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A Lovely Day for a Royal Wedding

Friday, April 29, 2011

I set my alarm for 4:30 am CST. I ran downstairs and grabbed my tea and crumpets.

I climbed back into bed just in time to see the mother of the bride and the royal family arrive.

Then she got in her town car. A blur of veil and lace. When she emerged from the vehicle at Westminster Abbey, Catherine Middleton looked every inch a princess. She oozed royalty.

Her dress was stunning and very reminiscent of Grace Kelly's wedding gown. A modern twist on a timeless beauty.

The ceremony, in all its pageantry, still managed to be sweet. Prince William looked proudly at his bride and whispered "you look beautiful." My heart melted. This was more than a state affair. These were two young people in love making the ultimate commitment.

My favorite part of the service was when the Archbishop of Cantebury said that every wedding is a royal wedding because we are all subjects of the King of Creation. Amen, brother!

What's in a Name?

Hi. My name is Teresha.

It is pronounced just the way it is spelled, but you would not believe how intimidating my name is for a lot of people.

As someone with a "unique" name, I can give sworn testimony that what you write on your child's birth certificate has real consequences far beyond your imagination. Baby names are serious business!

I grew up being called Teresa, Treesha, Trisha and as many other variations as there are stars in the sky. I have seen my name misspelled in more ways than I care to remember. To this day, my mother-in-law cannot remember where to put the "h" in my name so she has resorted addressing her letters to the Mrs.

It can be a headache growing up with a hard-to-spell/hard-to-pronounce name. Here is some advice for you soon-to-be parents when it comes to selecting a baby name:


  • Don't wait until your child is born to name her. You might be so high on pain killers that you leave the hospital with a little Epidural (or Epi for short). At the very least have a list of possible picks at the ready.
  • Resist the urge to invent a name. You think you are being clever by adding some vowels and consonants to a common name or taking a word and spelling it backward. This, my friend, is one rung above the celebrity couple name-mash.
  • Do not follow trends. It might be popular right now to name your kid after fruit, but it might not be so cool 18 years later when Kiwi is applying for college scholarships and jobs. Oh, and your child is not destined for stardom because you named her Starr.
  • Do some research. Whether you want to find a traditional name, an ethnic name or you just want to know what the popular names for 2009 were...it's all online!
Your name is often the first impression you make, gift your child with a moniker that he will be proud to wear.

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Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, April 28, 2011

this week I am loving...
  • Ugly Betty, Season 4I never watched "Ugly Betty" when it was on TV, but Netflix has all four seasons in the library and I am hooked! I watched all 85 episodes in one week. The show is hilarious and poignant and I can relate to Betty's ugly duckling story. I love all the characters. The cast is so diverse like the real NYC, something sorely missing on television shows like "Friends" and "Sex and the City". I really wish it was still on the air. I am going to miss watching it. Excuse me while I go cry.

  • CrumpetsTomorrow is the royal wedding and I am making tea and crumpets for breakfast!




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

Some Winners to Announce!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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

$20 Juice in the City Juice Bucks
Congratulations #2...Kimberly!
Random numbers generated Apr 10 2011 at 10:15:52 by www.psychicscience.org

Bea's Gift Baskets & Gifts Easter Basket Blog Hop Winner
Congratulations #681...purplelover04 from Clipping Money's Blog
Organically Grown Infant Onesie
Congratulations #40...judithelenore!
Random numbers generated Apr 23 2011 at 9:6:20 by www.psychicscience.org
Tropical Traditions Glass & Surface Cleaner
Congratulations #67...Yoga Mommy!
Random numbers generated Apr 24 2011 at 17:54:49 by www.psychicscience.org

Call for Submissions: Mother's Day Guest Bloggers Wanted

Monday, April 25, 2011

I am hosting a series of guest posts during the week leading up to Mother's Day on Sunday, May 8th.

All I need is a few good mother-writers! At least five to be exact.

Theme: 21st century motherhood

Guidelines:
  • Your post must fit the theme, be original, and not published before on the Internet or in print
  • You may announce it on your site/blog with a link back to its URL on my blog after it is published on Marlie and Me
  • Article must be saved in .txt file with html code, if desired (i.e. bold, underline, italics). Please, no Word docs because they contain code that are a pain to edit out.
  • Please include your byline as you want it to appear and a 75-word or less bio.
  • I retain the right to format the article per my blog style and to edit for spelling and grammar. I will not tamper with your writing style.
  • You may attach an image. Image must be your property, public domain, or licensed for reuse and be properly attributed.
  • Email your article as an attachment to: t_freckleton[at]yahoo[dot]com
  • Deadline: April 30, 2011

Check Out These Fun Giveaways at Bea's Gift Baskets & Gifts!

Win this amazing NASCAR gift box (retail value $59.99) by referring the most friends to "like" Godfather Motorsports on Facebook between now and April 30, 2011. They must write the following on the Godfather Motorsports Wall:
"Bea's and (your name) made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I like you!"



Win this NASCAR Coolerby Liking Godfather Motorsports on Facebook. Enter HERE at the Bea's Gifts Baskets & Gifts Blog.



Finally, Bea's is hosting a Mother's Day Facebook Party this Thursday, April 28 8-9pm (EST). For entry guidelines and bonus entries, read this POST at Bea's Gifts Baskets & Gifts Blog

Easy Organic Living Challenge #4: You Are What You Eat--So What Are You Eating?

Read this previous post for an explanation about what this is all about.

This week's challenge: Spend a few minutes this week learning about your food. Read a label!

