Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Signing Time with Rachel Coleman

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Rachel Coleman the co-creator of the Signing Time series for Mommytalk.com and you can check it out here.

I used Signing Time with my oldest and now using it with my youngest who it so close. She was actually signing "eat" to me the other day which was awesome. It is progress but we are not quite full communication yet. It will not be long though and it is nice to know my hard work is paying off.

Rachel is a wonderful person and is very devoted to her family. It was a pleasure to talk to her and great to hear her recommendations first hand. She definitely knows her stuff and gave me some really great tips to pass along. I really appreciate her taking the time to talk to me and share some of her stories.

Go check out the article and the wonderful community over at MommyTalk. I have met some great friends over there and they are always happy to help. They offer great parenting advice and awesome parenting articles. I really want to thank them for giving me this opportunity and for helping me along the way.

Salvation Army - Doing the most good?

Of course it is common this time of year for the Salvation Army to be outside store fronts asking people for money. The other day I was out shopping and came across one and I noticed the slogan they had said, "Doing the most good". What in the world does that mean? I mean, are they actually saying they do more good than any other charity? My first thought was how arrogant that is and in my personal opinion it is down right inappropriate. I certainly understand this is a goal they wish to achieve and maybe they are in fact doing more good than anyone else. It just did not sit right with me for a charity like that to choose that phrase for advertising. That slogan was everywhere I went and every time I see it I get annoyed. People give to the charities they feel passionate about and that is the way it should be. This struck me as some sort of crazy competition. Like you need to give all your money to them because the other charities were not good enough and did not do near as much good as they did. I finally came across one yesterday that had a "Sharing is caring" sign which was so much better. This is the season for giving and helping others. Do we really need to keep score?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Precious Girls Club Winner!

The winner of the Precious Girls Club Giveaway is Sharon who said:

I love that it teaches values...as a mom of a daughter and granddaughter...and a future aunt of a new little girl...we need to get back to what is important and teach young ladies the right things...confidence, self esteem, kindness..etc THANKS on December 14, 2008

Congratulations Sharon!

If you did not win you can still head over to the Precious Girls Club and check out what they have to offer. By entering the code 8137-KTQ1-NZCG at Precious Girls Club you will be entitled to a free premium month Rainbow membership on the site.

Thanks to everyone who participated by commenting, blogging, following me, and even adding my button to their site. Please keep checking back here for some more great giveaways!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Precious Girls Club Giveaway!

Created by Precious Moments, the Precious Girls Club offers a safe and wholesome online environment for your little girl. This giveaway includes a goodie bag full of really cool stuff. It includes Precious Girls Club - Charm Bracelet and an additional "helping hand" charm. It also includes A Little Bit of Faith (Precious Girls' Club) which is a book about a little girl, Katie, who moves to a new town and tries to start a club. She has a difficult time and discovers that a little bit of faith will help her along the way.

The Precious Girls Club virtual world site offers a safe and whole environment for girls aged 6-12. They can create their own characters, explore, play games, socalize and even shop "virtually" with the points they earn. The whole experience reinforce virtues such as helpfulness, kindness, responsibility, loving and caring.

Each of the giveaway prizes comes with an access code for enhanced play on the Precious Girls Club virtual world site. Playing on the site is always free but a Rainbow membership offers girls access to exclusive features like games, quizzes and crafts. The people at MomSelect and Precious Moments are offering my readers an opportunity to check out this awesome virtual experience. By entering the code 8137-KTQ1-NZCG at Precious Girls Club you will be entitled to a free premium month Rainbow membership on the site.

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is leave me a comment with something pertaining to the book and/or site. What do you like best? What is your favorite thing? How will you put these items to good use?

Want additional entries?

Sign up over at MommyTalk.com and then come back here and comment again with a link to your MommyTalk profile. Make sure you do so in a new comment in order to get credit for multiple entries.

Blog about this giveaway on your blog and link back to me here at Giliena's Inspirations and the Precious Girls Club virtual site. Then come back here and comment again with the direct link to your post. Make sure you do so in a new comment in order to get credit for multiple entries.

Add my button to the sidebar of your website. Then come back here and comment again with a link to your site. Make sure you do so in a new comment in order to get credit for multiple entries.

Follow me by clicking on the "Follow this blog" link on the sidebar of my site. Then leave me another comment that you have done so. Make sure you do so in a new comment in order to get credit for multiple entries.


Contest ends December 18th, 2008 at 11:00PM MST! Be sure to include your email address so that you can be contacted. I have to have some way to contact you. If no email address is provided your entry will be disqualified and the comment will be removed. The winner will be chosen using random.org and will have three (3) days to claim their prize. If the winner does not claim their within three (3) days another winner will be chosen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wii Fit = Me Fit

So, let me tell you. Mama has a holiday wish list too. Having two babies really does wreak havoc on your body. I cannot even remember what my girlish figure even looked like. Just like many others I have a bit of extra weight that I desperately want to get rid of. We purchased a Nintendo Wii a couple of years ago. I love video games and my family loves playing games on our Wii. When I first saw the Wii Fit I fell in love and knew I had to have one. What a great concept! It was like the people at Nintendo made it just for me. I want to exercise and feel like I am playing a video game instead.

