Monday, December 24, 2012

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours.

Over the next week I and my family will be celebrating Christmas and traveling to visit family. We will be unplugged and incommunicado.  That means that I will be taking the next week off from blogging and will be back January 1st. But don’t worry; I should come back with some interesting anecdotes to share.

I hope your holidays are very merry and bright!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Elf on a shelf… with manners.

We do elf on a shelf. We started this tradition last year and have continued it this year. His name is Charlie and although he is an elf on a shelf, he is a well mannered family friend who does NOT make messes for mom to clean up.

Elf on a Shelf

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Moving along with #Pregnancy Journal Week 13

How Far Along: 13 Weeks (or…13 weeks 5 days)
Due Date: June 22nd, 2013
Boy or girl: We don’t know the gender yet.
Bump Picture: Looking good… Ha ha ha!... I am hoping that if I keep telling myself this that I won’t mind the pasty drained exhausted look that I am sporting quite so much. Once again my son is my photographer and this was the least blurry picture out of the 10 or 12 that he took :)

Pregnancy week 13

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My boys are over the moon for the new Joovy Moon Room Playard #Review

It’s a jungle gym…

It’s a spaceship…

No, it’s the new Joovy Moon Room Playard and it is awesome! This playard is unlike any other playard on the market thanks to the new unique shape. It has been configured to maximize interior space while minimizing the amount of floor space it takes up. With over 10 square feet of floor space this has quickly become my son’s favorite place to hang out. Seriously… He stands in front of the Joovy Moon Room asking to go in.

So why am I such a big fan? Because it is not only a really cool place for my little peanut to hang out while mom is cooking dinner, it is also great for traveling (it comes with its own carry bag and washable 100% cotton fitted sheet). It is easy to set up and it is easy to fold and put away when not in use. I am also simply smitten with the charcoal color that it comes in. Although, the purpleness and black options are super sleek too.

joovy moonRoom

#WW: The Polar Express

riding the Polar Express

Last year we stood in line in the blistering cold waiting out turn to ride the “Polar Express”. This is a little train that is decorated with lights that the kids love to ride on. This year we went when the weather was lovely… and the line was three times as long. I would still take a long line in nice weather over a short line in terrible weather any day of the week. The boys had a great time and so did mom and dad!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Holiday Gift Guide Giveaways #GiftGuide #Giveaways

This is a giveaway linky that will be sticky {meaning it will remain at the top of Mom Mart throughout the duration of this event} until December 15th. All 2012 Holiday Gift Guide giveaways will be linked here for your easy access.

Second Trimester is right around the corner: #Pregnancy Journal Week 12

This pregnancy is moving right along and I am growing right along with it. Goodbye flat stomach and hello to the upcoming second trimester baby bump!

How Far Along: 12 Weeks (or…12 weeks 5 days)
Due Date: June 22nd 2013
Boy or girl: We do not know the gender yet.

Bump Picture: Woo Hoo! I have popped out a bit... Sorry for the blurry picture. My 3 year old took this photo while I was comforting my 1 year old.

Pregnancy Week 12

Monday, December 10, 2012

Give the Gift of a Great Future


Throughout the year I try to teach my children the importance of giving back to the community. We strive to involve our entire family in these good works so that our children grow up to appreciate the blessings in their lives and to acknowledge and help those who are not so fortunate. We have done this by participating in missions to assist our local homeless shelter and community churches. We participate in various fundraisers and outreach programs as well.
I recently heard about the 2nd annual Boys and Girls Club of America’s Give the Gift of a Great Future Holiday Campaign. The Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) has created various ways for anyone and everyone to give back this holiday season and to embrace the true meaning of the season. You can log onto the website to learn more.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

#WW: Dear Santa

My children love Breakfast with Santa, an event that my neighborhood puts on each year. We arrive early to see Santa and tell him what we want for Christmas to avoid lines and so far it has worked out well for us. This is quickly becoming a family tradition and it sure beats waiting in line at a mall.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why it’s important to read financial books to your kids {Guest Post}


It’s time for bed and your kids are ready to snuggle up under their covers and fall asleep to the sound of your voice while you read their favorite book. Maybe your kids love to hear you read the story about Little Red Riding Hood or maybe they love the story about Rapunzel, but it’s important to throw some educational books into the mix every now and then. I am not suggesting that every single night you have to read about saving money to your kids, but teaching them about the value of money at a young age will help them appreciate the value of money as they grow up.

