still have leaves on them? Draw pictures of what you saw when you get home.
  9. Sparkle; Get your glitter on, its winter and the Holidays are the best time to sport a glittery top or pair of shoes! Don't let the tree get all the attention! Black goes great with a super glittery piece
  10. Sing: Don't let Christmas carols go out of style, listen to them on the radio and get singing we all know the words and your kids don't care if you're out of tune. Even if your kids tell them it drives them nuts, do it anyway, they secretly love it ::wink wink::
Well folks, I promise I'll have more holiday tips soon and I have a great review and giveaway coming up this week. Make sure to make the most out of your Holidays and don't forget to smile in those pictures! You'll have them for years to come


I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Hasbro Ultimate Gifts blogging sweepstakes, making me eligible to get a $50 Gift card to use at www.HasbroToyShop.com! For more information on how you can participate, click here

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gabba Search

My daughter loves Yo Gabba Gabba

So for my airplane ride thats coming up in the next few days, I thought I would get her some Yo Gabba Gabba toys to distract her....

HA, Good luck, these things may have well been made out of gold, between the prices of the toys or the fact that I can't find them anywhere locally, this is ridiculous

Tips for Starting Holiday Traditions

I was in Target yesterday shopping for some Christmas gifts for family as well as Annabella (yes thats right I got to go shopping ALONE!!) I was lucky enough to make some extra cash the day before and since some retail therapy always fixes my woes, I decided to indulge.

I came out on top, some killer motorcycle boots and an AMAZING handbag, a cozy soft sweater and some studded leggings only ran my bill bill to  $70.

Then my Target trip I got Annabella and I some matching pajamas, as well as some sets for the rest of the family so they can join in the fun.

While shopping yesterday I was thinking that  I wanted to start a tradition that Annabella and I could do every year, so I came up with a list of things that I thought were important and of course being the blogger that I am, I have decided to share them with YOU!!

  1. Simple: Go for something easy that won't require too much work to do every year. The holidays can get busy and if you start a tradition that requires lots of time and effort, it may be hard to keep up with
  2. Cheap: Make sure that its something that you'll be able to afford every year. I think pajamas were a great idea because even if we don't have much money, its easy to buy some cheap pajamas or make them out of cheap material
  3. Picture worthy: make it something that you can have a picture of each year, ugly Christmas sweaters for the family make great yearly pictures to put on cards, ornaments of coffee mugs!
  4. Location: take this into consideration, is there a yearly event you can all go to? Are you guaranteed to have a white Christmas? Maybe you can have a snowman family that poses with you!
  5. Write about it: Have your family write down their memories each year in a Holiday notebook you can put it with the holiday decorations so that when everybody is older you can all enjoy the memories that you made. Add recipes and pictures!
  6. Collect it: Ornaments, or figurines, even Christmas decorations, have a Christmas day and shop for them together each year. The decorations will remind you of the days that you spent together. And you can pass them on as family moves away to their own homes. 
I hope these spark some ideas in your heads. Traditions are great ways to hold family with you every year, whether celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas or Yule. Start traditions with your family that you can continue for years to come.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

FCC hosts "Generation Mobile"

Studies show that teenage cell phone ownership has gone up by 68% in the last five years

They send text messages on average once every ten minutes (if you know my cousins you'll know its often much more then that!) 

So what does this mean for us, will carpal tunnel begin at twenty for our children? How is this effecting them?

The FCC is hosting "Generation Mobil" to bring together teens, parents, educators and experts on the subject

It will feature remarks from FCC Chairman Juius Genachowski and a presentation of findings from a Pew Internet and American Life study on kids' mobile phone usage.

A second panel will focus on education parents  through a "ask the mobile experts session" Where they will have recommendations for  tools and recourses for parents.

"Generation Mobile" is free and open to the public, if you would like to attend please pre-register by submitting your name and organization's affiliation and phone number to generationmobile@fcc.gov

It will be Hosted on December 14 
 10:30am-1:30pm est
 McKinley Technology High School 
  151 T Street Northeast
Washington DC 20002

If you can't make it then be sure to check out the webcast at  http://reboot.fcc.gov/live/ 

You can send questions during the forum by sending them to livequestions@fcc.gov  
Or by tweeting your questions with the hashtag #GenMobile on twitter

Good luck ladies! Stay informed~

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Packing it up

It almost feels as though I don't have enough stuff to pack.

So far only at 11 boxes, I am wondering where the rest of my life is?