Well, Santa and his elves have their listening ears on and I cannot wait to try it out. I can already feel the pounds falling off as I sit here and think about it. It is a hot item and is sold out in many places. When we got ours a large shipment had arrived by 2pm and by 6pm that same evening there were only 4 left. One of those 4 is here waiting for me . . . calling to me. I wish I could bust it out right now but hence I must wait patiently. Did I mention I am not a patient person?? What special items are on your holiday list?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Jalapeno Experiment

This is one of those moments in life where you wish you had your video camera ready. The one you swear will win you the 100k on America's Funniest Home Video. The other night I made myself a snack. I chopped jalapenos and mixed them in with cream cheese to dip chips in. I took a break today from cleaning and had the munchies so I decided that was my snack of choice. I got all set up and Vic decided she had to snack with me. I gave her a chip and told her she could not have any sauce because it was hot. The rest of the events go like this:

"Mama, it is not hot . . . I will blow on it"

"No baby it is spicy hot"

"I like spicy mama please I want some"

"No baby this is really spicy"

"Oh mama I loooooove really spicy"

So, I hand her a chip with just a little of the dip on it. I felt okay with it because we feed her spicy foods all the time and she loves them. She takes a bite and the rest left me in tears . . .

"Oh mama, is it spicy? No, it is not spicy mama"

"Yes it is spicy sweetie"

"Mama mama . . . water and ice please . . . help help help . . . water and ice please mama . . . help help help"

*gulp gulp gulp*

"It is not spicy mama . . . more water and ice please"

*gulp gulp gulp*

"Oh mama it is not spicy . . . more chips and spicy sauce please"

All the while she was running around the house with her water cup. Too cute!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday List Deals

I finally got my butt in gear and started getting holiday shopping done. I already had two of the items I wanted to get for my kids get sold out. That was motivation to get it done before they ended up with nothing. Every year I swear I am going to start shopping earlier so that I can be done and not stress. You know it never seems to happen that way. I am always left at the last minute scrambling to get the gifts I want. I am not sure why I do it. I always know what I want to get long before the rush begins. I just either do not push the button online to get it done or I put off going to the store. Then the last minute arrives and I am freaked.

I did have a few items I wanted get sold out again this year. I had to change my thinking a bit but now I am on track. I guess one could say I am doing better this year because I still have a couple of weeks. I managed to find a great deal on the Fisher-Price Go Baby Go Crawl and Cruise Musical Jungle for my little one over at Amazon.

I also got the Fisher-Price Dora Magical Welcome Dollhouse there as well for my oldest. She is a huge Dora fan and no doubt will get a lot of use out of this. She plays with one at her friends house and loves it. The other thing she wanted which I thought as very cool was a laptop like her mommy. So I searched and found Vtech - Tote 'N Go Laptop Plus so she can "work" like me.

My step daughter is at that age where she is extremely hard to buy for. I got her some books and several other items. The one gift I was very pleased with is the Coby 1.5-Inch Digital Photo Key Chain (Red). This way I can load pictures of all of us so she can take it with her and have them always when she is at home.

My mother sent to me Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book: Her Biggest Ever Collection of All-New 30-Minute Meals Plus Kosher Meals, Meals for One, Veggie Dinners, Holiday Favorites, and Much More!. I am a huge Rachel Ray fan and love her recipes. She gave it to me early and I definitely recommend buying it.

Anyways, I hope you all are having good luck with the holidays deals and are in better shape than I am.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday Fear

The holiday season is supposed to be all about family, friends, giving, and a whole lot of joy and happiness. Apparently it is about taking as well. For my family it has also become about some punk hoodlums that felt they had the right to reach into my space and take what does not belong to them. They took my hard earned items as if they had some superior right to them.

I woke up just before 5am the other morning to a very loud repeated banging noise. I could not for the life of me figure out what it was. I saw the time and thought it was a neighbor scraping the ice and snow off his windsheild. I remember thinking if he kept that up he was going to break his window. I peeked out my window. My bedroom is right above the garage so my window looks out front to the driveway. To my complete horror there was a dark figure standing next to my husband's vehicle. Not thinking, I ran to the bigger window in the common area and opened it and screamed. These coward punks ran towards another vehicle parked in the street out front and sped away. Did it stop them? Hell no! They went on to another street and the police said that we were victim number 140. There were 6 victims on my street alone.

At that very moment my life changed. It was as if they had reached in and stolen a piece of who I was. I would never be the same person again. I felt a chill that made my very soul shiver. I immediately thought of my children. What if it had been my house instead of my vehicle? The thought of someone coming into my house uninvited left me feeling ill. Horrible thoughts of things that could happen rushed through my head. I could not stop them. I took for granted that I was safe. I live in a decent neighborhood and never imagined this kind of thing would happen here. It is not until something like this happens that you stop and think about all the areas in your life you are vulnerable to this kind of attack. We feel a sense of security along with the denial that something like this could happen to US. This is only something you ever hear about on the news. Sadly I am left feeling that even though I have checked the doors and windows numerous times I need to check them one more time. Every single strange noise outside is a repeat violation in my head.

As a result, I have gotten up off of my butt and reactivated the alarm in my house. When we moved in I kept putting it off thinking I was safe and there was no need. I urge you all to have a very wonderful and safe holiday season. Please take a moment to think about where you might be vulnerable. Do not fall into the same trap that I did and let your guard down. Please please learn from my mistake in an effort to keep yourself and your family safe during this holiday season. The lowest of low are out there waiting to take advantage of good people. Unfortunately this is a part of life and as I have been told repeatedly these last couple of days, it is a part of this time of year.

I am angry and afraid. I have had my time to voice my fears and hopefully help someone think twice and be safe. Now I have to work towards forgiveness and move on. I will never forget and will always be thinking about how the things I do makes me vulnerable.

