Sunday, July 31, 2011

Confession Time: I Don't Make My Bed

Yep, that's right. I admit it. I don't make my bed, pretty much ever. Think of me what you will. The only time my bed ever gets made is on the rare occasion when we're having company and my bedroom happens to be clean enough to leave the door open. In other words, hardly ever. 

It gets worse. Sometimes I go to bed with dishes in the sink. Like most nights. I do not lose sleep over the unwashed pots and pans. Should I? Nah, definitely not worth it.

While I'm at it, I may as well keep going and confess that at least once a week I forget about laundry in the washing machine and have to re-wash it. I do hate waste so this is one I'm trying hard to not do anymore. Which means restraining myself from tossing in just one more load of laundry past midnight.

I did not get that clean freak gene I've heard others talk about. Sometimes I wish I did. Other times I really don't care because let's be honest here, cleaning is not generally in the forefront of my consciousness. 

There are times, lots and lots of times, when I feel positively overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done around here. I don't know where to begin. I feel like I'm juggling a million balls and they're falling down all around me. I'm pretty sure life would be much simpler in a Mexican beach shack.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

EvoraPlus Winner!

The EvoraPlus giveaway ended yesterday, so I went to to determine the winner.

And the winner is...


Congratulations, Kimberly! I hope you enjoy trying this great product. I will contact you via email, and Oragenics will be sending your prize directly to you.

If you didn't win but you'd like to try EvoraPlus, the 100% natural teeth whitener and oral care product, you have until August 31, 2011 to go to and redeem coupon code EPLUS811 for $5 off (U.S. only).

Thanks for entering, and don't forget to enter my Lilla Rose Flexi Clip giveaway, which ends tomorrow, July 31.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Thankful Round-Up

Here's what I'm thankful for this week:
  • Living in the Great Lakes state, with lakes and beaches galore.
  • Port it!
  • Having the opportunity to take my kids on a week long vacation.
  • New shoes.
  • Hot summer weather.
  • My kids don't burn easily (red heads who tan!), and neither do I.
  • Looking on the bright side.
  • At least some of my clothes still fit me. (NO! I'm not pregnant, just morphing into a cow.)
  • A family with 2 little boys just recently moved onto our street. One of them is just one grade above Connor. (Didn't I just wish for this very thing not long ago???)
  • Melon flavored popsicles.
I'm dying to know...what are YOU thankful for this week?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wishing Well Wednesday

This is what's on my wish list this week...
  • Serenity.
  • For this crown I just had repaired to stay put so I don't have to buy a new one.
  • Self-confidence. 
  • To learn a lot at the conference I'm attending next week.
  • A new van, with working a/c, stow 'n go seats, dual dvd players, rear windows that go down, a door that's not dented in from a girl slamming into me who was driving with no license and no insurance, and a passenger side view mirror (dreaming big here...).
  • To suddenly become wildly interested in cleaning and organization.
  • To get off my lazy behind and start exercising every day. Okay, I'll take two or three days a week even.
  • A road trip to Florida to visit my brother-in-law, sometime in the next year.
  • Family reconciliations. I have to be purposely vague with that one, sorry.
  • Good news for my friend when she goes in for a very important doctor's appointment next month.
What are you wishing for?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't Forget To Enter My Giveaways!

Just a reminder that there are two giveaways happening right now on MichiGal! Don't forget to enter, before it's too late!

EvoraPlus Ends 7/29, U.S. residents only
This is an all natural oral care product which is also used to whiten teeth. Just dissolve a mint on your tongue once a day for a cleaner mouth and whiter teeth.

Lilla Rose Flexi Clip Ends 7/31, U.S. residents only
If you like pretty, shiny things then you don't want to miss this one! Flexi Clips are really cool hair accessories that come in a wide variety of beautiful designs. Winner gets to choose one up to $15 in value.

Please share these with your friends, the more the merrier! I'll be hosting a couple more giveaways in the coming weeks too, so stay tuned!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Remembering More Summer Days

Like I mentioned yesterday, my mom worked when I was a kid which meant when summer rolled around each year I spent my days with either my grandparents or my aunts (or any combination of these).

Most of the time, I was with my Aunt Char, probably because my cousin Kelly and I were close, both in age and in our relationship. But sometimes I'd be with my Aunt Colleen, and what I remember most about that is doing my cousin Danni's hair. She had the cutest, curliest hair, and if she was in a very good mood or I could talk her into it, she'd let me get the basket of hair things out of the hall closet and sit and do her hair over and over and over again. I wish I had some pictures of the "hair styles" I subjected her to, poor kid. But it was so much fun, and I remember being disappointed if Danni was in too persnickety of a mood to let me do it.

