Dec 31, 2009

Mommy Money Saver

I don't know how (because I pride myself on being very knowledgeable when it comes to saving dough) but I wasn't aware of this so I thought there was a good chance you might not know about it either.

Several websites have been created that allow you to sell unwanted gift cards or buy discounted gift cards.

Card Swap is Canada's version of this fabulous service. They sell discounted gift cards from spas to restaurants.
Plastic Jungle was top on google's results for American discounted gift cards and seems to be laid out similarly to Cardswap.

If you're interested in buying or selling, this seems like a great opportunity to to be budget-conscious, especially after the Holidays! The only con I can find so far is that, obviously, availability of gift cards is limited based on what other people don't want... as "they" say - one person's trash is one person's treasure.

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PS - Wishing you a fabulous start to your 2010... mine will start tomorrow morning as there's no way in heck I'm staying up until midnight. I haven't seen 11pm since my two nights in the hospital when Jane was born! :p

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Dec 29, 2009

Nourish Baby

Despite being a breastfeeder (sounds like some sort of vampire society or something), I totally saw the value in this product when I found out about it - as I experience similar issues when I'm out on the go (with bottles, not with boobs, obviously).

Nourish provides an easy way for Moms to feed their formula-fed babes while they're out and about. Nourish Baby is a formula-ready bottled water with room to add your formula and a nipple top (see the picture because I have no idea how to describe it and make sense at the same time) - it's ready-to-go. I don't know if this is often an issue for formula-fed babes but I can imagine it's difficult to prep bottles when you're at the mall! With this product you basically open a new (BPA-free) bottle, add your formula, shake it and serve it - sounds fab to me! Once baby's finished, you can just throw the Nourish bottle into a recycling bin (c'mon people, lets be earth-friendly here).

As I said above, Nourish seems to make the most sense for when you're out on the go - I don't imagine this product would be practical for regular at-home use as I'm sure it'd be quite a bit more expensive.

Has anyone ever tried this product? If so, give us your feedback! Like I said, I definitely saw the value in it and wanted to let y'all know about its availability in case it could help you out at all!

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Dec 28, 2009

Nap Time In Pictures


10:05am - Just put Jane down for nap.
Check the monitor, looks like she's passed out so I
go to get myself something to eat.


10:10am - Upon returning from the kitchen -
"Holy Crap, where did she go?"... I ran upstairs.
Literally, heart stopped.


10:10am - Relief & laughter.


Could she be cuter? Personally, I don't think so!




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Dec 27, 2009

Friends

Love the pop-n-lock...


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Dec 26, 2009

Ladybugs and Lilypads

Seeing as it's Boxing Day and the most exciting part of today is SHOPPING, thought I'd let you know about a gorgeous little online shop full of wonderful Mommy-made things!

Ladybugs and Lilypads was started in 2007 by a stay-at-home Momma, Sara Tyndall. She carries everything from clothing to furniture and sweet decor on her site. One of my favs is this pink polkadot growth chart. I just found this waste basket (I would call it a garbage can but that's just me) that perfectly coordinates with Jane's bedding... hmmm, that's trouble. I definitely don't need to spend more money right now!

Ok, I'm now stopping myself from looking at her site anymore because I'm about to be "bad" and buy too much stuff.

I'm sorry for passing this along - you're bank account will not be happy!

Jen :)

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Dec 25, 2009

Lessons Learned from Photos with Santa


Since I decided to take the day off because I'm busy playing with Jane's toys and eating candy, chocolate and turkey, it was perfect timing that I was contacted by Kathy Ferris from TotsNstyle.com to do a guest post. 

She had many ideas for Holiday posts but we both agreed that writing about pictures with Santa might provide the most entertainment value! :) Here goes...

