Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thursday Three: Summer Recipes That Won't Heat Up Your House

It’s hot outside and it’s dinner time. You loathe the thought of turning on the oven because it will make the house hotter and force your air conditioner to put in even more overtime. Here are three recipes my family enjoys during the summer that don’t require use of the oven, and that’s always cool.

Beef Taco Skillet
Beefy taco goodness from

-          1 lb. ground beef
-          1 can (10 ¾ oz.) Campbell’s tomato soup
-          ½ cup salsa
-          ½ cup water
-          6 tortillas (6 inches) cut into 1-inch pieces
-          ½ cup shredded cheese

Cook beef in skillet until browned. Pour off fat. Stir in soup, salsa, water and tortillas. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook five minutes. Stir. Top with cheese.

Open-Faced Crab Salad Sandwiches
(Adapted from Taste of Home)

-          ½ cup light mayonnaise
-          1/8 tsp. salt
-          1/8 tsp. pepper
-          2 packages (8 oz. each) imitation crab, chopped
-          1 cup shredded mozzarella
-          ¼ cup chopped sweet red pepper
-          ¼ cup chopped green onions
-          1 loaf French bread

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Stir in the crab, red pepper, and onions. Spoon over slices of bread.

Toast in toaster oven until filling is warm and bread is lightly browned.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

11 Tips for Hosting a Successful Garage Sale

I get a bit giddy about planning garage sales. It’s the organizer in me. Few things feel better than clearing clutter out of my house and making a handful of cash in the process. I recently talked about how to shop at garage sales. Now, here are a few tips for hosting your own successful garage sale.

Fun with a garage sale find
1.      Collect items for your garage sale throughout the year. Rather than going through the house a week before the sale and frantically grabbing items, be on the lookout for clutter or unused things all year. Pick a corner of your basement or garage and put a box there. When it’s full, start another box. Within a year – maybe less – you’ll have plenty of things to sell. Stick price tags on items as you box them and you’ll save time later.
2.      Include your friends. Combine your stuff and have one giant multi-family sale. This will attract more traffic, and you’ll have extra people to help run the sale. To keep track of everyone’s profits, jot your initials on each price sticker and keep a tally sheet when items are sold.
3.      Make your signs with large letters and simple wording. “Garage Sale: 123 Clutter Street” in large, thick, block letters will suffice. Don’t let your kids make the signs with artsy bubble letters (please!) and don’t list every item for sale or your sign will be impossible to read from the street at a distance while driving. Try to have your signs out only during the hours your garage sale is operating. It’s always disappointing to follow a sign only to discover no one is open for business.
4.      Advertise your sale on craigslist. Traditional newspaper ads work, too, but they can be pricey. Craigslist is free! Post your ad one or two days before your sale and be sure to include specifics like children’s clothing sizes and major items like furniture or baby gear.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Win The 'What To Expect' Series Of Books

All the info from the books and more
There are so many questions that pop up in parenthood, beginning from the day that we find out there is a baby on the way.

For me, the What To Expect series has been monumental in helping me navigate some of the most important, and some of the silliest, questions that have arisen in my life as a parent. I also enjoy perusing the companion Web site to the books,

Which is why I'm pleased to announce that Mumbling Mommy has teamed up with the folks over at What To Expect to give two readers a three-book set that includes:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vying For Position In The Family

By Sally

My newest grandchild, relaxing on Grandma
I am visiting my daughter’s home.  They have just had a baby.  They have  a combined family so my newest  granddaughter is #4 in the house.    She is gorgeous, as are her 3 siblings and her cousin in Indiana.  Five perfect and delightful little people to spoil, cuddle, love, and maybe encourage along their lives’ paths .

My Indiana granddaughter enjoys the individual attention and company of her parents all to herself.   They take bike rides, go on hikes, and basically do everything as a little three-some.

It’s a little more challenging with 4 little people in the house.  My parents had 4 of us.   I was the oldest.  I don’t remember my parents ever saying that I was responsible for my younger siblings but it was kind of assumed.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hot Topic Tuesday: Pacifier Users

My oldest, pre-paci weaning
By Heather C.

