Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kiki's Fashions Maternity Review and $25 Giveaway!

Kiki's Fashions is an online retailer of cheap maternity clothes that are trendy and fun. According to their website,
"We pride ourselves on having a wide selection of unique maternity styles at prices mostly under $20. By selling exclusively on the Internet, Kiki's Fashions is able to maintain very low operating costs and we pass those savings on to our customers by offering prices 15%- 30% off many of our competitors. We also change our inventory often, so our customers always have access to today's hottest fashions and trends."
31 weeks pregnant
I LOVE this purple maternity sweater that Kiki's Fashions sent me to review! Head on over to What Mama Wants for my full review and for your chance to win a $25 credit to Kiki's Fashions!

Disclaimer: I received a free product in return for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and may differ from yours!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Evolution of a Cold (as experienced at our house)

If you need a chuckle today.

Tis the season for the common cold virus. These days, it seems like if there is a virus going around that it will make sure to stop by our house on its way through town (probably because we're just such great hosts). This usually happens one of two ways:

  1. My daughter brings something home from one of the germ infested places she frequents: preschool, the children's museum, etc.
  2. My husband brings home some crud that is going around his office. In which case my husband never receives the illness, but just acts as the transportation to our home. Yes, my lucky duck husband who swears that he cannot ever remember a time that he ever had a cold before we were living together. Ha. I have yet to ask his mom about that one.
I'm not sure where our current cold originated from, probably because I wasn't being as careful as I should have been. Having just recovered from the croup in time to celebrate her second birthday, I assumed that we were in the clear for awhile. Wrong.

This is the chronicles of the evolution of our current cold and the deterioration of my sanity. Or, if you prefer, why our house looks like we've been robbed and our refrigerator is empty.

It begins in the wee hours on Monday morning, November 14th. Around 12:30am AJ wakes up crying and immediately informs me that she is "all done" sleeping. This doesn't exactly mesh with my schedule. My husband and I take turns rocking her, reading to her and trying to get her to go back to sleep. She keeps saying something about "no puppy" and we wonder if she's had a nightmare. We hide said stuffed puppy at the bottom of her stuffed animal bin with no luck.

Crap, I think to myself. Tomorrow is a triple whammy of a day, AJ - we need some rest! Normally our stay-at-home schedule allows for nights like this once in awhile. My daughter will always be a priority over laundry and dishes. But it just so happens that the day we have ahead of us includes preschool, my 30 week OB appointment, and AJ's 2 year well visit. Around 3am, my husband lays down with her in the guest room so that I can get some sleep. 

Monday morning rolls around and AJ cries the entire way to preschool, which is really not common. Usually this is the highlight of her week and she cannot wait to get away from me for a few hours. I leave her clinging to her teacher, telling myself that she is tired from our long night. Upon my return, her teacher informs me that after she had a big poop (this is a family blog, I can talk about toddler poop) she felt much better and was back to her normal self. Thank goodness.

We arrive home, and two hours before her well visit as I'm putting her down for a quick nap, I notice that she has spiked a fever. 101.3 F. [Insert parental guilt here... were there signs that I missed in the night? How could I have sent her to school?] I give her Tylenol and remind myself that at least we are going to the doctor in a couple hours already.

AJ already hates the doctor's office. We belong to a pediatric associates practice with about 12 physicians, and in the first two years of her life we came close to seeing them all. Not because we couldn't find one we liked, but because she would scream bloody murder the second she saw a familiar face coming at her for more. In preparation I had spent the last week and a half reading Dora Goes to the Doctor with her at least 1-2 times per day.

The book worked. AJ knew exactly what to expect, and the Tylenol had kicked in so she was bouncing off the walls and full of glee. Then the doctor told me that her throat was inflamed. Yep, she's probably getting a cold virus... will have a fever for 48 hours on and off with scratchy throat and then your typical cold. But I want to do a strep test just to be sure anyways.

Great. A throat culture was definitely not in the book. AJ knew it too. After screaming and gagging on the culture wand, she looked at me like I was the most evil parent on earth. (Of course, don't blame Dora for not covering this important material... it's all your mom's fault!)

