Friday, March 30, 2012

Parents Magazine One Year Subscription Giveaway!

I've read a lot of parenting magazines over the past 7-years, but the only one that has kept me consistently interested and engaged is Parents. That's why I'm offering 2 of my readers the chance to win a one-year subscription to my very favorite magazine!!!

THE PRIZE: A One-Year subscription to Parents Magazine!!!

TO ENTER you must do just two simple things! 

One: follow me via GFC, Google + or Twitter (buttons to the right)

Two: comment below: tell me how you're following me and which, if any, magazine has been your go-to parenting resource. 

The winner will be chosen completely randomly through the old school process of names in a hat, hand-picked by my two-year-old son! I'm passing on the high tech entry forms of late and keeping it seriously simple for you! Please be certain to include your email or blog link so that I can contact you when you win! All giveaways this week will be open for JUST 3 DAYS! So enter now! The two winners will be contacted by Wednesday and will have 48-hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

US Residents ONLY (sorry!). Giveaway ends at 6pm on Monday, April 2nd. 
***Disclosure - None needed! I'm offering this from the bottom of my heart  out of love for you and this magazine!! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wallpaper for Windows $75 Gift Certificate - Another Easy Entry Giveaway!

There's just one day left for you to enter to win a $20 gift certificate to Babies Bonded Forever, but three days to enter today's giveaway!

I had the fun opportunity to review Wallpaper for Windows. From their site:

Wallpaper For Windows™ decorative window film is the easy Do-It-Yourself way to decorate and add privacy to ordinary windows, glass doors, shower enclosures and more.

They have a huge selection of films to choose from! It came at the perfect time for us. Until this past winter, we had a huge open field next to our house. For 6 years it's been slated for development and for six years nothing has happened with it (except for them cutting down tons of beautiful trees and driving tractors back and forth for one entire summer). Then, suddenly, they started building and building and building. Now, all I see are the very ugly backsides of numerous houses.

The back of our house faces a protected wooded area, so we've never put curtains up on our main floor. We love the huge amount of light we get and we've always enjoyed the view. With the all the new houses, I decided it was time we do something! The living room window has too much visibility - I don't want to see my neighbors cooking in their kitchen and they don't need to see me cooking in mine!

We chose these Deco Spots. We have sort of a retro 70's feel in our house and these fit perfectly. More importantly, it breaks up the view for added privacy, but doesn't block it completely.

The films were extraordinarily easy to apply. Very important, especially because my husband is too impatient to actually read directions. You can see his hand there using the provided card to smooth out the spots.

Now when I'm standing in my kitchen, the big dots are just in the right spots to make me feel like those houses over there can't see straight into my life.

Yet, when I look out my window from another direction, I can still see the lovely trees outside. And so far, my children have been unable to peel them off or destroy them! Perfect!

Now it's your chance to win! Again, this week's giveaway theme is old school easy entry!

THE PRIZE: $75 Gift Certificate for the product of your choice! WOW! 

TO ENTER you must do just two simple things! 

One: follow me via GFC, Google + or Twitter (buttons to the right) and visit

Two: comment below: tell me how you're following me and which product you would select for your own window covering project!

The winner will be chosen completely randomly through the old school process of names in a hat, hand-picked by my two-year-old son! I'm passing on the high tech entry forms of late and keeping it seriously simple for you! Please be certain to include your email or blog link so that I can contact you when you win! All giveaways this week will be open for JUST 3 DAYS! So enter now! The winner will be contacted by Monday and will have 48-hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

You might also choose to follow Wallpaper for Windows on Facebook and/or Twitter, but this is not required, just courteous! Good luck!

*** Residents of US & Canada only, please (sorry, international readers)!
Disclosure: I received this product free of charge for review purposes. Opinions expressed in this review come straight from me! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Week of Super Giveaways with Old School Easy Entries!

Since I was rather MIA last week, locked in a cleaning frenzy (see last post!) and other life events, I'm going to make it up to you through a week full of giveaways and I'm making it super easy to enter!

First up is a 
$20 Gift Certificate to Babies Bonded Forever

This website offers everything related to breastfeeding and beyond; breast pumps & supplies, gear, adorable clothes, accessories and much more to encourage nursing and help you bond with your little one. They want you to know that they select only quality products for moms and they price them   below their competitors!

