Sunday, August 28, 2011

Must Have Monday

Fisher-Price Little People Builders Build 'n Fun Jungle

This week's Must Have Monday is the Fisher-Price Little People Builders Build 'n Fun Jungle and was given to Thad as birthday gift a few weeks ago.  He loves these things!  While he doesn't really "build" anything with them yet, he loves to open the lid and dump the whole bucket out...lol, especially in the morning.  Sometimes he'll just take the blocks out one by one and then throw them across the room.  Other times he'll crawl around and just put them in different spots -- inside shoes, on the table, under the couch, next the tv, in his elephant...lol, quite the creative little guy!  I love to take the zebra and the monkey and hide them in places for him to find or have these little animals "get him".  You can get the Fisher-Price Little People Builders Build 'n Fun Jungle for just under $20 on Amazon -- oh and the best part - it already comes with a storage container!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Smartipants Review & Giveaway!!!


See that fun and funky, Fire Engine red diaper on my cute little chubber?  Doesn't he look smart?  ::pun intended, lol::  Well folks, this adorable diaper came to us courtesy of Smartipants!

Here's a little info about the Smartipants company:

Smartipants was the vision of a mommy of four who was constantly looking for an economical, yet easy to use cloth diapering system. She actually was the inventor of the first ever one size fits all pocket diaper called Wonderoos, maybe you have heard of them? She has since left Wonderoos and joined the Smartipants team and we are extremely happy she did!
As a company Smartipants is committed to making cloth diapering not only easy, but affordable. Our mission is to provide smart parents with smart solutions. We are dedicated to being 100% green, environmentally friendly, economical, and determined to keep our diapers proudly made by mothers in the United States of America!
We have a facility with over 7 years of diaper making experience and look forward to changing the world one smart parent at a time.
Hello, awesome!!!  MADE IN THE USA BABY!  We're huge supporters of made in the USA businesses here at our house so this was a big sell for us.  Smartipants diapers also have a patented SmartSleeve and an amazing amount of snaps, ensuring a custom fitting diaper through all those growth spurts.  One of my favorite things about this diaper is the fact the this vibrant red fabric didn't bleed in the wash!!!  I stuck it in with all my other diapers and held my breath, everything came out clean and nothing was stained pink (you know you've all been there before...).  The elastic on the diaper was sturdy, but not tight and cutting off circulation and it was all well covered with super soft material.

Thad tested this diaper out during naps, playtime, and through the night.  We never had any leaks and the diaper is made from super soft "breathable" fabric with no chemicals or irritants, so I felt really comfortable leaving this on him overnight -- even on those nights he slept past the 12 hour mark and into 14 hour territory (oh and no, I didn't get to enjoy this...the hubs was home those days...lol).  The best part, you don't have to take out the soiled liner when you toss it in the wash -- it comes out all by itself! =)

Smartipants come in a wide variety of colors and are sold in singles and packs to save you some moola.

Bright WhiteTrue BlueFire Engine RedSpring GreenHot ChocolateBubble Gum PinkJet BlackMellow YellowThink PinkAqua BreezeThink PinkClever CloverCool Blue

Overall, I'd definitely recommend adding some Smartipants to your diaper stash.  At one of the lowest prices I've seen on cloth diaper (especially with snaps), Smartipants are a great value!  A single Smartipants diaper retails for $14.95, but you can get a pack of three for $36.95 (hello, savings!).


One lucky reader will win a 
Smartipants Cloth Diaper of their very own!

Mandatory Entries: (This must be done for any extra entries to count.)  

Follow my blog publicly via Google Friend Connect and tell me what color you'd pick if you won.

