Friday, July 30, 2010

Tabatchnick Soup Review and Giveaway

I told you, it's giveaway week here at Thou Shall Not Whine, and I am excited to tell you about another delicious product that my family was asked to review.  (and there's something in it for you too... a giveaway pack with coupons and goodies!)

Tabatchnick's been in business more than 100 years, using family recipes for a frozen soup and shelf soup line that includes organic, low-calorie, and gluten-free soups and more -- even mac and cheese.  There are also Kosher varieties if that is something to consider in your home.  With over 3 dozen delicious varieties, I was excited to give this a try.  I used the store finder provided on the Tabatchnick Soup Website, and found out that my usual Harris Teeter is a seller of Tabatchnick Frozen Soups.  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that they only had 3 varieties to choose from at the store I went to.  I'm hoping they soon carry more, as I'd love to try out the potato, mac & cheese, and black bean varieties.  Anyway, I selected the Vegetable Soup, heated it up, and enjoyed it on a ridiculously hot summer day. (In the air conditioning, obviously!)

What I thought:
  • YUM. YUM. YUM.
  • Despite being frozen, the vegetables tasted super fresh and flavorful, not at all mushy like you sometimes get with a canned soup.
  • Ingredients are wholesome, natural, and contain words that I can read.
  • A good size serving for only 90 calories.
  • Fun, letter-shaped pasta might make Joey interested in eating it too.
  • Very filling and satisfying.
  • Overall, a really good lunch choice for me as it's convenient, healthy, and takes hardly any time to prepare.
Want to try some for yourself?  Great!  Carmelle from Tabatchnick Soups has graciously offered a giveaway prize for one of my readers including FREE product coupons and other goodies.  Just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite kind of soup is to be entered to win!

My standard giveaway rules apply, in case you forgot, here they are:


10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following: (leave an additional comment for each 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, August 6th, 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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

KIDStrong Winner

Congratulations to post #3, Alyssa who said, "Follower # 2."  Thanks for being a follower, Alyssa!  I hope you and your kids enjoy your prize!


Thanks to all who entered, be sure to come back here soon and often to check out my upcoming giveaways for more great stuff!  A big thank you to KIDStrong for sponsoring this giveaway on Thou Shall Not Whine.

Brugo Coffee Mug Review and Giveaway

As you've probably already gathered, I love coffee, tea, and just about anything else that gives me a caffeine boost.  Recently I was asked to try out a really awesome new coffee mug.  It's called a Brugo Mug, and it has features that I've never seen before on any other travel mug.  "Features?" you are probably thinking to yourself, "I didn't realize coffee mugs had features."  Well, this one does, and they are quite convenient and easy to use.


Here are some cool facts about the Brugo Coffee Mug:
  • The Patented Temperature Control Chamber makes it easy to enjoy your coffee immediately after it is brewed with the tip & sip function, while the remaining beverage stays hot and fresh.
  • Lock mechanism, keeping your hot beverage sealed and spill proof.
  • 16-ounce capacity for those (like me) who need A LOT of coffee to get going in the morning.
  • Double-wall insulation.
  • No-slip bottom, and a stylish stainless steel finish.
  • Fits most cup holders, and comes in some really snazzy colors.
  • Makes an affordable, practical gift for just about anyone! (Starting at just $14.95)

My personal opinion:

I was skeptical at first.  We are taught not to tip a hot beverage because it will spill out.  So it was hard for me to make myself actually tip the mug to fill the "Temperature Control Chamber."  Then I thought, how could it possibly instantly adjust the liquid to perfect sipping temperature.  Well, I was impressed that when I tipped the mug I didn't cover myself, my car upholstery, or anything at all with burning hot coffee. (as I said, I was a bit nervous)  Then I took a hesitant sip.  I half-expected to burn my upper lip with scalding hot coffee, but I was even more impressed that the sip I enjoyed was at exactly the right temperature.  No burning, no dripping, no waiting for the coffee to be cool enough to drink.  How cool is this?

