Here's an old shot of my then 2 yr. old enjoying the simple fun of leaves at After Dark in the Park.
A few pages into this book, I was already crying. Not because I’m a child of divorce, but because as a mother now, I was instantly touched about how a child would feel reading this book and as a parent IF I had to discuss such a difficult issue with my child. While it is sad that divorce is so prevalent in our culture, it is fact that children will be affected when 50 percent of marriages do result in divorce.
Thankfully there is a book on a 3 – 8 year-old level that kids relate to and can help parents communicate and share their feelings about divorce in an easy-to-read format.
A child of a successful “bonus mom” relationship, author Tami Butcher penned My Bonus Mom! Take the Step out of Step Mom to plant a seed in children’s minds that having a stepmother/stepfather can be a bonus with their hearts and minds accept the new relationship in a positive way. Through colorful graphics and rhyme, she’s developed a must-have book for any family affected by divorce and remarriage.
My Bonus Mom! Take the Step out of Step Mom
By Tami Butcher
Five Star Publications, Inc.
I received one or more of the mentioned products for the sole purpose of this review. No other compensating was given and all opinions expressed are 100 percent my own. (Accordance with FTC's 16 CFR Part 255, "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.")
Autumn is a woman of many likes in this world including food, family, friends and fun. And not necessarily in that order. She can be found here and in other places, but strives to everyday to get a gold star on her own blog, mamachallenge.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
It's always a challenge to stay up on all the things techo and digital, so get your tips with TechTuesdays on mamachallenge.com.
While cooking might not be one of my strongest talents, eating and watching all things food is. My Pinterest board is full of all the things I’ll make in my next life and when the TV’s on…it’s Food Network that makes my heart (and my stomach) skip a beat.
So when I heard that THE Paula Deen was going to be in Dallas for MetroCooking Dallas…I quickly jumped to see her Southern Highness whip up something and utter her magic twang that could make scrambled eggs sound like the best thing EVER. Speaking of the best thing ever (another Food Network reference), Paula’s not coming empty handed! She’s bringing Iron Chef, Boy Meets Grill, Food Network Star host - we’ll I could go on forever on his list of shows…Bobby Flay. And that’s just for starters.
|Photo courtesy of MetrocookingDallas.com.
I try to always give readers a heads up on where they can score free food -- especially when you are paying for kids to eat, too. Worst off, when you are trying to eat healthy it can go to the wayside if you have to take out the whole family. (I mean how can you compete with a Little Ceasar's Pizza at $5 for a large pepperoni!) That's why one of the most heavily downloaded lists is that of all the “kids eat free” restaurants in DFW. But keeping up that list and printing it out to put on the refrigerator may be a thing of the past with a new free website and app.
[This blog is devoted to all things mama -- which means most the time it's stuff about the kids, what to make for dinner and things that are designed to make our lives easier. This month I'm taking the focus off the family and putting it back on #1 (that's you, ladies!) With all the stresses of being a mama, we have a tendency to forget about us...from our looks, our bodies and our minds. So September is all about taking care of yourself and remembering that there are other parts of being a mom...being yourself. (And if you don't remember what that means, then you really need to get ready this month!) So get out a glass of water or wine and enjoy!]
I'm still recovering, but I have to admit it was all worth it in the name of shopping!
Like many parents, my kiddos birthday parties are a big deal. I enjoy the planning and putting it together and they enjoy the party, so it’s a win-win, except for the paying part. However, for my daughter’s first birthday, I really wanted to make it all about family, especially since ours doesn't live so close. With an August birthday close to Labor Day, we chose the lake as a perfect setting to just take it easy with a retro cherry-themed birthday party, complete with mini-pies, homemade ice cream and a huge helping of family fun…all made possible with a little help from a couple of local friends.
After you've left the hospital and get to take your new darling home, there is a whole new world of acclimation for both you and baby to get into a routine. I basically compare it to when the honeymoon phase is over when you get married, but it is now time for you and baby to figure out: “How are we gonna do this?”
This weekend is tax-free holiday. Remember to buy up your diapers because you know you will need them and read these tips for making your babies look good without breaking the bank.
While spending 14 days in Italy with my husband without my kiddos or a phone sounds like the perfect opportunity to create several beautiful blog posts, I really made myself go on vacation and NOT work. Being that this was my #1 bucket list item EVER and I had dreamed about it for 20 years (or more), I couldn't even begin to what NOT to write about. So for once in my life, I just inhaled (or ate) everything around me (except for those couple of times I did find a WIFI connection and jumped on Facebook.) From the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the feelings and of course the sights, I just took it all in (and when I was allowed) photographed everything I could. That’s why I have more than 1000 shots ordered from Shutterfly!
Did you know that more babies are born in August than any other month? In celebration of this and the fact that my daughter will turn one this month as well, well be concentrating on all things baby this month. From newborns, toys, equipment must-haves and even trends in baby birthdays, well be focusing on them this August.