Extra Entries:  

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  If an entry is worth two, please leave a separate comment for each.  The mandatory entry must be completed before any extra entries will count.
  • Follow Smartipants on Twitter. (1 entry)
  • "Like" Smartipants on Facebook. (1 entry)
  • "Like" ELF: A Family Blog on Facebook. (1 entry)
  • Follow @elffamilyblog on Twitter - leave me your username. (1 entry)
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.  (1 entry) 
  • Share this giveaway on any giveaway linky/site.  Tell me where you've shared it.  (2 entries)
  • Browse my blog and leave a relevant comment on any other post of mine.  (2 entries/comment)
  • Post my button on your blog and tell me where to find it. (3 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link. (4 entries)
  • Subscribe to ELF: A Family Blog and verify your subscription. (4 entries)
Don't forget to vote for me! 
No, this won't count as any extra entries (rules are rules), 
but I love to feel the love.  =)



Vote For Us @ TopBabyBlogs.Com - A Top Baby Blog List By topbabyblogs.com

Rate My Blog @ Top Mommy Blogs


*Open to US*

Giveaway will end on September 3rd at 11:59 PM CST.  Winner will be chosen using random.org and emailed.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Please leave your email address or make sure it is public in your profile so I can contact you. 

Disclaimer: This review is based on my personal experience and is my honest opinion.  I was given the product(s) mentioned above to review at no cost.  No other compensation was received.  A special thanks to Smartipants  for providing the product to be reviewed and prize.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mama Guilt



So the first full week of school is done (can I get an Amen to that?)!  HELL YA BABY!  The best part...three of my little darlings were suspended midweek (and oh yes, they're all in the same class) so the rest of the week was amazeballs (thanks for the vocab Ash)!

Come Friday afternoon, after a fabulous pep assembly to cheer on the football team tonight, I hit the bar with oh, I don't know 25 or so other shamazing co-workers -- so.needed!


Anywho, now I'm home and I left de bar at a decent enough time that I thought I'd be able to catch the little man before he went to bed.  You see, I didn't get to see him before work this morning since E's class starts an hour later on Friday (so the boys slept) and I usually leave at about 7.  ::insert pouty lip::  However, I guess the little guy was suuuuppppppeeeeerrrr tired tonight so he went to bed a bit earlier than normal and passed that cute little baby butt out.  I came home and he was all zzzzz's.

I WANT HUGS DAMMIT!  

I haven't see my baby all.day.long and now the little angel is sleeping peacefully and I'm feeling major mama guilt over going out to blow off some steam (granted, much needed steam, but still...).  Ugh.  What's a mom to do?

Please tell me I'm not the only one's that's experienced the mama guilt.

Disclaimer:  It's true, this post was written after few rounds of UV Cherry and Sprite, if you don't like it, sorry - I guess you'll just have to deal.  The crazy ass blunt tell it like is personality rears it's ugly head after a few rounds...but don't worry, I still love y'all!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to School with Tiny Prints!



Back to School time is one of my favorite times of year.  Yes, I'm nerd like that (and maybe that's why I became a teacher), but the whole Back to School experience gets me excited every year.  There is nothing like getting into the stores at the end of July and seeing all those pens, pencils, notebooks, highlighters, Sharpies (I'm a Sharpie snob), lunch boxes, etc.!  The thought of a fresh start, new clothes, and a positive attitude at the beginning of the year is something I look forward to every year.

While Thad isn't old enough to go to school yet, we'll be starting a few traditions when he does.  Growing up, my mom always took a picture of us on the first day of school.  As we got older, it got harder to do, but we still managed.

Little sis and I.  I'm thinking I was in 2nd grade this year and she was in K?
A year ago or so ago, when the hubs started school, I did the same thing to him.  He was thrilled...lol. ;)


This back to school year was pretty exciting for me.  After missing the first 8 weeks (for a very good reason mind you) on maternity leave last year, I was pumped to get into my (official and final) classroom for the year.  We've been living in a construction zone the last 3.5 years as our building was updated and remodeled and after lots of dust, cramped, shared spaces - I finally have my own classroom -- with a view!!!  Working with the kids that I do can be trying sometimes, but being able to look out the window and realize that the world is bigger than us all, is a good reminder to just keep pushing on.

So if you're like me and totally dig personalized items because your name was never put on anything as a kid (because honestly, growing up, I never found anything with "Libby" on it)...you definitely need to check out Tiny Prints Back to School offers.  You and your kiddos will want to spoil that new teacher of theirs with some love and personalization!!!.  Ok, so if nothing else, get yourself some personalize labels for all those lunch boxes, pencil cases, backpacks, etc. that your kid is bound to lose or forget at some point this year.  It really will make "finding" a lot more fun -- well, if you're a geek like me it will! =)

So from my classroom to your home, I'm wishing you a happy school year!

