Friday, February 26, 2010

Rainbow Pancakes

Breakfast had a little inspiration. A snowy, blustery day always fuels the need for something bright and fun.

Oh, and if you're wondering, yes there are extra orange ones. Apparently someone put the wrong colored lid on the yellow. I didn't realize until it was too late and was too lazy to make more batter.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: A Look Back

(From 2005)
I stumbled on this photo while cleaning this week. I miss the days when my little one was still so little!

Tackle It Tuesday

Before getting sick week before last, I had decided it was finally time to declutter the den. Our den has become the catch-all for the house. The room really has no purpose, other than storage, but everyone uses our back door, which brings them right through the mess den.

After pulling everything off the shelves, I purged two trash bags worth of stuff. Can I just say how hard it is to throw away anything my son has created? Even the littlest scribbles were tough to part with. But I know I still have plenty of them around.I remembered to snap photos about halfway through. Probably a good day into the project (which is why there is stuff all over the floor already). I can't believe how much stuff has gotten left out there. Ridiculous.
Now, everything has found a home, and a label. It's not perfect, but it's much easier on the eyes.
The craft supplies have found a new home-inside a spice rack that has sat unused since we got married. 6 years ago.
And the books have found room to fill shelves. Rather than random stacks around the house, they are all organized on an actual shelf.


Through it all, I learned that (1) we own way too much stuff, (2) my mantra is one thing at a time, and (3) next time the den looks like a tornado hit, I'm recruiting hubby and the little one to help clean the mess they helped create. Oh, and that I love organizing in the most random ways possible. I'm so weird.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Miracle in Sumatra Book Review

To my little bookworm, nothing is more exciting than a new book at bedtime. (Well, maybe ice cream after dinner or getting extra video time...but you know what I mean.)
Being an animal lover, he was so excited when I pulled out Miracle in Sumatra: The Story of Gutsy Gus by Jeanne McNaney. Miracle in Sumatra follows the plight of little Gus, a young orangutan whose parents have been kidnapped by greedy hunters.With the help of a little girl named Maya, and the guardian angel of the jungle, Gabriella, Gus learns about bravery. But while being brave, Gus also learns to be compassionate and forgiving towards others. Even towards those who have not shown him that same kindness.
Miracle in Sumatra is a story that can teach children about conservation and activism. There are less than 6500 Sumatran orangutans left in the world. People need to be more aware of the actions they take and the actions of the companies they support. Miracle in Sumatra discusses such awareness at a level children can understand. The book shows that even children can help make a difference.We started reading Miracle in Sumatra before bed one night. I was surprised at the amount of text on the pages. Designed for kids 4-8, it contains a very detailed story line. We split our reading into two nights due to the length of the book. But any worries about the story losing my son's attention quickly disappeared. He was in love with it (and so annoyed when I stopped halfway through it the first night.)

The book is full of emotion. When the little orangutan's parents are kidnapped, I watched my little one gasp and cover his mouth. But when Gus ran into the trapper's village, my son almost bounced off the bed with excitement.
Both my son and I enjoyed the story of Gus and his parents. Miracle in Sumatra was a definite hit in our house. Though I think next time we'll read it a little earlier in the day, as the ending was far too exciting for a five year old at bedtime!

Buy It:
Miracle in Sumatra can be purchased for $16.95

A copy of the book was provided for our review. All opinions are our own.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Sick Day

This is what a sick day looks like in our house.
Little Man is almost 100% better.
I've barely left the couch in 3 days.
I am so ready for spring.

Feeding Penny Pig Book Review

In our house, we are constantly reading. We love having several books on one topic as a way to reiterate what we're trying to teach our son. Money has been a hot topic around here lately, and we've had the chance to read several books together about saving money.

Feeding Penny Pig by Jeannine Fox offers a unique perspective on saving money. The grandma in the book, Mimi, is searching for the perfect birthday gift for her granddaughter, Laney. When she stumbles upon a very sad piggy bank, she knows she has found the right gift.Mimi teaches Laney that to properly care for Penny Pig, she must give her coins regularly. The book explains saving money in child-friendly terms, but it also discusses ways that children can earn money, such as helping around the house.

