Follow Me on Pinterest

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ready for Resolutions- I WILL Make my Kitchen More Functional!!

I know it's not the new year yet but it's getting close so I need to get ready asap otherwise it will never happen!  I have a lot on my to-do list.  Too much, probably since I can never get anything done.  People say having 4 kids is easy.  I think they are aliens  ;p  

Anyway, I received an awesome gift- a gift card to Home Depot to kick off my first project- creating an "entry" in the Kitchen.  We don't have a foyer, a hallway or even a closet down here on our first floor.  We have no hooks, no place to put our shoes except a large, but undersized basket in a completely inappropriate place.  I've lived here for 7 years...what have I been doing???  We always use our back door (the kitchen) but drop our coats and shoes in the living and dining rooms (front and middle room).  WHY?!   

There is no seating in our kitchen because of a totally akward layout so one thing I really want is a storage bench to go under the window, along the wall where you walk in the back door (also the way to the door to the dining room.  This would house select items (to be decided) that might include hats, gloves and shoes.  It would allow someone to sit and talk to me while I spend half my day in that confined and miserable (but super-sunny!) room. 

Another thing I plan to get is one of those Martha Stewart and/or Rubbermaid storage cubes.  I need the one that is 2 wide (I measured already).  I'd be putting this to the left of the storage bench.  I won't be able to completely open my back door when I put this there but it will open wide enough for us.  The trash can will fit right beside that, hidden behind the back door.  I'll have 6 storage cubes.  One will be for paper to be recycled.  One will hold trash and grocery bags.  If I can find good paper storage that fits in a cube 1 will be for paperwork that needs to leave the house, like school papers that need signed or records that need to be brought to appointments.  Each kid would need their own box otherwise I'd get all sorts of messed up!  Then I'll have 3 more left...what to do?  This will also open up more storage in my kitchen cabinets which I need so badly!   

To the right of the storage bench is where the dog stuff is.  It won't go anywhere else so I need to make it a little nicer (it's one of the first thing you see walking into the kitchen- bleh) with a big plastic storage container for the food (instead of the messy bag) and, I don't know...a placemat or something.  This is also where the coats and backpacks will go.  I need at least 6 hooks- one for each of us.  But we all have tons of coats- PA has very finicky weather!  So I guess the rule will be 1 coat for each person and the rest go in their bedroom closets...If they are the double hooks there will be enough room for 3 backpacks.  I'd like to get one that is on a rack so that it's easier to hang.

We have our phone/answering machine and a white board above the area that houses the trash can and future storage cubes.  I want to get new key hooks because our key hooks are attached to our mail storage.  That's in the dining room.  Like I said before, we walk in the back door so the key hooks would make the most sense there.  The mailbox is out front so the mail storage would probably work better in the living room, where the front door is.   

Lastly I want a hallway runner.  This will run from the back door to the dining room entrance.  For two reasons: 1 is so the kids can wipe their darn feet and not ruin my hardwood floors.  The other is to kind of separate the entry space from the kitchen. 

This sounds easy enough, right?  Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations for me?  I can't wait to get started.  I just hope I don't do what I always do- dream big but no action.  I want to make my resolutions work!  I have enough HD gift cards to at least get started so money isn't an excuse at the moment.     

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Barnes and Noble Children Book Sale + Free Shipping Offer

Barnes and Noble is having a mega-big sale on kids books.  I just bought 27 books for $27 (After taxes) with FREE shipping.  Retail, my order would have cost over $100
There are dozens of books on sale for $.99 (normally around $4 each).  Spend $25 and your order ships free!  I saved almost $30 in shipping fees!!  Add the code W9D3B7F to take 5% off each book (it's a $.05 discount per book). 

Shop through Ebates or Shop at Home to get extra cash back on your purchase (8-10% depending on which site you choose).  You must be a member of these sites to shop but membership is free and the benefits are numerous. 

Didn't we just spend a million dollars on Christmas?!  Birthdays are coming up in our family and the selection was perfect for us!      

WW Mama

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Beyond the Rack Daily Deals- More Than 50% off Coats & More

Beyond the Rack has coats from Apple Bottom, Ecko, Rocawear and Dereon are more than 50% off today, with prices as low as $29!  Another hot deal is womens shirts all under $25 from popular brands.  Some are going fast! 