Directions:
  1. Pick at least one convenience food your family often eats (something packaged like macaroni and cheese, processed snack foods, canned soup or frozen entrees).
  2. Read the entire label. What health claims are being made? Do you know what they mean? What are the ingredients? Do you recognize them?
  3. Next time you’re at the store, look for a product that has the USDA Organic Seal. What are the ingredients? Do you recognize them?
  4. To find out more about eating organically and whether you could be making healthier food choices for your family watch this video, read this article, and visit this website.
My Experience:
We seldom stock convenience foods in our home except for a box of cereal or nut crackers. We prefer to make things like macaroni and cheese and oatmeal from scratch.

One thing I do occasionally
purchase is chicken or vegetable broth when a recipe calls for it. I used to just grab a can of the popular store brand. I went to the website LabelWatch to find a list of ingredients since I did not have a can on hand. Not surprisingly the broths contain MSG, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil as well as Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup Solids, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Dextrose. Doesn't sound very appetizing, but millions of people eat this stuff.

The organic broth I now buy fared a lot better. I recognized every ingredient from natural chicken flavor to sea salt to canola oil. But I am bothered by the organic yeast extract. Yeast is not my digestive system's friend.

I realize that even organic packaged foods might contain some questionable ingredients. I once saw a cooking show demonstration on how to make your own broth that you can freeze and use whenever you need. I really need to go find that video and make my own broth.

To learn more about choosing natural and organic foods to protect your family’s health and/or to try this challenge register at Baby Center to join the
Easy Organic Living Group.

Disclosure: part of the Easy Organic Living program co-hosted by Baby Center and Healthy Child Healthy World and sponsored by Stonyfield

Baby Log: 1 Year and 35 Weeks Old

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stuff me and my little nugget have been up to this week:
  • Dress rehearsals for the "terrible 2s." Oh yeah, little mama has been getting a lot of practice this week. It's like she's Erica Kane's understudy. I'm getting better at handling them though. I was telling Damon how quickly she can go from sweet to sour and he called her a Sour Patch Kid.
  • She is still a Dancing Queen. The first words out of her mouth in the morning is eat then dance.
  • Her appetite for reading is growing. Now she shout out the words that she knows when I am reading to her. It's so cute.
  • I never spoke cutesy "baby talk" to Marlie. I always used the right words when talking to her, but I have noticed that lately I have making words plural like be carefuls or do you want more waters? Wy am I suddenly adding a "s" to everything?! Is it because she is growing up and practically forming sentences and I want to keep her a baby? Someone please psychoanalyze me!
  • To make matters worse, I am making up silly songs to sing about what I am making her to eat. So far, there's "Eggy McEggy" and "Bok, Bok, Chicken, Chicken"...I need help!
  • We started Power90x yesterday. It's hard to adjust to the slower pace after Insanity. I was so bored!
HAPPY EASTER!

CLOSED...72-hour Giveaway! $25 Celadon Road Green Products Gift Certificate {Earth Day Party}

Friday, April 22, 2011

celadon roadCeladon Road is a social enterprise that asks its customers a simple question...what is your shade of green?

The company helps millions of people answer that question by offering the highest quality organic, eco-friendly and fair trade products for your family, your home and your everyday needs.

I had the pleasure of learning about Celadon Road from Angie Bechtold, one of the Independent Consultants through whom Celadon Road exclusively markets its products. Angie is one of those people who loves her job because she is her own boss, and she loves running a Celadon Road business because she believes in it.

One of the issues we talked about is the cost of living a green lifestyle and what a travesty it is that many organic products are too expensive for the average consumer. The beauty of Celadon Road products is that they are high in quality yet affordable, about the same price as conventional brands sold in mall boutiques.Pangea Organics

Angie sent me the Pangea Organics French Chamomile with Sweet Orange & Lavender Hand & Body Lotion as part of a promotional campaign. I am gaga over this stuff. The first time I put on this lotion I said, "It smells so good, I want to lick my arms!" I cannot wait to take showers so I can slather myself with this lotion.


Angie can count me as one of her newest Celadon Road clients!

Buy It: Pangea Organics French Chamomile with Sweet Orange & Lavender Hand & Body Lotion is $20.00

Win It:
Angie is offering a $25 gift certificate to spend on Celadon Road products to one lucky Marlie and Me reader! Thanks Angie!

Mandatory first entry: Visit Angie's Celadon Road site. Leave a comment with the name of a product you'd like to try.

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:
  • Like Angie's Celadon Road page on Facebook (leave your FB name)
Standard Extra Entries:
  • Be a current or new follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect
  • Be a current or new subscriber of Marlie and Me via email (subscription must be activated)
  • Grab my button (leave the URL in your comment)
  • Add www.marlieandme.com to your blog roll (leave your URL in the comment)
  • Follow Marlie and Me at Networked Blogs on Facebook (leave your FB name)
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet this message (can tweet once daily. leave the URL to the tweet in your comment): @Mommy2Marlie is hosting a #giveaway for a $25 gift cert. to spend on Celadon Road green products. Enter to #win at www.marlieandme.com. Ends 4/25
  • Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The Rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 4/25/11 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).
  • By accepting the prize, the winner is granting permission to be identified as such.
  • The winner has one (1) month from the date of claiming the prize to report any problems (lost shipment, broken product, invalid gift code). I will not be responsible for resolving issues after this time.
  • In the event the prize is not claimed in the allotted time another winner will be chosen. Giveaway is open to US only. Must be at least 18 years of age to participate. Void where prohibited.
  • Entries that do not follow instructions or are falsified will be disqualified
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Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, April 21, 2011

this week I am loving...
  • My Breville JE900 Juice Fountain. This baby makes it so easy! It's open my eyes to a world of possibilities. I just finished a juicing cleanse, but I am not stopping there. I made vegetable soup and I'm going to make a carrot cake next!

