Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sponsor Spotlight: Cloth Diapers 'n More!

I mentioned at the beginning of November that I was participating in The Great Cloth Diaper Hunt sponsored by Diaper Decisions. Well, the month is coming to an end, and the web scavenger hunt is coming to a close, but I am happy to announce that it's just what I needed to get started on my journey to cloth diapering.

As I mentioned in my post here, cloth diapering was always my intention, but once a new baby was actually in the picture it became all too intimidating. There are so many things to know! None of my mommy friends were using cloth diapers (that I knew of) and I was hesitant to be the trendsetter when I had no idea what I was doing.

Then recently I kept saying I wish I had tried - when I realized that late is better than never. I'm not calling myself a pro, but I'm learning, and I found the best way for me to incorporate cloth diapering into our daily routine right now is for me to use them at night.

I'm so glad that I found Cloth Diapers 'n More! Our newest sponsor for the Blogtastic Extravaganza, Cloth Diapers 'n More has an amazing selection of cloth diapers and accessories at incredibly affordable prices!

You'll have to wait until January to see what Cloth Diapers 'n More is donating to the Extravaganza, but in the meantime do I have a deal for you! Tomorrow ONLY Cloth Diapers 'n More is having an

Anniversary Sale!December 1st, 2010 ONLY

15% off the entire store!* with FREE SHIPPING!!
Code is "One Year"

Random Orders will include FREE Gifts! You could receive a Citrus Circle Pack, Gift Certificate, Diaper Tote, Changing Pad, Rockin' Green Laundry Sample with Scoop, or more!!

Aaaaand (yes - there's more!) there will be a special giveaway for Cloth Diapers n' More Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers throughout the day.

Follow the links below to join the fun!!

You don't want to miss this one! Stay tuned for more from Cloth Diapers 'n More in the coming days and weeks! Here are just a couple of the wonderful items they sell:

Loving Naturals Organic Sunscreen

DryBees Gone Natural Bamboo Fitted Diaper

*Sale excludes Cotton Babies & bumGenius products.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: S is for Silly Snowmen

December is almost upon us! And though I live in the south now, I just can't imagine a holiday season without snow - which is why it's a good thing we're making the 12 hour trek north to spend the holiday with our families. This is actually our second year having a Virginia Christmas, but last year we were pounded blessed with three major snow storms; giving us a very white holiday season!

I really hope that there is snow when we travel to Michigan this year for Christmas. My husband and I are looking forward to taking AJ sledding and building a snowman!!

Here are some silly snowman ideas for outdoors or indoors... no matter what climate you live in!

S is for Silly Snowmen

Snowman Chair Covers

Need a fun and easy way to spice up the "kid's table" this year? Check out these adorable Snowman Chair Covers from Disney's Family Fun. All you need is a few yards of felt, a sewing machine and some glue! (Psst... a plain white pillow case works well too!) For even more fun, cut out an assortment of eyes, noses, and mouths and let your littlest guests decorate their own snowman before the feast!

Headless Snowman

Turn your kids into a snowman this year! It's as easy as it sounds... make a snowman without a head, and have your child stand behind it for an adorable photo opportunity. Make a whole family of headless snowmen to create a Christmas photocard that your friends and family won't soon forget!

Rice Krispie Snowmen

We don't need the commercials to tell us that there is something magical about Rice Krispie Treats! Check out this fun Snowman Treats recipe from The Recipe Link. These are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Read All About 'Em!

Great reads about our frosty friends:

Creamer Bottle Snowman!

These adorable little buddies are super easy to make! What an adorable way to recycle your coffee creamer bottles! Check out the full instructions here at DLTK's Growing Together.

Pin The Nose on the Snowman!

For a fun game for the little ones this holiday season, make a snowman on the wall using various sized paper plates. Give your frosty friend a smile and a mouth, and cut out several carrot shaped noses. Use a little double sided tape and blindfold your guests to see who can get the nose on the snowman!

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!

Get a $25 Discount Code to Shutterfly Just In Time for Holiday Cards!

Blissful Beluga Christmas
Get custom photo Christmas cards online at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.

Last year we used Shutterfly's Christmas Cards to serve a dual purpose - wish Happy Holidays to all of our loved ones and announce the arrival of our little one!

Do you want to get a $25 code to Shutterfly to use towards your holiday purchase? Follow these easy steps, here:

1. Log into your Shutterfly account.

2. If you don't already have a photocard project, you're going to need to create one.

3. Click on "My Shutterfly"

4. Click on "View All Projects" and select one of your photocard projects by clicking on the green dot above the title.

5. On the right side of the page, click "Share Project" and follow the steps to get the widget to embed the project onto your blog.

6. When you're finished, email shareproject@shutterfly.com with the link to your website to receive your free $25 code.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

GiveBack.org is Perfect for EVERY Online Shopper!

For my family, Thanksgiving is really the beginning of the holiday season. Growing up, Thanksgiving marked the day that it was acceptable to put up our Christmas decorations, play the holiday music and shop for gifts. Now that I have my own family I have broken all those rules (my tree was up a week ago), but I do have to say that the Thanksgiving holiday really does put me in the holiday spirit and leave me feeling thankful for what I have and charitable towards others, which is why I am so glad that I found GiveBack.org this shopping season!

