Monday, January 31, 2011

We LOVE GoGo SqueeZ Applesauce!! {Review}

Snacking on the go with my toddler has always been a fear of mine. In my mind, it could really only go one of two ways:

1) Be totally messy, requiring a wash cloth and usually a change of clothes

or

2) Not very healthy at all.

Not anymore!! Now that we found GoGo SqueeZ by Materne my days of dread over the traveling snack are over. GoGo SqueeZ is applesauce in a re-sealable (very key) pouch!

From the GoGo SqueeZ website:

Story has it that in the 19th century, a very loving grandfather was determined to craft a special snack for his grandson. Using delicious apples from his backyard orchard in the Val De Loire region of France, near the Chateau Chambord, Monsieur Materne created a delicious and simple applesauce. The Materne company was born and would go on to become the most popular applesauce company in France.
Known as Materne Pom’potes in France, the brand has become the favorite fruit snack of children with more than 1 billion pouches consumed to date.


Materne GoGo squeeZ was launched in the US in June 2008 to offer American families the opportunity to enjoy our no spoon, no mess, all natural squeezable applesauce when on the go! Each pouch contains the equivalent of one fruit serving and supports our mission to American consumers: Helping parents feed their kids better foods when they are on the go!

What We LOVE About GoGo SqueeZ:
- 100% FRUIT!
- 1 Pouch = 1 Fruit Serving
- No Spoon / No Mess!
- The independence it gives my toddler to feel "So Big!" by using the pouch all on her own. (Important Note Here: The cap to GoGo SqueeZ is a choking hazard and should be kept away from young children, as noted on the pouch.)
- Pouches need NOT be refrigerated before opened. Perfect for stashing in the diaper bag!
- Variety in flavors!! appleapple, applecinnamon, applebanana, applepeach & applestrawberry.
- Delicious. Sweet & Simple.

What Could Be Better About GoGo SqueeZ:
- Not a thing! GoGo SqueeZ is an amazing product as it is. In the future, we would love to see a GoGo SqueeZ for big kids. It's very easy for older children to want to suck down 2-3 of this fabulous little pouches! We'd also love to see a big variety pack of at least 12 pouches to simplify our shopping needs.
 
The Nap Time Review:
GoGo Squeez is one of those great products that you can give your child without the guilt. From the first time we introduced GoGo Squeez to our daughter (then 11 months) she was giggly with delight that she could hold the pouch and suck out the applesauce all on her own, to the very last drop. I highly recommend keeping 2-3 pouches of GoGo SqueeZ hidden away in your diaper bag at all times. You never know when hunger will strike, and the applesauce is such a great alternative to the average, not-so-healthy diaper bag snacks that kids eat these days. So far we have only had the pleasure of trying appleapple and applecinnamon (the other 3 flavors are not yet carried at our local grocery store). I think we are most excited about trying applestrawberry. What's your favorite?
 
You'll be seeing more of GoGo SqueeZ really soon! In fact, they just made the 25 Best Snacks by Parents Magazine's February issue.
 
 
I am in no way affiliated with GoGo SqueeZ or Materne, other than a happy and satisfied customer. I was in no way compensated for this post and the opinions here are my own. They may differ from yours.

Friday, January 28, 2011

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

It's Friday!! :) Need I say more? There is nothing that I love more than having my husband home with us for two whole entire days.

My blogging time lately has been interupted with some intense working out. I'll have more reviews on this coming soon, but let me just say that in the last three weeks I have lost 8 lbs with Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and 6-Week Six Pack. I'm so proud of myself!

Time for this week's question for my Day Zero Project - The 50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind:

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?I'm not going to be very whimsical when answering this question, because I believe that everyone has control over their own lives. Sure, there are events in life which throw us off-course, like a job layoff or serious illness. We don't choose for the events to happen, but we do have control over how we take action over them.

