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Wordful Wednesday: Girls Day at the Zoo

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Marlie spent Sunday at the zoo with her best schoolmate
She petted ponies
And drove a safari jeep
And had a really good time hanging out with her buddy

Book Bash Bonanza! $500 in Prizes!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Book Bash Bonanza is a HUGE giveaway event that pairs a health book with a Nordic Naturals product as a prize. Total value is $500.00.
Click--->Here<---to Enter!

What I'm Watching on #Netflix

This week's picks from Netflix Instant Watch:

TV Show:
Ralphie May: Austin-tatious. Do you remember the reality competition program Last Comic Standing? I forgot about it too until I saw Ralphie May's comedy special in my Netflix library. He was runner-up on the first season. You know how so they say it's better not to win the talent show? So true in Ralphie's case. I thought he was the funniest guy on that competition stage and he proves just how gut-busting hilarious he is in this comedy special. He rifts on everything from his pregnant wife to the ghost of Anna Nicole Smith. I couldn't help but do a spit take when he explained how he got away with naming his newborn daughter April June May. Heads up: his humor is off-color.

The Kids' Log: June 17-23, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I have been a packing fool all week, going through the house from top to bottom, de-cluttering the attic and garage, separating our belongings into four piles: pack, trash, donate and sell. We're having a moving sale today. I will let you know how it went. During my breaks from being wife, mom and unpaid packer, I finished reading The Last Warner Woman. The book was beyond engrossing, it moved my spirit. I'm sending it to my mom next.

I've also been making time for people. My dear friend Cheryl drove up from Corpus Christi to spend Friday with me and the kiddos. We then held a bon voyage brunch at our home on Saturday.

Speaking of time, I have decided that Friday nights are my mom-me time. I have created a home-spa area in my bathroom with my favorite beauty products. I take a long shower, wash my hair, shave, exfoliate, give myself a facial, and moisturize. It's awesome!

Toddler Log: 2 Years 44 Weeks Old:
It's official. Marlie is growing up. I tried to keep a lid on this, but it's time I face reality. Marlie has a crush on a boy at school. How do I know this? She talks about him constantly, draws him pictures, and takes him "presents." I was not prepared for her to be crushing already. What if her feelings get hurt? So  I brought it up to one of the school leaders and he told me that they act like an old married couple. I felt relieved because it seems that her puppy love feelings are being reciprocated.

Baby Log: 11 Weeks Old 
Magoo had a rough week. He was gassy and it made him fussy. He didn't sleep well, plus he didn't have a bowel movement for days. I know breastfed babies can goes days without pooping, but I imagine it just contributed to his discomfort. He finally dropped a load Wednesday evening and he was instantly smiley. What else? He has outgrown his 0-3 month bodysuits and he is going through baby baldness.

Review: Oxylent Prenatal Multivitamin Drink

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pregnant women have to do several things to keep themselves and their babies healthy such as get plenty of rest, eat right, exercise, and take prenantal vitamins. I took four different supplements while I was pregnant because I couldn't find one pill that contained all the vitamins and minerals in the amounts I needed.

It was an annoying ritual to swallow those bulky pills every morning, and I am still doing it because I am breastfeeding. That was until I was introduced to Oxylent Prenatal Daily Multivitamin Drink. You read that last sentence right. There is a prenatal vitamin that you can take in the form of a delicious drink! How do I know it's delicious? I tried it for a week and loved every drop.

Oxylent Prenatal Daily Multivitamin Drink makes getting your nutrients so easy. Just add the packet of vitamin powder to a glass of water, mix, add ice, and enjoy. I drank the fizzy cranberry/raspberry-flavored vitamin drink with my breakfast. It certainly didn't taste like I was taking vitamins! It tastes like a natural berry soda to me. The best part is how I am feeling...more energized and that's saying a lot for a sleep-deprived mama of a toddler and infant!

Oxylent Prenatal Daily Multivitamin Drink Review

Not only does Oxylent Prenatal Daily Multivitamin Drink provide the essential nourishment for your body, it also supports immune and bone health and provides Magnesium for cellular balance and vitamin B6 which assists in reducing nausea associated with pregnancy. Plus, it contains no sugar!

