Trigger Tuesday Quit Smoking Giveaway!

Become An EX

Happy Trigger Tuesday!

Are you a smoker, or know someone who is and that wants to quit, but hasn't been able to? Seventy percent of smokers in America want to quit, but only about five percent of smokers are successful in quitting long-term. Most people just don’t know how to quit.
   
That’s where Become an EX comes in. Developed in partnership with Mayo Clinic, as well as input from ex-smokers, EX is a community based quit smoking program that teaches a new way to think about quitting that can help smokers become an EX for good.

EX plan is all about HOW, and works by helping you:

  • · Learn the truth vs. myths about nicotine and smoking
  • · Identify their personal “smoking triggers”- habits that make you want to smoke.
  • · EX helps smokers “practice” and deal with their ‘smoking triggers” without reaching for a light. 

The Giveaway:
Two winners will receive the EX – quitpack complete with a ex-backpack, air freshener, trigger cards and stickers, cup holder, re-learn booklet and EX instructions.

To Enter:

Leave a comment on this post about a bad habit (does not have to be smoking!) that you would love to quit.

That's it. Please be sure to leave a valid email with your comment.


Extra Entries:

1. Visit becomeanex.org and leave a comment about a fact you learned on their site. -- 2 entries
2. Follow Happy Healthy Families on Google Friend Connect.-- 5 entries
3. Follow Happy Healthy Families on Twitter.-- 3 entries
4. Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in the comments. (each daily tweet receives an entry)
5. Become a Fan or Like Happy Healthy Families on Facebook.--3 entries
6. Blog about this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment.--5 entries
7. Like becomeanex on Facebook-- 5 entries
8. Follow theexteam on Twitter-- 5 entries
9. Subscribe to Happy Healthy Families-- 3 entries
10. Add Happy Healthy Families to your blogroll or paste a HHF button on your sidebar.
11. Leave a comment on another post on HHF.


Giveaway will end July 14th at 11:59 EST.
Winners will be drawn through Random.org
Winners will be announced here and notified by email, and will have 3 days to confirm or new winner(s) will be drawn.


Disclosure: The Ex-Quitpacks will be provided by YouCast.com and Become An Ex.org. No monetary compensation was received for this giveaway, but a sample quitpack was provided for my review.








Two Thumbs Up For Toy Story 3!!


Let me say first, who knew Toy Story 3 would make a grown woman cry? And laugh her self silly, giggle like a little kid, and sit up in her seat with tense anticipation at some scenes? Second, I am so hoping I am not the only grown woman that loved Toy Story 3 to Infinity and Beyond?! (That just felt so good, lol, I had to put that in!)

Seriously, I absolutely loved this last installment with Buzz LightYear and Woody. It had some of the funniest scenes and lines ever. I mean, I was laughing as hard as my 13 year old daughter and her friend. And we are not the easiest 3 people to get to laugh (we have high standards.) The only thing that distracted me from watching the movie was my five year old's face. Watching him watch the movie was pretty cool. Not many movies have come along that keep him 100% involved. This one did. It captivated him completely. My 3 year old actually did pretty well but he did get a bit antsy from time to time. And hubby, the toughest movie critic this side of the Mississippi, gave it two thumbs up. That is alot coming from him, believe me.

My one smallest hesitation with the movie is one new character introduced in this sequel: a baby doll. The problem I see with this doll is that she does come off as a bit creepy at times. And of course this creepy doll gets stuck with tasks in the movie that do not help make her seem like a cute cuddly baby doll. I was a bit worried that my 5 year old would be nervous after watching this doll, but actually he seemed fine (maybe I will be the one with the "willys" tonight....ack.)

But the doll is redeemed in the end, which is always good. You know anything Toy Story will have a happy ending, so I am thinking I am not giving anything away here. It is hilarious. Absolutely some of the funniest stuff I've seen out of all 3 Toy Stories now. You know how you kind of go to movie sequels with very little expectations? You kind of figure that the original can't really be beat or sequels cannot come close? Well not this time. If you go see it, I think you will be extremely pleased.

But be prepared for some teary-eyed stuff along the way...and a few tugs at the old heartstings.

And while I am sure I was not the only mom in there with tears on her cheeks, I am very thankful for dark movie theaters!

A Kissimmee Vacation For Me?


This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Kissimmee Tourism. All opinions are 100% mine.

If I were to daydream about a wonderful family summer vacation, I could picture us vacationing in Florida. Kissimmee is the heart of Florida, and is right next to Orlando. You are  close to everything, including the beaches (Atlantic Ocean is just about an hour away; Gulf Coast less than a 2-hour drive). Best of all, vacationing  in Kissimmee, Florida means you are near theme parks, beaches, outdoors, and relaxation.
I imagine in my lovely daydream taking the kids on  airboat rides, zip-lining, horseback riding, hiking, birding, biking. I also see the hubbs and I shopping the boutiques and eating (no cooking in this daydream, thank-you) in great restaurants.

And what Florida vacation would be complete without a trip to Disney World? My kids would be in seventh heaven. We would just have to be sure to save some energy for all the other attractions Kissimmee offers, such as the Green Meadows Petting Farm, the Magical Midway and something I would really love to check out, The Haunted Grim House of Old Town!!

Best of all, in my daydream, at the end of each fun day, we would all head back to our luxurious resort hotel with pools, spas, and spacious comfy rooms.