To enter you must do just two simple things! 

One: follow me via GFC, Google + or Twitter (buttons to the right) and visit
Two: comment below: tell me how you're following me and what you would use your $20 gift certificate toward!

The winner will be chosen completely randomly through the old school process of names in a hat, hand-picked by my two-year-old son! I'm passing on the high tech entry forms of late and keeping it seriously simple for you! Please be certain to include your email or blog link so that I can contact you when you win! All giveaways this week will be open for JUST 3 DAYS! So enter now! The winner will be contacted by Friday and will have 48-hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

You might also choose to follow BBF on Facebook, but this is not required, just courteous! Good luck!
Just a couple of the many products
you can choose from!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tools for the Domestic Goddess

This week I've been busy trying to live up to my (blog) name and catching up on some long overdue cleaning. On Wednesday, I very nearly changed my blog's title, thinking that no Domestic Goddess should ever have as much built up grime in her shower as I did. However, now that my bathroom sparkles, I've decided to keep my name as is.

Essential grime removing tools: Mr Clean Magic Eraser, or the generic brand - Meijer's version worked perfectly, and Seventh Generation's natural bathroom disinfectant. I have never used a natural cleaner that worked as well or better than a chemical based one until now! So there you have it.

Not only does my bathroom sparkle, but all 3 bedrooms and the children's bathroom, too. The girls' room took as long as my shower. Yikes! This coming week I'll move on to the main floor. This level has an open plan with kitchen, dining and living spaces all connected, plus a small half-bath. We keep this floor tidy, but a deep clean is overdue. For the kitchen, I vacuum once or twice daily, but mopping has been hit and miss since my Swiffer Steamer broke. Perhaps I scrubbed too vigorously.

Now, it seems, I have a similar problem with my Bissell. In the middle of vacuuming, the thing just falls apart, littering my momentarily clean floor with all that I had just sucked up! I have to vacuum as if it is a fragile piece of crystal, instead of a worthwhile Domestic Goddess cleaning tool! I am rather put off.

So, who makes a vacuum that can stand up to this (aspiring) Domestic Goddess Mommy? I have three very messy children and I need a vacuum/steamer that can live up to my standards. Oh, and I've tried the Bissell Steam & Sweep as well. It couldn't handle me either.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Tips & Tricks - 3 Quick Blog Tips

Happy Tuesday! I'm busy being domestic this week and doing some spring cleaning (in fact, it's general cleaning that's needed to be done for a long time and it just happens to be the first day of spring!)!

But today, I won't be offering you tips on how to get your dishwasher to do a better job (you can go to my Google + Page for that) or telling you how to get your toddler to use the potty without bothering to train him (you can click here for that and I'll be writing an update on my own toddler's progress later this week or early next).

No, today I'm offering up
3 quick tips for building up your blog following. I don't usually write about blogging, but as I'm always hopping (blog and otherwise), it's been on my mind.

1. Make it easy to follow you! Want more followers? I follow a lot of blogs, but if at a glance (5 seconds max), I can't find the way(s) you want me to follow you, I won't. I'm sorry, but I'm very busy (read my last post to get a feel for just how busy I am) and I'll simply move on to the next blog on the list.

2. Get rid of Captchas! Want more comments? Get rid of these irritating things! I sometimes find a blog that captivates me. I read, I comment, I read, I comment. But if that same blog has a captcha in place, that is the box that pops up where you have to try to read weirdly twisted words and then type them in before your comment will be accepted, I leave after the second comment even if I wanted to say more. Those things hurt my eyes and give me a headache! Moderate, if you must, but leave the captchas behind.

3. Leave thoughtful comments and respond to those left for you - this will give you both of number 1 and number 2... the above listed #1 & #2, not the  #1 & #2 of your children that you're dealing with all day! Though I usually follow everyone who follows my blog, especially when they've left me a comment showing that they've read what I've written, thought about it and responded to my content. When I simply get, "new follower from the hop" and nothing else I have a very hard time following back. Especially when I've poured out my heart in the post. I write because I want to share, motivate and inspire. Not just to get followers. I want readers.

There you have it! 3 quick tips! Happy Spring and happy blogging!