Sign up for great deals on awesome products and even enter for your chance to win "the $1,500 look" by inviting your friends. 
Beyond the Rack is a daily deal site where products are deeply discounted.  You must be a member to shop but registration is quick and easy. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Zulily Events Today: Adorable Winter Clothing Under $20

Today's Zulily events include:

  • ADORABLE winter baby (24 months and under) clothes from Mini Muffin- all under $20! 
  • If you have a daughter (newborn-10yrs) then Flit & Flitter has charming outfits also under $20.  My favorite are the striped tights for $4.99. 
  • For Mom: Pretty silver and gold jewelry, almost all priced under $50 (and up to 55% retail prices) from Alisa Michelle Designs.
  • Foxfire Outerwear for Kids has raingear priced under $30.  The dinosaur sets are too cute!
  • HOT DEAL!!!  Lily Pad has ONE color left- get their red headband and tutu set for only $11.99.  When this deal started just a few days ago they had at least half a dozen colors but they sold out really fast. 
There are many more awesome deals for mom, baby and kids at Zulily today.  Grab them before they are gone!!! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm Mary Poppins!

A Weaver Short...
Zachary grabbed an umbrella today, started dancing around the yard and said, "look at me, I'm Mary Poppins!". 
He's 9.  I'm not going to let this go anytime soon.  I just wish I had my Flip ready so I could show it to his first girlfriend.  Though I might forget about this in 9 years... ;p

I Won at RedGage!!

Just yesterday I was discussing this site, and how it pays for content that you share. Since becoming active I tried to do a few of the things they suggest, including entering the daily contest. To enter you need to mention RedGage on another site (my blog), submit an entry to their knowledge-based content on the dashboard or invite friends. I had 10 entries (points) for the contest. This morning I checked my email and I won! $25 baby!! I only made $.09 for content but I did sign up knowing that it wouldn't make me an overnight millionaire ;) Since you can withdraw earnings at $25 I could cash out right now. I'm thinking maybe I should wait though. The site has been around for 2+ years so I don't think it's going anywhere.  In the past I've read complaints about non-payment but at the same time read that people were being paid.  I might just let it sit and see how much I can make until March rolls around (Henry's FIRST birthday!). 

What is RedGage?  Well, you can check out this post to learn all about it.  The short and sweet of it is this: submit content- videos, photos, links, blogs, documents (your OWN content!!!) and make money based on unique views.  Import (though it doesn't seem to work right now, but it can't hurt to get a jump on it by  submitting the info awhile) from Blogger, Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr to earn faster with less work!  Enter the contests as much as possible because you never know when you might win.

And always remember that you can't win if you don't play.  Sometimes luck is earned. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby Bookworm- Henry Sebastian 3 Months Old June 30, 2010

Happy THREE months to baby Henry Sebastian today!!! 

Henry goes EVERYWHERE with me which means that he gets to hear just about every story I read to the other kids.  I noticed today that he was paying close attention during story time, not to me, but to the book.  He was more interested that everyone else!  I got a phone call halfway through Pinocchio so I stopped and put the book down.  Boy, did he get MAD!!  He calmed down immediately when I started again.  I really hope to instill a love of reading in all of my kids.  Dad hates to read but I love it and do it all the time.  Fortunately, he can't say no when his little princess asks for a bedtime story (and Jonas always cuddles up with them) so they still get to hear and see daddy reading too.          

I haven't been talking much about baby Henry anywhere because I've been keeping a written journal with all of his milestones.  Lately he has become such a wiggle worm!  He's rolling over, tries to move around but ends up going in circles (literally), and flips over in my lap all the time.  He tries to sit up whenever he's reclined and if he isn't strapped in he could very well propel himself right out of his seat because he's so strong!!  He has been learning to comfort himself successfully (two fingers and/or a blankie), interacting with his siblings- I've been through it a few times before but it just seems so new and exciting all over again!  He met his car seat buddies today and made instant friends with the cute critters, cooing and batting at them.  We hadn't used it before because the hospital advised against toys in the car.  Now we just use it when we use the seat as a carrier and he adores them.  His favorite position is lying with his belly on the ground and his shoulders and head sideways (see photo below).  It's so strange but really cute.  He loves his long afternoon nap and sleeps so well at night.  He doesn't like to be bothered when he sleeps!  We love to sing, dance and chat together!!  I think that he is going to look up to his big brothers but he will adore his big sister, who is like a mini-mama to him.  ♥   

So that's a little of what's going on with my family!

December 9, 2010- Happy 3rd Birthday Jonas!

