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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.

Toddler Log: 2 Years and 14 Weeks Old

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Marlie and me spent Sunday night alone while daddy went out of town. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to introduce her to fish because her mama l-o-v-e-s fish but doesn't get to eat it often because her daddy l-o-a-t-h-e-s fish (can't stand the sight, smell, taste). So while daddy's away the girls will play. I bought a nice piece of wild sockeye salmon the day before. On Sunday night I gently seasoned it and placed it in a roasting pan with carrots and onions. It was so moist and tender. Marlie did not enjoy it as much as I hoped. She ate some, but it wasn't with the same voraciousness I've seen her eat fried chicken. At least she's not going to be a fish-hater like her daddy. 

Marlie has been singing up a storm. Even her teacher commented about how much she likes to sing along to the songs at school. As we were all putting up groceries on Saturday she was singing, "what's gonna work? teamwork!" Her sense of context just blows me away. She'll play keep away with my phone or put my bra over her head and say, "See, I funny!" She is still in love with books. Her current favorite is Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee. She knows it by heart. Speaking of hearts, she had her little heart broken for the first time on Monday when someone stole her ball. She had run out of the house with it and my slow, pregnant butt caught up with her near the end of our block. The ball dropped and rolled out into the busy intersection and across to the other side. I had to drag her kicking and screaming back home so I could retrieve the ball, but by the time I got back to the corner someone had taken it!  I had to go back home empty-handed and explain to my sobbing 2-year-old that someone stole her ball. She was so upset and kept asking for her ball. I repeated that someone took it and reminded her that she shouldn't have been running down the street with it because that is dangerous. I was mad at the thief, I was mad at her for not listening to stop as I chased her down our block, but mostly I was hurt that she already had to experience loss at her tender age and I couldn't do anything to bring the ball back.

Her grandma came to town om Thursday for the holidays and Marlie cannot get enough of her. Everything is grandma this and grandma that. They are like two warts on a frog. I won a $20 gift card to Whole Foods this week...guess who's getting an organic turkey this year?!

Valentine's Day Giveaway Hop Now Taking Blogger Sign-Ups

Friday, November 18, 2011

Real Mom Reviews and Mama Chocolate have teamed up to bring you a love (and of course gift) filled Valentine’s Day blog hop!

This event will start on February 1st and run till 11:59 EST on February 7th. In order to join the fun you must have a prize pack totaling $25 or more for one person to win and you must display the event button in your sidebar from now until event ends.

To read all the details and sign up go here.

Wordful Wednesday: Christmas Cards

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.
Remember my post about getting my holiday cards done in advance year? The early planning has really paid off! We had our family Christmas photo taken on Saturday and on Sunday I was able to place my order on Shutterfly. I love how they turned out! 

I am giving away 25 FREE Holiday Cards courtesy of Shutterfly to 3 readers! Click the link to enter by Thursday, November 17th.

What I'm Watching on #Netflix

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This week's picks from Netflix Instant Watch:

TV Show:
Roast of Charlie Sheen is an Comedy Central special where a bunch of comedians and guests join host Seth McFarlane (Family Guy, The Cleveland Show) in taking the mickey out of Charlie Sheen. It is uncensored, unflinching, and sort of funny in some places. Charlie Sheen has just come off a very public meltdown and some of the jokes seem too soon, but Charlie shows he can take the punches. He did create plenty of fodder for this roasting and they burn the heck out of him. Kate Walsh and Mike Tyson, though not comedians, get the most laughs.

O.J.: Monster or Myth?attempts to separate facts from rumors in this documentary that looks back at the key players in the murder trial of the 21st century. There are candid interviews with lawyers from both sides and the most infamous murder defendant himself mixed with media and courtroom video clips. I don't think this documentary proves anything except how many lives were damaged by the crimes and the subsequent trails (criminal and civic). It was interesting to watch one defense lawyer describe how he was shunned by his social circle. It really shed a light on the ripple effects of the trial. I don't think anyone who was involved returned to a normal life.

Toddler Log: 2 Years and 13 Weeks

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The week started off rough. The time adjustment (and maybe my growing bump too) seemed to throw Marlie into a weird place. Not only was she waking up too early, she continued to wake up several times in the middle of the night and then she decided to throw tantrums when you put her back to bed. I'm talking screams and cries so loud that I'm am sure the neighbors could hear. The whole episode would leave me frazzled because what mom wants to lay in bed and listen to her child sound like the girl from The Exorcist? I wanted to get up and comfort her or let her sleep with us. But I stuck to my guns and let her daddy escort her back to her own room every time because "it's for her own good." By mid-week she stopped the nightwaking and she's almost back to waking up at a reasonable time (6 am, I'll take it!). 

