Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crocs Back to School







Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.


Back to School shopping.


Oh, I have so many memories back to school shopping.


It was my favorite thing when I was a kid. What girl wouldn't love a whole bunch of shopping where you buy cute clothes. We would spend about two to three weeks going through different malls and department stores picking out the perfect outfit to go back to school in.


I also loved once we got everything spending the night before school started doing a fashion show for my parents and picking out the best outfit to wear with my sister.


Now that my Roo is starting school I got to spend some time shopping with her for her own school clothes (I can't call them back to school because this is her first year... hold me!).


I took her out last week and we hit a bunch of stores to pick up all the essentials that a girl needs: cute dresses, adorable shirts with rainbows and butterflies on it, jean shorts with polka dots and most importantly shoes.


Girls gotta have shoes!


Roo is a big fan of Crocs and wears them all over our barns.


Of course, they are a little rough because they are barn shoes so we decided to pick out a new pair of Crocs to celebrate the new school year and ended up with these:






The school approved Keely.


They are perfect to learn in and play in plus the flower jibbitz is super cute!


Now that we have all the essentials for my girl to start school, even a cute pink backpack with puppies on it, I can sit back and arrange the outfits and have her put on her own fashion show for me.


And I'll sit on the couch full of pride and tears because my girls is going to school! 


Enjoy this cute video from Crocs about Back to School.










Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Review & Giveaway: Blue Bunny Ice Cream

Ice cream is essential to surviving a Florida summer.

Seriously.

So when I was asked to review some of Blue Bunny's, I immediately stopped everything I was doing to tell them: Oh, Heck Yeah!

I got a yummy package in the mail (my kids got the biggest kick that we got a cooler of ice cream in the mail).


I received three varieties, including two of their newest selections: Mini Champ! Cones and Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches.


We immediately tore into them and chowed down.


Turtle was the biggest fan and I think it's not only because they are delicious, but they are her sized.


The box it all came in was a hit too, while eating more ice cream of course.


The only problem I could find with the ice cream was that because of their small size, I wanted to eat more than one... and more than two!

Don't tell anyone, okay?



Now it's one of your turns to sample the latest from Blue Bunny. I have a giveaway pack with Bunny Bucks, a coupon for purchase of one Blue Bunny ice cream product.  


All I need you to do to enter is tell me what your favorite kind of ice cream is!


This giveaway will run until August 10, 2011.


You can earn extra entries by tweeting about this giveaway, just make sure you leave a link to this post in your tweet and @NYTMBlog so I can see your tweet.










Disclosure: I received the free products as part of a promotional program with Blue Bunny and MomSelect.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Box Tops for Education & Winn Dixie Giveaway!

My Roo is starting school this year... and while I'm sad about it (really sad, actually) I am excited that I will be able to start collecting those box tops you see all over the place and help out local schools!

Here's the deal-o (from the press release):

"Starting July 27th through August 2nd, earn 5 Bonus Box Tops for your local school when you buy any two participating General Mills Box Top items.

At Winn-Dixie, it´s easy to save on great products like select Big G Cereals, Yoplait Go-Gurt, Pillsbury Toaster Strudels, Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks and more.

So as back-to-school season approaches, be sure to check your Winn-Dixie ad for details about additional bonus Box Top offers that start as early as August 3rd. To learn more about the Box Tops for Education Program and how you can help contribute to your school, visit www.boxtops4education.com."

Be sure you check out the Winn Dixie website for more details on the Box Tops for Education program. You can also follow the Box Tops for Education peeps on Twitter and see all the latest updates on Facebook.

To kick off the fun, I've got a $25.00 Winn Dixie gift card to get your started collecting those box tops!

All you need to do is tell me your staple back to school item you buy for your kids!

Easy peasy.

If you want more entries, all you need to do is tweet about this contest with a link to this post and @NYTMBlog so I can see it and you're golden!

This contest will run until August 8th, 2011.