Monday, December 3, 2012

First Trimester and the joys of morning sickness…

The first trimester of pregnancy is always my most difficult. With my first born son I lost 15 lbs the first trimester and was sick all the time. With my second son I lost 10 lbs in 4 days and had to go to the emergency room to get rehydrated and put on an anti nausea medication. Now with baby number three on the way I am counting down the days until the first trimester is over and I can start to feel normal again.
As of today I am 11 weeks and 2 days. The light at the end of the first trimester tunnel is fast approaching and I cannot wait to see the other end. Being sick is not fun… let alone being constantly sick with two little ones. At least my boys are somewhat sympathetic.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun ways to announce a pregnancy… and SURPRISE!

So I have come up with a few fun ways to announce a pregnancy.

The first time I was pregnant I sent little pacifiers and a note in the mail to immediate family to share the joyous news.

The second time I was pregnant I sent a picture of my digital pregnancy test that read “Pregnant”.

Now that I am pregnant {SURPRISE!!!} with my third bundle of joy I thought I would try and get a little creative… here goes.
announce pregnancy

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giving up naptime

When I was a Pre-K teacher my class took an afternoon nap every day. They needed it; and almost every day every single one of those children slept. They were 4 years old and as soon as their heads hit their cots they were down for the count.

My son is three and a half and is desperately trying to give up his one and only nap. He tells me every day that he is not tired and that he does not want to go to sleep. And every day that he does not nap he gets cranky, sassy, and temperamental. It is not good for anyone. He so obviously needs his afternoon nap, but it is war to get him to lie down.

Some days I will lie down with him and cross my fingers that this does the trick. There is a 50/50 chance that this will succeed. When I can get him to sleep, I may or may not take a nap right along with him {you know you miss nap time- don’t judge me}. On days where he is too ramped up to sleep I tell him he can play quietly in his room until nap-time is over.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#WW: Father and Son

I love watching my husband interact with our children. He is such a great dad and is always ready to give them his undivided attention. You can see what an impact this has on the boys. They are ecstatic to see him whenever he walks in the door. They want snuggles, and hugs, and cuddles from their dad morning, noon, and night. It makes my heart happy to have such an amazing family. I am counting my blessings.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Presents Dragons review

 Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Presents Dragons

Recently my family had the opportunity to go to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey presents Dragons show in Chicago. We decided that although we were sure our youngest would love it, it was too late in the evening to have him out and expect good behavior from him. So my husband and I packed up our oldest to head into the city for a night of ooohing and ahhhing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday Shopping

2012 Black Friday Ads
For the past couple of years I have flat out lied to my sisters about going out for Black Friday shopping. I have told them time and time again that I would stay up all night and go out with them in the wee hours of the morning to snag those amazing deals. This has never happened.

I think the latest I have ever stayed up for Black Friday shopping is 11pm on Thanksgiving Day. I just do not have the energy to stay up late and battle the crowds. To be perfectly honest, the crowds do not want me battling them either {I get very cranky when I am tired}. Just knowing that I am going to have to wake up at 6:00am the following morning with two little boys has me in my pajamas and clutching a pillow shortly after dinner has been devoured.

Needless to say I am not one of those people out at 3 am trying to get the best deal on a flat screen or whatever the hot ticket item is. I am the person who pours over the ads and tries to find the best deal for Black Friday shopping on Black Friday. I have done a little bit of Thanksgiving shopping before, but am usually just too pooped to do more than grab a few things and call it a night.

#WW: Box Children

I guess now I can get rid of all the toys and just buy them empty boxes for Christmas… Isn’t it ridiculously funny that children are so entertained by cardboard boxes?

Children in a cardboard box

Children in a cardboard box

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Something About Silver Forever Necklace Review and #Giveaway #GiftGuide

Something About Silver "Forever" Necklace

There is something to be said for the best gifts coming in small packages. A good piece of jewelry can make a lasting impression and a great piece of jewelry can take your breath away. I personally prefer jewelry that has a personal touch to it. That is why I was super excited to have Something About Silver as a part of this year’s Holiday Gift Guide!