Embarrassing Bonus Tips (for busy bloggers like myself who have sudden realizations about their post after publishing and have to go back and follow their own advice and make corrections): 
- Double check that you have deactivated your Captcha or word verification before blogging about these annoying features!
-Verify that you have actually written as many tips as your title suggests, or edit it accordingly!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

An Undefined Mom - When No Category Quite Fits

Stay at Home Mom, Work From Home Mom, or Working Mom? How do you define yourself? 
Dads, just substitute "Dad" above.

I've been tossing this post around in my head for awhile. I've worn the label "SAHM" on and off for a long time (nearly 7 years), only shedding it about 6-months ago when my husband and I opened a retail wine store.

So, now I'm a Working Mom who, when at home, is still working. I'm working on the business, or I'm working on freelance writing projects, or self-publishing a book (the adorable Dolphin book listed on the left sidebar).

Before the store, I was a Kindermusik Educator. I prepared my materials and learned my songs at home with my girls and took them with me to classes; they reaped the enormous benefits of my job.

After my son was born, I stayed at home again, but I didn't sit still for long. I started writing, this time with income in mind, not just silly poetry for birthdays and anniversaries (I don't mean to say that poetry is silly, I mean that I actually wrote/write very silly verse). A year later I started doing private wine tastings. I worked the business from home, but the events were outside the home.

Now, I work 30 to 40 hours outside of the home and another 30 to 40 hours working inside of the home. Those home-based hours are mixed in with regular at-home duties, like laundry and housekeeping, and mom duties like feeding and bathing the children; not to mention spending a little time just being with them, whether we're playing or reading or cuddling up watching a video (a rare pleasure for me).  From 9 to 11pm it's husband/wife-time, but too often we're working or talking about work or returning a child to bed!

I'd have to guess that many, many parents in this country and around the world are living a similarly hectic active life. Yet, I constantly see debates about working moms vs. stay at home moms, which I find completely ridiculous. We are all working! Even you, stay at home mom blogger! You're building up your blog as a business, aren't you? You're working! And managing your home and children. A so-called working mother still comes home to dishes and laundry. Dads too!

We're all in the same boat, people. We just have different functions. Can we start working as a team, respecting and encouraging one another so the boat (i.e. society) sails smoothly?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Marketing Smarketing!

How's that for SEO? In the quest to get my book out "there" and into the parental public eye, I have engaged in more social networking sites than ever before and I'm getting a headache. I look forward to the day when I'm selling so many books that I can actually hire a publicist and social media manager to do all of this vessel clogging activity for me and I can focus on the fun stuff: creation!

I love to write, especially in verse! I'm good at it, too (ask anyone who has read my picture book. Don't know anyone? The digital version is just $2.99 on NOOK or Kindle or right here! Perfect for spring break travel!) But it takes focus, concentration and time. Marketing takes time. A lot of time. When you have a budget of zero, it's also a challenge. I currently face many challenges, but none that can't be overcome.

Most recently, I've joined Pinterest. Oh, I know I'm a bit late hopping on that train, but I fear the time involved. Any parent knows that with little ones running around time is limited and interruptions are constant. However, after reading this post by Lisa Ladrido and one of the follow-ups listed at the end of the post. I have heard and read many wonderful things about Pinterest, but I'm a bit overwhelmed with the process of building a bunch of pin boards while knowing I should be spending that time more effectively. Or perhaps it actually is an effective use of my time.

Plus, I've been in the bloggy closet, that is, blogging anonymously for so long, that coming out feels strange and uncertain. Should I use my blog icon or a picture of my face? When and where should I use my real name? Should I keep DGMommy for everything or switch? Should I have two of everything? I want people to know my name. I've been signing autographs since high school! I told every friend, "Keep this! I'll be famous one day!" Of course, now my name has changed and they probably won't know it's me.

I digress. How have you found Pinterest valuable? Do you use your real name or a "pen" name? Have any advice for me as I tread these new waters? I appreciate your time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

$100 PayPal Spring Surprise Cash Giveaway!

Spring is in the air! As the flowers start to bloom and the world is filled with colors, I start to see GREEN! Because I always want to do little things in the Spring that cost money - like getting a fabulous new outfit, or fixing up the front yard, I thought it would be great to give you a way to get a little Spring Surprise for yourself! 

