Sunday, October 26, 2008

Go Out For Dinner

Awhile back I learned about - a website where there are always deals on dining out. With our economy in the state that it is, every penny counts and families all over are looking for ways to save without a dramatic change to their lifestyle. is a great way to do this - you can buy gift certificates for popular restaurants at discounted rates, for example, you can purchase a $25 gift certificate for $10. A great part is that offers a guarantee - if the restaurant you buy a gift certificate for for some reason won't honor it, contact via phone or e-mail and they'll take care of it. So great deals, great meals and great customer service - can't beat it.

If you're thinking that only lousy restaurants are part of this deal, think again. You can dine at great restaurants, just at a discount. In our area there are extremely high end restaurants offering these discounts and so many families are using these certificates to eat there!

So now it gets better. Through October 31, 2008 (that's THIS FRIDAY), is offering 80% off all gift certificates! That means that you can buy a $25 gift certificate for only $2 by using the code TREATS at check out.

Hope that you enjoyed the tip!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What a Treat!

A few weeks back, I was asked by BSM Media to be a panelist on the Mommy Blogger Monologues in NYC, a conference where PR people and companies attend to learn about marketing with, approaching and working with mommy bloggers to market their companies and clients on the internet. Why mommy bloggers? Because we rock, of course! The fabulous women on the panel were Gabrielle (Design Mom & kirtsy), Kim P. (Jogging in Circles), Kim C. (Mom in the City), Amy O. (Filming in Brooklyn & Selfish Mom), Kelcey (mama bird diaries), Alexis (The Intrepid Mompreneur) and Andi (Mama Knows Breast).

Things here got a little nutty over herre and I didn't get a chance to write about the panel (which was totally amazing of course), but you can read all the details here, here and here.

Of course I was totally honored that I would be asked to participate in this event, much less be on the panel of experts, and the honor floated me through the next few days. Being with these women motivated me and I came home with a modified outlook on where I wanted to go with my business, how I wanted to market and what I wanted to market, among so many other things.

That was almost two weeks ago, although comingled with the daily grind, it seems so much further away in my mind.

Yesterday when I got home after a long day, I was surprised to see a box on my doorstep. Seeing the return address said Selma's and underneath that said cookies cookies cookies, I can tell you that even with no husband or kids at home, that box was opened in record time fairly quickly. The note inside said it was from BSM Media, who organized the panel, as a thank you to me for participating. It truly should have been from me thanking them for having me on a panel full of these amazing, amazing women. Anyway, back to the cookies....

Warning: The contents of this box that I am about to show you is not for the faint of heart. You truly may need to look away.

If you can't get the true size of those cookies, they are 3 1/2 inches wide (according to Selma's website).

And there were 6 of them. SIX. Oh, did I mention that on Monday my husband declared that he was on a diet? Good luck with these cookies.

Of course I had to check out Selma's website. Immediately. Here's what I found.

Selma's is a cookie movement with two US bakeries - one in Orlando and Las Vegas, to serve the East and West coasts, respectively. Each cookie is 1/4 pound. Seriously, no joke. I could seriously eat all six of these cookies BY MYSELF and, well, I'll just let you do the math. I did share one with my son (we each had a quarter) and apparently my husband ate a half of another one last night, although he claims that my dog at most of it. Hmmm.....

These cookies were ridiculous. Ridiculously good, of course. I need though to get them out of my house so I don't eat the rest of them! They are now on my list of treats that I love, of that I am absolutely 100% positively sure.

Need a gift? Buy 'em. Okay, you should also buy them even if you don't need a gift. They're that good. I'm just sayin'.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

That's What You Get For Making Plans.....

I am not a social planner. I don't like to pack my weekends with activity after activity. As a matter of fact, people that know me will say that I hate to make plans. I wouldn't necessarily use the word hate, but I'd rather spend time with our family, catching up and winding down from our guaranteed-to-have-been-very-hectic week. Not to say I never make plans, but more often that not, our weekends have just a plan or two, never really more than that.

