Saturday, December 3, 2011
Yes, it would be correct to conclude that the food alone could make this a favorite time of year in our family! However, it’s not the best time of year for our teeth, and in a home where teeth brushing in the morning and and night are already occasions for pleading and fussing, the holiday season presents quite a challenge.
We have long been educating Pudding Pie on the need for good dental hygiene, but it was only recently that I discovered pediatric oral disease is the number one chronic childhood illness. We do brush regularly (even if it is under duress for one young lady), but we don’t floss enough, and Pudding Pie loathes mouthwash. Because she kicks up such a fuss about it, I’ve let the mouthwash slide, and I've counted myself victorious after each successful tooth brushing.
This is about to change. I’ve learned that but brushing alone misses the germs in 75% of a person’s mouth – I had no idea! It is essential to include mouthwash in everyone's dental hygiene regimen to keep our mouths protected.
Because we’d like to improve our entire family’s oral hygiene, Pudding Pie, myself, and hubby have decided to take part in the Oral Care Challenge created by the makers of Listerine® and Reach®. To complete the challenge, kids (ages 6 and older) alongside their parents, have to brush, floss, and rinse every day, twice a day for two weeks. Learn more about the challenge by visiting the Listerine site.
We officially begin the challenge tomorrow, December 4th, and we’re ready. We have a daily progress chart taped to the bathroom mirror and Pudding Pie will log our progress with stickers each evening before bed. (She is very excited about being the Official Record Keeper. We have an array of new toothbrushes, flossing products, and mouthwashes to use during our challenge – I can't wait for Pudding Pie to test out the Listerine Smart Rinse mouthwash especially for kids.
Of course we need an incentive so... if the entire family successfully completes the challenge, we’ll reward ourselves with a day trip to SeaWorld! That’s our big incentive – and lots of pressure not to let the team down! Pudding Pie has her eyes on the prize, and she’s determined. I’ll be sure to let you know how we did at the end of our challenge!
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Listerine and received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Share it Forward with o.b. and help make a difference
Living in a first-world country, there is so much we take for granted, yet many of the things we consider necessities are luxuries in developing countries. I should know, I spent the first half of my life living in a developing African country, and I am well-acquainted with the hardscrabble existence that is daily life for millions.
I’ve yet to encounter a woman who looks forward to her monthly menstruation, but for most of us in the United States, a quick trip to the grocery store takes care of sanitary supplies and all that’s left to worry about is the minor discomfort that accompanies this time of the month.
This is not the case for millions of girls in developing countries. Imagine having no access to (or being unable to afford) sanitary protection. This is the plight of many young women in developing countries, and when these young women lack the resources to afford sanitary protection, the consequences can be devastating. Many are forced to resort to dangerous alternatives or avoid school while they are menstruating, which can lead to them to dropping out altogether and also increases their vulnerability to poverty and disease, including HIV.
o.b. has created a Share It Forward Facebook campaign to raise money and awareness for Huru International, a non-profit organization that provides at-risk young girls in developing countries with the resources and knowledge they need to complete their education and safeguard their health. Through this month, o.b. will donate $1 (up to $25,000) for every person who visits the o.b. Outreach Tab on the mighty. small.™ movement Facebook page and “Shares” a message about Huru International's mission.
$25,000 for Huru International translates into 1,000 Huru Kits (or 8,000 reusable sanitary pads), valued at $25 each. Each free Huru Kit comes packaged in a drawstring bag that doubles as a backpack, and includes: eight reusable sanitary pads; three pairs of underwear; detergent-grade soap to wash the sanitary pads; a re-sealable, waterproof bag to safely store used sanitary pads; educational insert focused on proper Huru pad care and usage, and life-saving HIV/AIDS prevention information.
Let’s work together to help make a difference in the lives of these young women, please join me in Sharing it Forward and we’ll spread the word about the o.b. campaign.
How to Share it Forward:
Visit the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/obmightysmall
If you are not already a fan of the page...
Step 1: Like the mighty.small.movement: http://www.facebook.com/obmightysmall (Facebook Page. If not on the tab already, click the o.b. Outreach Tab.
Step 2: Select your state from the drop down box (under the green box)
Step 3: Put a check mark next to the box that says you've read the Terms & Conditions
Step 4: Click the pink "Click to Share" button to post the message on your Wall
Step 5: Spread the word!
If you are already a fan of the page...
Step 1: Go to the o.b. Outreach Tab on the mighty.small.movement Facebook Page, or click this link: http://on.fb.me/oeX3gi
Step 2: Select your state from the drop down box (under the green box)
Step 3: Put a check mark next to the box that says you've read the Terms & Conditions
Step 4: Click the pink "Click to Share" button to post the message on your Wall
Step 5: Spread the word!
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of o.b. and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
It doesn’t take much for me to find a reason why I can’t head to the gym and burn off some flab: no time; too tired; workout clothes too tight; don’t want to wait on the gym equipment; need to do laundry or make breakfast/lunch/dinner. Don’t challenge me, in spite of how energized I feel post-workout, I have turned my “why I can’t go and work out” list into an art form. My quest for physical fitness is most definitely a work in progress.
Just last week though, I received a Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player and one of my excuses was summarily removed from the list. You see, when I do hit the gym, I have a particular frustration which has nothing to with the workout routine or the equipment. I get peeved because, whether I’m pounding away on the treadmill, trying to de-jiggle my thighs on the exercise bike, or using that instrument of extreme torture, aka the stairstepper, I like to distract myself with tunes from the in-house radio system. This works well until a fellow fitness enthusiast enters the gym and chooses to either change the station or, even worse, turn off the radio in favor of some TV talk show, grrrr. Now I’m out of my groove and irritated – I told you it didn’t take much….
