Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sweat, sweat go away

The weather has really been kissing up to me lately. Perhaps it finally realized how annoying three straight months of scorching HOT temperatures can be. I begged the weather to get cooler at home, but asked at the same time that our beach weekend remain warm & sunny.

Well, what do you know? The weather listened to me! Late September is a risky time to go to the beach, but it was fabulous for us. Mid-80s, sun shining, fluffy clouds in a blue sky. And ya know what else? Now that we've returned home, we have rain and crisp fall breezes! I am beyond excited.

Ten Reasons Why I'm Glad It's Fall
1. I smell better. So far, so good. It's not 95 degrees and humid anymore! I don't have to change clothes 2x a day to escape my own sweat.

2. I have an excuse to be lazy. College football is back! My poor team is struggling big time, but football season somehow makes it OK to sit on our butts in front of the TV for most of a Saturday.

3. I get to find out if my butt stayed small(ish). Almost time to change out my wardrobe! I love living in a place with seasons. It's an excuse to have three times as many clothes and it's exciting to pull out those jeans after months of shorts and capris. Unless the jeans don't fit. Then I get mad at my butt.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Protecting fair maiden

Yes, we had a fabulous time at the beach with our fair mermaid princess (photos here). She awoke each morning ready to go to the beach. She squealed with delight as the ocean waves hit her body and legs. She looked with awe at her elaborate sand castle, by far the largest and most impressive on the beach. Our princess was not lacking for attention - with the queen mother and "king father" (Grandma & Granddad) and Lord & Lady (Aunt & Uncle) in tow, she played the day away in the sunshine.

You can't be a fair maiden without being, well, fair. Despite many summer days spent outdoors, Amelia's young skin remains sensitive. We protected our fair princess' skin with products from All Terrain.

All Terrain strives to sell quality "Natural Remedies for Outdoor Enthusiasts." On this beach vacation, we tried three great All Terrain products:

(1) KidSport SPF 30 spray sunscreen. It is especially made for kids - very waterproof and non-stinging for those baby blue eyes. And the pump spray was convenient and easy. With a young child on the go, spray is a necessity! As expected, the KidSport sunscreen kept the sunburn away. It protected our princess and stayed on her skin through much seaside splashing.
I'm not kidding that this sunscreen is super waterproof - check out my science experiment:






KidSport sunscreen in a glass of water







Even stirring with a spoon, water can't penetrate the sunscreen



(2) We also tested the DEET-free Herbal Armor Spray. It's not always easy to find a DEET-free bug repellent, but it's worth the search. DEET is not something I want to use on my little girl. The Herbal Armor spray certainly kept the bugs at bay. I am coming home with several insect-bite souvenirs on my legs because I didn't use it faithfully each night. But the mermaid princess is itch-free! Because the spray is made with natural oils, it has a very strong scent. You can smell the citronella for sure... but have you smelled DEET repellents? Natural is better than chemical. Not only for odor, but for skin safety.

(3) Finally, my favorite All Terrain product! The Aloe Gel Skin Relief is fit for a queen! The scent immediately takes you to the spa. The aloe gel contains traditional herbs that smell fantastic and help heal the skin. The aloe is soothing - the perfect pampering for skin that has been in the sun, sea spray, and wind all day.

Give these a try for your little prince or princess. Or for yourself! All Terrain offers first aid supplies, natural hand sanitizers, soaps, eczema creams, and all-purpose kids' peppermint wash.

With no sun worries on her mind, our little royalty could keep on digging!

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Note: I received product samples from All Terrain in order to conduct this review. All opinions are purely mine. All Terrain had no input in the writing of this review.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My mermaid princess

Once upon a time (the past few days), a beautiful mermaid princess smiled upon her kingdom. She created joy with her magical smile and infectious giggles.

