Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Love Tree

We found this tree when we were out for a hike. There are hundreds of initials carved into. It was mysterious and fascinating and romantic.
It made me think back to days when we were young and in love and spontaneous.
Sometimes I miss that.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hotel for Dogs Review

Living in a house with boys, there's always talk of getting a dog. Daddy seems to want one just as much, if not more, than the little one. Even though we can't own one right now, we are still definitely dog people.

Since seeing the first commercials, the little one has wanted to see Hotel for Dogs. We finally got the chance this week. And it earned a big thumbs up from my four-year-old.
Hotel for Dogs stars Emma Roberts, as Andi, and Jake T. Austin, as Bruce. The movie follows the kids through their struggles at a foster home that doesn't allow pets, forcing them to hide their pup, Friday.

As they try to create a home for Friday, they end up making a home for all the city's strays in an old hotel. The dogs that inhabit the hotel are fun and lovable, and each has its own, very distinct personality. Throughout the movie, my four year old cheered the dogs on, clapping, and jumping around. He was completely enthralled with the movie.

Hotel for Dogs is all about family, and it's definitely a family film. We've watched it together twice in 24 hours, and little ones and adults alike loved it. I will admit, there are moments where you just may shed a tear. I know I did, and I saw my little one tense up. But I think it's a sign of a good movie, one that you can get completely wrapped up in.

After the movie, I asked my son which pup was his favorite. He was quick to let me know that Romeo, a Chinese Crested Dog, was "the best". Romeo may not be traditionally cute, but he's definitely a lover.

Hotel for Dogs is rated PG and is comes out on DVD tomorrow. Happy watching!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

In awe...

Aurora Photo Editing Review & Giveaway

Every parent wants to capture their child at the perfect moment. We all want those adorable photos to look back on and share with everyone we know. The problem is, photos aren't always perfect. Kids move too fast, the lighting isn't just right, or the flash washed out their faces. I know that I have to take a hundred photos to get one that I love.

That's where Aurora, a new and unique photo editing software from Light Crafts, comes in. It's designed to allow users to edit photos, no matter their photography knowledge.

Aurora allows you to select a photo to edit, then shows a pop-up image selector to allow you to see how you can change your photo. Basically, you are able to see your original photo versus several edited options.

Aurora has a unique relight feature that allows users to "turn on" the light in the photo. With one click, it makes your photo more true to life, to what you saw when taking the photo.

Before:

After, using the relight feature:

Aurora also allows users to crop and straighten photos, adjust strength and warmth, and reduce red eye. My flash always creates red eye, so this was a life saver for me!

Before:
After:

Before:

After:

Aurora also saves the photo with an "au" at the end of the file name, so you don't need to worry about overwriting or losing your original file. I can't tell you how many times I've done this in the past.

You can also log in to Faceook, Flickr, or other social media sites from within Aurora, allowing you to edit and update your photos easily.

Want to try it for yourself? Aurora can be purchased for $19.95.

Would you like to win?
10 readers will have the opportunity to download Aurora for free

To enter: Check out Aurora and let me know what feature you are most interested in trying out. (With a way to contact you!)

Want extra entries?
Follow me on Blogger
Grab my button
Add me to your blog roll
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Tweet this giveaway (Please leave link)
Please leave 1 extra comment for each thing you do!

Contest will end May 7 at 11:59 pm. Winners will be posted and emailed.

Be sure to check out The Ultimate Blog Carnival on Live Giveaways.Com for other giveaways May 4th-8th.

To Yard Sale or Not to Yard Sale...

Yet again, I find myself debating a yard sale. It's nice to de-clutter and make a little money, but I'm never quite sure it's worth the time and aggravation. Last year's sale took days to prepare for, and I was exhausted by the time it was over.

I also learned quite a bit from it:
  • I hate people touching my stuff. I thought I was okay with people buying my junk, but I still wanted to tell them to be careful and to wash their hands before touching.
  • I'm not a fan of talking to people. I got asked weird questions, got hit on by somebody's grandpa, and got to listen to some of the most random stories ever. Boundaries people, boundaries.
  • Toys sell better with batteries in them, but, it is so annoying to her Elmo sing 56 times in 8 hours. La la la la la, Elmo's World... It sang when the person beside you pushed it, do you really need to try it out again just to be sure?
  • No matter how much you make, it never ends up to be a profit. We had a decent sale, but as I carried back in the tables we used to set up on, I bumped the corner of the glass top, chipping off a huge corner. Now, yes, stupid me for using it in the first place, but we were desperate for table space. The table is still in the den with the chipped corner hiding in the back.
Now I have to decide if the money is worth the effort or if I'll be more aggravated by the time the day is over.