Every parent has been there. We have all experienced the joy, the anticipation, the sheer excitement of the annual event that our children look forward to all year long. You know the customary visit to Santa Claus at the nearest shopping mall, complete with fanciful decorations, free miniature candy canes, exorbitantly priced photography, and enough elves to staff an aircraft carrier. This holiday custom endures despite economic recessions, flu epidemics, and cranky younger siblings who simply aren’t old enough to grasp what all the fuss is about, and there is much to be learned by participating in the yearly excursion. There are even bonus points offered to those who participate willingly.

My own learning experience began one chilly morning, when I was awakened before sunrise by my young daughter tugging on my nightgown and jumping up and down, saying “It’s today, Mama! We see Santa today!” As I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and realized that it was only 5am, the first lesson of this blessed experience hit me: Children anticipating a visit to Santa forget how to tell time, and they don’t care that the mall doesn’t open for another five hours.
That’s all right though, because it took the full five hours to get my daughter bathed, dressed, fed, her hair properly curled and her shoes properly polished to meet this icon of holiday spirit appropriately decked out. Of course it was a blustery day, and between the wind, snow flurries, and sloppy slush left over from yesterday’s melting ice, we arrived at Santa’s throne room in quite a state of disarray. This was where I came face to face with lesson number two: Wrap your child completely in plastic from head to toe before venturing out if you expect to maintain the scrubbed and polished child-awaiting-Christmas look long enough for those high-priced photos with Santa, or you might end up thinking that a large drowned kitten jumped onto Santa’s lap while the photographer wasn’t looking.

Now, let’s talk about food. Sure, there are elves scurrying about, Christmas carols playing, and beautiful decorations upon which any young child will gladly focus their attention…for about three minutes. Considering that the wait to see Santa could be quite long, hunger is going to become a factor in whether or not both parent and child survive this adventure. Not to mention, interesting snacks can be a superb distraction for a fidgety child when impatience runs high and holiday cheer begins to run low. Lesson number three seems to evolve from pure survival instinct: Bring munchies! Just make sure they aren’t the sticky, melty, dribbly kind that will stain your child’s cute little Christmas outfit or put them on a sugar high that transforms them into a human ping-pong ball.

The most important lesson I learned from our visit to see the jolly man in red was this: Remember how fascinating this whole experience was when YOU were a child, because these are the times that memories are made of. My daughter was exhausted by the end of our excursion, and fell asleep on the way home clutching her candy cane in one hand and the big red bow one of Santa’s elves had given to her in the other. As I carried her snoozing little form into the house, passing through the twinkling lights around the porch and jingling the bells on the front door wreath, this final lesson sunk in. Remember how it felt to be little like her, and celebrate her experience of Christmas, visit to Santa and all…and next year, remember lessons one through three as well.

Holly Ferris is a mother of two and writer for TotsNstyle.com who specialize in LikeAbikes as well as other children’s toys and furniture.

If you enjoyed that one - check out this - 6 Fashion Tragedies You Children Shouldn't Have to Endure. Hilarious. 


Our "sample" photos with Santa are courtesy of Lindsay and her beautiful Children Andrew and Sarah.


Happy Holidays Ladies!


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Dec 24, 2009

The Christmas Spirit

Today is Christmas Eve. One of my most favourite days of the year. Most people love Christmas Day because of the gifts, the family, the food, etc. etc. but, to me, there is something so special about the night before Christmas.

When we get older, it's like we forget about all the anticipation and excitement we used to feel as kids or that we feel we need to act "grown up" about it all now. This year it's different. Even though Jane isn't near old enough to understand it all, having a child in the house seems to bring back the spirit of it all. Suddenly the tree, decorations and Santa have a whole new meaning - like you start to remember why Christmas was such a big deal when you were little.

To be honest, when I was a kid I was scared to death of Santa. I used to sleep with my older sister on Christmas Eve because I used to worry about waking up and having Santa in my room, scaring the poop outta me!

