Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mom Talk Radio Roundtable

Last week I had recieved an email about being part of Mom's Roundtable on Mom Talk Radio.  I debated for an hour whether to do it.

Remember my vlog that ended badly?  See I am a control freak and a perfectionist (even though we all know perfection is an impossible dream and that we should just embrace the chaos, right).

Even though I was totally unsure about whether or not this to would go well, I emailed back and said sure, I would love to even though I didn't even know what the topic was.  Inside I was quaking and wondering what the heck I was doing.

The shows are pretaped and then air on Sunday evening at 8pm and can be heard online.  The topic was on the holidays and whether you enjoy them or do they stress you out.  The show itself was called "Are You a Planner or a Doer".  I plan on downloading the podcast to my iPod and listening to it while I am traveling today to give me something to do. 

The Roundtable is on about 35 minutes or so into the show. I got to sit at home in my husband's office during the taping since it was over the phone.  The Truth About Motherhood was also on and for those of you on twitter you may know her as @TruthfulMommy. All I can say is those 7 or so minutes fly by fast and that Maria Bailey is a very talented host.

What about you?  Do you enjoy the holidays or do they stress you out?

I love the holidays but we haven't gone to the extremes we have in the past and have completely simplified our holiday rituals.  We have had to since in the past four years I have either been pregnant (and suffering from exhaustion and morning sickness) or nursing a 4 or 5 month old. The only thing I can say: Simplify and embrace the craziness, your family, and the spirit of what the holidays are all about!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What Lists and Roses & Thorns Have in Common

As many of you know, I love to read.  Whether it is billboards, cereal boxes, novels, or the newspaper, I will read it.  Well that is except for junk mail which just goes straight in the garbage where it belongs.

A few months ago I was reading a woman's magazine and a famous tv actress was talking about how her family plays Roses and Thorns at dinner.  Each family member takes a turn talking about at least one good thing (a rose) and one bad thing (a thorn).  According to ABC News, President Obama and his family do it to. 

I love the idea of doing this at the dinner table.  Everyone deserves the spotlight at least for a few minutes each day.  It gives everyone a chance to be heard and to share the good and the bad.  To often we shrug off the bad and don't even acknowledge it is there.  This lets you talk about it and let it out.  As a mom I want my daughters to share the good AND the bad with their dad and me. 

This weekend in the Parade supplement there was also an article called "The Lists That Keep on Giving".  A husband and wife who were single parents with grown children and who married later in life are often away from each other due to their jobs.  They started keeping lists to share with each other at the end of the day to stay connected.

As she wrote, "The last thing you want at the end of a full day is a list of nothing to share." Those mundane things that many just ignore or give the barest thoughts to end up in the scrap heap of their mind never to be mulled over or contemplated, never enjoyed or savored.  What about those things that you read or hear that strike a chord inside you but you never talk about them? How often do we blindly just get through the day? 

Both Roses and Thorns and the idea of sharing lists is all about enjoying life, sharing it, learning from it, and laughing at it.  It may not all be a bed of roses and sometimes we may shed a few drops of blood (and sometimes it seems a little bit of our soul) in the process but it is our life and we only have one so why not appreciate the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

A How-To Guide For Consigning & Shopping at Consignment Stores

Recently I admitted to a fellow moms club member who was at my house for playgroup that I shop at a consignment store for my clothes. It felt as though I was admitting a secret that few were privy to since it was not something that most moms would seem willing to admit and I was a little embarrassed about it.

I think the conversation may have come up after discussing a children's consignment event that occurs in our area about twice a year.  I know a lot of moms that buy used kids clothes but never considered doing it for themselves.

Admitting that my clothes didn't come from the mall made me feel a little, well cheap.

In truth, I hate the thought that a lot of the clothes I bought at the mall and that still hang in my closet have only been worn a few times for a variety of reasons.  Maybe they don't fit as well as I would like, I changed my mind about the item after I got home and never returned it, they need to be drycleaned which no longer fits my lifestyle, or I just don't have anyplace to wear them now that I have kids and don't work outside of the home.  Not to mention that over the past four years I have either been pregnant or trying to shed my baby weight so my clothing size has changed several times.

In college I shopped at a consignment store and I even took clothes there to consign a few times.  I would use the money I got from the clothes I took in to buy "new" clothes. I started doing it again a few years ago.