 I teamed up with some of my great bloggy friends and we want to give YOU $100 in Paypal cash to spend any way you want! What will you buy? That fab new dress? Flowers for the front yard? A day at the spa? The possibilities are endless! But only if you enter to win this 
Spring Surprise!

So, here's how it works. Entry is super easy thanks to Rafflecopter! You simply have to answer a question:  What would you do with this awesome Spring Surprise? That's it - you're entered! But wait! Since I'm sure you want even better chances of winning (it's 100 bucks!), you can earn extra entries in several ways.

You can like the sponsoring blogs Facebook pages, follow them on Twitter, add them to your circles on Google+ or enter other contests and leave comments on great posts! How much or how little you do is up to you! But remember, the more entries you complete, the better your chances are to win!

So are you ready? Do you know what you'll spend your Spring Surprise on? 
 Then enter away!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The blogs participating in this event are:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Tips & Tricks: Leftover Lemons

What do you do with your lemons after squeezing out as much juice as you can into sparkling water, over a chicken your going to roast or a dash to brighten up some pasta? We (meaning my husband) usually leave them sitting next to the sink.

But I've discovered a trick! Move over scrub brushes and sponges! Take your leftover lemon and scrub your sink. Seriously. Not the peel side; use that to hold onto. Then, just scrub as if you're using a sponge and watch the grime come right off!

Give your sink a rinse to remove pulp and then a quick wipe with a dry towel or cloth and there you have it! A clean sink that smells great!

Do you have a tip or trick to share with my readers? I'd love to feature you!
Email me at adgmommy (at) gmail (dot) com!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pregnancy or Period?

The one I waited for
(My 1st born at 4 months) 
Have you (mothers) ever noticed that the start of a period is strikingly similar to the early days of pregnancy? Swollen, achy breasts, mild cramping and the sensation that your bladder has shrunk? Every month I wait in anticipation for the proof that it is just a period.

Yet, I can remember not so long ago when I desperately hoped for the very opposite. Those days and months and years of waiting, hoping, trying, wanting...

It seems like we women go through stages:

Stage 1: The Virgin's Period - Yuck. I hate this time of the month. Mother nature sucks!

Stage 2: The Sexually Active Period - Thank God!!! Yes! I have my period!

Stage 3: The Ready and Willing to be a Mom Period - Darn. No baby this month!

    *** Repeat Stages 2 and 3 until you have all the children you want (or more), then back to stage 2 until:

Stage 4: Hey, Where's My Period? Is this Menopause?

For some women, there's one more stage in-between 3 and 4: Stage Infertility: Another period. Heartbreak. Keep hoping. Keep praying. Some, like me, go on to become mothers naturally after some intervention; some become mothers through adoption; some never become mothers.

That's as far as I can get in my own experience. Well, I haven't experienced Menopause yet, but as my doctor mentioned in response to my irregular periods since having the boy, I am getting older!

Currently I'm full-on in Stage 2! I love my babes, but I'm happy (and slightly crazy) with three. So, come Aunt Flow! Show yourself!

In which stage are you?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ready to Get Famous? Don't Miss this Blogging Resource Review

I was going to write an entire opening about how I discovered Lisa and her blog,, and how timely that discovery was, but instead I'm just going to get straight to the review. However, instead of a traditional review where I tell you what the book is about and give you my thoughts on it, I'm simply going to document my experience and results. Read on. 

The ebook Get Famous ROCKS! It is more than a book; it is a guide, a how-to manual, a reference that I now leave up on my computer's desktop most of the time! It is a must have resource for beginner AND experienced bloggers. I'm not getting paid to write this. I did get a complimentary copy of the book to review and I'll tell you what's happened since, after utilizing just a few, repeat: just a few out of the many tips in her book.

1. Exposure - My stats have gone from 1,500 views a month to around 2,400, my Twitter followers tripled in one week, my Alexa rank changed by 1 million in just a couple of weeks and my Klout score has jumped from 20 to 36. I'm still watching my Google Page Rank, but I switched from to my own .com during this time and it took me back down to 0. I was at 2 with blogspot, now I'm back up to 1.

