Monday, May 21, 2012

Enter to Win a Disney Cruise for Your Family





I am so excited to finally be able to announce this amazing giveaway! Acadiana's Thrifty Mom has teamed up with American Family and an awesome group of bloggers to bring you our BIGGEST giveaway yet!

One super lucky fan will win a Disney Cruise for a family of 4 valued at $3000! Yep, you heard that right-- a Disney Cruise!

This awesome giveaway is brought to you by American Family and Acadiana's Thrifty Mom, and hosted by Frugality For Less, and Debbie Does Coupons.

I am truly excited to be part of this giveaway event! I know so many families would love to win a vacation and this is simply one of the most amazing events I have been able to participate in.

How to Enter: Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Prize: Disney Cruise for four

Good Luck!

Disclosure: This giveaway is opened to U.S. residents only. You must be 18 years of age to enter to win. The winner will be responsible for transportation to and from the port of departure. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Google, Pinterest, or Twitter in any way. Please read HERE for complete rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Am I Simply a Dreamer?

Foreword: I don't think this applies to everyone. I still see plenty of nice people in the store, the ones who say hi or smile at my little ones. The ones who move their carts out of the way or help you if you drop something. I also encounter people once in a while who let me pull out in a line of traffic or open a door for me. I know there are still generally nice people out there, but I do think some people could use a lesson in manners and common decency.

I remember once being on the trolley with my two young children. I had my children in a seat with me and the stroller in the seat behind us. The trolley wasn't crowded at that point, but it became quite crowded towards the end of our trip. A group of boys got on the trolley and sat down next to the stroller and us. I glanced over at them, just looking at who was sitting down. I may have asked them if the stroller was in their way or if we could move over more, but I never had a chance to say a word.

One of the boys became defensive and automatically assumed I thought he was going to mess with the stroller. I had never said a word, just glanced up at who was sitting down next to me, my children and our stroller. He started saying horrible things about me in front of my young children, who became understandably confused and upset. He continued doing this for the last five minutes we were on the trolley. One of his friends finally leaned over to me and tried to say something nice, but I was so appalled and annoyed by that point that I just jumped up and grabbed our belongings and my children and ran off of the trolley. No one sitting next to us said a word.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Magical Mother's Day Giveaway Event Win My Memories Scrapbook Software

MagicalMothersDayLarge

Welcome to the 
Magical Mother's Day Giveaway Hop,
 hosted

I have teamed up with the hosts, as well as dozens of other bloggers to bring you this awesome giveaway event! We each have wonderful prizes for you to win, with each one having a retail value of at least $25.00.

Please enter my giveaway and then hop around the linky to enter all of the wonderful giveaways!
Giveaway Dates: Begins May 7, 2012 at 12:01am and Ends May 14, 2012 at 11:59pm

How to Enter: Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. There are many ways to enter. You can choose to do a few or do them all. Good Luck!

My Giveaway: My Memories Suite Scrapbook Software Download

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Memories Suite Scrapbook Software Review and Coupon Code

I used to be an avid scrapbooker. I enjoyed creating scrapbooks, especially for gifts for family members. One of the projects that I enjoyed the most was making a scrapbook page and framing it, to give as gift. I admit, I have not done as much scrapbooking as I used too, mostly because it is difficult to find the time or the space for all of my supplies.

As I have started learning more about creating graphics with computer programs, I have also been interested in digital scrapbooking. So, I was excited to review My Memories Scrapbook Software, as I knew it would be something I would enjoy doing and the best part--no supplies to find a safe place for.




A Little Bit About The Company: While many other programs out there are created for professional designers, to create slide shows, or for photo editing--the My Memories Software was created as the ultimate program for those who love to scrapbook. The software is affordable and packed with tons of features that would appeal to scrapbookers. While the software is excellent for creating beautiful scrapbook pages to help share your memories, it can also be used to create calendars, greeting cards, and more.


Here are some ways you can connect with the company and stay up to date on all of the latest news and offers!

My Memories Blog
My Memories on Facebook
My Memories on Twitter
My Memories on You Tube
My Memories on Pinterest

My Review: I received a download of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook Software for review. I thought I would feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the options at first, but it didn't take me more than a few minutes to understand how everything was laid what and what all of the options were. I also look at the fact that it has a lot of options as a good thing--it means the program has plenty of features. I have looked at some graphic programs online that don't have many features at all, and I can never get the look I want when I am designing a picture. I have also looked at some photo editing programs online that are way to advanced and while they claim that they are easy to learn, I have not had much luck with some programs out there. One thing a lot of the programs lacked was scrapbooking features, as well. I have used some programs that said you could do scrapbook pages with them, but I was never able to figure out how.

I decided to sit down and try the program out, and I truly spent nearly an entire day playing with the software. I knew I had other things to do, but I just wanted to keep trying to create other new pages. I have completed a few pages so far, but I have not even touched half of the features. There are so many effects and ways to customize each page, with options that include everything from a shadow effect to adding buttons.  



The software gives you the option of creating pages yourself, and you can choose the background, word art, graphics, shadowing, etc--all yourself. You can also use a designed layout that you just add pictures too. The designs that are available with the software are truly beautiful and so much more detailed then the ones I completed, but I know I will be able to create pages that are just as beautiful, once I work with the software more.

I do like what I have been able to do so far. I know I said it does have a lot of features and options that may seem overwhelming at first, but it really isn't difficult to discover what you can do with the program. Everything is laid out well and all of the elements that you can work with are lined up on the side of the screen, so you can easily open and close each section to add what you want. I was able to easily click on each section and move page elements where I wanted them, which is something I have not been able to do with other programs.