Consigning is easy to do.  To find a store near you just look online or in your local yellow pages.  Many places require an appointment to drop off clothes to consign.  With the downturn in the economy many stores are booked a month or so in advance.

Check what the store's policies are.  Many may only take desinger labels (that does include brands found at Macy's, Sears, and even Target and not just store brands like Gap and Aeropostale).  Visit local consignment shops beforehand to see who sells clothes similar to what you have in your closet since that is probably where you will sell the most. When you arrive for your appointment, they will go through all of your clothes and may only accept certain items that they think will sell.  They will also usually only take clothes that are in season.  Right now the local shop where I consign is only accepting winter items (including boots, bulky sweaters, coats, etc.).  They don't usually take just clothes but also shoes and accessories such as belts, scarves, jewelry, and hats. Keep in mind that they are looking for items in excellent condition and in style.

Within a set period (ex. 8 weeks) you may recieve 50% of what they sold your items for. Some stores may share a different percentage of the sale with the consigner. Stores vary on their payment policies also.  Some may require you to go into the store and they will pay you in cash regardless of the amount or give you credit.  Other stores may send you a check at the end of the consignment period if the amount of your sold clothing is over a set dollar amount (ex. $10). 

At the end of the consignment date, you can pick up your clothes or they will donate them to local charities. Some stores may give a courtesy call to remind you to pick up your items.  The one I frequent does not.  You can request a tax form at the end of the year for any donations of your clothing that were made. 

Shopping at consignment stores is like shopping at garage sales or thrift stores.  Always check for stains or tears.  Only buy items that are new with tags or in "like-new" condition. Sometimes the employees checking in items may miss small imperfections in the garments.  All sales are usually final so examine the items and try them on before leaving the store.

You only want to buy clothes that you will wear and not buy items just because they are a good deal.  Otherwise, you may just be adding more clothes to your wardrobe that you'll never wear.   Also, if you don't find something on the day you visit keep in mind that they are usually getting new inventory in daily.  Many stores also run sales when they start to take clothes for the next season on consignment.  The consignment shops I have been in all accepted debit, credit, and cash for purchases just like regular stores.

These are some of the items I came home with from our local consignment shop.  The items ranged from $2 on clearance to $12 (with the exception of the Lucky Jeans which were $40 but they made my butt look good so I thought that was a good enough reason to splurge).  All of the clothing were from designers like Levi, Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor, DKNY, and Old Navy and were like new.

So instead of sending your clothes to Goodwill right away or throwing them out, you can try to make a few dollars by dropping them off at a consignment store. Recycling the clothes in your closet and also buying used clothes is greener and a lot cheaper than shopping at the mall.  Happy consigning and shopping!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When Inspiration Hits Nothing Is Safe From the Pen

Where do you write your creative ideas? 

For me it depends on where I am.  When I get an idea, nothing is safe from my pen.  Envelopes, newspapers, a yellow legal tablet, backs of thank you cards, memo pads, envelopes that once contained bills, padded envelopes, post-its, scraps of paper...

Anything and everything usually ends up with scribbles across it.  Then it goes into a file folder to be pulled out when needed.

What items hold your musings or those sparks of inspiration that strike at random moments?

Bounce Dryer Bar Review

I love the smell of dryer sheets.  I am not a fan of doing laundry but I can honestly say if I had a favorite part, it would be pulling the clothes out of the dryer and inhaling their clean scent.  Of course, I am kind of bad about remembering to put in the dryer sheets.

I recently reviewed the Bounce Dryer Bar and was a little leery of the fact that I was going to be placing what looked like a heavily scented bar of soap into my dryer (with my clothes). 

It was easy to install.  All I had to do was clean an area in the dryer between the dryer fins, peel off the backing from the bar, and press the side with the adhesive strip onto the drum of the dryer. 

The big question I'm sure your wondering was how did it work?  It worked just like a dryer sheet.  The scent that lingered on the clothes wasn't that overwhelming like I had worried it would be.  None of the clothes were stained or damaged in any way and I left one load in overnight and some of the clothes laid directly on top of the bar.  The clothes were also free of static just like with a dryer sheet. 

The advantage of the bar is that I don't need to remember to put a dryer sheet in with my wet laundry.  The bar should last about 2 months (obviously, how often you use your dryer and the settings you use will affect how long it lasts). When it is time to replace the bar, a replacement indicator will appear. The holder does not need to be replaced-only the bar. 

