Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Making Progress...

Even though Jeff has been on FMLA since Monday, he still worked Monday and Tuesday. He finally had today off, so we had to play catch up...

He had already painted the accent wall green, and today he and my dad put together the crib. (I was busy decorating for Easter :D)

Then Jeff and I put up thr vinyl decals. First, the sweet Winnie the Pooh quote we both love!

It says "Even the smallest things can take up the msot room in your heart" Also, you can see the top of the Mickey rug!

Then we put the train vinyl over the window - and realized that wee need to buy a new curtain cuz this one doesn't match!






And finally Jeff put up this Disney quote above the mirror - we call it the Stewart Smalley daily affirmation ;)





Piece by piece we are getting things done... tomorrow we install the car seats!!! Each step makes it more real. Still no contractions though, I don't think. I don't know for sure, even braxton hicks. We will see what the dr says tomorrow.


Monday, March 28, 2011

My Favorite Thing About Easter!

Easter has always been one of my most favorite holidays! After the hustle and bustle and family gatherings of Christmas, I love having another reason a few months later for the whole extended family to gather together. I love how Easter is like a calmer Christmas. Which, it should be, considering that Christmas is about Christ's birth and Easter is about his death and resurrection.

First, instead of presents you hunt Easter eggs and Easter baskets. As a kid, it was soooo much fun. And I find that as an adult, it is just as fun watching the kids hunt the eggs (and you can get your fill of candy while you prepare the baskets ;) ) Dying the eggs was always a lot of fun too. Deciding which patterns to make or what colors to layer on. I always loved to put one egg in the blue color and let it sit as long as I could to get really, really dark.  Of course, candy is a huge part of the hunt. You can't beat Cadbury Cream eggs and Reese's peanut butter eggs. Jelly beans are another favorite, and every year I buy as many different kinds of them as I can. I love how now there are so many different brands and flavors. Brach's will always be my favorite. (the red ones)



Then, after the hunt, you meet up with the family for the main meal. Easter is always ham and mashed potatoes. Always. It was the only time we ever had a big ham, and I loved it. Mashed potatoes have always been a favorite of mine as well. For dessert, my mom would usually make a 3-d lamb cake, complete with coconut wool and green coconut grass. The best part, though, was family. I love any excuse for us all to get together. We talk, laugh, swap stories and sometimes play board games. Even though I rarely spend it with my family, I still love gathering with Jeff's family. They don't have ham, though, but there is usually mashed potatoes.

In college, I started attending  sunrise services on Easter.  Kinda the opposite of the midnight Christmas Eve service.:D The bonding and celebration are things I will always cherish. We still go to church on Easter, but getting up before the sun doesn't really happen lol I do think that church is a very important part of the day, though.

Of course, sometimes Easter falls near my birthday, and THAT was always extra special!

This year, Easter will be my child's first holiday. We won't be able to spend it with the extended family (though we ARE going to have a scaled down Easter meal with my parents) or even go to church, but I think it will be special just the same. It will be a different version of Easter, but it will be OUR version of Easter. And there will still be mashed potatoes next year ;)



I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hop blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” (make sure you link to http://hopthemovie.socialmoms.com/about)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Green Giant and Pretty Neat WINNERS!

Thank you to all who entered these giveaways!

The WINNER of the Green Giant Prize Pack is:
shala_darkstone said... 31 I follow you via Google Friend Connect.

WINNER of the Pretty Neat book is:
Michelle @ The True Book Addict said... 3 I like you on Facebook (Michelle Stockard Miller-truebookaddict)

YAY congratulations to both of you! I will be e-mailing you to confirm :)

I will be having another giveaway up this week... stay tuned!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cutest Onesies Ever!!

My friend Teresa is an excellent crafter, especially when it comes to sewing and knitting. She has made me a few things, including a purse I use almost every day! So when I saw the blank little onesies my mom bought me, I KNEW I had to commission her to make them less blah - and she did!! Best of all she didn't make them into baby things - she used our interests and other objects and made them awesome!!!