Thanks to Sansa, I am out of my groove no more! This morning, I downloaded a bunch of hip hits onto my ridiculously small, light, and easy-to-use Clip Zip MP3 player, clipped it onto shirt, and headed for the gym. It didn’t matter a jot that the TV was blaring or that the radio had been set to some insanely repetitive techno station, I simply plugged into my own world and got on with my fat-burning, flab-firming mission.
I’m not exactly a technophile – I’ve never owned an MP3 player until now; I’ve don’t have a smart phone (yet), and handheld computer games mystify me. Yet, in spite of myself, I find the Sansa Clip Zip remarkable easy to use. Uploading music from my laptop is a matter of connecting the player and dragging in the new music files. For the most part, operating the player is intuitive. I did struggle for a while trying to figure out how to turn off the device, until I figured out that the Power/Lock button is also the on/off button.
The player comes with earphones but I found them a little big and I used my own as they were a better fit. I also received a 4GB microSD card, which doubled the storage for my Sansa MP3 player – 500 more songs!
The Sansa Clip Zip includes a stopwatch for timing laps, an FM radio, a microphone for voice recording, and a long-lasting battery for trips away from home. Available in seven colors, the player is compatible with virtually every major media format, including iTunes songs and audio books. For more information on the 4GB Sansa Clip Zip, Visit the SanDisk product page.
If you’d like a chance to enjoy some music while you’re on the go, leave a comment on this post by midnight on Monday, November 14th and you could win either the:
GRAND PRIZE: One 100% Off coupon code ($50 value) for a 4GB Sansa Clip Zip! (Includes free shipping)
OR: One of four 20% OFF coupons for all ClipZips!
*Giveaway open to US readers only*
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of SanDisk and received a product sample to facilitate my review, and coupons to give away.
Friday, October 28, 2011
We refueled the Hexbug owners with ‘Mummy Dogs’ – hot dog mummies wrapped in croissant ‘bandages’ – and cotton candy puddings, and then we challenged any willing participants to a ‘mummy’ race. This involved wrapping the aspiring mummies in yards of toilet paper. There were some party-goers who didn't find the idea of getting bound up like a mummy that enticing, and they elected to spectate. For the others, we discovered that getting mummified was easier said than done. The 2-ply was no match for the excited contestants, and we had a few cases of emergency mummy surgery just before race time. (I recommend at least 3-ply should you wish to hold your own mummy race.) The race rule was ‘hop, don’t run,’ but apparently few remembered this once the race was underway and general frenzied chaos ensued. The judges turned a blind eye to the flagrant breaking of rules, declared a winner, and then issued all party-goers with a prize – their very own Glows in the Dark Nano Hexbugs! This put the Habitat sets at maximum capacity and happy Hexbug mayhem ensued!
The Mummy Race!
Cuddle Cottage was chosen to host an in-home party for HexBug Nanos through Mom Select and Mommy Parties, and was given the materials and samples to do so.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
My nephews and nieces live in Africa – the other side of the world from us. I adore them all and lament the fact that they are growing up so far from us. We stay in touch via Skype, but wonderful as this, it’s never as good as the real thing.
In an effort to compensate for the distance between us, I am forever shipping off little care packages, and I’ve since developed a reputation as the ‘cool aunt’ – the one who sends the best Christmas and birthday gifts – shhhh, don’t tell the other aunts!
Keeping the ‘cool aunt’ status has become increasingly difficult as the nieces and nephews grow older and their gift needs become more complicated than a quick trip to the Disney store.
My oldest nephew celebrates his seventh birthday early next month, and up until last week, I’d found nothing cool enough – or compact enough – to ship quickly and relatively inexpensively. Then, just when I was despairing, the perfect cool toy arrived for review on my doorstep.
Meet Fyrflyz, a neat spinning toy that creates light shows in the palm of your hand! Pudding Pie was entranced by this fun little toy – and her dad even more so! We took our Fyrflyz outside after dinner and had a blast making awesome rings, figure eights, and other light shapes with the Fyrflyz. (See very amateur movie clip at the end!) And, as evidenced in this photo, Pudding Pie was happy to continue the fun indoors, although the effect is not quite as dramatic!
Not only is my nephew going to love this toy, I am quite sure he is also going to be one of the first kids in his school to have a Fyrflyz – which will significantly elevate my ‘cool aunt’ status – love it!
Fyrflyz are available at Toys 'R Us stores.
*If you'd like a chance to create your own Fyrflyz light shows, leave a comment on this post by midnight, September 28th and you'll be entered to win a Fyrflyz for yourself!
I wrote this review on behalf of Mom Select and Fyrflyz, and received items to facitlitate the review.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Although our home can lean toward the messy side, I strive each day to hold the line between ‘clean messy’ and ‘not-clean messy’. I keep up with laundry, bleach out the bathrooms, do the dishes, take out the trash, and so on. This way, when we are lucky enough to have friends over, I am not completely humiliated – although they may still recoil at the mountain of laundry waiting to be folded, or they may risk breaking their neck on the stuffed animals, barbies, books, puzzles, etc., that line their route to the sofa.
There is one vexing issue I’ve struggled with: The litter box that belongs to Precious, four-legged queen of our home. This necessary item is to be found in our entranceway, directly beside our front door – the very first thing guests lay eyes on when welcomed into the home. Not ideal, I know, but there really isn’t any other spot in our cozy apartment to put the thing. Believe me, I’ve tried various locations.