  • He's turning into the bad boy of American Idol. Loved his rendition of Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe." Really loved when he smooched Jeniffer Lopez on the cheek. *Swoon*

  • This new show on Fox, headlined by Christian Slater, airs right after America Idol so I gave it a whirl. It is well-paced, funny and smart.



What are you loving this Thursday?!

My Juice Cleansing Journal

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be an instructional guide on how to perform a detox cleanse. I am not a dietitian or physician. I am simply sharing my experience with cleansing detox regimes. Consult a trained health professional before starting a cleansing regimen.

After my alternative health makeover in 2006 and before I had Marlie, I would regularly go on a cleansing regimen every 3-4 months. Sometimes I did 10 days, sometimes on 3 days depending how "junky" I felt inside. One of the greatest lessons you will learn from cleansing your system is how your body should feel...light and energetic (body), relaxed and clear (mind), peaceful and free (spirit). It is about connecting with your body.

Unfortunately, cleansing has become very popular on the crash diet circuit. I personally don't recommend using it as a weight loss solution. Yes, you will lose weight but most of that will be water weight that your body has been retaining in an attempt to flush out toxins. Your system will let the water go with the help of a internal cleanse as it naturally detoxes. You will also lose the built up waste that your body was storing (that can be a significant amount in people who have diets high in processed foods). While a cleanse is not meant to be a magic diet pill, it is effective as a jumping off point in a long-term weight loss program (lifestyle change) that includes good diet and exercise.

For me, cleansing is about giving my digestive system a break, ridding my body of toxins and other nasty stuff, and resetting my immune system. I immediately notice the difference in my skin, which is your body's largest organ and main filter. Pimples and other skin conditions can be signs that an internal cleanse is needed.

I do several things when I am on a cleansing regimen:
  • I ease into it. I eat lightly a couple of days before I start so I don't shock my system by suddenly taking in only liquids. I avoid foods that tax the digestive system like starches, simple carbohydrates, refined sugars, and fatty meats.
  • I write out my regimen on a calendar so I can stick with it. I also plan my cleansing around my social calendar so I am not tempted to eat at parties, weddings, etc...
  • I take it easy. The 800-1200 calories/day I get from drinking liquid fruits and vegetables is enough to fuel me, but not to run a marathon. I do not exercise while I am cleansing.
  • I gently break the fast. I don't go gobble a hamburger and milkshake the day after the cleansing period is over. I slowly incorporate solids back into my diet starting with fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, dairy, then finally meat.
  • I take probiotics afterward to restore the balance of good bacteria in my digestive system.
This round of cleansing lasted three days. As usual, I was very hungry the first day. I had to keep telling myself that it's all in my head. I drink water when the hunger intensifies. The first night, I literally dream about food. I read somewhere that this is common. I feel better the next morning. The second day is hard only because I still have to make regular meals for Marlie, and I have to stop myself from licking the almond butter from my fingers out of habit. The upside is that Marlie is loving the juices we make and drinks it up and asks for more. Love her! Some of my favorite juice combos are: apple-beet-carrot-orange, sweet potato-celery-ginger-orange, and pineapple-lemon-beet. By day 3 I am feeling sublime...hunger has dissipated, energy is up, and my stomach has shrunk. I know if I want this feeling to last, that I have to eat wholesome foods. I'm not perfect though. I am going to eat pizza and cupcakes occasionally, and when I overdo it I can always cleanse.

photo credit: Chelle's View
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Wordful Wednesday: Painted Piggies


If you were expecting pigs in makeup, sorry to have disappointed you.
Just us girls beautifying our toes! Natural nail polish, of course.

Toddler Talk Tuesday: Torpedo That Tantrum

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One of the most useful skills I have picked up as a parent is becoming an expert at anticipation. Anticipation is all about heading off disaster at the path. Example: diaper blowout at the mall...no problemo! You always carry an extra set of clothes! See what I mean?

Preparation is the mother of anticipation. Like all good mothers, you have to see into the future and have eyes on the back of your head because you have to be ready for when the unexpected strikes. Except you were expecting it, and you planned accordingly!

This skill is supremely helpful when dealing with temper tantrums. Toddlers are to tantrums what was Jimmy Hendrix was to music art: prolific and loud. You can prevent many tantrums if you learn to recognize your toddler's triggers and you can nip a tantrum in the bud with some handy tricks.