There are often times when I sit back and look at everything I have, my loving husband and beautiful daughter that I ask, "How did I get here???" It's not that I didn't have control, it's just that it all seemed to happen so quickly. When I take the time to think about it though, everything that has happened has come with careful decision making and faith in God. My husband and I pray often, and I really do feel like God has helped us to make the right decisions for our family.

If someone had told me 10 years ago (when I was 15), that down the road I was going to fall in love with the guy sitting behind me in my honor's English class, move to Manhattan the day after college graduation, get married, move with my husband's job to Virginia and have a baby 9 months later I would have said "Ha. Yea right." But life is funny that way!! Because each of those things did happen, by decisions that we made together.

Basically I guess, if you don't take control over your own life, who is going to do it for you?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Parenting Fail at Target, Our First of Many...

Well, it finally happened. We became those parents at the store that make bystanders bawk in hushed tones and not-so-discreetly stare like we're all furry blue monsters or something.

Of course, no help from AJ. At 14 months old she has a very strong will. Her dad and I thought that we were helping her by giving her a little more freedom. HA! In the fashion of If You Give a Mouse a Cookiewe'll just say, if you give a toddler an inch...

AJ loves to run around. Nothing brings her more joy than walking and exploring on her own two feet. She is a toddler, after all.

Well we have this cute little monkey backpack/harness from Eddie Bauer that we thought we'd try out. We had never used it before, and since we were going to Target anyways, we thought we'd try it out for a test run.

                                                                

Wait... you put your child on a leash?? OK... it's not a leash, it is a child-har-ness. Alright? (Yes, we put our child on a leash. We're trying to keep her close and safe!)

AJ's first reaction: total excitement. She was giggling with joy that she not only got to carry her own backpack, but that she got to walk around Target instead of riding in the famed red shopping carts.

The first three minutes were okay. Then she started to test her limits. She was trying to pull us in the direction that she wanted to go. We're talking full grunting, child leaning 45 degrees forward to try and get her way. Sigh. We were kind of in a hurry, so in an attempt to get us across the store to the hand soap that we were trying to purchase, my husband picked AJ up.

{Insert complete meltdown here}

You would have thought that we were trying to kidnap this toddler. She was kicking and screaming to get away from us. Embarrassed, we took her to a back corner of the store (the toilet paper section) to calm her down. Breeeeathe. In. Out.

We got to a stable point again, so in the back of the store we put her back on her feet for a second try. I'll admit, she was doing a pretty good job this time. Until of course we got around other people again. We were near the freezer section where there was a display of seasonal coffees (the Christmas stuff) on clearance. As I was looking, AJ was walking her 3 foot radius around me in delight. Then she walked directly into the freezer and bounced off it with her forehead. Oh no. She flattened out on the floor like a pancake and began to scream. A woman checking the dates on the gallons of milk cast me a dirty look like I whipped the leash and threw my child on the floor.

A couple kisses and hugs and AJ was back to her usual spunky self (the perfect remedy for a toddler). However, our embarrassment was through the roof. Luckily, our darling daughter obliged and let us put her in the cart for the rest of the Target trip. Thank goodness.

Moral of the story: If you're going to use a child harness (which I don't have anything against), try it out in private first, far away from judging eyes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Blogtastic Extravaganza!! Sweet & Snuggly Baby Giveaway!! Valued at $161


 
THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!!!

Congratulations to our winner, Jenny P of Massachusetts!



Welcome to Holly at Nap Time! You're just in time for A Blogtastic Extravaganza - an amazing blog event featuring over 100 blogs and $13,000 in giveaway prizes! The list of all the fantastic blogs is at the bottom of this post. Make sure you stop by them all and enter to win. You'll have to hurry though! You only have until 11:59 PM EST on January 22nd. This event will be history before you know it!


So what are you here to win? ONE WINNER TAKES ALL!

The Sweet & Snuggly Baby Prize Package 

First up, from our wonderful sponsors at BabyLegs, a $50 BabyLegs Grab Bag!!!
(For girls this will include two pairs of leg warmers, one pair of  tights, and one package of socks. For boys this will include two pairs of leg warmers and two packages of socks.) For our recent review of BabyLegs please click here. Also, visit BabyLegs on Facebook & Twitter!