It seems like he was just born yesterday. But today my little Jonas Robert is 3 years old! This is the first time I could ask what he wanted and he could tell me. It was very exciting for me! Jonas is a typical annoying little brother but he is the absolute best big brother ever. His little brother is 8 months old and since day 1 Jo has been such a big helper and cares so much for the baby. He is always looking out for him and it's so sweet!
Jo (his nickname) told me that this year he wants a firetruck (he already has one!), dinosaurs, a motorcycle, rocketship and cars.

What he did not tell me, but I know all too well is that he wants a camera. He is constantly taking (and LOSING) my camera. It isn't a super expensive camera but it's costly enough that mommy isn't happy about it! So I got him his very own camera- the Vtech Kidizoom, which had the best ratings of all the cameras. I'd take pictures of all the presents he is getting but SOMEONE lost my camera...It's orange, has a screen so he can see the pictures he is taking and even has games on it. I haven't played around with it yet but I'm very excited to see how well it works.


Another thing he is getting is two of the dinosaurs from Dinosaur Train. It's a cartoon with these cute little dinos. I've only seen one episode so that's all I know about the show. They have lots of different toys but the ones he wanted were (of course) the expensive talking dinos that interact with each other. I saw them when I was shopping for his cousin's birthday over the summer and had a blast playing with them! He told me he wanted the Triceratops but I couldn't find it anywhere. So he's getting the pteradactyl and I think the other one is a stegasaurus. Another thing I know he will love is a microphone. And I'm totally okay with the noise I will have to put up with! But I messed up and thought we had something the microphone could plug into but it was only an output so now I'm searching for a CHEAP something or other where I can plug in the microphone. He is also getting a Hot Wheels track and I know he'll enjoy that because he loves "playgrounds"! I really wanted to get him a rocketship but the only one that he wanted was $40 (eeek!). Last night he was at a friend's birthday party and saw a Lego Toy Story ship that he really liked- I'm wondering how much that cost...He also loves to pretend to strap on a Jet Pack and flies around the house. There are two Buzz Lightyear jet packs that are for sale this year and one is $30. I might cave and get it for him for Christmas. I can't wait for him to wake up!!!

So, to the charming boy who has "magic kisses that make it all better" I say, Happy third birthday big guy- I love you so much. I am so amazed by everything you do and all the things you learn each day and I'm so proud of the crazy little guy you're becoming! You are growing up too fast and I plan enjoy every second if it.

Love, Mama

Haute Look- Hurry! Hot Deals are Going Fast!

Today's Haute Look daily deals are HOT and they are going fast! 

Some awesome deals:
Urban Decay makeup for only $2 (regular prices between $14-35).  These are going SUPER fast.
$9.99 and up Soy Organic clothing from Baby Star.
Ending Soon: Moe's Home Collection- more than 50% off home decor and furniture including awesome (and only $13-15) retro and rosette cushions, set of 2 black and gold floral table lamps for only $38, a wine tree for $44 and a $1600 (TWO zeros) Crystal Superiore Candelabra for only $700 (I know, a little pricey but who knows- someone might have the cash for this gorgeous piece!).  Talk about steals! 
These deals only last about 2 days and then they are gone so grab them while you still can, and while they last!  Registering is free and you'll be the first to know about all the exciting events and discounts.

RedGage- Make Some Extra Money

I signed up for RedGage a year ago and then immediately abandoned it. Last night I decided to give it another go and logged into my profile.

RedGage is a site where you can make some extra money doing what you already do- sharing your passions with the world. With a few clicks you can share your blog, photos, videos and more. They even have some simple (seriously- even I figured it out!) tools to import content. You can import from Youtube, Flickr, Blogger, Wordpress, Facebook and Twitter!  I played around and managed to get a few things set up.  I was having some difficulty getting certain sites imported, not because it's hard but because it just wasn't going through.  After a few tries it worked. 

Every time you share something with the RedGage community you can earn money.  The more your content is viewed and rated, the more your earning potential. You also have the opportunity to have your content featured which may give you a bonus. It's not much but every little bit helps, right?  Payment can be requested when you reach $25.  You are paid via a RedGage Visa.   

Earnings are easy to follow- earnings are displayed on individual content. You'll know what content is making you the most money which is really neat!

Head on over to RedGage and sign up to make the most of your time.  Look for me when you get there!  My RedGage user name is Arose.  Please share your experiences- good or bad (and YOUR RedGage name) in the comments!  I'd love to connect and help you out as well :)

Hallmark Recordable Storybook: Creating Memories (A Flashback Gather Review)

A flashback Gather review from December 2009.