Strep test negative. At least I had that. As we were walking to the car I swallowed and realized that my throat was killing me too. Ugh. Thank goodness for Burt's Bees Throat Drops for during my pregnancy, and an endless supply of popsicles for AJ.

I got clearance to send her back to preschool on Wednesday as long as she hadn't had a fever for 24 hours. As of Wednesday morning we were in the clear with sore throats gone and no fevers, so we went about our way. Then Wednesday night the sniffling, sneezing and coughing began to set in. After having sent her back to school that day, I was giving myself the stellar mom of the year award at about this point.

The next few days were pretty lazy. Call me a bad parent, but I'm a firm believer in snuggle times and lots of cartoons and movies being a key to any healing a body needs. We both began barking like dogs - that really annoying, lingers forever, gasping for air type cough that makes people wonder if you're choking to death and they should call 911. The cough still lingers a week later.

I was so over this cold when on Saturday AJ turned into Mr. Hyde. Temper tantrums followed by moments of "needs a hug" followed by not eating followed by crying and crying and fussing and fussing.

cute even when sick
I told my husband that if she was still acting like this on Monday that I was going to take her back to the doctor, but after keeping us up again almost all Saturday night we decided to take her to KidMed (our after hours pediatric care place) on Sunday morning and confirm my suspicions - that like every other cold she'd ever had, this one had brought on an ear infection.

Fast forward a few hours later - we are told by a nurse practitioner that AJ's ears look beautiful and that she is just cranky because she has a cold and is two years old. (Oh yea, this news comes after another throat culture. Fantastic.)

With the weekend gone, my house a terrible mess and not a crumb of food to be found, I was just about at my wits end with this cold virus, when AJ came up to me and said, "watch mommy, I cough" and proceeded to fake cough into her elbow. At least we've learned something this past week, I thought to myself, as a real cough came on and she coughed openly all over my dinner.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stocking Stuffer Alert! Bridesmaids DVD only $5.99

Amazon Black Friday Deals Week is here!! Fabulous deals on hot holiday items, plus "lightning deals" being announced nearly every hour!

Last year my husband and I did nearly all of our holiday shopping through these awesome deals!

Here's a stocking stuffer that's on many wishlists this year - Bridesmaids on DVD for only $5.00 (Save 80%). You can also snag this deal on Blu-Ray for just $9.99!


FREE Personalized Birthday Card from Tiny Prints - TODAY ONLY!

Tiny Prints knows that sometimes our friends with birthdays around the holidays don't receive all the celebration they deserve. Don't forget these special birthdays (and definitely don't gift with a holiday gift item... that's just tacky).

For TODAY ONLY, Tiny Prints is offering a FREE, personalized birthday greeting card to all their customers. Simply create your birthday greeting here, and choose the option to "mail it to me first" so that you aren't charged the price of a stamp. During checkout, enter code: FREEBD. As with all of their other offers, you will need a valid credit card for your order to be processed. However, you will not be charged for your free card unless you choose additional mailing services.

Enjoy this offer! Who will you be getting a card for?

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for this post. Just sharing a great deal!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

FREE Carseat Canopy with 100% Minky Interior. Perfect for the Cold Months!

Affliliated with Udder Covers and Seven Slings (of which I use both), Carseat Canopy products "are made for "year-round" use - fabrics not too heavy for summer and not too thin for winter. Each one of our canopies has bold, fresh, cutting-edge prints on 100% cotton outers with soft, snuggly, lovable 100% polyester minky interiors. We've got your baby covered!"*

Retailing at $49.95, these canopies are made to adjust to any make or model of carseat with adjustable straps, are machine washable, and have an interior of the softest 100% polyester minky.

Right now you can snag a Carseat Canopy for FREE with the code SEVENSLINGS - simply pay shipping and handling and your order will be processed in 2-8 business days!!

For even more savings, you can buy the "Whole Caboodle" sets (a $135 value) with the SEVENSLINGS code for just $29.95. It doesn't get much better than that!

I just got the Maddox Carseat Canopy for our baby boy who will be arriving in January. I'm not sure when this deal expires, so make sure you grab yours before it's gone!!!

*from their website.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Carseat Canopies other than a satisfied customer sharing the deal with others!

Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland Review

Having grown up in Michigan, I certainly knew what Bronner's was. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't know about this amazing CHRISTmas Wonderland within the great mitten state. For those visiting Frankenmuth, it's a Christmas festival that never ends and joyously celebrates the birth of Christ all throughout the year. For the rest of us it is the perfect one stop holiday shop for all our Christmas needs (and then some).

As an adult now who lives in Virginia, I'm so happy that I can keep up the Bronner's holiday traditions by shopping online. From personalized Christmas ornaments and gifts to professional level Santa suits, they have it all. Even our cats have their own hand-painted personalized tree ornaments.

Their selection is huge and the quality of their work is unbeatable. Instead of shopping for Christmas decorations at chain retail stores this year, simply visit or request a catalogue to do some shopping that shopping from a place full of heart.

I recently placed an order for some personalized gifts, and when the package arrived I couldn't believe how much love was tucked into that little box. The staff at Bronner's carefully placed all my items in a cloud of biodegradeable packaging while including a Thanksgiving prayer card as well as a candy cane (my first of the season) just to say thanks.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Bronner's and was not in any way compensated for this post. The opinions posted are mine alone and may differ from yours.

Enter the Tiny Prints Talent Search! Huge Prizes!

Tiny Prints is having a talent search!! How would you like to win $1,000, a $500 Tiny Prints Gift Card, and to be featured in the 2012 Tiny Prints Marketing Campaign!? Sounds good to me!

Prizes will be awarded for the following categories:Cutest Baby (0-2 years old)
Cutest Kid (3-10 years old)
Cutest Family
Cutest Couple
Cutest Pet

To enter, Like Tiny Prints on Facebook and go to the Talent Search Tab in the left-hand column.

Hurry! You only have until November 21st to enter.

Click here for a copy of the full official rules.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2 Chix Maternity Tees for Comfort and Fun {Review}

2 Chix offers expectant moms a new way to show off their bumps by being stylish, trendy and quirky. With a boutique in Santa Monica, 2 Chix tees have been seen around Hollywood on expectant celebs including Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and Melissa Joan Hart....

Have you heard? I'm the new contributing maternity writer for the What Mama Wants Blog. Head on over to say hi to Robyn and to read my full review on this adorable with bump, not plump tee.


29 weeks pregnant

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary maternity tee from 2 Chix in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own and may differ from yours.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Fun with Food - Ideas for the Kiddos!

I was recently featured on Nap Time is My Time as a guest writer, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving (and kids!) I decided to write about Thanksgiving Fun with Food. Check out the complete post here! (My favorites are the SUPER EASY Pilgrim Hats!)

47% Off Piggy Paint Set from 8moms - Perfect Stocking Stuffer!

Head on over to 8moms to get this exlusive group buy on Piggy Paint! For $9 (+s&h) you'll get a Two Polish Accessory Box including One Bottle of Neon Magenta Polish (LOL), One Bottle of Neon Green Polish (Eat Your Peace), One Nail Brush & One Foot File (a 47% savings).

These sets make a fantastic stocking stuffer, and if you're not already familiar with Piggy Paint you're missing out! We're talking about a water-based polish made from natural ingredients that is SAFE SAFE SAFE for your children to use!

I already snagged two for myself, so you're going to want to jump on this deal before you miss out. Click here for the full details of this deal.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stride-Rite Sale! Buy One Get One 50% Off Online, In Stores & Outlets! Thru 11/14

When kids go through shoes SO quickly, it's important to get the ones will last and last until their feet reach the next size. Right now you can Stride-Rite (one of our favorite kids brands!) is offering Buy One Get One 50% Off ALL FOOTWEAR.

This deal is good online, in-stores and at the outlets. When shopping online enter code SRBOGO. This deal is good through November 14th only, so if you're in need of shoes before the holidays don't miss out!

Shipping is FREE on orders of $75+. Standard shipping on all other orders is $4.99.

