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Wordful Wednesday: Christmas Recap

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I LOVE opening gifts in my PJs, don't you?

Isn't it scary how fast they learn to tear off wrapping paper? I think she set a world record!

Look at her smile as while she rides her new balance bike!

What I'm Watching on #Netflix

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This week's picks from Netflix Instant Watch:

TV Show:
King of the Hill is an "adult" cartoon about a family of in Texas led by its redneck patriarch Hank Hill. Hank is a propane salesman who is sometimes misguided by his conservative and chauvinistic values, but he makes up for it with his aw-shucks charm. Watch him solve family crises and keep his misfit band of friends in line.

Gnomeo and Juliet is an animated adaptation of the Shakespeare romantic tragedy. In this version, the star-crossed lovers are garden gnomes from opposing households in England. I get what the writers were trying to do, but it just doesn't work. The animation is great, but the movie is short on laughs and catchy tunes.

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. I was not expecting to like this cartoon version of The Charles Dickens classic made with America's favorite bumbling senior citizen, but it surprised me with it's warmth, jokes, and positive message that both kids and adults will enjoy.

Comment Consideration #1

Monday, December 26, 2011

This is a new meme. I borrowed the concept from Tooje at Circling the Square Table. She had the great idea to answer reader comments and questions in a blog post. I do reply to M&M readers by email, but I not everyone is privy to that content. This way I get to expound with you all...

"What a trip. Traveling with a toddler is so, so, so exhausting. Dealing with crazy family just tops it off and pushes one over the edge. I totally get it. BUT...sacrifices for that special meet and greet, eh? :) Did they hit it off?"
  • I would never travel with a toddler alone while pregnant ever again. But, yes, it was so worth it. She fell in love with her uncle. Every day she has been asking to go on the plane to see him again. 

"Off topic - would love to see you post about how pregnancy is different the second time around."
  • I don't think I have enough to say to fill up a whole post. Physically, this pregnancy feels easier in many ways. I had mild nausea for only weeks 8-11 and that rundown tired feeling was over by week 13, but I'm still exhausted from chasing a toddler all day. One good thing is that I don't have any or the back pain or leg cramps that sent me running to a prenatal chiropractor last time. I think it's because my body is accustomed to carrying a baby now and I was also lucky enough to have gotten into shape with Insanity and P90X right before I got pregnant. It's funny too because I am not as health conscious with this pregnancy. I'm not exercising regularly and I indulge all my cravings, especially Mexican food. That would explain how I gained 25 pounds in two trimesters. I'm not especially worried though. I think this baby is going to be a lot bigger than Marlie was at birth. The biggest difference between my pregnancy with Marlie and chocolate chip is mostly psychological. I'm just more chill with this one. Last time, I was reading pregnancy books and websites every day and acting a bit neurotic with preparations. I was probably driving my husband and midwife crazy with my constant worrying. I'm a lot calmer this time around about being pregnant, but I am freaking out about how I am going to manage a toddler and a newborn.

Toddler Log: Two Years and 19 Weeks Old

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Guess who was an angel on the plane ride back home on Monday? I can hardly believe it. Little Miss sat in her chair, ate snacks, played with the little girl in the seat next to us, and read books for three whole hours! I heart swelled with pride and gratitude (because I could not bear a repeat performance of our plane ride down to Miami).

On another note, American Airlines has to be the least family-friendly airline I have had the displeasure of flying. Does bankruptcy mean that you stop caring about good customer service?! On the plane to Miami we got stuck with four other families in the back of the plane otherwise known as the ghetto. It's also the nosiest part of the plane. On the way back the check-in agent gave us opposite aisle seats! Like I am going to sit across the way from my two-year-old for three hours. We switched places with some nice sisters traveling with their parents. Oh, and the biggest insult was no snacks with craft service...just water, soda and juice. My stars, what next? Asking customers to bring their own airplane fuel?

Marlie really enjoyed her time in Miami. She has been asking to go on the plane to see her uncle "An-ju" every day since we got back. It makes me sad that she doesn't get the benefit of growing up around her relatives, but there is nothing I can do about that. It's not like I am going to move back to Miami. That would be mental masochism. Family...can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. sigh.