When I was with my Aunt Char and Kelly, that usually meant being with my grandma too. The four of us spent many summer days going "gallivanting." This could mean going to garage sales, shopping at Kmart, having lunch at one of their favorite local dives, visiting other relatives, or sometimes a day trip. If we stayed in, I remember very elaborate games of Barbie, and playing on the swing set or in the sand box in the backyard.

Sometimes the day trips would be just the four of us. More than once we drove up to Frankenmuth for the day, primarily, it seems, so that Kelly and I could go shopping in the countless gift shops. (Note to non-Michiganders: Frankenmuth is a German/Bavarian themed touristy town north of Detroit). Other times we would get other cousins involved in our shenanigans, or even my grandpa. My grandpa would sometimes come up with some interesting excursions. One time he took us to tour the salt mines in downtown Detroit. That was pretty neat, and I'm glad I had the chance to do it before they quit doing tours. Other times we'd go to Belle Isle, or Metro Beach (local beach/park), or drive to Lexington (beach town on Lake Huron) for the day.

For years my grandparents had a second home in Lexington, a small one-bedroom mobile home with private beach access. We spent quite a bit of time there when I was a kid. Besides hanging out on the beach, the big deal was to go to the General Store in town for penny candy and ice cream cones (my favorite: Blue Moon). For me, it was just exciting to be somewhere else for awhile.

Here I am all grown up and I still love day trips. I'm so grateful for all those that I had growing up, which helped give me a sense of wanderlust. And for those times in Lexington, when I got to know the fun of staying somewhere other than home.

What were your favorite things to do in the summer when you were growing up?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Remembering Summer Days

When I was a kid, my mom worked so I spent every day all summer with either my grandparents or one of my aunts. Today I'll reminisce about hanging out at my grandma and grandpa's on hot summer days.

We're going through a particularly steamy hot patch right now in Michigan, and I'm remembering being at my grandparents' house on similarly boiling hot days, with the only air conditioned room being the t.v. room - via a small window air conditioning unit. I would take a cool bath and then go in the t.v. room and stand in front of the air conditioning while I watched t.v. When my cousins and I slept over, my grandma would lay cool sheets down on the living room floor and position a fan or two to blow directly on us. (Side note: not one of my kids can stand to have a top sheet touching them. I love sheets. What's wrong with them?!) My grandma grew strawberries in the backyard, and she'd pick the berries and then lay them out in a bowl, next to a bowl of sugar. We'd dip each strawberry in sugar before taking a bite. I'm pretty sure I was an adult (maybe even a mother) before I ever had a strawberry not dipped in sugar. 

Outside there was a little kiddie pool to cool off in that my grandpa would set up on the drive way because he didn't want to mess up the lawn. I played with the other kids on the block, sometimes walking to the school playground on the corner. My grandma and I would sit on the front porch, on one of her cushioned white wrought iron seats, and talk and watch the neighborhood and try to catch a breeze on really hot days.

I took Bethany and Connor to my grandma's house many times when they were younger (my grandpa died years before he had the chance to meet my kids, and my grandma died before meeting Lucy and Mattie) and they often did the same things I did there as a kid. Eating popsicles on the front porch, bouncing balls on the driveway, playing with the kid next door in the kiddie pool.

What are some of your favorite memories of hot summer days?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Do Your Kids Have Cell Phones?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TracFone for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Bethany has been begging us for a cell phone for years now. She's not even 10, but she started asking in probably 1st or 2nd grade. Every couple months she assures us that everyone in her class has one. When pressed, it is discovered that everyone means a handful of kids. We've looked into getting her a cell phone, although for now we're sticking with "you can have a cell phone in middle school," which has been our go to answer thus far. But middle school is not that far off. So before too long we will be in the market for a cell phone for our middle schooler (yikes!).

Since we'd want something with no fuss, no complications, and no contract, I think a TracFone might be a good choice for her when the time comes. One of the big selling points for me is that TracFones has great nationwide coverage, which is important so we would know she could reach us if she needed to. It's reassuring to hear what real TracFone customers have to say about TracFone's reliability.