It has been about 3 months since we broke our two year old from using her pacifier (nicknamed “paci” in our house.) She was 2 years, 9 months old. I refused to have a 3 year old with a pacifier.

Hers was not even a huge issue. She has an amazing vocabulary, speaks very clearly (and adorably, I might add). She only used her paci to sleep and when she was sick. She knew she couldn’t talk with her paci in her mouth and it wasn’t allowed out of her bed. But I still knew it couldn’t go on.

It was a hard first few days. She cried. A lot. We had to bribe her and comfort her and threaten to take away toys but we survived. Naptime is still a huge task and bedtime has its moments but we survived.

You may be wondering, wouldn’t it simply be easier to not introduce the pacifier? I have two more kids to go through this with, of course I would love to avoid the entire scene but is there a benefit to pacifiers? Is there an age that is too old for them? Or too early for them? Should hospitals immediately give them to babies? Should toddlers or preschoolers be walking around with them?

Hot Topic Tuesday: Thumb Suckers

By Katie

Thumb sucking on a walk at six-months-old
I have a thumb-sucker in the house. She just turned four and has been doing it since the drive home from the hospital after she was born. I'm not talking about an occasional finger in the mouth to signal that she is hungry -- I mean an all-out thumb in mouth, index finger linked around her nose habit.

When she was a baby, it was really adorable. It also seemed to soothe her in the way that a pacifier soothes other children. I credit her thumb-sucking habit with helping me get more sleep in those early months and making her an independent, sound sleeper by the age of six months.

I never sucked my thumb, but her paternal grandmother assures me that her father did. So a part of me has always believed that her tendency to suck her thumb at two-days old is partially genetic.

Now that she is four and we are preparing to send her to preschool in the fall, I know that the thumb really does have to go (the habit I mean, of course). She does not do it outside of the home or in her daily routine. The thumb only shows up at bedtime or if she is very worn out in the middle of the afternoon.

Even when she is very upset or hurt, she does not suck her thumb. It is merely a bedtime ritual. As a result, I'm not that worried about the other kids teasing her for it because I doubt that the other kids will see it. At this point, I am more concerned about her oral health and the slight overbite that has already formed.

I've had several other parents give me advice on how to cure the thumb-sucking pattern. I've heard everything from using Thumb Guard (at a whopping $75) to dashing Tobasco sauce on her thumbs before bed.

12 Tips for Finding Treasures at Garage Sales

Spring is here, and garage sale season is in full swing. It’s a great time of year for moms of young children. Much of my two daughters’ wardrobes are secondhand, along with many toys. A simple check of or your local newspaper should yield lots of potential treasures. Before you hit the streets, here are some tips to help you make the most of garage sales.

1.      When buying children’s clothing and shoes, buy one to two sizes or seasons ahead rather than just your child’s current size. You’ll have a ready supply of clothing when you need it, especially during the winter “off season.” Store clothes for future use in plastic tubs with lids.
Five-dollar fun!
2.      Be selective about what you purchase. You’re just spending a quarter here or a dollar there, but it adds up. Resist buying anything unless you truly like it and will use it. Otherwise you’ll have a cluttered house and closets stuffed with clothing your children may hardly wear. Also, don’t ever feel obligated to buy something at a sale just to make the seller happy. If there’s nothing you want, offer a polite, “thank you,” and move on.
3.      Be aware that secondhand clothing doesn’t always fit like new clothing. Some clothes will shrink a bit after many trips through the washing machine and dryer. A 3T shirt may end up fitting more like a 2T shirt, so pay close attention.
4.      Carry an ample supply of cash, especially dollar bills and quarters. You’ll get the stink eye if you try to buy $1 worth of stuff with a $20 bill!
5.      Learn what is considered a fair price in your area. I generally spend 25 cents to $1 per item on baby and children’s clothing. If it’s a nicer item like a dress or coat, I will pay up to $3. A good price for shoes is $1 to $2 per pair, depending on condition.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Peek at Preschool: When Little Friends Are Big Trouble

From circle time to centers, preschool is a complicated, wonderful, difficult, and memorable experience. This is the fourth piece in Mumbling Mommy’s series about preschool. Previous posts discussed the benefits and drawbacks of preschool, how to know if your child is ready for preschool, and how to select a preschool.

