Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trip to Ellijay, Georgia

VACATION  ....

This Mama loves to pack up her family and go on vacation.  I even love it when my parents join us .

 I so enjoy challenging them and my children to do things they have never done before.  Some of these adventures for my mom and dad would be white water rafting, zip lining, photographing black bears, tubing the  Ichetucknee .  How do you live in Florida and never tube the Ichetucknee?  Of course they insist I am trying to put them into early graves.  I promise not.  I have an extremely close relationship with them or I wouldn't vacation with them at all. =)

For this vacation we visited a little town in Georgia called Ellijay.

We rented a lovely cabin in the mountains.  The rental process was really easy and we were very happy with the entire process.  The cabin was GORGEOUS, on the river and located within the Coosawattee River Resort.

We new that our families were on a limited budget and so we wanted something family friendly but budget friendly also.  With the cabin being located with in the resort you also had access to the resort amenities.  These included a play ground, several pools, a fishing pond, putt putt golf, tennis courts and more.  Plenty to keep the kids busy and free (or included in the cabin price).  Then there was fishing, tubing and all of that with the river handy.   Also, with staying in a cabin vs. a hotel we had the kitchen which really works well for us having a larger family. 

On one of our "vacation field trips" we road the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.  The trip begins in downtown Blue Ridge ,Georgia and heads North from there.  The train winds through the mountains along the beautiful Tacoaa River.  Snacks and souvenirs are aboard and the train is ran by volunteers.  We enjoyed the view from the air conditioned coaches.  My dad, and daughter liked to ride outside of our cart on the part where the train cars hook together.  I' m not sure what its called.  That is where they hung out for quite a bit of the trip. 
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The train stops on the border of McCaysville , Ga and Copperhill, TN.  You have time to grab a bite to eat and do a little bit of shopping.  I let C pick out a train from the gift shop.  I was surprised by the engine he chose but he picked what he wanted and has been very happy with it.  I must say I was surprised their prices were not overly expensive on the souvenirs.  His train engine was pretty good sized and I paid $7.95 for it. 

PhotobucketThis was by far our most expensive day as a family.  Tickets were $33 each.  This was our 2nd train adventure as a family and my family all agreed they preferred the train outside of Gatlinburg, TN better.  However, this was C's first train ride and was worth every penny for that little boy.  During the actual ride I was a bit disappointed because I did not think he was enjoying it like I had imagined he would.  It was not until we were back home that I realized he really did in fact love it.  He still gets his shoes, my mom and dad by the hand and says lets go choo choo.  He wants them to take him back on the train.  It is so cute. 

WE ate lunch out on our lay over  and that cost my family of 5 ($75) and my parents ($25).  We very unhappy with our lunch choice .  My dad asked the train engineer where was the place to eat and he suggested a little restaurant not to far down from the depot called Pearly Gates.   We ended up with absolute horrible service, my moms hamburger was raw in the middle when she complained the waitress completely ignored her.  We waited over an hour and get this they charged us $2 a piece for refills.  Needless to say I should have done a better job researching the area, the menu etc. and found somewhere else!  WE were all really unhappy about the price we paid for sandwich's , the poor service, and the quality of the food.

Another "vacation field trip " of sort was zip lining.   This was by far my older children's (age 14, and 12) favorite thing.  Standing on a launch deck atop a mountain 300' above your final destination while taking in the sites.  Soar 1500'while reaching speeds of 40 mph.  Adults and children $29.95.  This was their favorite thing the entire trip and let me tell you it lasted all of 30 seconds.  Maybe a little bit longer but they fly down the zip line and its done.   However, its a memory I know they will hold on to for a lifetime zip lining with their dad and papa in the mountains. 

They are also now offering a Sky Bridge Tour for $69 a person which is a 2+ hour tour with 9 zip lines & a Adventure Tour for $89 per person which is a 3+ hour tour and a 680 foot zip over the Hilltop pond. 

I can definitely see my little daredevils wanting to do one of those in the future. 


You can find more of our vacation photos in the following post:

Foto Friday "brown" I shared some photos of deer at the cabin

Wordless Wednesday ~ ziplining photos

Wordless Wednesday ~ cabin photos

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ecomom Review and Giveaway

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Ecomom has over 2,000 health, smart and safe products for Moms, and families- from baby gear and strollers to lip gloss ans sunscreen and more!  All ecomom Approved product selections are safer, smarter, and healthier options to conventional products on the market. 