2. I am getting pitched! Writers are asking to guest post on my blog and companies are pitching me! I've been contacted by several authors for book reviews and companies are emailing me to ask if I'll review their valuable products for giveaways! This just makes me giddy.

3. $$$ - When I examine strictly the paid posts from advertisers I've received, my monthly income from blogging has gone from between $0 and $20 to $30 and $100. If you add in the value of the products I've received, in just one month I've earned around $300.

4. Confidence - You can't pay for it, but it is something Lisa naturally inspires. Her "voice" is unique, uplifting and motivational. What she communicates throughout the book and every day in her blog is her belief in YOU. She makes others feel good about themselves. She's open, honest and funny! Her "can do anything" attitude has helped me gain the confidence to reach out to authors and businesses that I'm interested in working with, to approach parenting websites for pro-blogger jobs, to start (another!) new business (coming soon!) and take my own leap into self-publishing! Her typos inspired me to offer proofreading and polishing services (if you find any in her book it's because she was too eager to get it out to you to let me finish the final read-through! ;) and I've even started copy writing/editing for a local business woman!

5. Friendship - One of Lisa's tips is to reach out and comment on 5 blogs a day. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but once you start actively doing this, you really can make some amazing friends! I've made one in Lisa and I'm not alone. She is one of the most supportive, genuine and helpful bloggers I've ever "met"  and you'll reap the rewards of her influence.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and GET FAMOUS!

***Disclaimer - Lisa doesn't guarantee results and neither do I. You get out of life what you put into it. The same goes for this excellent ebook!

I've Been Tagged by Yee Wittle Things!

I didn't even know the game of blog tag existed, but here I am! Why not play along, I say?! It's a good way to warm up my writer's mind this morning.

Brandi, from Yee Wittle Things, one of my new favorite blogs and a wonderfully supportive and active follower, has tagged me and asked the following questions:

My Questions:

1. What's your favourite late night snack?
2. If you could interview a celebrity on your blog, who would it be?
3. What are your plans for summer?
4. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
5. What kind of bread do you buy...white, whole wheat, etc.?

1. My favorite late night snack is usually dinner! Hah! My husband and I generally eat dinner around 9:30 or 10pm, when I'd often rather be in bed! But, since our store closes at 8 and one of us is always the closer, that's the deal! The kids have dinner around 6 and we have ours after bedtime. It's a wonderful way to maintain and strengthen our marriage. I'll sacrifice a little sleep for that.

2. I'm debating between Oprah and Angelina Jolie. Oprah because she's such an amazingly inspiring woman who has done so much for others, especially women. Angelina Jolie because she's an incredible humanitarian and she is a mother. Both of these celebrities inspire me!

3. Summer? I hadn't thought of that season yet. Enjoy many days outside with my family! Feeling the warm sun on my (sun-screened) face, feeling sand between my toes and watching my kids joyfully frolic in the water that laps the shore, while my husband and I enjoy a  bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Will it be a lake shore or an ocean shore? I don't know yet!

4. I'm not much of a shoe person! I'm a barefoot kind of girl, but as shoes are legally required in most places and I'm a bit of a germophobe, I have a few pair. The pair I'm wearing right now I've had since I was pregnant with my first-born. Then, a pair of boots equally as old, 1 pair of sandals (I usually have one or two pairs each summer and wear them to death) and 2 pairs of heals that I never, ever wear. Plus, a very cute pair of tennis/loafer style shoes I got in France last year and one pair of proper tennis shoes that get use about once per year! That makes 7. I probably have a few others that I just haven't bothered to get rid of, but never wear!

5. I buy whole wheat bread or cracked wheat. I prefer Aunt Millie's as she (the brand) uses unbleached whole wheat and no high fructose corn syrup. I buy whole wheat flour for making my own bread. I love baking bread. I could happily become a bread baker and do nothing but knead all day! I went through a major bread baking phase a couple of years ago. Click the link to see what I did in just one day!

Now, to tag a few others...

Sarah at Skylar Magazine
Lisa at Mompreneur Mogul
Mommy With Selective Memory

My questions:

1. What kind of car do you drive and (for the moms on the list) what would you be driving if you didn't have kids?
2. What makes you laugh out loud?
3. What makes you return to a particular blog again and again?
4. Who is your greatest inspiration?
5. What is your theme-song?

