Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Olivia Giveaway!

If you have a Nick Jr. fan in your house, then you should definitely check out Night Owl Mamas Olivia giveaway. Its a super cook pirate ship playhouse, complete with Olivia! What three to six year old WOULDN'T love to have it? You can enter here:
Good luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Photo Contest and Giveaway at WhatToExpect.com

baby bump

What to Expect when You are Expecting has become a must-have necessity for first time parents everyhere, and now you can learn all that you need to know online at WhatToExpect.com, the website for this infamous line of parenting books. This website is also holding a Baby Bump contest that you may want to check out. Here are the basics:
             -Submit a shot of your tummy between now and December 6th, 2010

-One grand-prize winner will receive $200 Hallmark.com gift card, one $1,000 Diapers.com gift card, and one copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting: The First Year, autographed by author, Heidi Murkoff.
14 weekly winners will each receive one $60 Hallmark.com gift card.
  Everyone send in shots of your baby bump! I would LOVE to have a $1000 gift card to Diapers.com, I would send cloth diapers to everyone I know who is expecting! Oh, and a few for my family! We love cloth here!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Going Green for the Holidays

With Halloween upon us (my favorite holiday, followed closely by Christmas) I have been looking for ways to make sure my family is still being as eco-conscious as possible. For example, this year I bought all my kids costumes second-hand, which is not only green but also frugal. I ended up getting four costumes for around $30, which is a pretty good deal. I am sad to report my two oldest kids don't know if they are going to celebrate with a costume this year, they just aren't into the holiday spirit. :(

What about Halloween bags? I made some bags out of Halloween fabric that I already had, and I am considering using old t-shirts to make bags for the other kids. I somehow feel like I am depriving them of something, however. Why is that? I know that a fifty cent plastic bag from Target isn't anything special. My 3 year old is dead set on an orange pumpkin bucket, so I guess I will get one for him. At least it is reusable ;)

For Christmas I am considering arterro products. They look amazing, and I actually already have a bookmaking kit stashed for my 10 year old daughter as a gift. Here is hoping they feel crafty this Christmas! How do you stay green during the holidays? I feel like there is something more I can do to make our holidays as eco-friendly as possible.

Two Monkeys & A Washtub: Giveaway Diamond Touch Pendant

Ok, I know that I blog about a LOT of giveaways, but this is the best one that I have seen. As a Mom, I take great care to record my children's lives. We have videos, photos, scrapbooks full of paintings and awards, not to mention tubs of baby clothes to remind us of the days when our kids were babies. They are only small for a couple of years, really, and that's not long when you stop and think about it!

The Diamond Touch Pendant is amazing. It is a pendant that has your child's fingerprint right on it! I LOVE it! I would love to have my sons fingerprint on one of these so that I have something to remind me of his babyhood. We don't have long before he is walking, talking, going to school, and then going to college. Really, time just flies! As a mom of six, I can tell you that one morning when you wake up and your child is getting a job and going to college you are going to wonder where time went. Pieces like this necklace are a reminder of a time when things were much simpler. Trust me, caring for a baby might be physically challenging, but raising a teen into a decent adult will take all of the mental stamina that you have! Being able to look at the tiny fingerprint for years to come is truly priceless.

I would LOVE to win this amazing necklace. You can enter here: http://www.twomonkeysawashtub.com/2010/08/giveaway-tina-steinberg-designs-love.html

But, really, if you don't that's OK with me because I want it! If I don't win it I am asking my husband to get it for me with my 3 year old and nine month olds prints. I so love the idea of being able to wear a piece of my sons baby years to share with anyone who notices the necklace!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tasty Chocolate Almond Coffee Creamer at Home

This is super tasty, and pretty thrifty!
I used the following:
One small can condensed sweetened evaporated milk
1 cup of 2% milk
A couple teaspoons of Hershey's Dark Chocolate cocoa powder (unsweetened)
A lid full of almond extract

I just added everything in a large Mason jar with a lid, and shook it until well combined. Its a tasty treat for me because I love coffee, but don't keep any fancy creamers in my house. Since I always have baking supplies on hand, this was something that was already in my pantry, too!

