Friday, January 31, 2014

Love the Earth and Your Valentine

Have you been contemplating a fun Valentine's gift for your love? What about some eco friendly lunch ware? ECOlunchboxes offer reusable alternatives to paper bags and they have style that that grocery bag you bring your lunch in just doesn't have. Check out some of their options by clicking the photo below. 

ECOlunchbox is offering readers a great buy-one-get-one offer - buy one Solo Cube and get another free. Simply add two Solo Cubes to your order then use the coupon code "CuteCube" at checkout.

Heart The Earth: ECO-friendly lunchware by ECOlunchbox
Heart the Earth with EcoLunchboxes.com
Thursday, January 30, 2014

His project or mine?

Mamas Around the House
Uh oh, not a project!

There I was. Opening up my son's daily Kindergarten folder to see the "P" word.

Nooooo....not a "Project"

"Next week, we are having a science hat parade (A What?!?). Your child has a list of science words to choose from. Please build the hat according to the science word (I.e. All parts of a plant: stem, leaves and flowers). We will be wearing them in the halls on Wednesday!"

Cool! One week notice. Ready, Set, Go! 

Go time for mom, that is! After dropping the kids off at school, and fighting traffic, baby girl and I got to go flower shopping for Kasen's project! Well, Reagan mostly tried to pull the flowers apart and eat them. But, that was her way of contributing. 

Later that evening, Kasen helped assemble the glue gun, and cut the flowers with wire cutters (because the stems have wires in them). After that, he must've forgotten about his project because there I was. 9:55 p.m. on Tuesday (the night before the project was due). It made me think about parental involvement in kids' school projects. How much are we supposed to get involved as parents during these times? Obvious to me, Kasen needs help with gathering supplies, and assembling his flowers with hot glue. But, the rest? It's ALL him. I asked him what he wanted to do, and he was very specific. "First, I want a layer of leaves. Then,  I want the hat to have blue flowers. But, they need to be cut short because the are kinda big and bulky. And then, we'll kinda wrap the others around it."Okay. So, I did exactly that. I tailored the hat to his specific instructions. 

It does make me wonder, fear and realize. I wonder if  he were to gather the supplies, assemble the hat and parade it around at school, all by himself, would he be beaming with confidence? Would he feel more accomplished? Crap! I fear what I teach my kids...Am I not teaching confidence to my kid at 6 years old? Don't get me wrong, he has a LOT of it to begin with, and sometimes ends up being a little cocky with attitude. I think that's okay though. Knowing Kasen, he also is that kid who loves attention and stuff. If you are waxing your toes, he wants to wax his toes. If you are eating dirt, he wants to eat dirt too. The kid just wants to be involved in whatever you're doing. In fact, he wants to be involved in everything so much that he starts a project and doesn't complete it before moving on to the next one (We're working on that one!) He gets distracted and finds something else to do.


So here we were. His first project in school. It was a success! WE made something that (I'm sure) was completely original. That's him. Original and different, just like he should be. We had fun, and I'm not sure if next time I'll be able to let go, and let him do it on his own. I'll try, but probably will be standing right around the corner in case he needs me.

 Besides, what's that saying?


 "Behind every great kid, is a mom who's pretty sure she's screwing it up." 


Yep, that fits.


Fantastic plants!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: belVita Soft Baked Breakfast Biscuits - Banana Bread?!

As a member of the Influenster community I am able to receive new products to test out. I recently received a box of belVita Softbaked Breakfast Biscuits in their brand new Banana Bread flavor. I loved the Oats and Chocolate flavor so I was excited to try this one.

If you're new to belVita's line, their softbaked and crunchy varieties are great for breakfast or between meal snacks. The Softbaked Biscuits contain 20% of your daily value of fiber, are a good source of B vitamins, and contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. All great right? Add to that that they taste fantastic and keep you feeling full all morning, and you have a great breakfast or snack product. Look for them soon at your favorite belVita retailer!

Cookies and coffee, my two morning loves.

 Check out belVita's website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information and fun.

 
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lisa and #JulepNails101

A few weeks ago Lisa was chosen as a muse for Julep's #JulepNail101 Challenge. Here's her first progress post...
 


My results: 

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Getting rid of hang nails and dry skin


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Filing rough edges and shaping


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Pushing back cuticles


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All prepped before the Oxygen Nail Treatment


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All finished!
They look good, huh? 


I had fun doing this! Pixy was my photographer and I had Cubby in a carrier so I could do it!! The whole process didn't take long and my nails are looking great! They're a far cry from being gorgeous, as I'm always washing my hands and they're work-worn, but I'm happy with the results thus far!! 

Can I also say how heavenly it was to do something for myself, even if the approach was unorthodox?

Are you following the #JulepNails101 challenge? Follow here and pamper yourself! 

Have you found something that helps you reboot and pamper yourself? Tell us about it! We need ideas! ;) Want to learn more about Julep and their products? Check out this post.
Monday, January 27, 2014

Become a Julep Maven

We have been following Julep, a Seattle based beauty company, for a few months. Liz is a Maven, which means that she receives monthly beauty boxes from Julep (that include great stuff, read more here) and Lisa is doing their Nails 101 Challenge (read more here). 

What can Julep offer you?
  • A free style quiz - after answering a few questions about your style choices they'll suggest a set of products for you that fit with your style.
  • Great beauty products that are salon quality but don't "break the bank." The Maven box subscription gets you $40 or more in products monthly for just $19.99.
  • Useful add ons to your Maven box at reduced prices.
  • Access to the Secret Store with lots of beauty products at reduced price.
  • Amazing colors
  • New products (such as their newest Eye Sheen)


Julep Maven Subscription - first box free
What's your Style Profile?