I was choosen to review the Hallmark Recordable Storybook from Gather. I was thrilled to have this chance and had the idea that the kids' dad would read the story since he is usually at school when they go to bed. I thought it would be a great gift to them to hear daddy every night.
The same day that my book arrived we were spending time with Jason's dad and step-mom. I didn't mention the book but we were talking about the holidays and she said she really wanted to get the kids this gift from Hallmark- the Recordable "Night Before Christmas" book! I told her about my opportunity and her face lit up. I knew right away that she would be the storyteller for our book and asked if she would do the honor. Of course she said YES and I asked her if I could either record or photograph her while she read. She agreed and we set up a date.
The Good:
The instructions were very easy to follow and we were ready to record in just a few minutes (it took longer for me to get the video camera ready). We discussed playing music in the background as some others here on Gather had but decided against it in the end.
It was super easy to record, listen then re-record if needed. Once you were happy with a page you could move on to the next one. We had to re-record a few pages, because of kids and mess-ups but we were happy with most of them on the first try. You could record to perfection if you wanted to!
You might not want to have your face too close to the speaker, or speak too loud because it picks up sound really well. Katey spoke quietly but was close to the microphone. Ours turned out a little loud but that's fine with me!
Once you are completely satisfied with your recordings you need a screwdriver to open the panel and lock the recording. If you don't lock it, it could accidently be recorded over (easily). If you ever want to change the recording or have a new person tell the story you simply unlock it and start over.

The Bad:
I would highly recommend keeping this book away from ALL children (or most) even while they are hearing the story! It's sensitive to movement so you have to hold the book pretty still while it's being "read". If you are bumped or the page moves too high/ too much (I like to have my next page ready to be turned) it will stop reading and start over when you put it back in place. You cannot hold the book up- it has to be lying flat, fully open.

I think this is a great gift for anyone who wishes to "tell" a bedtime story to someone special. I think it would be a good idea for Hallmark to come out with these for other seasons or holidays (*NOTE: As of December 2010 they have done this!!)! We haven't shared ours with the kids yet- we planned to introduce it to them at our first holiday party with family tomorrow (Sunday). Hopefully by then we will have found our regular camera's battery charger so we can take pictures of the kids enjoying it.

We videotaped pretty much all of it and I made sure to do it in clips, thinking that if I did that I could post them seperately and it wouldn't be a huge file but somehow when Jason was converting the dvd to a readable file on the computer he managed to condense Jo's birthday party and the entire recording onto one file, which made it about 15 minutes long (and a HUGE file). I'm going to try to upload it so everyone can see how simple (and fun) it was to do. If I manage to get it on here to share, please forgive my shaky hand! I usually assign the video-taping to Jason but one of us needed to occupy the kids. It seems he was just as bad at keeping them busy as I was at recording, because during one page Jonas came up and started saying "grandma, grandma!"! If I can get the whole 15 minutes uploaded and you just want to watch the recording then fast forward the video to about 6:55. The rest of the video is kind of poor quality because of the lighting, which I wouldn't think would matter considering the price we paid for that camera!

Here is the link to view the making of the recordable storybook:

Hallmark Recordable Storybook Video

Psst… want to save up to $46?

Hey! I just learned a clean little secret about Lowe’s. They have quite the selection of cleaning products plus air and water filters to help keep your home spic and span inside and out. And they’re sending out up to $46 in savings so you can really clean up. Get your coupons before they’re gone! Go to

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sony Dash for only $130- Last Minute Gift Idea

Gilt Group has the Sony Dash for only $129.99.  This is a daily deal site which means it's a limited time sale.  The Sony Dash is available at this price only until 12/21 at 9AM so grab it while you can.  These retail for $199!!  This would be the perfect gift for a gadget lover and you can get it by Christmas! 

The Sony Dash Personal Internet Viewer is described as follows:
"Stop searching for up-to-the-minute news, weather, sports scores, and social network updates. With Dash, you can get them fed to you on one compact device—which wirelessly connects to your home network. This viewer streams playlists of personalized apps, as well as Internet radio, photos, and video, through a vivid 7-inch touch screen. Boasting built-in stereo speakers and a headphone jack, it can also re-orient for upright or flat viewing."

In Mommy-who-doesn't-have-a-clue terms it just looks really neat, I want one and...hey- it's a Sony and it's $60 off!! 