Recently my oldest, Jackson, celebrated his 4th birthday just the way he wanted: Angry-Birds style! It was a lot of fun to plan together and I’m sure that everyone had a good time! Jackson was blessed to have many of his best friends at the party and many great gifts from some very thoughtful people. Some of them found some gifts I’d never even heard of, while others had contacted me in advance asking what the birthday boy might want for his birthday. Funny enough we were so immersed in the birthday party, I had to do a little research to find out what things my little man might want for his birthday…
With two kids, a full-time job and a husband in college, free time with my girlfriends is not something I enjoy very often. That’s why it’s important occasionally to make lunch dates (and even little movie dates) with my girlfriends during “working hours.” While normally not near long enough, an hour here and there is good enough to remember that there’s something else besides diapers, dinner and kiddo dilemmas. So the other day when I have a chance to eat at one of my bucket-list restaurants for lunch, the Brownstone in Fort Worth, I was ecstatic.
Nested in Fort Worth’s upscale West 7th district, the Brownstone is an open-space concept designed for everyone including the white-collar worker to a gals’ night out. My friend and I fell somewhere in between with only an hour for lunch, we quickly tried perused the menu. That was the hard choice to make since it was full of many great appetizers, salads and desserts. And with diver scallops, creamy mac n cheese and crawfish, the choice for lunch was going to be a hard one…except when we came across the Executive Menu option. Designed with the lunch hour in mind, it promises a delicious lunch featuring comfort classics like meatloaf and shrimp n grits in addition to the soup, salad and sandwich combos you expect. And best of all, they’ll get your meal and your included drink to you in 30 minutes or less for only $10.
While the Pimento Grilled Cheese, Tomato Bisque and Greens combo made my taste buds happy, it was The Stone Select that made intrigued me, so my girlfriend order the grilled cheese and I ordered the “little bit of everything.” While we waited for our meal, I broke down ordered the Brownstone white sangria, ensemble white wine. Full of summer berries, a light fruity flavor, and just a little tad of bubbly, I could see why this house favorite could be one of mine as well.
Only a few sips down, our meal arrived right on time. Indecisive as I am with food, The Stone Select was an ideal option. The perfectly portioned dish featured Brownstone’s Buffalo Blue Cheese Hummus, Asian Chicken Salad with almond, bacon, spinach, and artichoke dip, salad, crudités and other dippables. I was was happy to dive in and share all my tasty choices with my girlfriend who also was returning the favor with her grilled cheese/soup combo. Although I don’t know the calorie count, it was a good, shareable meal. The Asian salad spotlighted a tangy and sweet dressing, almonds and bite-size pieces of chicken. The dips were great to share with my friend and the veggies on my plate made me feel better when I indulged with my sangria. My experience ended on a high note when the check came…less than $20 for a meal, apps and a drink and in less than an hour.
In addition to its Executive Lunch, I’d recommend Thursdays for Girls Night at the Brownstone. With $1 bubbly and free appetizers for tables of four or more, it’s sure to become the go-to destination for girls 21-41, looking for a great place to catch up with the girls. And July 18 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. , the Brownstone becomes the headquarters for our Mom2Mom readers for our Moms Meet & Tweet. Part of a night of West 7th’s Ladies Night Out, not only will you drink bubbly at $1 a pop, get a personal chef demo of crab cakes from the Brownstone’s Christian Lehrmann and tons and tons of prizes, discounts, giveaways and more.
So bring your girlfriends and start your night off with us on July 18 at the Brownstone for a night of fun!
840 Currie Street
Fort Worth, TX
After two decades of waiting, I’m only a week out from embarking on my dream vacation to Italy. Two glorious weeks in Rome, Sorrrento, Florence, Pisa and Venice with my husband – and totally kid free. While that sounds pretty amazing, I know that two weeks is going to be HARD without my kiddos. Luckily both my amazing mother and my selfless mother-in-law are sharing the load of taking care of the kids while we’re away at their homes. And for that to be successful for everyone, it takes planning and paperwork to make sure the children and our moms are properly prepared with every detail from what foods the kids eat – to the pediatrician’s number in case an emergency happens (oh, please I hope that doesn’t happen...)
In Texas when you expect to reach 100 degree temps for most of the summer, you should know the importance of sunscreen. Now that I'm not as young as I used to be (and as dumb either when I baked in the sun using Crisco oil as sunscreen), I really appreciate the concept of "be nice to your skin and it will be nice to you." Worst of all with the new ranking of #9 Worst City for Skin in the U.S. by Daily Glow online and two kids with almost translucent skin, sunscreen is a must.
Here's everything you need to create your own Angry Birds Birthday!
There's nothing better than pizza except maybe FREE pizza. On June 5, Dallas-based Pizza Patron will give away 1 full large size pizza when you order your pizza in Spanish from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. So whether you actually can speak Spanish, they say that "Pizza, por favor!" will be enough to get your pizza.
