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CLOSED...Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Lotion Review and Giveaway

Monday, February 28, 2011

Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Lotion ReviewI have suffered from dry skin my whole life. When I was younger I used the popular, commercial brand lotions because I did not know any better. Then I learned about the toxicity of chemicals found in everyday health and beauty products and I switched to all-natural and organic.
Lotion was my one stumbling block. I have tried dozens of organic lotion brands, but there was always something that kept me from becoming a repeat customer. Some lotions were too light to penetrate my dry skin, some were scented too strongly and bothered by allergies, and some were too expensive for my budget. Like Goldi Locks, I needed a natural lotion that was just right.

I believe my search is over after trying Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Lotion in Citrus!
First, let's take a look at the ingredients: purified water, organic virgin coconut oil, organic jojoba, emulsifying wax (plant based, no soy), grapefruit seed extract, and virgin palm oil. The scented varieties contain only organic essential oils. I love it when I recognize and can pronounce everything that I am about to put on my body!
The lotion is thick, but goes on smooth. My skin just drank it up! I apply it once after my shower and my skin is soft and glowing all day. Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Lotion is silk in a bottle!

Shop: Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Lotion normally retails for $21.00 for an 8 oz bottle, but is on sale for a limited time! 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 an 8 oz. bottle of
Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Lotion in your choice of scent!
Mandatory first entry: Check out the
Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Lotion page and leave a comment with the scent you'd choose if you wonAll 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:
  • Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions sales newsletter
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Standard Extra Entries:

  • Be a current or new follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect
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  • 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 Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Lotion @Mommy2Marlie #giveaway www.marlieandme.com
  • New! Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 3/12/11 at 11:59 pm CST
  • Winner will be chosen randomly from all comments posted using a random number generator
  • 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
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Baby Log: 1 Year and 26/27 Weeks Old

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Last Sunday was the first time I did not post a weekly update on Marlie. I felt really rotten about it, but decided that beating myself up was not going to help. All I could do was double up this week. So you get twice the Marlie!
  • Her daddy taught her to stuff her hands in her pockets and now she must do this every time she has on a jacket or pants with pockets. It makes it hard to hold her hand.
  • Her newest thing is to walk/run with her eyes closed. She has had some serious collisions and falls, but she just gets up, laughs and keeps on doing it. She is definitely going to be one of those "learn the hard way" types.
  • She's learned some new words: wash, sorry, me, and yes (although "no" is still her favorite word).
  • Marlie had her 18-month check up on Thursday. Her pediatrician was impressed with her language development and her cognitive/motor skills, like stacking matching blocks. Her ears check out all clear and her teeth look good (she has all her teeth except incisors and 2-yr molars). Then came the measuring. I have to say I am confused and frustrated with the whole growth chart thing. What's the point of monitoring where children fall on a curve in terms of height and weight when we all know that they are going to become adults who vary widely in terms of how tall and fat/skinny there are? As a child, I was always short and super skinny and I don't recall my doctors giving my mom a hard time about it or advising her to give me Pediasure. Okay, enough of my ranting. Marlie is currently in the 75th percentile in height, but not even on the chart in weight. After discussing her eating habits (pretty good) and her metabolism (uh, pretty high), her pediatrician recommended giving her Pediasure and going back in a month for a weigh-in. Really?! Is my daughter trying out for the Olympic wrestling team? Part of me wants to ignore her advice because I don't feel like Marlie is an unhealthy weight. The other part of me wants to err on the side of caution. So, I will try supplementing her diet with a daily protein shake so she can get some extra calories. I will be making it from scratch though in my blender.
  • I have to credit my baby girl for keeping my spirits up for the last week and a half. It's hard to stay sad when I have her big, bright eyes and mega-watt smile to cheer me up. She has been so smiley and sunny even though it's been a rough time for her too. One of the side effects of being pregnant and then miscarrying is that my milk dried up. It literally happened overnight. I was not planning on weaning her so abruptly, but baby girl took it in stride. I explained that mommy's milk went bye-bye. For a few days she would make the sign for nursing and reach inside my shirt, but I would gently remind her that the milk went bye-bye. She seemed to understand and stopped asking after about a week. That made a very heart-breaking situation much easier, thank goodness.
  • I have to thank all of you for your suggestions on how to memorialize Baby X. Kim of What's That Smell fame helped get the ball started by sending me this awesomely gorgeous Willow Tree Remembrance Angel. I will treasure it always! As for what I am going to do personally...I really liked the idea of planting a tree, and I am going to get a pair of angel wings tattooed on my wrist. I finally took another pregnancy test like I was instructed to do by my OB/GYN. It was negative so I guess that puts the lid on that.

