Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Tree Safety (Guest Blogger)

I'm excited to present another guest blogger who not only wants you to have a very blessed and enjoyable holiday season, but also wants you and yours to have a safe holiday, too! Thank you, Andrea, for your contribution to Mommy Rantings this holiday season!

roomserviceusa.com

Holiday Tree Safety

The holidays are a magical time of year, especially for children. Decorating a Christmas tree is an important tradition for many families, but during the excitement concerns for safety can often be brushed aside.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that between 2003-2006, U.S. fire departments responded on average to 240 home fires caused by Christmas trees each year. In addition to causing approximately $13.1 million in property damage annually, one of every 15 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death.

Along with fire concerns, there are other hazards that come along having a tree in the home. Seasonal Concepts has put together Ten Christmas Tree Safety Tips to remind families of the importance of danger prevention for a happy holiday season.

  1. The safest home holiday investment? A flame-retardant artificial tree. It only takes a one little spark to ignite a real tree and destroy a family’s holiday and home.
  2. Place holiday decorations at least three feet away from any type of open flame.
  3. Real trees tend to drag in dirt and allergens. Parents of young children are oftentimes unaware of these tree-related allergies until the live tree is already in the home. Artificial trees are allergy-free so your little ones can enjoy the holidays without the sniffles.
  4. A pre-lit tree saves more than time by helping to prevent accidents caused by extension cords and live electric circuits.
  5. If celebrating the holidays with children under the age of 4 and/or pets, consider an artificial tree. Live trees shed needles, which can be painful for crawling children or harmful if swallowed by pets.
  6. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Artificial trees eliminate the need to bring water near electrical holiday lights.
  7. Consider the weight of the tree when making a purchase. A lightweight tree is safer in case of a fall and easy to move from room to room.
  8. Provide a solid foundation for your holiday tree by placing it on a flat, level surface.
  9. Place your tree in the appropriate sized stand. An artificial tree comes secured molded into a stand, and is a safer option when considering a large tree.
  10. Do not hesitate to seek safety advice from your local fire department. When it comes to holiday safety, prevention is key.
 
Andrea Wolk is a designer by passion and degree. In 1998, Andrea joined Seasonal Home Concepts where she is currently the Brand Manager for Christmas and home décor. Specializing in trend identification, she is responsible for seasonal selection and purchasing, as well as all in-store design layouts. Andrea is an avid enthusiast of all visual art, but home décor seems to be my calling, as she especially enjoys providing practical advice to help you beautify the space you call home.
Seasonal Concepts is an online retailer and sells over 100 styles of pre-lit artificial Christmas trees, as well as other holiday decorations and indoor and outdoor furniture and accessories. Visit www.seasonalconceptsonline.com


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Easter? Are You Serious?

 The Funny Things That Kids Say!


I couldn't stop thinking about the conversation that I had with my 6 year old, Wes, the day before Thanksgiving, so I decided to post it. He is such a smarty pants sometimes, I have no clue what is going to come out of his mouth, however on this holiday, he had things just a little confused.

Here's our little conversation:

Wes: Mom! I'm so excited tomorrow is Easter! I can't wait to have turkey!

Me: Really? Me too! Only, are you sure that the Easter Bunny is coming? (trying not to laugh)

Wes: (a bit perplexed, slowly shaking his head "Yes")

Me: I think that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, not Easter. (Smiling)

Wes: Oh, yeah, Thanksgiving. Are we still having turkey?


Hope we could make you smile!

Mommy Rantings 2010 Holiday Gift Guide

I'm excited to announce that Mommy Rantings is going to compile a 2010 Holiday Gift Guide...oh, no, it's not too late this season! Don't worry - I won't tell anyone that you haven't started pecking away at that shopping list yet. Of course, you have no idea where to start! And, that's exactly why I'm coming up with the MEGALIST! What's hot this year?

Stay tuned! Starting December 1st, 2010, I will be posting the hottest items on the market - just click on the 2010 Holiday Gift Guide page -and your last minute shopping problems will be resolved!

Companies who are interested in being included in the 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, contact me here.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reader's Digest Disney Tangled and Princess Books Review and GIVEAWAY-CLOSED!

 Just in time for the release of Disney's "Tangled" in the movie theaters (and Veronica's birthday, too!), I received a box in the mail from Reader's Digest chock full of interactive hardcover books! These are must-haves for girls of any age this Christmas. By the way, I heard that the movie made second place in the box office, right under Harry Potter, and it's a bit of a tear-jerker, so bring the tissues!

The box was fun to open - and the boys even got excited about the books! The four books that came in the package weren't just any old books...

The book, "Tangled" is a Rapunzel story, Rapnnzel's Dream that includes the musical hairbrush with a magical tune. Rapunzel's Adventures includes the music player that plays 20 different tunes. The music player is detachable and can be brought places or stood on the dresser in your daughter's room. Rapunzel's Magical Hair comes with the hair clip with Rapunzel's hair for your daughter to brush and play with (the clip even lights up!)


Have you seen the commercials where Grandma presses the button and records her voice while reading the book? Then, the children that receive the book get to hear Grandma's voice read it to them? Princess Dreams is the fourth book in the collection that I received and it's one of the record-a-books - this was the hit of the house! I can't say that the children were recording themselves reading the story, but they sure had fun playing with the recorder!