Would I recommend the Bounce Dryer Bar?  Yes, I would since it does eliminate the need for moms to remember putting in a dryer sheet and then having to search for the dryer sheet when sorting and folding the clean laundry. And just as importantly, it works just as well as a traditional dryer sheet. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Can't Sing But I Still Do Anyway

Over the weekend my husband and I went to a Lady Antebellum concert with friends.  Well, I went and while my husband was there physically, he was not really there mentally since he just came along for the ride. It wasn't really his type of music.

As the curtain opened and the three singers appeared on the stage the crowd went wild.  It made me wonder when did I realize I couldn't sing?

Growing up I never dreamed about becoming a singer.  I did dance around with a hair brush in my hand pretending to lip sync but it was just to be silly. 

There was that time in fourth grade that I joined a bunch of other girls to form our own band for the school talent show.  We started with several of us in the band but by the day of the talent show only three of us remained.  Me, Jody, and Megan wore jackets (with shoulder pads), tennis shoes, and jean skirts and danced around the stage lip syncing "Walk Like an Egyptian".  We even had painted our own handmade cardboard guitars and used our fathers' old ties to make guitar straps.  I had a feeling then that I couldn't sing.

That was confirmed in fifth grade when we all had to try out for chorus.  I didn't make it.  Out of about five rooms of students, there were enough of us musically challenged  left over to almost fill one of the classrooms.  So while the other students had chorus practice we were forced to watch "educational" movies.  I still remember one of them being about bees and pollination.  Ugh.

In high school I noticed the caterwauling er...singing coming from our pew at church.  Apparently, my singing ability is hereditary.  Alas, my husband can not sing either and refuses to do so.  This does not bode well for our daughters' singing futures.

The other day I was singing along to "Farmer in the Dell" while we were in the car and Emily cried out "please, stop singing, Mommy".  I guess she doesn't like my singing either.

Yet, I have no problem embarrassing myself  in public for family.  I sang karaoke at my sister-in-law's bachelorette party (with the rest of the partiers) and have sang many a kid song at Mommy & Me classes.

On Saturday, I sang right along with the songs. Who could hear me amidst the thousand or so other voices? And you know what?  It felt darn good.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fresh Produce Review

Imagine enjoying bright colors and the feel and relaxed vibe of the beach all year round.  Fresh Produce women's clothing embodies the spirit of beach living for women and children to enjoy all year long.

The Vernons, owners of Fresh Produce have come a long way since selling t-shirts and jewelry in a parking lot across from where the '84 Summer Olympics were being held in Los Angeles. Today their clothing can be found in Nordstrom's, boutiques, resorts (including Disney), and they also have company-owned stores and factory outlets.

Their clothing is largely made in the United States and they create looks for girls and for women.  Their women's sizes range from XS-3X.

They have some beautiful fall fashion looks.Here are a few of my favorite pieces for the fall:


(I would still wear these in the winter with a pair of knee high boots)

(I love the color of this top)

Some of my other favorites:

(I love the color and the flirty ruffles)

(This would be a great skirt to travel in)

Fresh Produce also sells women's dresses

This is me in the Bombay Blooms Party Dress.  The dress appealed to my girly side with the tropical inspired flowered print and the ruffles on the hem and sleeves.  At the same time, it was comfortable and easy to walk in.  After putting it on, there was no tugging or readjusting which is usually what happens when I put a dress on.

The ankle length dress had slits on the sides up to the knee and it fit comfortably.  I threw a sweater on over the dress and wore my favorite brown leather flats (which would definitely be replaced by sandals in the summertime) since it was a cool day. This is the kind of dress I could easily wear all day without any worries. 

Fresh Produce creates the type of clothing that will make you feel good when you wear them.  Their clothes are clothes you can go out in or sit around in relaxing.  Above all, these are clothes you can be yourself in. 

I was sent the Bombay Blooms Party Dress by Fresh Produce in order to faciliate this review.  All opinions are my own. No other compensation has been or will be recieved.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You've Been BOO'd

Usually sometime in October during the evening after darkness has settled over our development, our doorbell will ring.  But it will ring only once. We will not rush to the door but wait and listen for a possible second ring which will never come (and it gives whoever rung our doorbell plenty of time to get away).  We will turn on the lights to the outside confirming our suspicions that no one is there.  And then we will open the door... find a bowl of goodies on our doorstep...