Let's Talk Shop

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I feel lucky that I've never had to deal with the headache of a major auto repair. The idea of taking my car in for anything other than the routine oil change and tire rotation fills me with anxiety. What do I know about cars except how to turn one on and fill it with gas? Zilch.

If my check engine light came on right now I would panic and then call the dealership. That's not a good thing. I need to read the owner's manual and familiarize myself with the meaning of all the indicator lights. Some problems have simple solutions that the owner can handle like filling the tires with more air while others will need an expert to resolve. Having a basic working knowledge of your vehicle can save you time, money and embarrassment. For instance, it helps to know whether you drive a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord when calling around for an estimate on a repair. If you think no one is that clueless, you'd be wrong!

I think I am going to enroll in an auto repair class.

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Thank You, Blog Fam

Friday, February 25, 2011

I struggle to find the words to express my gratitude to all of you who left comments and emailed me after I revealed my miscarriage on this blog. I was not expecting the avalanche of well wishes that I received. The outpouring of support, especially from the mom blogging community, provided me with a great deal of comfort and solace during what could have been very lonely time. It was like getting hugged by a hundred arms.

I cannot thank you all enough.

On a brighter note, I am finally regaining my balance after feeling like I was falling in a bottomless pit for days. I watched American Idol on Wednesday and found myself making fun of Jennifer Lopez and her melodrama. That's when I knew I'd be alright. It's true that time and laughter heals all wounds. The pain in my heart remains, but it's more like a dull ache than the crippling heart attack it was last week. I still cry at pregnancy test commercials, but I am no longer sad all the time.

I have been thinking a lot about how I can memorialize my angel baby and give myself some closure. Right now I am leaning toward a small tattoo. What do you think?

Your suggestions, like your condolences, mean a lot to me.

BuildASign.com Review

Whether you are a professional event planner or a mom who organizes birthday parties and PTA fundraisers, BuildASign.com can help you say it B-I-G with custom signs and banners.

Thanks to BuildASign.com I was able to make a banner for my church in 3 simple steps. First, I selected a design from the BuildASign.com collection (or you can create your own from scratch). Second, I customized the banner with the user-friendly online editing tool that lets you change the text, colors, fonts and upload images. Third, I reviewed the free proof and submitted it for printing. Piece of cake!

I and everyone at my church was so pleased with the final product:

BuildASign.com Banner Review

I highly recommend BuildASign.com for your signage needs. They make just about anything you can think to put a logo on...bumper stickers, license plates, even flags! Their products are good quality, affordable, and made fast! Next time you need to
make a statement at your business grand opening, your kid's soccer game, or parent's anniversary party, let BuildASign.com help you make a lasting impression.

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Winner of Five Little Bunnies Board Book

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

The winner of the Five Little Bunnies die cut board book and CD is #4...TJ and Amy!
Congratulations!!! Thanks to everyone who entered! More great giveaways are coming up.

Random numbers generated Feb 21 2011 at 8:26:26 by www.psychicscience.org

Gone Baby Gone

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On February 13th I took a pregnancy test and got a BFP (big fat positive in conception lingo).

It wasn't a planned pregnancy so we were surprised and thrilled. By my calculations, we were 6 weeks along.

Damon nicknamed him Baby X which I thought sounded like the love child of Malcolm X, but I was kind of digging the name Malcolm so I went with it (I just knew our baby was a boy). Marlie and Malcolm had a nice ring to it.

We started discussing car seats and cloth diaprs and all the baby gear we'd have to repurchase since I sold almost all our stuff at consignment.

We were on cloud 9, then it all came crashing back to Earth a few days later.

First came the doctor's visit on Tuesday during which the OB discovered mild bleeding. I chose to believe everything was going to be okay. I was in so much denial.

Then the cramping came and the flow. I couldn't hold onto hope any longer. Our baby was gone.

It all happened so fast. One day we were filled with joy and anticipation. And then poof...it all disappeared.

I understand that this is nature's will, but that doesn't mitigate the trauma.
I feel like I have been side-swiped. I'm pretty much numb from shock right now.