She traveled with her entourage.
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Surveyed her kingdom.
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Felt the sand between her toes.
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And retired to her glowing villa upon nightfall.
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She awoke each morning with attitude - she had some serious work (fun) to rule over on the beach.
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Occasionally, she would exercise.
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She kept watch over her elaborate waterfront castle (built by her servants, of course).
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Her kingdom brought her joy.
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She beamed as she sat upon her throne, sipping from her chalice.
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And cherished her beauty sleep at night.
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Better in Bulk

I'm extending the bloggy love into this week!

One more fabulous blog to spread around today. We are meeting another new friend. "Lolli" from Better in Bulk (.net!). Once again, I'm a big fan of this one. I'm honored to have her as a feature.
Blog name? Better in Bulk

The writer behind the words? I grew up in California as the oldest of 5 kids, and now am raising 5 kids of my own on the opposite coast. Before the kids came along, I got my degree in Early Childhood Education. I've been a Stay at Home mom for nearly 14 years, and in the last year or so have started working from home, both on Internet/blogging endeavors, and on my photography business. If I had spare time or spare money, I would spend it thrift store shopping, Internet shopping (I love electronic gadgets!), and reading.

When (& why) did you start the blog? I started my blog in October 2007, mostly to keep in touch with my out-of-state family and friends. I had a few friends and a sister who had started blogs, and I thought it sounded like something I would enjoy doing. If only I had known...LOL!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Avant Garde Parenting









The "perfect" mom in me adores this blog! It is full of research findings, fantastic tips, and "progressive ideas for parents of preschoolers". Day after day, her posts manage to fit my life perfectly.

Her "parenting quick tips" are so simple. And so valuable. We could all use those little reminders to "slow down" and "just listen".

Without further adieu... get to know Jamie! And follow her blog - you'll be glad you did.

List four words that describe YOU.1. Open-minded (does that count as two?)
2. Enthusiastic
3. Focused
4. Silly

Blog name?
Avant Garde Parenting

The writer behind the words? I’m Jamie. I’m a Psychologist and researcher: I study parents and kids. I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and I’m still here- but not because I never tried to leave. I applied to 7 graduate schools outside of Texas (and got in) but decided the one in Dallas was my best option. I’d love to live somewhere on the east coast or, really, anywhere with more seasons than: 1. Hot and 2. Cold with ice storms.

I’m married with two dogs but no kids yet. (What?! She writes a parenting blog and she doesn’t have kids?!) Yeah, I know. I almost didn’t start my blog because I thought no one would take me seriously. I know that studying parents and kids isn’t the same as actually parenting a child. I also know that parents are the real experts on their children. That’s why I try to just give ideas and tips, not judge or change the way anyone parents. I keep things light and happy and I think you’ll like my perspective!

How did you decide to follow developmental psychology as a career? Oooh good question. I always knew I wanted to help kids but I was never quite sure in what capacity that would be.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Belle, Bean, & Chicago Dog

Today we welcome a fabulous blogger. I feel honored that someone so well-loved in this blog world would grace this little blog with her presence.

Check out her interview, below, then visit her blog! You'll love it like I do.


Blog name? A belle, a bean & a chicago dog
(read the interview... then click on over to check it out!)

The writer behind the words? I'm a SAHM mom to 2 girls who is temporarily-retired from the consumer products research industry. I'm originally from Chicago, but haven't lived in IL for over 7 years. Craig and I have had our adventures moving to TN, then NH and then back to TN.

When (& why) did you start the blog?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mommy of a Monster (and twins!)



Today we meet Natalie, mommy of three. Like me, she is new to the blogging scene. But she's come a long way really quickly! I'm a fan for sure.





Blog name?
Mommy of a Monster (I Mean Toddler) and Infant Twins.

When I started my blog, I was having an extremely difficult time with my 2-1/2 year old son (the monster) and my twins were about 6 months old. That's where the title came from.

To be honest, I need to think about changing my title because my twins are toddlers now, too. People know me as "mommy of a monster" so I won't change that, but I may change it to "Mommy of a Monster and Twins". We'll see!

The writer behind the words? My name is Natalie. I'm 36 years old and have been a SAHM since my son was born 3 years ago. My son turned three in August, and my twin girls turned a year old in August.