Do you hold a yard sale each year? Love it or hate it?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Creating Collages

Just last week, I was so excited about spring arriving. But, in the matter of a few days, it went from being nice and warm out to being ridiculously hot. Today temperatures are in the 90s. Somehow, spring has passed with us barely knowing it was here.

Because the Gibbon (and I) can't handle the heat, we're back to spending most of our day indoors. So, it's been a scramble of finding new activities to keep him entertained. It's tough because it looks so nice out, and he doesn't understand that the heat makes him sick. (He gets heat rashes very easily).

Since be loves to cut, we decided to create collages. I gave him full run of the old magazines cluttering up the den and a pair of kiddy scissors and let him go crazy.He ended up creating about six different collages, and mommy made one too.


What do you do to beat the heat?

Florastor Kids Giveaway

Florastor Kids is a natural probiotic that supports the presence of good microbiota in the intestines, while helping to keep disease-causing bacteria and viruses from attacking. Floratsor Kids is a freeze-dried form of yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii lyo, which has been clinically tested for over 50 years.

Floratsor Kids is designed to help prevent and manage diarrhea caused by antibiotics, acute gastroenteritis, or traveling. In recent studies, Florastor Kids has been shown to reduce periods of diarrhea by 22 hours. It’s recommended to start taking Florastor Kids at the onset of symptoms until they subside.

Floratsor Kids comes in easy to open packets that do not require refrigeration, allowing it to easily be taken on along on vacations, just in case it’s needed. It can be taken by children over the age of two months, by mixing into formula, drinks, or soft food.

We recently had the chance to try Florastor Kids. When mixed into juice, my 4 year old didn’t even know it was there. This is an achievement for us, because he’s they type who just knows when I’m trying to hide something, and always refuses anything he thinks is medicine. It will definitely be kept on hand for the next time he gets sick.

Florastor Kids can be purchased at most pharmacies. It can usually be found in the stomach aid section, but may be kept behind the counter in many pharmacies. A list of stores can also be found on the Florastor website.

Would you like to win?
I have 1 10-packet box of Florastor Kids (a $12.95 value) to giveaway to one lucky reader.

To enter: Leave a comment telling me something you do to comfort your kids when they’re sick. (With a way to contact you!)

Want extra entries?
Follow me on Blogger
Grab my button
Add me to your blog roll
Follow me on Twitter (Please leave your username)
Tweet this giveaway (Please leave link)

Please leave 1 extra comment for each thing you do!

Contest will end May 5 at 11:59 pm. Winner will be posted and emailed. Open to US only!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Finds

Somehow when your 4, everything is a new discovery.
I never would have thought that this could be a person's head that turned to wood. But, it's so obvious to a 4 year old.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Small Talk Six: Drive Me Crazy

Over at MomDot, today's Small Talk Six is about being uncomfortable. They want to know six things that other people do that make me squirm.

1. Touching me: I hate to be touched. I know it sounds awful, but my little one is the only one I really enjoy hugs from. I love to snuggle with him or hold his hand, but I despise when other people feel the need to touch me.

2. Reading over my shoulder: When I'm on-line hubby always wants to know what I'm looking at, what I'm typing, what I'm reading. Seriously, if I needed you to know, I'd inform you. So back off!

3. Hearing someone file their nails or chew on ice: Yuck! It makes hurt just thinking about it.

4. Smoking around my son: I used to smoke, and only quit a few months ago. But, I never in my life smoked around my child, and he has even asked someone what they were doing when they lit up nearby. In my opinion, it shows a complete lack of respect to smoke near someone's child.

5. Sharing too much information: There are moments when people just say way too much. There are things that should remain private, and I don't want to hear about them. Seriously, I have times when I'm speechless because I can't imagine the things people tell me.

6. Being nosy: Again, I'm amazed at what comes out of peoples' mouths. If I wanted to say something, I would have said it already. The top questions that drive me crazy: When are you having another kid? Well, are you trying? Don't you think your kids will be too far apart? Ugh.

What do people do to drive you crazy?