Love Thirsties? Enter the Giveaway on Natural Baby Giveaways!

Thirsties are one of the most talked about cloth diapers. Seriously, Moms every where love these diapers and covers, and now you can enter to win some to try out! Natural Baby Giveaways is offering a Thirsties Duo Wrap and a hemp prefold to one of their lucky readers. I personally have one of the hemp prefolds, so I can attest to how wonderfully absorbant they really are!

You can enter here: http://naturalbabygiveaways.com/thirsties-duo-wrap-duo-hemp-prefold-review-and-giveaway-ends-1011/

Or you can visit Thirsties here to buy some! http://www.thirstiesbaby.com

Good luck everyone!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Writing Reviews on Baby Products

Writing reviews on baby products is actually one of my favorite things to do. I know that when I buy something for my son, I want it to work and work well. I don't like spending money on items that have too many chemicals, that break easily, or that are poorly made. In reality, badly made products are more common than you may think.

One thing that people who read reviews on baby products may not know is that most people are a lot nicer in a review than they would be when speaking to a friend or family member. No one wants to look like a crazy lady ranting about the infant swing that broke or the t-shirt whose stitching fell out after one washing. The world of reviews is even nicer when it comes to purchasing items from work-at-home moms and dads.

You wouldn't think that it would be so difficult to get honest, straightforward reviews on baby products, would you? There are a few websites that offer the real story on WAHM products, with the best being The Juicy Apple Report group on Yahoo. If you have had a problem with a WAHM product, it is best to file a report here to warn other Moms and Dads about the issues.

I, personally, am not the type of person who sugar coats things too much. I may not mention a product that I don't like but that is probably because I really don't think about it, I just give it away! I love reading reviews on baby products, and writing them, but only when they are honest and straightforward! If you have a great product review, feel free to link it up here!

My Life as an SEO Writer

So, I have been writing professionally for a few years. Well, as professionally as I can with one of my kids sitting on my lap (often giving me kisses or moving his face in front of mine so that typing is virtually impossible), and one singing Yo Gabba Gabba songs in the background. I love, love, love being able to stay home with my kids. It really is the best job in the world, it just doesn't pay that well so I started writing.

SEO articles aren't as creative as you may think. First, people want you to use keywords. Some people have so many keywords that they want used the actual article is only a few hundred words long. It does make it easier to write, but it isn't nearly as creative as making a blog post or writing a short story. Unfortunately, I lack the wit/time/skills to write novels or books! I like facts too much to make things up!

Working online is also very, very time consuming with two small kids at home and four older kids. The older kids don't need my attention as much, but I still make the extra effort to spend as much time with them as I can. Which leaves me working until well into the night sometimes, which is actually preferable. Once the baby is sleeping, I can write for a few hours uninterrupted by kisses and raspberries.

I tried *not* writing for a few weeks after I had my son. It didn't work out well. I miss writing, as much as I missed getting paid! Writing is something that I have always loved to do, but getting paid to do it makes it feel like I am really successful. I have thought about starting a business, but don't know yet. Eventually, I may but right now I am focusing on other things. 

Do any of you write? If so, what? I am always slightly offended when I see bloggers who rush through their posts or have poor grammar or spelling. Of course, I am not perfect and a lot of my posts are uninspired, I suppose, but I try my best to iron out any mistakes I see and I only write when I can devote a chunk of time to the task. What are your pet peeves when it comes to reading posts?

Piece of Me and Sonic Giveaway!

Piece of ME is also offering a $50 Sonic gift card here http://www.makingmyamericandream.com/2010/09/celebrate-with-sonic-drive-in-review.html

Sweet! Sonic has the best frozen coffees if you dont have a Starbucks nearby, and their fries are way better than any McDonalds. Of course, I rarely (OK, NEVER! eat at McDonalds, but I do occasionally stop at Sonic!)

So, go enter! You could be drinking a free frozen Mocha coffee with extra espresso, and nothing is better than coffee, especially when its free!

Piece of ME and Sanuk Giveaway!

