Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: E is for Edible Eyeballs (a Halloween Treat!)

I was telling my husband the other day that I never really pictured myself as the kind of mom that would peel the skin off of grapes to feed her child, but lo-and-behold - I have a child who loves grapes and I'm a mother that aims to please.

On that note, this post is all about servin' it up fancy! Kids will love these edible eyeballs for a Halloween treat. They are easy to make, and will definitely score you some "cool mom" points with the kids. Not to mention they are delicious, and we all know that Halloween treats are also calorie free, so enjoy! *wink wink*

 I  received a holiday idea book in the mail from Nestle that included these awesome Butterfinger Eyeballs. Now, anyone who knows me knows that Butterfingers (and Oreos, but that's a different story) are my weakness. YUMMY! These will be a big hit at your next Halloween party! I found this copy of the recipe at Nestle's

This is also a perfect activity to discover the magic (and science) behind melting and freezing elements!

Butterfinger Eyeballs

"Create a memorable Halloween with this fun recipe for BUTTERFINGER® Eyeballs. With the delicious taste of creamy peanut butter dipped in melted, white morsels, as well as RAISINET® candy “pupils” and gooey red “bloodshot” markings, these tricky treats create an eye-popping experience for all to enjoy."

Estimated Times
Preparation Time: 45 mins
Cooking Time: 2 mins
Cooling Time: 1 hr freezing
Servings: 33 "eyeballs

Wax paper

1 cup creamy peanut butter (not all-natural)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 (2.1 oz.) NESTLÉ BUTTERFINGER Candy Bar, finely chopped
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/4 cup NESTLÉ RAISINETS Milk Chocolate-Covered Raisins
1 small tube red decorator icing
Wooden pick or skewer for dipping

LINE 2 baking sheets with wax paper.

BEAT peanut butter and butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in powdered sugar until mixture holds together and is moistened. Stir in chopped Butterfinger. Shape into 1-inch "eyeballs." Place on prepared baking sheets. Freeze for 1 hour.

MELT morsels and shortening in large, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute 30 seconds; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Remove one baking sheet of frozen "eyeballs" from freezer (keep other sheet in freezer until ready to use).

DIP one "eyeball" into melted morsel mixture using a wooden pick or skewer. Shake off excess and return to baking sheet. Gently press 1 Raisinet on top of "eyeball" to make a "pupil." Repeat procedure with remaining "eyeballs" on baking sheet. Refrigerate until coating is set. Repeat with remaining sheet of "eyeballs" and coating. You may find it necessary to reheat morsel mixture before dipping second batch. Before serving, pipe decorator icing around eyeballs to create bloodshot markings. Store in covered container in refrigerator. Best served cold.

Make sure you check out to find even more fun Halloween treats!


And for an Extra treat on our Fall Family Challenge "E" day, here is your opportunity to Enter to win a Little Tikes Neighborhood Market (a $100 value) from Fun Saving Money. Click here to enter.

I love these imaginary play sets from Little Tikes!!

I'm fairly certain that a certain little girl in my household will be getting her very first playhouse this Christmas. Thank goodness it's still a couple months away because it may take me that long to decide which one I like best!


The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: D is for Delicious Dinners the Whole Family Can Make
 A lot of parents out there think that the kitchen is not a place for little hands. On the contrary! I've gotta say, I used to be one of those people, long before my parenting days, that just thought kids had no business in the kitchen. Well, I was wrong! During my time in New York City, I got to assist a cooking class for three year olds. That's right... I said three years old. And you know what? We taught those kids how to make sushi (sans raw fish). It was incredible! The kitchen is a wonderful place to discover the science of making dinner. Let your little one help out by adding pre-measured ingredients to a mixing bowl and seeing what happens when they are mixed together. What happens when you mix an egg or water with a whole bunch of dry ingredients? How do things change shape and color as their temperatures and textures change?

There are a ton of resources out there for making family friendly meals with your family. Here are just a few. Have fun and bon appetite!

Mom's Menu is a great site for the busy mom trying to make dinner delicious, easy and fast! Check out this recipe for Cheesy Pizza Fondue! Yummy!

Cheesy Pizza Fondue
Courtesy of

2 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
2 slices pepperoni, finely chopped (optional)
2 ounces (1/2 cup) finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 whole-wheat pita breads (each cut in 6 triangles), warm

Preparation Time: Approximately 5 minutes

Cook Time: Approximately 5 minutes


Mix breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl until fully moistened; set aside.
Combine tomato sauce and pepperoni (if using) in a small saucepan and heat to simmering. Stir in breadcrumb-milk mixture and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with warm pita triangles for dipping.


And who says you can't play with your food sometimes? As you well know, I am a huge fan of Disney's Family Fun. Their magazine is fun, but their website is jammed pack with thousands of ideas that will never leave a mom hanging! Check out this recipe I found for a Halloween party treat - Black Bean Cat Crudités.


Black Bean Dip
Cherry tomatoes
Green beans
Arrange vegetables in the shape of a cat, as shown. Serve with Black Bean Dip.

Keeping with the Halloween theme, Pillsbury always has something fun up their sleeves for the holidays, like these Crescent Mummy Dogs. The more fun it is to make, the more fun it is to eat, after all! 
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
2 1/2slices American cheese, quartered (2.5 oz)
10large hot dogs
Cooking spray
Mustard or ketchup
1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut into 4 rectangles.
3.With knife or kitchen scissors, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough. Slice cheese slices into quarters (1/2 slice cheese, cut in half).
4. Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like "bandages," stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate "bandages" so hot dog shows through for "face." On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down); spray dough lightly with cooking spray.
5. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard, draw features on "face."

Eating together as a family is important! It is a healthy way to spend time together sharing your days, and it encourages kids to talk about their challenges and accomplishments. According to a study at Columbia University:

The report also found that compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners per week, those who have fewer than three family dinners per week are:

•Twice as likely to have friends who use marijuana and ecstasy
•More than one and a half times likelier to have friends who drink, abuse prescription drugs, and use methamphetamine; and
•Almost one and a half times likelier to have friends who use illegal drugs like cocaine, acid and heroin.
Research has  shown that families who eat dinner together are also less likely to suffer from obesity and eating disorders. Make time for your family. When it comes down to it, nothing is more important.

