Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pink Dandy Chatter: Set of 6 Monkey Greeting Cards Giveaway by MyDearDarling

My daughter's nickname is Monkey so I know she would go crazy over these cute little Monkey cards. I can just imagine her writing Thank You notes for Christmas with her own personalized "signature monkey" cards! How cute are they? Go take a look at the giveaway at Pink Dandy Chatter!
Pink Dandy Chatter: Set of 6 Monkey Greeting Cards Giveaway by MyDearDarling
Giveaway Ends Thursday, January 7th at noon MST

Thursday, December 3, 2009

5 Minutes for Mom Christmas Giveaway

I can't believe I wasn't noticing this one sooner! But it's not too late! 5 minutes for Mom has over 30 individual giveaways! But they end this Friday--Tomorrow! So go enter your favorites or all of them! Hurry!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Giveaway: Personalized Photo Keepsake

My friend, "Gert," over at Chicken Scratches is having a great giveaway from her Etsy Shop! Perfect for this time of year! How cute is this ornament? And of course you get to personalize it with your own photos! I am thinking it would make a beautiful keepsake of your past year. A new baby? Wedding? Family Portrait? I love it. She is so talented! Go take a look at all of her fun stuff at her Etsy shop and then go enter her contest! She's asking that you spread the word about her contest and shop through your blog or facebook, etc. and that is how you get an entry (don't forget to tell her about it in the comments). The winner of this giveaway will be announced on November 20, 2009!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Review and Discount: Lovable Labels

Today is Friday. Which at my children's elementary school means School Spirit Day. Everybody is supposed to wear red-preferably their red school t-shirts or sweatshirts. The class wearing the most red gets to keep the coveted school spirit trophy for the week. This is great-- my kids love dressing all in red. It is fun to go to the school and see the sea of red on the playground. But at this time of year, when the mornings are chilly and the afternoons are unbearably hot, my kids will take off their sweatshirts and they don't always make it back home. This is a problem when 10 other school sweatshirts ended up in the lost and found too. Last year we lost one forever because it was taken off at school and some kid probably thought it was theirs. Solution: Lovable Labels.
I was given the opportunity to review Lovable Labels for my family at the start of this school year. I am eager to see how they continue to hold up throughout the school year, but so far they have been great! I received the Back to School Mega Pack which includes:
*15 Sticker Labels *60 Slimline Labels *48 Press N’ Stick Clothing DOTS™ *16 Shoe Labels *2 Mini-Metal Tags * 5 Book/Binder Stickers.

I have the clothing dots on all of their school sweatshirts just in case they don't come home from school one day. We will quickly be able to identify them. The labels also hold up incredibly well in the wash so far. I half expected them to be a little beat up after going through the washer and dryer, but they still look good as new after several washes. I've used the slimline labels on their lunchboxes and thermoses. These labels have again held up like new even when going through the dishwasher or being handwashed. I am impressed with the durability. I haven't used the shoe stickers yet because I plan on putting them on the boots in the winter to see how they hold up, because in reality those are the only shoes my kids have ever left behind at school. But based on how well the others hold up, I have no doubt they will do a great job sticking to the boots.
Since I have 5 kids in grades 1-6, we end up with a lot of hand me downs and shared items. So I just put our last name on the stickers with a star because I figured it would be well reecived by both my girls and my boys. They all want the bag tags of which there were only 2 so I have had to choose which kids get those-although they can be easily moved from one pack to another so they can easily trade off--if they are in a sharing kind of mood. I received more than enough labels to cover the needs of my large family. I felt that was a great value. I have plenty for now and some to spare as we add items throughout the school year that will need labels. At their website they have lots of other fun products like stationery and household labels.

Right now Lovable Labels is offering my readers a special 10% discount on the purchase of the Back to School Mega Pack-which is only available til Sept 30th!