I love reading, writing, cooking, gardening, and wine. Spending time with family is extremely important to me, and we do a lot of it. Since I started blogging, I hardly ever have time to read books anymore, and I miss it.

When (& why) did you start the blog? I started blogging in mid-March 2010, so I've been at it for about 6 months now. I'm having a blast and plan on continuing to blog. In fact, I'm attending Bloggy Boot Camp in San Diego in March, and I'm hoping to attend Blogher 2011 in San Diego next August!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mommy's Joy

I should be this happy again.

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Working on it.


(Looking for my featured blogger? Tomorrow! You'll meet Natalie, mommy to a monster toddler AND infant twins)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Conflicted Mean Girl

Day #1 of my blogging break!

Welcome Andrea, recovering mean girl, mommy, dog owner, and bad driver.


Blog name? Confessions of a Conflicted Mean Girl
(click to visit... after you read the interview)

The writer behind the words? I am a wife, a mother, a writer, a dog owner, an employee, a friend (to a couple of people anyway), a bad driver, a reality TV addict, a master of passive-aggression, a perfectionist, oh, and I'm a mean girl. I don't try to be, but I'm afraid it's genetic. I didn’t even know I was mean until some time around high school when people started telling me I was one of those girls. And it turns out they were right. I think everyone has a mean streak, and I'm sure mine is overactive.

Last year I found out I was pregnant, less than two months after I got married. When I found out I was having a daughter I panicked. How is a mean girl supposed to raise a girl? I don't really want her to be mean, but I want her to be tough and discerning and independent and strong. These days I’d probably classify myself as stand-offish at worst and tolerant at best. I still have a supersized ego, and I'll probably never be the friendliest person in any room, but I do spend a good amount of time feeling sorry for people that I assume are sad or lonely. So I guess I'm making progress.

When (& why) did you start the blog?  I initially started my blog last summer on a complete whim. I didn't have much of a plan and lost steam after about 6 weeks. It sat untouched for almost exactly a year. Earlier this summer I was in my office pretending work and reading the blog of a friend of mine and it just occurred to me, hey, I have a baby, a husband, a job and two dogs, what ever will I do with my free time? So I decided to revive my blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gimme a break

Remember this commercial?

Gimme a break, gimme a break. Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar!"

That is my theme song for the week.
I need a break. And some chocolate. I'm in the middle of my post-family trauma recovery period. I feel guilty on one hand for being happy I can take a break - my MIL and SIL don't get a break anytime soon (but at least they are home in a more comfortable environment). And on the other hand, I truly am relieved.
But I still need a break.

It feels like I'm coming off of a major high. A kick-it-into-gear, do what you've gotta do, adrenaline kind of high. We've been giving our all for nearly 3 months

Friday, September 17, 2010

A big decision

Amelia has a difficult decision to make this weekend.

You see, there's a bit of a rivalry in our household. My dear husband, nice guy that he is, is also (gasp!) a Florida Gator. He pretty much lives & breathes Gator football from September to early January. He is one of the bad guys.
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I, of course, am one of the good guys. Like the cowboy with the white hat in those old movies, I save children/damsels in distress and chase the criminals away. Er, well... perhaps some exaggeration there. But I am, in fact, a Tennessee Vols fan. Close enough.
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Saturday marks another big day for this household. And Amelia is old enough to choose.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Four generations

Inspiration. It comes in many forms. It can materialize over time or hit you over the head in a flash.

What inspires you?

Throughout my life, I've been inspired by family...

I've been inspired by my parents and their 41-year marriage.

I've been inspired by my sister, the PhD, who always strives to be the best. And always succeeds.

I've been inspired by my mother-in-law, who had to stand tall in the face of many challenges to raise three children nearly single-handedly. And then cared for her dear second husband who passed away from cancer last year.

And this summer, I've been inspired by my recently paralyzed sister-in-law, who is set to graduate therapy/rehab and return to Florida tomorrow. (She jokes - at least Florida is flat; her wheelchair will roll better that way!)