Something About Silver jewelry is custom made and can be personalized to fit any situation or occasion. It is well made and looks great. I was given the opportunity to review the “Forever” necklace, which is a part of the new "limited edition" collection and I could not be happier. I feel like Goldilocks when I say this, but it cannot be helped. The pendant is not too big and it is not too small, it is just right. The chain is not to short and not too long, it too is just right. The words stamped on the pendant are not too many and not too few, they are just right. The “Forever” necklace is a great piece of jewelry that would make a great gift.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Plans

Where did the year go? Heck, where did the month of November go? I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is already here and it is time to sit around the table with family to give thanks and feast. This year has simply flown by!

I feel like I was just getting ready to put my house on the market; spending my days tidying up after a houseful of boys. I know that it was just the other day that I was taking the kids to the park for a picnic… wasn’t it? Halloween came and went and all of a sudden Thanksgiving is knocking down my door.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Personalized gifting with Fracture: Review and #Giveaway #HGG #GiftGuide

Some of my favorite gifts are the ones that are personalized. You know- the ones that people have put a lot of thought into. These gifts tell me that you care and that you spent some time and energy putting together the perfect gift that fits me. Who doesn’t like to feel special?

My mother-in-law got the family together for a little photo shoot at her home a couple weeks ago and there were so many great pictures that I knew immediately I wanted to have a couple enlarged for display in my home. This was the perfect opportunity for me to review a company called Fracture.

FractureSo what is Fracture?

Fracture is a new way to print and frame your personal digital images. It is not your typical photo gift. Fracture prints your images directly onto glass. Printing, mounting, and framing are combined into one really cool product that is both well made and pretty to look at! Not to mention it is relatively easy on the pocketbook.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Vera Bradley Weekender Review #GiftGuide

I am constantly on the go. I am either traveling to visit family and friends or I am off at a blogging event. I like to travel. I think it is fun going places and seeing people I don’t typically get to see. But no matter where I am going I always avoid having checked luggage. I also avoid over packing… usually because I am the one hauling my luggage everywhere.

While most of the time I travel with my two boys, I have been known to take a mini mom vacation every once in a blue moon. Packing up the kids can take up a bit of space, what with diapers and a change of clothes and what not. I on the other hand, can usually pack pretty efficiently. I am a big fan of carry-on size luggage and weekender bags and totes.

I received my Vera Bradley Weekender right before I was supposed to go and visit family for an extended weekend. It was kismet. I was able to pack my Vera Bradley Weekender and still have a bit of room to spare. All of the pockets and the solid base helped to keep my bag upright and organized. There is a lot to like about the Vera Bradley Weekender.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vote for Mom Mart as a Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Moms

Mom Mart has been nominated as a Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Moms of 2012.
I could not be more excited. There are only 8 days  left for voting 
{voting ends November 16, 2012}
 and EVERY vote counts.
So what does this mean?

You do NOT give any personal information and you do NOT have to sign up for anything in order to vote.You CAN vote once every 24 hours and I would greatly appreciate each and every single vote!
Thank YOU!

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

Melissa and Doug toys have always been a big hit in my house. They are well made entertaining toys and great for a variety of age groups! Some of my favorites are the wooden toys! With the holidays fast approaching Melissa & Doug have compiled a Terrific Twenty list of their top toys.

To celebrate they’re running a “20 Days of Terrific Twenty” Giveaway on their Facebook page. Visit the Melissa & Doug Facebook page to enter to win a gift every day from the Terrific Twenty list!

Melissa and Doug will be giving one lucky Mom Mart reader their very own Big Rig Building Truck Wooden Play Set. Just enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Contours Classique 3-in-1 Bassinet Review & Giveaway! #GiftGuide #Giveaway

Contours Classique 3-in-1Bassinet
Both of my children spent the first couple months of their lives sleeping in a clip on bassinet/pack-and-play right next to my bed. It was big and bulky, but worked. Now that we have moved to a new home, there is simply not room next to my bed for a huge pack-and-play.
Those first couple of months after each child was born I remember being utterly exhausted and constantly waking up in the middle of the night to check on them, feed them, or change diapers. Having them right next to me just made sense and was easier on me and my children.
Whenever I wanted to take my sleeping baby around the house with me I used a padded laundry basket or I simply carried my baby in my arms. Sometimes they woke up and sometimes they slept. I really wanted a mosses basket, but I never got around to buying one.

