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The Best of Marlie and Me in 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Everyone else gets to have a Best Of List, now so do I. So here is the best of Marlie and Me this year, in chronological order...

Gilligan's Island: I play Hollywood casting agent with my pick of actors for a Gilligan's remake on the silver screen. 3/19

I'm Not Your Dorm Room Bunny!: I take a stroll down memory lane as I recount (in accurate detail) how a budding college romance (with future hubby/baby daddy) was almost derailed by his insensitivity. 6/25

Mothers as Martyrs: After reaching my breaking point as a new mom, SAHM, mommy blogger, I take a hard-hitting look at the Supermom myth and the impractical standards we mothers try to live up to 7/26

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Girl: I poured my heart out as I recalled 100 of my best memories with my daughter in her first year. It still makes me weepy when I read it. 8/15

Sesame Street Made a Boob of Themselves: I examine the controversy surrounding the Katie Perry boob-gate scandal at Sesame Street and I decide to ridicule the show's silly decision to pull the episode by blaming jealous moms for the brouhaha. I still stand by my opinion that the whole issue is a non-issue, but I shouldn't have resorted to personal attacks. I should have simply said, turn the channel if you don't approve of the featured guest. 10/2

I have Proof that Dads are from Mars: my HI-larious take on the differences between moms and dads. I would add to the list that moms are proactive (we plan in order to avoid scheduling conflicts, we try to foresee trouble and take measures to prevent accidents, mishaps and boo-boos), but dads are reactive (they avoid planning in order to schedule free time, they dive head-first into trouble and then respond to accidents, mishaps and boo-boos by calling for mommy reinforcements). 12/6

My Mystery Illness Solved: I reveal my 5-year struggle with chronic hair loss and skin problems and my unrelenting hunt for a diagnosis and treatment. 12/14

I hope you have enjoyed reading my little blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it! Happy New Year!

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, December 30, 2010

this week, I'm loving...
  • Chicken Soup! That's what you feed a sick mommy and a teething baby. Damon cooked up some homemade chicken soup with vegetables, noodles, dumplings, and lots of love. Me and Marlie ate it up. All better!
    (photo by William Jones/flickr)

    • marlieandme.com! That's right, we have our own domain name thanks to this tutorial by The Redhead Riter. So please pardon the dust around here until Google finishes redirecting everything. Oh, and update your bookmark with our new address. Next up, downloading the Alexa toolbar and mozRank because Google Page Ranks are so last year (literally).

What are you loving this Thursday? Link Up!

Holiday Photo Contest Entry: Let's Ride!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

rocking horse at christmas
This is my favorite photo of Marlie on Christmas morning. I have a picture just like this one of myself as a toddler on my own rocking horse, so I may be slightly biased. Look at the joy on her face. Isn't she the cutest cowgirl dressed as Santa's little helper you have ever seen?!*This post is my entry in the GiveawayBlogs.com 2010 Holiday Photo Contest sponsored by UPrinting.com. So please leave a comment (it's like a vote). Marlie and Me really appreciate your support!

Baby Log: 1 Year and 19 Weeks Old

It's been a sweet, low-key week for Marlie highlighted by her Granny Marge's arrival on Monday and visits by friends from Atlanta who came by the house while they were in town. The week started off promising with 75 degree weather on Tuesday that beckoned us to don T-shirts and shorts and walk to the park. But the temperature dropped dramatically on Wednesday and continued to plummet to a low of 35 for Christmas. Bah Humbug! Marlie woke up with a fever in the wee hours of Thursday morning (she is also teething again...upper molars). She was feeling better by Friday afternoon and was in good form on Christmas morning, but all the excitement of unwrapping presents left her overtired so she had to take an early nap. We continued our tradition of dining out for Christmas dinner (Indian food, again. I think we should change it up next year). That was our week. Oh, I managed to win two giveaways...a $20 EcoMom gift code from Cuddles and Camo and a Logitech HD Webcam C510 from Mommy Delicious. Sweet indeed!

Joy to the world!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

powered by Fotopedia

He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!”
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, December 23, 2010

this week, I'm loving...
  • Secret Santa 2010Year-end lists. You know, like best movies of the year, best books of the year, celebrity farewells and scandals of the year. While reading Entertainment Weekly I see my childhood friend's brother listed among the Broadway breakout performances of the year for his role in The Scottsboro Boys. Keep knocking 'em dead Joshua!
    (photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

  • IN YOUR FACE, SNUGGIE-LOVERS I used to watch the infomercials and think, how utterly cheesy! Then my hubby's company gave him two of these puppies. I have been transformed by the power of the Slanket! I would wear it outside if I weren't afraid of being thrown into a padded van and involuntarily committed.
    (photo by Megan Morris)

  • Carol's Daughter. It was time to get serious about Marlie's hair care. I turned to Carol's daughter for it's natural ingredients and positive reviews. She has been less resistant when I try to comb her hair. Two mom thumbs up!

What are you loving this Thursday? Link Up!