I want to introduce you to someone else this morning.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Memory lane

I'm not a true participant in the 'Back To Blogging' event from the SITS Girls... I never really slowed my blogging over the summer. In fact, it picked up - thanks to meeting so many of you through your wonderful blogs and Twitter. With Amelia in school year-round and me working from home, my summer is pretty much exactly the same as my school year.

But I am really enjoying reading the challenges and responses around the blogosphere. Today's challenge was A Post You Wish More People Had Read.

Since my blog is only eight months old, I don't have a tremendous library to choose from. But also, I didn't know many of you a few months ago. So I'm posting more than one. Consider it a little get-to-know-you from me, BalancingMama.


I'm not a trained writer. I may not be as creative as some of my bloggy idols out there. But I write from my heart - and yeah, I like these. Perhaps you didn't get to see them originally:

Julie's Happy List - My first post for Mama Kat's Writing Workshop!

Leave it to... Someone Else - Why I'm glad I'm not a 1950s housewife.

We May Not Be Cool, But We're Moms - Ouch - I realized I'm just not cool anymore.

One Isn't The Only Lonely Number - Because staying at home isn't always as great as it sounds.


And this one: Breathless Moments. This post is actually one of my most-viewed posts (thanks to a SoyJoy/Scary Mommy contest link), but I cannot leave it off this list. I will forever remember this post as a reminder to capture the little things in life. And be thankful.

Achoo...Z!

Do you know Boogie Wipes?


If you don’t, you should. The kids are back in school, and those nasty viruses will start coming home with them. (So get some! And save your UPCs – then receive a free plush Boogs here!)

I discovered Boogie Wipes several months ago. I love how well they get those crusty boogies off my pretty girl’s face. The saline makes Boogie Wipes more effective at dissolving boogie residue than baby wipes. And the grape scent is divine. Like grape-flavored Bubble Yum from back in the day.
This week, I was glad to test out Achooz, the soft saline nose wipes from our incredible mommy friends at Boogie Wipes.

Because two opinions are always better than one, I tested the Achooz myself and appointed my husband to serve on my one-person focus group.
ME: Love them! I used to get a nasty cold about two times each year. With Amelia in school last year, I was perpetually sick. And embarrassed by my red, raw nose. I tried to mask the irritated skin with makeup and soothed it with Vaseline at night. But now, with Achooz, maybe I won’t have to conceal & heal anymore. Why treat the red, raw nose when you can PREVENT it? The next time I feel that scratchy throat or those sniffles coming on, I will stock up on Achooz. The 15-count packs are perfect for my purse or to throw in my drawer at work.
HUSBAND: He’s not a flowery/descriptive kind of guy, but when trying the Achooz, he called them “soothing” and “soft”. He preferred the unscented variety but suggested “the mint would be good if I had a stuffy nose.” (He acted as an official Boogie Wipe sniffer too. The fresh scent was his hands-down favorite. “It smells like clean laundry!”)
Here is the solid proof that my dear husband liked the Achooz and Boogie Wipes:
Monday morning, two days after product testing/sniffing. Amelia climbs into our bed for a little TV time before getting up for the day. She has something on her face. Daddy, thinking it’s some kind of boo-boo, reaches out to investigate. Off comes a big crusty boogie!
“Oh, yuck,” he says “do we have any of those Boogie Wipes in here?”
Oh, yeah. He’s sold.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
Do you want to try Achooz for yourself? For FREE?
Enter here to receive two 15-count packs of Achooz. Be prepared when the next virus hits your house.
To enter, simply do one (or more) of the following:
(1) Leave a comment here.
(2) Follow @ChooseAchooz on Twitter, then comment here and let me know. You must include your Twitter name in your comment.
(3) Follow @BoogieMom on Twitter, then comment here and let me know. You must include your Twitter name in your comment.
(4) Join the Boogie Bunch here, then comment on this post to count your entry.
(5) Like Boogie Wipes on Facebook, then comment on this post to count your entry.
(6) Follow @BalancingMama on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to include @BalancingMama in the tweet so I can count your entry. You can tweet up to 3 times per day for extra entries!
Important: With entries 1-5, make sure to leave your email and/or Twitter name in your comment so I can contact you if you win.
Entries accepted through September 19th.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shopping pet peeve

Went to a nearby WalMart today. Everything had been moved.