Hurry on over to and choose the country which you reside in (there is no price difference per country). Click on the Back to School Mega Pack (which is on the home page) and during the purchasing process enter your reader discount code: buttercupsgrotto to get 10% off the normal price. This code will be valid for 2 weeks from today--until Sept 26th.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I have to be honest with you, when I won Autonet, I was excited at first because I won it, but then I was like what is this thing? Really? I am I EVER going to use it? I even tried to trade it away, but found no takers on the trade. I brought it home and looked up its value and decided maybe I could sell it and at least get something for it, but the Autonet people were so nice and would call me and email me and offered to install it in my car and give me 6 months for free, so I thought, "what do I have to lose?" Nothing really. I got it installed in my car. All it cost me was about an hour of my time while they installed. I didn't use it for the first week. I really had no use for it. Wasn't sure how I was gong to use it. From time to time it came in handy with my laptop, but the truth of the matter is that I hated lugging my laptop around just in case I might need to look something up. Then we went on vacation. We used our Autonet connection and loved it. We were so grateful for it on our road trip vacation. and then my usage declined again because I'd have to lug my laptop around. And then I lost my job and my laptop with it. hmmm.... how can I use it now? Well, my husband got a free iPod Touch with his new laptop for work and well, it is MY iPod Touch now. And I use it all the time in the car to check my email facebook, update twitter, schedule my dvr, listen to music on Pandora, etc. And for the past couple of days it hasn't been working (I think I am at the end of my free trial period) and so I am feeling a little bit of withdrawal, because I liked being able to just "check in" from wherever I was. I am so ready to be signed up and a paying subscriber!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is there such thing as an all day lipstick?

Dear Christy,

I read your post today and watched your video about looking for a good all day lipstick-maybe I have found some for you!

Your Friend,

Today, my friend Christy posted a video about lipstick. She is looking for an all day lipstick that actually stays on! So I thought I'd share with her my findings with Revlon ColorStay Overtime. Please forgive the shaky camera-I did this as a quick response and I'm trying out my new Flipcam!

Here are my lips after dinner so about 6 hours after I applied the lipstick. I haven't reapplied the gloss.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Giveaway: Sew Cute Shop Amy Butler Birdie Sling

Whenever I see an Amy Butler Print I can't help but think of my dear friend, Amy (this one's for you!). And on top of it all this bag is absolutely precious! Head on over to Grosgrain's Sew Cute Shop Amy Butler Birdie Sling GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!! This giveaway is for Amy Butler Birdie Sling w/ 2 large pockets featured, sewed by Sew Cute Shop with an Amy Butler fabric of your choice. How fun is that?

Giveaway: Downeast Basics

Supermom, Lauren is hosting a fabulous week of back to school giveaways! (See Link Button in my Side bar) Today she just posted a giveaway from DownEast Basics for the cutest little skirt and long sleeved lace tee. I popped over to the DownEast Basics Site and was so impressed with their affordable and cute clothes. Why haven't I shopped there before? Although it is simple, I really like this girls mini classic tee. It is exactly the kind of shirt I have been looking for to put on my 10-year-old Tomboy. Not too girly but it has a nice feminine cut. Perfect. Contest ends Sunday, Aug. 23 at 11:59 pm MST

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back To School Giveaway Event 2009

My favorite Twin Bloggers over at are at it again! This time with a week's worth of back to school giveaways. Every day check back through August 28th to see what amazing new giveaway they have going on! So far they have A Lands End Back Pack & Lunch Pack and $50 to Famous Footwear. Have fun! I can't wait to see what other fun giveaways these ladies have!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fundraiser:Put this on Your Calendar

A neighbor and friend of mine's father has cancer and has to go to Atlanta for his treatments. All his children are hosting a fundraiser to raise money for his treatment. Please come and help them out if you are in the area. Here is her invitation from her blog:

Host: Tipton Kids
Type: Causes - Fundraiser
Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009
Time: 9:00am - 9:00pm
Location: 531 E. 100 N.
City/Town: Springville, UT

My siblings and I are holding a fundraiser to earn some money to go towards my Dad's cancer treatment. This is something my parents never thought would happen but it did. My Dad has served our community for over 20 years. He is a retired volunteer fireman and is currently working as a Police Sergant for Springville City. He has helped his children with so much and has served others for so many years that we feel that we need to do this for him. We don't want money to be the reason he doesn't receive the treatment he needs.
* J-Dawgs will be there! (11:00-1:30)
*Cold Stone will be there (Starting at 12:00)
*Jamba Juice will be there. (Starting at 11:00)
*There will be a bounce house for kids
*There will be a silent auction for a Little Giant Ladder.
*There will be tickets for the Jazz, Bee's, Flash, Real Salt Lake...etc.
*Raffle fora scuba Teds open water certificaton (valued at $199.00)
*There will be MANY different gift baskets and gift certificates from business around the community
*BYU football gift basket
*You can get your hair done by a professional.
*You can get a massage by a professional.
*There will be a lot of different things you can buy:
-Flowers and bows for your hair
-Purses-Baby blankets
-Car seat covers
-Roberts Crafts gift basket