Next up is from our sponsors at Cloth Diapers 'n More, a $10 Gift Certificate to Cloth Diapers 'n More... featuring ALL your Cloth Diapering Needs, plus loads more for baby! Visit Cloth Diapers 'n More on Facebook and Twitter!



Next up are two adorable baby soaps in YOUR CHOICE of scent and colors from our ABE Sponsor Uniquely Pampered!



THANK YOU to our sponsors!!

...And of course there are a few Holly at Nap Time sponsored prizes as well, including....


Bedtime Favorites Love You Forever by Robert Munsch & The Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton!


A Seven Slings baby sling in "Black Magic"

Sling comes in size 4. Fits most moms 5'2"-6'2"and up to 200lbs
Way to Go, Juno! Juno Baby DVD
Facing Fears Through Music
A DVD that grows with your child from 18 mos. to 5 yrs.

And a SwaddleMe Adjustable Infant Wrap by Kiddopotamus

Wrap comes in Pink Gingham, Size Small (7-14 pounds) Makes the perfect shower gift!
Total retail value of this Blogtastic Prize Package is $161. And it's all going to one winner... it could be you!! Please see the details and enter in the form below. THANK YOU for stopping by!!

Visit Holly at Nap Time on Facebook and Twitter!






Friday, January 21, 2011

If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

There is light at the end of the tunnel. {Insert huge sigh of relief here.}

Last Thursday my daughter came down with a terrible stomach virus. The timing couldn't have been worse, as we were literally about 3 minutes from driving my husband to the airport for a business trip when she tossed her cookies. She was sick all day Thursday, but seemed to be doing ok besides a lack of appetite on Friday.

Friday evening we picked up my husband from the airport. God works in amazing ways, I tell you. As soon as my husband got home AJ not only became sick again, but I also became violently ill. Seriously, within an hour of my husband's arrival I went from woohoo! to oh blarg. I am so thankful that it held off until he got home.

Saturday my husband did a wonderful job taking care of us, but the inevitable happened and Sunday he was sick too.

We got into a pattern where AJ was fine all day, and then she would throw up in the early evening or right after we put her to bed. We took her to the doctor's office on Monday. He suggested that sometimes after a bad GI virus, your digestive system moves extremely slowly. You're fine in the morning, but by the time dinner rolls around you're all backed up and it causes you to vomit. He said that if it went on for several more days that we could put her on a 5-7 day treatment of Zantac. Luckily we didn't have to do that though. To get her back on track it just took one day of giving her a very bland diet in the evening. Yesterday was the first time she ate all three meals and a snack in 8 days. I'm so thankful my little girl is feeling better. There is nothing worse than a sick child.

Today's question for my Day Zero Project - The 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind:

If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

This question makes me sad, because if the average life span was 40 years, most of our parents would have been gone during our teens or early twenties, and we'd barely get to know our children before we were gone too.

In a lot of ways though, I think my husband and I do a great job not waiting around for life to happen. When we graduated from college we took a huge leap of faith and moved to New York City's Greenwich Village. It wasn't glamorous. In fact, our apartment (though providing all the necessities) was in an old tenement building. It was 250 square feet of living space that you had to climb 6 narror flights of stairs to get to. And we didn't have anything. I literally moved with two suitcases, a backpack, and a duffle bag. My husband actually built our first "entertainment center" out of old paper boxes and duct tape. It didn't seem crazy at the time, but looking back on it now it seems soooo crazy.

It was worth it though. We both had great jobs, and little by little we purchased small pieces of furniture, and we made that apartment our first home. We also learned so much about life and 'being a grown-up', invaluable stuff that we would have never learned anywhere else.

I guess that's what this question is all about. Are you waiting for your life to happen? Take the chance!