Toy Story 3!!!

There are also Toy Story 3 books just like these that we're going to have to get for the boys for Christmas!  (I still looooooove Toy Story, don't you???)


GIVEAWAY!

You guessed it! Yes, Reader's Digest (an official Disney publishing licensee) has offered to give away the whole set of (four) books to one lucky random winner here at Mommy Rantings. Any little girl will go nuts over this set of books! And you'll get them in time for Christmas!

Here's what you need to do to enter:

For those of you that want to participate in the random drawing that will be held on December 15th, please enter with one comment for each of the following: 

1) "Follow" Mommy Rantings (this is a requirement for the winner) and let me know why you would love to receive the books. (1 entry)

2) Tweet about this contest and leave me your Twitter name on the comment. You can do this every day for one entry each day. (don't forget to leave a comment each time you do this - limit, one per day!)

3) "Like" Mommy Rantings on Facebook for two entries - let me know who you are on Facebook! (comment 2 times for your entries).

4) Follow "QueenBMomma" on twitter for one entry. (Tell me your Twitter name.)

5) Blog about the give away (three entries).

6) Add my button (bottom, right hand column) to your blog for 2 entries.

Please remember that I will choose the winner randomly by picking a number on Random.org. The corresponding comment will be the winner.

Also, to those who enter, please remember to leave a way for me to contact you in case you win!!! Tell your friends who have daughters!

Good luck everyone and HAPPY HOLIDAYS from my big, loving family to yours!




Monday, November 22, 2010

The Seven Wonders of My World





WHY IS IT:

1) When I have a laundry list of 101 things to do in a day, the two little guys (my buddies) who are at home with me during the day are more demanding than ever? (This does not include the million phone calls and emails per day).

2) When my world seems to be spinning around and turning upside down and I stand on my hand to straighten it all out...things just get more confusing?

3) When I really want to take a calm and relaxing bath, my children decide that they need baths right that moment, too?

4) No matter how early I start making dinner, I simply can't cook fast enough for the "troops"?

5) When I go to the bathroom...I can't ever go by myself and the arguments between to the kids start to erupt immediately?

6) Regardless of how much I do for my kids, I can always think of just one more thing that they need?

7) No matter how much they drive me crazy, I still love all six of these brats (LOL) more than anything else in the world?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Surgery Date Set and Birthdays!



Just a quick update on the impending child surgery for our little Dylan...it's scheduled for December 15th, which also happens to be Lucas' birthday. (And, we have Veronica's on December 1st, too. I won't mention that mine falls in December, because I stopped "celebrating" it when I turned 30. LOL

Any prayers are certainly welcome!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holiday Savings Tips for Families - Get the Kids Involved!

This year, people are still suffering from major glitches in the economical structure of our country, leaving most of us wondering: "How do I buy gifts for everyone this year?" There's no doubt that we all wish we had a stack of cash like this to allocate to our Christmas gift lists.

Not gonna happen, and I don't have a give away right now for a stack of cold, hard cash either (sorry). So, what can we do to reduce those expensive gift lists and still give great gifts to everyone in the family?

Create and Design

shepherdsharvestfestival.org

Hand-made crafts make awesome gifts for anyone! Whether you make jewelry, mittens, scarves, leg warmers, those neck warmers that can be put in the microwave and heated up for those achy muscles that occur in the winter, hair accessories...the sky is the limit. If you can knit, you can put your knitting skills to work (and teach your kids) to make everyone on your list something warm to wear.

Bake It Up

sodahead.com
Or, think about a Christmas bake-off, where you make a gazillion Christmas cookies, brownies, fudge, breads, pies, rum balls, cupcakes and other delicacies that people LOVE to feast on during the holiday season. Beware, you might be blamed for the extra pounds that your sister (or aunt or cousin) gains over the holidays, but she'll love the gift-wrapped cookies all the same. Seriously, tell me you would turn down a gift of baked yummies! I know I won't! (So, send them on!)



Don't discount these cute craft ideas on the Crafters 4 Kids website. There are several Christmas Gift Ideas that can easily be made with the children, and they cost less than $5 each to make. How's that for budgeting?

In addition, you can teach your children the art of creating, making, baking, knitting, and then giving. 

As the economy squeezes our budgets tight, we just have to get a little creative and think outside of the (holiday) box. Sure, it would be great to buy everyone the top choice on their Christmas list this year, but let's not forget that Christmas is for giving, sharing, and loving. Stressing your pocketbook and bank account was never the idea behind Christmas. It's about spending time with family and enjoying each other...it's about harmony and peace. 

Let's face it, as much as we'd love for it to...money doesn't grow on trees.

economicpopulist.org

Happy Holidays! 





You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

Not too long ago, I posted about my little ones calling me a mean mommy in My Children Think I'm Mean. I love it! LOL

But, I want to remind everyone that I am certainly not the only meanie around...this holiday season, someone else will be up to his shenanigans again, stealing stockings and shoving trees up the chimney. Don't you just love the holiday movies from when we were little?



