The Joy of Sons

My son turns two this week so I have been thinking a lot lately about my sweet little boy who is no longer a baby. I was really starting to look forward to all of the fun adventures that come with raising a young man....until I saw this site - The Joy of Sons.



I'm too sexy for my mini-van...

My sister and I have had an ongoing argument about the "cool-ness" of mini-vans. (She is having her first baby in a month).

Honestly, I know they aren't cool, but sadly...I stopped being cool 8 pairs of sweatpants ago....

Needless to say, I fell in love with this site...Darling Mummy.com

They sell t-shirts, hoodies, caps, bags....pretty much the mini-van mom essentials.


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It's 5 pm - do you know where your dinner is at?

Have you heard about OAMC yet? OAMC is a term for "freezer cooking". It is where you cook 15-30 meals in one day...and have a month's worth of meals in your freezer.

*** This is the part where I SHAMELESSLY plug my new blog! www.30daycafe.com - If you've ever wanted to give OAMC a try, this is the place to start!

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Rubber Soled Gym Shoes for an Infant??

I've never been a big "shoe gal". Don't get me wrong...I like shoes. I need shoes. They keep my feet dry...and I *really* like dry feet.

That being said, I have never, ever understood why an infant needs shoes. Unless you have high-hopes that they will be playing basketball early, do you really need to spend $30+ on a pair of sneakers for a baby that can barely roll-over...much less shoot hoops?

Even though I am not a shoe person...I am DEFINITELY a "comfy sock" person. Think they'll make these in a size 10?

I could use a few pairs of socks that look like gym shoes, black pumps, brown loafers, snow boots & flip flops....

You can get them here...
Uncommon Goods

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When you need a brain-jogger...or valium.

Yesterday, I needed a "brain-jogger". I went to the grocery store with my two year old and he had a meltdown in the produce aisle. (Only 8 aisles to go...)

I had a great list of (baby shampoo, dishsoap, bananas, CHOCOLATE...WINE.........
VALIUM....you get the point....)

Anyway - I did a little websurfing today and found a really cool & FREE site grocerywiz.com

I love this site! You simply scroll through different product categories and click on the items you need.

Yesterday...I backtracked at least 6 times with a crabby two-year old.

Unfortunately, he was my brain-jogger.

He was drooling...so I remembered he needed Motrin for teething. He was fussy....so I "jogged" back two aisles to get him fruit snacks...his face was messy, "oh - I need wipes too". Sheesh.

At least I will be more prepared next time! Try the site, and let me know what you think!



Meal Planning...a brilliant concept!

Dine Without Whine - A Family Friendly Weekly Menu Plan

I didn't plan to blog tonight but I was compelled to tell all of you about this great new site "Dine Without Whine" I found.

I am desperate. I have four chicken nuggets, a bag of prepared rice, two pieces of cheese, 5 pieces of bread...and a few random "helpers".

(You know you are in trouble when you don't even have the ingredients to make a boxed "helper"). Sheesh.

I started digging through some recipe books and decided to Google "meal planning" instead...

This is one of the first sites I found...

For $4.95 per month (including a free trial week) Dine Without Whine has e-mailed me a detailed grocery list (printable...and organized by store location), meal ideas & recipes for a month, and suggested desserts...(I signed up on the spot).

So, rather than trying to figure out what to make with a chicken nugget, piece of bread, some rice and a few slices cheese...my family will be eating

Oregano Chicken, Alfredo Potatoes, Swedish Meatballs, San Fransisco Chops, White Chili, Beef Stir Fry, Ham Potato Scallop, Fruit Skewers, and more.....

Sure beats meatless "helpers"....

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No one warned me - (pee pee teepees)

As I am posting this, I am actually a bit ticked that I wasn't aware of these "teepees" before I had my precious...(and amazingly *accurate*) little shooter....

You can find them at my favorite store, Uncommon Goods....

What a great shower gift for a new mom! ....actually, the evil side of me believes every mother should be initiated at least once by her baby boy.....Mu ha ha ha ha ha !

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Cute Overload...

I have a new favorite blog. Grab your kiddo, and check out the Cute Overload blog...

It truly is "cute overload" when you listen to your child laugh, giggle and ohhhh..and ahhhh...over all of the great pictures of cute animals...plus, it makes a really fun family activity.

