Monday, February 28, 2011

The Biggest Loser Family Night

My husband and I love to watch "The Biggest Loser" together. However, we have been naughty sometimes and watched it while eating Double-Stuf Oreos. Then one commercial break, Bob made me feel guilty. He said, "People admit to me that they watch the show while eating a bowl of ice cream," and then called us sinners off the couch. He showed us three different exercises to do during commercials. From then on, I decided at least not to eat junk food. Only once have we exercised while watching the show.

How about making it a family event and motivating each other to do something healthy while watching the inspiring people on "The Biggest Loser." Here are some ideas to get you (and me) started:

Snacks: If you are addicted to eating while watching TV, then eat right. Prepare beforehand a tray of cut fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, and whole grain crackers with real cheese.

Commercials: During the breaks do a short exercise like situps, jumping jacks, or pushups. See how many you can do in one commercial break and try to do more the next one.

Episode: Copycat what the contestants are doing if possible. Many exercises and challenges are harder than they look!

Recording: Write down health and exercise tips to help you in your own weight loss goal and try them out that week.

Guessing Game: Play along when they have to guess how many calories a meal has and see who is the closest to the correct answer.

Goals: Make your own weekly health and exercise goals.

Family Competition: Involve the whole family in your own Biggest Loser competition. At the end of the season, the person who accomplished all their goals wins and gets a prize. You can decide the prize beforehand or let the winner choose.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Practical & Unique Baby Shower Gifts

Every mother is grateful and happy to have a baby shower. It relieves the family and wallet of necessary and immediate purchases in preparation for the baby's birth. The cutest gifts to receive are undoubtedly the tiny, colorful clothes. They are also the most common gifts. However, babies can wear only so many clothes, especially since they grow so fast! The mother may feel guilty if Baby doesn't wear every outfit. Furthermore, I think mothers would also appreciate getting other baby items they need. Below are practical and unique baby shower gifts you can get next time you receive an invitation.

  • Clothes size 9-12 month
  • Hangers
  • Socks/booties
  • Towels and wash cloths
  • Baby bathtub
  • Grooming set
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Baby monitor
  • Wrap, sling, or other infant carrier
  • Diaper bag, filled with the essentials if you can afford it
  • Bibs
  • Thermometer
  • Milk storage bags
  • Nursing pads
  • Sippy cups
  • Bottle brush and drying rack
  • Carseat mirror
  • Crib sheets
  • Nightlights
  • Umbrella stroller

  • Anything handmade by you
  • Matching outfits for Baby and siblings, if applicable
  • Sleep sacks
  • Decorations for Baby's room (find out the colors or theme first)
  • Framed photo of the family to hang in Baby's room
  • Baby Signing Time DVDs
  • Parenting books (be sure to know the mother's parenting style)
  • Bumbo seat
  • Shopping cart cover
  • Baby's first Christmas ornament or outfit (make sure this isn't a relative's special job)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Clean These Forgotten Germ Homes

photo by Svilen Milev
The number one way to prevent the spread of disease is washing your hands. So simple, yet so many people don't do it. Why not take it a step further and remember to clean these frequently touched items to kill germs:
  1. Light switches
  2. Door knobs and car door handles
  3. Refrigerator and freezer handles
  4. Remote controls
  5. Computer keyboard and mouse
  6. Landline and cell phones
  7. Steering wheel and seat belts
  8. Pens, pencils, scissors, etc.
  9. Drawer handles (or around the edges if no handles)
  10. Other buttons and knobs: washer, dryer, dishwasher, DVD player, A/C, alarm system, iPod, camera, car radio, etc.
All it takes is a quick wipe from a Lysol wipe or all-purpose cleaner and cloth, like Shaklee and Skoy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shaklee Basic H2 Cleaner Giveaway [CLOSED]

Ever since I had my baby, cleaning the house has gone to the wayside--not because of time, but because I don't want my baby around all the chemicals. I have to wait for my husband to be home so he can take the baby away from where I am cleaning. Therefore, when my friend recently became a distributor for Shaklee, a green health company, and asked if I would host a giveaway of their all-purpose cleaner, I was thrilled!

When I received her sample of the Basic H2, I was a little surprised. She had warned me it was small, but I wasn't expecting a tiny 2 ml bottle. When my husband saw it, he said, "This is the cleaner?" However, the solution is super concentrated: two drops added to 16 oz. of water make a bottle of window cleaner, and 1/4 tsp. added to 16 oz. of water makes a bottle of all-purpose cleaner.

