Thursday, December 23, 2010

Old El Paso family taco night Giveaway

Now that I'm a working mom, it can be very difficult to find time to prepare a meal that my whole family can enjoy together.  Since I'm working evenings, we don't have a lot of opportunities to sit down at the dinner table and eat together anymore.  When we are all home during mealtime I really try hard to have a meal that we can all enjoy.  (In other words, something other than peanut-butter and jelly, yet won't be thrown on the floor by my adorable, appreciative, open-to-trying-new-things children...)
Old El Paso is a company that strives to make products that families will enjoy, can afford, and can be prepared quickly to fit in with a busy family schedule.  Setting aside a time once a month for family taco night is a great idea to stay connected with your family while enjoying some delicious food together.  Old El Paso has a great variety of dinner kits, dips and sides, enchilada sauce, refried beans, seasoning mixes, shells, taco sauce and salsa to help satisfy anyone's Mexican Food Cravings.


Through my connection with MyBlogSpark, I was asked to enjoy some Old El Paso products with my family during our own family taco night.  I was sent some cute Mexican-themed serving dishes, a taco seasoning mix, and a $10 Gift Card for our meat and fixings.  We opted for the soft tacos, I went easy on the seasoning for the kid's meat, and loaded it up with cheese and sour cream.  I'm happy to announce that Old El Paso products were a hit in my house, as my children were satisfied and my floor stayed clean!


How about having a family taco night at your house?  One of my lucky readers will win a prize pack from Old El Paso through MyBlogSpark containing a seasoning packet, some Mexican-themed serving dishes, and a $10 Gift Card to buy your meal ingredients.  Leave a comment on this post telling me why you'd like to win to be entered!

As always, up to 10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following: (leave an additional comment for each additional entry.)
  • Become a follower of Thou Shall Not Whine (3 extra entries!) *Just click the little "follow" button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave me 3 additional comments stating, "follower #1, follower #2, etc." 
  • Follow my blog on Facebook (2 extra entries) *click on the networked blog button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave 2 additional comments stating that you did!*
  • Grab my button and display it on your blog (2 extra entries!)
  • Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to it. (2 extra entries!)
  • Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post. (leave an additional comment here to count as your entry!)
This giveaway starts now and will conclude on Thursday, December 30th, at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be selected via Random.org and contacted via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.
*Disclosure:* I was provided the products mentioned above free of charge from Old El Paso through MyBlogSpark for the purpose of writing this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Packing it In...

As my family gets ready for another big trip, I'm looking around the house for things to pack in.  All of my kids are getting close to the age where they can each have their own bag of items and snacks to keep them occupied in the car.  Joey has a backpack that he likes to pack full of his own toys, and the girls are just about ready to start selecting their own items to bring with us.  We just don't yet have anything for them to pack in.... Once again, CSNStores to the rescue!  They sell these awesome sling backpacks that would be great for me to store their essential items (diapers, wipes, sippy cups, etc.) as well as the little toys and snacks that they would enjoy having in the car.

I particularly like this design, as it would be easy to toss over my shoulder when running in to the rest stop with three small children and a husband in tow:
I really love the fact that this backpack has a bunch of different zippered pockets, as well as the side mesh pockets for things like drinks and keys.

Another style that I'm thinking is really great is this one: (and at only $15.99, how could I possibly go wrong?)


CSNStores always has so many choices in style, color, and price, that it always takes me a while to make a decision.  Many items from their site ship for free (and fast!), and I can personally attest to the fact that whatever you have in mind for gift-giving or personal needs, you'll be able to find it at CSNStores!  And if you think you're too late to do anymore online Holiday shopping, think again!  There is still time to purchase your gifts at one of 200+ CSNStores and have them delivered before Christmas!  What are you still doing here?  Get on over there and pick out some sling backpacks for the people on your list...

Who Doesn't Love Chex Party Mix? Giveaway!

Chex Party Mix is a great little snack to whip up anytime you're having company or friends over.  It is so easy to make, tastes delicious, and is an all-age crowd pleaser.  There are so many different varieties of Chex Mix available now, and the Chex Mix recipes are varied to delight anyone's taste buds!


Recently, I was selected to participate in trying out a Chex Mix recipe while enjoying a prize pack sent by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.  I used the handy measuring cups, and decided to make the traditional mix.  As always, it was a hit.  I made a big batch, and my family enjoyed it all week long.  Chex Party Mix stores well in an airtight container or plastic bag, keeping it fresh tasting and delicious! 

Check out the Chex Website for more recipe ideas.  I think we'll try the Chex Lemon Buddies next in our house, but the new Chex Apple Pie Snack Mix sounds good too!  The blend of flavors in the new homemade mixes will help you create irresistible new favorites and wow your guests!


