Snow Days (Or Why I Haven’t Been Blogging)

Snow Fort
Nature Snow Girl
(these two have gone to school two days in the last eight school days)

Winter Wonderland
(this is the view from our window)

Sled Slayer
(I broke my sled, and (almost) my ass)

Wednesday Drinks : Smores Martini

Smores, oh how I love them.
In fact I am still mourning the loss of Suddenly Smores.
Of course, I can make trays of them but it’s hard to stop with just one.

Luckily, lifestyle and entertaining expert Mindy Kobrin was nice enough to come up with a Smore drink recipe for me. This tasty treat satisfies my taste buds and doesn’t involve turning on the oven.
S'Mores Martini

Delicious looking eh?
And it’s easy to make!!
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Win a Honeywell AirGenius Air Cleaner

What are you doing tomorrow Tuesday, 2/19, at 8-9pm EST? I am going to be on a Twitter Chat with home & design expert Evette Rios from ABC’s The Chew. Join me? You’ll have a chance to ask Evette questions and get the advice you need on decorating, entertaining and more (AND a chance to win $300 worth of Honeywell gadgets)! Follow #HomeTips and @HoneywellPlugIn to participate.

Evette Rios Twitter Chat

However, for you dear readers, I have instant gratification. Enter to win a Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Cleaner, worth $239, right now! This machine “takes the guesswork out of air purification with SMART CONTROLS that DO THE THINKING FOR YOU with five intuitive operation settings: Sleep, Germs, General, Allergen, and Max.” I wish I could win it.

Click on through to enter…
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How Disney Brought Oz to Life

Disney The Great and Powerful Oz

As a kid, I adored the Oz series. If your knowledge of Oz starts and ends with The Wizard of Oz, you are missing out my friend. Get yourself to the bookstore, library, or Amazon and pick up the series. I mean, how can you resist a world where forks, spoons, and knives have their own kingdom?

As an Oz addict, I cannot wait to see Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful. They are bringing the wonderful world of Oz to life. It looks AMAZING. Want to know how they did it? Below the cut is a really cool costume and make-up featurette. I am predicting many Oscar nominations!!
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Valentine’s Day : Christmas, The Revenge

nts Against Valentine's Day

Well, I have finally emerged from my post-Valentine’s Day hangover. Unfortunately, this hangover did not involve any champagne. No, instead I was reeling from the sugar rush of food color/HFCS laden candy and the shame of not-crafty motherhood. I ask you, when did Valentine’s Day morph from a day for disappointed lovers and smug flower receivers to a mini celebration for kids?

I know I am not alone in this sentiment. Uber mommy blogger and internet friend Jill of BabyRabies responded to the critics via her blog post It Goes Both Ways. And I get it, I totally do. Childhood is fun and only happens once. And while I don’t resent moms like Jill for their effort (side note: I do resent her for her mad writing skills and ability to look adorable at all times), I am tired of the massive celebration that every special day seems to entail.

Because my kids had just recovered from their Christmas sugar haze when February rolled around. It doesn’t help that their birthday is the week before Valentine’s Day. So with their birthday party, school celebrations, and dream trip they were feted for four straight days.

I knew they were getting a bit entitled when they woke up yesterday and demanded a present and a cupcake.

But who can blame them? After all, Valentine’s night found me not snuggled on the couch with my husband staring into his eyes while we sipped red wine. Instead, I was cleaning fun dip sugar off the floor while muttering to myself over indulgent parents and their love of mass produced candy. Don’t they know I am an aspiring hippie who only allows organic candy into my house? (Sarcasm alert)

Seriously though, can’t we dial it down a notch? Do our kids really need mini packages of gifts and candy taped to cards? Do they need the stickers, the tattoos, the endless amounts of Valentine candy? This morning as I sat on the bed eating fun-size candies and forlornly tooting a mini pink whistle, because of course it’s a four day weekend and the girls want nothing to do with me, I thought about the pumped up Valentine’s Day my girls had experienced. And thought: enough!

So I am pledging: next year there will be no goody bags, no presents, no balloons. Instead I will be happy with the store-bought fold-over valentines that my kids may have or may have not scribbled their name on. If they want to write their friends name on a heart and call it a day, I will be cool with that. I will not try and forge their name with crayons.

Now I just need to get the rest of you overachieving parents on board.

Breakfast Blitz! Giveaway

Wow, what a day! It was my fourth day this week volunteering at the girls’ school. Though I joked on Twitter that I needed to get a hobby instead of hanging with the pint size crew every day, I really am grateful that I get to spend this time volunteering at their school. I know it is not something every parent has the time or luxury of doing!

But The Got Milk? Campaign has started a cool new program that allows every one to help out their schools from the comfort of their own home. Their Breakfast Blitz lets you support your local schools’ breakfast programs by entering UPC codes from every milk purchase now through February 17th. So run to your fridge right now and start entering those codes off the cartons you already.