My daughter has a little friend at preschool, and my husband and I have a code name for her: The Big K. She is not a physically large child. It’s her behavior that looms large.

My mostly well-behaved preschooler
The Big K is immature compared to the rest of her classmates, the teacher confided to me after the girl had a minor meltdown over sharing blocks while I was volunteering in the class one morning. She is apt to burst into tears when she doesn’t get what she wants, cross her little arms, pout, and loudly proclaim, “No!” However, her classic calling card is tattling when other children accidentally bump into her or brush against her. “He hit me,” she will whine while pointing at the often oblivious offender.

My daughter really likes The Big K, and I can see why. When she’s not having a tantrum, the girl is quite friendly. It’s common at drop-off time to hear her say, “Hi, Megan! We’re playing with dolls. Do you want to play with us?” My daughter loves to say hello to other kids, but preschoolers are fickle little people and not everyone says hello back. Megan likes The Big K because she readily interacts with her.

Unfortunately, a few weeks into the preschool semester, Megan started coming home with more than just glittery art projects and songs about the months of the year. She has always been, and generally still is, better behaved than a lot of children we know, but my husband and I noticed some defiant behavior that hadn’t been there before, including the telltale crossed arms and the haughty proclamation of “No!” It’s the great contradiction of preschool. Many parents send their children thinking they will learn good social skills, but instead their behavior worsens. The article linked to above states:

Thursday Three: Things Parents Forget About Newborns

By Katie
My little crying, pooping bundle of joy -- Erinn

I brought home a beautiful, healthy baby girl last week. She is precious, wonderful and... well, a handful. Was my first daughter this much work? All worth it, of course. I guess I had just forgotten how much effort it takes to care for a newborn and how everything you thought about your routine gets thrown completely out the window.

No matter how many kids you have, there are certain things about parenting a newborn that you just plain forget.

In that vein, here are three things that I forgot about being a mommy to a newborn.

The cry. There is something so very endearing about the cry of a baby that is brand new to the world. I'm not sure how it is possible for one sound to be so grating and so heartwarming at the same time. It is the sound that you look forward to hearing in the moments following delivery and then try to quelch with food, clean diapers and snuggling for many months to come. If you've ever breastfed, I don't need to point out what the cry does to you physically. The cry of my baby is more powerful than I remember but something that I hope never to forget.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Four Tips for Cloth Diaper Newbies

By Elizabeth

A few weeks ago, my fellow bloggers and I debated the pros and cons of cloth diapering. I fell on the "pro" side because cloth diapering has worked with my two sons. I wanted to follow up on the points I made in that post with some helpful hints for parents who are interested in trying cloth diapering for the first time.

Cloth diapering has become more popular over the last several years, but as a result, it can be very confusing if you’re just starting out. When I first started shopping for diapers, I was overwhelmed with the amount of products, opinions, and information out there.  I made several great discoveries, and a few mistakes, that I’d like to share with you.

First, if you’re really new to this, you might get lost in the strange terminology. What is a pre-fold? What is an All-in-One (AIO)? Here’s a very good link to a list of cloth diapering terms to keep open while you read.

1. Focus on the essentials

When you look at a cloth diaper website for the first time, you’ll be amazed not only with how many varieties of diapers you can buy, but also the accessories that go with them, not to mention all of the “how-to” websites out there.  Do you really need to make your own covers out of your old wool sweaters? Sure, you can, but that’s not for me. Do you need special diaper wash, special diaper-pail fresheners, and organic bamboo washable wipes? Not unless you really like spending money (I don’t.) Here are the non-diaper things you need to get started:

·         Cloth Diaper Pail. You will need either an actual “cloth diaper pail,” or a 13-gallon trash can with a wide mouth and a lid that is either a touch-open or a step-open. You don’t want to have to take the entire lid off to get the diapers in, nor do you want a “swing” lid that does not seal completely.  What you do NOT need is a diaper pail that is made for disposables. It will be too hard to get the diapers in and out and too small to hold a whole load of cloth diapers. Here’s an example of a trash can that would make a great diaper pail (and so much cheaper than the diaper genies out there!).