Disclosure: The Winn-Dixie gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What I Love

A friend on twitter recently recommended another friend's website when I complained that I had nothing to blog about.

Suddenly, I've got something to say.

Don't you love when that happens?

Today's blog prompt was: What Do You Love to Do?

I have to admit to you, sometimes it's hard for me to stop what I'm doing for everyone else to think about me. I think as a mother it's instinctive for us to always put ourselves last.

Of course, once I started thinking about me and forgot about my children (not completely, so don't freak out!).

I love to do nothing... Seriously, the rare moment when I can sit in the swing outside and swing.

I love going for long, hot, stinky runs. I love the kind of runs where the sweat drips into your eyes and burns and you feel like you can run forever.

I love to give hugs to people, especially because I have been told I give kick ass hugs.

I love to bake, especially when it's cold outside or a sugar craving hits.

I love to read books... all kinds of books too.

I love to write, but the moment has to be just right... and I can't be distracted or I'll lose my focus.

I love to drive fast... really fast in a hot sports car with the windows down and the radio up.

I love to go for picnics in the back pasture after all the horses have been brought in and the sun is about to set. Our fields become alive at that moment and in a way, I do too.

I also love to travel and experience new things, like an Alpine village in the middle of the Georgia mountains, sharp rocks on a Mexican beach and fly fishing in North Carolina.


So tell me, what do you love?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Vacay Post: Binky Thief

I truly appreciate you trying to break my daughter of her attachment to her beloved binky.

But now is not the time.

Roo needs her binky like I need soda to survive. Without her treasured binky, her whole pretty face falls and ear-shattering screams pierce the air and my heart.

Your constant theft in my household results in a panicked Mommy and Daddy tearing apart every room in the house. We search frantically, each getting more and more nervous as moments pass and our daughter continues to cry.

When we find one we jump up shouting victory before we rush back to our bellowing girl and pop it in her mouth. Of course, the cries instantly stop and we both collapse in utter exhaustion.

Now I know you get a kick out of seeing two frazzled parents hunt for a binky like it's hidden treasure. But we are not amused. We do not enjoy this daily activity. We do not like playing your games.

We desperately ask that you cease this nonsense. . If you return all of the binkys you've stolen, we'll call it even.

If you return them we promise to call off the hit man we've hired to hunt you down.

Thank you kindly,

The Mommy and Daddy of a Miserable, Binky-Less Toddler

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Vacay Post: The Crayon Monster

Roo is a beautiful little child. Stunningly gorgeous, I swear by it. But even a perfectly featured child can behave less than angelic. Trust me on this, especially if you're pregnant for the first time and daydream about a perfect child.

My beautiful little baby is a little monster when it comes to crayons. Now, I am not a neat freak, not by any means. I've been known to leave a sippy cup of milk on the floorboard of my truck for days. But when it comes to crayons all over the floor, I go bananas.

One of my pet peeves is broken crayons.

I like my crayons in one piece with a perfectly pointed tip.

Roo could care less. She spies that yellow and green box and it's her mission to drop every single color out on the floor. After she's done with that something else will distract her and she'll abandon the crayons and in her earnest to get to her new object of desire, she'll stomp all over said crayons.

Just picture me chasing a 21 month old whirlwind of beauty who delights in making a mess.

I swear, she sees me trailing in her wake, feverishly picking up crayon debris and suddenly it's a game. Now she wants to play with the crayon bits and will circle back to dump more crayons on the floor.

The faster I pick them up, the faster she dumps them out.

I've tried to ignore tiny crayon fragments that she's stomped into smithereens. I've tried to turn the other cheek when she giggles delightfully before dropping each and every crayon all over the floor.

After playing this game one too many times, I've resigned myself to a lifetime of chasing the crayon destroyer. If I want perfect one piece crayons with a perfect point, then I'll need to buy my own box and hide it out of the crayon monsters greedy little hands.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Vacay Post: Is Breastfeeding Really Porn?

