Monday, November 29, 2010

The Mommy Hook Review!

This product was really neat to review. The Mommy Hook is made to be a stroller hanger, but it can be so much more!

 You clip this hook onto your stroller. With The Mommy Hook you can put your shopping bags, purse, diaper bag, etc. on the hook and not have to worry about carrying all the bags while trying to push the stroller. The only thing I found is that you can't put much on the hook if you have a small baby; if you do the stroller will tip (which the packaging also warns you about). I think this would be GREAT if you have a heavier toddler in the seat to counter balance the weight from the bags.

Much more convenient than trying to carry and push! 

So far, my favorite use for The Mommy Hook is to carry my grocery bags. I find that plastic bags, or reusable bags, tend to cut into my hands when I carry a lot of bags. The Mommy Hook lets me carry all my bags without hurting my hands! The soft grip of the hook (which also keeps the hook from sliding on stroller handles) is great, and so much more comfortable that the bag handles.

Another use that I found is attaching it to the handle of my daughter's infant carrier. I can then hang toys from The Mommy Hook and they are lower and easier for her to look at and reach than if I had hung the toy from the handle itself.

You can find the makers of The Mommy Hook on Twitter and Facebook.

The company that makes The Mommy Hook, Mom, Dad and Baby, also sent me an adorable bath book.

Nolyn loved playing with the book, he really enjoyed the fact that it floated and repeatedly tried to sink it. The book features cute pictures of animals and counts to 10. 

Overall, I would give The Mommy Hook a 4/5 as a stroller hanger, and a 5/5 as a mommy's bag helper! The book was adorable as well, and I am sure any child would love to read and play with it in the bath.

I received the above items for review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post and all opinions are honest and entirely my own.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Family Tree

RJ's homework over Thanksgiving weekend was to make a family tree. For days I pondered how I should do this, and how much detail I should put into it.  Let's just say things get pretty jumbled, especially on my side of the family. We opted to go simple.

Then we had to decide what format to do our tree in. Should we do boxes and lines? Nah, too boring. A tree with leaves to represent people? No, wouldn't look right. So, I searched and searched. I found this example online: and knew that was it!

We used apples to represent family members, and I think it turned out pretty well! So, if you ever need to make a family tree and are wondering what to do, here is our example!

Sorry if the photo isn't working- sometime it does, sometimes it doesn't. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A day of thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, the family, and the start of the holiday season.

Thanksgiving is also a difficult time for me. My side of the family wasn't always, well... let's say family oriented. We were never really close, and we still aren't. I rarely see my side of the family, we're just very distant. On top of that, my mom is gone, which is always more difficult to deal with during the holidays. However, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, and because of that I really try to look for the blessings in my life.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for (in no specific order, just as they come to mind):

1. My Husband, who has been with me through some really great times, and some really bad ones too, but supports me and loves me through them all.

2. My children, they bring me so much joy.

3. Generous strangers. I have been blessed by several very generous and kind strangers over the past year, it is nice to know there are truly good people still out there in the world.

4. My husband's family, we know we can always count on them.

5. My children's health. They have their sniffles and coughs, but overall they are all doing well. I am VERY thankful for this.

6. My job. Although I am not looking forward to leaving my baby, and giving up time with my family, I am thankful that I am employed and I am able to work.

7. The internet. This one may seem silly, but the internet allows me to keep in contact with the outside world, and most of my close friends. Without texting or the internet, I doubt I would talk to anyone other than my immediate family.

8. Food, utilities, and a roof over our head, clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink. Yes, the basic things, I am so thankful to have these for myself and my family, there are so many out there that do not, and I am very thankful we do.

That's all that comes to mind right now, but I am sure there is a lot more.

Thank you, Thanksgiving for helping put everything into perspective.

Now, how about a few random Thanksgiving facts:

  • Americans feast on 535 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving.

  • The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed in at 86 pounds – about the size of a German Shepherd!