·       Diaper Sprayer. This is an absolute must for cloth-diapering.  The sprayer attaches to your toilet and emits a powerful stream of water to spray the “solid matter” off and right into your toilet. (This is also great for getting spit-ups off of clothing!) Flush the toilet, and voila, the poop is where it should be and not sitting in a trash can. Tip: bring a dry pre-fold with you to the bathroom. Once the dirty diaper is clean, it will be very wet, but you can wrap it in the pre-fold to take back to your diaper pail and throw the whole bundle in. No drips, no further messes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hot Topic Tuesday: Tanning

Photo via
By Heather C.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all heard the most recent scandal. A New Jersey mom has been arrested for allegedly allowing her 6 year daughter to tan in a tanning bed.  Check out the article.

I am fair skinned. I have red hair and freckles. I have to wear SPF 30 sunscreen just to go outside to get the mail. Okay, that is a joke, but you get the point! My daughters are all just as fair skinned as I am. Guess what? I do not tan. I do care about being tan. I do not spray tan. I do not use bronzing lotion. I am fair, pale skinned and I am beautiful. I do not understand this concept of “tan” being healthier or prettier. It simply is not true.
Now that I have that off my chest, here are the facts about the case:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Read A Book, Get The Sex You Want

By Heather C.

During my infertility blog series, I discussed some personal details about how it affected my marriage. Our sexual relationship went from personal and in the bedroom to being every one’s business and medically scheduled. Getting out of that rut was difficult. Convinced we didn’t have a “problem” we moved on and just continued life. We had good times and bad times. Then the bottom dropped out.

During a good and wonderful time in our lives, we decided to try for another child and instead got two. Bringing them into this world turned into the year from hell! At 16 weeks along I was placed on pelvic rest. At 24 weeks along I was hospitalized. The girls were born at 32 weeks.
Add in 8 weeks more of post c-section pelvic rest, two screaming babies with acid reflux and my own post partum depression and all the sudden we were no longer in that perfect and happy place.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why We Are Good Moms

A few weeks ago, we asked our readers for responses to this prompt...

"I'm a good mom because..."

Since Mother's Day is this weekend, we can all use a good pat on the back, right?

To encourage all of you to say something nice about your role as a Mommy, we ran a contest for a $50 Panera gift card and entered everyone who responded to the prompt.

Congrats to Jenna H. -- she is the winner! We picked her name randomly from a hat... literally. We hope that you enjoy your Panera gift card -- courtesy of Mumbling Mommy and Padilla Home Inspections and Handyman Services.

Here are our reader responses, and a few responses from our bloggers.

Have a very Happy Mother's Day! You deserve it!

I’m a good mom because....

"I'm a good mom because I allow my kids to be themselves. Both of my kids are very stubborn, but instead of getting angry with them ALL THE TIME I give them choices so they can still be in control of their choices. When they are older their stubbornness will help them fight for what is right."
Jenna H.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The "Dos" and "Don'ts" Of The Loss Of A Child

When Candice went into labor with her first child, she never dreamed that she would soon be saying "good bye." She has written about her journey of love and loss of her son Alex in the hopes to raise awareness for Hyplo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome.

Read the entire series here.

A Guest Series by Candice DeLeeuw

Have you ever been in a situation where someone you love has lost a child whether that be in miscarriage, still born, serious sickness, or just an accident and you don’t know what to do or say? Although everyone’s experience is not the same I have created a list with some help from some friends who have also lost children on what you should and should not do/say.

·         Don’t: Take on their story as your own.