Just playing around with the program I created this picture below, which I think would make a pretty cute layout for a scrapbook or for a blog background.





In addition to all of the features you get when you buy the software, you can also purchase digital scrapbooking kits from the My Memories site that offer even more page elements and layouts. They also offer a section of free digital scrapbook kits that you can download. Overall, I am definitely pleased with this software and will be using it in the future. I think I may try creating a few cards to send out to family and friends with new pictures of the children soon, and this program will save me so much money, as I can create the cards myself and still have it look professional.



Buy It: Love what you can do with the software and want to try it our for yourself? Simply head over to the My Memories site and download the free trial! Ready to share your memories in a  creative way? Already know you want to buy it? You can purchase My Memories Suite Software for $39.97. If you use my code, you can save $10! In addition, you will receive a $10 coupon code to use towards items from the store, so you can order some of your favorite digital scrapbooking kits. Enter code STMMMS51836 at checkout to receive your discount. 



Win It: I will be giving away one free download of the My Memories Suite Software during the Magical Mother's Day hop starting May 7th! Make sure to check back then to have the chance to win.


Want to learn more about the software? Check out this video to see what you can do with this awesome scrapbook software!





Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links/codes. I received a free download of the My Memories Suite software in order to facilitate this review. These factors to not determine the type of review posted, and the reviews are always factual and based on my own opinions. Please visit my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Printable Potty Training Sticker Charts

I know not all children are the same, so what works for one, may not work for another. I did find sticker charts so helpful when my one of my children was potty training. I tried to give her space, let her pick out cute underwear, remind her frequently, and even gave her candy as reward--nothing worked. Then, one day we tried a sticker chart with cute kitty stickers that she loved (and could only use for her potty chart) and it worked. I was surprised that a simple sticker chart worked for her, but it did.

Simply print these out and let your child pick out his or her favorite stickers, then every time your child uses the potty-- he or she gets to add a sticker to the chart.

I will update this post as soon I create more. If you would like a certain theme, please let me know in the comment section or send me an email (jessica@arebutterfliesticklish.com). 




Fairy Chart 

PDF Download



Car Chart

PDF Download





Have a Secret to share? Get to Know the Person Behind the Blog Week 2

So, I am a bit late in posting this, but I am trying to make more of an effort to follow through with things I want to write about, so I am going to try to keep this going. The first week of "Have a Secret to Share? Get to Know The Person Behind the Blog" I shared a secret about my lack of domestication. Each week I will share a secret or just fun facts about me, the person behind the blog, so my readers can get to know me better.

This week I am going to share a secret about something I have briefly mentioned on the blog, but have never really talked about in detail. This is not an especially easy post for me, but it is real and it is part of who I am, so I do want to share it. OK, deep breath, here it goes.


Win it For Mom Mother's Day Event iPad2 Giveaway

Win It For Mom iPad2 Mothers Day 

Welcome to our fun annual Win It For Mom Mother's Day giveaway event! This year we are giving away an iPad2 to one very lucky mom out there!

 Grandma Juice and The Kids Are Grown Now What  are the awesome hosts of this fun event and they have teamed up with a wonderful group of bloggers to bring you this amazing giveaway for an  iPad2 for Mother's Day.


It's a Great Day to be a Dog #iLoveMyK9 #CBias

When I moved in with my husband years ago, I had wanted a cat. My husband was at work a lot and I was home alone some evenings. I had always had a love for cats, and we often had a few while I was growing up in my parent's home. My husband is allergic to cats, so he decided to get me a dog instead.

This is Vegas when she was a puppy.

We got Vegas in the Fall of 2004. She was such a sweet little puppy that turned into a much larger puppy that just seemed to keep growing. I can admit that times have been difficult with adding new members to our family, as she was our baby and then when we had our babies, it took some time to transition. She was always great with the babies and she still seems like a baby herself most of the time.

I have really loved seeing her interactions with my children as they have grown. My oldest son absolutely loves her and wants to play with her everyday after school now. He will just sit and pet her, walk around with her, or play a game of fetch. I truly think she has become a type of therapy for my son who has special needs, as he always seems happier and more relaxed after playing with her for a while. We all like to give her treats every now and then too, and she truly is such a loving dog that just loves attention.

This is Vegas now. She has gotten so big, and she is so sweet.

Even though she is starting to get older, she still greets you with plenty of excitement.  I was recently given the chance to go shop for some new dog treats for her, so we all decided to head to Walmart and look for some tasty treats for Vegas. We were also there to purchase some dog treats that we are making into a gift basket for my mom. It was nice to go out as a family. My husband is often on-call or at work, so he rarely comes shopping with us. He was on-call, but he brought a tow truck with him so he could leave quickly if he needed too.

We browsed through Walmart, and of course we had to make a stop at the toy section. We also picked up a few items we needed for the home as we shopped.

My little one loved this cute little bunny.




Sometimes, I think my husband likes the toy aisles as much as my children.

When we reached the pet aisle, I was surprised by how many treats there are to choose from. Some of the shelves were a bit bare, but there were still tons of treats there that we could select from. I was hoping to check out some of the new items offered by Milk Bone and Pup-Peroni.

My children tried to buy all of the dog treats they could reach, because everything was so cool!
 I was also looking for a brand that we have never tried before-Milo's Kitchen Homestyle Treats. I quickly found the Milo's Treats on the top shelf, but I was having a difficult time finding Milk Bone Trail Mix or Pup-Peroni Mix Stix. Thankfully, my husband has a good eye and can always find what he's looking for. He found the Milk Bone Trail Mix hanging from the middle of a shelf near the bags of dog food, and he found the Pup-Peroni Mix Stix on an end cap.