I'm offering one of my lucky readers a prize pack of their very own containing a box of Rice Chex, measuring cups, and a Chex Brand Tote Bag.  Just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Chex Mix Variety or Recipe to be entered to win! 


Want more chances to win?  Up to 10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following: (leave an additional comment for each additional entry.)
  • Become a follower of Thou Shall Not Whine (3 extra entries!) *Just click the little "follow" button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave me 3 additional comments stating, "follower #1, follower #2, etc." 
  • Follow my blog on Facebook (2 extra entries) *click on the networked blog button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave 2 additional comments stating that you did!*
  • Grab my button and display it on your blog (2 extra entries!)
  • Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to it. (2 extra entries!)
  • Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post. (leave an additional comment here to count as your entry!)
This giveaway starts now and will conclude on Wednesday, December 22nd, at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be selected via Random.org and contacted via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.
*Disclosure:* I was provided the products mentioned above free of charge for the purpose of writing this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Scott Naturals Tube-Free Winners!

Congratulations to post number 93, EmmaPeel, who said, "I Have your button." and post number 160, brianpiero, who said, "GFC Follower: Brian E."  Thanks for being followers and the button love.  Hope you enjoy Scott Naturals Tube-Free as much as we do!  I've emailed you for your shipping info so we can get your 2 12-packs out ASAP!


Thanks to all who entered and to Scott for sponsoring this great giveaway!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

We officially kicked-off the Christmas season over the weekend with a fabulous Holiday Party with our playgroup friends.  The party was important to me for so many reasons, mainly because I've been spending so much time away from my kids lately that it was just really special to get dressed up and do something exciting with them.  In an effort to ease some financial strain around here I've started working part-time in the retail world. (think starts with 'W', ends with 'art.')  For a little over a week, Ron walks in the door and I walk out.  I worked pretty much all weekend so spending Sunday evening celebrating Christmas with my husband and children was a great way to reconnect with them.




I never thought to buy my kids any Christmas outfits last week, and it occurred to me early Sunday morning that they had nothing festive to wear to the party later that night.  My mom and sister were quick to my rescue as they dutifully shopped at Kohls in my place.  They selected adorable outfits for my children and delivered them to my house while I was at work. (who can ask for better family members... seriously!)

At the party we ate delicious food, made adorable crafts, and spent time with good friends.  Many of the children were star-struck as Santa arrived.  Katelyn buried her face in my sweater as he approached, and Olivia had a death grip around Ron's neck warning him to not let her go.  Joey on the other hand, gave Santa a high-five and then showed him the marshmallow snowman he made.


All of the parents were anxious to get a picture of their cuties with Santa.  I was no different.  After last year's debacle, (and the year before that was a disaster too...) I had high hopes that this would be my year.  The ever-so-stubborn Joey wouldn't leave the pile of presents to sit on Santa's lap.  So Santa came to him. 



They laid down on the floor together and had a nice chat.  Later, after the presents were opened and played with for a while, I asked Joey if he would go sit with Santa so I could take his picture.  After a trip to the potty, he obliged.  Joey walked over to Santa, climbed up on his lap, turned to him and said, "I just went poop on the potty."  This kid has no modesty.  No social filter whatsoever.  He's as honest and adorable as he could possibly be.  Santa wasn't phased.  He chuckled, told Joey that was good news, and encouraged my funny guy to smile for the camera.  Which he did.  Hurrah!


And in case you're wondering... here's what happened when we tried to get Katelyn & Olivia to sit with Santa too.  1. I had to go as well since Katelyn wouldn't even look at Santa.  2. Olivia threw herself off of my lap and onto the floor screaming as if someone was hurting her. 3.  My friend Elena helped us out by passing Olivia back to me and tried to peek-a-boo the tears out of her.  4.  She didn't stop crying or yelling, but at least she's in the picture!


Ah well, I'd say we get an "A" for effort.  Better luck next year, I suppose.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Mommy Party Sponsored By Episencial

Recently I was selected to host a party featuring some great baby safe skincare products.  The Episencial Skincare Collection includes a full range of all natural products designed for ages 0-150!  Included in their chemical-free lineup is SPF 35 Sunscreen, Protective Face Balm, Soothing Cream, Sweet Dreams Bubble Bath, Better Body Butter, Playful Foaming Wash, and Nurturing Balm. 
My party/playdate was a lot of fun, and all the kids and moms were thrilled to try out the Episencial Skincare Collection.  Here is a picture of Joey getting ready to kick off the demonstration:


Joey also helped me assemble the goody bags. 



What fun is a party without goody bags? Through Mommy Parties, Episencial provided me with everything I needed to make sure my guests went home well-informed and happy.  Each of my mommy friends received a fun goody bag containing a full size product as well as a whole bunch of samples to enjoy.