God bless

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Avon Botanicals Bamboo Diffuser and Beauty Palette Winner!

The winner of the Avon Botanicals Bamboo Diffuser and Beauty Palette Giveaway is Ardy22 who said:

"I need a case or two of the ANEW CLINICAL Advanced Wrinkle Corrector . LOL!" on December 2, 2008.


If you did not win, there is still time to rush over to Avon and order some wonderful items in time for the holidays. Do not forget, the nice folks at Avon have offered my readers free standard shipping with a $30 order when you shop with an eRepresentative. All you do is enter the code: JINGLE30. Act fast though because this offer expires January 1, 2009. Be sure to take advantage of this great deal during the holidays!

Thanks to everyone who participated by commenting, blogging, following me, and even adding my button to their site. Please keep checking back here for some more great giveaways!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giliena's Italian Charm Bracelet Holiday Giveaway

For anyone interested, I am also hosting another giveaway. You can enter to win an Italian Charm Bracelet, like the one pictured above, over at Giliena's Blog. There is this and so many other wonderful gift ideas over at Giliena's Italian Charms and European Beads.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Avon Botanicals Bamboo Diffuser and Beauty Palette Giveaway

The wonderful people at Avon and Mom Select gave me a great opportunity to review both the Botanicals Bamboo Diffuser and the Jillian Dempsey Beauty Palette

The Botanicals Bamboo Reed Diffuser is a decorative way to add fragrance to your home. The scented oil is poured into the ceramic vase and the natural bamboo reeds are inserted and absorb the oil. It will become a stylish part of your home decor and add a clean fresh scent to your surroundings. I have to say, when the diffuser arrived I was a little worried. I have a hard time with most air fresheners. That was not the case at all. The scent fills a room but is subtle and not overbearing. When I poured the oil into the vase I was a little sloppy and spilled a bit on my table. It wiped away easily without staining my table. I accidentally spilled another brand a while ago and it took the finish right off my nightstand.

The Jillian Dempsey Beauty Palette is wonderful. I was given the warm palette and the colors are beautiful. You can also order the cool palette. All the colors are soft and luxurious. The lipstick is glossy, goes on smooth and is long lasting. I like that the color stayed but did not dry out my lips. The cream eye shadow and blush are easy to apply. This collection of colors will create the perfect look for the holidays or any day. The makeup is gift ready and comes in a decorative magnetic-close compact with built-in mirror.

The nice folks at Avon.com have offered my readers free standard shipping with a $30 order when you shop with an eRepresentative. All you do is enter the code: JINGLE30. Act fast though because this offer expires January 1, 2009. Be sure to take advantage of this great deal during the holidays!

Win It:

I am offering both the Botanicals Disffuser and the Warm Palette to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your favorite Avon product.

Want additional entries?

Blog about this giveaway on your blog and link back to me here at Giliena's Inspirations as well as Avon. Then come back here and comment again with the direct link to your post. Make sure you do so in a new comment in order to get credit for multiple entries.

Add my button to the sidebar of your website. Then come back here and comment again with a link to your site. Make sure you do so in a new comment in order to get credit for multiple entries.

Follow me by clicking on the "Follow this blog" link on the sidebar of my site. Then leave me another comment that you have done so. Make sure you do so in a new comment in order to get credit for multiple entries.


Contest ends December 4th, 2008 at 10:00PM MST! Be sure to include your email address so that you can be contacted. I have to have some way to contact you. If no email address is provided your entry will be disqualified and the comment will be removed. The winner will be chosen using random.org and will have three (3) days to claim their prize. If the winner does not claim their within three (3) days another winner will be chosen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spread the Holiday Spirit

Just something special to remember, for those who are doing something special for us . . .

When doing your Holiday cards this year, take one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would get. So, when you are making out your Holiday card list this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

Monday, November 24, 2008

Green Your Routine

I was watching the Today show the other morning and they were talking about their "Green Your Routine" campaign. I always try to do my best to be as Green as possible in my routine. There were couple of tips they referred to that I actually had not thought of. They are simple changes we can make in our life that can make a huge impact on our environment.

The first deals with ATM receipts. There are billions of transactions each year. They said that 600 thousand tons of paper is used each year to produce the various receipts we receive for things including those we get from ATMs. That equals millions of trees, enough water to supply 100 homes, and 234 million gallons of oil. That said, please choose not to take your ATM receipt. If you need to check your balance do it online. Several ATMs will even let you check your balance there without generating a receipt. Think about what other receipts you can eliminate because they are unnecessary.

The second point they made was napkins. Most people will grab a lot more napkins than they realistically need or can use. Millions of clean napkins end up in our landfills each year. Taking just one less napkin will keep 150 million from going to a landfill each year. Do not just stop at taking one less napkin though. Start with taking just one or two and get more only if you need them.

These tips really struck home for me. They are small, simple and logical changes we can make to our every day life that can make a huge difference on our environment.

Image above provided by www.greenclipart.com.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


For me having kids and being a part of Upromise go hand in hand. Upromise is a way for you to save money for your kids to go to college while you do your every day shopping. The best part about it is it is free! All you do is sign up, enter your credit card and even your grocery shopping card and let the savings begin. You can even send it to your friends and family. They can sign up and enter their information and you get money for college for the shopping that they do as well. I wonder all the time about whether I am able to save enough money for my girls to be able to go to college. Having several hundred dollars a year extra that I do not have to contribute is awesome. Over 18 years that will add up to thousands of dollars contributed for doing nothing other than my normal routine of shopping.