GiveBack.org is an organization created by Stephen Paletta, the gentleman who won Oprah's Big Give back in 2008. The concept is easy and appealing: you sign up for an account which serves as your "foundation." You can add money to your foundation yourself, through sponors, or through the GiveBack Shopping Mall, in which a % of every purchase you makes goes into your foundations. And this is where the magic of GiveBack.org really begins - you can manage the money in your foundation easily, giving the exact amount to want to virtually any charity with an official tax ID.

Did I mention that you get $5 in your foundation just for signing up?

Upon signing up, I couldn't believe how easy it was to find my favorite local charity through the search engine and donate my $5 - no strings attached!

Then, upon visiting the GiveBack Shopping Mall, I was amazed at how many online retailers are participating! This really is such a wonderful way to shop online for the items you're already looking for while donating a % to your favorite charities! At absolutely no cost to you - GiveBack.org is a movement that every online shopper should be participating in. There is no catch either - GiveBack.org guarantees that 100% of the money you donate goes to the charity of your choice. Fees are covered by sponsors!

What a beautiful, beautiful way to pay it forward this holiday season!

Here are a few of my favorites from the GiveBack Shopping Mall:
- Nordstrom (earn 4% for your foundation)
- Old Navy (earn 3% for your foundation)
- The Disney Store Online (earn 3% for your foundation)
- Diapers.com (earn 1% for your foundation)
- The Land of Nod (earn 5% for your foundation)
- Barnes & Noble (earn 4% for your foundation)
- The Children's Place (earn 3% for your foundation)
- The Body Shop (earn 6% for your foundation)
- Harry & David (earn 5% for your foundation)
- Target (earn 4% for your foundation)

... that's not even the half of it! There are over 400 retailers involved with GiveBack.org. All you have to do is shop through the links on the GiveBack.org website!

So what are you waiting for? Next time you're shopping online (which let's be honest, is probably today) please consider shopping through GiveBack.org.

We can ALL make a difference in all the little things that we do!

Coming soon GiveBack.org will allow users to create their own campaigns and fundraising tools for their favorite charities!

Here's a short video on how GiveBack.org works. Check it out today!

Disclaimer: I reviewed GiveBack.org through my participation with the One2One Network, and will be entered to win a gift card for participating. I was not compensated in any other way. The thoughts and opinions posted above are my own, and may vary from yours. I will not receive anything whether or not you sign up for GiveBack.org, but I hope that you do out of the goodness of your heart!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sponsor Super Sale! Only $10 for 3 Pairs of BabyLegs!! Get them FAST!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and filling Thanksgiving. I know I did. It was my first time cooking a turkey (I've purchased them fully cooked in the past) and I was really happy with the way that it turned out!

I know everyone is busy shopping today so I'll leave you with this AWESOME deal from our sponsors - BabyLegs!

Today you can get a bundle of 3 pairs of BabyLegs for just $10!! While supplies last! (That's a $26 savings!)

Follow this link: http://www.babylegs.com/Category.aspx?CategoryId=702

During checkout, use the special code for Holly at Nap Time readers to save 20% on all merchandise not including the Cyber Monday Deals  -  NAPTIME

Enjoy!!! I just purchased the "Paint the Town Pink" set!

While you're at it, don't forget to "Like" BabyLegs on Facebook! For more FREE BabyLegs, enter our giveaway here!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Adopted Ed {A Children's Book Review}

November is National Adoption Month in the United States. It's a time to raise awareness of the children in our own foster care system that are in need of their forever homes. Currently that number is 115,000 children (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). Chances are, you know someone in your life who has been adopted. And chances are, that person at one time or another has been an outcast for this unique trait they have about them. It's important to educate our children on adoption and the characteristics that make each of us special.

Adopted Ed is a beautiful children's book in which we follow the journey of a young boy, Ed, as he learns that he is adopted. Author Darren Maddern speaks from the heart in this Suessical style book, as he was adopted too. It touches base on the issues of what it means to be adopted, how to overcome other people's thoughts on adoption, and the feelings of emptiness that adopted children often have later in life that prompts them to search for information on their biological parents.

My favorite line from the book is when Eddie approaches the bully that has been harassing him about being adopted, and he says, "My parents chose me, yours were stuck with you!"

Adopted Ed is a beautifully moving story that is the perfect way to introduce your child to the subject of adoption and to better educate them. It's full color illustrations by Erin Fusco leave us with characters we are eager to learn more about and a realistic world that we can relate to.

The story ends with a list of celebrities that we all know who were adopted. What a wonderful way to showcase how unique and individual each person is!

Adopted Ed is on sale NOW at Amazon.com. Click here for details! Adopted Ed is listed for children ages 9-12, but I really see this book being meaningful to children even as young as 5 years old.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of Adopted Ed to review through my participation with the One2One Network. There was no other form of compensation for this review. The thoughts and opinions above are my own and may differ from yours!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Guest Post by From Chalkboards to Strollers! Fall Family Challenge: R is for Reading Readiness

Thanks for all the comments and support yesterday. When it came to breastfeeding, I never imagined that I would need to be the one weaned! It's nice to know that I'm not alone in this boat. Today is day #2 of the dropped morning nap feed, and yet again she didn't even care. I'm hopeful. :)

Fall Family Challenge:
I am so glad that everyone is enjoying the Fall Family Challenge. I wanted to do something fun and creative that would inspire families to do things together. With all the toys and gadgets out there these days, I feel like family time has become less and less of a priority. As my daughter grows up, I certainly don't want that to be the case in my house! I guess you could say I'm stock-piling ideas now so that I'm prepared.