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Hoo-Ray...for Rachael Ray!

My husband and I love Rachael Ray. She is cute, she is bubbily...and she makes *REAL* meals...quickly! Lately the "buzz" has been about Rachael Ray's new daytime talk show. If you haven't checked it out yet, it is awesome!

Beyond her being "bubble-ishous" and charming...she is SIMPLE & PRACTICAL! Sorry, Emeril...love the "BAM" but I don't have the time to make any fancy-fare...

Like many of you I am getting really tired of eating Mac & Cheese, Hotdogs, Pizza, Chicken Nuggets and the usual kid staples...

Rachael's kid cookbook features foods such as...
Homemade Chicken & Stars Soup, Broccoli & Bow Ties, Sesame Noodles, Cashew Chicken, and Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad

Oh...and if your husband is the picky eater...she also created a book called, "Guy Food".



I'm Partial to "Polky Pots"

Okay, I am sure it will be no suprise to my readers when I tell you that I am *all about* the polka dot. My daughter's room is covered in them. Pink ones, orange ones, blue ones....she calls them, "polky pots".

I spent HOURS with a pencil & string trying to create the perfect dots to cover her greenish-blue room. Needless to say, I was kicking myself when I happened upon this website today...


They make peel and stick designs for your children's room. They have huge trains, butterflies, polka-dots, stripes, sheep...and more!

They even have sticky chalkboards that you can put anywhere....I want one for my playroom and fridge door. You have to check this site out....



Business Cards for your Kiddos...

How many times have you been to a soccer game, park or school activity and met another really cool mom that you would love to hang out with?

It seems like I am always digging through my purse to write my phone number on a cocktail napkin (okay...Burger King receipt) when I want to meet another mom for a playdate.

Earlier this month I was creating some business cards for my other "gig" when I decided it would be really fun to make some "business" cards for my kiddos.

Now, when I am carrying my toddler, a soda, crackers, wipes, a diaper bag...all while pushing an empty stroller...I can simply ask my new playdate friend to dig in my pocket for a card. It sure beats trying to find a pen!

Oh...and did I mention that the cards are FREE? Vista Print.com offers free business cards as long as you have their advertisement on the back of them. I've ordered numerous types of cards in the past few years and have been completely satisfied with all of them! Click the link below for details.

Free Deals of the Week



Happily Ever After...Kids Art Posters

In my e-journey to find storage ideas for my daughter preschool picasso's...I found this site...

zsquaredgraphics. They create museum quality posters out of your child's artwork.

Can you imagine how proud your child would feel with all of their paintings framed your living room, hallway, or playroom?

....another fantastic gift for "nana" too!

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Cuddle Up With Your Child's Artwork

My daughter started attending preschool for the first time a week ago and I am already trying to figure out how to preserve all of her precious tempura handprints, string art, watercolors, crayon drawings....

Today, she made me a firetruck out of red jello paint.
While I considered buying another fridge, I decided to search the net for some less expensive options....

Not only did I find some great storage ideas, but I already have the perfect Christmas gift for "nana"...

You can find this product at BlanketWorx.com. Isn't it awesome?

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Shoe Bags - Great for Everything but Shoes....

I bought a shoe bag a few years ago at Target. I was excited to finally get my small shoe collection organized.

Unfortunately, within a few days my shoes ended up back in the hallways, under my bed and next to the couch.

Since my shoe bag soon became additional clutter, I was excited to find a new use for it. It is the perfect place for my daughter's tights, socks & other "girly stuff" (headbands, pony holders, purses, etc..)

I also have a shoe bag in my craft closet that contains paintbrushes, sponges, chenille sticks, popsicle sticks, scissors, left-over paints, ribbons, raffia...and more!

Here are a few other great uses for shoe bags...(see-through vinyl ones are the best so you can see the contents and label them with a permanent marker).

  • Utility Closets - Store sponges, scrub brushes, cleaning supplies (sprays, bottles, polishes, etc) in the pockets. This is a tremendous space-saver!