There will come a point when we'll be needing cell phones for all four of our kids, and TracFone would offer an inexpensive way for us to be able to do that, with no contracts, no credit checks, and no activation fees. I like that we could pay as we go online or with cards we could purchase at many stores, and that we could buy a 1 year service card at a great value, just $119 for 800 minutes plus double minutes for the life of the phone. Alternately, we could purchase the "double your minutes for the life of your phone" feature for $19.99 (if the plan we choose doesn't include it already), and there are plans available starting at just $9.99 /month (50 minutes), and 200 minutes for less than $30 / month. TracFone is known for not surprising its customers with extra charges, just like these real TracFone customers are saying.

Plus, International calls can be made to over 60 destinations at no extra charge with the International Neighbors program! We don't really have anyone we call internationally, but if you have friends and family in Mexico or Canada, you can provide them with a local phone number in those countries to reach you on your TracFone in the U.S. I think that is a pretty cool feature.

Some people like the simplest type of phone available, and some (like my daughter...) prefer all the bells and whistles, and TracFone provides either option. For $10 you can have something plain and simple to call and text, and for $29.99 you can lots more - like camera and video recorder capabilities, we access, mp3 player, the use of apps, and full QWERTY keyboards. There are many brand name phones available from manufacturers like LG, Nokia, Samsung, Kyocera, and Motorola, even Bluetooth-enabled Smart phones.


What about you? Do your kids have cell phones? If so, how old were they when they first got one?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Slow is Nice

This week has been kind of nice, just mostly hanging out at home and not rushing around like crazy. I'll even go so far as to say it's been refreshing. After all the crazy fun we've been having this summer, it's been lovely to slow down for a bit before mass chaos starts again.

Actually we didn't stay home like hermits. Lucy had a doctor appointment (strep scare - negative results), Bethany hung out at a friend's house, I had a dentist appointment, Chris and I went out to dinner for our anniversary, the kids all stayed the night at my mother-in-law's one night, just Connor stayed the night there another night & then went to the Ford Mansion with Chris's mom the next day, the three big kids went to the airport with Chris's step-dad to pick up Chris's brother, we all went to dinner at Chris's mom's, the three big kids stayed the night there again and went to the pool with Uncle Robby the next day, and Chris and I went to Target and Kroger together (that's practically three dates in one week, including our anniversary dinner, hahaha). 

So it was still a fun, busy week. Just totally tame compared to most of our other weeks so far this summer.

How is your week going?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kellogg's FiberPlus Cereal

Cereal is one of my favorite foods. Right up there with ice cream and butter, I pretty much think it is a perfect food. Good for any meal of the deal. Good for snacking. Such variety! Yep, I love cereal.

I try not to buy much in the way of sugar cereal. And I think there are lots of healthy options available now that taste great too. Some things I consider when shopping for cereal:

            • Does it taste good?
            • Will my kids eat it?
            • How much sugar is in it?
            • How much fiber?
            • Does it contain whole grain?

I was given the opportunity to try two varieties of Kellogg's FiberPlus cereals, Berry Yogurt Crunch and Cinnamon Oat Crunch. Here's how they measure up.

Does it taste good? Both Berry Yogurt Crunch and Cinnamon Oat Crunch taste very good indeed. Berry Yogurt Crunch has these yummy little yogurt clumps in it, as well as fruity clusters. I love crunchy little clusters in my cereal! Cinnamon Oat Crunch is the kind of cereal you can just snack on all day. It would be a good one to put in a baggie and throw in the diaper bag. Yet it's also great in milk. 

Will my kids eat it? These cereals passed the kid test in my house. All four of them liked both the Berry Yogurt Crunch and the Cinnamon Oat Crunch.

How much sugar is in it? Berry Yogurt Crunch has 12 grams of sugar per serving and Cinnamon Oat Crunch has 7 grams of sugar per serving. This is decent. Could be better, but they both taste really good so I won't complain too much about the sugar content.

How much fiber? Berry Yogurt Crunch has 10 grams of fiber per serving, or 40% of the recommended daily amount, and Cinnamon Oat Crunch has 9 grams of fiber per serving, or 35% of the recommended daily amount. Great numbers for one bowl of cereal, in my opinion.

Does it contain whole grain? Berry Yogurt Crunch contains 25 grams of whole grain per serving, and Cinnamon Oat Crunch contains 16 grams of whole grain per serving. Again, I think these are great numbers for a bowl of cereal.

In addition, both of these cereals are rich in antioxidant vitamins C and E. All in all, I would say Kellogg's FiberPlus Berry Yogurt Crunch and Cinnamon Oat Crunch are a good choice for getting fiber, whole grain, and antioxidants into my family's diet. They taste good and they have health benefits, what more could I ask for?