Winner of Organically Grown Baby Clothes

2008 Nike+ Human Race in Taipei Women's Winner
By Rico Shen (Rico Shen) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Congratulations to lucky#53......Samantha at Confessions of a Twin Mom- a work in progress. She is the random drawing winner of the sponsor's choice of baby clothes from Organically Grown! Samantha has 48 hours to claim her prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Random numbers generated Dec 21 2010 at 15:12:49 by www.psychicscience.org

Wordful Wednesday: Marlie, A Self-Portrait

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

look what baby Gordon Parks produced with she got hold of the camera, turned it on and pressed the shutter release button/

Baby Log: 1 Year and 18 Weeks Old

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's been a crazy, busy, hectic week. As you know faithful readers, we started off the week attending the Yo Gabba Gabba Live concert and it seems we haven't stopped partying in our city since. We attended a play date, a birthday party and her school's holiday party this week. I am exhausted. Somehow we managed to get our family Christmas card photo done. Here it is...

Our girl will no longer smile for the camera. What gives?!

What else went on...
  • Marlie is really figuring out electronics. She knows how to put my computer to sleep and will press the button if I leave my keyboard too close to the edge of my desk (is she trying to tell me something?). The cutest thing though was when she found one her dad's tools and tried to "fix" her boombox with it.
  • He new copycat gesture is calling the dog. She has seen me call him inside by making the kissing sound and now she does it.
  • She is starting to form sentences or make commands. She says "shut up dog!" when he starts to bark and "bye, daddy!"

[Guest Post] Early Childhood Sign Language

Friday, December 17, 2010

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

One of the keys to surviving in a tilted economic system in which opportunities to achieve a decent standard of living will be limited is versatility – and the ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience. This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

Signing Before They Can Speak

A great deal of research has clearly demonstrated that the best ages to teach a second language (where it be sign language or Spanish) is from the ages of 2 to 5. Many young children have a natural aptitude for signing as well. This can begin at home or if your child is enrolled in a child care facility, many programs have begun to incorporate it into their curriculum.

This is not as odd as you may think. As you may or may not know, many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language.

In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that children as young as six months old naturally communicate with their hands:

"...by 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children
can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children
can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces
frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves
before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)

The author also cites study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older.

The Best Time To Start

Pre-verbal youngsters having the ability to sign not only give them a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Georgia child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose child care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.


Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, December 16, 2010

this week, I'm loving...
  • Secret Santa 2010Playing Santa! I am a great gift-giver and it fills me with pure joy to buy presents, especially for someone who doesn't have much. I have donated to several toy drives and I'm looking for more ways to give this Christmas.
  • (photo by matt dwen)

  • Don't Turn This Into an IQ TestKnowledge is power. I was nervous about taking meds while nursing until navelgazingbajan pointed me to infantrisk.org, which rates the safety of pharmaceuticals on a scale of 1 to 5. I learned that my medication is a L2 and is considered safe for breastfeeding as long as I avoid nursing 1-2 hours after taking the pills. That's what I call mom-to-mom intelligence!
    (photo by Charles Strebor

What are you loving this Thursday? Link Up!

Winner of Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens

2008 Nike+ Human Race in Taipei Women's Winner
By Rico Shen (Rico Shen) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Congratulations to lucky#12...Kirsten. She is the random drawing winner of the Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens Supplement!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

Random numbers generated Dec 15 2010 at 9:42:29 by www.psychicscience.org

Wordful Wednesday: Yo Gabba Gabba Live

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This show is starting!!!

The view is better from daddy's lap.

I ask Damon to take a picture of me and Marlie and this is what I get.

DJ Lance and crew breaking it down

The balloon drop. Catch it, Marlie!

Biz Markie is beat boxing live on stage! Okay, now it's time for the parents to go crazy.

The end. We had a blast!
Thanks again to Erika at Organic Baby Resource for hosting the contest that
provided my family with the tickets. We had awesome floor seats.

My Mystery Illness Solved

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's called Lichen Planopilaris.

It took five years to put a name to my health issues. Five years of unexplained symptoms, endless trips to doctors and specialists, and wild goose chases. But my persistence paid off. I finally have a name for it.

Lichen Planopilaris.

It sounds scarier than it really is. I call it my vanity illness because the major symptom is hair loss. I also experience flare-ups of red, itchy bumps on my face and neck, which can be mistaken for acne. Now, I know better.

The first sign of trouble appeared in 2005 when my hairdresser noticed my hair was thinning at the crown. She told me to go see a dermatologist. That doctor said it was stress, over-processing or hereditary and sent me on my way. Around that time I went natural, but my hair kept coming out so I found a different dermatologist who gave me steroid injections into my scalp and a prescription for Minoxidil mixed with Retin-A. I also began seeing a homeopathic doctor who gave me supplements for adrenal support and instructed me to avoid eating wheat/gluten. My hair grew back and I thought the problem was solved.

Fast forward to 2008. We move to a new city. I am stressed over moving, looking for a job and trying to get pregnant. My face erupts in patches of itchy, red bumps. I go see a dermatologist who wants to put me on antibiotics and an acne cream. I opt for an acupuncturist and my face clears up. I get pregnant and 13 weeks into my pregnancy, my hair starts falling out. I go see a different dermatologist who can't do anything since I am pregnant. Meanwhile, I am developing bald spots (alopecia).