When I was at my destination I unloaded all the kids, turned the 3-position drink mode selector dial to "lock," and walked with it in one hand rested atop my double stroller (stupid $330 stroller doesn't come with a cup holder!), and guided the stroller using the other hand.  Not one drop of coffee spilled as I steered and went over sidewalk cracks.  Lastly, while sitting on a park bench I turned the dial one more time to "sip" and I was able to bypass the "Temperature Control Chamber" and the mug functions like a traditional coffee mug.  The remaining coffee was cooled enough to be enjoyed, but not too much, as the double-wall insulation keeps the heat in for a long time.



Overall, I was super impressed with my new Brugo coffee mug, and I'm really excited to be offering one of these to a reader in his/her choice of color!


All you have to do to enter is head on over to http://www.brugomug.com/, and come back here telling me which color you'd choose and why you'd like the to have a Brugo mug for your very own!

My standard giveaway rules apply, in case you forgot, here they are:


10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following: (leave an additional comment for each 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, August 4th, 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.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Giveaway Week

This week is a big one for us.  We are closing on our new house and moving in at the end of the week.  Which means that I'm not going to have TONS of time for blogging.  While it makes me sad to admit that I may not be able to post my regularly scheduled content. (stories and photos of my kids)  But I'm excited to announce that I've officially declared it Giveaway Week here at Thou Shall Not Whine!

In case you haven't noticed, I've been running about 1 giveaway per week lately, and it seems that my blog is getting more and more exposure leading to more and more product reviews and giveaways.  Good for me, good for you!  If you've enjoyed entering my giveaways lately, you're really going to like what this week brings:  3 giveaways running at the same time.  WHOA!  I know, I know.  I've completely outdone myself here... anything for you, my faithful readers.

So while I'm sure you will desperately miss my rants and raves about the obnoxious neighbors, my silly kids, or how funny my husband dresses, you can enjoy checking out some new products and have a chance at winning some too!

A little review on my giveaway rules:
  • You do NOT have to be a blogger to enter.  You don't even need a google account.  You can always comment under anonymous, but be sure to leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win.
  • I try to keep my entry requirements simple.  I always encourage you to visit the sponsor's site, but rarely make this an entry requirement.  You do not need to follow me on Google or Facebook, but you get lots of bonus entries if you do!
  • Giveaways are open to US Residents, ages 18+
  • I do not get paid for writing a review or giveaway.  The opinions expressed are my own, and the product was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of reviewing.
  • The winner will be announced and contacted via email.  If you do not leave me an email address and there isn't one in your profile, I can not email you.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond, after that time I will select and contact a new winner.
Ok.  So now we're clear, hopefully.  Are you excited about my very first "giveaway week?"  You'd better be....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Highlights From our Trip

Recently we spent 10 days in our old state of Connecticut.  Our kids proved to be amazing little travelers and we drove there and back in record time.  I was dreading being in the car for 13 hours with them, as they are usually so obnoxious and cranky when we are simply driving around town.  However, I was pleasantly surprised when they cried very little, slept when they were tired, and were content with a variety of snacks, toys, and movies.

Anyway, we packed a whole lot of fun into our week and a half long stay.  We were able to visit with lots of our friends and family, and made great memories in a short amount of time.  We also had a big birthday bash for our little Joey's third birthday!

Here are some highlights of our trip in pictures:

dressed up all fancy for a night out with my hubby

and the next night too

we saw the adorable face of our newest nephew for the first time

check out these cheeks

fun on the New England shore


Joey and Mollie picked up exactly where they left off

I couldn't get over how much this boy has grown up

Simply Gorgeous

love this cutie

pinata fun


go, joey, go

another special baby we met for the first time


cutest little family ever

he's a great big cousin

ready for the races

LOVE

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Sister, The Dog

Here is a little clip of Joey and Olivia's new favorite game:

video

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Do You Pull Up?