100 Things that I'm Thankful For

Microsoft Clip Art
I can't believe that Thanksgiving is almost upon us. That means that the year is winding down (and I just got used to writing 2011!) and that our baby boy is getting closer and closer to arriving. Life seems to move so much faster since having kids. I thought I'd take a few moments and share with you all the things (or at least 100 of them) that I'm thankful for today. I'm not going to lie... writing this list was a little more difficult than I anticipated. It took me a few hours, but it was a deep refreshing look into my soul! If you're up for a challenge than write your own 100 (I'm sure a few of mine will help you get started) and leave the link in the comments section.

I am thankful for:
  1. My beautiful daughter AJ (who is two years old TODAY!)
  2. The baby boy that is growing inside of me. We can't wait to be a family of 4 and meet you in January!
  3. My husband Ken. He is everything I could have hoped for in a husband, and much more. He's hard-working, a loving and gentle father, a hilarious friend, a Christian, and the love of my life. I am so lucky that he picked me.
  4. The ability to stay home with our daughter. I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and thanks for my husband I am able to.
  5. Not only do I have a roof over my head, but to live in a beautiful house that truly feels like home.
  6. My two cats, Nessie & Genevieve, who will always be my "first babies."
  7. Our church, and the amazing community of people there who have become our Virginia family.
  8. That I am able to send our 2 year old daughter to preschool at our church two times a week, where she gets to play her heart out with kids her age.
  9. That we have an amazing HOA that takes care of all our yard maintenance so that as new parents we haven't had to worry about a thing in almost three years.
  10. The ability to web-chat with our families who live over 700 miles away.
  11. The Master's program at VCU that has allowed my husband to earn his entire MBA through evening classes (with only 5 weeks to go!)
  12. The amazing women in my life who have given me an entire winter wardrobe of maternity clothes as well as all their gently used boy clothes! You've saved us hundreds of dollars.
  13. The opportunity to read and review books and stories that take me away to far away places.
  14. The awesome network of moms I've met during our time in Virginia.
  15. The strength and patience that God has given us to remain a one car family for almost three years now (5 if you include our years in NYC).
  16. Our brand new 2011 Ford Flex. It is such a great car that we know we will have for many years!
  17. My blog! It has been such a wonderful outlet for me in the last year and a half. I am thankful for each and every person who reads and all the great comments you leave me day after day.
  18. The trips we were able to take this year as a family, including Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Disney World, Virginia Beach, Ohio and Michigan.
  19. Little family traditions, like a balloon and a lotto ticket on your birthday.
  20. Parking spaces that are specifically designated for expectant mothers.
  21. A seemingly endless supply of clean drinking water right from my own faucet. I know it is a luxury and it really humbles me.
  22. The ability to deliver my children at a hospital that is ranked within the top 1% of all hospitals in the United States.
  23. Modern medicine and my wonderful endocrinologist who helps me regulate my Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism, a disease that I will have to take medicine for for the rest of my life.
  24. Comedy television that takes me away from the stresses of "real life" : The Office, Up All Night & Modern Family.
  25. My large extended family. I was lucky enough to grow up with a mom, dad, brother, two sets of grandparents, 13 aunts and uncles, and 13 first cousins. Now that I am grown and married, I am also blessed to have great in-laws, as well as an even more extensive list of cousins and aunt and uncles.
  26. Quiet moments while my daughter is napping and I can just reflect on all that God has given me.
  27. Two amazing "pen pals" that I've had for over a decade! It's so awesome to catch up with old fashioned letters. These two girls know me better than most of my "in-person everyday" friends.
  28. The Internet and its abundance of ways to communicate with friends and family through email, facebook, twitter, etc.
  29. Our good friends the Shermans, who we were fortunate enough to meet in Virginia after a series of coincidences. They are also from Michigan, our husbands both went to Michigan State (and VCU - where they met) and we had our baby girls on the same day. Only God can arrange a friendship like that!!!
