Category: Giveaway

4 Easy Gift Giving Traditions AND A Giveaway!

My computer is FINALLY virus free and back home on top of my desk!! I’m so excited I feel like giving something away! But what? Hmmm… my stapler is pretty cool and useful. Nah.  It is Christmas so I’ve got to be a little generous. How about a $25.00 gift certificate to Toys R Us? YES!!!

So, I am going to need you to share my blog with your friends! Not my Facebook page (although that is pretty fabby too) my actual blog! Once I reach 500 blog followers I will pick a winner!! To enter you HAVE to comment below THIS post with the number of friends you’ve shared my blog with.

Let the sharing begin! I’m sure you have some Christmas shopping to finish up and wouldn’t a gift card to TRU help with that? The sooner we get to 500 followers the sooner you can win that card!

Speaking of gifts, here are 4 of our favorite gift giving traditions:

Book-A-Night Advent Count Down

Book a night Advent count down.
Book a night Advent count down.

My kids really love this one! It’s basically a whole month of presents before the actual presents arrive. Each night before bed they get to open one book. We read the stories while eating Christmas cookies and sipping milk. Some nights they can’t wait to take their book to their room to look it over alone. In their rooms. In silence. I think I love this gifting tradition a little more than they do. I pick up gently used books all year from garage sales and the local libraries for a total of 46 books. The girls get a book a night from Dec. 1st-23rd. On Christmas Eve. they get to open a bigger gift of pajamas.

A Cookie for Me, A Cookie for You!

Cookies and cinnamon applesauce ornaments are great for Firefighters, Police Officers, Mail carriers and anyone who likes cookies.
Cookies are great for Firefighters, Police Officers, Mail carriers and anyone who likes cookies.

We make and frost (poorly as pictured above) several dozen cookies to deliver to our local Fire Fighters and Police Officers. Not only is it a great way to show our gratitude, but this tradition also introduces our kids to important community members. They begin to understand who the helpers are and to not be afraid of the men and women in these uniforms.

Share the Craft Love with Friends

Fun little crafty cards for neighborhood friends.
Fun little crafty cards for neighborhood friends.

My little family is really fortunate to live next door to some of the most wonderful people on earth! We like to share some fun homemade crafts with them. I traced each kids foot to make penguins and added colored paper for the belly, the beak and some googly eyes. We made them into cards and delivered personally. We made the trees  by gluing Popsicle sticks, fruit loops cereal and a pretzel to green paper. These are really easy crafts for the age 2-3 crowd.

Making Ornaments

Hand print snow man ornaments are great for the grand parents!
Hand print snow man ornaments are great for the grand parents!

This is one of my favorite ornament gifts. Here is a quick tutorial from Youtube:

If you are giving these away to the grandparents or family you can even attach this little poem:

These aren’t just five snowmen
As anyone can see.
I made them with my hand
Which is a part of me.
Now each year when you trim the tree
You’ll look back and recall
Christmas of 2014
When my hand was just this small!

Each year we buy a new ornament for our kids to put on the tree. The point is to one day hand them a set of ornaments for their own tree in their home. We also make one hand print keepsake ornament. This way we’ll have a set of ornaments ornaments for our own tree when the kids take theirs.

Don’t forget to share my blog with friends and comment below how many friends you shared with! Once I reach 500 followers I’ll pick a winner for a $25.00 Toys R Us gift card!

gift card hands

*This giveaway is now closed*

Sharing is Caring:

Freezer Meal Workshop and GIVEAWAY!

School starts for  my kiddos in just two weeks. I convinced myself it would be easy since we don’t really need to buy any supplies or a new wardrobe. But, getting us all back into a routine and adjusting to a new schedule will take some prep-work and time to adjust. This weekend hubby and I will take the time to get ourselves organized and ready. First on my to-do list is planning my freezer meal menu! If you have not yet heard of freezer meal cooking you need to know it is life changing! My friend Liz Lanoy is here to share with you how easy it is to use Wildtree products to make 10 freezer meals in about an hour! Stay tuned to the end for the giveaway!

