Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fun for the kids

Imagine the look of wonder and surprise when a child receives a photo of Santa caught in the act in his or her very own home. is a unique website that helps visitors create those memorable keepsake photos.

In three simple steps anyone can upload a holiday photo, add Santa Claus and print it as proof… or share it via Facebook and Twitter. Last-minute shoppers can purchase Gift Cards and eGift Certificates for loved ones with children, making a great gift idea even if you don't have kids yourself.

Merry Christmas!

Want 50% off?   Just enter: SANTA50 and get your entire order for 1/2 price!

I LOVE my Job

Yes LOVE with all caps! It is wonderful and I am thankful everyday that life has turned out this way. I would like to thank my previous job for letting me go. Because while it was not good at the time and I was very sad and upset about it, this change has been the best thing for my family and I believe it will keep getting better and better.

So Thank You old bosses for treating me like garbage and kicking me to the curb! If it was not so socially unacceptable I would send you a card to show my appreciation. While you are missing my skills and talents my new bosses are loving me and my work.

Thank you New Job! For appreciating me and making me feel welcome. I love working for you and hope to do so for a long, long, long time.

Anyone else have a job that they love? Or perhaps something happened in your life that you thought was the end of the world that ended up being wonderful?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What to Expect Review and Giveaway (2 Winners)

When I found out I was pregnant with Big J the first thing I did was research some good pregnancy books. My lovely husband went out and got me What to Expect When You are Expecting and I dove right in. I cannot even tell you how many times I looked at the book going through pregnancy to relieve my fears and curiosities. I then followed it up with What to Expect the First Year and What to Expect the Toddler Years. (Now you can find What to Expect the Second Year)

When we found out we were having Little J, I dug out my What to Expect Books for a refresher course on well what to expect. Since both of my pregnancies were different from each other these books helped me to know that what I was experiencing was normal and when to call my doctor if necessary. The later books have helped me with questions about my children's health as well as how to discipline effectively. Since my family lives so far away from me and I did not have a lot of friends at the time, these books became my go to resource.


It all started with a baby…and a book. Heidi Murkoff conceived the idea for What to Expect When You're Expecting during her first pregnancy, when she couldn’t find answers to her questions or reassurance for her worries in the books she’d turned to for much-needed advice. Determined to write a guide that would help other expectant parents sleep better at night, Heidi delivered the proposal for What to Expect When You’re Expecting just hours before delivering her daughter, Emma.

Dubbed the “pregnancy bible,” the iconic New York Times bestseller is now in its all-new fourth edition, with over 17 million copies in print, and according to USA Today, is read by 93 percent of women who read a pregnancy book. Other titles in the series include Eating Well When You’re Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, What to Expect Before You’re Expecting (a complete preconception plan), and the newest member of the What to Expect family: What to Expect the Second Year, the must-have guide for parents of toddlers. The What to Expect books have sold more than 34 million copies in the US alone, and are published in over 30 languages.

You can also find more resources online at

Buy the Books
All the What to Expect books can be purchased at the What to Expect bookstore.

2 Lucky Big J & Little J readers will win a set of three books that includes (Yes that is right
2 Winners)

 More comprehensive and reassuring than ever, the 4th edition is a cover-to-cover revision of the book that has more than 14 million copies in print.

Get ready for an eventful year! This thorough guide will help inform and comfort nervous new parents.

 With the brand-new sequel to The First Year, you’ll get a breakdown of all that your toddler (and you) will experience, from major milestones to perplexing behavior.

Enter with the Raflecopter form below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

With Christmas approaching I had to share

For those of you who have not read the article below by Single Dad Laughing it is a must read!

One favor, read the article do not just look at the title and move on or get offended.

This is a link to the original post  I'm Christian unless you're gay

Below are links to the follow up posts which include e-mails and letters from followers, some good and some bad. You might want to have tissues near.

Reponse to Post
Response video
Men in Uniform Respond

If you do not agree with the post that is fine, it is simply something I needed to share. I will take all comments good and not good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Been Awhile - Bucket List Update

Awhile back I started my living, breathing bucket list and decided it was time for an update. 