My son enjoyed reading the story with me, though he did question what the little girl was going to do with the coins she saved. I was able to use his curiosity to talk to him about how he would use the money and what jobs he would enjoy doing to earn money. The book was a great discussion starter.
Buy It:
Feeding Penny Pig can be purchased for $14.95

A copy of the book was provided for review. All opinions are our own.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love Letters

The first one brought a tear to my eye.
"Mommy you make my day"

"Mommy you rock my world"

"Mommy you bring peace to my world"

"Mommy I love you 100 percent"

And the homemade envelopes for school that we spent 2 1/2 hours making on Friday.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Fail

These were two of the top headlines on our local paper's website the other day.

Somehow, I don't think they should have been listed in that exact order.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three Cups Book Review

Hubby and I have discussed giving our son an allowance in the past, but have never come to a full agreement over it. I think he's ready for it, hubby's unsure. How much do we give? How often? What does he do to earn money? They are all things we've discussed, but failed to reach a conclusion on.

Recently, I shared the book, Three Cups by Mark St. Germain, with my five year old. Based on a true story, Three Cups follows a little boy, the same age as my son, on his adventures with money. He learns the importance of saving, spending, and giving after receiving three cups on his birthday.The idea of separating money into three cups teaches children money management, responsibility, and compassion. But the concept is simple enough for even young children to grasp.

With the economic status of the country right now, I think it's important for my son to learn to handle money from an early age on. I want him to feel confident in his financial decisions, but to also realize there are many people out there who could use a helping hand.

After reading Three Cups, I asked my so if he liked the idea. He responded by asking "Do we have extra cups? How can I label them??"

Needless to say, he is excited by the idea of money and being able to have some of his own. I think the three cups technique is one that will work well in our house. After reading through the parent's guide in the back of the book, I'll most likely be digging into the kitchen cupboard this weekend, and clearing an area on his dresser so that we can start our own adventures with three cups.

Buy It:
Three Cups can be purchased for $10.

A copy of the book was provided for review. All opinions are our own.

Yoplait Smoothies Review & Giveaway

We love smoothies around here. Little Man constantly asks for them. Though they are often referred to as milkshakes, because apparently to a five year old, that sounds so much more exciting.

The only problem is, he always seems to ask for one the second I run out of yogurt or fruit. We've made plenty of interesting concoctions trying to make up for missing ingredients in the past.

The new Yoplait Frozen Smoothies are a great solution. Almost everything you need comes inside the bag, all you need to do is add a cup of milk, and your smoothie is ready in a few minutes. Since each serving only has 110 calories, I love having one at breakfast time while I rush around taking care of a million things at once.

The Yoplait Frozen Smoothies are available in three flavors: Triple Berry, Strawberry Banana, and Strawberry Mango Pineapple.
We tried out the Triple Berry, which was delicious. It blended quickly and offered a very smooth texture. A must in our house, since a little someone always requests his drinks "minus the lumps."

I have a feeling Yoplait Frozen Smoothies will become a staple in our freezer, especially over the winter when fresh fruit is so expensive.

Buy It:
You can find Yoplait Frozen Smoothies in your grocer's freezer section. And you can get $1.25 off.

Win It:
One lucky winner will receive a coupon for a free package of Yoplait Frozen Smoothies and a single serving blender to mix up their drinks!
To enter: Tell me your favorite flavor of fruit smoothie to make at home.

Want extra entries? (Leave separate comments for each)
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Giveaway ends 2/18 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. Open to US only.

Information, free samples, and the gift pack for review and giveaway was provided from Yoplait through MyBlogSpark.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Snowy Days

The 2 feet of snow outside (and more falling now) has us finding ways to stay warm and have fun inside.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm Up in a Tree Book Review

Over the last 5 years, I've found out just how easily it is for my little one to get into trouble. He has such energy and imagination, and sometimes acts before he thinks through to the consequences of his actions.