How does ordering at Gilt work?  Here are instructions from Gilt:

Steps to receive your Sony® Dash™:
1.Place your purchase on Gilt

2. An electronic voucher will be emailed to you within 24 hours of purchase with a redemption code

3. Follow the link to in the email voucher and place the Dash™ Personal Internet Viewer in your cart and checkout.

4. Upon checkout please use your redemption code under the eCoupons and Gift Cards module, and click the “APPLY eCOUPON” button and submit your order.

And your Sony Dash will be on its way! 

Nabisco 100 Calorie Pack Mister Salty Yogurt Flavored Pretzels (A Flashback Gather Review)

A Gather Flashback Review from March 2010.

I was recently given the opportunity by Gather to try a box of Nabisco 100 Cal Mister Salty Yogurt Flavored Pretzels: Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs Review.

I was very excited to try them out. I LOVE food! I can be picky about what I eat. I am usually picky about the meat I buy, unless it's a frozen dinner. I'm picky about the milk I drink. I am picky about the fruits and veggies I buy, though my main concern is their cleanliness and being able to get any pesticide residue off of them. I don't like artificial sweeteners and really don't like the use of artificial colors. When it comes those things I will spend more on the safer, better choices if the option is available.
That being said, the first thing I noticed while scrutinizing the box was that there is NO high fructose corn syrup in the Mister Salty Pretzels.

Here is a complete breakdown of the Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 1 Package (each box contains 6 pre-portioned packages of pretzels)
Calories: 100
Calories from Fat: 35
Total Fat: 4g (6% DV)
Saturated Fat: 3.5g (18% DV)
(0g Trans, Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fats)
0mg Cholesterol
Sodium: 160mg (7% DV)
Potassium: 20mg (1% DV)
Total Carbohydrates: 16g (5% DV)
0g Dietary Fiber
Sugars: 7g
Protein: 1g
Iron: 4% DV
(0% DV Vitamins A, C and Calcium)

Yogurt flavored coating [sugar, palm kernel oil, milk, yogurt powder (cultured whey protein concentrate, cultured skim milk, yogurt cultures), color added, soy lecithin, salt], unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, folic acid), salt, corn and/or canola oil and/or cottonseed and/or soybean oil, corn syrup, baking soda, yeast.

I like that the ingredient list isn't totally full of freaky words and unidentified contents. I know what almost everything is and why it's there. I DON'T like that color was added to the yogurt coating. Why? I don't understand why it needs to be colored white. They could save time and money on that additive and save the money on the printing cost of that extra word (those costs may be small per box but they add up!). I like seeing potassium in the ingredient list since it's a nutrient I desperately need right now (I'm 38 weeks pregnant). I was surprised at the lack of calcium; with yogurt being an ingredient I thought that there would be a percent or two in there. And I always thought that pretzels contained fiber so it's interesting to know they do not (can you tell I don't read the nutritional information much?). I was also surprised at how few pretzels make up 100 calories. Other than that, everything makes sense.

So after understanding what I was about to eat I tore open a pack. My first thought was that they were tasty and a good combination of sweet and salty. When I bit into one that was extra salty I was a little turned off but as a whole, the blend is just right. They were perfectly crunchy and satisfying for a sugar or salty craving. They were gone too quickly! When I was finished with a bag I was still hungry and kept looking back in to see if any new ones magically appeared.
I gave a pack to each of my kids and my boyfriend to try out and everyone loved them. My boyfriend agreed about the portion size (his were gone in one bite!). My 2 year old would have eaten the whole box too!!
They are definitely a yummy treat, especially on the go, but not enough food to satisfy my needs as a snack. Honestly, I am a pretty frugal person and buying something that costs more because it's already packaged in portions would be a turn off for me. But the convenience is no doubt perfect for anyone busy. I understand why they are pre-portioned and I really like the concept but I would much prefer buying a big bag and separating everything myself. I've never seen this particular flavor in big bags on any shelf. I've noticed that when an open bag of anything sits in front of me I will eat more than if it's presented in a smaller amount. I know for many people (I've spoken to people about buying pre-portioned food over buying larger and separating themselves) they would rather have the portioning done for them so they can just grab and go. It is definitely more convenient to have the work done for you. For me the price outweighs the benefits when it's a product that can easily be separated like pretzels.

I would buy these if we were in need of a quick and easy snack... if they were a good price. Without a doubt, they taste good and I would happily scarf down a bag (or 2 or 3).