Looking at it, it has been going a bit slow, looks like I need to add some more short term items to my list. 

1. Travel to every state in the US at least once in my life. I would love to stay in every state but will be happy with touching my feet on the ground of every state.

2. Take a cruise with my family, hopefully this one happens soon!

3. Have a honeymoon (without the kids).

4. Host my 1st giveaway on my blog  This has been done a couple times. 

5. Win a new blog makeover from Simply Stacie and Kelly's Lucky You Build a Beautiful Blog Week. Yes I won!!!

6. Have a career that I love.  - I changed this one and I think I might have found a place for this to be possible. I love my job and the company I work for.
7. Get 200 followers on my blog. - Done now on to # 8

8. Get 500 followers on my blog.

9. Get 1000 followers on my blog.

10. See Cavalia again, loved it so much!!

11. Take my daughters horse back riding.

12. Own a dog, of course not until my daughters are older and can help. Cross this one off since Little J is allergic to dogs and cats

13. Lose 40 lbs - Working on this one, down 15!!

14. Learn to cook at least enough to feed my family more then boxed items.

15. Finish both my daughter's baby books.

16.  Renew my vows with my husband at the local Renaissance festival.

17. Own a home with a backyard. 

18. Go to the circus.

19. Finally take the time to get both my daughters christened, yes I know one is 4 but all our family is out of state and we were really trying to get it done back in NH, but as you can see that has not happened.

20. Find the time to have a girl's night out without feeling guilty. - Girls night out, check. Guilt, still there. 

21. Find someone I trust to watch my children. - This one is sort of complete. I have people who I will leave Big J with but I am still not comfortable leaving Little J alone with anyone. Ok I know I am crazy I mean she is 13 months old now. I guess I also feel bad leaving two children with someone, especially because two of the people I trust already have two of their own children to watch. Anyway I am working on this one. 

22. Learn calming techniques so that I can reduce my stress level. 

23. Be able to live comfortably without having to worry about how I am going to pay my bills. I work so hard and still struggle everyday. 

24. Go camping with my girls, although this one I am willing to wait on until Little J is older. 

25. Finally let go of the "bad" people in my life even if some of them are blood. 

26. Stand up for myself better. You are not better then me just different so get off your high horse before you fall down!

27. Take our vacation to Myrtle Beach that we have planned, cancelled, talked about but never been able to go on. 

28. Find my husband one great, perfect gift that he will not exchange and will not leave me broke!

Anyone else have a bucket list? Want to share some of your items?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lucky or not?

So lately my luck seems to be in the good zone or so I thought. I have won a couple contests at my work and earned a bonus that even with the crazy bonus tax (which was on the gift cards I won too) was still really good. Yesterday I even won Rio on blue-ray and a book from Charlotte Parent Magazine. So I was thinking it was time to play the lottery... and then it all crashed.

So you may know that I just started a job about 70 days ago after being unemployed for 7 months and struggling to pay bills. Which means life is getting better and we are catching up on bills, etc and were actually going to be able to buy Christmas gifts for the J's without having to worry about how to pay bills.

Then as it sometimes does... life crashed around us. I shouldn't say that, I mean I still have my job and we are all healthy which is a great blessing. Yesterday while driving Little J to daycare the car died. Now I did look on the bright side that we were not driving down the highway or in the city and that I have a coworker I commute with that was able to drive me to work and Big J to school.  But today we find out it is going to cost $650 to fix, which I know it could be worse but that is every penny in my bank account and some that I do not have.

Did I mention that was our Christmas money? Now I do not need presents from my hubby... I can do without.. But I hate working so hard and not be able to get my daughters the gifts they want. I am not talking every gift they want because lets me honest Big J wants EVERYTHING! I just want them to have some great presents to open on Christmas morning from their hardworking Mommy and Daddy.

Alright pity party is over. Time to pick myself up and make it work like I do.

Here is a cute face to bring a smile to your face

My Little J - Looking like they woke her up from her nap to take the picture! She is one of the reasons why I smile and move on.