If you’ve spent anytime following me, you know I like to eat. Unfortunately, while cooking sounds like it could be fun, time seems to get in the way for my battle to make a meal that’s healthy, quick (like 20 minutes quick) and of course, tasty. So when I got an invitation to attend a cooking class hosted by Wholly Guacamole to get some tips on “dinner dilemmas,” I was quick to RSVP since I need all the help I can get. However, while I am a fan of all things made with guacamole or salsa, I was intrigued to learn how I could make that spread for a week’s worth of dinner hearing the complaints of empty stomachs.
Solve mom's mealtime dilemma with The Mom 100 Cookbook by Cookstr.com Founding Editor Katie Workman. She'll be in North Texas May 24 to sign cookbooks and show her cooking skills at Central Market. See why Chef Bobby Flay says this gal is the solution to the question, "What's for dinner?"
If you're a mom, you love coffee (what mom doesn't) and like to win stuff, you're in luck. Einstein Bros and Krups recognize mom by giving her a chance to keep her caffeine inventory stocked!
May is National Smile Mouth. Check out these free tips to make your pearly whites look whiter instantly, a product that can make your teeth whiter at home and take a look at the future of dentistry + spa!
Rather than scour the planet to try to figure out what you think mom wants for Mothers Day, Im going to tell you exactly what to do to get it right this Mothers Day... Go to Pinterest. Youll find the motherload (yes, that was the perfect pun!)
To recognize Earth Day, April 22, I felt I needed to do something environmentally impactful. Unfortunately, my time and patience kept me from being the good example I intended to be. Instead I decided it was possible to still be a good patron of Mother Earth by just making a few changes with my familyÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬Ã¢âÂ¢s everyday that can make tomorrow even better.
With spring time in full swing, I enjoy everything Mother Nature offers like al fresco dining, working in the yard and consuming fresh fruit. Unfortunately, my vegetable intake is not exactly what it should be, although I have very good intentions when I purchase produce for my family. Undoubtedly, I end up throwing some of it away since I can’t always get to cooking something with it before it goes south. It’s a never-ending cycle that many times the cost outweighs my want for fresh vegetables and fruit, and I end up with frozen and canned versions instead (despite the flavor, color and quality.)
This week many of us saw first-hand what Mother Nature can do in just a few hours.Help those left homeless by donating this Easter season
Losing baby socks are a thing of the past! Toe Blooms are a must-have for moms tired of coming home with just one of babys shoes! So cute you don't even have to wear socks.
Diaperpods is the solution for your diaper mess. Vote now to get your hands on these must-have diapers!
f you are interested in learning more about this camera ourbabycamera.com will be at the Dallas Kids Expo, March 24 at Dallas Market Hall. Word is ourbabycamera.com will be offering a special on the camera with installation if you want to pick up yours immediately! While you are there, also make plans to bring the kids for Bob the Builder, bounce houses and other fun entertainment. Mom and dad can also learn about other local DFW resources including other baby products like this. Tickets are $12 at the door and kids 12 and under get in free with a jar of peanut butter for the North Texas Food Bank. For more information about the Dallas Kids Expo, check out their website at www.dallaskidsexpo.com.
Spring brings out the organizing bug in me. I just want to run a well-oiled machine/household. Over the last few days I had begun my list of things I needed to purchase to be more organized when I was received a special invitation to get a sneak peak at the NEW Container Store in Arlington. I really couldnÃÆÃâÃâÃÂ¢ÃÆÃÂ¢ÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬Ã
Â¾ÃâÃÂ¢t get more excited except that profits from sales during Grand Opening Weekend would benefit the local Junior League of Arlington, so it was a done deal that I was going to RSVP to this event. Oh what I did not realize I was going to have to contain myself!
As part of Galleria Dallas' Beauty Live 2012, a three-day event totally devoted to all things beauty, The Body Shop challenged this mom to take care of her skin with a four-week test drive. Did her skin look a wreck when she was done?
In celebration of Presidents Day, GreatApps.com is proud to offer "Britannica Kids: U.S. Presidents," for free starting Friday, Feb. 17 through the end of President's Day on Feb. 20. The app teaches young learners an important aspect of U.S. history by taking them on a fun and educational meet and greet with the 44 U.S. Presidents.
Three years ago my newborn was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, the most common birth defect. Celebrate him and the 1 in 10 kids born every year with CHD for CHD Awareness, Feb. 7-14.
Looking for something sweet to give your honey who loves taking photos? Personalize their picture-taking experience with a mod. camera accessories or win one for them through this review.
New Years always brings hope of new habits, new changes and for me (and many other women) a new (smaller) waistline. See how this mom uses a "YumYum Dish" to help her keep those diet resolutions in check.
This mom got the chance to make her hectic life a little easier by "shaving" off the time it takes to shave by getting a wax
Ill admit I rarely crave anything fried, but the next time my honey says he is craving something he can eat with ketchup or I want to meet up with friends, I think we found a place thats perfect for friends, family and fried food at The Grease Monkey and Social House.
Get ready for a smooth beginning in 2012 with FREE WAX Jan. 4 -10 at European Wax Center in Addison.