I had to add to this post, because it tickled me so much. I showed Dylan and Dakoda the Mr. Grinch song video right here on Mommy Rantings, and they both think that Mr. Grinch is (in Dyaln's words): "werry, werry mean for taking those kid's - what are those called ag-in? Oh, yeah...candy canes."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prayables.com Review

What an appropriate season to receive an email about Prayables.com! It's a time to be thankful, so I thought the timing was perfect!



Prayables.com is an online community for women to commence at, blog on, and find inspiration at. Sign up for daily prayers. Beyond the inspiration is quite a bit of laughter and and fun! I recommend you stop by Prayables.com to see how you can contribute as well as what you can get out of it yourself. They're currently looking for a few women to contribute to the site and PAY for accepted work...you can't beat that! In addition, they will promote your blog for free!

Here's a cute video "How To Pass the Chuckle Test" by Susan Diamond, Chief of Pray at Prayables:



Networking with other women that are faith-based is so good for your heart. As a mother, days are consumed with constantly taking care of other people...isn't it time you do something for yourself?

Baby Kiss and Coo DVD's Review and Holiday Give Away!

My children were raised with the Baby Einstein collection, since 1999, when my first child was born. Of course, this was pre-Disney endorsement, when they were very basic and the shapes and music were basically all there was to the videos.  Since then, that innovative mother has been endorsed by Disney and is now pretty stinking rich, leaving me to wonder, "Why didn't I come up with that idea?"

There's a new collection in town now, which I was lucky enough to receive two review copies of. It's called Baby Kiss and Coo.

First of all, I have to tell you that when the package arrived, ALL of my kids were jumping for joy to see what Mommy got in the mail and who it was really for. They were practically jumping out of their pants and pulling the package out of my hands. The DVD's were wrapped in some pink tissue paper and tied with a ribbon, and by golly, I almost bit someone's hand off that was trying to pull and tug at the ribbon. LOL


We made it through the package opening, managing to neatly untie the ribbon and keep the tissue paper intact, with no thanks to all 6 kids. Regardless of the fact that I explained over and over these DVD's were on the infant level, I had all 6 children eagerly waiting to assess the DVD's on their own. We popped in the Look! Shapes! DVD first. Immediately, little Dakoda and Dylan started bopping to the classical music, which is very familiar to all of my children, and the older kids started guessing what the shapes that were dancing across the screen were. 

The other DVD that I received was Under the Sea. There was an unannounced contest between my children to guess what the shapes were again, including the octopus, the sea urchin, the starfish and many others. Needless to say, the whole family was excited about our new and exciting DVD's, and mind you, they are made for infants to enjoy. LOL

GIVE AWAY!

Here's the exciting part for all of you mothers who have little ones...I have the opportunity to give away 2 DVD's to THREE lucky winners! Again, I am psyched about this holiday season and want you all to experience the taste of giving (or, rather receiving) this holiday season! 

I would love to present one of these sets to a family that is struggling financially this year to provide gifts to their children, so if you are one of those unfortunate families, please go to my contact page and email me (this "confession" would definitely be held in confidence, as I understand the embarrassment that comes along with financial troubles and how hard it is to ask for help, but the economy has been rough, so please do not hesitate to email me - I want to help you and your little ones). Just tell me a little about yourself and your little one(s) and I will hold a separate drawing for those in this category. Maybe you know someone that you cannot afford to help that has a little one...let me know.

For those of you that want to participate in the random drawing that will be held on November 30th, please enter with one comment for each of the following: 

1) "Follow" Mommy Rantings (this is a requirement for the winner) and let me know why you would love to receive the DVD's. (1 entry)

2) Tweet about this contest and leave me your Twitter name on the comment. You can do this every day for one entry each day. (don't forget to leave a comment each time you do this - limit, one per day!)

3) "Like" Mommy Rantings on Facebook for two entries - let me know who you are! (comment 2 times for your entries).

4) Follow "QueenBMomma" on twitter for one entry.

5) Blog about the give away (three entries).

6) Add my button (bottom, right hand column) to your blog for 2 entries.

Please remember that I will choose the winner randomly by picking two numbers. The corresponding comments will be the winners. For the financially struggling family, I will put the names in a hat and draw one out to choose (when you email me, let me know that you followed Mommy Rantings and anything else that you did on the list above for more chances to win, however I reserve the right to choose a family due to special financially troubling circumstances). 

Also, to those who enter, please remember to leave a way for me to contact you in case you win!!! Tell your friends who have babies!

Good luck everyone and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mommy Rantings Receives Another Award! (And, This Time, I Pass It On...)

The Holiday Spirit Feels So Good!


Mommy Rantings 

just received another award!


 I am proud to announce acceptance of:



*To accept this award, there are 4 rules*

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

Tatted Mom is a fairly new mom blogger and has learned the art of networking quickly. As soon as I "met" her, I liked her...and her blog rocks, so be sure to check her out! (Thanks a bunch!)



2. Share seven things about yourself



1. First and foremost, if you mess with my children, you mess with me!

2. I love to walk around barefoot, even when not pregnant. ;)

3. I love the holidays and feel strongly about teaching children deep morals and values surrounding the holidays.

4. I would rather receive than give, however I have a tendency to think of others (don't all moms?) before I think about myself.