There really was a lot to choose from.



Finally, my husband spots one bag of Pup-Peroni Mix Stix on an end cap. At the next aisle, he found a full end cap packed with Pup-Peroni Mix Stix.

We grabbed a few bags of treats and browsed a bit more then headed home. We are making a gift basket with some of the treat items we picked up for my mom. Myself, my sister, and my aunt all pitched in to buy my mom a dog, as she has always dreamed of owning either a full blooded German Shepherd or Husky. I searched for a long time to find a full blooded German Shepherd that was within the price we could afford. I finally found one and my sister took my mom to pick him up. She has been in love with him ever since, and he is such a sweet dog. She has been going through some difficult times with the economy and really has to budget what she spends, as my Dad is currently laid off and she is a stay at home mom. So, I was really excited to get her some new treats that she may not otherwise have been able to get for her dog, who is named Cooper (After Alice Cooper--her favorite musician).
This is a picture of my mom's dog Cooper who will be receiving a gift basket of new treats!

I really wanted to drop off the basket the evening we went to Walmart, but she wasn't home. So, I am hoping we will be able to do that today. As soon as I do get to drop it off, I will be updating my post with a picture of her and Cooper.

Our gift basket has Pup-Peroni Mix Stix, Milk Bone Trail Mix, Milo's Kitchen Chicken Grillers, and a few new balls. It is packed in a cute water/food dish.

We picked up a few new treats for Vegas, as well. We have already given her plenty of Milk Bone treats and we have tried Pup-Peroni, but Milo's Homestyle treats were new for us, and for her. She loved them! The Chicken Grillers look like real pieces of chicken and they were definitely a special treat for her. Milo's Kitchen also has meatballs, sausage slices, and jerky, but none of those options were available at my store. It was OK, since the chicken style seemed wonderful, as well.

Pup-Peroni Mix Stix in beef/sweet potato flavor and egg/bacon flavor. Milo's Kitchen Chicken Grillers and Milk Bone Trail Mix.

I think the Trail Mix from Milk Bone looks really interesting and it is made from rolled oats, real beef, and sweet potatoes. The pieces of trail mix are designed in cute little shapes and would be perfect for small dogs or for just a small reward or treat. The Pup-Peroni Mix Stix were new to us, but we do know the Pup-Peroni brand. The Mix Stix are unique, as they have real pieces of meat in each stick. We found two yummy varieties for dogs, and we bought one bag of each--beef and sweet potato and bacon and eggs. I thought bacon and eggs sounded so cool, who doesn't like a yummy breakfast?

I was happy to buy the all the treats as they were each about $3.00 a bag, which is much cheaper than our regular grocery store. I do think it would have been nice if some of the treats we were looking for had been on the actual shelves with the dog treats and not set-up on end caps, but it wasn't too hard to find and my husband was awesome for helping me out.

We had a fun time during our shopping trip as a family and we are so excited to show Cooper and my mom the gift basket packed full of new treats. I am sure Cooper will love them as much as our Vegas did!


My oldest son and Vegas after he shared some new treats with her. I tried to get a picture of him giving her some new treats, but she was so excited that I couldn't get a picture that wasn't blurry.


 Here are some great ways you can connect with the brands mentioned in this post! To read more stories about people who love their dogs, follow the hashtag #iLoveMyK9 on Twitter. 


To see my full shopping story, please view my Google Plus album.


Milk Bone on Twitter


Pup-Peroni on Twitter


Milk Bone on Facebook

Milk Bone Website

Pup-Peroni Website

Milo's Kitchen Website


Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric Regardless, all thoughts and opinions expressed are always my own. Please visit my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Parsimonious Pash's 5K Giveaway for a Kitchen Aid Mixer



Parsimonious Pash started blogging just a few months ago, and she has has quickly been growing a following. This giveaway is in celebration of her page on Facebook reaching 5,000 fans! She is so thankful to her fans for helping her get where she is that she decided to host a  giveaway to celebrate!

I have teamed up with her, as well as several other bloggers to bring you this fun giveaway! I am so excited to help her celebrate this achievement with her, as I think her blog is awesome! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When You Just Don't Know What to Say

 It isn't often that I don't have some type of comeback or reply to something my children say to me. I often listen to protests and whines, as they try to explain why they can't clean their room, take a shower, or do any chores. I also hear plenty of remarks and comments about why they should be allowed to do something they want.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Leaked Kraft Oreo Breastfeeding Ad Was Never Meant for Public Eyes

As I sit here watching a media frenzy take over the Internet, it saddens me that it is once again over something as normal as breastfeeding. I am not shocked, as I have come to expect this type of reaction from the public, especially in the US where breastfeeding is still not seen as the norm. Women are repeatedly told to "cover up" when breastfeeding out in public, and while Facebook claims they are supportive of breastfeeding--they have continued to remove breastfeeding pictures that are less than revealing.

I recently saw the new Kraft ad for Oreo's and it actually made me smile. I thought, wow there is a company that is finally showing some open support of breastfeeding. I had read that the ad was meant for Korea, and was not something that would be used throughout the rest of the world. That part was a bit of a let down, as I think the US needs more breastfeeding ads, but nevertheless, I thought it was cute and creative. I was happy to know that a company as big as Kraft would create something that helped normalize breastfeeding.

(I would love to share a picture of the ad here, but  due to copyright restrictions, I cannot. To view the ad for yourself, please visit this link. The ad depicts a baby breastfeeding while holding an Oreo in one hand, with a tagline that reads "Milk's Favorite Cookie." I also want to note that I appreciate the design and willingness to show breastfeeding, even if was mostly advertising a cookie. So, thanks Cheil Worldwide, the advertising agency for Kraft.)