If the average human life span was 40 years, I might have shared my feelings for my husband sooner than I had. In high school we were friends. He had a thing for me, I had a thing for him, but neither of us ever said anything in fear that a friendship would be lost. Fast forward 6 years and the truth finally comes out - we live happily ever after. In retrospect though, the relationships that we had before we got together certainly make us appreciate each other even more.

:-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Sitcom on CMT - Working Class - Premiers January 28th {Review}

You may not think of CMT wen you're itching to watch something funny on television, but all that is about to change. On January 28th, Country Music Television is premiering their first ever sitcom, Working Class.

WORKING CLASS focuses on Carli Mitchell (Melissa Peterman), a single mom from a rough and tumble background, trying to give her kids a better life by moving them to an upscale suburb. She quickly finds that making the transition to “the good life” is harder than she thought.
She's unwittingly befriended by her cranky neighbor, Hank (Ed Asner), her only “career” prospect is a glorified deli job at the local grocery store, and the man she falls for not only already has a girlfriend – but he’s also her boss, Rob (Patrick Fabian). With her ladies-man brother, Nick (Steve Kazee), to help her out (when he’s not acting like one of the kids himself), Carli faces the challenges of parenting, dating, and making friends in her new community by doing more with less, staying true to herself, and approaching each day with a touch of working class.

WORKING CLASS premieres January 28 at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT on CMT.
Premiere Episode: “The Buddy System”
Carli’s old flame from high school shows up hoping to re-ignite his “spark” with Carli — even if it means humiliating her in front of her new boss.

ReviewI was asked to watch and review the premier episode of Working Class, "The Buddy System." One of the first thing I picked up was the live-audience laughter that so many sitcoms of the past used to have (Friends, Home Improvement, etc.) A lot of networks are backing away from that these days, but I personally kind of enjoy it. It helps you relate to the storylines more. Feel the irony in other people's laughter.

Right off the bat I think that this show has a lot of potential. Melissa Peterman brings all her charm from "Reba" - plus some. The storylines are quirky and the characters are like you and me - the average working class family. A hit for sure. It reminded me a lot of the late 90's sitcom King of Queens. Which just goes to show that every sitcom needs a grouchy old man.

I hope that Working Class hits the ground running. There's a conceivable hit here, but will they be able to compete with the network television big guns?

Make the call for yourselves. Tune in on Friday, January 28th to see back-to-back premier episodes of Working Class on CMT. (Check your local listings.)



I completed this review as part of my membership with the One2One Network. I was in no way compensated, and the opinions expressed are my own. I will be entered to win prizes for my posting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

24 Hours of Progress - How to get things accomplished once and for all

The question has been out there for awhile. Now that I did the Fall Family Challenge with the ABC's, what will be my next "blog event."

Here's a short preview today; the 24 hours of PROGRESS.

So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do.

Beginning February 7th, each Monday, Wednesday & Friday a list of 3 project options will be posted. To play along, simply choose 1 (or more, depending on how ambitious you're feeling) project to partake in over the next couple days. These could include things like vacuuming the stairs, taking the dog for that nice LONG walk to the park, or sweeping out under the rugs. The option of choosing 1 of 3 things that you probably weren't going to do any of, and being able to make a big ole check-mark on our path to progress, will make you feel great!

You'll have all the support that you need here, and by the end of the series you will have made 24 hours of progress towards the home you've always wanted. That's one entire day of activities that will put the spring in your step to keep your house going for the rest of 2011!!

Stay tuned for more. To make sure that you don't miss any progress updates, subscribe to Holly at Nap Time via email (located in the right sidebar).

I encourage you to join me on this journey! Please leave a comment describing yourself and your goals for making progress. If you are a new follower, please let me know so that I can make sure to return the follow!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Have you visited the Nap Time Boutique yet?

That's right... my very own blog store! Featuring all of our favorites for baby and mom. Make sure you check it out today using the tab at the top right, or by clicking this link. The best part is that we're powering it all through Amazon, which means that you know that you're getting the best price available it a completely secure environment!!