I recently had the opportunity to review some every day house hold products from ecomom.  By everyday I mean products that us Moms really do use every day to keep our homes clean and healthy for our families.

The sample pack I received had several products in it and I can't wait to share them with you .


PhotobucketBon Ami Free + Clear Dish Soap


*This soap has no added scent
*All natural ingredients
*No phosphats or Chlorines
*Bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastics


I was a little bit skeptical when I received dish soap for review.  I want a soap that really suds up and leaves my dishes clean.  I don't want something i'm going to have to go back over or specially dry , rinse etc.  I'm not a lover of housework and I want to get the job done quickly and satisfactory. 


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To my delight Bon Ami dish soap got plenty of suds.  Look to the right to the picture of my sink filling up.  Good thing, because I had plenty of dishes needing a wash. 


They were clean, and streak free!  This soap did the job and did a good job at that!  This Zoo Mama gives the Bon Ami Free + Clear a thumbs up!


BUY: You can purchase Bon Ami at Eco Mom  for $4.00 for a 25 fluid ounce bottle.


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This sponge Rocks!  It works great for your contertops and those toddler messes.  We have tons of messes lately.  You just have to love it when your two year old decides to throw yougurt all over the treadmill just because. 


Unbleached, undyed white cellulose and tan, scrubby loofah. And it's biodegradable, just like the food it cleans up after.
BUY : This sponge sells for $4.99

Next up Dapple Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid
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Ingredients: Purified water, baking soda, cleaners derived from fruits, tree oils and glucose, French lavender essential oil, essential oil dispersant.


I don't really have baby  bottles anymore.  But I can say as a Mom I have always felt the need to use the most chemical free products available when it comes to my children.  I don't like exposing them to unnecessary chemicals. 


I did give this a test run on a load of sippy cups and I was quite pleased.  It rinses off quicky and leaves them residue free and feeling very clean. 


BUY: You can purchase a bottle of dapple baby bottle and dish liquid for $6.99 or for a refill pack  enough to fill 2 bottles $10.99


The last product from ecomoms  I got to try out  is the hand sanitizer wipes.  I like that the wipes are in a convenient little package instead of a bottle ,so no worries of leakage.  We have had stuff leak a plenty in our bags, back packs and purses so the packaging is definitely a plus in my book.  These wipes are kid safe and 100% alcohol free.  Very important to look at as a Mom, when you are purchasing something your kid will use every day.  Or at least you hope they will.
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Seriously,  I love that this will fit right in my bag without really adding any weight or anything.  Very convenient, safe and it does the job.  I will definitely consider these for back packs and if my older kids toted a lunch I would add them into their lunch boxes. 

Why We Like This 100% poison free. Safe for kids. Made with Ingenium (a safe, all natural germ killer with no toxic chemicals). Free of toxic, synthetic chemicals. No artificial fragrances or alcohol. 100% biodegradable. Certified cruelty-free and not tested on animals.

  Buy 1 Box of Individual Wipes - 20 wipes per box CleanWell Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes for $12.99 here


EcoMom has a little bit of everything.   I really like that about them.  They are enviromentally safe, and their products are priced so you as a family can afford them.

ecomom is about bridging the gap between making healthy choices and making easy choices. We created ecomom because we care and are concerned for babies and their moms, our families and our communities. We want every mom to be an ecomom because being an ecomom means making choices that are good for all of us, and the planet which we all share.


WIN~ one lucky Zoo follower will win a $15 gift certificate to ecomom
                           (to win this prize you must not have won any other ecomom giveaway in the past 60 days)

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner Renee Sapone.
  

Thank You for entering our giveaway and good luck to you!
Thank you ecomom for providing me with my review samples and sponsoring the $15 giveaway. 