Disclaimer: I was provided with one box each of Kellogg's FiberPlus Berry Yogurt Crunch and FiberPlus Cinnamon Oat Crunch for review purposes. I received no other compensation. The opinions expressed are 100% my own. Thanks to Kellogg's and Technorati Media for this opportunity.

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Thursday Thankful Round-Up

For the moment I've given up all pretense of posting thankfuls daily. Eventually I'll start up again, but for now at least I'm doing it weekly.

Here's what I'm giving thanks for this week:

  • Great friends who are loyal and SO MUCH FUN to be with!
  • Our former neighbor who showed up to babysit last Friday night even though we were sure she would have forgotten since she is only 13 and just moved and has a lot of other stuff going on in her life. 
  • My aunt who volunteered to babysit Friday night because we were sure the former neighbor wasn't going to show up. So we had 2 babysitters! Sounds awkward, but it actually worked out.
  • My aunt brought her grandson, who is my godson, with her to babysit, and he spent the night, and the kids all had such a great time together.
  • Chris's show (with his band The Smiths United) on Friday was a great success.
  • Girls night on Saturday night was also a great success.
  • Celebrating 13 years of marriage.
  • My mother-in-law kept all the munchkins overnight so Chris and I could go out for our anniversary.
  • My brother-in-law is in from Florida for a week.
  • My ability to stay relatively calm even when packing for a week's vacation hasn't even commenced the day before departure.
  • I was accepted to attend a parenting leadership conference in a couple weeks. I get to stay overnight in a hotel, all by myself! I've never ever done that before.
  • A/c in this crazy heat!
What about you? What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back To School? Let Me Live in Fantasyland a Little Longer, Please!

I really have a hard time with the fact that by July 5 the stores have switched onto full force back to school mode. Hello? Let us enjoy this belle epoque that is summer, and stop rushing us into fall! It's the same with Christmas. I know some would disagree, but I'd be happy if the holiday stuff didn't come out until Black Friday.

That said, the best advice I can offer to kids heading back to school this fall, and their parents, is to slow down. Live in the moment. These school years are going to be gone before you know it. Don't be so rushed that you don't enjoy them. So relish each second of the rest of your summer break. And when school starts, have fun. Pay attention. Live with intention. Open yourself up to learning, while being mindful of the fact that life is going to be vastly different once these school years are over. Different better in many ways, but you can't get this time back. So if you don't love it, find a way to learn to love it. Don't just waste away school, squandering the better part of your life at this age, and wishing it was over now.

Masterlock is answering back to school questions over at their Facebook page. Head over there and ask a question yourself, or see what others are worried about this back to school season. While you're there, don't forget to enter the sweepstakes to win cool back to school prizes, including Masterlock products!

What about you? Are you thinking back to school already? What kind of advice would you offer to kids or parents about getting through the school year?


 As a member of the Mom Bloggers Club, this post is a contest entry to win a back to school prize pack. I was not compensated in any other way for this post.

So What Wednesday

I'm linking up with Life After I Dew for So What Wednesday.

 Here's what I'm saying SO WHAT to this week:
  • SO WHAT if my kids think spankings are silly things you get on your birthday, like one for each year plus a pinch to grow an inch? Or else what you get when mom or dad are chasing you around the house being silly and yelling, "get back here or you'll get a spanking AND a noogie!"
  • SO WHAT if Mathilda wears pink Crocs every single day and they just happen to go with all of her clothes?
  • SO WHAT if Mathilda runs around mostly naked these days (when we're home!)? A) it's summer and B) hopefully eventually she'll start running to the potty when she needs to use it.
  • SO WHAT if I try to bribe Mathilda to use the potty with candy?
  • SO WHAT if I'm 36 years old and still sometimes stay out until 3 o'clock in the morning and then stay up until 5? (well except that maybe I'm a little tired when my kids wake up a couple hours later, but other than that...)
  • SO WHAT if I have more friends now than I did in college?
  • SO WHAT if we have this piano in our living room that nobody in our house knows how to play, and that, incidentally is not even in tune?
  • SO WHAT if our 31 days of no t.v. is not going all that well? Lots of time spent at friends' houses, exceptions made while staying in hotels, special movie times, and a sick girl I'm trying to get to rest = all of the kids watching way more television than I wanted them to watch this month. But there's always next month! (hahaha wait until they hear that one...)
  • SO WHAT if I would sell everything we own, move into an RV, and travel around the country for years in a hot second if my husband just said the word? Or move to a little beach house in Mexico. He can choose!
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?