Another happy party-goer:


My kids are loving the Foaming Wash, and we've gone through half the bottle in just a few weeks.  It smells great, cleans thoroughly, and is all natural with lots of organics and fruit extracts.  My kids have sensitive skin and have been known to break out in rashes or hives after being exposed to new products.  We've been using the Episencial products for weeks now and I'm happy to say that their skin is free and clear.

Episencial is available at retailers such as Target, Ulta, and others.  You can also purchase it online at Diapers.com, Drugstore.com, and more.  At their website, use the Episencial Store Finder to find a location near you!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Forget to Order Your Holiday Cards at Shutterfly!

It is hard to believe that Christmas is a short 3 weeks away.  This is the time of year when lots of moms scramble to find the perfect holiday outfit, a unique and seasonal setting, and prop their children up time and time again to capture that perfect Christmas card photo.  Or maybe that's just me?  With my children being so young I've always struggled in getting a picture of all 3 actually looking at and smiling for the camera.  It's kind of like mission impossible, in my opinion.  And I'm pretty sure it's only ever happened 3 times since I became a mom of 3 in April of '09.

Despite my difficulty in capturing a card-worthy picture, Christmas time is exciting for many reasons.  So many companies out there work to provide services and products that are time savers for busy moms like me.  Shutterfly is at the top my list for companies that make my life easier.  They have so many amazing products all year round, but their Christmas Photo Cards seriously can't be beat.

I think that this simply stated Christmas Card is absolutely adorable: (and it has 3 picture spots, which is a plus for me since I can never get my kids sitting together!)


I'm also enjoying these next two styles.  And in the unlikely event that I am able to capture a pose with all three of my children looking and smiling at the camera, I'll probably choose one of these:



Whatever you are looking for in terms of unique photo gifts is also available at Shutterfly.  Want to give a gift that lasts all year long?  Make a customizable wall calendar using your own photos, dates, and a wide selection of backgrounds and layouts.  It'll truly be a one-of-a-kind gift!

So whether you are need of affordable holiday cards, thank you cards, special photo gifts, or a hardcover photo book, Shutterfly has got you covered.  Start selecting and uploading your favorite photos today!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scott Naturals Tube Free Toilet Paper Review & Giveaway

Toilet Paper is something that we all need and keep in stock in our households.  We are all familiar with the life cycle of a toilet paper roll.  Open package, install new roll, wipe, flush, wipe, flush, wipe flush, etc. Remove little cardboard tube and dispose of in the trash.  Repeat.  Well, did you realize that the little cardboard tube that you throw away at the end of the roll is actually responsible for 160 million pounds of trash annually?  That's right.  160 million pounds of trash.  In fact, U.S. households dispose of an estimated 17 billion bath tissue tubes annually.  In all honesty, I had never even considered the environmental impact of toilet paper tubes until I was contacted by a Scott Company representative asking if I'd like to try the new, innovative Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper.


With tube-free you get the best of both worlds – help reduce waste with no price increase. That's right... no difference in price.  The same soft tissue that Scott is known for, and less waste filling our nation's landfills.  Currently, Scott has just rolled out a limited release of the Scott Naturals Tube-Free in the northeast U.S.  Scott Naturals Tube-Free is sold exclusively at select Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in the northeast United States. Check out your nearest retailer here and the Scott-Naturals Tube-Free website to learn more.

After using just 1 roll, I'm already a fan of Scott Naturals Tube-Free.  At only $8.50/12 pack, I really think it's a great value for a high quality product.  The product itself is soft, absorbent, and reliable for even the toughest of jobs.  It still rolls around on the toilet paper holder just as if it had a tube, so you won't be left with too little or too much tissue for the job.  ;)

Are you interested in getting a sneak peak of this innovative new product?  Great!  2 lucky readers will each receive (2) 12 packs of the all new Scott Naturals Tube-Free.  Just leave a comment on this post to enter.  10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following:
 
• Become a follower of Thou Shall Not Whine (3 extra entries!) *Just click the little "follow" button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave me 3 additional comments stating, "follower #1, follower #2, etc."
• Follow my blog on Facebook (2 extra entries) *click on the networked blog button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave 2 additional comments stating that you did!*
• Grab my button and display it on your blog (2 extra entries!)
• Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to it. (2 extra entries!)
• Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post. (leave an additional comment here to count as your entry!)

This giveaway starts now and will conclude on Wednesday, December 8th, at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be selected via Random.org and contacted via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure Statement: Product, image, and information were sent to me by Scott for the purpose of this review.  All statements above are my own.

Late Winner Announcement

Wow.  Sorry for the 5 day delay in posting the very lucky winner of the Macaroni Grill & Wanchai Ferry Meal Kit Prize Pack.  I've had a whole lot going on including starting a new job, adjusting to life as a part-time working mom, hosting Thanksgiving, my 30th (agh!) birthday, etc. and I'm afraid that all of that has left me very little time to focus on my blog.