(Everything is New)


All proceeds will go to paying for our Dad's cancer treatment


If you have any questions please e-mail

5 minutes for Mom Snazl Party is hosting a Snazl Stories Party and this week the subject is blogging tips. It starts right now! I'm just barely jumping in on it because it looks new and fun. Give it a try with me...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Giveaways Galore at Supermom Central!

image via supermomcentral

Lauren of Supermom Central is hosting a fun week of giveaways. She's calling it "Stylin' for School" The list of prizes includes:
$75 gift cert. to Zutano
$50 gift cert. to Chittypulga
A complete outfit from Down East Basics
A T-shirt from Knuckleheads
Back-to-school products from Office Max
Week's worth of fun socks from Little MissMatched
Paknaks accessory pack


Go to Supermom Central all week long for her giveaways and if you put her button in your sidebar on your blog, you'll be entered to win a $25 gift card to TJ Maxx . I know that every little bit helps when getting your kids outfitted for school.

Contest:$500 Gift Card

I just came across a great giveaway through momfluence which is perfect for back to school! is giving one reader a $500 gift card to buy clothes for back to school! But there's more! If you don't win the grand prize, there are still opportunities to win a $250 gift card (2 winners) or a $100 gift card (3 winners)!

The way to enter is to enter a picture of a family member wearing an item of clothing that Cookie's carries at the Cookie's Flickr Group! Then fill out a form where the rules of the contest are posted! Check it out! Enter by 11:59am ET, September 4, 2009.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Reason to Love Autonet...

image via

My husband just recently got an iPod Touch and I think I have finally found the reason to have Autonet in my car! Sure, it was great for my vacation--because it was awesome, but we only go on vacations once or twice a year. I have had a hard time bringing my laptop with me everywhere I go just because I might need to use my Autonet. But since he has had the iPod Touch (which will soon be mine, btw) We have used the Autonet almost everytime we are in the car together. We use it for directions or to look up websites or to update our twitter accounts! It has been extremely handy. At this point I am definitely considering renewing my service once it is up, because I have finally found the device to use with it that makes sense in my life right now. Oh and I have to just say how much I love that iPod Touch! I didn't realize how cool it was until he brought one home. I guess I thought it just worked like an iPod except it had a touch screen, but no! Like I mentioned before, you can access websites and your twitter account and download cool games and other amazing apps so long as you have a wi-fi connection. Which I do. In my car! Thanks to Autonet!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Social Retreat.

Last week I had the privilege of going to the Summer Social Retreat hosted by the wonderful April of Sweet Life in The Valley. She did a tremendous job of creating an event where we could all get together and meet with blogging friends--some old and some new and socialize in real life. The event was full of talented women whose blogs I love and many more women whom I had never met and was happy for the opportunity.

I drove up to Soldier Hollow with my friend, Gert from Chicken Scratches.

I hadn't had lunch yet because of my crazy day, just trying to get ready and up there and was so grateful to find some delicious snacks provided by Frito-lay and Quaker-just what I needed to take the edge off! We started off with Horseback Riding sponsored by Rocky Mountain Outfitters. My horse, Macaroni was much more interested in eating the flowers of the thistles than moving forward, but it was still a lovely time. We followed the cross country ski trails that were used for the 2002 winter Olympics. Cool. I also noticed there was a campsite next to the outfitters-so that could be a potential camping destination for the family...
photo by Gert

When we got back to the lodge we met up with all the other bloggers who had attended other activities like fly fishing and train rides. It was such a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. April was definitely the Hostess with the Mostess for this event. Dinner was absolutely Delish! Western Community Bank stepped in at the last minute to fund the dinner when the caterer fell through and Shirley J's provided the sauce base for our pot roast--soooo yummy!