I love daydreaming. Now how to figure out a way to make this particular dream come true.

Visit my sponsor: What's Your Kissimmee Story?

The Newest Trend For Brides-To-Be?


What goes with "Something Old and Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue"   How about " And Something  For the Pee and Poo?"


"Bridal Diapers. No Bride Should Walk Down an Aisle Without One!"

The latest trend for Brides-to-Be is "Bridal Diapers." What?? You have not heard of these things yet? Let me explain:

Enterprising bridal shops are now selling "Bridal Diapers." (Which are probably just a version of Depends with a much higher priced tag.) The wedding people explain this newest "must have " for brides something like this:
When a bride is putting on her wedding gown and the urge to...you know...hits, what is said bride to do? Try to scurry out of that intricate multi-layered gown with it's lace and buttons? That can be dangerous to both the wedding dress and the bride's scheduled walk down the aisle because of the time needed to get in the dress, out of the dress, and back into the dress (plus can you imagine a poor bride walking down the aisle with a beautiful veil, flowers and uh, toilet paper stuck to her high heels?)

But seriously, would a bride really want to walk down the aisle in a wet diaper? Or dance at the wedding reception with a squishy Depends sagging?

Brides-to-Be: please, do not try this at your wedding. Opt for a trip to the bathroom. The guests will wait the extra 5 minutes, trust me.

Just be sure to check the heels of your shoes. And maybe the back of your dress for any 'paper trails' before heading down that aisle.

1-800 Flowers

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 1-800-Flowers. All opinions are 100% mine.

Getting an unexpected flower delivery is a fabulous thing! I only wish the hubby would think of surprising me with a beautiful bunch of flowers once in a while....without any hinting or prodding by yours truly.

Something like these would be oh so nice!



They would look so nice sitting on my dining room table.


Or a fun Happy Birthday surprise like this one would make my birthday next month a day I could handle a bit easier (since I really do not find that particular day so appealing any more....kwim?) Actually, getting flowers like these could make the day more pleasant for me and the hubby!!

And since pink is my favorite color, and roses are my favorite flower, the hubbs should know he could never go wrong ordering  these:




And just because he thought of sending me flowers one day all by himself, I might be inclined to send him these:


(Too cute, isn't it?)  Do men like getting flowers delivered? I don't see why not.

I think there should be a "Send Flowers to Someone You Care About Just Because Day."

Want to sign my petition?

Visit 1-800 Flowers and see which flowers you would love to give or get!

Visit my sponsor: Who are you thinking about?

Happy Healthy Families Asks: Have You Read The 8 New Food Rules?


A new report by 13 of the country’s top scientists was released last week, and it has some new advice on how and what we eat. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the USDA publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which basically tell us what we should be eating. To advise them on what these nutrition “rules” should be, the Secretaries of these two agencies appoint a committee of 13 top scientists to review loads of research and come up with an advisory report. This same report will also serve as the basis for the Dietary Guidelines (that's where the "Food Pyramid" comes in, and new final guidelines will be released towards the end of 2010.)

Here are the 8 New Food Rules that the Advisory Committee has proposed:

1. Eat Less Calories. (Can' t help but add a 'duh' here. sorry.)

2. Eat More Food From Plants.  Add more vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds to your daily diet.

                                                                   
3. Eat More Fish.  Increase your intake of those heart healthy omega-3 fats! The previously recommendation was two servings per week, but now the experts say to try and eat more. In 2005 the recommendation to eat more fish was made only to those with heart disease to reduce their risk of mortality.

4. Switch to low-fat dairy. While limiting our intake of saturated fat is important, excluding dairy is not the answer either.  Including dairy in your diet is a great way to get calcium—a bone-strengthening mineral that most of us don’t get enough of.  But replace the full-fat dairy products with low-fat dairy. An extra bonus:  new research suggests that replacing full-fat dairy with low-fat dairy may also help lower blood pressure.

5. Eat Only Moderate Amounts of Lean Meats, Eggs and Poultry. Notice the change here? No longer does the recommendation say to choose lean meats and poultry for your diet. Now the word from the study is to actually eat less  meat, lean or otherwise, as well as eating fewer eggs and poultry.

6. Reduce Intake of Added Sugar and Solid Fats. (ack.)

7. Reduce Sodium and Refined Grains.

8. Exercise. The advisory report suggests, strongly, that we follow the  current Physical Activity Guidelines for adults, which happens to be  2 1/2 hours a week of moderate-intensity or 1 1/4 hours (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity or an equivalent combination.  These guidelines also recommend muscle-strengthening exercises that are moderate or high intensity, and involve all major muscle groups, 2 or more days a week.

To learn more about the 8 New Food Rules you can read more here.

Glidden Paint to the Rescue



This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Glidden. All opinions are 100% mine.

My daughter's summer project is repainting and re-decorating her bedroom. Right now she has some weird shade of green, kind of like olive but not as dark, that was one of those "oops...looked better in the little brochure thingy than on the walls."

Glidden has inexpensive tester paints available at Home Depot that makes it so easy to test out a paint on the actual walls before making a decision (These testers are available in 282 colors for $2.94 each at your local Home Depot.) Plus, each tester can comes with it's own paint brush. Anything that comes ready-to-go I love. So we will probably pick up a few cans and have a painting contest to see which one my daughter chooses for her bedroom. The testers are small and easy to store, which will be good as I am sure they will come in handy for covering scratches and such that happen when you live with two munchkin boys!