Now go on, find your inner nerd!

Tiny Tush Winner & September Sponsorship!

Congratulations to Kristin, comment #14!  
You're the lucky winner of the Tiny Tush Elite 1.1 cloth diaper!



Stay tuned for more cloth diaper giveaways coming soon!
(Hint: Be sure to check back this weekend!)


September advertising space is now available!  

With over 300 new followers in the last three months, ELF: A Family Blog is a rapidly growing blog and is always looking to form new partnerships with fellow bloggers, personal business owners (small and large), and family related companies.  With an Alexa page rank of less than 45K US, multiple listing on social networking sites, blog directories, and more - you're ensured great exposure.  Check out the amazingly low rates available now!

Be sure to check out my PR page for more complete information. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Going to the chapel...

My little sister, the one who said she'd never get married and probably become a dog lady, got engaged a few days before the 4th of July.  After finally picking a date, she's on the hunt for everything bridal.  Lol, it makes me laugh and sends me back three years ago when I was in major planning mode.  I knew that I'd be getting married in May and I still didn't have my dress (but boy did I have ideas).  I was in love with planning my wedding -- boy did I have grand ideas, but my budget had other ideas.  And you know what, that's ok.  I loved my wedding.  We were able to get married at a beautiful church here in Iowa, had our reception at an awesome ballroom, and booked a last minute honeymoon to Vegas.  My dress was gorgeous and the hubs looked oh so fine in his tux.  However, there are a couple things I'd change if I could go back and do it over.

1. My hair.  This was the first time ever that I went to a salon to have my hair done for an event.  I figured, it's my wedding, I should get my hair done.  Well, my hair dresser was out of town, but promised the next best.  And me being me, I let all the other girls go ahead of me (the salon ended up booking two wedding that morning and were short staffed...awesome).  Well, by the time we got to me (THE BRIDE) we were rushed for time and I really don't feel that they did anything that special to my hair.  In fact, I really didn't care for how tight the curls were, I had wanted them much looser.  Yeah, if I could change things, I would have just done my own hair.  OH! And I never would have gone to a new colorist two weeks before my wedding because mine was booked, this hair color is soooo golden/reddish compared to what I normally wear...lol, yeah that was ridiculous.

Cute, right?

Yeah, the front pretty much sucked.  It was frizzy and wasn't combed over right.  
I kinda feel like the whole front should have been pinned back differently.  
2.  My photographer.  I know, this is a big one.  We hired our photographer to do our engagement photos and our wedding photos.  We LOVED our engagement photos and I was very excited to see how our wedding pics turned out.  Well, my non-traditional photographer didn't take any formal pictures in the church (weird, right? even if it's not your thing, you should at least take one for the grandparents or something.)  Then she only took a family shot that included my older half sister and her son.  Granted I don't acknowledge that my older sister is only a half, but to only have one of her kids in it?  It also would have been nice to have a pic without her and her family, if only for my mom (we share the same dads).  She also crapped out on me early and didn't even stay at the reception for more than an hour or so.  It sucked.  Balls.

Wouldn't you have changed your camera settings?
It's not like we were running into our reception.

And what pose is this?  We look the like the undead.  Weird.
3.  I really wish that my cake lady wouldn't have put alllllllll the freaking flowers on the cake (Even thought it taked absolutely effing amazing!).  It was gorgeous and was supposed to have a few flowers put on, but when the flower lady gave her the flowers (I'm guessing she just had a bunch because she wasn't sure how many the cake lady would need) she piled them all on (I'm guessing she thought she needed to use them all????).  Oh and speaking of the cake, if I could do it again, I'd totally take my cake topper off before they cut my cake.  The stupid venue never returned it and to this day will claim they have no idea where it is...whatever.

Yeah, flower explosion!!!! Really wasn't necessary.
Oh and another great photo from said photographer.
Is there anything you'd change about your wedding day?  Let me know, let it all out...it's ok, really...I'm here for you.

And congrats to the happy couple!








Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hailstorm Hell

After finishing the second day of school today, I made it home about 10 minutes before the hubs had to head out the door for work.  