In addition to the power of "The Elf on the Shelf" (one of the most amazing, money-making tools of all time!), I've employed a few more "tools" this year to not just ensure my kids are on their best bahavior, but that they KNOW that Santa Claus isn't just a myth, but a living legend.
I got the chance to try out the Ipad’s newest competitor, the Motorola Xoom, I was happy to see what “else” another tablet could actually do that an Ipad couldn’t. I mean comparison shopping is always necessary, right? I was pleasantly surprised by the answers.
I don’t know if it seems like there were more holiday events this year or everyone just stepped up their game, but here’s our four must-dos for the holidays this weekend. Yep, our game plan is to try to conquer holiday all in one weekend!
Making the Perfect Christmas Bow with tips from the pros at The Container Store
Are you one of those people who loves to play Farmville on their Facebook? Do you have Angry Birds on your Ipad? Is your idea of exercise pulling out the Wii Fit? Well, folks, that’s not me. Actually, while I am a competitive person and LOVE my techno toys, games (and especially a gaming system), don’t interest me. My husband enjoys them and has many on his phone and computer and my son has a Leapster he received as a gift, but admittedly we don’t have a Wii, a PS, a DS or any other one of those things. However, just like everything with being a parent, sometimes you find yourself reconsidering your thinking. This was especially the case for me after attending a special event at the W Hotel in Dallas called the Games for Girls Summit, which has me wondering now: Can games be a good thing?
Hosted by an esteemed panel of women including Nicole Armstrong of Activision, Suzanne Kantra of Techilicious, and local hostess with the mostess, Holly Homer of She is Dallas/June Cleaver Nirvana, the Games for Girls Summit was held at the W Hotel in Dallas on November 15. The two-hour event included moms and their kiddos listening to information about games while experiencing the newest kid-centric games on the market. I really enjoyed being able to see the games in action by kids of all ages and since we are a group of moms talking about mom stuff – it was nice to have my kids experience it with me.
Although the environment was amazing, it was the facts from a few recent studies by BYU, NCBI and NPD I heard that really made me think.
Check these out:
· 42% of kids less than 8 years old have a TV in their room.
My kiddo has always had a TV in his room.
· Today, 91 percent of kids (approximately 64 million) ages 2-17 are gaming in the U.S.
My kiddo has a Leapster and has eight game apps on my Iphone.
· 11% of 0-8 years olds have used a smartphone.
He can operate my phone better than I do.
· People who play video games are more creative. Gamers process info faster and by playing a game together, create a social bond sooner with others.
Well, I have to wonder about this one since “creative” is a relative term, but it can’t hurt to add a little creativity to his learning, not to mention the ability to process info quickly. And while social interaction skills are so important at this age, I had always thought that games would make it that much harder, but it seems the opposite is true.
· Gamers spend 80% of their time failing.
This was the one that really seemed to make me reconsider that by playing games like a Wii can really make my kid build perseverance: the age-old lesson, “When you fail, try, try again.”
Those stats game me really reeling. Then they brought out the goodies – all the newest and coolest games imaginable including Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo, Lalaloopsy, Zoobles, ZhuZhu Babies, Squinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize and one of the coolest games I have ever seen - Wappy Dog. The Wappy Dog interacts with the Nintendo DS and vice versa. I have to admit this toy was so cute and I’m really thinking about getting one for my three-year old.
All in all, I thought the summit was eye-opening and a real life-changing experience, honestly. So the next day when I went to Best Buy, I sauntered over to the game section to look at what was out there. I will admit it was a little overwhelming, but at least I made my first step into gaming…and in perfect timing for the holidays (at least for my kids!)
Got any suggestions for a non-gaming mom? What’s your favorite system for the kiddos?
Come visit me at: http://www.autumnreo.com for more!
Now that I have two children, Holiday preparation consists of a lot more than just putting up my decorations. It's actually more fun now as I figure out the attire for our family photo for the family Christmas photo. From the sweaters to socks, in a way I never thought I would be, I enjoy trying to put together that one moment when it is ok to make everyone look like "Leave it to Beaver."
The Game Plan: Experience the arts with Shrek: The Musical at Bass Hall
A major part of my parenting strategy is to introduce my kids to the things I like so we can share them together. Of course, this is sometimes a challenge when it’s a fine dining establishment or in this case, an upscale musical performance at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. However, since the show was Shrek: The Musical, I expected that my 3-year-old could enjoy one of his favorite movies as a live feature and my 2-month old (with a full tummy) could snooze while we watched. So we prepared ourselves for the evening’s adventure by following play protocol in nice attire and arrived in enough time to get a good lay of the land (the location of our seats to the bathroom) just before the curtain pull for opening night.
Highlights: The show begins by introducing the characters and the plotline in a basic way a child could understand and follow. Shrek and Fiona started things off quickly so his interest was piqued early on in the show. The very short Lord Farquaad was a complete riot as he did his entire performance and dance on his knees and kept the crowd clapping as he showed his moves. For us the full-scale dragon, made possible by several puppeteers was the ultimate crowd-pleaser as her eyes glowed and she danced. The puppeteers excellent handiwork, along with all the backdrops, lighting and fog used to create her lair really brought the dragon to life. And of course, just like in the movie, Donkey, Shrek’s trusty and hilarious companion, was a mainstay of the musical and kept the adults entertained with quick quips throughout.