I certainly don't consider myself an expert on the subject though. I knew that when the letter "R" approached that I wanted to do something on Reading Readiness, and it didn't take me long to ask Liz from the blog "From Chalkboards to Strollers" to bring over some of her expertise on the subject.

Liz is a 2nd grade teacher turned stay-at-home-mom. Her blog details the adventures that she and her daughter Avery have. It's also packed full of goodies like phonics overviews, pictures, reviews and giveaways! Make sure you stop by From Chalkboards to Strollers to thank you for contributing today!

R is for Reading Readiness by Liz Giver, author of From Chalkboards to Strollers.

As parents, I’m sure we’ve all gotten the question. Whether it’s your pediatrician or your child’s teacher, who ever it might be, there is the inevitable question, “Are you reading to her everyday?” And although you are, you might be asking yourself “Do I really need to be reading to her every single day, she’s so young. Does it really matter that much?” But time and time again, research has shown that there are many benefits to reading to children from an early age. By reading to children, starting in infancy, you help build pathways in their brains needed for later success in reading and so many other developmental areas.

Benefits of being read to on a daily basis from infancy (but it’s never too late to start):

- helps to develop a larger vocabulary (one of the important components to the Big Five that are the foundation for learning to read)

- helps to develop superior cognitive skills

- helps to learn about communication

- introduces children to multiple concepts such as numbers, color, letters, shapes, animals, etc.

- builds listening and memory skills

- gives babies information about the world around them

- improves bonding

- has a positive effect on emotional development

- helps develop attention span

- stimulates imagination

- helps children understand concepts of print (read books from front to back, read text from left to right and top to bottom, print stands for words, etc.)

- improves later sentence structure, helping children to use longer, more complex sentences

- instills a love of books and reading

The development of early literacy skill through early experiences with books and stories is linked to a child’s later success in learning to read and write. Jim Trelease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook, points out, "if the child has never heard the word, the child will never say the word; and if you have neither heard it nor said it, it's pretty tough to read it and to write it."

Not sure what to read to your child? Here’s my list of the Top 11 Books to Read to Toddlers and Babies:

By Eric Carle, ISBN-13: 9780399226908

A very hungry caterpillar works his way through holes cut into the pages as he eats a variety of food, spins his cocoon, and emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

Pat the Bunny
By Dorothy Kunhardt, ISBN-13: 9780307120007

The classic touch-and-feel book in which a boy and girl experience the world around them by patting a bunny, looking in a mirror, smelling flowers and touching Daddy's scratchy face.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
By Bill Martin Jr., ISBN-13: 9780805047905

This is a classic children's book, but now it's available in board-book format. It features repetitive questions about animals and colors that your child will soon be able to answer before you even turn the page.

By Margaret Brown, ISBN-13: 9780694003617

A young rabbit says goodnight to everything in his room before bedtime in this milestone cozy book.

Sheep in a Jeep
By Nancy E. Shaw, ISBN-13: 9780395867860

In this short and easy to read rhyming story the illustrations bring the humorous story of five silly sheep to life. This picture book appeals to toddlers, preschoolers and beginning readers.

Hello Baby!
By Mem Fox, ISBN-13: 9781416985136

Lighthearted rhyming questions provide the opportunity to take a close look at all kinds of animals, creatively pictured in cut paper collages

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
By Dr. Seuss, ISBN-13: 9780679882824

This board book is especially fun for the toddler who is just learning to make animal and other sounds. In addition, you just can't go wrong with a book from Dr. Suess.

The Very Busy Spider
By Eric Carle, ISBN-13: 9780399229190

The farm animals try to divert a busy little spider from spinning her web, but she persists and produces a thing of both beauty and usefulness. The pictures can be felt as well as seen.

By Elizbeth MacLeod, ISBN-13: 9781554531790

This lively rhyming book gives readers a chance to practice animal sounds, identify animals and guess what animal is coming up next.

By Audrey Wood, ISBN-13: 9780152026325

In this cumulative tale, everyone in the house is sleeping piled one on top of the other until a wakeful flea disrupts the their slumbers with just one bite.

Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails
By Nancy Tafuri, ISBN-13: 9780688075361

Questions and answers highlight some outstanding characteristics of farm animals, such as a chicken’s feathers and a horse’s mane.

Here are a few tips to make the most of your special reading time together:

- Read with feeling and expression; use different pitches when appropriate and different voices for different characters

- Stop at different points in the story ask questions, talk about what you are reading, and show your child the pictures

- Make reading fun; sing songs/nursery rhymes, make animal or other noises

- Read stories over and over, children learn from repetition

- Encourage them to touch and feel books, especially ones that expose them to multiple textures (be sure to tell them how it feels as they touch it)

- Emphasize rhythms and rhymes in stories.

- Look for books that are about things that interest your toddler.

- Invite them to participate by turning the pages and joining in with rhymes, sounds, and repetitive phrases or words

- Cuddle up with your child when you are reading- it makes them feel safe, warm, and connected to you

The effect that reading to your child has on their development is profound. It’s best to start early but late is better then never. So get out those books, cuddle up, and read a good book today and every day! Happy reading!

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, November 17, 2010

What's the Hold Up? It's Me...