...and to find that we have been BOO'd.

This is a ritual every year around this time in our neighborhood.  It usually begins around the middle of October.  People will sneak around delivering the goodies under the cover of darkness. This may require stealth, dark clothes, running shoes, and the ability not to dissolve into fits of giggles (especially if you are just running across the street).  I sometimes have trouble with the last one.

Once the goodies arrive, you have 24 hours to BOO two more people.  In addition to the goodies left on the doorstep, two papers are also left.  One is a picture of a ghost to hang on your door so others know that you have already been BOO'd and the other is a poem describing the game.

It reads:

A friendly ghost has come your way
To wish for you a wonderful day.
He left a small gift and something sweet
Never heard him come cause he's light on his feet.
You must be light on your feet too,
Cause this is what you have to do:
Choose two friends, and choose them well.
Now this is a secret, you musn't tell.
Copy this poem, and the sign twice,
If you do it by hand, make sure it looks nice.
Take a couple of gift bags down from the shelf,
Or a plain paper bag, you can design yourself.
Fill them with sweets, and a gift of your choice.
Leave em' on your friends porch,
without any noise.
Hang this sign on your door, for all ghosts to see.
They'll know you've been "BOO-D",
and will leave you be.
This is only a game, to have a little fun,
Let's see how far it goes, before the month's done.
Now you have 24 hrs. to visit your friends.
Please don't be the cause of our games early end.

I know who I am going to BOO, do you?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Train Ride to the Pumpkin Patch

My family loves fall.  It doesn't hurt that we live close to the Poconos so we get to enjoy the mountains changing from a lush green to the crimson, russet, amber, and gold colors of autumn. 

This year we took a ride on a train to a pumpkin patch.  It was the girls' first train ride. 

 Madison and me (and my super-short haircut)

The pumpkin patch consisted of a little clearing along the railroad tracks where hay bales were set up with pumpkins.  The pumpkins, of similar sizes and shapes were sitting waiting to be plucked up into the arms of the children.

"Mom, what about this one?" 

That particular pumpkin was rejected for some reason known only to Em after some very serious consideration.  Apparently it didn't meet her specifications.

"No.  This one."

Nope, not that one either.  That one was set down, discarded by a very discerning three year old.  Running off across the clearing, she spotted another one that seemed to be "The One".

"I think this is the one"

Luckily it was the one.  Back onto the train we went with Emmy's chosen pumpkin.

This past weekend we went to the local farm that actually takes you on a hayride to a real  pumpkin patch where we tripped over pumpkin vines looking for the perfect pumpkin.

I told you we really like the season! 

Where do our pumpkins sit?  In the garage waiting patiently to be carved while two little munchkins are having a hard time containing their excitement at the prospect that Halloween is right around the corner.  Our little jack-o-lantern will be greeting all the local trick-or-treaters who knock at the door. 

How do you celebrate the fall?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hand Sanitizer to the Rescue When Picassos Go Wild

Who knew the hand sanitizer I carry in my purse would come in handy when my microfiber furniture came under attack by a pen wielding three year old.

I am usually really careful about leaving things that can spell disaster by my children hidden or out of their reach.  One night I had been writing (with a good old-fashioned pen) and I thought I had put everything away when I went to bed.  Of course I didn't.  The pen laid behind, forgotten.  That is until Emily found it and decided to pretend to be Picasso.

You know where this is going, don't you?
It was morning.  After getting the girls settled in the living room, I returned to the kitchen to get the girls bowls of cereal and fruit.  I was out of the room for about three minutes when I returned to check on them and saw this:


My little darlings had drawn (scribbled) on our ottoman with my favorite gel ink pen.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry so I did neither.  

I reacted.

Em being the smart girl that she is, knew she had done something she wasn't supposed to when she saw me and laid down the pen.  I immediately removed the pen from their reach and put it on top of the bookshelf mentally kicking myself again and again for not being careful enough.  

I immediately went on the computer to search for how to remove ink from microfiber.  I figured the quicker I reacted the better chance I had of removing the ink without permanent damage.  The suggestions ranged from using rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to 409.

I chose to use hand sanitizer since that was what I had close by.