Having Marlie home these past two weeks got me thinking about homeschooling. Her speech just exploded in Miami, which I attribute to being around her older cousins. Marlie is no shrinking violet. She kept up with those two. Her new favorite word is "yep." She's a true Texan. I have been having a blast teaching her new things like how to use my old camera and wrapping gifts (now she wants to label and stick everything under the tree). But by Tuesday, I was ready for a break, so she will be returning to school on January 2nd. hee.

We are celebrating another quiet Christmas at home. Opening presents and eating breakfast in our PJs and going to church. Then we are going out to eat because it's more fun to have someone else cook and clean up!I also have to figure out how to increase my twitter ratio because I hot my follow limit!

Merry Christmas!

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm way behind on listing the things I'm loving. This week I am loving...
  • Christmas Music. It's one of my favorite things about the holidays. I like the classics like White Christmas by Bing Crosby and Merry Christmas To You by Nat King Cole, but I also love Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas. Of course it wouldn't be Christmas with listening to the Jackson 5 Christmas album a million times.
  • The 2nd Trimester. There is a reason they call it the honeymoon trimester. Weeks 14-27 are the best part of pregnancy. My energy is back, I feel chocolate chip kicking all the time, and I am eating like a normal human being instead of a vacuum cleaner.

  • End of Year/Best of Lists. I'll buy any magazine with one of these cover titles. I enjoy reading year in review articles about the best and worst of books, movies, television, music, events, fashion, and celebrity behavior. People magazine's issue was tops, full of pictures and hilarious recaps. 

What are you loving this Thursday?! Leave it in your comment :-)

Wordful Wednesday: Family Reunion

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

p.s. I'm guest posting today over at Life of TOI. She is a new mommy who was super smart to ask readers to share mommy wisdom while she took a blogging break to care for her newborn daughter. Please read my guest post over on her blog and then check out some of pregnancy articles.

Marlie and me took a quicky trip to Miami at the last minute to visit my family and for her to meet by brother for the first time who I haven't seen in three years. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, traveling with a toddler while pregnant was exhausting. Yes, there was drama (because my family can't help but drive me crazy). And yes, I would do it again.

Here's why:

To sit my hefty, pregnant butt down on a park bench and watch my daughter play with her Auntie

To sit on my hefty, pregnant butt and watch my daughter and her cousin "comb" my mom's hair :-)

To take my daughter to the beach
Only to have to turn back because jellyfish littered the shore

To hang out with my 5 siblings because that doesn't happen often. That's all of us...3 girls and 3 boys!

Toddler Log: 2 Years and 18 Weeks Old

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Marlie missed school this entire week. She was sick the first half of the week with what turned out to be a double ear infection. Some ibuprofen and antibiotics and she was on the road to wellness. Then on Thursday the two of us had a red-eye flight to Miami. I felt like a villain taking her on a plane when she wasn't 100%, but we bought these tickets last-minute after my brother was released from jail. I think I mentioned him on my blog before. He has been languishing in jail for 11 months on bogus charges and lacked decent legal representation until recently. His new private attorney is aces. Within a few weeks he was able to secure bail for my bro after demonstrating to a judge all the flaws in the case and the conspicuous lack of evidence. The judge stopped short of dismissing the case, but he did grant bail which is huge for his type of felony charge.

