Thursday, April 30, 2009

This and That

Just a quick FYI that I thought you might be interested in. If you have any other blogging tidbits you think might be of interest to my readers, let me know and I'll add them today!

Tim at Fort Thompson has started a new meme appropriately called Vlogemotions. If you are ready to jump into vlogging, here's your opportunity to get linky with it. Head on over for more details.

Debi of Who Says 8 is Enough has put together an auction/Blog Party in honor of Tuesday, who passed away recently from neuroblastoma. All proceeds will go towards cancer research and awareness via the Tuesday Fiona Whitt Foundation.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute-Tech Tuesday

Tuesday's Tribute

I just realized that I've never exclusively paid tribute to another blogger via Tuesday's Tribute. Today that's all going to change. If you don't know her already, I'd like to introduce you to Kathleen at Katydid and Kid. She does a Tuesday feature that I never miss. Tech Tuesday......oh how I love Tech Tuesday. So. much. wonderful. technical information.

If you are interested in tutorials about any of the following:

Hiding the Navigation bar in blogger, Domain Names, Labels, Hit Counters, Google blog search, adding an image to your blog background, The Favicon, Screen shots, or Sharing your button code, {which is the single most popular question bloggers ask me about.}


Thanks for all the exceptional information, Kathleen!


Stroller Tutorial Anyone?

Blogging has provided me with so many great opportunities. Not only do I get to write about whatever I feel like that day, I know that I'll always get some reaction from you, which is really my favorite part. It's also afforded me the opportunity to interact with companies that sell items that I use and favor.
One such company is They actually contacted me about publishing an article that they would provide on the topic of my chosing. So cool.
The single most popular question that I get asked by parents who are expecting is "what is the best stroller?" It's a hard question. I can always recommend the stroller that I can't live without (which is a Maclaren double), and I can tell them what strollers I've used and don't care for, but I haven't tried out every stroller out there, and never will. That's why it's nice to have an expert in the field for some general questions. Here's what they told me:
Double Stroller Dilemma

Among the long list of baby furniture and accessory essentials, a high quality stroller is definitely a must-have item for parents. When you begin to travel with your children it’s important to keep your personal lifestyle in mind in order to find the right fit for you and your set of kids. For instance, assess your environment and determine whether it is more of an urban, suburban, or rural community and take into consideration the types of vacations your family have enjoyed in the past or would like to experience in the future.

  • Jogging Strollers are athletically designed with thicker tires than a standard model and are attached to three sturdy steel wheels that can easily rotate, swivel, and lock into place. The ergonomic handlebar is similar to the grip you may find on an exercise machine, allowing on-the-go parents to incorporate a little exercise into their routine in a safe and convenient way. When it comes to taking a jog around the neighborhood or going through a nature trail in town, steering a double jogging stroller around is a breeze and you will appreciate the sporty and rustic look!

  • Standard Strollers feature a double seat for your set of children to sit comfortably in and are equipped with four sets of sturdy wheels and a five point harness to ensure a safe ride around the neighborhood. As opposed to jogging strollers that pride themselves on handling all-terrain surfaces, these standard models are well equipped for walking on sidewalks in the city, through the mall for errands, or on a leisurely stroll at the park. These models feature a retractable canopy that easily accommodates sunny or rainy weather conditions, keeping your child comfortable throughout the day.

  • Lightweight Strollers feature a durable aluminum frame that is very easy to set up in a matter of seconds. This style has become increasingly popular among young families given the amount of traveling that occurs throughout the year from visiting the in-laws across the state to flying cross-country. Incorporating a stroller into a busy travel schedule provides a fun, stress-free activity for many parents and it’s a great way to stay active during the trip. This convenient, collapsible stroller folds easily and can be transported with minimal effort with an ergonomic handle or carrying strap.

  • Tandem Strollers are similar to the width of a single stroller as the double seating style is positioned with one seat in front of the other. A unique feature of a tandem stroller is how the front seat can swivel and face backward, allowing your kids to have a number of different views of the environment around them. This particular way of seating works wonderfully for a set of children of different ages such as a baby and toddler duo seeing as the back seat for babies is comfortably spacious while the older toddler can be placed in the front seat facing forward or backward.

  • Photobucket

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A few new sites worth mentioning

Planning any parties this summer? If so, this site might be just what you are looking for. My Punch Bowl is a FREE party planning site that is fabulous. They walk you through the event planning process, help you make invitations and they just added an easy to use birthday reminder portal.