5. I still believe in (the spirit of) Santa.

6. I'm the type of person that people love to hate and hate to love. (Don't hate.)

7. I'm not a perfect mother (duh!), but I raise my kids the best that way I can, and I believe in the bottom of my heart that I'm doing a pretty good job.


3. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers you have recently discovered and who you think are marvelously fantastic, innovative and inspiring. It was a close call for me...there were about 50 awesome blogs that I wanted to list, but I was limited to a dozen, so... 

Here's my list of 12...

4. Contact the bloggers you picked and let them know about the award.

Everyone who reads this (and visits the dozen blogs) rocks!

The Supernanny Time Out

Yes, I'm a fan of JoJo, otherwise known as Supernanny. I've loved her since day one. I've read her books and watched her shows...Her simple, no-nonsense, but loving way with children (and parents!) is so amazing - and I love her accent! I've been watching her for too many years, and have yet to completely incorporate her rules and regulations, however I must admit that I have stolen several of her innovative ideas and surprised my children with how smart and organized I am (Shhh! Don't tell!).

My DH is always nagging at me: why do I watch Supernanny so much, but I don't use her strategies. Au contraire! I do! I just don't stick to the same procedures all of the time, which completely musses everything up and creates a big question mark. I, like many other parents, simply don't have the energy to follow through on all of the steps required to do it JoJo's way. But, I'm trying it again...and my six year old, Wes, was the guinea pig this time.

Yes, JoJo, I finally followed through on a time out and both Wes and I were proud of ourselves, but we went through some steps before we made it to the proud point...

It seems little Wes has an issue with "touching himself" (I'll leave it at that), and it absolutely DRIVES.ME.UP.THE.WALL! So, when I caught him Saturday night, I immediately said, "Wes, go to bed!" It was, after all, beyond the bedtime mark and I was tired of the hands straying...

Then, I thought quickly. "As a matter of fact...sit in that chair-" I pointed. He looked flabbergasted, as he was already geared up to throw his usual I-don't-want-to-go-to-bed-tantrum-routine. 

"The naughty chair. You'll need to sit there for -"

"I know," Wes said, "Six minutes." He was far too willing to sit in the naughty chair as opposed to going to bed.

"Yes, six minutes," I said, barely covering my proud smile. "Lucas, please time six minutes and let me know when time is up." Lucas happens to be proud of his glow-in-the-dark, digital alarm watch and is always looking for reasons to keep track of time, so I figured I would pull a Lazy Mom move instead of getting up and setting the timer (after all, it was past bedtime on Saturday night).

We both seemed to forget about the time out, as when Lucas finally called out, "Wes, you can get up," we both were pretty surprised. Wes (my overly active, bounce around the house, from ceiling to bed to walls to chairs, child) had sat still in the chair without tipping it backwards for six whole minutes! 

I remembered JoJo's next step. "Wait a minute, come here."

He came over, "Yes, Mom." I hid another proud smile.

"Do you know why you had to sit in time out?" I asked...another JoJo step in the naughty chair/time out procedure.

"Yes. I touched myself. I should do that in private and then wash my hands, " he said, as serious as the night.

I was laughing inside. For some reason, the whole conversation was extremely hilarious to me, and Wes was being so very serious about it, which made it even more funny to me. "That's right, Wes. Now the next time..."

"I know, I know, Mom. I will sit in time out for six minutes, and the time won't start until I'm quiet."

"Very good, now you need to -"

He was ready with the apology before I could even request it. "I'm sorry, Mom. I'll try harder next time." Again, too funny. He hugged me, and off he went. 

Moments later, Wes popped up in front of me and had a confession to make, "Mom, you know why I was so good in time out?" he asked. I shook my head, curious to hear what he had to say. "I completely forgot I was even in time out, I was so busy watching the game."

This time, I let him see me laugh. Then, I looked down and rolled my eyes...that "I'm caught" look immediately crossed his face as he realized that his hand was once again where it did not belong, and he turned around and headed to the naughty chair. "Sorry, Mom."

I'm going to keep on working on JoJo's advice. My kids have seen the show a million times and know the routine. The Naughty Chair, it is, JoJo...we'll stop Wes from the inevitable hand-on-the-crotch issue sooner or later! (I hope.) 
Sometimes, I think Wes wants to be punished. Not spanked or whipped or beat, but he wants guidance and he wants someone to tell him that he is not acting appropriately or misbehaving. He wants boundaries and discipline. I know this, because he really tries hard when he is given attention and guidance. I also know because he knows the rules and regulations and he knows the routine for the time outs...and he's willing to serve the time if he does the "crime". 

You may not be able to use all of JoJo's advice at once. That's complete overload. Just take one idea at a time and practice and perfect it. Small changes can have a big effect. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pay Attention to the Give Aways!

I'm running around the Internet...LOL (The visual which comes to mind, with me lost out there in cyberspace with a big "?" over my head...) checking out other blogs and responding to messages and emails from other moms and tons of companies who are sharing the giving this season (and gosh darn it, trying to win some stuff for my kids!)...and I LOVE IT! There's nothing like being part of the giving!

If you have a little girl, you MUST run on by KandyLand and get in on her give away. She has extended the deadline to the 26th!

Bouffe e bambini has several give aways going on...don't miss out!

