Friday, 28 September 2012

A Serious Case of Mommy-Guilt

These days, it doesn’t take much for me to be overcome with mommy-guilt.  I’m constantly worrying about if I am spending enough quality time with my kids, and feeling guilty for forgetting to put love notes into Buckaroo’s lunch box every day.  But, one short statement my son made the other day pushed my mommy-guilt into the red.

He said:
“Mommy, our house doesn’t look like Fall.”

Bullet. To. The. Heart.

What I felt like saying was “No-shit-it-doesn’t-look-like-Fall! Be-lucky-Mommy-even-knows-what-day-it-is!”  But instead I said, “Yeah, Buddy. I know.  Mommy will take care of that.”

The hectic-ness of my “new” life has made certain things–like decorating my house–take a back seat.  But, obviously it’s something the kids notice and I want them to pull up to our house and feel like they are “home”–and not for nothing, I want that feeling too.  I used to put thought into decorating my entryway, and hanging flags for each season.  I used to have all sorts of clingy decorations on the windows, and twinkling white lights outside on my porch.  Now that things are settling down around here, I think it’s about time to find that creative bone and get to it.  Because, seriously, I don’t think this is cutting it:

Today, I have landscapers here doing a major clean-up on my yard–pulling mounds of overgrown weeds, trimming trees, and sweeping leaves.  After having a “pep-talk” with a dear friend, I’ve come to terms with the fact that flowers are not my friend {or should I say, I am not theirfriend} so in a little while, I will run off to Home Goods and Lowes to find some already-dead and fake Fall decorations.

It is my goal that, this weekend, I will transform my ho-hum-house into a happy-harvest-home.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Save Your Sanity on School Mornings

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

It’s saves my sanity on school mornings.
It’s cheap and easy to use.
And it even makes me look like a superhero some mornings.

Run–don’t walk–over to Target to grab a 6-shelf hanging closet organizer, like this Michael Graves one that’s on sale this week for just $12.99.  Buy one for each of your school-aged kids and you are on your way to easy mornings, even if you don’t have the luxury of finishing your cup of coffee before the morning rush begins.

On Sunday night, I take a few minutes to check the weather for the week, and I proceed to then fill the sections with an outfit–complete with socks, underwear, and hair bows–for almost the entire week.  I leave one “free” day {usually gym or art day} where I only pack underwear and socks–because, seriously, my kids could skip those two entirely and be okay with it!  I usually call the kids in to see their outfits as a chance for them to “approve” their wardrobe for the week {at the most, mine may decide to swap days!}

They understand our system and know that there is no chance of wasting time spending an extra 15 minutes having “nothing to wear.”  And I don’t have to be bothered with fielding the whining about not liking their outfits before my coffee kicks in.

What about the free day? 
This is where I feel like a superhero.  I get to be lazy and not choose one outfit, and then I get to use that to my advantage all week!  Even though they start the week with this free spot, they need to earn to in order to keep it.  And they know that arguing with me about an outfit they “approved” on Sunday night is grounds for me taking away their free day.  My kids really enjoy having the creativity of putting together funky outfits, so taking away  this independent activity is actually a punishment that works in my house.

Even more! 
As soon as your kids come home with their class schedules, you can also label each section with the special classes they have each day so that you don’t forget when they need to wear things like sneakers for gym, or bring in their library books {my kids actually place their library books into the day of the week section when they are done reading it!}.  Another great way to save your sanity on school mornings!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

5 Back-to-School Essentials for Mom

It’s a tale of pj’s, morning hair, and pillow face–rushing your kids through their morning routine to get them to the bus in time before you even had the chance to wipe off your makeup from the day before.  Here are 5 Back-t0-School essentials that you should pick up this Fall so that you always look like a fashionable Mama at the bus stop and beyond!

1.  A Long Cardigan Sweatercoat {Pictured at H&M for $59.95}

I love the bright fall colors and length of this sweater coat.  Pull on a pair of jeans and throw it over your pajama tank for a quick trip to the bus stop.  Or, pair it with a simple v-neck tee, a long necklace and skinny jeans, and head out to the grocery store before the little ones get home from kindergarten.

2.  A new pair of shades {Pictured from H&M for $14.95}
I love the chunkiness and color-blocking of these great fall sunglasses.  They are big enough where noone will be able to see that you didn’t get 8 hours the night before, but won’t make you look like a bug face!

3.  Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo {CVS, $4.49}

I grabbed this incredible product at Getting Gorgeous in NYC last month, and I don’t know how I lived without it.  It’s not greasy, and it smells so good.  I simply spray it around my roots, let it sit for a few minutes and brush my hair.  From there, I can usually go without a ponytail or headband, and even some mornings I spray in a bit more all over the hair and scrunch it for a beachy look.