They bragged in their signs that "this will be like no other WalMart you've seen!"

Lovely. What this actually means is that I will no longer be able to head straight to the item(s) I need. I won't be able to find ANYTHING. A quick dash into WalMart will instead become a frustrating scavenger hunt, taking more of my precious time than I care to give.

Our area Publix grocery stores recently moved their items. But they moved them with the intention of making all their stores match. Now, no matter which Publix store I enter, I have a pretty good idea where I can find each of my necessary items. Ahhhh, efficiency.

Area Publix stores --> smart.
One silly WalMart location --> not so smart.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy skin

Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention”.

Thanks to my plunge into the world of blogging 9 months ago, I have come in contact with many new people. Fantastic writers, inspiring mothers, and funny friends. Thanks to some of them, I’ve opened my eyes to the world of handcrafted products and ingenious inventions. Etsy, for example, is loaded with crafty moms, amazing artists, and savvy do-it-yourselfers.

Some people begin making goods as a hobby. Others as a means to earn a bit of cash. Others, like Soapwalla Kitchen chef Rachel, create their goods out of the “mother of invention” – necessity.

Rachel has lupus, an autoimmune illness. Like others who suffer from lupus, she can get terrible skin rashes, hives, and irritated skin patches. There were times, she says, when she could barely use water on her skin without irritation.

So Rachel began making her own body products in her Brooklyn apartment using only wholesome vegan ingredients.

I sampled a few of Soapwalla’s products recently: the Luxurious Body Oil, the Shea Butter/Tangerine/Clay Soap Bar, and the Citrus Grove Soap Bar.

The soap bars exceeded my expectations. They felt creamy and soft. And despite the velvety feel, they do not melt quickly in the water. The full-size bars (handcut, 4 oz.) will give you numerous skin-pampering showers. The soap bars I sampled were not overly floral or fruity. They have a very light natural scent, nothing fake or overpowering. I really enjoyed them!

Soapwalla’s product line currently includes nine bar soaps, all utilizing natural ingredients such as cardamom, almond, lavender, oats, lemongrass, and eucalyptus.

I wasn’t so sure about the body oil at first. Having sensitive skin myself, I shy away from oils. I’m a hypo-allergenic, oil free kind of girl. But this oil is not like… oil. It absorbs instantly and doesn’t leave residue on the skin. I put the oil to the ultimate test on my dry, abused heels. Months of flip-flop weather (and no time for a pedicure) leaves unsightly heels on my size seven feet. Soapwalla’s Luxurious Body Oil made my dry, cracked heels soft and smooth after ONE night. And after two nights + two days? I don’t recognize my own feet anymore! I also used it on my arms and legs. Just a touch of oil, and I have no need for thick lotions anymore. The Luxurious Body Oil is highly concentrated and goes a long way. My tiny sample bottle keeps going and going. Soapwalla’s regular bottle size is 4 ounces. This can easily last for months.

Soapwalla’s product line also includes a popular & unique deodorant cream, pregnant belly body oil (a great baby shower gift to spoil mom-to-be!), indulgent bath salts, and hand/body washes.

Hip, hip hooray to Rachel for taking her skin’s needs into her own hands – and sharing her talents and amazing products with us. I wanted to get to know such a take-charge woman a little better, and she was kind enough to respond to my mini-interview:

Are you the creator/owner of Soapwalla? Yes, I am the sole creator, owner and chef of Soapwalla.

Describe yourself with 4 adjectives. Adventuresome, grateful, compassionate, lucky


Where do you get your organic, natural ingredients? I source as many ingredients as possible from local sellers, including the Park Slope Food Co-op, of which I'm a member. I also try to purchase raw ingredients directly from producers/farmers (jojoba, essential oils, etc).