Fall in Virginia is absolutely gorgeous. This is our second southern fall, but I feel like I didn't get to really enjoy it last year - probably because for the first half I was 9 months pregnant, and for the second half I was on the couch with a newborn trying to get it together.

AJ got a wagon from her grandparents for her birthday, and today was the perfect autumn day to take it for a spin (or 5) around the block.

Now that she is a year old I'm ready to stop breastfeeding her.  That's what I keep telling myself anyways. When I first brought her home, it was always my intention to supplement with formula every so often - mostly to give myself a break. Well that never worked out for us. I have tried formula several times in her first year and my picky little peanut has always gagged on it. I continued to pump breastmilk and we tried to give her a bottle once a day until she was about 6 months and she decided she'd rather starve than take a bottle. Since I am a stay-at-home-mom and she always took well to the breast, I decided I would continue through her first year.

Around 8 months, as she began to eat more solids I would cut out several of her feedings and give her a sippy cup instead. She took to the sippy really well! (In fact, last week she graduated from a sippy with handles to a sippy without handles. I was watching my friend's daughter who is 3 and she had to drink like a big girl too!) At around 9 months I dropped her afternoon "snack" feed, and was now just feeding her first thing in the morning, before each of her naps, and at bed time (and sometimes in the night, to comfort those teething pains).

I think I am ready for be done breastfeeding. I'd like to have my body back to myself for a little while. However, I kept telling myself that she wasn't ready to wean, she couldn't handle it, etc.

Today I thought that I was taking a huge step by cutting out her feed before her morning nap. I was prepared for her to lie in her crib screaming, tears rolling down her cheeks angry at mommy. I was prepared to silently sob in the hallway while the guilt wrenched inside my stomach.

But... I put her to bed and she didn't even notice that she didn't nurse. She hugged me, cuddled up with her Sammy (seahorse) and went to sleep.

So now I'm realizing I'm the hold up. I do want to be done nursing, but I'm having such a hard time letting go! I never ever ever in a million years thought that it would be such an emotional journey. I'm so glad that I did it though.

I think my plan is to keep skipping the late morning feed for the rest of the week, and to cut out her afternoon feed next week. If anyone has any advice I'll gladly accept it.

I know that I don't have to stop nursing, and that many moms nurse well into the second year and beyond, but I do feel like the time has come for me to quit. We have had thrush numerous times, and a month ago AJ got her first ear ache, which led to her refusal of nursing on the left side no matter what position we try, so I'm beginning to look a little lop-sided! Haha.

Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

Current Giveaways:BabyLegs Grab Bag (Retail $48) - Ends 11/30

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wednesday Blog Hops!

Welcome fellow blog hoppers. My name is Holly and I am the stay-at-home-mom to one beautiful little girl (who around here I call AJ for short). This blog is a journey of sorts - I like to share my progress in my Day Zero Project, share ideas for family togetherness in my series Fall Family Challenge, bounce recipe ideas off of my readers, and blog about my personal life as a 20 something mom in Virginia. There's also plenty of reviews and giveaways along the way! I hope you'll follow me! Please leave me a comment letting me know that you stopped by so that I can do the same. Thanks!


Fall Family Challenge: Q is for Quizzing your Kiddos

One of the greatest joys of being a parent is being able to witness the personality development of your child. Their likes, dislikes, dreams, fears, favorites, etc. Sometimes when I look at my daughter, it's hard to believe that my husband and I created her from thin air, and that now she is this beautifully stubborn toddler. It's a miracle to have her here with me every day, and I thank God for letting me be a part of her life.

The fact is that children change so quickly. Here's a fun way to help them discover their own personality development. :)

Q is for Quizzing your Kiddos

If you're like most parents, you can hardly keep up with your child's preferences. One day they are in love with Curious George. So while they are at school you visit the local library and check out a dozen Curious George books, and take the time to DVR every episode of the furry little critter that comes on at 3am when your little one is sound asleep. But by the time you deliver the goods, your child is so over Curious George that they don't even appreciate your effort. Today it's all about Elmo.

This is completely normal, and all a part of their developing minds. This can also be a fun memory making game for the family!

 Quick Quiz

Develop a questionaire for your child with some simple questions, and take note of their answers. Then, give them the same questionaire 2-3 months later. Have their answers changed? Compare the two questionaires to each other! Your child will have a hard time believing they ever like the color brown or a time when they didn't like spaghetti!

This is a fun activity to do every so often. For school aged kids, try doing this questionaire every 6-12 months. Over the years it will be amazing to see how your child's answers change in complexity and thought.

I can't wait to start these exercises with my own daughter! Here are some sample questions to get your started:

What is your favorite color?

What is your favorite animal?

What do you think Santa Claus likes to have for dinner?

Who is your best friend?

What makes you special?

What food is the yuckiest?

Would you rather be a tiger, a giraffe or a monkey? Why?

What are you going to be when you grow up?

What is your favorite television show?

Have fun with this one!! I'd love to hear some of your questions and responses!

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!

Current Giveaways:BabyLegs Grab Bag (retail $48) ending 11/30

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sponsor Spotlight: BabyLegs! {Review & Giveaway}


By now you’ve probably seen them – those cozy little leg warmers that make those fat little baby thighs cuter than you thought they could ever possibly be. In dozens of styles, colors and themes, BabyLegs are quickly becoming essential clothing items for babies and toddlers, and it’s not hard to see why!