Songberries has their smart and sexy lingerie give away! I'm getting in on that one! As a mother who gets something for everyone else first, it would be nice to have something to make me feel...well, smart and sexy. :)

CanadianFreeStuff is giving away some awesome Raw Gaia Facial Toner...I want that one!

Shibley Smiles has a cup cake give away. Oh my goodness, I want some!

'Tis the season for giving! If you know about any give aways going on this holiday season, let me know! I'll definitely put up a post to advertise them!

Don't forget to get in on my CSNStores giveway...there's still a little more time! (Click link on the top left hand side of my blog).

Also, it's the last minute for her contest, but get in on the http://beautifulbiracial.com/ contest quickly for some awesome hair accessories!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Give some love!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Family Traditions (Guest Blog Post)



I am honored again to present you with another guest blog post. Laurie Neumann from Gift Expressions has contributed her take on Christmas Family Traditions - why didn't I think of that? - and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for such an inspirational blog post.

Do you have some Christmas family traditions? Or are you in the process of making some? Maybe you haven't thought much about it and don't feel they are all that important.

I think Christmas traditions are important to make no matter who your family consists of. Maybe it's just a mom and a child. Or a dad and a child. Or maybe you are a two-parent family with lots of kids, but not a lot of time. But traditions are still something you should be considering.

In our family, we have a few Christmas traditions. We ride around and look at outdoor Christmas lights that have been strung up on the neighborhood houses. We did this when I was growing up. Every Christmas Eve we would all pile in the car and ride around and look at Christmas lights. So, we have carried on this tradition for many decades.

We also watch a family Christmas movie on Christmas Eve and Christmas night. It is usually The Christmas Box and some other one we choose. I feel very fortunate that my kids (now in their twenties) still do this with us. I know it won't always be like this, so we are enjoying it while we can:-)

We have also had the same Christmas breakfast since our kids were born. We have an cheese and sausage quiche, warm apples and raisins and a homemade bread. Yum! This tradition, too, came from one we had when I was growing up. My mom always made us scrambled eggs among other things. So, I have adapted it to fit our family now.

My daughter has been invited to go to her boyfriend's house for Christmas. His parents live in another state, and they have offered to pay for her plane ticket to come down. But she declined. Why? Because she doesn't want to miss out on our family traditions! Now, are you starting to see the importance of them? It gives a reason for a family to stay close and spend time together. And, in my book, it doesn't get much better than that.

Need some gift ideas for Christmas this year? Visit Gift baskets for women and browse their beautiful selection. Gift Expressions http://www.giftexpressionsonline.com

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mothers Judging Mothers

 You know, it seems to me that once you become a mother, you immediately enter yourself into a whole new world of judgement. We're judged if we breastfeed, judged if we don't. Judged if we co-sleep with our new little ones, judged if we don't. We're judged by how well our children behave or because of the mistakes that they make. Judged if we spank, judged if we don't. We're judged if we go to church with our kids and we're judged if we decide against it. As mothers, we are under more scrutiny than most other people, regardless of the fact that we work harder and longer hours than most! And, I'm only just getting started...

When it comes down to it, the mothers (or anyone, for that matter) who have (has)appointed themselves as "judges of other mothers" sit around thinking about how everyone else parents incorrectly while they raise judgmental children. Yes, we're judged by OTHER MOTHERS who think that their strategies are far better than ours (or they are better altogether...they have more money, better clothing, more jewelry), and they are no better than any other mother on this Earth. Because no money, no strategy, and no "perfect mothering" outweighs real love for your children.

They don't LOVE their kids any more than any other mother...their kids may not even behave better...they just FEEL like they are better moms...

If You Appointed Yourself As A Judge...

If you are one of those mothers that stand around and judge other mothers (or parents, for that matter), who are you to pass judgement? Who made you so doggone perfect that no other mother can pass YOUR standards? You know, what? I have some "judgement" for you...

Yes, take that with a grain of salt. From what I heard, there is only ONE supreme being, and it's not you. Believe me, if you are pointing the finger at someone else's parenting strategies or judging ANYONE in any way, you're not perfect either.

I could come up with endless posts on this blog that announce that I know that I am not the perfect mother. So What? You're not either. And, here is another thought (please excuse the fact that it's a "copy"):

http://allmae.us/works/judgment.html


I will certainly put my opinions out there on this blog, but I'm not going to put myself in the shoes of perfection and pass judgement on another mother, her mothering strategies, or the way that she chooses to raise her children. The truth is: to each his own, and maybe your strategies work for Y-O-U, but that doesn't mean that they will work for other mothers...and just because another mother's strategies don't work for you doesn't mean they are wrong.

Beyond Strategies...To the Extreme

It makes me absolutely disgusted that people judge the parents who are struggling to keep a roof over their children's heads...the parents that work for long hours making next to nothing each hour that they are away from their family and then come home, make dinner (or they may even miss dinner because they work long hours and do not make it home until late) and rush through the ten million other things that need to be accomplished each night when you have kids.

How dare anyone complain that their house is not perfectly clean or that their dinnertime is not at exactly six o'clock each night? How dare another parent frown at them because their child showed up to school with a dirty shirt on because they didn't have $5 to do the laundry? What IF they have less money than you and cannot afford to purchase mittens and hats for their kids? If you have the time to waste judging that parent, wouldn't it be better spent at the thrift store buying new hats and mittens for those kids and DOING SOMETHING NICE FOR A CHANGE?