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Friday, July 29, 2011

Stumbling Into Grace~ A Book Review

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Stumbling Into Grace Confessions of a Sometimes Spiritually Clumsy Woman

By Lisa Harper
Published by Thomas Nelson

Book Description

Humorous yet poignant stories from Lisa's life help readers relate to spiritual truths found in the life and ministry of Christ.
Stumbling Into Grace is the diary-devotional of one woman's honest, ongoing, bumbling journey of faith and how she finds encouragement through a deeper understanding of Christ's time on earth. Within each chapter she alternates her often humorous memoir with stirring portraits of Jesus and his own encounters as recorded in the New Testament.
Both intimately relevant and refreshingly inspirational, this book will help readers to jettison the theological misconceptions, guilt, shame, and hypocrisy they struggle with, exchanging them for a vibrant, passionate relationship with Christ that results in a more abundant, joyful life.
My book review ~

Stumbling Into Grace by  Lisa Harper is like a devotional and a journal all in one.  Lisa shares humorous stories about her own life to help readers relate to a spiritual relationship with Christ.  At the end of each chapter their is a section of prayer, reflection and personal growth.  I believe this book would be great in a women's Sunday school class. 

Lisa shares personal humorous stories that I am certain many others can relate too.  Some of them will make you laugh out loud  as you read them.  As she stumbles through life she tells you about her life as a single woman and how she had different dreams, but this is what life dealt her.  She strongly believes that God has a plan for each of us, and she is on her path.  Lisa is a great speaker and freely shares the events in her life with her readers.

If you are looking for some spiritual inspiration this is a quick read that might do the trick.

I am giving this one a 3 out of 5, and I think it would be a great spiritual learning tool.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

I review for BookSneeze®

Foto Friday "down low"

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"This weeks theme is down low"

I was a little baffled on this theme.  I have had a crazy week one of these days I am going to have the perfect photo to link up that just fits the theme!  Anyway, here is what I came up with.  Hope you enjoy.

Amber

"Down Low'
The Fans sit and wait...
Taking it all in and Cheering them on
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                                                                                        "Up High"
                                                                         They Go flying high!  Amazing,
                                                                         Putting on  a Show for us down low.

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                                                                      Visit La-La's Home Daycare and Link up

Learn a little about me with Writer's Club




#1 Do you remember your first day of kindergarten? Write about it. How was it different from your child’s first  day of kindergarten?
2  Your favorite phone apps… why?
#3 I love to hear……
#4 Something you discovered about yourself this week…


I've been missing at the Writer's club the last few weeks.  I'm happy to be back today.  These are some great prompts. 

    Do you remember your first day of kindergarten? 
I most certainly do.  Let me just say kindergarten was a lot different some ...number of years ago.  Let me tell you about my first day.  We finger painted.  Yep , good old messy creative finger paint.  I painted a red circus curtain on my first day of kindergarten and my teacher thought I was brilliant for doing so.  I was so proud of myself too!  How was I so creative you ask?  Well, I painted my entire paper bright red , every inch of it .  And when my wonderful teacher asked me what it was? I labeled it a red circus curtain.  Now, why is that different from kindergarten today you ask?  Kindergarten is moving away from all of the artsy fun and has become a lot of work.  I promise you I did not have one single spelling test in kindergarten. I did know how to read, I  was reading by the time I was 4.  A little smartie I was I tell you.   Kindergarten was not so focused on test scores and  was more learning how to play with others and listening skills.  I'm not saying one way or the other is bad I'm just saying it has changed a lot in umph # of years.  My mama still has that circus curtain somewhere.

#2 my favorite phone apps

I don't have a favorite phone app?  Why, I don't have a phone that has the apps .

#3 I love to hear...
  • I love the sound of rain on a tin  roof
  • I love the sound of moving water (the river over rocks, the ocean waves hitting the shore)
  • I love to hear the sound of my children's laughter. 
  • The sound of them playing together, loving each other and getting along.

#4 Something I discovered about myself this week

I definitely discovered that I am NO nurse.  My husband had back surgery Monday and is at home on house arrest for two weeks.  He can not bend, lift basically move very much until it has healed properly.  Lord help me.  Actually, he has been much better than I ever expected.  Again, Lord help me. 

Why would I be a terrible nurse.  Well to start I have a quick temper, and no patience.  Not the best combo for a nurse.  Secondly, I am a tell me what you need and let me get it and be done kind of girl.  Don't drag it out , or make me make ten trips.  You can certainly for see your needs somewhat ahead of time.  Come on now. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Co Host of Bee Friendly Hop



Welcome to Bee Friendly Friday Follow! Co-hosted by Crazy about My Baybah, and Family and Life in Las Vegas! This hop is about meeting new friends and finding fun blogs to read. So link up, grab our button, and BEE FRIENDLY!!