I was over the moon when I teamed up with BabyLegs for the Blogtastic Extravaganza this coming January (you’ll have to come back then to see what they have in store for us!) I was even more excited though to learn that a package was on its way for my review, along with a Giveaway Grab Bag for one lucky Holly at Nap Time reader! You don’t want to miss this one! … and don’t tell anyone, but I bumped elbows with Santa the other day and he told me that BabyLegs are in high demand for stocking stuffers this year. Here’s your chance to help the jolly guy out.

Why BabyLegs (from their website: http://www.babylegs.com/)

BabyLegs offers several practical and resourceful ways to keep children warm, protected and stylish.

Why parents adore BabyLegs:
• Makes diaper changing and potty training easier
• Keeps legs warm in strollers and carriers
• Protects knees from hard surfaces and rug burn
• Provides lightweight sun protection in the summer months
• Keep in diaper bag for a quick change when messes arise
• Fashionable alternative to tights

Why ‘tweens, teens and adults adore BabyLegs:
• Arm warmers for bicyclists, runners, kayakers and hikers
• An extra layer for camping or skiing o Layer under a t-shirt
• Fun and funky fashion accessory, adding personality to any outfits

My daughter and I were sent the following to review:

Pink Lemonade Leg Warmers

Cutie Pie Leg Warmers (in action here by AJ herself!)

                                                                        Noel Tights

                                                                 Honky Tonk Socks

I was so excited that the BabyLegs arrived so quickly, because I knew that they would be absolutely perfect for my daughter’s first birthday party! With a “1” onesie and her Pink Lemonade BabyLegs, she was off to enjoy her birthday party at a local children’s space!

Immediately upon putting them on her, I was surprised with how plush the fabric was. Each white dot on the Pink Lemonade Leg Warmers is a fuzzy, minky-like texture that baby just loves to touch.

I was impressed with how well the BabyLegs Leg Warmers kept up! Most socks, tights, and leg warmers would lose their shape and become saggy and loose fitting after two hours of non-stop play in a children’s gym. Not BabyLegs! After the party was finished, they were still snugly hugging her thighs with just the right amount of squeeze (they did not leave any marks on her legs like the elastic was too tight… I have had this problem with other brands).

With the Pink Lemonade Leg Warmers in particular, we noticed that the inside seaming allowed for you to wear the leggings straight or fold up the cuff for a little ruffle around the foot. Both options were extremely adorable, and we were showered with compliments on how cute they were. Several moms said they had to have them! (Look at my daughter, just one year old and already a fashion trendsetter!)

Without ruffle, and with ruffle!

The BabyLegs Noel Tights are super cute and feature 3 little white sparkly poms that add just the sweetest flair to baby’s ankles. I was pleased to see how thick these tights are - I won’t have to worry about AJ’s little legs freezing in the chilly air. The best feature of the tights, in my opinion, is the BabyLegs logo grippers on the feet. It is so hard to fight stocking tights with grippers on the feet! Any mom with a child learning to walk knows how frustrating it is to see a little one in tights sliding all over the floor! These super grippers are also featured on the BabyLegs Socks, which are super soft and actually stay on those precious little feet!

Buy It!
Visit BabyLegs.com and purchase your favorite BabyLegs today! BabyLegs is pleased to provide Holly at Nap Time readers a special 20% Discount on all BabyLegs! (Use Code: NAPTIME. Offer Expires 12-15-2010)

WIN IT! One lucky Holly at Nap Time reader will win a BabyLegs Grab Bag! (For girls: 2 leg warmers, 1 pair of tights, and 1 package of socks. For boys: 2 leg warmers and 2 packages of socks. Retail value $48)

Like BabyLegs on Facebook OR Follow BabyLegs on Twitter. Leave a comment on this post telling me which you did and either your Facebook name (First Name and Last Initial) or your Twitter Username. Do both and receive two entries! (Leave two separate comments!) All entries must contain a valid email address in which the winner can be contacted.

Bonus Entries!
-Follow Holly at Nap Time on Google Friend Connect (1 entry)
-Visit the BabyLegs website and tell me your favorite style of BabyLegs! (1 entry)
-Like Holly at Nap Time on Facebook, leave your Facebook name (2 entries)
-Follow Holly at Nap Time on Twitter, leave your Twitter name (2 entries)
-Grab the Holly at Nap Time button and put it on your blog. Leave a link with where I can find it! (3 entries)
-Blog about this giveaway and link back to Holly at Nap Time AND BabyLegs. Leave a link to the post. (5 entries)

The Fine Print
Giveaway begins on November 15th, 2010 and ends on November 30th at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to residents 18 years and older of the U.S. ONLY. Please leave an email address in your comment, that way I am able to contact you if you are the winner. Also, be sure to leave one comment for each entry, for example, if you like Holly at Nap Time on facebook leave 2 separate comments stating so.

Disclosure: I received a BabyLegs Grab Bag from BabyLegs to review. I was not compensated in any other way. The thoughts and opinions here are my own.

Fall Family Challenge: P is for Perfect Pie Activities

Wow, what a weekend! I cannot believe how much work goes into a first birthday party! AJ had the time of her life though. Grandma Amy & Aunt Marie were able to make the trip to visit (ie help) us and make the event even more memorable. Full post and highlights to come soon.

What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of gifts that AJ would receive. Holy cow! My living room is one tall giraffe short of a toy store now! I'm going to have to spend some time this week going through everything and putting away some of the baby toys that she doesn't play with anymore.