I am leaving most of it here, my bed, couch, coffee tables and kitchen table.  Taking Bella's furniture and my dress form, the dear old girl.

I should be blogging, I should have lots to write about in all my free time.
But I'm sitting here, watching my life slowly pack into boxes.

It seems my life is on hold for the next 14 days, I know that in the next few it will get hectic and quick, but for now I just anticipate going back to CT.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

airplane without a stroller this time

The stroller was left outside and got moldy

So it looks like we'll be doing the airplane trip via Ergo... 

I'm confident that it should go well with less things to worry about.

Although I do like the stroller, I think it may be nice to pack light

Also bringing the carseat with me this time because I found out that its free to send them.

Anybody got more airplane advice?

now you can send cards from your about one account!

Adding another level of simple to your life check out how easy it is to send holiday cards from your AboutOne account.



Don't forget to check out my AboutOne review, and giveaway for a one year subscription!

Ch-ch-ch changes

In other news I am wishing that I had made a sweet advent calendar like all the ones on the blogs that I have been keeping up with! I think that my palate has surpassed the cheap chocolate ones. Next year, I am going to make one with gourmet chocolates for each day... Of course, I suppose I could go out and buy a box and then just eat one everyday. But I don't know if I'll have the self control.

The next two weeks are busy for sure, Annabella and I are moving back to Connecticut so that we can be closer to my family, after being a mom for the last year, I've realized that I need some help if I'm going to be going to school and working. 

I'm excited though, I will be moving closer to all of my family and my best friends. I have missed them so much and I can't wait to be back there just enjoying their company. 

I don't feel rushed, we only have two rooms in our house, and I've already packed most of my kitchen into boxes, all I have to pack now is the crib, our clothes, my sewing machine and some books. I have to get some more boxes but I think about ten more should do it.

I got my dram flight back to Connecticut, we leave at 6pm and we have three and a half hour layovers in each stop (two of them) I'm hoping that because of this Annabella will sleep most of the plane trips and play at the airports (fingers crossed?)

Its not to say that I'm not sad. I love California and I'm not looking forward to snow. I'm really going to miss the freedom that California provides. I'm going to miss the beach, and San Francisco and all the amazing town that is Sebastopol.

So Good-bye, California!

I'm glad that I have the AboutOne account, because it will make moving much easier., Since we will need to be choosing doctors and daycares and dentists. 

You readers can look forward to some AWESOME tutorials now that I am moving back, I will be closer to my craft-partner Heather Lynn!! We already have plans for a sewing room and eventually getting an Etsy store up. Its an understatement to say that she brings out the best in me. As most best friends do.

I am excited to live near my sister, and my cousins, Annabella smiles every time I tell her we are going to live near Uncle Kolt and she has been practicing his name. I am happy that we will be living with my family because I love watching them with Annabella. 

So stay tuned because there are sure to be some interesting posts coming up.

Including and AMAZING giveaway that I'll probably be doing in January! 

Good Morning

Good Morning and Happy December 1st!

I am spending this morning cold!! But warming up with some New England coffee that I received in my SheBlogs swag bag! They sent me the Breakfast Blend. I'm quite a fan, its mellow but yummy. I don't have to add quite as much cream as I usually do so thats nice. I also really like the caffeine content, its keeping me awake,  with extra energy for blogging! Hooray! 

They Have some awesome deals for the holidays so get over there now so you can have some great coffee on  Christmas morning, grab some decaf for the old folks after diner.

If you would like to get your hands on some New England coffee check out their website!

I received a sample of new england coffee, for this review, the opinions are my own.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Five Helpful Tips for Holiday Tech Shopping

Its unavoidable if you have kids, that little letter that makes them go crazy 'I' . From the pods, to the phones, to the pads not to mention the accessories that come with them. And then don't forget about laptops and computers and digital cameras. Is it just me or do I sound like I'm writing a new age version of the "Twelve Days of Christmas"?

With all this, and with some of us having no idea what makes a phone so smart, I've come up with a few tips on how to get the most out of shopping for the techie in your life.