Right after I had Marlie, I went to see a loctitian to get locs because I no longer wanted to deal with my hair. She was so shocked by the condition of my scalp that she thought it was psoriasis. She also asked if I had lupus because she had seen the same problem in her clients who had lupus. I just brushed it off because I was so tired of hypothetical diagnoses. Plus, I was still hoping the issue would just go away on its own.

But I could not ignore the problem. I saw four different dermatologist between 2009 and 2010. Each one gave me his best educated guess about why my hair was falling out...from stress to hormones to hot combs. That last one pissed me off because I have never had a hot comb used on my hair. That particular doctor was so dismissive and his "diagnosis" was based on stereotypes about styling traditions of black, female hair. I plan to write him a scathing letter, but back to my story...

Losing my hair and getting pimples at my age is a traumatic experience. The problem was getting worse in recent months to where I could no longer cover up the balding areas on my head. I was ready to give up and started looking at wigs when I read this post by Quiana at Harlem Love Birds about how discoid lupus affects her hair and skin. Our symptoms were so similar that a light bulb went off in my head.

I went back to my original dermatologist (the one I saw when I was pregnant) and asked for a scalp biopsy. He said that he didn't perform them and gave me a referral. He did notice the red bumps on my face and said that it was probably hormones and gave me a prescription for a face cream. I threw that away, but I did call the doctor's office who did scalp biopsies. His fee was $580! I was appalled.

I did an Internet search for the best hair specialists in the Dallas area who performed scalp biopsies and took my insurance. I came up empty. I felt like someone had given me a balloon and then popped it. I felt down, but I wasn't out yet. I found the website for the local Lupus Foundation which had a physician referral list. I went down the list until I got an appointment for a scalp biopsy.

I went for the procedure the day before Thanksgiving. Damon went with me. Dr. Costner took a full medical profile, listened as I recalled my history of hair loss and past treatments prescribed, and she asked questions. I was so impressed because she didn't try to guess at the cause. Dr. Costner then removed a section of my scalp about the size of a pencil eraser after applying anesthesia. She also ordered a blood draw to have me screened for lupus. I went home feeling nervous, but hopeful.

Two weeks later I went back for my lab results. Dr. Costner applauded me for being tenacious because my lab tests confirmed an auto-immune disorder that caused my body to attack my hair follicles and skin. She called its name, Lichen Planopilaris, and said it's treatable with medication. I felt a mix of emotions...relief, fear, anger. I was comforted by the fact that I finally had a concrete answer, but I was also scared about the unknown, and I was mad at all the previous doctors who didn't think of it first.

So I am now pursuing treatment in hopes of growing back most of the hair I lost. Dr. Costner warned me that there are some areas that will not have regrowth due to scarring. I try not to think that these areas could have been saved if I had received the proper diagnosis and treatment years ago. I try to focus on moving forward and making sure I support my treatment with a proper diet and staying positive. I am also seeking ways to reduce stress because I know it only worsens my disorder.

Through all of this I learned a very important lesson...Doctors are only as good as their patients.
  • You have to be aggressive when seeking medical help.
  • Trust your instincts when they tell you something is wrong.
  • Keep a journal of your symptoms and be detailed.
  • Don't take no for an answers when you want to have a test done.
  • You know yourself better than anybody, never let a professional dismiss your health complaints.
  • Challenge a doctor's diagnosis that is not based on a lab result.
  • Do your homework by researching community health sites and educate yourself so that you can have a meaningful conversation with your doctor.

Monday Morning Parenting: When You Can't Agree About Holiday Traditions

Monday, December 13, 2010

This really ought be a Flashback Friday post because it dates back to this little gem I wrote last year about my distaste for the commercial Christmas culture and its pop star Santa Claus.

At the beginning of this holiday season my feelings hadn't budged. I held firm to my principle that Marlie was going to learn the true meaning of Christmas...Jesus Christ, faith, hope, charity. Santa was going to be, at best, a footnote.

I thought Damon and I were on the same page, especially when he declared that he would never want to take Marlie to the mall to sit on some stranger's lap. Then he flipped the script. We were on our way home from a party a couple of weeks ago when the Santa subject came up.

I said something like: boy am I glad we are not going to tell Marlie that Santa brings her presents for Christmas.

His (totally unexpected) reply was: I don't agree with that. I think believing in Santa is part of the joy and wonder of being a little kid.

I was completely blindsided. I thought we were in agreement about the Santa issue. Needless to say, we have been fighting debating about it ever since. I even proposed a compromise---we tell her about Santa as a bedtime story and we make it clear that he is a fictional character. But nooo, he wants the whole hog (except for actually taking her to see Santa, which makes no sense to me. If you are going to buy into the whole Santa hoopla don't you have to go all the way?).

So, were are at a standstill. Each side has dug in his/her heels and luckily there is no rush to resolve this disagreement since Marlie is still blissfully unaware of Christmas. I know our own childhood experiences fuel this argument. I didn't grow up believing in Santa, but he did. I see his point of view though, especially after watching the last episode of GLEE featuring a 16-year-old cheerleader who never stopped believing in Santa. Then I see Internet ads like these and I can imagine the excitement a child feels knowing that Santa is coming to town:

I might be softening my stance a little, but only a teeny bit. I say let Marlie decide. When she asks about Christmas, we drop the Santa bait and see if she swallows it hook, line and sinker. If Marlie wants to believe in Santa, I won't stand in her way. I can co-exist with Santa on two conditions:
  1. We make Jesus and doing charitable works the center of how we celebrate Christmas.
  2. Marlie understands that Santa brings one special gift and that her family worked hard and put a lot of thought into buying the bulk of her presents.
See how I'm not a total Grinch?!