The features of MyPunchbowl Birthday Reminders allow you to:

• Sign up for the service using your Facebook account

• Request birthdays from family and friends via email and watch your list grow

• Use Facebook and Twitter to collect birthdays

• Organize birthday reminders into helpful groups (such as family, friends, and even Pets)

• Easily share your reminder list groups with others

• Customize settings to specify the time and frequency of your birthday reminders.

You can check it out here.

You'll definitely want to bookmark this site!

Have you heard of the new site called 60 Second Break? I was just introduced to it, and it sounds great.....a place for women to pause and regroup.....or vent. And write. This is what the editors of 60secondbreak say about their site:

" is a site dedicated to the women of the world who…need a break. Sometimes you just can’t catch a break in life and you need a place to vent. Much like a similiar site, Fmylife ( 60secondbreak gives you that outlet to vent. However, this is specifically targeted for the wonderful women of the world need a break. Feel free to vent about your child’s behavior, your girlfriend’s clueless boyfriend, or your mother in law’s constant nagging. In 250 characters or less, share your frustrating story of the day to 60secondbreak’s community of women. Finish each story with, “I NEED A BREAK!”. Vote on each story; have you been in that same situation before, or do you think it could be worse and she should be thankful it’s not? This is a fun and easy way to give yourself a break from the insanity that is life. Enjoy your break!"

If you have the chance, be sure to head on over and check them out.

Lastly, I was just made aware of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. They "strongly support programs that inspire teens to graduate from high school and become caring, educated, pro-active adults". It sounds like a wonderful campaign, something we can all stand behind, so if you are interested in learning more, visit the site above.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Jumping in with JumpStart-Week 3

I hope that last week you took advantage of JumpStart's willingness to interact with you and answer any questions you may have had.

I noticed that Erin answered questions on my blog in the comments section and hope that some of you took it a step further and found her on Twitter or through the JumpStart Blog.

As promised, this particular JumpStart campaign (the GoodNCrazy JumpStart campaign) that I'm involved with will end this week with a giveaway. Two of you will recieve a 6 month membership to JumpStart AND a CD that is age appropriate (kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade) for your child. Here's my favorite part: the winners get to pay it forward. In addition to the winners 6 month subscription and CD, they will be offered a 3 month membership to then giveaway with a review on their blog (so, the winner must have a blog) . {Good N Crazy and Stop, Drop, and Blog have already selected their winners, so this is your last chance to win!} :)

Easy Peasy.

Here's how you can win:

1. Visit the JumpStart Blog and tell me what "seeds" you think are most important for success.

2. Follow Erin at JumpStart on Twitter (JumpStart_Erin) for an additional entry. Be sure to let me know you've done so.

3. If you commented on my last two weeks posts, remind me and you'll get one entry for each comment.

4. Did you contact Jumpstart, even if it was just commenting on their blog? Let me know and I'll give you an additional entry for that as well.

Good luck!

Contest ends Saturday at 11:59 p.m. pst.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Mood Music"

Andrea at Munchkins and Music will be so proud of me. She has been blogging about ways to integrate music into our lives, and always gives wonderful tips on how to implement anything musical into our everyday routine. For someone that's pretty musically unintelligent, her tips have been a life saver. As a Fishful Thinking Ambassador, I have the opportunity to recieve tips each week on ways to raise optimistic children.

This week, it' guessed it, "Mood Music".

I loved this exercise, and as you can see, my boys did too.

Here's a little background via the Fishful Thinking campaign:
"Not only is music a great outlet to express emotion, but listening to music with your kids can be an exercise that helps them learn how to identify certain moods, which leads o increased emotional awareness. Emotional Awareness is a key element amongst the Fishful Thinking Ingredients, because the ability to identify emotions (in yourself and others) as well as the ability to express emotions will facilitate healthy relationships and contributes to resilience. "

So, I choose music that represents different moods: heavy classical music for sadness, pop music for happiness, heavy drumming music for anger, put the music on and asked my boys what feelings the music reminded them of. Then came the fun part.........we danced to the music a way that represented the mood of the music. So fun. Afterwards, we made music.

I don't know why I've never done this before. It won't be the last time though! :)


Grab a tissue...

and prepare to smile...