In our old neighbourhood, every Christmas Eve at 8 O'clock, Santa would walk around the streets ringing his bell to let the kids know it was time for bed. My parents were fabulous too - always making sure we bought in to the magic. For weeks before Christmas, my Mom would point at the window and say "OH, did you see that? An elf just peaked in that window!" - usually if we were doing something good or something bad - to let us know that the big man was watching. One year, as we were getting a little older and starting to wonder about this whole Santa thing, my parents did the ultimate. When my sis and I came down over the stairs into the living room, there were giant ash footprints from our fireplace to the Christmas tree. Mom and Dad actually had to get carpet cleaners in and, of course, acted super unimpressed with Santa for making a mess. I will never forget that Christmas.

We don't even have a fireplace in our house right now. What the heck am I going to tell Jane - Santa comes in the dryer vent? I could track lint from the dryer to the Christmas tree! :p

I think part of the excitement and joy of being a parent is being able to be a kid again. Being able to re-live all of the excitement and anticipation that comes when you have a full, un-jaded imagination. We all have so much to look forward to!

Wishing you and your family a magical Holidays!

Here are two things that may help:
NORAD's Santa Tracker - tracks Santa all as he travels all around the world!
Personalized Message from Santa - This is so much fun, you get to put in your child's name and gifts they want and it generates a personal message right from Santa!

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PS - Don't forget to check and see if you won one of our $50 Baby's First Phone Call gift certificates! See the Giveaways section on the right hand side.

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Dec 23, 2009

Baby's First Phone Call Giveaway

Today is the last day to enter the Baby's First Phone Call Giveaway - don't forget!

Weigh-in Wednesday post below :)

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Weigh-in Wednesday

Thought of something new this week for WIW - HALLELUJAH!

Didn't think about it until Saturday so I'm starting there. Here are my thoughts, challenges and successes from a few days throughout the week on Operation BSB - Bringing Sexy Back baby!

Saturday: Bridal Shower this afternoon followed by a Christmas party. Normally, if I knew I was having a day of parties where there would be treats galore, I would consider the day a right-off and eat everything I wanted to and more. To my shock and delight, I did the opposite! I had WILL POWER today! Ok, I'll give y'all a minute to get your jaws off the floor. I didn't eat anything at the shower except half a cookie. Then, I intended on having a snack at home in between parties but got blogging and tweeting and completely forgot to eat! Now I'm picking my jaw off the floor because I don't think this has ever happened to me (except the first week Jane was born when I forgot about everything unless it related to her). I didn't even realize I forgot to eat until we were on our way to the party. So, I thought, OOOHHH YEEEAH, Christmas party - lots of treats and yummies, can't wait! But I didn't have a whole lot of time because I was playing with my sweety and her new friend Abby and, again, forgot about the food. So, to summarize, this is (1) not a recommended diet plan (the whole not remembering to eat thing) and (2) unlikely to happen ever again but (3) very impressive as I fully intended on eating my weight in chocolate things today and, instead, I barely ate enough to sustain myself. Perhaps, no... It's probably not a good idea for me to set my goal every day to eat as much as possible in hopes it will results in the opposite, is it? :p

Sunday: Dan's gone over to his friends for football. I always eat worse if I'm home alone because I get bored and boredom is a problem easily solved by snacking! :p However, my friend Emily is coming over to hang out with Janers and I, so we're all good. And, truthfully, I don't really feel like pigging out. Maybe I really am ready to lose this weight? It's a Christmas MIRACLE! :p

Ok, just had a MB moment as I was sitting here doing nothing, diddling around on the net and then I decided to check the blog and realized that I hadn't posted anything today. Awesome. I forgot it was Wednesday and I was supposed to write my WIW post. I also, obviously, forgot to keep up on my idea of writing every day about how things were going. I'm not gonna lie, I had Coldstone Creamery last night and it was good. I'm not going to write off this entire week as a bad eating week but I might as well. I plan on eating whatever I want on Christmas day plus turkey dinner, then we're having another turkey dinner at my bros on the 26th, then my parents come (surely with chocolate in tow) on the 27th, then New Years (we're having steak, lobster, everything - YUM) so basically the next few weeks are a write off! :p

Anyways, I'm another pound down this week, thankfully, and hoping I don't put on weight in the next few weeks just maintain this weight.