Glidden’s Top 10 Color Palettes are assembled by color experts to express your personality. Glidden also makes it easy to select the perfect combination of colors. Their large paint chips help you experience your favorite color in your room’s unique lighting. Plus, all of the chips have two coordinating color options right on the back.

Glidden is very confident that once you experience the great Glidden colors and quality paint, you will be inspired and motivated to continue your painting project and select Glidden paint for your future projects. If you have a painting project coming up,  visit their website and try out their Room Painter options and share your style with friends in Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Visit my sponsor: Glidden

Eclipse is Coming--Got Tickets?


Twilight Fever aka Eclipse is raging in our house right now. My thirteen year old daughter is literally counting down the minutes until the premiere of Eclipse. Last year we waited in line for six hours so we could watch the very first showing of New Moon at our local theater. I thought my toes were frozen beyond repair when we finally got to enter the theater and scramble for our seats.

But I have to admit, when my daughter and I finally got in our seats, popcorn, coffee, assorted treats in hand, the beaming smile on her face made evry minute of standing/sitting/ in that miserable line more than worth it.

I figured I did my "Good Mother " deed of a lifetime (at least as far as this child was concerned,) until a few days ago when I heard..."Mom, it's almost time to wait in line for Eclipse! Aren't you excited??"

Get ready feet. This time around I will be more prepared though. Last time in our frantic rush to secure our spot in line, I forgot my Blackberry so I couldn't even blog while freezing my behind off. We will also bring warmer blankets and some folding chairs.

I only wish Edward knew the sacrifices I am making for him. Sigh.

Sarah McLachlan: Laws of Illusion

Sarah McLachlan is back with a beautiful new CD, Laws of Illusion. It is a deeply soulful collection of songs that seem to tell the story of Sarah's heartbreak and pain as she and her husband went through a surprising split. I put the CD on as I was working, but the the music was so captivating and the words so moving that I has to stop what I was working on and simply listen to the songs as they played out.

Fans of McLachlan will undoubtedly be delighted to know that the first single from Laws of Illusion is the song, "Easy to Love You." It is hard to pick one favorite song from the amazing list, but for me it would actually not be "Easy to Love You," but the first song on the CD, "Awakenings." The last line of the song just touched me so much and are words I so relate to. (Yea, I am not going to share that line here with you....I am going to be bad, and simply tell you it is so worth listening to yourself!) I also am particularly fond of "Changes." Heck, I loved every song so much on this album...I listen to it constantly these days.

Here is the complete play list:
Awakenings
Illusions of Bliss
Loving You is Easy
Changes
Forgiveness
Rivers of Love
Love Come
Out of Tune
Heartbreak
Don't Give Up on Us
U Want Me 2
Bring on the Wonder

Laws of Illusion is McLachlan's first CD of original new music since she released "Afterglow" in 2003. Though you can easily see this album as a representation of the emotional upheaval she went through following her and her husband's divorce, McLachlan says it about more than just the ending of her marriage:

“It’s more than a breakup record. It’s more of a disassembling and re- assembling of my entire life,” McLachlan says. “The bottom fell out on me a couple of years ago and all these things I thought were one way weren’t. It was awfully hard to have all these boxes I’d checked off — married, children, emotional comfort — suddenly not be there. Here I was, single with two kids and I was angry, sad, happy and had to learn from it.”

Laws of Illusion went on sale June 15th. I absolutely am immersed in Sarah's beautiful voice every time  play it, and am happy to have been asked to review it. To learn more about Sarah's music on her new album, visit her Facebook page where you also join in on the Listening Party. In a career spanning more than two decades, Sarah has over 20 million career sales to date and, every one of Sarah McLachlan’s studio and live albums has been certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum by the RIAA. I have little doubt her latest album will be joining these ranks as well.



And the  historic all-female Lilith Fair festival is returning this summer. The historic all-female band tour was one of the highest grossing music tours from 1993 -1997,  with over 2 million fans in attendance and raising over $10 million dollars for national and local women's charities Like McLachlan, Lilith Fair has been on hiatus as well. But Sarah is bringing the tour back again, with tour dates scheduled in many various cities.

You can buy "Laws of Illusion" at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

I received a copy of the CD, Laws of Illusion, in order to facilitate my review on behalf of the Sara McLachlan Project and One2One Network. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions expressed are my own and may differ from others opinions.


Happy Father's Day!


Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there! We enjoyed a fun BBQ with friends and neighbors: lots of swimming, salmon (yum!), and margaritas. Got some pictures of the kiddos that I will try and get posted later this week.

Next up: 4th of July!! Wow this year is racing by! (or is it just me that thinks so??)

Happy Healthy Families Asks: Do You Have Insomnia?



Sometimes it seems as though I limp my way to bed at night I am so tired from my day with the kid-lets, only to discover that I can't fall asleep. I toss, I turn, I count sheep or whatever image I drag up from the recesses of my tired brain, and still...find myself dealing with insomnia.

Seriously, the hubby can be snoring, the kids all dreaming respectively of Justin Bieber, Toy Story 3 and Dinosaurs ....and me, well I will be staring at the ceiling wide awake.

I don't know if I am over-tired on nights like these, or have too much on my mommy-brain to turn off, or simply am stressed about life in general. All I know is that the following morning I will be functioning at a level where certain kiddos can definitely take advantage of me, and worse yet, I will drink too much coffee in an effort to stay awake and thus create a likely similar scenario that night when I go to bed.