The colors are a lot better in person - I used my cell phone so the pic isn't great.

She does have a blog and an Etsy store, but nothing for sale at the moment. But if you are looking for a handmade item, she is a good person to turn to make it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Random Thoughts from a 38 Week Pregnant Woman...

Ugh. I just realized I haven't posted since Saturday!! It has been a long, tiring week. 38 weeks, 4 days today, and I am finally slowing down lol! Anxiously awaiting the nesting phase, though I think that won't happen. :( I have sooo much to do. Thankfully, Jeff starts his leave next week so he will help motivate me, and we will be able to get things done together! ...with plenty of rest for me.

We attended a labor and delivery class at the hospital last night.. of course, me being me, I already knew most of what they told us. It's not like I haven't already read 5 books on the subject! It was good to see what the hospital's views on things are and how they pretty much match mine.

But I am still scared to death about giving birth. And how J will handle it. :\ BUT nothing we can do until it happens.Which it won't for awhile - baby and I have a "not until April" pact ;)

I have been watching One Born Every Minute as another preparation, and every time a baby is born, I cry. It makes me wonder if I will be bawling when my own baby is born!

Random thoughts from a very pregnant person LOL!!

BTW we bought a dining room table... figured we should probably teach our kid things like table manners and not watching TV during dinner. It got delivered today, and we both LOVE IT!  (We did have a tiny table that only fit 2 people... and definitely not a high chair!)


Now to keep the cats from scratching it up...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

FREE Rita's Italian Ice Tomorrow!

One good thing about NY is hte people's love for Italian Ice. It is a love that I share!



And not only is the first day of spring one of my favorite days of the year, it is the also the day that Rita's Ice gives away a FREE regular sized Italian ice! Cannot wait! The hardest part is deciding on the flavor.

And don't forget to sign up for the Rita's Birthday Club - you get a buy one get one free coupon!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cozy Mystery Challenge: Book 3!

Yes, book 3 is another culinary mystery but I have two more books on tap that aren't culinary mysteries! With luck I will be able to read nad type them up for future posting before this baby is born!!

ANYWAY, today's book is Death Takes the Cake by Melinda Wells.



Description:  To help boost ratings for her show, Della Carmichael agrees to enter a televised cake competition sponsored by Reggi-Mixx, even though the company’s owner, Regina Davis, is an old college nemesis. When she finds someone drowned in a mixing bowl of batter, Della realizes solving this murder will be no cakewalk. (via Amazon)

Review: This is actually the second book in the Della Carmichael series. When I saw this book in the library, I realized that I had read the first one and liked it... then promptly forgot to read any others lol! The character of Della is just a "normal person" and the book is written very straightforward. While cooking is a huge part of Della's life, the book also deals with her love life, her pets and just the everyday. She gets put into this cake competition situation and of course literally stumbles into the mystery! The book introduces a bunch of new characters, but as unusual for me, I figured out "whodunit" fairly quickly. This is a fun, quick read.


Want to join the cozy mystery challenge? Just click the picture below!




Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pretty Neat: Book Review and Giveaway - CLOSED!

When I quit my job to stay home with the baby, I knew that I was going to have to take care of the house more - not really more cleaning but more decluttering and not REcluttering as well as just organizing the house! lol! So I was very anxious to review Pretty Neat: The buttoned-up Way to Get Organized & Let Go of Perfection.  Written by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, creators of buttoned up organizational products, Pretty Neat offers simple methods to reduce "org porn" fueled stress and  tackle organizational inertia. Org porn, of course, being all of those pretty perfect looking houses and organizational systems you see in magazines - wonderful, lovely pictures that most people love to drool over but whose own homes will never look that way!






The chapter I was most excited to read was, of course, Chapter 8: Clear clutter at home. This chapter, like most others, was full of good ideas and simple strategies along with personal interviews. I am very much a paper collector, and I am also somewhat lazy, so my piles of paper and coupons and books and other items cluttering the living room just  grows and grows until I get fed up and waste time cleaning it all up at once. Pretty Neat has much better solutions, including a 4 step cure: routines, rules, regards and reviews. I really liked the review part - a baby step of taking the items you can't bear to part with at the moment and putting them aside for awhile and then getting rid of the ones you haven't used after awhile. this chapter also a a very helpful section on dealing with certain types of clutter.