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Totsy - Save Up to 80% Off Retail Price for Top Children's Brands

Every family knows the term "budget." For some the word is a fearful and dreaded thing, a rule only in place so that we can break it. For others, a budget is something that they just cannot live without, and everything has to fall precisely into the margins of the particular allowance.

I'm trying to budget everything better in my life. Not just financially, but also time wise and food wise. I spend a lot of time snacking, and it's no good. My time as the miracle automatic calorie burner (a breast feeding mom) is limited and will be coming to an end in the next couple of months. If I don't stop snacking, I'm going to seriously have to hit the gym later.

On that note, I never thought I would say this, but I have given up watching Grey's Anatomy. Seriously. That falls under the budgeting my time category. Sometime around the middle of last season, my husband asked me why I watch Grey's. Does it make me happy? How can it? The relationships are completely twisted and someone almost always dies. Alright, he had me there. It didn't make me happy... but an addiction is an addiction, and I couldn't see myself cutting out the Grey's. Well, after the season opener (which I only watched half of before deciding our amiable break-up) I decided that my husband was right. After this season, I will have gained about a day of my life back. Not to mention I won't be going to bed every Thursday night emotionally scorned by fictional characters. Oi. (Not to say, if anything exciting happens please let me know, heh heh.)

So any mom on a budget knows that smart shopping means never paying full price, ever. That's why I love Totsy.
Their tagline is "where the savvy mom shops." Totsy is a private sales site that offers members up to 80% off retail price on the highest quality children's items. And because their sales are only 72 hours long, there is always something fresh and new to see. If that isn't good enough though, the main reason I love Totsy is because they are 100% eco-friendly. According to their website:

Totsy is the first company in private sales to take a sustainable and socially responsible initiatives in all areas of business. With every purchase you make through Totsy, we will plant one tree in the name of your child to help reduce the effects of deforestation. Who says shopping can't save the world?
Totsy is a By Invitation Only site. As Holly at Nap Time Readers, I want to make sure to invite you to check it out and save on top brand children's products! With the holidays just around the corner, this is an excellent way to keep your gift giving costs down while still giving amazing, creative products. Make sure to click here to join!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: C is for Comfy Cozy

It's no secret that fall is the perfect time of year to cuddle up and get cozy. Keep your family close this autumn as you engage in some cozy family activities!

Take a Hayride

Plenty of farms have family hayrides this time of year. Now what is more cozy than curling up among some hay and taking a ride through the woods? Try to find a farm with additional activities for the family, and make a day out of it! Nothing ends a hay ride better than a donut and a hot cup of cocoa.

If your kids are a little bit older, they might be ready for the ever popular "haunted hayride" experience. (Parents, please do your homework and find out what kind of frights will be taking place before taking a haunted hayride. Not all are for youngsters!)

Brew Up a Hot Cider

After a chilly day of playing outside, make some delicious Carmel Apple Cider, by trying a recipe like this one from Disney's Family Fun:


1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups apple cider
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions/Serves 4
1. First, bring the cream and brown sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cider and the water and raise the heat to medium high, heating just until the cider begins to steam, about 4 minutes.

2. Divide among 4 mugs, top each one with 2 tablespoons of caramel whipped cream (recipe follows) and serve immediately.

3. Caramel Whipped Cream: In a small chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream with the brown sugar until soft peaks form.

Create a Camp

When the summer heat is gone and it's time to play inside, there isn't a child who doesn't love to create a camp in the house. If you don't want to set up a tent in your living room, let your child be creative with blankets, pillows, chairs and cushions. Your child will have so much fun playing in their new "house," and an extra special award for finishing chores or behaving well in public might be the chance to sleep in their new creation. Before cleaning up in the morning, serve breakfast at their door and talk about their experience. Even better, spend the night with them in their tent!

Watch a Classic Disney Movie

After all the yard work is done and dad's football games are over, snuggle everyone under a blanket on the couch and kick back with a Disney Film. Some of our favorites include:

via Wikipedia

WALL-E, the story of a robot designed to clean up a garbaged covered eart at some point in the future. This movie has a wonderful story that kids and adults alike can appreciate.
via Disney Movie List
Monsters, Inc., a story of the monsters that live in our closets, and how they need to scare children to survive even though their biggest fear is children! Very cute film.
The Parent Trap - two estranged twins meet at a sleepaway camp and swap in order to force a meeting of their parents. Ahh, Lindsay Lohan in her innocent years. Such a cute movie for kids of all ages. After you watch it, play clips of the origial Parent Trap with Haley Mills. Your child will be flabergasted by such "old" footage that you watched when you were a kid!

via Disney Movie List

No matter what type of cozy activities you and your family enjoy this fall, remember to hold tight to your little ones and hug them more than necessary! These years go by entirely too fast, and we need to get that squeeze time in while we can!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: B is for Big, Beautiful Backyard

The winner of the Little Tumblebees Giveaway is Pat S. Congratulations! I have emailed you - you have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Thanks for everyone who participated!

For a long time now I have been wondering why customer service all over the place is so extremely poor. Last night, I realized that it's because all the best customer service representatives work for Disney. I am blown away by their professionalism and how courteous they are at all times. If you're planning on taking a Disney vacation, please book your entire trip (air, hotel, all accomodations) through them. They will make it worth your while!

Next spring my family is taking a vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida. In all of our excitement, we booked the trip as soon as the package became available online (which is a good idea, to make sure you get the package you want for the price you want!)

Well yesterday we received a message saying that the flight we had booked to get there was no longer going to be a direct flight Richmond ---> Orlando, but rather Richmond ---> Boston ---> Orlando. Erm, sorry Beantown, but that's not very practical for our family! I called the Disney Travel Agents, and they immediately jumped on it to contact the airline, get us a refund, and find us a new direct flight. Not only that, but we somehow came out of it with a 5 hour extension of our vacation on the last day, and a $200 refund. Now that is customer service!!!