If you read Piece of ME, then you know about this amazing Sanuk Shoes giveaway! I love these super-comfy shoes, and with an ARV of about $50, this is a money-saving giveaway, too! You can enter the giveaway here: http://www.makingmyamericandream.com/2010/09/sanuk-fun-functional-footwear-for-all.html

Or, you can go to Sanuk to buy your own here: www.sanuk.com

If you win, you get to choose any pair of shoes up to $60 value, so you get a lot of choices!

Good luck everyone!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life- Semi Crunchy Giveaway of Miss Lilys Washing Powder

Life- Semi Crunchy is a great blog that is hosting a giveaway of Miss Lily's Washing powders, right now! Miss Lilys comes in several great scents, including my favorite, pink sugar. For everyone else, there is also apple mango tango, unscented, baby bee, french vanilla, baby powder, and butt naked. All of these scents sound amazing. I have personally tried butt naked and pink sugar scents in other products, and they smell so good you won't want to stop sniffing your new washing powder!

Plus, Miss Lily's is so affordable! You can get enough to wash 44 loads of diapers for just $10 plus ship- that is WAY cheaper than a lot of the other WAHM washing powders out there! She also sells half bags for just $5.50, which I am ordering right away!

If you want to enter this giveaway, just visit here: http://life-semicrunchy.blogspot.com/2010/09/miss-lilys-washing-powder-review-and.html

OR you can buy your own Miss Lily's here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/misslilyswashing

Good luck, and look for my review of Miss Lily's soon!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Low Entry Giveaway on Lions Tigers and Boys, OH MY! Blog

There is a great Tommee Tippee giveaway on the Lions, Tigers, and Boys, OH MY! blog. You can enter to win a TT bottle and paci combo, perfect for new moms or moms with babies. I love these bottles, they are a great choice when you are using both breast and formula for baby.

The giveaway is here: http://jakenmattsmom.blogspot.com/2010/09/tommee-tippee-review-and-giveaway.html

And you can buy Tommee Tippee here: http://www.tommeetippee.com/

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yummy Recipe for Brownies

I borrowed this recipe from The Mom With Brownies' blog, which you can find here: http://www.icantbelievemylife.com/. I love cheap and EASY! recipes, and this one is just right for me!
CHEAP AND YUMMY BROWNIE RECIPE!6 TBSP cocoa, 1/4 C butter, 1 C sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/3 C flour, 2 eggs, Cook 350 - 25 mins

Giveaway Scout

I recently added giveawayscout.com to my blog. This little widget is from the website, www.giveawayscout.com, where you will find that you can add your own giveaways to the newsfeed manually. You can have your giveaways automatically picked up by Giveaway Scout by including the term "giveaway" in your post title.

Giveaway Scout can easily increase the number of visitors to your website! I think I love it! I am going to be using this awsome (and free!) service on my blog permanently! Maybe I can get my reader volume up, and start hosting giveaways of my own!

You can add your blog here: http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/
Take the time to read through the site, and check out all the giveaways posted in their feed! Amazing!

Giveaways Galore!

I have been falling behind on posting contests! Right now, there are a ton! of great things going on in the world of giveaways!
Today, I entered this contest for an amazing glass ring from Whimsy. You can find this giveaway at http://menonewmom.blogspot.com/2010/08/whimsy-designer-bead-ring-150-giveaway.html

I have also been entering tons of back to school contests, my favorite is on Two Monkeys and a Washtub for Rock N' Learn Phonics. I am hoping to homeschool my now 3 year old, so I need to start stocking up on great supplies like these! Oh, you can enter the giveaway here: http://www.twomonkeysawashtub.com/2010/09/review-giveaway-rock-n-learn-phonics.html

There are a TON of smaller blogs out there, which is great because lesser known blogs have fewer entrants! If you want to WIN, then fewer entrants is awesome! :)

I have also been invited to join GiveawayScout.com, so look for my giveaway posts there!

Getting Ready for the Holiday Season

As a greenish Mom with frugal tendencies, it isn't uncommon to see me shopping for Christmas gifts year round. Most of that time is spent in the planning stage, so that I know exactly what I am getting for everyone on my list. Finding those items at a good price is fun, and lets me see all kinds of toys and other gift ideas I might have missed otherwise.