Prepare the team: This is a live performance and was a bit loud sometimes which made things a little uncomfortable for my 3-year old, so perhaps picking aisle seats at the back of hall would make it easier for quick exits like bathroom breaks. Also, because it starts at 7:30 PM and goes until past nine, bathroom breaks are unenviable, but screens outside of the hall allow you to stay tuned to the musical if you need to break before intermission. As always in a public setting, a visit to the bathroom, whether your child warrants it or not at the time is a necessity. And because the musical is much longer than a Dora the Explorer episode, make sure to adjust dinner and sleep time accordingly. (Getting out the Goldfish and bringing their pillow is not permissible, although I saw a few small blankets and that seemed to make the late night easier for the littlest patrons.)
Overall Game: Use the evening as a learning tool and quietly ensure the child understands what is happening throughout the play. Quietly whispering to him about each scene and giving cues when things were funny, he seemed to enjoy it more as we shared it together. However, make sure to explain performance etiquette and that being loud and getting up and down is frowned upon since it interrupts the show and the people around you. You will also need to bring a little extra money to buy the Shrek ears all the kids were wearing so you can take home a little token of your evening of arts and enrichment. Besides they were really cute and so was Shrek: The Musical that you can check out only at Bass Hall until this Sunday, Nov. 13. The hall is also decorated for the holidays so it's a great place to get a few good photos next to the tree and purchase a few decorations to take home. What a great way to start the holidays and prepare your kids for the upcoming holiday shows like The Nutcracker and the Gaylord Texan’s ICE - Shrek the Halls, which starts Nov. 11 through Jan. 1.
HERE'S A GREAT REMINDER ON HOW TO HAVE A FUN AND SAFE HALLOWEEN!
Tips Courtesy of Smart911
Trick-or-treating with your youngsters
1) If you’re headed out with a large group make sure there is a buddy system place. A big crowd is fun, but it’s easy for a child to get left behind or mixed in with other groups.
2) Select a meeting place your child knows, such as your home or a neighbor’s home. Tell your child if you get separated to head right to that meeting place.
3) Scout out neighborhoods in your town in advance and find out which ones are well lit and have sidewalks.
4) Call your local police station in advance to let them know which neighborhoods will be most heavily trafficked with trick-or-treaters; this will get some extra attention on speeding drivers and help increase safety.
5) Take a digital photo or your kids before you trick-or-treat. While it’s great for the scrapbook, it’s also important to have a recent and detailed description in the event of an emergency. A photo could be critical to helping any emergency efforts. And if you’ve set up a Smart911 Safety Profile, upload a recent photo of your child there as well.
Trick-or-treating safety tips for your teen
1) If your child doesn’t have their own cell phone, lend them your phone or your spouse’s phone for the night or pick-up a pre-paid cell. Make sure all the important numbers your child would need are easily found (9-1-1, parents and perhaps a neighbor).
2) If your kids are heading out with friends, make sure you know who they are trick or treating with. Exchange phone numbers with your child’s friends and their parents. In the event of an emergency they will be the first people you probably call.
3) If your kids aren’t trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, scope out the neighborhood where they’re headed. Make sure the area looks safe and discuss what streets they plan to target.
4) Create a timeline, discuss what time your kid plans to head out, where they plan to go and what time they will return home.
5) Make sure you know what your child will be dressed as. If they are dressing at friend’s house or pulling together a last minute costume, it’s important to be able to provide a detail description in the event of an emergency.
6) Set ground rules- number one, make sure your child never enters a person’s house. If they can’t bring the candy out to the door step, walk away.
Don't forget your free food: While you're out - remember, when your kids wear a costume, they eat for free tonight at Dickey's!
About Smart 911
Smart911 is a free service that was recently made available to citizens and families in Cedar Hill, DoSoto and Duncanville. Smart911 is saving lives by providing critical information to 9-1-1 call takers the second a call is made via Safety Profiles that citizens can easily create (even through Facebook) for their entire households. Profiles can include information like any health conditions, allergies, up-to-date photos of family members (which is vital in the case of an Amber Alert), descriptive address, pets, etc., which pop up immediately so the call taker has this life-saving information before the caller even says a word.
Especially on Halloween, having an updated Smart911 Safety Profile for your entire family will ensure that in the event of an emergency, critical data is at the ready for first responders.
This week all things are pointed at Halloween and ours points to Thomas the Tank Engine!
I just figured out 10 days in that it’s already October. I’ve been a little busy so the fall décor in the house consists of two pumpkins (there’s nothing done to them), changing out the summer Scentsy smells for cinnamon and pumpkin and a poorly baked pumpkin bread recipe I got from Pinterest (I’m sure it’s actually good, but maybe had something to do with it.) Strangely enough, as I put up my one other decoration for Halloween, I’ve decided to skip my normal favorite time of house decorating, so I can enjoy it and mentally decorating for Christmas.