Joey has been fully daytime potty trained for quite some time now.  He still pees like a race horse at night, and is most often wet when he waked up from his nap.  So for the past year he has been wearing a diaper to bed.  Recently we've made the switch from diapers to Pull Ups for him.  I don't know why, honestly.  He never minded wearing a diaper for his naps and bedtime, but I had some coupons for Pull Ups that were expiring, so I figured maybe it would motivate him to be 1. more independent in "pulling it up himself," or 2. try to stay dry during his sleeping times. 

Well, I'm here to announce that we have negatives on both accounts.  Joey can not will not pull up his Pull Up.  Not even close, actually.  He wiggles and waggles and runs away from me, he cries that he can't do it himself, and tells me that mommy NEEEEEEEEEDS to do it.  Even if I help him step into it he can't pull the darn thing over his little tush.  And the one time he tried to, he ended up ripping up the side which irritated me because we wasted a perfectly good pee-collecting device.  So this whole pull up thing has left me wondering... what is the point?  They can't won't pull them up themselves, they are just as padded as a diaper, they hold a whole lot of the yellow stuff, never making the kid realize that he's got to go, so why bother?  Price per Pull Up is significantly more than the price per diaper, and if they don't help you in any way, why are we wasting our money?  Must be the super cool Cars, Toy Story 3, and other character designs. 

These things should be called, "A Glorified Overpriced Diaper that Mommy Must Still Put On You."  Because my kid is certainly not interested in pulling up his own Pull Up, and I honestly don't think he cares much about the cool characters on them.  Back to generic-brand diapers for this boy.  Good thing he still wears the same size as his sister, so I don't even have to make a special trip to the store!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's a Good Thing We're Moving...

because I got into a verbal altercation with one of the neighbors today.  One that I've never seen or met before.  And Joey was calling him "not nice" as I went back in the house.  Here is how it all went down:

I was super tired this afternoon after getting home from the gym.  All I wanted was for the kids to go to sleep so I could take a nap.  My nap was cut short when Joey came in my room and proceeded to wake me up.  Still tired, now grumpy, I dragged myself out of bed and poured myself a large glass of Diet Coke, wishing I could inject the caffeine directly into my blood stream instead.  I then leashed up the dogs (I'm watching Daisy's BFF, Ginger), and took Joey outside with me to let them do their duty.

As I stood on our front step right outside the door watching the dogs carefully select the perfect place to pee a large dog came charging at us from the other side of the parking lot.  Joey got nervous as all 3 dogs began obnoxiously barking at each other, and I stood frozen hoping this would not result in a scary dog fight or bite.  Meanwhile, as this dog came running at us it's owner stood watching from his stoop outside his apartment across the way.  He did not call for it, did not chase it down, and did not put a leash on it.  He stood watching, completely unconcerned about the fact that his dog was about to eat my dogs, followed by my child, and then me.

When the idiot neighbor finally did walk up as I was collecting my dogs and child to go hide inside, he muttered a meaningless, "sorry 'bout that."  I didn't even warrant that with a response, just hussled Joey, Daisy, and Ginger inside and waited for him to collect his big, scary dog and leave.  But he didn't. 

We have this large grassy area outside our apartment where all of the neighbors bring their dogs to crap.  I watched out the window as the guy stood on one side of it watching as his dog dropped a deuce right outside my door.  Then the guy said something to the dog, and began walking across the street back to his apartment.  WHAT?!?!  You are not only going to allow your dog to scare the bejesus out of me, my dogs, and my kid, but you also leave it's poop for some unsuspecting shoe to step in?  Oh no you don't, buddy.  Not on my watch.