Precious is admirably fastidious; she uses her latrine with enthusiastic frequency, and while this is great, it does mean that the entrance area is often not the most fragrant zone of the home. To combat this issue, I am generous in my applications of various disinfecting sprays, but I’ve still had more than one UPS or Fedex guy come knocking and then pale a little and hastily retreat after the olfactory assault.
Pudding Pie demonstrates the reaction of unsuspecting visitors.
Short of looking forward to the day when we move to a slightly less cozy dwelling and I gain a few more location options for Precious’ potty place, I’d despaired of finding a fix to my dilemma – and resigned myself to being the scourge of package delivery folks.
Lately, however, things are looking up. I’ve discovered the magical Febreze Set & Refresh air freshener. Positioned beside the aforementioned latrine, this small but dynamic little unit has made my entrance area a blissful place, with a lingering aroma of Linen & Sky - far more pleasant than what lingered there before.
Pudding Pie demonstrates the delighted reaction of visitors now that we have Febreze Set & Refresh!
Making this unit even more attractive is this: the freshener lasts up to 30 days and there is nothing to plug in, nor does it need batteries. What’s more, the new Dual Refills allow you to try other fragrances without having to throw away the entire Set & Refresh unit. If I should tire of Linen & Sky, I can choose from several other scents, perhaps Hawaiian Aloha or Spring & Renewal. And for those days when I seriously question why I choose to reside with a creature who cannot flush her business like the rest of us, I’m going for the Advanced Odor Eliminator scents.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Febreze and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Monday, September 12, 2011
I had unwisely allowed her to persuade me into opening the box early so that we could have a little peek at the contents, even though she knew our party was still a few days away. This was a mistake. Once the box was opened, she was a basket case, first giddy with excitement and then plunging into sorrow (think body-wracking sobs) and frustration a the thought that she couldn’t immediately begin to care for the babies.
Pudding Pie didn’t let up,and I found myself looking forward to the party more than she was – just so I could hand over her ZhuZhu Baby. On party day, I realized these small creatures elicit the same response from all who own them. Our age range was between 9 and 3 years old, and the ZhuZhu babies were a hit across the board – they even have their own name, birthmark ,and birthday! One of our guests even brought along her own ZhuZhu Pet so that she could meet the new baby!
Our package included a Dance Recital playset, which fascinated all – adult moms and ZhuZhu moms. Once the playset was set up, we positioned ‘Moo’, the ZhuZhu Pet we received with the babies, in her hub in front of the piano, and while she ‘played’, the ZhuZhu babies ‘performed' – we were entranced!
Of course, one of the best things about having a baby is getting to dress her. The Dance Recital set came with dress-up clothes for the babies, and we also received a couple of outfits – perfect for the numerous outfit changes a baby apparently needs. Our ZhuZhu Party Pack had some great game ideas, but we didn’t play as many games as I’d hoped because our party guests were so enamored with dressing up their babies that it was next to impossible to drag them away for some more structured play.
We did do a variation of a game called Diaper Dash, which was pretty cute. The moms used toilet paper and scotch tape to create ‘diapers’ for the kids, we then lined them up at one end of the living room and had them crawl as fast as they could across the carpet, retrieve their ZhuZhu Babies and crawl back to where they started from. The original game calls for the kids to be in teams, which I imagine would be fun, but our age range made the relay idea more challenging.
I now understand that once you’ve entered the Zhu-niverse, there is no turning back. Pudding Pie continues to be enthralled by these pint-sized creatures. She scored an extra ZhuZhu Baby after the party and officially entered nurturing heaven. You’d think that'd make her content with her lot (after all, she also got to keep the ZhuZhu Pet and the Dance Recital playset), but she now has her sights set on the ZhuZhu Babies Triplet Bedroom playset, and because it sleeps three of these little characters, she will of course need another ZhuZhu Baby. Santa has his work cut out for him.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Pudding Pie is a healthy girl. In her four and one-third years of life, she’s fallen ill on very few occasions, compared to most of her peers. We work hard to keep her safe and healthy, and for the most part, we’ve been successful – or lucky. When she does get sick though, I marvel at how her fevers always present themselves somewhere around 3am. There’s a distinct pattern: she goes to bed apparently fine, her sleep becomes restless, she mumbles, moans, and shifts around with increasing frequency, and I begin to wonder if she’s not feeling well. Then (somewhere around 3am), she half wakes/calls out/coughs/throws up, I hurry to her room and find myself embracing a burning hot little body… The thermometer confirms what I already know and we waste no time administering the Tylenol.
I know and appreciate that the fever is her body’s response way of fighting whatever is going on in her body, but my goal is to do whatever I can to cool her down and make her feel better. Between the medicine and getting her to drink a little water, she eventually settles down and falls back asleep, and I stumble back to bed and pray that she’ll sleep comfortably for the rest of night.
I don’t like to give Pudding Pie medicine without a real need for it, but once I’ve established that she has a fever, I don’t hesitate. When she was 15 months old, she awoke feverish and throwing up (somewhere around 3am). I tried to give her Tylenol, but she was fussy. I was hurried and clumsy and she immediately threw up. I was in a quandary; I knew she needed her medicine, but I couldn’t tell how much she’d ejected and how much she’d taken in. I didn’t want to risk overdosing her, so I didn’t give her anymore and instead tried to soothe her back to sleep. As it turned out, she had ejected most of the dose, her fever spiked very quickly, and she had a febrile seizure – an unpleasant experience for any parent.
I’ve since learned that this kind of seizure is harmless and is in fact the body’s healthy response to a drastic change in temperature, but I have no desire to repeat the episode. Now, no matter how fussy and uncomfortable she is, I am very careful when dosing her with fever meds – I dose her slowly so that I know exactly how much she’s taking in. We’ve never had a repeat episode of the seizure, and I am always relieved at how effective the medicine is in bringing down her fever.