Pretty Neat also has chapters on delegation, to-do lists, family schedules, toy tsunamis and clearing the clutter at work, among others. I thought this book was great - it gives new and easy tips on how get organized without spending gobs of money or trying to makes your house look "perfect" like all those pictures in magazines.

What you win your own copy of Pretty Neat: The buttoned-up Way to Get Organized & Let Go of Perfection? It's easy- here's how:

Mandatory Entry:
1.  Comment and tell me: What is your greatest organizational challenge?


Bonus Entries:
*must do the mandatory entry first*
*one comment per entry unless specified*

2. Like buttoned up on Facebook.

3. Like me on Facebook.  You must like me from your personal page and leave your Facebook name or part of your name in the comment. (3 entries - leave 3 separate comments)

4. Follow buttoned up on Twitter.

5. Follow me on Twitter. Leave your Twitter name in your comment.

6. Tweet about this giveaway, using @lbandj and a link to this post or use the tweet below. Include the URL to your tweet in your comment.
"Enter to win the organizational book "Pretty Neat" @lbandj. Enter to win the organizational book "Pretty Neat" @lbandj. http://lbandj.blogspot.com/2011/03/pretty-neat-book-review-and-giveaway.html"

7. Subscribe to me via Google Friend Connect.

Open to U.S. Only. Giveaway ends on March 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be selected by random.org and notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to reply back before a new winner is selected. Good luck!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Disneyland Days 5 and 6!

Wednesday was a very slow day. We were in and out of the parks, did laundry and rested. I only took pics from the Mark Twain lol There are a few new things along the river since our last trip!





I wanted to have Wednesday be a rest day since I knew that Thursday and Friday were going to be morning to night days (with a little bit of resting in the afternoon). We spent almost the entire day at Disneyland!!






Have to go to the tiki room... my new camera is awesome!!!









We did hop over to DCA on our way back to the room.


Back to Disneyland to the Gallery and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln...

My Favorite - the toot toot bear!


We had gotten a fast pass for World of Color that morning (Thank you Grand Californian!) but first had to get to our dinner reservations at Big Thunder Barbecue. For some reason I had been DYING to try it since it first opened - and I thought it was pricey but pretty good. Love the entertainment!




On our way out we got confused where to exit ;)



We managed to get a good spot for WOC, and here are a few pictures:






















Hopefully whenever we make it out there again it will still be playing! LOVED IT!!!

One more Disney day left :(



Super Baby Event at Babies R Us Tomorrow

Participating Babies R Us Stores will be holding in-store Super Baby Showers for nmothers-to-be  on Saturday, March 12th from Noon – 3 PM.

You will can RSVP HERE!


"We’re hosting a baby shower for all expectant moms as well as their family and friends. Come learn about the must-have products for every mom’s Baby Registry, valuable tips and ideas for planning a baby shower, plus enjoy great savings and free giveaways.

Proud Sponsors: Huggies, Summer Infant and Baby Einstein"


TY to Sweeteis Sweeps for the info!I only wish I could go! :(

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Win a $25 Target Gift Card!

I am always excited to find another blogger out here on "the island" since there really seems to be so few. And it's even better when they are having a giveaway! Karyn at The Trendy Mommy is a new blogger who is giving away a Target gift card! Awesome :D


Family Travel Tips!

As you might have noticed, Jeff and I are both really big travelers. Yes, we usually go to Disney World or Disneyland but we do go other places too! And now with a baby on the way, we have been trying to figure out how to still travel with just a few modifications to what we currently do. I LOVED taking trips when I was younger, and I want my children to have those same experiences.

Alamo wants to know my top 10 tips for getting away with great family travel deals.

1. Plan Early... but don't stop planning! You can get some really great deals if you book early. But sometimes you can get even BETTER deals if you wait. On some airlines, such as Southwest, if the flight you have booked goes on sale, you can rebook and get a credit to use on a future flight.