Anyway, I haven't seen my brother in three years. He's never met Marlie. I was determined to get to Miami before the holiday travel rush. Then Marlie got sick. We saw the pediatrician on Tuesday morning and she gave us the okay to fly on Thursday. If you think traveling with a toddler is rough, try traveling alone with a toddler while 5.5 months pregnant. On the flight, Marlie would not sit in her seat (that we paid for) and she would not go to sleep (except the last 15 minutes of the flight). I deplane with a toddler slung over one shoulder and a backpack on the other. I make my way slowly to baggage claim where I pick up the car seat and our suitcase. Thanks to the Smart Carte we make it to the rental car shuttle without incident. The shuttle drops us off at the rental car facility located outside the airport. There are no carts, and our agency is on the bottom floor. A nice lady helps us down the escalator. I find the line and it's 12-15 people deep. I put Marlie down and rummage in my bag for my reservation papers. She takes the opportunity to run off. I catch up with her halfway down the terminal. By the time we get back in line, six more people are in front of us. I am sweaty, frustrated, and exhausted. I am balancing a cranky Marlie on my hip when a concierge from the rental car agency comes by. She sees Marlie whining and tells me that Santa Claus  is here and asks would I like for her to go get him to cheer Marlie up. I give her a look that I hope causes her ovaries to shiver in terror. Look, lady who obviously doesn't have any kids judging by your perfect figure...when you see an obviously pregnant woman standing in line and struggling to calm another kid, you DO NOT offer her Santa freaking Claus! You offer to hold her place in line while she goes to sit down!!! Luckily, a sweet couple up front remembered I was in front of them and beckoned me over. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers! Concierge lady saw this and it must have made her feel guilty because she carried our bag and car seat to the car. Things didn't get better though. I split my pants while getting the car seat in place, and I almost got lost on the way to my mom's house. Our trip to Whole Foods for provisions was just as stressful (and Whole Foods usually makes me serene). By the time I pulled up in front of my mom's house three hours after leaving the airport, I was beat up. But when I saw my brother's face, I knew it was all worth it and I'd go through it again.

Miami is the same. Warm and sunny and just electric.So how did our visit go? Let me preface with this statement: I love my family, but they drive me crazy. They are loud and disorderly whereas I am quiet and orderly. I never felt like I fit into my family dynamics and this trip has proven my feelings correct once again. After three days of fighting for space to put Marlie down for naps and bedtime and having my family constantly overstimulating her and/or barging into the room were she was sleeping...I left and checked into a hotel. It was for the best. We need our own space and my mom's house was just overcrowded and too noisy. Anyway, we did have a good time in between the chaotic parts. We went to the park, flea market, visited neighbors, Marlie played with her cousins, and tomorrow I am taking her to the beach before we head back to Texas. All in all, our trip was a fun kind of torture. I only see my family once a year and I usually can put up with their b.s., but being pregnant has shortened my fuse. I will post pics this week.

Review: Go! Go! Sports Girls Dolls

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Go Go Sports Girl Doll ReviewMarlie recently became interested in dolls. She lugs her only dolly around everywhere and engages it in pretend play like rocking it to sleep, reading to it, and serving it tea. I started looking at buying another doll so she doesn't wear this one out, but the choices on the popular market are downright frightening. If a doll isn't perpetuating the princess myth then it's tarted up in heavy make-up and skimpy outfits...not for my two-year-old (or 12-year-old for that matter)!

So what is a progressive parent to do with these limited options? Don't sweat because Dream Big Toy Company™ has created a collection of dolls that send a positive message.

"Go! Go! Sports Girls are a fun and educational way to promote self-appreciation and the benefits of daily exercise, healthy eating and sleeping habits, self-esteem and overall healthy life-skills for girls ages 3-12."

Go Go Sports Girls There are 11 Go! Go! Sports Girls dolls representing a variety of sports. I wish there was more racial diversity in the group and that's something all doll manufacturers should strive for in their collections.

Go Go Sports Girl dance dollAt almost two and a half, my daughter already loves physical activity. She does yoga, kickball, and loves to dance so I chose M.C. the dance doll for this review. The doll is made from soft fabric with yarn hair (very eco-friendly) and is taller than I pictured. She is dressed for her activity in a ballet leotard and tutu. She is also carrying a backpack with a tiny towel! When I removed the doll from the box, Marlie exclaimed, "My dolly!" and reached for it. She took off and began playing with it right away. I told her the doll is a dancer and she started to wiggle its hips. My girl is so smart! I can just imagine her taking M.C. to her dance classes next year. I love that we have this doll as a positive role model and teaching tool to encourage her interest sports and exercise.