I have all these weird thoughts running through my head like,
what went wrong? Was is the medication I was taking for my auto-immune disorder? Was it the three glasses of wine I drank on Super Bowl Sunday? Was it that nasty 48-hour bug I came down with on Monday?

When I am not torturing myself trying to figure out the "why", I have paranoid thoughts about Marlie. If this is the level of pain I feel for a child I didn't get to meet, what would happen if I loss Marlie? Surely, I would die from grief.

If it wasn't for Marlie, I'd curl up in bed and cry all day. She is keeping me going. I'm just going to channel what little energy I have on taking care of her.

I'm hitting the pause button on everything else, including blogging. Just until I get my bearings. I promise to respond to all well wishes and visit my cyber buddies upon my return.

I need some time to deal with the fact that our baby is gone.

Wordful Wednesday: The Princess and the Frog

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

That's Marlie making out with Kermit. We have been reading The Princess and the Frog a lot lately, which would explain this photo. Maybe she thinks he will turn into a prince?

This photo is an entry for Heart + U = UPrinting Valentine photo contest.
Make your Valentine photos extra special with  UPrinting poster prints.

Love Bytes Tip #5: Keep Others Out

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The genesis of this series written by me and the husband unit is this post right here. We decided to co-blog for one month to get to the heart (pun intended) of the communication breakdown in our marriage. It is as much therapy for us as it is advice for other married/partnered couples.

Read Love Bytes Tip #1

Read Love Bytes Tip #2
Read Love Bytes Tip #3
Read Love Bytes Tip #4


This week's tip for the Men:

One of the biggest mistakes I see committed in marriages is couples talking about their problems with outsiders. A couple equals two people. There is no good reason to invite third parties into the mix unless they are professional counselors or mediators. A marriage can quickly become crowded! It's especially troubling when a husband takes his complaints to someone else. I'm not saying that you can't let off some steam with the guys or seek the advice of a trusted confidante, but whatever issues you are having should be raised with your wife first and should be worked out between the two of you. I learned this from watching Damon. He is like the Fort Knox of husbands. The most intimate details, deepest secrets and treasured experiences of our marriage are locked in his vault. I never have to worry about having a member of his family reporting something he told them about us back to me. People will try to interfere in your marriage either with genuine intentions (they just want to help) or ulterior motives (like getting dirt to gossip). Be careful about who you let in the circle. You have to treat your marriage like an exclusive club where very few get inside. Remember, what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. This includes your mama, your sibling, your best friend, your boss, your secretary, your barber, your personal trainer, your mailman...you get the picture.


This week's tip for the Women:
It's pretty easy for most guys to be a vault. For the most part, our conversations with our buddies tend to focus on the four F's (food, football, females, and fishing). That being said, I would encourage wives to ask for their husbands to open up. Now, while it is absolutely important to talk with your spouse about relationship issues first, it's also important to share you trials and tribulations with friends who may be going through something similar - especially for men. Knowing that you are not the only guy facing marital, or other, issues can be a great comfort (although we guys don't always admit that we need "emotional comfort"). It is not productive for either the man or the woman in the relationship to keep their feelings bottled up. So ladies, please encourage your men to share - not for advice, but to know that you are not alone. Knowing that we are all going through a similar experience makes the bumpy parts of this crazy life a little more palatable.

Contest Round-Up

Monday, February 14, 2011

  • Win $100 CASH in the Share a Little Love Blog Follow Tour hosted by Mommygaga and featuring 8 amazing blogs. The more blogs you follow, the better your chances are to WIN! It's so easy! Ends 2.18...Hurry!

  • Win Free Cheese from Tillamook in the Make, Review, Win Tillamook! Contest. All you have to do is make one of their delicious recipes, write a review on our website, and you could win a free Tillamook Baby Loaf Love gift box!
    Here’s how to enter:
    1. Between February 14 – February 25, visit the Tillamook Kitchen at the new website.
    2. Browse the new recipes and pick any one of them that you’d like to try.
    3. Gather ingredients and start cooking!
    4. Eat what you whipped up (best part).
    5. Review – An area to write a review for the recipe you made is located at the bottom of each recipe page.
    6. At 5 p.m. on Friday, February 25, go to the the Loaf Life Blog to see if you’ve won and find out how to claim your prize.
    All entries must be received before noon on Friday, February 25. You can review as many different recipes as you’d like!