What's your style? Find out by clicking the link above and answering a few questions. Try out the Maven subscription program - you may just fall in love with receiving monthly beauty treats in the mail! Your first box is free with the code FREEBOX. And if you don't love it? Skip a month, gift it to a friend, switch Style Profiles, or cancel (but you'd miss your fun mail).
Sunday, January 26, 2014

What We Learned (January 26 edition)

It seems as if everyone in the US is cold cold COLD! Brr! It's a good time of year to cuddle up with your loves (both little and big) with a blanket and a good book or a good show. This week the Mamas were keeping it warm and learning things (like we always do). If you're new to the blog, we do this every Sunday. What did you learn this week? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Robyn:
1. I've learned that my side street is the make-out Lane. Or, WAS, shall I say? I'm actually all for it. Hey, if you (teenagers!) are ballsy enough to suck face in my neighborhood, I totally applaud your guts. On the other hand, I thought this truck fooled me for thinking their sun shade was up, when in fact the windows were heavily steamed up. We drove by slowly, and when the hubbs went out with with a spotlight...*tires screeched* and they were gone. Yep, cause that old dude with a spotlight walking out to my truck wouldn't be creepy to me either...

2. On the way to the gym on Sat, I was feeling down. No matter what, I just can't find THAT song to get me crazy excited on the ride to pump iron. As I put on Britney Spears pandora radio, N'Sync came on (I want you back). As I was jamming out and emphasizing the word 'back' in the song, some trick swerved in front of me in the parking lot. I parked, sat in the car for a moment, looked in the mirror, and realized an over emphasized 'back' could be mistaken for another 'b' word. I mean, I do look like a tough guy with my headband, glasses and workout clothes on, but come on!

Tough guy says "Back!"
3. I've learned that telling my 14 year old that he needs to 'find something to do this weekend. Otherwise, you will be here (at home) working and helping out' translates in his head to 'you need to leave this weekend, because we don't want you here' wait..WHAT THE??!!! Seriously, that's what you got out of that?! Cue eye roll! 

Lisa:
1. If you remain open to things, there is room for good things to happen: went to Pixy's school to talk with the resource team to see if Banshee could attend there. It was a good meeting and we agreed on a visit or two for Banshee to see how she did. That's beyond wonderful! ;)

2. I have finally been given the green light by my doctor to exercise and resume life like usual. I had a rough recovery from Cubby's c-section and I even had a weight limit on what I could lift. But, I did it!! Operating at 90% now and I'm ready to attend a spin class. Bring it!

3. On a sadder note: I learned that we need to cherish every single moment as if it was the last. Today, there was a shooting at my local mall, which is less than 10 minutes from my home. The scary part was that Pixy was less than a mile or two from the mall taking a makeup swim lesson. Thankfully, all of us are safe and sound. The police kept everyone in lockdown until things were secure. So thankful for all they do! My family's prayers and thoughts are with the families of the victims. We didn't know your names but we knew your faces and we are sorry that you had to go like this. Live life to the fullest and don't hang on to anger. It's much too short for that.

4. January 26th is my old man's b-day. It has been a year (on March 6) since his sudden passing and we all miss him terribly- especially my spawn. Thinking of him on his 65th bday and hoping that he's doing well in Heaven. Happy Bday Pop.

Liz:
1) While I've been teaching college for 10 years (10 years?!), I've never taught 2 classes back-to-back every day. I've usually taught 3 face-to-face and 3 online. This stuff's tiring. It takes all my mental energy to get through them (and be funny and knowledgeable). I'm already tired and we just finished week 1.

2) After a tiring week I had the best present on Thursday. Sage who is 19 months old gave me a kiss on purpose. He saw Daddy giving me kisses as I was holding him and proceeded to push Daddy away and lay one on me himself. Aw. I look forward to many more Sagey kisses.

3) I've spent the last few months trying to explain to Silas that he can't push his brother around because eventually brother will get bigger and push back. He didn't listen. I tried time out. Didn't do anything. I tried explaining how it felt to be Sage and get pushed down by his brother (whom he adores). No dice, he still did it. Today Silas was messing with Sage and Sage looked at him, cocked his head to the side, proceeded to head butt Silas in the gut, and walk away as Silas fake cried about how brother had hurt him. I had the same discussion with Sage ("We don't hurt people on purpose, it makes them sad," not that he got it) but I did notice something peculiar...Silas didn't start with Sage again yet. Huh. Not promoting sibling aggression but maybe this was the learning experience we needed? We shall see. I'm not holding my breath. *Never mind, Saturday Sage was messing with the remote during Silas' show and Silas put his foot on brother's chest and held him down so he couldn't get to the remote or the TV. Short reprieve.*


Now it's your turn - tell us what was amazing or interesting this week for you. If you don't see a comment box, click "0 comments" and you'll see one (silly Internet).

WEMAKE7 Birthday Giveaway Ends 2/22

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The Mamas have teamed up with WEMAKE7 and lots of other bloggers to promote this fantastic giveaway for WEMAKE7 which is turning 1 this year! What a fantastic way to celebrate - 11 winners will receive prizes, all of which are described below.