  30. Heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. I realize that I am very high maintenance when it comes to temperature control and this is such a luxury that I often take for granted.
  31. Leftover Halloween candy just waiting to be eaten when I need a pick-me-up.
  32. Wine (when I'm not pregnant) and movie nights with my husband throughout the year. I enjoy these more than any fancy restaurant or outing.
  33. All of the business knowledge I acquired during my years of working for Kidville in NY. I still can't believe how lucky I am to have had some of the opportunities I have had, and had it not been for Kidville I would not be the confident, persistant, go-getting person that I am today.
  34. The ability to wash and dry our clothes in the comfort of our own home. (Not that I didn't love dragging our laundry down six flights of stairs and walking 4 blocks with it to a laundromat full of crazies in NY.)
  35. The comfort that a simple hug can bring my daughter, and the feeling of being needed by her.
  36. The ability to order everyday necessities like diapers, toilet paper and dishwasher detergent online and have it delivered right to my front door.
  37. All things chocolate.
  38. That I live in a free country and very rarely do I have any real worries.
  39. That I have health insurance to help me cover the costs of doctors visits and medicines.
  40. That I can pray comfortably and openly, and that I can believe what I believe and you can believe what you believe.
  41. Gatherings with friends over a home-made meal.
  42. Dora the Explorer. I know she's only a cartoon, but she has saved my sanity many times in the last year.
  43. Girl's Night Out get togethers with my circle of mommy friends.
  44. The abundance of recipe blogs and websites out there on the web these days. I very rarely pick up a cookbook these days.
  45. Family portraits that create lasting memories.
  46. That I live in a quiet suburb but it's still only a 5 minute drive to the nearest Target.
  47. That my husband doesn't have to travel too often for his job. It's hard with him away, and I really feel for the families with a mom or dad who constantly travels, or one that only has one parent.
  48. Music. Do you ever wonder what the world would be like without any music?
  49. Local service men & women who do their best to take care of our community.
  50. A grocery store within minutes that always has plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products for the citizens of our communtiy who shop there.
  51. A world that is truly trying to be more eco-conscious, especially with baby and toddler products.
  52. That Disney World is still as magical as an adult, and that my husband has promised that we can visit there at least every six years for the rest of our lives. ;)
  53. That thanks to modern vaccinations, my daughter will never have to experience what it's like to have the chicken pox like I did when I was a kid, and what nearly took the life of my little brother.
  54. Getting packages in the mail.
  55. That the seasons change, to remind us that God still has a huge role in His ever-changing world.
  56. For every "Come on mama, snuggle" that comes out of AJ's mouth.
  57. For amazing locales around town that are constantly hosting family friendly (and cheap) events, especially the Children's Museum of Richmond and Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.
  58. My college education and degree. If I could, I would continue taking college courses for the rest of my life. I'm so thankful for the opportunity!
  59. Having my college loans be PAID OFF!!! Woohoo!! (Now we've got Ken's MBA loans to pay-off!)
  60. Portable DVD players for 12 hour car drives to Michigan to see the grandparents and aunts and uncles.
  61. Indoor Plumbing.
  62. The ability to give (somewhat) generously to deserving organizations even though we are far from wealthy.
  63. Receiving good news!
  64. That my husband and I still share an interest in Super Mario Brother videos games, after over two decades of playing them.
  65. That my daughter still takes a solid nap so that I have a little time to myself to clean, blog, or sleep.
  66. Having a healthy pregnancy and being able to keep up with my toddler throughout the day.
  67. My anxiety over having a perfectly clean house has dissipated since having children, and now I can comfortably live in a "kind of" clean house.
  68. A warm meal for dinner every evening.
  69. Having access to first aid and medical supplies within minutes (if not seconds) of any situation.