Last night, I became aware that Kraft released statements about the ad and what it was supposed to be used for. Apparently, the ad was never meant for the public to see--not the public of Korea nor the public of the rest of the world. This is when I felt a big let down, as I had thought the company was making a change to help normalize breastfeeding, instead, they were trying to cover up this "leaked" ad that was never supposed to see the light of day, at least not in public.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Interview With Christine Stark--Writer, Artist, and Speaker

I recently had the opportunity to interview Christine Stark, who is the author of the book Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation. The book is a unique story of survival, that follows the character Little Miss So and So throughout her life and is told from her point of view. To read my full review of the book and to enter to win a copy, please follow this link. I wanted to know more about the author and the inspiration behind the book, so I sent Christine a few interview questions and she was kind enough to share her answers with me. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Five Tips to Successfully Breastfeed

When I was pregnant with my first child, I wasn’t sure I would breastfeed. I started to learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, so I knew that it was something I wanted to try. After my son was born, I learned that while breastfeeding is natural—it may not always come naturally to you. Breastfeeding is a learning experience for both the mother and the baby, so it is important to be prepared and seek help when you need it. I have now breastfed four children, and although not each experience was successful, I have learned a lot about breastfeeding and how to have a more successful start.

Learn as much as you can before your baby arrives. 

This may seem self-explanatory, but it is important to read books that are related to successful breastfeeding. I read a large amount of pregnancy books, and some simply scared me by saying that it would be painful and it may not work, so a lot of women supplement with formula. After having my first child, I did supplement, which I later learned was actually causing more problems. Milk production works on supply and demand, so the more a baby expresses the more milk you make. This is critical during the first six weeks as you establish a supply, so you are able to produce enough milk for your baby. Every supplement takes away a feeding session at the breast, which can negatively impact your milk supply. If I had known that at the beginning, then I probably would have had an easier time when I first started breastfeeding and dealt with a low supply. So, I do think it is important to read a lot of books on breastfeeding, meet with a La Leche League group, and even attend a breastfeeding class.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review and Giveaway of Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation

Since I have recently started reading more often, I am always on the look out for new books that may interest me. I was recently asked to review the book, Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation, which seemed like something that may be interesting, so I was excited to read the book.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Gorton's Fisherman Friday: Enter to Win

When it comes to dinner, I like things that are simple and easy. I always want to offer my family food that is tasty, but also easy to prepare. Since I have four children, dinner needs to be on the table as quick as possible. One of the easiest and tastiest dinners we make is using Gorton's frozen foods. So, I was excited to be offered a few free product coupons to review their products.


Review of Jody's Popcorn and Discount Code

I am always on the look-out for new snacks for my children. I do like to offer my children healthy options, such as yogurt, bananas or fresh veggies, but some days they do eat prepackaged snacks. When I came across Jody’s Popcorn, I thought it looked like a nice snack that my children could have for a treat once in a while. So, I was excited when they offered to send me a few bags to sample.

Soft Clothing Review and Giveaway

As a mom to four, I know that some children develop sensory issues or preferences in regards to clothing. My oldest son has several mental health, behavioral, and emotional health issues, so sometimes he does have clothing preferences. He does not have specific sensory issues where certain things bother him all the time, but sometimes if he is anxious or having a difficult day, something small that normally doesn't bother him, may end up causing him to become upset. When I found the Soft Clothing Company, I thought their products looked fantastic for both children with special needs and just for children in general, so I was excited when they offered me a pack of undies to review.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review of the Novel Blaze of Glory



I used to be an avid reader. I would often buy a new book and read through the book in one sitting. I could never put a book down without finishing it, since I just had to know what happened in the end. I no longer have the time to read as much as I used too, unless I'm reading lunch menus, report cards and an occasional article. I truly have missed reading, as it was one of my favorite hobbies. So, I was excited when I was asked to review the book Blaze of Glory, as I thought it may be just the thing I needed to get back into reading regularly.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card in this Flash Giveaway Event

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I hope everyone is excited for another flash giveaway, because we have another one ready for you that is for a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway started April 9th and ends at 12:01am on April 13th. 

This flash giveaway event is being hosted by two wonderful bloggers, My Crafty Life and Full Price? Never! , as well as numerous other awesome blogs!

Enter: Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good Luck!

Newbie Bloggers Giveaway Event


NewbieBlogHop Giveaway Hop

 Welcome to the Newbie Bloggers giveaway hop! This event is hosted by by GoingCrazy!!WannaGo??!! and Planet Weidknecht

I am so excited to be part of this fun giveaway event. As someone new to the blogging world, who has been blogging for less than a year, I know how important it is to make connections with other bloggers and find support or advice. The Newbie Blog hop started as a way to help new bloggers make those connections and find other bloggers who were willing to share information, so everyone could learn together. 

The Newbie Blog Hop is hosted by GoingCrazy!!WannaGo??!! and Life's Cheap Thrills. It opens every Tuesday at 9pm CST and closes on Friday at midnight. There is also a Facebook group where experienced and newer bloggers share information as they learn together. If your a new blogger or even if you just feel new, please come join us!

OK, now on to the giveaway event! There are over 100 blogs participating in this event, with both new bloggers and wonderful bloggers who support newbies. All of the blogs will have a giveaway item worth at least $15.00. This event starts April 10th and ends on April 17th. 