Here are my stats:
Starting weight: 157 lbs
Current weight: 146 lbs
Pounds lost: 11 lbs
Pounds to lose: 9 lbs

Happy Holidays - I won't be writing "live" posts the next week or so but I've pre-written a bunch of goodies to keep the daily updates coming.

Jen :)

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Dec 22, 2009

Crazy Mommy Project

So, I found the time to make "Cakeballs" which from now on, I'm taking Katie's advice, and calling them Cake Truffles. They were pretty easy.

Here's what I did in a completely unorganized, poorly-described explanation...

I bought two boxes of Chocolate Fudge cake mix and one can (jar, container? what would you call it?) of vanilla icing, one of chocolate icing. The recipe says to use a food processor but I don't have one. So, I cooked all the cake as directed and used my hands to break it up into tiny pieces after it had cooled... although it totally wouldn't surprise anyone if I tried to do this with fresh-out-of-the-oven cake, would it? All I had to do was take broken up peices of cake and rub them between my hands and it made this fine cake powder - well not powder really, tiny bits (I should write a cookbook - my descriptions are fabulous). I did one box of cake mix with vanilla icing and the other with chocolate icing (the chocolate-chocolate combo is my fav by far). Using my hands, I made them into little 2inch-ish balls. Then I put them in the freezer for a couple of hours. This was by far the easy part. And, at this point, I was thinking - this is NOTHING, I can do this! Mistake.


I don't know why I thought coating them would be easy. Obviously I didn't think of the logistics of it all in my head when planning this out. I bought two packages of white chocolate chips, shortening, food colouring and sprinkles. I wanted to do a bunch of colours but realized that I didn't have enough chocolate chips so I went with green and red. I put a stainless steel bowl over a smaller sauce pot with boiling water in it and kept it over medium heat on the stove (I don't have a double boiler). First I added about 2 tbsp of shortening, maybe a little more, and then once that melted, I added one bag of chocolate chips, then the food colouring... make sure you stir soon as you add the chips so they don't burn.

Then came the part where I was like "What the heck do I do now?" - how the heck do I get these round truffles (:p), iced evenly and then back on the sheet without big finger marks in them? So, I stabbed them with a fork and dipped them in the coating chocolate, keeping one side icing-free and then carefully maneuvered them onto the baking sheet so the non-iced part was on the bottom. In order to make the sprinkles stick, I had to "sprinkle" every two-truffles or the icing would dry. I also kept a few white chocolate chips that I melted with almost equal amounts of shortening (so it's more watery) that I used to drizzle white chocolate on top of some of them for variety. Once I figured out the best way to ice them, it was pretty easy.


Anyways, I made them 4 days in advance and kept them in the freezer until we left for the party - when they were thawed they were super soft and I liked the denser consistency that they had when they were frozen.


Two boxes of cake mix made about 40 cakeballs but I think next time I'll make them smaller...

Don't forget to enter our Baby's First Phone Call Giveaway... only two days left!

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Dec 21, 2009

MOmMy bRaIn Monday

Back again... sadly, with another MB Monday. I look forward to the day when I don't have these issues with my brain functioning properly.

Numero Uno:
TMZ: "Tiger Woods says he's taking an indefinite break from golf"
Me (in my head): "Hmmmm, indefinite. Does that mean he's never coming back? Or, does it mean he'll be back eventually? I should know what indefinite means. God, I'm an idiot. I should ask Dan. If I do he's going to give me that look. That, are you effin' serious look?"
Me (out loud): "What does indefinite mean?"
Dan (in his head): "Is she effin' serious?"
Dan (out loud): "What?"
Me: "What does indefinite mean? Like he's never coming back or he may come back?"
Dan (in his head): "Oh my God, she is effin' serious!"
Dan (out loud): "He may come back eventually"
Me (in my head): "I should have just looked it up online."