·         Do: Bring over meals that can be frozen, preferably in throw away containers.

·         Don’t: Expect the family to be able to “move on” quickly.

·         Do: Offer to start a meal train to make bringing meals simple for the one receiving them

·         Don’t: Say that you are sorry over and over again.

·         Do: Offer to pick up other siblings for a playdate.

·         Don’t: Ask if the parents are going to "try" again soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thursday Three: Bank Fees You Should Never Have to Pay

Gas prices are up, inflation is high, and most of America seem to be missing that 10% raise in income to make up for all the changes so what are you wasting money on? Sure I could tell you all about how eating at home is cheaper and getting movies from the library instead of paying to rent them will save you money, but what if you are already doing those things?

Many times consumers are paying fees to their banks that are literally costing them hundreds of dollars a year. Here are three fees that you can easily avoid.

      Maintenance fees. The large majority of banks have done away with “free checking.” This does not mean that you need to be paying for it though. If you are paying a maintenance fee, stop by your local bank and find out how to avoid it. These waivers typically include having a direct deposit into your account, maintaining a certain balance, using your debit card a certain amount of times per month, etc. 

      If you do not qualify for the waiver, see if there is a different product for you and if there isn’t, GO TO A DIFFERENT BANK. I know I shouldn’t be preaching this as customer retention is a huge part of my job but you are not required to keep the same checking account your entire life. If you are paying a maintenance fee, you need to make changes. Yes, switching your account may give you a headache for a couple of months, but a bottle of Tylenol is still cheaper than the maintenance fees you may be paying. According to Money Rates, the average maintenance fee is over $11 per month. Seriously, for nothing other than having your account at that bank.

Hypo-Plastic Left Heart Syndrome? Never Heard of It.

 When Candice went into labor with her first child, she never dreamed that she would soon be saying "good bye." She has written about her journey of love and loss of her son Alex in the hopes to raise awareness for Hyplo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. Today she explains the heart defect and offers links to further information for parents.

Read the entire series here.

A Guest Series by Candice DeLeeuw

My husband and kids releasing balloons for Alex
Unfortunately there are no known causes for HLHS (Hypo-plastic Left Hear Syndrome) or any other heart defects. According to the CDC, heart defects are not only the number one birth defect, but the number one cause of death among infants. HLHS occurs 1 in every 4,344 births. Medscape reveals it is more prominent among males, 55-70%, but does not favor a race/nationality.

Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome, unlike a regular heart that has four working chambers and four valves, only has three working chambers and two healthy valves. The left side of the heart’s job is to pump the oxygenated blood that just returned from the lungs to the rest of the body. Because the heart’s lower left chamber, as well as two of the valves are generally closed off, the body is not getting oxygen. For all intents and purposes, the left side of the heart is nonexistent.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Welcome, Dear One

By Sally

As I type this, my daughter (blogger Katie) is in labor with our newest grandchild. I have been getting text updates throughout the day.

This was a good day for this to happen. I’m not allowed to take a cell phone into work. But today is primary election day, and since I’m a state employee, I had the day off.

The newest family member!
So, I have been able to track the progress.

When my daughter was still in the euphoric “Hooray, it’s finally happening mode,” I texted that since it was election day, perhaps Erinn will be President of the United States someday. Her older brother could be the Chief of Staff, her oldest sister could lead the Joint Chiefs, her next sister could be Secretary of State, and her Indiana cousin is perfect as her campaign director.

And I, proud grandma, could provide charming conversation at the White House parties.

However, the more I thought about this … it wasn’t such a comical thought.

I will support whatever route each child takes, but the high profile political and media world appears to have a tendency to drain one’s soul. It appears to cause truly talented and gifted people to guard every word they speak, to be wise about with whom and where they are seen, and to not upset sponsors and supporters. It appears to make their loved ones open game for public comment and humiliation. The perks can be awesome, but I’m not so sure that I want that life for any of my sweet grandchildren. This sounds so much better ...

I want each of them to find jobs that task their individual gifts.

I want them to visit places that thrill their senses.