4. A Fall Lipgloss {Pictured from Victoria Secret for $9}

Even though I have a drawer full of lip gloss, I could not resist picking up this new Color Drama Lip Shine from Victoria Secret in “Rebel” for the fall.  The color is very natural, and the product isn’t sticky.  I have a thing about wearing lipgloss–I feel like all a girl needs is blush and lipgloss, and you look instantly put together.

5.  Diamond-Studded Large Hoop Earrings {Pictured from Lia Sophia for $72}

 

Am I missing something that you feel is a Back-to-School Essential for us moms?  I’d love to know! 

 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Puppies 4 Sale?!

A quick errand to my local CVS provided me with loads of laughter yesterday.

The kids and I were busy running Back-to-School errands, one of which included picking up a prescription at the pharmacy.  Short on time, I hit up the drive-thru at CVS.  As we pulled into the drive-thru line, the car in front of us was getting a puppy handed to them from the pharmacist behind the window.

“Look mom, they are giving away puppies today!!”
“This the the best day ever!!”
“I wonder what kind of puppy they will give us?”

As we pulled up to the window, they were yelling from the back seat to the pharmacist in excitement.  I felt so bad bursting their little bubbles, even though by that time both myself and the pharmacist were hysterical laughing ourselves.  Their excitement was contagious and so genuine–it was as if they were about to receive the most perfect surprise for no reason other than we were next in the drive-thru line.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Back-to-School with #CookiesKids

As a kid, my favorite part of “Back to School season” was the hours of shopping my mom would allow my sisters and I to do just so that we have brand new everything to start off the school year.  I wanted to treat my kids to the same excitement, but being the frugal mama that I am, I opted to allow them to shop for a “First Day” outfit, as opposed to a whole new wardrobe, as well as a few favorite new pieces to pair with something else from their already-overflowing closets full of clothes.

I set myself a budget for each of them, and thanks to Cookies Kids, I was able to stretch my dollars further than I thought possible!  Turns out, Cookies Kids is a fabulous little treasure of a kids department store online that offers everything from clothing to school uniforms to outwear and even shoes!  They offer clothing from the biggest name brands including: Akademiks, Apple Bottoms, Coogi, Ed Hardy, Nautica, Levi’s, LRG, Hello Kitty, The North Face, Rocawear & more!

Miss Mac quickly learned how fun it is to online shop (I may have created a little monster!) and as her and I browsed the pages of adorable girls sets, she helped me put together her first day outfit (you can see more about our online shopping adventure here):

With a budget of roughly $30 to shop online at CookiesKids.com for a few new pieces for her Back-to-School wardrobe, I decided to pick up the adorable two-piece set that she wants to wear on the first day, as well as a pair of new black leggings which can easily transform this early-September outfit to a Fall staple.  Here is a look at everything we picked up for Miss Mac to add to her Back-to-School wardrobe:

Does your little one have a strong sense of style like my little diva?  Have you introduced her to the world of online shopping?  I must say, I’m totally impressed with the quality of the clothing we ordered, and the fashion styles offered for girls my daughters age was exactly the look she was going for!  And for the price, you can let your little diva pick out a few pieces she likes without breaking your Back-to-School budget!

Cookies Kids is celebrating 40 years in Business!  Here’s a little history about the company:


In 1972, a young man named Cookie and his brother Marvin went into business together. They rented a 1600 square foot store in Jamaica, Queens, fixed it up, bought inventory and Summer and Fall, and opened a day after Thanksgiving with a full stock of holiday toys. The toys were a success and they put the extra money toward buying children’s clothing for the next season. When that did well, they bought more clothing. The business was on it’s way. As the brothers Cookie, Marvin and Sonny, who had come in as a third partner in the business, began to open new stores in new locations, inventory expanded. Besides the latest fashions, our customers wanted shoes, toys, backpacks and accessories and we were prepared to deliver. By the late 1990′s there were six superstores throughout the NYC area, and though they previously had different names, by that time they were all named Cookie’s Kids. Also in the late ’90s came an important addition to Cookie’s Kids’ inventory: school uniforms. It was the steady success in uniform sales that paved the way for founding CookiesKids.com in 2007, which originally sold uniforms and soon after the entire Cookie’s Kids Inventory.

 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Back to School with #BagItForward Simple Service Project

Teachers in my area are forced to spend so much of their hard-earned money on supplies for the classroom.  I wanted to make sure that my children’s teachers weren’t burdened with this extra expense at the start of the school year.  I chose to encourage my friends to Bag it Forward by putting together small care packages to help their child’s teacher stock up for the school year.  Teachers are under-appreciated, underpaid and under-supported, in my opinion. This mission was a way to invite others to show them how much we value their time spent educating our children.