Enough about that though, I'm excited to announce that the winner of the Macaroni Grill & Wanchai Ferry Meal Kit Prize Pack is post #190, Jen, who said, "I blogged about your giveaway."  Well, thanks for the shout out on your blog, Jen, and I hope you enjoy your prize!


A big, gigantic thank you to Macaroni Grill, Wanchai Ferry, and MyBlogSpark for providing the great product and gift card!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wanchai Ferry & Macaroni Grill Boxed Dinner Review and Giveaway

Who doesn't have trouble coming up with something to cook for dinner?  Seriously.  Is there anyone out there that finds making a family dinner easy and exciting day after day after day?  Nope.  I didn't think so.

I am most certainly guilty of the last-minute fast food run because I don't have anything planned for dinner.  And while we're coming clean I guess I should admit that cereal for dinner is a weekly event in my house.  That's why I was really excited when I was contacted by MyBlogSpark about trying out some delicious dinner kits.  Wanchai Ferry & Macaroni Grill have made it super easy to make a homecooked meal in a short amount of time without shopping for a million different ingredients that you can't even locate in the supermarket.


These handy, affordable dinner kits allow anyone to enjoy an Asian escape with Wanchai Ferry restaurant-inspired dishes by simply adding your own protein to delicious entrees like Cashew Chicken, Spicy Garlic Chicken, Orange Chicken, and Kung Pao Chicken. Or perhaps you are more in the mood for a tasty Italian meal, in which case you might want to whip up one of the Macaroni Grill favorites such as Chicken Piccata and Angel Hair Pasta, Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken & Pasta, Chicken Alfredo with Linguine, Garlic & Herb Chicken Penne, and Chicken Marsala with Linguine.



These kits are a great way to have a special meal at home and create a "date night" atmosphere without going anywhere at all!  I've personally tried several of the kits and our favorites include Orange Chicken and the Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken & Pasta.


Want to try these to make an easy dinner for your family?  Great!  Wanchai Ferry & Macaroni Grill are giving away a prize pack containing 2 dinner kits and a $25 Visa Gift Card to one of my special readers!

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me which meal kit you would most like to try.  10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following: (leave an additional comment for each additional entry.)

• Become a follower of Thou Shall Not Whine (3 extra entries!) *Just click the little "follow" button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave me 3 additional comments stating, "follower #1, follower #2, etc."
• Follow my blog on Facebook (2 extra entries) *click on the networked blog button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave 2 additional comments stating that you did!*
• Grab my button and display it on your blog (2 extra entries!)
• Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to it. (2 extra entries!)
• Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post. (leave an additional comment here to count as your entry!)

This giveaway starts now and will conclude on Friday, November 26th, at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be selected via Random.org and contacted via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure Statement: Dinner kits and Gift Card were sent to me by Wanchai Ferry & Macaroni Grill through MyBlogSpark for the purpose of this review.  All statements above are my own.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Age Is Just a Number

Or is it?  It's hard to believe that in 16 short days I'll be leaving my 20s behind forever.  That's right, folks.  I'm turning the big 3-0 this month.  My husband was kind enough to remind me of that glorious fact last night as he stated that he was going to contact our Allstate agent to inquire about lowering our rate since I'll be over 30.  Over 30.  That just sounds so.... old

I know, I know.  Age is relative.  People who are reading this that are in their 40s, 50s, and beyond are probably like, "Whatever.  Get over yourself.  30 is so not old."   But each time we begin a new decade in our lifespan is significant.  20 sounds carefree, young, hip. (I am not any of those things, but we are talking about image here people...)  30 sounds mature, responsible, settled.  (words that probably describe me better.)  Looking at it that way shows that I'm ready.  I mean, I'm a mom of 3, have owned 3 houses, have things like cornstarch, paprika, and thyme in my pantry so I'm definitely ready to become a 30-something. 

And its a good thing I've got a great man who's always on the lookout for all of those Old Lady Discounts I'm now eligible for.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Socially Unacceptable

Lately Joey has displayed some less-than pleasant behaviors in public places and I'm wondering what can be done to make him more aware of what we can and can't say/do in the company of others. 

For example, while we were out to dinner last week, Joey said, "there's something wrong." We asked him what was wrong and while tugging at the backside of his pants, he announced loud and clear, "There's something wrong with my butt."  We all laughed of course, because it was so unexpected and candid of him, but inappropriate nevertheless.  Another example: Yesterday while I took my crazy train (3 kids in 1 cart) to Walmart, every 4 minutes or so Joey would shout out from the back of the cart, "I have a booger!" He yells this at me whenever he has the slightest bit of moisture in his nostril, and follows it up with, "Get it, get it Mom. Get my booger!"  I explained to him that he doesn't need to be shouting about boogers and he can just ask me for a tissue, but he obviously enjoys saying booger (don't we all?) and now just says it more often when we're home or not.