Maybe this is because I decided since I was in the closet getting out the Halloween stuff that I went ahead and opened up the Christmas boxes. Maybe it’s because I’m excited to put my kiddos in matching attire for the family photo (yep, the stores have already enticed me to take up on those early sales and get their outfits!) Maybe it’s because if I started this month, I’d actually get it all up by December. Either way, I’ve done a warp through the holidays over this weekend – including my birthday plans and a few others that come somewhere in between the two. For this purpose, I feel like I need to share a few things that have become my top three best new friends/tools for this holiday season.
1. Loved the Amazon Wish List Toolbar.
Hopefully you already know about this one, but it is one of my favorites (literally, you can find it on my Internet browser in my “favorites” folder.) Anyhow, this is the only way I think everyone should do their shopping. Basically once you download the “Universal Button” you can save anything you find online to your personal wish list. That list is shareable to others so they can see what you want and where to get it and vice-versa (my husband and I share ours and I also make one for the kids for the grandparents.) It’s a great way to share with your spouse your wants without taking the spoil out of buying it for yourself, putting it under the tree and then putting his name on it. It’s a must.
2. Hooked on the beloved Pinterest.
Once you’ve been on it for five seconds, you will undertand why I think I love this site/app better than Facebook. All I can tell you is if you haven’t been on it, I don’t know if you should – first, because it’s a huge drain on time because it somehow feesl like you are doing something useful when you aren’t and two – because sometimes the site is so overloaded that you can’t get on (“No pins available” is the phrase you will see in high traffic times.) Now from my description you are really confused I’m sure, but in a nutshell, this site is the momma of all good ideas. Back in the day you may have kept a folder or your email a photo or link when you found something you like (a recipe, an outfit or a DIY idea), but never to go back again. With Pinterest, you get the best ideas in one organized place and with the flick of your finger, you can save them and share them. And then the fun begins. Trust me, you will love it, just make sure to keep a timer around to remind you that you can't spend the whole day pinning – we’ll at least you shouldn’t. Come follow me at arredmon!
3. Spent way too much money at T-Hee Greetings.
I’m an online shopper. I rarely get out to shop not because I don’t like to, but it’s quicker and easier to do when you have little ones. However, it’s good to check out things in person and when you don’t know what to get someone, then it’s really hard to Google “What to get my my son’s pre-school teacher for the holidays.” So the other day I was invited by a friend to check out the store for a quick moment out of the house, I took her up on it. When I got to the store (there’s actually two in Dallas), I went crazy. The store had so many cute things), there was tons of beautiful stationery (including Vera Wang!) and best of all, most anything could be monogrammed! So of course, I got tons of ideas for gifts from everyone from my girlfriend, my co-workers and I even bought something for my husband. I also got my eyes on these adorable personalized loafers for my daughter which I’m sure will be “her” present for Christmas! Like I said, it’s nice to press “enter” to have things shipped to the house, but wait they do that too. Check out a few of my favorites! In the words of Rachel Zoe: AHHH-MAZING.
· Personalized IPhone Cover
· Personalized Pendant
· Personalized Burpee (see photo)! · Personalized Loafers (see photo)!
Running a family of four can be just like a game with mom playing umpire, pitcher, catcher and sometimes the bench!
As my little girl celebrates her 1 month birthday, the newness is starting to wear off of being a mom now of 2. We're supposed to be working our way into a "normal" schedule, although somehow she has me feeling like a new mom all over again like I was with my son. It's a repeat of three years ago: again I feel like there's never going to be a way to clean the house, get dinner prepared, get everyone to their appointments and oh yeah, get any amount of work completed! And since I really hadn't got a social life back from my first child, I guess that's the only thing that is going to stay the same. However, somehow, I was able to edge a little time to get something written - but what? To be honest, I've thought about tons of things I wanted to share...but they've never gotten to the computer. And when I am in front of the screen, my brain is mush and is full of only the basics right now: every two hours there's a little person who needs to eat and will expect to have her diaper changed as soon as she wakes up from her multiple naps a day.
As a woman about to give birth (literally, I’m sitting in the hospital bed now), I’m reminded of all the things that people have said to me over the last few days…Things I must tell you shouldn’t really be said to anyone, but someone either people don’t know what to say to pregnant women or don’t know that just because your brain thinks it – doesn’t mean you should let the words come out your mouth.
So in honor of those pregnant women like me and as a helpful reminder for those of you whom you might encounter, here are 10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Pregnant Woman (especially when she is about to give birth). (*Thanks to those friends who have helped put this list together!)
1. You look like you are about to pop.
2. You’re still pregnant?
3. Are you ready to have this baby?
4. Have you gotten everything done?
5. Are you having twins?
6. You ready for all this brings?
7. Are your feet normally that BIG?
8. How are you feeling?
9. It’s not gonna hurt/it’s not gonna be that bad…
10. "Oh quit yer complaining. What's the big deal? Women have been doing it for thousands of years. Now get finished mowing the yard and bring me a beer!"