It is literally that easy. I signed up almost 3 years ago when my oldest daughter was born. Most of the money I have received has been through just every day grocery shopping and shopping for items online. An example of some of the popular grocery name brands that participate are Nestle, Beech-Nut, Elmers, Tylenol, Enfamil, Hefty and so many others.

I am looking forward to the holidays coming up. I plan to shop for my big items online and use the Upromise site to do so. All you have to do is go to their online shopping section. Click on the link for the store you want. It loads the actual web site for that store and as you shop you earn $$$. There is even a toolbar you can load on your web browser. It allows you to eliminate the step of going to the Upromise site each time you shop online. As you shop sites it recognizes which ones are part of the program automatically. It makes online shopping and saving even easier.

I plan to go to the Walmart site and buy my items because they are part of the Upromise program. The cool thing about using Walmart is that I can shop online and then have all my items "sent to store". All I have to do then is go pick them up when they arrive. There is no shipping charge that way and I get to save extra money for college for my girls.

Sign up today and start saving for your kids! You really have nothing to lose and $$$ to gain.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mommy Talk Giveaway

Quick! Over at Mommytalk.com they are doing a giveaway! Head on over and sign yourself up too!

Giveaway at Mommytalk.com

Hurry! You might miss it! Oh, but be sure to come back when you are done!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Olivia Baby Signing Update

I have been working really hard with Olivia on communicating using Baby Sign Language. She is 7 months and is not yet able to do the signs herself but I know we are making progress. When I sign "eat" or "milk" the expression on her face completely changes. She gets a huge smile on her face and starts bouncing around with excitement. It just tells me that we are on the right track and that she understands 100% what I am saying to her. Right now I am also teaching her "more" and "all done". From there we will branch out well beyond the basics and see how it all goes. Progress is awesome!

Walmart vs. Target

My mother recently visited us for a couple of weeks and it always gets me thinking about this. She is a crazy Walmart person. When I say crazy I sure mean it (I love you mommy). I do not know of another person who could spend 4 hours straight in that store and think nothing of it. Sometimes I think she eats, sleeps and breathes Walmart. I laugh and think she is the reason they are still in business with as much as she spends there. I am not complaining because I love her dearly. She bought my kids some wonderful gifts from there during this visit. She is a great Nana.

I think I am more of a Target person though. Maybe that is because Target is actually closer to my house. I love going to Target. I am not much of a shopper to be honest. I know a lot of women are and that makes me the odd one out. I just get way too stressed out and down right pissed off when I cannot find what I am looking for. That said, I always seem to find more of what I am looking for at Target. I even love doing my grocery shopping there. Some of the food items I have tried lately have been really yummy.

I really think I like them both but for different reasons. Which do you prefer? With the Christmas Holiday just around the corner which one will you shop at the most? Anyone out there not a fan of either?

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Sweet First Kiss

Most of us remember our first kiss from a boy or even the first kiss we shared with our husband before we were married. Well, that is not the first kiss I am talking about. I have been waiting for it for 7 months now. Waiting patiently?? No way! I want my kisses and I want them now! That said, this is something every mom has to wait for and it is well worth the wait. I am a mommy and I love getting kisses from my girls.

Well today my patience, or lack thereof, was rewarded and it was awesome. I was holding my little Izzy when she reached up and grabbed one side of my face and leaned in towards my cheek with her mouth wide open. She is teething so it was the sloppiest slobber kiss ever but I loved every minute of it. I was so happy and so very excited. These are the moments that every mom looks forward to. It only gets better from here and I cannot wait!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Motrin Removes Controversial Ad

Unfortunately the link provided in my previous post is no longer valid. Apparently Motrin has taken down their site in an effort to remove the ad. They did so not long after my previous post. Here is the ad from YouTube if anyone is still interested in checking it out.


I have no doubt an apology will be made soon.

Motrin Ticks off Moms

So, I logged into Twitter today and there was definitely a buzz going on there about Motrin. It took a short bit to figure out what all the fuss was about. I came across a video of a Motrin ad and I was stunned. It is a dumb ad. You can check out this Motrin ad for yourself at. The ad is obviously targeted for moms but they made a HUGE mistake. The ad suggests that moms choose to wear their babies in an effort to make a fashion statement and demonstate that they are "official" moms. I did not realize there were "unofficial" moms. Moms around the world take bonding with their baby very seriously. They do not do this to make a fashion statement. The ad clearly down plays this experience.

I am not outraged about this but I certainly found the ad annoying. I get where they were trying to go with this but the delivery was way off. Will my personal feeling about this ad lead to me choosing another brand when I have a headache? It is not likely. I use ibuprofen all the time but I usually purchase the generic brands as opposed to Motrin anyways. They should really look to focus groups prior to making an ad like this public. If they did do a focus group then perhaps they need to look for a new one. It is never good to upset the very group you are hoping to market your product to. It is probably the least effective way to win them over. The buzz started yesterday afternoon apparently and it is still the #1 trended topic on Twitter. Opinions definitely vary but a lot of moms out there are really offended by this.

The sad thing about this is that no matter how you carry your child you are bound to have aches and pains. Carrying my cute little chunky one just about kills me at times. I do not use a sling personally but having one allows you to carry those little one that all but demand to be held and still be able to have the use of your hands.

What are your thoughts on the ad? Will you reach for Advil the next time you have an ache or pain? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jessica Knows 15 Days - Playing Major Catch Up

I have still been following Jessica and her 15 days of advice every day. My mother is visiting this week which has made this quite a challenge. I have a lot of days to catch up on and I am trying to do bits and pieces at a time. I am setting up to host my first giveaway very soon. If you have not already, I highly recommend you check out for yourself what Jessica has going on. I added her button to my site for easy navigation.

