Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wood Teether

I love this wood teething ring. It is handcrafted from cherry wood, finely sanded and finished with non-toxic drugstore-grade mineral oil. It has a hidden rattle too! So easy to clean and looks like an heirloom piece.

I found it at Click here for a direct link to this product.

Smoke detectors don't work??

I had a very scary realization a few days ago when I got a news story forwarded to me. They discovered that most, if not all, children will sleep through a smoke detector and never know anything was amiss.

My first realization was that my son is a heavy sleeper and would undoubtedly sleep right through the alarm. Why my common sense had not yet told me this is a mystery.

My second realization was that smoke and heat rises. Because our room is on the ground floor and our children's rooms are on the second floor, it is even more important for us to have a good escape plan in place - and fire alarms that wake our children.

Watch this to get the full story.

Fortunately, there is hope. Most children - even heavy sleepers - will respond to their parents' voices. One company, KidSmart, set out to develop smoke detectors that use a recorded loop of Mommy or Daddy yelling "Get up!" and other messages. You can visit Popular Science for more information or purchase a Signal One Vocal Smoke Alarm on various websites. Not a pleasant topic, but keeping my children safe is my job. That makes this product one of mommy's favorite things. Worth a look.

Webkins. . .

. . . I kept hearing the word in passing. Then I saw them in Costco - a two-pak. "What in the world are these Webkins?" So on Christmas Day I was nursing my 4 week old and decided to use the time to investigate. Thanks to my veritable wealth of internet-knowledge (okay, I googled it) I found the Webkins website in two seconds flat.

Turns out this is a really cute idea. Webkins (Ganz Inc.) are stuffed animals. You buy one, your child goes online and "adopts" it, then it becomes a virtual pet. The pet gets its own room, and you can earn Kins-cash to buy more "furniture" and "food" by going to the learning center or game room. The child needs to feed and exercise the pet regularly to keep it happy. (sound familiar?) Your child's pet can even have their friend's pet come over for a visit. And it's a worry-free site - there are fantastic safeguards to prevent location and name sharing.

One could criticize the ever increasing virtual state of our world, but I'll save that for another blog. As a mom, I think this is a really cute idea for my child. Get the whole story for yourself by clicking here and taking the tour.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 for Dresses

I'm a sucker for a beautiful dress. And this season's (okay this summer's season's) dresses are right up my alley.

The other day I was searching for a new little black dress and came across this one:

And it only cost me $30.

I think I'm addicted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Starfall is an excellent website out there that teaches children to read. It's self-led, so all the child has to know is how to move a mouse and click. There are no external links, so parents don't have to worry about the child ending up on a store site. Both of my children will spend hours on the site if I let them, and the bonus is they're learning how to read at the same time.

My favorite part is that they can go anywhere on the site, even if they don't know how to read, and learn a little bit and have fun at the same time.

Go check it out!


As she lifted the warm paper cup to her lips and took a sip, a slow little smile formed on her mouth, as the flavor touched her taste buds the smile grew bigger, she was good.

Drinking coffee was not part of my life until I graduated college and moved to gorgeous Washington State. It was then my love affair with beautiful, beautiful Starbucks began. My family and friends in the northeast cringe as I denounce their beloved Dunks, but Starbucks just puts a smile on my face. Plain and simple, Starbucks makes me smile. Frappuccinos, White Chocolate Mochas, and the beloved, seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte...I love them all. Yes it is expensive, yes I know how much it costs per gallon, but it sure is good. I love putting both hands on my warm cup and just soaking in the yum on a cold day. I love a good Carmel Frappuccino during the hot Texas summer.

Oh, you are not in to coffee, no worries, Starbucks offers non-coffee Frappuccinos. Their Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino is Olivia's favorite (thanks Dunkle Scott), it tastes like a frozen hot chocolate and is very great. Also, the Carmel Apple Spice is a wonderful holiday favorite.

Word to the wise, please don't burst my bubble with tales of how many calories and fat grams are in each cup, I might tell you to quiet down. I want to be ignorant. :)

Off to go get my grande, decaf, nonfat, extra hot, white chocolate mocha WITH whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Any readers out there have a guilty pleasure they like to splurge on?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Good Night Chore Cards

If your children are anything like mine or my friends children, at times they give you difficulty when you tell them it is time for bed. The ancient stalling tactic. These same tactics have been used forever by children all over the world. Amazing isn't it. Olivia has had some nights where she pulled out all the stops, "I'm hungry" followed quickly by" Mommy, I need another animal." Then there is the classic ""I'm thirsty." The one that is always the winner in our house is "I've got to go potty." Who wants their child to wet the bed, even if it is their 10th time to the potty? I have to say when we are having a night like this I can get annoyed. There might not be a solution to this problem completely, but the Good Night Chore Cards from One Step Ahead might help.