When the dog was a safe distance away, I walked back outside.  The guy was still standing on his stoop waiting for his dog to join him.  The dog was still wandering on my side of the parking lot, further away from both me and it's owner.  Eventually the dog headed home to the guy, and just before he turned to walk back to his apartment I called out to him, "Oh, and don't worry about the dog poop.  Just leave it there.  That's awesome."  I knew he heard me but didn't bother to acknowledge me, instead he gave his dog 4-5 hard whacks and pushed it inside.  OH MY GOD.  This guy is unbelievable.  I couldn't help myself.  I knew I shouldn't have said anything, but I just couldn't hold my tongue. (big surprise there...)  "Oh, good.  Beat the dog up.  Because it's HER fault.  Maybe you should look into using a F***ing leash!"  Yes.  I dropped the F-bomb.  To a stranger.  In front of my kid.  (Mom of the year, right here...)  I was just so infuriated that this guy was being such a jerk and irresponsible dog owner.  And seeing him beating the dog was the last straw for me.  Because seriously, none of this was the dog's fault.  Not my finest moment, but I got my point across and that is always important to me.  And not to give him any credit, but he did put the dog inside, walk over to the doggie doo-doo station, get a green bag, and search the big grassy area for his dog's crap.  (I watched from inside with the door locked.)  I seriously doubt he did that to appease me, but probably more because we all got notes in our mailboxes last week about proper doggie poop etiquette from the management and I'm sure this guy figured I was crazy enough to report him.

So I've learned a couple of things from this situation:

1. Some people just should not own pets.
2. Joey knows when not to repeat the F-word. (after my last comment, he said to me, "that guy needs a leash mom?)  -he totally left out the f-word part.  He's so smart!
3. I should have waited until the caffeine reached my blood stream before interacting with anyone.
4. It's a really good thing we are moving soon before I piss off any more of the neighbors.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

KIDStrong Review and Giveaway

I have always allowed my children to drink juice.  I know a lot of moms that are anti-juice, and insist that their children only drink water.  My kids never want to just drink plain water, and knowing how important it is for them to stay hydrated, I've always opted to give them juice (preferably 100% juice, with added vitamins when possible.)

Recently I was asked to review a new all-natural hydration beverage for kids.  KIDStrong is designed for children a bit older than mine, but I was really excited to learn more about this unique kid's drink.  And Joey definitely enjoyed being a tester!  KIDStrong is composed of three significant components: a complex carbohydrate blend (LOW Glycemic Index), 22 vitamins and minerals (really good stuff for your kids), and an Electrolyte blend (naturally promotes energy and prevents fatigue).  KidStrong contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. It contains no stimulants and is low in sugar…every mom’s dream drink for her growing child!


Joey is too young to understand how good this beverage is for him, but he definitely enjoyed the flavor (we tried the grape), and I felt good knowing that I was giving him something to help his little body grow properly.

You can read more about KIDStrong here

After you do, come back here and tell me why you'd like to give it a try to be entered to win 2 free cases of KIDStrong!

My standard giveaway rules apply, in case you forgot, here they are:


10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following: (leave an additional comment for each 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 Tuesday, July 27th, 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.

Stop & Shop Gift Card Giveaway

Congratulations to post #40, Midgetmomma, so said, "Follow with Google friend connect #3."  I hope you enjoy your gift card, thanks for entering and being a follower!  I've emailed you, and will get your prize out to you ASAP!


As for my non-winners... sorry it wasn't you this time, but stay tuned because I've got a whole bunch of fun giveaways coming up! 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Joey

Joey is three years old today.  What a wild ride we've had these past three years, and I love everything about my crazy little red headed boy.  He is quickly turning into a little boy, losing all the parts of his "babyhood" along the way.  And as much as I love watching this kid grow, learn, and change, I can't help but be so sad that he is already 3.  The weird thing is that I have had many days where I counted the hours until bed time because the day just dragged on, and on, and on. Yet somehow, 3 years has passed in a flash.  I'm sure every mom says this with each passing birthday, but it truly feels like yesterday that I was holding my first born for the very first time.

Well, in an effort to keep this post from turning into a bunch of mushy gushy sappy stuff about how much I already miss my baby Joey, I'm going to share a few pictures of my big boy, doing what he does best:




Happy Birthday Joey.  I love you more than I could ever put into words.  Your big growly bear hugs are my favorite thing, and you light up my life with all of your silliness.  Keep smiling, little one.  Love, Mommy

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stop & Shop Gift Card Giveaway