Connect with Go!Go! Sports Girls on Facebook!

You should definitely buy a Go! Go! Sports Girl for that special girl in your life. The award-winning Go! Go! Sports Girls dolls are available through a variety of online retailers. Giveaway coming soon!


Run Fast to Sprint for 3-Day Sale 12/12-12/14

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sprint for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have been a customer of Sprint PCS for more than 10 years, and I am consistently impressed with their mobile phone products and coverage.

Now I am thinking about getting a smartphone, but I'm not going to jump on the iPhone bandwagon. I will stick with Sprint as my carrier because they are always on the cutting edge of devices and service. When it comes to snagging a great price on a top-quality device, I know I can count on Sprint.

Sprint is playing Santa with more great holiday deals on Android™ powered EVO 4G or EVO™ Shift devices for a limited time! Have you seen these beautiful pieces of modern technology? They are sleek, sexy, and super 4-G fast! And with Sprint's unlimited data plan, I know I won't go broke from overages.

Know someone who would love an EVO smartphone in their stocking? Get the HTC EVO™ 4G or EVO™ Shift for FREE in this online special only on Sprint here:  Android™ powered EVO 4G devices.

Plus get activation for new lines of service waived and free shipping on Android™ powered EVO 4G devices with the same offer.

Make it an early Christmas with Sprint!

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Refinancing Your Mortgage Can Save You Hundreds and Save Your Home

A couple of weeks ago I revealed that we had put our house up for sale. One of the reasons was to avoid financial disaster in the future. With two kids and one income there would be no more money to put into a savings. My husband and I like having a safety net. So we are going to down-size. But not everyone can pack up and move when they have undesirable home loan.

One option we exercised last year was to refinance our home loan to get a lower interest rate. It put some more money back into our budget and provided us with breathing space. Every homeowner should look into refinancing With housing interest rates below 4% you cannot afford to overlook refinancing.  It can save you hundreds of dollars and even save your home from foreclosure.

Companies like Streamline Refinance can help. Streamline promise reduced paperwork, zero out of pocket expenses, and long-term savings on your mortgage. They specialize in FHA Refinance too using your existing FHA paperwork, so the approval process is much faster. You'll be on the road to a happier mortgage in 25 days! 


Does Your Kid Need Help With College Applications?

Monday, December 12, 2011

I remember when I was applying for college admissions and scholarships that I spent a lot of time on the essay portion because I was told it could make the difference between acceptance and rejection. It was nerve-wracking!

The essay is just as important in today's college application process, even more so because there is now a writing portion on the SATs. If your teenager is is feeling overwhelmed by all of those essays, you should consider hiring a writing tutor.

An online writing tutor has many benefits: the convenience of being accessible from anywhere, using computer technology that your child access any time, and one-on-one instruction. You might find yourself signing up for tutelage for applying to a graduate school program or getting help polishing that novel you've been working on.The tutors at TheWritingFaculty.com are experts in developing the writing skills of their students from elementary school to college and beyond!


Toddler Log: 2 years and 17 Weeks Old

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My mother-in-law is leaving this afternoon and I already feel my stress level dropping by several degrees. I do feel a little guilty for feeling this way, especially since Marlie has become so attached to her. We spent the last couple of days talking about grandma leaving on the plane to try and soften the blow of her departure. Tomorrow will tell if she takes it well.

Marlie is so hard to predict.That's one of the things I love about her. Her personality, while frequently challenging, is quite amazing. She is bright, sweet, affectionate, outgoing, fearless, feisty, resourceful, witty, full of energy, funny, and unpredictable! One minute she is pushing my last button and the next she is brings me a pillow. Where did this child come from?

Her newest phrases are "oh no! what happened?!" and referring to herself in the third person, "Marlie did that." She has become very interested in family units and always wants to know where the mommy and daddy are when she sees an animal or child by itself. She is also becoming a serious vandal. She tears her board books in half and breaks her toys on purpose. She writes on the walls and furniture and is just an all-around destructive force. Her destruction is not limited to her own things either. She doesn't do it while in the throws of a tantrum or fit. She just sits there quietly ripping up stuff. It's kind of disturbing. I'm starting to wonder if this is normal.