(2) I ordered a bunch of photobooks from Kodak as Christmas gifts. My first order was "lost" according to the Kodak people. I was pissed but at least they were able to send them to me quickly enough that I could get them out to the US before Christmas. The second order was sent December 1st (and the shipping said 4-7 days). So, yesterday, I'm like - jeez, my order should have been here last week. So I call kodak to see what's up and they tell me my order must have been lost AGAIN! I lost it. I was on the phone for an hour and a half with them - they said they couldn't get my order out in time for Christmas and they weren't offering me anything - no refund, no credits, nothing. I was pissed. After an hour and a half of my day (and you other new Moms know how precious that time was as Jane was napping, it was my ME time), they gave me a $30 credit and did a re-order on my books, which would arrive God-knows-when. I checked the mail the next day... my order was there. I had spent an hour and a half on the phone losing my mind and the stupid books were sitting in my mailbox. Awesome. On the plus, I got a $30 credit! :p

(3) Three times this week I sent reply emails to people asking them to send me something that they had already given me in the original email. You'd think after the first "nevermind" email, I would have started checking before I sent the "can you send me..." reply, but NO. Three times I had to write "Nevermind, this is why my blog is called MB". If it were family, no biggie, but it was blog-related business stuff. Awesome.

Don't forget to enter our Baby's First Phone Call Giveaway before Thursday!

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PS - Perhaps this is a tip everyone is aware of but me and, as always, perhaps it is just a fluke but the last two days, I've broken up Jane's cereal-feeds into one in the AM and one before her last feed of the night (6:30pm, then she has her bedtime feed at 8-8:30ish). Two nights in a row she's slept from 8:30pm until almost 6am! I don't want to curse it but I'm going to stick to this new routine until it fails me! :p

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Dec 20, 2009

Dec 19, 2009

Sad but True



















I might as well just photoshop my face onto one of these lady's faces...

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Dec 18, 2009

Crazy Mommy Project

I scammed this idea from Posh Little's Holiday Gift Guide which has some great ideas for toys and gifts for babes of all ages.

I saw this super cute painting (on the left) and I thought it would look fabulous in Jane's new playroom! However, I cannot rationalize spending $75 US for it when I thought I could do a similar re-make myself... hence, another Crazy Mommy Project. As with all CMP, mid-way through this one, actually almost at the beginning, I thought "what the heck have I gotten myself into here?"... but I had already bought the canvas and was committed at that point.

So, here's what I did.
(1) Bought a 20x20" canvas from Michaels (Regularly $24.99 but was 40% off plus I got another 15% off because of a Saturday special)
(2) Found paints I had laying around from previous CMPs
(3) Using Microsoft Word, found some fonts I liked that were similar to those in the original painting, set the font sizes to 400-700, varying sizes, and printed them.
(4) Cut out the letters and placed them on my canvas as I wanted them arranged and then traced them with a pencil.
(5) Started painting! Choose a bunch of colours I liked and selected which letters would be those colours and voila!

It took me probably two weeks to finish it all because I only took an hour or less a day to do it... as I said, almost immediately, I was thinking this was a bad idea! But I liked the finished product and am not too embarrassed to put it up on my wall! :p

I'm likely totally in the wrong for knocking off someone else's idea... but I'm broke, cheap and not willing to pay $35 shipping for Canadians (now that's definitely in the wrong)!

Next CMP, CAKEBALLS!

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PS - Don't forget to check out our Baby's First Phone Call Giveaway!

Update: Click here to download the publisher files for each letter - actual font and size that I used to make my painting. If any letters are missing, it's because I couldn't find the font I wanted so I drew them by hand (e.g. P). If you don't have publisher, click "contact me" at the top of this page and I'll sent you the size and font info if you want.

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Dec 17, 2009

Baby's First Phone Call Giveaway

So here's one for a specific group of people - but y'all who this doesn't apply to can still enjoy the genius behind this idea...

Baby's First Phone Call is a truly innovative, convenient service that allows you to create an automated "call tree" so you can notify friends and family of your sweet babe's arrival without the hassle of having to make a bazillion individual phone calls or, worse, having that always-causing-trouble relative get upset because they had to find out through Aunt so-in-so.