  1. Ask those who know. I turn to my brother for most things that involve a hard drive of memory card, he can pretty much fix any issue that I have and since he went to college for computers and works on them I always rely on his work. Most of us have at least one person in the family that knows about these things. Go ahead and ask them for help because its probably easy for them to tell you whats up!
  2. Get the insurance. I can't tell you how many times that I've said 'man if only I had got that insurance" It doesn't' usually cost much extra but its worth it when you drop your laptop, or when your son downloads a virus that makes your computer turn to Greek. Especially with cell phones, I can't count how many free phones my friend has been through.
  3. Shop around: Go to the store and write down the items that you think you may like, then when you get home shop around on the internet. Look for reviews and prices so that you can find out how the product works and if its worth the price. If you can't find a cheaper price online, then head over to the store and get it there. You can save lots by taking some time.
  4. Know your system! Find out what kind of computer the person you are buying for has so that you can be sure the product that you get has the correct software to match the system. This is especially important when looking for computer and video games because one game may work for one system and not for the other.
  5. Get name brands: I know that they are usually more expensive but they usually work better, and its easy to get information from a well known company. Manuals, tutorials and instructional videos are usually available online to help make items user friendly for customers. 
With all the great tech items out there its for sure to be the top gift this year, so just remember that the people at the store are trained to help you and probably have many of themselves! Good Luck and Happy Holidays!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Smart and Sexy Coupon Code

I attended the sheblogs twitter party last week and because I won a swag bag. Smart and Sexy has agreed to give my readers $5 off thier entire order! 
Just use the code

SHEBLOGS

About One, keep it all together

We have all heard of the home management binder. Its a nicely organized book that super moms have that keeps everything together. Its neatly written with calendars and schedules, complete with all the information about the household tasks and family information.

I've tried and tried to create one of these, but I can never succeed, maybe its my OCD or maybe its a lack there of I just can't seem to get it to look the way that I want it to, or I forget to add information.

I have found my answer folks! Aboutone.com is pretty much like a home management binder for those of us who can't seem to get it to look the way we want it to! Whats even better, you can look at it on the internet which means that you can get it from your smartphone!

Aboutone.com is a site where you can keep all the information about your family organized which is great when you are on the go or just sitting on the phone trying to get the information that you need, instead of flipping through a book just log into your secure account, its as easy as checking your e-mail.

Keep track of your family members, your home and cars, your health information, everybody's school and there is a bulletin board to record milestones on. Like a virtual scrapbook! Each family member has their own page in the sections so its easy to find the information that you need.

This service I have found comes quite in handy when Daddy has to take the little ones to the doctor and since he never goes doesn't know all her info, he just has to grab his smartphone out and he can log onto the site and get all of our information off it!..

This is also a great service for military or long distance family. A great way for people to stay up to date.

Also the site features awesome printable! Like a family newsletter! Keep everyone up to date and show them that you care with this creative and easy note to say hi and this is what we're up to! A good way to show off those pictures that you take all month but don't always get the chance to display.

The Health Report printable is great to give to daycare providers or babysitters on a first day. Its also helpful to bring when visiting a new doctor so that nothing slips your mind.

The volunteer and education printables are great to bring to a job interview or take along when filling out college applications, easy to access and it looks a lot more professional then fiddling with a phone!

Overall I really liked this site, I think I will probably use it a lot more once Annabella gets bigger and has more information to remember, and its absolutely ideal for families with lots of members or families with members in the military!

Merry Christmas!! Aboutone.com is offering one of my readers a YEAR subscription to their site! Thats a $30 value!

To enter you must be a follower of mommypants and do one of the following (do more then one for extra entries. Please leave one comment for every item you complete) be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can get in contact you!

1. Go to aboutone.com, look around and come back leaving a comment on what feature of about one would benefit your family the most!
2. Tweet about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
3.Blog about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
4. Share this with your friends on facebook 

Giveaway ends January 5th 2011

Monday, November 29, 2010

I can't wait to check out this new cow book Amazing Cows: Udder Absurdity for Children by Sandra Boynton, I will be hosting a giveaway soon for her new book! So stay tuned





Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Five Tips for Creating Great Digital photo projects

I love Photoshop, on days when sewing just feels like too much work you can usually find me searching through my pictures and trying to figure out which ones could be made to look magical or need some touching up.

While it took a while for me to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop, its a lot easier then I thought that it was, so this was how people made all those adorable pictures of their kiddos! Its taken me a while but there are a few things that I do to make sure that I can Photoshop my pictures and turn them into great art!