Someone asked me if I had created a baby registry for chocolate chip. I wasn't planning on it (or a baby shower) because we did had one just two years ago. I don't know what the rules are. What do you say?

Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Soap: Review + Giveaway

Saturday, December 10, 2011

When I turned *cough* 35 last May, I began thinking seriously about skin care. I realized that while I am not getting any younger, my skin can still reflect a youthfulness if I took good care of it. For me that means watching my diet, drinking lots of water, and using skin care products that nurture healthy skin and help prevent premature skin aging. 

Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Soap ReviewI've talked a lot about moisturizers and lotions, now I am going to focus on bath soap. I used to think that my "natural" shower gel was the bomb until I read the label and discovered ingredients like sodium lauroyl lactylate, benzyl alcohol, and fragrance. Sounds scary! 

There are two ingredients in Tropical Traditions Scented Organic Bar Soaps: saponified virgin coconut oil, and organic tea tree essential oil. You can enjoy richly-scented soap without artificial perfumes. Most importantly, you can enjoy a bath or shower without the drying effects of skin-drying chemicals!

I have always treasured my showers as a time to pamper myself and now my skin feels 100% renewed thanks to Tropical Traditions Scented Organic Bar Soap.

Buy It: Tropical Traditions Scented Organic Bar Soaps retail for $6,95 (now on sale for $5.50!). Please use my affiliate links:
Coconut Oil Soap - Lavender - 1 bar
10 Coconut Oil Soaps - Lavender

Win It: Tropical Traditions is giving one Marlie and Me reader one lavender and one tea tree organic coconut bar soap ! Thanks Tropical Traditions! Giveaway ends December 17, 2011 at 12:01 am EST.

Please Read How to Enter This Giveaway: you must use the Rafflecopter form below to record your entries. Comments left on the blog post for the required or extra entries don't count unless you record it on the Rafflecopter form. Please wait for the form to load, it may take longer to pop up than the rest of the web page. Make sure you have java script enabled and your browser updated. If you encounter an error, refreshing the page usually resolves the problem. If problem persists, please report the issue to Rafflecopter.

Wordful Wednesday: Please, Baby, Please!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Marlie "reading" her favorite book. Please take note of these things in the video clip:
  • How she bosses the baby in the book not only by telling her not to write on the walls, but also directing her to use paper.
  • How she emotes with hand gestures and earnest facial expressions
  • How she finishes with "the end"

Toddler Log: 2 Years and 16 Weeks Old

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How do I describe this week without complaining because we just celebrated a day of thanks after all and I hate to sound ungrateful? Never mind. I am going to let loose with the whining because this week was rough as in stressful and downright exhausting (and this is my blog, so I'll cry if I want to). Notice the lack of posts, tweets, and Facebook status updates. Notice my absence from your blogs. When I disappear from the scene you know something is up. But the week had it's bright spots. I'd say it was stormy with blue skies on the horizon. A dark tunnel with a light at the end. A bumpy road with some smooth patches. Let me break it down:

  • Marlie returned to school after a 3-day break for the holidays. She had been asking about school and her friends all last weekend, but I still think I missed school more than she did. 
  • My mother-in-law has been visiting us for the past for two weeks. While I enjoy the company and Marlie is gaga for "gran-ma," having family stay with you for extended periods of time can be stressful on several levels. Schedules and routines are affected, and I am someone who needs order to feel centered. Plus, my MIL is wheelchair-bound and cannot lift her arms above shoulder length. So, picture my 5-months pregnant self wrangling a rambunctious 2 year-old all day and also having to help her with certain tasks. I am burned out! One more week to go.
  • After two attempts to fix the lights on the Christmas tree so that the decorating could commence, I broke down and bought new strands. Totally worth it. Now if I could just keep some grabby fingers off it. 
  • I don't think I have shared this before, but we put our house on the market this summer (before we found out I am pregnant). Prospects weren't looking good, so we took it off for the holidays. I also needed a break from the grind of getting a 2700 sq ft house clean and "staged" for showings. Lo and behold our agent calls with a special request to show to a couple from out-of-town. For the first showing, Damon stayed home and helped get the place ready. Then we all piled in the car and left. Well the couple really liked the house and wanted to come back on Thursday while Damon was in Chicago. So I had to do the cleaning and staging by myself and we couldn't leave because I am not capable of getting my MIL down our driveway and into my car. I am still tired from the cleaning and staging. It was worth it though because we got an offer! Please pray that this sale goes through. 
  • Marlie and me had what I call our first mother-daughter fight on Friday. You may be wondering how a mother "fights" with a 2 year-old. It starts when the mother asks the 2 year old to sit quietly for a moment because mommy is literally about to collapse from exhaustion and the 2 year old interprets that as a challenge to behave as obnoxious as possible. When begging, bribing, and threatening discipline didn't work...mommy went off the deep end and locked herself in her room. The 2 year old stood outside the door throwing a tantrum, but mommy refused to come out because she thinks that it's time the 2 year olds learned that grown ups have feelings too. Daddy waltzed in the door (at 7 pm) and wonders what the devil is going on. Mommy turned on him. I am a human being for crying out loud (a very pregnant one at that!). I have been on my feet for a whole day getting the house ready for a showing. I have been up to my eyeballs in dishes, dirty laundry, and diapers (did I mention she has totally regressed on the potty learning?) all week. I have not been out of the house all week except to run Marlie to and from school and a quick run to the grocery store. I had reached my limit. So I let him have it for intervening in my parenting lesson, for coming home so late on a Friday, for abandoning me here with his mom. On one level, I was upset about being taken for granted and being taken advantage of because I am home. On a whole different level, I was frightened about needing to lock myself away before I lost control with my child. I didn't think he understood that I was under too much pressure at that moment. We didn't speak until Saturday morning, then I felt better after getting some stuff off my chest.

Bloggers Wanted: To Review/Giveaway Diamond Candles

Celebrate Woman Today has announced an exciting social media campaign for their Diamond Candles products. They are looking for 100 bloggers to conduct a review and giveaway of  their precious soy candles. Why "precious" you ask? Because each candle harbors a ring valued anywhere from $10-$5000 each.
I told you it was exciting! Can you imagine a pulling $5,000 ring from a candle?! Here's your chance to see what that would feel like and test drive a unique product! Go apply!

Sign-up for Toast to 2012 Giveaway Hop

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giveaway Hops are a great way to get more entries into your giveaways and increase traffic to your blog!
Just Married With Coupons and Sweep Tight are co-hosting a New Year's Giveaway Hop called Toast to 2012

This event will start at 12:01 AM EST on January 10th and run till 11:59 EST on January 17th. Go here to sign-up your blog! In order to join the fun you must offer a prize package valued at $25 minimum and follow the event rules.

Toddler Log: 2 Years and 15 Weeks Old

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was nice and quiet, just the three of us (with chocolate chip snug inside my belly) and my mother-in-law. Damon and I split the cooking. I must brag on myself because I did the dessert this year. I made this pumpkin cheesecake using a Redhead Riter recipe:

It was muy magnificent! I was so proud of myself! I also made the cranberry sauce (from scratch) and the roasted sweet potatoes. Damon cooked the turkey (I'm not ready to tackle the big bird yet), stuffing and yeast rolls (also from scratch). I think we're going to buy all our turkeys from Whole Foods from now on. Whatever they feed organic turkeys makes a difference in the meat. The taste is phenomenal. Marlie certainly enjoyed it! She and I split a bottle of sparkling cider while everyone else had wine. She looked so grown-up sitting at the big table.I forgot to take pictures at dinner, but that's what happens when you're in the moment.

As per tradition, we bought a Christmas tree and attempted to decorate it yesterday evening. This is as far as we got:

Marlie wanted to put the angel on top first. Then she proceeds to break ornaments and pull off the lights. We put the decorating on hold.