I am super excited to Co-host the hop with these two lovely ladies! I can't wait to hop around and find some great blogs so  be sure to link up!



Would you like to be our co-host?! It is simple, all you have to do is link up to Bee Friendly! Each week we will use random.org to select a co-host from the previous weeks link-up. We will then contact you to let you know if you have been selected. There is a    new list every Friday, so remember to come back and link up with us!



2. Follow the hosts in the #1 and #2 spots, and the co-host in the #3 spot! Leave a comment, and we will follow you back! (Please be sure to leave your blog address too!)
1. Add your blog to the linky below. (If you want to post the follow here is the link) get the InLinkz code
3. Grab our new Bee Friendly button to share the fun.
4. Bee Friendly, and visit the blogs that catch your eye.
5. If you get a new follower, Bee Friendly, and return the love!



Sensory Fun

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C needed  something to keep him busy , away from a TV and freshly engaged for a bit.  Not to mention INSIDE with the air on high.  Boy is it hot.  I through together this activity in our sand / water table.  It worked well.

Photobucket.As you can see it is an assortment of this and that. 

It did the trick and kept him engaged and playing for a bit.
What's in our Bin?
  • poms poms
  • 2 different pastas, ziti tubed pasta and rotini multi grain to add some color
  • Styrofoam circle
  • straws
  • feathers
  • various containers (bowls, Parmesan cheese shaker, koolaid container)
  • egg carton
  • pipe cleaners
  • tongs, can holder,
  • plastic rings
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Things we did
  • sorted pom poms and objects into the egg carton
  • scooped, and grabbed and placed objects in the container
  • put pasta in shaker and containers and shook them to hear the sound
  • put tube pasta on straws
  • removed the straws and tried feathers stuck them in the Styrofoam
  • threading the rings onto the straws and feathers (he liked the rings better than the pasta they were easier)
  • stuck pipe cleaners in the Parmesan can
  • made a pasta bracelet (with moms help threading pasta on pipe cleaner and tying it)
  • looked for shapes and colors
  • counted objects
Lots of learning and creativity went on with this little bin and it took me about 10 minutes to throw it together.

We also made a sensory balloon.  C got really mad at me.  I filled the balloon with rice.  He was really aggravated that the balloon was heavier and didn't float.  He would throw it and drop it. 

Linking up at ~


It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow


I Can Teach My Child

How do you keep your toddler entertained in difficult situations? Toddler Talk Thursday


Welcome to Week 43 of Toddler Talk Thursday! Where Family and Life in Las Vegas, Crazy about my Baybah, and My Life as a Sippy Cup Mom talk all things TODDLER!!
** If you want to follow this on twitter – or plan on tweeting your post – please use hashtag: #letstalktoddler **
.
This week’s featured Blog is: Happenings of the Harper Household who suggested

This Week’s Topic:
How do you keep your toddler entertained in difficult situations – grocery store, doctors office, etc?
Super great topic for me this week.  I had one of the most embarrassing mommy days at an ENT  Dr. visit with C this week.  I actually sat in the car and cried after it was such a disaster.  So, I really look forward to the tips you share. 

Usually, in the grocery store C is pretty easily entertained.  I give him a snack .  Seriously, the grocery store makes this boy ravenous.  After, a couple of not so great shopping experiences I picked up on this trick.  Now, I either bring a snack along.  Or open something I'm already buying and let have at it while I shop.  This works pretty well because he is busy snacking and not worried about finding a toy in the store too. 

His Dr. office has a really wonderful waiting room.  I love them, and they change the toys out frequently.  Almost, every time we have went they have added something new, or changed it in some way.  C loves it.  At his last visit he actually wanted to stay in the well room and play vs. going to see the Doctor.  

I also save happy meal toys when I can and tuck them in my purse or bag to pull out as a surprise here and there. 