This is how the service works - you and your daddy-to-be set up an account before baby is born - entering the names and phone numbers of all the people you want to notify when baby arrives. Then, once your baby is born, you make one phone call, leaving a personal message of any length with all the details you want to share. The Baby's First Phone Call system then places a call to all of the numbers on your list, playing them your fabulous message! If the person answer the phone, they will hear the exciting news right away. If they aren't home, the message will be left as a voicemail. In either case, people are able to leave you a return message which you can then pick up at your convenience.

Here are the Giveaway details:
MOmMy bRaIn has two $50 Gift Certificates for Baby's First Phone Call. This basically allows you to notify an unlimited number of friends and family (see packages) if you want! Even if you're not expecting, you can pass along your gift certificate to a friend - would make a great shower gift!

What do I want from you?
(1) Comment on this post - anonymous commenters will be excluded obviously.
(2) Vote for Mommy Brain on Top Mommy Blogs (all you have to do is click the button at the end of this post)
(3) Drop back next Thursday to see if you've won - winners will be posted in top right side bar under "Giveaways" (duh!) :p

*Please note: Because of current restrictions with their service, this giveaway is open to US Residents only. Sorry ladies! :)

Lastly, because I didn't hear back from the original winner, a new winner has been randomly chosen for the Moody Mamas Maternity Wardrobe Giveaway - check it out! If you're the lucky chick, get back to me asap so we can arrange for your prize!

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Dec 16, 2009

FYI...

I'm working on some updates to the blog, so bare with me as there may be some screw-ups in the page for the next few days... hopefully it won't effect you being able to check out my posts!

Weigh-In Wednesday post below!

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Weigh-In Wednesday

Oh my goodness, what a night... It's 6:30am, I'm exhausted.

I have nothing but to blame it all on the H1N1 shot but Jane was up about 4500 times last night. Getting the vaccine was no different than any other and she was fine a few minutes after. She did get a fever yesterday and now the whole waking up all night thing... grrrr, might be completely unrelated but, regardless, because of my hatred of everything H1N1 I'm blaming it. Add that to the fact that I have another blocked milk duct and I couldn't get rid of it last night despite my best efforts - heat, bath, massage, feeding. So that hurts like heck and woke me up an additional 4500 times as every time I turned over I woke up to say "OW!".

I just got on the scale - peed, got naked, basically getting rid of anything that might add an ounce to my weight - and nodda. I'm thinking it's time to add a little exercise back into the program. I haven't been walking the last week or so because it's so freakin' cold outside that I can't stomach it. We have a treadmill though so I think I'll start walking or running a few times a week on that while Jane naps. She usually goes for a nap at 10ish which works out perfectly because that's when Ellen comes on! Did y'all see John Mayer yesterday with his Christmas sweater? He cracks me up - if you have twitter or don't, it's worth getting just to "listen" to him. I'm listening to his new CD right now, "Battle Studies", and it's fab... great "hanging around" music.

Ok, I got side-tracked there for a second. So, yeah, need to get back to working out. I always do this - go through phases where I'm working out regularly and then phases where I'm a lazy couch potato. I guess I wouldn't call myself a couch potato at this point because all my free time is spent writing, cleaning, dancing, playing, etc. and these are calorie burning activities but definitely not enough to result in me looking anything like the Victoria Secret models I made the mistake of watching walk the runway last night! Obviously, that's never gonna happen but you get my point. By the way, love the Victoria Secret Fashion Show but some of those girls and by some I mean all but one of them, were WAY too skinny. Even Heidi Klum and Giselle had curves - a little bit any ways!

Ok, I really gotta go - Jane's awake and unhappy again!

Here are my stats because I forgot to post them last week:
Starting weight: 157 lbs
Current weight: 147 lbs
Pounds lost: 10 lbs
Pounds to lose: 10 lbs

xoxoxo

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