Wednesday, September 30, 2009

10 Things to NOT Say to a WOHM

Just in case you ever wondered what we really hear when you tell us these things... 10 Things to NOT Say to a Work-Out-Of-The-Home-Mom

1) "I took off work for the first four years' of my child's life to be with him."

Translation: if you were a caring mother, you wouldn't work until your child is school aged.

2) "A woman's place is at home, so we trust God for our income."
Translation: if you use your brain and hands to work, you aren't a true Christian. (Never mind what the Bible actually says about that issue...)

3) You came back to work after only six weeks? Well, be glad. I took off 12 weeks after my son was born and it was much harder than if I had only taken 6 weeks off.
Translation: I got 12 weeks with my baby and you only had 6! Na-na-na-na-boo-boo!

4) "I take naps when my children do."
Translation: when I'm exhausted, I sleep. When you're exhausted, well, when do you sleep, anyway?

5) "I'm already pregnant with my next baby; my kids will only be 15-months apart! When are you going to have another one?"
Translation: I have the ability to take care of two children. Do you? (answer: absolutely NOT! How am I supposed to be pregnant while working FT, maintaining a home, transporting a baby for childcare, getting up in the middle of the night with a baby, and keeping my family healthy...all at the same time?! And how could I possibly live through leaving two babies in someone else's arms every day?! You must be crazy...)

6) "I send my daughter to day care twice a week so that I have some me-time."
Translation: I see my daughter so much that I actually want to have time without her.

7) "You breastfeed? Oh, I quit that; it's too much trouble."
My response: yeah? Try pumping at work. Or anywhere, for that matter.

8) "I love seeing all of my baby's 'firsts!"
Translation: Must be you don't care about firsts. After all, you work.

9) "I am so bored being a SAHM."
Translation: I am a spoiled princess who has the audacity to not use my time wisely nor to delight in every single moment of my child growing...and then I'm going to tell you about it.

10) "Did you know that you're son is crawling?"
Translation: you obviously spend no time with your child, so you won't know when he reaches developmental milestones.

Disclaimer: I do realize that SAHM's receive enough flack of their own. While not downplaying that, this is simply a humorous and honest look at the WOHM's side of things. And yes, I have heard each and every one of these things myself!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Homeschooling: my experience

Home schoolers often face a lot of negative, incorrect assumptions from the general public. The most common ones being that 1) you will not know how to function socially, 2) you will be sheltered from every good and bad thing in this world (because, of course, you never leave your home), and 3) you wear funny clothes and have a billion siblings. Interestingly, when people got to know me in my high school years, they were always surprised to find that I was indeed home schooled--I guess I wasn't what they were expecting.

I was home schooled (commonly referred to as a "homie" by home schoolers) for my entire K-12 career, as were (and still are), my seven sisters. Yes, I said 7 sisters--that makes 8 of us altogether. It wasn't until I entered college that I stepped foot into a public classroom both as a student at our local community college and also as a substitute teacher in the local grade school system. The real world came as such a shock to me that I immediately threw out my ankle length dresses, cut myself a set of bangs, and practiced saying the word "sex" out loud because I had only ever read it before (and only then in the context of the Bible). Oh wait, none of that actually happened.

Being home schooled is not a restraining education system. In fact, it is the most liberating that you could have if you do it right. The only other educational model that I hold in as much esteem is a true Montessorian modality, and that is harder to come by than a solid home education. So what exactly does it mean to be "home schooled?" People often ask me who "taught" me, where I sat to do my school, and if I ever left home. These questions show me that people misinterpret being home schooled as just a different way of schooling, not a different way of educating. To really understand what goes on in the home school system, you must first stop thinking of it as traditional schooling.

To further illustrate this point, I will explain the answer to the three questions above:

1) Who "teaches" you when you're home schooled?
Answer: Many people and many things. During the early grades, there will be much 1:1 instruction similar to a traditional teacher role. Most of the education in home schooled families is done by the mother during the morning and early part of the day (you will find that homies are able to complete the same amount of coursework much faster than their non-homie counterparts). As the student progresses in grades, the traditional teacher role will become more of a mentor role as the student takes on a strong self learner ability. Think about it--do you need a teacher to read the text book to you in High School?

It is generally a parent who will oversee and correct your work, though home schooled students are often expected to self-correct where possible. For instance, I would compare my math question answers to that in the teacher's manual for my math curriculum. If I couldn't correct any mistakes I'd made, I would then ask a parent who would re-explain the concept to me until I understood it. This brings up the issue of cheating from traditionally schooled people, and I must admit that cheating isn't a problem. There's no need for cheating since you're already the top of your class and the point of school is to learn, not to merely fill up time.