Baby Log: 1 Year and 17 Weeks Old

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nada pictures again. You'll have to settle for my vivid prose. :-)

It's been a comparatively uneventful week for Marlie. This week she managed to...
  • break her boom box. It won't play CDs anymore. This is what I get for bragging that she knew how to operate it.
  • walk down the stairs while holding our hand. No more scooting on her but, she can actually lift and plant each foot on the stair below. She has been practicing on the toddler bridge at school. She is so proud of herself and insists on walking down the stairs instead of being carried.
  • spin around so fast that she got dizzy, stumble about like a drunk and walk smack into a wall before falling down. It's her new favorite thing to do.
  • try cooked oatmeal and soup. She's a fan of both.
  • sleep through the night on Thursday and then wake up a lot on Friday. what gives?!
We are off to see Yo Gabba Gabba in concert today so I will hopefully have pictures for Wordless Wednesday.

I had a pretty eventful week...
  • I entered over 200 giveaways last Friday-Sunday as part of the Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop, but only scored one win: a $25 Starbucks gift card from Mom's Musings.
  • But all was not lost. I started to rack up big time as the week progressed. I won a quart of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil from Giveaways for Moms. I also won an EMAB Angel Baby Kit and 3 Kissaluvs Marvels OS Fitted Diapers in the Nation of Moms Merry Fluffy Christmas event. Next, I won the Nescafe Prize Pack at Mommygaga and the Biokleen Prize Pack at To Spend or Save. Gimme the loot, gimme the loot! ha, ha!
  • On a more serious note, I received my lab results at the doctor's office on Friday. I never blogged that I was having health problems because I didn't know what was wrong, no doctor could tell me what was wrong and, honestly, I was starting to think it was all in my head. After F-I-V-E freakin' years of unexplained symptoms, I finally have a diagnosis (thanks again Quiana for that clue). The good news is that I am not dying from a terminal illness, but I do have a auto-immune disorder, which can be managed with treatment. The bad news is that I am not comfortable with nursing while being on the pharmaceutical drugs that I have been prescribed although they have been classified as safe. I have to make a decision soon about weaning Marlie. This is more devastating to me that my diagnosis because I wanted to breastfeed her at least until age 2 or at least let her self-wean. I appreciate any advice on how to best transition her. Oh, and I'm planning to write a post all about my mystery illness and how I finally got a name for it because I believe shared knowledge is empowering.

Final Fluff and Stuff(ing) Winner

fluff and stuff(ing) cloth diaper eventThe Fluff and Stuff(ing) cloth diaper giveaway event is no over and the last prize drawing for the Mother-ease Sandy's cloth diaper system was done. The winner is...
#107 caedman
Random numbers generated Dec 11 2010 at 4:55:9 by www.psychicscience.org Congratulations!

Baby Proofing for Dummies (Like Me)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I knew it was time to baby proof our home when Marlie started crawling and one of the first things she did was poke an electric socket.

But I quickly discovered that baby-proofing is easier said than done. There are so many child safety products to choose from! No wonder some parents hire professional baby proofing consultants. We felt confident that we could handle the task ourselves and the results were mixed. Electric outlet covers were a breeze, but we stumbled through our search for a baby gate. Like most new parents we went shopping at a local baby store. The choices in baby gates were limited, so the decision was really made for us. We wound up returning the gate we bought the next day.

Lesson Learned.

I went online and finally found the perfect baby gate after hours of combing through different consumer product review sites, comparison shopping, and trying to decide between pressure gates or mounted gates. If I had known about KidSafeInc.com I could have saved a lot of time!

KidSafe is a one-stop online resource for information on baby proofing and buying child safety products. They carry all of the best child safety gates on the market, including the popular KidCo gates.

The KidSafe Blog is an excellent source for information on CPSC warnings and recalls. I signed up to receive their alerts and educational articles. If you are riddled with anxiety about baby proofing, the KidSafe guides, checklist and baby proofing supplies will help give you peace of mind.


Do Something Good for the Environment This Season

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter is a magical time of year. It is also the time of year when homes have their highest energy demands.

Earthwhile, a UK-based online store, carries a good range of energy-saving products such as home insulation and solar-powered outdoor lighting to help homeowners cut down on energy waste, lower their heating bills--all while saving the environment. A triple win!

You'll also find a nice selection of eco friendly toys and gifts for Christmas at Earthwhile. This blogger has her eye on the new line of reusable shopping bags by Envirosax. Hint, hint, hint!

Earthwhile ships worldwide so get those orders in today.
This advertorial post is brought to you by your friends at www.earthwhile.co.uk

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This week, I'm loving...
  • Blogger for enabling automatic spam detection for comments, which has made a huge difference in the amount of spam I need to delete. For the couple of spam bots that get through, I can now mark them as spam and they completely disappear. Loving it!