Time to Write

With the Gibbon going off to school next year, I worry about him being ready. He loves to read and practice math problems. He loves to explore and create. But, he is not a fan of writing. He has announced that coloring and writing are "not his thing." For whatever reason, he just doesn't enjoy it.

We've tried our best to encourage him, to make it fun. But it's a slow go. When we color, he would rather scribble. It's not that he can't do it, if he concentrates, he does wonderfully. He just doesn't want to sit still long enough. I guess it's a boy thing, or maybe an energetic, don't-want-to-stop-to-rest thing.

A few days ago, we received a crayon roll from BabyBug Creations. BabyBug Creations makes personalized items for moms and tots. For the Gibbon, the crayon roll provided a reason to get excited about coloring and writing. Because it was covered in Cars, he announced that it was "very cool." I love that the rolls make it so easy to carry crayon with us when we go out. When we're waiting at a restaurant or the doctors office, I can pull it out for him to draw. For once, he was actually sad to put his crayons away! I'm hoping that if we continue to find ways to make drawing and writing exciting, he'll grow to love it.
How do you make writing fun?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Earth Day Hunt

Our scavenger hunt started with one cute little boy:
We found mushrooms,
something spiky,
and a small flower.
And a crazy leaping critter to end it.
How did you celebrate Earth Day?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Smelling the Flowers

A Little Green

  • Glade recently introduced soy candles from The Fragrance Collection. The orange vanilla, mcintosh apple, and earthly awakenings scents currently offered are all more than 92% natural. The orange vanilla is by far my favorite, as it reminds me of dreamsicles I used to devour when I was little.
  • I consider myself a snob when it comes to paper towels and toilet paper, and have used the same brands as far back as I can remember. But, when I had the chance to try White Cloud GreenEarth products, I changed my way of thinking. I'm impressed with the absorbency of the paper towels, and the fact that they are made from 100% recycled fibers and use less packaging.
  • I also love Skoy cloths. They are absorbent and reusable, lasting through several months of use. With Skoy cloths, I have the option of cleaning them in the dishwasher or washing machine. I can even microwave it to remove germs. According to the Skoy site, if households used just 3 rolls of paper towels a year, we would save 120,000 tons of waste. A 4-pack is only $5.99, so you could save quite a bit of money too.
What are your favorite green products?

Earth Day Giveaway at Calypso Studios

Are you ready for Earth Day tomorrow? I know we've been gearing up around here. We have some fun projects to do and books to read. We're keeping our fingers crossed for nice weather, so that we can get outside and explore.

Over at Calypso Studios, they are getting ready for Earth Day by hosting a huge giveaway. They will be giving away $10,000 worth of S.H.O.P. totes. All you have to do is head over and register on or before tomorrow (4/22/09), and you could win 1 Acts of Kindness tote.

At Calypso Studio, products are made from the earth's natural products. Using reusable totes in a simple way to help our planet.

Did you know that an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year? Americans alone use 380 plastic bags per year, consuming 12 million barrels of oil for production. Americans are also responsible for consuming over 10 billion paper bags, resulting in 14 million trees being cut down to produce the bags.

For every reusable bag you use, it can cut down the consumption of plastic bags by 1000 bags over it's lifetime. Some stores will even offer a credit if you use your own bag, which could ultimately pay for the bag.

So, what are yo waiting for? Head on over to Calypso Studios and fill out the simple the entry form!

But Mommy...


I don't wanna. I can't do it. I'm too tired. (...Cue the tears.)

That has been our house for the last few days. Pure and utter whining. I'm about to invest in a good pair of earplugs. Maybe just a pillow to hold over my head. I could just sit really quietly and hope no one notices me.

My usual happy, easy-going, preschooler has become a pool of meltdowns. Some of it I attribute to being sick, some from not sleeping well for a few days. But, I feel like I have a whole new child in my midst. A high-pitched, squeaky, defiant child.

I'm doing my best to handle this new predicament. My four-year-old doesn't appreciate being told that I don't understand whining, but he quickly changes his tune for a moment. And he is totally opposed to sitting on time-out while he calms down and attempts to compose himself. But honestly, I don't know what else to do.

How do you handle those whining moments that seem to never end?

Monday, April 20, 2009

My New Title

There are a few thing's I'm good at. I can make a little one laugh, I can play a mean game of soccer, and I can read The Ghostlight of Mater, complete with Lightening McQueen and Mater voices.