2. Sign up for hotel Web site and airline newsletters. They often will include special deals, sales and promos that can save you a lot of money. Sign up for another e-mail address if you don't want them cluttering up your main address.

3. Look at flight consolidators but also at the airlines themselves. I always start my flight search on the sites that show you a lot of flights at once - then I go to the airline's own Web site where a lot of the time the flight is cheaper. Don't forget that not all airlines are on the consolidators site either!

4. Do the math - gas vs airfare. Sometimes it does cost less to drive to your destination. That might not be as true these days! But the more family you have, the more the cost of airfare rises whiles the cost of gas remains the same.  And don't forget the family bonding experience you get being stuck in a car together all day!

5. Sign up for information from the area you are going to. Not only will you get information about what to do and see, but a lot of times they come with coupons for area attractions and restaurants. As in number 2, sign up for e-mail newsletters from those places as well. For instance, J and I LOVE Mimi's Cafe, and there is one right by Disneyland but not one near us. However, we get e-mails from them, and the e-mails always include a coupon, so we can save a little money when we go.

6. Travel off peak. That is kind of a no-brainier I think. It's something that is harder for us to do since we are restricted by the school calendar. We do fly off peak - usually late at night and get some deals that way. Just be aware that some attractions might have shorter hours or be closed in the off season.

7. Sign up for loyalty reward programs. We have gotten free nights for being rewards club members. Many programs are good at a variety of hotels too.

8.  Ask for deals. There is a Howard Johnson that we like to stay at that always has great deals - but you have to ask. If you are a member of AAA, the military, the rewards program, certain groups such as alumni... Always check if they have any unadvertised deals.

9. Buy the Entertainment Book. This time of year, they are very cheap, and a lot of the hotel deals are nationwide. The same goes for the restaurant coupons.

10. Day and weekend trips. Don't forget that trips don't have to be extravagant week long affairs. There are probably tourist sites, museums and other attractions within a few hours of where you live. Even taking a Saturday to get away and try something new can be refreshing and energizing - and much less expensive!

Jeff and I already have our first trip with the new baby planned - we're going on a trip to Woodloch up in the Poconos with his family. It is going to be an entirely new experience, but I am so excited that we are going to plant the travel bug early in our son. And let's not forget that we are also planning his first Disney trip ;)

About Alamo
Founded in 1974, Alamo Rent A Car is a value-oriented, internationally recognized brand serving the rental needs of airport leisure travelers. Alamo offers low rental rates and a hassle-free customer experience at the most popular travel destinations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. In addition, Alamo customers in the U.S. are able to conveniently choose their own vehicles, based upon their advance reservation and requested car class, and then simply drive away from the airport.

The Alamo membership club, Alamo Insiders, offers its members numerous perks including exclusive, member-only deals, quick and simple reservations, and frequent traveler miles with each rental.

 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's a WOOT OFF!!!

Today is one of the favorite days for Woot: One Day, One Deal. fans.... a Woot Off! It's the day when Woot tries to get rid of the items it has in limited quantities- all in one day! The deal of the day is constantly changing, so check back frequently!



And the best part... the day will end with a bag of crap!!

But until then, click here Woot: One Day, One Deal. to go to the Woot off and see what the deal is - right now it is a Vizio 37” 1080p LCD HDTV but when that gets sold out a new deal will be up!



Also, Kids.Woot is having a Woot off too! Great day to get kids stuff for cheap!

Keep checking back frequently!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

FREE Bag of Beauty Samples from Target!

Sign up here, fill out a brief survey and sign up to get a Free Target Beauty Bag full of samples from Herbal Essence, Nivea, Revlon, Sally Hanson, Suave, Neutrogena and Olay. You also get up to $25 in coupons. Awesome!

This has been open awhile and quantities are limited so go now!




Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dear Non-Pregnant Person.... (too true!)

