Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Instructions for my Husband: Don't Take Candy from Babies. Or Toddlers. Or Really Any Child.

I know it's tempting to take candy when out toddler offers some to you oh-so-nicely.

But you really shouldn't.

Head on over to My Life and Kids and find out Why You Should Never, Ever Take Candy from a Toddler.

This is my thirty-fourth instruction in my ongoing series Instructions for my Husband.

Follow along on Facebook on the Instructions to my Husband page where something stupid funny is always going on there.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cottonelle Clean Routine

Before kids, I gave very little thought to my own bathroom habits and clean routine, let alone anyone else's clean routine.
Now that I have three kids, I not only feel like bathroom topics are the height of scintillating conversation, but I have the good fortune of spending a large portion of my day hanging out in the bathroom, mostly with my in-the-midst-of-potting training toddler son, with the hopes some magic will happen on the toilet. And of course, I am very interested in helping him to have a clean routine that works, because to be honest, I am counting the days  until my kids are all self-sufficient when it comes to going to the bathroom.

This is all why when I heard that Cottonelle had a new clean routine system at Target, I was completely interested in learning more. Cottonelle has flushable cleaning clothes, that come in an attractive and easy-to-use dispenser, which is just right for kids to be able to use by themselves.

We made a family trip to Target to check it out.

Because who doesn't like a family trip to Target?

Right now, at Target stores only, when you buy two 18-roll packs of Cottonelle you receive a free wet cloth dispenser - a totally great deal.

Target being Target, we bought the Cottonelle products we went there to get, and about 35 other things we may or may not have needed as well.

 Once we got home, I set-up the new Cottonelle dispenser in the bathroom and put away the toilet paper in our bathroom vanity.

I will admit to being happier than I probably should have been by seeing the nice stockpile of toilet paper that hopefully means at least a few weeks before I hear the children's cry of "mom, we're out of toilet paper!

As I mentioned my son is just starting to be a regular in the bathroom, and the Cottonelle Care Routine is a big help in getting him to be independent. He can easily use the dispenser on his own.

Now that my kids are using the bathroom mostly on their own, the next step is to get them to leave me alone when I'm in the bathroom -  a problem I know other moms can relate to, there's a reason that I Just Want to Pee Alone is the title of a humor anthology about motherhood!

Do you have tips for helping kids to use the bathroom by themselves, or for getting kids to let moms use the bathroom by themselves?

Find Cottonelle online at on Twitter, at /Cottonelle on Facebook, and via the hashtag #CottonelleRoutine. Learn more at Target about how you can receive a free Cottonelle dispenser with qualifying purchase.

For more photos from my shopping trip to Target and Cottonelle at home, check out my G+ Album.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Easy Way to Entertain a Toddler on a Hot Summer Day

This project is from last summer. In honor of too many 90+ degree days lately, I'm re-posting it for anyone who has hot weather, and a toddler, and needs a fun idea.

Any toddler age two and over will enjoy poking around in a block of ice that is filled with tiny toys.

For my son, I just froze some of the toys he already owned (sequins, beads, little plastic guys) but you could make this project really exciting and freeze some not-yet-seen items.

All you need to do is take a plastic container fill it about 3/4 full with water and throw in the toys. If your child is doing this with you, my cousin Patsy pointed-out you could play "sink or float" while you do it.

Then pop the whole container of water and toys into the freezer and enjoy listening to your toddler ask "is it ready yet?" for the next several hours.

Once completely frozen (or semi-frozen works, too), head outdoors and let your child enjoy going on an icy treasure hunt to get the toys out of the frozen block.

I gave my son a plastic knife to explore and excavate with, but more safety-minded parents might want to find something less sharp to arm their toddlers with for this portion of the activity.

It was really fun when the ice block split into two pieces, but was still attached via the strand of broken Mardi Gras beads.

Ziggy came up with the fun idea of using our wet hands to make handprints on the steps. Which obviously, I loved.

We used the chunks of ice that broke off to make drawings, and at his prompting, I wrote our names.

And while I would be lying if I said I wouldn't have minded it being a few degrees cooler, it was a really fun way to spend a summer's day with my son.