Yesterday I stumbled upon an article from WhoaMomma regarding a mother who was breastfeeding her two year old in her older child's school lobby (the mother was asked to leave, you can read the whole post on her blog for more info, it was posted on May 19th).

In the comments below, a few people remarked that breastfeeding in public is the same thing as porn.

And I know that this whole breastfeeding in public thing is a huge issue amongst people. You either love it or hate it. Some people cry foul if a mother takes it upon herself to feed her hungry child by pulling out her boob.

And my question is: when did everyone get so offended by a boob?

I mean, come on! When a mother feeds a child, like I do mine, why would someone look at it and think: sex. A child nursing on a boob is the furthest thing from porn and if you think it is, come on maybe it's time you rethink your whole thinking process.

If it were a grown man, yes than that could be conceived as porn... but not a baby. Not a baby that relies on that boob to provide nourishment in order to survive.

Another issue that the comments made about breastfeeding was that a two year old had no right to be breastfeeding.

Now, my child wasn't two, she was a mere two months from being two, but I nursed her until she was 22 months old and I didn't see a problem with it. But I do have to admit, I never nursed her in public. Roo was simply a comfort nurser and only needed it two to three times a day.I never saw anything wrong with providing this for her.

My point is that if a mother wants to nurse her child until two, what's the big deal? When did other people make the decision of what's right and wrong for a child? When did strangers decide that they could tell a person what they were doing with their own life was disgusting?

I agree that people are entitled to their own opinions (and lord knows I have my own), but why shove your opinions down someones throat? Why make a mother out to be a porn star? Why make that mother out to be disgusting?

It's a frustration topic and everywhere you go people are having heated discussion regarding breastfeeding.

And while WHO doctor's and blogger's everywhere have opinions, I think the one opinion you should listen to when it comes to breastfeeding is your own.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Vacay Post: That New Baby Smell

In honor of Kristen and Rebecca's pending bundles of joy, I give you my warm, fuzzy new baby memory.


When we bought Roo home from the hospital, she was this tiny little baby. All fragile and sweet-smelling, we were positive we would break her somehow. We'd never been so nervous in our life and that first night home, all alone just the three of us, we kept looking at each other wondering if we were doing it right.


That first night was such a big mess. Roo refused to sleep in her crib, the bassinet, our bed, anywhere...except my arms. It was exhausting. I could barely keep my eyes open and every time I put her down, she'd wake up SCREAMING! So we compromised, she slept in my arms while I stayed up all night and watched paid programming.


It was the first of many nights that this happened. But in the middle of never-ending yawns, snores from my sleeping husband, and bad acting about spacebags and pimple creams that I connected with my daughter.


She would wake to nurse and as I held her, our eyes would meet and everything around us would disappear. My heart would swell, tears would form and fall, and my stomach would develop butterflies. She would stare at me as if she was telling me that as long as we had each other, the world would have order.


Now, she's an independent child of 18 months that is running endlessly and would rather chase dragonflies and frogs than put up with my never-ending kisses. But occasionally, she'll let me hold her longer than necessary and our eyes will meet and I'm reassured she's still my little girl.


I wish you both nothing but sweet memories of your newborns.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Vacay Post: Dear Boobs (Repost)

Dear Boobs,

I know it's been awhile since we've spoken, you truly have been busy as have I. But I simply must tell you how much I miss you... how much I miss the old yous. I miss how small and pert you used to be. I miss how graceful and perfectly proportioned you once were. I miss how I could once go without a bra. Now, I dare not attempt it since you tend to leak and sag in the worst way.

Now you're nothing but milk jugs to a greedy, hungry child who insists you belong to her.

Will you ever return to your former glory? Will we ever have bra-less days in thin, trendy tank tops? Will we ever go back to one sports bra, instead of two? Sadly, unless you meet a fabulous surgeron with skilled, steady hands, I doubt it. :( I doubt you will ever be a fraction of what you use to be.