Be sure to drop me a link with your answers!
Thanks to Brandi for tagging me!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Missing Secret to Parenting - Part 1

I consider myself to be a relatively evolved individual. I'm open-minded, tolerant and full of love for humanity. I think of myself as a confident woman... most of the time. But there is this little "not good enough" voice that pops up often enough to do damage. 

A few weeks ago, the confident me reached out to a woman whom I highly respect, Denny Hagel, author of the ebook The Missing Secret to Parenting, and website of the same name. If you follow me on Twitter, you've likely seen my numerous re-tweets of her poignant parenting tweets. 

You may have heard of the movie The Secret, which is about the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction essentially states that what we think about, we bring about. If we focus on debt, we attract more debt. If we focus on success, we attract success! Easy, right? Not always, because we have these sticky things called "limiting beliefs" of which we may not even be aware. They hide deep in our subconscious and effect our lives without us even realizing it. 
In her book, The Missing Secret to Parenting, Denny Hagel demonstrates this concept in the realm of parenting. I've studied the Law of Attraction for the past three years and have often wrestled with how to apply it as a parent. Enter Denny's book. In it, she helps the reader discover their parenting "mindset" and gently guides the discovery of the reader's own limiting beliefs. 

I warn you, it isn't an easy read, thus, the "part 1" of my title, but it is an important one. Having minored in Psychology, I easily recognize avoidance and I have been avoiding this book! I sped right through the first couple of chapters, but then discomfort set in. 

As an evolved individual, I recognize that discomfort serves an important purpose. It's the place between stagnation and growth. Yet, I've been unable unwilling to push past it. It requires me to face my insecurities. It requires me to face that "not good enough" voice that I swore for years didn't exist. It requires me to face and embrace my faults as a parent, of which I have many. It requires me to examine my self-confidence, or put oppositely, my insecurities. Of which, I have many. 

So, that's where I leave Part 1 of the review of this book. After a few deep breaths, I may finally be ready to turn the page. On to the next chapter. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chasing Children is Excellent Exercise!

Yesterday, we wanted to give our kids the gift of FUN! And I wanted them to burn off as much energy as humanly possible before we sat down to dinner. It's the only day of the week our store is closed and we're actually together as a family.

We headed indoor to a place called the Blast Factory. It's got bouncy castles and bouncy slides and padded flooring. The girls, ages 5 and 6, can run all around and do everything on their own, but my little guy... well, he needs assistance. Since I'm smaller than my husband and can manage to climb in and out of those holes that serve as bouncy entries, I was assigned the task.

Bouncing, bonding and burning calories too!
Photo Credit: FredThompson via Flickr/Creative Commons
I had told my hubby earlier in the day how we needed more exercise. Well, I got it! Have you ever carried a 30lbs toddler up a very tall flight of bouncy stairs? 6 times? Then bounced down a slide? 6 times? I don't even know what you call the different bounce activity centers they had, but I climbed in, climbed up, climbed over, under and through (cue Grover) and bounced for 60 minutes. Whoo! If that isn't a workout, I don't know what is. And it's the very best kind. Bouncing around with my babes and having a blast. The place is aptly named.

Have you taken your babes anywhere fun lately and burned off lunch at the same time? Do tell!

Tuesday's Tips & Tricks: Puzzles

I'm re-launching "Tuesday's Tips & Tricks" where I'll share a tip or trick (thus the name!) with you. If you have a great tip, drop me a line at adgmommy(at)gmail(dot)com and you may be featured!

Today's tip:
The Puzzle Basket
This is a previously published tip worth repeating! If your preschooler loves puzzles as much as mine does, then this will prevent lost & mixed-up pieces.

Remove all of the pieces from the puzzle boards and put them into ziplock-type bags (1 per puzzle). When your child has finished with one puzzle, (have them) put the pieces back into the bag and both the board and pieces go back into the puzzle basket.  

For more advanced puzzles, simply snip the small picture of the puzzle and include that in the bag with the pieces.

Store all your puzzles in one accessible, yet tidy, spot!

