Monday, March 30, 2009

And the winner is....

Congratulations to our winner!! Please head to our Winners Page and follow the directions there to claim your prize! Special thanks to Lisa from Whimsical Expressions for sponsoring this giveaway! Keep your eyes peeled for the next, super cute review and giveaway!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Do you love to cook or bake?

Pillsbury is having their 44th Bake-Off!

All it takes is one easy and delicious recipe idea! 100 finalists will win a trip to the finals, April 11 through 13, 2010, at the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando & Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hotel in Florida. Pillsbury is looking for original recipes that taste and look delicious, are easy to prepare and that families across America will love to eat. There are four recipe categories - Breakfast & Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy and Sweet Treats. Entries are being accepted online between now and April 20th, 2009, at the Bake-Off's official site. You'll also find contest details, including eligible products, prizes and the official rules, on their web site.

Here are past Bake-Off contest recipes. Go ahead, head to your kitchen, and whip up something that's delicious, then submit it for your chance to win fabulous prizes!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

The Hip Hippo is running a giveaway until March 30th for your choice of an adorable pair of SEE KAI RUN shoes. You get to choose your favorite styles from the Smaller line or See Kai Run line, which is perfect for your infant, or toddler. View the SEE KAI RUN website for shoe selections, and fall in love this spring!


Friday, March 27, 2009


Special thanks to everyone who participated in the Sweet Boutique Giveaway! The winner of the $35 gift certificate is:
Stef plus 3 said:

I subscribed :) and I'd pick the hello kitty earings and a cami or two if I win!

Stef btb
cunninghamfamily at gmail dot com

Thanks again to our friends at Sweet Boutique for sponsoring such a great giveaway! If you didn't win, be sure to head to Sweet Boutique and enter the coupon code: GREEN at the check out to receive a 20% discount! Also, for a short time take advantage of their amazing CLEARANCE SALE! Receive 50% clearance items with coupon code: SAVEBIG going on right now!! Be sure to mention that you read about Sweet Boutique here at 4BabyAndMom!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Whimsical Expressions by Lisa Review & Giveaway!

Anyone who has their own home or apartment knows that it takes time and money, not to mention effort to really make your place your home. We purchased our home three years ago, April 15. Since then, we have been continually pouring money, time and effort into our home to truly "make it ours". From paint to furniture, to mirrors and decor, every little touch gets us one step closer to having it just the way we want it.

While looking for some picture frames, I happened to find Whimsical Expressions by Lisa on Etsy. If you've been reading my blog from the beginning, I happened to mention that I LOVE supporting crafters and have a weakness for personalized products. Finding something that's truly "you" is often hard, but Lisa makes it easy. From note cards to magnetic clips to hold notes and artwork to truly fantastic picture frames, and candle holders, you're sure to find something "you" at Whimsical Expressions.

I received my LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE picture frame, and instantly fell in love. Seriously, the picture does it no justice, it's so pretty in real life! The colors are earthy and warm and truly fit my decor perfectly. I've honestly spent weeks rotating several pictures in it, because I haven't been able to decide which one I want in it the most. The close up of the kids makes it fun and functional, the picture of Brian and I from a friends engagement party three years ago makes it romantic and reminiscent. It sits right on top of my television, and has quickly become a favorite of my friends and family that visit.

WANT IT? Check out Whimisical Expressions by Lisa on Etsy, and browse her stylish, fun and practical products and gifts. Don't worry if you see something you like but it doesn't fit your decor, Lisa will work with you to meet your style and need!

Thanks to Whimsical Expressions by Lisa, one lucky 4BabyAndMom reader will have the chance to WIN their very own LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE picture frame!

Here's How!

  • Become a fan of Whimsical Expressions on Facebook. Comment on this post and tell me where you'd love to put this picture frame and which other item at Whimsical Expressions you like best.
Want Extra Entries?
  • Follow Whimsical Expressions and 4BabyAndMom on Twitter. Tweet about this giveaway, and let me know! (Multiple tweets are OK!)
  • Stumble, Digg or fave this post on Technorati. Please include the link!
  • Follow 4BabyAndMom on blogger or subscribe to our feeds!
  • Email at least three of your friends about this giveaway and CC 4BabyAndMom [at] gmail [dot] com!
This giveaway ends March 29 at 11:59pm. A winner will be drawn using and will be announced the following day, 3/30. Special thanks to Whimsical Expressions for sponsoring this giveaway!


Busy Week at 4BabyAndMom!

What a week!
Tonight has literally been the first time in about 8 days that I've truly been able to just have a moment to myself. This week we had some legal stuff hit the fan with NewBaby, and her biological parents and the "system". Unfortunately, I cannot get into what exactly went on, but know that she (and the whole situation) still needs tons of prayers, good thoughts, and all the well wishes you can spare.

This week my parents announced to the entire extended family that after 42 years of marriage, they've filed for divorce. My immediate family has known since January, and it's been quite the nut to swallow. We- Brian and I- are doing ok with it, but since it was announced my phone hasn't stopped ringing with relatives asking what the heck happened. My answer is the same for everyone, I have no idea. I have friends that went through their parents separating or divorcing, and they said after being married for so long, that one day they just didn't "know" that person anymore. Although it's hard for us now, I know it's going to get harder- especially for my kids. They absolutely worship the ground Grandma and Grandpa walk on, and when one is around they constantly ask where the other one is. Thankfully, I believe that they are young enough that even though it will affect them, that I don't believe it will cause extreme damage. I do believe that anything is possible and that God has the ability to heal all things that are broken, but you have to want to fix it. At this time, I do not believe either of my parents wish to fix it, and that saddens me.

This week I purchased my direct domain! I once owned and ran a very small business making handmade items for both women and children. I am excited to re-open the direct domain very soon, with a new and exciting layout and look for 4BabyAndMom! It's a work in progress, and I am super excited to complete it and relaunch the site!

As you read in my last post, we also had guests stop by unexpectedly that added to the hustle and bustle this week. They will be leaving tomorrow and although we had a great visit, I am happy to have our home back to ourselves.

Today Alex scored his first goal at soccer! I am so proud of him, and will be posting the story and some pictures from practice and his first game tomorrow. He plays in an Upward league and earned the grey star this week and last week he earned the gold star. He's so excited to be a part of the team, and the goal today was really the cherry on top!

This week "someone" got a hold of scissors and gave Abbie a mullet-inspired hair cut, but thankfully her hair grows like a weed, and it's growing in quickly. I thought she had the chicken pox earlier this week, but it turns out she was attacked by some No-See-Um's. She enjoyed cheering for her brother in his big game today, and kicking around the soccer ball on the sidelines.

There are some great reviews and giveaways coming up this week, and one still currently running for the ladies to splurge on something for themselves at Sweet Boutique. Be sure to check it out, and tell your friends!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Guests + Dish Soap + Dishwasher= Holy Suds Batman!

Nothing's better than friends and food and a nice, relaxing night together.

Last night friends of ours stopped by on their way through town, and camped in our back yard. We had a BBQ, and hung out until pretty late. Instead of throwing the dishes in the dishwasher like we normally do, we just put them in the sink, and figured we'd tackle it today.

So while I brought Alex to school this morning, our friends loaded our dishwasher for us, to thank us for being so hospitable.

I came home and as it started and a few minutes later, as our friend was getting out of the shower, I hear, "Uh, Lauren, do you have a mop???"

I walk into the kitchen, and it looks like Old Man Winter dumped about a foot of snow into my kitchen. I knew it definitely wasn't snow, then I realized- there were suds EVERYWHERE!! It was POURING out of the sides and front of my dishwasher- I've never seen anything like it before! Turns out, instead of grabbing the dishwasher soap, they grabbed the dish detergent by accident!

My kitchen floor looks really clean right now, but you had to see me scooping up arm-fulls of soapy foam. I remember reading somewhere that table salt dissolved suds.. so I dumped some salt in the bottom of the dishwasher, pressed resume and hopped online to see if I could find any more information. I found that many people said that 3-4 loads later their dishwasher was still spewing arm loads of suds! I kept reading, and one site said to use vinegar.. so I figured I'd try that too. I dumped the remainder of the bottle of vinegar I use to clean the floors and counters into the bottom of the dishwasher, and hoped for the best. I switched the load to "light" and placed towels around the floor to soak up the rest of the suds, and waited. After that load finished, I put it on it's second run through (with no added soap!) and so far so good!

So should this ever happen to you or someone you know, tell them to add salt to their suds, press resume, then add vinegar and let it run it's shortest cycle. Then do it again and they should be fine.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beauty on a Budget

Since having Abbigaile three years ago, the time that I take for myself has been dwindling to mere seconds that I can grab in between bottles and diapers and dinner. I can't help but look at moms that seem to have themselves together and feel a little bit of envy, and wish I could find the time to truly take care of myself the way that I did when it was just Alex at my side. With another little life depending on me now, the seconds I held so precious just seem so far and few between.

One of my best girlfriends came over the other night to have a conversation about life in general. The both of us could not remember the last time that we got our haircut or gotten a pedicure. She laughed as I told her that the last time I had a real manicure was when my younger cousin got married, almost 4 years ago. Recently, I wrote an article on how to make more time for yourself, but finding the "time" was still hard. The two of us decided that was it- we were going to go and get our hair cut, and we were going together. Money was the only issue that was holding us back, with the drop in the economy, both of our husbands have taken cuts at work- but we knew there had to be a way.

We did some research and took a drive to our local beauty school, and within 15 minutes, we were sitting in a chair, ready to go. My friend got her hair cut and razored, and it looked amazing! I chose to have a deep scalp conditioning, and a hair cut. The hairdresser that cut my hair also thinned it for me, (I have insanely thick curly hair that never seems to fall right), and for the first time in a very long time I walked out feeling like I finally got a hair cut that looked great on me. My hair looked amazing, it wasn't too poufy, and it was beautiful!

The total cost of my deep conditioning treatment, and once-in-a-lifetime haircut was $12. I nearly fell on the floor and started to giggle as I paid the student behind the counter. My girlfriends new and exciting cute cost her $6. I took a brochure as we left, and threw it in my purse. After I got home, I pulled out the brochure and began to read.

There really was a solution to the high priced salons and spas. I could get my eyebrows waxed for THREE dollars!!! Or get a one-hour massage for only $20!!

My advice to you- run, don't walk, to your nearest phone book and look for a beauty school or technical school that has cosmetology near you. Call them, ask their prices, and see how far away they are. Budget it out, and do something for yourself. Not only will your body, self esteem, and self image thank you, but so will your wallet!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Mom's Need Great Things Too- Check Out Sweet Boutique!

One of my mom-girlfriends came over recently and was complaining about the way the economy is, and how she wishes there was a more affordable place to buy clothing that was contemporary, fun, and fresh, without it falling apart in the machine after you wash it the first time. Who hasn't been there? I know I have.. those cute little under $20 stores I used to go to in New York. I'd buy a funky shirt, wear it out, and then wash it the next day, and it would come out of the machine shredded. I'd find myself pulling the pieces out of the machine, understanding why it was only $12.

I didn't think a place like that existed back then, in fact, I thought a place like that would be impossible to find. After the recent conversation with my friend, I thought it would be a fun challenge to find a place that offered fun, stylish stuff for women, that guaranteed quality made items without breaking the bank.

Along my journey, I happened to meet the owner of SWEET BOUTIQUE. From cat print coin purses, to caution tape scarves, and everything in between, Sweet Boutique offers something for every chic mom out there! From funky to fresh, conservative to cool, as you click through the pages of these fashionable items, you won't believe your eyes! You'll find quality, trendy, funky clothing, and accessories, (even jewelry suggestions for the kids!) that are reasonably priced, and easy to order- from a company that has phenomenal customer service and strives to keep your style fresh without sacrificing the quality! Bookmark this company, because their boutique updates weekly to help your style stay current and fresh! Sweet Boutique really makes it easy to splurge on yourself without the feeling of guilt!

I was so impressed by the service and selection (sizes xs-xl) on SWEET BOUTIQUE, and I knew the readers on 4BabyAndMom would love their variety of products, SO... our friends at Sweet Boutique have offered the stylish readers at 4BabyAndMom their chance to win a $35 gift certificate to splurge on themselves!

WANT IT? See something you love and just can't wait?? 4BabyAndMom readers receive 20% off by entering the coupon code: GREEN at checkout!

Feeling Lucky?
Here's how to win: Subscribe to the Sweet Boutique Email list, by filling out the form below! Never miss a sale or new product again! Then head over to SWEET BOUTIQUE and tell me an item that you would love to purchase with your gift certificate!

Extra Entries:
  • Subscribe to our new Email feed!
  • Follow 4BabyAndMom publicly to the right & post our button on your site!
  • Write a post on your blog linking back to 4BabyAndMom!
  • Stumble, Tweet, or Fave this post on Technorati! (Be sure to include links, and add @4BabyAndMom & @sweetbtq to tweets. Multiple tweets are OK!)
Please include your email address in your reply. If you do not complete the mandatory entry, any other entries will be deleted. This contest runs until midnight, March 25th, and is open to residents of US & Canada. All entries will be verified, and a winner will be chosen using Winner will be announced Friday, March 27th.


Parent Bloggers Unite on LinkedIn!

After attending a very motivating webinar about LinkedIn the other night, I've been trying to expand my professional network. I joined a group called PARENT BLOGGERS that bloggers can join to network with other professional bloggers and PR reps, companies and artisans can also search for bloggers they wish to represent them. It is a new group, so I would love it if you all would join to help spread the word, and make LinkedIn work for you.
Are you currently on LinkedIn? Share with me your thoughts or questions on how LinkedIn works for bloggers! Join My Professional Network, and make sure you Join Parent Bloggers on LinkedIn!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nickelodeon & Mattel Announces New Look for Dora!

"For nearly ten years, Dora the Explorer has had such a strong following among preschoolers, catapulting it into the number one preschool show on commercial television," says Gina Sirard, vice president of marketing for Mattel. "Girls really identify with Dora and we knew that girls would love to have their friend Dora grow up with them, and experience the new things that they were going through themselves. The brand captures girls' existing love of Dora and marries it with the fashion doll play and online experiences older girls enjoy." "We are thrilled to partner with Mattel to develop this brand extension that will enable girls to continue to learn and interact with their Latina heroine, Dora, as they grow up together."

I'm not sure how I feel about the "new" look Nickelodeon and Mattel have put together for Dora the Explorer. Carol Costello assured CNN viewers that Dora's "tweenage" look is much more conservative than the shadow profile above suggests. She assures viewers that Dora is wearing leggings under her skirt and that the new look portrays an icon growing up, not maturing sexually, and most importantly, Dora still "uses her brain" to problem solve and investigate her new mysteries.

The perks of the new Dora doll include the ability to link her to the internet so children can play in a "world" where they can dress her up, interact with her, and help solve Nancy Drew style mysteries. The new Dora moves from having adventures in the forest and jungle to the concrete jungle, and adventures in middle school. It has been told that the new Dora is geared for ages 5 and up, but somehow, I do not see my 5 year old playing with a doll that goes to middle school. I cannot help but feel the initial discontent most other bloggers have already displayed, but part of me is eager to see the new look of "tweenage" Dora. Dora's new look is scheduled to debut in fall of 2009.

Until then, what do you think of Nickelodeon & Mattel joining forces to give Dora the Explorer a new "Tweenage" look?

Do you think that the "Tweenage" Dora will grow with your children, or do you think that kids grow old of the new Dora just as quickly as the current Dora?


Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's Blog Award Time Again!

I knew that bloggers usually make a circle of friends they've never met in real life- but never did it dawn on me that while blogging I would meet some of the most amazing, inspiring, phenomenal families, ladies and friends I could have ever asked for!

Without further a-do...

Heather of Grab Bag Reviews sent me the HONEST SCRAP award!
The rules: Honorees are to list 10 honest things about themselves - and make it interesting, even if we have to dig deep! Second, we are to pass the award on to 7 bloggers we feel embody the spirit of the Honest Scrap.

1. Most of my family and friends lives 1500 miles away.
2. My New Year's resolution every year is to get more organized! (Every year I get a little better..)
3. I HATE shoes. I would rather be barefoot or in flip-flops in any kind of weather!
4. I love to paint.. I used to be really creative, and wish I had more time to devote to it.
5. I bite my nails.. My parents tried everything when I was little, and even now, I still do.
6. I would love to be an interior decorator!
7. I worked as a Teacher's Assistant for 3 years with children who were mentally, emotionally, and/or physically disabled, before I got pregnant with my son.
8. I watch The Biggest Loser and eat really "bad" food.
9. I am allergic to MSG, phenylalanine, and all artificial sweeteners.
10. One of my dearest friends lives in Brazil.

Now it's my turn to send this award on it's way! The seven blogs I choose to receive this award are:
Jamie at Funky Cheapskate Mama
Mariana at Riding With No Hands
Amanda at Amanda/Mommy Mandy
Jenna at For the Love of Baby
Sky at Seeryus Mama
MckMama at My Charming Kids
Natalie at Red Sox Mommy

Then this week, I got a message from Marianna at Green Mama's Pad saying that she sent me these:

Now it is my turn to spread the love to four amazing bloggers!
So I am giving these awards to:
Andreah at Moody Mama Says
Krissy & Angela of Barefoot Mommys
Sarah at My Charmed Life
Esther at Sweet Dove in the Wind
Keep up the great work ladies!


Friday, March 6, 2009

What's Happening in March?

Alright, alright- I've gotten a few emails from readers asking what was going on for March. 4BabyAndMom just had a great bloggy party in February, something has to be going on in March!

Right now in our family, we are finishing up last minute details for Alex's party tomorrow. He has soccer in the AM, and then his party in the afternoon- (which nobody from his class has rsvp'd for yet, and I'm ticked!)- and after that, I plan on finishing a book that I'm almost done with.

I'm waiting to receive a few products from companies that I'll get to review and dish out the deals and maybe a giveaway or two, to you- my readers! In the meantime, I have to make a "Leprechaun Catcher" for Alex's theme project this month.. I have no idea where to begin! the next few days will have some links to great giveaways and reviews I've found and participated in, and think you might like, plus a little bit of the chaos at home. If you have any suggestions on how to make a Leprechaun Catcher, let me know!!

Anyway, the second week of March through the end of March are going to be full of fun 4 Baby And Mom, so be sure to keep reading- (and sign up for our new email feed!!) so you don't miss any of it!

If you know of a product that you'd like to see reviewed here at 4BabyAndMom, please feel free to email me at 4BabyAndMom [at] gmail [dot] com!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday, Cookie Bear!

Today marks the day that my life changed forever. It no longer was about me.. it was about the 10lb, 5oz, 23 1/4 inch long little man that came into my life needing *me* for the rest of his life.

I don't care what the experts say, 6 is much harder than 5 was. Sure, 5 is the age that they start kindergarten and move from little boy to Elementary school kid.. but honestly- 6 is *that* age. The age where you look at your little boy and see that he really is an Elementary school kid.. how much he's grown, matured and developed. As he pranced into his class this morning with his Munchkins in tow, it made me remember when I was in Kindergarten, Munchkins in tow. How the years flew by, how life grows and changes.. It made me want to scoop him up and take him home and rock him like I used to six years ago, dreaming of all the wonderful things life had in store.

This morning he woke me up, with his big smile that's missing two teeth, and declared, "It's my birthday today, Mommy!"

Yes baby, it is- and I wish you the happiest of days!

{Edited to add:}
I just wanted to share with you all the best completion to the day I could have ever hoped for. We just sang Happy Birthday to Alexzander, and I happen to look up. The time says 7:39.. to which I make him wait the 40 extra seconds to blow out the candle at 7:40, his actual birth time! Needless to say, I ended up in tears again. LOL! 6 was definitely harder than I thought. Thank you all for the emails and comments of love and support!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pregnancy, Childbirth and Newborn Giveaways and Reviews!

I just wanted to take a quick second to let all of my pregnant, or brand-new mommy readers know about an awesome opportunity to score some AMAZING giveaways!!

Grab Bag Reviews is hosting a BABY FEVER WEEK!!! So far they've reviewed some sexy, feminine lingerie perfect for breastfeeding mamas, and the most ingenious and stylish birthing wear I've ever seen!

So go check it out, and tell Heather from Grab Bag Reviews that 4BabyAndMom sent you! Have fun, and be sure to let me know if you participate!!!


Monday, March 2, 2009

FINALLY! Subscribe via EMAIL!

I have been trying to figure out feedburner and how to allow my readers the ability to subscribe via EMAIL! **Does funky dance** Seriously, I am stoked! I guess this is what happens when I have a few minutes of free time!

Today is my friends birthday, so I am in the process of making cupcakes and then we're going there to watch the Bachelor season finale.

Tonight's a great night! The beginning of a great week, actually! Alex turns 6 on Thursday!

What are you up to this week, any special plans?


Remember when I went to Sea World with Alex?

I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to write a guest post about our experience feeding the Dolphins at Sea World, Orlando. Click on the link below to read my blog entry, and let me know what you think, here and there!

While you're there, if you'd like to leave some love for a great bloggy-mommy friend of mine, Kathleen Zak, and check out all of the other great Dolphin stories- that would be awesome!

We really did have the time of our life. Alex really enjoyed all the technical and educational stuff, the staff was just amazed how he soaked up everything, and I just LOVED experiencing everything through his eyes!

Ok, ok-- enough rambling from me, I have to go pick Alex up from school.. go check out the Dolphin Bubbles, and leave some love for me and Kathleen, and check out all the cool pics!

CLICK HERE TO Read My Post on Dolphin Bubbles!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

EntreCard Top Droppers for February!

I'm still trying to learn the ins and outs of EntreCard, and so far, so good. One night a week, in between commercials of my favorite primetime sitcom, I take the opportunity to click through and drop my card at as many new and exciting sites as I can. There are definitely some that are my favorites, and I've become a regular reader at. What an excellent networking opportunity, aside from the obvious marketing benefits for your site or blog. Advertising on other blogs or websites are paid for by the credits you earn dropping your card on other people's EntreCard widget. If you don't have an EntreCard widget on your site, I definitely say to go check it out, and let me know if you do, so I can drop my card and let you know I came by!Special thanks to my EntreCard Top Droppers for February!
Mumsy, Enter Sweepstakes!, Bingo Sites Online for Women, Green Mama's Pad, simplehappylife, My Daily Discourse, Look What Mom Found, Grab Bag Reviews, Barely Domestic Mama, Make Money, Save Money While Raising A Family

Be sure to check out the Blog of the day, always located in the right-hand tool bar.


Closing Ceremony for the Fabulous February Fiesta!

Alas, the month of February is officially over! Over 20 different vendors, companies and crafters sponsored reviews and giveaways for the 4BabyAndMom Fabulous February Fiesta! Thank you to all of our awesome sponsors, as well as our loyal readers!

If you've entered any of our contests, please be sure to check out our WINNER'S PAGE to see if your name is on the list of winners. The image is available upon request for any giveaway drawing.

I will be sending out the last batch of emails tomorrow, so if you read this before you receive your "Congratulations" email, please feel free to contact us at 4BabyAndMom [at] gmail [dot] com.

So what's going on for March?

March is a very lucky month, and of course we will be rubbing some luck off on our readers with several reviews, super deals, links to our favorite sites, as well as giveaways from new and exciting sponsors!

If you are a PR representative, company, artisan, or if you would like to see a particular company or product that you would like to see reviewed on 4BabyAndMom, please do not hesitate to click our Contact Us button in the top right-hand corner of our sidebar to email us!



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