The shop has been up for a couple weeks now, but I'm still working on the little details. I'd love to hear your feedback! Thanks!

* * *

In other news, AJ is still sick. Last night it was more throwing up and diarrhea. She did sleep pretty well last night though... only got up twice and each time I gave her a few sips of water. Today she has been keeping everything down, but I haven't given her anything except for the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). Any feedback on other foods to start back on would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to give her some chicken soup but she won't touch the stuff. (This is my picky kid who won't eat mac 'n cheese but begs for salad....)

Picking up my husband from the airport in a few hours and beginning a three day weekend!! Let's pray that AJ is feeling better so that I can get this place cleaned up! (There isn't enough Febreeze in the world right now to keep my house smelling from puke. Any tips there would also be gladly accepted.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

It's been one of those days. Little AJ has a stomach bug of sorts. She was up fussing several times in the night, and I assumed that it was her teeth bothering her but she started getting sick right after breakfast. Luckily, we've been about 4 hours puke free now and I got her to eat a little bit of plain bread and applesauce. She's zonked now, so hopefully we've seen the worst of it.

It just breaks your heart when your child isn't feeling well. Suddenly all rules go out the window. Yes, you may have your pacy all day long. Yes, you may watch cartoons all day long. Yes, I will snuggle you all day long. My goodness though, it didn't take me long to realize what a nervous eater I am though. Since the New Year I've been dieting (successfully, might I add. I've already lost 4 lbs.) and I have hardly had any cravings at all. The minute I got a moment to myself today thought I just started itching to binge on anything and everything. Yikes!! Don't worry though, the healthy Holly prevailed. I'm snacking on carrot sticks instead.

This week's question for my Day Zero Project - The 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind is:

Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

I like this question, and there are so many people in my life who I think should honestly ask themselves this question. So often we settle into a routine and before long we're just going with plans that we don't really believe in for the sake of it being the safe and easy route.

Am I doing what I believe in? Yes! I believe that every mother should be able to stay at home and raise her kids. All to often I hear that some families just don't have that "luxury." Do I think it's a luxury? No! But it's what we wanted for our daughter, so we've cut back in other areas to compensate for it. For instance, we are a one car family. It's not the easiest thing in the world, but we've done it now for almost two years, and because of our patience we will most likely be able to purchase a brand new car within the next year.

We also cut back in other areas, like eating out less often and getting a babysitter only every 4 or 5 months. We've come up with lots of date night ideas that we can do at home.

So yes, I am doing what I believe in. :) I hope you are too. Be true to your own heart!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Overall Health - Get Your Skin Checked!!

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times likely to develop basil cell carcinoma. These are just a few of the facts about skin cancer. A friendly reminder that you need to take care of your skin!!

As part of my New Year's Resolution, I've moved my focus to overall health. That means that yesterday my husband and I took our annual visit to the dermatologist for a full body scan.

Neither of us try to tan, and are always extra cautious when going out in the sun. I always apply at least a SPF 50+. That doesn't mean that we don't still need to keep an eye on things.

For years my husband had a couple moles on his arm that he didn't feel good about. As we moved around the country and visited new primary care physicians for check-ups, my husband always brought up the moles. Was it something he should get checked out further?? The answer was always the same - "Nah, don't worry about it."

The lax point of view from several doctors still didn't make my husband feel better, so about 18 months ago we decided that it was bothering him enough to get the opinion of a dermatologist. The dermatologist removed the moles immediately and had them sent to the lab for biopsy.

The results came in. The mole in fact had mutated, pre-cancerous cells. It wasn't skin cancer, but left alone had a very good chance of developing into cancer over the next 20 years. My husband and I were both so relieved.

Moral of the story - Primary care physicians don't know everything. In fact, there isn't a doctor alive who knows everything. If you have a health concern, don't be afraid to get it checked out by a specialist or get a second opinion. You'll be glad you did, even if only for peace of mind.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cinch! 5 Day Fast Forward {Review}

It wasn't long ago that I was asked to review Cinch! - a new diet created by Flat Belly Diet author Cynthia Sass. For my review on the book, please click here.