The Breakfast project

If you need extra encouragement, by helping support your very local school breakfast program by entering UPCS you have the chance to win tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII! And even if you don’t have milk on hand, there is no purchase necessary to enter to win so you can still enter the Sweepstakes.

And you can start the winning right now by entering my giveaway for a Tackle Your Day breakfast basket…
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A Valentine’s Day Snack!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have to admit that I will be happy when we put the girls to sleep tonight. The week between their birthday and Valentine’s Day is a non-stop endurance fest of presents, parties, and projects (favors! valentines! trips! special meals!)

If you are feeling tired like me, here is an easy way to add a bit of whimsy to the day:
Yogurt Covered Strawberries

To make these all you need are strawberries and greek yogurt (vanilla works best but really any flavor will do, use strawberry to make them extra valentineish.)

1. Wash and hull strawberries
2. Roll in Greek yogurt
3. Place on plate or cookie sheet (it helps if you cover with wax paper) and freeze for an hour
4. Cut in half

Easy-peasy right?

Wordless Wednesday : Valentine Playdate

Valentine Playdate Crafts

Valentine Playdate Kids Drinks

Valentine Playdate Wine and Snacks

Dream Trips: From Iceland to St. Louis, Glaciers to Gorillas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This week my prompt as part of the HTC TroopOneX was to write about dream trips. Well the prompt might have been dream “trip” but who could have just one? Not me and the husband who love travel like a fat kids loves cake (to quote 50 Cent.) We have a list of TEN dream trips we would like to take.

And this past summer we crossed one off the list: Iceland!
Look how happy we were to be there!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You may have noticed that I haven’t written about or shared pictures of Iceland. Partly because I had some internet drama happen right around then but mainly because, OMG ICELAND. It’s an impossible country to put into words.

But this post isn’t about Iceland.
It’s about another dream trip. To St. Louis.
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Friday Five : Five Things You Should Never Fake (Plus A Bonus One!)

Today I have a guest post from a new blogging friend, Sharon. Her blog Hobbies on a Budget is all hobbies, life and saving money.

There are some things in life that should never be faked! I can taste the difference in sugar free jello or low fat chocolate. A plastic daffodil just doesn’t move me the same way as when I see the bright yellow flower growing in my yard. And Adele classic hits just can’t be done justice by a 10 year old girl. Here’s a list of 6 things I think you should never fake.

6 Things You Should Never Fake

6 Things You Should Never Fake

1. Apologies

Apologies should always be sincere. Even if you are not in the wrong, sometimes you must apologize to help the situation. Healing often begins when one of the injured parties makes the first step with an authentic apology.

2. Gratitude

Gratitude should never be insincere. We teach our children that if someone takes the time to give a gift we should take the time to say thank you. Being appreciative is a character trait that we all must develop to help our society run smoothly. Even if you don’t like the gift, you can still be appreciative of the thought behind it.

There are ways to say thank you without being insincere. If you absolutely hate something that someone does for you, you can always say something like “thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to think about me”. Gratitude is more of an attitude of appreciation than the act of liking what was done.

3. Coupons

Did you know that if you copy a coupon, you are not just doing something unethical, you are also breaking the law? You can read more information about this from Coupon Information Center. Never make a copy of coupon or use one that someone has printed as a PDF.

4. Printed or Published Words/Images

There are some writers who like to take articles they find online and give them a few new words or a quick spin and then pass them off as their own original work. This is of course taboo. Students in in school sometimes try to take the easy way out when writing a paper. They may think that just copying and pasting from original sources will help them get their word count up and the assignment done faster. It is never okay to copy and paste or claim that a work of words is your own.

This also applies to images found online. If you didn’t take the picture, then you can safely assume that you don’t have permision to use it. Even if you find something by doing a google image search, this does not make it ok. Pictures belong to the person who took the picture. You can of course search for images with creative commons licenses or send a quick email to the owner of the picture and request permission. It’s never ok to fake ownership of words or an image.

5. Sickness

Being a hypochondriac, crying wolf, faking sickness or pretending to be ill can guarantee you trouble in your life. Sure, it may sound like a great idea at the time to conveniently get sick so you can miss a day of work or school. You will be able to play, relax or get out of a commitment for that day. However, if you do this more than once or twice, people will no longer believe you when you truly are sick.

There’s a reason the story of the boy who cried wolf is still passed down from one generation to the next. To get the sympathy and support you need when you truly have an illness, you can’t be faking sickness.

6. Wealth

There are some people who believe they should spend money even when they don’t have it. After all, as long as there is a credit card some people feel you can continue spending. You should always strive to live within your means and never spend more than you actually make. If you live your life trying to impress others and faking an elaborate lifestyle you will be damaging your life now and in the future.

So what else is there in life that should never be faked? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sharon Williams blogs about hobbies, life and saving money at Hobbies on a Budget.