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The Kids' Log: August 19-25, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Marlie's Rock 'n Hula Splash Party was Saturday. She has two little friends over and they had a ball. They splashed around in the kiddie pool (until they got too cold. it was windy that day), made sand art necklaces, noshed on Hawaiian dishes, and ran around like monkeys on the loose. Her daddy and me feel like we've been run over by a Mack truck. Preparing for a party (cleaning, decorating, cooking, baking, setting up, hosting) with two little ones on your hands is not easy. I now understand why parents hire party planners, rent venues, and pay caterers. I will no longer judge. All in all, it was worth it. Marlie really needed this with all the changes she has been through recently. I'm a sucker for making her happy.

Toddler Log: 3 Years 1 Week Old 
We were very busy in the days leading up to the birthday party. I made the mistake of telling her about it so that's all she bugged me talked about. On Tuesday, she stayed with a babysitter while I took her brother to the pediatrician for his 4 month baby wellness exam. Then it was her turn on Wednesday for her annual check up. Girlfriend has sprouted! She is now 38 inches (75th percentile) and 31 pounds (50th percentile). She was not happy about getting shots and asked for several Band-Aids afterward. I talked to her doctor at length about our recent challenges in the behavior department and she told me that it was normal for Marlie to act out given the transitions. She suggested that we give her three months to adjust and things should settle down. She also recommended that we cut her some slack as in overlook some of her misbehaving (as long as it's not a threat to her health or safety). I tried doing that for the rest of the week, but it was not easy. I understand what the pediatrician is saying, but Marlie has always been the type of child who takes a mile if you give her an inch. I don't know if I can just let her get away with even the small stuff. 

She is using the potty again and she has been taking naps thanks to my mom hack: daily drives. I take the kids to run errands and she usually falls asleep on the way home. If not, I just drive up into the hilly areas and the curvy, bumpy ride puts her out. But she's wise to my trick. On Friday we went to the supermarket to pick up some items for the party and grab lunch. We had a impromptu picnic in hatch of my car while sitting in the parking lot. That was pretty cool. But she didn't fall asleep on the way home and then she had a meltdown when she realized that I had passed our block and was driving toward the hills. She passed out from crying after 10 minutes, but my nerves were shot.

Baby Log: 20 Weeks Old 
Magoo is a healthy baby boy! He weighs 15.5 lbs and is 26 inches tall. He was a trooper while getting his shots and had no reactions other than being really sleepy. The pediatrician described him as very strong and active. She said we could definitely start giving him some pureed solids, including meats! I know he is going to be thrilled. can't wait to get my baby food maker out of storage next week. He was fussy all day Friday and Saturday and was rubbing his gums with everything he could get his hands on, including his hands. A tooth must not be far behind.

Convos from the Backseat

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm toying with a new meme inspired by my conversations in the car with my chatterbox in the backseat. Let me know what you think!

Yesterday's Conversation...

Marlie: Mommy, the baby doesn't have any teeth
Me: I know honey, he's a baby
Marlie: Mommy, do you have any teeth?
Me: Yes I do
Marlie: I don't have a tail (her word for p_nis) like the baby.  Do you have a tail mommy?
Me: No Marlie. Girls don't have tails. I'm a girl.
Marlie: You're not a girl, you're a mommy!
Me: I'm a girl too.
Marlie: Oh. What's your name?
Me: Teresha
Marlie: What's daddy's name?
Me: Damon
Marlie: What's the baby's name?
Me: Desmond
Marlie: What's my name?
Me: Marlie, silly!
Marlie: What's that man's name?
Me: Where?
Marlie: Over there!
Me: I don't know Marlie.

Marlie: Why?
Me: Because mommy doesn't know everything!

Wordful Wednesday: Sensory Bin Fun

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The homeschooling continues until Marlie starts preschool after Labor Day. This week we made a couple of sensory bins. She went gaga over them! The one pictured above is her beach bin. It has sand, shells, palm trees and some tumbleweeds. She really got into it when I gave her a strainer to play with.
She used it to pick up stands and capture the shells. I am gathering items for an ocean bin, garden bin, and Jurassic bin. She is really going to love that last one because she is into dinosaurs.