I have to admit that I have secretly been drooling over this bassinet for a while now. So when I was given the opportunity to review it I did a little happy dance… Okay, a big happy dance. So why am I so excited about this bassinet? Because it is not just a simple bassinet, it is so much more.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stocking my freezer with make ahead meals! #menuplanning

Make Ahead Freezer Meals

A while back I shared some freezer meal planning pictures with you on Facebook and received requests for the recipes. I wanted to try them before I shared them and I have. I have had a lot of fun planning and preparing these meals. I also adore how easy my meal planning has become since starting freezer meals.

I have already shared with you the creamy chicken taquito recipe that my family raved about, now I am going to share with you another family fravorite recipes as well as my experience with a typical freezer meal prep day. I do one week of menu planning at a time, but thanks to freezer meals I am not spending a ton of time cooking each night.

Friday, November 2, 2012

How was your Halloween?

A Star Wars Family Halloween Costume

I really enjoy Halloween. I make my entire family dress up. We pick a movie and then everyone in the family dresses up as a character from that movie. Last year we did Peter Pan, This year we did Star Wars and it was a blast!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Venstar ColorTouch Thermostat #Giveaway #GiftGuide

The Holidays are just around the corner and that means that it is time to start thinking about gifts. Some people have been on top of things and have already finished their holiday shopping. Others are just getting started. I am in between. I have some of my Christmas gifts taken care of and am still working on others.

One newest household item that we could not be happier with is our Venstar ColorTouch Programable Thermostat. It is a touchscreen that does it all and then some. We love everything about it. I think my favorite part is that I can put photos on it and have a slideshow going. My hubby loves that he can access our settings via his iPhone. It really is a fantastic household item that would make a great gift for him, her, parents, grandparents, techies, and friends alike {btw- you can win one here!}

Venstar ColorTouch ThermostatVenstar ColorTouch Thermostat

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dial Into Giving Champions For Kids SIMPLE Service Project #DialCFK #CBias

Dial into giving #DialCFK #CBias

I enjoy giving back to my community and I really enjoy involving my children whenever possible. I was recently given the opportunity to participate in another Champions For Kids SIMPLE Service Project and I could not be more excited about it! This month my family will DIAL into giving to our local homeless shelter and I highly encourage you to do the same.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Presents Dragons comes to CHICAGO!

My family will be seeing the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Presents Dragons event in Chicago and we could not be more excited. My son has never been to a show like this before and I know that it will be a memorable experience for him.

So what does a Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Presents Dragons entail? According to their website there will be some pretty amazing animals in the show. For example, there will be some elephants, some “big cats”, and some horses. There will be trapeze, clowns, and of course a Ringmaster.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Presents Dragons show is coming to Allstate Arena from Nov. 313 and United Center from Nov. 1627

My son loves dragons, he adores animals, and he really likes clowns. We cannot wait to take him to his first ever Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey show.

Have you ever been to a Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey show? If so what was your favorite part?

I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld preShow events.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

#WW: Pumpkin Patch Time!

My boys were super excited for their trip to the pumpkin patch and I cannot blame them one little bit. I remember being little and looking forward to picking out and carving pumpkins. I love that this family activitiy has become such a fun tradition for my boys.

This year they were a little more selective... only the perfect pumpkin would do.

Pumpkin Patch

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Home Makeover Progress: Guest room.

The new house is starting to feel way more like home these days with all of the progress we are making. Our latest accomplishment that I would like to share with you is the removal of the wallpaper borders.

I am not a fan of borders. This is my own personal taste and I know that there are people out there that love them… I am just not one of them. Have I mentioned that in the new house there were a lot of borders?

Before - fourth bedroom
Fourth Bedroom

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nap time not going well?

little man sleeping

As my son is getting older naptime is becoming more and more of a struggle and I am not ready to give up the afternoon nap yet. Let me rephrase that – I am not ready for him to give up the afternoon nap yet. When he does not nap he gets a wee bit cranky/whiney and I just don’t want to deal with that 24/7.

So what to do?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting it organized!