A friend who has been single for as long as we've known him recently moved in with his girlfriend. To New Jersey. And not just right over the bridge which would make it, although inconenient to visit, not a ridiculous trip. No, the moved far into New Jersey, a place where it would take us a good hour and a half to drive to.Their housewarming party was impacted by the hurricane back in September (pretty much no one showed) so they invited our family and a few others over for this weekend. Not to sleep over, just for an afternoon, to hang out, drink, eat and relax. Well, maybe not so much relaxing as we were bringing the kids, but we could pretend, right?

Friday afternoon, Aaron gets off the bus. We're in the midst of chaos because he had a scheduled playdate, but we had to wait for Camryn to wake up from her nap before we could leave. While he was having a snack, he wanted to draw. Here are the end results of his drawing/writing. (Note that he is 5 years old and in kindergarten and did not ask for spelling help on this project, at all).

"Friday at 341pm October 17
At school my eye felt
lick it was
and it is not
feleing batr."

He decided to show this to me as we were walking out the door. I read it and once I fully understood what it said, I performed my version of a thorough examination of his eye. No red. No pink. It wasn't watery. It wasn't itchy (I asked). No discharge. No crust. Of course, I'm not doctor, but it looked fine to me. I called his friend's mom about the playdate and explained the situation. Of course by this time it was 4pm, we were sitting in our driveway and we were already supposed to have been there already. She said come, her son had been asking for us since he got home from school. At 230.

When we got there (about 15 minutes later), white goop had already formed in the corner of Aaron's eye. And within about 20 minutes, his eye was puffy, swollen and red. So we apologized, decided to pack it in and left. One 15 minutes drive and three phone calls to the doctor later, we were sitting in the pediatrician's office hearing, "Oh yes, definitely pink eye." Prescription for eye drops (always fun to put into a 5 year old's eye) and two copays later, we were on our way. Why two copays? Because while we were there, Camryn, always the joiner, decided that her eye hurt and her ear hurt. The doctor looked at her eye, looked at her ear, decided nothing was wrong and billed our insurance. Technically, he did examine her, but really.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, 7am. "Mommy," I hear in my sleep. "Mommy, I can't open my eye. It's stuck." For the next half hour, Aaron and I are in the bathroom using warm water and a washcloth to remove the good from his eye and let him finally see out of both eyes. From about 8am until 10am, husband and I debated the virtues of going to our friends' house with Aaron and his infected eye. He had been on the drops since the night before. It was already looking even better than it had in the morning. It wasn't gooping anymore. We really didn't want to spend the whole day in the house with both kids and nothing to do, nowhere to go. We really didn't want to cancel on them again, after the housewarming party debacle. Maybe Grandma and Grandpa could babysit? Nope, they made plans. Do we go or not go? Another friend was supposed to go as well with their little baby. Uh-oh. We're out. I'm not being the could-you-believe-they-brought-their-kid-with-pink-eye mom. After letting our friends know we were bowing out and having their male half not so subtly suggest that husband go on his own (yea, right), we canceled and started to deal with the fact that we're in the house, with the kids, one sick but not that sick, for the whole day. And we can't go anywhere. At all.

All was not lost. Our house was truly able to reap the benefits of Aaron's pink eye. Camryn's summer clothes were emptied from her drawer and packed away. Clothes that we had received for her that would now fit her were brought up from the basement, washed and put away in her drawers. Shoes that are too small on her were taken out. Camryn, in the midst of her clothing before it was packed away was convinced that it all still fit her, tried to get the shoes on and ran around yelling that she wanted to wear her "babing suit".