Our medicine cabinet stays stocked with fever relief meds for Pudding Pie and the adult members of the home. These days, Children's Tylenol is on store shelves in limited quantities and the makers of Tylenol (McNeil Consumer Healthcare), wish to spread the word that there will be updates to both Infants' and Children's Tylenol products, including packaging enhancements and a change to the concentration of the Infants' product. These changes will be implemented as early as this upcoming cold and flu season.
Ed Kuffner, MD, father of three, and Vice President, Medical Affairs at McNeil explains the new product improvements:
“As a dad and a doctor, I know firsthand how tough it can be when your baby or child gets sick. While we are trying to comfort our children, we are also making sure that they are getting the care and medicine that they need to feel better. For me, like every parent, safety comes first. For this reason, as early as this upcoming cold and flu season, we will be making safety and convenience enhancements to both Infants’ and Children’s TYLENOL® products, including a change to the concentration of our Infants’ TYLENOL® products.”
The new safety and convenience enhancements of both the Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol include the following:
Infants’ Tylenol will be available with a new bottle that has a protective opening and a new push-in-syringe which will:
• Further reduce the risk of children being able to get to the medicine in the bottle
• Provide better dosing accuracy and ease of administration to your child
• Allow for better control when dispensing the medication and reduce spillage
The bottles of Children’s Tylenol are now enhanced with a protective opening that will help make it more difficult for a child to get to the medicine in the bottle.
Important changes to the concentration of Infants’ Tylenol include the fact that there will now be one concentration of acetaminophen for single-ingredient Tylenol products for infants and children. This change is being made to standardize dosing across Tylenol products and age groups. Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol products will continue to include specially designed dosing devices appropriate to the age of the child.
There will be a time period when both the current and new concentrations of Infants’ acetaminophen products will be available in stores and parents and caregivers might have both in their medicine cabinets. Be sure to read and follow the dosing directions on the product that is being used. Caregivers should contact their child’s healthcare provider if they have questions about dosing instructions.
The makers of Tylenol also provided some very helpful tips on giving medicine to infants and children:
Remember to NURSE:
Never give adult medicines to children.
Use the measuring device (syringe, dropper, dosage cup) that comes with the medicine every time you use it. Don’t use kitchen spoons (teaspoons or tablespoons).
Read and follow instructions on the label. Never give more than the recommended dose and do not give the medication more frequently than recommended.
Store all medicines out of the reach of children. Immediately following use, always restore the child resistant cap and put the medicine back into a high and out of sight location.
Every child grows. Know the infant’s or child’s weight and/or age to help determine the appropriate dosage.
Visit Tylenol to learn more about the products and their changes.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Tylenol and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Monday, May 30, 2011
That all changed when my baby girl arrived. Previously, I had tried – and failed - to quit smoking. Yet on the day that I discovered I was pregnant, I dumped my pack of cigarettes in the trash without a second thought and, five years later, I haven’t looked back. I couldn’t imagine smoking during pregnancy, much less continuing the grim habit in front of my child.
I guess that was my first act of positive role modeling for Pudding Pie – even if she was still snug in the womb. From that day forward, I found myself re-evaluating everything in my life, from what I ate to what I believed in.
Four plus years down the line and I have a daughter who is smart and perceptive, nothing gets by her. She absorbs everything she sees and her choices are very much informed by what she observes in her parents. Her unblinking belief in my ability to make the right decisions is humbling; the power I have to shape the type of person my daughter will grow up to become is a privilege - and a daunting responsibility.
I know how much my own mother’s opinions and ideals helped shape the person I am today. All through my childhood (and beyond), I worshipped my mom - no one was wiser, more talented or more beautiful. She adored my sisters and I right back and we basked in the warm glow of her safe love. I had complete faith in her wisdom (at least before I hit my teens…), her world view informed my own.
As I began my own journey into motherhood, the biggest lesson I took from my mom was knowing that I wished to create the same haven of happiness, security and sound values for Pudding Pie.
My mother's belief in my abilities gave me the confidence to believe in myself. She also taught me that any job worth doing, is worth doing well and ‘almost perfect’ never cuts it. An excellent seamstress, she taught me how to sew to her own rather lofty standards. (I spent more time unpicking garments that I did putting them together.) Today, I still find myself examining seam lines and frowning over crooked hems -“shoddy work”.
Her compassion for animals, the value she placed on a good education, her insistence that her children travel abroad and experience other cultures, her urgings to aim high – all of these values and beliefs she passed on to myself and my sisters and they shaped our own characters.
In my own capacity as positive role model, work hard to set a good example but I slip from time to time. I've shown impatience, especially when I’m behind the wheel of our car and frustrated. Another driver cuts me off, I gnash my teeth, bemoaning their stupidity. Then I hear a pious voice from the back seat admonishing me: “mommy, it’s not appropriate to call someone that…” I can’t help but smile.
I'm reminded that, although I'm far from perfect, the good stuff I'm teaching is getting through. Those admonitions to 'be kind' and 'be respectful' to others are being heeded.
The other day we were at a kids gym. I watched my girl standing in line, waiting her turn to go on the spinning swing thing. The girl in front of her was being a tad haphazard and distracted about remaining in line – she kept weaving out of line and losing her place. Other kids were becoming impatient and going ahead with their own turns, but Pudding Pie wasn't. She was doggedly waiting her turn - which would have been directly after the distracted girl.
I could see her trying to sort through her dilemma: she wanted to swing; she could see the other kids going ahead and taking their turns, but she knew it wasn't nice to cut in front of another kid, so she didn't - and she was getting further and further away fom her turn on the swing. Eventually, I intervened, the distracted girl got steered to the front of the line and the long-suffering Pudding Pie had her turn shortly thereafter. I was so proud of my little girl's determination to do the right thing.