De-stinking the Tween- a Gather Review of Degree Men Deodorant (A Flashback Gather Review)

Flashback Gather Review from July 2010.

My son Zachary was selected by Gather to review Degree for Men Deodorant and received a free sample of the deodorant to facilitate his review.
Product Reviewers Needed for Degree Men, Degree Girl, Dove Ultimate go fresh and Suave 24-Hour Protection deodorant – Comment to Participate
Zachary is a new 9 year old (his birthday was July 10) and, news to me, a TWEEN! We received our sample of deodorant on his birthday (what a great way to celebrate a birthday- hey dude, you stink!) but weren't home until late so we've only had a few days to get to know this product.

About Degree® Men Deodorant: With Degree Men, odor is no match for the busy lives of tween boys. Whether running for class president, auditioning for the school play, or leading the football team to victory, Degree Men rises to every challenge to help boys feel confident. Degree Men, available in four fragrances, guarantees odor protection and is the first deodorant with Silver Ion Technology. Silver Ions are high-tech odor fighters so effective that they are used by sports brands, the military and even space agencies to fight odor in their performance apparel.

We have Degree's Arctic Edge- scented deodorant in a clear solid. I'm curious about this "silver ion technology". I am aware that negative ions are used in some air purifiers and wonder if that's what they are getting at when promoting this? Or if it's just some fancy words.

Mom's first impression: The smell is a little strong but it's a decent scent. It's bad enough to have to wear deodorant but to announce it with a strong scent could be embarrassing. And on the topic of odor...Zachary doesn't have one yet (Thank God!!!) but I thought it would be great to try anyway because he does sweat and, as a mildly sensory-disable child, he could give a good opinion on how it feels and smells.

Zachary's first impression: Smell? "I don't like it! It stinks- it's nasty! Do I have to wear it?".
Unfortunately, it's a cool day today. I had planned to have him use it while playing tennis but it was canceled today because of rain. So we are experimenting in poor conditions for rating deodorant. We aren't going to be super-active today though the humidity might make sweating more likely. Zachary put it on and after 2 hours I checked back with him. I asked if wearing deodorant feels different than not wearing it. He said didn't notice it at all- he wasn't bothered by the texture, probably because it's a clear solid that absorbs quickly (unlike the chalky or gel deodorants). He is sometimes bothered by things on his skin so it's a positive that this didn't bother him. I asked him if he felt sweaty and he said he didn't, but added that it's not hot in his room like it normally is during the summer. I asked him about the smell again and he said it was alright, so the strength of the scent calms down after a while. I checked it too and it definitely was much nicer after 2 hours. He smelled like a person rather than a deodorant factory!
I'm sad that we haven't had the opportunity to review how well this works on sweat. I guess it's different since he doesn't have odor issues yet, but the fact that there was still a mild deodorant scent after a few hours may mean that it's still protecting against potential odors after some time has passed. I look forward to having him try this out on a hot tennis day!
As for future use...I'd definitely have to take him along when selecting a deodorant so that he isn't disgusted by the smell. And I think to have a more effective review of deodorant we would need to try a few different kinds so that we know what works and what doesn't. As a fan of both Degree and Old Spice for my grown man, they would definitely be 2 or our choices when the time comes that we really need some. It doesn't hurt that we've had this opportunity to be warned that this future shopping trip will happen sooner, rather than later!

Cooking for Kids- Can't Beat Kraft Mac 'N' Cheese! (A Flashback Gather Review)

Flashback Gather Review from August 2009.

(it seems that someone tried to KILL them before they got here...see pictures of beaten boxes!!).

My kids LOVE macaroni and cheese. I kind of like it too, though I'm not exactly fond of the ingredients. But I'm also lazy, and have some kids that are sometimes difficult to please. In addition to my 3 I watch my friend's two kids.  That's 5 sometimes-picky kids. What to do? One thing I will NEVER do is make more than one meal to please everyone. That narrows our choices down majorly and you can't go wrong with mac 'n' cheese. And the real, homemade stuff just does not sit well with these kids (I've TRIED). This is easier anyway and I'd rather have the real stuff all to myself, with a big helping of stewed tomatoes on the side (why am I even writing about it when I don't have the ingredients???).
How do we eat our Kraft mac 'n' cheese? We aren't picky. Sometimes we eat it with some broccoli, sometimes with chicken nuggets, sometimes with ketchup, sometimes with it all and sometimes by itself. It doesn't matter- it works in so many ways!
Today there are 4 kids (and me) and I decided that we would have our Kraft Deluxe (deluxe means it comes with the gooey cheese in foil packet instead of the powder you have to mix, so it's creamier and a little less work (and sometimes we forget to stock butter and milk). Mac 'N' Cheese with chicken nuggets (with ketchup) and celery sticks with peanut butter. We ended up with 3 cleaned off plates (plus mine) and a kid who didn't want to eat any of it (weird because he actually likes all of it!). I had my Mac 'N' Cheese with lots of pepper and some ketchup mixed in. Then I had my chicken nuggets with honey. I gave all of the celery to the kids.
So we didn't make anything special, but when it comes to kids special doesn't matter. GOOD matters and this was GOOD :D