Many education options are available to home schoolers. Most use a variety of different curriculums including even developing their own. There are textbook, video, Internet, workbook, and project based curriculums on the market right now. You can also use hands on experiences for schooling though, such as gardening (botany, anyone?), ice skating (P.E.), and volunteering to maintain a shelf at your local library (alphabetizing). If you are interested in a "classroom" option, there are home schooled groups all over the country that meet on a regular basis for specialized classroom instruction, usually in something like art, music, or a foreign language. A little unknown fact, too, is that in most places, home schoolers can opt to take as many or as few classes at their local public school as they wish.

2) Where do you sit to do school?
Answer: anywhere, and most of the time, I'm not sitting. This again goes back to the idea of education vs. schooling. Research on learning shows that we learn best when provided with a multi-sensory approach that allows us to experience something rather than learn about something. Many students struggle in a traditional classroom not because they're unable to learn, but because the teaching style doesn't meet that student's learning style (learning styles: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, musical, etc.). Research also shows that a child's best learning environment is one that is free from basic distractions (hunger, cold, etc.) and is comfortable. I used to lay outside under the sun while completing an English assignment, sit on the floor while piling math manipulatives, and curl up on my bed with a calculator for math. Handwriting, though, was always done at the dining room table. ;-) If you were home, would you want to sit in the same spot all day?

3) Do you ever leave home?
Answer: I suppose that maybe somewhere, home schoolers stay at home all day. I have never met them, though. Because home schooling allows you to complete your schooling in a shorter time frame every day, you have a lot more time to devote to other things. My sisters and I were/are constantly involved in volunteering (libraries, fire departments, etc.), sports (*gasp* even joining the public school's ski club!), music (lessons, choirs, bands), hanging out with friends, and pursuing the things that were interesting to us--I was even able to start and run my own business while still in high school!

With all of this said, home schooling requires discipline and creativity. Done correctly, it will provide your children with a very well rounded and strong academic experience while providing them with even more new experiences during their young years than a non-home schooled child typically will. Done incorrectly, your child will not be academically prepared for college and may not understand all of the "social" rules of his or her peer group. For me, the home school experience was a brilliant one. I was able to pursue things I wouldn't have had time for otherwise, academically learned more than my public and private schooled friends, was well prepared for college (3.98 GPA at a Junior Ivy-League 4 year college--all while double majoring and working full time), and have had a very satisfying social experience for as long as I can remember. Home schooling, in my experience and opinion, is like Mark Harris' song that says "so let my love give you roots and help you find your wings." It is the opportunity to learn.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I lied. Not on purpose, mind you. I blame it on having a crazy schedule and no Internet at home (hello, if you haven't already nominated me here, then you really need to because I need that money to get the Internet!). See, the Green Cleaning event was supposed to begin, oh, last week. Did it begin then? Nope. Is it beginning today? Probably not. *sigh*. I really can't say anything other than that things have been hectic and I just didn't get a chance to start it up. Will it be happening, though? YES! And you will still gain extra entries for grabbing the button before I officialy start it off! The good news is that the prizes are fabulous (including a $300.00 Activion) and are worth the wait. :-)

In other news, once my fingers thaw out from sitting in this ice box of an office, I have a lot of pressing thoughts in my head that are screaming to get out in the form of a blog...So what do you want to hear about first? Leave your vote(s) below.

1) My favorite blogs. What do I read and why do I read it?

2) How to make your blog successful (a series of posts)

3) Being a firefighter (yeah, this could be another series)

4) Homeschooling (yet another series...geesh!)

5) Interesting things about me:
5.a- my husband and daughter
5.b- growing up in a family of 8 girls...and one bathroom.
5.c- my dreams

6) A personal rant about the "disability" culture we've created in America

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Harry Connick Jr Your Songs Review & Giveaway

Harry Connick Jr's new album Your Songs was just released to the public on September 22. I was given the opportunity to review this CD and also to offer you the opportunity to win your own copy!

Having myself taught piano lessons for 8 years, drum lessons for 6 years, and numerous random instruments throughout time, I obviously lay much importance on incorporating music into my family's daily life. Combining this love with much musical education, I am also a thorough critic when listening to new music. :-)

Harry Connick Jr's Your Songs CD has taken familiar songs but put a new spin on them by arranging them to be orchestrated in a "big band era" sort of way. I best describe it as background or dinner music--it's easy listening, flowing, and melodic. You'll find yourself put at ease with the major key signatures and smooth male vocals (that would be Harry--who names their kid "Harry?" is that his real name?!), but also engaged from time to time as you realize that you know the song he's singing. One thing that really made me respect this album was that Harry arranged all of the pieces for the orchestra himself as well as performed on it. I like it when musicians have the technical knowledge to do such things! You'll find these classic hits on Your Songs:

  • All The Way (Frank Sinatra)
  • Just The Way You Are (Billy Joel)
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (Elvis Presley)
  • And I Love Her (The Beatles)
  • (They Long To Be) Close To You (The Carpenters)
  • Besame Mucho
  • The Way You Look Tonight
  • First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Roberta Flack)
  • Your Song (Elton John)
  • Some Enchanted Evening
  • And I Love You So (Don McLean)
  • Who Can I Turn To? (Tony Bennett)
  • Smile (Charlie Chaplin)
  • Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole)

So the big question: do I recommend this album? I must say that yes, I do. The music is well designed and things work together smoothly. It's a type of music that you either must be in the mood for or that must have the right occasion (this will be the CD I pull out for a dinner party or housewarming event), but you'll be enjoying the nostalgic qualities of it each time you listen!