Who doesn't love gift cards?  It used to be that giving a gift card was considered impersonal.  Now that you can get a gift card for just about anywhere, I really don't think that's the case anymore.  I love gift cards, and I'm pretty sure that anyone that I've ever given one to does too.  I have a little collection of gift cards actually.  Every now and then I like to organize this collection by throwing away cards that no longer have a balance on them, and remind myself of the places that I can shop for free at.  As I examined my gift card stash I came across a $10 gift card that (sadly) I can't use.  There are no Stop & Shop Grocery Stores in the my new state of North Carolina.  There are no Giant Food Stores, Martin Food Markets, or Peapod Grocery Delivery either.  So I decided to give this gift card away to one of my fabulous readers, as a way to celebrate getting to 100 Google Followers! (It can be used at any of the stores I just mentioned.)  If you don't have one close by, feel free to enter to win for a friend or family member who does.  They'll love a little surprise gift card love in the mail!

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me how you feel about gift cards!

10 additional entries can be earned by doing some or all of the following: (leave an additional comment for each 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 Monday, July 19th, 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.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Handy Helpers

Being a mom of three young children has made me extremely grateful for the kindness of strangers.  It has also made me realize that there are people out there who want to help other people just because.  It doesn't always happen, but many times when we are out in a store someone will go out of their way to offer a simple gesture of assistance.  Fellow shoppers have picked up my kids' dropped binkies, blankies, and sippy cups.  Most of the time a kind soul will jump ahead of me when walking into a building, store, or doctor's office to hold the door for my double-wide stroller and tag along toddler.  (notice I said, most of the time... I have had the opposite happen, but that is a post for another day!)  On more than one occasion, I have had a perfect stranger grab hold of my son to keep him away from danger.  Examples of this: When he's stuck at the top of a playground climber, unsure of how to get down, one foot-slip away from a fractured skull; when he's darting into a parking lot in chase of a ball that has rolled away; and when he has run so far away from me in the store that I can't possibly get to him before he heads straight out the exit door to escape a dreaded shopping trip.  Yes, there are good people out there that offer their help when you just can't do it all.  And I for one, am very lucky that these people exist.

Recently I was stuck bringing Joey along to the girls' 15 month check up.   I try to schedule all appointments around my husband or my mom's work schedule, but it was not possible on this day.  I tried to get Joey a babysitter, but she was unavailable. The friend that had offered to let me drop him off at their house ended up sick and didn't need a 3rd child in their company.  With no other options, I packed them up, loaded the bag with snacks, and hoped for the best.

As we got in the office, Joey immediately ran from one end of the waiting area to the other.  It was like his pants were on fire.  Seriously.  This kid does not sit still.  And unfortunately for me he is into a very obnoxious stage where listening is completely optional, following directions is not expected of him, and running a-muck is his top priority in any given situation.  I went left, he went right.  I said sit down, he jumped up.  I said put that magazine back, he tossed 63 more on the floor.  We were only 3 minutes into the appointment and I did not have a good feeling about it.

Luckily our wait time was minimal, and I think I heard cheers from the other parents when Katelyn and Olivia were called back for their exam.  The sweet 50-something year old nurse had no idea what was coming as she tousled Joey's irresistible red hair while walking us back to the biggest room that they have.  Knowing my time was extremely limited, I got right to work undressing each baby, half paying attention to the nurse's questions regarding eating, sleeping, gross motor skills, etc.  My conversation with this very patient woman sounded something like this:

Nurse: "We'll start with Katelyn.  What kind of milk is she drinking, and how much per day?"
Me: "Joey, don't climb the window.  Soy milk.  No, there are not any geese outside.  2 bottles with 6-8 each.  Please just sit down for mommy, OK?"
Nurse: "Is she eating table food?  What kind?
Me: "Here, have a snack.  Will you sit if I give you a snack?  Yes, she eats table food.  Pretty much anything I feed her.  I don't have gummies.  I brought you these crackers. Hot dogs, chicken, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, she isn't very picky.  No, I don't have peanut butter and jelly Joey.  We'll have some when we get home."
Nurse: Does Katelyn sleep through the night? How about naps?
Me: Yes, she is a great sleeper.  Joey, don't climb up there.  No, you don't neeeeeed that.  It's for the doctors to look in the babies ears. She naps once a day for about 2 hours.  You shouldn't climb in the trash can.