Teacher mode off, mom mode on.  

We get a snack, drink some milk, and hang out on the porch and watch the storm clouds roll in.  Shortly after we sit down, the winds picked up and we came inside.  20 minutes later crazy cracks of lightning started touching down all over the place.  Then, the winds pick up.  I looked out the window and it was raining sideways.  I go to check the weather and the satellite is out (of course).  So I'm just about to pick up the laptop when I start to hear banging and crazy loud thumps against the house...I look outside only to see an insane amount of hail coming down.  From what I can see flying by, we've got hail the size of golf balls all the way up to softballs.  At this point, I'm thinking, "What the hell?"  "Why aren't the sirens going off?"  I could barely see from the house to the garage.

I grab Thad and the dogs and head to the basement.  We get to the basement just in time to lose power.  Thankfully, I've got a small emergency kit down there with a flashlight (lol, if an emergency kit consists of a flashlight, candles, matches, and small athletic radio/mp3 player -- yeah, we need to work on this).  Grab the light, turn it on, and power kicks back on.  Dante (our big dog) can't figure out if he wants to stay downstairs or run up to see what's going on.  So while I'm hollering at him to stay in the basement, the power goes out again, and Thaddeus starts shaking because he's scared of all the noise.  I'd grabbed the phone before I went downstairs and since E was at work, I tried to call my parents.  My dad answers and just starts chatting away and I'm all like "Dad! Dad! Seriously, stop talking. Go check the radar and tell me if we're in a fucking tornado or what the hell is going on."  And....the power goes out again....awesome.  A couple minutes later we're live so I call him back. Of course, my dad being dad says to me, "Well, they said you guys were gonna get some crazy storms today.  Didn't you check the weather?  I thought we taught you better than that."  Really pops?  You're gonna lecture me right now???  Lol, ok.  

Needless to say, no tornado, but we did have winds between 60-90 mph.  I come upstairs only to look out the back window and see all sorts of tree limbs down and broken glass all over the backyard.  Our poor trash can and recycling bins have all been shoved up against the house in a heap and we've got holes in our siding.  Oh, but that's not all.  Add in two broken house windows, a car that looks like Swiss cheese (replace the holes with dents), a cracked windshield, a broken side mirror, lots of dents in the garage door, and we've got ourselves a rocking good time ahead with the insurance company.  Oh wait!  I forgot.  I sat down right before the second storm rolled in (yes, there was two - we're moving onto storm three right now) and as soon as the rain started I hear ::drip, drip, drip::  Oh yeah, apparently the winds jacked up our roofing and the flashing that connects the two areas of the front of the house must be damaged because we now have water coming into our house!!!  Holy crap mother nature, can I get a break??? ::cue the Kit Kat song::

Anywho, please wish me lots of luck with the insurance people.  I'm sure I'll have to pay deductibles out the ass and fight them to replace all the siding, etc. -- this just needs to get done ASAPedly.  

And for your viewing pleasure, the damage after the first storm...





One of about 400 dent in my car.


More fabulous dents.


This one took the paint off too.

Branches that used to be a part of my neighbors tree.  
They cleared them from the road and piled them in their driveway.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Case Against Captcha

Dear fellow, fabulous bloggers -

Please, do me a favor....right now.  Disable your captcha!  Trust me, it's really not necessary.  I've been blogging for over a year now and I've had 1 spam comment...one!  That's it...trust me, it's not worth it and it drives people crazy!  If you're hoping to get more followers, increase the amount of comments you get, get more entries in your giveaways, or join any blog hops (and actually want to get more follows back) -- disable it!  =)  Don't know how?  Here, let me show you.

Click on DESIGN in the top right corner of your blog.
Next click on the SETTINGS tab.  Below that click COMMENTS.
Scroll down the page until you see the word verification section.
Make sure you mark NO.  This will turn them off.

SAVE your changes and you're done!

Hello, comments! =)

p.s. Tomorrow is my first day back with kiddos so it'll be a little nuts around here for the next week while I settle back into the school routine.  Wish me luck -- a bunch of hormonal teenagers coming back from break is sure to be interesting! ;)

SoftBums Winner!