But alas, I promise to love you for all the hard work you've done and all the overtime you've put in. I know I told you it would only be for a year, but I appreciate you handling the unexpected delay like the degnified ladies you are. I swear, up and down, that two years will be your maximum output. I promise that in seven months you will be free to hang out and relax. I promise that we will try everything to perk up your outlook on life.

Thank you for everything.
SuZ

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Vacay Post: Handmade with Love (Repost)

As kids, every year when Christmas would roll around we'd get really excited. My sister, brother and I would sharpen our pencils and make out our Christmas Lists for Santa. We'd have the Toys R Us Big Book of Toys and the JCPenny's catalog as reference materials and sales flyers with hastily circled items that had caught our fancies.

The three of us would work really hard on our letters. We wanted every word, every picture, every plea to Santa to be perfect. The more perfect the letter, the better chance we'd get everything on our list.

Once completed, we'd signed our names and our mother would "mail" them off to Santa Claus. The remaining days until Christmas were spent sitting by our freshly decorated tree, staring at our stockings and whispering about all the new, cool toys we were going to get, especially b/c as far as Mom knew, we had been angels this year.

When Christmas would come, we would devour the presents under the tree while our parents excitedly took pictures. In our minds we were mentally ticking off our lists and making sure we got everything we asked for.

Of course, we didn't get everything we'd hoped for and as we tore open our gifts from our Grandma C. we found ourselves frowning as we examined homemade gifts. Unhappily, we unwrapped handmade ornaments of yellow stars, or dolls that looked like Cabbage Patch dolls, but weren't. The quilts made with odd patches had been a disappointment.

We would quickly put those gifts aside, and feverishly look for better presents under the tree. We never noticed the looks our parents exchanged as Grandma C's gifts were tossed aside in favor of talking robots that had flashy lights and Barbie dolls that had pink shoes.

Looking back now, I realize what selfish, ungrateful brats we were for not favoring the gifts made with love and especially made just for us, but adoring the toys that required batteries and tended to break in less than a month.

Looking back now, we never thought those quilts, ornaments and dolls would still be in existence while the much desired toys at the time are long gone and forgotten.

Looking back, I wish I could have meant those thank you letters to my Grandmother, not just written them hastily before rushing back to play with my favorite toys.

Now I realize the error of youthful thinking and every night as I slip under the oddly colored patch quilt on my bed, I think of the love my Grandmother put into making this quilt. I also think about the homemade, handmade gifts I've made for my daughter and hope that she'll realize that gifts made with love are the most precious of them all.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Vacay

It's here!

It's here!

Summer Vacation!



And because I deserve it, I'm taking a break.

But wait, you can stop groaning! I have pulled some of my favorite posts from the past to be re-posted this week so you won't be bored.

So while you're reading, think of me. I have a full schedule of boating, camping and eating on my plate.

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Before Babies: Date Night

When my husband and I started dating and we had a date planned, I would spend the whole day getting ready.

If he said he would pick me up at 7pm, I knew I had the whole day to get pretty for him.

I would start by painting my nails and toes and I'd lounge why they dried. Then, I'd clean up my eyebrows (I am German after all and it needs to be done). Then I'd shower and do all the girly things one does in the shower: exfoliate, shave, lather, rinse and repeat.

Then I'd tear my closet apart looking for the perfect outfit to wear.

I would try everything on with every combination imaginable and then I would move on to accessories.

Then came the makeup.

I would park my butt on the counter top in front of the mirror and apply everything just right.

I wanted to be picture perfect for him so when I opened the door and he saw me, he would say "Damn."

That one word would make everything I had just put myself through worth it.

The appreciation he showed me was worth every minute and he was worth every minute.

Now that we've been together for 13 years, I'm sad to say I don't spend a lot of time getting ready now. I tend to throw on whatever is on the hanger, swipe some gloss on my lips, stuff my feet into flip flops and run out the door.

While I know my husband still thinks I look good, I just don't get the "Damn" that I love so much.

No. More!

I'm stamping my foot down and putting an end to it.