Baby Log: 1 Year and 26 Weeks Old

Sunday, February 13, 2011

This week I memorized the phone number for poison control because Marlie was hell bent on getting her stomach pumped. Thankfully, it never came to that even after she ate dog food, Tiger Balm, and one of those silicon gel packet from a shoe box.

Marlie turns 18 months on Tuesday. Suddenly, she is a toddler with her won likes and dislikes and she's not afraid to tell you. She is learning words so fast and her vocabulary seems to have exploded overnight. I started a list of words she knows:

a-apple
b-ball, bye, book, box
c-
d-dog, daddy, duck, door, doll
e-egg, ew, eat
f-fish, food, feet
g-get, good, go
h-hi, hat, hot
i-ice-itch
j,k, l-
m-mommy, move, milk, mine
n-nanny, night-night, no, nice
o-ow, outside
p-poop
q-
r-rice
s-sit, shoe, sock, soup, sweep, shut-up, snack
t-trash
u-uh-oh, up
v
w-water, wash
x, y, z-yay

Oh, and just because she cannot say a word yet doesn't mean she doesn't know what it means. It's gotten to the point where we have to spell words like car so she doesn't get the idea that she's going somewhere. If she overhears us talking about anything outside she gets excited and starts looking for her shoes and hat.

Marlie's understanding of concepts is equally impressive. She knows that her daddy goes to work it the morning so she is ready to kiss him and tell him bye, but she also applies this to other things that go away. She waves and says bye-bye to her poo being flushed and to water going down the drain. She also knows that we workout in the morning so she gets our sneakers out of the closet for us.

She definitely has developed some toddler quirks like wanting the same book read five times in a row and wanting certain foods prepared a specific way.

I won a couple of giveaways this week: a suncathcher from Momvantge in the Handmade with Love Blog Hop and a ISOKI diaper bag and Gund toys from Just a Mom's take on Things.

Speaking of giveaways, I'm one of 8 blogs participating in Mommygaga's Share a Little Love Blog Follow Tour. If you already follow Marlie and Me, that's one entry for a chance to win $100 cold, hard cash! The contest closes on February 18... hurry!

Let the Insanity Begin! Week Two Results

Saturday, February 12, 2011

On Super Bowl Sunday I decide to chow down on BBQ and a gluten-free cupcake because Damon was at the actual game and I was, you know, feeling sorry for myself and wanted to eat my emotions. Bad move. Monday morning's workout was hellish. My body had diverted its energy supply to digesting beef brisket. I was sluggish and burping barbecue sauce throughout the entire workout. The moral of the story: DO NOT consume a meat plate at night and then attempt to do Insanity the next morning.

This incident also reminded me that I need to step up my eating regimen. I was already eating five small, healthy meals thanks to a total lifestyle change five years ago. My problem is those extra calories I've been consuming on the sly. Example: eating the crust I just cut off Marlie's almond butter-and-jelly sandwich. I hate to waste food, but eating her leftovers is adding poundage to my (fl)abs. So this week I am redoubling my focus on portion control.

Today was our second fit test. I made progress on most of the exercises:

43 switch kicks
50 power jacks
85 power knees
35 power jumps
10 globe jumps
12 suicide jumps
12 push up jacks
36 low plank obliques

Switching to Toddler Gear

Marlie turns 18 months old next week. That makes her an official toddler!

I'm still wrapping my head around this. I mean, it was just yesterday that she was this tiny infant swaddled in blankets who could fit in the crook of my arm. She was so little that we had to prop her up in her car seat with rolled up towels. Now we are shopping for convertible Cosco car seats.

You really switch gears when your baby reaches toddler stage. They need toddler foods, a toddler bed, toddler toys, toddler clothes and toddler rain boots to protect their good shoes during those April showers!


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Love Bytes Tip #4: Raise Your Emotional IQ

Friday, February 11, 2011

The genesis of this series written by me and the husband unit is this post right here. We decided to co-blog for one month to get to the heart (pun intended) of the communication breakdown in our marriage. It is as much therapy for us as it is advice for other married/partnered couples.