To help give moms the tools and resources needed to teach kids important life lessons, The National Milk Mustache got milk? campaign has a new interactive section on their Facebook page.Click over, 'like' them and find out important information on the importance of role models in a child's life. While there, have fun creating your very own milk mustache, and send a customizable e-postcard to someone you care about.
You'll also find recipes that include milk, and tips on easy ways to add more dairy to your family's daily diet. Definitely a subject I'll be visiting. Pudding Pie begins her day with a glass of milk and she ends her day with a glass of milk. But, there was a time she wouldn't drink milk. We overcame the hurdle by adding a dash of chocolate milk to her regular milk and the problem was solved!
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the National Milk Mustache got milk? Campaign and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
So, um, back to reality. No genie on her way and the laundry's still piled up, the dirty dishes are wallowing in the dirty sink, the trash must go out today or our neighbors are going to think we've buried someone in here, its 1:37 pm and the beds aren't made (and probably still won't be at 1:37 pm tomorrow), Pudding Pie is asking for another snack and I have to start getting ready for work. Domestic bliss.
I decided I needed help and, because no genie is flitting our way, I've been trying to make the cute little creature who does reside in my home a teeny bit more accountable. Its true, Pudding Pie is only four, but there are tangible things a four-year-old can accomplish that help keep mom on the right side of sanity!
Merely asking Pudding Pie to step up doesn't cut it, there have to be rewards. I needed a way to encourage her to want to help around the home by setting her small, manageable chores/duties, with rewards for accomplishing each task. This is where Pudding Pie's grand chore chart came in.
Yesterday marked the end of our first seven days of implementing a Chore Chart, and I'm thrilled at how well it worked. I can't take credit here, I didn't come up with this idea myself, I found a Kids Chore Chart on goalforit.com and I loved the concept. Once we’d customized the chart for our purposes, we began the system – with great results!
Our Kids Chore Chart has room for seven different chores per day and, for Pudding Pie's chores, we chose “get dressed,” “put things away,” “clean my room,” “practice my reading,” “put clothes in the hamper,” “put on my pjs,” and “go to bed on time.” Apparently easy tasks, but pretty tall orders for a feisty four year old !
You can choose to print out your customized Chore Chart and check the tasks off each evening with real stickers, or you can complete it online with virtual stickers. We chose the online method and Pudding Pie was thrilled to be able to select a different reward sticker for each completed chore at the end of each day!
I confess that this first time around, I kept things very positive and made sure that even when Pudding Pie lapsed a little, she still received her reward sticker for each task accomplished/kind of accomplished... I wanted to ease her into the whole idea of meeting expectations and right now, she is buoyed up with pride at having accomplished her goals.
At the end of our week, we could select a final sticker for each task, either Superstar! or "Keep trying, you can do it!" - depending on how fully her goals had been achieved. Pudding Pie was a "Superstar!" across the board . Next week, we’ll begin a new Chore Chart and this time I’ll be a little firmer about needing her to more fully achieve her goals, but we're on the right track!
It has been a wonderful thing to watch my daughter willingly participate in her chores – even if her motives are purely reward driven... Actually, I'm perfectly okay with this, by taking responsibility for her chores, she feels that she is making her own important contribution to our family, and we are so proud!
Pudding Pie takes a break from responsibility and experiments with the Halloween make up...
This is a compensated review on behalf of MomSelect, any opinions expressed are solely my own.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Today I celebrated my 5th Mother’s Day. How lucky I am. Over four years of basking in the bliss of motherhood; over four years of watching my precious girl cross off milestones on her journey through life.
Being a mother means everything to me. The role has forever redefined me, I've learned patience, understanding, self-sacrifice and I've discovered a capacity for love which I never could have imagined.
While there are wonderful, memorable milestones that happen throughout a child's life, the joy of being a mom does not reside so much in these as in the simple everyday events that we take for granted.
Here are some of my favorite moments: Her furrowed brow as she concentrates on brushing her teeth each morning; the way she scolds our kitty cat for some real or imagined transgression; the range of emotions playing across her face as she watches a movie; the care she takes getting dressed/'getting beautiful', (skirts and dresses are paired together, every bracelet, every necklace, every hairband is needed for the outfit - less is never more when you’re four); her insistence on wearing mismatched socks; the way she tries (unsuccessfully) to let myself or her dad have a turn at winning a board game; her excitement at finally (kind of) learning to hula; the adorable way she ‘mothers’ her dolls; the way she loves to execute random ballet moves, (because she is a 'very good dancer'); the way she rifles through my make up drawer, in spite of my protests, and pretends to apply it herself; and, most of all, her sweet and never-ending supply of hugs.
The much-anticipated arrival of Pudding Pie was the high point of my life. But, as much as that day was filled with joy and wonderment, it was also the day I had my first panic attack.
Nobody told me about the cold hand of fear that would grip my heart when I held my newborn and suddenly understood the value of her life to me.
The idea that anything might happen to harm her nauseated me. I felt my chest constrict, I had difficulty breathing and I trembled so violently that I couldn’t lift her off my chest. I had to press the buzzer and tearfully call for assistance. And, when several nurses galloped into my room, gently lifted my child out of my arms, placed her back in the safety of her bassinette and attempted to calm me, I wept uncontrollably.
I had begun to comprehend the weight of the responsibility I bore as her mother, and I felt ill-prepared. More than that, I finally understood how my happiness was forever entwined with her well-being, and I felt achingly vulnerable. I felt as if I’d never be able to sleep again - my journey into motherhood had begun.