I want them to fall deeply in love with a soul that loves them just as much.

I want them to learn that setbacks, heartache, and loss are generally temporary.

I want them to become the amazing person that fits their destiny and dreams.

l want them to know that even in dark moments, our life can still gleam with hope.

I want them to know that life isn’t about the title we carry, but rather, the love, hope, and joy we bring to others.

Just got a text!

Our family’s newest arrival is minutes away!

Welcome, dear one. 

You can contact Sally by emailing

Homemade Indulgence: Iced Coffee

By Maddie

I found this great recipe/method on the Pioneer Woman Cooks. I love, love, love iced coffee. This version is rich and rather indulgent, but very easy to make and keep on hand. Cheaper and probably at least a little better for you than Starbucks, too!

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

You need:

1/2 lb Ground coffee (I use a donut-shop knock off from Aldi)

4 quarts of water

A large pitcher

Paper towels


2nd pitcher or large bowl

Half and half, sweetened condensed milk, coffee creamer, etc.

A Peek at Preschool: How To Select a School

From circle time to centers, preschool is a complicated, wonderful, difficult, and memorable experience. This is the third piece in Mumbling Mommy’s series about preschool. Previous posts discussed the benefits and drawbacks of preschool and how to know if your child is ready for preschool.

My daughter's "robot" made at preschool
By Rachael

Much ado has been made of the preschool selection process. My oldest daughter was just an infant when a friend offered up a preschool recommendation, and it was the beginning of years of discussion between my husband and me. Did we want to send our daughter to preschool? What type of school? How many days a week? How much would it cost? If your head is a-whirl with all the questions that surround selecting a school, start here:

1.      Determine your own preschool philosophy. Not all preschools are alike. There are play-based schools, Montessori schools, faith-based schools, nature-based schools, and more. Read up and decide what philosophy best fits your family. Consider how many days per week and how many hours per day you want your child in school.
2.      Compile a list of preschools to research in depth. Every preschool on our family’s short list came via word of mouth from friends or educators we knew. Ask families at church, the library, or the park where they send their children.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How Do You Cope After Losing A Child?

 When Candice went into labor with her first child, she never dreamed that she would soon be saying "good bye." She has written about her journey of love and loss of her son Alex in the hopes to raise awareness for Hyplo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. On Monday, she shared her story. Today she talks about coping with life after the loss of a child.

Read the entire series here.

A Guest Series By Candice DeLeeuw

Many people ask me how I did it. How I was able to survive losing a child. I will tell you this: it was not easy. I will also tell you that I didn’t survive it, God carried me through it.

You see even when I was pregnant I had this overwhelming feeling that something was wrong, but nothing was detected. I kept having odd dreams that there was something wrong with him. I also got intensive care insurance that would protect both me and my unborn son while I was pregnant.   

While visiting West Virginia, my husband and I stayed in a hotel that was next to a beautiful cemetery. We were told that it was a place many take walks because it is so beautifully landscaped. We decided to give it a try. Where we cut across the cemetery to enter; there were hundreds of graves of children who had passed away. At this time I was seven months pregnant and I told my husband I could never imagine burying my child. I believe God was preparing me with each one of these moments.

The night before I was induced I looked at my mom and husband and told them that I felt like I was having a baby the next day, but that I wasn’t bringing him home. The next morning when we went to be induced I started sobbing before we got out of the car and told my husband we needed to pray. My prayer was simple. Over and over again I cried, “Whatever it is You are about to do, just prepare our hearts.” I believe he was doing just that.

Delicious and Easy "Gourmet" Asparagus Recipe

By Maddie

Our family is always on the hunt for a healthy vegetable to serve as a side dish. Recently, we created this delicious asparagus that turned out to be quite the hit. It will be a staple in our home for sure.

To me this side seems like something you would find on the menu of a fancy cafe. Use it to spice up a plain chicken dinner or as the side to a home grilled steak. Pair it with a garlic mashed potato maybe or some red lentils even. I find that it is crunchy and rich, and can take the place of a starchy side if you are trying to watch your diet!
"Gourmet" Roasted Asparagus

  • 1lb asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
  • 1-2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Win a $50 Panera Gift Card For Mother's Day!!!