Today's Fall Family Challenge -
B is for Big, Beautiful Backyard

Fall is the perfect time of year to get outside for some family fun! For the temperature sensitive like me, it's not too hot and not too cold, and God's magic makes this what a lot of people call the most beautiful time of the year. Here are some outside activities to try with your family in America's backyard!

PineCone Bird Feeders

I grew up with a grandfather that loved to feed the animals outside, and pine cone bird feeders were always one of my favorite activities for getting those birdies ready for chilly weather. Here's what you'll need:

Pine Cones (if you don't have access to pine cones in your yard, you can purchase a few at your local craft store)
Peanut Butter
Bird Seed

This is a wonderful activity for teaching your children the right sequence. For instance, the bird seed will not stick to the pine cone until you spread it with peanut butter! Why? What observations can they make?

Spread peanut butter over the pine cone and roll in a shallow bowl or pan full of bird seed. There you have it! Tie a piece of yarn to your new birdfeeder and hang it from a branch in your yard. Your kids will love watching the birds come to eat from their feeder!

(You can also use lard instead of peanut butter, and in cooler climates shortening also works.)
 Go For a Scenic Walk

Pack your jackets, water, and lunch and take the family on a scenic walk to see how nature is changing all around us during this incredible season.

Before leaving home, create a list with your kids of things to find on the walk. An acorn, animal tracks, a pond, an orange leaf, etc. Let them cross the items off the list as they find them. (A great way to keep them engaged and entertained at the same time!)

Paper lunch bags also make fantastic "treasure keepers." Let your child collect a few of the items they find in the great outdoors. Later go through them together and create an outdoor collage on paper with a little glue.

Rake the Yard

It's no secret that raking the yard is an activity for the whole family! Let your little ones play in the leaves that you pile up. For the older kids, make a rule that to play you have to help rake first. The reward at the end of the chore will make it more fun for everyone!

For a special treat, hide a few wrapped candies in a pile of leaves and let your kids dive for them! How many can they find?

Play Ball!
Fall is a great time to play football. No doubt your little one has watched their share of football on TV with mom and dad, why not take them out for a family friendly game? The exercise and fresh air will make them giggle with delight as you tickle-tackle them.

Have a favorite backyard activity not listed here? I'd love to hear from you! Please email me at

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

Blog Award
I recently received the One Lovely Blog Award from Oh So Savvy Mom. Thank you!

Like everything in life... there are rules, and here are the rules for accepting this award:

1. Accept the Award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who sent it to you and the link to their blog.
2. Pay it forward. List at least 7 blogs that you have recently discovered.
3. Contact the blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
Holly at Nap Time Winner's for One Lovely Blog
1. My Enchanting Life

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Car Seat Safety

I'm the type of mom that usually feels guilty about taking a nap when her child is napping, because Lord knows there are a million things to get done around the house. With this terrible cold though, yesterday my husband encouraged me to lie down for a few. What wonders rest does! I closed my eyes for what felt like 2 seconds and when I opened them it had already been 90 minutes. Today is a much better day though... I'm getting there!

I was trying to think back to my childhood and couldn't remember a single time that my mother was ever ill, when I realized that moms don't have time to be sick. I'm sure there were many times when she felt like crap, but she pushed through to get me to practice on time, keep my belly full, and make sure my play dates were fun. Thanks, mom. I only hope I can do the same for my kids!
Today is the LAST DAY to enter the Elephant Minky Stuffie Giveaway. Don't miss out! For full information on these adorable little critters from Little Tumblebees, please click here.

via From Chalkboards to Strollers
In times like these, who doesn't love a giveaway!? For more giveaway fun today head on over to From Chalkboards To Strollers, where Liz is celebrating her daughter's 1st birthday and her brand new blog design with a fantastic Burt's Bees and Snuggle Puppy Giveaway. Woohoo!!

On a not so wonderful note though, you may or may have not heard that Similac has recalled nearly 5 million tubs of baby formula due to the fact that there were beetles/larvae in the powder. So disgusting. I am a breastfeeding mom myself, but I feel for any parent who is dealing with this right now. Please switch to a different formula, and I pray that your child's transition is an easy one. For the full details on the story from MSNBC, please click here.

The Word on Car Seat Safety

As my daughter approaches her first birthday, and at the same time rapidly outgrows her rear-facing infant carrier, my husband and I began the search for her "big girl car seat" a couple months ago. The first thing we learned was that EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION. Which of course you know is true for most parenting topics. The bottom line is that some people will say you're a bad parent no matter what you do, so try to make the best well-educated decision you can for your family and don't be ashamed of it.

There is a lot of new literature about keeping children rear-facing for as long as possible. For our family, AJ is outgrowing her infant carrier extremely fast, and even though there are convertible carseats that still will work rear-facing, a lot of cars will not fit them that way (including ours). For our family, we have decided to keep her in her carrier until she turns 1 in November, and then use a forward facing carseat. General rule of thumb is for a child to stay rear-facing until they are 1 year old and at least 20lbs. When reading the suggested fittings for most carseats the other day at the store, I noticed that infant carriers are suggested for children "5-20lbs and 18-29 inches long" whereas convertible, forward facing carseats were suggested for children "20-60lbs and 34-48 inches long." Maybe it's just me, but what are kids supposed to do when they are between the heights of 29" and 34"?  This is really a case for parental discretion.

The car seat that we decided to purchase is the Safety 1st Complete Air Convertible Carseat.  I cannot say enough good things about this car seat!

We "tested out" a lot of floor models at a local department store before purchasing ours. It's important to look at the way the car seat works and to decide if it is going to be a good fit for your child/vehicle before purchasing.

This model from Safety 1st has incredible side protection that are literally made out of little air "pillows." You can learn more about this new technology here at the Safety 1st website.

This one is a little bit pricey, but I think that it's definitely worth it, for my peace of mind and the safety of our little one!

At what age/weight did you transition your child into a forward facing car seat? Do you have any car seat tips for me? I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or email me at!