Hi! I’m Liz. I am a mom to a very busy three year old and expecting my second little one in a few months. I work a full time job, and I am a rep for Wildtree Foods. If you have never heard of freezer meal cooking, let me introduce you to a Wildtree Freezer Meal workshop just in time for the back-to-school season, and to get you out of that, “what’s for dinner?” rut. Let’s face it most of us do not cook from scratch daily let alone a few times a week.  There are too many of us who get stuck in the same old dinner routine and order a pizza or open a boxed meal or frozen dinner. Not only are packaged foods and take out pricey, but they also contain loads of fat, salt, preservatives, chemicals, food dyes, and quite possibly MSG.

How often do you hear your family say this?
How often do you hear your family say this?

I don’t know about you, but I fall into the category of women who don’t enjoy cooking. I am however very conscious of the foods we eat and found myself spending too much time in the store aisles scouring labels for chemicals and preservatives. I was also a victim of standing in front of my pantry at 5pm trying to figure out what I could throw together and call it dinner.

I first tried Wildtree products at a freezer meal workshop where I learned to prep 10 meals for the week. Before that night I had never been to anything related to Wildtree. I was HOOKED when my husband began helping me prep my meals. (This is something that does not occur more than a few times a year). With their products I found it easy to throw together quick meals on the fly, or plan ahead with freezer meals by following their easy recipes and instructions.

Attending a Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop is super simple! Here’s what you need to know:

1. Get shopping list from your Wildtree Rep for your groceries and prep instructions.

All your recipes and grocery shopping list is provided by your Wildtree Rep.
All your recipes and grocery shopping list is provided by your Wildtree Rep.

2. Purchase your workshop bundle of seasonings/marinades/oils from directly from your Wildtree rep.

Liz and her husband- one of the reasons why she uses Wiltree products in her home.
Liz and her husband- one of the reasons why she uses Wiltree products in her home.

3. Pick up the remaining grocery items.

You bring all your produce and protein to your workshop.
You bring all your produce and protein to your workshop.

4. Spend one hour of your week prepping 10 all-natural meals.

10 weeknight meals done in just 1 hour!
10 weeknight meals done in just 1 hour!

You just stocked your freezer with ten meals that are ready to pull out on a busy night and take the stress out of cooking! That will get you through the first two weeks the kids are back-to-school! You also get to take  home the left over Wildtree products to use for 20-30 more meals.  Each freezer meal serves 4-6 and the cost per serving is less than $3 a person. You can easily customize recipes to accommodate food sensitivities. The best part of a freezer meal workshop is inviting your friends to your meals together while sipping wine!

wild tree

Just to share a bit more about Wildtree products, Wildtree is a USDA certified organic food company with a 100% all-natural product line. No chemicals, preservatives, MSG, high fructose corn syrup or food dyes.  By the end of 2014 Wildtree will also be a certified GLUTEN FREE company! All of their products are peanut-free and many are already gluten free.  Wildtree products were created to help busy cooks simplify their time in the kitchen and serve healthy family meals. You can make quick, easy, delicious meals that are healthy and affordable!

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will receive a  “One Pot Meals” Menu Planner Bundle! This includes 10 recipes and 8 full sized products to make each recipe!! (Chicken Bouillon Soup Base, Garlic Galore Seasoning Blend, Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend, Leslie’s Chili Mix, Mexican Skillet Meal Seasoning, Pot Pie Skillet Meal, Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil, Tuscany Bread Dipper Herb Blend).

Simply click the link and follow the directions

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e03239814/

*This giveaway is now CLOSED*

Sharing is Caring:

Why Mom’s Night Out is Important – GIVEAWAY!!

The other day I cracked under the pressure of potty training the twins alone while my husband was away for FIVE days. I took to social media to share my plight. I described my fantasy of checking into a hotel for three days to shower for 8 hours alone, eat some chocolate cake and watch hours upon hours of mindless TV. Judging by some of the comments not everyone shared my enthusiasm for moms taking alone time.

For the record, I don’t want to spend time away from my kids. I just want to unplug from the demands of my day job.  Being home with kids 24/7 is hard work. I would love a break now and then. That’s why I look forward to Mom’s Night Out (MNO)! Whether it’s going out for drinks or dinner or my new favorite, Vine Van Gogh paint night, moms *NEED* a time out!

Vine Gogh Paint Night
Vine Gogh Paint Night

Here is why I love a night out once in a while:

Spending all my time tuned into the demands of 3-year-olds obscures my link to other humans. I could go days without chatting to another adult. Sometimes I long to be connected to the rest of the world. I don’t mean the dramas of Facebook, but an honest connection with friends. When I spend time with other people it feels like I have more people in my circle than just princesses and Strawberry Shortcake. (FYI: totally a snooty bunch).