Read Love Bytes Tip #1

Read Love Bytes Tip #2
Read Love Bytes Tip #3


This week's tip for the Men:

Women are emotion-centric by nature and for good reason. Our role as primary caregivers requires us to have the innate capacity to show compassion, nurture, and unconditional love. This doesn't mean that we let our feelings rule us, but sometimes our emotions do get the best of us. We occasionally succumb to PMS, pregnancy, stress and whatever other hormones assault our systems. So what is a loving partner to do? Are you understanding instead of intolerant? Are you supportive instead of neglectful? Are you complimentary instead of critical? Trust me, us women are already beating ourselves up when we get emotional. You don't need to pile it on by asking if we are having our monthly. When we yell at you for leaving the toilet seat up for the gazillionth time, realize that we are not yelling about the toilet seat. We are just feeling unheard, disregarded, ignored (insert just about any negative feeling of choice here) and the emotions that were simmering under the surface have just erupted. Emotional intelligence according to Wikipedia is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. It is a skill that you will need to master in order to have a successful marriage. Next time your wife is having an emotional moment, take a step back and think about how you are going to respond. You can either fuel the fire or you can extinguish it with a little empathy. Try this, "Honey, I know it makes you feel like I am not respecting your wishes when I leave the toilet seat up. I want you to know that I don't do it on purpose, and I will try harder to remember to put it down."


This week's tip for the Women:

I have a deep dissatisfaction with the ability of most humans to communicate (including myself). This is not a dig at any group in particular - speech is just a very inefficient way to share our thoughts with others. I have long thought, it would bee soooooo much easier if we could just read each other's minds. That way we would not have to fumble around awkwardly with words that typically lead to communication failures. One of my favorite books from grad school is "You Are What You Say - The Proven Program That Uses the Power of Language to Combat Stress, Anger and Depression" by Matthew Budd, M.D. and Larry Rothstein, Ed. D. The book basically makes a link between our ability to communicate clearly, relationships and our overall health. What does this have to do with marriage you might ask? EVERYTHING - right? One of the biggest pitfalls in marriages is the failure to communicate clearly. Surprisingly, many times it not that we don't want to be clear, we just don't know how. For example, a wife my say to her husband, "Honey, the trash can is full", which is an assertion. While in her mind she is saying" Honey, the trash can is full, can you please take it out". The next time that you and your partner have a miscommunication think about the "5 Language Actions" below and discuss how to communicate more clearly. Happy dialoguing!

Request: A request is an action that you take when you seek the assistance of another in satisfying and underlying concern that you have. A request also involves a commitment on the part of the requestor to be satisfied if the conditions specified in the request are met.
Promise: A promise is what you speak to indicate your commitment to fulfilling what someone else has requested. It implies that you understand the request fully, and that you are competent and sincere about fulfilling what he or she has asked.
Declarations: A declaration is an utterance in which someone with the authority to do so brings something into being that wasn't there before. (levels of authority and personal commitment comes into question) Assessments: An assessment is a judgment that you make about the world in the interest of taking some action. Assessments are never facts. They are always informed by the interest and standards of the person making the statement.
Assertions: An assertion is a statement you make for which you are willing to provide evidence.

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, February 10, 2011

this week, I'm loving...
  • beauty treatment while you sleepBeauty fixes on the go. Every mother laments about how her beauty regimen goes out the back door once kids arrive. I never had a high-maintenance routine, but I enjoyed my facials, mani/pedis and occasional massage. Instead of complaining, I am discovering ways to sneak in at-home care on the fly. When I am boiling an egg for Marlie, I give myself a quick steam facial. After I wash dishes, I rub a drop of olive oil into my hands to keep them moisturized. Genius, I know! (photo credit: Mark-s-)
  • Silk Coconut Milk! Five years ago when I was at my wits end trying to deal with a host of mystery symptoms, I signed up at a holistic health center. The nutritionist on staff opened my eyes to the over-processing our food supply and how what we put in our gut affects our health. She turned me off most dairy products, especially cow's milk. I haven't drank a drop since. I was worried about what to give Marlie when she turned 1 since all pediatricians insist cow's milk is needed for calcium, Vitamin D and fat. Thankfully, So Delicious came out with a coconut milk right on time. Coconut Milk has 5 g of fat for brain development, but only 10% of the daily recommended intake of calcium. I had to supplement her calcium. Now Silk has come out with their own version of coconut milk that contains 45% calcium, which is more than dairy milk! Yay!
  • The return of GLEE. I was a bit disappointed with the post-Super Bowl episode. I expected more pizazz. It was just okay. I still love GLEE though and cannot wait for new duets, mash ups and musical chair couplings! (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
What are you loving this Thursday?! Link up!