For dessert, I fell in love with The Chocolate's mini cupcakes--so cute and little and scrumptious!
To top off the evening April was like Oprah giving us all of her "Favorite Things" as swag to take home! . We got reusable grocery bags from Harmon's as our swag bags-and when you shop at Harmons and remember the bag you get a discount on your groceries. I already loved Harmon's and now I have one more excuse to shop there. Some of my favorite swag that I came home with were:

  • Yes to Carrots Lip Gloss and Lip Tints. I especially liked the lip tints. I like the smooth way they go on and how they add just the right hint of color to my lips.

  • Nuskin's Baobab Body Butter--has a light fruity scent and feels so good as a moisturizer. I have added it to my morning routine. (and I just love saying baobab!)

  • Tangerine scented Badger Balm. Mmmmm! I love how this stuff glides on my lips and makes them soft without feeling greasy. I've started to put it on my heels too to soften them up--I think time will tell if that is working...

  • doTerra Essential Oils. I go through phases of using essential oils and not using them. My mom and mother-in-law are both into natural medicines. In the starter kit we received there are lavender, lemon & peppermint oils--which can also be used in cooking! So far I have used the peppermint for my aching muscles-which it really helped to feel better! I was wanting someone to rub me down completely with the stuff! And we used the lavender to soothe a bug bite on my daughter. And I think it was the peppermint and lemon combined for my son's tummy ache--he didn't care for the smell, but he didn't keep complaining either. I am excited to try new ways to use these oils to help my family!

  • Shirley J's Cream Soup Base & Sauce Mix. Apparently you can use this powder as a base for just about anything. It is shelf stable for up to 20 years so it is great for food storage. I am looking forward to using it in a recipe soon. Shirley J's provided the beef sauce for the pot roast and it was so yummy! So I have high hopes for the cream sauce. I'll let you know how it goes...

  • Lastly I have to thank Jennifer Hoskisson of fotohok who took all the beautiful photos (since I forgot my camera) Otherwise I wouldn't have lovely photos to go with this post. Aren't her photos beautiful?
A humongous "Thank You" to April who hosted such a wonderful and fun event! I can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thank You: Women For Hire!

Photo via Twitpic

Women for Hire is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year! Congratulations! Their founder and CEO, Tory Johnson, also just released her new book this week "Fired to Hired" I need to pick up a copy of that...

To celebrate they are holding all sorts of promotions this week! I got this information from their website:

1) Free Access to Tory Johnson’s Early Morning Seminar: For a limited time only, purchase a copy of FIRED TO HIRED and send us your e-receipt starting today until Friday, Aug 7 to receive complimentary access to the fall 2009 Women For Hire Early Morning Seminar of your choice. (Dates and locations include Dallas—10/13; Chicago—10/15; Atlanta—10/21; Washington, DC—10/29; New York—11/4.)

That’s a $20 value—yours free for supporting the new book! Send your e-receipt to and indicate the city of your choice.

2) Free Online Webinar: Everyone who purchases FIRED TO HIRED receives complimentary access to an all-new 90-minute webinar hosted by Tory Johnson, featuring advice and ideas from more than two dozen experts. Watch the program online as often as you wish on your timetable. Send your receipt to for login details.

3) Freebies for Facebook Fans: Become a fan of Women For Hire on Facebook for your chance to win the full FIRED TO HIRED playlist from iTunes. In the book, Tory includes 30 top tunes to keep your spirits up when the job search gets you down. Every day between Aug 3 and Aug 9, one lucky winner will be selected to win the full playlist---and she’ll boogie her way to workplace success.

4) Follow on Twitter for Great Giveaways: Follow Tory on Twitter – it’s fast, free and fun – to win a Flipcam daily from Aug 3 to Aug 9. She’ll post a question of the day and a winner will be selected at random and announced the following morning. Enter once every 24 hours for your chance to win!

So guess what I won this morning!? I won Tory's special edition Flipcam. I have wanted one of those for soooo long. I might even have to start vlogging! I want to Thank Women For Hire and Tory Johnson for this gift. You can enter too for the rest of the week! Tory is an amazing woman and I have had the opportunity to work with her wonderful organization, helping women, in the past. I am glad to see that she has been so successful in her endeavors! Thank you again Tory! I will love my new Flipcam!

GIveaway: Thanksgiving Point!