Not a snooty one in the bunch!
My circle of peeps.

When I leave hubby in charge for a night it makes him more aware of the amount of work it takes to get our kids from the breakfast table to bedtime. It’s a bonus if he has to handle the bedtime shenanigans all by himself. Plus, it’s great daddy-daughter bonding time, right?

Sharing war stories with other moms gives me perspective. My kids do stupid things all the time. In the moment of cleaning it all up I’m not laughing… until I hear about how it happened to some other mom. Stuff is just way funnier when its not happening to you!  It reminds me that I am not living in a bubble and that all of the stress of parenting is temporary. Yes. Even 18 years is temporary. One day soon I’ll be sending them off on the school bus to spend 6 hours of their day with other people. Then like a week later they’ll start college!

When I talk to other adults and use big words like “legalization” and “perfunctory,” it reminds me I am smart and stuff. It makes me feel like those few remaining brain cells clustered way in the back haven’t failed me!

When I spend too much time with poop it makes me ‘hatey.’ Five days alone with twins who are potty training is insanity … no it’s twinsanity! No one should ever have to clean up that much poop. Ever.

Back when I was a ‘working girl’ I’d count down the week till Friday at 5 o’clock! Then I could check out of my work week and head out for nom-noms and beer. Now my 5 o’clock countdown is for bedtime with no promise of nom-noms or beer. Except on Mom’s Night!

I like to paint... and I like to drink wine.
I like to paint… and I like to drink wine.

Thank you Vine Van Gogh for another great night out!

If you haven’t been to a Vine Van Gogh paint night yet you’re in luck! Enter for your chance to win a 2 pack of tickets to the Brews and Brushes event at Keegan Ales on Aug. 20th! Click here to enter

No skills required! Just you, some friends and some fun!

Vine_Van_Gogh-Logo-website

Actual Facebook fantasy status update: After this week alone (that’s 5 days in a row) while hubby was away for work (eating steak for dinner, talking to humans and sleeping in a cushy hotel) I realize something:
All I want for my birthday is to check into a hotel for 2 maybe 3 days, take a 8 hour hot shower alone, order some fresh hot food and sit down while I eat it….maybe even lie in bed and eat it… yeah, totally lie in bed and eat it. Might binge on a little (or a lot of) chocolate cake. Watch actual live TV and sleep. I’m not even going to get dressed, just wear a robe. Then I’m going to wake up and take a nap before my lunch of chocolate cake and champagne. I might text a few mom friends while I’m at it and tell them to make up an excuse to get out of the house. Say you need to run to Target for ‘lady supplies’ and drive over here to hang out for a few hours. I’ll put on clothes and we’ll just laugh and eat and watch TV. It will be great!

Where do you go for a fun Mom’s Night out?

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED*

Sharing is Caring:

How to Jazz up Your Summertime Hydration and A GIVEAWAY!

Help me welcome my friend and very talented Registered Dietictian, Liz Malgieri as today’s guest blogger! She shares with us how to keep ourselves hydrated through the summer heat. If you want to keep your “Whatever” cool about you  pay attention to Liz’s advice! Read through to the end for a fun giveaway courtesy of Village Apothecary!

Liz

Summertime…sigh. We wait all year for this weather and now we’re right in the thick of it. Long, warm relaxing days lead to cool, breezy nights. Except…wait, we’re moms! Our days are often more frenzied than relaxing. We run from activity to activity well into the night. Playground visits, backyard sandcastles, chasing after toddlers, keeping our kids afloat in the pool; both kids and moms are always sweating. Amid the fun chaos that is a summer with kids lies one big problem…most of us, adults and kids alike are subject to dehydration. Making sure that you and your family stay hydrated should be of utmost importance, especially in the summer.

photo 1

We lose about ten cups of water per day between breathing, perspiring and other bodily functions. This increases even more in the summertime. As a busy mom, I know I can barely make sure that I eat lunch, let alone make sure that I drink over ten cups of water per day! Dehydration can drain more than your water levels. It can drain your energy levels and lead to fatigue, increased blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, constipation and even weight gain. Yes, weight gain. Some common signs of dehydration are dark yellow or orange colored urine – light yellow to clear is a great sign that you’re hydrated. A headache and light cramps in legs can also be signs of dehydration.

photo 2

Here are some tips to help you and your family stay happily hydrated this summer:

1. Drink water!

  • Our bodies will use the fluids in many common drinks and foods to aid in hydration, but nothing is better than water!
  • Only water and herbal teas are considered hydrating fluids. Milk and juices, not as much.

2. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.

  • Caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic effect on the body. This means that not only will you excrete the fluids that you drank, but water will also be drawn from cells to be excreted! For every 8oz. of a caffeinated or serving of alcohol that you drink, consume 12oz. of water to make up for it.

3. Avoid sports drinks.

  • Unless you are a hardcore marathon runner or athlete, these are not necessary for electrolyte replenishment. They are basically sugary salt water. Hello calories!
  • If you are worried that you or your child is dehydrated with electrolyte loss, drink water with a banana with peanut butter OR if on the go, try coconut water. Even more portable is coconut water powder that you can add to a water bottle to replenish electrolytes without the added food dyes, flavors and sugar.

photo 3

If you find plain water boring here are a few ways to make drinking water more fun:

Fill a water bottle or pitcher with cold water and ice and add your favorite fruit for flavoring! The water will slowly infuse with the flavors of the fruit and when the water is gone, you get a sweet, healthy treat! Some ideas include: Cucumber and ginger slices, strawberry slices and mint leaves, pineapple and mango chunks, or your favorite citrus slices. The combinations are limitless!

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Herbal tea is another easy way to flavor plain water. I love taking a favorite herbal tea bag and infusing  in a water bottle. You don’t need boiling water to make tea. It may take longer to infuse, but it can be delicious and refreshing. My favorite tea for this is a hibiscus tea. The color turns a deep pink and it is fruity and delicious without added sugar or caffeine.

photo 5

Make fruity ice cubes! This is a fun way for your kids to get involved! Fill ice cube trays with a chunk or slice of your favorite fruit or herbs and then top with water and freeze. Add to your glass of water for flavor and it looks pretty too!

photo 6

OR Puree your favorite fruits or veggies and fill ice cube trays with puree. When frozen, add to drinking water!

photo 7

This summer, and throughout the year, make sure you and your little ones always have water on hand to stay hydrated.

Bottoms up!

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY: One lucky reader will win a 22oz. LifeFactory Flip Cap water bottle, courtesy of Village Apothecary to help stay happily and easily hydrated this summer! Click HERE to enter!

photo 8

Picture to show color selection. Giveaway includes one water bottle for one lucky winner.

Liz Malgieri is a Registered Dietitian and Director of Nutrition at Village Apothecary, a new breed of pharmacy offering free nutritional services and professional level vitamins and supplements. She is a true Whatever Mom and lives in Saugerties with her five year old daughter, Lily.

*This giveaway is CLOSED*

Sharing is Caring:

Watermelon Cupcakes Are a Great Summer Birthday Surprise!

Help me welcome Pamela from Creating Barefoot! Pamela is a busy mom, Barefoot Books Rep, Blogger, Painter and an all around super mom! She is sharing with us how to make watermelon cupcakes. Curious? Read on! Oh and there’s a giveaway too! Read through to the end for details!

Pamela from Creating Barefoot
Pamela from Creating Barefoot

I am beyond thrilled to be a guest blogger for The Whatever Mom! I have followed her blog since day one; and I have loved and related to each and every post. Before kids I was a complete planner, over-achiever and detailed person. Now that I have 2 very different boys constantly running in different directions, with different wants, and likes and tastes I have certainly come to take on the “whatever” mantra myself.

My older son, completely unlike his mother, will not put a piece of chocolate to his mouth. No ice cream, no cake, no frosting, no candy bars. But put a bowl of fruit in front of him and he will devour it and ask for more. Of course not something I mind, though hard to lure him with bribes of sweet treats when I need to give him a little extra incentive.

Like any new, over- achiever mom I slaved over his first birthday cake. A beautiful sesame street chocolate cake covered in yummy butter cream and sweet fondant Elmo faces. He wouldn’t touch it, let alone try a piece. I thought great, I won’t have to worry about the sugar high later.

By his second birthday I felt bad he wouldn’t eat his own birthday cake. I knew I had to come up with something different and carved his cake out of a watermelon instead. He ate a great big juicy slice and loved every last bite of it.