Win It! To gain your initial entry into this contest, I want to know what your favorite genre of music is. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry along with an email address!Contest ends Friday, October 16, 2009 at 0730 hours, EST.

Earn additional entries after you've done the above by...

* Blogging about this contest (2 entries)

* Sporting my blog button

* Sporting my "Green Cleaning" button (2 entries)

* Subscribing to me

* Following me

* Tweeting about this contest (1 tweet per day)

* Voting me up/etc. on Technorati, StumbleIt, or anywhere else (tell me where!)

* Emailing three friends about this contest

Be Blessed,

*Please Nominate Me!*

Granola Nut Clusters Review & Giveaway

Attention nut lovers! MyBlogSpark is a company that works with bloggers to provide reviews about products for companies. I got the honor of checking out Nature Valley's new Granola Nut Clusters through them. I'd forgotten that I'd even signed up for the review until receiving my package in the mail and feeling like I was opening a Christmas present. First, I found a sweet day-pack sized bag made from 50% post consumer waste materials. It's the perfect size and shape to hold some snacks, a water bottle, a knife, map, and first aid kit for a day hike. Even my husband commented on how much he liked it!

Secondly, I found a small pair of binoculars, a flashlight, and a stainless steel water bottle. These aren't the most expensive thing on the market, but they're decent. The binoculars are clear (would be good to keep in the car for those times when you need to spy on a suspicious character at the grocery store), the water bottle doesn't contain scary chemicals, and the flashlight has good beam strength.

Lastly, included were full size bags of each of the new Granola Nut Cluster flavors: roasted cashew, nut lovers, roasted almond, and honey roasted peanut. Since I had jumped back on the weight-loss bandwagon, I first read all of the ingredients. Surprised and happy was I to find that they're using all natural ingredients! I quickly opened three of the bags to sample the clusters. Bite size and flavorful, these aren't salty or too sweet. They would be good on a hike because you aren't left with unquenchable thirst and they're high in protein. Each bag reseals making travel and freshness easy!

Buy It! Check your local grocery store, or shop online for General Mills.

Win It! MyBlogSpark is giving away this same prize package to one of my readers. You will receive all four flavors of the Granola Nut Clusters, a handy dandy 50% recycled sling backpack, a pair of binoculars, a flashlight, and a stainless steel water bottle! To enter, you must share your best camping/hiking/nature tip with us. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and to include your email address each time. Contest ends Friday, October 9, 2009 at 0730 hours, EST.

Earn additional entries after you've done the above by...

* Blogging about this contest (2 entries)
* Sporting my blog button
* Sporting my "Green Cleaning" button (2 entries)
* Subscribing to me
* Following me
* Tweeting about this contest (1 tweet per day)
* Voting me up/etc. on Technorati, StumbleIt, or anywhere else (tell me where!)
* Emailing three friends about this contest
* Sharing a different camping/outdoor tips

Good luck and be blessed!

PS- while you're visiting Nature Valley's website, they have a link where you can play a game and win some pomegranate granola bars or movie takes a minute, and I actually WON the package of granola bars!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nominate Me! (pretty please?)


1) Read all of this post

2) Click the badge below

3) Nominate me!

I'd love to be nominated in the categories of:

  • Working Mom Blog
    From the awkwardness of pumping at work to changing diapers in between conference calls, dish on your favorite working mommy blogger who may or may not have it all together, but pulls it off anyway.

  • Eco-Friendly Mommy Blog
    From cloth diapers to all-natural cleaning products, being earth-conscious while still cutting corners is a pretty great talent if you ask us. Know any mom bloggers who share all their fab (and pocket-friendly) eco-tips? Share the wealth.

Why should you take five minutes to do this? Well, because you like to read my blog and it would hugely help me out if I won. The grand prize is $1,000 which would buy me two years' worth of Internet access. I don't have the Internet at home right now--just imagine all of the great posts and giveaways you could get in on if I did have Internet access! If I was a runner-up, I'd use the $100 gift certificate to Pottery Barn Kids to buy splendid things for my beautiful baby girl's birthday (on October 31!).

So please, take a few minutes and nominate your favorite blog (ME!). :-) *hugs* to everyone who is kind enough to do this for me.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You Might Be A Paramedic Mama If...

You Might Be A Paramedic Mama If...