My husband and I have made it a nightly habit to clean up the kitchen and living room so we can start fresh each day. We tend to forget to have the kids help us clean up. I think it is important to learn they need to help in the clean up process. These cards would also help remind us to have the kiddos help clean up at least some of the toys to instill this process in them at a young age.

The cool feature about these cards is the ability to turn them over and for your child to get a sense of accomplishment. There is even a blank card for you to add your own chore to the group. I wish they had thought to include more blank cards though. Also, for you mom's of boys they have blue cards as well.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A New Apron

As a general rule I feel that men should NEVER buy their wife anything such a blender, vacuum or whisk for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and the like. This year I actually asked Alex to get me one such similar item for Christmas.

The Flirty Everyday Housewife Apron by Momo's Retro Fashions is super cute. I am constantly spilling stuff on myself when I cook and an apron would help. I tried to prevent the spills, by wearing Olivia's apron. Let me tell you it is a sad state when you have to wear your 4 year old's small little apron...and it is not very cute at all. Basically, I just look foolish, although I am sure it gives my husband a good laugh. If I must cook, I sure would like to look fashionable and sassy. The aprons are inspired by a 1950's pattern and the fabrics are great. I also think it is great the gal that makes them models the finished product on her site so you can get a feel for how it will fit.

I really hope Alex comes through or I may just have to buy myself one.

Edit: The gal modeling the aprons is the maker's daughter. :)

Edited after Christmas: What a great husband I have, he came through with the very apron featured in the blog. Thanks babe.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


You can tell the state of my life by my toes. I know it sounds crazy. Regardless of the season I like my toes to be painted. It just makes me happy. If you see me and my polish looks chipped you can know it is driving me crazy because I don't have the time to polish them. If you see me with no polish on my toes at all, it is almost as if you have caught me with my pants down. If I have no polish on my toes, you might want to say a prayer for me because my life must be REALLY crazy and I might be practically insane. :)

My favorite nail polish is OPI. It is a splurge purchase...funny I consider a$5 purchase to be a splurge purchase, but regardless it is my favorite. It is the little things in life...right? It goes on smooth and lasts a very long time. They come out with new colors for different seasons so your toes can match the typical colors of the seasons. Love it.

Blog Lurker and Google Reader

I am an avid blog lurker. I have been lurking on other people's blogs for about a year. It sounds terrible, I know. I typically watch TV at night and look at websites and blogs. I should comment, but don't unless I am just completely compelled or want to enter one of their contests. It is a great way to keep up with what old college friends are doing. A ton better then both myspace and facebook combined. I also love to view what my favorite photographers are doing and they inspires me. I used to bookmark every blog and view them in internet expolorer. Sometimes my slacker college friends would only update their blog once a month, but I would have to click manually on every blog in my bookmarked blogs just to find out who had updated.

My husband was watching me one night and laughed at me, as he usually does when he finds I am creating more work for my self technologically. He showed me google reader. Basically, the way it works is you add subscriptions to blogs you like in the reader. When a new post has been added to the blog, google reader bolds the blog on the left hand side of your screen to tell you the person has added a new post. This has saved me a lot of valuable blog reading time. You can also file similar blogs in folders making the interface very organized l
ooking, I love organization. I have a folder for homemaking blogs, photography blogs, friends from college blogs, and a cool things folder. You'll need to create a Gmail account to take advantage of this great time saver. If you already have a Gmail account you can use it at the very top of your Gmail page under the "more" section.

Beware though, you might find yourself getting deeper into the blog might even be inspired to start your own blog.

P.S. Don't forget to add to your reader once you have it uploaded. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baby Time

I usually have good intentions when I start something, at times I flake. Then I feel guilty. I have a friend who has a pregnancy journal and writes in it religiously during her pregnancy. She is also very organized and keeps her baby book up to date, and records all the milestones of her child. Yes, she is amazing. As wonderful and as cool as I think her pregnancy journal is, I know I won't ever be that organized.

I had good intentions with my first child to keep up with her baby book...I failed miserably. I know many of you can relate. My grandmother sent me "Baby Time" just before my second daughter was born. It is a very fast and VERY forgiving baby book. I write it in when I have time, really when I remember. I jot things down on the calendar if I don't have time to write in the book, and when I do have a second to make an entry, I write down the important milestones from my calendar as well. I have found this book very simple and guilt free.