  1. Use a backdrop! If you want to place your subject in a certain place then photograph them on a solid colored backdrop such as a sheet. I prefer brown, black or white. This makes it easy to outline your subject so that you can cut them out of the photo and place them where you want. This also works great for the color pop photos where one part is colored and the other parts are black and white! I made this picture of Annabella last year, we dressed her up as a flower and I thought this was a great place for her to be hanging out
  2. Zoom in: while you are working on your photos zoom in close so that you can see if you are missing everything, I think that this is especially important when fixing red-eye, as I often have problems with making sure that the entire eye is fixed sometimes there is some red left and its very obvious. When zooming in I can be sure that all the pixels are changed.
  3. Save; Save often, I can't tell you how many times I've been in the middle of making a photo that looks great and my daughter has hit a button on the keyboard and it has all gone to waste! Saving is as easy as clicking a button and if you have a daughter, slow computer or just aren't thinking when you close the program in a hurry, you'll be glad you did
  4. Fix that family photo: last year for Christmas we had a huge party, at the time we were friends with some people that this year we aren't friends with anymore, now being that I loved this picture of all of our friends but didn't want to be reminded of the awful things that the two people in the picture did to us, I simply photo shopped them out of the picture and added a photo of Jerry Garcia in their place! Now they make great gifts for this year!
  5. Take your time: Don't rush, the more time you take the better it will look, if you rush while outlining your subject or whatever else you will only end up taking the line off them and somewhere else and having to start over again. It may take a day or two to get a photo where you want it, but keep taking breaks and coming back, being on Photoshop all day can get frustrating, so check your e-mail, play with your baby, drink your coffee, and eat some truffles!
Remember that this is art, and the more you practice the better you will get, try not to get frustrated and if you do, leave and come back later. Search the internet for tutorials and you will find countless ways to improve your skills!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Adobe blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

My favorite road trip experience

Road trip! Its a phrase that I am oh so familiar with why?? I was a Deadhead, thats right I spent about three years of my life running around the country following what remaining members of the band were left, and having a fabulous time doing it.

But I can remember one trip from Connecticut to California, one that should have taken three days but it ended up taking two weeks! 

Granted, we took this trip in January, we had stayed in Connecticut for winter holidays to spend with our families, before heading out west for some shows and family. I had questioned our route, surly the northernmost highway was not the wisest choice in the middle of snowstorms. However, our friend from Rochester New York assured us that everything would be fine, how bad could it be?

The first few states were simple, New York was dusted, Ohio it started to snow, but we were on the highway and road crews were heavy so we trekked on. It was about this point that our radio stopped working, not to worry though, we had CD's (as any good traveler would) So we stuck them in the stereo.

I guess now is the time to tell you the amount of money that we had alloted for the trip, we had all made it before  for under $400 so we were positive that we could do it again. I guess what we hadn't factored in was that when we got to Nebraska there would be hours where we would be sitting in stand still traffic in the middle of nowhere! We also hadn't anticipated the amount of gas required to keep us all warm and the windows defrosted!

Being that we had all been on the road before we didn't see this as a major problem, so as we passed dozens of flipped tractor trailer trucks in Nebraska, we were confident that we would be able to make the trip only needed to ask for spare change a few times.

That was until they shut the highway down. Yes thats right, when we got to a rest stop in Wisconsin on of the truck drivers (they knew by now that we were the hippies in that slow Volvo station wagon, the only crazy group of people to be out on the road at this time) 

So we dug into our pockets and shelled out money for a hotel room for the night because fitting five people in a volvo for the night wasn't an option. After staying the night in a Best Western (and taking full advantage of the hot tub) we continued on.

It took us another day to drive to salt lake city, here we were forced to get another hotel room. We decided to go again with the Best Western, forgoing the cheaper motel six because we were positive that the Best Western would have a pool. That night, we drank a box of wine and enjoyed the pool... or at least the  perfect view we had of the glass enclosed pool at the Motel 6 next door.

But Utah was amazing, especially driving past the salt, because the only way I could tell which was snow and what was salt was that the salt sparkled.

After that night (and believe me by this time we were all getting sick of each other, we continued on to Colorado, when we made it almost to Reno, we learned that Donner Pass was closed and yes this meant another hotel room. 

I guess by now you are wondering how we made it this far on gas. Well, we would be those kids that you see at gas stations in patchworks with a couple of dogs, waving around a gas can or sitting on the corner with a sign that may read one of the following

"On the road and out of luck.. anything helps"
or my personal favorite
"Hungry Hungry Hippies"

It worked well for us, especially being that there was about six feet of snow on the ground everywhere that we went.