An update on chocolate chip: my last OB visit was good. I opted out of the anatomy scan, so we are still in the dark about whether CC is a boy or girl. I am going to try to keep it that way. I really do want to be surprised. Damon surprised me with a pregnancy pillow this week. It's like sleeping on a cloud, but I think he is regretting his gift purchase because the thing is HUGE and takes up half our bed. I know he hates sleeping next to it, but he doesn't say it. so. sweet.

What I'm Watching on #Netflix

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This week's picks from Netflix Instant Watch:

TV Show:
Wicked Attraction. What happens when two sociopaths meet and fall in love? The answer is a wicked attraction that spawns mayhem and murder. This show documents real cases of couples who kill in the name of love. It's so twisted!

You Again is a completely charming family comedy about a former high school nerd whose brother is about to marry her old tormentor. She plots to show him that his fiance' is really a mean girl. meanwhile her mother has her own blast from the past. I laughed and cried and laughed some more.

$50 Xperience Days Giveaway a Unique #ChristmasGift

Monday, November 21, 2011

This Christmas give that hard-to-shop-for-person on your list one of the unique gifts at Xperience Days! Imagine the look of surprise when your loved one opens the gift pack to reveal a gift certificate to a raceway driving experience, guitar lessons, a wine tasting tour, or hot air balloon ride. They are going to kiss you!

Xperience Days operates in 18 major U.S. cities and can be enjoyed by recipients from anywhere in the world as a destination gift. I have my eye on a gondola dinner cruise for two!

swim with dolphins ride hot air balloon drive a racecar

Buy It: Xperience Days packages start at $50.

Win It: One Marlie and Me reader is going to win a $50 gift certificate to Xperience days. Entrants can be from anywhere in the world as long as they are can travel to wherever their experience of choice is hosted.

Please Read How to Enter to this giveaway: you must use the Rafflecopter form below to record your entries (You may have to click Read More to see the form). Comments left on the blog post for required or extra entries don't count unless you record it on the Rafflecopter form. Please wait for the form to load, it may take longer to pop up than the rest of the web page. Make sure you have java script enabled and your browser updated. If you encounter an error, refreshing the page usually resolves the problem. If problem persists, please report the issue to Rafflecopter.

My Memories Suite Scrapbooking Software Review + Giveaway

my memories software banner

About three years ago I got heavily involved in scrapbooking. I was all in...heart and soul. I made almost daily trips to the craft stores, joined scrapbooking groups online and attended scrapbooking conventions. I loved the feel of the paper, tearing off the cellophane on a new album, and picking out shiny embellishments. Then I became a mom and no longer had the time (or money) to keep up with my hobby.

I heard about digital scrapbooking, but I was skeptical. I mean, what could replace the thrill of sliding a completed layout into a page protector? Then I tried MyMemories Suite scrapbooking software, and I was converted.

After installing the software on my PC (they also have a MAC version), I opened the program to discover a whole new world of scrapbooking. MyMemories Suite is full of design options. You can  purchase design kits from their website and some templates are even available to download for free. The control panel has every tool you can think of. Unlike hard copy scrapbooks, you can add video and music to your digital scrapbook. The software is very intuitive to use. I had so much fun creating this layout from my first pregnancy (one of the many albums I have been meaning to make):

my memories digital scrapbooking software review

One of the pluses of digital scrapbooking is the ability to share your work with family and friends in an instant!

Buy It: MyMemories Suite v2.0 retails for $39.97. Get $10 off your purchase with this code: STMMMS44313

Win It: One Marlie and Me reader is going to win a digital copy of MyMemories Suite v2.0!

Please Read How to Enter to this giveaway: you must use the Rafflecopter form below to record your entries (You may have to click Read More to see the form). Comments left on the blog post for required or extra entries don't count unless you record it on the Rafflecopter form. Please wait for the form to load, it may take longer to pop up than the rest of the web page. Make sure you have java script enabled and your browser updated. If you encounter an error, refreshing the page usually resolves the problem. If problem persists, please report the issue to Rafflecopter.
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