On to my closets. The tub that I had packed away my winter clothes in before the summer? Couldn't find it. Oh, right, it's still in the hallway - very convenient. Packed away the summer clothes, took out the winter clothes. I forgot I had half these sweaters, and oohhhh, I can't wait to wear my Ugg boots again. Cleaned out the closet and the drawers. Five bags of clothes to donate, one bag of Camryn's clothes to give to a friend and two bags of garbage later, my closets and drawers are neat and clean and full of clothes have clothes that I can wear for the fall and winter.



Here's my favorite before and after:

The pictures are evidence that all was not lost when we had to cancel our plans. On the bright side, we did manage to avoid 4+ hours in the car with both kids. Every cloud has a silver lining.....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ten Things...

It's been a pretty rough couple of weeks. Not quite sure why, but I've been in a funk. It happens from time to time but this ones been rough and I seem to be taking it out on everyone around me. All the time. Not a great way to make friends! Tonight I was thinking about what my blog post would be and a top 10 list came to mind. Only it wasn't a great top 10 list. 10 things I want to change about myself. In my mind it then morphed into 10 things I don't like about myself. But between the time I thought of it and now when I actually sat down to write, I realized that writing that list would push me deeper into my funk, deeper into a place that I really just don't want to be. Trying to think positive, my list has further morphed into 10 things that I DO like about me. Here we go....

  1. I'm smart. I've never had a problem in school. Ever. I always got pretty good grades, made honor roll in high school, dean's list in college. I did well on my SAT's, never failed a Regents exam or final, got into the college I wanted, the program I wanted and graduated with a pretty good GPA. Oh, and I also passed the CPA exam (after a few tries) which is pretty rough goings.
  2. I'm good at my jobs. I'm talking about my actual paid job. I'm pretty good at it. I'm an accountant and the Controller for a real estate management firm. I get my work done and done well. I can implement systems, delegate work and wind up with the right answer and the right numbers and the right report. I've always gotten good performance evaluations at all the jobs I've had, this one no exception. I'm also good at running my own business, although that's maybe not really considered a "job", mostly because it doesn't pay. Yet. But one day it will, so I guess it qualifies here.
  3. I'm a long term friend. Most of the friends that I have, I've had for years. And by years I mean between 20 and 30. My best friend is from kindergarten, almost 30 years. I have two close friends that I went to camp with when I was 12. I'm still close with most of my wedding party (actually all but 1, but that's another story). I try not to be close with one person one day and then someone else the next. The people I'm friends with, I'm friends with for a long time.
  4. I'm a good friend. Sort of goes with #3, but different enough. I'm a good friend. I'm here to listen, give advice and help when needed. I'll be honest with you but not hurt your feelings. I don't cancel plans at the last minute. And I'll do whatever it takes to help you when you need me.
  5. I have nice hair. It had to get sort of superficial somewhere. I personally think my hair is okay, but I've been told by alot of people that it's "sooooo nice". It's dark brown, straight and pretty thick. And usually shiny, which is nice.
  6. I'm funny. In a snarky and sarcastic sort of way, but I definitely make people laugh. Usually I don't even mean to, but I like when I do.
  7. I've got a dimple. Okay, minds out of gutters. On my cheek. On my face. I always thought dimples were cute. Only not on the Cabbage Patch Kids. I digress. I've got one cute dimple on my cheek and it's pretty cute.
  8. My feet are cute. Really, I think they are. My second toe is not bigger than my big toe, and I like that. Something weird, but it made my list.
  9. I'm a connector. Of people. I love it. I love talking to someone and they mention something they need and I know someone who can be that person for them. I love making good recommendations and I love when people take my advice and tell me how right I was. :)
  10. I've read alot of books. Okay, coming up with 10 things was a stretch so this one may be a reach but it's true. I dont' mean children's books or picture books or even magazines. I mean honest to goodness books. Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer is the best book ever. Really, really ever. It was written before I was born but nonetheless, greatest book I have ever read. Okay, fine, right now my book of choice is Stori Telling by Tori Spelling, but I do read real books.
Okay, so those were my 10 things. Maybe not great, but a good exercise for me. Maybe I'll try and think of one more thing each day. Sort of a "live positively" vibe for me, something new. You never know, right?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sometimes Helps to Be First

Almost 6 years ago, I gave birth to my son. For our family it was the first child and the first grandchild, but among our friends, it was also the first baby. I know my husband since 5th grade and know many of his friends longer than that, some since nursery school. So it was amazing (and comical) to see these guys come to the hospital and our house, and have absolutely NO CLUE what to do with a little baby, what to bring and how to act.