Change Will Come...

Look, it only takes one person to make major changes in the lives of others. Rather than judging someone else, you could be thinking about how you could positively affect their parenting style or help their children in a loving and kind way. Quit acting like someone appointed you a judge, get off your goodie-two-shoes behind and make a change.

Maybe the only change you need to make is to stop being so ridiculously judgemental. We're not in High School anymore...just because you have more friends, more money, more jewelry, drive "better cars" or think you have "better parenting strategies" doesn't mean that you love your children ANY MORE or raise your children ANY BETTER than anyone else...

Grow Up

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Impending Child Surgery

Phew! After months and months of worrying and stressing about Dylan's need for a surgery, we've finally neared the surgeon appointment on November 11th. The poor guy has been through some things. This is another thing that I am thankful for: We have finally straightened out the medical insurance issues and are on the countdown to the surgery.

I'm not sure if facing the surgery is harder for him or for me. I have told him as much as a little mind at 3 years old can understand, but I know the risks and the pain that can be associated with it, and he is oblivious to those things...which is definitely for the best. This is the second surgery that he will go through - and hopefully, the last. Memories of the last one is enough for me to shudder. If I could go through the surgery for him, I would.

The hoops we have jumped through...

You know what is completely and disturbingly annoying, though? In order for this poor little guy to get this surgery, despite the fact that we have been to the emergency room several times, we STILL had to take him to the PCP for a consultation (once the insurance issues were squared away, which is a whole new story!). It took him 2 minutes to agree that Dylan needed surgery. Now, we have to go to a surgeon for them to say the same thing!

The same surgeons that saw him at the ER...except, at the ER, they had some stand-in surgeons on duty the times that we went, so we have to go to one of the "regular" surgeons in order to get the same answer from them that we did from the stand-in ER surgeons and the PCP...he needs surgery. (Duh!) Without insurance, can you imagine the costs???

I will keep you posted on the actual surgery date when we get it on November 11th. The receptionist told me that the particular surgeon whom we are scheduled to see is booking surgeries pretty fast. Although it's pushing it to hope for this whole situation to be done and over with before Thanksgiving, he has been quite uncomfortable lately, so I'm going to push hard for it to happen as soon as possible. Nothing happens fast enough...especially when your child is uncomfortable.

Say a prayer for our little Dylan. I know he's in God's hands. Thanks!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

'Tis the Season For Giveaways!

According to recent predictions about this year's holiday spending, more people are going to be shopping online that ever before...so, I want to help you get started!

This is just the start for the holiday giveaways on Mommy Rantings...be sure to stay tuned to enter, see who wins, and watch out for which kind of give away is coming up next! Drum roll please....



The Spirit of Giving

One-stop holiday shopping can easily be done at CSNStores. CSNStores presents almost anything that the people on your shopping list can put on their wish list...from contemporary coffee tables to children's toys to kitchen gadgets and trinkets. In the spirit of giving, CSNStores has offered to give away a $35 gift certificate that can be used at any of their 200 online stores to get your shopping underway. Even though I was tossed up whether to keep the gift certificate for myself or give it away, I maintain the faith that what comes around goes around (and when you bless others, you receive larger blessings - and I can use all the blessings that I get) and decided to give it away. I am sooooo excited to see who wins!

The Contest Rules

1) Leave a comment and a way for me to contact you for one entry. 

2) Tweet this post and leave your Twitter name for a second entry. 

3) "Share" this post on Facebook for a third entry.

4) Blog about this give away on your blog for two more entries.

5) Subscribe to Mom Audience for an entry.

Deadline

This contest will end on November 23rd, 2010 at midnight, eastern standard time. Sorry, my international friends, this certificate will not cover international fees. Good luck!

Update: November 27th, Random.org chose the number 5! BeautifulBiracial, I will be emailing you! Congrats!

Friday, November 5, 2010

DIY Frugal Christmas Gift GUEST BLOGGER POST

Seems like everyone is feeling the pain of the ongoing and never-ending recession...so, when one of my fellow blogging moms contacted me and told me about how she avidly campaigns to be frugal in her house and asked if she could send me a guest blog post, I was ecstatic...who's NOT looking for ways to save a few dollars this year?

So, in the spirit of giving, sharing and saving, here's what Maria Rainier has to offer:

DIY Frugal Christmas Gift


There’s something endearing about a cute jar of goodies in a wicker basket or bound together with a ribbon—so endearing, in fact, that it makes a great gift for almost any occasion, even during the holidays. Not only do your loved ones know that you took time and effort into making this gift rather than making a short trip to TJMaxx, you get to stay well within your holiday shopping budget.

At market, the following can be expensive, but they’re cheap to make by hand and even fun to do so. Practically anything goes in a jar: milk bath solution, cookies, French vanilla cocoa mix, cinnamon oatmeal pancake mix, etc. The focus of this post will be in making your own organic fruit jam. This is a significantly quicker and much easier way than most DIY jams and jellies, so it works for gift givers on a tight schedule.