Among all the bustle of the weekend, I totally forgot that I had a delicious fudge pie in my fridge for our house guests! Drats... more sweets for me to eat!

P is for Perfect Pie Activities

A lot of people will agree that a pie is as American as the flag itself, but I really consider October-January to be the perfect "pie season." Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there really is no better time to chow down an apple, pumpkin, pecan or fudge pie to celebrate all the joy that the Holiday Season brings. Here's some fun ways to extend the pie fun even longer!

Elmo's Funny Face Pizza Pies
Check out this tutorial from Sprout on how to make Elmo's Funny Face Pizza Pies. A delicious and healthy way to get your kids to eat vegetables (or should I say noses and eyeballs?)

Count & Serve
The holidays are a great time for a child to practice tallying and counting. When dessert time comes around, ask your child to take a sheet of paper and to ask each individual at the gathering whether or not they would like a piece of pie. How many people said yes, compared to how many people said no? Help your child count up the results and count out the appropriate number of pie pieces before serving. He or she will be so proud to have been part of the process!  

By the way, curious how to get those perfectly sized pie slices? Check out this Slice Solutions Pie Pan Divider on Amazon for just $10.79!

Play & Practice
When it comes to "playing with your food," the folks over at Melissa and Doug are experts. For the younger set that won't be dishing out the real thing to Grandpa and Grandma, try this Make & Serve Apple Pie Set. In this set, the apples can be put together and sliced apart. A slice of apple fits inside each of the pie pieces! An adorable oven mit puts the icing on this set. Grandma and Grandpa will love this calorie free alternative from your little one!

For older kids, the Make & Serve Apple Pie Set is a fantastic learning tool for exploring fractions!

25 Amazing Pies!
If I haven't gotten you hooked on Disney's Family Fun by now, this should do the trick! Check out this "Let's Make a Pie" feature of 25 amazingly delicious pies that have kid-friendly recipes.

Don't forget to save a slice for me!

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, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Today is my daughter's 1st birthday. Where did the time go!? I cannot believe what a funny, beautiful little child she's grown to be. My husband's work was nice enough to let him work from home today so that he could see her (because usually he has work and school and doesn't see her Tuesday and Wednesdays). While he was taking a lunch break we had cake and opened presents. What precious moments these are for us parents!! Pictures to come. We'll be having a party with a few of her friends later this week.

Happy Birthday, AJ!!

Now if only she will start sleeping through the night! We were doing so well, and then the last week or so she has suddenly become super clingy and just wants to be held or play all night. Last night we were up from 12:30am-4:30am because she was just wired! I think it's time to consider cutting down to one nap a day instead of two. Drats.

This is one of the many ways I know that God is listening. He has heard me tell my coworkers, teachers, colleagues and friends over the years that I thrive on a good challenge. AJ is that stubborn challenge! Every day I feel so blessed to have her in my life that I can't really complain about anything, even if she doesn't let me sleep!

Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Norah Jones ...Featuring {Review & Pre-Order Information}

Norah Jones captured hearts all over the world with her critically acclaimed album, Come Away With Me, in 2002. Five Grammys and three albums later, she is back with a new album - ...Featuring.

From the album:Recorded from 2001 to 2010, the cameos, duets and collaborations on this compilation span the musical spectrum and show Norah Jones to be one of the decade's most diverse musical connectors.

As a big fan myself, I was pleased to be asked to review ...Featuring. It's already become a nap time favorite at my house. The baby is snoozing, and Norah's smooth, velvety voice comes on to help relieve me of the stresses of the day.

At first glance at the album, I was a little surprised at what my eyes were seeing. Outkast? Willie Nelson? Foo Fighters? Surely all of these names couldn't be on the same album with the lovely and talented Norah Jones. Just one listen though, and I was sold. This woman has an amazing vocal presence and she just fits into each collaboration so well. Any true music lover will appreciate ...Featuring, from its jazz roots, to its dabbles in country and hip hop.

Here's the Album Lineup:

 1. Love Me - The Little Willies                                                         
 2. Virginia Moon - Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
 3. Turn Them - Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
 4. Baby It's Cold Outside - Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
 5. Bull Rider - Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
 6. Ruler Of My Heart - Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
 7. The Best Part - El Madmo
 8. Take Off Your Cool - Outkast featuring Norah Jones
 9. Life Is Better - Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones
 10. Soon The New Day - Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
 11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John - Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
 12. Here We Go Again - Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
 13. Loretta - Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
 14. Dear John - Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
 15. Creepin' In - Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton
 16. Court & Spark - Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
 17. More Than This - Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
 18. Blue Bayou - Norah Jones featuring M. Ward

So far my favorites are Virginia Moon and Baby Its Cold Outside (just in time for the holidays!)

Buy It
...Featuring will make a perfect stocking stuffer for the music fan in your life this year! (You hear that dad? Consider your stocking stuffed!) And, you can purchase it now on Amazon's Pre-Order Sale for just $9.99 (a 47% savings).

The album will officially hit stores on Tuesday, November 16th. Get your copy today!

To see more from Norah Jones, check her out on YouTube and Facebook.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of ...Featuring to review. The opinions expressed here are my own. I will be entered to win a gift card from the One2One Network for participating in this review.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: O is for Organic Options

It's Monday, and the start of another busy week! Thank you for the support and feedback on my recent knowledge of my thyroid problem. I've now been on the synthroid medication for three days, and I feel like I already have more energy. I know that it's probably my mind playing tricks on me (like I've willed myself to have more energy) and that these things take time, but the bottom line is that I'm hopeful about it all.