1) You catch yourself angerly wondering why the car in front of you isn't pulling over...and then it hits you: you're driving your personal vehicle.

2) When accused by your mother-in-law of being a safety freak about your own child, you respond with "better alive than dead" with no sign of humor attached.

3) Topics such as decapitations and hemorrhaging bowels isn't a strange topic at the dinner table.

4) When teaching your 16-year-old how to drive, your first lesson consists of having him drive to every spot in the county where a teenager died because of driving accidents (and yes, you pull over and share the story). Then you have him drive to the cemetery to view the graves of those teenagers before letting him go home and tell his friends that he just got his driver's permit.

5) Instead of pulling the "my baby's at home crying" stunt when a cop pulls you over for speeding, you first remind him that a) you're coming home from a 24-hour paramedic shift and just happened to still be in ambulance-speed mode, and b) that your milk is leaking.

6) You have ever pumped by hand into a zip-lock baggie while traveling 75mph in the back of a moving vehicle.

7) You have ever strewn sheets all around a vehicle so that you could pump in "private."

8) You have ever had a co-worker ask if you need "any help pumping" and didn't turn him in for sexual harassment.

9) You can recognize the difference in sound between an electric pump and an electric suction unit.

(did you notice the pumping theme?)

and, 10) You snuggle your babies extra close at night because you know that in the tick of a second, lives change. Babies are hurt, children are gone, and mama's didn't kiss them goodbye. So you always, always, always kiss your babies goodbye and hold them a little longer after they've fallen asleep at night.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Body After Baby Event


Today is the newest "Day One" of my post-baby weight loss goal. I have NOT been one of those "lose it immediately after giving birth" types of women (most unfortunately, I assure you). A month after giving birth, my weight plateaued and has been at a standstill ever since. I'm shooting to get down to 120lbs (I'm 5'2) and have some new motivation that I think will help me: Mama Notes' Body After Baby Event.

Body After Baby is an 8-week blogosphere event accumulating with a grand prize of:

1) A $50 gift certificate to Mama Momo- a cloth diaper store with fun accessories for mom and baby and your choice of a prize package from Mama Momo worth a $70 value! and 2) A $25 gift certificate to to your choice of store: Nordstrom, Kohls, REI, Macy's, Target or Old Navy.

The winner is determined by a point system. Each week, one can earn points by doing specific healthy things (like the first week, you may get a point for each push-up that you do). At the end of the 8 weeks, the public can vote for the person who they think made the biggest change. Each vote is worth one point (I think).

I'm really hoping that this will give me a new push towards healthiness. It's so hard when you come home, make dinner, fix up the house (a little), do baby stuff, and go right to bed. My method of choice is going to be this:

1) I will feed my body--not just merely eat. Nothing sugary. Nothing fried. Nothing without substance.

2) No sugary beverages (including diet soda--those chemicals are not good for you!), excluding one glass of juice in the AM.

3) Increase my fruit and veggie intake.

4) Get some sort of exercise every single day for at least 30 minutes! (yikes, this is the one that I think I won't be able to do...)

I'm desperately needing accountability and encouragement here, so continue to leave the love. I'll be posting about this journey once a weeks, so hopefully knowing I must check in will help me stay on track! Need to lose some after-baby weight yourself? Why not join in!

*9/29 UPDATE!* So I realized after initially posting this that the BAB event doesn't actually start until today, 9/29. Yeah, this new information made me slack off a little bit. :-\ The good news is that I still lost some weight last week. The bad news is that I don't have a "before" photo of myself yet, so the change won't be as dramatic as I'd hoped at the end of the contest. Oh well! I'm still in it for the long haul and can't WAIT to see my new body *booty dance*!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kenny Loggins *all join in* FREE MP3 Downloads

When I was pregnant with Amara, I listened to hours and hours of music geared towards babies. What did I find? That the quality of music for infants and small children is terrible in the US! Poor melody lines, off key singing, fake sounding instrumentals, and boring harmony sums up what I heard. Eventually, I resorted to making my own mixed CD's. I came up with "relaxing" and "upbeat" CDs consisting of instrumental, vocal, traditional, classical, fun, and good quality engaging music for my little one. I've determined that the problem with children's music is that there's nothing saying that a musician is the person who should design and perform the pieces. Similar to many children's books with poor illustrations, we have not required by way of our money (the number of sold albums speaks!) that the music industry delivers quality music to our children.

But alas, there may be hope...Last month, I received Kenny Loggins' "all join in" CD to review. It's advertised as a children's CD, but I found it to be engaging for the entire family and I caught myself listening to it multiple times when I was alone. :-) This is always a good sign! Skeptical, of course, I first listened with a critical ear to the melodies, harmonies, rhythms, vocals, lyrics, and polyphonies presented by Loggins. I was impressed to find upbeat, interesting music that was well put together with a nice flow. In fact, my only suggestion for improvement would be for Loggins to enunciate more clearly for the children listening to understand more easily (and maybe a new hairstyle and make up job for himself...).