After another night in Colorado, we finally made it into California, and as we got off the mountains of Lake Tahoe,  those first palm trees were amazing.  As we got closer to the coast we stopped. took off our coats and smelled the clean air

Tips for road trips

  1. Be prepared for the worst: always have someone you can call for backup money
  2. Take some peanut butter, and bread, they stay for a long time
  3. Bring a gas can: most people are glad to give you a little of their gas before it goes into their car. ask a couple people and before you know it you will have a full gas can
  4. See the sights: being on the road for so long we often forgot to stop and see the sights, don't forget it because thats half the reason of driving across the country
  5. Stop and rest: marathon trips are fun, but driving while you are tired is unsafe
  6. AAA: get triple A its worth it!
  7. Grab a Walmart map they tell you how to get to every Walmart in the country and this can be helpful in the middle of nowhere, because as eco-friendly and local as you try to be in rural Oklahoma, you won't find much more.
I hope that your holiday trips are safe and quick avoiding traffic! And I hope that my experience can help you with you future road trips, remember to have fun and don't forget to be safe!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Discount Tire blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card and be entered for a chance to win a prize valued at $1,000. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Brings Me Comfort and Joy

I remember when I was younger bringing my friend Maria's mother cookies and saying " I bring you tidings of comfort and joy"  These days, my comfort comes from other sources, and sometimes I find it in the least likely places, being far from family, its hard to feel like I have people to fall back on, but I do have friends that have been there for a long time to help me, I also have ways to talk to my family that help me feel close.

One joyous event that I'm looking forward to is  starting traditions with my daughter, we'll be visiting Santa and making gingerbread houses. Looking at Christmas lights and vacuuming pine needles. Knowing that I have someone to share in this season with who will appreciate it as much as me is a great feeling inside and something that I so look forward to.

Skype, I never thought a computer program would give me comfort, but with this handy tool and a couple of cameras, each 3,000 miles from the other, I can see my family and really feel close. I can see my Nana and she can talk to Annabella and watch her walk and stack blocks. This year, they will be able to watch Annabella open the gifts that they get for her, and see how excited she gets about them.

Baking food like home, there is a reason that its called comfort food.When I cook stuffed mushrooms or snowball cookies like my mom. Every part of the experience is like being home. I still taste the cookie dough way more then I should and its something I'm trying to stop so I don't teach my daughter bad habits but I just love the way that it tastes!  The way that the onions, celery and garlic smell simmering for the stuffed mushrooms makes me feel like I'm back at my mom's house (of course mine don't taste as good)

Of course I can't forget about the great friends that I have out here, most of them being from the east coast and sharing in the same Irish-Italian background that I come from, its nice to have friends that share in the same traditions and memories as me!

I hope that you too have places in this season that leave you feeling fuzzy inside and questioning if your grandma is cooking in the other room. To me these feelings are really what the holidays are about.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kleenex blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here

14 Ways to have a Fresh and Festive Holiday

Happy Holidays, I've said it a few times already this year, but I'm pretty excited for it to be the first Christmas that Annabella will be having a blast at! So I intend to make this the start of a lot of traditions for the two of us, so that when she gets older she can have lots of memories like I do.  So I've been coming up with a few ideas in my head, and I've decided to share a few with you folks