I hope you check out my giveaway and then hop around to some (or all) of the other awesome blogs participating in this event. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ozeri Kitchen Scale Review and Giveaway

I am always on the lookout for new products and gadgets for the kitchen, so I was happy to see some of the unique products that Ozeri offers. I admit that I am not that great of a cook, but I do like to bake when I have time. One of the most important parts of baking for me is to make sure the ingredients are measured correctly and I have exactly the right amount of ingredients to go into the mix. I have read about skipping the use of measuring cups and simply making the recipe by weight, but I have never had a kitchen scale to do that with, so I was excited when Ozeri agreed to send me
a kitchen scale to review.


Vintage Couture Review and Giveaway

Sometimes I think I am the mother of one of the most girly-girls on the planet. My oldest daughter loves everything pink, sparkly, and girly. She is also quite particular about clothing. I once gave her a gray T-shirt to wear and she was astonished that I even dared to suggest she wear it. Instead, she choose a pinky shimmery top to wear. I am always looking for clothing that she may like. While she is OK with wearing something simple (sometimes), she usually prefers things that have flowers or look very girly. I came across the site, Vintage Couture, and I was impressed with the items they offer. So, I was thrilled when they agreed to do a review and giveaway on my blog.

About The Company: Vintage Couture is a clothing company this is inspired by vintage fabrics and the history that surrounds each piece of fabric. They offer unique fabrics that you won't find anywhere else, with clothing collections available for infants, girls (up to size 14), and boys (up to size 16). They even offer stylish clothing for women! Besides clothing, they also carry a full line of accessories, including 18 inch doll clothing, hair-bows, headbands, and diaper bags.

Busy Day and a Trip to Walmart

I needed to run to the grocery store the other day, but I also needed to go to Walmart to get some items for around the house. My husband was working, so I took all four of my little ones with me. They haven't been able to go to Walmart lately, so they were excited to come with me. I know their favorite part is being able to see all of the toys, so we made a deal that if they would be good through both stores, then we would check out the toy aisles before we left.

The first thing we needed to do was run to the grocery store. We usually visit Shop n Save, because it is pretty close, not too crowded, and they have self checkouts. My children love being able to use the self checkouts and help me put the groceries in the bags. After our grocery store trip, we headed to Walmart to pick up some items for the home.


Friday, April 6, 2012

It's Raining Giveaways Win a $25 Gap Gift Card

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I hope everyone is excited for another giveaway, because we have lined up another awesome flash giveaway for our readers during our April Showers Bring May Flowers Event!

I have joined some wonderful bloggers and awesome hosts My Crafty Life and Full Price? Never! to bring you this flash giveaway!

Enter: Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. 

Prize:  $25 Gift Card to The Gap Family of Stores

Dates: Starts at 12:01am on the 6th and ends at 12:01am on April 10th (Eastern Time)


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Enter to Win $500 Cash

Contest Chest is having an awesome giveaway that you can enter right here from my blog! You have the chance to win $500 cash.  A fellow blogger, Bay Area Mommy, was the winner of the last contest.

How to enter: Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below

Prize: $500 Cash

What is Contest Chest?

Contest Chest  is a website dedicated to bringing you the most interesting contests online. Businesses and bloggers can submit their own contests and Contest Chest also searches the Internet to find the best contests out there. They separate contests by country, so you can easily find one that is available in your location. If you love blog giveaways and sweepstakes, then you definitely want to check out Contest Chest! Simply click the link above or the banner below to sign up and start entering more contests.






a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but the thoughts and opinions expressed are always my own. Sometimes, this blog receives items for free for the purpose of writing a review and/or hosting a giveaway. Some posts may be paid sponsored posts. These factors to not determine the type of review posted, and the reviews are always factual and based on my own opinions.Please visit my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Help Support The Peloton Project

I was recently informed about a new documentary that is going to cover the lives of nearly 40 cyclists as they embark on a journey across North America. The team members have been training for the past year, while also raising money for cancer care in their communities. As the team makes their way across the country they will also share stories of cancer survivors, caregivers, and a story of  a young woman who was just diagnosed with cancer. The team is taking on this year's Cancervive Peloton Project.

The journey will be starting October 2nd, with team members departing from Calgary, Alberta in Canada. They will travel to Lewiston, Maine as part of the Dempsey Challenge. During this time, they will complete the entire trip in just ten days, as they cycle day and night. Each of the six teams will need to complete 100 miles during their six hour leg of the race to stay on schedule. The team members will be paired up with "cancer warriors," and will be riding in their honor.

What the director says about the film:
 "real people with incredible stories told about their humble lives, challenges, and a commitment to move forward-sometimes charging, sometimes crawling, but finding the strength to advance."

The director, Ramsey Tripp, and producer, Laura Davis, are working on this project to help show those battling cancer that there is hope. This film is also currently being backed by Patrick Dempsey, who is also the executive producer. 

They are currently is need of backers to help support the film. They had a goal of $20,000 by April 6th, or they would not be able to receive funding to complete the documentary. They have reached their goal of $20,000, but there are still ways you can help. The entire film will cost about $600,000 to complete, but they need continued support to ensure corporate sponsors can see how much interest and support there is for the film. The costs for production of the film will cover trips to Calgary, equipment, hiring a crew, cameras, and other expenses. Although they have reached the goal of $20,000, they rest of the cost of the film will need to be covered by corporate sponsors, grants, and other donors. You could be one of the donors that helps bring this film to the world!


How you can help:

Learn more by visiting the website for The Peloton Project


Donate through the Kickstarter page. Even $1 will help show your support of the film.

Like The Peloton Project on Facebook and share the page with your friends or family.