What else?
  • It looks like Marlie has finally picked a lovie (besides me). She has been napping and sleeping with her dolly (it's a custom waldorf-inspired cloth doll that I won in a giveaway). She also likes to travel with her pink giraffe. I couldn't be more thrilled that she is seeking comfort and companionship in these stuffed toys and not always looking to me.
  • She loves walking up to people and saying, "I two!" while holding up both of her index fingers. No peace sign for her. She always has to be different.
  • I got her addicted to hot cocoa and now she wants "cucoo" all the time. My husband is giving us the side-eye because we are drinking the expensive stuff (no instant mix here!). Real cocoa powder, almond milk, and real brown sugar are pricey so he wants us to limit our cocoa consumption to the weekends. I tried cutting the milk with water, but it just doesn't taste the same! I have few niceties in my life. I don't go the the salon every week to get my hair and nails done. I don't buy new clothes at all. I don't have a daily lunch date with girlfriends or buy myself a grande mocha latte every morning. So, if I want to "treat" myself and my daughter with some bloody cocoa in the morning, I deserve that luxury.
  • The giveaways gods think I deserve nice stuff too: I scored a HUGE win this week, a mamaRoo baby seat! I can check baby bouncy seat off my list of stuff I need to replace for the new baby since I sold or gave away all the infant gear we got for Marlie. Sweet. I also won a Seventh Generation prize pack that includes 4 bottles of dish soap, sponges and a Le Crueset baking dish.
  • We took our Christmas photo on Saturday afternoon and then rushed over to the Markeys house for a delicious dinner. Marlie and Orlaith played so well together. It gave me hope that Marlie will get along with her sibling.

Green Christmas Giveaway Blog Hop: Eco-Friendly Stocking Stuffers-US

Friday, November 11, 2011

green christmas blog hop
Welcome to the first annual Green Christmas Gift Giving Guide giveaway hop hosted by Home Grown Families and Just My Everyday Life.

Marlie and Me is happy to be participating with over 60 other awesome sites to show you many ways that you can have an Eco-Friendly Holiday season!

My prize package of eco-friendly stocking stuffers includes:
  • organic lip moisturizersa set of five (5) 100% Organic Lip Moisturizers from Tropical Traditions valued at $34.50. They make great stocking stuffers! Read my sponsor spotlight for full details.

  •  a $20 gift certificate to Dainty Hippo esty shop, the place for accessories, bags, and home decor to brighten your life. Someone on your holiday gift list is sure to love something from Dainty Hippo!

One Winner Takes All!

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.

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at MelissaAndDoug.com just for voting!

disclosure: I will receive a complimentary gift card for participating in this promotion

Shutterfly Delivers the Perfect Holiday Cards + #Giveaway (CLOSED)

shutterfly logoFor the third year in a row I am trusting Shutterfly to make my family's greeting cards this holiday season. Their 2011 collection of Christmas Cards and Holiday Cards do not disappoint. 

This year I am getting a head start on sending out holiday cards. I have already schedule our photo shoot for this weekend, now I just need to pick one of the many beautiful designs from the Shuttergly gallery. There are literally hundreds to choose from! But you don't have spend hours looking because Shutterfly's refining tool lets you narrow your search for that perfect card. I am kind of partial to this one because Christmas photo cards are such a nice memento for family and friends:

shutterfly holiday cards review

I know what you are thinking...I want that one too! Well, head over to Shutterfly and order yours. Don't forget to check out the calenders and photo gifts that make great stocking-stuffers!

Buy It: There is a 20% off sale on cards going on for a limited time!

Win It: three (3) Marlie and Me readers will receive a promo code for 25 FREE holiday cards courtesy of Shutterfly! To enter, simply leave me a comment with the name and link of your favorite holiday card design on Shutterfly.com. You must be a new/current follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect to be eligible (widget is located bottom of my blog). Ends November 17th at midnight.

4: Christa aka The BabbyMama

6: Maureen
8: Harlem Minded

Random numbers generated Nov 17 2011 at 6:1:13 by www.psychicscience.org


Green Christmas Giveaway Hop: Sponsor Spotlight on Tropical Traditions Lip Moisturizers

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The weather is starting to get chilly in Northeast Texas. We even had to turn on the heater a couple of days last week. My lips turned dry and chapped overnight, so I turned to the skin care brand that I rely on to remedy my problem dry areas Tropical Traditions.