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wordful Wednesday-Playa Yulapa

*Wordful Wednesday is for those of us that like to showcase a photo(s) but that just can't seem keep our mouths shut about it(them). If you'd like to play along, post a photo on your blog, and let the words roll. Feel free to "capture" my 7 Clown Circus button on the left to link back to me, and be sure to add yourself to Mr. Linky. Thanks for playing along!
We ventured out of our resort one day of our vacation to spend the day on a privately chartered boat. We wanted to avoid the Spring Break partyers on the larger boats, and the tour we picked sounded perfect. It promised that we'd catch our lunch while cruising the coast, that someone on Yulapa would clean and cook it for us, we would snorkel, and visit a secluded beach where a guide would take us to the waterfall. The "tour" ended up being not all that it was cracked up to be, but we still enjoyed ourselves.

Puerto Vallarta

We boarded the boat from this little dock.

The Los Osos Reserve is a protected area near the coast where blue footed bobbies live. It's very beautiful in and around this area.

Since the younger kids couldn't snorkel, it was nice for them to be able to see some of the fish near the surface. Apparently, the underwater visibility improves dramatically in the summer.

Yulapa is a located at the southern most point of the Banderas Bay, and is accessible only by boat. The sand is a golden color, and even though the sand granules are pretty large, the sand is really soft.

Right when we got off the boat this iguana was pretty much thrust into Jeff's hands. Once I snapped a shot or two I was informed that I only had to pay $6 for the privilege of taking a picture of Jeff holding the iguana for 10 whole seconds. Sweet.

The waterfall that we didn't hike to was dry. Bonus.

Flat Stanley accompanied us to Mexico and was the easiest going traveller I've ever met. This is where we ate the lunch that we did NOT catch while cruising the coast.

The kids LOVED the different sand.

I liked snorkeling the best. And getting ripped off. Cuz we definitely got ripped off. Don't worry though, I complained to the booking company and they assured me that next time we come to Puerto Vallarta we had a free excursion coming our way. Perfect.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute-Where I Become the Host(ess)

Tuesday's Tribute

What is it?
Well, we'll tell you what it is NOT... It's Not About YOU. It's about SOMEONE ELSE. It's our chance, each of us, to shine our light on someone else.

Huh? Whaddya mean?
We each spend a lot of time talking about ourselves and our lives, but we are also fairly GIVING people too...Tuesday's Tribute is a chance to talk about OTHER people, OTHER blogs, OTHER lives.

Now's your chance to shine your light on someone else.

I don't know about you, but it just feels wrong weird to have my name on the Tuesday's Tribute button. Tuesday's Tribute is Jay's brain child, and I'm thankful to have had the reins turned over to me. I'll do my best to add to Tuesday's Tribute, and thank you in advance for joining me on this adventure. If this is your first time to my blog, welcome! I look forward to seeing more of you.

Which leads me to my TRIBUTE today.


My bloggy friends and peeps.

One of the things I've most enjoyed about blogging is the interaction that is generated between me and you. I appreciate that my interactions are with really wonderful bloggers (you) who always look for the best in others.

Let's continue, shall we?

And, Jay, come back soon. You're missed already.


Weekly Meme's

I'm not sure if I'm certifiably crazy, or just on the slippery path.

I took on another project that I feel great about, yet at the same time I'm wondering what I was thinking.

I already feel guilty when I can't get around to visit all of the participants in my Wordful Wednesday, yet I'm adding another meme to my weekly line-up.

That's right friends, I've taken on Jay and Deb's Tuesday's Tribute because I think it's such a good thing. A whole Tuesday devoted to highlighting the good in people can only be a great thing, right? Right.

I'm just going to give up the guilt.

I'll happily be your hostess for TWO meme's a week, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with. But, if life happens and I can't visit every single one of you, I'll do my best to the next time. And, if next time comes around and something comes up, I'm just going to remind myself that I'm doing my best. Life happens, and family comes first. I know you all understand, and I thank you all for sticking with me.

On a similar note, Cheryl at The House That Love Built just compiled an incredible list of weekly meme's. If you're interested in some of the meme's out there, you won't want to miss this list!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Jumping in with JumpStart-week 2

We are still Jumping for JumpStart here.

I'm not surprised, really. All of my kids LOVE computer time. Up until now though (with the introduction of JumpStart), the twins were not allowed to so much as touch my computer. They really feel grown up when they play....and they like to interact together, which is really nice for me!