This is really a fabulous CD for families, and I'm really pleased to tell you that I've been given a link to share with you that will allow you to download four MP3 songs from this album for free!

Directions: click on the link here and listen to four samples of songs from the album all join in. When you're done, you'll need to answer a few quick questions about your reaction to the music. An email will then be sent to you with a link to download four FREE digital songs from the album. Easy as pie and totally free!

Be blessed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cleaning Green Event!

Cleaning Green

Have you ever wondered about the toxins in the cleaning products sitting around your home?

Have you ever wondered if there's a better alternative?

What about affordability and time?

If so (and even if not), plan to visit Life More Simply starting on September 28th for some of our most innovative and expensive giveaways to date! You are going to LOVE what we've got! There will be all sorts of information, reviews, and awesome giveaways for products that are eco-friendly and safe for everyone in your household. All of the items have been personally tested by me and I have absolutely fallen in love with what I've tried. There's no going back now--I'm definitely hooked for life and can't wait to share the same things with you!

Participating Companies:

Grab the "Cleaning Green" badge on the LH side bar before the event begins and claim an extra entry into every Cleaning Green contest! (Leave a message here letting me know the link to where I can find the badge displayed). Good luck and be blessed.

America's Next Top Model Contestant Drinks Her Own Breast Milk

Everyone who works in my department (and some who don't) know that I pump milk for my breastfeeding daughter. I have a screen that sits in front of my cubicle while I "exercise" two or three times a day while I'm at my office in an organization that provides day programming for adults with developmental disabilities.The "exercise" explanation came out of a consumer asking about what I was doing behind the curtain. Ha.

At first, coworkers don't really know what to say when they find out. Soon after though, one is bound to start finding cow and milk paraphernalia posted around work spaces. I have a collection of "Got Milk?" ads, cow magnets, and other incidentals that have been used to decorate the door of bathrooms I've pumped in (thank God for my privacy screen now!). Another interesting think about breast pumping culture is the stories and questions (not to mention the sign language and occasional offers to "help"--oh wait, that'd be my ambulance job) that arise.

Recently, some of my fellow employees were telling me about an America's Next Top Model episode they watched that included a contestant who admittedly drank her own breast milk. Shocked at first, I quickly cleared the air that no, I do not sit behind my screen and drink my own milk. My next move? YouTube the video!

24-year-old Cover Girl of the week Claire Unabia explained to judges during Cycle 10, Episode 1 that she was finding it terribly difficult to be apart from her baby girl who was still breastfeeding. She went on to explain that she was pumping her breast milk during the competition so that she could continue to nurse her daughter when they were reunited. The judges asked her if she was mailing her milk back home but her response shocked them all: Claire was drinking her expressed milk. "It tastes kind of like light soy milk," Claire shared. "I drank my breast milk only during audition week because I did not want to waste it after putting all my effort into making and extracting it. Dumping milk just seems wrong. A mother's milk is like liquid gold, so I also wanted the nutritional value back and to keep my immunity up."

The judges then went on to make a joke about it and are seen drinking glasses of milk (while one judge shouts "thanks, Claire!") before the scene changes. Wild? Crazy? Normal compared to the fact that we drink milk from cows?

What do you think?
Go to 7:33 to see the part about Claire and her milk.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Free Udder Covers Nursing Cover!

Udder Covers is committed to making the "most dependable nursing covers on the market." With six gorgeous prints to choose from, mamas can choose either just the nursing cover or a nursing cover/milk band/nursing pad gift pack.

...and the best news of all is that it's you can get an Udder Cover for FREE right now! My dear friend (who is ten-ish weeks pregnant with her first baby!) emailed me with a discount code that will take $32.00 off of your order (and a cover only costs $32.00). I don't know how long this will last, so snag a few of these while you can. To take advantage of this offer, enter "backorder" into the Enter your "limited time only" promo code here:** box on the checkout/order information part of the page.

Thanks, Michele! She'll be receiving an extra entry into the contest of her choice for letting me know about this offer to share on Life More Simply.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

See Kai Run Shoes Review & Giveaway

See Kai Run is a shoe company for kids and babies whose motto is "Urban footwear for first steps." Created by a mom who wanted to give her son, Kai, something flexible and comfortable to wear outdoors, these shoes first hit stores in November of 2004 and have been taking the shoe scene by storm ever since. You'll find their shoes to be fashionable and fun as they come in a multitude of designs and sizes ranging from newborn to age 8 with modern bold color palettes and interesting variations on classic shoes. The American Podiatric Medical Association has also awarded See Kai Run the APMA's Seal of Acceptance, providing us moms with the added benefit of knowing these shoes are designed with health in mind.

See Kai Run sent me a pair of their "Holly" model from the Smaller line to try on my daughter. Choosing just one style was very difficult, but the sizing is made easy with their sizing chart.