My family Loves Thanksgiving Point. We have gone there since the kids were little. We love everything about it. Farm Country. The Dinosaur Museum. The Gardens. The Ice Cream. The Deli. And On and on. My kids are always begging me to go there. This month they are doing 2 buck Tuesdays and you know we will be there along with all the other people! Right Now Vanessa of I Never Grew Up is giving away a Family pack of 4 to visit EVERY venue of Thanksgiving Point for free! The Children’s Discovery Center, the Farm Country AND the Museum of Ancient Life! Is that Amazing or What!? We have 7 in my family but if more than half the family is taken care of we are in good shape! My kids would think this was the greatest to win. So if you are in Utah, You should definitely check this giveaway out!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Giveaway: Downeast Basics

Do you ever feel like your wardrobe needs a facelift? I know I do. I am always on the look out for new cute dresses and tops. And right now April from Sweet Life in the Valley is hosting a giveaway for Down East Basics. She is giving away an Empress Top and a Once Upon a Time Dress to one lucky reader. I love both of these so much and could definitely see them as an asset to my wardrobe. Go visit her site for deets. This giveaway ends midnight Thursday July 30th 2009.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oatmeal Banana Picnic Cake

For #gno tonight we are talking about summer dishes. Here's another use for bananas other than bread (special for @designmama) It comes from my dear college roommate Ximen:

1 cup oatmeal
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1-2 over ripe bananas mashed

Mix ingredients together and cook in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.
While cooking prepare topping:

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup nuts chopped
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together and sprinkle on top of cake broil for a couple of minute til golden. Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Giveaway: Reliable Steamboy T1

I used to have a steam cleaner--I loved how it cleaned. It was a Shark brand--The only problem was it broke down and the company sent me a replacement which then broke down again once the year warranty was over. I would love to see if the Reliable cleaner is well, more reliable. 5 minutes for Special needs is hosting a giveaway for a steam mop go check it out! The contest ends July24th! Good Luck!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

For Good...

For the past 12 years I have worked for the most amazing company. I found them when I was newly married and my husband had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome. We were both working at the time but I felt an urgency to look for a second job. I didn't know why at the time but my husband ended up being so sick that summer that he was unable to work at all and my second income would become a huge blessing. Through my job search, I found Career Step. The owner was Andrea, a single mother with a beautiful 5-year-old daughter who was often in the office with us. Sometimes I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to play with the boss' daughter or "work." I quickly came to understand the vision she had for her business and that was to help women take care of their families by offering them the training to become medical transcriptionists like she was. Her skills as an MT allowed her to provide for her daughter and be there for the crossroads in her daughter's life. Not only was she committed to helping the students of her program lead a better life, she wanted that for her employees too. As her employee, I always felt valued and appreciated. When my first child was born, I was able to continue working from home. She encouraged me to put my family first and as I did I was able to have the time to accomplish all my work responsibilities as well. I felt so blessed and lucky to have such a rewarding job. I felt comfortable bringing my children any time I needed to go into the office--in fact it was expected that they would be by my side. Andrea created a team of loyal and hard-working employees. When the company would reach milestones she would throw huge appreciation parties. When we were small and there were a handful of employees, I remember our first appreciation bonus being a $50 gift card to a local upscale restaurant. As the company grew so did her parties-- The last party she threw for her employees involved flying them all out to Los Angeles, putting everyone up in a hotel, paying for admission to the Disneyland Resort and enough Disney Dollars to cover food expenses for the day. I believe there were close to 100 employees. Her generosity inspired us to work harder and be better and we believed in her and her vision.

Her daughter has just recently graduated from high school. Andrea is remarried and has 3 little ones at home and she has been ready to spend even more time with her family. She was looking to find the right people to carry on her vision. Thinking she had found them she sold the majority share of her company earlier this year and we all had high hopes of the company continuing to progress while upholding the Andrea's vision. However, it quickly became evident that these new owners and management were only concerned with one thing--the bottom line. Morale within the company was low as employees started to feel unappreciated. Every summer that I have worked for Career Step I have known that I could put my children's needs first and still get my work done, but not this summer. This summer I had the feeling that I was not allowed to put my family first and even though no one ever came out and said that, it was certainly the "vibe" that emmanated from our new management--who seemed to have their own families on the bottom of their list of priorities. I woke up every morning praying that I would do what I knew to be right. If I stayed true to the vision I could be at peace with myself no matter what the outcome.