  • Turkeys can drown if they look up when it's raining!

  • The average age of the Mayflower passenger was 32. The oldest Mayflower passenger was 64.

  • There was no milk, cheese, bread, butter or pumpkin pie at the original Thanksgiving Day feast.

  • Contrary to popular belief, the Pilgrims did not have big buckles on their clothing, shoes, or hats. Buckles did not come into fashion until the late 1600s – more appropriate for the Salem Witchcraft trial time period.

  • The cranberry got its name because the pale pink blossoms on the plant resembled a crane’s head and neck. The name craneberry stuck, eventually becoming cranberry.

  • President Abraham Lincoln established the original date for our National Thanksgiving Day celebration in 1863. Congress did not declare Thanksgiving a national holiday until 1941.

So, I hope you and your family have a lovely Thanksgiving. Be safe and remember all that you can be thankful for in your life. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hello, Snow...

I can honestly say I am surprised that our yearly visitor hasn't come sooner. Sure, we had a light dusting not too long ago, but overall, it has been a warm fall. We usually have snow around Halloween. So here it is a couple days before Thanksgiving and we now have a light dusting again. I wonder if it will stay? Here's a view out my window:
Dark and dreary day, but here's my lake view! 
So, as you can see, there is a bit of snow today, not much but enough to blanket the ground. If you look closely you can see the lake that I live by...granted, I zoomed my camera quite a bit to be able to get this shot, but I do have a slight lake view! LOL.

As much as I dislike the snow, it is nice to have some for the holidays. Now if only I didn't have to drive in it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Night Owl Mama

I have to say, it is a good thing I am a natural "night owl". Annabelle has decided she is a night owl as well. Her recent sleep pattern has become: sleep all day, all evening, and all night, then wake up between 12 and 1am and stay up until 4 or 5am!

I have always been a night owl, and my "usual" bedtime is around two in the morning. Once two or three in the morning comes, I am beat. I want to sleep. This has been fairly rough on me the last few nights when I couldn't go to sleep because Annabelle insists on staying awake. Thankfully, my husband has been letting me sleep in!

I only hope her schedule changes before I have to go to back work in just 2 weeks! I don't  know what I will do if she doesn't sleep!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

PetCakes Review AND Giveaway! *Closed*

We got an ADORABLE review and giveaway today!

Look at how cute this stuffed cupcake is!

Oh wait! It isn't a cupcake it's a....

very cute puppy in a cupcake!

Introducing PetCakes, a new collectible plush pet line that will be a sweet treat for children ages 3 & up!
This product takes two things that kids (and pretty much everyone else) love, puppies and cupcakes, and puts them together in adorable stuffed creation!

We were so excited to review PetCakes. These little plush toys are about 6 inches tall (depending on how far in or out of the shell they are) and are filled with cuteness. The toys are very soft and are very well made! I was impressed with how good the stitching looked and how consistent the look of the toys were.

Here are the toys we received for review:

 Each pet is attached to their holder so they won't get lost; they are only held by a thread, however, so if you want to remove them it would be fairly simple to do so. One of the cutest features, in my opinion, was the embroidery on the puppy's bottom:

SO Cute!
I think these little stuffed toys will be great for the little one in your life (that is at least 3 years old), or any animal lover! The puppy series would be great for collectors. Each toy comes with a tag stating the name of the pet and a little bit about the pet.

PetCakes has a suggested retail price of $13.99.  PetCakes are available at specialty stores, (online only – not in the stores), and

I definitely would recommend these to anyone looking for an adorable and fun gift for a little one! I give PetCakes 5/5 for exceeding my expectations and delivering extraordinary cuteness!

I received the above products from the company for review. I was not paid to make this post and my opinions of the product are entirely my own.

Friday, November 19, 2010

You have to check out this site...

I haven't laughed so hard in ages! I guarantee you will laugh!