  • The new guy on SNL. His name is Jay Pharoah. He does a spot-on Denzel Washington impersonation and his Will Smith is good too. Just watch this clip and tell me he isn't the funniest thing to happen to that show since Tina Fey.

What are you loving this Thursday? Link Up!

The Holidays are About Faith, Family, Friends and...FOOD!

Every holiday is about eating (and drinking). Just look at the evidence:

New Year's Day... collard greens and black-eyed peas for good luck

Valentine's Day...chocolates

4th of July...hot dogs and ice cream


Thanksgiving...large slabs of meat and desserts

Christmas...all of the above

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Well, maybe my waistline is but she'll get over it.


Wordful Wednesday: Her 1st Doll

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Get ready for me to gush over the custom made doll that Marlie is getting for Christmas! Sue at Polar Bear Creations did such a fabulous job that I had to share. This is the 12 inch cuddle baby that I won in a giveaway at the blog Homegrown Families. I got to choose the fabric for the skin and bodysuit and the hairstyle, which 100% wool. There are no small parts like buttons and the stuffing is non toxic, so this doll is completely safe. I enjoyed designing this doll so much that I'm thinking of getting one for my niece.

Family Dollar - SIGN UP & SAVE!

I buy most of my greetings at Family Dollar. It is a great place to shop when you want to save money. They always seem to have the best sales. Now you can get great Family Dollar offers, contests, coupons and more delivered right to your inbox! Click on the banner to sign up!

Tons of Vistaprint Items Free for the Holidays!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

* FREE Business Cards (Qty. 250) Choose from 45 templates printed in full color on premium 80 lb card stock. Select a design template and personalize it to best suit your needs. Easily add your own logo or photo. Business cards can be used mommy contact cards, personal contact cards, networking cards, appointment reminder cards, loyalty cards, tiny greeting cards, referral cards, raffle tickets, place cards & much more. Upgrade to premium business cards and save 50%. Printing is free, shipping starts at $5.67.

* FREE Photo Holiday Cards (Qty. 10) Choose from flat or folded holiday cards with Free Envelopes. Order today, and save 50% off higher quantities. Products are free, shipping starts at $4.60.

* FREE Holiday Postcards (Qty. 100) Get your message across this holiday season with customizable postcards! Use them as holiday cards, invitations or announcements for home and business use. Mailing services available. Matching envelopes available at checkout. Create today and receive in as few as 3 days. Printing is free, shipping starts at $7.

* FREE Photo Calendars (Qty. 1) Impress family, friends or customers with customizable photo wall calendars this Holiday Season. Select from Wall or Desk calendar and hundreds of templates to suit your style. Choose icons, add captions and highlight important dates. Upload your photos from Facebook, Flickr or Picasa. Calendars make perfect holiday gifts! Create today and receive in as few as 3 days. Bonus: Order today and save 50% off higher quantities. Printing is free, shipping starts at $5.67.

* FREE Holiday Labels (Qty. 140) Spread the cheer with every letter you send! Stick your labels on festive holiday letters, cards and packages. Choose from thousands of designs, upload photos or create caricature return address labels. Create up to 7 caricatures of your family, friends and pets! Use labels as To-From stickers, gift tags & more! Printing is free, shipping & processing starts at $3.07.

* FREE Photo Book (Qty. 1) Create a memorable gift for friends & family. The handy 4”x6” size is easy to carry wherever you go. Easily upload your photos and customize with captions. Includes 10 pages with 1 photo per page. Use it as your brag book! Order today and save 50% off all photo book options sitewide! Printing is free, shipping & processing starts at $6.16.

* FREE Mug (Qty. 1) Serve up some fun with a 11-oz full color ceramic mug. Choose from a variety of designs and personalize with your text. Have fun creating a gift to warm hearts this holiday season! Printing is free, shipping & processing starts at $6.06.

* FREE Holiday Stamp (Qty. 1) Choose from over a dozen designs and make holiday labeling a tad easier this year. Choose from red, black or blue ink. Printing is free, shipping & processing starts at $5.67.

* FREE Sticky Notes (Qty. 1 Pad) Personalize sticky notes are indispensable for work or home. These adhesive 3”x3” pads are full-color and easy to customize. Printing is free, shipping & processing starts at $4.59.

[Guest Post] Floral Centerpieces Aren't Just for the Summer

Guest post written by Ginger Robinson
I think that keeping floral arrangements around the house is so gorgeous, so I try to keep it that way. Although, sometimes I just don't get around to getting floral bouquets for the vases around the house like I should. So I'm all for finding plants that will last a really long time.
I went online to try and get some ideas about some floral arrangements that would be appropriate for Christmas time. While I was doing that I found some satellite internet packages that I thought looked pretty appealing, so I found one for me and decided to CLICK HERE and order it for my house.
While I was online I actually found an idea for a flower centerpiece that I think would go really great with all of my holiday decorations. It has some poinsettias in the middle of it, which just reminds me of the holiday season! Growing up, my parents would always have some potted poinsettias positioned throughout our house as part of our decorations, so it really makes it feel like home.