Blogorama Bonanza Back 2 School $25 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome to the Blogorama Bonanza Back 2 School Event 2012. It's hosted by Jyla's Three Of Us Giveaway, Ice Fairy's Treasure ChestMommies Point of View. Thanks to the sponsors for providing awesome products for this prize package giveaway. Be sure to visit each blog from the linky below and enter for your chance to win more great prizes! This event will close on August 28, at 11:59 PM EST Time.

blogorama bonanza button

The wonderful company sponsoring my prize for this event is:
walmart gift card
Thanks to Walmart for offering a $25 gift card to one of my readers for back-to-school. Read my sponsor spotlight
a Rafflecopter giveaway Visit the other giveaways participating in the hop:

The Kids' Log: August 12-19, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I devoted this week to finding a good preschool fit for Marlie. I visited two more schools that were still accepting applications and then went with my instincts. The school I chose is bright, warm, and the only NAEYC-accredited childcare center in Oakland. They are also a smaller sized facility, which I think is best for Marlie. They are also pricey or as Damon puts it, "the same as paying college tuition." That's a bit of an exaggeration. I think this school is what she needs for the next year to help her adjust, so it's worth to investment. I am just happy they had an opening this late in the game. Childcare/school enrollment here is just as competitive as the rental market, so this is one more load off my mind. One school director told me I should get Desmond on a waiting list if I want to secure a spot for when he turns 1!

Toddler Log: 3 Years Old:
Marlie had a big week. She turned 3 on Wednesday. When she woke up she asked me where was her cake and presents. She is a princess-diva to the bone. We drove over to San Fran to attend a private screening of the Oogieloves movie. Damon met us for lunch in Japantown and we ate Korean BBQ. She fell asleep on the way home and napped for 2 glorious hours. We then went to Whole Foods to get her a cupcake because this child does not need and anything with lots of sugar and artificial food coloring. She picked this Oscar the Grouch cupcake because she thought it was a frog. Her birthday party is next Saturday and Krissy and her daughter Jas are driving up to help us celebrate!

She really likes animals, especially the slimy kind. She has been collecting snails from the garden and one fell out of her bookbag and went crashing to the floor. She was beside herself. She told me he was hurt and needed a doctor (after she accused me of cracking him). Then she proceeded to try to nurse him back to health. He carried him around in a box and tried to feed him apple slices. I finally convinced her to give him a burial at sea (flush him down the toilet).

Lately, everyday is 1001 questions: Where are we going? What are you doing? What's wrong? Who is that lady? And my all time favorite: Why? It's driving me batty.

Baby Log: 19 weeks
Mr. Thumbsucker is becoming so interactive. He loves to play and make noise (so much for being the quiet one). His new favorite pastimes are spitting bubbles and screaming at the top of his lungs. He cracks up in a hearty belly laugh when you cover your ears like he understands the cause and effect.

I Took the Walmart Great Lunchbox Challenge {Blogorama Bonanza Back 2 School Hop Sponsor Spotlight}

My dear daughter starts preschool in a couple of weeks and you want to know what I dread the most? ...making her school lunch everyday.

I am pro at making her lunch at home, which is usually leftover dinner. Ha! Now I have to plan, prepare, and pack a lunchbox five days a week and I am a sweating bullets thinking about it. When I was asked to go shopping at a Walmart store to turn my child's good lunchbox into a great lunchbox, I felt it was a perfect opportunity to get some practice.

I am a stickler about healthy meals at home and I naturally want that to extend to lunch at school, but I won't be there to make sure my daughter eats all her veggies. So the challenge becomes how to make her healthy lunch enticing. The answer is get creative.
  •  Bring in the replacements. Let's take an old favorite- the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which is a good lunch, and make it great by giving it in extra healthy update. Switch out the white bread for 100% whole wheat and use almond butter instead of peanut butter.
  • Accessorize. Cold cereal with milk is a good traditional breakfast, but adding fresh fruit slices (bananas, strawberries) make it a great breakfast.
  • Go Natural. Yogurt cups make a good snack, but a better version is the yogurt  made with real fruit and no artificial colors, flavors or sweetners.
  • Watch out for hidden sugars. The last thing you want is your child bouncing off the cafeteria walls and then becoming lethargic in class after a sugar crash. A juice box is a good beverage, but bottled water is a better drink. Add tangerines, grapes, peeled baby carrots to lunchboxes instead of cookies or candy to satisfy their sweet tooth and encourage healthy eating habits away from home.
It's also important to strike a balance. I don't believe in depriving my child of every fun food. I let her have low-sodium/zero preservative tortilla chips served with guacamole. She loves dipping her chips in guac and I love that she is getting so many nutrients from the avocados.

Here's  picture of my shopper's haul from Walmart:

walkmart shopping trip

I bought all of this for $24.68! Pretty amazing, right?! Walmart is proving that you don't have to sacrifice nutrition to get value. On your next shopping trip, look for the Great for You seal available now in the produce section and on additional Great Value and Marketside items starting this fall which will make it easier to identify affordable, healthier food choices. 