Other facts about Oxylent Prenatal Daily Multivitamin Drink:
  • Effervescent technology means more absorption of key nutrients by the body
  • No artificial color, flavor, gluten, lactose, caffeine
  • Helps you stay hydrated
  • Third party tested for purity- no environmental contaminants
  • It goes where mom goes- at home, on the go or traveling
  • At about a $1 a day, it's affordable
Oxylent also makes an Buy It: Oxylent Prenatal Daily Multivitamin Drink is available for purchase for $36.95 at www.oxylent.com and at Oxylent retailers near you. Use coupon code TOPOXYLENT for 20% off of your entire purchase (valid until 7/31/12). There is free shipping on orders of two or more boxes. ">adult multivitamin and children's multivitamin formulas.

Connect with Oxylent: Facebook | Twitter


Wordful Wednesday: Monarch Butterfly Queen

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monarch Butterfly Girls Costume Review
I am one of those annoyingly organized, type A moms who planned her daughter's Sweet Sixteen while she was still in my womb. So don't be shocked that I have already picked out Marlie's outfit for Halloween. Actually, she selected it from the girls costume page at Wholesale Costume Club. She made a good choice! The Monarch Butterfly costume is nicely constructed with beautiful details like rhinestones and satin ribbon trim. Plus it comes with these key accessories: leg pieces, wings, and a headdress. The headpiece in the package is less full than the one in the photo. Not a super big deal, but I like to get what is being sold on the packaging. Agree? I might just hot glue some more flowers on it from a craft store. Other than that, this costume is simply adorable and Marlie loves it! I also like that it fits well and can be used for dress-up play long after Halloween is over. Now I have to find a caterpillar costume for her baby brother.

Monarch Butterfly Girls CostumeBuy It: Monarch Butterfly Girls Costume Non-Member Price: $22.98/Member Price: $20.96

I received this review opportunity through Tomoson.com. Photobucket

What I'm Watching on #Netflix

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This week's picks from Netflix Instant Watch:

TV Show:
Drop Dead Diva. I fell for this show after watching Season 1 on Netflix, but I could never catch it on TV. Now Seasons 2 and 3 are available to watch instantly. I gobbled them up in a few days. The show continues where it left off with the spirit of deceased model Deb Dobkins now living in the body of voluptuous super attorney-at-law Jane Bingham. Jane is the magnetic glitter glue that pulls the show together and she is both funny and charming. Each episode centers around eccentric court cases that serve as metaphors for the real-life struggles of the lawyers of the Harrison|Parker firm. It is comedy and drama, this is my kind of show!

Take Me Home Tonight. This comedy throwback to the rockin' 80s stars two of my favorite comedic actors Topher Grace (Matt Franklin) and Anna Faris (Wendy Franklin) as fraternal twins who are trying to figure out their next steps post-college. Matt decides to spend the last weekend of summer pursuing his high school crush and pulls some crazy stunts in an effort to woo her. The movie is kind of cliche, but has some winning moments. The music, lingo, and wardrobe are spot-on (Aquanet, gangster rap, and popped collars on pastel Polo shirts are prominently featured), but these nostalgic prop devices only made me wish the filmmakers paid more attention to the story and jokes than to getting the soundtrack right because this movie could have been epic funny (see: The Wedding Singer as a good example).

The Kids' Log: June 10-16, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Did you miss my big announcement this week? Yeah, my little clan is moving to the Bay Area in a few weeks. My head is still spinning!

Toddler Log: 2 Years 43 Weeks Old:  
Someone turns 3 in ten weeks! I cannot wrap my head around it. I look at Marlie and I struggle to remember her as a baby. Did this happen when your babies outgrew their baby-ness? All her big kid-ness is taking over. She talks about her birthday constantly. I really want it to be special for her since we will be in a new city. I hope I can still pull of her luau birthday party.

So much of her big kid-ness was on display this week. Like insisting on wearing a back pack to school and staying up late every night and yelling at cars while we're driving (she picked that up from me, I might have a bit of road rage). She is also a wonderful big sister. Marlie is so gentle and loving with her brother. She woke up very late on Thursday morning (thanks to the late nights) and was rushing to get ready for school. On the way out the door, she comes over to Desmond and says, "I can't play with you right now, baby. I have to go to school. Sorry. But I'll be back later. Okay?" She said it just like that!