WEMAKE7 is turning 1 and we are celebrating their first year! =) WEMAKE7 loves to bring their readers Product Reviews, posts about Family Life, Living Greener, Giveaways and more.. They have teamed up with 11 Awesome companies to bring you a big giveaway to not only celebrate their first year but to let their readers know they value each and every one of them! =)
This giveaway has 11 prizes and there will be 11 winners! Prizes included in this giveaway are:
Mon, Feb 11, 2013 1:34:07 PMCombi High Chair RVP $179.99
The Combi High Chair is designed for comfort, style, and ease. Its five-position height adjustment allows your child to be positioned properly at any table and the three-position, one-hand reclining seat will ensure that your child stays comfortable. Your growing child will sit safely and securely with an adjustable, five-point harness and cushioned shoulder pads. The padded seat can be quickly wiped clean and the removable tray features a dishwasher-safe insert for simple cleanups. The High Chair folds compactly and provides convenient mobility with molded rear wheels for easy transport and storage.
playfishImagine I can Lace & Play Fish RVP $5
This fabulous fish lace and play character is great for play time fun or as a decoration to hang when done! Lacing activity supports the development of hand-eye coordination fine motor skills.
headerWebsiteNew1 Glow Bug Cloth Diaper RVP $12.50
New to cloth or a seasoned pro? Glow Bug Cloth Diapers are a perfect cloth diaper for anyone. They are very affordable, stylish and fit great. They have the new Revolutionary 360° Gusset design - 360 degrees of protection! =)
01_cover_camo_diaper_pack_web_window_600x900_1_1The Daddy Diaper Pack Camo Edition RVP $69.95
The Daddy Diaper Pack™ in urban camo is the ultimate backpack style for Dads with full straps and clips to lock it down, and to take it off quickly and easily. The custom design allows less fumbling through deep pockets and eliminates struggling to take off the pack while holding baby. The side pockets are great for water bottles, baby bottles, and sippy cups. There’s a big pouch for diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes (and of course a small one for the “dirty stuff”). The Daddy Diaper Pack™ by DaddyScrubs is truly the ultimate go-to diaper bag for dads – perfect for all occasions like shopping, walking trips, car rides, and emergencies.
girl_pack_shadow1 Set of Diaper Dawgs (Molly & Bella) RVP $7.95
If your like me; you love cloth dipaers =) and I bet you have thought to yourself when changing those diapers that you wished you had something to help with cleanup so you didn't get your hands messy. Diaper Dawgs act as a barrier on your fingers when "fetching" the soiled insert. Great on laundry day too!
heartcellHeart Cell (Cardiomyocyte) RVP $12.95
GIANTmicrobes by Drew Oliver carry a lot of different gifts. One of my favorites is this Heart Cell that includes a heartbeat sound. Your kiddo will love learning about the heart with this cute plush.
BBBGroup2900LE1 baby banana brush RVP $7.99-8.49
Baby Banana® designs, manufactures and distributes fun, innovative and, most importantly, safe infant and toddler care products. Their products represent a commitment to improved health for toddlers and infants through oral hygiene and product safety. Your kiddo will have fun learning how to brush his/hers teeth with the banana brush. =)
Spotless_Tot_4dbf8dbe468e8Hot Tot Spotless Tot RVP $14
Hot Tot Spotless Tot is an extra gentle hair and body cleanser created for babies and beyond. Their mild formula cleans and moisturizes delicate skin and hair while rinsing easily. A few pumps of their luxurious foaming cleanser keeps tots spotless from head to toe. -Gently Cleans and Moisturizes -Mild Formula -pH Balanced -No Harsh Chemicals / Natural Ingredients -Gluten & Soy Free -Lightly Scented with our Cabbage Patch-Inspired Signature Fragrance.
DSC_00971 Juppy Baby Walker (your choice of color) RVP $29.99
The Juppy "Momentum" is a solution to a previously recognized but unsolved challenge for parents of babies beginning to walk. Babies strong enough to begin walking but not strong enough to walk alone. The Juppy builds confidence in your baby and teaches balance while you maintain your natural posture, eliminating the grueling task of hunching over while teaching your baby to walk. Ditch the traditional walker and get a Juppy! ;)
51VC6PlllCL._SY300_1 Set of Yummi Pouch Brights RVP $11.99
Yummi Pouch Brights (Set of 4) combine style and convenience in an eco-friendly container you can fill with homemade smoothies and blended snacks! Easy to fill and clean through the top zipper opening and enjoyed by drinking from the side spout, Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches are great for kids taking healthy snacks on the go. Includes set of 4 assorted patterns. Your kiddo will love the bright awesome colors while eating their favorite smoothie or snack!
all2Bflavors12 Pack of Peter Rabbit Organics RVP $18-21
Peter Rabbit Organics make delicious, organic fruit snacks and veggie blends. Their fruit pouches are loved by all ages, and their veggie blends are gulped down by hungry little ones. They use the squeezy pouches to make eating healthy food easy and fun..When they started Peter Rabbit Organics they made 3 promises: that everything they made would always be 100% organic, 100% healthy (no added sugar, no added salt and nothing artificial) and always taste 100% delicious! Mmmm my son loves these =)

Enter for your chance to win 1 of 11 prizes in the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway open to U.S. only. ATTENTION readers from Canada: WEMAKE7 is sponsoring a separate giveaway for those that reside in Canada for a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Cash via paypal. You can enter HERE.


Disclosure: This blog was not compensated for this post. This giveaway is in no way endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment. If you have any questions/concerns you can reach Bonnie at mommato5kiddos@aol.com.
Thursday, January 23, 2014

Air Scrubber Plus – Kindle Fire Giveaway



Indoor air pollution may be 2-5 times, and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Sources of pollution include heating oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, and tobacco products; building materials and furnishings; household cleaning products; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, and outdoor air pollution that enter the home.



Air Scrubber Plus® with ActivePure™ technology is based on a variation of the technology originally developed for use in the International Space Station and is recognized as the exclusive Certified Space Technology by the Space Foundation in its category. Air Scrubber Plus offers the only environmental technology that is scientifically proven to actually reduce contaminants in the air and surfaces of the home.



Working through your existing heating and air conditioning system, Air Scrubber Plus uses proprietary catalytic technology to reduce dust, pet dander and odors in your home. You can reduce common smells such as pet odor, cigarette smoke, paint fumes, mold smells and the occasional burnt food odor.




The difference in air quality is noticeable; the air is fresher and the surfaces are cleaner, with an up to 99% reduction in contaminants on surfaces, like kitchen counters and toilet seats. Dust, allergens, mildew and odor-causing bacteria are proven to be significantly reduced with Air Scrubber Plus.



Click on graphic to see it larger

Our Favorite Features of Air Scrubber Plus® with ActivePure™ technology:
  • Air Scrubber Plus cleans and disinfects the air and surfaces of your home, reducing up to 99.9% of surface micro-organisms and 90% of airborne micro-organisms. 
  • The most highly respected labs in the country at Kansas State University and University of Cincinnati have tested and validated the effectiveness of the Air Scrubber Plus technology. 
  • Air Scrubber Plus reduces VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitted by carpets, building materials, cleaning products, furniture, paint, fireplaces, and pesticides.
  • Air Scrubber Plus eliminates airborne and surface toxins that can aggravate allergy symptoms, chest tightness, cough, nausea, sinus problems, dizziness, eye/nose/throat irritation, fatigue, and headaches.
  • Air Scrubber Plus extends the life and effectiveness of your existing HVAC system.
  • Air Scrubber Plus is easily installed by professional HVAC technician.
  • Member of the U.S. Green Building Council
Purchase: You can purchase the Air Scrubber Plus indoor air purification system from top HVAC contractors across the country or contact Air Scrubber Plus by phone or email for more information




Win! Air Scrubber Plus is sponsoring an Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16 GB Tablet giveaway (retail value $229) to promote their incredible new indoor air purification incredible technology during National Home Indoor Air Quality and Awareness Month.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Special thanks to AnaB Social for hosting this giveaway. Huge thanks to airscrubberplus.com and all the fabulous participating bloggers as well! Giveaway ends March 7th at 11:59 pm, open to residents of U.S., ages 18+. See detailed terms and conditions on entry form. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form above (see directions on how to enter here). Thank you!