I found some interesting tips online to naturally deal with insomnia, and being the nice person I am, decided I would share them here with you!

  • First....as common sense might dictate-- drink  your last cup of coffee by 11:00 am. No surprises with this tip except the reason why. The liver takes up to 12 hours to fully break down the caffeine from coffee. So the earlier you stop drinking coffee or drinks with high caffeine in them, the better.

  • Second tip is to eat more nuts, especially almonds. The reason? Because almonds have lots of calcium and magnesium, which relax muscles, soothe nerves and increase the time spent in restorative sleep, according to James F. Balch, M.D., coauthor of Prescription for Natural Cures. Eat the nuts at least six hours before bed-time for best results. And try to eat about 1 oz. of almonds daily.

  • Third tip is to not go to bed dehydrated. Stress hormones can be triggered by dehydration ( like we don't deal with enough stress already??) So we need to go to bed hydrated. But we also want to not see the bathroom during the night...Am I right? So the best thing to do to stay hydrated yet still avoid those unwanted wake-up calls is to drink 75% of the fluids before 4 pm.

  • And the last tip I have to share is to eat a snack that helps you feel sleepy before bed. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that eating buttered jasmine rice before bed is sure to help you fall asleep faster if you have insomnia. Ths rice increases your body's production of serotonin and cytokinins, which are hormones that calm nerves and bring on sleep. 

  • Other snacks that make for good night snacks are oatmeal cookies and milk, whole-grain buttered toast, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal.

Now you can go get a good night's sleep.....or think of a way to thank-me for sharing these helpful tips with you. Just saying.

Father's Day is Sunday.....Got a Gift?





This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Voctorinox Swiss Army. All opinions are 100% mine.

My husband's favorite day of the year is almost here, and he is counting down the minutes! Father's Day is Sunday..are you ready? Here at our house we are making cards and planning the cake. Undoubtedly the day will start with breakfast in bed.....and hugs and kisses from sticky syrupy kids.
The hubby loves "his day," even though there are seldom expensive gifts, It's more about the handmade paperweights, funky ties, masterpiece drawings and hugs. But I would like to get him a very special gift ...one that I know he would say was too expensive, but grin anyway like a little kid. Something along the lines of a really nice watch, like a Victorinox Swiss Army watch. Something that he would not be expecting, but would be so touched to get, kwim?

Anyhoo, this year I think we will be sticking to sticky kid hugs, breakfast trays, and kid-sized Picasso's. It will still be a fun day, and a day all about him. And hopefully, even without a new watch, he will still feel like a King for a day.

As for that cool watch....I will be entering the "I Wear a Watch sweepstakes." If you want to enter too, you just need to fan the Facebook IWAW sweepstakes page .  Over 30 days they’re giving 30 lucky winners a Victorinox Swiss Army timepiece! With any luck, there still may be a new watch in the hubby's future!

Visit my sponsor: Does Dad Wear a
Watch?

Wordless Wednesday: My Birthday Girl!


Happy 13th My Beautiful Baby Girl!!



Seems like yesterday you were my little munchkin girl. Just know that you'll always be my baby girl though!


 Check out the new Wordless Wednesday HQ!!

New Giveaway: Set of Six Light-Up Marble Racers!!

Here is a little summer fun for kids: a Set of Six Light-Up Marble Racers! My boys received a set of these cars, and believe me, there is probably nothing more exciting to them than getting new cars. No matter how many cars they collect (and between the two of them, they have a sizeable collection!), there can never be too many in their eyes.

But my munchkin boys were in for a special treat with these cars. They not only come with very "awesome" stickers and decals (my 3 year old's description,, btw!) these cars light up as they race along.  Can I just say that my boys eyes lit up as well when they saw these cars in action. A tip here: race these cars in a dark room for a fantastic effect!



Each car has a 1 inch LED Marble in it which creates the light-up effect. The racers are designed to flash on 1:64 Hot Wheel Tracks, but they are fun just racing around hard floor and tables as well. And I think any race track will work just fine too.

The Light Up Marble Racers are sold exclusively through CVS Stores.

WIN A SET

One lucky reader of HHF will win a  Complete Set of 6 cars in electrifying styles - Police Racer, Fire Racer, Cats' Eye Racer, Cyclone Racer, Confetti Racer, and Volcano Racer!

TO  ENTER:
Go to the Light Up Marble page and click on each different car style available. Then leave me a comment letting me know which car style your little one would love most . (Please leave a valid email address with comment!)

EXTRA ENTRIES:
1. Tweet This Giveaway and get an extra entry each day.
2. Follow Happy Healthy Families on Twitter.
3. Become a fan of Happy Healthy Families on Facebook.
4. Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect
5. Become a subscriber of HHF
6. Blog about this giveaway and leave the url in your comment.
7. Leave a comment on another post on HHF.
8. Share this giveaway on Facebook.
9. Add HHF to your Blogroll or paste the HHF button on your sidebar.

Giveaway will end June 28th, 2010 at 11:59 EST.
Winner will be announced on this blog and notified by email by June 30th, 2010.
Winner will have 3 days to confirm or new winner will be drawn.
Winning entry determined by Random.org
Open to US addresses only.

Thanks to MomSelect and LightUp Marble Racers for this review/giveaway opportunity. We received one set of six light up marble racers to review for this promotion.