And please, if you have any questions or doubts about the way your car seat is installed, visit your local police or fire department. These community professionals are trained in making sure that seats are securely and safely installed, and they are happy to help you out!

If you or someone you know is having trouble affording a car seat, please direst them to their local Department of Health for assistance programs. Car seats are the law!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: A is for Apple Picking (and other Apple Activities!)

Ah Fall, my favorite time of year! Nothing quite says Fall like the delicious American apple. An apple for the teacher, going apple picking, making apple pie and drinking apple cider... these are just a few of the many things that you can do with apples! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

A is for Apple Picking (and other Apple Activities!)

Apple Picking

September and October are known throughout most of the United State as prime apple picking season. Not sure where to start? Visit for information about farms and orchards near you.

Apple picking can be a wonderful learning experience for your little ones!  Show your child how to find a nice, firm apple on a branch and how to gently pick it off. Can your child count how many apples they've picked? What observations can they make about how no two apples are exactly alike in size, shape or color? Let your child taste an apple and explain that the entire apple tree came from just one tiny appleseed! (By the way, the story of Johnny Appleseed is a true one. Share with your child how the kindness of one man brought apple trees to a large portion of the country!)

Apple Varieties at the Grocery Store

Can't make it to an apple orchard this year? Take a trip to your local grocery store, instead! Your child will be amazed at how many different varieties of apples there are. To keep this project simple, let your child pick 3 or 4 different apples. By looking at them, ask your child which one is their favorite. Why? At home, prepare apple slices of all the different apples to show your child how the apples taste different, too! Now which one is their favorite?

Apple Stamping!

Via Disney's Family Fun

Apples make great art tools, too! Their firm sides make them an ideal first stamper for little crafters. Check out this simple tote bag project from Disney's Family Fun! These bags make awesome reusable grocery bags, trick-or-treating bags, or book bags! And completely personalized by your child... now that is something to be proud of.


Apple Smiles Recipe

 Of course, there are a million recipes out there for things that you can do with apples! Apple pie, caramel apples, apple crisp, apple cider, apple cobbler, apple chutney... the list goes on and on and on! When it comes to kids and snack time though, the key is creativity and fun! These Apple Smiles by Annabel Karmel for Disney Family are sure to get your kids smiling about eating this delicious fruit. And for older kids... it is ok to play with your food! Let them make their own apple smiles to share with the family. (And by the way... have them try an apple smile on their own face... makes for a great photo op!) Click here for the recipe.

Apples To Apples

For the teens and adults in your life, Apples to Apples is the game of choice! This hilarious game of comparisons will get your whole family laughing and having a great time! Retails for about $21.00 at Target.

Have a favorite apple activity not listed here? I'd love to hear from you! Please email me at

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Family Challenge

Busy, busy weekend. Somehow both AJ and I came out of it with a terrible cold. She seems to be feeling better today, but I feel like I'm just getting worse. Fluids and vitamin C, to the rescue!

Over the weekend I was able to accomplish another task for my Day Zero Project - walk in a 5k. It's been on my list for quite awhile, and my family had the opportunity to walk in a local 5k to raise money for a little girl with a malignant brain tumor. The walk was great! In the moment, I felt that we should kick off every single weekend with a family 5k. On Sunday morning, my hips said otherwise. Haha, even though I walk regularly, on Saturday morning I was taking extra long strides to keep up with my tall husband, and it really did my hips in.

Anyways, I'm off to get some much needed rest. As you can tell from the timestamp, nap time at Holly's house didn't happen today. As AJ rapidly approaches 1 year, I am not looking forward to the day when we drop the morning nap and go to one a day.

Stay tuned! Starting tomorrow I'm going to begin announcing the Holly at Nap Time Fall Family Challenge: The ABC's of Fall. For fun, inexpensive ways to think outside the box and do creative things with your kids, spouse, or friends - join me! Let's jump spend some time together. These are the only days we get.

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win an adorable minky elephant from Little Tumblebees. Giveaway closes at 3pm on Friday. For full details, click here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Funny on Friday

It's not too often that I see something that makes me laugh so hard that I cry. Here's a video from the Ellen show of a brother and sister who had their widsom teeth taken out on the same day.

The reason I find this so funny is because when I had my wisdom teeth taken out I cried for three straight days for no reason! I wish my poor parents would have filmed me.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone! Make sure to check out yesterday's post to enter the Little Tumblebees giveaway!

Family Fun with Wisdom Tooth Drugs - The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Little Tumblebees Review & Giveaway!!

*Entry form must be completely filled out for eligibility to win product. Information will not be used for any other purpose other than to contact the winner.*

As I prepare for my daughter's 1st birthday, it was my first instinct to look to Etsy for creative and original party favors. I love Etsy! They proudly stand-by the mantra "Buy, Sell and Live Handmade" and they undoubtedly have the coolest items anywhere. I was thrilled when my simple search for "zoo" led me to the Little Tumblebees shop. I instantly fell in love!
Little Tumblebees

Little Tumblebees signature items are these adorable minky stuffies that come in a wide variety of colors. In fact, shop owner Rachel Codiroli specializes in custom orders to create the perfect stuffie for your child. Here are a few of my favorites:

Now tell me what little girl or boy doesn't absolutely need one of these? I contacted shop owner Rachel about making miniature elephant stuffies for my daughter's November birthday party so that we could give them out as favors. Not only did Rachel say yes, but she also agreed to a short interview and to GIVEAWAY a FREE Custom Elephant Stuffie (full sized) to one very lucky Holly at Nap Time reader. See the form below for the official rules and to enter!

H: What is the inspiration behind the Little Tumblebees shop?

R: My oldest daughter has to be the true original inspiration behind Little Tumblebees. As a child I was always creating; drawing, cutting, gluing, sewing, embroidering…everything! But as I moved through the rigors of growing up, and focused on school work and sports my creativity got left behind like a much loved baby blanket.