To remove ink from microfiber:
  • Squeeze a small amount of hand sanitizer (use only the clear gel) on a white cloth. I used a child's washcloth.
  • Dab and blot. You may need to rub even though that wasn't recommended.  I found you needed to really work at some of the marks.
  • Take a damp cloth (make sure there is no excess water on the cloth to avoid water stains) and gently wipe the furniture.

This is what the ottoman looked like after it had dried and I had finished removing most of the ink.  There are still some faint marks visible but you have to look really close to see them (or know they are there).

Apparently there are other uses for hand sanitizer besides killing germs and removing ink from furniture:
  • Removing labels and price tags from glass (jars)
  • Cleaning permanent marker from white boards
  • Cleaning paint (including acrylics) from brushes (I couldn't put this one to the test)
I had also read that hand sanitizer can remove ink from clothing but when I tried it to remove the ink from Emily's pajama top it didn't work so it may depend on the type of fabric.  It did work wonders on my microfiber so for that I am extremely grateful.
    And now you know what to do if your little ones ever find a stray pen and decide to use your microfiber furniture as their canvas.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Lisa Leonard Designs Jewelry Review and Giveaway

    Want to start the week on a great note?  How about with some beautiful jewelry?

    I had received a gift certificate for Lisa Leonard Designs a few months ago.  Lisa Leonard is a talented jewelry designer and mom of two boys from CA.  When browsing the beautiful jewelry on her site, I fell in love with her beautiful sterling silver hand-stamped jewelry.  I loved the idea of carrying something with me to remind me of my family during the day. 

    Here are a few of my favorite custom pieces from her site:


    She also has an inspired line.

    She also carries bracelets (including a chic leather cuff), items for men, and other goodies.  The pewter heart wall hanging she sells would make a beautiful wedding or anniversary gift. 

    With so many options to choose from, choosing just one item was hard.  

    I choose the Whoo Do You Love? necklace. 

    It came beautifully wrapped.  I felt like I was unwrapping a birthday gift and it wasn't even my birthday.  I could barely contain my excitement as I opened it.  Who doesn't love unwrapping a present in the middle of the day?

    The necklace was beautiful and feminine.  It had a small freshwater pearl charm strung on the chain along with the disc featuring an owl sitting on a branch, stars, and the names of my husband and daughters.  I have received compliments on it every time I have worn it.

    Like what you see?  You can visit Lisa's online store or you can learn more about Lisa by checking out her blog. She takes gorgeous pics and has an adorable family.

    "Whoo" wouldn't love to win a $40 gift certificate to be used to purchase their own Lisa Leonard creation? Lisa Leonard Designs has graciously offered a $40 gift certificate to one lucky TPMG reader. 

    Enter to Win a $40 Gift Certificate for Lisa Leonard Designs

    MANDATORY ENTRY (If you do not complete this entry all other entries will be void): Visit Lisa Leonard Designs and leave a comment on what you would purchase with your gift certificate.  (1 entry)

    To receive additional entries:
    Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each entry.

    *Become a follower or a subscriber of TPMG and if you already do so just leave a comment stating that you already follow (1 entry)

    *Follow Lisa Leonard and/or TPMG on twitter (1 entry each)

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    *Enter another giveaway here at TPMG (1 entry for each giveaway you enter)

    *Tweet (maximum of once daily) about this giveaway
    Copy and paste:  $40 GC for Lisa Leonard Designs #giveaway @ #TPMG. Please RT.  
    (1 entry per tweet)

    *Add The Practical Mom Guide to your blogroll or display our button (5 entries)

    *Post about this giveaway on your blog (5 entries)

    This giveaway will end on Monday, October 25, 2010. Winners are chosen using  I will announce the winner on October 26th here at The Practical Mom Guide. If I am unable to contact the winner or they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

    This giveaway is open only to US and Canada residents.
    *I did receive a $50 gc courtesy of Lisa Leonard Designs and through MOM Magazine (and their relationship with Maria Bailey and BSM Media).  All opinions are my own.

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    The MOMS Club: Making Mommy Friends

    Do you find it easy to start conversations with another moms at the park? Or are you the type who has a hard time even making eye contact with the other moms waiting to shepard their young ones into preschool? We all know meeting other moms with children our children's age is often hard. Making friends with other moms that we meet in public can be downright tedious especially if you are not the outgoing, gregarious type with a penchant for small talk. 