Busy bags are great too.  I take a zip lock bag and put an activity that should keep him occupied for 15-20 minutes in it.   Here are a few ideas for busy bags:
Small car mat with a few cars
Crayons and small note pad or coloring sheet
Matching Lego  Blocks
Leap frog magnets set (from the fridge but works well for this)
Beads and Threading materials
Mr . Potato Head

I always try to plan our errands, or trips earlier in the day before C is very tired.  I try to make trips to the store as short as possible so he doesn't become very frustrated.  He is an on the go little boy and being confined to a shopping cart is not his idea of a good time nor stuck in the car seat.  I really can't say I blame him.

My topic suggestion:  Tips for Building Your Toddler's Vocabulary




Link Up Suggestions:
1. We ask that you follow all three hosts Family and Life in Las Vegas, Crazy about my Baybah, and My Life as a Sippy Cup Mom.That way you can keep up to date on future Toddler Talks.
2. Please grab the Toddler Talk Button and display it in your post or on your blog.
3. Stop in to other blogs that are linking up.Leave a meaningful comment if you visit, and follow if you would like.
4. If you want to post the link up on your blog – please do! Maybe we can draw in more people to participate and share tips!!
get the InLinkz code

This link up is for families that have toddlers.  Raising a toddler can be fun, crazy, exciting, and exhausting.  Sharing what works for you could give other families another way to do things.

Have Fun!


Next weeks topic will be: Toddler Talk Flashback! (The three of a us are taking a toddler-free few days to visit BlogHer 2011!) We will be back on August 11th!
Please – Before you Link up – This is NOT A BLOG HOP!! IT IS A MEME FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS OF TODDLERS. If you aren’t going to post specific to this weeks topic, then don’t link up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10 tips and tricks to get your kids to eat more vegetables

How do I get my child to eat more vegetables?  How do I get my child to eat better?  These are questions I have asked for almost fifteen years now.  As a mom I want to know that my children are getting all of the vitamins and nutrients needed to fuel a healthy body. 

I will be the first to say we do not eat the most healthy at the Whitehead's Zoo.  It is not for lack of trying on my part.  My husband has always been VERY picky .  He is not a big vegetable eater at all.  My oldest two children have some what followed in his foot steps. I think my middle son has survived on peanut butter alone.  So, far I am very happy to say our toddler eats more like his mom and will try almost anything.  Even he prefers meat to his veggies. 

Here are a few of the tips and tricks I have tried over the years.  Who knows maybe one that didn't work for me will work for you?

  1. Adding mashed pureed veggies such as sweet potatoes to Popsicles
  2. Adding them into breakfast meals, onto breakfast pizzas, breakfast burritos, pureed in muffins (this seems to be the easiest way to sneak them)
  3. Giving them different dips to dip them in
  4. Adding them into rice,  mashed potatoes, or macaroni and cheese
  5. Adding cheese sauce to them (anything is better with cheese right)
  6. V8 , v8 fruit fusion
  7. Keeping Tupperware with individual salads fixed in the fridge (this works well for the teens)
  8. Keeping a tray with both fruit and veggies sliced in the fridge when they go for the fruit they will sometimes add a vegetable or two
  9. Chopping them up really really fine and adding them to our pizza under the cheese so they don't see them!
  10. Letting them pick out a meal from the shopping to the preparation, but they must try what they pick

Do you have any great tips for sneaking in vegetables?  If so, I would love to hear all about them.  I do believe I will be spending another fifteen years or more maybe a life time sneaking them in to keep a healthy family. 


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” (make sure you link to http://reading.socialmoms.com/PT-about)

Back to school with a sense of style

Back to school is right around the corner for us here in Florida.  It certainly seems to be going by faster.  We got out of school almost two weeks later this year, and are starting back at the same time.  I really hate to see my children go back I so enjoy the calmness of summer  and having them home.

With back to school comes back to school shopping.  Can you say dread.  I absolutely 100% dislike back to school shopping.  I am just not a shopper, and well adding two picky teenagers and a toddler tagging along does not help one  bit.  Both of my teens have very different styles .  I have a boy and a girl one in high school and  one in middle school.