I decided to try it on a variety of stuff. Here is what I cleaned and how it rated:
  • Bathroom mirror: Excellent. At first, the mirror was all streaks. I was skeptical until the cleaner quickly dried streak free, better than Windex!
  • Bathroom sink: Excellent. It worked just as well as the harsher stuff I use. And it took me less time because I didn't have to wear gloves or make sure the sink was throroughly rinsed of all bleach-based cleaner.
  • Shoes: Ok. Then again, my shoes are pretty old and really need shoe polish.
  • Baby's toys: Good. Saves me from wasting Lysol wipes.
  • Baby's potty chair: Good.
  • Baby's bumbo: Good.
  • Carpet stain: Excellent! The other day I knocked the potty chair and poo spilled on the carpet. The cleaner got it right out! I tried it on a really old stain too, but alas, my hopes were too high.
  • Kitchen stove: Excellent. Great degreaser.
  • Kitchen sink: Excellent. I will definitely be cleaning it more often now!
*I cleaned all of the above using only 3 oz., most of which was wasted on the old carpet stain.
*I feel confident cleaning with my baby around.
*I love not having to wear gloves, rinsing over and over again to remove all cleaner, keeping the windows vented, and showering immediately so I don't smell like bleach.
*No lingering odor, even on your hands.
*The price is unbeatable! Broken down it's about 25 cents per gallon of all-purpose cleaner and 1 cent per gallon of window cleaner.

*Nothing I can think of.

Safe and Natural Living is giving away a 2 ml sample of the Basic H2.

Mandatory 1st Entry: Visit her site and tell me what you like most about the company and its products.

5 entries: Blog about this giveaway, linking to this post and to Safe and Natural Living. Leave the link to your blog post in your comment.

2 entries: Like Safe and Natural Living on Facebook.

1 entry: Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on Facebook.

1 entry: Follow this blog via GFC.

1 entry: Follow the seller's blog Crafting with My Cub via GFC.

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. MST on Tuesday, March1. The winner will be announced Wednesday, March 2. Please leave your email address in one of your comments so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What If Men Got Pregnant?

~ Maternity leave would last for two years--with full pay.

~There would be a cure for stretch marks.

pregnant belly ~Natural childbirth would become obsolete.

~Morning sickness would rank as the nation's #1 health problem.

~All methods of birth control would be 100% effective.

~Children would be kept in the hospital until potty trained.

~Men would be eager to talk about commitment.

~They wouldn't think twins were so cute.

~Briefcases would be used as diaper bags.

~Paternity suits would be a fashion line of clothes.

~They'd stay in bed during the entire pregnancy.

~Restaurants would include ice cream and pickles as main entrees.

~Women would rule the world.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Children Learn What They Live

This piece also came from the pamphlet I received at the hospital before taking Baby home and has been edited for poetic devices.

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.
If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement,
They learn to be confident.
If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness,
They learn to be just.
If children live with security,
They learn to have faith.
If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance and friendship,
They learn to find love in the world.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Little Miss Not-So-Crafty

I have zero craft skills and artistic creativity: I can't sew, knit, crochet, quilt, reupholster, paint, draw, web design, or make anything by hand. I can't even cut paper straight--with a paper cutter. It's so bad that I avoid my church's craft nights with the other ladies so I don't embarrass myself. I really want to change that. But I am only willing to put in so much effort and money. To my delight, today I accidentally came across these easy and inexpensive Valentine crafts on the blog eighteen25:

and this one from Tatertots and Jello:

I think even I can do these! My new goal is to make at least one handmade thing this year to display proudly in my home. And who knows--maybe someday I will be able to come up with an easy craft idea on my own.

Do you have an easy craft idea or favorite craft blog? Please share!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The winner of the Sunshine and Spice hair flower is comment #19 "I love the Victoria Swirl Hair Flower" by mframe. Congratulations! I will contact you shortly.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fourteen Valentine's Day Date Ideas

photo by P. Szczepanski
Valentine's Day is coming soon! Are you prepared? If you need help thinking of a creative date idea for Valentine's Day, here are some fun suggestions:

<3 Scrapbook romantic events in your relationship: first date, first kiss, first Valentine's Day, engagement, marriage, children, etc. If you're not scrapbookers, then read journal or blog entries about those events or look at photos of them and discuss how you remember it and how you felt.

<3 Buy finger food and feed each other. Good foods are fancy crackers with cheese, fruit, chocolate, and candy. Or you can make a cheese or chocolate fondue.

<3 Take a ballroom dance class together. Many dance studios offer great introductory specials.

<3 Go to a dollar store or thrift store and buy a gift for each other without spending more than a couple dollars.

<3 Get your favorite picture of you two together printed, framed, and hung up in your home. If you don't have a picture, have a photo shoot. Dress up nice, go to a beautiful or meaningful place, and have someone photograph you.

<3 Take a short walk or hike and end it with a romantic picnic. You can also bring along a book to read together, a portable DVD player and a movie, a frisbee, or a card game.

<3 Do something active: rollerblade, bike, exercise, dance, play sports, bowl, surf, snowboard, rock climb, etc. End it with a shower together, massage, food, and a movie related to the activity.

<3 Play a how-well-do-you-know-me game. Ask questions about each other and write down what you think the other person would say. At the end, share your answers. Whoever gets the most correct answers wins.

<3 Write poetry for each other using different themes and formats, such as romantic, silly, rhyming, limerick, haiku, Shakespearean, etc.

<3 If you have kids, do something you don't normally get to do or don't get to enjoy as much, such as eating out; going to the movies; attending a concert, play, or sporting event; shopping; or going to the zoo, aquarium, or museum.