Years went by… college, and then work. I worked hard and long in the corporate world, and I was good at it, but never truly loved what I was doing. Then in 2005 Sienna was born, and I was in love like never before! Slowly I began to find that long hidden part of myself. I made Halloween costumes, toys, baby doll blankets, painted decorations for her room, everything, and I was happy! Her growing and developing sense of creativity and wonder sparked new inspiration in me. I remembered what it meant to make something with my own hands and hold it up beaming to my own mother (which by the way I still do). There is a peace and a sense of gratitude for life when you “create” something that no amount of sales or business success can ever achieve. I quit the corporate world. I loved my daughter without measure, and I saw that my heart would never, ever be in any achievement in that world. Plus baby number 2 was on the way, and I wanted to be there for every moment. I began in earnest, my path to living the life I felt I deserved, that my children deserved. It dawned on me at this point (thanks to the urging of my husband Marshall) that other people I didn’t know might like the things I was making. I mean why not? Certainly more care and attention to detail goes into the items I make than what you may find in a big box store. I was still uncertain.
My Aunt around this time opened her Etsy shop: It just seemed perfect; I created my shop name right away.
Sienna is an energetic, bouncy, and often reckless with energy kind of child. I always said from the time she began to run (at 9 ½ months) that she was my little tumblebee. A little flighty ball of energy moving from one spot to the next, and sometimes tumbling from one spot to the next! It is really rather charming, if not a little exhausting, to watch. Like a bee from one sunny daisy to another. Well, the second child was here…another girl named Olivia, so Little Tumblebees was created. If not for my daughter, I may still be slaving away in the corporate world, not knowing that an ember inside me still glowed with determination to be discovered again.

H: What is your favorite part about making your creations? (picking the fabrics, the time to yourself, the finished product, etc.)
R: I have to say that it is when I hear from the recipient of the creation. I cannot say how important it is for me to know that what I am making has found a good home, where it is loved. It may sound silly, but I really love everything I make. I finish a stuffie in a custom color choice and I think “Oh, he is so cute, maybe I should just keep him” but of course I don’t because I know I have no use for him. He will sit un-played with, unloved (my girls already have too many things I have made for them), and I cannot bear that! So I send him away, and I hope that someone opens the package and says, “Oh, he is so cute, let’s keep him forever”. Often times I never know, but when I do hear that a little girl or boy goes everywhere with their new friend I feel near elated.

H: What is the number one parenting tip you can give our readers?
R: Geez, only one! No honestly parenting is an ever changing landscape for me as my children grow, and so do I, but one thing I think is crucial to happy children and happy mommies and daddies is consistency and follow through. Which means if you make a request of your children like eating at the table or brushing teeth twice a day, etc. you must lead by example, it must always be the same expectation (don’t change from day to day), and you must as a parent follow through to make sure it happens. Parenting is an active sport in which you must participate; you cannot stand on the sidelines! The other rule that goes with this is to not set yourself up for failure. What I mean by this is choosing your battles when children want to exert independence. Do not ask for anything you can’t enforce, or is pointless anyway? We do eat at the dinner table, and the other night my youngest (now 2) decided she was done eating dinner. Which is fine… I don’t believe in forcing children to eat (their dinner can wait for them in the fridge if they get hungry later) however it is a rule that you can’t get down from the table with a mouthful of food. Really it’s a safety thing, and kind of rude. My husband began to tell her she had to chew her food, which of course she refused. I pointed out to him, that you can’t make a child chew, so he was setting himself up for failure. My approach was it was fine if she didn’t feel like chewing her food, but she could not get down from the table until she did so. Not getting down from the table is something enforce-able. She sat there with a mouthful of food until all of us were done eating, and then suddenly when we were leaving the table she magically remembered how to chew and the food disappeared! More importantly we all got to enjoy our dinner instead of pulling our hair out with frustration, because Olivia wouldn’t chew her food. By the way she did eat more dinner about 30 minutes later, when she realized she was still hungry.

H: What advice do you have for moms who are looking to start their own business?
R: Just do it, baby! This is your life, live it. Don’t wait, you never know the count down on the clock that is your life, and when it reaches 0, your time, here at least, is done. I don’t mean be reckless and irresponsible, but do be spontaneous, do what brings you joy; don’t settle for a less than fulfilled life. If you have a love for something, I think you should find a way to do it. You don’t have to have a lot of capital to invest, just time and effort, and often times we have more time than we think. Television and the computer can suck the time right out of your day. I suggest first figuring out where you want your business venture to take you. Do you want it to be large scale someday? Or do you just want a small hobby on the side to bring in a little extra income? Either way loosely map out how you are going to get there. Organize this map into steps, and be realistic. Don’t worry or be discouraged if it changes along the way, just readjust. Set aside time and days to work on your business, and then don’t waste these times doing something else. I find as a mother working at home, it is all too easy to get sucked into doing the laundry, or the dishes or something else (there is always something else isn’t there?), but those things will wait. You will never feel like time was wasted when you are doing something you are passionate about. My life is ordered in this way: children, then husband and everything else is just icing on the cake. My advice to moms is this: make everything else in your life icing, instead of bitter medicine you swallow because you think you have to!


little tumblebees

 And it doesn't end with stuffies! Visit Little Tumblebees for baby's other needs, including adorable onesies, blankets and lovies. These make the perfect shower gifts!

Giveaway CLOSED. Thanks for all who participated!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

10 Proofs You Love Your Child More Than Yourself

Wednesday already! This week seems to be moving by at a tolerable pace. How do you like the new header? Not to brag, but, I did make it myself. I'm pretty proud.

There is something about being a parent, and a mom especially, that makes you feel guilty for spending any time or money on yourself. I noticed it myself growing up, that season after season my brother and I would get the new "cool" clothes, and my mom would be left wearing the same thing that'd she'd been wearing for the last 5 years, sometimes 10. Now, as a mom myself I think I finally get it.

It's a parent's natural instinct to put their children first. So when those decisions come around, doing anything nice for ourselves isn't first nature anymore. Do we get that pedicure? No, the baby needs new diapers this week. It's constantly excuses, usually financially related. I think that is how we somehow justify the decision in our minds. But trust me mom, you deserve to be taken care of too.