Sizing- My daughter has boxy feet so it's very difficult to find shoes that will fit her...and these shoes do! I was extremely happy with how true to their chart the sizing was, and also how the shoes provide a wide opening and toe box. They look so comfortable, and the padded strap that's on them made it so we had no instances of the shoes coming off unexpectedly.

Safety- Made with leather and flexible rubber only as the sole of the shoe, I didn't worry about my daughter chewing on them. In fact, she equally loved wearing and looking at them as she did chewing on them (she loves to look at and touch shoes!). The rubber part of the shoe is also fantastic in that it's grippy enough to keep your baby from sliding, but not so grippy that she'll fall from it.

Durability- After two months of wearing these shoes every day (and all of the chewing and sucking on that was done as well), they're still holding up! There's a thin insert that lies on the inside of the shoe which did come off after about a month, but it's not necessary to the shoe's function so I'm not too concerned. They don't look brand new any more as you can see the "wrinkles" that happen to leather shoes, but they still look great and I plan to pack them away to use on any future babies!

Style- I LOVE, love, love the styles of these shoes! I really wish that they made them in "big people" sizes because I would definitely buy them. It was hard to choose which style we wanted to test, and I know that you'll also fall in love with their lines when you look at them. We get so many compliments on these shoes when we go places!

Price- Okay, $32.00 for a pair of infant shoes? Expensive, yes. I do think that they're worth it, but I also understand from personal experience that being worth it still doesn't mean you always have that money in your pocket to spend. So if you do, then don't feel bad about buying these shoes because you're going to love them. If you don't have the money, though, definitely hunt around for sales!

Other Stuff You Should Know... Check out the features of their shoes:

  • Handcrafted from butter-soft sheepskin leather

  • Soft suede sole with non-slip rubber pads

  • Adjustable Velcro closures make shoes easy to get on and ensure a great fit

  • Breathable leather insole and lining

  • Padded collars for extra comfort

  • Arrives in snazzy silver packaging for easy gift giving

Overall, I love these shoes so much that when my daughter grew out of them (last month...I'm so sad; I didn't even get photos of her in them yet!), I actually drove over an hour to a store that was having a sale on them. I got lost finding a parking space to the store, and sure enough, all of the See Kai Run shoes in my daughter's new size were already sold. I wanted to cry...

Buy It! Visit See Kai Run's website at Be sure to check out their sales.

Win It! The fabulous folks at See Kai Run are giving away a pair of shoes to one of my readers. *big cheers* To enter, visit their site and tell me which pair of shoes you want and in what size. You must choose from the Smaller or See Kai Run lines--NOT the Eleven line. If you win, what you told me is what you'll get! Leave a separate comment with an email address for each entry.

For additional entries:

- Blog about this contest (2 extra entries)

- Sport my button (2 extra entries)

- Email some friends about this contest or my blog

- Follow me

- Subscribe to me

- Fav me on Technorati (see button on left hand side of page)

- Tweet about this contest with a link (1 tweet/day maximum) (leave a comment for each tweet)

- Share your worst shoe experience with us

Good luck and be blessed! Contest will end on Monday, September 28 at 0730 hours, EST.

How To Recognize a SAHM

I can spot stay-at-home-moms (SAHM) quick as a wink these days. It may be by sight, or it may be from a conversation that we have. Traditionally, SAHM's are thought of a skirt wearing-home schooling-multiple child toting women who never eat fast food and have meticulously organized chore charts. In contrast, work-out-of-the-home-moms (WOHM) are traditionally thought of as appearance oriented, busy, successful, and educated on the collegiate level. These things, though, are not set in stone for either category and aren't the things that really set us apart.

I grew up in a family of eight girls. I'm the second oldest--there are no twins, only one of us was planned, and no, we are not Mormon or Quiverful. We were all home schooled (there are still three being schooled) until college, having one bathroom in the house to contend with and constantly on the run with all of the activities we were involved in. Who ever decided that home schooled kids aren't supposed to be social? That will have to be the topic of another blog post. :-)

My mom, needless to say, was a SAHM. While we did have multiple children in tow, cooked almost every meal, and did have detailed chore charts, I wouldn't say we met the "stereotypical home school model" for a family. My mom has her BSN and we didn't wear skirts or stay at home all day...though we are all pretty darn smart. ;-)

I am a WOHM. Growing up, I never gave thought to which one I'd be. I never thought that I'd have to. Being able to experience the other side of things, though, has made me realize that there are variations within each model of mothers, and we aren't all where we're at because we want to be, either! I also didn't previously realize what exactly it is that sets SAHM apart from WOHMs, and let me tell you--it's not the dress, education, or happiness level that allows me to spot SAHMs so quickly.