I know I am learning so much valuable information. It has been useful in helping me get started with doing product review and giveaways. I am also working very hard to promote my Giliena's Italian Charms and European Beads brand and website. This information has been awesome for that.

Okay, back to my homework while mom is napping!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Giliena's Inspirations is a Rock Star!

I want to thank the The Work From Home Mother for giving me this award. I really enjoy reading your blog and I am thrilled you would pass this on to me.

So, in order to accept this award the recipient must reveal 8 amazing things about themselves and then pass it on to 8 more rock star bloggers. I am hoping I can come up with 8 amazing things so here goes:

  1. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband who supports me 100%, 2 beautiful girls of my own, and one awesome step-daughter.
  2. I have an Associates Degree in Legal Assisting (although I have not done much with it in years).
  3. I was the Customer Service Manager for Electronic Arts' online support prior to giving birth to my oldest daughter.
  4. I love to play video games! I currently play World of Warcraft and have on and off since it launched.
  5. Even though I was not born in Texas and do not live there right now I will always be a Texan and consider it home.
  6. I love photography and need to make more time for it.
  7. I am the owner of Giliena's Italian Charms and European beads and I maintain Powerseller status with my eBay store.
  8. I love Tinkerbell and Fairies!
Now I have to pass this award on to 8 other deserving blogs. Those are as follows:

The Lil' Mommy that Could

Thrify & Chic Mom

Mommy Chronicles Blog

Ramblings of a Texas Housewife

The Daily Dish Recipes

Life With Two

Single Mom Meltdown

Peanut Butter and Pickle Reviews

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jessica Knows 15 days - Day Two Marketing Resume

15 Days of Marketing with Jessica Knows

Hello, I am Karen and I am also known as Giliena. I am the owner of Giliena's Italian Charms and European Beads. I also have an eBay store and I have been selling on eBay for several years now. I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Denver.momslikeme.com, and mommytalk.com. I am now over at wishpot.com and working to become an expert there.

Here are a couple of things about me:

  • I am an eBay Powerseller with over 2000 feedback and 100% positive score.

  • I am a work at home mother of two awesome little girls. One is about to turn 3 and the other is 7 months old.

  • I love new and cool products that are safe for my kids. I have found so many really cool items for my kids and I am always thrilled when I find something new and cool for them.

  • I love photography. This is something I used to share with my father and it is still very special to me. I have a Kodak digital camera and I love it but I was telling my husband this next year I wanted a new up-to-date camera for personal and business.

  • I love playing video games. I used to work for Electronic Arts. I was the Customer Service Manager for their online games. It was the best job ever for me. The only job that was better was being a mom. I enjoy playing both computer and console games. I am currently playing World of Warcraft online. I like The Sims and I just got my hands on Spore so I will be testing that out. I am a huge fan of The Wii. I love the sports games especially the bowling. I have a couple of new ones I am going to be trying out soon. I am looking forward to trying The Wii Fitness pad soon.

  • I love blogging and reading various blogs each day.

  • I love baking and I am trying to get back to doing more of this. I want to make fun and creative things for my kids. My current project is to make apple chips.

  • I have tons of pictures and have been thinking I need to take up scrapbooking as a new hobby.

Jessica Knows 15 days - Day One Catch Up

15 Days of Marketing with Jessica Knows

So, I am following Jessica and I love all the advice she has given so far. I look forward to what she has to say every day. I am behind on my homework so I am going to be working very hard over the next couple of days to catch up.

I did my homework and signed up for Help A Reporter Out and GetClicky.com. Now I need to head over and comment on what brands I like best and why. In case anyone is wondering, my favorites are as follows:

I have so many favorite brands and it is definitely hard to settle in on just three of them. The following are the three that I chose for this homework assignment:

  1. Target - I love their Archer farms brand. I have purchased several of their items and all have been well received in my home.
  2. Kodak - I love photography and I love my Kodak camera. I am in the market for a new camera this next year and I will be looking at all available but will go to Kodak first.
  3. Safe Baby Products - I love all products that are safe for my babies. I am a huge fan of some of the Sassy and Nuby products and always looking for cool new products for my
  4. kids.

I would love to hear your comments. Especially if anyone is following the Jessica's advice too.

Homework: For those reading this I highly recommend going over and reading what Jessica has to say. You will not be sorry.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Giliena's Italian Charms and European Beads Goes Posh

I am the owner of Giliena's Italian Charms and European Beads and I joined the Posh Holiday Shopping Guide over at The Posh Parent. The ladies over at Posh Parent are awesome. Jen over there created a sweet little commercial for my ad in their guide. Check this out!

I love it! Thanks Jen! If you get a chance, check out my web site and buy your friends and loved ones a unique gift for this holiday season. You could easily put together an Italian Charm starter bracelet and a few charms for under $20.00. That includes shipping! They will love you for it.