Here are 10 proofs that you love your child more than yourself. If even one of these sounds like you, then take a moment to celebrate. Have that glass of wine, order that dress you won't wear more than once, or get a babysitter for a night out with the hubby! You're a good mom, and 99.9% of the time you put your child first.

10. You stretch your wallet to purchase and make your child organic food. Behind their back, you eat Twinkies and McDonald's.

9. Your back to school clothes/supplies shopping list and your car payment are within a few dollars of each other.

8. You restrict your child's television watching to educational, age appropriate programming. After the kids are in bed, you rot your brain with reality TV shows such as The Bachelor, Jersey Shore, and The Real Housewives.

7. The very presence of your child makes you behave in a more orderly manner. You watch what you say, how you act, and what activities you take part in. You find yourself paying more attention while you drive when your child is in the car. The voices inside your head are suddenly telling you constantly that you must be a good role model.

6. You slather your child with a SPF 100 sunscreen, and come home from the beach looking like a lobster because you forgot to put a single drop on yourself.

5. Your current definition for a "social outing without the kids" is a dentist appointment for getting your cavities filled. For every one "adult" event on your calendar, you have 10 for your child.

4. You let Santa take all the credit for the biggest, most expensive, most loved Christmas presents. You get to hear for the rest of the year how wonderful Santa is, and though you're jealous on the inside, it also makes you smile.

3. You have never in your life woken up at the crack of dawn to take yourself to the gym, but you find yourself up at 5am and in line in front of a Target somewhere so that your child can be the first to own the hottest new toy that they will just die without.

2. You keep track of your child's bowel movements. How much, how often, what consistency... now that is love! Tell me, when was the last time you paid attention to your own body like that?

1. You already know that you love your child more than yourself. That you would do anything for them. That the day they were born, all your dreams for yourself vanished and all you ever wished was right there in front of you. You'd do anything to make sure that they don't feel any pain or feel sad. After all, you're a mom!
© 2010 Holly at Nap Time

Make sure to stop by tomorrow, when I launch a very special giveaway courtesy of Little Tumblebees!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Parenting & Public Embarrassment

Any parent knows that public embarrassment is one of the aspects of having children that cannot be avoided. It comes differently for different people - a blushing moment when a child cries out in church, a knocked over display at the grocery store, bleeding in a public pool and causing a temporary shutdown for cleaning, an infant screaming through an entire 3 hour flight. But like I said before, public embarrassment as a parent cannot be avoided. We might as well embrace it and learn to laugh at our mishaps before they happen, because as my mother always says, "There is no use crying over spilled milk." Life is too short to let the little things get to us.

On that note, I'd decided that I'd better keep track of these public embarrassments, because they will offer a good piece of evidence in the future. One day when my daughter is embarrassed that I even exist (as I know that day will come, though far down the road) I will remind her of these public embarrassments that she caused her father and I to have when she was a youngster. My hope is that we will laugh about it, and she will realize that mom and dad aren't really that lame after all, and that there are much MUCH funnier public embarrassments.

Our First Public Embarrassment

On July 3rd of this year, my husband and I were waiting for his parents to come into town when we decided to stop in a new local restaurant for some lunch. We each ordered a sub sandwich and a 48 ounce (ok, not my proudest moment) drink. I chose sweet tea, which has somewhat become a staple to my southern living since we moved to Virginia a little over a year ago. Our daughter was starting to fuss, so I had my husband change our order from "dine-in" to "to-go" and even though they had said it was no problem, when our order came out it was set for dining in. OK. Instead of making a scene, jumping the line and asking yet again for our order to be changed, my husband and I decided to just sit down and eat quickly. Our daughter, who was 7 months at the time, was still being a little bit fussy, but she wasn't disrupting anyone except for her dear dad and me.

I took charge of baby and dad took charge of setting the table up with our food. I guess there must of been some sort of miscommunication then because just as I sat AJ down in her highchair, she (somehow) grabbed the sweet tea cup, tilted it toward her like she was going to take a sip, and the top came flying off. A shower of sweet tea bathed our daughter from head to toe.

And it just so happens that this little cafe was very narrow, and the area that AJ's highchair backed up into was the ordering line. Thank goodness we didn't get sweet tea on anyone else, but the puddle that we created wasn't exactly the friendliest welcome to new customers. My husband asked behind the counter for a mop or something and the girl who came out brought us a tiny, 8X8" wash cloth. Um, yea, I don't think that is going to work. The manager finally brought out a mop, and after the employee struggled with how to use it, my husband dutifully took it and mopped up the majority of the mess.

At this point, our food was still untouched and still in "dine-in" mode. The restaurant was full enough to where we couldn't move to a more discreet location.... aaaaand since we weren't planning on dining at the restaurant in the first place, I had not packed an extra outfit or diaper for our little girl. Crap!

I think it was at this point that my husband and I looked at each other, cracked up, realized that it couldn't get much worse, and went about eating our lunch. We stripped AJ down to her diaper, which at this point was about 10 lbs because it had soaked up all the sweet tea, and I gave her a pickle to gnaw on to keep her from fussing. She was sticky and sweet smelling the rest of the day.

The next time we ate at the local sandwich shop, my husband made it very clear that our order was To-Go, while AJ and I waited patiently in the car.

Please share your stories of public embarrassment and parenthood! We could all use a good laugh!

Make sure to stop by again on Thursday, when we launch a very special giveaway, courtesy of Little Tumblebees!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Which is Worse, Failing or Never Trying?

Happy Monday! Good Mondays usually follow great weekends, which is what I feel like I had. My husband took a break from his busy work and school schedule to take our daughter and me to the Metro Richmond Zoo, where I was able to accomplish the task of feeding a giraffe for my Day Zero Project. What fun! I'm fairly certain that just having the 101 in 1,001 list is making me a productive person. I'm currently 2% complete, with 982 days to go. Here's a short video of our zoo experience. (Don't worry, I sanitized the stroller tray immediately following the filming of this segment.)

As mentioned before, one of the tasks on my list is to answer all of the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. Today's question:

Which is worse, failing or never trying?