If I want that "Damn," I better start earning it.

Sunday is Date Night for us and I am already planning my outfit, my hair and my makeup.

Do you still get cute for your husband/partner?

A Photo Worth a Thousand Words






I always make it a point to have a camera of some sort on me at all times.

Doing this allows me to capture every moment I found important (and even the unimportant ones as well).

Lately I've been using my iPod to take a ton of photos. It's small, manageable and doesn't make a ton of noise to disturb a sleeping baby.

I'm also in the process of weaning Turtle and finding that she and I have less and less snuggle time together and while my heart breaks at this process, I am overjoyed when she passes out in my arms and lets me hold her for as long as I want.

The ease of taking photos with my iPod and her exhaustion allowed me to capture this photo the other day:


It's literally worth a thousand words.

Including the following: weepy, sweet, adorable, lovely, cute, perfection…

It makes my heart ache, my throat swell and my stomach do flippy-flops. 

It also reminds me that I don’t have much more time with her like this.

Pretty soon she’ll be all grown up like her sister and not need me to do anything for her. She’ll be able to wipe her own butt, pick her own boogers and hotwire the car all by herself.

For now, I will hold on tight to her and cherish these moments and I will also hold on tight to this photo and any more I have like it because these are the memories I want to take with me, forever. 



I was selected for this sponsorship by the http://www.clevergirlscollective.com">Clever Girls Collective, which endorses http://www.blogwithintegrity.com">Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sea World's Summer Nights are Hot!

Last night I had the chance to take the girls to check out Sea World's Summer Nights.

Summer Nights, from 6:00pm until 10:00pm every night,  runs from now until August 14th and it means that the park is open late, there's live entertainment and a rockin' Shamu Show to enjoy.

And Sea World has just announced a great ticket opportunity for those that want to enjoy Summer Nights more than once.

Here is the latest press release with all the information:



"SeaWorld Orlando’s Summer Nights
Gets Even Better With After-3 p.m. Ticket

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 8, 2011) -– SeaWorld Orlando’s Summer Nights just got even better with a new after-3 p.m. ticket.  The special admission and special price – only $49.99 - brings more flexibility, fun and value to Orlando’s best nighttime theme park entertainment.

After dark, SeaWorld is filled with a new kind of energy and unforgettable nighttime shows.  There’s Shamu Rocks, a high-energy rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza of lights, sounds and, of course, the park’s biggest star, Shamu; the hilarious hijinks of the evening-only sea lion show,Sea Lions Tonite; under-the-stars coaster rides on Manta, with riders swooping and gliding through the night; and Reflections, SeaWorld’s spectacular of soaring fountains and dazzling fireworks, that ends the night with a sky-filling celebration.

It’s the amazing fun of SeaWorld’s Summer Nights, after 3 p.m., for only $49.99. And during Summer Nights, through August 14, SeaWorld is open until 10 p.m. 

In addition, a special Summer Nights after-3 p.m. ticket and dining deal is available for only $59.99.  This amazing package includes a wristband to enjoy all-you-care-to-eat-and-drink at participating restaurants. This deal can be purchased online or at the Information Counter upon arrival.
There are also special deals for families looking for an all-day SeaWorld adventure. Adults pay the kid’s price and get a 2nd visit free.  As with all of SeaWorld’s special events, Summer Nights is included with park admission.

For more information, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com."





I received media tickets to view this event in exchange for this post. All opinions in this post are 100% my own, unless otherwise noted. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bad Day

The other day I was watching VH1's Behind the Music and it was about Ice Cube and they played his hit song, "It was a good day."

I remember when that song came out, I was in middle school and I loved it.

Thought it was fantastic.

So it's been going through my head since I watched the program.

Today I want to curse that song.

Because today is not a good day

Today is, in fact, a bad day.

Have you ever had a day when it all snowballs? It's just one bad thing after another and it seems to build and build until you feel like you are going to snap in two?