I know you're a SAHM when...
  • I see you shopping during morning or day time store hours instead of in the evening.
  • Your child knows what "Story Hour" at the library is.
  • You tell me that we should get together for a "play date."
  • Sewing, crocheting, or knitting actually represents something you have in progress.
  • You eat home cooked meals more often than you eat frozen pizza.
  • You have an updated and well put together blog...or two, or three.
  • The word "nap" is something that you experience once in a while! *big jealous look* ;-)

Now my question to you: what are the things that make you recognize a WOHM?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Shoes

I've fallen in love.

I've never like shopping (aside from thrift shops and music stores), and never felt the need to have more than one pair of shoes at a time (my Keens have been on my feet every day since the snow melted...yes, I often wear socks with them)...And then today happened.

First, I learned about a sweet website that gives you cash back (in the form of a check of PayPal) on your regular purchases from online merchants (including Walmart, Netflicks, Snapfish, and a whole ton of others). It's very easy to sign up--you just have to provide an email address and name. To get credit for your purchases, you just need to start at and click one of their links to get to the store of your choice. Easy, and more than free.

Secondly, through CashBaq, I found a fabulous shoe company: Simple Shoes. There are three things that sold me on the shoes:
  1. They are exactly reflective of my fashion sense: Hippie meets artist meets snowboarder.
  2. Their clearance prices are up to 85% off. Match that with my 7% cashbaq and I'm giddy with my bandit-ness. Oh, and there's free shipping, too.

  3. 100% sustainability in the products used to make the shoes. Hemp, silk, recycled's brilliant.

So when I get my shoes (MistleTOE (green), Satire-The Ryde (chocolate), and Weebit (for Amara), I will immediately take photos and let you know what I think. How much did I spend for everything? Less than $30.00. Today is a happy day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stop & Shop Savings and Giveaway

Who doesn't like discounted groceries, free groceries, and free gas? Everyone wants these things! Thanks to MyBlogSpark, I'm able to know and thus tell you about the Stop & Shop Back-To-School savings event going on now through September 10, 2009. General Mills and Stop & Shop are teaming up to give families a great way to stock up and save, as they gear up for back to school. Here’s why shoppers should shop at Stop & Shop’s big Back to School Event:

Great sale pricing on the participating General Mills brands: Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Reeses Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Crisp Sprinkles, Cookie Crisp, Fruit Snacks, Old El Paso Dinner Kits, Pillsbury Strudel, Pillsbury Scrambles, Green Giant Boxed Vegetables, Yoplait Yo-Plus Multi-Pack, Fiber One Yogurt Multi-Pack, Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookies, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Pillsbury Sweet Rolls and Yoplait Delights

Additional savings for you or your school, depending on which Stop & Shop location you shop...

1) If your Stop & Shop store sells gas...Buy four participating General Mills items and you’ll automatically earn 100 points on your Stop & Shop card. For every 100 points earned, you'll save 10¢ per gallon of gas (Please note: Total discount cannot exceed price per gallon). Just swipe your Stop & Shop Card at the pump to redeem your Gas Rewards

2) If your Stop & Shop store doesn’t sell gas...For those Stop & Shop locations without gas stations, don’t worry – you’re not left out of the savings – if you buy five (5) participating General Mills products, you will receive 20 Bonus Box Tops for your school.

On top of that (keep reading--don't get in your car to go shopping just yet), General Mills and MyBlogSpark are giving away a $10.00 Stop & Shop gift card to one of my lucky readers! They also sent me one but, very unfortunately, there isn't a Stop & Shop near me, so I'll be passing mine on to one of my readers as well. That means that two readers will each receive one $10.00 gift card to Stop & Shop. To enter, you must visit Stop & Shop's website and tell me what city the nearest Stop & Shop to you is located in (they have a handy dandy store finder here). NOTE: You can also use the Stop & Shop gift card at a Giant grocery store.

Additional entries:
- get some groceries on sale at Stop & Shop, then report back on what you bought and how much you saved (additional 4 entries--leave four comments!)
- blog about this contest or otherwise spread the word
- grab my button
- follow me
- subscribe to me
Be sure to leave a valid email address in each comment, and a separate comment for each entry. Contest ends Monday, September 21, 2009 at 0730 hours, EST. Only open to US addresses.

Friday, September 4, 2009

September Activities

Every month for my regular job, I put together an activity "newsletter." It's centered around information to create positive, educational, and beneficial activities for adults with developmental disabilities...but it's fun for anyone to read, and all of these ideas could be used in the classroom, the home, or many other places! I've been meaning to share them with all of you for quite some time and just didn't do it until now. So here to go along with my last post, is more information and ideas for you to use during the month of September.
September is...

Classical Music Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Fall Hat Month, International Square Dancing Month, National Piano Month, Chicken Month, and Self Improvement Month!