As I mentioned last week, this JumpStart campaign is fabulous because as my readers you get the chance to see what other smart moms are saying about JumpStart and their kids.

Last week Carissa at Good and Crazy published a video of her son playing JumpStart. If "words" really aren't your thing and you'd rather "see" and "hear" what Jumpstart is about, you won't want to miss this one if you haven't seen it already. The direct link is here.

Jenna at Stop, Drop and Review just plain has a way with words.
For example,
"I asked BigBrother what he thought of JumpStart. His answer, “It’s fun. I like letters and running with arrow buttons.” Nothing life-altering just yet. But he’s having fun and learning at the same time. I can get behind that. He has been pushing me for months now to help him learn to read. We sound out words together, play alphabet games on our own, work on writing letters and now we have added JumpStart to our learning process. Keeping things fresh helps keep him interested. I really enjoy it as well. The virtual world is one where I thrive (apparently) and seeing my son take an interest in all things computer and learning combined makes me feel excited (in a nerdy way, obviously).

See, she manages to write really detailed posts that give one important information without being didactic. You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't head on over to read in completion what she has to say about JumpStart both here, and here.

Do you remember that I told you that Erin from JumpStart would be available to YOU for questions? It's true. If you have any (questions, that is) or comments, be sure to take advantage of her willingness to discuss Jumpstart with you. You can find her on Twitter (JumpStart_Erin), on Facebook, via Jumpstart's blog, or, you can contact her directly. I would be happy to send you her email address, or pass along any questions you may have and she'll answer them directly if you'd like, or on my blog if that works better for you.

Have I told you how excited I am about the JumpStart BLog? It's JAM packed full of good stuff parents won't want to miss. Seriously. Ever wondered what learning style your child uses? The Jumpstart site has a great quiz to determine your childs learning style. With less than 20 questions, it doesn't take long, and it SO helpful. To try, go here.

Next week is a big one....up for grabs on my site, compliments of JumpStart will be (2) six month memberships to JumpStart as well as a CD game that is matchable to your child's age. I can't wait to see who wins!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writer's Workshop-It's what he's saying.....

You all know how this works.

Mama Kat gives us a prompt, and we write about it.

Today I couldn't resist.

One of the prompts was, "What are your kids talking about?"

I'm tweaking it to be: "What are your kids saying?"

More specifically, "What is your kid saying?"

I chose John to talk about. You know John. He's 3.

He slays me.

The stuff that comes out of his mouth.

Kills me.

And even though it's naughty sometimes, like when he gets mad at me and calls me a "poop head", I just can't get mad. It's all in his personality, folks.

So I'll just leave you with what he says when it smells bad outside.

If it smells like a farm or zoo, he'll scrunch up his nose and say in a disgusted voice, "I smell a dragon".

The other day he smelled something unpleasant outside, but it was a sort of foreign smell. No, not foreign like a person from another country, foreign as in I-have-no idea-what-the-smell was.

John said, "uh oh. I smell a coyote".

Maybe you just have to be there. Or maybe not. But, I love to be there because being told it smells like a dragon or a coyote strangely makes my day, and I don't ever want to forget the sound of his voice or the inflection in his words or the way his face shows such expression. I just plain don't want to forget any of these moments because I know all too soon I'll realize they are gone. I'll even miss it when he learns how to master his emotions and can hold back calling me a "poop head". Then he'll be calling me something else in his head that I won't even want to think about. And I don't even want to go there.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wordful Wednesday-the beach in Nuevo Vallarta

The beach in Nuevo Vallarta reminded me a ton of the beaches here in Southern CA. I guess it's not all that surprising since they are both the Pacific Ocean. The sand IS a bit different though. It looks like it has gold flecks in it.
(you might have to double click the picture to see the gold in the sand)

My kids LOVED playing at the beach.

Boogie Boarding was a HUGE hit.
It might be worth mentioning here that Jeff got a NASTY case of boogie board rash. On second thought, might not be worth mentioning, but this piece of advice is: If you are going to boogie board in Mexico, do yourself a favor and wear a shirt. Please.
The kids didn't know that I was behind them snapping pictures. I love that they were all together (well, all but Grace who was reading under a palapa) feeling the sea mist on their bodies. Definitely the stuff memories are made of!


Tuesday's Tribute-Easter Egg Hunts

Because Easter is just not Easter without a HUNT!

Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.