 







Winner Of Vista Print Photo Book

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
35
2
10
63


Congratulations to #35: Justicecw!

Thanks to all who entered!

Bing Teacher Appreciation Website

I love my son's kindergarten teacher. He does too, but I really think I am going to miss her more than he even will when he finishes Kindergarten tomorrow (sniff.) She has been an amazing teacher in my book because she embodies the perfect combination of  being a mother-like figure while also being a teacher.

The first day of school I was beyond nervous to let go of my little boy's hand and send him into the classroom. What if his teacher just didn't 'get him?' What if she was impatient or too stern with him?What if he ended up hating school because of this very first teacher? The "what ifs' played in my head all morning. I hoped she understood how hard it was for me to turn over my son for pretty much the first time to another woman who would have the potential to have a huge influence on him. Yea...I was a wreck.

As it turned out, my son and I were both blessed to have this teacher in his first year of school. She is a wonderful person and an amazing educator. And she has absolutely instilled in my son a love for school and learning. I doubt I could ever show just how much I appreciate her. But thanks to Bing, there is something we can all do to say 'Thank-you' to teachers who help, care, teach and love our children everyday.

When you visit the Bing Teacher Appreciation Website (and I really do urge you to visit!) you can share your comments about special teachers that have been in your life and/or your children's. You can share up to 5 comments, and in return for sharing, Bing will give you a $5.00 Giving Code (for each comment) that you can donate to a "Classroom Project" of your choice. These "Classroom Projects" are created by Teachers themselves, so you know they very worthwhile and will help so many kids. You can review the different "Classroom Projects" at the website, DonorsChoose.org.

I think Bing is doing a wonderful thing here, and teachers deserve all the appreciation, support and help we can give them. And so do the children these teachers are dedicated to helping everyday.

"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Bing and a $100 DonoseChoose.org giving code to facilitate my review. Mom Central also sent me a thank-you gift certificate."

My Jury Duty Update

 So I showed up at 8:15 promptly this morning for my Jury Duty. I waited in the Jury Call Waiting Room for a while. The chairs were actually comfy, there were plenty of magazines, and a TV (that did not have Dora, Diego or Spongebob on it!)  But what I didn't realize I would like so much about this room, was that it was quiet! No one calling me, no fighting over the TV, no diapers to change, no food to cook, spills to clean up.....nothing but me and a stack of magazines to read. One must become immune to noise when one becomes a mother, because until today, I have not realized how much I have missed the blissful sound of...quiet.

Jury Duty could be alright after all.

I thought about calling the hubby to check on things at home...for about 30 seconds. Then I figured he was fine. The kiddos were fine. And whatever might come up, well, he was a grown man. He can handle it. And I further decided that I would not risk losing my sense of pure serenity at that moment by hearing about a fight between the boys over who got to eat their oatmeal out of the Spider-Man bowl that morning.(Note to self: remember to buy a new Spider-Man bowl asap!) Nor did I want to feel guilty because I was sitting in a deluxe Jury Waiting Room while my hubby moaned on the phone to me with yelling kids and barking dogs in the background. Nope, I was not going to chance my nirvana time!

I even started changing my mind about trying to be excused because I am a full time caregiver of a small child (That is how it was posted on the sheet they gave.) So maybe a babysitter wouldn't be so bad.....maybe the hubbs could take another day or two off....maybe.....

Then it ended. Just like that we were all excused. What?? But now I want to serve....really, I want to! Nope. No jurors needed today because there were no new trials starting today. So Thanks for coming...you can go home now.

I looked longingly at the magazines waiting to be read, I slowly stood up from my comfy chair, met the glances of some other grown-ups (imagine, me being in a room of only grown-ups!) who looked like they were as torn as I was.....and left.

Motherhood. Got to love it when sitting in a courthouse all day sounds more like a vacation then your civic duty.

Sigh.

A Yummy Review: Freschetta Flatbread Pizza


This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Freschetta. All opinions are 100% mine.

So frozen pizza is generally not a good thing. My daughter will not even try any frozen pizza that somehow turns in our kitchen mysteriously from time to time. And believe me, I have tried just about every type of frozen pizzas available because ordering pizzas from a pizza place gets so darn expensive. But we had not come across a pizza yet that tasted very good or even cooked properly. The crust would always burn while the cheese and toppings still looked uncooked, or the toppings would be burning and the crust would be soft and doughy still.

Then Freschetta sent us some coupons so we could try their Freschetta FlatBread pizzas....and quite honestly, they are delicious. Really. I know it is difficult to swallow (the good review, not the Freschetta pizza!), but I kid you not; these were really yummy pizzas. Even my impossible to please frozen pizza critic, my daughter, agreed that this was a pizza that tasted almost as good as one we would order from our favorite pizza place. We tried the 5 cheese  pizza as my boys will not eat any other toppings (sometimes olives, but that is about it.) and we loved it so much, we ended up buying more a few days later. There are other delicious sounding choices as well : Zesty Italian, Roasted Garlic and Spinach, and Pepperoni. The best part of a pizza really has to be the crust. I like them thin, not thick and chewy, and the Freschetta crust was perfect. I had no problem cooking the pizza....no burning, no soft undercooked dough, just delicious pizza.