BIG WEEK here! On Wednesday, my beautiful little bambina is going to be ONE YEAR OLD!! I can hardly believe the last year has gone so quickly. My due date was the 7th, and last year on the 8th I had given up on her coming. Haha - only one day late but I felt like I was just going to be pregnant forever. Then on the 10th the doctor had me come in to be induced, only to find that I was already in labor when I got there (and I didn't even know it, ha). It's been a fantastic year!

O is for Organic Options

Or-gan-ic. In the last few years, the word "organic" has outgrown its status as an adjective and become a way of life for many people across the globe. It means a fresher, cleaner, more simple world for our families. Pure. Pollutant Free.

Of course, somewhere out there - there is a mom that has no idea what the word organic means, and she's feeding her children organic food with her nose in the air only because it's the trendy thing and everyone is doing it. For the rest of us, choosing organic items is a balance. Organic items are usually more costly and harder to find (in some cases).

Here are some ideas for educating your family on what it means to be organic, and how to better your lifestyle - even if you're not organic 100% of the time. 

What Does 'Organic' Really Mean?

There is a lot of talk about the true meaning of "organic" is. Many people assume that the terms natural, hormone-free, and free-range are all interchangeable with the word organic, and that is not true. These words are allowed to be on food labels even if the product is not organic. 

In fact, some of the products that you may think are 100% organic may also not be.

In order for an item to say that it is organic, it only has to have 95% or more organic ingredients, and can include the USDA Organic Seal. Most items that are completely organic will state that they are 100% organic. To learn more about understanding labeling, visit the United States Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Marketing Service.

Pick & Choose Your Organic Foods

If you want to purchase organic foods, but don't have the budget to allow for it all of the time - try this! Purchase organic foods that don't have peels. For items like bananas, apples, avocados, etc that have a protective peel, there is less pesticide residue.

Plant a Garden

One way to ensure your family gets quality, organic food is to grow it yourself! Oh, how I long for the day when we have a yard big enough for a vegetable garden (we currently live in a townhouse with limited yard space).

In the meantime, we keep our eyes open for deals at local family farms, farmer's markets, and local items in the grocery store. A fantastic resource for finding these places near you is FarmAid.org.

Family Resources

Buying organic products isn't just better for our bodies, it's better for the world. Here are some learning resources for the whole family to check out on what it means to be organic and the difference we can make a little at a time.

The Omnivore's Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan:
A New York Times bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us-whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed-he develops a portrait of the American way of eating. The result is a sweeping, surprising exploration of the hungers that have shaped our evolution, and of the profound implications our food choices have for the health of our species and the future of our planet.

Growing and Eating Green by Ruth Owen:
Growing and Eating Green is a book exploring the careers available in the food industries, from farming to marketing the foods and everything in between. This is book two in a series of books about "Green-Collar Careers" and there are two others currently planned in the series. There is no reason to read them in order but rather to pick this book due to interest in a career in the Food Production Industry. The book gives the reader information about how to be a person who grows, moves, or markets food grown in a green environment. Farming obviously seems green but it is interesting to find out how far from "natural" as a society we have become. The "Career Profiles" include all areas and genders and are insightful into the variety of possibilities that are now becoming available to someone who wants to stay close to the earth. The chapter about "Organics" is very good and clearly explains the differences. There is a clear glossary in the back and any child trying to decide what he/she wants to do and who enjoys working with his/her hands, would learn about the career possibilities in his/her future.

I think I could go on and on. My husband and I recently started purchasing organic cotton linens and other organic household items. I hope the items above help you understand organic items a little bit better and help you see how they can make our world a greener place!

Friday, November 5, 2010

An Unexpected Turn of Events

I feel like I've definitely seen my share of doctors recently. A few weeks ago my husband convinced me to see our primary care physician about some back pain I'd been having. Mild, parenting related, back pain. I agreed and as I predicted, the doctor wasn't concerned at all and told me that the pain should go away by itself in a few weeks. But before I was on my way out the door, he was feeling my thyroid and was concerned with what he was feeling. So the next morning I was back to visit the lab for some blood work. Funny how that works out, isn't it?

The blood work came back and the doctor's suspicions were confirmed - my body was not producing enough thyroid hormone. He wanted me to see an endocrinologist for further analysis.

Yesterday was my first meeting with my endocrinologist. Her first question - "Are you feeling really tired lately?" My response - "Um, well yes I'm feeling tired. I have a one year old daughter I'm chasing around all day." An ultrasound of my thyroid is done. More bloodwork is done. I am diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease.  Say what? An auto-immune disorder in which my body is actually creating antibodies to attack my thyroid. Huh. Well how about that?

Less than 24 hours later my doctor calls me with the blood results. Am I dying? No doctor has ever called me back in less than 24 hours. She states that my thyroid levels are extremely extremely extremely low, and that my Hashimoto's has caused me to have hypothyroidism. We begin discussing my life-long treatment plan, and she explains the importance of getting me synthroid medication right away. She says that she knows I'm not complaining of feeling bad, but she promises that I will feel renewed, with more energy in the next few weeks. Hooray!

