Jan 012016

We are so excited to read this new hot pick book! Dig into this best seller with us in our virtual book club. Any and all readers welcome--the only stipulation? Pajamas are a MUST! xoThis past month has been a busy blur of tinsel and cookies and more struggles putting together a My Little Pony castle than I’d ever care to remember. It’s been full, it’s been fun, and Mommy is TIRED, but I’d be remiss not to pause and cherish some of the sweetest moments of the season–those spent cozying up in front of the Christmas tree get lost in the pages of a good read.

And the book Carrie of Normal Level of Crazy and I chose for our December virtual book club was the perfect find to delight in during the hectic season. Taking a laugh break with Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling was the exact therapy needed!

To be fair, we really, really like Kaling, so it would be hard for us to dislike any of her work, but this book was incredibly well done. My first words to Carrie after finishing it were, “She makes me a better writer.”

Unarguably, Kaling has a wickedly smart sense of humor, and reading her words is always fun. But even more that her adept skill in bringing the laughs, is her extreme confidence in who she is and dedicated commitment to always pushing herself to where she knows she can go. In this book, these boss traits shone so brightly. Reading this book felt like hanging out with a really cool friend who really has her crap together and inspires you to be better by simply being who she is.

What did you think of the book? It’s the kind of read I wish we could chat up over a cup of coffee while delving into deep thoughts about our own goals in this life. Why Not Me? so naturally stimulates such introspection as admiration for Kaling and her achievements builds with each chapter. Did it inspire and motivate you regarding any of your goals in particular?

We are so excited to read this new hot pick book! Dig into this best seller with us in our virtual book club. Any and all readers welcome--the only stipulation? Pajamas are a MUST! xo

And here are a few more thought-provoking discussion questions provided by LitLovers.com:

In her discussion of friendships, Kaling talks about how hard it is to make female friends—it’s more difficult than having sex. Do you agree? Or is her difficulty a result of Kaling’s fame and her hyper suspicious nature that she’s being “played?”

Kaling says that she wants her readers to get the know the “real” Mindy Kaling. Did you come away after reading this book feeling that you DO know Mindy? How do you feel about her after reading Why Not Me?

Have you read her previous book Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (2011), and if so, how do the two books compare?

We are so excited to read this new hot pick book! Dig into this best seller with us in our virtual book club. Any and all readers welcome--the only stipulation? Pajamas are a MUST! xo

I definitely learned more about Kaling, especially as I think this book reached deeper into her true self than her first book. However, there are obviously personal boundaries she has drawn regarding what she shares publicly, and for this I say, “Go her!” Boundaries are a healthy, and it is more than okay to keep private stuff private.

Sadly, however, I was really hoping this book would finally give us all the real scoop on her relationship with B.J. Novak, as I have an intense couple crush on them and am very nosily wanting All The Details. Despite my disappointment over still being confused about their relationship, “Soup Snakes” was one of my favorite chapters in the book. And for the record, the term “soup snakes” makes so much sense and I think we should regularly use it in our vocabulary.



Now join us for our next book club read, The Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham. We’re excited to dig in! Here’s what Amazon has to scoop us on this hot new read:

On the right side of the law. Sort of. Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. He works out of a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, fine leather chairs, a hidden gun compartment, and a heavily armed driver. He has no firm, no partners, no associates, and only one employee, his driver, who’s also his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddy.

He lives alone in a small but extremely safe penthouse apartment, and his primary piece of furniture is a vintage pool table. He drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun. Sebastian defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult, who is accused of molesting and murdering two little girls; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house.

Why these clients? Because he believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he, Sebastian, has to cheat to secure one. He hates injustice, doesn’t like insurance companies, banks, or big corporations; he distrusts all levels of government and laughs at the justice system’s notions of ethical behavior. Sebastian Rudd is one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

Sold yet? I know. Listen, I’m with you. Buy into the hype and let’s Grisham-fan together!

And, as always, leave a comment below telling us why you’d love to scoop this book and you’re eligible to win a copy of The Rogue Lawyer. As long as you’re 18 or older and live in the continental U.S. and leave a comment before 1/8/16 at 5:30am EST, you are eligible to win!

I’ll meet you on the other flip side of this hot new read, friends!


Aug 122015

Have a list of projects you've been meaning to get to? No sweat! Fall is the perfect time to tackle them, for reasons you've probably never considered! Pick up the paintbrush; it's on, friends!Summer will soon be coming to an end (a lot more quickly than most of us prefer), but it doesn’t have to be all disappointment as the seasons change and school starts back up. There are a lot of great things about the fall, and one thing you can do to get yourself excited for the seasonal changes is to start thinking about ways you can get your home ready for the fall and home improvement projects you might finally have time to do with the kids back in school.
Weatherproof and Check Up On Your House

The best time to weatherproof your house is a few months before the proofing is really necessary. That gives you plenty of time to deal with any problems that might come up and to identify all of the things that need attention well before they might present an actual issue. The beginning of the fall is also a great time to tend to general home maintenance tasks. The weather tends to be pretty fair, so it’s good time to make repairs to the heating, cooling, and all other systems while they won’t be under their greatest demand. Things to be sure to look at:

  • Your heating and air conditioning systems (especially heating, before the weather gets really cold)
  • Your water system. Check your water heater and water pressure to make sure everything is operating at correct levels.
  • Your septic tank. Have a pre-emptive inspection and repair visit, especially if it’s been a while.
  • Put in weather stripping to make your home heating system more efficient in the winter, and while you’re at it, see if you can identify more ways to make your home heating and cooling system more efficient. For example, you could consider installing automation so that you can have your heating automatically adjust to turn itself down during the day when nobody’s home.
  • Check out and repair your electrical system. Faulty wiring can present a very real safety hazard, so identify and inspect any potentially dangerous spots.
  • Clean your home exterior. It can be easy to forget to attend to this aspect of home maintenance, but the longer you neglect it, the more difficult it’s going to be to clean it in the long run. Remove grime from your exterior walls and clean off pathways, window sills and shutters, balconies, doors, and the outsides of windows.
  • Attend to any exterior home repair tasks you’d been neglecting because the weather was too warm. This might include repainting, repairing hinges or roof tiles, or cleaning the chimney.

Give Your Home a Makeover

If you’re the summer-loving type, you might find it hard to get yourself excited for the cool weather and return to your fall routine. Redecorating and reorganizing your home, however, can be a good way to fight off the blues as the summer passes. Here are a few ideas to get you excited about redecorating and repairing your home for the fall and winter.

  • Consider adding an accent wall in a room that you haven’t focused much on in your designing. For example, a bathroom, the basement, a hallway, or the foyer might be good candidates. It’s also a good idea to start your redesign in one of these areas, as they are usually smaller and are not quite such a big commitment once you begin your redesign efforts. Once you’ve done your accent wall, add in a few low-key furnishings like a shelf for shoes with baskets for keys and purses. Look for a few modern things for sale like small pottery pieces or art pieces to add some interest key points to the room.
  • Add little accents to rooms that you love. We all tend to have areas and rooms we spend the most time in, so it’s never a bad idea to give those rooms some love and attention. You can consider bigger projects like new wall art or furniture, or smaller projects like reupholstering some chairs to match the carpet, or adding in a few nice blankets and art objects to make it more interesting.
  • Look for ways that you can make your home and routine more efficient. Finding new organization or storage systems can not only improve the way your home looks, but also help you feel more comfortable and happy in your own space and routine.

The fall season doesn’t have to mean the end of the fun! Getting some home improvement done can be a productive and rewarding activity. Tending to practical matters as well as redecorating can make work feel a lot more like fun.

Mar 262015

Easter is such a fun time to celebrate spring, egg hunts, Easter bunnies, flowers, chicks and all the pretty sweet things of a new beginning! Here are some tricks to throwing a boss Easter party--one that will please adults and kids alike! Get your Spring party on, friends!As a veteran hostess, you are by this point a total pro at throwing great parties. But after you’ve hosted so many parties, it can be hard sometimes to come up with new ideas to make your party fresh and new. Of course, sometimes it’s just doing a few small things that end up making a big difference. For this year’s Easter Sunday party, check out these little ideas to make things “egg-stra” special.


Go Outside!

First, if the weather is suitable, make sure to take advantage of your yard space for the party. Open up the windows and doors and make sure people feel free to come and go between the yard and the house. Given this, in addition to the house, it’s important to make sure the yard is looking nice before the party.


Go the Extra Mile on Decorations

If you have been using the same Easter decorations for years and years, maybe it’s time to shake things up with some new, fashionable decorations. Rustic chic has been very popular recently, so think old-fashioned for your Easter party. If you can, pick out some small vintage items like side tables, benches, and chairs. You can sometimes get inexpensive furniture from some antique and thrift stores. Give these items a coat of paint in pastel colors and then strip away some of the paint to give it the vintage look. This will look especially nice if you keep the party palette to just two or three colors for everything. Use these items to decorate your yard. For example, set up an old coffee table on the porch for drinks or use an old table to make an egg decorating spot for the kids. You can also get or make lots of great decorative items like banners, Easter cups and plates, and place settings. Try to stick to items that match the palette you’ve selected.


Don’t Forget the Flowers

Of course, you can’t go without flowers on Easter Sunday! Be creative with how you plan your arrangements. Don’t just do the big displays of arranged flowers at the main table. Get some smaller vases and put arrangements of matching flowers around the yard and the house. To match the vintage theme, get some milk jugs or mason jars and put just two or three flowers or stems in each for each place setting. These also make great party favors.


Plan a Great Menu for the Adults and the Kids

When planning out your meals, make sure you have a good selection for the culinary adventurous adults and for the picky kids. Don’t be afraid to try a complicated lamb dish for the adults, but make sure you also have plain old chicken strips for the kids. But this doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the kids’ side of things. Make sure their eating space is nicely decorated, too. Include little things like a Peep at every place setting or put bowls of jelly beans and chocolate eggs around the area (of course, you might need to have an older kid or adult supervise to keep the little kids from overloading on sweets!)


Try to go with a menu that relies on seasonal items for the most sustainable Easter meal. This kind of consistency is what makes meals feel special. That is, just as you picked just a few colors for your palette, pick just a few “star flavors” for your meal. This kind of simplicity can go a long way in making a memorable, high quality meal. Add another layer to your meal by picking a specific type of meal. Will your party be a brunch? A lunch? A dinner? A potluck? Make sure your guests know the general theme if you are going to welcome contributions.


Take Care of the Little Things around the House

Don’t cut corners when you’re trying to be the very best hostess! Try to see your home through the eyes of a guest to make sure you’ve taken care of all the little things. Open up a new stick of butter and make sure it’s on a clean butter dish. Put out an Easter-themed doormat and sweep off the porch. Clean the windows, the sink, the counter tops, etc. Put out clean dish towels.


Give Little Gifts

Giving gifts to your guests, especially if you will have little ones at the party, is a sure way to make the event memorable. Cute gift ideas for the adults might include:

  • Flowers at their place setting or other cute place setting items like name tags, origami bunnies or birds, etc.
  • Pre-made bags or boxes of nicer candies like Jordan almonds or gourmet jellybeans (yes, there is such a thing!)


Gift ideas for the kids could include:

  • Mini Easter baskets, each with one small chocolate bunny and a mini bag of jellybeans.
  • Small stuffed animals of bunnies, chicks, ducks, etc.
  • One large plastic Easter egg with candy and a small toy inside.
  • Any eggs they painted or decorations they made with a little basket for carrying them.


Don’t forget to take some time anyway from the kitchen to enjoy your own party! Your guests will have a much better time if they know that you are allowing yourself to have some fun!


Image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:40425427, copyright:RuthBlack


Jun 272014

Femme Frugality Turns 3! @meredithspidelOne of my very first friends in this blogging world was Femme Frugality, and I am thrilled to celebrate the 3 year anniversary of her blog here today!  If you haven’t visited her site, DO.  Her blog is chock-full of money-saving  tips for “students, brides, mommies, daddies, and Pittsburghers”.  I have learned a ton from this gal, and it’s an honor to call her a friend.

It’s funny, you cross so many paths through online connections, but as with all relationships in life, sometimes the first ones are the sweetest and most cherished.  I still remember when we both nervously first ventured into sponsored writing and monetizing our blogs.  She was then, and still remains, a huge support.

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Femme in person.  I did what anyone would do when in the presence of such money-saving greatness; got a little teary, gave her a huge hug and then started babbling endlessly about all the my latest cash-saves and bargain-finding victories.  She politely humored me as I panicked after tossing my Coach clutch on the table and then stumbled over myself explaining that it had been a gift from a friend.  The horror of her thinking I might have paid full price for such an item would have been too much to bear.

Anyway, I’ll hush up and hand the rest of this post over to three sponsors who are offering some very cool giveaways to you as we all celebrate Femme’s blogiversary together! Go enter and say congrats to Femme Frugality!


online kids consignment

Kindermint is an on-line consignment store for kids’ clothes. They’ve got big brand names for seriously great, low prices. Not only that; you can send your kids’ clothes in to sell, too. It eliminates the hastle of dragging your kids to the store with a box full of clothes in one arm and the other trying to wrangle the little ones up. You know when you buy from them that the clothes you’re getting look like they’ve never been worn. In fact, some of them haven’t been, and they’ve got the tags on them to prove it.

To celebrate Femme Frugality’s 3 years of blogging, they’re giving away a $30 gift certificate to one lucky winner! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Open to US residents only. Fulfillment of prize is the responsibility of the sponsor and does not lie with any participating bloggers.*


irish proverb

Biddy Murphy is a phenomenal Irish Gift Shop located in one of Femme’s favorite vacation spots: South Haven, Michigan. They have a fantastic online storefront of made-in-Ireland goods. The owner, Ward Gahan, travels home to Ireland regularly and uses some of his time back home to expand and replenish inventory. To celebrate this Blogiversary, Biddy Murphy is giving away a beautiful Irish plaque with a classic Irish Proverb: a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Open worldwide. Fulfillment of prize is the responsibility of the sponsor and does not lie with any participating bloggers.*


squeaky clean

In honor of Femme Frugality’s 3 years of blogging, the North American Bear Co. is giving away a Squeaky Clean to 3 lucky readers! These cute microfiber accessories are perfect for cleaning the screens on all of your devices, and they can come with you anywhere you go with their keychain attachment. They come in a myriad of designs, and if you win, you get your pick. Worried about getting it too dirty? No problem; they’re machine washable.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Open to US residents only. Fulfillment of prize is the responsibility of the sponsor and does not lie with any participating bloggers.*


Thanks to Femme Frugality for putting together such a fun way to celebrate her anniversary, and to the super-gal herself: congrats on 3 years!!!

Jun 222014

Here at The Mom of the Year, it’s all about being a fab parent–countless epic fails included, of course.  I’d be lying if I told you I had it figured out–any of it figured out.  My go-to strategy generally involves a lot of fumbling about and hoping for the best, but there have been a few things I’ve discovered along the way that do make this whole parenting gig a bit easier.  Things like online shopping, one of my favorite life passions.  So when Huggies asked me to share a fantastic promo code for shopping at the genius Diapers.com site along with some of my other tips for becoming a super mom (read: feeling like you might actually be rocking this gig once in a while), I was all over it.

Go make your life (a little) easier?:

1) I’m very open about the fact that I hate trying to shop with my kids.  Not that endless temper tantrums and wildly flying Goldfish crackers in the aisles of Target aren’t super fun, but…When I figured out that I could do all of my shopping from home AND save my family money by using promo codes, rewards programs and the like, I got very comfortable cozying up in front of my computer and ordering online.  This cut the panicked stress of hauling everyone out, leaving us more time for saner things, like running wildly in circles and knocking over block towers while Mommy attempts to wash dishes.

As a mom of two young ones, Diapers.com quickly became one of my favorite sites.  Have you been there?  They have everything you could need for babes in your life, from strollers to potty-training gear.  The shipping is incredibly fast, the prices are sweet and they never close.  So when you have the late-night realization that your diaper stash is dangerously low, logging on a making a quick order (before your Mommy brain lets you forget) is easy peasy.

Speaking of diapers, after trying many other brands, we remain sold on Huggies. I’ve learned quality diapers mean less time lost to cleaning up messes.  If you’ve got active kiddos like mine, Huggies offers two tiers of diapers for babies on the go (age 4+ months or step size 3 and above): basic Snug and Dry and Little Movers Diapers with these cool features:

• NEW design includes Double Grip Strips that fasten at four points, for a better fit that provides your baby with a hug that lasts.
• The stretchy SnugFit Waistband helps HUGGIES® Little Movers Diapers stay in place.
• Absorbent LEAK LOCK® Technology gives your baby up to 12 hours of leak protection.
• Adorable © Disney designs feature Mickey and Minnie

The best news?  By using promo code WOWHUGGIES at checkout, you can save $12 off your first Diapers.com purchase of any Huggies diapers case found HERE.  New Diapers.com members also get free shipping on their first order of $49 or more. So go dig into the wonderful world of online shopping and break out the good diapers!

2) Plan ahead.  Most Sunday nights I whip out my planner and map out our week.  This might seem like yet another task that sucks up even more time, but look ahead–what errands can I group together to save driving time? How much cash will I need for the whole week so I don’t have to run to the ATM 3 separate times?  What books do I “need” this month to support my late-night reading addiction?  Put them on hold at the library ahead of time and then do one quick swing by the check-out desk to grab them all at once.  My planner is a hot mess of notes, lines and dates–but it works.

3) Double-task.  Sounds obvious, but do it.  Want to catch up with a friend but have a kitchen that needs cleaned up?  Turn the speakerphone on loud and then get to work.  I like my simple scarf knitting, but I also like my husband.  If we’re chatting out on the deck, I’ve got my needles in hand and am clicking away.  Not to mention all the Christmas presents I’m making–time and money saved on shopping in December!

4) DIY.  Don’t fret, I’m not talking about any ambitious craft projects.  For me, this mostly translates into beauty care.  I started doing my own waxing at my bathroom sink to save money and then a year ago, I bought a Living Social deal for an at-home gel manicure kit and never looked back.  It’s definitely work on my end, but not having to spend my evening or cash at the salon is wonderful.  And this is another example of double-tasking: I figure I’m going to watch an hour of TV at some point during my week anyway, why not pretty up my nails while I do it?

5) Do it in bulk. My dog gets a frozen peanut butter-yogurt-baby carrot stuffed Kong every day.  This used to take a lot of time, but now I assembly line it up once a week and stash 7 of the filled treats in the freezer at a time.  Go the same route for lunches or snack bags that you can pack ahead of time so you can grab them quickly on your way out the door.  Birthday cards? I buy literally an entire year’s worth at a time.  The store clerks always look at me like I’m insane.  That’s okay.  Guess who is not scrambling out on last minute runs to the drug store to grab a forgotten card.  Or if you find a product you love at a great price?  Stock up and boom! Several gifts for the year are done. Slightly neurotic, sure, but I’ll take it if it makes things smoother and easier for my family.

None of these tips are new or earth-shattering, but they have done a lot for me to make some of this mom job easier. What works for you? Any help with being a super mom (or a least occasional moments of feeling like I’m acing something) is always appreciated around these parts.  Let me know what helps you save time and stress, and don’t forget to head over to Diapers.com and use that Huggies promo code to save some cash!

****Many thanks to Huggies for sponsoring this post and helping us all feel like rockstar moms saving time and money!****

Jun 022014
Dude, you are so cool.

Dude, you are so cool.

My son turns 5 today.  It’s funny because there are many, many things I thought shortly after he was born, but never once did I think, “We will survive this for the next five years.”

He is my gentle child, my kind soul.  The one who tends to be more laid back and accepting of his environment (this is the point when you read: yes, my daughter continues to throw epic temper tantrums of fury when the zipper on her jacket proves insurmountable)

Yet despite his easy demeanor, he has given us a share of rather serious fits throughout his young life.

He entered this world with severe, severe colic, that left his father and I sleepless for months, sobbing to drown out the literal 48 hr. periods of non-stop screaming, and wondering what the heck we had gotten ourselves into.

He broke his femur bone, badly, at 28 mo. and landed himself in a body cast.  The resulting impact means that he is still now continuing with physical therapy services over 2 and a half years later.

He recently required a very scary-for-his-parents eye surgery.

Also, like many parents, we scratch our heads A LOT over what is “normal” boy behavior, what might red flag attention concerns and whether summer birthdays and Kindergarten are a good match.

It’s exhausting.

The thing is, when this sweet child joined us in this world on June 2, 2009, we had no freakin’ clue what we were in for.  But we knew it would be huge.

And we also knew we couldn’t do it.

But we did.

I’m not sure how the “Oh craaaaaap!” became 5 years, but it did.  We made it!  And the flip side of all our doubt is the most beautiful, brilliant, good-hearted little boy, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Happy 5th birthday, Isaac.  We love you with all our hearts.

And now as Mommy types this, she is off to attempt to make you a homemade giant s’more cake.  I’m sorry in advance.  xo, angel.

Source Happy 5, little guy

Happy 5, little guy


Nov 112013

…because we are.

My husband and I moved to this town 8 yrs. ago.  We knew no one.  It was brutal.  It was awful.  I cried. Often.

Then we started build a community.  A house.  A HOME.  My dear friend, the mother of my son’s BFF doesn’ t know this, but on the day that my son adorably said, “I love (her son)” and I finally got enough balls together to go ask this new friend to a playdate at our house, I heard this tune booming out of her car radio.  It was perfect.

It doesn’t escape me that this song was featured in my beloved Parenthood.  I know I am slightly partial to anything related to this program, but primarily, I’m grateful to Phillip Phillips for putting my feelings into words.  The message of this song resonates loudly.  My husband and I have been through It; ALL of it.  And we’re still here, trying tirelessly to “make our house a home”.

Having a door that people know they are welcome to walk through?  That's what it's all about.

Having a front door people know they are welcome to walk through? That’s what it’s all about.

Some moments here might feel alone, but one day recently, very unusually (we are not popular people), 5 people popped by our house in the course of 20 minutes And someone else telephoned during the time.  As I felt harried, trying to chat with a couple friends, welcome my son’s PT, meet a gal from the online yardsale, thank the kindred spirit who dropped off muffins when learning how I jacked up my van, and make plans with a new business buddy, I paused for a moment and realized: WE ARE BLESSED.

Somehow in the midst of knowing no one and feeling like aliens in this strange new land, we started to meet some people.  Build a community.  Build a house into a home.

I’m not saying we’re solidly there, but we’re in process. It’s about the people.  And maybe finally finding a hair salon and knowing where to get the best deal on dog food, but mostly…it’s the people.

It’s having someone notice when we are missing at preschool drop-off.

It’s having a fellow mama to call at 8am when I feel like my world is crashing.  Why am I here? Why do I blog? Existential crisis in its best.  And God bless her for having enough patience to put up with it.

It’s the friend, I drag to breakfast with when the “business” end of blogging demands a meal out.

It’s the neighbor I fully expect to hit the local BIG yardsale with me.

It’s the Dead Parent Support Group of the two ladies who meet me for margaritas and understand, sadly, too well how real the pain of losing a parent can get.

It’s meeting a new friend through my son’s preschool and thinking she is downright boss.

It’s having someone to plan Hunger Games movie night dates with MONTHS in advance.

Hey life isn’t perfect, and loneliness can and still does reign at times, but each of these people…I am so thankful for the reason and season they are here. For their love and friendship and for being building blocks of this home we are creating.

You see, I don’t think the modern-day home is a given.  We work for it; we have to earn it.  We are the generation in which we “make our house a home” vs. being handed the home.

But that’s okay, becasue when is a life sweeter than when you have worked for it?

xo, Phillip Phillips, and thanks for getting it right. Will keep working tirelessly for my “home” .



May 192013

I’ll admit, I was skeptical.  Being a complete computer non-genius, anything that requires me to go online and create something makes me a little nervous.  Datevitation.com, an online site where you can go to make a custom love coupon book, sounded really cool, but I’m really bad at figuring out stuff like this.  Assuming I would have to bust all hope of a romantic surprise for my husband on Father’s Day, I was pretty sure I would have to call my husband in for reinforcement while I tried to place my order.  I settled in for what would surely be a long haul one evening while my husband was home so he could help.  He would just have to pretend to be surprised on June 16th.

But whoa!  There was genuine surprise in store!  Datevitation was so easy.  They have over 350 date ideas to pick from and each already has text beside it, which you can edit as much or as little as you want when creating your coupons.  If you are pressed for time, the text they have works well.  Everything is categorized, so it’s easy to find what you are looking for.  There were so many creative ideas for dates that I would never have thought of on my own.  With over 100 book cover options, you can fully customize your book for any occasion.  They also now have “boy” and “girl” characters with over 200 new activity illustrations specifically for kids and parents.  Just in time for Father’s Day!

I am always beyond desperate for birthday, holiday, and Father’s Day gifts ideas for my husband.  With a few simple clicks, I was there with Datevitation.  Those adorable coupon books people have been making for centuries to allow receivers to cutely cash in on a free in-home movie night, taking out the garbage or a breakfast in bed?  Datevitation takes this up the next level by providing you with loads of creative ideas in a professional-looking coupon booklet.  You can set aside your scissors, markers and glue this Father’s Day, and save craft time for another project!

I am completely sold.  I was wowed that I created such a cool gift for my husband in literally a matter of minutes ALL BY MYSELF!  No help from my husband needed, and now his surprise on Father’s Day can be genuine.  Shipping was quick, packaging was cute and I am entirely pleased with end result.

Books normally start at just $20 so it makes for a thoughtful yet economical gift.  But as a special treat for you guys, Datevitation is offering $10 off on your purchase in May or June if you use the promo code  “MOMOFTHEYEAR”.  That means you can get your loved one a one-of-a-kind gift for Father’s day starting at just $10.  The order cut-off date for guaranteed delivery by Father’s Day is June 6 so make sure to get your order in before then!

And Datevitation is also offering a chance for one reader to score a book completely for free!  Just enter in the Rafflecopter below between now and Friday, 5/24/13.  As long as you are 18 or older and a resident of the continental U.S., you are eligible to win.

I like this company, it’s obvious, but I really like the way they are caring for their customers by creating a very user-friendly product and bringing some fun back to gift-giving.  Thanks, Datevitation.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 112013

Woo hoo, its Monday!  Not feeling it?  No, I’m not either, but I do have a little blast of good news to shoot your way and kick this week off on the right foot.  I’m teaming up with my beloved Dani from Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine to give away 10 copies of the book right here!

I Just Want to Pee Alone book cover @meredithspidel @throat_punch

Remember how I blathered on and on about how awesome it was yesterday?  Yeah, it’s really that good and I’d really love for you to have your own copy.  How do you snag a chance to win one of these fantastic books?  Just enter the Rafflecopter below (it’s not hard, I promise)!  If you are 18 yrs. of age and live in the continental U.S., you are eligible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 272013
suitcases vacation kids @meredithspidel

Leave the bags at home. A trip to the trashcan is strictly bag-free!

Okay, this is going to be fine.  Pampers has sucked up your life savings and there just isn’t any extra cash to spare for a tropical retreat right now?  Throw in the nasty factors of limited vacation days at work and oh, the teeny little problem of those kiddos who need someone to take care of them and such, and that fancy getaway may be more the stuff of dreams than reality right now.  No problem!  Do not despair, we’ve got this one covered.

It’s all about maximizing what you’ve got.  Think the magic of Wonderbra support craftily applied to some seconds throughout your day, and you soon will be saying, “All-inlcusive resort?  Who needs it?  Pass me that Tequila Sunrise when I’m on the toilet!”

Here are the tricks of the sneaky-vacationing trade, my friends:

1. This is where those 8 8oz. glasses of water/day finally make sense.  Go above and beyond if you want.  When your kids finally get to that age when you are pretty sure they won’t kill themselves if you take an extended pee, go ahead and pump that bladder full.  Make a whole two minutes of it and flip on that fan switch AND lock the door. Mommy’s taking a mini-break.**

2. Contrary to popular belief, the laundry is your best friend.  Shoot!  Mommy just has to run downstairs and switch up the load.  Darn that she has to walk down the basement steps so slowly so as to be careful as to not fall and twist her ankle.

3. In a similar vein, start loving on that full trash can.  Such an incredible shame to leave the house and carry the bag outside.  Bonus steps on the pedometer too.  In fact, wouldn’t be shocked if the can starts edging itself closer and closer to the neighbor’s house.

4.  The minivan.  Toyota had it mostly right with their whole Swagger Wagon campaign, but they missed one key concept.  You can vacation with your kiddos in the van with you.  Strapped down to their car seats with the radio cranked up, they can temper-tantrum on all they want–it’s not going to make a difference to you!  Go all out and load them up with sippy cups and goldfish crackers if you really want a peaceful escape.

5. Who said that this time change jazz has to be exclusive to Greenwich Mean Time applied to our national standards?  If you’re having a rough day, the clocks might accidentally get bumped up an hour, and that just can’t be helped, right?  Go fiddle with those clocks and snag yourself an extra hour.

What vacation opportunities am I missing?  Fill me in please, because despite my best efforts, I’m still kind of crushing on the tropical retreat right now…

Sandals tropical retreat resort @meredithspidel

Okay fine, I’m drooling

**This seemed like a naturally excellent place to throw in a little shameless self-promo.  If you haven’t heard already, thanks to the genius of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, I am going to be part of a very cool, very funny book, I Just Want to Pee Alone, coming out sometime next month.  There are so many hysterically awesome bloggers featured in this book.   I am going to continue sharing their stuff on my facebook page, so be sure to check them out.  Hey, laughing is an amazing ab workout, so count it as your daily exercise 😉  More details on the book to follow, but for now, just start making some space in your Amazon cart and get excited to bring on the funny!

I Just Want to Pee Alone book cover @meredithspidel @throat_punch

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