I know finding a frozen pizza your family can cook and enjoy at home is not a crucial matter, but it certainly is a nice convenient dinner (toss in a salad and you are good to go!) to make with little fuss and without spending a lot of money either. A yummy pizza, ice cream for dessert and no delivery charges or tips....that is the making of a family movie night in my book!  And right now you can get a coupon for $1.00 off any Freschetta Flatbread Pizza purchase. Perfect for a pizza-movie family night!

Visit my sponsor: Freschetta Pizza

I Have Jury Duty?!

I thought I was excused from Jury Duty. I really did. I was sent was of those official notices last November to appear for jury duty service. But there was a section on the form that said you could be excused for different reasons, one being a primary caregiver. So I primarily am the giver of care for my kiddos everyday, that counts right?

So I called the number on the notice and spoke with a nice woman. At first she said no, that was not an excuse, because after all the kids were in school all day. So I explained that one was in Kindergarten and had to be picked up at 12 everyday, by me: The Primary Caregiver of this child. Then I had another to pick up at 2:45. She did not seem impressed, and was about to say no again, when I got in that I had a third child, who was not even in school yet. That was my out. Apparently a young child not in school qualifies you to be excused from Jury Duty. So she told me to fill out the form, etc etc...and send it in. I was excused and did not have to show up.

Relief.

Then I got a nasty summons just about a week ago saying I had basically blown off my jury duty, and now was being summoned to appear. Ack. So what happened to my nice lady and my out?? They say now that they never got my form I mailed back, and even though I could be in big trouble for not showing up last November, they decided to be nice and give me a second chance. Lovely.

So tomorrow I will be going to jury duty. I do not have a problem at all with jury duty in and of itself, and normally would be very willing to do my turn, but the hubbs has to take off work and that is not so cool. I am hoping I get excused tomorrow or else we will have to get a babysitter for the next 5 days. ACK.

Wish me luck!!

It's Summer....Get Ready To Drive (and drive some more!)


This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NAVTEQ. All opinions are 100% mine.

Summer brings this kind of silly notion with it that days are long, lazy and idyllic. The kids are out of school so mornings are not filled with lunch-making, homework finding missions, lost sock fiascoes, and  mad races to the car.

But just when you think you can get some relaxing in finally, here comes swim lessons, soccer, camp, sleepovers, movie trips, park trips, beach trips, picking up friends and dropping off friends trips --need I go on? Yea. Summer may not necessarily be full of crazy hectic mornings, but we still find ourselves in the car a lot driving the kids around.

Now would be a good time to get your in-car navigation system or hand-held GPS updated. (I do not have either. The hubby is my navigation system. Can I update him somewhere?) So if you have one of these, head to www.updateyourmap.com. There you will find a drop-down menu that will easily let you install updated navigation maps for your particular navigation system.
And since NAVTEQ is the company whose technology and maps drive most of the in-car navigation systems and the leading brands of GPS-enabled devices in the U.S., chances are yours is one of them.

Unless you use the 'husband-driven navigation system' like me. www.updateyourmap.com doesn't seem to have any updates for those systems. Darn it.

Visit my sponsor: Making mom's life a little easier

Happy Healthy Families Asks: Got Mommy Brain?

Got mommy brain? 

Not sure?

Have you forgotten where your keys are at least once this week?
Have you found yourself standing in front of a shopping cart trying to remember what you wanted to buy?
Have you walked past an overdue library book sitting on your table, and still forget to take it back to the library? (or worse yet....keep thinking you had?)
Do you stare blankly at your hubby and wonder who and where he came from???And why he has kids with him? (okay....just kidding here!)

But seriously, mommy brain is as sure a side effect of having kids as is a waist that refuses to fit into skinny jeans anymore.

I have no words of wisdom to get you back in your skinny jeans...but I do have some tidbits to share that may help improve your mommy brain situation.

There are foods we can eat that may help with memory. So take a peek and make a mental note (yes,pun intended) to add these to your diet:

Curry: Contains turmeric, which according to studies melts plaque build up in the brain.

Olive Oil: An excellent source of monounsaturated fat, which instantly promotes faster, easier blood flow to the brain.

Spinach: In lab studies, animals fed spinach improved their learning ability immediately.

Blueberries: Studies have shown that people who eat blueberries improve their test scores by 20%.

Brown Rice: Boosts the heart's ability to pump extra blood to the brain.

Peanuts and Tofu: Both are rich in choline, which our bodies need to make a key neurotransmitter that boosts memory.


Now all we have to do is remember to eat these things.  Better write them down. Better yet, draw pictures and stick on refrigerator door.  Read more about healthy brain foods.

My Top 4 Father's Day Gift Ideas

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Bliss Living. All opinions are 100% mine.

So in a couple of weeks it will be Father's Day (is this year flying by or what?? I digress.) Have you figured out what you will be giving your significant other yet? This is always a problem area for me. I mean, if money were not an issue, neither would be the gift. Sure, he loves the cute handmade paperweights, cards and such from the kiddos, but for someone reason he always wants more. You know...as in store-bought expensive stuff. (Ask him what he got me for Mother's Day and I bet you will be met with a blank stare. Go ahead, ask him.)

So the brainstorming begins. Kind of. I don't strain my brain or anything like that. I just ponder a bit and ask others for ideas. BTW, do you have any?

But this year I actually can be of some help to other wives, mothers, significant others and anyone that happens to be in the market for a gifts for Dad. You can take a peek at a couple of ideas here that I so kindly have provided for you ( I am nice that way.):


This doormat is cool. After all, every man-cave deserves it's own mat. (My hubby would love to have a man-cave all his own, let alone a mat.)