After the flood of emotions that accompanied the birth of Pudding Pie, I did find peace within my new role and my anxieties subsided. I still fret about her safety, her health, her diet, her sense of self-worth, the list is endless…
But, I understand now that this worrying is the lot of every mother, and, while we will be anxious no matter what, it shouldn't be all-consuming. Instead, the focus should be on the immense happiness that our children bring to our lives, and the joyful adventure that is motherhood.
Each year, on the second Sunday in May, I thank God for the gift he has given me - the role of mother, and I pray, I pray so hard that my child will live a long, happy, healthy life filled with love and peace – for her sake as well as my own.
I wrote this post as part of Johnson’s ‘Treasuring Everyday Joy” campaign, in honor of Mother’s Day. Johnson's, trusted partner to moms for over 100 years, is also currently running the following Facebook campaigns:
With every “promise” (“like”) made at facebook.com/johnsonsbaby, Johnson’s will donate $1 to the March of Dimes. Do click over for this worthwhile cause.
Beginning this month, Johnson’s is hosting a series of photo contests on its Facebook page. Selected monthly winners will receive one of a variety of prizes - and be eligible for the $25,000 Grand Prize, to be announced in January 2012!
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Johnson’s and received Johnson’s Baby products and a promotional item and to facilitate my review.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Four plus years later, I snort at my naïve laments. I now have a far better idea of what ‘busy’ means - and I understand that life is only going to grow more tightly scheduled as Pudding Pie grows. Four years later, there’s always something going on: dance class, soccer, swim lessons, play dates at home and away, trips out of town, doctor visits, shopping for groceries, cleaning house, cooking meals, clearing out closets, attending my own classes and, oh yes, working two different jobs.
I’ve become far more creative with my time than I ever was as a happily self-absorbed single gal with no child. These days, (from my multi-tasking, eat-on-the-run, sleep-little and schedule-a-lot perspective) I marvel at the vast tracts of time I once frittered away doing nothing at all. (I'm also a tad wistful...)
I’ll quit now, in case you think I’m whining. Really, I wouldn’t change a thing (OK, maybe one or two teeny weeny little things, but that’s it!) The raising of Pudding Pie has turned me into a far more efficient being than I ever imagined possible.
I try to stay one step ahead, I always have a small backpack in the trunk packed with emergency supplies for Pudding Pie. I am also never without several bottled waters in the trunk – it’s just hot forever where we live.
I don’t forget about the mama either. I have my own 'survival kit' tucked into my purse. Unzipper the side pocket and you’ll find travel size deodorant, chap stick with sunscreen, a mini tube of sunscreen for faces, eye drops, breath mints, neutral lip gloss, facial oil blotter sheets (great for getting rid of the shiny sheen), and, more recently, pantyliners.
Having this little stash on hand keeps me looking and feeling fresh in just a few quick steps and, although the list sounds long when I detail it, these essentials make a tidy little pile that takes up no room at all – my purse isn’t very big!
You don’t believe me. After all, that’s quite a few items – and how can pantyliners take up no room at all?! Well, I’ve recently begun using Carefree Acti-Fresh liners. These liners are now 40% thinner than the previous Carefree Body Shape liners, but up to twice as absorbent. Thinner, yet more absorbent? I like it!
The Carefree Acti-Fresh liners are designed with everyday wear in mind, and they are just perfect for my survival kit. Individually packaged and folded up so they truly are teeny tiny, I think nothing of tossing an extra five or so into my purse - not that I need nearly that many, as the liners have an odor control system that purports to keep the wearer feeling fresh for up to eight hours.
If you’d like a chance at winning yourself a sample of Carefree Acti-Fresh liners, leave a comment telling me one essential ‘freshen up’ item that you like to keep handy in your purse. The contest closes at midnight on Thursday, May 5th. Good luck!
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Carefree and received a product sample and gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
At our pre-Easter play date last week, we were overrun by bugs! – HEXBUG Nanos! Yes, last Wednesday morning, Pudding Pie and I were the happy hosts of a HEXBUG Nano Easter Party. We had a blast and I think it’s safe to say that our guests did too.
Each party guest received a limited edition HEXBUG Nano, complete with mini, removable bunny ears, and packaged in a little Easter egg - unbearably cute!
The delighted kiddos were also given their own bug baskets to color and personalize and, once the baskets were assembled (with help from the bigger party attendees), each HEXBUG Nano had its own fabulous custom carrier!
No party is complete without tasty treats. Among the snacks offered: Dirt Cups - complete with wiggly worms – and cheese cubes with pretzel 'bunny ears'. (Both snack ideas courtesy of Mommy Parties.) Our new bug owners were a hungry bunch and they munched their snacks before we began a few bug-themed activities.
After filling hungry tummies, the kiddos lined up for a race, featuring them getting down on their hands and knees and using only their noses to roll their easter eggs all the way to the finish line. It was hilarious watching their earnest attempts to keep their eggs on course for victory!
Once we had ourselves a winner, we moved onto the next activity. This time, each little competitor and their newly acquired bug competed individually and was timed, with the winner being determined by who managed to complete the race in the fastest time.
Each child began by turning around in a circle a few times (not too many times!), and then hopping like a bunny to a designated finish line. Some of the hopping resembled more of a sprint, with an occasional hop thrown in…
Once at the finish line, the children had to place their bugs onto the top level of a HEXBUG Nano Spiral Starter Set and (very excitedly) cheer and cajole until their bug emerged from the bottom of the spiral - and the designated mom clicked the stopwatch. It was the very determined Francisco who emerged as the victor this time – to the chagrin of his brothers…
After the races were over, the kids played with their HEXBUG Nanos, and the remainder of the playdate was punctuated with shrieks and squeals as various bugs escaped their new owners and went racing across the kitchen floor.