Special Offer - Celestial Seasonings Tea

So, I have been trying to eat less junk food and put healither stuff in my mouth lately. I have been pretty successful so far at cutting back on some stuff. It has been hard for me because I really have a horrible sweet tooth. Of course, Halloween does not help things at all. One big thing for me was to give up drinking soda. I have been doing really well and have not really given it up but have been drinking it in moderation. That said, I have been drinking a lot of tea over the last couple of weeks. It has become my new addiction really. Yesterday I went to the King Soopers really quick for something to make for dinner. I saw that they had the Celestial Seasonings Tea on sale. The sale was awesome and one that I could not pass up considering how much my husband and I have been drinking lately. They had 10 for $10.00. You cannot beat $1.00 a box really. I bought just about every flavor they had in order to stock up. Unfortunately they were out of my favorite which is the black cherry berry. Yumm!! I guess it is a favorite of others as well. I know that King Soopers is owned by Kroger so perhaps they have the same special. I am not sure when the offer expires. My guess is the sale is over this Wednesday. Anyways, I had to pass on this little tidbit of information.

Are you a tea drinker? If so, which is your favorite brand and flavor?


P.S. I have lost 5 pounds just simply making a few minor changes to my diet. Woot!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

See Kai Run Giveaway at Thrifty & Chic Mom

Today I found an awesome giveaway for some See Kai Run shoes. If anyone else is interested in this the link is THRIFTY & CHIC MOM: See Kai Run Giveaway. I think they are all so very cute and would love to win a pair. I like the little Nancy ones in the smaller collection. They would look so very cute on Izzy B. So, cross your fingers that I win this one!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Sweet Angels

I have been looking forward to this for a very long time. Vic is finally old enough to understand what Halloween is all about. She was a purple Barbie Fairy and she definitely looked and played the part. She would twirl around just like a fairy princess. It was the cutest thing ever. I was so proud of her. She was polite the whole way. She said "trick or treat" and then said "thank you" every single time. I had so much fun with her. She was so funny. After every single house she said to me, "Mama maybe there is another house". Then she would run to daddy and say "Look Daddy . . . more candy!"

Izzy was awesome too. I stuffed her super chunky butt into that kitty costume without one complaint from her. She did look at me a few times like "what the heck have you done to me". She just rolled with it though and smiled her sweet smile. It will be so much more fun when both of them are old enough to understand what is going on.

The weather here was fantastic. I was worried that Vic would need a jacket or something but I could not have asked for a better night temperature wise. I guess typically for this area it is bitterly cold and all the little goblins and ghouls need to bundle up.

All in all it was a great night. One I have been looking forward to for a very long time. Everyone had a good time and now we are looking forward to Christmas.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy halloween. I am looking forward to it. My oldest is finally old enough to know what is going on and it should be a lot of fun. I have been looking forward to it for a while now. She is going to be the sweetest little fairy around and my youngest will be the cutest little kitty cat in town. Have fun everyone!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reflection in a Mirror

My sweet baby girl. You are getting so big and growing up so very fast. When I look at you I see so much of other people. I see your daddy's beautiful blue eyes and his cute ears. I see your auntie's nose and some of her facial expressions. You have so many wonderful qualities and are so absolutely beautiful. I have often thought and said that if I had not given birth to you I would swear you are not mine. Then I step back and I see your firey spirit. You have so much spunk and independence it is wonderful to watch. You are strong, tough, sweet and tender all rolled up into one little package with a big bow on top. When I really look at your spirit it is like looking at a reflection in a mirror. I am so very happy you chose me to be your mommy. I will love you always.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Izzy's First Lesson - Baby Sign Language

I am a huge fan of baby sign language. I taught this to Victoria and it was a huge success. It made communicating with her so much easier before she could actually talk. I started with Victoria when she was about 7 months old and she picked it up at about 9-10 months. It is time for Izzy to learn too. I start with the basics and once she picks it up I will move on from there. Basicially what I am doing is constantly showing her the signs for eat, milk, drink, and more when we are doing each of those activities. I am eager to see at what age she will pick it up. I remember the first time Victoria did it. When she woke up in the morning I always took her into the bed to play with me and daddy for a bit. One morning I set her on the bed and she started tapping her fingers against her mouth just like the sign for eat. I was so excited. I scooped her up and took her for breakfast. From that point on it was so easy. She did stop using them once she started talking. I told her the other day we needed to start teaching Izzy. The cool thing is she was right there with me at the highchair the other day showing her sister how it is done. If you have a little one and are not sure if it is worth it let me tell you it definitely is. There is a lot of frustrations that comes with not being able to fully communicate what your child needs. This is such a great tool to alleviate a lot of that frustration. I will post my updates along the way and even any tips I can find.

I actually purchased a DVD that we used to watch. It was okay but I know there are better ones out there than the one I have. I have heard really good things about "Signing Time" but I have not used it myself. My mother gave me an awesome little stand up guide titled "Baby Signing". When I lived out west there was even a program that came on PBS every Saturday that was dedicated to kid sign language. It was awesome but not available where I am now. If you are looking for a place to get started and do not want to buy a DVD or book you can go to http://www.lifeprint.com/. It is basically a dictionary of American Sign Language (ASL). You click on the word and it will show you the sign. I used it a lot with Victoria and will use it with Izzy too.
More to come on this.


I was browsing the mommy sites this morning and I came across a link to http://www.mouthygirl.com. The link caught my eye because some may say I am a mouthy girl. I checked it out and came across this hilarious story posted there. I had to share it.

"Baked Beans

(Grab a tissue; I thinkyou’ll be laughing so hard you’ll cry!)

One day I met a sweet gentleman and fell in love. When it became apparent that we wouldmarry, I made the supreme sacrifice and gave up beans.

Some months later, on my birthday, my car broke down on the way from work. Since I lived in the countryside I called my husband and told him that I would be late because I had to walk home. On my way, I passed by a small diner and the odor of baked beans was more than Icould stand.