The program starts with the 5-day Fast Forward plan that ends erratic eating by focusing on five simple foods—spinach, almonds, raspberries, eggs, and yogurt (or vegan-friendly alternatives)—eaten in a variety of combinations. These first 5 days promise up to 8 pounds of weight loss. Each of the five foods is low in calories yet loaded with nutrients and natural satiety-boosters, which allows you to “detox” from junk foods without feeling deprived.

With the knowledge in hand, it was time to put the diet to the test.

Now, Sass mentions right in the beginning that the 5-day Fast Forward is not for everyone. There is a quiz that asks questions like "Do your feelings of confidence and motivation soar when you follow a limited eating plan?" and "Do you get frustrated when you have to figure out what to make for dinner?" Your answers to her 6 question quiz are supposed to help you determine whether or not the 5-day Fast Forward plan is right for you.


Raspberries w/almonds. Photo credit: Holly at Nap Time

According to my answers... this was right up my alley. Hmm.

I should have been more skeptical when I was standing in my local supermarket with the 5 day grocery list. A dozen eggs. Check. 15 cups of spinich. Check. 20 half-pint containers of raspberries. What?? Hold the phone... was this for real??

Yes, it was for real. And as much as I appreciate raspberries for their big, juicy, robust flavor... I don't think I've ever had more than 1 cup in a 24 hours period. Before you begin this diet, you need to know that the Cinch! 5-day Fast Forward requires you to eat 4 cups (yes, two whole pints) of raspberries each day for the 5 days. Blarg.


Scramble. Photo credit: Holly at Nap Time
 I can do this. Of course I can do this. <----- Words I kept telling myself.

And I did give it a shot. For 24 hours. At the end of the first day, I was literally gagging down my smoothie and cursing the day I ever saw plain non-fat yogurt and raspberries again. It had become evident - The 5-Day Fast Forward was just not for me.

However, this is not to say that the Cinch! plan is a bad diet. It's just to say that the 5-day Fast Forward is not for everyone... especially if you value the variety of foods that you get to eat. Cynthia Sass' new Cinch! program is based on whole foods that nourish the body and help you stay healthy. The core to her Cinch! program is what I was really excited about anyways. She teaches you how to assemble well balanced meals that compliment your body and keep you energized. Delicious meals, like Berry Almond French Toast, Peanut Butter Plum Toast, and Layered Bean Dip with Cilantro-Jalapeno Guacamole.


Mixed Parfait. Photo credit: Holly at Nap Time
 The 5-day plan may have not worked for me, but I still think that the 24 hour "mini-detox" that I participated in was well worth it. By the end of the first day, I was feeling more energized and had high spirits. Gone were the feelings of "I can't" and being weighted down by junk food cravings. If you can't commit to the 5 days, try just one.

I've also read several reviews stating that the 5-day program does not allow sufficient caloric intake for women that workout regularly. Many of these women felt like they were lacking energy and wearing down. As Cynthia explains in Cinch! if you're feeling light-headed and like you're lacking energy, it's because your body is telling you that it needs more! Follow the right steps to make sure that your body is getting the energy it needs by customizing the diets with the appropriate portions.

                                                              

I was in no way compensated for this post. I make no claims at the success of this or any other diet program other than my personal results. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Word to Those Who Gossip...

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to dedicate 5 hours to reading each week. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I spent most of my days reading and exploring the world of books. Since then, my reading has diminished, and I'm constantly blaming it on having "no time." The thing I've come to realize though is that if I'm going to read and have a relationship with books, I'm going to have to make the time, because for the next 18+ years time is not just going to present itself.

Anyways... so I'm currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin. It's been a bed-side staple of mine for about 8 months now that has just brought me so much inspiration in all aspects of my life. (Full review coming soon...)

One of the things that Rubin discussed in her chapter about focusing on friendship was that we should avoid gossip. Well, that's a given. From experience, gossip rarely does any good, but we are all guilty of it. We're all eager to hear who said what about who and who is doing what and oh did you hear that about so and so?