The party was a huge hit and the bugs are a never-ending source of amusement! The only problem now is that Pudding Pie wants more...
Cuddle Cottage was chosen to host an in-home party for HexBug Nanos through Mom Select and Mommy Parties, and given the materials and samples to do so.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I do know this: I won’t find that elusive bathing suit body by launching into any unrealistic eating (starving) regime. Been there, done that, and failed spectacularly every time. As soon as I inform my body that we are on a new, “no fail” quest to slough off the pounds, I feel weak and unbearably hungry - I don’t usually make it past Day One.
These days, I’m trying a new tack. I’m allowing myself to eat when I’m hungry – and my winter body is slowly losing its clout! OK, I confess, there’s a little more to it. Yes, I’m eating when I feel hungry, but I’m being a tad smarter about what I eat. I’ve stocked up on the fruit, veggies and other low-carb snacks and I’m using them as my weapons against the predictable cravings.
One of the weapons in my snacking arsenal is Old London Melba Snacks. These low calorie treats, made with all-natural ingredients and whole grains are perfect for keeping hunger pangs at bay and they can be dressed up in so many different ways. Visit Old London for some great recipe ideas - ever heard of Tiramisu Melba? or how about Lasagna with Rosemary and Olive Oil Melba Toast? Or, my favorite, Chocolate Pistachio Crunch using Sea Salt flavored Melba Snacks... Who knew such possibilities existed?!
If you favor a simpler approach, you just can't beat melba snacks spread with Hummus – try a Spinach and Artichoke Hummus, or Roasted Pine Nut Hummus – tasty!
My family recently had the chance to sample the Spicy Cheddar Bagel Chips, the Whole Grain Sea Salt Melba Snacks and the Wholegrain Melba toast. Pudding Pie didn’t care for the Spicy Cheddar flavor, or the Sea Salt flavor, but she loved the Wholegrain melba toast spread with butter and a sliver of roast chicken! Hubby scarfed up the spicy Cheddar melba snacks and declared this flavor his favorite. I enjoyed the taste and the texture of all three flavors, but I did lean heavily toward the Sea Salt Melba Snacks. I found the Sea Salt flavor super tasty, and I loved how well they paired with my Hummus.
I have another reason for wanting to expedite the process of morphing back into my bathing suit body: I’ve entered the Aloha Old London Sweepstakes and I’m planning to win myself an all-expenses paid Hawaiian vacation!
To inspire healthy living, Old London has launched the “Aloha Old London” sweepstakes and will send one winner and a guest to on an all-expenses-paid trip to Oahu, Hawaii for four days and three nights of sun-soaked bliss! The winner will have the chance to bask in the sun, enjoy the spa and be treated to private cooking lessons at the Chef Mavro restaurant.
For more information, and if you’d also like a chance at winning, hula over to http://www.facebook.com/OldLondonFoods?sk=app_179540445423987 and enter the sweepstakes now through June 30th, 2011.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Old London and received product samples and a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I'm Belinda, mom to Pudding Pie, and I hope you're having as much fun as I am at the UBP 2011! When my four-year-old princess isn't keeping me on my toes (when she's finally firmly tucked into bed...), I enjoy trawling the blogosphere and connecting with other mom bloggers.
I was a stay-at-home mom, but went to work as a nanny when Pudding Pie turned two. I needed an income and I didn't want to be away from my precious girl, so working in childcare was the most logical choice. Two years later, I'm not looking back - we have the extra income, Pudding Pie has playmates all day long and we still spend our days together - perfect!
Monday, April 4, 2011
The recipe didn't look that difficult, and how fun to have grape flavored fortune cookies! We gathered ingredients and began our project with enthusiasm.(Observe the beginnings of our very purple batter.)
However, somehow, we lost our way during the recipe and the outcome was not exactly what we'd hoped for. It is possible (but I am not pointing fingers), that my sous chef engaged in some improvisations that she declined to share with me.
Our fortune cookies were not the crisp, thin and perfectly folded objects of perfection that we'd imagined. Instead, they were decidedly thicker and they stubbornly refused to be folded without breaking in half - every time. Pudding Pie was not heavily impressed. (Observe the look of disdain.)
The red muffin pan displays our entire end result - we persevered in spite of increasingly grim results.
Luckily, Pudding Pie brightened up when she got to taste the first cooled down cookie. She pronounced it "not too bad" - and she loved having her fortune read to her.
Grape-Infused Fortune Cookie travails aside, Pudding Pie enjoyed sampling the Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes. She declared the juice “yummy” and became an instant convert – I know why – it is sweet, sweet, sweet!
I was pleased to learn that a half cup of this juice is equal to one full serving of fruit - a stress-free way to help us meet her recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, half of what is on our plate should be fruits and vegetables - easier said than done when feeding a four-year-old diva. It’s not that she dislikes fruits or veggies, it’s just that she gets distracted and meal times turn into a marathon. She almost always ends up not getting through the food on her plate, and I worry that my child is not getting what she needs to grow. I was thrilled to discover that the juice has no added sugar. Actually, I was quite surprised because it is uber sweet – right up Pudding Pie’s alley!
The Concord grape offers not only natural antioxidants, but also a mix of plant nutrients (polyphenols), which could benefit heart health. Including heart healthy food in our kids’ diets is not only essential to their growth and development, but I’m told it could also shift the trend of nearly half of all Americans who still don’t eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables.