Follow @thepelotonfilm on Twitter and Tweet about the film using hashtag #pelotonfilm









Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Weekly Clean Up Chart Printables for Children

Lately, it seems as though none of my children want to clean up anything. We have tried all the techniques and tips that we can think of, but they really don't want to clean up their toys and nothing can motivate them to even try. We can sometimes get most of the children to clean up, but one of my daughters still battles with us during the entire time we are cleaning. She seems to have a very stubborn attitude towards almost everything, unless it involves princesses or the color pink, so I have been lost trying to figure out what to do. We have tried putting things away in bins and limiting what she can play with, we have taken toys away, we have yelled and pleaded--but it has gotten us nowhere. When none of those techniques worked, we started to try and offer rewards, such as going outside, earning money, and getting to go to the store.

She usually lays on the floor and whines about how tired/hungry/bored/etc. she is while everyone else cleans up. We have tried making clean up time fun, and we try to turn it into a game. That works for some of my children, but not for my little princess. I was feeling exasperated and frustrated with the amount of toys and clothes everywhere when I started remembering how stubborn she was with potty training. What finally worked was a sticker chart. Something so simple, yet she really loved it. What made the difference was that she was able to pick out cute stickers and was so excited to add a new one to the chart when she used the potty. I decided that a weekly chore chart may work. Of course, it may not, but for right now, it is my only idea.

I started creating a few and decided to share them. You can print them out yourself and try them with your children at home. I have made a few different ones (some you can use a sticker with and some are just for check marks). If you decide to try using these charts, I would love it if you shared your experiences!


Fairy Chart 

PDF Download




Car Chart




Weekly Clean Up Chart









Places to Donate Your Hair to Charity

Have you ever donated your hair to charity? As someone with long hair, which has always been  extremely long, I think about this often. One of the problems with donating hair is finding a place that will accept your hair the way it is and finding a reputable organization that will actually use your hair.

The first time I cut my hair, I donated it to Locks of Love. I have since read a lot of conflicting information regarding Locks of Love, and that they may sell extra hair to wig making companies to raise additional money. I will include Locks of Love in my lists of places that accept hair donations, and anyone who wishes to donate there can do so. I do know that Locks of Love is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and that they say they only sell hair that is too short, gray or unusable. The reason they state that they sell gray hair is that they cannot use it for children, but they use the funds to help manufacture the wigs.

Locks of Love: They create wigs and hair pieces for children that have certain medical conditions, such as alopecia areata. They also create wigs for children that are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, have experienced trauma or burns, or have other genetic or dermatological conditions. They aim to give children a sense of normalcy and confidence after suffering from hair loss.

Donations: They accept hair that is colored or permed, but not bleached or in dreadlocks. Hair must be 10 inches in length. Many salons throughout the US accept hair donations for Locks of love.

Recipient Information: The children receive wigs for free or on a sliding scale based on income. To be eligible for a hair piece, applicants must submit medical forms, financial records, and two letters of recommendation, as well as application.

Wigs For Kids: They are recommended by the American Cancer Society. They create wigs for children who have certain medical conditions, have experienced burn trauma, or are undergoing medical treatments that caused them to lose their hair. They aim to help children improve their self-esteem while battling a medical condition. They don't want children to have to worry about their appearance while going through an already emotional time.

Donations: This is a list of salons that donate hair to Wigs For Kids. You can also fill out the donation form and send in the hair yourself. They do accept gray hair, but they do not accept hair that has been chemically treated. Hair must be 12 inches in length to be donated.

Recipient Information: Parents need to fill out an application form for their child with information about their medical history, referral information, and insurance information. To be eligible, children must have a referral from a medical professional and come from a family that cannot afford to purchase a wig.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths: They are recommended by the American Cancer Society. They create wigs for women with cancer. Pantene wants to help women grow strong, beautiful hair which can in turn be donated to help women with cancer. They aim to help women feel like themselves again after losing their hair.  They are currently partnering with Seventeen magazine to sponsor National Donate Your Hair Day, which is April 27th.  Click this link to find out more information about National Donate Your Hair Day and to find a salon near you.

Donations: Hair must be no more than 5 percent gray. They will accept hair that has been dyed with vegetable dyes or semi-permanent color, but they prefer hair that is free from chemical treatments. They do not accept hair that has been permanently colored, treated with other chemicals, or bleached. Hair must be 8 inches in length.

Recipient Information: Wigs are distributed at no cost to women with cancer through the American Cancer Society.

Wigs 4 Kids: They provide wigs to children and adults who are in need of one in Michigan. They aim to give children a sense of belonging, by helping them fit in with their peers.

Donations: Hair must be 10 inches in length. Hair cannot be colored or chemically treated.

Recipient Information: Applicants must fill out an application form with medical information and referral information. They also ask applicants to be an ambassador of the program by writing their sponsor a thank you note, sending before and after pictures, and participating in events if they are healthy enough to do so. 


Wigs 4 Kids and The Childhood Leukemia Foundation: Wigs 4 Kids has partnered with the Childhood Leukemia Foundation to help as many children as possible overcome the emotional trauma of hair loss.

Donations: The same donation requirements apply to those as Wigs 4 Kids.

Recipient Information: The Childhood Leukemia Foundation has a program known as Hugs-U-Wear. This program helps children with cancer by providing them with 100 percent human hair wigs and child-friendly hats.

If you choose to donate your hair to any of these organizations, make sure to read the donation requirements at the website first. Each organization has specific requirements and ways they like the hair to be cut and tied, so please read it carefully so your donation is accepted. I think donating your hair is a wonderful way to help those in need. Like I mentioned, I have once donated to Locks of Love and my next donation may be going to Wigs For Kids. I am ready to cut my hair again, so I may be ready to make another donation soon. 


Have you ever donated your hair? Will you be donating your hair on National Donate Your Hair Day?







Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Showers Brings Flash Giveaways!