The idea was easy–care packages filled with classroom essentials like hand sanitizer, boxes of tissues, and quality school supplies.  Elmer’s made it affordable to stock their teachers up with enough glue sticks for their whole class, and bottles of glue, too.  The kids and I roamed the aisles of our local Walmart to stop up on these essentials and check out Elmer’s full line of back to school products. {Check out pictures from our shopping trip here.}

My kids took the time to design greeting cards for their new teachers as I helped them package together the goodies complete with ribbons in their school colors. They enjoyed practicing their printing and drawing their new teachers a special picture.

While inside Walmart, I discovered the Elmer’s 1st Day app – a FREE mobile app that enables parents to capture those priceless “1st day” moments year after year. It also provides teachers with a unique platform to share photos of their classrooms, school projects, and more with family and friends.  I decided to use the app to start documenting this years back to school milestone starting with our #BagItForward simple service project right on site at Walmart.  I plan to use the app to capture moments like my daughter stepping onto the schoolbus for the first time ever, and my son returning home from his first day of 3rd grade, and share them with my family and friends who could be there to see the memories happening right before their eyes. The app is available for download directly at the iTunes store, on Google Play, or www.the1stday.com/Walmart.

Need another reason to download the app?  


Elmer’s is committed to the education of children and innovation of educators who inspire them to learn.  With that in mind, the company is a proud sponsor of The Kids in Need Foundation.  For every photo uploaded, Elmer’s will donate one product to The Kids in Need Foundation (up to 200,000 products.)

What You Can Do to #BagItForward


I would love to see my friends and family join in this simple service project and #BagItForward by putting together a school supply basket of their own!  My kids rode their bikes from friends house to friends house, passing out some information about this blog post and the #BagItForward program in hopes that as their friends parents took them school shopping, that they may consider picking up a few essentials for their classroom teachers as well!  It’s a great way to get your kids excited about going back to school, and a simple and affordable way for your family to contribute to those educators who make huge differences in their little lives.  Another option would be to host a Simple Service Party of your own!  Put together a quick e-vite encouraging your friends and family to donate things like gently used or new backpacks, school supplies, and classroom essentials!  Every little thing that you can do to help will go a long way!

For more information on Elmer’s and the Bag It Forward mission, visit:
Elmer’s on Facebook – Elmer’s on Twitter – Bag It Forward.org – Bag It Forward on Pinterest

I AM A MEMBER OF THE COLLECTIVE BIAS SOCIAL FABRIC COMMUNITY.
THIS SHOP HAS BE
EN COMPENSATED AS PART OF A SOCIAL SHOPPER INSIGHTS STUDY FOR COLLECTIVE BIAS AND ELMER’S.
#BAGITFORWARD #CBIAS #SOCIALFABRIC

Saturday, 18 August 2012

#Snacks4WimpyKid Dog Days of Summer

We are in the midst of the dog days of summer – shuffling back to school preparations with sneaking in every last thing we wanted to check off our summer fun list, and we can all use a break around here! The kids and I took advantage of a rainy morning to do just that – we curled up to a movie to relax our minds and enjoyed a healthy snack to get our nutritious eating back on track in time for the Fall!

I treated the kids to a copy of A Diary of a Wimpy Kid during a recent “Back to School Shopping” trip to Walmart. During the school year, I’m a huge fan of tossing Del Monte Fruit Cups into their lunchboxes because these all natural, perfectly proportioned fruit cups are a great way for me to know I’ve put something healthy into their bodies during their school day. And at just $2.00 for a pack of 4 at Walmart, they are very affordable.

I recently discovered that Del Monte was hosting a Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days of Summer contest on their Facebook page where your kids can use their app “Wimp Yourself” to draw their own version of themselves in true “DOAWK” fashion!

The grand prize winner will actually receive a hand-drawn sketch of a family portrait by Jeff Kinney, valued at $250, and they will also award 25 first place winners with free Del Monte Fruit Cups for a year!

Buckaroo took his time testing out Wimp Yourself and came up with these two fabulous Diary of a Wimpy Kid versions of himself…which do YOU like best?

After carefully illustrating himself and entering into the contest, we all sat down with our Del Monte fruit cups and enjoyed some much needed family time.  And because we are still in summer mode, a trip to the ice cream store followed!  Hey–we tried!  We will all slowly return to our healthy back to school selves in about three weeks!

For more information on you can enter the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days contest, visit Del Monte on Facebook and Twitter.