I can see how this question can easily go both ways. For some people, the very thought of failure is scary enough to make them not want to try. For others, a huge failure is seen as a very successful try. For me, never trying is worse, and this question automatically makes me think of my experience with breastfeeding my daughter.

There is a lot of pressure to new moms to breastfeed these days. From the birthing classes, the pediatrician, the nurses in the hospital, other moms who have breastfed, I kept hearing "breast is best," "the only way to go," "so much better for your child." Luckily, I didn't feel much of this pressure because it was my intent to breastfeed all along, for my own reasons (cheaper, more organic, bonding, etc.) I did know a lot of new moms though that grudgingly began breastfeeding against their own wishes because they felt they had to. Not the case at all. The truth is that there is no right way to nuture your baby. Some ways work better for some families than other ways. But no matter what you decide to do, there are definitely people who will have an opinion about it. Make your own decision and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. After all, mother knows best, and when it comes to your own children, YOU WILL KNOW BEST, I promise you.

All that is beside the point though. As it turns out, breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I've ever done. It's awkward, meeting this new little life and trying to do something that neither one of you have the slightest idea about. I remember when my daughter was 4 or 5 days old and things just weren't working out with the breastfeeding for us. I was sitting in her room rocking her as she cried, I cried, and neither of us knew what to do when I told my husband that I was done trying, that after months of planning, I had decided I wasn't going to breastfeed after all. What he said next changed everything for me.

My husband reminded me why I wanted to breastfeed in the first place. He reminded me of the books I read, the very expensive breastpump I'd bought, and my plan I had in place for her first year even before she was born. And he encouraged me to try, because he knew how important it was to me. "Try one more feeding, one more day, one more week. And if it doesn't work out, then you can say you gave it a fair shot."

One of the many reasons I love my husband. He's amazing, and I can always count on him to back up my decisions, even when I have zero confidence in myself. The next thing we did was probably the best thing any breastfeeding mom can do for herself- we visited a lactation consultant. Her help was beyond what I could have received from any book or mommy blog because she was right there showing me what to do. (And yes, it is true about all modesty going out the window once you have a child!)

Flash forward 10 months and I am still nursing my very active baby, only these days she is working on using a sippy cup, and we only nurse at sleepy time. I keep telling everyone that she isn't totally ready to wean yet, which I think is true to a certain extent, but in the long run I know it will be harder on me than her. I will miss it!

So definitely, in my opinion and experience it is worse to never try than to fail. I'm glad that I stuck to my initial instincts because it worked so well for our family.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's FREE! Children's Baby Juno DVD

Juno Baby is a musical adventure for babies and children ages 0-5. Their DVDs and CDs feature Emmy-award winning music and all original characters that are fresh, lovable, and so cute!

Here is their story:

During this journey, we have collaborated with top researchers, artists and musicians to create an award-winning line of products. Our CDs, books and DVDs feature a cast of lovable characters that interact with your child, along with original music composed for and performed by live orchestral musicians. We are excited to be able to share our passion with you. Welcome to our family!

Recently Juno Baby teamed up with Heard It From a Mom to promote their musical project, which is where I found out about the little pig-tailed wonder. Heard It From a Mom is a marketing company based on the word of mouth (and blog) recommendations on products. After all, when it comes to advice for your baby, who knows better than another mom? Their product relays "empower Moms to share a real product experience with one another. At Heard It From A Mom, [they] believe there is no better recommendation than from one Mom to another."

When you sign up for emails and information from Heard It From a Mom, you qualify to receive a FREE copy of the award-winning DVD, Way To Go Juno! This DVD currently retails for $17.99 on their website, but you can receive it completely free, shipping included!!**

Get your FREE DVD by clicking here!

The DVD runs 45 minutes and speaks of common childhood fears, like getting your first haircut or trying broccoli. Our DVD arrived yesterday after just two weeks in the mail. I was super impressed with the professional quality of the "green screen" characters, and pleased with the catchy tunes.

Get yours today before they are gone, and check out the Baby Juno website for more fun!

**While supplies last. I cannot personally guarentee that you will receive a copy of the Baby Juno DVD. I can only tell you that I received my free copy after signing up for Heard It From a Mom 2 weeks ago. I was in no way compensated for publishing this post. I'm just a happy mom enjoying a quality children's product for free!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Play to Stop World Hunger

Lately whenever I get bored of doing dishes and need to take a 10 minute breather, I head on over to Free Rice, the online game that donates rice through the World Food Programme to help stop world hunger. The basic game is a vocabulary quiz, and the scoring is easy. For every right answer, 10 grains of rice is donated and you automatically go to a harder level. For every wrong answer, you are given a slightly easier question, making this game perfect for anyone.

So my point is, a few minutes to yourself, a donation to stop world hunger, and a smarter and intelligent you? Now that is a quality game. Stop playing Farmville & Mafia Wars for a few minutes and help make a difference. If you tire of the vocabulary quiz, try your skills in one of their other subject areas, including math, Spanish, chemical symbols and world capitols.

Help end world hunger

From their website:

About FreeRice

FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Program. Our partner is the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

FreeRice has two goals:
1.Provide education to everyone for free.
2.Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide. Thank you.
One of my goals for my Day Zero Project is to donate 100,000 grains of rice at Free Rice. According to the Producer's Rice Mill, there are about 29,000 grains of rice in a pound, so 100,000 grains of rice is about 3.4 pounds of rice. That's not a lot, but it is a help. Think of the difference we could make if everyone played for a few minutes each day instead of watching television, or reading the latest celebrity gossip. Right now I'm at 4,000 grains donated.

BBC posted an article today about how Free Rice is now getting a social boost from Facebook & Twitter. Click here to read the article.

Here's some of the buzz about Free Rice:

“What if just knowing what a word meant could help feed hungry people around the world? Well, at FreeRice it does . . . the totals have grown exponentially.”  - Washington Post

“ is an international, viral sensation. Folks from Thailand to Germany and India are just as enthusiastic . . . improving thousands of lives, all with a simple, collective, click of a mouse.”- CBS Evening News

“Feeling guilty about wasting time on computer solitaire? Join the growing guilt-free multitude at, an online game with redeeming social value.”- USA Today

“The Web site offers a greater gift, the gift of awareness about world hunger.”- NPR National Public Radio
The best part is (in my opinion), you don't have to sign up for anything or see any ridiculous pop-up ads. Just play the game, no strings attached, for a better world!