Here is a picture of my great lunchbox: 
healthy lunch
Almond butter & jelly on 100% whole wheat toast, peeled baby carrots,
tangerine, almonds snack pack, yogurt with fruit on the bottom, and water

What is your biggest lunchbox challenge during back-to-school? Leave a comment below then come back tomorrow for your chance to win a $25 Walmart gift card in the Blogorama Bonanza Back 2 School Event!

#Spa4Ma Head-to-Toe Prize Package Giveaway

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bloggers Join Us for the 2012 Spa for Ma

The 2nd annual Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop is finally here! I am so excited and exhausted! I worked overtime to secure some great products for my prize package. But TJ at Measuring Flower did all the heavy lifting in organizing this event by herself. So a round of applause for our hostess with the most!

Spa for Ma is basically a bunch of bloggers who teamed up to offer prizes to help Mom relax as the kids head back to school. Each is worth at least $50! After you've entered my giveaway, be sure to hop along to the other blogs to enter to win their prizes too. The hop runs from August 17-31 so you have plenty of time to enter them all. The linky is located at the end of this post.

There are grand prizes too!

SpringCoin Logo
Grand Prize #1 is $105 cash sponsored by SpringCoin

Grand Prize #2 is a Kindle Fire Package that includes a Kindle Fire, a cover of choice (up to $50) & a $50 Amazon gift card to buy books and what-not.
kindle firekindle fire cover

Enter the grand prize giveaways here.

My Prize Package is designed for head-to-toe relaxation: a pair of Hot Booties, a pot of CJ's Peppermint Cream Lotion, and a tube of clickR Hot Face Mask! Open to US residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Marlie and Me's BIG Adventure with the Oogieloves

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I met a creative genius yesterday.

His name is Kenn Viselman and he invented active movie-going for young kids. He actually came up with the idea while watching a Madea movie. No joke. After watching the audience cheer and jeer at the screen Kenn knew that he had solved the problem of movie-making for the Gymboree set which is to produce films that "allow them to be children in the theater."

Me and Desmond with Kenn and his team

So Kenn created the Oogieloves and produced their movie, The OogieLoves in the Big Balloon Adventure. The movie follows the Ooogieloves-Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie-as they embark on a fun-filled journey to reclaim five magic balloons for their friend's birthday party.

It was an extra special treat to attend the screening because it happened to be Marlie's birthday too. She went to Camp Oogie where she did an art project and learned the Oogie Cheer while I attended the blogger/media panel. Then she and the other kids joined their parents in the theater to watch the Oogies! 

The movie is just as the writer Scott Stabile described it, full of "love and light." There are no monsters, no dark forests, no mature jokes or innuendos; just a trio of friends searching for their balloons with the help of their best friends and some zany characters you'll recognize (Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Jaime Pressly). It's so pure that it's rated GGG!

Not only did I not have to worry about my preschooler being exposed to disturbing content, I didn't have to worry about her sitting still or being quiet for 1.5 hours because The Big Balloon Adventure is an interactive movie. Kids are encouraged to get up and move! Marlie had a ball singing and dancing and cheering on the Oogies as they captured each balloon. This movie is going to spark a revolution in children's cinema.

Take your little ones to see the Oogieloves movie when it opens on August 29. For more information: Website | Facebook | Twitter


Spa for Ma Sponsor Spotlight: clickR Hot Face Mask

Bloggers Join Us for the 2012 Spa for Ma

My face has been carrying on a love affair with clickR skin care for a year. I was suffering from pregnancy acne when I was introduced to the No More Derma Drama products. The Daily Dermabrasion Wash and Vanishing Mist are now staples in my beauty regimen.

clickR hot face maskI am pleased to add to my toolbox the Hot Face Mask. "It's an in-home spa treatment that transforms your skin from hot mess into healthy, bright, and brilliant." The Hot Face Mask contains naturally pure ingredients like powerful multi-antioxidant Pomegranate Extract that work to:
  • Release – exfoliates dulling debris and reduces inflammation
  • Repair – strengthens skin cells and reboots capillary function
  • Refresh – feeds pores and enriches skin with non-greasy nutrients and power-packed antioxidants

My thoughts about clickR's Hot Face Mask: Where do I begin! First, the texture feels like a spa-grade clay mask. It goes on smooth and stays moist during application, doesn't get cakey. I leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse. My skin looks instantly brighter and is so soft to the touch. I apply the mask twice a week to maintain the results. ClickR skin care has never let me down.
hot face mask review
Buy It: You can buy the Hot Face Mask directly from the clickR website or on Amazon.com. for $32.00.