Tropical Traditions Lip Moisturizers ReviewTropical Traditions Lip Moisturizers are made with organic coconut oil, palm oil, and beeswax. My lips love this stuff! I apply the lip moisturizer throughout the day to keep my pucker kissable soft. Of course Marlie wants to imitate everything she sees her mommy do. I don't hesitate to let her use Tropical Traditions Lip Moisturizers because all of the ingredients are organic and edible. 

 Tropical Traditions Lip Moisturizers come in unscented or with organic essential oils. My favorite is the Orange/Cinnamon flavor!

Buy It: Tropical Traditions Lip Moisturizers retail for $7.00 each (now on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Free through Sunday, November 13th!)

Win It: Come back for the Green Christmas Giveaway Gift Guide event November 11-18th  for your chance to win your own set of five Tropical Traditions Lip Moisturizers! Meanwhile connect with Tropical Traditions on these social media:

Weekly Sales Blog


What I'm Watching on #Netflix

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This week's picks from Netflix Instant Watch:

Buried. Paul Conroy is a supply contractor in Iraq who is kidnapped and buried alive in the desert. The movie starts off annoying and never recovers. Ryan Reynolds is the solo actor on screen in this flick you just hear the voices of the other characters. It cannot be easy to literally perform in a box for one hour and 30 minutes. To his credit he realistically portrays the gamut of emotions from fear to rage to hopelessness as he tries to negotiate his release and/or rescue.

Monday Morning Parenting: Gone Shopping

Monday, November 7, 2011

Shopping with the kids Before I became a mom, shopping was one of my favorite pastimes. I liken it to a game of checkers. It's most fun when done with a best pal, hopscotching from store to store together trying to score the best finds, the rush of emerging victorious in your hunt for the perfect cocktail dress.

Now with a kid in tow, shopping is more like going into battle. I have to do a lot of pre-planning, there is no such thing as impulse shopping anymore. My objective is to get in and get out with no tears or bloodshed and without leaving any men behind.

Take, for example, a trip to Target which used to be one of my favorite places to shop. I never noticed how diabolical that store is until I shopped there with a toddler. There is danger lurking around every corner-the brightly-colored Dollar Spot, the toy section, the snack section, and the grandaddy of them all...checkout aisle. You think you'd be safe in the checkout line, but wrong-o. The aisle is packed with candy bars and gadgets that look like toys and so you have a potential a hostage situation on your hands. It takes only a few seconds before I hear, "Mommy! I want that!," which loosely translated means, "give me that bag of chips or else I will throw a Level 10 temper tantrum right here in line and embarrass the crap out of you."

Luck for me, I don't negotiate with terrorists.

Also lucky for me, I learn quickly. It took one hair-raising shopping experience before I understood that I needed to train myself to be a shopper-mom. I had to acquire a new shopper skills set such as memorizing the layout of every store so I can avoid the pitfalls, keeping my child occupied with holding the shopping list because "helping mommy" is her thing, saying no to every well-intentioned employee (and sometimes stranger) who offers my child a lollipop, balloon, or sample of whatever sugary drink they are shilling. If I could toss my money down a special chute and make a mad dash for the exit, I'd be home free. But the checkout aisle always waits like a bear trap.

What are your tips for a successful shopping trip with the kids?

Toddler Log: 2 Years and 12 Weeks Old

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Marlie and Me had appointments with the dentist this week. I was worried that I had pregnancy gingivitis because my gums had been bleeding, but the dentist gave me the all clear. Marlie was wonderful at her appointment. She let them brush her teeth and do the oral exam without any fuss. The dentist declared she had perfect teeth...all 20 of them! I don't know when those 2nd-year molars sneaked in, but she has all of her baby teeth. I was so proud of her for being such a trooper that we celebrated with ice cream later that night!

The night-waking continues and now she is climbing out of her crib and coming into our room. Do you know how freaky it is to wake up in the middle of the night and see a tiny shadowy figure at the foot our your bed mumbling, "mommy, daddy?" It's like something out of The Omen. 

Wordful Wednesday: Super Halloween

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Marlie really got into the spirit of Halloween. She loved her Batgirl costume, especially the cape which she kept swinging around. She had a ball at the kiddie Halloween party at her daddy's office. Here are some pcis from that day...
Batgirl swings into action!
She meets up with her sidekick the Boy Wonder
Together they conquer trick or treating
That's me in the background imagining the sugar fallout. Image by John Hudson Photography

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