If you had to pick one, which of your products is your personal favorite? Eek, I don't know if I could answer that! The three items that are absolute must haves for me are my face serum, body oil and deodorant cream. I mix up the body wash and soap bar flavors on a regular basis.



Your skin is your largest organ. Make it happy!

To learn more about Soapwalla Kitchen, visit her Etsy shop. A new website, www.soapwallakitchen.com, is coming soon! You can also follow Soapwalla on Twitter or like the Soapwalla Facebook page.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A day to remember

September 11th. 9-11. A day most of the world will never forget.

I was at work. In my office. I started hearing talk of a big plane crash in New York. I got on the Internet. Saw what had happened to the first plane and the World Trade Center tower. Listened to the newscasters. They said it may have been terrorism.

I called my boyfriend (now my husband). He was still asleep, sick that day. I told him to turn on the television. As he watched, we saw the second plane hit. We knew at that moment, this was no ordinary plane crash.

There was talk of more planes. One hit the Pentagon. One later crashed in a field. All air traffic was grounded. No one knew what was going on. Or, maybe we did know. But we were still in too much shock to admit it.

I called my parents. They had been out. Didn't know what I was talking about. I told them to turn on the TV. They gasped. No one could believe what they were seeing.

Some Atlanta-area buildings were closed. At that time, I worked in a building called the Financial Center, similar to the World Trade Center. It's unique in that a highway actually runs underneath it. We were told to go home.

For the rest of that day, the immediate people in my life were with me. We were glued to the television. Never have I, before or since, watched anything for 12 hours straight. We could not pull away.

September 11th, 2001 was a terrifying and heartbreaking day for our country. About three thousand people lost their lives. Heroes who entered the chaos to help save others. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. Someone's children.

I'm sure some happy things occurred that day. I'm sure babies were born to ecstatic parents. Maybe some couples got married. Some students somewhere aced a big test. A teenager may have gotten his/her first car. Mine was just a regular day, until I visited CNN.com around 8-something in the morning to see what the talk was about. Then I did nothing. Just watched and felt numb.

I know we'll always remember what happened to us on that day. I will also never forget the feeling of the next day - September 12th. I drove into work at the usual time. American flags had popped up in yards overnight. Car rear windshields now sported flag stickers. People in Atlanta rush-hour traffic were nicer. Not driving rudely or erratically. Not in a big hurry. We were all just cruising our way down the interstates, going to work and school, making sure life would go on. By doing so, we made sure the bad guys didn't win.

Friday, September 10, 2010

CSN Stores congratulates...

Elissa L.!

You are the lucky winner of the $20 CSN Stores e-gift certificate. CSN will email the certificate to the gmail address you used to enter. Enjoy browsing all the wonderful items CSN has to offer!

Didn't win? No worries! Visit CSN Stores the next time you need, well, just about anything. Furniture, toys, pet supplies, fitness equipment, home decor, cookware, and MORE.

Want another giveaway? Visit next Thursday, 9/16 for my review of Boogie Wipes' new product, Achooz. You can enter to win two packs of brand-new Achooz.

How today's winner was chosen:
Entries were listed in an Excel document as they were received. The number of entries per person was based on the rules as listed in the post. Email-only entries were also included on the list. I then used the Random.org random number generator to pick a line in the Exel document.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

My pantry overfloweth

Do your kids do this to you?

Amelia enjoys some kind of new snack. The Market Pantry real fruit strips from Target. Cheesy Chex Mix. Mandarin oranges. She LOVES them.

She comes home from preschool, thrilled that her teachers gave her Teddy Grahams and Froot Loops. She wants to eat more.

So I, thrilled to have some new snack ideas, haul my booty to the store to stock up. She wiped out a box of fruit strips in a week - so I pick up two more. She raved about the school Froot Loops, so I select the largest box available. Mandarin oranges? Why not get the large jar of them - actually, why not three jars?

I stock my pantry, looking forward to letting Amelia choose from her new & improved plethora of tasty snacktime treats.

So snacktime comes along...

"No, Mommy. I don't want fruit strips."

"But I don't like Froot Loops."

"No oranges, Mommy. I don't like those."