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/900889
Things You’ll Need

* Glass jar with lid
* Fresh, organic fruit (to get the best prices and most trustworthy produce, go to your local farmers market and get whatever’s in season)
* Sugar
* Corn starch

Directions

In a clean glass jar (the one in which you’ll be giving the jam), put 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of corn starch and stir with a spoon until mixed well. Add ¼ cup of cold water until the lumps of corn starch and sugar are gone. Finally, add one cup of fresh fruit you’ve previously diced. Some people prefer bigger chunks of fruit in their fruit spread, but this may not spread as well as store-bought spread. Keep the diced fruit small for the best effect. Stir the mixture.

Put the mixture still in the jar in the microwave and cook on high for ten minutes. If it’s too runny after ten minutes, cook it some more so the water evaporates. Don’t scald yourself when taking it out of the microwave!

This fruit spread will keep for two weeks in a refrigerator (and time everlasting in the freezer), so be sure to make it just before the day you’re giving it away. Also, tell whoever is receiving your gift that it’s organic so it won’t keep for long. Use smaller jars for this very purpose—the contents of the jar should be able to be used up within two weeks.

Use the spread on pancakes or waffles, ice cream or sorbet, with or without peanut butter on bread or crackers, or in pies. If you’re giving them away, consider cutting out a small square of cloth—plaid or checkered cloth look adorable—and tie it to the jar’s lid by a bit of twine. Tie to the lid a label of what kind of fruit is in the spread. Address it to the individual and place in a wrapped box or basket with a ribbon for presentation.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop. Thanks, Maria, for your contribution to Mommy Rantings!

Orgnot is Definitely Not! They Don't Pay

As a freelancer, I run across some pretty hairy messes when it comes to collecting money from the people that I write for. I'm not saying that this happens all of the time, however, it happens enough to hurt the finances...and, I'm tired, as a mother of 6 children, of fighting these people for the money that is rightly owed to me. I put time and energy into the work that I do - and what I send to clients is only top notch work.

For the clients that I work with: thank you for being honest people and paying. For those that have stiffed a freelancer out there in this world: you should be ashamed of yourself - as well as exposed!

I thought long and hard about whether or not it would be professional to post this, and I'm doing it. I can't let this company continue without saying a word, knowing that they can (and most likely will) do the same thing to someone else. I'm speaking out for the work that I did, the money that I am owed, and all of the freelancers in the world who have been stiffed by so-called clients.

This time, it is a company named Orgnot, over in the UK. The link will take you to their site. Here is another link: ConsultantCampus (I expect this site to disappear once this is posted, so the company can say - What site???). That is the work that I have done for them, with posts scheduled to post out until March of 2011. The debt now beyond the range of $225.

This amount does not include late fees (the work should have been paid for around September 25th) or any administrative fees for the collection activity that I have had to make (which, at this point, makes no difference, considering that they are pulling a shyster move). In addition, I not only lost the pay, but also the rest of the work that was promised to me over the next few months. It takes time to replace all of that work with other contracts and requests...and I have turned down other work with this contract in mind. The fact that I was not paid a little $225 chunk of money is not the main issue...

The following is the contract that was signed by both me and Mr. Robert Graves (digitally): I was originally going to post the whole contract, however I am going to cover my behind and simply copy and paste the beginning and the end.

Independent Contractor Agreement For Creative Contractor
This Agreement is made between OrgNot Business Services ("Client"), with a principal
place of business at Mayfair House, London, and Bethany Cousins ("Contractor"), with a
principal place of business at Buffalo, NY.

Digital Signatures
Client: Robert Graves


By:  ____________________________________________
Signature
Title: Content and Marketing Manager, OrgNot
Date: ________________

Contractor: Bethany Cousins


By:  ____________________________________________
Signature
Title: _________________________
Taxpayer ID Number: _________________
Date: ________________


What I Did

I did the work on the blog, marked each blog post to hit the web each Saturday, and the guy that I was dealing with went MIA. When I emailed him to request payment, he never emailed back. So, after two weeks, I contacted the company.

I was discussing the issue with a Mr. John Fairbanks (through email), who acted like he had no knowledge of the work that I was doing and told me that Mr. Graves was on leave until the week prior to Halloween. I forwarded a ton of emails and correspondence to Mr Fairbanks, and he then requested a copy of the contract. I sent that, too. He said he had to go through a "procedure", but, to me that sounded like another put-off. And, it was.

That's Not Our Contract!

This Mr. Fairbanks is now claiming that the contract was not between me and OrgNot. It was between me and Mr. Graves. Are you kidding me? Do I look like an idiot??? Go back to "This Agreement is made between OrgNot Business Services ("Client"), with a principal place of business at Mayfair House, London, and Bethany Cousins ("Contractor"), with a principal place of business at Buffalo, NY." Sounds like there was an agreement between OrgNot and myself to me, Mr Fairbanks! He says that the contract was not on company letterhead. Give me a break, John! Contracts are not normally on company letterhead. I was a business manager for many many years, mind you.

Excuses Excuses

Of course, the Mr. Graves may have been operating under false pretenses. But, if that were the case, then why would Mr Fairbanks tell me that Robert Graves was on leave? He stated this several times in emails. Now, he wants to tell me that the project that I was working on is a "dead" project...meaning you've chosen not to pursue it and now I take the loss? And, Robert Graves has yet to come back from this supposed "leave". He probably left them due to their unfair practices...