  • Offices - Use a shoe bag to hold pens, pencils, staplers, extra envelops, shipping supplies, packing tape, markers and other office tools. (I like to buy my office supplies in bulk at Costco so this is a great way to store the "extras").
  • Bathrooms - Shoe bags are a great way to store all of those extra brushes, shampoos, hairsprays and travel containers that many of us have piled in baskets & drawers in our bathrooms.
  • Toy Room - This is a wonderful way to hold some of your child's smaller items. Store puzzle pieces, games, matchbox cars, dinosaurs, small dolls & doll clothes, small blocks, and more...

  • Car Trips - Cut a shoe bag to fit the back of your car seat, and let your children make their own choices for back seat entertainment.

  • Bedrooms - Shoe organizers are great for off-season purses, scarves, belts, wallets, etc..

Please post your ideas!

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Mess Free Pumpkins

Check out these adorable flowerpot pumpkins courtesy of Family Fun Magazine. You simply cut the eyes, nose and mouth out of yellow construction paper and modge podge the designs onto a terra cotta pot that you've painted (or spray-painted) orange.

I am going to try these this weekend and I think I will paint a few pots white and create some ghosts as well. When you are finished with the decopage, add a final protective coat of varnish. Find a thick stick to place in the hole when you are finished. (It would also be cute to add some raffia!)



Totally Off-Topic, but I can SOOOO Relate!


There's a Blue Rubber Ball in the Wash!

My least favorite job...just got a bit easier. I learned about the "Toss N Go" Oxyclean Laundry Ball in a parenting magazine and decided to give it a try.

It looks like a large clay ball, that you wrap in a nylon sack and cover with a rubber casing. It is the oddest thing I've seen in a long time, but after a few "scoop-free" loads, I am sold!

No more messy crystals. No more huge Costco detergent boxes to store. I love it. My clothes look and smell great and I have to spend just a little less time doing my least favorite thing in the whole wide world.

Yes, this might sound like a bad tv infomercial, but it was the best purchase I'd made since my son's crib cage....I mean, *tent*.


Sorting is for Sissys!

No More Sorting! "Shout Color Catcher sheets are dye-trapping cloths that you throw in with a load of laundry to absorb and trap the loose dyes that can stain your clothes. The sheets allow you to mix more colors in a single laundry load while helping to whiten your whites and keep other colors vivid."

Some people skydive, others jump from airplanes and bungi-jump....but not me! I decided to toss a brand new-bright red shirt into a load with my husband's white work shirts.
I was stunned when I pulled out the bright white shirts, the red shirt....and a hot pink color catcher sheet.So much for my early morning..."woops I threw in a red shirt" adrenaline rushes! These sheets really work.


Crib Cages (errr...I mean "tents")

My son isn't even two yet and he learned to crawl out of his crib. What a nightmare.

My daughter didn't start crawling out of her crib until she was 2 1/2. My husband and I thought it would be really *cute* to get her a brand new "big-girl" bed.It wasn't so cute when I spent the next ten days sitting in the hallway waiting patiently for her to climb out of bed so I could do the "Nanny 911-ignore her and keep putting her back in bed" technique.

Maybe they edited the show a bit, but I don't recall those little cherubs climbing out of bed a dozen times per night for ten days in a row.Anyway, the moment I heard the pitter-patter of my son's little feet running across his bedroom floor at 5 a.m...I knew we weren't ready for the big-boy bed milestone yet.

Our crib tent cost about $75.00 at a local speciality baby store, but worth every penny! He was a bit upset at first, but soon he started zipping himself in at night.

The safety guidelines say that it can be used until the child is 36 months. Now they just need to make a larger size for teenagers....


Crocs are a *Do*...

I am usually the last person on Earth to pick up on any sort of fashion trend, so forgive me if I am a bit late on this one. I am writing this post with hopes that there is at least *one* of you that hasn't heard of "Croc" shoes yet.

My sister-in-law introduced me to the lightweight, rubber-ish shoes about a year ago and I thought they were the ugliest shoes I'd ever seen. "You wear those out of the house?" I asked.

Then, my mother in-law bought a pair of pink ones for my daughter. After one summer of sandbox digging, mud-puddle jumping...and stepping in unidentifiable *stuff*, I was sold!You simply rinse them in water and dry them off......they might even be dishwasher safe!