Wordful Wednesday: My Snow Bird

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


10 inches of snow fell last Friday morning. Marlie wanted to go outside and play in it. Thank goodness her daddy was up for it because I am allergic to cold weather. I thought she'd scurry back inside once the chill hit her face. Instead, she frolicked like a snow bird and had a grand time. I thought to myself, is this really my child, born in midsummer with Caribbean blood coursing through her veins?!

Love Bytes Tip #3: Practice Home Economics

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The genesis of this series written by me and the husband unit is this post right here. We decided to co-blog for one month to get to the heart (pun intended) of the communication breakdown in our marriage. It is as much therapy for us as it is advice for other married/partnered couples.

Read Love Bytes Tip #1

Read Love Bytes Tip #2


This week's tip for the Men:

I recently read an interesting article in Newsweek by a columnist who explained how economics saved her marriage. The idea that most fascinated me was that the best way to divide housework was by specialty, not 50/50. Damon and I rarely argue about chores (except when he's creating more work for me) because we basically operate on this model. I specialize in being neat and organized so I keep the schedules and lists and do the laundry, dishes, floors, bathrooms, dusting, and anything else that needs to be cleaned and put in order. Damon is the better cook so he specializes in meal planning and preparation. He also majored in finance which is why he takes on the household budget and pays the bills (mostly on time). The economic theory of specializing rejects old-fashioned values where the wife is expected to do all of the housework. It also flies in the face of feminist principles that a wife should do no more than half. This is what makes housework specialization so brilliant! It's not about societal expectations, but about what system works in your home. So if you are fed up with your clothes being shrunk in the wash, then you are might want to consider taking over laundry duty. And, word to the wise...just because your wife specializes in keeping things in your house clean does not give you a free pass to make a mess. When you come home to a freshly mopped floor it would be prudent to remove your dirty shoes at the door.

This week's tip for the Women:
Over the last couple of years I came to the realization that Teresha and I don't have the same relationship with money which has resulted in differing approaches to making financial decisions. I have always wondered if this is a gender difference or just a difference based on our financial upbringing – no answer on that one yet. So what’s the difference you may ask? Historically, Teresha tended to make financial decisions led by emotion and I have historically tended to make financial decision led by logic. Neither way is necessarily good or bad. This tug of war led by my head and her heart has caused quite a few headaches and a lot of heartburn over the years. Ultimately, I think spouses must understand and appreciate each other’s relationship with money to make their relationship work. While my mom always provided for me and my brother when we were kids, we struggled at times. I am proud to say we were poor and happy! Splurging for us was going to McDonald's for hamburgers and the Olive Garden was for “rich” people. My family’s relationship with money was very pragmatic. For example, I think I have held some type of “job” since I was around eight years old (if not younger). So I have always made my own money. Never wanting to live paycheck to paycheck – I have always been driven to be financially conservative. Teresha’s family was more easy-going when it came to watching pennies. My observation is that her family tended to have a relationship with money that was centered more around wants than needs which led to a more emotional bent to her relationship with money. For example if relative X was struck deathly ill, Teresha’s first thought would probably be “ how quickly can we get down there to visit”. My first thought would probably be “how much would it cost to get down there – and why doesn’t relative X take better care of themselves.” That being said, I have softened up over the years when making financial decisions and Teresha has become more financially prudent. That is not to say that we don’t still have little tiffs about money from time to time, but though candid communications and little understanding – we are definitely on the road towards financial harmony!

Winners of Giveaways Ending Feb 5-6

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


The winner of the set of SHMILY coins is...#2 Harlem Minded

Random numbers generated Feb 6 2011 at 6:54:40 by www.psychicscience.org

The winner of the $35 CSN Stores gift code is....#76 Emily

Random numbers generated Feb 7 2011 at 6:48:47 by www.psychicscience.org

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone who entered!