I had meant to give explanations to these, but then two things happened: one, I don’t think these need much rationale – just don’t say them. Two, the nurses told me it was time to get off my computer and push.
* Autumn Reo is taking off-season a little longer this year, but tune in for a few weeks once she gets her new team member ready for playing.
Needless to say, there is a HUGE difference in how a mom handles it as a new recruit (from advice and books) and now as a veteran mother. So I'm presenting a new list called The Ultimate List of Things to at Nine Months Pregnant.
Recent New Kids on the Block concert brings out the kid in me - especially right before I give birth to mine.
Recently I had the sincere pleasure to put my cake decorating skills to work in the name of charity. Kroger launched its annual “Bringing Hope to the Table” campaign and to start things off they invited some names you might know to have us put a little fun on this great effort for the fifth annual “Bringing Hope to the Table” Cake-Off.
Fast, Frugal & Fun: Quick day trips for the familiy that won't break the bank
A few months ago, we find out we were having a baby. I was very excited and began to consider all the names and nursery designs that I'd like to do.
The best part of the show was definitely the over-the-top number of "Be Our Guest."
Be green and get some black (coffee that is) on April 22 from Starbucks.
After years of attending, promoting and planning thousands of events(mostly in DFW), Mama realized she hadn't experienced everything Dallas. So using recommendations, several lists, and whatever else as a starting point, Mama has stepped up to the challenge to see what makes Dallas - well, simply stated, Dallas. So saddle up and read how "Mama Does Dallas."
My little boy is the biggest fan of Thomas the Train (technically it's Thomas the Tank Engine I've learned, but I digress), so when one of mama's projects was to promote the upcoming Dallas Kids Expo on Saturday with Thomas - I suddenly became the coolest mom ever (well for at least a week.)
In addition to all the other roles that a mom “gets” to serve as (chef, teacher, housekeeper, chauffeur…) – while home decorator and gardener often gets to be one of them. However, research often only happens when thumbing through magazines at the doctor’s office or catching a few minutes of the DIY Channel while folding laundry. Fortunately, creating your dream home and garden gets one step closer with a specialty event brings “Mommy, Me and H&G” for one afternoon!
Moms and the kiddos are invited to spend a few hours as special guests of the 32nd Annual Spring Dallas Home & Garden Show, Friday, March 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dallas Market Hall. What a perfect mommy date to catch up with friends or a field trip with the playgroup while knocking off some of your spring to-do’s including saving money, relaxing, entertaining the kids, gardening tips and a swag bag!
The Mommy & Me event includes the following:
FREE admission ($10 value) and free parking
a swag bag, with one (maybe two) lucky mom(s) discovering a $50 Tom Thumb gift card in the bag
relax in the Mommy lounge
enjoy Radio Disney ‘s “Mommy and Stroller Rockin’ Road Show”
qualify for hourly door prizes including a hand-made quilt and limited edition signed art-piece with a NEW patented wireless sound system or a unique wine rack.
learn at DYI how-to seminars by Master Faux Finisher Michael Graves and Home Depot Experts
discover professional interior decorating hints from Barbara Gilbert, CPD, Barbara Gilbert Interiors
meet NARI’s Smart Solutions for Your Home experts
stroll the many gardens and buy plants to take home
shop exhibitors, many with special show prices
gain tips for getting “Groceries Dirt Cheap” from Ruth Garrett groceriesdirtcheap.com
receive a two-for-one ticket to return with a family member during the remainder of the show.
So what's your excuse for spending time with your friends and kiddos, while getting ideas for your home and garden and doing it for free?
After all the delicious sweets and family favorites of the holidays, January brings the reality that you need to take a look at the scales and your weekly menus to make healthier choices for you and your family. However it’s not always fun to have to make the menu, cut the coupons, cook the meal, and then wait for the feedback from your children who ask if they really have to eat “that?” That’s why planning, preparing and eating as a family may be the real answer to making healthy changes that will actually stick. Easier said than done, right?
Last week I had the chance with one of my clients to attend a special recipe showcase presented by Fuel Up to Play 60. The program which is presented by the NFL, Dairy Council and DairyMax to challenge kids to get motivated about eating nutritional food an exercising 60 minutes a day with games and activities to receive prizes to win a trip to Super Bowl XLV. I can only wish that this program was in my school when I was growing up (which wasn’t that long agoJ). NFL players like Bradie James and Daryl Johnson visit the school and talk about how their food and exercise changes are what make it possible and fun activities are integrated into their curriculum that make it cool to eat and be healthy. This is a far cry from the pizza pockets, Skittles and cokes that we chugged down in middle school.