CLOSED...Organically Grown Baby Clothes Giveaway

Monday, December 6, 2010

We are becoming a more eco-concious society thanks to education about the harmful effects of pollution, toxins, chemicals, and environmentally-unsound manufacturing practices.

We are recycling more, making wiser choices in food and buying more natural cleaners, but how many of us stop to consider how our clothing is made?
Why you need to think about organic clothing...

"According to the Organic Exchange, over 456 million pounds of
pesticides are applied onto conventional cotton each year, of which
seven are on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of the top
ten pesticides which are known, probable, or likely carcinogens. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides and
synthetic fertilizers, making it healthier for both the environment
and the farmers. With products by Organically Grown, there is no need to compromise between your budget and your conscience."

Organically Grown is a relatively new lifestyle company that makes high-quality organic products from apparel and home d├ęcor, to personal care items for the entire family while teaching consumers about the benefits of living an organic lifestyle.

They just launched their winter collection including soft and cuddly outfits for baby at great prices! The three-piece organic bodysuit sets are super cute and super festive. Rounding out the line are gown, hat, and blanket sets, and a delightful variety of outfit sets for boys and girls.

Organically Grown clothes are stylish, affordable, and made of 100% certified organic cotton, making them the ideal holiday gift.

Shop: Organically Grown organic three-piece organic infant bodysuit sets are only $20

Win: One lucky Marlie and Me reader is going to win a piece of infant clothing
from the Organically Grown winter collection in choice of size and gender (Organically Grown will choose the style).

Mandatory first entry:Visit Organically Grown and then leave a comment with the name of a product you like. If you are commenting as Anonymous, please include first name and an email address
All extra entries listed below are worth one (1) additional admission into this giveaway. Please leave a separate comments for each extra entry you complete)Extra Entries for Supporting the Sponsor:
  • Follow Organically Grown on Facebook (leave first name and last initial)
  • Follow Organically Grown on Twitter (leave Twitter name)
  • Visit the Organically Grown blog and leave a meaningful comment on any post then leave a comment here with the title of the article
Standard Extra Entries:

  • Be a current or new follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect
  • Be a current or new subscriber of Marlie and Me via email (subscription must be activated)
  • Grab my button (leave the URL in your comment)
  • Add Marlie and Me to your blog roll (leave the URL in your comment)
  • Follow Marlie and Me at Networked Blogs on Facebook (leave your FB initials)
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet this message (limit one tweet per day. leave the URL to the tweet in your comment): I just entered to win Organically Grown infant clothing @Mommy2Marlie http://tinyurl.com/2adr9we #giveaway
  • Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 12/20/10 at 11:59 pm CST
  • Winner will be chosen randomly from all comments posted using Random.org
  • The winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond. Please make sure I can contact you either by having an email address visible on your blog profile or leave your email address in your comment(s).
  • In the event the prize is not claimed in the allotted time another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to US only (apologies!). Must be at least 18 years of age to participate. Void where prohibited.
  • By accepting the prize, the winner is granting permission to be identified as such.The winner's mailing address will be forwarded to the sponsor for prize fulfillment.
  • The winner has one (1) month from the date of claiming the prize to report any problems (lost shipment, broken product). I will not be responsible for resolving issues after this time.
  • Entries that do not follow instructions or are falsified will be disqualified

Monday Morning Parenting: I Have Proof That Dads are From Mars

There is nothing like having a baby to shine a spotlight on the gulf-wide differences between men and women. If you think I'm exaggerating just watch a man change a baby's diaper...next stop, rash city!

I have been quietly observing my husband as a father. I give him major props (that's a sociology term, look it up) for how well he's adapted to parenting, especially since he did not grow up around babies. I, on the other hand, have five siblings. I never lived in a house without a baby in it until I left for college.

I really thought that becoming parents would narrow the gender gap for me and my other half. You know where he'd become more emotionally available and I'd remain perfect. Wishful thinking!

I decided to get to try and crack the gender code as dreams of winning a Nobel Prize danced in my head. So, I created a survey, grabbed a clipboard, donned a white coat, and spent days in the lab with my subjects. No, not really. I did, however, study my husband as if he were a lab rat. I did not find any definitive answers, but I did make some interesting conclusions:

  • Did you know that men wash while women clean?
  • Did you know that men remember sports stats while women remember birthdays and anniversaries?
  • Did you know that men start the day wondering what things they can avoid doing while women start the day wondering what things they can accomplish?
  • Did you know that men need to be swept up after while women need to be swept off their feet?
I think I'm onto something. What do you think?

footnote: I am not a scientist (in case you haven't figured that out already). This is my tongue-in-cheek perspective on the differences between men and women. It's meant to be funny and meant to be read with a healthy sense of humor. Please take my theories with a grain of sugar.

Image Source

Fluff and Stuff(ing) Event Winners

fluff and stuff(ing) cloth diaper eventFirst, I'd like to thank the sponsors of Fluff and Stuff(ing) for making my first cloth diaper giveaway event a big success. I really enjoyed working with my event partners, getting to know their businesses and sharing their products with my readers.

Without further delay, here are the winners so far:

* A pair of Zizzies and Izzies fleece soakers. Congratulations...