Help end world hunger

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Battle for Bedtime Bliss

Today marks the first day of school for many, the back-to-work for many others, and the unofficial first day of fall as well. It's also a bittersweet day for me, as I booked AJ's 1st birthday party at a local play area. One whole year to celebrate... how on earth did that happen? Granted, we still have two months to go, but I know it'll come before I can blink twice.

It's been a fantastic year of mommyhood, and the only thing missing is some more sleep. Bedtime has been a battle in our house since the day our daughter was born, and if there is one thing I have learned from talking to other moms it's that when your child isn't sleeping well, mom feels alone like she is the only parent who can't get their child to sleep all night long. It's because nobody brags that their kid wakes up every 45 minutes in the night. But really mom, you are not alone.

Bedtime is an art.

It really is. It needs to be timed precisely, choreographed correctly, and executed to a T in order to be pulled off well. That means mom, that you need to be patient. It also means that right when you get the routine down and everything is perfect for say, one week, that it's time to change the show and start all over again!

At two months old, my husband and I started a bedtime routine for our daughter that consisted of a warm bath, lotion and pajamas, nursing, storytime, and rocking her to sleep. She came to understand this routine and understood that it was time to go to sleep. At three months I told our pediatrician that our daughter was still waking 2-3 times in the night wanting to nurse. I was told that not only is this normal, but that the definition of sleeping through the night for the first year is sleeping 4-5 hours at a time. Um... news to me! I don't know who came up with that definition, but my hopes for a solid night's sleep seemed to fade pretty quickly after learning this little tidbit.

Eventually our daughter no longer needed the rocking, and was able to get herself to sleep when we put her in her crib. It did take a few nights of fussing, but we never did let her fully "cry it out." Our method was to let her cry for 5 minutes, then tend to her and calm her down. If she fussed again we'd let her fuss for 7 minutes before tending to her, each time adding an additional 2 minutes. I think the longest stretch we ever went for this process was 11 minutes. It was about this time that AJ started sleeping 4-5 hours at a time.

And then she learned to roll over. With this new skill, our daughter was finding it difficult to get into a comfortable position. And trust me, those two weeks in which she could roll onto her belly but not back onto her back were not fun! Her frustration was growing with each night, but somehow we worked through it, and she discovered that she would rather sleep on her tummy with her little butt up in the air. Sleep became good again.

And then she learned how to sit up. As soon as our daughter was mobile, the thought of being confined to her crib became an unbearable thought to her. She would sit there, so sleepy, and cry because she was so tired but could not yet figure how to lay back down. This stage passed really quickly, and now she was sleeping around 6 hours at a time.

I am still nursing, so one night waking to eat is still expected until the first year,  when I plan to wean. However, now our daughter has learned how to stand in her crib. Whereas before, when she would wake in the night and just lay there until she soothed herself back to sleep with her blanket and musical seahorse, the second she wakes up during her sleep cycle she stands up and starts crying for mom and dad. We have gone from almost sleeping through the night completely, to now waking 4 to 5 times again to a baby standing in her crib and reaching her arms out to the door. And now I know she is to the point where she understands bedtime, and she is being defiant. She knows that mommy and daddy are somewhere on the other side of that closed door. Many times, she is so tired that if I lay her back down she will go right back to sleep, but I need to figure out how to keep her from standing up and crying in the first place.

Like anything else, I find comfort in knowing that this is only a phase. The greatest advice that my OB gave me after our daughter was born was to embrace that everything is only a phase. Our children won't go to college in diapers, they won't always throw themselves on the ground in screaming tantrums, and believe it or not there will come a day when we are begging them to wake up and get out of bed, instead of pleading with them to sleep.

As for the meantime, any bedtime advice would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise this blog may have to go from Holly at Nap Time to Holly Takes a Nap.

Have a great Tuesday, all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How Old Would You Be If You Didn't Know How Old You Are?

One of the things I hope to accomplish for my Day Zero Project is answering all of the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. It's a list of deep, conversation provoking questions that I found on a blog called Marc and Angel Hack Life. In particular, I thought it would be interesting to blog about because so often I get caught up in life that everything just becomes so straighforward, and the element of thinking deeply goes right out the window. Hopefully these questions will get my creative juices flowing and get me in better touch with myself.

Question No. 1: How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

I think the best indication for this question would be to ask my friends how old they think I am, because I am not sure that so many of them know! But that wouldn't be fair, I'm sure, so I guess I'll put it out there. My true age is 25. I was born in 1985, graduated high school in 2003, college in 2007, got married in 2008 and had my first child in 2009. My age if I did not have this knowledge would probably be around 33, I'll say. Why?

I think it's safe to say that a lot of my friends are waiting longer to get settled in with a career, get married, and have children. My husband and I took more of the traditional route of getting married, buying a home, and having a family right out of college. There's nothing wrong with either route, but I do think that by comparison, it adds a few years onto anyone guessing my age.

Also, I think the fact that my husband and I moved to New York City right after college graduation has also added a few years to our 'acting age.' In New York, we were several hundred miles from knowing anyone, and it really forced us to grow up and do things on our own. We didn't have our parents to help us get our cable hooked up, or to do our laundry or make us a nice home cooked meal when we had a bad day at work. At my job I was often called 'the baby' because I was so young, and most of my friends were 30+ and so their lives and input had important significance to me. Had we stayed in New York longer, we would have waited to have kids because it would have been financially impossible for probably another 10 years, so in New York my acting age might be pretty close to my real age, but in Virginia I'd say I'm probably closer than the 30 mark. I know more about preschools, potty training, and hot water heater repair than most people my age. :)

Of course, that also puts me to middle age before most of my real-aged peers, but at least I'll have less wrinkles among the group that I do fit in with! ;)