Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Classic Tinker Toys: Just As Much Fun Then, As They Are Now!

After the great Moon Sand explosion in Alex's room yesterday, I decided to redirect him and let him play with his Tinker Toys he got for Christmas.

He unpackaged the wheels, sticks and tubes, and found the directions on how to make a monorail, and his eyes lit up like lanterns! (Alexzander is obsessed with Roller Coaster Tycoon and will seriously play for hours if we let him.) "Mommy, I can make a monorail, just like at my theme park!"

Another few minutes later, it's extremely quiet, and because of the last fiasco an hour earlier, I decided to go in and peek on him. I crack open the door, half expecting to see some sort of gadget rigged to the ceiling fan, or him asleep- (a mother can wish, right?).. and instead, I see Alex sitting studiously examining the picture of the monorail, lining every stick up exactly.

We bought K'nex last year for Christmas, but it was a little too mature for him, and within days, I was vacuuming up itty bitty connectors. This is his first time playing with Tinker Toys, and I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. I thought because they were chunkier pieces that he would brush it off as being a "baby" toy, as most of his sisters toys are thicker, sturdier, and chunky. I never thought that he'd be making a monorail on his train table so that "the cars could drive under it, and the people could travel quicker on the monorail." LOL! He cracks me up!

I don't know if you can see it in the pictures, but at first he hooked up the ...um.. orange hook tube connector things upside down, and once he started connecting the tubes, he couldn't get the monorail to glide. Tinker Toys actually allowed for him to use his problem solving skills to figure out why it kept crashing at every connector, and before I knew it, he was flipping them "up side up".

This morning, not even an hour after he woke up, he started building again. I know we're only on day 2 with Tinker Toys, but I have to say I am definitely impressed. He made a microphone and stand today! The possibilities are endless with Tinker Toys!


Mischievous Monday

What kind of trouble happens when it's quiet? You know, that way-too-quiet-they-must-be-getting-into-something, quiet? My kids are the best at finding unusual things to tear into, and it's usually within seconds!

This long weekend was great, Brian and I were able to reorganize the kids rooms, and rearrange their furniture to make it more functional. We set up Abbie's new kitchen set, and put the teeny tiny fake food in little rubbermaid containers, and called it a day. In Alex's room, we took all his broken or missing toys and laid them to rest, and organized his closet. *That* made a huge difference! Brian moved his toy box next to his bed, (which I didn't think I was going to like), but it's perfect there. His train table is accessible in the middle-ish of his room, and I cleaned the bathroom. Phew.

Today, Bri had to go back to work, and I think he laced the milk.. lol. The kids were bouncing off the walls more than they have EVER before! I didn't know what to do. We played 'Trouble', watched movies, colored on the side walk, went to an appointment that I thought was today, that was really next week (oops!) and delivered a Christmas gift to my best friend, Jenn. Then we came home and played more games, colored more on the driveway, and watched some more cartoons. I couldn't get into a groove today, if you paid me! Finally, when things are winding down, and dinner is in the oven, the buzz from Brian's car approaches... Alex hears it, and bolts to the door the fastest I've ever seen him run, leaping over a stuffed animal in the hallway and SCREAMS, "YAAAAY, DADDY'S HOME!!!!" To which Abbigaile comes tearing around the corner like her bum is on fire, screaming, "Daddy home, Daddy home! MA-MA, DAD-E HOME!" Oy!

They tackle him before he's over the threshold, and I warn him that they've been purely bonkers all day long, and he assures me it can't be that bad. After about 10 minutes, he's changed his mind indefinitely. I head back into the kitchen and Bri goes to clean up from work, I send the children into Alex's room to play with his trains. In the time it took Bri to wash up, and me to mix instant mashed potatoes, I realize it's WAY too quiet, so as Bri kisses me hello, I ask him to check on the kids. We all know that when kids of any age are amazingly quiet, one of two things happen. They are either sound asleep, or into something they're not supposed to be.

I'll give you one lucky guess which one my two monkeys are doing.. And it's not sleeping! ;o)

Pro's: Can be vacuumed right up after children play with it without permission.

Blue sand smushed into carpet is much more difficult to vacuum up.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Check this product out! Löopa Bowl @ Go Graham Go!

As a newbie blogger, I have been surfing the web today looking for what types of products other bloggers are talking about. To the right, I have a button for GO GRAHAM GO! and have participated in several contests and read some great reviews, and today I happened to stumble upon this review and giveaway for a Löopa Bowl.