Disclaimer: AnaB Social and all participating event bloggers are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  

How to have a date night at home

Valentine's Day is coming. Can't get out of the house? Robyn has some great suggestions for Do It Yourself Date Night (at home):

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net "Love Card With Copyspace" by nirots
DIY Date Night - A Night Out at Home
 
1. Pick a theme (I'll go with Italy!)

2. Google 'Best Italian Restaurant in _____(your city).'

3. Call in the dinner order and have your significant other pick it up on their way home.  (If you are good in the kitchen and have the time, whip up some meatballs or chicken parmigiana before your date arrives) 

4. Go get (or bake) dessert! (Cannolis, Italian Wedding cake, or Tiramisu...YUMMY!!!)

5. Clear the dinner table and place a tablecloth over it. Light two candles and place them in the middle of the table. Serve dinner at the table paired with an Italian wine, Italian beer, or Italian soda. 

6. Put the dishes in the sink and forget about them! 

7. Put in a movie relating to your theme (The Italian Job for action, or La Dolce Vida for a comedy/drama).

8. Remove recliners from room. Snuggle up on the couch while watching your movie together. 

9. Break out the dessert! Get one plate and two forks. Take turns or feed each other! 

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net "Love Card With Copyspace" by nirots
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Promoting Positivity

You've probably seen people's posts around the Internet about how rather than creating New Year's Resolutions this year they decided to think about one word or three words or something similar to guide their year. As someone who is more into "goals" than "resolutions" (because resolutions are typically not very specific whereas goals are), I like the idea of having a word or a few to think about throughout the next year. So I thought for a few days about my word (or words) and I was having a hard time coming up with anything specific.

Last week a fellow blogger, great writer, future published author, previous guest poster, and amazing Dad, Doyin from Daddy Doin' Work, had a photo that went viral. It was all over MSN, Yahoo News, everywhere. And other media outlets took notice. He was on Katie Couric, the Today show, radio programs, and even Headline News on CNN. His message through his photo was two fold: 1) both moms and dads can rock out with every day home activities such as brushing hair, and 2) dads aren't bumbling morons when it comes to kids and should be involved in every level of parenting. As I watched his media storm unfold, I smiled to myself and thought, "You go dude. Rock on." Then I went on Facebook and Twitter and saw some people happy for him and some other people posting things such as, "Apparently I need to take pictures of myself while doing dishes and juggling two babies so I can be on CNN too." My response to the latter posts was an eye roll and a cranky scowl. "I am so tired of people's negativity," I thought.

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net "Pointing Positives On Blackboard" by Stuart Miles
Positivity for the win!

And then I had my "words" epiphany. It was simple really, and something I've thought about for the past six months or so. I am tired of negativity and people's "crankypants" (as I call it) Internet behaviors. I'm tired of their face-to-face crankypants behaviors too, but there's less I can do about those people typically. I've noticed that people are very open to being crankypants on the Internet though, be it because they're "anonymous" or because they're not saying something to someone's face. I see some comments people make on personal and professional pages on Facebook, for example, and I think, "If you were standing talking to this person would you say these things?! No. You wouldn't. You'd either smile and nod or you'd leave. You would never go into a store and yell at an employee that their products are crap and that their business ethics are sh*t, would you? Probably not. You'd stop shopping there. But you'll go onto their business' page and type in all caps about how bad their products are."

I'm tired of that. My family always followed the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" idea for these types of things, and I abide by that. But if I have to say something "not nice," I'll do it in private (and typically have previously except in one instance where a fast food chain pissed me off). People deserve respect. Even if you haven't gotten any (respect) today, that doesn't mean you should be crankypants about or to someone else.

So my words are "promote positivity." That's what I'll be meditating on for the year and what I'll be focusing on in my parenting, my work, AND in my social media experiences. For me, that means that I'll be attempting to surround myself with other positive people. If a blogger I follow consistently posts crankypants things about other bloggers or people, I'll un-like them. I don't need to see that crap. You can go elsewhere with that negativity. If a friend (or even family member) is consistently cranky in their online world, I'll be un-friending or unfollowing them. I won't be reading comments on business pages. I won't be reading comments on news articles. All the places that crankypants people come out? I won't be there. Where will I be? I'll be reading people who write uplifting words. Promote positivity in your world.

Did you think of one or three words to guide 2014 for you? What were they? How are you implementing that? To leave a comment, click "0 Comments" below and the comment box will appear (we're working to fix that by the way).

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net "Pointing Positives On Blackboard" by Stuart Miles
Sunday, January 19, 2014

What We Learned (January 19th edition)

If you're new to the blog, we do this every week - on Sundays we round up our weeks and talk about what interesting things we learned (or were reminded of that maybe we forgot). At the end we ask you to add in what you learned by going to the comments section (if it says No Comments click on No Comments and you'll be able to see where to comment - silly little blog). Each Mama gets to share a few things from her week. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, sometimes...we shake our heads and roll our eyes.

Robyn: 
1. A lady in front of baby Reagan and I slammed on her brakes on the highway at a yellow light, on the highway, on Friday. Locking up a 3/4 ton diesel wasn't fun (or easy) for me in approximately 100 ft, going 65 MPH. We fishtailed, and ended up in another lane where, thankfully, there wasn't any traffic. Adrenaline made mama bear pulled up next to the car and proceed to inform the other driver of what exactly a yellow light means. She shut her face, faced forward and rolled up her window. Therefore, I've learned to be an asshole, not all the time, but only when necessary! 