Last week I was abrubtly "let go" from the company and the only reason I can think of is we had philosophical differences. I believed in what the company used to stand for but now they seem to be on a different trajectory. I was told that they no longer needed my position, but I was over social media and web 2.0 marketing, work that they will continue pursuing. I feel so sad, like everything Andrea worked so hard for over the years has been destroyed in a matter of months. I feel hesitant about sending people to her amazing product afraid that they will not receive the same quality students once received. My heart breaks because of the direction I see the company going and I feel that it does not fit the vision of helping students or employees. In my eyes, it is only money driven. I wish the company the best. I truly hope that it does succeed and that Andrea's vision will resurface. I hope that they will continue to offer the quality training they have in the past. But all I can do now is hope...

I have always felt that if you do good for others good will come back to you. When Andrea was at the head of the company, I felt like so much good was coming back to Career Step. I can't complain about my time at Career Step. I am so happy that I was a part of it. I can't even number how many times my association with this company has blessed me and my husband and our five children. I will always be grateful for the time I worked there, but now I am grateful to move on.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wanna Send Nie a Birthday Present?

This Saturday is Stephanie Nielson's birthday. If you don't know Stephanie through her blog, I recommend taking a moment to get to know her. She will inspire and uplift you and help you recognize all the good in the world even in the midst of really difficult challenges.

Megan at The Sweet Tooth Fairy is selling Nie Nie's favorite cupcakes on Saturday and donating ALL OF THE PROCEEDS to the family fund and the AZ Burn Center.

If you are in UT, feel free to stop by their Provo/East Bay location. If you are outside of UT, don't worry! They ship! Here's what to do:

1. Visit The Sweet Tooth Fairy store or online shop.
2. Order as many VaNIElla Squared cupcakes (named after Nie Nie) as you'd like.
3. Enjoy the amazing sweetness... or look forward to it arriving at your door in a few days!
4. Help spread the news. The more cupcakes sold this Saturday, the more we help Nie Nie and other burn victims. If you are tweeting, feel free to use the hashtag #cupcakes.

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Giveaway: Fourth of July Picnic!

Just in time for the Fourth of July, the Momfluence network has partnered with Sara Lee and Ball Park Franks to provide one reader with a ready-made picnic!

One lucky winner will receive 10 packs of Sara Lee's Soft and Smooth Buns and 24 packs of Ball Park Franks - all delivered to their door! Add the condiments and some sides and you've got a holiday celebration to remember. We love the Fourth at my house for more than one reason but we especially love celebrating our daughter's birthday. Having a picnic as part of the day is especially fun. All you have to do is click on the link below and fill out their form. Easy Peasy.
Enter Here:

This contest is open to all U.S. residents age 18 years or older and ends on noon eastern, June 29th.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How to Survive a Road Trip with 5 Kids!

When we went to Disneyland last month we planned on taking a road trip. Really, with 5 kids in tow it is extremely expensive to fly anywhere, but the thought of driving in the car for 13 hours seems daunting especially when they complain and fight and whine when we take a relatively short 45 minute to 1 hour trip to Salt Lake. (Your kids don't do that do they?) I wasn't sure we'd make it and still want to spend the rest of the week with eachother. But we did...

Here are some of the ideas we had to make a more peaceful trip:
  • We stocked the car with plenty of new DVDs of movies they had never seen before.
  • I gave them all a bare book journal to color in and record their experiences in--along with a fresh box of Disney themed crayons from the dollar store for each of them.
  • We brought along the Chronicles of Narnia CD Collection (we only made it through the Magician's Nephew but it was superbly read by one of my all time favorite actors-Kenneth Branagh)
  • Frequent bathroom breaks
  • iPod full of music
  • 3 Nintendo DS consoles
  • Laptop for the kids to share...
  • Mom and Dad keeping a positive attitude no matter what!!!!
We would alternate between music, movies, books on tape and silence which seemed to work really well. And while my kids were watching movies and my husband was driving, I was able to do several things on my laptop thanks to Autonet! I had some work that I needed to accomplish before we left town and I needed to send emails to people to give them instructions on how to take care of things while I was gone. Of course I ran out of time trying to get ready but because I knew I could shoot off a few emails on the drive I wasn't stressed. In fact I had total peace of mind. I was able to compose the emails and SEND them from my car using our autonet connection! Hurray!