Although it looks like something from out of space, this bowl is made to withstand the abuse toddlers dish out on their snack bowls or plates. Solid foods will not spill, no matter how they flip, turn, run, or sit with it. The weighted bottom allows for the inner bowl to turn in a full 360 degree sphere of safety, and
Voila!- cheerios and goldfish all over the living room floor are a thing of the past!

With it's awesome price point, (about $7.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond), this product is DEFINITELY on my list of must haves for parents of Toddlers.. heck, I think I might even get one for my almost 6 year old! Amazing! Bravo to Brad and Melinda Shepherd for creating the one and only Löopa bowl and thank you to Felicia, from Go Graham Go! for introducing me to this incredible product!

Click here to see the Löopa bowl in action, and for your chance to win one!
Giveaway closes January 2nd, 2009


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Spirit Award

Esther sent me the Christmas Spirit Award. Esther is a very dear friend of mine, and of my family. I am so blessed to know Esther! Check out her blog at Sweet Dove In The Wind.

So my part is to list five things I love about Christmas and then give the award to some of my blog friends, who can then pass it to their friends.

1) I love getting together with my family. Now that I am 1500 miles away from most of them, Christmas is the time that my immediate family and our dear friends can get together and celebrate Christmas together.

2) I love getting all the photo cards and traditional cards from our extended friends and family. There are some people that I barely talk to through the year, but on Christmas, it's our time to catch up with each other.

3) SNOW! I know I live in Florida now, but there's something about that cool, crisp smell that's in the air when it snows. A couple of times this year I almost thought I smelled it!

4) Decorating around the house! We put up our lights very late this year, but the tree looks beautiful!

5) The joy in my children's eyes the whole season long! My children love the carols, and lights through the neighborhood.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fabulous Blog!!

My Sentiment Exact Lee named me as FABULOUS! I love this award! To claim it, there are a few rules. I have to admit my 5 addictions and then pass it on to another 5 blogs...

Hello, My name is Lauren ("Hi Lauren!") and I am addicted to…

1. My Family
2. Babytalkbio.com
3. Dr. Pepper
4. Music
5. My blog!

And now, I pass this award to:

1. NoTimeForFlashcards
2. TwoOfAKindWorkingOnAFullHouse
3. MommyMandy
4. GiggleBugBoutique
5. TheraputicReviews&Giveaways


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do you follow me on Twitter??

Tweet, Tweet! Who knew a small little blue bird could be so cool!

If you follow me here, you should follow me there, if you do, it will make the next contest much cooler! :o) Don't forget to comment!!

Click here to follow me on Twitter!!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ugh.... Taking a holiday. Sort of.

I officially have the same bug my little buggers had last week. I cannot breathe out of my nose, if you paid me to, and when I exhale hard, I sound like wheezy the penguin from "Toy Story". Gaaah! Didn't I mention, I am OVER being sick! I need a new immune system.. My husband swears by taking alfalfa.. We don't have any in the house, so yesterday I sent him to the store to get a couple of things for dinner, and he came home with a container of Alfalfa Sprouts! He ate the whole thing last night.. it looked like he was eating grass. Totally not on my list of things to do. ;o) Anywhoo-- Being that my head feels like a hot air balloon, I will be taking a brief hiatus so I can get well, and give away some more exciting things! I think I might do a 5 day entry for a gift card.. to treat you to something you WANT for the holidays, as opposed to something some aunt you only see once a year gives you out of sheer obligation. LOL! Ok, rambling done for now.. *squeak* Gotta see if this medicine works now. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!


Monday, December 15, 2008


Drawn anonymously, the winner is ADREON! Congratulations!!! Please contact 4babyandmom [at] gmail [dot] com ASAP! Thanks! Happy Holidays!!!


Sunday, December 14, 2008


Congratulations to "Kat Attack" for being the winner of the Leapster I SPY game give away! Entry was drawn anonymously of all received entries. Thank you to all who participated in my first contest and giveaway!!!


Fun times!

My computer crashed with a crazy virus! Thankfully my friend's hubby is a compter tech, and was able to get us back online. I still feel like things are off on it, but at least I can get on. I am now not feeling well, and my voice keeps coming in and out. Fun times! That's my weekend update!!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cold & Flu Season has hit us!

"Mom-eeeeeeeeeeee, my eye won't oh-pin!" Is what I woke up to this morning, instead of the beautiful smile of my two and a half year old, Abbigaile.

Sure enough, her little lashes were goopy, and she had a snotty nose and a fever. We've been battling the allergies for several weeks.. Alex had a couple nebulizer treatments, and it seemed to help. Between his hacking last night and Abbie's fever & snot explosion, I am completely certain the stuffiness in my sinuses and ears are no longer allergy related. I popped some sudafed.. er, Wal-phed, to hopefully clear my head, but the body aches and exhaustion today have me pooped!

Eh. Tomorrow I have an appointment with their pediatrician in the afternoon.. now we just need to make it until then! Wish me luck!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Filled with "Love and Syrup" Polka Dot Pancake is sure to Delight!

While Christmas shopping for my cousin Dana, I stumbled upon the ladies at POLKA DOT PANCAKE. As soon as my son saw the 'Lego Chunky Charm Bracelet' he knew Aunt Dana would LOVE it! “Besides,” he said, “if she gets bored in her school, she could just play with it.” *melt* Little did he know, she truly would! After a smooth transaction, with AMAZING customer service, prices, communication, and VERY speedy shipping, I had to know more about Polka Dot Pancake. I contacted them and they agreed to an interview and FREE SHIPPING if a buyer mentions they saw the review @4BabyAndMom in the note to seller at checkout!!

From my own research, I see that the both of you are "teachers by day and crafters by night"- When do you find the time to put together your awesome products? Sometimes we wonder where we get the time too! We both love to create things so much that it feels unnatural to go a day without doing it. We do as much as possible in the evenings after school and on the weekends. There have been many nights that we've met in the middle (we live about 45 minutes apart) for dinner and visits to Hobby Lobby and the thrift store. Our favorites are long weekends and Saturdays when we can get together, try out our new ideas and see what we come up with.

How did Callie and Brandi meet? We met in college at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. We were both really active in the Baptist Campus Ministries, and that's where we met. Brandi was friends with Callie's future husband Chad, and we have an awesome group of mutual friends from college. The first thing Callie remembers about Brandi is that she "loves pizza, hardcore!" The first thing Brandi remembers about Callie is her t-shirt that says: "I♥Carbs." We were a match made in heaven!

How long have you been working with each other? We have been friends for over 4 years, but it wasn't until we both took a clothing construction class together in the spring of 2006 that we learned how crafty the other was. We started hanging out and making Día de los muertos jewelry and visiting the craft store for hours at a time together not long after that. We officially launched Polka Dot Pancake in July of 2008.

Do you wear your own jewelry? We love to wear our own jewelry! That's the way that we make most of our connections! As teachers, our students really notice our colorful stuff, especially Callie's high schoolers. In fact, they often comment, "Mrs. Wells, did you make your jewelry today?" It's always exciting to respond to a compliment on your jewelry with, "Thanks. I made it."

Where did the name 'Polka Dot Pancake' come from? We toyed with the idea of going into the crafty business together for years before we took the plunge. On our way home from our annual beach trip with our awesome group of friends, we started throwing around ideas. When it came to what we would call ourselves, we started throwing out any idea that came to mind. We talked about how much we love polka dots and polka-dotted things in general, and we also talked about how much we love food. We were thinking out loud, "Polka Dot.... Polka Dot..." when Brandi shouted "Polka Dot Pancake!!!" It just felt right, and we knew that's who we were.

What is your inspiration behind your art? We're inspired by all kinds of things. Etsy is a great source of inspiration because we are exposed to so many incredible artists there. We're inspired by the books we read and the music we listen to. We're also inspired by our friends. We have made many pieces with a certain person's favorites and style in mind. And we get inspired just from browsing the aisles of the thrift store. There is definitely something inspiring about seeing the potential beauty in an object someone else thinks is worthless. We really feel like we've been given a gift, like it's something inside of us that has to come out. Sometimes it comes out in a pair of lego earrings, sometimes it comes out in a painting; you just never know!

Which piece is your favorite? Wow! What a tough question! The first thing that popped in both our minds is our Heigh-Ho Happy Garden Gnome earrings! We sold them already, and it really hurt to see them go! We'll just have to make more... Actually some of absolute favorites are pieces that we made and loved so much that we had to keep. Brandi has a bracelet with tile charms from old romance novels that she couldn't bear to part with. Callie has a junk bracelet with random dangly things: a Barbie shoe, a tiny can of soda, an orange hairbrush, a hot pink teddy, and all kinds of funny things.


So there you have it, an inside look into Callie and Brandi, the talent behind POLKA DOT PANCAKE. I think their style is very retro, meets punk rock, meets the 80’s, meets… well, finish my sentence, go check them out, and let me know your favorite piece, because Callie & Brandi have generously offered one 4BabyandMom reader a chance to win a Lego Chunky Charm Bracelet, valued at $18.00. Thanks Polka Dot Pancake! Shoppers, don't forget, free shipping if you mention you saw this review at checkout!!

For Extra entries in this Give Away:

(leave a new comment for each that you do)
  • Tweet about this Contest and let me know
  • Blog about this Give away & link it back to this site
  • E-mail this blog contest to at least 10 of your closest friends & cc me at 4BabyAndMom [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Follow me, or if you are already a follower, refer a friend to follow this blog
Winner will be chosen by random, Sunday, 12/14/08, and announced Monday the 15th.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mini update on my son's new school!

I just wanted to let you all know that my son is now in the running for Student of the Month! His behavior and academic performance was amazing this week, and the teacher encouraged him to keep up the great work, and shoot for Student of the Month. I hope he gets it, I am proud of him either way, but this would be AMAZING! A complete 180 degree turn around from his old school. I am so happy we switched him! :o)


Friday, December 5, 2008

Leap Frog Leapster Customer Service & Product Review

For my first review, I chose to do one of my favorite products, and a company who's customer service goes above and beyond to help their consumers. Two Christmases ago Santa brought a Leapster for my son, Alex. The green & silver package was all my son wanted.. he was three at the time. The graphics were cool and not "too babyish", many popular characters plastered all over the movies and TV kept the interest of my son, and the games are jam packed with math, reading, & writing too! The buttons were easy for his little fingers to grasp, and the body was durable enough for his tough attitude. The pen was easy to write with, and made writing his letters even more fun on the touch sensitive screen. He learned new ways of counting, and adding, spelling and reading. What more could a mom want in a gaming system for her child?

He played with it for months, until Christmas rolled around again, and Santa brought him a Leapster TV system. The joystick was thick and easy for his hands to manipulate, the buttons perfect for action packed games. All of the cartridges are interchangeable from the portable unit to the Leapster TV, and I enjoyed the functionality of it.

Again, he played with it for months, and then right before summer, lost interest. I thought the phase had ended.. it truly broke my heart.

Alex started school this past August and a few of the kids in his class were excited about the release of WALL-E, the Disney Pixar movie, for Leapster, and he requested that we dig it out. We tried to turn on the hand held unit, and even with brand new batteries, it just wouldn't turn on. I have no idea what happened, it was completely dead.. my son was crushed. So I called Leap Frog and talked to their customer service representative. She walked me through a couple of steps and after a few moments instructed me to send it back. I was told that if they could fix it, they would, and if they couldn't they would send me a brand new one. The fixed or new Leapster was supposed to come in 4-6 weeks.. it came in about 2! My son was ecstatic!! Now he could play his new game, and take it to grandma's house as well. What could be better? He decided playing it on the Leapster TV would be even cooler, so we plugged it in, and added new batteries, and uh-oh.. the same thing happened. I called customer service, and they walked me through some steps again, told me how to reconnect the controller, and wallah- it worked!!

Very rarely do I find a company that not only makes excellent products, but that has amazing customer service. I *highly* recommend the Leapster or Leapster2 for your son or daughter this holiday season. I love purchasing stuff that is durable and has an ability to stay a part of my son's activities for months, rather than weeks. Three Christmases later, we are still playing with both the Leapster and Leapster TV.. and have had no more problems or issues. If we did, I have full confidence in the staff in the Leap Frog Customer service department. You will not be dissatisfied with this system, and your child will learn in Leaps and Bounds!

P.S. As my first give away, I am running a week long contest for entries to win an "I SPY CHALLENGER" Leapster game. This game is recommended for children in 1st-4th grade. Retail value: $25

Tell me what game is your child's favorite Leapster Game, or if you are getting the Leapster or Leapster2 for your child for the holidays, why you chose Leap Frog over the other companies.

Extra entries: (leave a new comment for each that you do)
  • Tweet about this giveaway
  • Blog about this awesome Leapster Give-away & link it back to this site
  • E-mail this blog contest to at least 10 of your closest friends & cc me at 4BabyAndMom [at] gmail [dot] com
Winner will be chosen at random on 12/12/08 from all entries received.
Happy Holidays!


Yard Sale Time!

Tomorrow I am having a yard sale. I have made over 20 signs to plaster over the neighborhood, and I am very excited to get rid of all of our "stuff". I am a firm believer that clutter makes your life more crazy.. yet struggle with de-cluttering and organizing.

What's your favorite item or method that keeps you and your home working efficiently??


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Woo! Day 2 of cleaning and organizing the garage is COMPLETE!

Phew! You never know how much "stuff" can accumulate until you spend two frigid days going through it all. First, I must admit, the cold is starting to get to me! You would think that living on the west coast of central Florida, our days would be full of sunshine, and warm, beautiful sea breezes.. indeed, in December- IT'S NOT. Granted, I didn't have 10 inches of snow, like my cousin in VT, but for goodness sake, I live in Florida!!

Back to the garage..
So a few days ago, I thought cleaning out the garage and sorting through a plethora of old memories and "stuff" from 4 different houses sounded like a splendid idea. Yes, I wrote 4 different houses. See, when we moved from NY, in 2004, we moved stuff from my parents house that they didn't move down with them 6 months prior, stuff from my husband's room at his dad's house, stuff from my mother-in-law's house, (because she passed away a month before we came down here) and stuff from our first apartments. We shoved most of it in storage, and called it a day. To conserve money, when we moved from the apartment to our house, in 2006, we decided it would be best to put it all in the garage. How does stuff that filled a small little 4x5 storage unit suddenly blow up and fill a 1 car garage, I have *no* idea, but it did.

So I started small.. Box by box, I sorted, labeled, and made piles. I kept the piles simple: Keep, yard sale/craigslist, Freecycle, Recycle & dump. I fully believe in giving back to your community as often as you can, without going overboard or out of your way. Simple things like freecycle and recycling truly meet those goals for me. Before I knew it, both sides of my drive way were packed with things, and I made it half way through the great wall of "stuff". EEEEEEK.

Brian (my husband) came home and told me he was super proud of my accomplishments and motivation, and offered to help me today. I told him I would take him up on that.

Fast forward to today. My goal was to be able to fit my 06 Kia Sedona in the garage. That alone was a big feat, and I knew it. After much pain, lol, and a lot of bickering, we were able to get the van in tonight. Unfortunately, if we pulled it in all the way, there was NO way for us to get out of the van, so we had to pull it back out again. It was quite comical, in the three stooges type of humor today. My husband insisted that there was enough room to keep some boxes and "stuff" stacked against the side of the garage, and I told him there wouldn't be. Yet again, momma knows best. In the meantime, I found a ton of baby stuff that we haven't used, and for the third time in the past week, fought a wicked baby fever. All the cute teeny tiny things.. sockies, and carriers, and head rests, and sleep positioners... ahhh.. *ahem* Sorry. So I came in and posted on freecycle, that I wanted to help out a mom in need, and offered it all up. Gladfully, a woman came and got it all, which made me feel excited, because not only did I help someone in need, but I also got rid of a TON of stuff! Double WOO!!! :o)

Now, it's about 1:30am, and I am winding down, almost defrosted all the way.. and happy the heat kicked on. This weekend, I have a blog planned to tell you all a little about my background, what the name of my blog means, and my first review & give away! I am excited!! See you then!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2nd First Day of School

A really long story short, yesterday was my son's second 1st day of school. We had some issues with his last school, thinking they knew my child better than me. Assuming that he was not bored and smart, but labeling him as having either a behavioral problem or being on the Autistic spectrum. I am a very proactive mom, so I decided to take the appropriate action needed. I set up appointments for him to be evaluated, and appropriately diagnosed if he does indeed have any medical reasoning behind his behavior. In the process, he told me he was not being included in the class, and didn't want to go to school anymore. He is in kindergarten. So, after discussing it with my husband, we decided to switch his school.

I walked into his new classroom, and it was like I died and went to Kindergarten heaven. Seriously, there were colors and shapes, and words, and projects EVERYWHERE. Definitely a difference from his old class. I knew after speaking to the new teacher that he would do marvelous in her class. He started yesterday, and so far, so good. He thinks his new class is more fun, and that he learns more. As of last night he missed his old class (I think the familiarity of it, and some of the classmates), but he thinks this one will be fine. LOL. My 5 year old cracks me up, he's like a little old man. He came home with a bunch of work he did during the day, TOTAL opposite of his other class, and he was so proud to show it off to me. I am very excited to see how he does in this new class.

Now I have to get out to the garage and start organizing and looking for the Christmas decorations.. the neighborhood looks bleak this year, and I need to put something festive out before I freak out.



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