She has picked up some Spanish. She told me "hola" the other day. She also understands amigos and besos. I give credit to Go Diego Go.

Baby Log: 10 Weeks Old 
Magoo is getting so big. He weighed in at a 13 lbs 1 oz at the pediatrician on Tuesday. I took him back because his cough was not getting better. His doctor did not like the way his right lung sounded, so we did a nebulizer treatment in office and it helped a great deal. We then had to go get a chest x-ray to make sure he didn't have pneumonia. The film came back all clear. That is a load off my mind. The doctors at the pedtrician office think her either has a viral respiratory infection (which has to clear up on its own) or bad allergies.
My best friend, my soul mate, my babies' daddy

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

p.s. I am hosting an awesome giveaway for an Onya Baby Carrier and Earth Mama Angel Baby Birth Bag. Go Enter!

Win an Onya Baby Carrier and Earth Mama Angel Baby Gift Set {#WearCareBaby #Giveaway}

Friday, June 15, 2012

Another awesome giveaway event from the Green Moms Network!
All of us want the best for our babies. And for many of us, that means wearing them close our hearts and caring for their delicate skin with truly natural baby care products. So I’m pleased to be working with a group of fabulous bloggers to bring you the Wear & Care Baby Giveaway Event, hosted by Happy Mothering and the Green Moms Network, and sponsored by Onya Baby and Earth Mama Angel Baby! As part of this event, we’re giving away two amazing prizes to help one of our readers safely wear and care for your baby or toddler!

Onya Baby Carrier of your choice ($149 value)!

onya-baby-cruiser Onya Baby carriers have plenty of useful features, like two zippered pockets, a tuck-away sleep hood, toy loops, a d-ring for your key clip and a high body for support and backwards/sideways lean-control for an older baby. One of the most unique features of Onya Baby carriers is the integrated chair harness, which enables you to convert pretty much any adult chair into a seat for your baby. Onya Baby carriers are designed for babies who are 15 pounds and 3 months or older up to a maximum weight of 45 pounds.

Onya Baby Carriers are available in 2 styles:

  • The Cruiser is made from 100% cotton
  • The Outback has a nylon exterior and air-mesh lining
Read more about the Onya Baby Outback Carrier on Happy Mothering.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Full Size Birth & Baby Kit ($89.95 value)

Earth Mama Special
The Earth Mama Angel Baby Full Size Birth & Baby Kit provides everything you need to naturally and safely care for baby and for you.

This gift set comes in a sturdy Cotton Tote Bag that includes:

For Baby:
  • Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash (5.3 oz)
  • Angel Baby Oil (4 oz)
  • Angel Baby Lotion (4 oz)
  • Angel Baby Bottom Balm (2 oz)
For Mama:
  • New Mama Bottom Spray (4 oz)
  • Mama Bottom Balm (2 oz)
  • Organic Monthly Comfort Tea (1 box)
  • Natural Nipple Butter (2 oz)
  • Postpartum Bath Herbs (1 box)
Read more about this Earth Mama Angel Baby Gift Set on Happy Mothering.

Enter to Win

One of our fabulous readers will win both prizes – a combined value of $240! To enter, please complete the Raffleopter form below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The sponsors provided Happy Mothering with free samples of these products to review, and we were under no obligation to review them if we so chose. Nor were we under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. Facebook is in no way affiliated with this contest, the Wear & Care Baby Giveaway Event, its hosts, its sponsors or its participating bloggers. Please note that Happy Mothering, Wear & Care Baby Event and the participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. Happy Mothering will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. Happy Mothering will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify Happy Mothering within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Big News!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Remember a few months ago I said I had some news that I could not wait to share? Well, that turned out to be a big, fat nothing. But everything happens for a reason and every disappointment is for a greater good.

I told a few of you that my family was trying to relocate to California and the moment has finally arrived. After months of interviews, Damon has scored a Brand Manager position with a company in San Francisco. Our family will be moving to the Bay Area at the end of June!