The Mommy Diaries posted this, and I just HAD to repost! Thankfully not too much of this stuff has happened to me but man... it is all funny and true!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Non-Pregnant Person,
I hope you find these guidelines helpful in your interactions with pregnant women, as failing to follow them may result in serious physical harm. If you are thinking, surely she doesn’t mean me – then you should probably read this twice.
1. The appropriate response to a couple telling you they are having a baby is ‘Congratulations!’ with enthusiasm. Any other response makes you a jerk.
2. Through the wonders of science, we now know that babies are made ONLY by the mother and father – not grandparents. Unless the baby is in your uterus or you are the man that helped put it there, you may not ever use the phrase ‘my baby’.
3. On the same note, unless you made the baby as defined in 2, the pregnancy, birth, and raising of the child are not about you. You do not have input. No one wants to hear your opinion unless they ask for it…
4. The body of a pregnant woman should be treated the same as any other body. You would not randomly touch someone’s stomach if they were not pregnant, nor would you inquire into the condition of their uterus, cervix, or how they plan to use their breasts. Pregnancy does not remove all traces of privacy from a woman.
5. Likewise, no woman wants to hear comments on her weight…ever. A pregnant woman does not find it flattering that you think she is about is pop, must be having twins, looks swollen or has gained weight in her face. Telling her she looks too small only makes her worry that she is somehow starving her baby. Making such comments invite her to critique your physical appearance and you may not act offended. The only acceptable comment on appearance is ‘You look fabulous!’.
6. By the time we are 20-30 years old, most of us have picked up on the fact that the summer is hot. We are hot every summer when we are not pregnant. We don’t need you to point out that we will be miserably hot before the baby comes. Nor do we need to know how badly you will feel for us because we will be pregnant during the summer and how glad you are that YOU will not be pregnant this coming summer.
7. There is a reason that tickets to Labor & Delivery are not yet sold on Ticketmaster. Childbirth is actually not a public event. It may sound crazy, but some women really do not relish the idea of their mother, MIL, or a host of other family members seeing their bare butt and genitals. Also, some people simply feel like the birth of their child is a private and emotional moment to be shared only by the parents. You weren’t invited to be there when the baby was created, you probably won’t be invited to be there when it comes out either.
8. Like everything else in life, unless you receive an invitation, you are NOT invited. This includes doctor appointments, ultrasounds, labor, delivery, the hospital, and the parent’s home. You do not decide if you will be there for the birth or if you will move in with the new parents to ‘help out’. If your assistance is desired, rest assured that you will be asked for it.
9. If you are asked to help after the birth, this means you should clean up the house, help with cooking meals, and generally stay out of the way. Holding the baby more than the parents, interfering with breastfeeding and sleeping schedules, and making a woman who is still leaking fluid from multiple locations lift a finger in housework is not helping.
10. The only people entitled to time with the baby are the parents. Whether they choose to have you at the hospital for the birth or ask for you to wait three weeks to visit, appreciate that you are being given the privilege of seeing their child. Complaining or showing disappointment only encourages the parents to include you less.
Sincerely,
All the Pregnant Women in the World



Disneyland Days 3 and 4!

Day 3 was President's day, so we decided to skip the park that day and head to San Diego. Of course, by the time we checked out of our one hotel and into the Grand Californian (Disney Vacation Club) then had breakfast, we were running behind, and we didn't make it to San Diego until after 1:00.

We were meeting my friend who works at the Birch Aquarium who was going to give us discount tickets to the museums at Balboa Park.... but since they closed at 4, we just decided to go to the aquarium instead!








After we went to Old Town then later on met with my friend and her fiance for real Mexican dinner. Yum!!!!


We got "home" in time to watch World of color from our balcony - I think we had the best studio in the entire resort. The views were fabulous, and we got to see all of the new construction. (Of course we got to hear it too lol!!)

working on Goofy's Sky school





Tuesday we actually spent all day in DCA, only going back for a few hours in the early afternoon.


Supposedly there is a Goofy dressed this way, but we only saw Minnie.



We did the World of color dining package at the Trattoria - very good food and great view of World of Color. It is a fantastic show, a must see if you go to DCA!