2. I've learned that the symbol for carbon monoxide is CO. Which makes sense, each has one molecule, but I was forced to learn this. When Mike went out of town on the bike and the baby and I were alone, she started getting sleepy from tummy time. Then, BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP from the CO alarm!!! I freaked out, ran her outside, aired out the house, replaced the batteries, and reset the alarm. 30 min later, the alarm was no longer beeping and our chilly butts came back in. Still scared to go to sleep, there I was...up at 0145. 

Lisa: 
Mamas Around the House
Lisa's Week 1 Nails
1. I learned to make time for myself, with a twist. I'm doing the 101 nail care classes with Julep and I'm supposed to take care of certain assignments. This week was crazy, everyone here was sick, so I didn't have time to do it right away. Well, I finally made some time and I had Pixy be my photographer. She took all the pics of me doing my assignments and she was so proud of herself for doing something a big girl does. My nails look great and I'm excited to do something for myself.



2. I'm already thinking about summer, as I see clearance racks at stores pop up. I so want to relax and take a wonderful vacation, so I find that this is relaxing a bit. It helps me disconnect from the daily schedule and think positively about something in the future. Also, how can I resist getting a sundress or two for the girls at $3 a piece?! ;)



3. I have decided to try out the Honest Company diapers. They've been recommended to me by a few girlfriends, and after seeing them on a friend's son...I figured, why not? I tackle life by wanting to learn about everything, so this counts as research. ;)


Liz:

1) I've observed that Silas (3.5) will be mean to Sage (1.5) when I stop Silas from doing something he wants to do. If I stop Si from doing something I really have to watch to make sure he doesn't turn around and take away Sage's toy or trip him. Sigh. I've tried explaining that he needs to be Sage's friend, protector, anything good...but nothing seems to help. I'm open for suggestions!

2) I am becoming one of those Pinterest people. I used to make fun of Robyn for all her Pinterest activities, but I've definitely been looking for recipes and fun things to do with the boys on there more. If I have 5 minutes I'll open the app on my phone and scroll through for a few interesting finds. Are you on Pinterest? You should follow us here.

3) I guest posted on my friend Susannah's blog - you should check it out here.


Now you! Tell us one thing in the comments that rocked your week. We're waiting!
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kindle Fire HD Blogger Opportunity Closes 1/31

This is a blogger opportunity which gives bloggers the opportunity to sign up to promote a giveaway. Readers will see this giveaway coming soon! Bloggers, sign up and be sure to indicate that Mamas Around the House referred you.


Kindle Fire Giveaway
Sign ups end Friday 1/31/14
Tentative Event Dates 2/3/14 – 2/17/14 at 11:59pm

Grand Prize

Kindle Fire HD WiFi 8GB
Retail Value $154
Cost: Free with Announcement or $5 Fee
Get announcement HTML here - http://bit.ly/1a6zxGY
{Includes 1 links – Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest}
Co-Host Pages – $20
Includes:
*Your blog URL in event HTML to be listed on all participating blogs
*4 Free Links
*Listing at top of Rafflecopter
Benefits of Co-hosting include increasing your followers, increase your traffic, increase number of backlinks/links in, and help bettering stats, ranks, and ratings.
Additional links – $3/ea

Referral Prize

The top referrer will win a $25 Amazon gift code!

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Blogger Opportunity Spring Into Cash 3/20-4/10

This is a Blogger Opportunity (not a live giveaway) - bloggers who are interested in promoting it should apply (and remember to tell them that Mamas Around the House sent you!). Readers will see this giveaway coming in March!


Spring Into Cash Event

Organized by: Mom Powered Media

Grand Prize: $1,000 Visa Gift Card

Event dates: 3/20 – 4/10

Open to all bloggers with 2,500 Facebook fans or more.


Plasma Bike Giveaway Ends 1/31



Are you looking for that one awesome toy this Holiday! Most toys that are awesome tend to cost in the hundreds to our kids now a days. Well PlasmaCar has many products that appeal to everyone's budget and child's age. The PlasmaBike for example is great for ages 18+ months and holds up to 55lbs. I have a 5 year old and she does not weigh 55lbs. The PlasmaBike encourages balance, helps with coordination, and motor skills development. The PlasmaBike is also very light weight. When I got this big box sitting on my door step. I was like oh, boy that looks heavy. I got my hulk mom muscles ready to pick it up and I fall backwards because it was light as a feather. I had an audience and my kids laughing at me. I was like so curious as to what was in this big box that hardly had any weight to it. Did a company send me a magazine packed in a huge box? I opened the box and was in shock that it was a PlasmaBike! It only weighs 7lbs.- Its Peachy Keen (Priscilla)

Kids as young as 18 months can have fun and learn the useful bike skills of balance, coordination, and movement on a toy/bike. Even if you don't have a child to give it to, it would make a great birthday (or even Christmas) gift to a family friend! Be sure to enter!

IMAG3837_1
This is my 5 year old on it!
Photo Credit- Its Peachy Keen

GIVEAWAY
Open to Us Residents, 18+ ENDS January 30 Midnight EST. Check back on It's Peachy Keen For the winner announcement post! This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This blog also did not receive any compensation for this post. Any questions on any Giveaway/S Please email me at Itspeachykeen@live.com
Sponsored by PlasmaBike and Hosted by Its Peachy Keen and Motherhood Community.

Julep Nail Challenge 101, or how Lisa is trying to get her groove back step 1

It's a universal truth that I never feel good about how I look after childbirth. I feel like a slob, even though I brush my teeth, shower, and try to apply some eyeliner in the morning. It's hard to make time for myself and I'm often telling myself that I need to budget a little more time for me, to keep sane. Enter Julep Nails.

I was perusing Instagram and MAtH Liz has been mentioning Julep Nail products for a long time on there. It just so happens that Julep was asking for pictures of hands that have seen better days in order to win a manicure. On a lark, I sent my pic in, labelled "post-baby nails."