My favorite part about this baby book is that instead of the traditional blank pages to fill out, there are boxes to check, ages to circle, a place to write the mini-milestones, things your baby likes and dislikes, and a non-intimidating area for notes all on each page. Each entry can take less then 5 minutes. If you want a guilt free baby book, I recommend Baby Time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Marice Pledger Books

Both of my girls have loved any and all Maurice Pledger books from a young age. Their favorite Maruice Pledger books are the Olivia Owl and Bobby Bear board books. Their love of these started at about 9 months and my Olivia loved them and wanted to read them almost every day until 18 months. They love to touch and feel each page, and point at all the cute animals.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

love & squalor

Love these photo mats from love & squalor. They have many fabrics to choose from and are very reasonably priced.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Crawler Covers

Winter and cold weather is almost upon us in central Texas (yes, it has been pretty warm here). I really love baby/child leg warmers. They are adorable. They are also very practical as they fit the whole leg on babies, and can be used as knee highs as your child gets bigger. There are a bunch of Etsy stores that sell them, but I really like Crawler Covers & More. They are reasonably priced and currently offering free shipping for the holidays. They have a ton of patterns to choose from.

Benefits of Crawler Covers from their website:

*Are great for potty training
*Make diaper changes easier
*Protect baby's knees when crawling
*Perfect for dance or gymnastics classes
*Keep legs warm year round (great for air conditioned houses!)
*Are so cute and fashionable!!

They also can provide and extra layer of warmth when playing in the snow and can even be worn on the arms. Did I mention they were adorable?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cooking on Tuesdays

My friend Kelly and I usually see each other a couple times a week. Our kids are friends and play nicely (most of the time) together. Kelly had an idea a couple weeks ago that has been a blessing to both of us. Since we would normally hang out together visiting while our kids play, we decided to make our time together more efficient. We have been cooking on Tuesdays.

I need to clarify, we are not just cooking for an hour or so, I mean really cooking, all day cooking. One of us tries to shop on Monday, we take turns hosting and then spend the day on Tuesday cooking 3 meals for the week. We cook 3 meals for each of us. That means we only have to cook a couple other nights and we get to spend time visiting while we cook. We both have nursing and needy babies as well, so it really does take us all day with all the interruptions. I would imagine you could get it done in a couple hours if you had older children.

We also have expanded the meals to cook for a friend of ours that really needs the meals. She just had a baby and doesn't have the time to cook. If our friend decides she doesn't need the meals any longer we are still going to cook for a 3rd person and just find people to bless. Even if the 3rd person just helped cover the cost of the food it would be a blessing for them to not have to cook.

You can't imagine how nice it is to be able to spend the day with a friend, visit with her, have your children happily (mostly) playing and not have to cook for a couple other days during the week. It is also nice to try new recipes. Kelly is also a better cook then I, so I am learning a lot as well. It is a long day but worth it in the end. I actually look forward to Tuesdays and cooking. Normally I see cooking as just another homemaking chore, but I am starting to like it.

Items to think about as you start this venture:

1. Choose a friend you don't mind spending a lot of time with.
2. Choose a friend that has children your child(ren) likes spending time with.
3. Shop the day before, not on cooking day.
4. You with both need to sensitive to each others likes and dislikes when it comes to food.
5. Adding a 3rd friend is fun, but cooking for more then 3 people could be difficult unless you are very organized.
6. Be sure to clean up both dishes and toys for the host friend before you leave so they don't have to worry about cleaning after all day of cooking.

Tomorrow we are even adding cookies. :) Yum.

Gingerbread Town-Square Cake

This cake is amazing. If I have time this week I want to attempt it for a Christmas party I am hosting. I haven't tried something this difficult before and I think it would be a fun challenge. I think it will take me most of the week to do, but it is just so amazing I have to try. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Daddy Dolls, Inc.

Daddy Dolls, Inc. was started by two military wives who created these great dolls while their husbands' were on deployment. I love the idea of these dolls. I can't imagine what the wives, children, and loved ones of our military go through when their husbands, fathers, and children get sent off to war. My heart goes out to them. You may or may not agree with war, but we are all blessed by their sacrifice. I have the utmost respect for these men and women, and their families.

Daddy Dolls sells pillow-type Hug-A-Hero dolls, pillow cases, and dog tags with the picture of your loved-one on the fabric. They also have voice recorders to record the voice of your hero.

You can also donate towards products for military families who may not be able to afford them here.

Praying for you Jared, Deanie and Chase.

My Wee Friend

When I first saw this product I laughed and thought to myself "how silly". Then I remembered how hard potty training can be for both child and parent and I thought, wow, these are great.

From their website: "
Encourage your child to use the potty with this reinforcing, reusable sticker.
Place the black sticker on a flat-bottom training potty. When the pee pee hits the sticker, a fun image magically appears!"

I am sure they are fun for girls, but I can just see little boys using these for target practice :)