  70. My book club group! I haven't been able to attend too many times this year, but I don't know what I would do without those girls!
  71. The ability to get out of bed each day and function without any assistance from others. I can walk, talk, and fend for myself and it is such a blessing.
  72. Grandparents that spoil my daughter rotten so that her daddy and I don't have to!
  73. That pretty much all celebrations are celebrated with cake. ;) I don't know if I can tell that the last time I went more than three weeks without cake!
  74. That my husband is super savvy in the financial sense so that I don't have to worry about our money at all (even though I know he'd like me to be more involved with the planning and less involved with the spending).
  75. Organic products like California Baby Calendula Cream to help with my daughter's sensitive skin!
  76. That the most fun traditions only come around once a year, to keep them more special. Birthdays, visiting the pumpkin patch, seeing Santa, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...
  77. Our Keurig Coffee Maker. I swear that I am the worst at making coffee, and if I can use the Keurig to make premium coffee, than anyone can! (In fact, our two year old makes her daddy coffee - with supervision - all the time.)
  78. That my daughter still loves to be read to at least 30 minutes every day.
  79. Bookstores. I love bookstores - they are the perfect place to kill time. I know that someday I will have a Kindle to carry around with me, but I'm still a huge fan of the actual book. The smell, the turning of each page, the wondering where this book has traveled before me.
  80. That I'm able to call me mom long-distance nearly everyday for just pennies, whereas 10-15 years ago it would have cost us both an arm and a leg.
  81. My Crock-Pot, and the many delicious meals that it has fed our family!
  82. Rainy days spent indoors building towers and watching movies.
  83. Living within two hours of both the ocean and the mountains, in which there are endless "one-tank" trips our family can take.
  84. That our two year old daughter still loves her crib and that I can keep that little part of her a "baby" for just a little bit longer.
  85. That there are so many puzzles and teaching toys on the market today. I'm so astounded at our daughter every day, who at two years old (today!) knows all of her letters and can count to 10.
  86. Reliable, responsible babysitters that give me a break every so often!!
  87. That I have the right to vote, and that what I say counts.
  88. That my husband and I have some exciting opportunities to look ahead to.
  89. Hot showers at the end of a long day.
  90. Having had the opportunity to live in a few different places, especially New York City, where my husband and I really learned "how to" be adults. We didn't have our parents to run to with every little problem, and somehow (cardboard furniture included in the beginning) we made it all work out by ourselves.
  91. All the wonderful people out there who have dedicated their lives to teaching. They are under-appreciated and under-paid, but they certainly have some of the biggest hearts. I'm so thankful for these people that give their time and energy so that our children can better themselves.
  92. Our GPS system. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I got around to places when I was driving all over in college with printed out instructions from MapQuest and actual maps. I feel like I couldn't live without our Garmen these days.
  93. That my husband and I have had the will-power to say "no" to adopting all the amazing dogs we have met and fallen in love with over the last few years. We really really want a dog, but with our busy schedules and lack of disposable income it would be really hard right now. I'm glad we've made a solid decision to wait until it's the right time for us.
  94. That my faith seems unwaivering even in bad times, and that like a rock it keeps me steady.
  95. That I've come to realize that I don't have to agree with someone and that we can still be friends! This was a huge problem I had up until college.
  96. Ultrasounds, and the amazing technology that let's me see my baby before he even arrives!
  97. Laughter, especially that of my daughter.
  98. Waking up in the morning realizing that my toddler did not disturb me at all in the night.
  99. That I am the only me there is, and that I am special and unique!
  100. Today. I'm thankful for yesterday, today and tomorrow - each an opportunity to showcase who I am and what I'm all about.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Elf on the Shelf Book + Plush Set Review & Giveaway {Ends 11/23}