THIS SHOP HAS BEEN COMPENSATED AS PART OF A SOCIAL SHOPPER INSIGHTS STUDY FOR
COLLECTIVE BIAS AND DEL MONTE FOODS #CBIAS.  ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN. 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Chipping Away at my “Things I’ve Never Done” List…

Back in November, a Writers Workshop assignment prompted me to post a list of 22 things I had yet to do in life. I sit here, a little over 8 months later, and that list is officially down to 10 things left!!

1.  I’ve never gotten a tattoo.  {My two sisters & I are going to be doing this in the Spring, though!}

Take a peek at my official first ink {note “first” – loved the feeling so much that I am planning my next one!}

2. I’ve never been to Vegas.  Always wanted to, never had the chance.

3. I’ve never driven a convertible.  I’ve been in one, but never had the chance to drive one myself.

So. Much. Fun.

4. I’ve never seen a West Coast sunset.

5. I’ve never been a stand-up comedian.  This is seriously something I’d love to attempt to do. I love to make people laugh, and I have no problem telling jokes at my own expense.  This could be a total hoot!

6. I’ve never paid someone to clean my house.  Who wouldn’t dream about hiring a maid at some point in their life!?

Ok, so, I didn’t exactly have to pay for this but I did get a chance to review a local cleaning company for my other website. And, it’s safe to say that I’ll never hire a maid again.  I prefer to clean my own house thankyouverymuch.

7. I’ve never spent more than $100 on a pair of shoes.

Um….what to say.  Since November, I’ve accomplished this twice.  They were on sale AND I had an additional coupon each time but still…

8. I’ve never flown overseas. If I had my choice, I’d visit France.  Sipping tea with Princess Kate would be a close second.

9. I’ve never gotten so drunk that I didn’t remember the night. Maybe I can combine this with Vegas & make a mom version of “The Hangover.”!?

10. I’ve never seen Male Dancers. When my sister Kelly gets engaged, I am totally booking her some raunchy, hot male dancers purely for the sake of this list. You know, because I had to.

“Magic Mike” was enough for me.  More than enough.  Unless, of course, Channing Tatum brings it to Broadway then, yes, you bet your hot ass I’m buying front row seats to that.

11. I’ve never read “The Notebook.” I’ve seen the movie like a gazillion times but I’ve never actually sat down and read the book.  I’ve wanted to.

12. I’ve never gone skinny dipping.

13. I’ve never seen a horror flick.

14. I’ve never made out with Brad Pitt.

15. Or George Clooney.

16. Or Jude Law {major swoon!}

They all couldn’t even compete at this point…

17. I’ve never been to Ground Zero.

18. I’ve never ran a race.

Still haven’t actually ran one, but I did train for a half-marathon.  And we did run a celebratory “race” which ended with us drinking beer in a sleezy bar in Seaside Heights, NJ at 10:30am.

19. I’ve never published a book.

It’s totally under way – and mark my words….BEST SELLER.

20. I’ve never kissed passionately in the rain like in a scene out of a chick flick.

Um, yes please.

21. I’ve never invented something new.

22. I’ve never won the lottery

Or have I?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Mom’s “WTF Facts”: An ongoing list…

I’ve been following “What the F*CK Facts” on twitter for a while now.  Every day, I’m humored, and even sometimes shocked, by several “facts” that are revealed, so much that I’ve found myself mentally compiling my own list of WTF Facts that only another mom could relate to.

So, I present to you…..“Mom’s WTF Facts: An Ongoing List”

* It takes HOURS to clean and organize a playroom, and less than 5 minutes for it to be utterly destroyed beyond recongition.  WTF!

* It’s inevitable that after you scrub your toilets and wipe the piss stains off the wall that someone will literally $hit on your work seconds later. WTF!

* When find yourself kid-less for the night, your sleeping hours will consist of heartburn, insomnia, or ridiculously loud snoring from your spouse as opposed to a night of uniterrupted sleep. WTF!

* No matter how many times you unload your kitchen sink, every time you walk by it new {& barely dirty} items will be in it. WTF!

* Same thing goes for the laundry basket. WTF!

* If your kids pick their nose & eat their findings, it may actually strengthen their immune system. WTF!

* The day you succumb to the stains on your kitchen floor and spend your only free time on your hands and knees making it shine is the day that juice will be split on it.  WTF!

* Kids will lie about the silliest things:  Yes, I pooped today–No, I’m not tired–Yes, I let the dog out.  By the end of the day, you’re left with a constipated, exhausted kid and a pile of dog shit in the playroom. WTF!

Got anything to add to my list?  Feel free to leave your mom-appreciated WTF Fact in the comments below & I’ll add it to my on-going list along with a link back to your blog or twitter handle. 

 

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