With miles to walk, I figured that I would walk off any ill effects by the time I reached home, soI stopped at the diner and before I knew it, I had consumed three large orders of baked beans. All the way home, I made sure that I released all the gas. Upon my arrival, my husband seemed excited to see! me and exclaimed delightedly: “Darling I have a surprise for dinner tonight.” He then blindfolded me and led me to my chair at the dinner table. I took a seat and just as hewas about to remove my blindfold, the telephone rang. He made me promise not to touch the blindfold until he returned and went to answer the call. The baked beans I had consumed were still affecting me and the pressure was becoming most unbearable, so while my husband was out of the room I seized the opportunity, shifted my weight to one leg and let one go. It was not onlyloud, but it smelled like a fertilizer truck running over a skunk in front of a pulpwood mill. I took my napkin from my lap and fanned the air around me vigorously. Then, shifting to the othercheek, I ripped off three more. The stink was worse than cooked cabbage. Keeping my ears carefully tuned to the conversation in the other room, I went on like this for another few minutes.The pleasure was indescribable. When eventually the telephone farewells signaled the end of my freedom, I quickly fanned the air a few more times with my napkin, placed it on my lap and folded hands back on it feeling very relieved and pleased with myself.

My face must have been the picture of innocence when my husband returned, apologizing for taking so long. He asked me if I had peeked through the blindfold, and I assured him I had not.At this point, he removed the blindfold, and twelve dinner guests seated around the table chorused: “Happy Birthday!”

I fainted!!!!!!!!!!!


Adventures in Meltdown Mini's

It is 3am and I woke up to Victoria in her room crying. I quickly grabbed her and put her into bed with me so that she would not wake her sister. This then led to at least another hour of battling with her to go back to sleep. The battle was finally won and morning was coming. Izzy woke before Victoria so I got her up and downstairs for breakfast. I went back upstairs to wake up Victoria and the meltdown began.

"Mama, no you need to get back and your bed to snuggle with me"

"No sweetie, Daddy is home and he needs to go to bed and we need to go eat breakfast"

"No, Daddy needs to take a shower"

"But Olivia needs to eat breakfast"

"No, we need to snuggle"

The whole time this is going on there is plenty of whining and tears. The arguing went on for a short bit and I finally got her downstairs by telling her I would carry her. By the time we landed she was in full meltdown mode. Then I told her I needed her help with her sister. She stopped and looked at me and snapped into helper mode. I was getting ready to change Izzy's diaper and . . .

"Mama, Olivia has poo poo. I can help you"

*grabs wipe*

Tells wipe, "Are you ready wipe? We're going in and it is yucky"

Meltdown over. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Girl Power!

Okay maybe the title should be Pixie Power. What girl does not like Tinkerbell? The title actually reminded me of a funny story. I used to have a couple of cute lanyards that I would wear to work. One said, "It's all about me" and the other "Boys are smelly". If you can believe it I was actually told not to wear the "Boys are smelly" one anymore. I still think it was completely absurd. It does make me giggle a little though at the thought of the guys I worked with tattling on me saying, "She said we were smelly. Make her stop". Apparently that week no one had anything better to focus on.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. The Tinkerbell movie comes out on Tuesday and Vickster and I are so excited. It is no secret that I am a huge Tinkerbell fan. It really looks like a cute movie and I hope I will not be disappointed. I am still trying to convince Vic to be Tinkerbell for Halloween. To me she is Tinkerbell. You put her hair in a ponytail with that blonde hair and she could totally play the part. Maybe after we watch the movie she will change her mind. *crosses fingers*

I will give a review of the movie after I watch it on Tuesday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Adventure

This last weekend we went out on a family adventure to pick out the perfect pumpkins for carving. Victoria was so excited and had been looking forward to this all week long. It was really all she talked about each day.

It turns out there is this great little pumpkin patch just down the road from us. They even have a spooky corn maze event each night. It was a lot of fun and very cool that it was just around the corner. The experience we got from this was by far better than just heading to the local grocery store.

Victoria ran around with her daddy to look at all the pumpkins. She really seemed to want them all. They literally had pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Of course the little ones were her favorite. Eventually we had to cut her off at 4 little ones. It really was a lot of fun. I have these girls with me all day every day. To sit back and watch Dad getting some quality time was awesome. I knew she was having fun and into the spirit because there was a playground set not far from her and she never made an attempt to go play on it.

Once we had the perfect ones picked out we took them home for carving. Daddy bought a kit to carve them that had some pretty cool designs. The first one he did had a spider on it which turned out really great. Then he decided that since she loved Dora so much he would free hand one with Boots the monkey on it. It turned out perfect! He is so darn good at all of this. I roasted the pumpkin seeds and I think they are good. He has not tried them yet so we will see what he thinks.
This is definitely something we will be doing every year. It is great that Victoria is finally old enough to know what is going on and have fun with it. Soon Olivia will be able to join in on all this fun. This go around all she did was try and steal the camera from me.

A Morning Banana Diet?

This morning I went through my normal routine. I am feeding the kids breakfast and listening to the Early show on CBS. This morning they were talking about a new diet that is all the rage in Japan. It is called the morning Banana diet. I have heard of some good ones but this one takes the cake for me. They were saying it is so popular it has resulted in a shortage of banana! So, I am certainly not an expert on dieting because I have a real sweet tooth that just gets in my way. It just does not seem logical to me that simply eating a banana in the morning will cause you to lose weight. So, the details of the diet are as follows:

  • You start with a banana, as many as you want, for breakfast, with warm water.