The conversation continued like this, and the nurse never even raised an eyebrow.  She just listened patiently, trying desperately to ignore the fact that my son was about to either crack his head open on the linoleum floor, or trash the place while he looked through my bag for gummies and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The nurse just sat there with her clipboard, writing down my answers, weighed Katelyn, and then we repeated the process with Olivia.

When the nurse finished up, and left the room I was just about ready to pound Joey to the moon.  I know that this behavior is normal for a 3 year old, but it embarrasses me to no end.  I want to appear that I can handle all of my children in a public place, and that I have total control over them.  I want to be proud when Joey obeys my simple direct commands like "sit down," "don't touch," "please stop," etc.  Instead I cringe at the fact that he is flat out ignoring me as if I haven't spoken a word.  The defiance that I am dealing with from this crazy boy is enough to drive anyone mad.

So there I sat in the doctor's office, waiting for the doctor to come in to examine the girls, wondering how long it would take and how I would possibly contain my son and stop myself from screaming at him in front of her.  The door opened, and our super-sweet, blond, cheerful doctor came in all smiles commenting on how much the girls had grown since their last visit.  It took me a moment to realize that the nurse had come in behind her and was asking Joey if he wanted to go for a walk with her to go get a sticker.  "WHAT?" I thought to myself.  "Someone actually wants to help me out by taking this 3 foot tall monster elsewhere so I can focus on what I'm hear to do?"  I could have kissed her.  Seriously.  Joey willingly took the kind nurse's hand, and off they went.  She kept him occupied for most of the examination part of the visit, and when they returned I thanked her profusely.  She only nodded, and just said that she was happy to help, and he is adorable.  Imagine that?  Someone who doesn't even know me is happy to help me and thinks that my unruly, talking-back, loud, excitable child is adorable.  Bless her heart.  She made my day and she doesn't even know it. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Almost there...

I'm dedicating this post to all of my faithful readers and followers.  I am so happy about the fact that I'm up to 97 followers via Google.  That makes me super happy, and we're going to celebrate when I'm up to 100 with another fun giveaway!  So.... maybe you'd like to pass along my blog to a friend to start following, or perhaps you're a faithful reader and just haven't clicked the little "follow" button on my right side bar.  Well, whatever the case may be, hurry up and get me to 100 followers so I can give away more fun stuff!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My New Hobby

I've been wanting a sewing machine for quite some time now.  Ever since I saw the adorable dresses that my cousin Erin started to make for her gorgeous girl, actually.  Then I found some mommy friends here that are into making super cute kids clothes too.  I was feeling left out of this very fun hobby.  I was scared to actually buy myself a machine though.  I thought sewing would be super hard and I wouldn't be able to do it.  I had visions of myself getting frustrated, overwhelmed, and abandoning my new machine to collect dust in a closet somewhere.

After reading lots of sewing blogs, and some encouragement from those around me about how simple it is to actually learn to sew, I bit the bullet and bought a machine and some practice fabric.


Within a couple of hours I had threaded and loaded my first bobbin, threaded a needle, traced, cut, and pinned a baby bib pattern, and made this:


It is not perfect, by any means.  My stitches are not evenly spaced along the edge, I couldn't figure out how to finish it off, and I had a little trouble around the corners. 




But I did it.  All by myself.  I'm so excited for what this brings.  I have since added a snap and decided to gift my first official sewing project to my sweet new nephew Alex.  (Whom I'll be meeting for the first time in just 1 more day!!!) 

Got an easy pattern for me to work on?  Email it to me and I'll feature you on my blog after I make it!  (you'll be famous!)  And I mean like really, really, easy.  I'm just a beginner you know.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Touch'd Foaming Sea Salt Winner


Super big congratulations to post #50, Julie, who said, "I added your button."  Wow, thanks for adding my button Julie, glad it's paying off for you! I hope you enjoy your Foaming Salt Soak and will come back here to tell us about it!  (I've always wanted to try sea salts, so I may just head on over to the Touch'd website to get some for me too!)

