Monday, December 6, 2010

Share Your Parenting Secrets and Be Entered To Win a $200 Visa Gift Card!

This is a sponsored post from Chef Boyardee and BlogHer.



Getting kids to do things that are good for them always seem to be a struggle-- brushing their teeth, going to be at a decent time, doing their homework, eating their vegetables. If you asked me to name 2 things that I have a hard time getting my children to do,I would have to say "homework and eating their vegetables."

I deal with each of these dilemmas much differently.

When it comes to homework, there are no choices. Homework has to be done, on time, every single night- NO EXCUSES. I found that making my kids do their homework the minute they got home just didn't work. They'd whine "but I'm hungry! I'm tired! etc!" So, we came to an agreement. They get 30 minutes to unwind from their day at school. They can do whatever they please in that 30 minutes- eat a snack, watch a little TV, go online. But, when those 30 minutes are up- it's electronics, off. Brain, ON. Allowing them some time to unwind has made homework time ALMOST bearable for all of us.

Now, getting my kids to eat healthy is a whole different ballgame.

First of all, I do not force my children to eat vegetables that they absolutely hate. I was traumatized as a child when my parents forced me to eat peas and wouldn't let me up from the table until I had finished every last one. I swore I'd never do that to my children.

So, how do I get my children to eat vegetables?

We have a deal-- they have to try a food/vegetable at least once. If they don't like it, I won't ever ask them to eat it again. It's not always easy getting them to try something, but because they know I will not force them to continue eating something that they don't like, they eventually give in and try it. Surprisingly, they almost always end up saying something like "you're right, it IS good." Or "Not as bad as I thought it would be!" (Not the case with Brussels sprouts. Every single one of my kids hated those with a passion.)

If they try something and they don't like it (but they don't hate it) I try to find a way to make them like it. For example, I'll let them dip carrots in ranch dressing or add a little bit of melted cheese on top of broccoli. Another trick I've used is using rice vinegar for added flavor--chop up some cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots, and put them in a bowl with a little rice vinegar-- they'll eat every last bite.

I imagine you have these kind of struggles with your children as well. I would love to hear how you deal with these type of situations-- share your best parenting secrets here and be entered to win a $200 Visa gift card! Please Visit the Official Rules Also, be sure to visit BlogHer.com exclusive offers page for more chances to win! Sweepstakes run from 12/10/2010-12/23/2010. You MUST include your email address in your comment so we can notify you if you win.

Rules:
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) Visit the official rules for additional forms of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents aged 18 and older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST, December 23, 2010
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For great tips from moms just like us, sharing experiences, ideas and advice on how to get kids to eat better, visit Club Mum. Club Mum is the perfect resource for moms to learn helpful hints on a variety of topics, which can be applied to their own family. Club Mum is also on Facebook with daily tips, recipes, articles, questions and a terrific and active community!

(Please don't forget to include your email address in your comment. Thank you!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holidays at Disneyland

Earlier this month our family was invited to attend Disneyland. I decided to do things a little different here: I asked my daughter to share her experience in her own words. Before I post what she had to say, I just want to say that Disneyland during the Holidays is truly magical. The decorations, the music, the parade, the fireworks-- it's all so wonderful and perfect. My family had an incredible day and we are truly grateful to Disneyland for making it such an amazing experience. (The fast pass to It's a Small World was THE BEST THING EVER.) Thank you, Disneyland!

My Day at Disneyland- by Gabby

Last weekend I went to Disneyland. It was fun! Because I went on a rollercoaster. I closed my eyes on the matterhorn because I was afraid of the abominable snowman. I just didn't like that part because it was too scary for me. I got to see the parade. It was very fun because I got to see some of my favorite characters. My favorite part of the parade was when Mickey and Minnie were ice skating together. I loved the music in the parade because it was pretty.

I loved the Toy Story ride because you got to shoot at things and there were different levels. It was really fun to go on the rides that I was tall enough for-- like space mountain and matterhorn and thunder mountain.

My favorite ride was It's a Small World because it was a kid ride. I love the difference from the regular Small World to the Christmas small world. The Christmas small world is fun because it is very Christmasy. I liked Woody and Jesse. Christmas it's a small world is beautiful.

I also went on the Terror of Terror. I liked the video that they showed before the ride because it explained the ride and because it showed how the elevator got struck by lightening. The ride was so tickly on my tummy. I wasn't scared at all and I was kind of mad that my mom put her arm on my legs because I couldn't feel the ride that much and next time I don't want my mommy to hold me on that ride. I like when it kept on going up and down.

My day of Disneyland was so fun because I got to see everything that I wanted to see and when I made a wish, my wish came true. I love Disneyland. Thank you Disneyland for a great day for me and my family!