#98 Katy
Random numbers generated Dec 2 2010 at 13:52:28 by www.psychicscience.org

* The set of wool dryer balls from Funhog Felts. Congratulations...
#63 Toni George
Random numbers generated Dec 3 2010 at 8:48:6 by www.psychicscience.org

* The set of Bummas cloth wipes. Congratulations...
#20 Quiana
Random numbers generated Dec 4 2010 at 7:9:32 by www.psychicscience.org

* The Pooters OS Bamboo Pocket Diaper. Congratulations...
#107 Nikki
Random numbers generated Dec 5 2010 at 7:3:57 by www.psychicscience.org

Thanks to everyone who entered! All winners have been contacted and their prizes claimed. Don't be discouraged if you did not win a giveaway in this round. There is still time to enter:

Mother-ease Sandy Cloth Diaper Plus Cover ends 12.10

Tropical Traditions Omega 3 Greens ends 12.14

Baby Log: 1 Year and 16 Weeks Old

Sunday, December 5, 2010

There is so much to report this week and without photos. You hear that, Santa? Marlie and Me need/want a digital SLR for Christmas! (or at minimum a Canon PowerShot). We cannot continue to deprive the Internet of Marlie's uber-cute visage. So, get on the ball Santa or you will be on our list.
  • Marlie continues to amaze me with how much she learns from watching what we do. This week she took a jewel case from my desk and tried to put the CD in her boombox. She also knows how to operate it (play, pause, skip) from seeing us press the buttons.
  • She's been grabbing our hands to lead us to things she wants us to get something for her. She knows that she has to hold our hands when walking outside and will automatically reach for our hand.
  • After months of repetition, Marlie is finally saying thank you in the correct context.
  • I've been slacking on the sign language, but picked up the lessons again this week. Now Marlie can sign "eat."
  • This week I've been mourning the return of THE LADY IN RED (if you catch my drift). It's been wonderful to be without a period. I guess Mother Nature has other ideas. Oh well.
  • I joined a village of generous spirits over at NECESSARY ROOM where blog author and wise woman Se'Lah has created a Christmas wish list to surprise some children in her native Montserrat. Please consider helping out.
  • I won a custom made cuddle baby from Polar Bear Creations from the blog Homegrown Families. I am really excited because this will be Marlie's first doll.

Let The Professionals Handle It

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some of my best childhood memories are from my summers in New York City, especially when all my relatives would gather in the park for a huge picnic. All the kids would run around and play tag or red light/green light while the men grilled and the women fussed over the side dishes. There was food for days!

I still love to picnic! We recently picnicked with our friends the Markeys back in October. I just don't enjoy the preparation and clean up. I know most of you feel the same way.

Do those of you who live in the Big Apple and the Garden State know that there is picnic catering in NY and picnic catering in NJ? MBS Caterserve does all types of events from family reunions to company picnics.

I wonder if they ever catered a Dunder Mifflen company picnic?


Celebrate the Yuletide with Fireplace Gas Logs

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We had a gas fireplace in my childhood home...in Miami (strange, I know).

We only used it a few times a year, which made it more exciting to watch my father light the pilot. Oh, and we had logs that looked and burned like real wood ones. They were gas logs
like the ones sold by Hansen Wholesale online.
Hansen Wholesale pioneered gas log sales on the Internet. Since 1994, they have been offering the guaranteed lowest prices on gas logs by R. H. Peterson, the only brand they sell. With R. H. Peterson Real Fyre Gas Logs you have the choice of vented gas logs or ventless gas logs. Ventless gas logs will produce more heat, while vented gas logs will look much more realistic. Consult the Gas Log FAQs to find out which option is best for your home.

yuletide logDoesn't this look cozy?!

If I ever have another gas fireplace, I'll be shopping for logs from Hansen Wholesale!

Right now Hansen Wholesale is running a special offer: $75 additional discount plus No Sales Tax and FREE Shipping. No sales tax applies to all gas logs. Free shipping applies to complete gas log sets under 36" in the continental USA.


Things I'm Loving This Thursday

I spent most of the weekend glued to my TV because this week, I'm loving...
  • GLEE! I confess...I never watched GLEE before except for a snippet of one episode that kind of turned me off. Then I won the Season 1 DVD set. I became became completely captivated after watching them. I downloaded all of Season 2 to my Roku via Amazon video on demand and watched those too. I am a total GLEEK!

  • Our Christmas Tree! It is a thing of beauty, and that's no exaggeration. After last year's runt of a tree that we got cheap at one of those big box retailers (cough: Home Depot: cough), I was not making the same mistake twice. We went to a tree farm. And, yeah, it cost a week's groceries but I think that's a small price to pay for perfection. Besides, I have to look at it every day so it should be pretty.

What are you loving this Thursday? Link Up!

Wholesale Costume Club Review

I missed the opportunity to do a costume review this past Halloween, but I have been given a second chance thanks to the folks at Wholesale Costume Club! This could not have come at a better time since Marlie is now showing an interest in playing dress-up.