Wishing all my readers happy times and I hope that everything is looking bright for your holidays. Feeling down? Feel free to vent below and maybe together we can find some kind words or a good laugh to cheer us up. Or let me know what makes you smile and get up in the morning when life is getting a little rough.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Heelys - Four-Day Deal for Black Friday

Buy any pair of Heelys or HX2s, and get second pair for $25;
buy a Nano, get any pair of shoes for $25; free ground shipping on all orders.

The Four-Day Deal is only available online at the Heelys Shop ( and is only valid from Friday, November 25, through Monday, November 28, 2011.
This offer is for US customers only.

Follow Heelys
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kashi Review

As a working mom with two children I am always looking for snacks and breakfast items that are easy, nutritious and appealing to me, Big J and Little J. No small feat, but I have found some with the help of Kashi and their TLC Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Granola Bars, Cinnamon Harvest Cereal and TLC Soft-Baked Ripe Strawberry Cereal Bars. Thanks to Kashi and Mom Meet for providing the product.

For more than 25 years, Kashi has stood up for real food, offering a variety of naturally nutritious foods and educational resources for everyone to enjoy. Their products are natural, minimally processed, and free of highly refined sugars, artificial additives and unnatural preservatives. This is something that has recently become very important to the hubs and I as we deal with Big J's hyperactivity. With a variety of options, including cereal, bars, waffles, frozen entrees and crackers you are bound to find items that everyone in the family will love.

TLC Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Granola Bars
My hands down favorite of the three (I mean chocolate!!) the bars are made with Kashi's signature blend of Seven Whole Grains and features the smooth taste of peanuts with rich, dark chocolate for a sweet and savory combination. This is perfect for when the late afternoon chocolate craving hits (or anytime a snack is in order). The dark chocolate satisfies my need for sweets and the grains and peanuts keep me full. Did I mention the 7 grams of fiber 4 grams of protein? Big J is also a fan and has had one in her lunch most days the past couple of weeks. Sadly, due to Little J's peanut allergy she is not allowed to have any.

Cinnamon Harvest Cereal
Since Little J was unable to try the bars I let her have first taste of the Cinnamon Harvest Cereal which she loves! The cereal is bite-sized organic whole-wheat biscuits, light sweetened and baked with real organic cinnamon. Tastes great and contains 20% of my daily fiber requirements and 2/3 of my daily recommended whole grain intake...bring it on.  I do have to mention that I love cereal and will eat it any time of day so I know cereal. These are also great because the small size means that my kids can have some without milk and it makes a great snack.

TLC Soft-Baked Ripe Strawberry Cereal Bars.
The cereal bars were not a favorite for Big J or Little J, but I enjoyed them. I found them a little dry but still very tasty. A great grab and go breakfast on those days when I just do not have the time to sit still and eat. The Rip Strawberry Cereal Bars are baked up toasty and golden with fruit and wildflower honey for natural goodness. They offer up to 3 grams of fiber and 11grams of whole grains.  Kashi suggests microwaving them for a few seconds to create a warm pie taste. Which I have not tried yet but am planning on it.

I also shared these Kashi treats with other Moms and the feedback was great. With so many choices from Kashi the parents were able to find good snacks that their children would love and most times the mom's loved the snacks too. The hands down favorite was the TLC Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Granola Bars for both parents and children. The bars tasted wonderful and the moms could feel good about giving them to their children.

 For more information about Kashi and their products please visit their website and Facebook page.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Mom's Meet blogger I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Marzetti Old Fashioned Caramel Dip Review and Giveaway

Want a chance to win $20 - $1000 Amazon gift cards and enjoy a great treat? Then grab a specially marked tub of Marzetti Old Fashioned Caramel Dip to try you hand at the Lucky Pick Instant Win Game. If you get a lucky pick head over to to enter your code and claim your prize. (contest ends 11/30/11)

With holiday entertaining season upon us, everyone is looking for quick and easy crowd pleasers that fit a variety of occasions. Marzetti® Caramel Dips are the perfect finishing touch for a variety of party favorites – whether it’s a dip for apples, pears and pretzels (My favorite!) or a special ingredient in a delicious recipe.