My girl believe it or not HATES to shop.  If she can get in one store and get all she needs quickly and without trying things on , she would be really happy.  Of course it does not work that way.  She is not into the extra accessories surprisingly.  Here is what she is looking for when she shops .  Cute flip flops the more the better.  It's hot here 95% of the time, so she pretty much will wear them year round.  Jeans with holes in them.  Don't know what that is about but she really likes jeans with holes in them.  I cringe when I think about spending $60 on a pair of jeans with holes in them.  Other great fitting jeans and tshirts.  She likes a variety of different t-shirts, and she wants them to be a little loose but not baggy.  Anything, she deems funky or funny !  Last year she wanted to dye her hair green.  We settled on a few green hair extensions that did not last overly long.  This summer she wanted to dye her hair with glow in the dark hair dye you get at the store.   I managed to totally avoid that one.  Thank goodness.  She likes bright bold colors and things that her mom would never in a million years pick out for her, she'll find somewhere in the store.

Now my son ironically enough is my shopper.  In particular he loves to shoe shop!  The more new tennis shoes  he can have the happier he will be.  He prefers shorts, and he likes particular name brands only.  He is much pickier than my daughter when it comes to what brands he wants.  He has actually been pulling up stores the last few days  telling me it is time to go school shopping online.  He leaves shoes he likes minimized on my laptop screen.  I keep picking at him telling him we're not school shopping this year.  Unfortunately , for him his school has uniforms. So, it is khaki shorts and polo shirts for him.  Which makes it fairly easy.  We just have to find the "right" ones ha.  Oh,  to be young and Cool!


Then there is the much needed book bags.  That may just be the worse part.  Last year we were really unsuccessful with our book bag purchases.  My daughters book bag was quite expensive , and it lasted maybe one month before it had a huge hole in the bottom.  After that she switched to a quilted back pack and smaller size , toting part of her books.  She seems to prefer that now , so I am sure that is what we will be looking for when we hit the stores.   Who knows what my son will want this year? 

Don't forget the school supplies.  I certainly do not mind buying my child supplies that he or she needs.  I am at the point with my children right now where they have individual list x 6 for all of their classes.  The list of supplies is much smaller now though compared to the page they would receive in elementary school.  We will probably pick up most of these after school starts.  Why?  That is when they will receive their list from each teacher.  I use to go twice which I really did not like.  Now, I just grab what we know they will need  the first few days.  Then ,go back when they receive the individual needs of each class.  How do you handle your school supply shopping? 

Just imagine in just a few more years my oldest will be graduating high school, and my baby will be beginning kindergarten.  Boy will that be a tough year for one mommy. 

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and jcpenney blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” (make sure you link to http://jcpenney.socialmoms.com/about)

Become Hapari's Next Model

Hapari Swimwear




Wow!  I am super excited to tell you  about the Hapari Swimwear Model Contest.  Doesn't that sound like a lot of fun for some of you?   When I was premom i'd have been ready to jump on this.  Good Luck and leave me a comment if you decide to enter or someone you know enters! 

What is it for: To Become Hapari's Next Model

$2500
A Trip To Florida for the Photoshoot (You will stay in a beach house with the other models!)
Photo's published on next years swimsuit line (on website, advertisements, catalogs etc.)

This will be a great start to anyone's modeling career or even if you just want to try it out for fun. We encourage everyone who is comfortable in a Hapari swimsuit to submit their entry in the contest.

How to enter:

Send an email to entries@hapari.com with the following included:

You’re best picture in a swimsuit (kudos for wearing Hapari swimwear)
You’re contact information (Facebook name, phone number, address)


That’s it! When we get the photo we will post it on our Facebook page and tag you. From there make sure to stand out by sharing your picture to friends on Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else.

The contest ends September 20th, and we’ll be announcing the winner on our website and Facebook shortly after that.

Wordless Wednesday with linky

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Our yellow lab Ripley enjoying C's pool since he decided to play in the yard instead of swim.

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This little flower came up from the birdseed on the ground under my bird feeders.  I thought it was bright and cheery to share with you guys on this lovely Wednesday.

Don't forget to enter the Hapari Swimsuit Giveaway while your here. 

Link up I can't wait to see your photos!!



 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pin IT Tuesday

Crazy About My Baybah

If you love Pinterest as much as I do you'll Love pin it Tuesday.

Create a post with your favorite pins from the week, then come back and link up your post to the linky. The pins that you share can be your one favorite pin from the week, have a theme, or can be random favorite pins! Really, whatever you want to share from Pinterest.