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Somethig magical about Christmas (at Disneyland)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Let's Talk About Sex(ting)

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and LG Text Ed



I have 2 teenage sons who both have cell phones and who both use those cell phones for texting. I suppose as a responsible parent, one would expect me to say that I've had conversations with them about "sexting." But the truth is, I haven't.

I have had conversations about what is and is not appropriate to post online. But I've never had the conversation about what is and is not appropriate to send via text messages.

I trust my children with their cell phones. They've been responsible cell phone users and to my knowledge, have never engaged in sexting. But, I suppose I would never know that unless I checked their text messages.

I do not check my children's text messages.

I've never felt that I needed to. I know the people that they talk to and communicate with on a regular basis. (I do check phone records to keep track of those things, but I do not read actual messages.) They're either family members or friends from school. Yes, there is a girlfriend, but again, I have no reason to believe he would be disrespectful or vulgar with his girlfriend either online or via text messaging.

I grew up in a home where privacy did not exist. My parents monitored every aspect of my life, including- but not limited to- the contents of my purse, my backpack, underneath my mattress and inside of any and all pockets. My parents never allowed me to earn their trust. I swore that when I had kids, I would not treat them the way that I was treated.

And that is why I do not check their text messages. They have yet to give me a reason not to trust that they're not sending sexually explicit text messages/images.

Participating in this campaign has definitely made me more interested in the subject and I am now asking myself the question "have I been an irresponsible parent by NOT talking to my children about this issue?"

What do you think? Is this a conversation that parents with teens should have, regardless of how much you trust your child/ren? I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Each comment left on this post benefits DoSomething.org with a $0.50 donation!

Visit LG Text Ed , where Dr. Rosalind Wiseman explains the dangers and consequences of this new form of flirting. You can also watch Emmy award winning actress Jane Lynch share a lesson on the sensitive stuff kids are sending around without thinking about the consequences.   

Sunday, September 12, 2010

No Ordinary Family

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and ABC's No Ordinary Family.



I am a working mother of three children. Every single day of my life is hectic and I find that there aren't enough hours in the day. There are kids that need to get to school, bills that need to get paid, errands that need to be ran, people that need to be fed, laundry that needs to be washed, dried and folded, dishes that need to be cleaned, floors that need to be mopped, toilets that need to be scrubbed and that's not everything. There is more. So much more that needs to be done each and every day.

Needless to say, there aren't enough hours in the day and most days, things that need to get simply don't get done (proof of that is on my bedroom floor in the form of 4 baskets of laundry that need folded and put again.)

I can only imagine how my life would change if I were to wake up one day with Super Speed Super Power.

Imagine the time I'd save at the gym! 5k would be done in seconds. Kids would get to school on time! Laundry folded and put away in seconds! We need milk? No problem, I'll be back in 2 minutes!

The time I'd save doing ordinary, every day errands would free up much needed time to do the things I've been putting off. Things like organizing my photos and making photo albums of the photos I've taken over the last twenty years! Starting that photography business I've been talking about for the past 2 years. Spending more time with my beautiful family doing the things that we love-- fishing, camping, hiking, the movies. (And blogging-- I'd have time to blog again!)

Life would be pretty amazing with a few extra hours in the day, is what I'm trying to say. Lucky Stephanie Powell.

Be sure to check out the trailer for ABC's new show, No Ordinary Family (season premier on Tuesday, September 28th.)

Visit the official show page on abc.com for character bios, photos, videos and more. For on- going updates, plus a look behind the scenes, "like" the official Facebook page.

I'd love to hear how you think your life would change if you were to suddenly acquire super powers. You can read what other BlogHer's are saying on Link to the BlogHer.com review round-up page: BlogHer.com's special offers page

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nice Job, Mom! A giveaway from 8th Continent Soymilk

This is a sponsored post from 8th Continent and BlogHer.



It was a warm afternoon. Me and my daughter, who was 3 years old at the time, were parked outside of school waiting for The Middle Child to get out. Gas prices were high, so I refused to leave the car running with the air on. So, I turned the car off and rolled down the windows to let the (warm) breeze in. My precious little daughter was sitting in her car seat, waiting patiently for her brother.

A car pulled up and parked in front of us. A woman got out of the car, shut the door and hit the lock button from her keys.

*beep beep* went the car as she locked it.

Suddenly, without warning, my daughter shouted at the woman.

"DUMMY ASS!"

I heard it. But my ears couldn't believe what I had just heard.

The woman looked over at us. I turned my head away from her, looked at my daughter and asked her WHY DID YOU JUST CALL THAT WOMAN A DUMMYASS?

"Because, she was all honkin' her horn at us and that was rude!" She responded.

I was stunned. DID MY 3 YEAR OLD REALLY JUST SAY THAT? She did. OhmyGod.

"She wasn't honking at us. That was her car alarm!"

"No, she honked at us and you always yell 'dummy ass' at people who honk at you when you're driving!"

And that's when I realized my daughter had just done the perfect impression of me as a driver.

From that day on, I never yelled "dumbass" while driving again. Let me rephrase that, I never yelled "dumbass" while driving when my daughter was in the car with me. But it took AN ENTIRE YEAR to get my daughter to stop saying "the word that mommy says when she gets mad at dummyass drivers."

8th Continent knows that being a mom isn't easy and they want to salute motherhood for what it is: doing your best every day. Of course, no one is perfect and we all make mistakes while trying to do our best.



8 Continent is giving away a $100 and a 6 month supply of 8th Continent to one of you. All you need to do is share a parenting blunder of your own here in the comments. Please make sure to leave your email address somewhere in your comment so we can contact you should you win. Also, please be sure to click over to BlogHer.com special offers page for 8 more chances to win! (Contest official rules are can be found here.

You can also go visit 8th Continent's Facebook page and find out how you could win a room of choice makeover from Home Line Furniture® or the grand prize of a complete adventure package from Caravan Tours®.

Comments are now closed. Winner will be selected soon!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Introducing McDonald's New Fundraising Campaign- Family Time, Happy Time

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and McDonald's.



When my family was young, spending time together was easy. We'd eat every meal together at the table. Every Saturday night was game night. Every Friday night, we'd go out for dinner at our favorite diner. We'd spend Saturday mornings at the boy's basketball games and Sunday mornings in church, followed by Sunday lunch with family and friends.

As our children have grown older and our schedules got more complicated, finding time to spend together is challenging. Our boys are older and they would rather spend time doing things with friends. Luckily, our daughter is young enough to think that spending time with mommy and daddy is still fun. But getting the 5 of us together to spend time together is more of a challenge.

That is why I didn't hesitate to accept McDonald's invitation to attend the Family Time in Illinios. I looked at it as an opportunity to spend quality time with my family while at the same time learning more about McDonald's. In my previous post I mentioned what an amazing time my family had while there. So many activities for the family to do together. It was wonderful and made me miss the simpler days when my family wanted nothing more than to spend time together.

While we were there, McDonald's introduced their new campaign- "Family Time. Happy Time." As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to bring families together, McDonald’s launched a new national fundraiser in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). For each Happy Meal® and Mighty Kids Meal® sold in the U.S., a portion of the sales will be donated to RMHC – McDonald’s “Charity of Choice” for more than 35 years. As part of the campaign, you can get involved by pledging time with your family through the “Make Family Time Happy Time” online application. For each minute pledged, McDonald’s will donate one penny to the Charity, with the goal of reaching 1 million minutes and a $10,000 donation to RMHC.”

I absolutely loved the idea. You simply pledge to spend time with your family and in doing so, help families who want nothing more than to be together while facing medical challenges.



To kick off this campaign, McDonald's has given me another Prize Pack to give to one of my readers. Please visit McDonald's Facebook page to pledge time with your family and leave a comment below to let us know what you’re doing to help families in need at RMHC. And, if you have a favorite family memory tied to McDonald’s, I’d love to hear about it! Please be sure to include your email address in your comment!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Family Get Away Experience with McDonald's.

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and McDonald's.



Last month I was invited by McDonald's to attend a The Family Time, Happy Time Getaway in Oak Brook, Illinois. I did not hesitate to say yes.

McDonald's was a part of my childhood-- there was one across the street from my parents neighborhood. I had many happy memories there. I remember washing cars to earn enough money so I could treat my family to burgers and fries. I remember walking there to have ice cream cones with friends. I remember trips with my grandparents to have burgers and fries.

I was thrilled to participate in this event, especially because my entire family was invited. That, like, never happens.

I was impressed with McDonald's from the very start. The event was organized-- packed with information and fun activities for the family.

There was a nature scavenger hunt.

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There was bean bag tossing with Ronald McDonald.

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There was a cool "in the kitchen" with Chef Dan Coudreaut experience, where we got to make fruit kabobs and smoothies with our children.

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It wasn't all fun and games. The adults spent hours learning everything there is to know about the company. We were told nothing was off limits, we could ask any questions and write about everything that we saw, heard, learned.

Before this experience, I had no idea how much thought goes into menu items. We took part in a "sensory taste test" in which we learned the aspects McDonald's considers when making menu items. This was by far my favorite part of the trip and I'm not just saying that because I got to eat a McGriddle AND an Egg McMuffin. It was a completely different experience biting into an Egg McMuffin once they explained how "sensory science" works-- appearance, texture, aroma, taste, and even the sound food makes when you bite. It was kind of amazing to me how good my food tasted when I paid attention to those things. (And when my food wasn't drowning in ketchup.)

There was a lot of focus on Happy Meals and McDonald's commitment to giving kid's healthier choices. My kids love McDonald's and we eat there a few times a month. Mostly because it's convenient, but also because mommy loves their diet coke. As a parent, I appreciate the healthier choices, such as the apple dippers and milk instead of soda. McDonald's assured us that they understand parents are concerned with things like sugar and sodium and are constantly working to improve the nutrition of their products. Even if McDonald's is not something we eat regularly, (it's more of a treat, a couple times a month) I do feel more secure in my decision to let my children have a meal there knowing how much thought and consideration goes into the menu and knowing that they are continually striving to improve based on customer feedback.


The most moving part of the experience for me and my family was visiting a Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. It was wonderful to see firsthand the amazing home this charity provides for families in their time of need. From home cooked meals to a clean, peaceful environments- this place is a refuge for families facing the most stressful of times. (As of June 25th a portion of each Happy Meal and Mighty Kids Meals sales are now benefiting RMHC)

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This is experience was a positive and informative one for both me and my family. My husband and I appreciated how much consideration went into the care of our children and to ensure that they had a good time and were well fed. I appreciated McDonald's willingness to answer any and all questions that each blogger asked.

McDonald's has given me a Family Fun Prize pack (worth $100) to giveaway to one of you. To enter to win, simply leave a comment telling me what you're favorite Happy Meal toy was as a child. ([confession]my favorite Happy Meal toys were the Ty Beanie Babies, which of course means I was not a child when they came out. I still have them in a box in the garage./[confession]) You may also ask me any question you may have about my experience (that will count as an entry) and I will be happy to answer! You must include your email address in the comment in order to be eligible. You can read the giveaway rules here. Please visit BlogHer to read more stories from the weekend and more chances to win!

(Comments are now closed)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Win a dress from Shabby Apple



Congratulations, Miss Britt!



Last week I was contacted by Shabby Apple. They asked me if I would like to pick a dress to give away to one of my readers and one to keep for myself. I clicked over to their site and took a look at their dresses.

So beautiful. So feminine. So... Can I have them all, please?

I accepted their offer. Mostly because I am in desperate need of new clothing after losing 55 pounds. And also because I'm trying to wear more stylish, feminine clothing. So, you know, PERFECT FIT!

I stayed up all night, trying to choose just one. I loved this. And this. And this, this, this. I had to ask Lena to help me decide. This is the one we both loved the most. That is the dress you will be entering to win. We will be twins! It will be awesome.

All you need to do is leave a comment here (please leave your email address in your comment!) and you will be entered into a random drawing that will take place on Tuesday, July 13th.

(Must be US resident to enter.)

comments are now closed. Winner will be announced soon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CheeseburgHer at Mom 2.0- It's Our Party and We'll Fill The Bath Tub With Ice If We Want To.

I'm sure by now you know The History of CheeseburgHer.

Last month, thanks to McDonalds, we were lucky enough to have CheeseburgHer at Mom 2.0.

Every year something new and exciting happens that makes me fall in love with Our Party all over again. Last year in Chicago there were so many things!

The butler!

CheeseburgHer 09. Presidential Suite, Baby!

The bachelors!

CheeseburgHer 09. Presidential Suite, Baby!

The security! (Joining in on the fun!)

CheeseburgHer 09. Presidential Suite, Baby!

This time around?

Official CheeseburgHer credentials!

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Drinks in a Tub!

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And the big hit of the night... The Mc Snuggie!

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(The Mc Snookie?)

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Of course, some things never change. There were Serious Conversations With Bags on Heads.

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There was Bag Hat Creativity.

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And of course, my absolute favorite thing about CheeseburgHer...

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Joy and laughter.

(Did you really think I could write a post about a CheeseburgHer party and NOT have any cheese?)

The one thing that made this party special to me was this year? We did not get busted by security.

I'm sure this was disappointing to some. It's a tradition! And, admittedly, usually the best part of the party. But, it was nice to not have to shove people out of our room and be able to enjoy everyone's company. Such great conversations were had that night, some that lasted until the next morning. And let's be honest, the Law Abider in me was secretly pleased to not having a Confrontation With the (Hotel) Law.

Thanks to all who made it up to our suite in Houston. And of course, Thanks to McDonalds for making it happen.

I can not wait for CheeseburgHer NYC!