    In those early weeks after Emmy was born, I had lots of time to catch up on daytime tv and became a Today, Martha Stewart, and soap opera addict.  Not to mention I had plenty of time to read What to Expect The First Year cover to cover and I swear I spent hours reading in the BabyCenter forum. But there is only so much tv you can watch and so much you can read before it all just gets, well...old.

    Being home all day with an infant was a change of pace.  At least I no longer had to take it easy after being on medical leave from work since around May of that year.  Emmy had been born at the end of August.  Ironically, she was due the first day of school. 

    Where could I go with an infant?  When she was a few months old, she was more likely to wail or need to be nursed while the children's librarian read and sang at storytime.  I couldn't teach her to swim just yet.  She wasn't old enough to hold a parachute or sing.  And while I loved cuddling with her during the day and talking and reading to her, I needed some adult interaction.  I was getting out of the house, but doing laps around the mall and park just weren't cutting it nor were my sessions at the gym (even though my body thanked me for all of the exercise).  I wasn't the type to stop and casually chat with any moms who happened to be around beyond saying hello when our eyes would meet.  Since I didn't want to lose my ability to hold an adult conversation without resorting to baby talk (and because I at times felt really alone) since I spent most of my days talking to Emmy, I had to do something. 

    After going on and looking for local groups to join,  I found a MOMS group (part of MOMS Club International) in the area where I lived.  There were several other mom groups on Meetup but I chose a group that was more specific to the area in which I lived and was part of a larger organization.  I have never been one to join groups unless I knew someone in one.  I had reached the point though where I needed to get out of the house.  I needed someone who understood what it was to be home all day with an infant and wouldn't look twice at the spitup on my shoulder. I also wanted someone who understood why I was staying home (and loving doing so).

    These women were there for the same reasons I was-to meet other moms and to introduce their children to other little ones who were their same age.  The moms in the group were the ones who assured me repeatedly that all kids developed at their own pace when Emmy didn't talk until 18 months.  Then, as predicted, she never stopped.  They brought dinner when Madison was first born and we were learning how to coexist as a family of four. They shared their parenting knowledge.  They became friends.

    Where have I been for the last few weeks?

    Giving back a small portion of what they have given me.

    I have been setting up our new website, helping organize an Open House, and making up Welcome Packets for new members.

    Now I can start to sit back just a little.  The website is up and running (tweaked as much at it can be).  The Open House (where we also worked with the local state police to do a car seat safety check at a local park) is now over.

    I am breathing a sigh of relief but glad that we have gained new members, other moms like me who didn't know there was even a club for moms in the area.  A club that was in fact a lifesaver.  It has certainly saved us from boredom. We have attended themed playdates, playgroups, field trips to the zoo and other places in our community, holiday parties, meetings listening to speakers about various topics, and we have participated in community service projects. There have been annual banquets and moms nights out to without the kids.

    I have made a connection not only with other moms but also with our community, something I can say (as embarrassing as it is to say) I did not have before since we had only moved into this area after we were married and were both working full-time and commuting an hour away.  There was no time to develop roots here beyond making our house a home for our new family.  That has since changed.

    If you are interested in finding a local moms group to join, check your local papers for moms club activities or community bulletin boards.  You can also search for mom clubs/groups.  Another option is to check out the MOMS Club International site for more information about a chapter near you.  Some questions to ask when looking for a moms group to join:
    • Are they affiliated with a larger organization (a church or a national/international organization)?
    • What kinds of activities do they offer?
    • How many moms belong to the group?
    • What area is served by the group (if it is a larger area then you may need to drive a bit farther for some events)?
    • Is there a yearly fee to join?
    • Are there membership requirements? (ie. Must moms attend a certain number events each month or year when they join?)

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Libman Freedom Mop Review and Giveaway

    Do you have little ones crawling all over your floor? Are you a cleaning fanatic?

    With Madison still loving to crawl on the floor (since it is faster than her little toddling steps) and Em loving to play there, I struggle with keeping the floors clean.  I mop at least once a day (usually more) since we do have two kids and a cat in the house. Hauling out a bucket and mop for quick cleanups just isn't practical so I have been using a spray mop with disposable pads. 

    This week I put the Libman Freedom Spray Mop to the test.

    What did I like about it?
    • The pads (which are microfiber and have 3 scratch-free cleaning strips) are washable (up to 50 times) so this is a greener cleaning solution (and cheaper).
    • You can refill the 18 oz. detachable cleaning solution bottle with whatever cleaner you like (I used vinegar and water to clean my kitchen floor since Em wanted to help clean.)
    • It doesn't need batteries. (There is nothing worse than having the batteries start to die on you and you need to borrow some from your child's toys.  Yes, I have done that.)
    • It is very lightweight and more maneuverable than my other spray mop.
    My only complaint was that I needed to change the pad about 2/3 of the way through my cleaning.  I used it in the kitchen (the largest room in our house) and the hallway to the garage and the laundry room.  This wasn't a big deal since I had another pad to put on the mop.

    Since I only use a spray mop for quick cleanups or if I am in a hurry, I definitely plan to replace my other spray mop with the Libman Freedom Spray Mop.  Anything that makes my life a little easier usually will get a thumbs up from me.

    Want your own mop?  Enter to win a Libman Freedom Spray Mop here at TPMG.

    Can't wait and want to buy one now?  Check out the Libman website for a $5 off Libman Freedom Spray Mop rebate coupon (it expires 4/30/11).  You can also enter their Good Clean Sense Sweepstakes for a trip for 2 to NYC, a VIP experience at the Martha Stewart Show, and a Libman prize package. 

    Enter to win a Libman Freedom Spray Mop
    MANDATORY ENTRY (If you do not complete this entry all other entries will be void): Leave a comment on either what your favorite chore is (I know you have one!) or your favorite Libman product (besides the Libman Freedom Spray Mop).  (1 entry)

    To receive additional entries:
    Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each entry.

    *Become a follower or a subscriber of TPMG and if you already do so just leave a comment stating that you already follow (1 entry)

    *Follow TPMG on twitter (1 entry each)

    *Become a fan of TPMG &/or Libman on Facebook (1 entry each)

    *Tweet (maximum of once daily) about this giveaway
    Copy and paste:  Libman Freedom Spray Mop # Giveaway @ #TPMG. Please RT.  (1 entry per tweet)

    *Add The Practical Mom Guide to your blogroll or display our button (5 entries)

    *Post about this giveaway on your blog (5 entries)

    This giveaway will end on Friday, October 15, 2010. I will announce the winner on October 16th here at The Practical Mom Guide. If I am unable to contact the winner or they do not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

    *I received a Libman Freedom Spray Mop in order to facilitate this review.  This opportunity was made available through my membership with the Mom Bloggers Club.  All opinions are my own.

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    The Vlog That Got Away

    This weekend while at Best Buy and browsing the software aisle, I was approached by an employee who asked me if I had any questions.

    I (not being technologically proficient in anyway) questioned him about the software I was looking at and my concerns that it would be difficult to use.

    He laughed and explained that all I had to do was go out to YouTube and any question I could possibly have would be answered in great detail.  People apparently film their computer screens and walk you through whatever you need to know.


    That got me thinking...

    Maybe I could figure out how to work the webcam on my laptop and do a vlog.

    It sounded like a good idea at the time.

    I did a search for how to use a webcam to make a video on Youtube.  I learned how to use my webcam by watching a video that was posted by a kid who looked like he was 7 years old.

    I had a flash forward.  I realized that this will be my daughters in five years showing me how to use my computer and all the gizmos and gadgets that will be out on the market.  Scary.  Very scary.

    Let me assure you that me doing this video at 1:30 in the morning is not something I should have attempted.  It was quite entertaining when I was watching it this morning.  Can I say "thank you, God" for not letting me upload it last night and posting it.  Someone was looking over my shoulder and reminding me to not let my lack of sleep influence my judgment.

    It seems I talk the way I write which means it could have been titled, "The Runaway Vlog" since I was rambling about my visit to Best Buy, the webcam video, my awesome new haircut (where I show off the lack of hair on my head), the gossip I learned from my new hairstylist (this says a lot about my experience this weekend since I have never really had hairstylist loyalty before), the gym, and my new extrovert self where I had a moment of clarity in the middle of the mall.  It could have been called "How Much Can Joy Fit Into 3 Minutes: The Video". 

    I was a little to excited to try out my awesome new vlogging skills. I am not sure I am vlogging material after seeing and hearing myself onscreen. 

    That was one video that will never be shown.  EVER.  But I can say I learned something new this weekend. 

    You can find anything you need on Youtube!

    What did you learn this weekend?