More subconsciously, I bet you can also find yourself creating gossip without even thinking about it. I remember leaving a party with my husband and stating, about the host, "Wow, she's really ornery when she doesn't have things perfectly her way." Why I said it - because it's normal to say what's on your mind and that's what I was thinking. But... it wasn't nice to say. This is the type of gossip that should be avoided at all costs because it's just the thing that can backfire in your face.

The term for it is Spontaneous Trait Transference. Basically it's this. When you say something about someone else, the person you're telling automatically associates the traits you're talking about with you. For example, if you tell your friend that "Susie is so high maintenance" your friend will spontaneously begin to associate being high maintenance with you.

Word to the wise, if you're going to gossip - only say nice things so that those positive traits are associated with you. :)

A little bit of nap time wisdom. Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Own Leaptop™ by LeapFrog Review

AJ has always been fascinated by computers. Since we live so far from our family, we've made it a tradition to webchat with her grandparents every weekend, so from birth she's had a lot of exposure to our home computers. She loves hitting the keys on the keyboard and seeing what happens on the screen.

When her first birthday rolled around in November, there was no question that we wanted to find her a laptop computer (toy, of course) of her own. After a little online research, we decided to purchase the My Own Leaptop™ by LeapFrog. After two months of daily play, I'm so glad that we did!

About My Own Leaptop™ :
  • Comes in 2 different styles - Scout version is green & Violet version is purple
  • Includes a USB cable that allows you to connect to the Internet to personalize with your child's name, custom song playlist, "email" messages, and more
  • Has 3 different play modes, including alphabet learning, animal learning and music learning
  • Is the perfect size for growing hands, easily folds up and has a handle for carrying
  • Recommended for ages 2-4. We purchased My Own Leaptop™ for our daughter's first birthday. Even at 12 months old, this is a toy that she loves. We can see her learning with it daily as she presses the keys and listens to the songs.
What We Love about My Own Leaptop™ :
  • The Leaptop is so easy to customize with your child's name and favorite songs! Just plug it into the computer and the LeapFrog® Learning Path will walk you through step-by-step to create the perfect personalized toy for your child.
  • The "mouse" on the right hand side makes it easy for children to switch between modes. Each mode is symbolized with a picture, so pre-readers know exactly what they are doing.
  • The songs are full length and include animated segments of Scout or Violet dancing on the screen. My daughter loves this feature!
  • Includes early learning "quizzes" (Example: What animal has a pouch to carry her baby around? Press the paw button to find out!)
  • Keeps our 14 month old's attention for 20+ minutes at a time.
  • Parents can log in anytime to change the songs and emails that Leaptop sends, making this toy always up to date and exciting!
What Could Be Better :
  • The only feature that I wish My Own Leaptop™ had is a back light for the screen. Because the screen does not light up, it is sometimes difficult to see in a dim room. However, works perfectly in well lit areas!!!
Holly's Nap Time Review:
This is an excellent toy for any toddler that I highly recommend. It has all the bells and whistles with it's alphabet pronunciations, silly animations, full feature songs and personalization. I can see my daughter playing with this toy for a very long time.

We purchased this toy from Target, and after customizing the product realized that the Leaptop we purchased was not fully functional. The keys for "B" "E" and "M" didn't do anything. I contacted the customer service team over at LeapFrog and they were really easy to work with. They cared about our situation, and with our original receipt and picture of the not working toy, they were able to send us a new Leaptop right away, before our daughter was able to realize that some of the buttons didn't work.

This is a huge hit at our house. It's so amazing for me to watch my 14 month old daughter open up the Leaptop and press buttons to see what happens on the screen. Her curiousity grows with each time she plays with it, and I have no doubt that she is obtaining what she learns about animal sounds and letter sounds. An excellent choice if you're looking for a toy to grow with your toddler.