  1. Get a real tree! I guess maybe its not the "eco" thing to do, but they smell so good! Walking into a house where the scent of pine is being released by the lights of the tree just feels like Christmas!
  2. Yankee Candles: my mom always burns Yankee candles, or at least she did when I was a kid the "Home Sweet Home" and the "Festival of Lights" are two that remind me of home, so I'm probably going to get a few for the holiday.
  3. Baking Pies: mmm is there anything better then the smell of an apple pie in the oven? Its probably the most melancholy feeling because you know you will just have to wait and wait for it too cook. But that smell and anticipation is one that reminds me of my grandma and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling
  4. Hot Chocolate: I plan to drink lots of it, and let Bella drink it too, Some nights with marshmallows, some with whipped cream, some with cinnamon sticks, or candy canes; maybe I'll even try some spicy hot chocolate this year! Yum! 
  5. Christmas Lights! We're going to go look at them in the car this year, especially since Annabella is big enough to look out the car windows at night, I'm already looking for great Christmas music to listen to in the car while we drive around. I plan to treasure this time where I can justify listening to Christmas music before my child wants nothing to do with it!
  6. Winter Greens: Here's a way to get some fresh greens into your diner, and enjoy the harvest of the winter. Cook up some Kale and add it to your dish, its hearty and yummy I'm dying to try this Butternut squash Tart with Carmelized onions and Kale, a great way to continue shopping at the farmers market since its open year round now!
  7. Hoop Houses: Make yourself some hoop houses so that you can have fresh veggies all winter, start now and give friends fresh bags of greens as Christmas presents you're sure to be a hit. Grow some mint and you can make mint tea for all your guests
  8. Christmas Sweaters: We are totally starting this tradition this year so it sticks. Christmas sweaters are tacky, fun and make for fabulous pictures. Whats more festive then the whole family dressed for a Brady Bunch special? Maybe we'll even host a Christmas sweater party so that friends can annually join in the fun.
  9. Make Beeswax candles: Beeswax cleans the air when it burns, and making candles you can smell in in the whole house, get some molds and make some ornaments, window hangings and candles to give as gifts or to keep for yourself and have memories of the holidays year round.
  10. Bring in Plants: In another effort to keep the air clean with all that fire burning and cozying up with closed windows, bring in some plants to keep warm in the winter, or get some new ones. Poinsettias do well inside and look so beautiful, but I won't put them where little ones can reach, even if people do say now that they aren't poisonous, I still get nervous! Keep a Christmas Cactus year round and see its beauty in the winter!
  11. Warm Apple Cider: Get out those cinnamon sticks (and the rum if you are feel like getting loose) I love warm apple cider with cinnamon donuts! Oh and don't worry about calling everybody to let them know its ready, their noses will tell them.
  12. Gingerbread House: I love making this, its great to pick at all day long, and I love using a decorator tip. I have come to making extra gingerbread because bites taken out of the walls are not great for holding up a roof.
  13. Popcorn and Cranberry chains: I like the old fashioned look because not only does it look quaint, but the birds love them after the new year! Kids can help if they are a little older and can handle a needle and thread. Though this can take a long time and sometimes requires patience.
  14. Cookie Party!: Have a cookie party! The adults can bring different cookies for everybody to get home and set up a decorating spot with the kids. Pre-cooked sugar or gingerbread cookies for the kids, some colored icing in tubes, some sprinkles and other decorations and let the kids go to town!
Well there you are some tips to keep your holiday as fresh and festive as it can be! Traditions that are simple are so important because no whether you are going through hard times or good times you and your family can keep those traditions alive for years and even generations to come!
 
Happy Holidays!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Snuggle blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.





10 Tips for Weaving Runways styles into your Wardrobe

I love fashion, give me Top Model or Project Runway, and I'll watch it all day long.  (To tell you the truth, I'm watching Americas Next Top Model right now.) But sometimes it can be hard to take those from runway to street. We aren't all tall and skinny, and we certainly don't have stylists and makeup artists. But for those of us who don't want to look like we walked out of the donation box at the Goodwill, here are some tips!

  1. 8O's: Oh man, now let me tell you for a while I was hoping that they wouldn't ever bring it back, but ya know some of the styles can be toned down and worn to be subtle, even sexy, rather then in your face. I tend to go for shirts that are off the shoulder in black or another subtle tone, Make sure that the designs on the shirt aren't too bold or just go with a single color. Also don't go for one that looks like its about to fall off, just a little off one shoulder will do.
  2. Red Lips: I know its scary to even think of trying such a thing. Just keep the rest of your face simple, nude tones. And then go for a bright red, you'll be fine. And if you think its too bold for somewhere, just take it off before you go in! (Another perk of baby wipes)
  3. Leopard Print: When I was younger I had a leopard print bathing suit that I loved! So I don't plan to miss out on this trend. My favorite way to wear leopard print or any print for that matter is shoes! Get your hands on a pair of leopard or zebra print heels and rock them will all your blacks and reds
  4. Skinny Jeans: Now I'm not talking 'jeggins" people, I still don't like the idea of them. But jeans that are skinny can be worn tucked into boots and look great, go for boots that are calf height or a little higher, and make sure they fit well, nothing looks worse then pants that don't fit tight on your bottom but are skinny everywhere else
  5. Lace: When I saw my little cousin wearing lace while I visited I thought " wow how brave" but its really not that hard, especially with all the shirts with lace inserts. Another great way is to get a lace tank top and wear it underneath a cardi! 
  6. Leggings:  I love leggings! I wear them all the time, why? They are much more comfy then jeans. I love to wear them with tunics or extra long t-shirts and UGG boots. They also look great with tunics and flats! If you don't like to go flat like me, try a nice pump.
  7. Crochet: Like lace, crochet has found its way onto the boarders and necklines of everyday shirts. Look for ones with crochet accents, like the hem of a shirt. Or make your own crochet flowers to go with everything!
  8. Stripes: While I was in New York City, I fell in love with the nautical trend, Horizontal stripes can make you look wide so keep them on top and cut them with a belt so that you can get some shape. A solid pencil skirt on the bottom. Keep it to black, white, grey or navy blue for color.
  9. Big Hand Bags: Hooray! Score one for the moms, the newest hobo bag trend that we see movie stars with is great, especially for putting one or two diapers in and a small case of wipes. Who needs to carry a bulky diaper bag, keep the other things in the car and grab them when you need them. Try to get bags that don't have too much on them, solid colors are best because they can be worn with everything and stay in style for a long time.
  10. Leather Jackets: Go for it, I see them everywhere now, and they look wonderful with big scarves! A great way to change up your look for football or sledding. They go great with jeans and if you splurge for real leather you will keep yourself warm as well
Just a hint, its almost Christmas, so put those pricier items on your list and hope that Santa is in your corner this year! Keep looking great mamas!