Throwing a brunch get together for the holiday? How about impressing your guests with BakedPancake with Caramel Banana Sauce

Needs some easy and delicious dessert ideas? Try Caramel Cashew Pie or for something a little different serve Caramel Mocha Coffee. If you do please feel free to send me an invite!

I have always loved Marzetti Old Fashioned Caramel Dip but have not had it in awhile and had never thought to try it in a recipe. I prefer my apples with a little caramel sauce for a great, healthy treat. It is also a great way to get Big J to eat more fruit! I am thinking my new weekly treat is going to be the Caramel Mocha Coffee, of course that is only if the dip lasts that long.

For more recipe ideas and additional product information visit

Buy It
Marzetti Caramel Dips are available in your grocer’s produce section for a suggested retail price of $3.99 per 16-ounce package (prices may vary by store)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

ChildUp Review - Teach your child to Count

Since 2005, the ChildUp Team of early childhood development experts and dedicated parents is providing information and developing solutions and tools for parents who intend to raise successful, balanced, and happy children. 

The ChildUp program is based on decades of practical positive parenting experience in real life situations and families, backed up by leading worldwide scientific research in early education from the past 10 years.

ChildUp offers a series of efficient solutions and tools in matter of parenting, early childhood development, and early learning: the ChildUp Online Parenting Courses, the ChildUp Early Learning Game Cards, the ChildUp Early Learning Applications, and the ChildUp Early Learning Method. 

The two current packs is the ChildUp's Early Learning Game Card Series are Teach Your Child to Count to 10 and Teach Your Child to Count to 20.

Teach Your Child to Count to 10 - Math and Logic #1  is the first pack in ChildUp's Early Learning Game Cards. Features bright colors, big numbers and animals from around the world.
  • Includes 48 Child’s Cards to learn to count from 1 to 10 while discovering four different series of 10 popular animals.
  • Includes 16 Parent’s Cards presenting the 1st part of the ChildUp Early Learning Method, with practical early learning and parenting advice.
    • Helps parents to teach:
      • Numbers from 0 to 10
      • Numbers as quantities and symbols
      • The first steps of addition

  • Includes 48 Child’s Cards to learn to count from 10 to 20 while discovering four different series of 10 new animals.
  • Includes 16 Parent’s Cards presenting the 2nd part of the ChildUp Early Learning Method, with practical early learning and parenting advice.
    • Helps parents to teach:
      • Numbers from 10 to 20
      • Odd and even numbers
      • First additions and subtractions
      • Categorizing, sorting, and comparing

They have also created a new app The ChildUp Early Learning Application “iCount-to-10”  which was created to help parents and early childhood educators teach children from 1 to 5 years old to count to 10. By playing this game with an adult, any child will learn to count to 10 (one of the very first steps in arithmetic), numbers as quantities and symbols, and the basics of addition. All that while discovering 40 popular animals and their real sounds. Moreover, with the app comes the ChildUp Early Learning Method, which provides precious information on brain development, early learning and parenting expertise.

Our Review
Both Big J & Little J love the colorful cards. Of course Little J is still too young to really understand, but she loves listening to her sister say the numbers and has even started repeating a few herself! Yeah to new words. Big J also loves the app, but poor Little J is scared by the animal sounds. (She has a fear of strange noises at the moment) Mommy is hoping she out grows that soon so she too can enjoy playing with the app and learning. 

Buy it:  Each pack of cards can be purchased from the ChildUp website for $9.99
The iCount-to-10 ChildUp Early Learning App is available at the Apple Online Store.

We received one pack of Teach Your Child to Count to 10, one pack Teach Your Child to Count to 20 and a free download of The ChildUp app curtesy of ChildUp and Family Review Network. All opinions are my own (with the help of Big J & Little J) and 100% honest. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mommy Rolling Along - Heelys Review

For those of you who have not heard of Heelys they are shoes with a single or double wheel in the heel and they allow the wearer to go from walking to rolling simply by shifting their weight to their heels. 

When I first applied to review Heelys I was thinking I would get a pair for Big J, but when I was accepted and started looking at my choices I realized she was still a little too small feet wise so I decided on a pair for myself. Of course I was scared because I am not know for my graceful abilities! 