<3 Plan a culture-themed date, such as a French date. Eat French food, watch a movie taking place in France, and learn how to say simple words and phrases in French. Other cultures include Japanese (learn karate moves, visit a Japanese garden, make a stir fry, and eat with chopsticks) or Hawaiian (wear Hawaiian shirts and leis, learn hula dancing, listen to Hawaiian music, and eat tropical fruit).

<3 Read together at the library or a bookstore. Check out or buy a book you both like and continue reading it together before bed.

<3 Camp out in the backyard or living room. Eat marshmallows and hotdogs, tell scary stories, and gaze at the stars. Then cuddle all night!

<3 Do service together: babysit so someone else can go out for Valentine's Day, bake cookies for a friend, volunteer at a hospital or homeless shelter, do yard work for a neighbor, etc.

Whatever you do for Valentine's Day, make it stress free. Enjoy the time you have together and strengthen your love.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sleep Training: Through Babies' Eyes

Posted in a Facebook note by a friend; originally posted in a discussion board at

photo by Paul Cioca

Dear fellow babies,

Ok, here's my situation. My mommy has had me for almost 5 months. The first few months were great--I cried, she picked me up and fed me, anytime, around the clock. Then something happened. Over the last few weeks, she has been trying to STTN (sleep through the night). At first, I thought it was just a phase, but it is only getting worse. I've talked to other babies, and it seems like it's pretty common after mommies have had us for around 5 to 6 months. Here's the thing: these mommies don't really need to sleep. It's just a habit. Many of them have had some 30 years to sleep--they just don't need it anymore. So I am implementing a plan. I call it the Crybaby Shuffle. It goes like this:

Night 1: Cry every 3 hours until you get fed. I know, it's hard. It's hard to see your mommy upset over your crying. Just keep reminding yourself it's for her own good.
Night 2: Cry every 2 hours until you get fed.
Night 3: Cry every hour.

Most mommies will start to respond more quickly after about 3 nights. Some mommies are more alert and may resist the change longer. These mommies may stand in your doorway for hours, shhhing. Don't give in. I cannot stress this enough: consistency is key! If you let her STTN (sleep through the night) just once, she will expect it every night. I know it's hard! But she really does not need the sleep; she is just resisting the change. If you have an especially alert mommy, you can stop crying for about 10 minutes, just long enough for her to go back to bed and start to fall asleep. Then cry again. It will eventually work. My mommy once stayed awake for 10 hours straight, so I know she can do it.

The other night, I cried every hour. You just have to decide to stick to it and go for it. Be consistent! I cried for any reason I could come up with:
  • My sleep sack tickled my foot.
  • I felt a wrinkle under the sheet.
  • My mobile made a shadow on the wall.
  • I burped, and it tasted like rice cereal. I hadn't eaten rice cereal since breakfast--what's up with that?
  • The dog said "ruff." I should know. My mommy reminds me of this about 20 times a day. Lol.
  • Once I cried just because I liked how it sounded when it echoed on the monitor in the other room.
  • Too hot, too cold, just right--doesn't matter! Keep crying!
  • I had drooled so much my sheets were damp and I didn't like it touching me.
  • I decided I was sick of all the pink in my room so I cried.
It took a while, but it worked. She fed me at 4 a.m. Tomorrow night, my goal is 3:30 a.m. You need to slowly shorten the interval between feedings in order to reset your mommy's internal clock. Sometimes my mommy will call for reinforcements by sending in Daddy. Don't worry; daddies are not set up for not needing sleep the way mommies are. They can only handle a few pats and shhing before they declare defeat and send in the mommy.

Also, be weary of the sleep sheep with rain noises. I like to give Mommy false hope that listening to the rain puts me to sleep. Sometimes I pretend to close my eyes and be asleep and then wait until I know Mommy is settling back to sleep to spring a surprise cry attack. If she doesn't get to me fast enough, I follow up with my fake cough and gag noise that always has her running to the crib. At some point I am positive she will start to realize that she really doesn't need sleep.

P.s. Don't let those rubber things fool you: no matter how long you suck on them, no milk will come out. Trust me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Home Sweet Homebodies Coupon Code

Home Sweet Homebodies is offering a special coupon code for my readers: BABYGIVEAWAYS. It will take 15% off anything in her shop. Enjoy!


The new winner of the Home Sweet Homebodies is comment #28 "I follow your blog via google friend connect - Niecey." Congratulations! I will contact you shortly.

Everyone, please remember you have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen (see Giveaway Rules).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Five Reasons Why You Should Enter Giveaways

Giveaways are the hot thing right now. Although the number of giveaways is somewhat overwhelming, there is value in entering these contests. You should enter giveaways because:
  1. It's easy! You don't need to do all the entries. Do what you can to save time. Of course, if it's something you really want, do more entries to increase your chances of winning.
  2. You hear about new products you might not have heard of otherwise.
  3. You save money! You win great products for yourself or to give as gifts. Some giveaways offer discounts on the product for all submitters.
  4. You discover great blogs with useful or fun information.
  5. If you blog, other giveaway bloggers might enter your giveaways or follow your blog.
I hope you have fun entering giveaways and win some awesome things!
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