CLOSED...Five Little Bunnies Board Book Review + Giveaway

Monday, February 7, 2011

Five Little Bunnies Book ReviewI started reading to Marlie when she was in my womb. As soon as she could sit up, we let her hold books. Now she is a total bookworm. Her bedtime routine includes reading several books. She has her favorites, but we like to introduce new books we think she will like and the Five Little Bunnies did not disappoint!
Five Little Bunnies Book
Five Little Bunnies is an adorable die-cute board book that instantly caught Marlie's attention because of its unique shape. The simple rhymes and delightful illustrations in this board book teach young children numbers 1 to 5. It comes a with a companion CD with the recorded story plus 19 children's songs. Some of them will be familiar and some are brand new so you and your little one can learn them together. Marlie is enjoying her new book and she loves dancing to the songs on the CD!Shop: Get 30% off your order on the Twin Sisters Productions website through March 31, 2011 by using promo code FIVEBUNNY

Win: One lucky Marlie and Me reader is going receive a copy of Five Little Bunnies!


Mandatory first entry: Vis
it Twin Sisters Productions and leave a comment with another product that caught your eye

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:

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  • Follow Marlie and Me on Twitter and tweet this giveaway. Can tweet once daily using this message: (leave the URL to the tweet in your comment): #win a copy of Five Little Bunnies board book from @twinsistersprod through @Mommy2Marlie #giveaway at www.marlieandme.com.
  • Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 2/19/11 at 11:59 pm CST
  • Winner will be chosen randomly from all comments posted using a random number generator
  • 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 residents only. 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

video Photobucket

Baby Log: 1 Year and 25 Weeks Old

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This was the week that nearly brought me to my knees. I am woman who loves her space. I love my husband and child, but I also love time to myself. Thanks to the ice storm that descended upon Dallas in the wee hours of Tuesday morning followed by Snowpocalypse 2011 on Thursday, I have not had a moments peace. I know, I know, I said I was thankful for snow days so we could all be together, but that was when I thought Marlie would be going to school on Thursday. They were closed. On top of that, we have not had mail delivered in three days, so no magazines or Netflix! What ever happened to rain, sleet, snow or shine?!? By Friday I could feel the walls closing in and I was ready to have a major freak out.

After much screaming on my part, Damon took Marlie with him to go pick up up his game day parking pass on Saturday. Did I mention he is going to the Super Bowl? Uh huh. He found out Thursday night that his VP was giving him and two other co-workers tickets through one of the company's partners. I hope he has a marvelous time, but I am really feeling left behind again.

One of our dearest friends who mentored us in college is also in town for the game festivities, so we hung out with him yesterday. There is something about spending quality time with people who knew you before you became parents.

Marlie probably had as rough a week as I did. She missed school and playing with her friends. Damon took her outside to play in the snow a couple of times. I braved the cold to quickly snap this photo of the two of them in front of our frozen house.

New things Marlie did this week: she has started humming. She sounds like a mummy. It's annoying. She likes cottage cheese and chicken. Her daddy has been giving her chicken and now she wants it all. the. time. There goes the vegetarian diet. But I draw the line at chicken.


By the way, today is my baby brother Andrew's 24th birthday. He is spending it locked up in a jail cell awaiting trial. He was always attached to my side growing up so were are the closest of all the siblings. His situation has split my heart in two. I ask God to protect him and guide him so he can meet his niece soon.

Let the Insanity Begin! Week One Results

Saturday, February 5, 2011

We survived week one of Insanity with just one minor hiccup. We woke up on Wednesday with no electrical power (rolling blackouts in Texas). When the power did come back on, the speaker for the DVD player in our bedroom was making a crackling noise. The DVD player does not have an audio cable for the the TV. After trying to fix it for over an hour, the morning workout window was shot. Damon had to work and I had to take care of Marlie. That night Damon went downstairs to do that day's video, but I was too tired. I decided to make that day my off day. That means I had to workout yesterday while Damon had the day off. Boo!

So far, I am loving Insanity. It's very hard, but I like feeling challenged. I don't see myself getting bored because there is always an exercise to accomplish, another level to reach. The best part is that Shaun T. never talks down to you, he tells you that you can do it. That is very motivating for me.

People keep asking me if I am sore. I was worried about this because I am prone to shin splints and sprains and throwing my knees out of whack, but luckily I have not had any of these problems with Insanity so far. I think it's because Insanity puts you through an effective warm up routine as well tons of stretching.

Here is my Day 7 photo. I see only a slight difference, but most importantly I FEEL a big difference. My energy is up and I am a stronger already.