Oh..and according to my three-year old (who owns more shoes than I do) they are "really comfy cozy".


Creepies, and Crawlers & Pumpkins...Oh My!

Halloween is just around the corner and your kiddos will love making their very own creepy crawlers.

Enjoy this quick craft I found on http://www.kidsdomain.com/.Here's what you need...

A Screwdriver
Googly Eyes
Pipe Cleaners
Black Paint
Egg Carton Containers
Paint Brush
Cut the egg carton apart into little cups/sections.
Using the awl or screwdriver make 8 holes in the bottom edge of each section for the legs.
Paint the egg carton section with black paint. Let dry.
Cut the chenille stems in half.
Push the chenille stem in one side of the section and out the opposite side. Bend down the legs.
Repeat for each of the legs.
Glue on wiggle eyes.
Pasted from <http://www.kidsdomain.com/craft/spider1.html>


Tub O' Fun - Craft Storage Tip

My three year old daughter loves to craft, but I am not crazy about the messy aftermath of her favorite past-time.

The other day, I grabbed an old washtub out of the laundry room and started filling it with the various craft items that are usually scattered around the house....Now, when my daughter wants to craft, I hand her the tub and let her create to her heart's desire! When she is finished, we simply put the lids on the markers and glue, and scoop everything else back into the tub.

Today..she made me a "birthday volcano". It isn't my birthday...but if it was, I certainly would have asked for my very own volcano! =)

(Here are some items to add to your own activity tub).
Paper-towel rolls
Air-dry clay (Model Magic - pictured is our favorite!)
Popsicle sticks
Index cards
Duplicates of family photos
Magazine clippings
Chenelle sticks
Paper cups
Spools of thread
Cotton balls
Bean seeds
Elbow macaroni

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Save Money by Buying a Lotta Lots!

My kids are going through some major growth spurts lately and I have been trying to figure out how to outfit them without breaking the bank.

I was searching for boys' shoes last year and found a few "lots" on Ebay.

Many sellers will take an entire season of clothing and post them as a "lot". You can find entirely new items (mainly from sellers who are getting off-season bargains, or you can purchase used clothing.

As I was searching through the lots, I noticed that many of the individual clothing pieces range between $1-$5 a piece when you purchase them in groupings, plus...you are saving on shipping!

It is important to look at the seller feedback when you are purchasing clothing. The higher the feedback, the better chance you will get items without stains, rips, or other problems.

Another tip....sell some of your used children's clothing as a lot (or individually) and use the income you've earned toward purchasing the next size / season you need. I sell my items seasonally and get paid via Paypal.com. When I purchase items for my kids (both online, and offline) I use my Paypal debit card.

Quite honestly, while I love the bargains I get on Ebay...I *really* love the convenience of shopping online! Simply pointing...and clicking certainly beats a shopping trip with a preschooler and toddler. Even if I don't get a great deal on Ebay, I am certainly saving a headache!

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A Mom's *Must-Have*!


Need I say more? (okay...just a quick tip - buy one with a jelly holder for backpacks, purses and keychains.) You can usually find them in the check-out aisle at Target.

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Gotta Love a Guy Name "Mr. Clean"

Mr. Clean does it again!

One afternoon when I was complaining about my budding little artist who scribbled all over our newly painted walls, my neighbor lady (who has 5 young children) urged me to buy a "magic eraser". I gave it a try and was astounded at how well it worked!

Not only did it take the crayon off of the walls, but I used it on all of the other toddler "mystery marks" when I was getting my home ready to sell.

Apparently it is made of some sort of resin...


Really, I never really cared what it was made of until posting this. I would use a product made of old dog-feces as long as it makes my housecleaning a bit easier!

Other Places to Use The Little Resin Miracle Sponge.... Lawn Furniture- Toys- Crayon Marks- Inside of Microwave- Refrigerator and freezer, inside and out- Shoes- Bathroom and kitchen sink- Stainless Steel pots and pans- Stove- Kitchen and Bathroom counters- Dog Kennel- Shower Walls- Tub- Toilet Seat and Toilet Base- Light switch plates- Window ledges- Doors- Cabinets**** It conforms to whatever shape item you are cleaning so it works great on door handles, baseboards and other hard to clean areas.

Would love your comments!