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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Friday, June 28, 2013

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

Every year I promise myself that I will learn to garden. I visit a nursery and get overwhelmed by all of the decisions...what is the difference between an annual and perennial? Which fertilizer is the best? How often do I water? The trip to the gardening center always ends with me chickening out. Then Miracle-Gro helped me  find my inner gardening diva.

Miracle-Gro has a long history for making products to help gardeners keep a healthy and beautiful garden. I remember my grandmother using their food sticks in her own lush garden. She grew wonderful vegetables, herbs, and flowers that I enjoyed picking in the summer. Unfortunately, I did not inherit her green thumb. Thankfully, Miracle-Gro is starting a movement to simplify gardening for wannabe gardeners like me through their The Gro Project.

Marlie and me the and selected the toyrarium project which is a unique spin on a terrarium. Then we climbed into the car and went shopping for supplies including a bag of Moisture Control Potting Mix for indoor/container plant life.
Toyrarium supplies
Back at home we followed the easy step-by-step instructions for making the toyrarium and enjoyed a Saturday afternoon getting our hands dirty and having oodles of fun.
gardening for kids
We think our jurassic park deserves two green thumbs up!
jurassic park terrarium
Check out the Miracle-Gro Pinterest page to find and share more fun garden projects!
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Hallmark Greeting Card Pack #Giveaway US

I recently did a post about Hallmark's Get Carded Challenge. Now I am back with a giveaway! 

Hallmark wants to help you connect and reconnect with loved ones, whether it’s a friend, old college roommate, neighbor, colleague, parent, sibling, significant other or even your children through the power of greeting cards.
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I Took the #Hallmark Get Carded Challenge

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The number of texts and social media posts I received on Mother's Day and my birthday this past May dwarfed the number of greeting cards I got. This is why I jumped at the chance to participate in Hallmark's Get Carded Challenge. My mission was to sign, seal and send seven cards to seven people in seven days. They even sent me a complimentary pack of greeting cards to complete the task. Count me in!

I'm one of those people who has a love/hate relationship with technology and social media networks. I appreciate that social media helps me stay connected. Facebook is great for keeping up with old classmates and colleagues. But at the same time we are losing some of the traditional forms of communication by being on the Internet and our cell phones all the time. Text messages just lack a personal touch in my opinion.

My grandmother taught me that a thoughtfully handwritten card or note has the power to brighten someone's day, comfort the grieving, mend friendships, or reconnect long lost relatives. This is why I still mail Christmas cards every year. For my Get Carded Challenge I sent a Father' Day card to a friend and birthday cards to my sister and a close friend. My godson received a card wishing him a good time at camp. I reached out to another dear friend letting her know that I am here for her. Finally, I sent my mom and grandma cards to say I was thinking of them.
The response to my efforts was 100% positive. Everyone was surprised and more than a little appreciative. I talked to one friend on the phone for more than a hour when she called to thank me for her card. We had a lot of catching up to do!

Everyone likes to find a pastel envelope their mailbox. Get started by using the discount code BLOG30 to buy cards for 30% off on Hallmark.com throughout the year.

Interested bloggers can sign up to take the Get Carded Challenge too. Fill out the form at Hallmark's Get Carded Challenge signup page to see if you meet the criteria.

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Which Video Makes the Bigger Splash?

Monday, June 17, 2013

I saw a performance of Cirque Ingenuex in 1998 and to this day I can vividly recall being awestruck by the fantastical physical feats of the performers. Check out these two dance videos that use fun water effects. Which makes the bigger splash?

"Electrobatique--An Enchanting Discovery" is a Cirque-style original dance created to celebrate the launch of a resource brand's Natural Spring Water. It is an eye-popping masterpiece of aerial choreography and acrobatic dance.

The fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas literally dance while "Time to Say Goodbye" plays over the speakers. The choreography is pure magic. It's almost like the water is married to the music.

So which is your favorite...the one where performers dance with water or the one where the water dances?

This is a Fashionista Events opportunity

Self-soothing and Other Growing Pains

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This week I made a clunky but successful transition from stay-at-home to working mom.

The process has thrown me into a temporary state of unbalance much like when I moved away to college. I have a serious case of homesickness. There are promising signs that I am finding my footing though. For example: yesterday I finally stopped crying in my car before heading into the office in the mornings. That is a joke. But seriously, I am finding myself in need of a way to calm down. I need a lovey y'all. Maybe I'll borrow Marlie's tactile blanket.

On top of righting myself I also have to help a very sweet but very headstrong baby boy through his own transitions. Growing pain, thy name is weaning.

Desmond was a boob-man from day one.

It's been 14 months, 11 days and some odd hours into our breastfeeding journey. I don't mean to sound like I am counting down the days until I am released from prison. I have loved every minute of nursing my son minus the few times he bit me. After he celebrated his first birthday in April I realized this could go on forever because he showed no signs of slowing down. I earnestly started the weaning process by cutting out night feedings. His daddy took the lead on sleep training him and he transitioned from co-sleeping to the crib relatively easily.

He more than makes up for it in the daytime! He rarely misses an opportunity to root around my chestwhich includes the times he is sleepy, scared, teething, cranky, hurt, or bored. So basically all the time. It's a total comfort thing at this point as he doesn't need it for sustenance. I have tried to reduce the nursing to the times he needs soothing the most which is when he wakes up and when I pick him up from preschool. No dice. He turns into The Hulk when you make him angry and playing keep-away with his #1 source of comfort makes him very angry.

But a change has gotta come because mommy needs to be able to get dressed for work without hiding or carrying said baby out the door at arms length because he is trying to rip open my shirt. I need your advice because homeboy ain't giving up the boob without a fight.

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag #WordfulWednesday

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

If we are friends on Facebook then you probably saw that I am employed again as of last Friday! It's truly a dream job. The work is meaningful, plus the hours a flexible. I'm not saying that being a working mom is going to be a breeze just because my job is part-time. 

These first few days taught me that there is no way to compartmentalize the roles of mommy and employee. I already missed bath and bedtime once this week to attend an after hours work function. And there are going to be times that I have to miss work to care for a sick child. The lines are really blurred.

It's going to be a crazy, but fun, journey! One of the things I am most looking forward to is rebuilding my wardrobe. I have been rocking the over-sized tees and workout sweats for way too long. The office dress code is business casual which is good because I will be able to mix casual pieces I already own with the career clothes I plan to purchase.

My first shopping trip was, um...a trip. I went to Marshalls to buy something to wear to the work event and wound up spending two hours going through the racks and trying on clothes! I am so out of practice, but I think I put together a nice outfit.  

Tell me what you think (I need to buy some make up, I know):
working mom fashion

What I bought: 
Max Studio Printed Blouse: $24.99-Marshalls 
Counterparts Light Grey Pants: $16.99-Marshalls 
Poppy Handbag: Franco Sarto $29.99-Marshalls 

What already owned: 
Earrings: Stella & Dot 
Bracelet: Vintage lapis 
Shoes: Naturalizer

White Cloud's New Luxurious Soft Bath Tissue

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

I have used the same brand of toilet paper for almost four years. Why? After giving birth naturally I started paying attention to what I wiped my bottom with. That answer might seem like too much information, but that's the reality for many moms.

Then White Cloud sent me a sample pack of their new Luxurious Soft Bath Tissue that had the toilet paper snob in me questioning why I was paying a premium price for my current brand. See my full video review below:

The video says it all! I was not expecting the White Cloud Luxurious Soft Bath Tissue to be so soft and durable. This special White Cloud toilet paper uses the innovative "Through Air Dried" or TAD technology that infuses the paper with amazing thickness, softness, strength and absorption so you use less. After one week of use my family of two adults, one tissue-happy preschooler and one runny-nosed baby weren't even halfway through our 12-pack.

Plus it's affordable! And when you Like White Cloud on Facebook you'll be able to print a $1.00 off coupon starting June 10 and save even more!  Don't forget to Follow White Cloud on Twitter too.

White is sold exclusively at Walmart. Find White Cloud products near you and give your tushy the cushy treatment.
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My Robot Girl #WordfulWednesday

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Marlie is so imaginative when it comes to pretend play. Last week she made a robot costume out of a box and colander.
Her costume shows creativity and inventiveness
Watch out Maker Faire 2025!

Grab the #GoodLife With Both Hands

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

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

You have nothing to fear but fear itself JFK famously said. But we all know that is easier said than done.

When you are a parent, responsible for the health and happiness of one or more little human beings, you can become consumed with fear. You worry about keeping a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and clothes on their backs.

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Some precaution is a good thing but too much can paralyze you and prevent you from achieveing the Allstate Good Life, which is simply pushing aside fear and doubt in the pursuit of happiness then celebrating like it's 1999 when you overcome those hurdles.

Four years ago my husband and I moved to a city that I instantly hated. But he had a great-paying job that enabled us to buy an awesome house, start our family and allowed me to stay home to care for our babies. They say a happy wife equals a happy life but I was a desperate housewife!

I was miserable and I was making my family miserable too. So we began talking about moving. We immediately thought of California because it had always been our dream to live there. We were both used to taking personal risks but now we had two children to consider. California was way more expensive and so far away from our families in the southeast. Plus we didn't know a lot of people out west.

In the end we decided that the potential payoff outweighed the fear of the unknown. Last July we took that leap of faith and moved to the Golden Coast after my husband was offered a job in the Bay Area. Next month we celebrate our one year anniversary as Californians! I can say without a doubt moving here was the best decision for all of us. We love the culture, the people, the outdoors and we're making tons of friends. It's like we always belonged here!

You have to carpe diem with both hands! Tell me your good life story in the comments section! 

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What I'm Watching on #Netflix

This week's picks from Netflix Instant Watch:

TV Show:
SupernaturalSupernatural. I have been plotting my summer television marathons and this show wasn't on my list until Damon played an episode one night. I became an instant fan! It's part X-files, part Hardy Boys with a pinch of Vampire Slayer. What's not to like about two achingly gorgeous brothers who kick paranormal butt?!

BernieBernie. A dark, funny, and ultimately sweet story about a popular funeral director in Northeast Texas who is put on trial for the murder of a wealthy and unpopular widower. The story is so hokey that you wouldn't buy it if wasn't based on a real story. The casting is what sells it. Jack Black immerses himself in the titular character, Shirley MacClaine gives weight to the role of acerbic Southern widower, and Matthew McConaughey is a hoot as the DA prosecuting Bernie in a town full of potential jurors sympathetic to the defendant.

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