Mamas Arond the House
Lisa's "post baby nails"

I wasn't expecting an answer, so I went about my business. Within a couple hours, I got a message that my picture had been chosen for the Julep Nail Challenge 101. Whoa!! Really?! Then I thought, man...my hands must really look bad. Ha!

Overnight, I got my Nail Care gift pack with a bunch of goodies to get started. Kate, from Julep, explained to me that I (along with 3 other participants) will serve as muse in their month long nail care 101 classes on their blog. We will document our progress using all our goodies from Julep and the readers will follow along for nail care tips and tricks. It sounds exciting and lots of fun! This is exactly what I needed to help me feel better about myself, and hopefully, help someone else feel the same too.

Mamas Around the House
Lisa's Nails 101 Package from Julep

Here's hoping you enjoy the ride too! Progress pictures will be shared on our Instagram account. Feel free to check Julep out online and take the classes with me!! :)
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Amber for Babies Review and Giveaway

We received an amber necklace for testing purposes from Amber for Babies to facilitate this review.

If you have a teething baby (or remember that fun part if parenting), you may have remembered trying everything to help your little one's pain. Parents who are interested in natural remedies have been using Baltic Amber for pain and have found it useful for teething and other childhood pain, as well as for adult pain from headaches, arthritis, and other issues. According to Amber for Babies, "Our raw amber necklaces are best sellers for good reason. Amber jewelry works by releasing succinic acid. Raw amber contains more of this acid; therefore, works a little more effectively." Learn more about Baltic Amber from Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces, an online retailer of Amber for Babies. You can follow Amber for Babies on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Mamas Around the House
Honey Raw Beads Amber Necklace

Robyn's six-month-old daughter Reagan wore the necklace we received from Amber for Babies and these are her observations:

As I was taking the necklace out of the package, I noticed it has a matte finish and has all smooth edges. It is 12" in length and fits around my daughter's neck with plenty of wiggle room. She pays no attention to it during the day. Actually, the only time she notices it, is when she is in front of a mirror! There is no grabbing at her neck or trying to pull it off, which is a plus! 

Reagan has worn the necklace all the throughout the daytime for the past 3 weeks. I haven't noticed her teething is getting any worse, but she is always such a happy girl! 


We'll be interested to see how their teething experiences play out in the coming months.

Are you interested in trying an Amber necklace for your child? Amber for Babies will provide one reader with a necklace in either a Honey Raw or Lemon Raw beads amber necklace. Enter below to win!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Response to Breastfeeding Bridesmaid Huffington Post Blog

This is in response to a recent blog posted on the Huffington Post by Sandy Malone.

Why this article made me mad...

A friend of mine recently sent me a blog article because it specifically mentioned Puerto Ricans and breastfeeding. She wanted to hear my opinion on this and I promised her I would let her know what I thought...after I cooled down a bit. Here goes...

In the article, written by what we can only think is a wedding planner of some sort, a bride has a dilemma: her maid of honor wants to bring her baby to her wedding (no kids allowed), and she's a all-out-in-the-open breast feeder. Apparently, because the bride's family is Puerto Rican and Catholic, they don't agree with nursing out in the open. The author of the blog goes on to say that the bride needs to have a talk with her because this chick isn't her friend if she's trying to bring her baby and nurse no matter what in the open. THAT is when I exploded.

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net  "Mother Is Breast Feeding For Her Baby" by Jomphong
Public breastfeeding

While Puerto Rico has a law in place for breastfeeding advocacy, it was only passed in 2004. I'm Puerto Rican, folks. It takes us all a minute to adjust to new things. I say this because in 2008, I had to breastfeed in a changing room in the mall in Ponce, because I would be "more comfortable" there, and for the record, I had a nursing cover on. No one saw a thing.  It made me sad. I wasn't showing anything but I heard people making comments, because everyone has an opinion on everything in Puerto Rico, even if it goes against fact.

When I gave birth to Pixy and mentioned to some family members that I was going to breastfeed, I was asked why I would do that, because I worked, I had money, I could afford formula. Don't get me started on what they said when I started using cloth diapers! I heard things like: breast milk will constipate the baby, your boobs will be a mess, it's hard work. I agree on the hard work part, sometimes pumping is a bitch, and I have nothing against formula, having used it to supplement the babies while my milk production caught up with demand, not to mention to get Pixy to get fat. However, part of my family, who happens to be more humble, applauded my decision: it's natural to do, it's free, why not? I felt a little sad that I wasn't getting support in my choice to breastfeed. Not like I needed. It was uncharted territory and I was on my own. My own mother didn't breastfeed me, and even though she's often said it was due to the fertility drugs she was using and also her anxiety (people would tell her old wives tales, like her boobs would get ruined by it, and only country bumpkins did that), part of me feels like it was easier for her to not have to deal with everyone giving you their two cents. In addition for a while in Puerto Rico, formula seemed to be pushed on mothers, especially those who worked and were well-educated: it will help you keep your independence and be a good mom too. Interesting, huh?

How does this relate to this article? I think the bride's family belongs to the group of people who remain stuck in that weird conservative pocket, where breastfeeding is about showing off ones boob and not feeding the baby. In my experience, this happens in pockets on the island, mainly in smaller towns and not the metro area, Catholicism has nothing to do with it, and if you're covered, it's fine to do. Most of the problem is when a woman exposes herself completely to nurse, as Puerto Rico is still a very male-centric society. Men will stop to look at a boob, it's just the way it is. Not always though.  There have been nurse-ins at malls and other places, so that myths about breastfeeding are dispelled and more mothers turn to breastfeeding. The face of breastfeeding is changing on the island. In 2010, I breastfed Banshee in a restaurant in Gu├ínica with no problem or uncomfortable looks from anyone. This city is far away from the metro hotspots of Ponce or San Juan. So, there is that. To use religion as a blanket to cover up someone's misguided opinion is crazy. Granted, the church in Puerto Rico is a little more traditional than those here, it has not denounced breastfeeding in any way. To me, it sounds like the bride's family just wants a little more control of the situation.