Now that all of our friends have a child, and some with 2, 3 or even 4, new babies in our group are no longer the novelty that they once were. But even now, we are meeting new friends, some of whom are getting ready to have their first babies, and where are they coming for advice? You guessed it, your truly.

Hot topic today is registering, so here come some product tips - feel free to add your own in the comments!

Without a doubt, my most favorite thing was the Kolcraft Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier. When the baby was little and we could still carry them around in the car seat, this stroller was so easy. Open quickly, close quickly. Baby goes right in in their car seat carrier. And the best part was the ginormous basket on the bottom. In 6 years I've yet to find any other stroller with such a large and well placed basket to store all sorts of stuff. Every mom with an infant should have this stroller. Hands down.

Infant Carrier
The Kolcraft Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier mentioned above fits most car seats and our absolute choices was the Graco SnugRide Infant Car Seat. Know for it's safety, this car seat exceeded all of our expections. Very comfortable for the baby with lots of padding and easy for the parents to carry. And for those winter babies, don't forget the JJ Cole Original Infant Bundle Me which eliminates any need for bulky jackets, snowsuits or multiple blankets. It kept my son so warm in January and February and looked so comfortable, I wished they made them for adults!

Both of my kids spent an incredible amount of time in their exersaucers and my daughter's was much more fun than my son's was, although they were only three years apart. The exersaucer helped to develop leg muscles and motor skills and kept them entertained and safe. We went with EvenFlo SmartSteps Exersaucer Entertainer for my daughter and were very happy, as was she. Even now at almost 3 years old, she still tinkers with the toys as she passes it by. We probably should be getting rid of it soon.

When my son was born, my husband refused to have big pieces of baby equipment all over the place, so we opted to go with the Fisher-Price Aquarium Take-Along Swing. Easy to bring with us pretty much wherever we went, easy to pack up, easy to store. And on the nights my son had to sleep in the swing because he was cranky, the music volume was adjustable and everyone was happy.

This is what works for me! Visit Rocks in My Dryer for more tips!

Happy registering, all!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Right Now

Right now, I feel like not such a great mom. Like I have no patience with my kids. I've always cited that characteristic as the reason why I could never be a teacher. Absolutely no patience for 20 something kids in a classroom all day. Teachers truly have my utmost respect. I definitely could never do it.

Right now, in the quiet of the night, I think about the day gone by and remember being aggravated with Aaron a good amount of times throughout the day. At the time, the reasons seemed so important. Now, I can't even remember one of them. Okay, maybe I can remember one of them, but for the most part, I don't remember why I felt like I was having such a rough day.

Right now I can think about the day more clearly. He's a 5 year old boy. Entitled to be a little wild, entitled to not listen 100% of the time. Are my expectations too high? Do I think he should be more mature than he really is? Do I jump the gun and react to quickly?

Right now, I feel sad because although I want to enjoy my kids as they are now, in the moment, I lose sight of that. I don't know why I find it so hard to just let loose and have fun.

Right now, I remember my daughter asking me today to do her Dora puzzle with her and I can't remember what was so important that I told her to wait a few minutes. We never wound up doing the puzzle together.

Right now, as they sleep, I can feel in my heart how much I love them. They look so peaceful, so quiet. Like they are the perfect kids.

Right now, I wonder why I can't be exactly who and what I want to be for them. I remind myself that they will only be little once and that as each day passes, I can never get it back.

Right now, I promise to try my hardest to be a better mom to them tomorrow.
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