Leave me a comment and tell me how much you laughed!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Pomegranate Experience- How to eat a pomegranate

How do you eat a pomegranate? I haven't had an actual pomegranate in about 10 years. I drink pomegranate juice fairly regularly (and LOVE it), but I haven't actually ate one in a long time. The last time that I ate one my mother had helped me extract the seeds. Well, my mom isn't here anymore so I guess I'll have to do it myself! Let's see how this goes!

How to de-seed/eat a pomegranate:

Step 1. Cut off the crown

Beware, the pomegranate squirts, wear an apron and have a washcloth handy!

Step 2. Score the outside of the fruit (I somehow forgot to photograph this step). Score it from the cut off end down to the other end. You will want to make about 6-8 "scores" around the fruit so that you can easily break it apart as you deseed it.

Step 3. Split it.

Step 3. Remove Seeds.

Pretty simple, but beware of splatter!

Remove the white membrane from the seeds

All finished!

Yum! Okay, I do have to say I do not swallow the actual seed. I just eat squish them in my mouth until I get all the juice and then spit out the seed. I am just not excited about seeds traveling through my digestive system. I love the taste of pomegranate (as does my african grey, Mac!), but they sure are a lot of work! It makes me wonder who first decided to eat a pomegranate.

What's for dinner?

What did you have for dinner tonight?

Us? We had Shake 'n' Bake pork chops with au gratin potatoes and carrots. I thought it was super yummy! My children, on the other hand, did not.

It has been a struggle lately to get my children to eat home cooked meals. They prefer hot pockets, pizza rolls, chicken nuggets and fries, etc. Now, this is our fault in a way, for the last 6 months or so the previously listed things have been in their diets all too often. Yes, I have an excuse as to why (I was so sick when pregnant, ugh!) but it still isn't excusable. Anyhow, on to the point. Tonight I made a lovely meal, a meal many children could only dream about, and yet my children turned up their noses and refused to eat it.

Gavin was the ONLY one of the kids to eat his food. RJ, has been sick, so I can understand why he didn't really eat, but I know he wouldn't have even if he was well. So, all the kids that didn't eat got sent to bed at 6pm. Yes, I said 6pm. I know it was early, but wasting that much food was unacceptable to me.  The meal had cost  $18 total, and we probably fed about $10 of that to the dog. :(

What do you do when your children refuse to eat? Do you require them to eat all of their food, a certain amount of their food, or do you leave it up to them and just throw away what they don't eat?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Disclosure and Integrity Statement

 I will provide honest reviews. I have not been paid to make any posts, and if I am in the future, the post will explicitly say that I have been paid to write it. All reviews that I do are free reviews. I receive only the product I am reviewing, and all my written opinion of the product will be an honest one. If you ever have a question about my motives or posts, please click on the "Contact Me" link and send me an email. :)

I have pledged to blog with integrity, which means:

By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge and signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Upcoming events...

Please susbscribe/follow my blog over there on the right! I have some exciting reviews and GIVEAWAYS coming up soon! Don't miss out!

Deal Alert! Kmart!

Today I went to Kmart for a few things and I happened to walk in as they were marking Halloween stuff down 90%!

I got:

4 Deluxe Pirate Hats at $0.79/each
4 Bloody Blade Knives at $0.49/each
2 Halloween Swords at $0.29/each
1 Adult Halloween Shirt  $0.99
3 Children's Halloween Shirts at $0.69/each
2 Children's Firefighter Costumes at $1.59/each

There was a ton more stuff there, like pumpkin buckets for $0.14/each! Anyhow...check your local Kmart or Kmart online!

Driving down the road...

Opening day for rifle season (deer hunting) was today, and while I drove the 25ish miles to my appointment, I saw MANY trucks on the side of the road. I also saw a beat up old Toyota in the middle of a cow field, which I am assuming was a hunter as well? That was rather humorous. On the way home, I got to see a sliced open buck tied to the top of a minivan... ya gotta love Northern Michigan!