I am so excited that I have lost my mind and cannot concentrate on anything. I spend all day looking at houses and shops in East Bay/Oakland. Did you know they have THREE H&M stores in the area?! I also found a Caribbean grocer. Not to mention all there is to do outdoors. We are going to be camping, biking, swimming, gardening and nature-loving fools!

This blog is going to be woefully neglected during the next two weeks while we pack. But as soon as we're settled I will post all about our big move out west.

I am going to be a California girl. *squeal*


Wordful Wednesday: Magoo @ 2.5 Months

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This one's for Krissy who asked for more photos of Magoo. He is really smiley!

Monday Morning Parenting: Is Teasing Bullying?

Monday, June 11, 2012

What got me asking this question started with the May 21, 2012 issue of TIME magazine featuring a model-mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son with the confrontational title, "Are You Mom Enough?" The inflammatory cover sparked a heated debate across the world wide web and most of the flames ignited in the mommy blogosphere. While there were calls to be civil and not to play into the "mommy wars," there was a sinister aspect to some of the reactions that was largely overlooked, except by Alexia at Babies and Bacon who called it out immediately. Smart lady.

I am talking about comments that ranged from, "that poor boy is going to be teased relentlessly" to "that kid will never be able to show his face on a playground!" One mother left a comment on a blog that her son said something to this effect when he saw the magazine photo. It struck me as odd that a mother would use her son's ill-informed reaction as an argument to justify her beef with the magazine cover, but  what really rubbed me the wrong way that she obviously agreed with him and said nothing in her post about correcting him. In essence, she condoned his belief that it's okay to pick on people with different lifestyle choices. People, people, people...teasing is bullying.

This mother missed an opportunity to teach her son a valuable lesson about tolerance, one that is essential to our kids character development and goes a long way toward preventing bullying. The lesson is that some people look, act, think different from us and that is okay. We don't have to like it, but we do have to respect it. I imagined conversations about that TIME magazine cover between parents and their children taking place in hundreds, even thousands, of households and I wonder how many of the adults made comments ridiculing the mother and son in the photo. Children get their first social cues from their parents and imitate them. All the anti-bullying programs in the world will not work unless the mindset change is also happening in the home.

There is some old-fashioned way of thinking that undermines our ability to solve the bullying epidemic (and, yes, it's become an epidemic when victims of bullying are committing suicide at alarming rates). One belief is that teasing is just kids being kids and it's a harmless rite of passage. This could not be further from the truth. Believe me, words can hurt just as much as a fist. The emotional scars from being teased are real and take a long time to heal.

The next time you have a witty barb or backhanded compliment on the tip of your tongue ready to make fun of someone stop and think about the message you are sending to your kids. We must do better so that our kids will know better. Parents have the real power to put an end to bullying.

Summer Splash Cash Giveaway Event

Welcome to the $400 Summer Splash Cash Giveaway hosted by Giveaway Promote. We've joined a fantastic group of bloggers to give away $400 in cash via PayPal to one lucky person. Complete the tasks below to earn entries into this giveaway. One winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.   Do you love entering giveaways, sweepstakes and contests? You'll find the latest and greatest listed at Giveaway Promote. You can submit your giveaways and upcoming giveaway events for free today!  
This giveaway is open worldwide. It will end at 11:59pm EST on June 24th, 2012.

The Kids' Log: June 3-9, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This week was busy, busy, busy! It started off with Damon leaving on another trip Sunday-Monday, but me and the kids have our party of three routine down to a science. The rest of the week we had check-ups and errands and birthday parties, oh my! I also picked up another book recommended by a reader (thanks, Harlem Minded!). The Last Warner Woman, by Jamaican author Kei Miller is "a story about magic and migration, stories and storytelling, and the New and Old Worlds, we discover it is never one person who owns a story or has the right to tell it" (taken from Amazon.com book summary). I am excited to read it! 