And if you are interested in the fine print:
A serving of Kraft Deluxe Mac 'N' Cheese is 3.5 oz, 320 calories (yikes!), 90 fat calories which is 10g of fat or 15% dv, 3g of saturated fat, 15mg or 5% cholesterol, 930mg of sodium or 39% (double yikes!), 45g or 15% carbohydrates, 1g or 4% dietary fiber, 4g of sugar and 12g of protein. There is also 4% dv of vitamin A, 15% calcium and 10% iron.

Make It: A Book Review and A Trashy Craft (A Flashback Gather Review)

A flashback Gather review from April 2009.

I was choosen to receive and review the book "Make It" by Jane Bull on Gather.

It's a book that will help your child (or you!) turn your trash into treasure. This book isn't just for kids- adults can use the ideas in this book to make their own creations as well. Even a beginner can use the ideas in this book, as there are very clear step-by-step instructions and pictures that leave no questions unanswered! Often when I buy a craft book the author assumes that the reader already knows everything there is to know about the craft (jewelry, sewing- all books that are totally useless to me because the instructions were not clear at all) and skips the beginning steps. But not Mrs. Jane Bull! Even young readers will be able to do some of the crafts in this book on their own. For others they will need adult supervision or help. There are projects to make using a variety of items in your home- old toys, bottle lids, cans, fabric, paper and so much more. You can make something from anything!
This book, like others in the series (see link above for other books by the publisher), is "made with care". The paper to make this book is FSC certified, which means the paper comes from responsibly managed forests. They use better inks, skip the dust jacket and their printers generate 100% of their own electricity.
The day I received this book in the mail Zachary got to it first. He always gets excited about mail, especially packages so he made me open it right away. I didn't get more than a glance at the cover before he took it from me and started reading. He was SO excited! He was saying, "Mommy, we could make this- I could make this! This is so cool!" to just about everything in the book. Instead of hijacking it back, I sat down to see what was so cool. Sure enough, he really could make a lot of the things in this book on his own.

When we came to the sewing projects I almost kept going because I don't know how to sew. But this book even offers a basic sewing lesson! How neat is that?! Zachary was thrilled and said that we could learn to sew together. I told him that I thought that was a great idea. I even bought a mini sewing kit recently so that I could attempt to fix simple things like missing buttons, so we are set to give it a try soon!

Yesterday we decided to go through the book again to pick a few crafts to make. After looking through the book he decided to use some ideas in it to create his own thing. He wanted to make a "robot remote". At first it started as just a regular remote but as he made it his ideas were still forming. I offered to find a few things in the house for him to use as buttons but he said he just wanted to trace shapes. We grabbed all of the tools we needed- scissors, tape, a pen, a plastic heart with a couple shapes for tracing (what the heck is that thing called anyway?) and a piece of cardboard that we were planning to toss in the recycling bin. Everything was something we already had in the house, for regular use or to be thrown away (just the cardboard was trash for this particular project).
He asked me to cut the cardboard then went to work.

He made "buttons" to start, stop, fall in love (?!), shoot, fly, jump, punch and one to use as a microphone. Start and stop were round, fall in love was a heart, shoot was a triangle, punch was a diamond, jump was 3 or 4 pentagons that he spaced slightly apart so that they appeared to be "jumping" (this was my favorite button- so creative!) and the microphone button was a large circle with lines inside going horizontally and vertically. After he was done it looked pretty cool but it didn't look complete. We needed an antenna and a way for him to carry it. We found a stick from a bush in our front yard (one that had fallen off) and he taped it to the back.

Then I gave him a clothespin so that he could secure it to his pants. And he is finished!