powered by Fotopedia


I've noticed the three main causes if tantrums are boredom, tiredness, and frustration. Some tips to avoid these situations:
  • Provide toddler with meaningful tasks. Marlie gets bored easily when I am cooking/cleaning in the kitchen. She has her own helper station to keep her occupied. I give her vegetables to wash and utensils to put away. She has her own spray bottle to clean off and set her table. I keep her busy and she stays calm.
  • Make sure toddler is getting enough rest. I know a tantrum is not far off when Marlie wakes up too early or doesn't take a nap. I have become the sleep enforcer. If she wakes up at 5 am, I put that baby back to sleep!
  • Give toddler tools to communicate. Many times Marlie gets upset when she is trying to tell me something that I am misinterpreting. Teaching her sign language has kept these tantrums to a minimum.
Sometimes a tantrum happens despite our best efforts. In these cases, I have these tricks up my sleeve:
  • The art of misdirection. Say, for example, Marlie doesn't want to leave the park and is throwing a hissy fit. I tell her that the dog is hungry and we have to go home to feed him. I take the focus off what she can no longer do (play at the park) and redirect her attention to something else she loves to do.
  • Try a little attention. Sometimes Marlie is in a temper because she is feeling neglected. In this case, and only in this case, I will pick her up and hug her. She usually calms down in 5 minutes.
  • Do the thing you want them to do. You ask your toddler to a) pick up her toys b) eat his vegetables c) got to bed. "I don't want to!" is the response you get in between the screaming and flip-flopping on the floor. One evening Marlie refused to brush her teeth before bed. I calmly picked up my toothbrush and started brushing my teeth. A few seconds later she was reaching for her own toothbrush.
  • Ignore it. When the tantrum has reached radioactive meltdown proportions, it's time to walk away. This one is hard for me to do. Sometimes I want to negotiate, bribe, lecture, or throw my own tantrum. But I have learned to walk away. I calmly tell the diva that we can talk after she's calmed down then I go into another room and do something else. She finds me and when she has worked it out of her system.
What about you? What works for you when dealing with toddler tantrums?

I Wished My Godson a Happy Birthday with Bea's Gift Baskets & Gifts

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bea's Gift Baskets & Gifts will put a smile on the face of the lucky recipient of one of her eye-popping baskets overflowing with goodies!

Just ask my 12-year-old godson Marcus. I sent him this Crayola Kids Gift Box for his birthday earlier this month:


This is his review: "Auntie, ur gift is the best! I use my crayons, silly string, and coloring pages all the time!"

Bea's Gift Baskets and Gifts Review Bea's Gift Baskets and Gifts Review
I think you can color him happy!

There is still time to order an Easter Basket for the special little ones in your life!


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CLOSED...$50 to NOVICA World Market: Review + Giveaway {Earth Day Party}

I am a tried and true fan of NOVICA, the online marketplace for handmade home decor, jewelry, apparel and unique gifts from around the world...all fair trade!What woman does not like to receive jewelry? NOVICA carries a collection of more than 7,000 pieces of exquisite silver jewelry. You will find it hard to make a decision on what to buy! Don't fret though because the Unique Gifts section makes it simple to shop for that special someone. You can narrow your search by price, category, and even special occasions like an anniversary.

I experienced a "bling dilemma" when choosing between these two pairs of earrings. The one on the left is made in Bali/Java and the one on the right is made in Thailand:



Sterling silver 'Lace Teardrop' chandelier earringsGold vermeil 'Siam Sun' hoop earrings
Sterling silver 'Lace Teardrop' chandelier earringsGold vermeil 'Siam Sun' hoop earrings

Here I am wearing the pair I selected. Aren't they simply stunning?! Unfortunately, I lost one of them the first night I wore the earrings out because the pinch clasp wasn't secure. I am crushed. I really liked these earrings:

NOVICA Gold vermeil 'Siam Sun' hoop earrings Review

If you like original cultural items but can't travel the globe to get them...NOVICA will bring the world market to you! Now you can experience NOVICA in person via NOVICA Live home shows:

"NOVICA Live provides a unique cultural shopping experience where you can travel the world through entertaining home shows and see multimedia presentations of artisans creating the very
items you will hold in your hands."
NOVICA Live lets you host a show or be a consultant while contributing to the livelihood of artisans worldwide. Think of it as being a domestic ambassador for world's largest bazaar!

Buy It:
Sterling silver 'Lace Teardrop' chandelier earrings, $39.99.
Gold vermeil 'Siam Sun' hoop earrings $34.95

Win It: NOVICA has provided a $50 gift code to one Marlie and Me reader! Thanks NOVICA!
Mandatory first entry: Visit NOVICA. Leave a comment here with one thing you'd buy if you won.

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:
  • Like NOVICA on Facebook (leave your FB name)
  • Follow NOVICA on Twitter (leave your Twitter ID)
Standard Extra Entries:
  • Be a current or new follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect
  • Be a current or new subscriber of Marlie and Me via email (subscription must be activated)
  • Grab my button (leave the URL in your comment)
  • Add www.marlieandme.com to your blog roll (leave your URL in the comment)
  • Follow Marlie and Me at Networked Blogs on Facebook (leave your FB name)
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet this message (can tweet once daily. leave the URL to the tweet in your comment): @Mommy2Marlie is hosting a #giveaway for a $50 GC to NOVICA. Enter to #win at www.marlieandme.com. Ends 5/6 Open worldwide
  • Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The Rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 5/6/11 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).
  • By accepting the prize, the winner is granting permission to be identified as such.
  • The winner has one (1) month from the date of claiming the prize to report any problems (lost shipment, broken product, invalid gift code). I will not be responsible for resolving issues after this time.
  • In the event the prize is not claimed in the allotted time another winner will be chosen. Giveaway is open worldwide (where NOVICA ships). Must be at least 18 years of age to participate. Void where prohibited.
  • Entries that do not follow instructions or are falsified will be disqualified
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Baby Log: 1 Year and 34 Weeks Old

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome to the Marlie News Network (MNN) where we provided updates and breaking news on all things Marlie 24/7...
  • Marlie turned 20 months this week. She is no longer in the teens...waaaaah! She is 4 months away from turning 2...waaah! Wait. Mommy has to get going on the party planning. Luckily, I have already picked out a theme: Pink Giraffes. Don't you think the theme suits her? She is certainly tall and skinny like a giraffe. Now I'm in full party planning mode. Like a wedding it all starts with the perfect dress. I found this on eBay and quickly bought it:

    And I love these party invites from Riley Boo:

  • I also dig the zoo party idea for Marlie's 2nd birthday because she loves animals and has lots of animal traits. She has the eyes of an eagle...she can spot a speck of crumb from a mile away. She has the memory of an elephant...she remembers where I hid that box of Nut Thins 3 days ago. She climbs like a monkey, eats like a bird, screeches like a bat (but runs like Phoebe, according to Damon).
  • Marlie has been blissfully sleeping through the night for a little while now (no more more 3 am diaper change). It's been heaven, but just when we think all is good, she starts a new battle...refusing to go to sleep! Marlie napped for 3 hours on Monday. Then only one hour on Tuesday, no nap on Wednesday, 30 minute nap on Thursday, back to one hour on Friday. She has also been fighting bedtime all week, but then her babysitter said she had no problem putting her to bed on Friday. Hopefully, this was just a passing phase.
  • I landed my first freelance writing gig!!! I am writing commentary for Real Celebrity Life. It is my dream to write professionally (secretly, I have always wanted to write celebrity news). Please click over and support my dream.
  • Going through my closet last week, I realized that I have zero going-out clothes. Everything is maternity and old work clothes. The few passable pieces I've been able to wear are all ruined with mystery stains. That's because Marlie's hands are always sticky and greasy. So I took myself shopping to Marshall's with a $75 Visa gift card I earned for filling out a survey. I scored 3 tops, a pair of leather sandals, and a nice pair of dark wash jeans. Not.bad.at.all. Mama's gettin' her groove back!
  • Damon and I went on a dinner date Friday night. It felt so good to get dressed-up and go somewhere romantic. I had a Groupon for the restaurant, but we still wound up paying extra after we had appetizers and drinks. Plus, a tip for the valet and waitress and the babysitter fee. The real cost of quality couple time: priceless.

Let the Insanity Begin! Final Results

Saturday, April 16, 2011

We did it!

We completed the Insanity 60-day workout program! Just in time too because I wrenched my left knee when I landed wrong during a power jump. Hopefully, it will be fine in a few days.

We did the final Fit Test yesterday. I cannot believe how far we've come!

I am proud of myself for sticking with it. I feel great and I look better than I have in months. I am stronger and firmer as in my inner thighs no longer slap together when I do a jumping jack. I still see more work to be done, but that's not me nitpicking. I won't stop until my abs are back to their original flatness.

I did this for me, but also for my daughter. One of my motivations is to model the importance of fitness for her. She is a fast learner, too. She loves to exercise and say "dig deep!"

Tomorrow we start our 3-day juicing cleanse. I will post about that too with before and after pictures.

Thanks to everyone who has followed my Insanity blog posts and cheered me on!

CLOSED...TOATS Organic Cookies Review + Giveaway {Earth Day Party}

Friday, April 15, 2011

My regular readers know that I have been back on the healthy grind...working out and eating right. I still get those urges for something sweet, but I have to be careful not to undo all my hard work. I also have to be mindful of my sensitivity to gluten.

TOATS homemade oatmeal cookiesI sang hallelujah when TOATS sent me an individual packet of organic cookies to sample. TOATS are made from 9 wholesome ingredients: organic oat flour, organic almonds, organic flax meal, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic rolled oats, organic honey, organic pure cane sugar, xanthan gum and sea salt. They are low in sugar and salt, trans fats and cholesterol-free, and a good source of Omega 3, fiber and whole grains.


So what does a healthy cookie taste like?...D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! They remind me of my grandmother's homemade oatmeal cookies, plus they are filling. I was sad that I only had four cookies and even sadder that I had to share them with Marlie. There was a little tussle over who would get the last cookie. I told her mommy had to eat it because I had to write a review...a little low, but I had to have that cookie!
TOATS organic cookies review

Some quick facts about TOATS shared by the company:

  • handmade in the USA
  • certified organic by the USDA and Quality Assurance International
  • vegetarian friendly and gluten-free
  • environmentally-friendly packaging
  • small, woman-owned business
  • headquartered in Hamilton, VA
TOATS are Marlie and Me approved!

Buy It: TOATS are sold at all Washington, D.C and metro Baltimore area Whole Foods as well as online at www.toatsorganic.com. Right now TOATS is offering customers a "buy more and save" deal. Purchase 1 box @ $7.00/each, or 2 boxes @ $6.50/each, or 3+ boxes @ $6.00/each.

Win It:
TOATS is offering a 20-count box of organic cookies to one Marlie and Me reader! Thanks TOATS!

Mandatory first entry: Visit TOATS. Leave a comment here with something you learned about the product or company that I did not already mention in my review.

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:
  • Like TOATS on Facebook (leave your FB name)
  • Follow TOATS on Twitter (leave your Twitter ID)
Standard Extra Entries:
  • Be a current or new follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect
  • Be a current or new subscriber of Marlie and Me via email (subscription must be activated)
  • Grab my button (leave the URL in your comment)
  • Add www.marlieandme.com to your blog roll (leave your URL in the comment)
  • Follow Marlie and Me at Networked Blogs on Facebook (leave your FB name)
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet this message (can tweet once daily. leave the URL to the tweet in your comment): @Mommy2Marlie is hosting a #giveaway for a box of TOATS organic cookies! Enter to #win at www.marlieandme.com. Ends 4/30
  • Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The Rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 4/30/11 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).
  • By accepting the prize, the winner is granting permission to be identified as such.
  • The winner has one (1) month from the date of claiming the prize to report any problems (lost shipment, broken product, invalid gift code). I will not be responsible for resolving issues after this time.
  • In the event the prize is not claimed in the allotted time another winner will be chosen. Giveaway is open to US only. Must be at least 18 years of age to participate. Void where prohibited.
  • Entries that do not follow instructions or are falsified will be disqualified
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Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, April 14, 2011