A couple other bad habits that my kid displays in public includes but is not limited to: butt scratching, telling me he's going to spank me if I say that to him one more time (where the heck would he learn that?!?!), "tooting" followed by an announcement that he did, and removing his socks and shoes while demanding that we "pell his stinky feet."

I know that this is normal, and there are probably many other mothers out there who go through mortifying moments while shopping or dining with a loud, energetic 3-year old boy.  What are we supposed to do though?  Keep them cooped up in the house until they grow out of it?  Wait a sec.  They're boys.  They will never grow out of it.  I have a feeling the inappropriate language will just get more foul, and the gestures and bad habits will just get worse.  I mean, what man doesn't think that farts are funny, and scratching or "adjusting" as we call it in my house, is completely fine to be done in the presence of others?  So I guess at 3, the apple doesn't fall far from the socially unacceptable tree.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shutterfly Winners

Congratulations to post numbers 23, 11, and 5, Sharon, Abi, and Alyssa, respectively.  Thanks for entering and following ladies!  Hope ya'll enjoy your free cards from Shutterfly!




Thanks to the folks over at Shutterfly who were nice enough to pass along these codes for myself and my readers!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Lesson Learned

This is a warning to all the other mothers out there with a pair of fabric scissors, a spray bottle, and a fine toothed comb: Leave the hair-cutting to the professionals.  I feel so strongly about this that I shall rephrase for clarification:  Do not assume that because you have scissors you are qualified to be a hair stylist.  Kinda like how you may own a light bulb but are in no position to call yourself an electrician.

This picture may explain better than my words can:


I'm pretty sure it is time for me to hang up my scissors.  Or just put them back where they belong: in a craft drawer limited to cutting fabric, ribbon, paper, and other things that are not attached to the bodies of my children.  It was only 1 month ago that I came to terms with the fact that Olivia's inheritance of my ridiculously tall forehead had already made her predisposed for a life of having bangs.  I assisted my mother in cutting her hair that day, watching carefully so that I could follow up with the necessary bang-trims in the days, months, and years to come.

Obviously bored and feeling restless from this rainy weather we're experiencing, I decided it was time to get out the old spray bottle and scissors.  BAD decision.  I repeat: VERY BAD decision.  I couldn't get an even line so the bangs just got shorter and shorter and shorter until I realized they were like halfway up her forehead.  I didn't know what to do at that point, and there is a spot right in the middle of her head that is shorter than the rest but I knew if I didn't stop there I'd be in even more trouble.  More trouble?  As if that's possible.  But I did (thankfully) stop.  They are now an uneven hot mess of too-short bangs that don't even transition well to the longer hair in the back.  The picture actually makes my styling look good. (sorry for the low-quality, my camera battery needs recharging so I had to go with my ancient cell phone...)

It should have been Katelyn.  She is the one who's hair I was combing this morning thinking it was really time for a cut and style. However, she's never had her hair cut before, and I'm not so good with starting from scratch.  I figured Olivia was a safer choice considering the groundwork had already been laid for me.  Apparently I was wrong.  There is no safe choice when it comes to me cutting my children's hair.  With the right equipment (scissors, spray bottle, comb) I'm a danger to myself and those around me.  Actually just those around me.  I would NEVER attempt to cut my own hair.  It's just theirs that I like to ruin.


Guess that holiday picture I was hoping to capture in the next few weeks will have to wait.  Anyone know of any vitamins or supplements I can give this kid to make her hair grow faster? (maybe that eyelash growing stuff will do the trick?) I was really hoping to be early with the Christmas card this year...

Frito-Lay Giveaway Winner

First of all, I want to send out a HUGE thank you to all who entered the Frito-Lay Giveaway!  I was pleasantly surprised by the number of entries I received, and I wish I had a prize pack for each of you.  That being said, I only have 1 prize pack and the lucky winner of that is post #194, Naynays1 who said, "follower #3."  Congratulations Naynays1, and thanks for following!  And a special thanks to Frito-Lay for sponsoring this awesome giveaway!

Not a winner?  Don't fret... I have lots more giveaways coming, including this one for some Free holiday cards from Shutterfly!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shutterfly Giveaway: Holiday Cards!


The holidays are fast approaching and I've already begun thinking about which picture I'll use for our cards this year.  I spend lots of time during the months of November and December reviewing our year in pictures to choose the perfect way to share them with our family and friends in the form of Holiday Cards and gifts.  Shutterfly makes this task so easy for me offering a huge selection of photo gift products, many styles of holiday cards, and free organized photo storage.  Whether I'm looking to make a photo book, design a new coffee mug, or simply order some prints to scrapbook with, Shutterfly helps me out.  They run frequent specials, have great prices, and ship products quickly.