Watermelon carved cake
Watermelon carved cake

The first “cake” went over so well, the following year I made this for his Mickey Mouse Train Party. (We had a joint party so the cake on the bottom was for his cake- loving little brother).

Watermelon Mickey Train
Watermelon Mickey Train

And that brings us to this year and my dilemma with sending in a healthy, child friendly snack for his birthday celebration at school. I wanted to make sure it was something he would eat and per the school guidelines it had to be healthy. Following my watermelon cake tradition I figured I could pretty easily make them into cupcakes!

Watermelon cupcakes with banana frosting and blueberry topper
Watermelon cupcakes with banana frosting and blueberry topper

Here is what you need:

  • 1 Watermelon sliced into 1 inch slices
  • 3-4 Bananas
  • A Circle shaped cookie cutter (be sure it is small enough to fit inside your cupcake liners)
  • Blueberries for topping
  • Decorative sprinkles

STEP 1: Cut watermelon into 1 inch slices.

STEP 2: Use cookie cutter to cut out each circle and place inside cupcake liners.

STEP 3:  Cut two small slices of banana per watermelon slice. Mash them up a little to look more like frosting and place on top.

STEP 4: Top with blueberry as the “cherry topper” and add a generous amount of sprinkles.

melon cakes edit

The teachers raved about the “cupcakes” and the kids ate them all up! It is a super healthy and adorable summer birthday treat!

And now for the Giveaway! ONE lucky reader will win a FREE book from Barefoot Books!

This giveaway is only open for 24 HOURS! Click the link below and follow directions in the box! Don’t forget to share!

Enter to win THIS book!
Enter to win THIS book!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e032391/

*This giveaway is now CLOSED*

Sharing is Caring:

Mother’s Day Giveaway Extravaganza!

I am beyond excited to share with you The Whatever Mom’s VERY FIRST Giveaway! In honor of Mother’s Day there will be FOUR lucky winners of some really amazing prizes!

To enter simply sign up to follow my blog and like and share my Facebook posts about the contest! Winners announced on Tuesday May 6th!  That’s only 5 days away- better get to sharing!

Here’s what you could win:

arrival giveaway 2Arrival giveaway

A children’s book and coloring book set! The Toddler Room “Arrival” written by Hudson Valley author Jodi Lobdell Bulson, tells the story of a little boy’s journey to day care. This set is prefect not only for teachers and daycare providers, but also for parents of young children and for children starting a day care routine for the first time. Jodi holds an associate’s degree in early elementary education and now owns and operates a day care in her home.

bucci giveaway

A specially designed pair of  earrings from Bucci Handmade Jewelry! These brass and copper earrings are nickle and lead free. Karen Bucci began making hand crafted jewelry from her home in Saugerties, NY in 2008. She is passionate about creating unique pieces that allow women to express themselves and is very selective about the materials used in her original designs.

HVSC giveaway

A gift basket of extremely natural Hudson Valley Skin Care products!  Glenn and Cathie Arpino, owners of Hudson Valley Skin Care, hand make fresh, small batches of product right here in the Hudson Valley. They include local ingredients into their products as often as possible. This is perfect for yourself, or any mom in need of pampering! (Products in photo do no to represent products in gift basket).

And, the grand prize is:

Union-Health-Wellness-150-2 giveawaygreat_expectings giveaway

A FREE consultation and ONE MONTH of Health coaching with Holly Walsh! Holly is a certified Health and Wellness coach and owner of Union Health and Wellness LLC.  She is committed to helping people find a balanced nutritional path! Plus a FREE consultation and ONE MONTH fitness follow up with Christine McCracken owner of Great Expectings.  Christine specializes in helping moms get fit with or without a gym membership, and getting in shape before, during and after pregnancy. Who couldn’t use a total health makeover?

(Both Holly and Christine offer their services via telephone for convenience).

CONTEST RULES:

Must be 18 or older to win.

Do not need to be a mom to enter- all prizes are great gifts for anyone’s mom!

Must register as a follower of The Whatever Mom, or Like and Share The Whatever Mom’s Facebook posts about this contest.

Winner will be selected at random by midnight on Monday May 5th and announced on Tuesday May 6th.

One winner per prize item.

Happy sharing and good luck! 

*This giveaway is now CLOSED*

Sharing is Caring:

Building a community one click at a time.