this week I am loving...
  • kate_william_bigRoyal wedding fever. I'll be glued to my telly on April 29 to watch the Prince William and Kate Middleton wedding just like I watched his mum and dad get married all those years ago. TLC is re-airing that famous event! Meanwhile I've been gorging on royal wedding tidbits. I haven't bought any souvenirs yet.
  • Customer service gets a bad rap and most of the time it is well-deserved. I am quick to ask for a manager or fire-off a letter to corporate to complain about poor service or a defective product. But I also like to give kudos to good customer service, so thank you Kolcraft for replacing the wheels on my Jeep stroller at no cost!
  • This Pangea Organics Hand & Body Lotion from Celadon Road. It's scent is french chamomile with sweet orange & lavender. It smells so good I almost licked my arms!



What are you loving this Thursday?! Link up!



See What's New at GlassesUSA.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I have always thought glasses made you look smart and distinguished, maybe that's because I am a nerd. Many beautiful people wear eye glasses from Marilyn Monroe to Megan Fox, so maybe I am not so geeky after all. Spectacles are a sexy accessory!

Remember those old-fashioned, heavy black frames? Eyeglasses sure have come a long way since then. Today's glasses come in thousands of styles and colors. Even fashion designers are putting their stamp on eyeglasses and making them more trendy. You can choose a sporty look or a studious look or a vintage look...whatever suits your personality. There are so many options!

Even though you might not be a celebrity, you can rock a pair of fashionable glasses like you are without draining your bank account. The place to get cheap eyeglasses that look like a million bucks is GlassesUSA.com. They carry RayBan, Timberland, CK and Just Cavalli (as in the Roberto). Right now they are running a few specials to help you see and look your best:

  • Save 10% on your next order of glasses with the coupon code: Blog10
  • Spring Forward to Free Sunglasses SALE: Buy 1 pair of glasses worth $80 or more and a get a FREE upgrade to sunglasses ($29.95 value). Use the code: FreeTint at checkout.
Hop on over there and pick up a pair or two!

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Wordful Wednesday: Couple of Cool Chicks

We bad, we know it!
Thanks to Krissy I have one more rare photo of Marlie and me together.
p.s. What is up with Photobucket?!

I'm Rockin' a Guest Post Navelgazing Bajan Today!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Please hop over to Navelgazing Bajan and read my contribution to her "What Motherhood Means to Me" series. It's titled Finding My Mommy+

Don't forget to leave lots of comments!

Celebrating Earth Day: What YOU Can Do!

This Earth Day I am reflecting on the negative human impact on our planet. Mother Earth is resilient, but how much more can she take? Oil spills, landfills overflowing with non-biodegradable debris, air and water pollution are killing us and our Earth. We can save our environment if we each made a conscious effort to reduce, reuse, recycle as much as we can. Here are some Earth Day events and activities you can participate in to show your support for planet Earth:

Make a pledge at earthday.org and be counted among the Billion Acts of Green. Then share your act of green on Facebook and Twitter. While you are there check the EVENTS tab for Earth Day celebrations in your area.


The Cloth Diaper Change is a worldwide event aiming to set the world record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously. Grab your diaper bag, your kid(s) and go make a statement about reusable diapers. Find a location near you.


Celebrate Earth Day with your little one(s) with a limited edition “Life is a Picnic” Kit. Profits from the sale of the kit will be donated to Healthy Child Healthy World!



Support the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule proposed by the EPA by signing this petition on the Environmental Defense Fund.

Baby Log: 1 Year and 33 Weeks Old

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Marlie was on a Charlie Sheen bender this week. She was all over the place, saying and doing things to get a rise out of me, getting into trouble and had me questioning her sanity, but she's a charmer so we can't stay mad at her for long:
  • She is becoming expert at stringing words together. Her latest gag is to sit on your lap and pass gas then yell, "I farted!" and laugh. Other word combos: "I'm Marlie," "that's daddy's" (if she catches me using his coffee cup for my tea), "that's mine" (she is very possessive), "more milk," "move dog" "stop dog" "get dog"
  • This might sounds harsh, but she has the energy of a crackhead. The first thing this girl wants to do after she wakes up is dance. We turn on Pandora and she just goes berserk. I love to watch her dance. Her moves are a combination of Elaine's spastic jerks and video vixen. My girl can shake her rump, but she is also goofy. Her favorite music right now is Punjabi.
  • You'd think she'd be tired after all that dancing, but nope. She moves on to climbing, tumbling and running full speed into furniture. She received no less that four bumps, cuts, and bruises to her forehead this week. I guess it's because her forehead sticks out like Tyra's so it's the first thing to get injured when she falls. I see lots of ER visits in our future.
  • She had her first nosebleed this week (unrelated to her multiple falls). I would be lying if I said I did not panic and check WebMD to see if it was a sign of a brain tumor or something else serious. Turns out she probably has allergies.
  • Marlie's temper can go from zero to 60 in no time flat. I continue not to acknowledge her until she's calmed down. I say "bring it down to a five" and then we'll talk, but it's hard sometimes to do that above the screaming. I also try to model the correct way to express frustration, but I do lapse with the occasional shout and bad word. Marlie will also shout or cry when she needs help with something. I'll hear her screeching and think she's badly hurt only to find her trying to put a sock on. I keep telling her about the boy who cried wolf. She is also very mischievous. When she gets that twinkle in her eye you know she's plotting something. She keeps me on my toes, but I am going to age prematurely running behind her all day.
  • Speaking of aging...some stupid, rude, craggy-faced cashier had the gall to ask me if Marlie is my grandchild! When I told her that she was in fact my daughter, she responded with disbelief, really? she's your baby? Talk about pouring salt on a wound! I know I'll never get carded again, but I don't think I look like a grandmother...come on! This is all I needed to hear a month before my 35th birthday. Thanks, craggy-faced cashier. Some people have no tact. Ugh!
  • On a positive note, we have an official potty trainer! At bath time she removed her diaper, grabbed her potty and went pee pee all by herself and unprompted! We showered her with praise and she was beaming with pride. She has used the potty at bath time almost every day this week. On Friday, she attempted a poo but stood up too quickly and the turd dropped on the floor.
  • Another super-fabulous happening, Marlie and me had our first bloggy-buddy play date! Krissy from Musings of Me and her adorable daughter Jasmine were intown so we met up. The girls were shy around each other at first, but then became instant buds. We went for lunch, then hit the play area at the mall, had some ice cream and shopped for shoes at Payless. They were pooped afterward. Krissy is my kind of chick...cool and spunky and just down-to-earth. It was so wonderful to spend time with a cyber friend IRL. We had so much fun!