When they arrived I was very excited and tried them on right away. Since I was not ready to try outside just yet I tried them out on the kitchen floor. Lets just say I won't be doing any tricks anytime soon, but I figured out how to go in a straight line! The best part is that the wheels come out and you have a comfortable, stylish sneaker to wear.  The Heelys site also offers plenty of videos on how to start using your Heelys as well as how to do certain tricks. There is also the Heelys Safety Playbook which gives you some great tips on keeping yourself and your children safe.

Of course now Big J wants a pair, so perhaps in a year or so when she is a little older I will be picking out one for her. She will be getting the ones with two wheels which is more for beginners.  Maybe her and I will be tricking it out in our Heelys together! 

Where to purchase:
   - Heelys can be purchased online at the Heelys Shop or use the search feature to find a store near you that sells them.

More Information about Heelys:
 - Heelys Facebook Page
 - Follow on Twitter

I was sent a pair of heelys for review through Business2Blogger for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blog Hopping

Joining in on some blog hopping today. Join me!

The Blog Entourage

On another note we are almost to the one week countdown to my new JOB!!! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We Now Have a Pretty Pink Cast

So as you may know Big J broke her arm on Saturday and was in a splint from the ER. If not you can read the story here. Well now she has a pretty pink cast on her arm and everyone keeps oohing and aahing over her.  Of course Mommy was the first one to sign it!

 Waiting for the doctor - Great face Big J 

 Love the hair Little J 

 Big J had hair horns!

Waiting for her cast to dry 

Mommy was the first to sign it - Now she can hold my heart in her hand  

I told her to look sad and pitiful 

I told her to look sad and pitiful 

She has it on for 4 weeks, so we go October 4th. This morning she started to wonder how exactly they are going to take it off. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Big J & the Broken Arm

So on Saturday Big J and Little J were coloring on the black and white board in the hallway.  Little J was standing on a kitchen chair so she could reach better and Big J was upset because she did not have a chair. So the Hubs gave her one of the wooden kid chairs from her room.

Well that was not good enough for Big J because she was still shorter then her sister. To remedy this Big J took a little kid plastic chair and put it on top of the wooden kid chair. The proceeded to stand on it and call to her father to come see. Hubs got about three steps down the hall and we heard thud and screaming.

Big J was clutching her right arm and crying. We had her lay on the couch and put ice on it but she was still crying and whining after five minutes. Now as a parent I knew that something was wrong. Big J is dramatic when she hurts herself but she gets over it quickly. So Hubs got ready and headed to the ER with Big J around 6pm on Saturday.

After x-rays we got the news, Big J had broken her arm! She is in a splint and a sling at the moment. Of course it is a holiday weekend so the Ortho doctor is not open until tomorrow. So I have to call and hopefully will get an appointment tomorrow for Big J. Not sure if she will get a cast but at 5 it is exciting for her because she knows her friends can color on it.

My poor broken baby!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Look Inside the Townsend Residence

So ever since I was laid off the Hubs and I have been working on all the projects that we never had the time to do. We had already been purchasing items before I was laid off since it really did not cost us much, which was a good thing since unemployment pays very little.  Well I realized I should have taken before pictures, but if you have ever lived in an apartment then you have seen before pictures. So for your viewing pleasure, here are the after pictures. 

 Bathroom # 1 - Technically the guest bathroom

  Bathroom # 1 - Technically the guest bathroom

  Bathroom # 1 - Technically the guest bathroom

 New dining room chandelier

Crystal shelf 

Kitchen - The back wall is actually brown 

The hallway - the stripes are painted and match the curtain that cover the washer and dryer area. 

Little J's room 

Blackboard/whiteboard wall - outside Big J's and Little J's rooms 

 Blackboard/whiteboard wall - outside Big J's and Little J's rooms 

Big J's room - Coloring corner

Big J's room - Pink & Purple Princess

 Big J's room - Pink & Purple Princess

Big J's room - Wall of shelves 

Big J's room sign 

Big J's baby shadow box 

Little J's baby shadow box