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Congratulations to Ann P. from North Carolina!

I love Christmas traditions. Trimming the tree, listening to Christmas music, baking treats and watching ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas to name a few. This year I'm so excited for a brand new (to us) Christmas tradition - The Elf on the Shelf.

About Elf on the Shelf: Year after year, children and adults alike are baffled by the mystery of how Santa really knows who’s been naughty or nice. After much urging by the elves and Mrs. Claus, Santa has allowed his biggest secret to be revealed in The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition . Touted as “The best thing since The Night Before Christmas” this gift set includes a North Pole pixie-elf, hardbound children’s book and keepsake box. Children can register their elf online and receive a special response from Santa.

The fun part comes as a special holiday game. After the Christmas decorations go up, this magical little elf will appear somewhere that your child will notice within the house. What is he doing?? He's keeping an eye on your for Santa, of course! Each day leading up to Christmas the elf (with a little help from mom and dad) will magically appear at a new location in the house. The kids will love finding him, and will do their best to be good little boys and girls during the holiday season. The one major rule is this: you can't touch the elf, or his magic will disappear! If he doesn't have any magic left, he won't have a way to get back to Santa at the North Pole!

On Christmas Eve, the little elf will disappear entirely to report to Santa. :)

I've wanted The Elf on the Shelf since our daughter was born. This Thursday, she will be two years old, and our elf (whom we have yet to name!) is on the way to our house as we speak!

BUY IT! The Elf on the Shelf is sold for $29.95 and can be found on

WIN IT! Holly at Nap Time is giving one lucky winner their very own Elf on the Shelf this holiday season. Open to US residents ONLY - please do PO boxes. Winner will have the choice between light-skinned blue-eyed elf and dark-skinned brown-eyed elf. Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Proof that 99% of Maternity Photos are Awful and Creeptastic

A few days ago I wrote a post about my puzzlement over the artsy, awkward, nudey maternity photos and what the heck we're supposed to do with those photos once their taken. Hang them over the family mantle?  The reception to the post, which you can read here, was mixed. Some people said that the photos are meant to show baby a time when mommy and baby were one in the same (which personally... I don't think a child will care about and once they reach the age of 10 or so this would probably just become mortifying... or good birth control for future years. You decide.)

I don't know. Maybe I'm just not comfortable enough in my own skin to make art and memories of these revealing and awkward shots. ;)

Since writing the piece I've come across this article on Babble that you must check out for a good laugh.

Pregnancy FAILS: 25 Horrible Pregnancy Portraits and Belly Shots

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FREE Thanksgiving Greeting Card from Tiny Prints - TODAY ONLY!

By now I'm sure you know that you can count on me for great deals and savings from Tiny Prints. ;) Here's another great offer for TODAY ONLY, so make sure you don't miss out!

Today you can get a FREE Customized Thanksgiving Greeting Card by using the promotion code FREETHX11 during checkout. Not sure who to send a Thanksgiving card to? This is a great opportunity to recognize someone in your life that might be a little under-appreciated. Maybe it's a fantastic mail carrier, or the pediatrician that you call at least once a week for advice, or a hard-working babysitter who is always there at a moments notice. We all have people in our lives that deserve a word of THANKS, and what better way to spread that cheer than with a free greeting card?

As with their other greeting card promotions, you MUST choose the option to "Send it to me first" instead of sending it directly to the recipient, or you will be charged .44 for postage. (Don't worry, if you send it to yourself it still comes with a blank envelope!) Also, you must enter a valid credit card for the order to be processed, but you WILL NOT be charged for the price of the card as noted by the promotion code.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Maternity Portraits - Yay or Nay?

Me, pregnant in 2009
Now that my bump is in full view with baby number two (tomorrow is already the beginning on my third trimester!), people are asking me the inevitable portrait question - am I going to have maternity photos taken? And again people, the answer is NO! Not unless you include our yearly family photo for the Christmas card, in which I will be pregnant... but I find that more of a coincidence rather than a showcase of my growing belly.

My husband and I did document my growing belly with bi-weekly photos when I was pregnant with our daughter who was born in 2009. This was mostly to share with our friends and family who were over 700 miles away, and I do appreciate being able to look back at the pictures and think, aw, that's when my little baby girl was growing inside of me.

What I don't understand is why people get professional maternity photos done. I'm not really talking about those photos that couples get taken in which the woman is clearly pregnant and the daddy is kissing her tummy, or they are looking lovingly at the bump in waits of their future bundle. I think those photos are very tasteful and should be shared with family and friends. If you have the money and time, of course. (This is where I still scratch my head a little bit, because pregnancy is such a short period of time and I'd much rather have photos of the baby with the family than as a growth on my front.)

What I don't really like, or "get", at all is those artsy maternity photos in which mom gracefully has a sheet or some other fabric draped over her private parts and reveals a big huge belly. What is the point? Sure, they are beautiful portraits, and I do understand the whole, 'woman is beautiful with all her curves and imperfections and growing motherly belly.' I do get that. It's artsy and meaningful to some, maybe. But what on earth does one actually do with one of these photos? After all, they are a little bit sexy, no? Do I want my parents seeing me like this? Would I want my in-laws viewing such a photo? What do you do with the photo after it's taken? Surely not hang it on your wall? (I find that a little weird and vain.) Do you expect your husband to carry a copy in his wallet?

Maybe I'm too modest? What do you think about those photos?