Let the Insanity Begin! Week Seven Results

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I cannot believe we have only one week left in this round of Insanity. Yes, I said "this round" because we are going to keep working out. The question is what we should next: Power 90, which I bought years ago; another round of Insanity; or get the CharLEAN DVDs. I know I am not ready to graduate to Asylum, the new Shaun T. program. We definitely want to focus on muscle building. For me, it's all about strengthening my upper body and core. I want to be able to lift and hold up my body weight.

But first we are going to do a 3-day detox before we jump back into another grueling exercise program. I wish we had done this before Insanity, it would have been a nice way to kick start our weight loss by ridding our bodies of water weight, built up toxins, and undissolved waste.

I was planning to have us do the Shakeology detox, but at $120 per kit that is way too expensive. I think a better investment is to buy a juicer. I used to detox regularly as part of my health regime so I know what to do. We are researching juicers and I found several juice cleansing recipes online. The first step is to ease into it by eating light a couple of days before the juice fast (no simple carbs, no meat, no fatty foods or refined sugars...nothing that the digestive system has to work hard to metabolize). Then 3 days of juice, juice, juice! Then we break the fast slowly by incorporating solids back into our diet starting with fruits/veggies, whole grains and leaving meat and dairy for last.

That's the plan!

Easy Organic Living Challenge #3: Give a Meal a Makeover

Friday, April 8, 2011

Your family’s food should be safe and nutritious because what’s more important than the health of your child? Choosing certified organic food is a simple way to help promote health. You can do it by taking small steps that have a big impact.

Your challenge: This week, prepare a meal for your family that includes at least one organic ingredient.

Directions:
  1. Choose one of your favorite family meals to adapt.
  2. Identify at least one ingredient from that meal to buy organic.
  3. Enjoy making food! Savor the sights, smells, and textures and encourage children too, as well.
Tips:
  • Wondering which organic ingredients to start with? Try those that your family eats the most — milk, meats, yogurt, fruits, vegetables.
  • Find deals and discounts on organic foods by using this guide.
  • Use one of the following tools to learn about risky chemicals in specific foods:
  • There’s an app for that! Check out this app: iScan My Food - This iPhone app allows you to scan food ingredients and contains information on harmful food additives, toxic ingredients in food and genetically modified foods.
Remember to register at Baby Center to join the Easy Organic Living Group. Share your meal makeover in the comments on the Challenge Post.

Enter my Easy Organic Challenge Gift Bag Giveaway, ends April 30th!

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, April 7, 2011

this week I am loving...
  • Security breaches. I just love getting emails from some of the largest online companies (et tu Tar-jay?) informing me that their email service provider was hacked and I may receive even more spam or phishing emails. Should I consider their warning suspicious email?
  • At first this commercial seemed lame and a little past its sell-by-date. Then I got the joke. Then I smiled. Then I laughed and laughed and laughed!



What are you loving this Thursday?! Link up!


CLOSED...Tropical Traditions Glass and Surface Cleaner Review + Giveaway

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moms and dads are busy.

Tropical Traditions Glass and Surface CleanerWhen it comes to cleaning our house, we want cleaners that get the job done fast and right the first time. But what about safely?

Many of us are convinced that we need chemicals like bleach and ammonia to get our home clean. Pregnant women are are instructed to avoid the VOCs (volatile organic compound) of common household products like cleaners and paint, but what about exposure to your newborn baby, toddler, or preschooler? The nervous system and organs of young children are still vulnerable, so why would you want to use toxic cleaners around them?

A slew of research studies are coming out exposing the health hazards of household cleaners (see U.S. News article, EPA report, Women's Voices report). I can't imagine any parent will want to spray their kitchen counter or bathtub with octylphenol after reading these reports.

So, what is a concerned parent to do? You could make your own cleaners from natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. But if you aren't into mixing potions, there are natural cleaning products on the market if you know where to look.

Tropical Traditions makes a line of natural cleaners that won't pollute your indoor air or poision your family and pets. I recently reviewed the Glass and Surface Cleaner which was handy because my house has lots of mirrors and windows, plus a glass cooktop that is a pain to clean.