Hello to everyone here from Pinterest! I have lots more ideas for summer fun with kids on my Summer Pinterest Board. You can follow me on Pinterest here and on Facebook at

Do you have a favorite way to entertain a toddler on a hot summer day? Please share!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Best, Most Amazing Summer Reading Giveaway EVER... and there's more, too!

Picture yourself poolside, or lounging on the beach. It's nice, right? But it could be better. What you need are some great books to make you laugh, and some seriously stylish summer accessories. Well, we have you covered. First up, we're giving away six (count 'em, SIX) funny books that you probably already own because you have such great taste. But if, by chance, you've been busy reading the dictionary cover to cover or you tried to buy these and Amazon was all like, "Sorry, too slow, sucker. Sold out!" today's your lucky day!
At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles: Mostly-True Tales of an Impending Miracle is the debut novel of the amazing Paige Kellerman, of There's More Where That Came From. In it, she props her cankles up on the coffee table of your heart and tells the tale of her pregnancy with twins, from the reluctant announcement of the pregnancy test results to the experience of being hoisted awkwardly (is there any other way?) onto the delivery table. You'll be able to relate to every word, and Paige's unique storytelling style will keep you laughing, guaranteed.

Abby Still Has Issues is the second book by Abby Heugel of the award-winning blog, Abby Has Issues. It features a ton of laugh-out-loud essays that could only be plucked from that wonderfully neurotic head full of issues we all love so well. Laugh along as she admits to being smelly (it's not what you think), converses with her pants, and reveals why other countries hate us (hint: it's our eyelashes). Intrigued? YOU SHOULD BE. Because it's full of awesome.

I Just Want To Pee Alone, a hilarious collection of hilarious essays about motherhood by 37 hilarious mothers, covers every parenting topic from planning for your baby, to being driven insane by your children, to... wait, are there other parenting topics? Yes, don't be silly, of course there are. There's something for everyone in this #1 best selling humor anthology which, I don't mind saying, at one point ranked ahead of Tina Fey's Bossypants - a fact that many of the co-authors plan to have engraved on their tombstones.

Ketchup is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves by Robin O'Bryant of Robin's Chicks is full of funny stories about motherhood, sex talks, the terror of car trips, and all those eye-roll inducing, forehead-vein popping, laugh-out-loud things that bond parents together under the flag of Oh Thank Heavens, It Isn't Just Me.

Also win a copy of Adrian Kulp's hilarious book Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-Home Dad, which is based on his popular blog With chapters like "She's Gonna Have Daddy Issues" you know this book will be funny, relatable and just a little bit twisted (in the best possible way).
And we understand that you'll need to keep the kids occupied if you're hoping to get enough time to yourself to read a book with more than eight syllables per page. That's why we're also giving away 75 Ways To Have More Fun At Home, a fantastic e-book by Anna of My Life and Kids that's absolutely bursting with activities for your kids. These are cheap-to-free, unique, realistic ideas for things that real people could and would actually do. You don't want another summer day to go by without it!

I can say, without fear of hyperbole, that you're entire summer will be a complete waste of time if you don't read these books - so in the event that you don't win this amazing prize package, check out the links and buy your own copies. You'll be glad you did.

Now, while you're enjoying these fabulous books, you want to look fabulous too, don't you? Never fear, we have that covered, too! To keep the hair out of your face while you're reading (or while you're serving up a wicked ace on the beach volleyball court), you'll need headbands and hair ties from A Girl and Her Band.

These suckers are nonslip, moisture wicking, antimicrobial and machine washable, not to mention cute as all getout. A Girl and Her Band is a company started by regular (but fantastic) mamas who support and empower active girls, and give back to the community by donating a portion of all website sales to a different charity each month. They've generously offered up three headbands of your choosing, and they're throwing in a 5-pack of matching hair ties, too! Their company makes your heart feel as good as your hair will with this essential set of accessories.

As if that weren't enough to make you look like a million bucks while you're enjoying your summer reading, you'll also get a Vera Bradley Summer Pack, which includes a Vera Bradley sarong, a small mesh tote, and a beach towel in the gorgeous Go Wild pattern.
AND, just in case we missed anything, we're throwing in a $125.00 Amazon gift card so you can treat yourself to something special (I don't know if Amazon sells fruity drinks in coconuts with little umbrellas in bulk quantities, but I'd look into that if I were you). ENOUGH ALREADY, you say! I'm interested, so how do I enter?!?