I'm Up in a Tree by Mark Alden Johnson explores what can happen when a little one finds himself in trouble. The little boy in the story finds himself up a tree, with no way down, and no one in sight to help.He talks to several animals who all offer suggestions on how to reach the ground. But each one offers an idea that just won't work for the little boy, such as flying, jumping, or using his claws. In the end, the boy must use his own judgment to decide what to do.

I'm Up in a Tree helps children think about their own decision-making skills, as well teaches children to trust their own instincts. Not succumbing to peer pressure is an important skill to teach children, even at an early age.

My son loved the story line. He is the adventurous type, and I'm surprised that I have yet to find him in a similar situation. The book flowed very well, and the illustrations are bright and colorful. I'm Up in a Tree is a fun way to teach young children how to think through a difficult situation and trust their decision.

Buy It:
I'm Up in a Tree can be purchased for $14.95

A copy of the book was provided for review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Johnson's Baby Shower Blog Tour

Have you ever noticed that all your friends get pregnant in waves? I think in the last two months, at least three friends have had babies and several others have found out they are pregnant.

What that means is lots of baby showers. Johnson's products are always my go-to gift. With products like PINK Baby Lotion, Gold Baby Shampoo, Head-To-Toe Wash, Baby Powder, and Desitin, I can create a perfect gift basket for moms-to-be. I usually buy a hooded towel, a pack of wash clothes, and pack everything into a bathroom basket for the shower gift.
When my son was a baby (and even still), we always had a stock of Johnson shampoo and lotion in our bathroom. I love the light scent and no-tear formula. Plus, with his sensitive skin, I could trust that it was gentle enough for daily use.

Recently, Johnson's expanded its Bedtime line with a new Bedtime Bubble Bath Wash formulated with Naturalcalm essences, a blend of soothing aromas to help babies sleep better. We've been using it for the past two weeks, and my 5 year old loves the smell. It's a wonderful addition to our bathtime routine.
I also learned that Johnson products can serve a dual purpose. Baby powder can be used as a deodorant or a dry shampoo. (I know I've used it on days when I'm in a hurry and accidentally used too much conditioner or hair tamer that left a greasy look to my poor hair.) Baby oil can be used as a shaving cream, and, of course, everyone can use the Head-to-Toe Wash and Shampoo.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Johnson’s and received samples of Johnson’s Baby products to facilitate my review.

It's All Too Much DVD Review

Was de-cluttering one of your New Year's resolutions? I know there are quite a few "clutter spots" in our house that I keep meaning to tackle.

Over the last 6 years of marriage, we have acquired so much stuff. Hubby blames it all on me, but we are all responsible. (I don't remember being the one to buy 3 coffee tables). But no one wants to tackle the clutter, and no one wants to take the responsibility.

Recently, Peter Walsh, professional organizer from TLC's Clean Sweep, released It's All Too Much on DVD. Based on the New York Times best-selling book, the DVD offers a step-by-step guide to reducing clutter and getting organized.I have to say, I absolutely loved the DVD. Walsh offers so many tips to help organize your house room by room. The tips are practical, inexpensive, and easy to maintain. He says that the key to organization is looking at the vision you have for your space, than deciding on the function of each area, creating zones within your space and enforcing limits.

I literally sat in front of the DVD taking notes. I have a huge list of ideas that I would love to put into practice in our house.

A few of my favorite tips:
  • In the kitchen, empty your gadget drawer into a box. Every time you use something over the next month, put it back in the drawer. After 4 weeks, look at what's left in the box and decide if you really need it.
  • In a child's room, limit the number of toys and create a routine of putting things where they belong. Also, use a weekly clothes organizer in the closet. (We bought one last month and have saved so much time and worry in the mornings.)
  • In the garage, get things off the floor. Use hooks, mesh bags, and shelving units to organize things you need to store in there.
I'm setting myself a goal of tackling one room per week over the next two months and reducing the clutter that lives there. It's All Too Much has definitely motivated me to want to reduce the clutter in our house and is a wonderful guide to get me started.Buy It:
You can buy Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much DVD for $19.99

A copy of the DVD was provided for review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

S'mores & Snow

There are certain things that just go together to me. Pancakes and bacon. A comfy bed and a good movie. S'mores and snow.