How about this personalized branding iron for the hubby that is all about BBQ's??


And then we have the very stylish 'Daddy Tags' with Silver Chain. Handy for those Daddy's that tend to get lost. (Just personalize with name, address and phone number...so he will always find his way home.)


And finally, I offer this idea: An official "Diaper Dude Dad Diaper Bag." For the dad who has everything except a diaper bag he can call his own.


You all can thank me for these fantastic Father's Day gift ideas later. I know you are too excited right now and are racing for your credit cards. I'll wait. I'll be checking out some cool jewelry for mom that a certain hubby may be guilted sweetly cajoled into buying me.

Visit my sponsor: The Perfect Father's Day Gift

HHF Healthy Tips: 3 Foods That Keep Skin Younger Looking


I know my skin looks fantastic (I lie.) 

I look twenty years younger than I am. (I am in denial.) 

I also know that not everyone is blessed with youthful beautiful ageless skin like me. (I am ducking.) 

So, I thought it only fair of me to share some healthy tips that will help have younger healthier looking skin! There are foods that can help keep skin looking younger.

Eat Oranges,Strawberries, Bell peppers or Kiwi. Better yet, eat all of these foods as much as you can. Why, you ask? Because they are full of Vitamin C, which fights the damage from aging free radicals. Plus, Vitamin C helps proteins grow that plump up your skin.

Eat Oatmeal. As we you all age, your body has a harder time replacing old skin cells with new ones. So your skin looks duller. Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast can help your skin look less dull and more radiant thanks to this food's high content of biotin, a B Vitamin that actually helps the skin generate new cells faster.

Hate oatmeal? Eggs, bananas and peanuts have biotin also.

Incorporate Flax into Your Diet. Flax seed is full of omega-3 fatty acids--and these help reduce inflammation (among other good stuff.) And inflammation = older looking skin. The British Journal of Nutrition reports that women who take a daily dose of flaxsed oil for 12 weeks have 45% less skin redness, 25% less dryness and significantly less roughness than those who didn't take the oil. Interesting stuff, right?

But of course, please always check with your doctor before making major changes to your diet, or anything related to your health.

Shrek Forever After Video Game



We recently received the Wii version of the video game, Shrek Forever After, created by Activision. Talk about excited kids! My 12 year old daughter and my 5 year old son actually found themselves agreeing on something --which rarely ever happens anymore. They both wanted to play their new game immediately. My three year old was right behind them, ready to play along as best he could.

I have to admit I am not such a big fan of video games, even Wii (shocking, I know) but with Summer beginning its' long lazy days, kids full of energy and a new Shrek game to try out, who was I to be a party-pooper? So we loaded up the Wii, ad let the fun begin. It actually turned out to be a very fun time, and all 3 kids were laughing and having fun. Together. Amazing.

About the game:

Shrek has decided he wants to 'recapture' his past as a real ogre. He is tricked into signing a magical deal that lands him in an alternate reality. Now he has to get back by defeating the devious Rumplestiltskin.

Up to 4 players can play the game as Shrek, Fiona, Puss 'N Boots and Donkey try to outwit Rumplestiltskin.

The game was pretty easy to play, which was a pleasant surprise for me. A green arrow helps the kids, especially the younger ones, move along. Plus there are also hints kindly provided by the Blind Mice (fun!). Each of the 4 characters has special talents to help them as they deal with Rumplestiltskin. There are various problem-solving tasks that need to be completed before passing to the the next level.

Shrek Forever After is available now – for the Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.


“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Activision and received the items necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”
 

Win a Free Stay At Hampton Hotel !

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hampton Hotels. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have you ever dreamed about staying at a hotel with about 100 of your closest friends and family? No? Well start dreaming! This summer Hampton Hotel is having a pretty amazing contest, which is their Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes

Hampton_logo

Want to know what the prizes are? Of course you do. And I am nice enough to tell you ( so please remember me if you should happen to win one of the fabulous prizes!):
The Grand Prize is just the entire hotel. Oh, for a weekend. Oh yea....did I mention that you can bring along 100 friends? Exciting stuff, right? (Like I said above.....please remember me if you win!!)

And there is more. Yep, more. There will be 100 First Prizes given out daily. These will be free weekend stays given out each day to a daily winner and three of the winner's friends (I assume I am now your friend since you are on my blog and I am sharing this fabulous opportunity with you. Yes??)

The Chain of Friends Sweepstakes lasts from June 1, 2010, and will end September 4, 2010 at 11:59 CT. There are two ways you can enter. The first is by booking a room or rooms for a stay at a Hampton Hotel, and the second is by simply filling out an entry form online.


Visit my sponsor: Chain-of-Friends Grand Prize

Click Here

3 Fun Summer Activities (That Are Not Expensive!)

I love the start of summer (more than the end of summer anyway) because the heat is still bearable and the kids have not started to drive me crazy. Yet. Plus, we are all so ready for lazy days of sleeping longer, doing what we want and most of all, no homework!

Now ask me how I feel about summer when we get to the end of July.