There are plenty of other things that I'm not so hot at. I usually burn everything I cook, I can barely sew a fallen button back on a pair of pants, and somehow I always answer wrong when playing imaginary games.

But, today, I earned myself a new title. Brace yourself for this...I am now, the Queen of Goat Catching.
I got a hold of them, got them still, and their collars were on in about 4 seconds flat. My daddy was so proud. And all I could think is, you might be a redneck...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring Has Arrived-Finally

It was over 70 degrees out yesterday. 70 degrees! I'm so excited to see spring finally arriving. Even though the little one is still fighting off this cold, we had to get outside. It was too nice of a day to stay indoors.

So, we built a blanket fort to read books in:We checked out the flowers:
And we even braved the rummage sale nearby, where we found this for 25 cents:
How was your weekend?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Small Talk Six: Pets


Today's Small Talk Six is all about pets. What 6 animals (wild or domestic) do you think would be fun to own as a pet? Little man wants to be a zoologist someday. So who knows, maybe he will get to care for animals like these eventually.

An otter: Too Swimmy?
Flamingo: Too Bendy?
A Scotch Highland: Too smelly?
A three toed-sloth: Too buggy?
Another kitten: Too needy?
A tiger cub: Too growly?

Wondering about the questions? You should read What Pet to Get. It's one of our all time favorite books!

Still Miserable


My poor little one is still sick. Still miserable.
The only thing the helps is sitting in the dark, cartoons, and lots of snuggles.
Momma still has barely slept all week.
Maybe 5 hours is 3 days. Or 4 days? I lost count.
Did I mention daddy's sick too?
And acts as pathetic as the 4 year old?
It's 8:30 in the morning. I'm ready for a nap.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time to Play Thursday: Top 5 Games

We've been fighting off colds all week long, and of course, it's been raining and icky out the last few days. So, we've been playing board games. A lot of board games.

Here's our faves:
1. Hang in There
2. CandyLand
3. Chutes & Ladders
4. Shrek 2
5. Who Am I?(Always results in giggles, so much so I can't get a good photo)

What are your favorite games to play?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Easter Edition

Loving the hunt...

My brother & nephew, aren't they cute?

The crazy chicken who wanted to chase kids & peck the eggs...

My Night

1:30 am: Little man woke up, crying inconsolably
1:45 am: Got him settled in our bed
2:00 am: He starts complaining that his ear hurts
2:52 am: Complaints and wiggling stop, throwing up starts
3:05 am: Finish cleaning up my bedroom, his bedroom & the bathroom
3:06 am: Realize cat was locked in spare bedroom
3:08 am: Hear cat throwing up
3:12 am: Finish cleaning stairs, dining room & living room
3:15 am: Crying starts again, along with requests for food
3:20 am: Little man is chomping on crackers & watching cartoons while I attempt some peace on the computer

Good thing I can live without sleep.

3:33 am: Cat's throwing up again. I feel round 2 starting.

Top Reasons I Hate Family Get Togethers

Someone is always sick, getting sick, getting over being sick. And the germs get passed around the table as quickly as the mashed potatoes.

Meltdowns are a given. Sometimes it's the kids, sometimes it's me.
Snide comments are a given too. Someone always looks like they've gained weight, or has a pimple, or has a kid who is whiny and disruptive. And someone always feels the need to point it out. Luckily, my only claim was the whiny kid.

Discussions always get heated. Someone always brings up politics, or money, or being green, and there goes the nice talk. So sorry hickville doesn't offer recycling pickup. And I guess I'm just to lazy to drive the 45 minutes myself, leaving me an awful earth-hating momma.

Someone always gets hurt. It's usually my kid. I guess since we rarely dress up, he doesn't excel at running in dress pants, leading to his hands and knees meeting the pavement.

I take home tons of stuff we don't really need. Easter basket 1, 2, and 3 all were loaded into the car yesterday. Seriously people, it's not Christmas in April. And giving my kid toys you found on clearance at Montgomery Ward 22 years ago is not my idea of fun times.

I'm always so exhausted by the end of the day, I just want to crawl under the covers all alone.

And finally, my little one is so exhausted that he refuses to go to sleep or even relax long enough that I can catch my sanity. Oh, and did I mention he likes to talk when he's tired. Non-stop.