Don't Pay Me and Then Waste My Time

I did send Mr. Fairbanks several emails that let him know exactly how unfair and unprofessional this whole situation is. Each email that he sent to me was a stall tactic, with his "There is a procedure that I must stick to." Why waste my time? If you're not going to pay, don't you think that you've wasted enough of my time? Don't put me through the ringer anymore than you already have!

More Crap

Let's go even further...he had the nerve to get upset with me and tell me that I would have to pursue Robert Graves for the money, considering the contract was not between OrgNot and myself - and if I wanted to pursue Robert Graves, I would have to go through the proper legal channels in order to get his contact information from OrgNot. Ummmm...see contract, again. Even better? The first two weeks of writing that I did for them WAS PAID FOR through PayPal...who paid it? OrgNot Services!!! That's the name that is on my PayPal statement.

Now, he's taking the standpoint that "if you are going to pursue legal action, I'm not going to pay" stance. Funny, he was the one talking about how his "legal guys" were going to look over the contract (which I had to send him, even though he SAYS that he has access to Robert's email - the contract is right in the email!). I was going to pursue collection, however I think there is a time and place for everything, and the truth is: I am going to make sure that they don't do this to any other poor writer.

So, basically, just do anything and say anything that you can to screw me out of the money that you owe me, and then get upset with me because I tell you the truth - do you know how unprofessional and disgraceful you are acting? You're going to spend 20-40 hours in manpower time to fight against me in order to save the $225 that you owe me? Wouldn't it have just been more honest and HONORABLE to pay me?

If This Has Happened to You

For any other WAHMs or WAHDs (and any other freelancer who is trying to pay their bills) that have been through this type of crap, I hate to hear it (and for those of you that aren't freelancers, I want you to know that this is not out of the norm - it happens all the time to a lot of freelancers). You perform work that is great, do everything that you are told, and then wonder how you are going to pay the electric bill or have to cut down the grocery bill because the idiot doesn't pay. (Thank God my income is not the one that we lean on to pay the bills!)

Have you had to ask family for help with your rent or mortgage because various individuals and companies have requested work from you and had no intentions of paying for it? That's unbelievably wrong!

Worse than not paying me is the stress that I incur because I could have worked for someone else that would have paid me immediately. Whether or not you requested the work to be done or Robert Graves, on behalf of OrgNot, requested it, is not my problem.

My problem is the fact that I have emails that are proof of the work that was requested by OrgNot, a contract, proven work on your blog (regardless of whether it's a "dead" project or not), payments from you and there is still a bill owed to me. My problem is that I wasted time writing for you when I could have spent my time writing for a company or individual with morals and values.

Speak Out, Too!

And, so to all of you freelancers that have been screwed over by clients, this is for you - I'm speaking out! And, for those clients who are even thinking of stiffing me in the future, I will do the same thing. I'm thinking about press releases: OrgNot Knowingly Rips Off Mom Freelancer. OrgNot the Ripper. LOL...That's kind of funny.

How can you help? "Speak out" if this happens to you. Don't just let these jerks off the hook. If you're a writer, blog about it, send out Press Releases (my next step), and let people know so that it does not happen to them!

But first and foremost:

Facebook "like" this post and Tweet it...spread it around. Get it right up there, under the OrgNot website when searched in Google. As far as I'm concerned, this is just the beginning for the bad PR.

If they decide to do the RIGHT thing, I will definitely update this post, but I highly doubt it...and, in this case, a press release or blog post per week will be allocated to the "OrgNot Doesn't Pay" cause...because I don't want them doing this to another parent (or any freelancer, for that matter).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One Holiday Down...Time for Giving Thanks Now

Congratulations! We have one holiday down and - how many left? - to go. We ended up doing the last minute do-it-yourself costumes, after all. Thank goodness for creative imaginations!

Next, we need to start thinking about how thankful we should be. I have so many reasons to be thankful this year, beginning with the blessing of a healthy and loving family. I don't wait until Thanksgiving to count all of my blessings - I am thankful everyday.

larearose.blogspot.com


Except last Friday, that is. I was at my wit's end with the world and life in general and turned to God with every bit of my being. I think we all have those days when we feel like our back is against the wall and we're not getting all of the answers that we want. Friday was that day for me.

It didn't happen all of a sudden - it was one messy thing after another after another. Friday wasn't the first time that I turned to God in desperation. I talk to Him on a daily basis, good or bad. I'm not a fair-weather friend to Him. But, Friday was the "snapping" point. I was distraught and completely disgusted...and then it came. A phone call that changed everything! It may seem impossible, but all it took was that one phone call and I was able to find some relief. And, I turned to God and thanked him.

icuraconservative.com


We need to learn to be thankful every day, even if it's just for very small things. The more thankful we are, the more blessed we will feel - and, perhaps, the more blessings we will receive. For, if it seems like we're not thankful for what we DO have, no matter how little it may be, we most likely won't be thankful for more when we get it.

This holiday season, I hope you really take the time to think about the blessings that you currently have and share your thoughts about your blessings with your children. And, let me tell you, I understand how to be thankful that I can put food on the table every day for my children. I know how to be thankful that they are healthy and happy. I know how to be thankful to have a roof over our heads.


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