As an added security measure, you can number your puzzles for easy sorting. This is beneficial when your toddler comes along and delightfully slides the puzzles off the table in a grand sweeping motion and mixes up all of the pieces... in front of the tearful eyes of his big sister.

Search for puzzles for toddlers

What quick tips and tricks to you have for storing your little one's puzzles or other toys with multiple pieces?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crindelstar Review & Giveaway!

Crindelstar: Where the Universe Dreams

Let's start the week off with a Giveaway!! 

CrindelStar is a unique and totally green new digital book that comes along with an uplifting music track. The artwork on the cover is enough to stop any unicorn lover in their tracks.

The story begins with Maria crying - she's feeling peer pressure to give up her belief in Unicorns. That is until CrindelStar comes crashing through her open window, in the form of a non-magical creature, and tells her of magical things she never knew, or rather, things she had forgotten.

The message of the story is a beautiful reminder to hold on to your dreams and never stop believing; and more importantly, to always believe in yourself. As a mother of two girls who are just reaching the age when peers actually matter and self-esteem becomes an issue, I loved CrindelStar. Maria calls herself "stupid" when she talks about her belief in unicorns, but CrindelStar, urges her never to do that, because what you "believe, you become." It's a message my 6-year-old needed to hear from a source other than me!

The story is in digital format - not a book, but an MP3 file for you to download and listen to. My daughters enjoyed the story, but they were disappointed that there weren't more pictures! They are crazy for unicorns (as you may have learned from my most previous book review). I'd suggest that this story suits the 7+ crowd best. The very cool thing is that after you purchase your download (or win one!) you'll receive what seems to be just a small cardboard square with the pictured graphics (see above). What it really is, though, is a seed packet of wildflowers!! My girls went crazy for this because we love, love, love to garden. All you do is (wait until spring!) plant the card in the ground and voila! Wildflowers.

You can buy it here or simply enter below to win your digital download and wildflower card packet! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Note To Myself From the Future

The things I could tell
that new mom -
the me of nearly 7 years ago
When I was about 20 years old, my sister gave me a book called Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much.  I was 20, going to school full-time, working full-time and honestly, not much else. As I look back on what seemed like a very busy, stressful time in my life, I laugh at my former self. Oh, that girl did not know how easy her life was.

But everything is subjective. We can only see things from our own point of view, from exactly where we are, at any given moment. Knowing that, I'm attempting a different perspective. I'm actively trying to look back at myself. That is, imagine me 10 years from now thinking back to where I am right now. Are you confused? Imagine, if everything looks better in hindsight, why not try to achieve "hindsight" every day?

Try this exercise with me: write a short note to your 20-year-old self. Name just 3 things that are/were awesome about life at that time, or that came out of that time. Do it again for you at 25, 30, 35 and onward, depending how old you are!

If you went through a rough patch during any of those periods, point out the benefits that resulted. Then, especially if you're going through something today (and aren't we all?), write yourself a note from the you who will be in 10 years.

Here's mine -

Dear Tam, 
Remember in 2012 when the store was about to close? The bank account was a big, fat zero and you felt upset and worried about the future. But you didn't just sit there. You published your first book! You sold only one that first day and you were so scared, but once you got it up on Kindle you sold tens of thousands!!! Every challenge during that time led you right to where you are/I am today! Secure, free, successful! The bank account has a big, fat bunch of zeros now!! But with a much higher number in front of it! A spark of an idea with a friend led you to a hugely successful company that you run from anywhere in the world you happen to be and you're a prolific and well-published author. Your children know a life that few experience and your marriage thrives. So, here I am, ten years ahead of you, reminding you to embrace every moment. You are taken care of, so fear not. Step bravely into what you will be; what I am. 
Love, Yourself

What's yours?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I've Finally Done It!!!

Every day, I tell my daughters, "Choose your day. You can make it anything, any way you want it to be." Choose a happy day, or choose a crabby one. Either way, you choose.

When life seems difficult, look around you. What are you choosing? How have your brought your circumstance into your life?

Today, I chose to take life by the reigns! Nothing can stop me! No rejection, no business closing, nothing! Today, I have achieved a dream. I am a published author.

Go check it out! You and your little ones will be happy you did.

How Do You Sleep, Baby Dolphin?

I love you all!