I'm working hard to get my children used to the idea of posing together for a Holiday card this year.  I've actually been successful in taking a few candid pictures with all three of them looking at and smiling for the camera.



This makes me hopeful that our card will wow all of our relatives in that "how adorable that they all sit and smile so cooperatively" way.  Shutterfly has some Christmas Photo Cards to choose from so it's a good thing I'm looking early.

And in case you are getting started on this early too, Shutterfly wants to give away 3 sets of free cards to 3 lucky Thou Shall Not Whine readers.  Each winner will receive a promo code good for 10 free 5x7 flat stationary cards.  All you have to do to win is leave a comment on this post stating what you like about Shutterfly.

As always, up to 10 extra entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following:  (leave an additional comment for each additional entry.)

• Become a follower of Thou Shall Not Whine (3 extra entries!) *Just click the little "follow" button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave me 3 additional comments stating, "follower #1, follower #2, etc."
• Follow my blog on Facebook (2 extra entries) *click on the networked blog button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave 2 additional comments stating that you did!*
• Grab my button and display it on your blog (2 extra entries!)
• Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to it. (2 extra entries!)
• Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post. (leave an additional comment here to count as your entry!)

This giveaway starts now and will conclude on Sunday, November 7th, at 11:59pm EST. 3 winners will be selected via Random.org and contacted via email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Frito-Lay Giveaway!

If you live with a man you are well aware of the fact that we are well into football season, and I'm sure that your hubby is always looking around for a good snack to enjoy on game day. (or maybe that's just mine?)  Either way, I was really excited when I was contacted by Frito-Lay to try out some new recipes to go along with their great products.  I made a great Cheesy Bean, Zucchini, and Red Pepper Dip that was delicious paired with some Tostitos Scoops.  I also tried out a Caramelized Onion Dip that we enjoyed with Fritos Scoops.



We can all feel a little better about snacking on these delicious products made by Frito-Lay... Fritos Scoops! corn chips and Tositos Scoops! tortilla chips are not only perfect for dipping, but they're made with just three simple ingredients: corn, healthier oils, such as corn oil, and salt. And if you're looking for an easy way to add whole grains to your diet, Tositos Scoops! now has 8 grams of whole grains per serving.

Fritos just so happens to be my snack chip of choice, so I was really excited when Frito Lay sent me a bag along with some Tostitos too.  And if you're into snacking too (who isn't?) you might just be lucky enough to win a prize pack of Frito-Lay chips and the adorable chip and dip server that you see pictured below.  Now you'll be able to whip up some delicious snack to serve on game day complete with this great football-themed dish.
To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite snack chip is.

Want more chances to win?  Up to 10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following: (leave an additional comment for each additional entry.)
  • Become a follower of Thou Shall Not Whine (3 extra entries!) *Just click the little "follow" button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave me 3 additional comments stating, "follower #1, follower #2, etc." 
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  • Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post. (leave an additional comment here to count as your entry!)
This giveaway starts now and will conclude on Wednesday, November 3rd, at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be selected via Random.org and contacted via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.
*Disclosure:* I was provided the Frito-Lay product mentioned above free of charge for the purpose of writing this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Place For Your Bum

As with many young couples, we have found ourselves inheriting a lot of our furniture from family members who no longer needed it.  Take our dining room for example: every piece of furniture in there came from my mom's old house.  We have a beautiful antique china cabinet, a matching buffet, and a gorgeous dining set that is in really great condition.  Well, all except for the chairs.  The seat cushions are in rough shape (thanks to a bunch of little kids who shall remain nameless,) and in desperate need of repair/recovering/replacement.  So I've been doing some shopping and browsing for ideas on what I can do to help my poor chairs.  Dining chairs are plentiful at CSNStores, and they have so many to choose from.  In fact, CSNStores has so much of everything to chose from, it has been my go-to site whenever I'm in the mood for a little online shopping.  (which is like, everyday.)

CSNStores will soon be sponsoring a gift certificate giveaway here on Thou Shall Not Whine, so you might want to head on over to their site to check out what they've got...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Say What?

We've been stuck at home a lot this week.  What started as "allergies," has now turned into a full-blown cold for Joey.  His voice is even all raspy.  Without being able to play with any of our friends, my kids tend to get a bit bored.  So this morning I had to come up with something new to play with.  That's when I remembered my stash of Playdough.  The girls are finally getting to the age where they don't always put everything in their mouths, and playdough is non-toxic anyway, so I busted out our collection while we played on the patio this morning.
I have issues with getting all the playdough colors mixed up, so I tend to only open 1 or 2 containers at a time.  The remaining containers were still in the zip-loc bag that holds all of our playdough stuff.  Joey spotted them and told me that he "neeeeeeeeeeeeeeds those."  I said that we had enough out already, and to go play with the 2 that were on the table.  He continued to try to climb the patio furniture to get within reach of the additional playdough containers as I said that he needed to put his listening ears on and play with what we already had out.  He obliged by reaching up to his ears and 'flipping the on switch.'  After he did that, he grabbed hold of the extra playdough containers and began trying to pry them open. "Joey, I told you we aren't opening those.  You need to put them back because you just put your listening ears on."  His immediate response, "No I didn't. I put my naughty ears on so I could open this playdough."

SAY WHAT?  I am in so much trouble with this one....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Free Ice Cream

I'm always up for free stuff. Free ice cream, free kid's meals, free $25 gift card with a transferred prescription, if it's free, I'm there. So when I was scrolling through every one's updates on Facebook this morning I was really excited when I saw that my friend Lori posted this:


I clicked on the link, read the fine print: Valid September 23rd only, 3oz scoop, one per person, yada, yada, yada.

I then texted my hubby to tell him where would be going after dinner, and a couple of other freebie loving friends.

I made sure that dinner was ready early so we'd have enough time to go out to Baskin Robbins, fight through the crowds with 3 little kids in tow, enjoy our ice cream, come home, clean up the kids, and still get them to bed at a reasonable time. When dinner was just about done I announced to Joey that we had a special surprise for him and we were going out for ice cream. His little face lit up. He loves going out for ice cream and he really loves treats after dinner. It was roughly 6:00 as we pulled up to the ice cream shop. "That's weird, there is like no one here," I said to Ron. "Maybe it wasn't as widely known as some of their other free scoop nights." He agreed, although we both began to think that maybe I got the wrong night or time or something. "Maybe not every Baskin Robbins is participating, maybe it's only a Connecticut thing," Ron tried to make sense of it all.

We hesitantly got the kids out of the car and went into the nearly empty Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts shop. We both began to nervously chuckle about the fact that it really didn't seem like a free scoop night, and anyone that we shared the news with (my freebie loving friends and Ron's whole staff at school) was more than likely standing at the ice cream counter thinking the same thing. And blaming us.

Anyway, it wasn't long before I realized that it definitely was not free scoop night at Baskin Robbins. First of all, they didn't even have the new special flavor that was featured on the Facebook page. Secondly, there was only 1 person working there. On free scoop night they always have a ton of employees behind the counter. And lastly, there weren't any signs, decorations, or a whole load of people as there usually is on free scoop night. (I told you, I'm an experienced *freebie* getter... I know the what to look for.)

Nevertheless, I had to ask. Just to be sure. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: "Um, you aren't by any chance giving away a free scoop of your newest flavor today?"
Personality-less teenage Baskin Robbins Employee: "No."
Me: "Oh, ok. I saw some Facebook thing about it. Is it coming soon?"
Employee: "Nope."
Me: Nervously laughing, "hmmm. That's weird.... ok, well, I guess we'll have... um, Joey what kind of ice cream do you want?"
While Joey picked out his flavor ("da white one, banilla" -so original) I just couldn't let it go: "Has anyone else come in here asking the same thing?"

The kid behind the counter just shook his head, seriously annoyed and wondering why I wouldn't leave him alone about giving me free ice cream. If he had more gusto he probably would have said something like, "Lady stop. There is no free ice cream today. Or tomorrow. Or any other day that I've heard of. Are you gonna get those kids some ice cream, or not? Because if not, I'd really like to go back to texting my girlfriend on my iPhone."

Yea, that's probably what he wanted to say but didn't.

When we got home I immediately logged on to Facebook to find out WTF my friend Lori had linked to. While I waited for the page to load I kept thinking, "how could I have gotten this wrong? I'm never wrong." Once the page was up I saw it right away. It was the first word I read. Carvel. The Baskin Robbins that we visited was not participating in Free Scoop Day. There was no free ice cream to be had at any Baskin Robbins because it was free scoop day at Carvel.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Halloween Costume Shopping

Each year I begin planning for and thinking about Halloween earlier and earlier.  I love picking out costumes for my kids, and thinking about all of the fun parties, treats, and crafts that we will do together to celebrate the fun fall holiday.

I was really excited when I was contacted by the Costume Supercenter to review a costume and feature their great site on my blog.  The costume selection on their site is extensive.  It includes costumes for men, women, kids, toddlers, infants, even pets!  The site is well organized and includes excellent descriptions of each item, so you know exactly what you are getting.  I was overwhelmed in making a decision because they have so many costumes to choose from.  So I enlisted the help of my 3-year old trick or treater to pick out his own costume.  At first there was a lot of, "that one," "no, that one," and "I want that one too." But after a few more visits to the page of toddler costumes, his choice was clear. 


Don't you just love this Toy Story 3 Woody Costume?


It arrived quickly, and Joey makes a point to try on his Woody Costume most days.  I've been back to the site several times since receiving Joey's costume because pretty soon I'll need to make a selection and buy costumes for Katelyn and Olivia.  What do you think they should be?  Coordinated in theme with their big brother, or something different all together?

Either way, I'm pretty sure that the Costume Supercenter will have a suitable costume for my littlest trick or treaters.  And yours too!  So get shopping!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Joey has recently started singing a lot.  Throughout the day, I'll hear him quietly singing a familiar tune to himself as he plays or reads a book.  It is really quite sweet.  After singing Baa Baa Black Sheep perfectly to my mom on the phone the other day, she encouraged me to get it on video while it's still cute and innocent 3-year old singing.

I took her advice, and here is what happened:


video

Yo Gabba Gabba! Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Tracy Knipper, comment #49, who said, "Follow #2 Love the fact that Brayden can speak, knows every character by name, but still calls Brobee "Green Guy"." You and your kiddos are the lucky winners of the Yo Gabba Gabba! DVD and Book Set!


Didn't win this time?  Awwww, too bad, so sad.  Don't worry, I'll have a new giveaway up very soon so stay tuned!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Friends

One of the most difficult things about moving is having to find new people to socialize with.  The past 11 months (yes, it's already been that long) has really made me value all of my friendships, and not a day goes by that I don't miss my friends who are far away.  Going to a new place is exciting and adventurous, but it can also be very lonely when you step outside your house and don't know anyone who lives closer than 600 miles away.  Meeting people doesn't happen easily when you don't go to school or work every day.  You actually have to work at making new friends.  It takes time and effort, and often involves going out of your comfort zone as far as reaching out to people.  It's not like when I was 6 and would meet a fellow kindergartner on the playground and 3 and a half minutes later she was my new bff.  How do you make new friends as a 29 year-old stay at home mom of 3 little monsters?  Thankfully we have things like facebook, meetup.com, and other social media networks that have helped me to form some friendships in my new location.

The best way to make new friends as a mom is obvious: join a mom's group and find some other mommies  that have kids close in age to your own kids.  So I did just that.  And I'm fortunate to finally have a sense of belonging again, and I feel like I'm really making some connections for myself and my kids.  (my husband is a whole other story, but I'm working on setting up some playdates for him too!)

I feel that Joey is at an age where he has the ability to make real friends for himself too.  It is no longer just a bunch of kids playing with a ton of toys and screaming "mine" at each other.  The kids are learning how to talk to one another, make each other laugh, and get along.  It is awesome to see him actually enjoying having friends too.

Last week we invited a bunch of our friends over to play in the back yard.  Joey and a couple of other 3-year old little boys had a fantastic time running around, climbing stuff, and spraying each other with his cool Buzz Lightyear Sprinkler.  My friend Christine told me that her son Christian was especially enthusiastic about the playdate and went on to tell his dad about it later that day.  The conversation went something like this:

Christian: "Hey Dad!"
The Dad: "Hi Christian, how was your day today?"
Christian: "It was great.  I played with a Buzz Lightyear Rocket Ship!"
The Dad: "Oh, really?  Where did you do that?"
Christian: "At my Orange Friend Joey's House."

My Orange Friend!  How adorable is that?  I just love that Joey already has his own classification in Christian's brain.  He is his Orange Friend.  That is just too stinkin' cute.  I hope they'll be friends for a long long time.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Wish List

Now that I have a kitchen that I can cook in again (hurrah!), I've been eyeing some new cookware.  Sadly, I broke one of my most treasured casserole dishes a few months ago.  With Christmas (and my birthday) right around the corner, I decided that it wouldn't be a terrible idea to start making my wish list.  I like to be very specific when doing this, which requires me doing a lot of online browsing and researching exactly what I want.  I have been spending some time looking for dutch ovens to replace my long lost dish, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that CSNStores has a great selection to choose from!

One of my favorites is this one:


Isn't it so pretty?  I love Rachael Ray's entire line of kitchen products and CSNStores had a really great selection, with great prices and free shipping! 

At this time every year I start to think about gifts. I begin thinking about what I'll purchase my children for Christmas, what kind of home-made craft I can make for everyone in our family, and what I'll ask Santa for this year. As an added bonus, my birthday is only 1 month before Christmas (November 28th, for those of you who might want to definitely should send me a gift), so I get presents two months in a row!

So maybe my hubby will read this post and think about buying me a nice romantic gift.... Seriously, what says "I love you," better than an 7 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven Baker in bright orange?  I can't think of anything else.

What's on your wish list this year? 

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