In honor of National Nutrition Month, Welch's is spreading the word about resources it offers to help us and our families navigate toward healthier lives:
Welch's Family Vine Tool: A tool to help trace and understand your family’s heart history, since it is not just diet and exercise but genetics too, which affects your heart.
GrapeScience.com: This site informs readers about research on the health benefits of the Concord grape in areas like heart health, cognitive health, immune system health and more.
Welch's Recipe Box: Check this out for great grape- and grape-juice inspired recipes. (You'll find the Grape-Infused Fortune Cookies here...)
Check out Welch’s on Twitter and Facebook for more ideas and coupons.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Welch’s and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a gift code to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I love a clean house. I love the quiet satisfaction derived when all around me is clean and ordered. When my home is ordered, so is my mind. When my home is not an oasis of calm, neither am I…
An endless pile of laundry waiting for its turn to be folded, interminable cycles of the dishwasher, growing jumbles of toys to be put away, books in untidy stacks, CDs and DVDs in haphazard piles, shoes scattered everywhere. This is the frontline of my daily struggle to keep our home from looking like a giant dumping ground.
By the time I’ve dealt with the each day's laundry, dishes, vacuuming/mopping, general cleaning and picking up, I am done. The ‘extra stuff’ can wait ‘till spring. (I like the tarnished look on silver...)
Spring is here now. Hmm. Hooray, I guess. Time to get going on all the chores I have successfully avoided since last spring’s cleaning shakedown.
Here are some of this year's spring cleaning “To Do’s”:
• Take down the collection of decorative teapots on display in our kitchen. Wash off the thick coating of grime and dust that has managed to build up on each one of them over the past year. Ugh.
• Gently and carefully hand wash and then iron the drapes that hang in my daughter’s bedroom. Yes, I said handwash and iron. Her drapes are a delightfully ethereal, flimsy white fabric - sprinkled with pink and green florals.
So pretty, but a massive headache for mom because they show every teeny tiny speck of dirt, and I spend half the year trying to ignore their steadily more grimy appearance. In a twisted way, I actually look forward to washing them: just so that I can enjoy looking at them for the two weeks of the year that they remain prettily pristine.
• Decluttering! Earlier this week, when our spring cleaning commenced in earnest, we began the task of sorting and organizing Pudding Pie’s art supplies. Her art stash had been residing in a sprawling and untidy pile beside (and beneath) her art table. Because her art table is in our living room, the entire room takes on the sprawling, untidy tone.
After a long morning of cleaning, we now have no more art sprawl! Instead, we have an organized art supplies cabinet and we've reassigned part of a bookshelf to the remaining art/educational supplies. It looks great, and Pudding Pie has a renewed interest in doing her cool art projects because she can find everything again!
I have also been combing through the various jumbles of toys and I’ve been culling those that Pudding Pie has outgrown. This is a task I reserve for when she is nowhere near our home. I once made the mistake of asking if she’d like to help me weed out some of the toys she no longer plays with. Silly mommy, I didn’t realize that she still plays with everything and nothing is ever ready for the donation box or the trash. Now, I fly solo on this project.
• Dusting, dusting, dusting. We have so many shelves with objets artfully displayed…how did we ever accumulate so much stuff? I play a game when I approach this mind-numbing task: I try to remember every fact I can about the item I am working on. (Who gave this to me? When? Why? And finally: Perhaps we should store this for a while?) I imagine a home with nothing on the shelves, where one wide and carefree sweep scoops up the dust and then I’m home free. Knowing me, if I had nothing on any of the shelves, I would repopulate them with new treasures in no time at all.
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about my cleaning nemesis: the toilet. Cleaning the toilets really doesn’t fall under the header of Annual Spring Cleaning. Necessity dictates that this activity falls more under the Several Times Per Week header, also the Guests Are Coming header. I do not like cleaning the toilets, but I doubt this makes me unique.
When cleaning my nemesis, along with the toilet brush, I use excessive quantities of bleach and paper towels. After I’m done, I flush the toilet brush over and over again in the clean toilet - and I still wince if it drips on its way back to its holder. I drive myself crazy by imagining a guest needing to use the toilet brush, then carelessly slinging it back into its holder. Did they rinse it off thoroughly? Did anything drip off the brush and onto the seat, on the brushes’ journey back to base? Ah, the possibilities are endless...
Luckily, I can now shift focus to the other things that keep me up at night because Clorox has come up with a wondrous thing: a disposable toilet brush! Yes, the Clorox ToiletWand System has allowed me to dispense with the whole process of vigorously cleaning off the toilet brush – now, I just discard after use.
Each time you need to clean the commode, attach a disposable head onto the end of the Clorox ToiletWand, dip the cleaning head into the bowl and scrub your toilet bowl clean. The disposable head disinfects your toilet bowl killing 99.9% of germs. Once you’re done scrubbing, one easy click of the button on the ToiletWand pitches the used head into the trash - I love it!
Plus, the disposable heads store neatly and conveniently inside the container housing the wand – no clutter. If you think you’d like to ditch your old toilet brush and go with the more effortless approach, click here for a $3.00 coupon! Also, if there’s still any doubt in your mind about how easy and effective the Clorox ToiletWand is, check out the how-to video here.
Finally, If you're now coveting a ToiletWand for yourself, today could be your lucky day! Between now and April 11th, Cuddle Cottage is hosting a giveaway for one Clorox Bathroom Essentials ToiletWand prize pack!
The prize pack includes a ToiletWand, bathroom rug, toilet decal, and toilet paper holder. To enter, leave a comment letting me know your least favorite household chore. Be sure to leave your comment before midnight on Monday, April 11th.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Clorox and received a ToiletWand to facilitate my review and a gift code to thank me for taking the time to participate.