Growing up, we would make s'mores in the oven whenever the snow started coming down. During the winter, our pantry always had marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. (Plus hot chocolate to go with it.)

Late last night, the snow definitely started coming down, with no end in sight. But, instead of snacking, Little Man spent most of his night curled up on the couch, sick.

This morning arrived with both good and bad news. Good news is Little Man is feeling much better. Bad news, the snow never did stop. Two feet or so later, our back door was snowed shut, and my car was almost indistinguishable in the driveway.After shoveling (and shoveling, and shoveling), we decided to warm up with our own kind of s'mores. The s'more cupcakes, from Bakerella, looked like a perfect, ooey-gooey treat. And while they tasted delicious, the look left something to be desired.

For whatever reason, my marshmallows puffed and oozed, than fell flat and disappeared. Leaving a sad hole in the middle of my cupcakes. I blame the cheap marshmallows someone bought at the store (and possibly my crappy oven). Seriously though, nothing compares to Jet Puffed.
Then we tried to make a mini version. And that was a complete fail. There was no saving the pathetic mess they baked into. So they were crumbled, frosted, and covered with melted coating wafers. The outcome was a candy lovers dream come true, and pure excitement for a certain little kid. I think the bite I took left me in a sugar-induced coma for half the afternoon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Breakfast Time

Waffles with fruit always makes me think summertime. Which is the only thing I want to think of today. Not the foot or more of snow that's going to drop this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Finally We're Eating...

So my kid who wouldn't eat lunch, the one who came home with a full lunch box every day since September, is finally eating. Wahoo!

I could seriously do a cheer. I was so tired of sending food that was never touch, of packing lunches that barely got opened, or buying food I knew would go to waste.

Finally, Little Man is eating. And all it took was a little creative thinking. (Okay, and possibly the threat of making him buy lunch. Gasp.)

Apparently, food tastes better when it's shaped like an animal. Sandwiches are okay, as long as they don't look like a sandwich (or contain any meat.) And lunch time is more fun when your friends "try to steal food" from your lunch box.Though I was told, "No more tails, Mommy. They get all soggy and sticky and gross." Well, now I know.

Air Bud: Golden Receiver Special Edition Review

Ever since discovering the Buddies this past year, my son has been obsessed with seeing every Air Bud and Buddies movie he can find. I can't even count the number of times we've watched Space Buddies and Air Bud: Spikes Back. I thought we had seen them all.

But, I recently found out Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment was releasing a special edition of Air Bud: Golden Receiver, and I realized we had never had the chance to watch this Air Bud movie. Needless to say, Little Man was ecstatic to learn there was another Air Bud we hadn't seen yet.About Air Bud: Golden Receiver Special Edition,
Now you can kick off all-star family fun with the heartwarming Air Bud: Golden Receiver Special Edition, featuring exclusive all-new bonus action: Sports Channel play-by-play quarterbacked by the Buddies! This time out, Buddy, the hoop-shooting, hotshot canine, tackles anew sport—football. When his teenage owner reluctantly becomes the school’s newquarterback, Buddy catches the spirit and joins the team. Soon, the two find themselves leading the Timberwolves tothe state championship. But victory hopes are sidelined when two sinister Russian circus owners take abite out of everyone’s plans and dognap Buddy for their star attraction. Give three cheers for Disney’s hilarious hit that goes the whole nine yards for outrageous fun and adventure.

Little Man absolutely loved the Buddies Sports Channel bonus feature included on the DVD and asked to watch it over and over. The Special Edition DVD also includes a Air Bud sports whistle, though my five year old calls it a dog whistle (and chases the cats around blowing it).

Air Bud: Golden Receiver has a run time of 90 minutes and is rated G. As with all the other Air Bud movies, this one is sure to become a family favorite in our house. It's received the official two thumbs up from my son!

Buy It
Air Bud: Golden Receiver Special Edition hit shelves February 2nd with a suggested retail of $29.99

A copy of the DVD was provided for review. All opinions are our own.