Bottom line: 5 out of 5 stars

                                                                      

I was in no way compensated for this post, nor am I in any way affiliated with LeapFrog, other than as a happy and satisfied customer.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

If happiness was the National Currency, what type of work would make you rich??

Well, last night the workouts began. My hubby makes the perfect personal trainer because, well, he's honest. Last night we worked on circuits of sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping jacks.

I really hate push-ups. Really. But I haven't avoided them - I'm not a cheater. Usually I do "girly push-ups" <--- my husband's words, not my own - using my knees. And apparently I wasn't doing those correctly either.

What the heck are you doing??
Um... a push-up.
A push-up? Straighten your body out. You need to go down farther than that. No. Do it again. Do it 5 more times. No. That's wrong. Get.Up.And.Do.It.Again.
(This is when he got all Jillian Michael's on me, which he knows I love. I began to cry hysterically (of laughter).
Why do I even have to do push-ups?
They are good for your arms... and your core.
My arms? But I don't want to be jacked.
From 5 push-ups??? I'll let you know when you're close to being jacked, and then you can stop.

Ahhh... now that's love. There really is nothing like the support of someone you care about. Today I feel great!

Onto today's question for my Day Zero Project - From the 50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind:

If happiness was the National Currency, what type of work would make you rich??

I find this question extremely compelling, in that it's a lot more difficult to answer than I anticipated. A lot of things make me happy. I enjoy reading to my daughter, but that doesn't make me happy in itself. I am happy when she lights up at the books. I'm happy in her happiness. So that doesn't count. It's funny to think that when it comes down to it that it's not really that easy to pinpoint our exact sources of happiness. But I think I've done it.

If happiness was the National Currency, I would be a millionaire family genealogy expert. I'd spend my time milling through old photographs and letters and putting together all the puzzle pieces and making people giddy with delight at my findings. (I have done a lot of this, personally, for zero money. Just saying. Ancestry.com is an amazing place to start for anyone looking to do some family research.)

I'd work from 9am-noon each day, and after lunch I'd spend my time volunteering at an animal shelter - mostly walking/playing with dogs. I would help eager children find the perfect pet to take home.

For dinner each night I'd be flying to the hottest new restaurants around the world to eat cuisine from celebrity chefs and spend time with my family. Everything, naturally, would be free because I would be paid thousands of dollars for my reviews.

And of course, when it's all said and done, I'd find myself back at home tucking my daughter into bed and curling up on the couch with my husband, because this average life we live makes me the happiest woman in the world. :)

What about you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Resolutions

Well, 2010 is behind us, the holidays are over, and somehow by God's good grace we made it safely back to our cozy home in Virginia yesterday. I tell you what - there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed.

Our trip to Michigan was a success. We didn't get to see nearly as many people as planned, but that's to be expected. Those grandparents sure love to hog our little angel. :)  I suppose though, that with us living 800 miles away that it is their right to hog her.

My husband and I even got out for a date night to Carabba's. A first time for both of us as highly recommended by my parents (with a gift card). We were delighted!! I forgot how nice it is to share a meal without dodging flying spoonfuls of mushy, usually already chewed food!

2011 is a fresh start for all of us. I'm happy to share my 2011 goals with you.

New Year's Resolutions
  • Focus on overall health.
    • Workout for 30 minutes at least 4 times a week (preferably 2-3 times at the gym)
    • Lose that pesky 25 pounds, already! Sidenote: I have started the 5 Day Fast Forward plan from Cynthia Sass' Cinch! today... keep your eyes peeled for my review on that next week!
    • Practice yoga more often
    • Get to bed earlier
  • Make progress on my Day Zero Project
  • Dedicate at least 5 hours of reading per week
  • Move forward with my blog
    • Triple number of followers (600 by 2012)
    • Host at least 1 giveaway per month
    • Write 1 detailed review per week
  • Schedule more planned activities for my daughter

What are your goals for 2011? How do you plan to stick to them? Do you reward yourself for your efforts? Please share your thoughts on New Year's Resolutions!