I am a little embarrassed to show you the before and after pictures of my cooktop, but for the sake of full disclosure here it is:

Tropical Traditions Glass and Surface Cleaner Review Tropical Traditions Glass and Surface Cleaner Review
Can you see the difference? This stuff is like magic! I did have to scrub hard to get the more caked-on stuff off, but I'd rather use my own elbow grease than some toxic solvent. I got a clean glass cooktop with the benefits of:
  • No ammonia, alcohol or harsh volatile solvents
  • 0% VOC (Volatile organic Compounds)
  • No rinsing required
  • Non-streaking
  • No fragrance or dye added

Buy It: Tropical Traditions Glass and Surface Cleaner normally retails for $22.50 for an 128 oz jug, but is on sale for $12.99 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 It: Thanks to Tropical Traditions one lucky Marlie and Me reader is going to win an 128 oz jug of Glass and Surface Cleaner!

Mandatory first entry: Check out the Household Traditions page and leave a comment here with the name of another nontoxic cleaner you'd like to try


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:

  • Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions sales newsletter
  • Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter (leave Twitter name)
Standard Extra Entries:

  • Be a current or new follower of Marlie and Me via Google Friend Connect
  • Be a current or new subscriber of Marlie and Me via email (subscription must be activated)
  • Grab my button (leave the URL in your comment)
  • New! Add Marlie and Me to your blog roll (leave your URL in the comment)
  • New! Follow Marlie and Me at Networked Blogs on Facebook (leave your FB initials)
  • New! Follow me on Twitter and tweet this message (can tweet once daily. leave the URL to the tweet in your comment): @Mommy2Marlie is hosting a #giveaway for Tropical Traditions Glass & Surface Cleaner. Enter to #win at www.marlieandme.com US/CAN. Ends 4.23
  • New! Vote for Marlie and Me at Picket Fence Blogs (click button above Google Friend Connect widget)
The rules:
  • This giveaway will end on 4/23/11 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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Stuff on my mind

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

With a quarter of the year now over, I feel the need to set some goals for the remainder of 2011. I know I said I don't do New Year's Resolutions, nothing wrong with some goal-setting later in the year though. But these are more like plans I have been making in my head, so I am going dump them right here in black and white where I can be held accountable to execute them:
  • My 35th birthday is next month. That has a lot to do with the thoughts churning around in my brain. I want to do something life-changing and life-affirming. The year I turned 30 I was sick, overweight, and depressed. I prayed so hard for a resolution. When modern medicine failed me, I turned to homeopathy and found my way back to health. On the cusp of my 35th birthday I am struggling again, but this time it's internal conflict. I've been suffering from a serious case of identity crisis since I became a mom. It's time for me to get out of this funk and rediscover who Teresha is.
  • Part of that rediscovery is giving serious thought to going back to the workforce after Marlie's 2nd birthday. Can you believe I received my last paycheck in May 2008? Just thinking about dusting off my resume and interviewing skills fills me with anxiety. I would like to find a way to write for a living. I can't think of anything else that would be worth being away from Marlie for most of the day.
  • Another plan is to reorganize and redesign my blog. Marlie is growing up, there is less baby stuff to talk about and more toddler topics to tackle (learning, the best developmental toys, discipline, the potty) . Plus, I'd like to spend more time writing about the balance between motherhood and womanhood. Time for a big girl makeover at Marlie and Me. I'm talking navigation bar and social media buttons! I am looking for a blog designer who can bring it!
  • Speaking of blogs, I have been toying with this idea to create a political blog where I can wax political and engage in civil debate about social justice, poverty, the War on Terrorism, the Tea Party, immigration, gun control, the Wall Street bailout, unrest in the Middle East, and birthers. Where would I find the time?
  • Maybe giving up the idiot box would free up time to write another blog. I am starting to question the usefulness of TV. I can read the news and get updates of my favorite shows online. It bothers me to see Marlie in front of the television. We don't learn from watching, we learn from doing. So no more TV during the day. More time engaging her in practical life like watering the herb garden, putting Kermit to sleep, folding clothes, doing dishes, reading books, dancing, speaking Spanish, and showering her with love.
  • I want to host a series of guest posts leading up to Mother's Day around the theme of 21st century motherhood. I am going to figure out how to do a Google Docs form so you can submit your ideas!

Attention All Moms: Get Paid for Giving Your Opinion

Monday, April 4, 2011

I am a member of several paid survey sites, but I get tired of answering long surveys about products or services I don't care about. Plus, they don't offer much incentive. I wished for a site that focused on collecting thoughtful feedback from moms while respecting my valuable time and opinions.

So imagine my surprise and excitement when QuestionMoms asked me to review their survey site and encourage other moms to join if I liked what I saw. And, I did like it...a lot!

Sign up to participate with QuestionMoms QuestionMoms is just like sitting on a product testing panel except you get to participate from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Other features that won me over:
  • Simple two-step registration process
  • Earn $3 just for signing up and creating a profile
  • Your general profile is kept confidential
  • You get paid for EVERY survey you complete
  • Most surveys takes less than 5 minutes and pay $1
  • Share your thoughts on products in development
  • The chance to win prizes!
Right now, QuestionMoms is looking for African-American moms to review a pair of black dolls/action figures.

If any of you moms would like to give your opinion and get paid for it sign up to participate with QuestionMoms. When they ask how did you hear about QuestionMoms.com, tell them Marlie and Me sent you!


Disclosure: I receive a bonus from QuestionMoms for every new sign-up through the above affiliate link

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