"...what else do we have?"

Insert Mommy eye roll and internal 'AHHHHHHH!' here. I don't have a huge kitchen. I am not blessed to have a gigantic walk-in pantry. What I have is nice, but must remain strategically arranged so I can fit it all in there and find what I need later.

My pantry is now overflowing with snack foods she used to love, but now refuses. Some, like my gigantic box of Froot Loops, are beginning to get stale. I hate being so wasteful. It irks me that I have boxes & bags of snacks no one likes.

Why does she do this to me?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sometimes you just gotta dance

Our little arm-flapping booty shaker really enjoyed herself at Texas Roadhouse Friday night!

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Fessing up - join in!

5 things I am willing to admit:

1. If we've met only 1 or 2 times, it's very likely I do not remember your name. I have a bad habit of forgetting people's names. It usually takes meeting you 3 times before I'll remember for good. I apologize.

2. I use my car horn on a near-daily basis. If you drive terribly, do not GO when the light turns green, or play with your phone while in motion, my car horn and I will let you know what we think. If you end up driving into my neighborhood and - surprise - I know you, I will then be mortified.

3. My career dreams and goals change monthly. Just when I've invented the perfect job for me, I get bored with my idea and think about it all over again. It's a good thing my current gig fits me well - I can take my time choosing a dream.

4. I do not like playing at home. Her games bore me. And sitting on the floor causes back aches. I do, however, love outdoor play. But it must be below 80 degrees. With low humidity. I sweat entirely too much.

5. I still don't have a grasp on this mommy thing. Every time I think I figured it all out, she hits me with something new. I am perpetually confused!

Name one thing you are willing to admit about yourself.

Leave a comment to get it off your chest!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

3-day weekend - giveaway reminder

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Just a friendly reminder to enter the $20 CSN gift card giveaway HERE. Entries accepted through 9/9.


Since I know you will kindly enter the CSN giveaway first, I'll point you to two more awesome giveaways in blog land:

Scary Mommy - custom flip cam

Bargain Mom - $100 Visa gift card


I'll be back tomorrow with a new post. I'm ready to admit...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

This may be a tough one

Amelia will be a full 2-1/2 years old when Halloween comes around. I'm excited that she will be able to help pick her costume. And she'll (hopefully) be excited to wear it for trick-or-treating.

To help psych her up for Halloween, I've been asking her daily what she wants to be. Usually she stares at me, with her big blue eyes and a totally blank face.

Tonight, she said (totally out of the blue), "Mommy, I want to be a princess for Ha-wa-ween."

So I confirmed, "you want to be a princess?".

To which she answered, "No, Mommy. A moose. I want to be a real moose."

Um....OK.



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Wild & woolly

Amelia has crazy hair. It's thick, kinda wavy, with a mind of its own.

Today, Amelia has graciously agreed to share a personal portrait collection of her fashion-forward and trend-setting looks. Enjoy.

The "Wild & Woolly"
Amelia's most frequent look.
A very low-maintenance 'do.

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The "Sugar & Spice"
Often used for school or birthday parties.
Simple & sweet. Just add hairbow.

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The "Aloha"
An attention-grabbing option.
Simply clip on a tropical flower. Any color works!

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The "Diva"
When you just can't get enough accessories.
More bling = more fabulous.

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The "Woodsman"
Only fashionable in Winter or cold weather.
Add warm ear-flap cap and a big stick.

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The "Monkey Pox"
For an edgier look. More of a distraction than a hairstyle.
Add monkey stickers and pretend to be sick.

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And my personal favorite, "This Little Piggy".
The most difficult Amelia style option.
Requires a comb and a 2-year old who can/will stand still for 3 minutes.

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Guarantees comments from strangers.
Especially good for attracting grandparents!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Big girl meals

Amelia is ready for big girl mealtime. We've graduated from the highchair to a comfy pink booster seat. She's a pro at drinking from a straw and can even use her own big girl cup. Now it's time to look at some new big girl plates. I'm not quite brave enough to give her my heavy and breakable wedding gift dinnerware, so I'm going with Corelle. My sister and I had Corelle dishes in college. They are fabulously priced, very lightweight, and virtually unbreakable. And unlike Amelia's baby dishes, Corelle dishes can go in the microwave. And the dishwasher too.