Another thing I saw, however, brought tears to my eyes. On my way home I saw a big banner advertising a community Thanksgiving meal. It was sponsored by a church. So, why did this bring tears to my eyes? Because I am SO thankful for my family and what we DO have. We don't have a lot by any means, but we have a TON of love! This banner made me think of families who don't have enough...who don't have family to help them through. Okay, here I go tearing up again.

It is just simply amazing how you can think you are at the bottom, but then you pass by something so simple that makes you rethink and count your blessings. I challenge you all to take a moment today and count your blessings...they are there, you may have to look in from a different angle, but you will find them.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A neat video series for parents...

I came across this neat video series for parents today....if you have a new baby I think it would be especially interesting for you!

The series is called "Welcome to Parenthood - Let the Real Labor Begin" and it is presented by Pampers, Similac, and BeechNut.

Here is the first video, check it out... if you like it you can find the rest of the series here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What About These Boys?

I suppose some of you may be wondering, "Where are those boys she keeps talking about?". So let me introduce our 5 wonderful little boys...

Gavin, soon to be 7 years old:

RJ, 6 years old:

Liam, 5 years old:

Gabriel, soon to be 4 years old:

Nolyn, 19 months old:

So there is our boys! Here are some group photos......

Her Voice is Wiggling!

The boys absolutely adore their new little sister. Liam is especially fond of her, and likes to make her happy. He does not like to see her cry. A couple days ago Annabelle started to cry, I was in another room and Liam exclaimed, "Uh Oh! Her voice is wiggling!"

Here is a video to explain Annabelle's "wiggly" voice, it is at the very beginning and very end of the video. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Peas are a luxury....

.... in a house where everyone is so darn picky! Me- I was raised to eat whatever was on my plate, and all of it. This could quite possibly be why I am so overweight, but I learned to like pretty much everything. My husband, however, is SO gosh darn picky! Basically his diet consists of meat, potatoes, and junk food. The only vegetable he will eat is corn!

Today lunch was macaroni and cheese with hotdogs (cut up in the macaroni).... which I did NOT want. I want vegetables! I often do not buy vegetables for myself because it just isn't very cost effective. I do try to get the boys to eat vegetables, but it becomes such a power struggle! They also know Dad won't eat it, so why should they? Well, anyway... I managed to buy some steamfresh vegetables on sale and I got to eat PEAS with macaroni and cheese! YUM! Now if only I could get the boys to agree...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The sickness has struck....

My oh my have I been busy the last couple days! Yesterday, my husband had to have a procedure done on his back. He has two ruptured disks, and he has been in a lot of pain for a couple years. The procedure he had done cauterizes the nerve endings to help get rid of the pain- but it is very painful to get done. This is the second week that he had this done. I guess he has a bone fragment on the left side that was in the way yesterday, so they couldn't complete the procedure and could only do it partially. This also means that he may have to have a more serious surgery to repair his back. I guess we will see what the doctor says soon. So, my husband was hurting and needed to rest yesterday.

We got a call from Liam's teacher yesterday right before he was due home on the bus. She said that Liam (our 5 year old) had had a rough day and that he was very upset right before going home and complained his eye hurt. She wanted to let us know pink eye had been going around, so we should watch for symptoms. Oh joy. So about 5 minutes later the boys get home from school. They come inside, take off their shoes and such, and get settled on the couch. Liam starts crying. We ask him what's wrong, he said someone threw sand in his eye and his eye hurts. My husband looks at his eye - nothing appears to be wrong but he says to me that Liam feels really warm. We take his temperature.... 103.5. Yay. Having a newborn in the house, I start to freak out and worry. I call the doctor. The doctor says it is probably viral, and to try to keep Liam and Anna apart as much as possible and wash, wash, wash, hands.