To qualify: You must be able to read, or know someone who is willing to read to you, and live in the United States. Recommended: Tissues, for laughter-induced tear blotting. Large-rimmed Jackie O sunglasses for increased mysterious cool factor. A few seconds of free time here and there for reading.

Required: Do the little Rafflecopter thingy. Winner will be chosen at random and notified after the giveaway closes on Sunday, July 21. If there's no response from the winner within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen and so on until I decide just to keep everything for myself. (I'm kidding, of course. OR AM I? Yes, I'm kidding.) a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Name Bubbles: Great Labels for Kids Stuff for Camp and School

I recently sent my oldest off to sleepaway camp, and in addition to finding just the right hiking boots, duffel bag and shower caddy, I wanted to find the best way to label it all.  A good friend pointed me in the direction of Name Bubbles, which are sticky labels that once applied stay stuck on clothes, shoes and toiletries through just about anything - they're laundry and dishwasher safe as well as bug repellent and sunblock proof. They're also freezer friendly, and will stick through -60 F.

Name Bubble has labels for all needs, including a Camp Labels Pack ($38.88) which has over 100 labels in a variety of sizes and styles. I received a pack of these labels, which were more than we needed to label every last item my daughter brought to camp - with a few leftover, too.

Name Bubbles not only make labels for camp, and also for school, as well as allergy alert labels

medical labels, and more. My daughter is back from her sleepaway camp adventure, and so is her stuff... and all the Name Bubbles labels are perfectly intact, too.

Thanks to Name Bubbles for providing a Camp Labels Pack for me to review.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Who Wore It Best - The July Fourth Dress

My daughter Kay is a big fan of hand-me-downs, which is perfect since I'm a big fan of her wearing them as much as possible.

This year Kay wore big sister Magpie's dress on July Fourth, so of course, I need to pose the question... who wore it best?

Magpie is on the left and Kay is on the right if you want to weigh-in with your pick US Weekly style in the comments.

Next up, I want to recreate this photo of my son and me which was taken two years ago on July Fourth.

It's been my Facebook icon ever since, but I think two years may be the limit of its shelf life.

Hope everyone had a Happy July Fourth!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Month In Review: It's July Already?!

How is it already July?! It seems like just yesterday the blank slate of June was in front of me, and all of my good intentions to scritch scratch my entire to do list off during my self-declared Being a Grown-Up Month.

Being a Grown-Up Month was an epic fail: I got nothing done. But in my defense, Being a Grown-Up Month's success was stymied by all the things I had to do because I am in fact already a grown-up, so I'm giving up on the idea - at least for now. July and August are no time for being a grown-up in general, let alone for tackling endless lists of things to do. (Unless your my husband, in which case you should feel free to get on all those home repair projects I like to nag you about right away.)

Last week, we took our annual family vacation to Delmarva which was great as it always is, photographic evidence here:

You may notice the absence of any photos of Magpie - she missed our trip because she is at sleep away camp, and while I want to think she is sad to have missed it the numerous photos from camp say otherwise, as does this letter in which she spends the entirety of it making her case to stay at camp longer.

In case you can't read it, the last line is "I miss you... sarcastic font."

In addition to taking a vacation, I also wrote some stuff, including:

Golf Courses About in the Westfield Area - public and private courses as well as where to mini-golf!

Music, Movies and More - Summertime Fun in and Around Westfield - so many fabulous events and things to do for families, most of them free!

Great Stationery for Sleepaway Camp - there are tons of awesome ideas for camp stationery, but not so many ideas on how to get your kids to actually use it.

And last, but not least, I won a VOTY! If you aren't a blogger, this will definitely mean nothing to you (and if you are a blogger, it probably still doesn't mean anything to you) but all the same, getting the email that my post I'd Like to Thank the Academy was one of twenty selected by BlogHer as a "Voice of the Year" in the humor category was better than another email from a Nigerian Prince about my riches that never seem to materialize. Way better.

Click here to read the full list of VOTY winners.

And Happy July!

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