Corelle glass dinnerware "is designed to make an impact and take one". I bet Amelia will put it to the test. I'm so happy to welcome her to Mommy & Daddy's dinner table!

Would you like to try some big girl dishes for yourself? Or maybe your faithful dog needs something new? Still have a baby - maybe a new diaper bag?

The nice folks at CSN Stores have offered one of my readers a $20 e-gift card to spend at any of their 200+ online stores. Whatever you may want, CSN probably has it.

http://www.cookware.com/
http://www.allpetfurniture.com/
http://www.diaperbagboutique/
http://www.justkidsrugs.com/
http://www.thewallartstore.com/

The e-gift card will be emailed directly to the lucky winner from CSN.

TO ENTER:

BONUS ENTRIES (must do the above first):

  • Link to this giveaway in your own blog - send me a link so I can check it out (good for FIVE extra entries).
  • Share the giveaway status on Facebook. You must "like" 3 Moms In One to share it from the wall - send me a comment or email letting me know you shared (good for FOUR extra entries).
  • Tweet about the giveaway - include @BalancingMama so I can see it (good for THREE extra entries).
Good luck! Entries will be accepted through September 9th. A winner will be announced on September 10th.

(Note: Due to shipping restrictions, only US and Canada residents are eligible)


For more giveaways from me & some favorite bloggers, please visit the "Giveaways & Reviews" tab above!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dear athletes...

Linking up to Mama Kat again! The prompt I chose this week:

Write an open letter to a celebrity.

I'm stretching the rules a little. I'm not writing to one celebrity, but to many.

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Dear professional athletes,

Please don't forget who idolizes you. Millions of children love you. They want to wear your jerseys. Your shoes. They want your posters on their walls. They probably dream about being just like you.

Money gets thrown at you. Women throw themselves at you. Drugs, alcohol, and fast cars are plentiful in your world. You have fame, wealth, and power. Any many of you have guns, arrests, and shattered marriages. At least 38 NFL player arrests in 2010. NBA "heroes" with numerous violent charges. Baseball players who cheated their way through with illegal substances. Tiger Woods - you forgot the importance of family and the strength of your influence on your youngest fans.

Yeah, you play sports for a living. And you're good at it. But I think the definition of YOU includes a lot more than the outcome of a game. Who are you off the field? Away from the track? Back home from the golf course? Can our kids still believe in you?

To the pro athletes who realize the rules apply to them, I ask you to continue behaving in a manner worthy of our star-struck little boys and girls. While you may not get the headlines like your ego-driven teammates, you have a better chance at succeeding in life.

To the rest of you - shape up. Little eyes are upon you.

Sincerely,
Balancing Mama (Julie)

When you refuse to cook

Like to eat out? I do!

Like to eat out with the kid(s)? Well... sometimes. We had a period where Amelia was banned from restaurants, but she seems to be behaving better these days. While I enjoy my grown-up date nights, more often than not, Amelia is with us.

For those of you who also like to (or must) eat at restaurants with your kids, check out this article, written by a friend of mine. She helps guide us to the healthiest kids menu choices and offers a few extra suggestions as to how we can order more wisely.

Congrats to...

...Beth! (@bethwillis01 on Twitter)

You have won the $15 WalMart gift card and apple charm pin from my very first giveaway! I will contact you via email to get your mailing address.

For those of you who entered and did not win, no worries! I have another giveaway from online mega-stores company CSN. The winner will receive a $20 e-gift certificate to spend on one of 200+ amazing shopping sites. Check with me tomorrow! The post will go live at 11:00 EST.


How today's winner was chosen:

Entries were listed in an Excel document as they were received. The number of entries per person was based on the rules as listed in the post. Tweet-only entries were also included on the list. I then used the Random.org random number generator to pick a line in the Exel document.
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