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kenmore blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cardboard Box makeover... its a big hit

For the last four months we have had Annabella's Graco Pack 'n Play Playard  full of her toys in the middle of my living room/kitchen (We live in a VERY SMALL one bedroom house so this has been taking up lots of space) But last weekend I finally got rid of it! Needing one extra box to put some toys in, I mixed up some Elmer'sWhite Glue, and water and got some fabric scraps, and turned 
this:

into this:

And although I might use it for putting toys away, Annabella......

finds other uses





A week of winnings!

Just when I thought my week was going downhill, some bloggers with some great raffles have chosen me as a winner!
Little red riding hood coat
Luvin the Mommyhood had a giveaway for a bib-burp cloth set or a crayon apron, from bobaloo kids

I can't wait

Also I won this  Little red riding hood trench coat from Dear my kids easy wear. A giveaway hosted by  The Sewing Dork

 AGES 12 months to 6 years!!

Also I participated in the sheblogs twitter party and  won a swag bag that I'm anxiously waiting on!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Tips for Stylish Layering Techniques

LAYERS! Living in Northern California they are necessary. From cold foggy mornings, to hot dry afternoons, and chilly dry nights. Or rainy winters, I find myself sometimes wearing three to four shirts on any given day. When I'm at home its easy to change into what makes me comfortable, I change a few times a day to suit where I'm going or what I'm doing (because I love wearing my sweats) So whether you are from here or any of the other places in America with wacky weather. Here we are

10 Tips for Stylish Layering Techniques

  1. Tank tops under everything! They are great, tank tops give an extra layer to your core body, as well as covering up the skin on your belly that may show under a short t-shirt. I also wear the ones with built in bras on days when I'm not feeling like being jabbed with under-wire
  2. Bring your summer out: I love wearing leggings with a short jean skirt, not only can I wear a skirt that I might not be brave enough to wear without pants underneath, but I can wear ones that are super ripped up as well. Also my legs can stay warm. (for all you ladies that still make it to the clubs, this is a great way to keep your legs warm till you get to the club then just roll them up and stick them in your purse) I've even seen some brave fashionistas go for shorts with them but I'm not too sure on this look
  3. Long sleeve thermals under t-shirts: Personally I love this look, I have a few nursing shirts that are built like this but I don't have the option of taking the inner shirt off. I like to have the option to be able to take the inside shirt off if I get warm or if I get into a restaurant, because rolling up the sleeves can stretch them out (this drives me nuts)
  4. Go Boho: I'll admit it I have my days where I am a super hippie, and in the winter it pays off. A few years on the road will show you how to layer like a pro. Either way I love to wear warm pants underneath my big hippie skirts. You never even notice that the pants are underneath! Petticoats are also a great idea to wear under your skirt. Its almost like wearing a blanket!
  5. Scarves!! I love scarves, there are lots of ways to wear them so if you buy one it can function all year round, layering a scarf over your shirt can keep your neck warm and help you look fabulous! I like to go for black scarves or ones with lots of color and pattern
  6. Leggings under your ripped jeans. This is a favorite of mine, I know that jeans with tons of holes in them are in right now (though I refuse to buy them and let my clumsiness rip them) Get some of those american apparel leggings in bright colors and wear them underneath! Covers those holes and adds some pop
  7. One of my oldest layering techniques is a hoodie underneath a jean jacket. I started this for three reasons. One because I didn't like the feel of the jean on my arms, especially if the jacket is cold. Second because it looks fabulous, and third because it keeps you SO warm!
  8. Long socks: People are always wearing long socks with skirts these days which leads me to wonder how cold those thighs much be. I much prefer to wear my socks under my boots with my leggings, They add some extra warmth under the boots as well as up the calf! Keeping your feet warm is key! They also look cute if I go somewhere that I can't were shoes
  9. Bubble vest or any kind of vest really, again this is all about keeping the core of your body warm. They also give the ski-bunny look. I especially love all the faux fur vests out there this year (but yea I would probably take a real one too sorry bunnies)
  10. Fingerless Gloves: I love fingerless gloves, and they look great underneath a long sleeved shirt. One of my favorite parts of fingerless gloves is that they allow for me to do things that regular gloves do not. If you are going to be using them for layering you will want to go with something thin so that they are not too bulky underneath your shirts
Well there you have it my ten tips for layering! I really hope they help, they sure help me a lot as I am always layering my clothes. I highly suggest a pair of UGGs or UGG type boot because they go great with layers and leggings and right now I am seriously having a hard time with my life because I don't have a pair!  I'm just waiting for some Amazon bucks so I can buy myself a nice pair of grey ones!