I got into a spat with a friend who was acting like an idiot, the house was a disaster when I came home from a play date, my new cell phone wouldn't let me log into my account and then, to top it all off, Turtle refused to take a nap. Like refused as she spent thirty minutes screaming and arching her back, clawing at my face and kicking me if I came too close to her.

I thought I was going to burst into flames.

I had to put her down and separate myself from the situation.

Not because I was going to hurt her, never.

Just because I was going to bawl like a little girl.

I stuck her in the room with her Dad and sister and ran outside to get fresh air.

I gave myself some time, went back in, got her down for her nap and called my friend to hash out our spat.

Now the day is starting to get better, but it's not back up to Ice Cube's status just yet.

We'll get there though.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to Entertain Your Toddler at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Our summer adventures at Central Florida's theme parks continue!

We recently stopped over at Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) to check out if it was possible to entertain a toddler there.

Hollywood Studios is famous for its Star Tours (and Star Wars Weekends) and also that you can zip through the park in about four (or less) hours.

My girls and I hit it up on a rainy day last week.


Our first stop was the Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

I just want to warn you this attraction lets out into a mega "princess" gift shop and you will not believe the amount of princess objects you can buy for your little girls.

A great attraction for toddlers, except it does it get dark inside and it rains on them during the show.


The best spot for toddlers at Hollywood Studios is Disney Junior Live. There's a constant stream of characters to greet out front as well.

The only problem with Disney Junior Live is that you have to sit on the floor and if you sit too close, your kid can't see a darn thing.

Best bet, sit in the back!

It is a great show with all your kid's favorite characters, including the newest Jake and the Neverland Pirates!


 A great spot to play is the Honey, I shrunk the Kids playground.

They can run and jump and climb to their hearts content among giant stalks of grass (be warned that it closes when it rains). There's also a great counter service restaurant to grab a bite to eat at.


The one ride I really wanted to take them on, the Great Movie Ride, was closed that day but I imagine it would be a great relief to get out of the heat and let your toddler relax in your lap as you ride through the movies.

The back lots of New York and San Francisco have great steps to play on and there tends not to be too many people around so if you need a break, it's a good spot to rest your feet. 

Overall, our visit to the Hollywood Studios was short and sweet. We didn't overstay our welcome, no one got tired or cranky and the rain kept it (kinda) cool.

It is a great park to visit with toddlers. They'll love 



I received two park tickets to Disney to write this article. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Trouble with Writers

I remember the day I decided I wanted to be a writer.

It's a day so clear in my mind.

It was decided with such zest and such aspiration. I can picture myself sitting in my yellow directors chair (courtesy of my Grandpa) and grabbed paper and pen and putting it out there.

It was such a freeing feeling.

So masterful.

So meaningful.

I was hooked.

Fast forward to today and I sit down to write and lately, nothing comes.

Of course back then I didn't have two children, a home to run, a husband to cook for...

I had nothing but the expectation of going to shopping and washing behind my ears so I could spend hours staring out the window and day dreaming about characters (especially the boy ones... swoon).

Today it's totally different and life tends to get in the way of writing.

And that's what is happening to me right now.

My life is getting in the way.

And while I'm not taking a break from blogging, I'm just giving you warning that my blog posts may be a little... less for a while.

Please be patient with me. I really do hate this and want this all to pass.

In due time...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Breastfeeding Tales: Self Weaning Woes

I have recently found myself becoming desperate.

Truly desperate.

Truly exhausted.

And out of my mind.

I've decided to start the weaning process with Turtle with (high) hopes that she will start sleeping through the night.

We cut out the naptime feeding and I just hold her while she takes a sippy cup of milk and use her pacifier to soothe herself.

I nurse her in the morning and at night before bedtime now.

And my poor breasts are on fire all day long.

But when she does latch on at the end of the day, it's beautiful.

And I hate to give up nursing her because it is such a special bonding relationship and it's such a powerful one.

But Mama needs sleep.

We'll see how this all works out.

Wish me luck... or something. :)