All the while, I'm thinking that my back has stopped hurting. Probably because I haven't had time to think about it since my original visit to the doctor.

And my point being, that everyone should go to the doctor regularly to get checked out. Our bodies are complicated systems, and sometimes we don't even notice that they aren't working properly. It's best to catch these things before they turn into big ugly things!!

According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, as estimated 25 million people have some form of hypothyroidism, but only half have been diagnosed.

If anyone can suggest any resources for me to check out, it'd be appreciated!

Fall Family Challenge: N is for Naughty or Nice

My daughter had been feeling better for almost a week now but my housework is still really far behind! Does anyone else find that the further you get behind that the harder it is to get going in a forward direction? I hate that feeling!

Parents generally like this time of year because they don't have to remind their kids so often that Santa is watching. Every kid knows about the naughty and nice list, and whereas I don't know if there are any kids out there that actually, in fact, have received a lump of coal or no presents for Christmas, but the threat has been working for centuries.

N is for Naughty or Nice... it's Santa's List and he's checking it twice!

via BN.com

Elf on the Shelf

I love this holiday tradition! How does Santa really know what's going on around the holidays? His little helpers, of course! This Elf on the Shelf comes with a darling storybook. Your elf is super sneaky! Each day leading up to Christmas the kids can search the house to see where the Elf is on the lookout for them that day. How magical! I wish they had this tradition when I was a child because it sounds like so much fun.

Online Naughty or Nice Status

Do your kids need a little nudge? Visit this super cute website with them to answer questions like "Do you keep your room clean?" When the quiz is over, submit your answers to find out if you are on the naughty or nice list, and receive your official certificate. Click here for the EmailSanta.com quiz.

For younger kids, skip the quiz and visit this site that will rate your name on the "Nice-o

I can't believe that the holiday season is already upon us!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Great Cloth Diaper Hunt! (LOADS of Prizes!)

Congratulations are in order to Sarah B., the winner of my $35 CSN Gift Code giveaway chosen by Random.org. Happy shopping, Sarah!! (CONFIRMED)

As a mom, I wish I could say that I used cloth diapers. As a pregnant mom I actually had every intention to, but the whole "becoming a parent for the first time" was so overwhelming that I completely threw the idea out the window as soon as we brought AJ home from the hospital.

I think though, that in the future I'd like to try it. I'm learning a LOT of info over at the Diaper Decisions website, and I'm having a ton of fun doing it at the same time!

This November Diaper Decisions is hosting their 11th Great Cloth Diaper Hunt across the web. Participants visit sponsors websites and search for a logo with a cloth diaper on it to be entered in daily prizes, as well as to gain entrance into bigger prizes! Some of the logos are really easy to find, but others will involve logic puzzles, guessing games, and a little bit of thinking!!

Anyways, I'm having a great time participating and I hope that you will join me! Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: M is for Magical Movie Night {at home!}

Happy Monday! I hope that everyone had a safe and fun Halloween. I was a little bummed by our trick-or-treater turn out of 9 kids, but I wasn't at all surprised. We took AJ to a Halloween party at a local children's space and she won a costume contest.

We are so proud of our little garden gnome!! We didn't collect treats this year, as I think it would have been a little too obvious that the candy was going to mom and dad, ha ha. Be honest, how much of your children's candy do you sneak?

I know a few of my friends are doing this, and I think it's an excellent idea!! They are allowing their kids to use their candy like money to "buy" something like a new toy or book. Genius way of curbing overindulgence, too.

M is for Magical Movie Night

One of the traditions I'm so looking forward to starting with our daughter is a family movie night at home. There is just something about the image of a family all curled up on the couch sharing a movie that seems perfect to me. Here are some ideas for making your movie night even more special!

Make it a Living Room Drive In
There is something about cardboard boxes that kids just cannot get enough of! Perhaps it's the simplicity of them, and their ability to transform into anything. For a fun rainy day activity, let your little ones turn a cardboard box (that is big enough for them to sit in) into a car, rocket ship, or other automobile! Then host a family movie night in the living room drive-in style. Your little one will love watching their favorite characters light up on the TV from their box creations (and it sure beats $8/per ticket at the real movies!!!!)

Tickets, Please!
Make movie night official with your own family tickets! This idea is fantastic for imaginative play, as your little one will love collecting tickets from you and letting you enter the "theater." Make your own, or print off some templates like this one from Disney's Family Fun!

Choices, Choices!
As a child, one of my favorite things about going to the movies was looking through that glass display case and trying to decide what snack I wanted. Usually in my day it was the Sour Patch Kids that won out every time.

At home, keep a small plastic bin stocked with snacks of your choice (a variety of fruit snacks, suckers, mini candy bars, etc.) Throughout the week, let your child collect tokens for doing things like finishing their dinner, making their bed, sharing with their sibling, etc. When Family Movie Night comes along, set up concessions in your kitchen with prices for each treat! Your child will love trading in their tokens for special treats, and this is a great way to work on counting and responsibility as well!

Most importantly, remember to make it your own! At home, PJs are ok, pillows and blankets are a bonus, and your favorite stuffed animals can all have their own seats. Not to mention you can schedule intermissions for potty breaks!

Do you have any family movie night traditions? Please share them here or by emailing me at holly@hollyatnaptime.com

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!

Don't forget! Today is the LAST DAY to enter into our drawing for a $35 Gift Code to CSN Stores! Click here for more details!