The first thing I noticed when I visited Wholesale Costume Club's website was the fantastic catalog of toddler costumes:

Wholesale Costume Club

I picked the Batgirl Costume for Toddler for this review, and here it is on my baby girl:

Batgirl Costume for Toddler ReviewThe photo does not do this costume justice (bad, camera!). I cannot overstate how well made this costume is! Even Damon commented about the excellent quality and detail. It is well worth its $27.98 price tag ($24.96 for members).

In addition to the black dress with the Batgirl emblem on it, the complete outfit also includes a black cape, yellow utility belt, black plastic mask and boot covers

It is a little big on my petite darling, but it will fit her perfectly by Halloween 2011. Marlie is going to look sharp as the leader of our Justice League!

Don't wait October rolls around to purchase Halloween costumes for the family... take advantage of these incredible discounts today!


CLOSED...Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens If you are a regular reader of Marlie and Me, then you already know that I have been trying to get my sweet, little girl to drink green smoothies from the time she could hold a sippy cup. I would lovingly blend all sorts of fruit, leafy greens and coconut milk concoctions only to have Marlie spit it out.

I was frustrated, but not ready to give up. I requested the Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens in Berry flavor for my next Tropical Traditions product review in hopes that this would spark her love of green smoothies. And, I was right!

I mixed a scoop of the vibrantly-colored powder with 8 ounces of coconut milk and poured some in Marlie's cup. Then I handed it to her and held my breath.

Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens Review

I watched hopefully, but also with a little doubt. She has a habit of dumping the contents of her cup onto the floor when she is not feeling it. Imagine my glee when she swallowed her first sip and then continued to drink the green smoothie. Look at that green goodness mustache!

What doesn't surprise me is how delicious this drink tastes. It is naturally sweetened with Stevia and berry flavors and also low in calories. The directions say to mix the powder in water, but I recommend you put it in a blender with the milk of your choice for a richer, smoother drink. Not only does Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens taste fantastic, but it is also packed with nutrients. A powerful blend of antioxidants, vitamins , minerals, enzymes, and probiotics "supports nutrition, digestion, circulation & immunity."

Marlie and Me now enjoy a green smoothie almost everyday with Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens. It is the perfect supplement for a well-balanced diet.

Shop: Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens retails for $44.00, but is available for a limited time for $38.99. You can also receive a complimentary copy of the Virgin Coconut Oil book with your first online order by typing in my User ID # 5632947 when selecting "Referred by a friend" under the "How did you hear of us?" drop down menu after you complete your account information. The book will be automatically added to your order. If you have problems, please contact customer service and someone will gladly help.

Win: One lucky Marlie and Me reader is going to win a 13.7 oz canister of Tropical Traditions
Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens in Mint or Berry Flavor

Mandatory first entry: Check out the Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens page at the Tropical Traditions website and leave a comment with one the benefits you learned about and tell me which flavor you'd get. If you are commenting as Anonymous, please include first name and an email address
All extra entries listed below are worth one (1) additional admission into this giveaway. Please leave a separate comments for each extra entry you complete)Extra Entries for Supporting the Sponsor:
Standard Extra Entries:

  • Be a current or new follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect
  • Be a current or new subscriber of Marlie and Me via email (subscription must be activated)
  • Grab my button (leave the URL in your comment)
  • New! Add Marlie and Me to your blog roll (leave the URL in your comment)
  • New! Follow Marlie and Me at Networked Blogs on Facebook (leave your FB initials)
  • New! Follow me on Twitter and tweet this message (can tweet once daily. leave the URL to the tweet in your comment): I just entered to win a canister of Tropical Traditions Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Omega 3 Greens @Mommy2Marlie #giveaway http://tinyurl.com/39txbyu
  • New! Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 12/14/10 at 11:59 pm CST
  • Winner will be chosen randomly from all comments posted using Random.org
  • The winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond. Please make sure I can contact you either by having an email address visible on your blog profile or leave your email address in your comment(s).
  • In the event the prize is not claimed in the allotted time another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to US/Canada. Must be at least 18 years of age to participate. Void where prohibited.
  • By accepting the prize, the winner is granting permission to be identified as such.The winner's mailing address will be forwarded to the sponsor for prize fulfillment.
  • The winner has one (1) month from the date of claiming the prize to report any problems (lost shipment, broken product). I will not be responsible for resolving issues after this time.
  • Entries that do not follow instructions or are falsified will be disqualified

25% off Cyber Monday at My Baby Clothes Boutique

Monday, November 29, 2010

MyBabyClothesBoutique.com is offering 25% off their entire catalog on November 29th

Use the discount code below to get 25% OFF any order.

Simply enter the code during checkout at MyBabyClothesBoutique.com

Promo only valid from 11/29/2010 12am – 12 am est. Cannot be combined with other offers. Shipping not included.

Discount Code: CYBERSALE2010

*disclosure: I receive points toward merchandise for promoting My Baby Clothes Boutique*

Winner of the $25 My Baby Clothes Boutique Gift Code

2008 Nike+ Human Race in Taipei Women's Winner
By Rico Shen (Rico Shen) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Congratulations to lucky#50...SCMOMOF2BOYS. She is the random drawing winner of the $25 My Baby Clothes Boutique gift code.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Remember to check out my other open giveaways!

Random numbers generated Nov 27 2010 at 8:11:44 by www.psychicscience.org

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