I have to say when I first won the Autonet, I was a little skeptical. I had questions like "When am I really going to use this?" And when it was first installed I really didn't use it that much, but on our vacation it was a lifesaver. We ran out of time to print out a map to our destination, but it was no big deal as we got closer to Anaheim I was able to pull up google maps and find the way. Also there were several times when we were on the road and wanted to know where we could eat based on our location--we were able to find the closest restaurants and get directions all online in the car. I also got to try out eye-fi while on the trip. It was awesome! I took some pictures at our first rest stop and within minutes of being back in the car and on the road again the photos had been wirelessly uploaded to my picasa account through autonet. I can't even tell you how cool I think that is. The kids thought it was pretty cool too to be able to see the pictures instantly uploaded to the internet.

Since the kids had their own laptop in the car, they each took turns checking their email and going to their favorite websites like, and to play games online while we were headed down the road. I loved that it gave them just one more option of something to do to keep the boredom away while in the car.

Believe it or not we even used some good old fashioned non-technology based boredom busters like the classic license plate game and finding every letter of the alphabet on billboards, but I was grateful for all of the gadgetry too.

Our road trip turned out to be a lot of fun. The kids didn't complain (much) and we arrived just before dark. Tired but calm. I am glad we had such a great road trip and hopefully my kids will look back on it as fondly as I do. I am glad we are making such great memories with our kids. So between all of our advanced planning and the ability to do some spur of the moment decision making based on our in-car internet searches, we did survive the road trip and actually had a really fun time getting there and getting home again. I hope some of my ideas might be helpful for your next road trip too. What are some ideas you have for making road trips more bearable?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Free Doughnut Day at Krispy Kreme!

If your kids are already out of school (like mine are) and you're looking for ways to keep them occupied (like I am) try taking them for a free donut at Krispy Kreme. See if your local Krispy Kreme is participating! If you live near me, Our's is!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth....

We have been gearing up for a trip to Disneyland for months--even longer really. It has been our plan to go this year for a couple of years but we started our hard-core planning a few months ago. Just as we were beginning to plan this trip we went out to dinner with a mission buddy whom we haven't seen since, well, the last day of our mission--so that would be about 15 years or so and it just turns out that his wife books Disney Vacations!!! How lucky is that!? She totally helped us book our dream vacation and gave us lots of tips and pointers along the way.

With 5 kids, things can add up very quickly so we looked for ways to cut costs while still having an amazing Disney experience. There were 2 things that I am so glad that I did before our vacation and those were buying them autograph books ahead of time and buying Disney trading pins at eBay for a huge discount.

The autograph books offered at Disneyland were $12.95 each for a size similiar to the ones I bought my children. Once I bought 2 it would have come pretty close to what I spent for all their books plus a little bit more. I got them landscape bare books at $1.75 each I also got clear covers for them to protect the covers. The minimum order at Treetop publishing was $25 so I bought 10 bare books and 10 covers so the kids could use them as journals as well. 10 books for the price of 2 at Disneyland. The kids got to design their own covers and my one daughter who LOVES Pluto was able to get Pluto to sign the cover of her book just like she wanted! Very cool! The other benefit of purchasing these books BEFORE we got to Disneyland was that the kids were able to get autographs from the characters the very first morning!

At Disneyland, the kids also majorly got into pin trading. I had first heard of this concept as an idea when reading Design Mom. And then our Travel Agent friend told us that we could buy them inexpensively on or eBay. We found a seller with good reviews on eBay and bought a lot of 60 pins for a fraction of the cost they'd have been at the Disneyland Parks (the cheapest ones started at $6.95--we paid about $1.25 each.) The pin trading was such a hit. The kids loved finding cast members to trade pins with and came home with some really fun finds. Each of them had a goal in mind as they traded--one daughter wanted all the baby princess pins, another daughter only wanted large pins--if it was big she traded for it and if it was big and had Tinkerbell on it--even better. One son started a quest for Star Wars themed pins and then changed to the baby prince collection to match his sister. On the last day trading pins was their main focus and desire. It was a lot of fun and we were able to allow each child to have 10 pins to trade compared to the 2 they would have gotten for the same price had we purchased them at the park.

The last little tip we were given which was really great was to buy each of the children a gift card of a set amount for souvenirs. We told them that as soon as the money was gone it was gone so they really had to think about their purchases. Since we were at the park for 5 days we also told them they wouldn't be allowed to buy anything with their gift cards until the 3rd day. They were so good about their purchases. They thought them through and were happy with their purchases, because they had seen multiple options before deciding on what they truly wanted to bring home with them.