That didn't get me upset though. What really got me mad was the "no kids allowed at my wedding because I'm the center of the universe" comment. It bugged me because she's Puerto Rican. In our culture, everyone and their best friend gets invited to weddings, with children being welcome,
because they are part of the family. Children to Puerto Ricans are worth their weight in gold, in my experience. To deny them at an event of happiness and love, is to deny family. Same goes for when a bride turns into a spoiled brat, whining about gown lengths, hairstyles, guests, food, and her in-laws.
Really?! This just turned into a "thing" because of the Bridezilla reality show phenomenon that is so popular. I find it silly and selfish to expect everyone to bow down to you simply because it is a special occasion you happen to be holding. Even more silly, when a professional, hired to aid in wedding preparations, thinks this behavior is perfectly sound. Because happy brides just don't make for interesting wedding stories. Sigh!!  It  should be about getting family and friend together to celebrate happiness, catch up with everyone, eat copious amounts of food, make up new words, and use Windex as a cure-all. Know what I mean?  Have we lost the joy of simplicity because we've gotten lazy? When did it become OK to foist your opinions on someone else? Why is this kind of thing OK?

Yeah, the breastfeeding thing is sad. Women are fighting constantly about which one is the one to do, not the one that is best for that specific woman and her family. We should support each other. Period. No matter what. There are places all over the world who struggle with things that we take for granted, so to fight over which way is best to feed a baby, seems trivial in the grand scheme of things. This, however, is slowly getting fixed in Puerto Rico, and attitudes toward both breastfeeding and formula-feeding are changing through advocacy and education. So that part of that article, while frustrating, doesn't upset me as much as the wedding planner's opinion that the maid of honor should bow out of her position because of her selfishness for wanting to a) brain her baby and b) by feeding her child on demand. Wow. Just wow. That's the real infuriating part. Here are my choice words for the wedding "professional": educate yourself, dear. Grow up, your immaturity, as seen in your opinion if what the bride should do, is showing.  To comment on things you have no experience with, is ridiculous. The point is not to propagate ignorance, but to use these "teachable moments" to create change. You missed the mark, girlfriend. As I sit here typing this while breastfeeding my son, I think...what a damn shame! It saddens me.

This is simply my opinion on the matter. I mean, I'm just a Puerto Rican Mama to 5 kids. What do I know?

Have you encountered any opinion pieces that have riled you up? Share with us in the comments. 



Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net  "Mother Is Breast Feeding For Her Baby" by Jomphong


Sunday, January 12, 2014

What We Learned (January 12, 2014 Edition)

If you're new to our blog, we do this every week. It's like a Sunday round up of what we learned this past week. It's Sunday again, another opportunity to review what we've learned or marveled about this week. We'd love to see what our readers learned (or were amazed by) this week - be sure to comment at the bottom (click 0 Comments if you don't see a comment box). Let's see what the Mamas learned...

Lisa:

1. This week, we were finally able to take the Banshee to her therapeutic horseback riding. We'd been waiting for a long time but on a rainy Day, we headed out to the barn to ride on Bob. The joy on my child's face as she was riding the horse, was the greatest treasure ever! I found myself grinning like crazy at her, every time she'd ride by me in the arena. It was cold, but man...we cannot wait to do it again!!

2. I began a manic cleaning spree in the house because the house was under the care of my husband, as I'm still having a hard time recovering from Cubby's birth. He looked at me and told me how he doesn't know how I do it all and manage to stay sane. He said he was so exhausted from taking on my schedule, that he couldn't wait to sleep!! It was nice to hear him say that, even though he says it all the time, but I really needed something positive to get me going. My room is becoming a little bit of a prison and I'm getting stir-crazy. That's what happens when you pop a stitch on your Csec scar though. Sigh! You'd think I'd learn by now.

3. The Sailor begins a really grueling week on Monday. He will be living in his car, as he drives to his destinations. He inspires me sometimes with his determination and his drive to make himself a better musician.

Liz:
1) This week I was reminded that while I enjoy staying home (and kids still go to school so mot really a stay at home "mom"), I get really excited when a new semester starts and it's time to go back to work.

2) Vivid examples are more "important" in some people's minds than research evidence. My father in law had a stroke Saturday (I suspected). Thankfully a friend of his called me and my husbands' siblings and we were able to get him to the hospital. His initial reason for not going was, "I don't like doctors. You saw what they did to Gary (his brother who died last year)." Gary had multipe organ failure. Just go to the hospital.

3) My husband was able to reconnect with his son from his first marriage last weekend, and we were able to hang out with him Saturday. The last time we saw him he was 10. He's now 13 and a respectful, intelligent, and helpful young man. It's fantastic to see how he's grown.

Robyn: Robyn is on a cruise with her family (try not to be jealous) so she won't be writing with us this week. Check in with her next week though as she'll have lots of stuff to say!

Now it's your turn - tell us about your amazing week below in the Comments section. We look forward to hearing from you!
Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to Attend a Twitter Party


Are you a blogger who has been invited to a Twitter “party” or “chat?” Are you a person who follows your favorite brands on social media? This post will help you to easily attend a Twitter party or chat with your favorite brands. I’m hoping it will be a super simple guide to accomplish your goal of interacting with your brand during a Twitter party.

First things first. You will need:
            A Twitter account which will give you a Twitter handle (username).
            High speed internet or WI-FI access.

It would also be nice to have uninterrupted quiet time to participate, but we all know how that works…

How to attend a Twitter party
Start your tweeting!

What if you don’t have a Twitter account? Set up is super easy. First, go to Twitter and set up an account. On the home page you’ll see “New to Twitter? Sign up” – fill in your information including your name, email address, and password you want to use for Twitter. You’ll be asked to go to your email and open an email from Twitter, and you’ll follow a link to validate your account (and prove you’re not a spammer). You’ll be asked to create a username – this is your Twitter handle, what you will use to send messages and how you’ll be known to others. You can easily create one based upon your name or you can make one up, just like when you created your email address. Once your account is validated, you’ll want to post a photo for your account (usually personal photos work best but photos of your cat or avatars will work). Click on the Me tab on Twitter, and hover over the area where the photo goes (top middle of your page). Click on where the photo goes and you’ll be able to upload a photo from your computer. You can also edit your profile and add information about yourself or your blog or your company. You can also add Header Photos and get all fancy with your page, but I won’t go into that here.