Mud Facial Recipe -September 30 (NOTE: Please only use for hands, not face)
This recipe is an at-home facial made from natural ingredients and is best suited for oily skin types. You'll need 1 tablespoon of Clay or Fuller's earth mud (don't worry, you'll see these readily at your local health food store), 1 egg yolk, ¼ of an avocado, mashed, and enough witch hazel essence to create a smooth consistency. Mix all the ingredients together until well-blended. Apply evenly on the skin and allow to dry. Rinse off with water when done.

Did You Know? -September 19
Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival held each year in
Munich, Germany during late September (and running to early October). It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year, and is an enjoyable event with an important part of Bavarian culture. (Wikipedia)

Make Your Own Play-Doh Recipe -September 16
1 c. flour

1 c. water

1/2 c. salt

2 tbsp. cream of tartar

1 tbsp. oil
Food Coloring

Mix together, cook on low temperature stirring constantly. Cook until it is "slick" and moves away from edge of pan. Cool. Keep sealed in Ziplock bag.

Things you can use this activity for…
1) Math skills 2) Cooking skills 3) Fine Motor skills (mixing) 4) Practice following directions 5) Practice making choices (color) 6) Cause and Effect 7) Touch, Taste, and Smell senses (don’t encourage actual eating!) 8) Science (mixing colors) 9) Art (sculpting)

Different Types of “Punch’s” -September 20
1) The drink. Mix up and enjoy different punch recipes (must be sugar free and okayed by Rachel first). What’s in the different varieties? How does each one taste or look different? Which is your favorite?
2) The action. What and when is it okay to punch something/someone? Why? How does it feel to punch something? Have each person make a punching bag or pillow to take home, filled with rice/beans/cotton.
3) A tool. Bring a variety of paper punches in for people to use and decorate something with. Scrapbooking punches offer many different shapes.

Swap Ideas Day -September 10
Plan a “planning” activity! Get all of your staff and consumers together with a big calendar and ideas for activities for the following month. Discuss and choose activities (or ideas that you’ll need to develop later) for each day. You never know what creative and engaging ideas might come about! Have you ever asked the consumers what they like to do, or the other staff what strengths and talents they have that might allow for new activities? Incorporate pictures to represent each activity for those who can’t read.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September's Fun and Crazy Days

September's Fun and Crazy Days
September 3 Skyscraper Day
September 4 Newspaper Carrier Day

September 5 Be Late for Something Day & Cheese Pizza Day

September 6 Fight Procrastination Day & Read a Book Day

September 7 Labor Day & Neither Rain nor Snow Day

September 8 International Literacy Day & Pardon Day

September 9 Teddy Bear Day

September 10 Sewing Machine Day & Swap Ideas Day

September 11 Make Your Bed Day

September 12 National Video Games Day

September 13 Defy Superstition Day & Fortune Cookie Day & Grandparent’s Day & Nt’l Peanut Day & Nat’l Pet Memorial Day & Positive Thinking Day & Uncle Sam Day

September 14 National Cream-Filled Donut Day

September 15 Make a Hat Day & Felt Hat Day

September 16 Collect Rocks Day & Play with Play Doh Day

September 17 Nat’l Apple Dumpling Day & Constitution Day

September 18 Natn’ Cheeseburger Day

September 19 International Talk Like A Pirate Day & Oktoberfest

September 20 National Punch Day

September 21 International Peace Day & Miniature Golf Day & World Gratitude Day

September 22 Elephant Appreciation Day

September 23 Checkers Day

September 25 National Comic Book Day & Native American Day

September 26 Johnny Appleseed Day

September 27 Crush a Can Day & International Rabbit Day

September 28 Ask a Stupid Question Day

September 30 National Mud Pack Day

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ovarian Cancer--Pay It Forward!

Did you know that 22,000 women are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer every year?

Seventh Generation has partnered with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund to help fight the all-too-often silent battle against Ovarian Cancer by donating $1 to OCRF for each person who registers at Seventh Generation's Let's Talk...Period website on September 1, 2009. Up to $22,000 will be donated...that's $1 for each affected woman this year!

Why care?
  • Ovarian Cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women.
  • The OCRF along with Woman to Woman, a volunteer network providing hope and support to women in treatment, will use those dollars to continue the conversation.
Signs & Symptoms

  • Vague but persistent and unexplained gastrointestinal complaints
  • Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling or pain
  • Bloating and/or feelings of fullness
  • Unexplained change in bowel habits
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • New and unexplained abnormal postmenopausal vaginal bleeding
Risk Factors (other than being female, haha)
  • Peri or post-menopause
  • Uninterrupted ovulation (having no pregnancies and no prior use of oral contraceptives)
  • Family or personal history of breast/ovarian cancer
  • Presence of BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations

What You Can Do

Woman on the Street: Find Out What’s In a Conventional Tampon:

Dr. Alan Greene discusses organic cotton tampons:

Comedienne Jessica Bern, channels Aunt Flo: Comedienne Josie Leavitt, talks about tampons: