Monday, February 28, 2011

Super Sprowtz Review and Giveaway

Isabella is a really picky eater, especially when it comes to vegetables, in particular green vegetables.  So I've taken to being a veggie hider.  I puree up some veggies and hide them in her food using recipes from Deceptively Delicious.  But, I'm gonna be honest, I hate pureeing those damn veggies.  It's so friggen annoying and it's such a mess to clean up.  I have episodes of Jersey Shore to watch people, so when I was contacted by Super Sprowtz to review their children's books that are supposed to get kids excited about eating vegetables I jumped on it.

Super Sprowtz products, which includes books, apps, and dvds, are meant to entertain and educate children about healthy eating habits through the use of some pretty amazing super powered vegetable heroes like Colby Carrot who has great vision, Erica Eggplant who is super smart, and Brian Broccoli who is very strong.  Their are also evil villains like Processa the Processed Queen, Grease, and Pompous Pollution...grrrrr.  Super Sprowtz proudly proclaims that their books, apps, dvd's, and curriculum (for both school and home) will help children to become better eaters of vegetables without using dips and sauces or, like me, having to hide them.




The Super Sprowtz website is chock full of information about nutrition, community, fun and games, and best of all...recipes.  


Isabella loves the books.  She loves naming the veggies and she loves the vibrant colors.  I use mostly the board book with her, but the other book I received was The Super Sprowtz Origins which would probably be better for pre-schoolers and up, I brought into work and commissioned a second grade teacher to try it out with her class and see what they think about it.  Isabella and I spent about a week reading the books and looking at the pictures and watching the videos on-line, which are hysterical (click on the video at the top if you don't believe me).  I plan on spending the next week trying new veggies with her and featuring some recipes from Super Sprowtz here on the blog to see how it works.  

If you want to buy any of the books, apps, or dvd's or if you want to look around the site click HERE

To win books of your own you can enter here.

1.  Mandatory Entry:  Visit Super Sprowtz and tell me what you think of the company and/or their products www.supersprowtz.com .  (1 entry)

Extra Entries

2.  Be a public follower of my blog (1 entry)

3.  Like Super Sprowtz on Facebook by clicking HERE (2 entries)

4.  Tell them I sent you on their wall (1 entry)

5.  Follow Super Sprowtz on Twitter by clicking HERE (1 entry)

6.  Grab my button or tell me you already have it (2 entries)

Make sure you leave your e-mail in your mandatory entry post. Make sure you leave the appropriate number of comments per entry, for example if you like Super Sprowtz on FB, make sure you leave two comments, don't gip yourself. This giveaway will run for two weeks meaning it will end on March 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm.  The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Good luck to all who enter.

*I was provided with two free books so that I might give my honest opinion of the product.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone *



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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Left Out

I am uber sensitive to feeling left out or that people don't want to include me.  If friends get together and don't include me it bothers me for days.  If coworkers go for a drink and don't ask me it really hurts my feelings.  I'm always all "Why didn't they invite me?  What's wrong with me? They must hate me!"  I know that thinking like that isn't helping people want me around.  I mean who wants to be around a needy, insecure person?!

I understand that feeling that way isn't healthy for me and it puts me in a fowl mood, but I just don't know how to change it.  I don't really know if maybe people really just don't like me, if I'm not good company, if they don't think I'll be able to keep the plans, or if I'm just not front and center in their minds.

It's shitty to feel that way but I need to realize that the common denominator in me feeling left out is myself.  I think the solution to stopping the cycle of feeling like a loner is within.  I just need to figure out how to get there.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who I Was

When I was younger, let's say around 16-18, I was hot.  Or at least a hell of a lot hotter than I am now.  I had really long hair that was always done.  I was about 115-120 lbs.  My stomach was flat, my skin was smooth, and let's just say everything was still pointing up.  Ah the days when I could call gravity my friend.

And I'm not trying to get all down on myself now.  I'm not what I would consider ugly and I'm not obese, but I'm not looking my best.  I was at my cousin Christie's engagement party and I was rocking my Rent the Runway dress, I had my hair done, and I spent more than 30 seconds on my makeup.  I looked in the mirror and I thought I looked great.  I actually, for the first time in a long time that I felt really great about myself.

Until...

They started flashing pictures on giant screens that they had taken during the night.  Let's just say that I looked giant.  My gut looked huge.  My arms looked flabby.  And I looked crazy pale.  My friends are skinny minnies so that doesn't help things either.  I'm disappointed in my inability to lose weight.

I know I can't be 18 again and I know I'll never have a body like the superstars and models, but I don't like looking at those pictures and seeing what I saw.  It was a wake up call to say the least.


When I was younger I was known for being pretty and having a nice body.  It has been very difficult for me to lose that.  It's been very difficult to not be the "pretty one" in a group anymore.  It's been difficult to have to suck in my stomach, literally because it gets annoying.  Which I realize sounds beyond vain, but that's honestly how I feel, and if I can't be completely narcissistic here then where can I be?
  
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cooking Class

I killed those bad boys myself
I've been wanting to take a cooking class for a while.  I love to cook.  I love to try new recipes.  I love perusing new cookbooks.  I hate eating the same things over and over.  But I've always been a little bit of a candy ass when it comes to trying new things.  There's always a million reasons not to: it's too much money, I don't have time, my pinky toe has been really acting up again.  But I've had enough of being ridiculous and not following through.  So I roped a friend into taking a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC.

The theme of the class was "Dinner and a Move: Julie and Julia" which was awesome since Julie and Julia was based on a blog...how apropos.
It was a 5 hour class 6pm-11pm and there were about 16 of us in the class.  Our instructor talked for about an hour and told us what we would be making: beef bourginon, lobster thermidor, artichokes with hollandaise sauce, parsley buttered noodles, and lemon souffle.  Yum!


Each group was responsible a certain dish/dishes.  My friend, Jen, and I were in the lobster thermidor group which meant we had to kill a lobster.  That's right we had to take a live lobster, put a knife between it's eyes and push down.  Hard!  It was one of the freakiest things ever, especially since they keep moving for a while afterwards.


Julia Child's Beef Bourginon 
Anyway, we cooked for about an hour and a half and then we filled our plates and went into the dining room and ate and watched the movie.  In between the main course and dessert we were also served salad and a stinky cheese platter.  The food was delicious and the movie was adorable, we even got a copy of the DVD!


I was very intimidated at first, I'm a cook but I'm certainly no chef and in my kitchen I'm only feeding me, Andy and Isabella so if I mess up a recipe, no big deal we just order a pizza or eat left overs, here I (and my team) were responsible for everyones food.  It was just so out of my comfort zone, but I had a great time and I left with all the recipes.  I can't wait to try them at home AND I'm ready to start looking at another class!



On a side note, how awesome is it that someone's blog got made into a movie?!  If they ever made my blog into a movie I'm going on record now saying that I think Megan Fox should play me.  Just sayin.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Missing the Mom Gene

Like maybe I'm missing some sort of sentimental or maternal gene that everyone else has.  I was at a friend's daughter's 2nd birthday party and I was sitting at the table eating and chatting with two other moms.  They were both stay at home mom's and talking about how much they love being home with their little ones all day.  Which is wonderful for them.  When I told them that I work because I love my job and like getting out of the house they looked at me like I had ten heads.

Many mom's gush over their children's milestones to anyone who will listen.  I very rarely do this and it's not that I'm not proud of her, I am and she's amazing it's just that I get so bored listening to other mom's talk about this that I don't want to subject anyone else to it.  But the thing is, I don't think anyone else gets bored with it.

I don't save all of Isabella's art projects.  I don't have a lock of her hair or her umbilical cord (bleh) saved.  I probably won't keep her baby teeth when they fall out (double bleh).  I'm just not overly sentimental about things like that.  I keep the really great art projects and her baptismal candle and anything that's a first that's not super gross.

I like that I have a job and am bringing in income.  Nights, weekends, summer vacation, easter break,  Christmas break, and mid-winter recess running after Isabella and planning fun things to do are enough for me.

I think it's cathartic to be with a group of mother's and talk about what we're struggling with because no one else can relate.  I think it's more beneficial to talk about how isolated being a mother can make you feel rather than the fact that little Johnny knows where his belly button is.  But I'm starting to think that I might be the only one who feels that way.  I think I'm missing the "mom gene."  
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Monday, February 21, 2011

LuLu's Nest

Last chance to enter the Lulu's nest hair clip/headband giveaway.  If you're interested in winning either two hand made wool clips or a clip and a headband click HERE to see what Lulu's Nest, an etsy shop, is all about.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Anatomy of a Giveaway

Some people love giveaways and see them as a chance to score some free swagger.  Other people hate them and think that the blogger is selling their soul to consumerism.  Others feel that bloggers are giving away free advertising without being properly compensated.  All are valid opinions.

I like the occasional giveaway but I don't like when I don't still get to read a favorite bloggers posts.  But I do appreciate that a lot goes into a giveaway.

First, I always feel a great responsibility to the company or person I am hosting the review/giveaway for.  I feel that they are putting their faith in my and my readers to get traffic towards their website.  I feel particularly responsible for smaller sites, like etsy shops.  What if no one visits?

I always get nervous that no one will enter.  Lately my giveaway entrants have been dropping.  I don't want to look lame and I don't want the company/shop/person to feel that I'm wack.  So I always feel a lot of pressure to drum up entrants, but I can't force people to enter.  Know what I mean?

It usually takes about 3 or 4 e-mails with a contact person to get the ball rolling.  Then once I get the product, it takes about a week for me to try it/get a picture of it because I have an actual job.  Then it takes me about 20 minutes to write the post complete with links and pictures.  Then I spend the week (the usual time I run the giveaway for) promoting it on my blog and twitter.  After a week, I chose the winners and then e-mail my contact person.  All in all each giveaway takes about an hour or two of my time collectively.

Is it worth it?  Do you guys hate the giveaways?
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

When Mom Gets Sick

What the hell happens when mom gets sick?  Nothing really.  When baby gets sick a lot of fussing ensues. Lots of liquids.  Rest.  Baby Vicks.  Humidifiers.  Tylenol.  Hugs and kisses and cuddles.  When Dad gets sick there is a lot of whining, complaining, and pouting, but when mom gets sick you want to know what happens...Nothing!

Life must go on.  Families need to be fed.  Lunches need to be made.  Clothes must be washed.  Dishes...well the dishes will keep.

I'm in the throws of a full out sore throat.  Although calling it a sore throat is an insult, it should be called "the flaming throat of pulsating radiating fire that never goes away."  But I can't miss work because I'm saving my days for maternity leave for baby number 2 since nyc public school teachers get no paid maternity leave (I'm not trying to get pregnant I'm just building up my bank so don't put me on bump watch 2011).  Andy works.  I still have to take care of Isabella.  I have to feed her, even if it's just heating up something I know she'll eat without a fuss, re: mac and cheese.  After she goes to bed, I sip tea and rest and will my body to fight off the infection.

I really should just go to the doctor, but I hate to burn an entire evening sitting in the waiting room.  Do any of you guys have any home remedies for "the flaming throat of pulsating radiating fire that never goes away"?

Mom's never get a sick day!
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A General Hodgepodge of Miscellaneous Potpourri

Just a post of lose ends and random thinking that wouldn't comprise an entire in and of itself but make a lovely mishmosh post.

My mom has finished her chemo treatments.  Her last one was on January 26th and she's feeling much better.  She's still not sleeping all that great and her hands and feet are red, raw, and cracked from the chemo pills but she's getting better.  I am eternally grateful for any and all prayers and good thoughts you've sent our way.  She goes for a CAT scan in the summer and then we should have real cause to celebrate.

If you have not yet received a giveaway prize that you won on this blog, please let me know and I'll contact the company.

Isabella is doing great at day care.  She went through a phase where she was a bit clingy.  And then more recently she started crying at drop off, but those were just minor blips.  She goes once a week and I think it's been really good for her.  She gets to play with kids in her age group and do crafts and sing songs.  I really like it.

I have a serious case of blogger's block and I am waiting for some sort of inspiration or ideas.  Things have been pretty quiet around here.

Isabella likes to do the most random things.  Watch you tube videos of flowers blooming, sit in the sink, walk on the counter.  It's been trying to say the least.

She's also learned the word "chocolate".  Poor kid is doomed.

I haven't been very giving lately and I don't really like it.  I need to stop making excuses for myself.

I just started my first course for my next 30 credits above my masters degree.  What the hell am I thinking?!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Lulu's Nest Hair Clip Giveaway

When it comes to Etsy shopping, I could turn pro.  I've spend large quantities of money on tutus, headbands, clips, and bows for one Miss Isabella Grace, so when Laura from Lulu's Nest contacted me about a giveaway for you guys I jumped on it.

Lulu's Nest is an Etsy shop that has adorable hand made wool hair clips and headbands.  I received the Valentines Heart Clip and the Cupcake clip and OMG!  They are so adorable.  They are small, but sturdy and they look adorable as something extra special in Isabella's hair.  And they clip in once and stay put so I'm not stuck putting in a clip over and over again on a child who wants nothing to do with it.  I'm continually amazed with the talent and craftiness of people and Lulu's nest does not disappoint.  Not to mention that when many people are jacking up their prices, Lulu's Nest is beyond reasonable with most items selling for around $5.

Yes she's eating a carrot!

Now for the fun stuff.  One lucky reader will win their choice of: option A 2 hair clips or option B 1 hair clip and 1 headband

Leave one comment per entry.  For example if you complete an entry that counts for 3, leave 3 separate comments (you can just copy and paste).  The giveaway will end on Monday February 21st at 11:59pm. The winner will be chosen by random.org and will be notified by e-mail.  They will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

1. Mandatory Entry:  Visit Lulu's Nest and tell me something that you love (1 entry)

Extra Entries
2. Like Lulu's Nest on Facebook (2 entries)

3.  Tell her that I sent you (1 entry)

4.  Be a public follower of my blog (1 entry)

5.  Grab my button or tell me you already have it (3 entries)

6.  Blog about this giveaway (5 entries)

Open to US residents only

I did receive 2 complimentary clips so that I could provide my honest opinions.  

Could be yours by St. Patty's Day!
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Party Pics

I kind of have nothing to write about this week.  I'm in a bit of a writing slump, so while I find ways to get inspired here are some party pics from Isabella's cousin's 1st and 3rd birthday party.  She's such a party animal.  



Getting her face painted...I love that her eyes are closed

Fun with bubbles!


Playing with Charlie

Me and my goddaughter Gianna Grace

Cleaning up and playing in the sink
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Will Power

I had it.  After new years I was all about eating clean and only putting things that are pure and natural.  I exercised.  I detoxed.  I felt great and I was losing weight.  For a few weeks and then I fell right back into my old habits of eating marvelously during the week and then turning into a garbage disposal on the weekends.

I'm so mad at myself.  I'm so mad for letting the number on the scale creep up.  Even if it's just a pound, it's still a slippery slope.  I'm so tired of feeling fat, feeling like I can't wear half of the things in my closet, and feeling like the fat ugly duckling.

My friend was over this weekend and she stepped on my scale, fully clothed and in high heeled boots.  She almost had a heart attack because the scale said 126.6.  "I'm such a fatty" she said.  She didn't realize how close she came to being blinded.

My friend tell me I'm nuts and that I'm fine, but I don't feel fine.  I feel flubbery and rolly, especially around the middle.  Exercise is not the problem.  I work out 3-5 times a week.  It's the weekend snacking.  The candy when I have a free minute at work.  The eating out.  I know the problem and I know exactly how to solve it.  All I need to do is show restraint and will power.

Sounds easy enough, but then why is it so hard?
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentines LELO Massage Candles Giveaway

It's cold outside.  Like frigidly cold.  What better way to heat things up than with LELO's flickering massage candles?

About LELO's Massage Candles
Made from all natural soy wax, shea butter and apricot kernel oil, the lightly scented wax melts into an exquisite pool of luxurious massage oil. The silky formula is specially designed to nourish and moisturize your skin with natural vitamin E, while the subtle fragrance excites your senses for the pleasures that lie ahead.


So I tried it.  I was a little nervous as Andy got ready to pour what I thought would be scalding hot wax on my body, but it wasn't.  It was warm and sensual and it smelled amazing.  So good that I wished I had it in lotion or perfume form so I could wear it everyday.  The candle itself is beautiful and smells great as it burns.  It also has a 36 hour burn life, which means it makes a lot of lotion.  

You can purchase your own LELO Flickering Touch Massage Candle by clicking HERE

or you can win one by entering my giveaway.  3 lucky readers will win a Flickering Touch Massage Candle in either black pepper and pomegranate (which is what I had), vanilla and creme de cacao, or snow pear and cedar wood.

Entries

1.  Be a public follower of my blog (1 entry)

2.  Visit LELO's website and tell me something else you might like (2 entries) Not safe for work

3.  Follow me on twitter (see sidebar) (2 entries)

4.  Blog about this giveaway (5 entries)

5.  Tweet this giveaway and leave a link (1 entry per tweet)

The giveaway will end on Friday February 11th and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to an e-mail before a new winner was chosen.  I did receive a free candle so that I could provide my honest opinions.  Good luck to all who enter!
______________________________________________________________

Closed.  The winners are Mrs. E, Mrs. G and Ashley.  


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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why I Run

You would never look at me and think that I'm a runner.  I'm not fat by any means, but I'm not physically fit looking, even though I work out regularly.  I have slight muffin top and a cottage cheese ass.  My family is not really big on exercise either.  Unless walking from the couch to the bathroom counts as exercise.

But Andy is very into working out and he got me into it and I love to run.  I love the feeling of my feet hitting the pavement/treadmill.  I love how it frees me.  My mind is blank.  There's no running commentary on all the things I need to do when I get home.  There's no worrying about how many lessons I have to plan.  There's no stressing out about long commutes or cranky toddlers or hungry husbands.  There's just me and my music (or TV show if I'm at the gym and feeling like a treat).  It's just for me.

I love to run fast when I feel particularly angry.  I beat up the ground.  I pant.  I sweat.  I let it all go.  And I always feel better.  I'm telling you that exercising, running in particular, has made me feel more free, more strong, and more aware of myself.  Go for a run today.  If you're not feeling it, go for a walk.  Even the muffin topped and cottage cheese among us can do it.
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Friday, February 4, 2011

Do You Ever Feel?

Do you ever feel...

...like all you do in your free time is get ready for the next day?  Between making lunch, setting up the coffee pot, filling the water bottles, and setting out my clothes I feel like I'm living in a perpetual state of tomorrow.

...like you will never catch up on your DVR?

...that at some point it would just be easier to take out a second mortgage and just get lipo suction instead of hauling ass to the gym 5 days a week and counting the point value for everything you put in your mouth?

...like you know you're being a giant bitch but you just can't stop it?

...like you want to hit force quit (or control-alt-delete for you PC'ers) on your day/week/month?

...that by the end of the winter your house will be covered completely by snow?

...so happy with your life that you feel like you are going to burst?

...that you'll never be good enough or thin enough or pretty enough or smart enough.  Do you ever, just for a moment, not give a crap how good or thin or pretty or smart you are?

...that Oreo cookies should be a calorie free food and that it was possible to eat them in moderation?

I sure do.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

It Worked For Me

I'm not afraid to admit that 9 times out of 10 I'm a HAM (Hot Ass Mess).  In fact I'm pretty sure a lot of you come around here just because you look better by comparison and I'm totally fine with that :)

However, sometimes the stars align and I actually figure something out for myself.  That means I didn't google it, read it, or steal it from anybody at least consciously.  So here are some of the tips and tricks that I've figured out to save my sanity, and my waist line.  And if you have any you better share them with me!

1. I find that if I eat off of Isabella's plates I eat smaller portions.  Plus since they are already sectioned off I make sure that I'm getting equal portions of food.  In other words I'm making sure I don't get a giant serving of pasta and an itty bitty bite of broccoli.

2.  If I eat a serving of fruit or vegetables about 30 minutes before lunch or dinner, I find I'm not as hungry and I wind up eating less.

3.  If I write my gym days on the calendar and track my points for the entire week at the beginning of the week I'm much more likely to stick with the program.  That's where having a good meal plan and doing some early prep work really come in handy.

4.  I still have to puree veggies to make sure Isabella is getting enough, but I found that if I finely chop them and add them to her favorites, she'll eat them without too much of a fuss.  Sometimes I'll offer the veggies to her first and she might take a nibble or two, instead of serving them along side the main course where she's more likely to dive right in to her favorite food and forget the veggies.

5.  In another attempt to make dinner time less chaotic and ensure I don't turn into a short order cook (she eats what we eat), I make sure I make at least one thing I know she'll eat.  I wouldn't want to eat something I didn't like, so I don't force her to eat anything she doesn't want.  I provide a nice variety, but I make sure there's something she'll enjoy.

6.  I'm a realist when it comes to dinner and if she's not having it, well then she can have cheerios for dinner.  It won't kill her.

Whelp that's all I got for right now.  Hopefully I'll become more adept at saving time/sanity and maybe even money and I'll keep you guys in the loop.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Last Sanctuary

The bathroom is basically the last sanctuary I have in my house.  It's the one place I can go where no one bothers me.  I can tell Andy, "Keep an eye on the baby, I need to run to the bathroom" and just like that I'm guaranteed at least 7 minutes of freedom.  Doesn't matter if I'm just taking a quick pee or if I really do need to be in there for a while.  I get a few minutes where no one needs me.  I don't have to do anything for anyone.  There's no house work to be done.  And laundry never finagles its way into the bathroom.

It's glorious.  I can read an article in a magazine, text message, check facebook from my phone.  I can just sit and be quiet...be still.  I swear it's like a little oasis.

Unfortunately this safe haven is only available when someone else is in the house besides Isabella and I because if it's just us she's either in there trying to wipe me or I have to go in, pee like a mad woman and get out before she sets the house on fire or steals the car.
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