Having a cheap Christmas isn't usually one of my goals, but if I can save money I will. This year I have decided to try some Melissa and Doug dollhouses and castles for my 10 and 3 year old. They look pretty fun, and my daughter adores dollhouses. Last year she wanted a mushroom dollhouse, and let me tell you, that was a hard house to find! I finally found one on E-Bay that was both cute and cheap! Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, and getting my kids exactly what they want really makes me happy.

We also made an ornament every single year. Making an ornament by hand is a cheap Christmas idea, but is also one that can create some great memories for the future. Every year I can take out these ornaments that my kids have been making since they were toddlers and see how their skills and ideas have changed over the years. It's definitely my favorite part of the season.

This year, we have decided to make some felt snowflakes and felt doves, and some cinnamon ornaments. I bet our cheap Christmas is going to smell delicious! I am always open to ideas for ornaments, especially those that are suitable for a wide range of ages to make. My youngest this year is going to be 1, and my oldest 14. I wonder what kind of ideas they will have for 2010?

Monday, September 6, 2010

L'Bri Skin Care Products

Recently I won some L'Bri products from a contest that I had entered on a whim. Now, first let me tell you I am not a cosmetics type of person. In fact, I may be one of the *least* likely people that I know to use something like this. In my sample packet, I got these items:

*Face and body scrub
*Facial Peel
*Eye Firming and Repair Gel
*Facial Masque
*Lots of literature about the product

The contact from L'Bri even called me to make sure I got the right type of product for my type of skin! She also called back to make sure I knew how to use the products, but I had missed her call somehow. The literature laid all the steps out for me, though, so I just started with step one.

OK, ALL of these products are totally amazing. The one item that I liked best, however, was the peel. It literally takes all the dead skin off your face, but is so gentle! My face felt absolutely amazing after my first treatment. I have been using the products for about a week and have found that my face is smoother and softer than it has been in years! Seriously! I got the combination skin samples, and it really is perfect for me.

I am usually not so convinced that a product works, but this is well worth trying. You can get samples on the website, or you can purchase through www.lbri.com. I got a magnet with my personal user name and password so that I can order directly from the website, too.

In the past I have tried all kinds of facial lotions, serums, and kits but nothing comes close to the way these products make my skin look and feel. Really, if you want the best in skin care L'Bri is the way to go.

I told L'Bri about my post, and they suggested I add my personal consultant, Debbie Hedgeman.

Sweatshirt Pocket Diapers

I don't have pics uploaded yet, but I love the idea of a sweatshirt pocket diaper. I made one from a sweatshirt I grabbed at my local thrift shop for 50 cents, and using a simple straight stitch turned the sweater into a cute diaper.

I used a premium prefold for sizing, but you will want to make the diaper a little bigger, especially if you have a baby over 15 pounds. For overnights, I stuff the wet zone with a tri-folded prefold and a pad-folded flat. It usually lasts all night on its own, and is absolutely bulletproof with a wool cover. Well, what isn't bulletproof with a wool cover? ;)

I chose a sweatshirt with a design, but really you will want to use the hem of the sweatshirt for the back of the diaper. The hem is a little better for using with a Snappi, and when made this way the design is covered up because I tend to fold any excess diaper over in the front.

Overall, this is a super cheap way to make a diaper that is pretty absorbent. I LOVE hearing about how people make their own home made diapers. Even though I have a full stash of pockets and prefolds, experimenting is so much fun. Plus, I often look for "play" diapers that my son can wear when he is exploring that I don't have to worry about him ruining, and these are perfect!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Learning About Blogging

I love reading blogs, and writing in my own. I love writing anything, really, but don't have a lot of time to promote my personal blog. I have decided that now is the time to really start developing my blog and my home based business.

I am a work at home mom, which means that I have something on my to-do list 24/7. When I do get some free time, I end up writing anyway! I might as well make it count and start getting the word out!

I would LOVE to start writing more about our green living lifestyle and living with six kids. Our family may not be mainstream, but we are never bored!