You could win a $50 Panera gift card, courtesy of Mumbling Mommy and Padilla Home Inspections and Handyman Services, just by answering this question...

"I am a good Mom because..."

Leave your response in the comment section of this post with your first name and last initial, or your Twitter handle. You can also leave the answer on our Facebook Timeline or send us an email at

You have until 5 p.m. Thursday, May 10th. All of the responses will be published Friday and a winner announced!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Life Changes In An Instant

 When Candice went into labor with her first child, she never dreamed that she would soon be saying "good bye." She has written about her journey of love and loss of her son Alex in the hopes to raise awareness for Hyplo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. She begins the series by telling her story.

Read the entire series here.
A Guest Series By Candice DeLeeuw

Hope. Happiness. Joy. Excitement. These are generally the things you think of when you are preparing for your baby. You spend countless hours visiting doctors, taking pictures of the growing baby, decorating a nursery, shopping for everything tiny, picking out the perfect name, and just thinking/dreaming about how everything will be when they arrive.

The arrival of my first-born was anti-climactic. We were induced, my water broke, I was supposedly having contractions (although I never felt a thing), and 12 hours later I was wheeled to an O.R. for a C-section. Alexander Cole DeLeeuw was born at 5:55 pm on January 26, 2006. He was 7lbs 10 ounces of perfection. I loved him from the minute I laid my eyes on him. He scored a 9.9 on the APGAR and all the nurses kept coming to see the cutest baby. The first evening is blurry from the drugs, but it didn’t matter because I was going to have the rest of my life to hold this little guy.

Ideas For Discounted Summer Fun With The Kids

By Maddie

Summer is a great time to get out with the kids and enjoy some new activities. It can also get a little bit costly if you aren't careful. Here are some ideas for ways to get out and enjoy the upcoming hot months but keep some extra cash in your pocket.

Local Deals
Be sure to sign up for as many local deal of the day sites as possible. Groupon has a page dedicated specifically to activities for kids. For example, today's Groupon offers included a play/cafe near my house, the Orlando Science Center (cheap adult admission + a kid for free!), discount kid's magazine subscriptions, and an Orlando vacation deal. I also like to check out GrouponNow, which is typically deals that must be used that day or the following day. They often have coupons for smoothies, ice cream, and activities.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thursday Three: Carpool Etiquette Tips

By Katie

I recently discovered the wonderful world of carpooling. Our family takes turns with another family who has a daughter at my stepson's preschool and it has been a great experience so far.
Sure, it tags on a little extra time on the day that it is our turn to drive, but it is so nice to not have to go through the preschool drop-off/pick-up motions an extra 2 - 4 times per week.

Our carpooling situation has also meant an increase in accountability, of course. On the days that it is our turn to drive, we are responsible for getting a second child to school on time and safely with all of her belongings in tact.

Here are a few things I've strived to do since our carpooling arrangement began:

1. Be on time. Of course you never want to be late when it is your turn to do the driving, but you also do not want to be particularly early. Parents need every single second in the morning to make sure their children are ready to head out for the day. Any stolen time can lead to crusted breakfast left on the face or a lunch left on the counter. My carpooling buddy and I send a text that we are "on the way" just before pulling out of our driveway and it serves as a five minute warning to finish up those last-minute morning details.

Live And Be You: A Quiz About Doing What You Love

By Sally

Okay. Most of us like quirky quizzes….so let’s have some fun.

Here is a list of some common daily/weekly activities that we do. 

First, pick out the 3 – 5 items that you really enjoy -- the ones that make you feel alive and energized.

Cuddle and read a book with the kids/grandkids

Text/call/e-mail your best friend

Sing in the shower

Make your family their most favorite meal (and sit down to eat with them)
"Snuggle with the kids and let the dishes soak"

Get carry-out and watch a movie with your family







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