Hope this helps ladies!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Cuddl Duds blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Magnets.com!

I am one of those people who never evolved from covering my fridge in pictures.
I have toned it down, in my early 20's every visible surface of my fridge had someone's face on it.

Now it is a bit more toned down,  and since my last package arrived at my mailbox, much more organized too! I was lucky enough to be chosen to review the great products over at magnets.com and oh boy, do they have some fun stuff!


When I pulled this out of the mail envelope I was delighted at how nice the folder was, I had expected just lots of magnets in  a bag or something along those lines. But this was super fancy!

On the inside cover, I found this great list of reasons for using the magnets for your company

I think that they are such a wonderful idea, especially because I hang everything on my fridge! I just love to see all my friend's faces when I open the door! That; and I can never decide which pictures to display!


I was super excited! Look at all these great magnets!
There are so many different kinds! A magnet to fit every use that you could think of!

That Arrow magnet? Made for outdoor use! 
 But even though its made for outside, I'm for surely going to be using it for important announcements! I love how magnatized these are, they really stick to the fridge. Outdoor magnets are a great idea for parties or helping people find their way to events. There is nothing worse then a magnet that keeps falling off the fridge everytime that I try to put a picture underneath it, but the magnets that I recieved from Magnets.com didn't seem to have that problem at all!


I love frame magnets, I have quite the collection of them, These ones are great they have a great amount of space in them. One of the perks that I find with these magnets is that they are like getting two magnets in one! Because you can use the center for a magnet too! Put your business card in the middle and its a double magnet!

Aren't these mailer magnets great? I think these would be perfect for a delivery service of some type, I'm thinking the magnets attached to a menu! I would be calling that pizza place for sure! The magnets are secure enough to the cardboard to stay on while being mailed yet easy enough to take off so that paper isn't stuck to them and I can get them off the paper!

Look at all the great shapes that Magnets.com offers! I really love that cow! She has a special place on my fridge now. Magnets with shapes stand out much more then the generic rectangle shapes

And all these! These schedules would be great to have for sports teams! Or even a schedule to remember important family dates. I also LOVE the calender magnets, they are great as a quick reference to see what day of the week certain dates fall on! 

Thats right they even have word magnets! These came attached to a business card for American express and all the words were relevant to their business! I have had probably at least three hours of fun with these already and I'm sure that there is more to come! These magnets are great for discovering what creativity you have when you are feeling a little stumped. I also really like them for teaching grammar, and sentence structure


And now you can see how wonderfully organized my fridge is! Complete with magnetic phrases by me!

Overall I give magnets.com two thumbs up, the magnets are vibrant and they stay on my fridge. I also love all the variety that they offer, there are magnets to suit everybody's taste and style!

I can't wait to order some magnets of my own! I was thinking maybe these might make some great additions to Christmas baskets I'm making, a magnet with Annabella lasts much longer then a Christmas card! Maybe I can even throw in some of these word magnets for my artsy friends!

I would like to say thank you to magnets.com for allowing me to sample their products, and giving me the chance to host this great review


received a package of magnets for this review, all the opinions in this are my own.





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