Toddler Log: 2 Years 42 Weeks Old:  
Marlie attended a day camp this week in the heart of downtown. It took 20-30 minutes of fighting rush hour traffic to get her there every morning and pick her up, but it was worth it on two levels. One, I loved seeing her make new friends and second, she attended camp until 5 pm so I got extra me time. I needed that space too because she has been trying my patience all week. I finally laid down the law on Monday and took away the TV for the rest of the week. She was watching too much anyway. With the boob tube out of the way, she had to occupy herself with books and other materials in her classroom. It was good to see her playing again with her educational toys instead of being glued to the television screen. 

She continues to frustrate me one second and amaze me the next. Lately, every other sentence out of her mouth is, "I WANT..." as in I want chocolate milk (her new obsession), I want to watch TV, I want to go to the park. Sometimes she just says it to say it and in that case she'll say, "I want something." I think she just WANTS to annoy me. Then her sweet side fights its way out and she'll say, "thank you for my chocolate milk mommy, I love you." I cut my finger on Tuesday and she asked to see it and then instructed me to apply pressure and a band-aid to make it feel better. She said it just like that. She is so smart and compassionate. I could just picture her in a white doctor's coat treating sick kids in a poor village somewhere. 

She had a dental check up on Thursday. The dentist said her teeth look great except for some crowding with the lower front teeth. We also need to get to flossing those pearly whites again. She was upset that they were out of balloons. We went to lunch at Whole Foods and then the bookstore where she picked up a Spider-Man doll to make up for not getting a balloon. They had splash day at camp on Friday, which was a nice way to end it. Another Saturday, another birthday party. That was Marlie's week! 

Baby Log: 10 Weeks Old 
Magoo likes to stretch his arms above his head in a champ pose, loves to smile at his big sister, but still freaks out in the car seat. He had his two-month wellness check up on Monday. He is now 22 inches long and weighs just shy of 12 lbs. His pediatrician was super impressed with his growth and development especially when he showed off his rolling over skills. She said his hernia will repair itself in the next couple of years, so that was good news. But she pointed out some wheezing she heard during his chest exam. It is something we have to watch to make sure it's nothing serious like asthma. Of course I get all paranoid. He's had a cough since Tuesday and I am trying not to worry about it since he doesn't have a fever. But by Friday he was congested and we were up in the early morning hours sitting in the steamy bathroom while the hot water filled his lungs with soothing steam. He was breathing better after that and went back to sleep.

p.s. There is an awesome giveaway for $200 Amazon  gift card sponsored by the Overhead Door Company

Win Books for Father's Day in the #ILoveDad Give Away! 4 Winners!

I Love Dad Hop ButtonI don't know about you, but I have a tough time picking out a gift for my husband for Father's Day. Maybe it's due to the lack of practice I had growing up without my father. But I am getting the chance to win some cool presents thanks to the bloggers in the "I Love Dad" Father's Day Giveaway Hop Event, hosted by Mama to 4 Blessings and Home Grown Families! I'm excited, aren't  you?!

This event will take place from June 10th at 12:01am EST to June 17th at 11:59pm EST. For this event we will be celebrating Dads! Which means we will be offering things Dads love for giveaways! After entering my awesome giveaway be sure to visit each blog from the linky below the Rafflecopter and enter for your chance to win some really amazing prizes valued at $20+.

My giveaway features prizes for the cerebral dad...set of puzzle books and a bestselling travel guide:

Prize #1: A set of puzzle books from the Puzzle Barron and The Complete Idiot's Guide (1 Winner) $36 value. Open to US only. My Review

Prize #2: A copy of 100 Places to See Before You Die (3 Winners) $20 value. Open to US/CAN. My Review
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Please note that Marlie and Me, “I Love Dad - Father's Day Giveaway Hop Event” bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. We will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Let the Roadtrip-a-Matic Plan Your Pennslyvania Vacation

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

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

I was born and raised on the East Coast and not a year went by without taking one or more roadtrips along Interstate 95. My favorite was the drive from Miami to NYC. It usually took 22 hours, but my step-father could cover the 1,280 miles in 20.

We sometimes stopped in towns and cities along the way to enjoy the local attractions. One time we went looking for a famous lighthouse in North Carolina and got very lost. Back then we only had printed maps to guide us, there were to travel websites to consult and no GPS.