Link up at Crazy About My BayBah

Here are some Pins from my for the home board .


I've been thinking about a new bedroom for C.  There are so many cute ideas out there.  He could have 10 rooms lol  I'm also itching to do the play room.  Now I just need to figure out how to fund all of this redecorating itchiness.  For now I will pin my ideas so I have them when ready.  That's the great thing about pinterest I think.  It keeps all of those ideas you love in one place.


Follow Amber Whitehead's board The Creative Bedroom on Pinterest.

Eavesdropping have you ever found yourself with your ear glued to the conversation next door?

Today, I had to be at the hospital at 5am with my husband.  We had to leave at 3:30 just to get there on time.  Now, I sit with my 2 year old watching Nemo thinking how very tired I am.

My husband is fine.  He had back surgery but all went well.  He was able to come home late this afternoon.  Thank goodness.  He was very easy going and pretty relaxed the entire time.  I on the other hand was sick over it.  I am not an optimist my friends.  I picture the worse and the longer I waited in the waiting room the more things going wrong went through my mind.  Anyway, I could tell you all of the crazy things I worried over the 3 hour wait for the surgery to end, but they were that crazy.  Now let us pray that the surgery was successful and not a waste.  Before he went in we again went over what he would want in case of a disaster.  Living wills , organ donation etc.  I know my husband probably thought gee thanks honey here I am fixing to go to surgery and your confirming I still want to be an organ donor. ha.  What about you guys have you discussed this type of thing with your family.  Do they know what YOU want if something was to happen to you?  My husband knows exactly what he wants.  I am on the other hand have a far harder time making such decisions. I think it takes a remarkable person to give that gift and be an organ donor. 

As I sat in the pre-op room with him, the waiting room, the recovery room all of these different places in the hospital my ears were overwhelmed with all of the different conversations.  Seriously, it is amazing what people say with only a curtain pulled between them and the next person.  Or what they say to complete strangers in the hospital.  Does being sick or having surgery give you the right to be completely wonky?   Have you ever been in a situation where you can't help but over hear a persons life story?  I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit today . I sat listening and people watching and sometimes was quite entertained.  My husband says I am just nosey.  A little true I guess.  I am sure I should not be ease dropping in the hospital waiting room,  but what else is their to do?  Have you found yourself on the other side of that curtain unable to resist listening in.: People are just funny.  I am amazed at how similar at yet how different each and every person is .

I totally found myself tuned into everyone elses conversations around me today.  Maybe , God put them there to distract me I really don't know what got into me.  Maybe they were just so loud I couldn't help but over hear them?  As I sit here writing this post and thinking about our day it occurs to me , How many people were on the other side of the curtain listening to me today?  How many thought I was a bit strange or wondered what was I thinking? 

Monday, July 25, 2011

5 a day book challenge

5 a day books

week of 7-24 to 7-31


We're going with a Dr. Seuss theme this week


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I've been planning baby H's baby shower and working on the Zoo's baby shower event and Seuss is what I had on my mind today.  These are some of this mommies favorites though so I'm looking forward to this week!!


While you are here check out our giveaway for Hapari Swimwear

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Gifted

author : Deborah Andreasen

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You guys know I love my super natural fiction.  Vampires, and werewolves are right up my ally.

Well, The gifted has not one vampire and not one werewolf.  It has Fairies.

The Gifted is about a teen girl named Pyper who died a a child but came back to life.  Every since the day she died she has been different.  She has the ability to control things with her mind. 

Pyper's family moves around a lot to keep people from finding out about her ability.  Pyper has quite the temper, so they have had to move A LOT!

Now at a new school Pyper meets a boy Kael who knows her secret.  He needs her help saving his people the FAE. 

Pyper doesn't believe in Fairies so what to do? As Pyper's life begins to unravel with her brother being kidnapped, finding out the identity of her father, and falling in love you become entranced and drawn into this super natural world with her. 

This contemporary fantasy went straight for my heart.  Seriously , I did not want this one to end.   

 What books are your favorites?  Do you participate in any book clubs or online book clubs?  What are you reading right now?  Can't wait to hear your answers! 