Thank you all for being followers, or becoming a new follower, leaving me comments, and entering my giveaways.  You are all making my blog more successful in bringing you more great giveaways and products!  A huge thank you to Rachel from Touch'd for sponsoring this great giveaway.  If you haven't visited her website yet, please do so by clicking here.  And feel free to buy me some foaming salt soak for my new whirlpool tub while you are there.

Moving On Up

I didn't post this earlier because I didn't want to jinx myself, but it looks like it's really gonna work out this time, so I've decided to go ahead and make it blog-official... we're buying a house and moving at the end of this month!  I am so excited to finally have our own home again!  Here are some of the reasons I'm excited:
  • A yard for my kids to play in.
  • Neighbors to become friends with.
  • My children will be able to walk to school.
  • 2 fabulous playgrounds
  • Neighborhood pool
  • lots of flat, wide sidewalks for walks and bike rides.
  • a designated play-room away from the main part of the house.
  • a dining room!!! (finally!)  I've never had a formal dining room before. (I'll probably use it as my craft area though. hehe.
  • a whirlpool tub in the "master suite."
  • enough bedrooms for everyone. (although the girls will still share.)
  • a covered porch with a ceiling fan.
  • ceiling fans
  • gas fireplace
  • 2 car garage
  • no upstairs neighbors that let their kids bounce around at all hours of the night.
  • knowing that the only dog poop that my children will step in will be from our dog.
Lastly, I'm really excited to finally feel like we are settling into our new life here.  We've been living in limbo for quite a while, often very unsure of what the future holds, and I'm so happy that we are moving forward towards our dreams.

I am not, however, looking forward to packing again.  Or unpacking.  Again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Can You Guess?

Which one of my kids got a haircut today?


How about now?


That's right!  Little miss Olivia got her very first haircut today.  And I did it myself!  I really had no idea what I was doing, but really didn't want to drop 40 bucks getting haircuts for my kids, (Joey needed one too), so I grabbed a spray bottle, comb, and scissors, and took care of the straggles.

Before



Lollipop


Almost done


Here she's going for the "wet and stuck to my head look."


After




I'm a Photographer

OK, no.  I'm  not a skilled photographer by any means.  I do absolutely love taking pictures though.  It is something that I have recently struck an interest in, and would love to learn more about when I find the time.  (someone please tell me when that is...)  When my point-and-shoot camera was stolen from my car (on my birthday) last year, I vowed to replace it with a DSLR camera that would allow me to capture the memories of my children with great-quality photos.  After saving some cash, 4 months later I met my Nikon D3000.  It is what you might call a "base model" as far as fancy cameras go.  I still don't know much about it, usually use it in auto mode set to auto focus, but the quality of my photographs is superb.  My purchase came with free photography classes, but I've yet to attend any.  (that whole lack-of-free-time thing)

I've always loved getting professional portraits of my babies done.  I took Joey at 4 months, 8 months, 1 year, and 2 years.  I took my girls at 4 months, 8 months, and then I gave up.  Trying to keep 3 children entertained, clean, happy, and engaged during a photo shoot in a studio is not an easy task.  Our most recent trip to the shall-remain-nameless chain photography store here in Raleigh was pretty terrible.  Joey was wrecking the place, the girls refused to smile, I was annoyed, and the girl holding the camera had no personality whatsoever.  Oh, and some other dude who worked there kept coming into the studio where we were desperately trying to take a decent family picture telling the less-than-enthusiastic photographer to hurry up.  Needless to say, I was really disappointed that we wasted our money by going there buying a portrait package that I was not even close to 50% satisfied with.

After that fateful day in December, I decided that I'd try my hand at taking portrait-quality pictures of my kids.  I've done pretty well with it, considering the fact that I've had no training, and three not entirely cooperative youngsters.  On Saturday we went to our favorite location for some outdoor photos of my kids.  I wasn't very successful in getting a frame-worthy portrait of Joey, but I think we did pretty well otherwise:





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