You have heard the saying that, "April Showers Brings May Flowers," right? 

Well... we are mixing it up this month! This April it's raining FLASH GIVEAWAYS!

I hope you are all ready for a month of fun! I have teamed up with some awesome bloggers and two fabulous hosts, My Crafty Life and Full Price? Never!, to bring this to my readers! There will be a Flash Giveaway for you to win everyday, and there will be new ones starting every Tuesday and Friday!

We have some awesome prizes for you to win, including $25 Amazon Gift Cards, $25 Barnes & Nobles, $25 Target and $25 to the Gap Family of stores!

Enter: Simple fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

Prize: This week we are giving away a $25 Gift Card to Amazon!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Milano Series Diaper Bag Review and Giveaway

Since having children, I have found that it is essential to have a nice diaper bag that can hold of the items we need when we're out. We usually ended up using the free ones from the hospital, but they were never very big or had enough pockets for everything. I would end up cramming the bag full of a bunch of items, then I could never find what I needed. My younger two children are still in diapers, so we definitely need a nice diaper bag, but I have never found one that really looked like it would be big enough for all the stuff we need--and look stylish. I came across the website for Milano Series, and noticed the diapers bags they offer. They looked stylish and appeared to be a good size, so I was excited when they agreed to do a review and giveaway on my blog.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Have a Secret to Share? Get to Know the Person Behind the Blog

I was thinking of a post I wanted to write, when I did something I often do. I started reading other blogs and found myself lost in a sea of posts. I think blogging is an excellent way to let out your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and anything else you may have on your mind. I enjoy reading other blogs, and it helps me to feel a connection to someone whom I don't even know. I grieve with them, I laugh with them, I learn from them.

My blog has become a mixture of my family life combined with topics that interest me and the occasional review and giveaway. Yet, I often find myself saying something like, "that is for another blog post" or "I will post more about that in the future." I never really talk about me--things that define who I am, who I have become, and who I am continuously striving to be.

Cash Giveaway Birthday Celebration





I am so excited to participate in this fun giveaway! I have teamed up with Couponing in PA, as well as ten other bloggers to bring our readers a giveaway that celebrates Coupon in PA's birthday, as well as her site's Facebook page start. 

Prize: One winner will receive $28 (since she will be 28) and the other winner will receive $20.
Winner's choice of PayPal cash or an Amazon gift code. 

Enter: Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Friday, March 30, 2012

March Into April Giveaway Hop

I am so excited to be participating in the March Into April Giveaway Hop. I hope you enter my giveaway and then check out all the other awesome giveaways. Make sure to enter as many as possible (or all of them) because this hop lasts for just a few days!



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Get Ready for Spring With This Giveaway From Miracle-Gro® Expand 'n Gro

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

We have been having unusually warm temperatures so far this year, and my children have been so excited to see all of the new flowers start blooming in our area. My older two children are especially excited, and they both keep asking when we can start planting. With the type of weather we usually have, I know we may have another few days of frost, so I want to wait until next month to start planting. In the meantime, I am starting to plan our garden, which will be our first garden at our new home. I have always been a big fan of Miracle-Gro® products. One year we planted flowers and added Miracle-Gro® and the flowers turned out beautifully.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I See Me! Personalized Children's Books Review and Giveaway

My children love to read, and they love being read too. We have bins full of books, and they will often sit and dig through the bins, looking for a special book to read. We almost always read a book or two every night before bed, and the children do have favorites that they often want to hear read again and again.

When I saw the unique and creative books from I See Me!, I knew it would be something that would interest my children, so I was thrilled to review one of their books.


Socks 4 Life Review and Giveaway

Socks are one thing we can always use more of in my house. We seem to lose all of the socks we have--maybe they disappear in the washing machine or the dog eats them--really I have no idea where they all seem to go. My children always need more socks and my husband also often needs more socks. He works long hours and is on his feet all day, so he needs socks that are durable and comfortable. I usually don't wear socks very often, but everyone else in my family does, so I was excited to try out some new socks from Socks 4 Life.


March Swagness with Swagbucks

I have an exciting new promotion to let my readers know about. It's called March Swagness! It is all about earning extra Swag Bucks bonuses for using Swagbucks the way you normally would.

Simply log in to your Swagbucks account and view the right sidebar of the homepage. You will see an earning goal, which is your target for the day. The meter will fill up as you complete each goal for the day, and the bonus you receive will always be 10 percent of that day's goal. You can earn bonus points by doing things you normally do, including (but limited to) Search, SurveysTasks, Swag Codes, Special OffersReferral Bucks, Winning TTPTP, Hashtag and Comment hookups – if you earn it from Swagbucks, it counts towards the day it was earned!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Checklist for Doing Reviews and Giveaways on Your Blog

Many bloggers know that reviews and giveaways are a way to attract more visitors to your blog. The downside of doing reviews and giveaways is that some people are only looking for contests to enter and prizes to win, so they may not stick around after the giveaway ends. The upside is that you have the chance to review products, you have the opportunity to give back to your readers, you can potentially gain more of a following, and you can help companies you love gain more exposure. I wanted to create a basic checklist for bloggers new to doing reviews and giveaways, so they could easily start out with all of the information they need. I did do a basic post about this before, in regards to where to find items to review. I will also explore each topic further, and I will include links to some helpful information.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Things I said I Would Never Do Before Becoming a Parent

I am sure we all have plenty of things we said we would never do before becoming a parent, and then later find ourselves doing those things we never said we would do. I know I have quite a long list of things I swore I would never do, which changed once my children arrived.