Winner of Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate

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#71......Claudia. She is the random drawing winner of the 32 oz jar of Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate ! Samantha has claimed her prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

I had to re-draw the winner on this giveaway TWICE because neither the first or second one replied to my email notification. Please check your email inbox regularly, especially your spam folder, or you could miss out on a prize!

Random numbers generated Feb 3 2011 at 10:11:43 by www.psychicscience.org

Love Bytes Tip #2: Say It and Do It!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The genesis of this series written by me and the husband unit is this post right here. We decided to co-blog for one month to get to the heart (pun intended) of the communication breakdown in our marriage. It is as much therapy for us as it is advice for other married/partnered couples.

Read Love Bytes Tip #1
Enter Here to win your own set of SHMILY Coins, a unique way to show your loved one how you feel! Giveaway ends tonight.

This week's tip for the Men:

It's spelled out right there in your wedding vows when the minister asked whether you'd take her as your wife in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, etc... and then told you to say I do. When it comes to love in marriage, you have to say it as well as do it (go ahead and snicker). Yes actions speak louder than words, but we also need to hear you speak love in a meaningful way, and I don't mean just saying I love you...that is too easy! The right words can offer reassurance when we are feeling less than sexy, prompt forgiveness when we are cross with you, and put a us in the mood even if we "have a headache."
Don't be lazy. Dig deep and come up with some verbal adoration that will melt our hearts. One of the most amazing declarations of love I ever heard was on Scrubs when Turk toasted Carla at their rehearsal dinner by saying that he saw their future when he looked at her. Now that's poetry in motion!

This week's tip for the Women:

Simply put, love is a verb. How do you love your spouse? Someone has said it better, so I will let Stephen Covey say it for me. From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey:
  • “My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore, and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”
  • “The feeling isn’t there anymore?” [Covey]
  • “That’s right,” the man affirmed “and we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
  • “Love her,” [Covey]
  • “I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
  • “Love her.” [Covey]
  • “You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
  • “Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.” [Covey]
  • “But how do you love when you don’t love?”
  • “My friend, love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?” [Covey]
In the great literature of all progressive societies, love is a verb. Reactive people make it a feeling. They’re driven by feelings. Hollywood has generally scripted us to believe that we are not responsible, that we are a product of our feelings. But the Hollywood script does not describe the reality. If our feelings control our actions, it is because we abdicated our responsibility and empowered them to do so. Proactive people make love a verb, Love is something you do: the sacrifice you make, the giving of self, like a mother bringing a newborn into the world. If you want to study love, study those who sacrifice for others, even for people who offend or do not love in return. If you are a parent, look at the love you have for the children you sacrificed for. Love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. Proactive people subordinate feelings to values. Love, the feeling, can be recaptured.”

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, February 3, 2011

this week, I'm loving...
  • Snow Days. Notice I didn't say that I love snow. I haven't set foot outside since Monday...I thought I lived in Texas, What the Blueberry?!? I do however love having my husband home because his place of work closed the office two days in a row. I dislike the cold and don't find snow magical, but I'll put up with it if it gets me and Marlie a couple of extra days with him
(photo copyright Gary Rogers and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)
  • Cheese! Some people crave soups and hot chocolate during the winter. Don't get me wrong, I love that stuff too. But my comfort food is cheese and Tillamook is my brand. I am looking up a fondue recipe on their new website. Tillamook is giving away loads of cheese in the next few weeks so go check it out!
What are you loving this Thursday? Link Up!


Dream Real Estate

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is owning vacation property one of your goals in life? It is one of my dreams that I hope to fulfill before I retire. I would love to purchase a summer home on Hawaii. Imagine waking up every day to the sight of the jewel-toned ocean and pearlescent beaches as far as the eye can see!

I would definitely be in the market for a place in an exotic locale, maybe even outside the U.S. I could see our family living abroad a few months out of the year. A couple of years ago, we visited the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. I didn't want to leave. Just thinking about that place makes me want to cash in my 401k and hop on a plane!

As you can tell, I have big plans for our dream second home, but I am also practical. I could summer in the Hamptons in a pied-a-terre near the harbor and be perfectly happy!


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Wordful Wednesday: Doing Dishes with Daddy


Marlie is in the sensory stage of her development. At her school, she loves to work with water materials (spray bottles, a toddler sink). Her Monterssori guide told us to duplicate these activities at home. So, we brought out the step stool and let her help wash dishes. She is so happy when she is helping out around the house!
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