If you would like to find out more about the author visit www.deborahandreasen.com

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven

A remarkable account of miracles , angels, and life beyond this world

A True Story

By Kevin and Alex Malarkey
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BOOK REVIEW

A boy who came back from heaven is a touching store about one tough little boy and the battle the Malarkey family faces after a horrific car accident.  I crazily took this along to read on our road trip.  So, here we are traveling on vacation and I am boohooing in the back seat . 

Kevin and his 6 year old son Alex are in a horrible car accident.  Everyone says Alex will not survive.  His injuries are too bad, he is in a coma.  After two LONG months Alex comes out of the coma and begins another battle.  The battle of recovery.  Bless his sweet little heart he must learn to speak again .  He has so many struggles ahead. When he is able to communicate with his family again he tells them things about the accident that their is no way he can know.  He tells them he has been to heaven.  He tells about angels and how he is not ever afraid because he is with Jesus. 

A heartfelt story that reminds you of the power of prayer, the power of community, friendship and family.  The Malarkey family faced so many challenges families face when in despair.  Financial woes, marital struggles, spiritual questions, heartache and more. 

I did wonder if this story has been told 100% accurately.  The vocabulary for such a small little boy who has gone through so much is remarkable.  I was also a little bit surprised when the family changed churches in the midst of a crisis.  Yet, I  know everyone deals with grief, tragedy and life in different ways.  I am choosing to believe in the story and not my skepticisim.

I give this book a 3  out of  5 star  rating.  It is a moving story that will definitely stir your heart and your faith.


About the Authors :

Kevin Malarkey is a Christian therapist with a counseling practice in Columbus , Ohio.  He is a father of four .

Alex Malarkey is a the 12 year old boy who lived through this ordeal.   He is the first child in the world to have received the "Christopher Reeve surgery" allowing him to breathe without a ventilator.  Alex believes he will walk one day and continues to work towards that goal. 

Do you want to find out more about The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven?  You can find more information here.

"When I arrive in heaven the same five angels who removed my Daddy out of the car were there.  They comforted me."
-Alex Malarkey

Tynsdale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of The boy who came back from heaven for review.
Thank You Tynsdale House Publishers.



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Friday, July 22, 2011

Foto Friday "Brown"

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Theme this week is "brown"


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Deer outside our cabin window in the mountains 



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This one was taken from the train. I just like it because of the RR crossing sign with the tracks
and it does have some browns in it.

Can't wait to see what everyone came up with this week.  If you have a "brown" themed photo or a photo you just really want to share link up at La-La's home daycare host of Foto Friday.  We'd love to see your pictures!

While you are here enter the Hapari swimwear giveaway ($85 gift card)

Everyone have a fabulous and safe weekend & thank you for sharing your photos.  Leave me a comment I'd love to hear from you!!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Painting with Water Guns

featured at hands on : as we grow


I found these water squirt guns at the Dollar Store.  I think I bought 4, however they did not survive my toddler hitting them against things at ALL :(  I bought them to use by the pool, but it quickly became quite obvious that was not going to work out . So, I put the one that survived this active little boy up for another day or idea.

My twelve year old thought it would be fun to fill them with paint , and that is just what we did.  This was a lot of fun.  However, let me tell you VERY messy with a 2 year old.  (or my two year old anyway)

First, I hung some freezer paper on the fence with clothes pins.  This was meant to be our canvas.  The thing with squirt guns though is who can resist squirting them.  My two  year old had a hard time keeping his aimed at just one thing it was so fun to see paint splat on toys and chairs and the porch and Big Brother.  So, that is where messy came in.  No worries we were outside and this is what a water hose is for.  Not to mention all of the paint spattered toys are his anyway RIGHT?

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I ended up going inside and getting more paper to add as this project evolved.

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Giving the paper a squirt

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This was a lot of fun! 

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After a while we just filled them with water and played.

Next, time yes there will probably be a next time I think I want to try the smaller little squirt type guns.  This one was really a bit big and I think harder for him to do.   It was big hit though the boys were both running around the yard squirting the paper, squirting the trees , squirting each other.  That kind of play time can make a mommy smile.

At one point I sent my 12 year old in to get more paint.  He just happens to mention he got the glow in the dark paint?  I'm thinking what?? when I realize he has the glue.  Thank goodness I realized and disaster was prevented.  KIDS.

It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow