Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Finding the Funny - May Edition!

Welcome to May's Finding the Funny!

Meet the Hosts!
Anna @ My Life and Kids
Kelley @ Kelley's Break Room
Robyn @ Hollow Tree Ventures
Kerry @ HouseTalkN
Julie @ I Like Beer and Babies
Keesha @ Mom's New Stage
Meredith @ The Mom of the Year
Anna @ Random Handprints (that's me!)
Ellen and Erin @ Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
Toulouse @ Toulouse and Tonic

The Rules

Link up an old or new funny post. Link up as many times as you want (we're serious). The party is open until Friday at midnight. The earlier you link up, the more clicks you'll get. Click around and meet the other funny bloggers that are linking up.

Follow the Finding the Funny Pinterest board. We'll all be pinning our favorites throughout the month. We don't ask you to link back to us or include a button on your blog, but we do ask you to send out a tweet or post about the party on your Facebook page. Be sure to use #findingthefunny.

So start linking! I'm (semi) offline this week in celebration of Screen-Free Week, so I'll be visiting and pinning all your hilarious posts when I'm back online this Sunday night at 11:46pm, not that I'm counting the minutes or anything like that.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Week in Review: An Interview, A New Gig and What I'll (Not) Be Doing This Week

Last week was great. The Alternative Press of Westfield included our book signing for I Just Want to Pee Alone in their coverage of Girls' Night Out in Westfield, and....

The Alternative Press of Maplewood interviewed me for Local Mom-Blogger Joins Others to Climb the Best-Seller List. And I don't mind admitting not only that it was my first-ever interview, but also that I could totally get used to being "local-famous" as my friend Nicole so aptly puts it.

I also wrote Summertime in Westfield: Where to Go Swimming, which is my very first piece for The Mavins Group, an incredible full-service real estate and move management company based in New Jersey and serving the metropolitan New York City area.

If you live in or near Westfield, I highly recommend their Facebook page, Wonders of Westfield. It' an amazing resource for local information and is updated with community events and happenings daily.

And last, I'm taking the week off (mostly) from the screen and participating in Screen-Free Week.

I'm probably (and by probably I mean definitely) not going to be 100% offline, but I'm going to aim for being online a lot less than I usually am For those of you who join in on Finding the Funny, May's edition will be live here on Wednesday, but except for that I'll take the week off from the blog as well.

I'll be writing about my screen-free experiences for Barista Kids next week. Until then, enjoy your screen-filled or screen-free week!

See you all when I'm back among the online living next Sunday night!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Instructions for my husband: A four-year-old should not know her little sister's school schedule better than you do.

I know it's hard to keep all of our kids' schedules straight, being as there's both of them, but if Magpie (who is four) can do it, I think you can, too. Or at least do it a little bit better than your current abilities.

But that is not really my point.

My point is that if we have a conversation that goes like this at breakfast:

Instruction-needing Husband: "Have a nice day at school, girls."
Magpie: "Daddy, it's Wednesday. Only I go to school on Wednesdays. Kay doesn't."
Kay: "Me no school today. Me school tomorrow."
Instruction-needing Husband: "Wow, I really have no idea of anything going on with them, do I?"
Awesomest Wife Ever: "I know it's complicated. Magpie goes to school five days, and Kay goes four days - every day but Wednesday. It's a lot to keep straight."

And again, let me remind you, I'm totally fine with the conversation above, I'm sure it is hard to keep their wildly divergent schedules straight, but what I'm not okay with is the phone conversation we just a few hours later:

Instruction-needing Husband: "So did the girls have a good day at school today?"
Awesomest Wife Ever: "Uh, Magpie did."
Instruction-needing Husband: "Oh, what happened to Kay at school?"
Awesomest Wife Ever: "Nothing. Kay doesn't go to school on Wednesdays."
Instruction-needing Husband: "Oh right, Magpie just told me that this morning."
Awesomest Wife Ever: "Yes, your four-year-old knows when her sister goes to school. And you don't!"

How do you not remember a discussion we just had that morning? Like, three hours earlier? And how hard is it to remember that Kay doesn't have school on Wednesdays?!

Which brings me to something I've been meaning to share with the blog readers out there for a while now, the original purpose of Instructions for My Husband was not so much to leave real instructions or even to complain about my beloved husband, but to provide a written record for which I consider my dear husband to now be responsible for knowing.

So my dear husband - don't tell me I never told you the girls school schedules. Because here it is in blog and white.

This is an old instruction from when I had an entire blog devoted to leaving instructions for my husband. I remembered it today when we had a snafu with the kids' school schedule. I'm not going to say whose fault it was, but let's just say the name rhymes with Wusband.

This is the thirty-first instruction in my ongoing series of Instructions for My Husband.

Have an instruction for your other half? I would love to share it here. Email me at anna@randomhandprints.com.

Who remembers the kids' wacky schedules best at your house?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My daughter already knows everything she needs to know about real beauty

I've been following the Dove "real beauty" discussions over whether the latest Dove campaign is groundbreaking, or just another take on idealizing one form of "beauty" as better than another.

I'm in the latter camp - I'm not so impressed with the Dove campaign. Business Insider has a good article on Why People Hate Dove's 'Real Beauty' Sketches, and there's plenty of other commentary as well. (If you wrote a post about this, please leave a link in the comments, I'd love to read it whatever your take.)

I'm more interested in campaigns that focus on something besides beauty, just like I'm not particularly interested in the seemingly daily headlines proclaiming "Can you believe [insert celebrity name] had three kids?" What's not to believe? Does being a mom automatically mean you can't look good? Sigh.

But I digress. All I'm really trying to say is these beauty values evolve over time, and I was reminded of this when I looked at my daughter's illustration of Halle Berry. It's not exactly flattering, but that's because she is just drawing what she sees, without all the Hollywood expectations and suggestions.

Also, in case you can't tell what's on Halle's right, it's an Oscar. Because although she's only seven, my daughter likes to celebrate what people achieve, not how they appear. Even if Halle Berry is pretty amazing looking, and can you believe it, also a mom?

What do you think? Love, hate or dont' really care about Dove's latest advertising campaign? And will it make you buy more Dove (which is Unilever) products?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Get Healthy with Walgreens Steps with Balance Rewards #BalanceRewards #Cbias

It's finally spring, and that means it's almost summer.

Which also means I'm finally thinking about getting outdoors and getting healthy, walking more, and even getting back to counting my steps, which for a Type A gal like myself, nothing could be more thrilling than exercise that can be quantified.

I also like setting a daily goal for amount of steps walked, and seeing if I can meet it more often then I don't.

Walgreens has a great program - Steps with Balance Rewards - that gives you points for healthy behavior. You can sign-up here.

 I logged-on and started tracking my steps throughout the week, earning 20 points for every mile completed either by walking or running.

You can also receive 20 points daily for weighing-in, but that's not my usual routine so I decided to skip earning these points. However, I did try it one day and was happy to see my weight covered-up by a discrete row of xxx.

The points really do add up quickly, and as you can see below where I received 40 points for adding a motivational statement, and a total of 430 points in just a week of being in the Steps with Balance Rewards program.

I also set-up a daily goal for number of steps walked. I kept it low - 5,000 steps a day - so I could feel the joy of success - a quick peek around the Internet suggests I really should be walking closer to 10,000 steps daily. I also earned 250 points for adding a goal, which really helped the points start to add up quickly even though I had just gotten started with the program.

Steps with Balance Rewards is running Step Up to Win Daily Sweepstakes, with daily prizes through May 31, so be sure to enter for a chance to win great prizes. This week just some of the great prizes are a Walgreens gift card or a Fitbit Zip. In addition to teh daily instant win prizes, there is also a grand prize: a trip to The Biggest Loser resort of the winner's choice (Chicago, Ivins, UT, Malibu, Niagara, NY). You can read the official rules here.

In addition to logging my steps on the Walgreens site, I'm also planning to spend more time this spring in my garden, as gardening is a great way to get exercise. I went to Walgreens and purchased four seed packets - two for flowers and two for vegetables. I can't wait to plant them this weekend with my kids.

I'm looking forward to planting these with my kids, and adding tending our garden to the list of great outdoor activities we do this spring and summer.

I set my steps walking goal through June 1 (about six weeks) with the hopes of starting slowly and putting in a new and better goal come June. So 5,000 steps a day, get ready to step aside for 10,000 steps a day come June 1!

I'll be ready.

To learn more about Walgreens Steps with Balance Rewards, visit my Google+ Album. You can also find Walgreens on Facebook and Twitter, as well as read real stories by real people on AisleShare Fun.

I am  a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and Walgreens. #balancerewards #cbias #socialfabric

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What I wrote last week.... and a book signing. And meeting Project Runaway contestants. And Duck Tape.

Last week I pondered these topics on the interwebs:

- On In the Powder Room: I Love the Earth, but I Don't Love Earth Day

- On New Jersey Family: Would You Hire A Manny?

- On Barista Kids: A Review of Kinky Boots The Musical

With all the horrible world events going on last week it's sad and crazy that my life went on pretty much like normal here in suburban New Jersey.

On Tuesday, I took the train into New York City (and saw more police dogs in Penn Station then I ever had or probably ever will see in my life) to go to an amazing event put on by my favorite, The Duck Brand.

They have a pop-up shop in the Fashion District (1411 Broadway, between 39th and 40th Streets) through Sunday, April 28, and it's definitely worth a visit if you can manage it - there's one of every style of Duck Tape! It's amazing!

Of course I went for Duck Tape - because I would go anywhere for Duck Tape - but the big attraction was getting to meet contestants from Project Runway. At my table was Patricia Michaels

who made this amazing Duck Tape prom dress creation as one of the show's weekly challenges with designer Samantha Black (pictured on the left):

I loved meeting the Project Runway contestants, but I also really loved meeting the other Duck Tape enthusiasts, with whom I swapped ideas and tips, with such detail and interest that we may or may not have slightly frightened the Runway designers.

On Thursday, I had a book signing for I Just Want to Pee Alone in Westfield, as part of their annual Girls' Night Out event. It was so much fun - first, because I got to be with the three other Jersey contributors - Kim F. of The Fordeville Diaries, Kim B. of Let Me Start By Saying, and Amy of My Real Life AND an extra-special guest from up north, Bethany from Bad Parenting Moments.

Pictured left to right, we're Kim B., Bethany, Anna (me), Kim F. and Amy.

I also loved getting to meet all the women who came by to say hi, share their parenting tales, and to laugh about the craziness that is modern motherhood. There were so many hilarious stories exchanged that yes, I took notes, and I can't wait to put them all together in a post of their own.

The signing was at The Farmhouse Store, and if I ever wondered what I would do if I found a gigantic sack full of cash, I now know the answer: buy one of everything in this store. If you find yourself in the Westfield, NJ area it's definitely worth a visit.

I had a week of great personal experiences against the backdrop of such terrible events unfolding elsewhere, and now I'm just hoping for a quiet week on all fronts ahead, reading on the front steps and enjoying some spring sunshine sounds perfect.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The New Duane Reade App is Awesome

As many of you regulars know, I've been working with Duane Reade as one of their VIP Bloggers for over a year. Most recently, I worked with them to check out their brand new Duane Reade App (it's available as a free download on iTunes).

While I have an iPhone and consider myself to be somewhat of a techie, I have a pitifully small number of apps on my now 4-month old phone. I just don't know what besides FourSquare, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram I'd really need, or use.

So I was somewhat surprised to find that the Duane Reade App is awesome. Who knew you could so so much with an app on your phone?!

First of all, downloading the app is totally easy, which you might already have guessed it would be. I've always had app download anxiety, but no more. It literally takes nothing to go to iTunes and download the Duane Reade app (under Walgreen Co.).

And here you can see the app joining the sparse company on my phone:

Just as the download was easy, so is using the app. I was able to print photos with the QuikPrints feature,  which enables you to print photos from your phone and then choose a Duane Reade store location for pick-up, usually within an hour.

It quickly became clear my bigger problem would be picking which photos to print.

At the store, prints are waiting for pick-up:
In addition to the Quikprints feature, there are lots of other useful tools on the app, and as I scrolled through the functionality it was clear I would also be easily able to use the Refill by Scan and other options when I want to use those as well.

Another cool feature on the app is that can also check your Balance Rewards point balance, and you can save the information from your current card to the app, too - I think that might be what people mean when they say sync, so yes even better than saving your information, you can sync it with the app (I think).

I should also mention that even though I usually go to my same "usual" Duane Reade locations, I used the store locator feature on the app to find a nearby Duane Reade as I was in the Fashion District for an event at the Duck Tape pop-up store - which is incredibly cool and absolutely worth a visit, with every pattern of Duck Tape they sell all in one place. Swoon.

One of my favorite patterns: "retro owl," it was the winner of the "my design" contest.

Overall, my experience with my first "real" app was a great one, and I look forward to the day soon when the blue expanse of my iPhone screen is filled with apps as good as this one from Duane Reade.

See more from my trip to Duane Reade and to the Duck Tape pop-up store - I've even got photos of  Project Runway contestants! Go over and see it all in my Google+ Album.

You can also learn more about the Duane Reade app by following the hashtag: #DRApp on Twitter, as well as @DuaneReade on Twitter. Duane Reade is also on Facebook.

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Duane Reade. #DRApp #Cbias #SocialFabric

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

...love to Boston

I lived in Boston for six years, and while I hated the winters I loved the town. And like everyone else, I really loved Marathon Monday which represented, to me, everything good. There was so much to love about the day from the race itself to the fact that it was a spring day off from work. For me, I had the added joy of living right on the race route which meant I was truly a part of it all, even if I personally didn't exactly muster 26.2 miles.

The images of the triumphant finishers in their silver race jackets is one that I will always remember, though now that image will forevermore be overlaid with the images from the terrible tragedy that visited the running this year, and of couse this is tragically all the more true for so many others.

I'm no longer a Bostonian, now making my home in the suburbs of New York City. I'm heartened by the love my current city shows to my former one.

I couldn't stop looking over and over again at these images of rivals come together as they came across my feeds today:


If only all rivalries could come to such a quick and peaceful resolution.
My heart may be in Boston, but HONY is actually there. If you don't already follow Humans of New York, I think you'll want to. He's in Boston all week.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lies, Scary Mommy and a Giveaway! {Giveaway now closed.}

Jill Smoker (a.k.a. Scary Mommy) has a hilarious new book out: Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies) and it got me to thinking what was the biggest "mommy myth" I was told?

For me, the most vicious lie was from the numerous people who told me:

"It will be no problem for your toddler to share a room with the new baby."

To which I now know I should have replied to with a maniacal "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha" laugh.

When my not quite two-year-old daughter Magpie was given her new roommate, Baby Kay, it was a disaster from Day 1.

We had a small two-bedroom apartment in New York City, and we were determined to make this work. There weren't exactly a lot of alternatives. Our bedroom was too small to include a crib, which left the hall, the living room, and the kitchen as the only other options. (Yes, I do know New Yorkers who have utilized all of the above, as well as the bathroom and the closet, but I didn't want to be one of them.)

So we tried everything to make the little ladies work out as roomies.

We put the baby to sleep, and snuck the toddler in.

We put the toddler to sleep, and snuck the baby in.

We put them to sleep simultaneous, each parent with their assigned charge.

Nothing worked. You know what our kids thought of sharing a room?

Maniacal "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha." laughter.

Eventually, when every bed permutation had been explored, every partition option from hanging sheets to folding screens to strategically placed bookshelves did not work, we just moved the baby's crib into the living room, and took to spending the evenings in our bedroom.

And when the baby woke-up every time we tried to walk thought the living room to the kitchen, we moved the baby's crib back into the girls' bedroom, and moved the toddler to the sofa. It sounded so tacky to say our kid slept on the sofa that we tried to put a high-class gloss on it by referring to the sofa as "slumby." For a year, Magpie slept on slumby and peace reigned in our apartment.

Eventually the girls did learn to share a room, but it was never at any point in the transition "no problem."

And that's not the only vicious lie! Head over to Keesha's awesome blog Mom's New Stage and find out how disciplining her kids is getting the better of her, when uh shouldn't that part of motherhood come naturally, too? Apparently, not so much.

We have two copies of the very funny Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies) to giveaway.

To enter, let us know in the Rafflecopter form below what was the most vicious lie you were told about motherhood?

You can also earn extra entries by following Mom's New Stage, Random Handprints and Scary Mommy on Facebook and Twitter.

And don't forget to visit ScaryMommy.com for your regular dose of Jill as well as hilarious guest posts like Kim Forde's Stranger in a Strange Land (Having A Baby is Just Like Being a Clueless Tourist) and Anna Luther's 10 Unrecognizable Post Baby Parts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 7, 2013

US Weekly - Suitable for A Seven-Year-Old?

We got my daughter Kay a subscription to US Weekly for her seventh birthday.

She loves US Weekly.

She taught herself to read with US Weekly, which makes sense because it's probably written for a second-grade reading level, and I'm not even joking.

But a few recent headlines in the magazine have made me wonder, is seven too young to be reading US Weekly?

And if I have to swap her subscription, what magazines do you recommend?

Disclosure: Totally not compensated in case it looks like I was, I don't even like US Weekly. Except of course, the Fashion Police section, which I kinda sorta love.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Finding the Funny - April Edition and a (Huge!) Chobani Greek Yogurt Giveaway!

Welcome to April's Finding the Funny! Before we start sharing our funny posts, we have a (huge) giveaway!

My Parenting Victory (and a HUGE giveaway)!

Chobani is all about celebrating the little victories in parenting, and as a mom, so am I. For me, these little victories could be making one dinner everyone doesn't just tolerate but enjoys, finding ways for us all to get dressed and out of the house on time on school days even if it means everyone is wearing mis-matched socks, and finding a bedtime routine that can be measured in minutes instead of hours.

But lately, as my kids get older and I get more zen as well as more sentimental about the years flying by, I've decided it's all about the road and not the destination. Sure, it's annoying that one of my kids will only eat spaghetti without red sauce, and one will only eat it with, but these are the things of childhood, and of parenthood, and without them you would never need to find a sauce enjoyed by all, which would mean missing out on having toddlers who like white clam sauce. And it is that small victory, as well as all the rest, that make this parenting gig so fun.

Luckily, one thing my kids all like is Chobani Champions.

Raising kids isn’t easy, but Chobani Champions is all about celebrating the little victories in parenting.

Together with Chobani, we wanna make YOU a winner. Enter below to win 1 GRAND PRIZE* of a year’s supply of Chobani and Chobani Champions.

Yep, a year’s supply of that delicious, nutritious, protein-packed parenting victory known as Chobani greek yogurt. Our grand prize winner will build a custom case for themselves to be delivered to their doorstep monthly, including: 1 case of assorted Champions Flavors, 1 case of assorted Chobani Flavors and a bonus case of either Champions tubes, Chobani Bite or Chobani 32 oz cooking sizes. Every month for a YEAR!*

10 Runners-up will receive one case of Champions Tubes delivered to their doors!

Giveaway begins April 2 and ends at midnight April 8.

Chobani is gettin' social to find the good, the bad, the ugly… and a REAL taste of life with kids. Join in on the convo!

Follow Chobani at:
@Champions on Twitter
Chobani Champion's on Facebook
@ChobaniChampions on Instagram

Join all of us on twitter for #spikedpunch Sunday night, April 7 from 9-10pm EST.
Enjoy the party and a chance to win 1 of 2 cases of Chobani tubes!

*Giveaway open to residents of the United States only. Grand prize winner will choose from products available at http://chobani.com/products/ a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's Finding the Funny Time!

Meet the Hosts:
Kerry @ HouseTalkN
Keesha @ Mom's New Stage
Meredith @ The Mom of the Year
Toulouse @ Toulouse and Tonic
Anna @ Random Handprints(that's me!)

The Rules
Link up an old or new funny post. Link up as many times as you want (we're serious.) The party is open until Friday at midnight. The earlier you link up, the more clicks you'll get. Click around and meet the other funny bloggers that are linking up. Follow the Finding the Funny Pinterest board. We'll all be pinning our favorites throughout the month. We don't ask you to link back to us or include a button on your blog, but we do ask you to send out a tweet or post about the party on your Facebook page. Be sure to use #findingthefunny.

{Keep Reading}

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