Our trip to Disneyland was truly "magical." We had a great time, the kids all got along for the week and we made meories to last us a lifetime.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mother's Day Giveaways at 5 Minutes for Mom

Love those gals over at and for Mother's Day they are doing a huge giveaway. Every day til Mother's Day there will be something new to win! Items like a crock pot, teleflora flowers or a $300 gift card to the Four Season's hotel. That's what they have posted so far. Check back with them every day for more great giveaways like:

and more...

Be sure to visit to enter one or all of these great giveaways!
This event will run until Saturday May 9th and the winners will be announced on Mother's Day, May 10th.
Good luck and see you there!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

31 cent scoop night at Baskin Robbins!

I am blogging about ice cream this week! Baskin-Robbins third annual 31 Cent Scoop Night will be held on Wednesday April 29 from 5 – 10 p.m. All 2.5 oz. scoops of ice cream are only 31 cents! Treat your family or group to a scoop and a fun night out for just a few dollars! I advise getting there early cause the line gets long! Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Free Scoop Day at Ben & Jerry's

Tomorrow, Tues April 21st between noon and 8pm is Free scoop day at Ben & Jerry's. I used to go when there was one close to my house, but now the nearest one is an hour away!!! Maybe the rest of you are more fortunate than I. Go to to find a scoop shop near you!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Winner: Yanni Voices

We have a winner! Thanks for participating in my first giveaway on this blog. And thanks to One2One Network for sponsoring this contest. The winner of the Yanni Voices CD/DVD is...drumroll....

#2 Clair! Congratulations! Send me your address so I can forward it to the One2One Network and you can get your prize.

Thanks everyone for playing and be sure to check back again! I may just do another giveaway here soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I see London, I see France...

I see the cutest Francie Pants! I la la love Francie Pants and so do my daughters! I met the amazing Ciaran Blumenfeld at (where else?) Mom 2.0. I had read about Francie pants before I went and knew she would be there so I was planning on tracking her down and buying some Francie Pants for my girls. So I was surprised when she just gave me a pair for each of my girly girls! My daughters love to wear them.

So, what are Francie Pants? They are cute little shorts for your daughter to wear under her skirts and dresses or over her leotard to keep her modest! I just love saying Francie Pants. It rolls off the tongue. We have already purchased two more pairs and I think that I will need to buy even more soon.

If you'd like to see an interview with Ciaran go visit my favorite Twin Bloggers Janice and Susan at

Also, now through the 17th of April, with the coupon code WECARE Francie Pants is donating 100% of the proceeds of all Honolulu Lulu Francie Pants (the only ones with purple in them) to the Spohr family, who recently lost their beautiful daughter, Maddie, to cover their expenses and do with as they wish. 15% of all other sales made using this coupon code will also go to support the Spohr family.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

EcoTools Make-up brushes Giveaway

I have never been a big make-up user. I like the natural look. I also like to think that I am still 16 and truly have no need for make up. The truth of the matter is I am 20 years beyond 16 and my skin needs a little more attention, but I still like for it to look like I don't wear makeup, while still looking fabulous. A couple years ago, my sister gave me an extra container of Bare Escentuals Clear Radiance Powder that she wasn't using. I fell in love with Bare Escentuals . It gives your skin a nice even look without looking like you are wearing a ton of makeup. I bought myself a cheap-o set of brushes from Wal-Mart which I thought were doing the job just fine. Boy was I WRONG!

At the Mom 2.0 Summit, One of the items of swag in my bag was EcoTools recycled retactable kabuki brush. The 100% cruelty-free synthetic Taklon bristles are soooo soft and it applied my powder so smoothly. I fell in love and I just found out that I can buy them online at Target--I'll have to check my local store too. Because my cheap-o Walmart brush hasn't been touched by me in the last 2 months. I've decided my daughters can use it when they are playing dress-up and pretending to put on make-up.

I also just found a giveaway at The Beauty of Life for EcoTools Bamboo 6-Piece Brush Set. They retail for only 12.99 so even if you don't win the giveaway, you will not be disappointed if you go and buy yourself a set. You'll love it!

The winner will be selected on Friday, April 17 and notified by email.