Thanks to modern technology anyone can plan a flawless roadtrip. The Roadtrip-a-Matic is a fantastic widget on visitPA.com that offers all sorts of adventures such as an excursion designed for photograpghy enthusiasts and a tour of Civil War sites for history buffs. This pa-roadtrips tool takes the headache out of deciding what to do and where to stay and eat. With the click of our mouse you can select a ready-to-ride trip for your family vacation or a girlfriends weekend. All you have to do is pack!

I have only passed through Pennsylvania, but now I want to go thanks the Roadtrip-a-Matic. I would love to take my husband on a romantic  wine tour along the vineyards of the Dutch Country Roads. Check out the visitPA.com website today and tell me what roadtrip you'd take!



Visit Sponsor's Site

Wordful Wednesday: Splish Splash, I Was Taking a Bath!

Bath time is fun time for my water babies

Book Review: 1000 Places to See Before you Die

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

If you are the type of person who likes to make bucket lists, then you will love 1000 Places to See Before you Die. From the publisher...

1000 Places to See Before You Die Book Review"Patricia Shultz’s bestseller has recently been re-released in the form of a full-color second edition with 200 new entries, 28 additional countries, 200 more pages, and more than 600 full-color photographs. Offering a fresh new take on the world we live in now, it enables both armchair travelers and savvy globetrotters to get an inspiring taste of the world's current riches and plan their next trip. It also comes with an engaging and interactive companion iPad app."

Check out this short video on the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt to see some gorgeous travel photos and hear Patricia describe this destination:

My Thoughts on 1000 Places to See Before you Die:
My first thought when I pulled this book from the package was, this is hefty! And I am speaking of the paperback version. You will definitely get your money's worth from this encyclopedic travel book. My second thought after cracking it open was, I wished I had this book when we went hopscotching through Europe and the Mediterranean in summer 2008. Author Patricia Schultz leaves no cobblestone unturned in her quest to create a definitive list of the must-see places in the world. You can feel her passion for travel when you read her introduction. She is the consummate global ambassador, sharing her recommendations of both popular tourist traps and hidden gems plus where to stay and eat in some of the most exotic locations. The book is organized by eight regions, which are subdivided geographically. Each entry is a postcard inviting the reader to hop the next flight and take off for destinations near and far. I highly recommend you get this book for your next domestic trip or travels abroad. Even if you never leave your city limits, this book will send you on a magical adventure.

Buy It: 1000 Places to See Before you Die (Workman; paperback/hardcover: $19.95/$32.95). It makes a great gift!

Win It: You can try to win a one of three (3) copies of 1000 Places to See Before you Die in my "I Love Dad" Giveaway June 10-17. So come back to enter! Use this password to unlock the giveaway: TRAVEL


Book Review: Puzzle Baron's Sudoku & Logic Puzzles, Vol. 2 + The Complete Idiots Guide to Picture Puzzles, Vol. 2

Monday, June 4, 2012

Scientific studies have shown that doing puzzle games keeps the mind sharp and wards off dementia. The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Picture Puzzles, Vol. 2, Puzzle Baron’s Sudoku and Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles, Vol. 2 are three brain-challenging books that include a variety of puzzles for beginner through expert solvers. Here are my thoughts on each book...

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Picture Puzzles, Vol. 2 ReviewThe Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Picture Puzzles, Vol. 2
This nifty puzzle book contains 100 colorful photo puzzles--spot the differences, which picture doesn't match, and put the picture back together on a degree of difficulty scale of easy to advanced. The photographs are eye-popping and the captions are witty. As for the puzzles, I must admit that I found the easy ones a bit challenging, but practice makes perfect! You really need a sharp eye to solve these!

Puzzle Baron’s Sudoku ReviewPuzzle Baron’s Sudoku
This volume of 400 never-before-published sudoku puzzles is an enthusiast's dream! Whether you are a novice to the devilish 9x9 square or a fiend, you will find plenty of brain-teasing action this book that translates into hours of fun. I dare you not to become addicted.

Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles, Vol. 2 ReviewPuzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles, Vol. 2
I consider myself a logic puzzle nerd, but the deduction types are my least favorite. If you enjoy using your powers of deductive reasoning for fun, if your favorite TV show is The Big Bang Theory, then this book of 200 logic grid puzzles is for you! Pick up a copy for a student who is studying for the GMAT or LSAT. These puzzles are perfect preparation!