OK so you have an account, now what? We follow Twitter handles (usernames) with @ marks. You’re basically telling Twitter “I’m talking @ so and so.” So if I want to tag (tweet at) someone, I put @theirusername in my tweet. You can find friends or your brand by using the Search bar at the top. Search for people’s names, brands, anything, and something will pop up. Click on it and you can click Follow on a profile and poof, you’re following this person! Their tweets (posts) will show up in your feed (which will be on the home page).

What’s a tweet? It’s a 140 character post. If you’re on Facebook, you know that you can update your status and that it can be as long as you want. On Twitter, which is a micro-blogging platform (read micro: small), you can only use 140 characters (including spaces). So tweets will be short. You’ll see tweets that include a # - this is a hashtag. We can use hashtags before words or phrases on Twitter and people will use these hashtagged words or phrases to search for what they want to learn or find. For example, I have a giveaway on our blog right now for a Diono Radian RXT car seat. If I wanted to tweet about it (which I do), then I could write “#Enter to #win a @Diono Radian RXT #carseat on the #blog!” This way, the tweet gets posted on Diono’s Twitter feed (so anyone who follows Diono can see it) and anyone who searches for “enter,” “win,” “carseat,” or “blog” could find my post. #Giveaway is always a good one to use to get people to find your blog giveaways as well. I will also include a link to enter the giveaway (and the link should be short, so use a link shortener tool which you can find by doing a Google search for “link shortener”).

And now a Twitter party. So now back to our regularly schedule programming about attending Twitter parties. A brand or company will plan a Twitter party and will invite it’s readers/followers/customers to participate. A lot of times they’ll do this to answer questions from a large group, introduce a new product, or give away products. Attending a party can get overwhelming really fast, and here’s why. Let’s say that our blog, Mamas Around the House, is throwing a Twitter party. We invite all our readers (we have over 3,000 Facebook followers) and let’s say half of them show up to the party (holy cow that would rock). That’s 1,500 people on Twitter at once talking to us and talking about something such as a giveaway we’re doing. Imagine 1,500 people sitting in a room all talking (tweeting) at once. It can be chaos (with a capital K). I’ll tell you how to stay sane during a party in a second.

Party Announcement. The announcement for the party will include two things: who’s hosting (the Twitter handle of the host of the party, the person who is going to be tweeting to the readers) and a hashtagged topic to follow. Basically when I tell my readers to use a certain hashtagged word, I’m putting all of us who tweet using that hashtag in a “chat room” (just like the old school chat rooms). You can follow a hashtagged word and only see posts that have that hashtag, so that means that you can focus on posts that relate to your party. If I were throwing a Twitter party, I might email and Facebook my followers and say, “Tonight at 9 p.m. Central we’re throwing a Twitter party! Liz from Mamas Around the House is hosting – follow her at @MamaArndthHouse. We’ll be using #ilovetwitterparties to follow each other’s conversation. See you there!” So we have our host (@mamaarndthhouse) and our hashtag to follow (#ilovetwitterparties). We’re ready to…party.

Suggestion: After three years of doing these parties, here’s what I do. I open up Twitter on one tab in my Internet browser. I log in, and I go to the host’s page. I make sure I’m following them so that I can tweet at them (i.e., put their handle in my tweets). This allows me to see the host’s questions and reply to them by clicking Reply and tweeting back to them/answering their question (be sure to use the hashtag or you’re not “in the room”). In another tab I open an application that is designed for Twitter parties/chats such as Tweet Chat or something else (Google Twitter chat and a few will come up but I use TweetChat most often). Put in your hashtag. This will show you all of the tweets that are using that hashtag. It can get to be a lot. And they can refresh pretty quickly meaning that you’re trying to read someone’s post and click Reply and poof it disappears because the page refreshed and there were 20 more tweets (and 20 more…and 20 more…). To stay organized, follow the host, answer their questions, and only go back to the full feed tab every once in a while. If it’s a slow moving chat you’ll be fine, but as I said before, the more people, the crazier the party.

OK, now you’re ready – go attend a Twitter party/Twitter chat! Have fun and stay sane :) If you enjoyed this post, please share it with friends, on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Pinterest. Thanks!
-Liz

Diary of a Mad Mommy


At my house, we believe in the multi-step approach in parenting. Asking, showing, and then telling.  This has worked in many different situations like cleaning rooms, unloading dishwashers, and even doing their own laundry. I try to teach my boys how to open doors for the next person. Looking out for the next person is an amazing quality that I think men should have. There's no surprise that this quality doesn't come natural to every man, so some must be taught to some. Whether it be filling up the wife's gas tank or picking up his clothes in the bathroom, all little tasks are appreciated when someone goes the extra mile to make life easier.

However, today was not a teaching-type day.

"I've left a friendly reminder for you all (boys) to remember what to do after using the toilet,"

http://www.mamasaroundthehouse.com/
Mommy's warning

"I, personally, do not want to fall in while trying to pee. If you all would like to see what a wet butt feels like while trying to squat and use the bathroom, I would be glad to remove all the seats in the house. The difference is, that I am used to squatting while peeing. You are all used to standing while peeing. Try squatting  and hovering while trying to poop."

No yelling, no screaming. Just a smooth calm voice was used this time. That's what scared me. My dad used to yell.  He was 'always' right. He would get so red in the face, that I could see jugular vein distention in his neck. I swear steam would come out of his ears. I did learn from him, though. That's the exact reason yelling didn't take place today. Every time I did something wrong as a child, I got yelled at. Therefore, I knew what was coming. Call my name, scream at me, run away crying, repeat. That walk of shame feeling was happening as I dragged my feet with my head down when I heard my name being called. The red hulk was about to unleash. 

Mommies shouldn't be a hulk, I think to myself. But, I will stay true to my word and follow through with the removal of a toilet seat if need be. One time of holding the squat position while utilizing the toilet should be a valuable lesson that a seat is a perk and not a necessity. 

Learn, my children. Please learn the easy way.