In the meantime, to celebrate the beginning of summer and school vacation, here are 3 inexpensive fun ideas to keep in mind for summertime fun:

1. Welcome Butterflies to Your Yard as You Grow Your Own Herbal Tea. Just plant some peppermint, chamomile and lemon balm in a sunny spot. They grow with little care on your part plus they attract butterflies! To make a delicious cup of herbal tea as you watch the butterflies, pour almost boiling water over 3 tsp. of fresh crushed herbs and steep for 10 minutes.

2, Fly a Homemade Kite. It is more fun (and cheaper) to make your own kites! Just visit BillyBear4kids.com to find some adorable kite patterns to print.

3. Save Some Summer Flowers.  Pick some beautiful summer flowers in the morning after the dew has dreid. Lay the flowers between pages of a big book for one to two weeks. Once the flowers are dry, put them in a scrapbook. Squeeze some hot glue onto paper, place a flower on the glue, then cover it with a thin layer of hot glue.

Filtrete Filters, Dust Mites (Oh My!) and Healthy Housekeeping

Just typing the words "dust mites" makes me squeamish and want to scrub my arms immediately. Did you know that stuffed animals can harbor dust mites? Ew. And the air in our homes can carry dust mite debris, not to mention allergens such as pollen and mold spores? Bedding, shower doors, and all those stuffed animals can also be places where mildew and bacteria hide out. So when it comes to cleaning the house, it can be important to our health to clean more than just the dirt and grime we can see; We need to remember to clean the air our families are breathing!

Use a high performance air filter in the home, such as the Filtrete 1" Elite Allergen Reduction filter from 3M, to help capture particles such as pollen, smoke, dust mite debris and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter. Be sure to change your filter at the start of every season, or every three months.

Healthy Housekeeper and author of The Overworked Mom's Stress Free Home Keeping, Laura Dellutri, offers these tips for cleaning your home from top to bottom and making it healthier in the process:

Start at the Top: Ceiling fans, tall mantles and bookshelves, and the tops of door frames tend to subscribe to the “out of sight, out of mind” motto. These areas often harbor dust, so it’s important to wipe them down regularly to help remove dust buildup. Start at the top and work your way down, collecting all of the dust and dirt that falls to the floor while you’re cleaning.

Wipe Down Windows and Walls: Don't clean windows the old fashioned way – newspaper can cause ink residue and paper towels leave lint behind. Your best bet is to use microfiber cleaning cloths and a professional window squeegee to get a streak-free, spotless shine. To prevent streaks on shower doors and walls, apply lemon oil to the door twice a month. This will help repel soap scum and shampoo, while also adding a nice shine.

Think Horizontally: Dust mites are nearly everywhere. In fact, the American Lung Association estimates that roughly four out of five homes in the United States have detectable levels of dust mite allergen in at least one bed. Reduce dust mites by encasing your mattress and pillows, and wash your bedding in hot water about once a week. Also, since dust mites are microscopic, place strips of duct tape on the mattress case to prevent the dust mites from sneaking through.

Clean the In-between: While cleaning what you can see, don’t forget to clean what you can’t see – the air you breathe. Use a high performance air filter in the home, such as the Filtrete 1” Ultimate Allergen Reduction filter from 3M, to help capture particles such as pollen, smoke, dust mite debris and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter. Be sure to change your filter at the start of every season, or every three months.

Freeze the Fur: Stuffed animals can harbor dust mites so it’s important to pay special attention to them. Place stuffed animals in a large plastic bag and freeze them for four to five hours. Remove them from the freezer and plastic bag, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove any leftover dust particles.

Finish With Floors: To keep floors in tip-top shape, vacuum and clean them weekly. You can easily make your own floor cleaner by adding a few drops of mild liquid dish detergent to a gallon of water. Hot water can break down floor finishes after time so use water that is barely warm. Finally, don’t forget to clean the floor under large pieces of furniture, which may require you to temporarily move them elsewhere. Corners of rooms and the back of closets often are overlooked, so be sure to clean these areas as well.

Kitchen Clean-Up
Certain areas of the home, especially the kitchen, can breed and harbor germs that not only cause odors but can spread to family members. These low-cost cleaning tasks, when done regularly and properly, can be effective in making the home healthier for your family:

Trashcans: Trashcans should be cleaned monthly using a chlorine bleach and water solution. Simply combine one cup of non-chlorine bleach for every three gallons of water and pour the solution into the trashcan. Swish the solution around in the trashcan, and wait about five minutes for the chlorine to kick in and kill the germs.

Refrigerators: Cleaning the refrigerator monthly will improve the safety and quality of your food. If you are tired of cleaning spills and food particles from your refrigerator, then cover shelves with washable shelf liners. They will catch most of the food spillage, and will make cleanup quicker and easier. Once a month, throw them in the dishwasher for a good cleaning, and then place them back in the refrigerator once they are dry.
Sinks: Since bacteria can accumulate in cracks and crevices, pay extra attention to these areas when disinfecting. Also, stainless steel sinks can be tough to clean and can look spotty due to water spots and lime build up. To keep the sink shiny, use a soft buffing wheel to restore the luster. Then, use a cloth to generously apply mineral oil to the sink. Water will bead up and roll off the sink, keeping it shiny and helping prevent spots.

And to stay in the motivated cleaning mode (you are there now, right? Remember those nasty dust mites!) 3M, the makers of Filtrete Filters, created the Clean Air Club. You can register to receive seasonal e-newsletters featuring money-saving offers, filter change reminders, better home living tips and more by visiting www.Filtrete.com.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Filtrete and received a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”