Win It: Come Back for the Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop August 17-31 for your chance to win a Hot Face Mask from Marlie and Me!


Wordful Wednesday: On Your 3rd Birthday, a Letter to My Marlie

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dearest Marlie,

Happy Birthday sweetheart! Three years ago today I pushed you out into this world after 11 hours of labor. That should have been my first clue that you were going to be a challenging child. Even though things have been hairy since we moved out to California a month ago, I will focus on the positives in this birthday letter because I am sure you will turn back into my pumpkin when the clock strikes twelve. You are my feisty warrior princess and I love your bright, spirited, imaginative, charming, headstrong qualities. Your growth in the last year has been something to behold. I no longer see a toddler before my eyes, but a little kid with big kid ideas and an even bigger will. Your personality has fully emerged and taken root.

You are a natural at batting those eyelashes and playing coy when you want something and you can turn on the waterworks on cue. It's music to my ears when you break out in song..."row, row, row your boat gently down the street! Merry, merry, merry, merry! Like is butter dream!" I can just picture you on a stage somewhere in the future. Then again, you have such a nurturing soul and love to take care of people and animals so maybe you'll be a veterinarian like Doc McStuffins. Then again, you have your parents' wit and wicked sense of humor like when you named your brother's pee-pee a tail. Maybe you'll be a comedian. Why not all three...a Broadway-trained vet who cures sick animals with laughter like Patch Adams? Sounds good to me!

We have had our fair share of battles this year, but we survived the Terrible Twos which I am learning was just practice for year three. You are certainly making your daddy and I earn our parenting stripes. It's okay though because we will never give up on you.

You've experienced some pretty big milestones this year:
  • You officially became potty trained in February with not a moment to spare because...
  • You became a Big Sister on April 2nd when we welcomed Desmond to our family. You are so good to him and it melts my heart watching you two play like when you mushed his cheeks together and said, "he's a goldfish!" You can be sweet like that which showed when...
  • You told me to apply pressure to my cut and wrap it in a Band-Aid. I know the move out west has been a tough adjustment for you punctuated by some behavioral setbacks, but...
  • You are starting preschool soon and I know that you, being the social butterfly you are, will quickly endear yourself to your new teachers and classmates.

I look forward to what this year will bring--getting your first library card, making up more stories at bedtime, playing dress-up, and celebrating our first Christmas with your little brother. You make me so happy (even when you are being extra), and I couldn't be more proud of you my beautiful little girl! Before you came into my life I missed you so bad. When you read this years from now, Google that phrase and listen to the song this lyric came from, it was very popular the summer you turned 3!

Love always,


Spa for Ma Sponsor Spotlight: CJ's Peppermint Cream Lotion

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bloggers Join Us for the 2012 Spa for Ma

My feet are my most neglected body part. Maybe it's because they are are the ground and out of sight, so they tend to be out of mind. It's not right to ignore my feet because they are my most valuable asset. I need to take care of them so that I can keep up with my mom duties.

When my feet get over-dry and cracked I know it's time to start paying them some attention. I am always on the lookout for foot care products that are natural and provide relief.

CJ's Peppermint Cream Lotion is the latest product I have tried. It is an all-natural cream infused with peppermint and tea tree essential oils.The cream is also multipurpose:
  • Acts as a natural Vapo-Rub™
  • Use as sinus aromatherapy
  • Helps with headaches and migraines, too!
CJ's Peppermint Cream Lotion

My thoughts about CJ's Peppermint Cream Lotion: My feet love this stuff! They get all tingly after I apply it. The essential oils sooth my sore, tired feet instantly. I have very dry feet so I usually put on my Hot Booties to get an extra boost of moisturizing treatment.

Buy It: You can buy CJ's Peppermint Cream Lotion directly from their website for $5.25/2 oz or $12.00/8 oz jar. Be sure to check out the whole line of CJ's Body Products while you are there!

Win It: Come Back for the Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop August 17-31 for your chance to win an 8 oz pot of CJ's Peppermint Cream Lotion from Marlie and Me!


Spa for Ma Sponsor Spotlight: Hot Booties (As Seen on TV!)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bloggers Join Us for the 2012 Spa for Ma

Being a stay-at-home mom is no desk job. I am on my feet all day chasing a toddler or standing over a changing table, to name a few of the tasks that punish my feet. At the end of day I reach for my Hot Booties and after 60 seconds in the microwave I have soothing heat to treat my feet! 

Hot Booties Review

You may have seen the Hot Booties infomercials on TV and dismissed it as a flash-in-the-pan product that doesn't do as it claims. But it's not!

The secret to Hot Booties is in the sole, which is filled with natural linseed that absorb and holds in the heat to keep your feet toasty warm. These super slippers:
  • Provide comfort and relaxation
  • Are perfect for cold, achy, or stressed feet
  • Come in men's and women's sizes
My thoughts about Hot Booties: Hot Booties is like having a spa pedicure at home! The tiny linseed in the sole provide warmth and a gentle massage when you walk on them. That's extra relief for my achy feet. I also like that it comes in a storage bag to keep the booties protected. I get about 15 minutes of heat from my booties and it's 15 minutes of heaven!
Hot Booties
Buy It: You can buy Hot Booties directly from their website. BOGO FREE for $14.99 + P&H ($7.95)

Win It: Come Back for the Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop August 17-31 for your chance to win a pair of Hot Booties from Marlie and Me!


The Kids' Log: August 5-11, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Things are looking up! We are no longer home-less. A landlord offered us a sweet 2-bedroom house in the Temescal District and we happily accepted. It's a great house and under budget. Our move-in date is September 1st. I am looking forward to getting our belongings out of storage, unpacking and decorating!

Now that the stress of finding housing has been lifted, I had some time to devote to networking this week. I worked out with my marathon training group, attended my first Mocha Moms playdate at Pixieland Amusement Park (Marlie rode the kiddie roller coaster!), and signed-up for a blogger event for next week.

Toddler Log: 2 Years 51 Weeks Old:
Miss Demeanor was home with me this week. I planned some crafts and exploration projects, playdates, and trips to the park to keep her busy and out of trouble, but with her still on a nap strike things would spiral downward after 3 pm. I am talking atomic levels of tantrums all because she is fatigued but refuses to take a nap. I am hoping this nap boycott is a phase that will end once we are in our home.

Many of you have been asking about her preschool situation. I visited another preschool on Thursday as a preemptive measure. When I got home there was an email from the director of her current school asking me to call her to talk about how things were going. The conversation was cordial, but emotionally painful. She basically said Marlie was wearing her teachers out. Long story short, they did not have the resources to work with Marlie through her issues (potty strike, nap strike, defiant behavior). We made the mutual decision that her school was not the best fit for Marlie. Meanwhile, I am looking to enroll Marlie at the other school on a part-time basis until she is using the potty/napping again. Marlie is a battleship. It takes a lot of manpower to turn her around. I have my work cut out for me in the coming weeks to get her back on course.

Baby Log: 18 weeks
Desmond has been showing all the signs of being ready for solids. He was drooling and eyeballing my plate of BBQ on Friday so I whipped up some homemade baby food of mashed avocado and banana. He just gummed it up! Then he drank a ton of breastmilk and fell promptly asleep with a full belly.

Things I'm Loving This Thursday

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I haven't done one of these lists in forever. I have so much to celebrate. This week I am loving...
  • Oakland. This is a city of natural wonders. The Bay is to the west, the hills are to the east. Inside are Lake Merritt (pictured. where everyone goes to get their walk/run on) and Lake Temescal (where everyone goes swimming). Did I mention the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve for hiking? I am thankful everyday that we moved here. Photo credit: c) David Corby (User:Miskatonic) 2006 under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

  • The premiere of "Totally Biased" with W. Kamau Bell on FX. Damon's cousin has his own late night talk show produced by Chris Rock that airs tonight 10 CST/11EST on FX. I promise you this brother is hilarious. I'm not just saying that because he is family. Check it out.

  • Flag of JamaicaJamaica. The land of my grandparents and parents celebrates 50 years of independence and dominating the track events at the Olympics. Image credit: This vector image was created with Inkscape by SKopp, and then manually redrawn by Zscout370, Madden and others. (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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

Wordful Wednesday: Crafting the Days Away

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marlie is home with me for the next two weeks (say a little prayer for me, please). I know that I have to keep her constantly busy or she will drive me insane. So I scoured blogs for ideas, organized some projects on Pinterest, went shopping for supplies, and got my homeschooling on this week. Here's a sampling of what we did:
We painted hot rocks. Thanks for the tip Homeschool Mo!
I put gloves on her in case she "forgot" not to touch the hot rocks.
We went over the names of the colors as she painted with the crayons.

We made a pipe cleaner sun. She loved painting the foam ball.
She learned that the sun is yellow and it is a star.

We made homemade play dough. This kept her busy for an hour!
She made pies, burgers, eggs, and worms (pictured).
This is a great project for developing motor skills.

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