He started using his remote with the kids and me as subjects. Of course he had to tell us what he was pushing but it was still fun. He said that when he pushed the first button it was activating us as robots. Then whatever he pushed we had to do. I might have looked silly jumping up and down, pretending to shoot, punch and fly but I was having fun too! Thank goodness he didn't make me sing! Jonas joined in the fun as well, and was punching and shooting along with me. I did try to get video of that but he found the cat as soon as I started to film. Amara wouldn't play and just kept making robots with her chalk on the sidewalk.

Who knew a book could create so much family fun?! I recommend this book to any newbie of the craft world. You could also find plenty of similar crafts online but I'm thrilled that I have the book for the steps and photos. This book will be coming along with us on trips and visits with family and friends so we can share the crafts we've made and potential ones for the future! I'm looking forward to making many more and we have already started our second project from the book.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Poor Party of 5 is Now a Party of SIX and Needs a CHANGE! Welcome to Weavers Wobble!!

I know I don't have many (or any, maybe) readers but if there are any out there I ask for forgiveness. I am being a terrible blogger right now!
Over the past few months I've become a fan of micro-blogging and have fallen off the big blog horse. I have so much running through my mind, so many things I could write about for days. But when I sit down at the computer I can't seem to write the words. So I slide over to Facebook and post my lazy, shortened thoughts over there instead of writing a thoughtful and detailed blog over here. And it makes me angry! For months I had no good excuse- I was just tired and lazy and not in the mood. Now I have the perfect excuse- the newest addition to our family! But I really want to keep it up and I'm going to try really hard. Sometimes I need a push or a hand to hold and this is one of those times.

Anyway, welcome our newest addition:
Henry Sebastian born on March 30, 2010 at 6:15pm (same time I was born!). 9lbs 7.9 oz. and 19.5 inches long. He was my biggest baby by far!! Zachary was 7lb 13.5oz, Amara was 7lb 15.8oz and Jonas was 8lb 6oz.

When he was born he did not have a name. Everyone was asking and I had to keep telling them all that we hadn't decided yet. This wasn't entirely my fault. I was searching names for months but hubby wouldn't give me ANY input. NONE! He said we had plenty of time to decide and all I could get out of him was a "No way!" if he hated a name. So, on my own I researched and thought and talked to other people (mostly to hear what NOT to name my babe). I knew I didn't want a common name (top 10? No thanks.) and I wanted to be sure that no one could obviously make fun of any name I picked (Jason said NO to Oliver). But right around my due date (March 20th) I was writing and combining names that I liked and I said them aloud. When I said, "Henry Sebastian" something clicked. I think Jason might have made a negative comment but I didn't hear him. His mom was over and she agreed that it sounded really good. I actually like Sebastian better but Sebastian Henry doesn't sound right to me.
My due date came and passed and I was stressing out. I was huge and tired and ready to have a baby! My first 2 spoiled me by being 6 days early. My 3rd was 6 days late. So I was convinced that he would follow suit or surprise us with a due date arrival. But of course he had to be difficult and 10 days after he was due the hospital forced him out. That's a whole other story though :) (if I ever get around to it!).

While enjoying our baby (and sharing him with our family-packed delivery room!) we kept on discussing names. Thankfully my sister brought along a notebook and wrote everything down before, during and after delivery. I was in too much pain/concentrating/pushing/enjoying to do much writing. It was late then so we held off the discussion until the next day. We had a new group of people to talk it over with. My dad was VERY opinionated about the subject and made me angry enough to want to kick him out (I didn't). He was basically telling me that my other son had a dumb name and that I should change it and was shooting down every name I liked for Henry. Then he insisted I use the name HE liked and said he was going to call him that anyway (very childish...). I should mention now that he has Schizophrenia and I can blame a lot of what was going on on that...and I shouldn't have been so bothered but I was. After everyone was gone for the day Jason and I had more chance to talk about it (it seemed it was the only thing we were talking about) but he was STILL not making a decision or giving me any input. At that point I decided I was going to push for the name I wrote it large letters on my due date. Finally, on our departure date I was waiting to finish the paperwork that required his name and he caved. I won! I won! I got my name :D

Welcome to the world, Henry Sebastian! I LOVE your name and it fits you perfectly!!

See more pictures here

And since Party of FIVE just doesn't seem appropriate, I am changing my blog name to Weavers Wobble.  Grandma K. Weaver has always joked that "Weavers wobble but they don't fall down!" and I thought it totally appropriate for the new blog name.  So head on over to for the lastest updates and the best of Poor Party of 5!!