Here are a few of those things I said I would never do before becoming parent. I would love it if you joined me at Parent Society to read my full article, titled "Things I Said I would Never Do Before Becoming a Parent."

I will never let my children take food out of the kitchen. 

This is something my husband and I even joked about, we said we would never let the children take food out of the kitchen. While he still is against this, I admit to letting them take snacks into the living room sometimes when I want some peace and quite in the kitchen or I just don't feel like arguing.

I will never yell or scream. Instead, I will always speak to my children calmly.

I thought I would always remain calm and work through the problems I had with my children, but I can admit to yelling more than once and not always using the best choice of words. I also admit to bargaining with my children, even if some people would think of it as bribing.

I will never say certain words in front of my children. 

In regards to my word choices, there are a few four letter words that have been uttered that I may have said when I was angry, dropped something, my computer broke, etc. Those words may have later been repeated by my children.


I will never use the TV as a babysitter. 

So, this happens more often than I would like to admit, but I can admit that it does happen. I think it is awesome that some families do not use the TV at all, but I am not one of those parents. I do let my children watch a movie or a certain TV show when I need to get work done or clean. I don't let them watch whatever they want.


I will never let my children eat junk food for breakfast.

Cookies, pizza, donuts, etc. We have had those here for breakfast a time or two, or maybe more. Not that I am proud of it, but some days it does happen. I do try to have better food options for them, which my children will usually pick, so it isn't like they sit and eat junk food all day long.

I will still make sure I look presentable when I leave the house.

I had often heard of moms becoming so busy they had no time to shower, let alone fix their hair. I was never a girly girl, but I would at least put on a little cover up, maybe some eyeliner, and blow dry my hair. I thought that would continue. Now, I sometimes run to the store in sweats, with my hair in a messy bun, and no make up on whatsoever.

Do you have any to add? Comment below or join me at the Parent Society and leave me a comment there.


 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Historic Breastfeeding Pictures and Art

I recently found some wonderful websites that have a large amount of historic breastfeeding pictures and paintings. I recently changed my picture on Facebook to include one of these beautiful pictures, because I think they are truly inspiring and show just how special breastfeeding is. I have included some pictures below, as well as resources of where you can find more. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. 




Artist: Reni, Guido, A.D. 1575-1642 This is one of my favorite paintings, as it depicts Mary breastfeeding Jesus.     


Title: A Mother's Love

Artist: Danhauser, Josef (1805-45)

Date: 1839
 


"The Mother" is a painting by Gari Melchers (1860-1932) The painting is circa 1900-1920. It is located at the Library of Congress.




Woman in white cape, breastfeeding a baby is a picture taken by photographer Day F. Holland (Fred Holland) (1864-1933). The picture is from 1905 and it is available at the Library of Congress.


Uganda. Jinja. Native mother and baby near Jinja

From Matson Photo Service circa 1936. This photo is at the Library of Congress.

Resources:


Doula Emily has a blog post with a few historic breastfeeding pictures.


Historic Photos and Prints of Breastfeeding on Facebook has an extensive collection of historic breastfeeding pictures and art. They also have their own website.


The Library of Congress has many historic breastfeeding pictures and art.


Breastfeeding Art has a timeline of historic breastfeeding pictures.











Irish Blessings and Happy St. Patrick's Day

I want to take a moment to wish all of my readers a Happy St. Patrick's Day with some of these beautiful Irish Blessings.

 Note: I made sure images were free to use before posting. 

These things I warmly wish for you 

Someone to love, some work to do, A bit o' sun, a bit o' cheer, And a guardian angel always near.

-- Irish Blessing from Great Inspirational Quotes 


From Clip art and crafts


From Clip art and crafts



Source: Seed Factory on Etsy and flickr.com via Jessica on Pinterest




Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Crafts and Activities

Are you ready for St. Patrick's Day? Are you looking for ideas to celebrate the holiday with your children? We are huge fans of St. Patrick's day here, at least I am. Most of my family is of Irish descent, so it is my heritage and something that truly means something to me. Of course, the saying goes everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day. No matter what your heritage is, everyone can celebrate the day and have some fun while doing so. I have researched some of the best sites online to find ideas for things to do with your children for St. Patrick's Day, with everything from recipes to crafts to games!

Formula Ads Appearing on Breastfeeding Posts?

Many breastfeeding moms enjoy writing blogs, which usually do end up including breastfeeding related information at some point, even if their blog is not solely about breastfeeding. For instance, my blog is about my family life and parenting topics, but I also do an occasional breastfeeding post, as well.

Today, while browsing my blog and updating some items in my sidebar, I noticed a new ad appearing below one of my latest breastfeeding posts. The ad was for Enfamil, which is a brand of formula. I do have Google Adsense implemented on my blog. Really, I don't make much money through Google Adsense, but it does cost money to run this blog and it does take quite a bit of time and effort, so I do have it implemented to help monetize my blog.

Awesome Deal on Cute Boots for Women

I have really been wanting to buy a new pair of boots. To be honest, I don't even own one pair of boots. I realized this year that I really need a nice pair of boots to wear during the Winter, and since the season is almost over, I know there will be plenty of sales and awesome deals. I tend to be quite cheap when buying shoes for myself, so I usually shop at Payless and don't buy anything very expensive. I have seen plenty of cute boots online, but most are way out of my price range.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Are you a babywearing parent?

I am a big fan of babywearing. I do believe that infants thrive on touch and close contact, and wearing a baby in a carrier truly helps a baby feel comfortable, safe, and secure. I have had babies that cried and needed held all day long, so carrying my baby in a carrier really helped keep my hands free and gave me the chance to get things done around the house. It also helped my little ones feel close to me, so they were able to sleep better and stay content.
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