The best part of all these books is that they each have an answer key in the back so you can check your work or get a little help if you get stuck.

Buy It: The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Picture Puzzles, Vol. 2 ($10.95), Puzzle Baron’s Sudoku ($9.95) and Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles, Vol. 2 ($14.95) are available at all major bookstores and online. It makes a great gift!

Win It: You can try to win this set of extremely fun puzzle books in my "I Love Dad" Giveaway June 10-17. So come back to enter! Use this password to unlock the giveaway: MINDBENDER


The Kids' Log May 27-June 2, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I had to take a break from blogging this week. The sadness triggered by the death of my high school classmate was threatening to engulf me. If you have or know someone with a depressive personality then you know what I am talking about. One minute everything is sunny and the next minute something turns off all the lights and the darkness starts to swallow you up. I have become an expert at crawling out of the abyss, but it is exhausting...even more so now that I have children. I no longer have the luxury of curling up in bed and riding it out. And that's what pulled me through this episode, those two beautiful (sometimes aggravating) kids of mine. Because who has time to be depressed when there are boo-boos to bandage and raspberry kisses to plant on bellies? They need me and that's the best therapy for the blues.

So I went on a little mental vacation where I finished the last two books in The Hunger Games trilogy. I am still thinking about the book's message of the inhumanity of the human race, which seems to have been lost of some people judging by their reactions on twitter to a black girl being cast as Rue in the movie. sigh. I also entered a gazillion sweepstakes, giveaways, and contests because getting an email that I won something always cheers me up. Fingers crossed.

Toddler Log: 2 Years and 41 Weeks Old
We trekked up to IKEA on Monday to buy Lady Marlie a bookcase for her overflowing collection of books. She calls it her library. She came down with cold symptoms on Tuesday night and I am starting to think that her school is becoming a petri dish. Granted she gets sick a lot less than other kids because I try to keep her immune system in top shape with a healthy diet. Believe me when I say it's in the best interest of my sanity to keep her healthy, but I am guilty of not adhering to our sugar ban. Marlie has had way too much sugary treats and not enough immune-boosting foods lately. I need to get strict with the sugar limitation again because we are both paying for the lapse now.

A sick Marlie is extra everything...extra sensitive, extra demanding, extra whiny, extra high maintenance. She woke up with a fever on Wednesday and I knew I was in for a special day when the first thing she did was she complain that the lights in bedroom were too bright for her eyes. Then she was too weak to hold her cup and asked me to help her drink her milk. Then she was too hot so I turned up the A/C. Then she was too cold. Then she couldn't decide what to watch on Netflix. Then she expected me to fetch everything for her. And on top of it all, she wouldn't take a nap so I could at least catch my breath for 60 minutes. She was back to her regular self by the afternoon. Too sick for school, but well enough to dance and sing to Yo Gabba Gabba and bounce off the walls. Go figure.

We had a previously scheduled appointment at the pediatrician to get shots for summer camp and I asked the doctor to rule out strep since there was a case of it at her school. The verdict was that she just had a case of the common cold. She stayed home for two unhappy days ("can I go to school now?" she asked often) and I got the pleasure of taking care of her by myself since her daddy skipped town went on a business trip again. When he got back on Friday evening he noticed something in her foot. It was a mega splinter that required him pinning her down while I extracted it with a needle and tweezers (I'm an expert splinter remover by the way). The wound was already puss filled which makes me wonder how long it had been there. She never complained about it which is not like her.

Baby Log: 9 Weeks Old
Magoo continues to do what babies do. I spent this week trying to prevent him from catching his big sister's cold which is no small feat because she loves to give hugs and kisses (and germs). So far he is mucus-free. He is holding onto to objects now and likes to tug on my shirt. He can also push his pacifier back in his mouth with his fist if it's within reach. He likes to stick his tongue out, but just the tip. It's a little odd. He is responding to playtime with giggles and belly laughs and his jerking arms and legs around wildly. He loves to play. He is also vocalizing big time especially when people are talking around him like he is trying to join the conversation.

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