Congratulations graceInk!  I'm off to email you now.  =)


Monday, August 15, 2011

Tiny Tush Elite 1.1 Review & Giveaway!



Since beginning our cloth diaper journey, we've had the opportunity to try a few different brands of diapers to see what would meet our needs best.  While buying from the manufacturer is always an option, I'm always out for the best deal.  While searching out some online retailers I came across betterclothdiapers.com.  One of the coolest things about betterclothdiapers.com is the fact that all of the items that are carried were hand chosen by a registered nurse with more than 40 years of experience in obstetrics, childbirth, and breastfeeding.  If you're looking to buy cloth diapers or have questions about selecting a breast pump, you can call or email a registered nurse.  How cool is that?  Talk about customer service!

Thad and I were - ok, really just Thad, I didn't get to wear it ;) - lucky enough to review a Tiny Tush Elite 1.1.  While name says "Tiny" this diaper is anything but.  The Tiny Tush Elite 1.1 is the largest diaper we've reviewed yet.  I was seriously surprised at the size and how it compared to some of the others we own.  This diaper will easily fit Thad all the way through potty training.  It was so big, that we even had to snap it down a size - usually he just wears the diapers on the largest setting (rise wise).  Thad used this diaper for daytime use, naps, and overnight.  No leaks.  I accredit this to the fact that it's a larger diaper and you can use both inserts to absorb crazy, heavy wetness overnight.  It's also super soft and flexible, not stiff like some cloth diaper can be.  As with all cloth diapers, the more washes, the more absorbent it becomes.

Tiny Tush diapers come in solid colors as well as some fabulous new prints.  


    
  Saturn   ButterPeriwinkleBaby BlueSea Spray
    

Tiny Tush Elite 1.1 diapers are little bit different than the other cloth diapers.  Instead of having two openings in the pocket for the inserts to go, there is only one at the back of the diaper.  I didn't find this to be an issue for washing, wearing, or stuffing.  I'm guessing the number of pocket openings is just based on the personal preference of the cloth diaper maker.  BetterClothDiapers.com also offers washing and care tips for your Tiny Tush diapers.  You can get your very own Tiny Tush Elite 1.1 for only $15.95 - $19.95 from Better Cloth Diapers!  Order now and enter code elf10 for an additional 10% off your order!


One lucky reader will win a 
Tiny Tush Elite 1.1 diaper of their very own!

Mandatory Entries: (This must be done for any extra entries to count.)  

Follow my blog publicly via Google Friend Connect and tell me what color/pattern you'd pick if you won.

Extra Entries:  

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  If an entry is worth two, please leave a separate comment for each.  The mandatory entry must be completed before any extra entries will count.
  • Follow Better Cloth Diapers on Twitter. (1 entry)
  • "Like" Better Cloth Diapers on Facebook. (1 entry)
  • Visit the Better Cloth Diapers Blog and leave a comment on a post.  If you don't have a relevant comment, feel free to just thank Ina for sponsoring the giveaway. (1 entry)
  • Tell me how you found out about the giveaway. (1 entry)
  • "Like" ELF: A Family Blog on Facebook. (1 entry)
  • Follow @elffamilyblog on Twitter - leave me your username. (1 entry)
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.  (1 entry)
  • Post my button on your blog and tell me where to find it. (3 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link. (4 entries)
  • Subscribe to ELF: A Family Blog and verify your subscription. (4 entries)
  • Subscribe to the Better Cloth Diapers mailing list for news, specials, and more. (5 entries)
Don't forget to vote for me! 
No, this won't count as any extra entries (rules are rules), 
but I love to feel the love.  =)



Vote For Us @ TopBabyBlogs.Com - A Top Baby Blog List By topbabyblogs.com

Rate My Blog @ Top Mommy Blogs


*Open to US*

Giveaway will end on August 22nd at 11:59 PM CST.  Winner will be chosen using random.org and emailed.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Please leave your email address or make sure it is public in your profile so I can contact you. 

Disclaimer: This review is based on my personal experience and is my honest opinion.  I was given the product(s) mentioned above to review at no cost.  No other compensation was received.  A special thanks to betterclothdiapers.com for providing the product to be reviewed and prize.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...