The FUTP60 showcase was one of the prizes from the most recent challenges to create a recipe that was healthy to make and that kids would enjoy eating. A local group of kids from Grapevine Middle School were selected as one of the winners for their kid-approved, kid-friendly recipe for “Gobble it Up” Lasagna and now were cooking and serving their recipe along with some other winning recipes with celebrity Chef Jon Ashton at their school for some special guests. The kids did a great job and the food was actually really tasty as well as had a precious presentation. The lasagna, of course, was the spotlight and rightfully so since who can go wrong with lasagna, yet a yummy pumpkin granola parfait almost reminded me of the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie – without the crust or the calories. During the presentation, the kids, along with Chef Ashton, gave us some helpful tips for cooking healthy and kid-friendly. However, the only thing the presentation didn’t include were tips to get the kids excited about clipping coupons or washing dishes. Perhaps we need to work on that and it include a special curriculum for dads too!
So why not challenge your family to make and eat dinner tonight! Try favorites like pizza with low-fat cheeses and veggies or a “Gobble it Up” Lasagna! It may be a real touchdown!
To get the recipes from the Fuel Up to Play 60 Recipe Challenge: http://www.dairymax.org/recipes.aspx.
To get your kids or school involved with the Fuel Up to Play 60 Program: http://www.fueluptoplay60.com
Free Food around the metroplex
Every Christmas, my bulletin board gets full of beautiful Christmas cards I am sent of family, friends and business contacts. As a real stationery junkie, I love receiving them – and some of them that aren’t specifically holiday end up in photo frames for year-long viewing. However, a few years ago, time was not on my side and I resorted to using an electronic card only .
Arlington is not only the center of sports, but this weekend there's lots of things to do in the Big A for the HOLIDAYS! Mayor Cluck's Holiday Party - Saturday at 2:30 p.m. - FREE Mayor Cluck's Holiday Party With Children will start at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, at the George W. Hawkes Central Library.
It's my favorite time of year thanks to Whataburger. I know I have gotten lots of emails from friends making sure I had this one on my list for this special bonus (from the burnt orange eatery that started last year) so I wanted to make sure this was definitely on your radar.
To keep you exhilarated, motivated and caffeinated – Racetrac is giving you a reason to call it Black Friday – with black coffee! From RaceTrac’s website: http://www.racetrac.com : Dallas bargain-hunters who venture out on the biggest shopping day of the year can expect to find the best deal of the day—free coffee—at their local RaceTrac convenience stores.
If you haven't already received this information on your Facebook page, then consider me your new friend. Just in time to ask your friend to coffee before the holiday chaos, invite them Nov. 18-20 to your nearby Starbucks to get a free holiday coffee drinks when you buy one. There's only two specific rules - first is that it is only available 2-5 p.m.
Free tacos at Jack in the Box Taking a cue from Alice in Wonderland to celebrate a non-important day, Jack in the Box is bringing on the festivities when they give away 2 free tacos for any guest on Tuesday, Nov. 16 after 2 p.m. until midnight. So catch up with a friend and take her for lunch that day on the cheap!
Looks like Burger King is trying to keep us all going on Fridays with Seattle's Best Coffee. During breakfast hours you can get your cup at local participating Burger King locations.
First off, let me clarify three things – yes, it really was my birthday (Oct 29 to be exact.) Two, this has nothing to do with me blogging for Mom2Mom. Three, I love free things. With all that being said, a few weeks ago, I had my first of many mailings to come from one of the many restaurant/store lists that I have joined over the years.
Just in time for Halloween (and my birthday), IHOP is giving away a free SCARY FACE PANCAKE (Oreos, whip cream, strawberries and candy corn) for kids 12 and under when you dine in at any participating IHOP. So load up the kiddos and considering breakfast for dinner on Friday night with this freebie!
By now I am sure part of your first email check of the day includes seeing “what’s offered in the Groupon?”I know I have had my house cleaned, my carpets shampooed, my back rubbed, my hair cut and highlighted and my nails painted all with a “groupon.” But what many people don’t know that you have more than one choice nowadays here in DFW.
What's better than Starbucks? Free Starbucks! From the Starbucks Facebook page: Come visit us at your local Starbucks, Wednesday through Saturday, to pick up any free tall drink with purchase of new Starbucks VIA® Flavored Coffee. This new instantly delicious flavored coffee comes in Vanilla, Mocha, Caramel and Cinnamon Spice.
I love me some Taco Cabana (at least for drive-thru tacos) and breakfast there is yummy. They have a new offering with Kiolbassa (that's sausage, people) and egg taco and they are giving them free on National Taco Day (I do wish it was their chicken taco, instead, but hey, it's free!) FREE FOOD, Taco Cabana - Oct. 4 (7 AM - 9 AM) Participating Taco Cabana locations and only one person.
It may not be food, but this is certainly an event that you need to mark on the calendar for this weekend. (It may be a little crowded, so make sure to take that into consideration.) Free: Day in the District - 8 destinations. 1 day. Free.
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It has been awhile since a freebie has been bestowed upon us, but looks like Panda Express is giving us a taste of their newest menu item, Kobari Beef on Sept. 29. (From restaurantnews.com) –