Today, I thought things would be a little better, but Raymond's back still hurt. He let me sleep in a little bit since I was up with the baby most of the night. Liam had thrown up this morning and was still burning up. His temp ranged from 102-103 and he was pretty miserable. I decided I would take him to the doctor's after I get the grocery shopping done later that afternoon. Well, we had a home visit from Gabriel's headstart person to do first. She was here for about an hour, and then I had to go grocery shopping. Grocery shopping took especially long today as the store was awfully busy. I didn't manage to get home until 6:30ish. Then..... Raymond started throwing up. So now I have a sick kiddo, and a sick husband. :( I am sure it will make its rounds, but I sure hope it passes over Annabelle. Tomorrow I will have to take Liam to the doctor to find out what sickness this is... I am thinking strep throat, but since I am not a doctor we will see tomorrow.

I have a lot of catching up tomorrow, and the boys have a half day of school because of parent teacher conferences, so we will see what I manage to get done!

TaTa for Now!

Edit.... Now Gabriel (our 3 year old) is throwing up as well. Sigh. Poor kiddos (and husband!).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oh What a Night....

Most people are excited about that extra hour of sleep they get when daylight savings time tells them to "fall back". Me, I see it as a chance to stay up and do something- a little extra time in my day. That is what happened last night. I stayed up, looked at things on the Internet, played some facebook games and then decided when it really was 2am I should sleep.  Well, Annabelle had a different plan for me!

Annabelle had been sleeping on her daddy's chest, and I decided to get her so I could feed her and go to sleep. Well, I fed her....and then tried to settle in to sleep. Annabelle screamed, then, she screamed some more.  For the next hour I tried to calm her down but she wasn't having it. I thought she may be hungry, so I even gave her some formula- that's how desperate I was! She wouldn't burp, she was clean and dry, she had a pacifier, yet she still cried. Around 3:30/4am I asked my husband to take her. I was exhausted, and very frustrated with this little baby. He walked around and tried to soothe her, I tried to sleep through it but didn't manage to do that so well.

Finally around 5:30 in the morning I took her back and nursed her again. I honestly was so tired at that point I don't even remember ending the nursing session.... but she must have calmed down and fell asleep. I woke up around 9:30 am with her sleeping on my chest and my wonderful husband getting the kids breakfast.  I sure don't know what I would have done without my husband. He is such a great husband and father. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We're gaining an hour!!

Okay, maybe not ALL of us, but us here in Michigan are! Don't forget to set your clocks back at 2am!

Ever wonder WHY we have daylight savings? Check out this awesome site:

Enjoy your extra hour of rest that was stolen from us last spring! :)

So, we had a girl!

After five darling boys, we finally have our little princess! Annabelle Marie was born October 12, 2010 at 1:17pm. The last few weeks have been wonderful! Well... sort of.

All the rest of my children had been born easily, Annabelle decided to be stubborn! After my water breaking on Saturday, October 9th, early in the morning, nothing happened. You are supposed to go into labor after your water breaks! Why I didn't is a mystery, but I didn't. My body wasn't ready and I guess Annabelle wasn't either. So, I was induced on the 10th..... and the 11th, and the 12th!  None of the attempts to induce my labor worked and on the 12th the doctor found Annabelle  had decided to switch from her head down position to transverse.

I ended up having a cesarean section. Definitely not the most fun experience, but I am alive, my daughter is healthy, and I am recovering. The first week was terrible, the second week a bit more manageable, and the third week I am finally starting to feel like myself again!

Having a daughter is really fun! Not that having boys aren't, but after 5 little boys in the last 7 years this girl stuff is AWESOME! The clothes we can buy, the cute pink things we have in our house, it is just all wonderful! Annabelle's brothers LOVE her! They are all great big brothers! While our 19 month old, Nolyn, is a tad bit jealous you can tell he still loves her.

So, now we are on to our new lives as parents of 5 boys and one girl....all under 7 years old! It is still hard to believe we have SIX children! Wow! I, of course, wouldn't change it for the world. :)

Ta Ta for Now!

Annabelle Marie:
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