Moving can make people go mad… Okay, moving can make me go mad! I cannot stand disarray and prefer my home to be picked up and tidy. But just because I prefer something does not mean that it will happen. This is especially more difficult with two little boys at home. Even more so when you consider the fact that they are 3 and 1. Wow!

There are toys on the floor, but I consider the fact that I can still see my floor a success. There are books strewn on sofas where they have been read and discarded, but the pages are not torn or scribbled on …yet. This is all pretty typical and nothing that a quick ten minute mad dash throughout the house cannot fix. It is essentially the everyday disarray of a normal family and I am okay with that.

What I am not okay with is the disorganization of the adult areas of the home. These are the places where items are stored and any mess and chaos rests solely on the shoulders of mom and dad. The children do not play in these areas and there is no excuse for the insanity that is my garage/basement.

messy garage

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

#WW: Out of a funk with a laugh or two...

I feel like the last couple of days I have been in a little funk. I strongly dislike this feeling. I am grouchy and uncommunicative. I don't feel like doing anything and at the same time I have a gazillion things going through my head that I need to do. Frustrating, right? Well... laughter is the best way to get me out of a funk. So I thought this Wednesday I would share with you some words that made me laugh....

 Source: YourEcards

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My timeout conundrum

Timeout is tricky business in my home. My son really does not like to be put in timeout. When told to go and sit on the timeout step he will yell “No!” and take off, running laps around the house. It is not until he completly understands that I mean business will sit in timeout.

Going to his room for timeout is another battle. It is when he has been really naughty that the “Go to your room” card gets played. And then I feel like it is a battle to get him up to his room. Oh the joys of timeout…

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes & Chocolate Pieces Cupcakes, just because…#CoolWhipFrosting #CBias

Cupcakes to go!

I have been on a HUGE cooking & baking kick lately. I think the change in season is the root cause for this resurgence of domesticity. In other words, the cool temperatures and the red and gold leaves make me want to throw on an apron and create delicious works of art for all to enjoy. And I do mean everyone.
This weekend I baked Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcakes with Cool Whip Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Pieces cupcakes with Cool Whip Chocolate Frosting. It seemed that once I got started I couldn’t stop myself. I baked a ton of cupcakes and ended up enjoying some with my family, and sending little care packages of cupcakes to my in-laws and my husband’s office.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

#WW: Getting Ready for Halloween!

We are getting ready for Halloween. What that means for my family is digging out our costume bin where I lovingly save all of our old costumes and trick or treat bags and decorations… But this year my MIL decided that she wanted to purchase new bags for the grandkids and they have been having a blast and a half playing with them!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Freezer Meal: Delicious Taquitos!

I mentioned earlier that I have been on a freezer meal kick lately and have been experimenting with some recipes and trying some new things out on the family. Some freezer meals have been ho hum, while some have been AMAZING!

I have wanted to make them, freeze them, cook them, and eat them all before sharing them with you. This way we both can avoid the duds and I can share with you my favorites.

Before I share with you this wonderful recipe, let me start off by saying that they are ridiculously delicious and surprisingly easy to make.  After eating these taquitos my husband informed me that they were the BEST thing that I have EVER made… Seriously. So if you have a chance try them. They are perfect for a quick dinner solution and they taste great. 

FREEZER MEAL: The best Taquitos ever!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

12 Things I wish I knew before I became a mom

Several women I know are getting ready to become moms for the first time and I could not be more excited for them. I love being a mom! It is such a crazy whirlwind of an experience that I started to recently think back on when I was first pregnant and what I wish someone had told me about becoming a mom. This list originally started as a top 10… but it quickly bloomed into 12. Here goes:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® are coming to Chicago!


The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® are coming to town and you can come too!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents DRAGONS is a once in a millennium event that honors The Year of the Dragon. Circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth have assembled for Ringling Bros. Presents Dragons to showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson presides over this fantastical celebratory tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats. Dragons is a never-before-seen blend of renowned spiritual and real life legends that can be found only at The Greatest Show On Earth!

FREE PARKING in all official United Center parking lots.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey coming to the Allstate Arena from Nov. 1 - 11 and then to the United Center from Nov. 14 - 25.

My readers save 40% on weekday shows and 20% on weekend shows and holidays with promo code MOM3.

Get your tickets now for the AllstateShows & the UnitedCenter Shows!

I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld preShow events.

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