  • You don't have anything until lunch.

  • You have a basic lunch, which can be anything you want, even pizza and fries.

  • Then (in mid-afternoon), you can have a snack, which can even be a sweet.

  • Then dinner, which can be anything you want. It has to be before 8 p.m.

  • Nothing after dinner, including sweets.

  • Then, you have to go to bed before midnight.

Okay so call me silly but this does not sound healthy to me at all. I hope people realize that they seriously need to add some whole grains in here to help with eating all those bananas. I know that bananas are good for you and all but they do have some side affects if you eat too many. :) If you want more details on this diet you can check out The Early Show site for the article.
Personally, I would recommend heading over to My Pyramid for some healthier options. You can develop a healthy eating plan for yourself right there on their site for free. It should always be about eating healthy and changing what you eat for life. No one is going to be able to follow this diet for the rest of their life. What happens when you stop this diet? How about we all just eat healthier and incorporate bananas into our diet as we go along.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Work at Home Opportunity - Weegy

I am always looking for work at home opportunities these days to bring in some extra spending money. I had a bit of free time tonight so I sat down and took the recommendation from The Work From Home Mother and signed up at Weegy. I checked it out and was curious to see what it was all about. It is the first one that I have really signed up for. I was excited and eager to see how it all worked. I created my account, logged in and waited . . . and waited. Basically you wait until a conversation comes in and then you get to decide if you want to accept it or not. After several minutes of nothing I noticed I had email. Apparently they are currently only running their CPC advertising program between 10:00am and 4:00pm eastern time. That said, I logged out but I do plan to return at a later time to check it out. Hopefully I will have more to report soon!

Halloween is upon us!

With Halloween just around the corner it has been a lot of fun around here trying to figure out what Victoria wants to dress us as. This is really the first year where she actually understands what it is all about and has had a voice. I am a huge Tinkerbell fan and I was thrilled when I asked her what she wanted to be and she said "Tinkerbell!" A few weeks later though she threw me a curve ball and said she wanted to be a Purple Barbie Fiary. I thought to myself, "how the heck and I am going to pull this off?" I searched so many places and I finally found this cute little purple fiary costume.

We all know the power of television marketing for kids. Well I saw it first hand this morning. Over breakfast she looks up at me with those big beautiful eyes and tells me that she wants to be a Snow Princess for Halloween. I know I did not just hear what I thought I heard. I guess all the Dora saves the Snow Princess commercials had finally gotten her! Needless to say, we are still on track for the Purple Barbie Fairy. That is unless the Tinkerbell movie commercials convince her to be Tink! ;)

Olivia will be easy. I have a couple of Victoria's old costumes to choose from if they fit. If not, I have a cute little onesie that a friend gave Victoria that says "Little Terror".

Kids! You gotta love them!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Work at Home Opportunities

I am a work at home mother of two. I love being able to be at home with my kids every day. I have my own online store but I am always looking for additional opportunities to keep me at home. This is especially the case with the economy the way it is right now and business for me is a bit slower. There are so many different web sites out there that claim to have work at home opportunities for stay at home mothers. Some are legitimate and some are not. I visit a lot of the mommy sites and read lots of mommy blogs. So many other mothers are asking for help finding legitimate opportunities. One day I was surfing and came across an interesting post. The blog site that was posted was The Work From Home Mother. There is so much great information there I just had to mention it. I found this to be a great resource and one that I check out all the time to see what is available. I check back all the time to see what new opportunities are posted. I will keep things here updated as I find interesting ones.

Awwww! Just too sweet.

Victoria is such a little sweetheart. She is really at the stage now where she picks up on the things you say and applies them throughout her day. I always thought it was very sweet when her daddy would come home from work and she would greet him by saying "Hello handsome". I always say that to him and it puts a huge smile on his face every time she says it.

Well, it was my turn now. The other day I woke up in a cranky mood because I was not feeling well. I opened her bedroom door and the first thing out of her mouth was "Mommy, I missed you while I was sleeping". How could you possibily remain in a bad mood with a greeting like that to start your day. I love her so much and I want to keep a record of all the funny, cute and sweet things she says. I cannot wait until Olivia is old enough to start chiming in.

Looking for a unique gift?

I have a friend of mine that is difficult to buy gifts for. One year I just could not figure out what to buy him for his birthday. He is very into the environment and doing his part to make this world a better place. I admire him for it because he certainly does more than I do on any given day. So, I started searching online for a unique gift. I came across the perfect idea. The Arbor Day Foundation has a great gift program. You can order trees in celebration of any number of events. Each dollar donated plants a tree in one of America's national forests. They will send out a certificate to the recipient of your gift. My friend loved the gift and I did too. I try to do my best to help make our world a better place to live and this gift made me feel good about that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Too much junk mail?

All the time we hear about going "Green". There are so many things we can do now to help protect our environment. I am not a super environmentalist but I really try to do my part as best I can.

A long time ago a friend of mine told me about http://www.greendimes.com/. I signed up for this service and it was awesome! When I signed up there was a simple monthly fee. They have since changed the service and have several options available including a FREE option. The Basic (free) option allows you to do a lot of the work yourself with some help from them. The Premium option is for those that want to save time. They do most of the work for you. The best bonuses I found with the Premium service is that you can add other household members and they plant 5 trees on your behalf.
I had to sign up again once I changed my address but I love this site. I used to get literally a ton of junk mail every day. Once I signed up for this there were days when I would not get any mail at all. I recommend definitely recommend it to everyone.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) Free Baby Bottles

So, like most other mothers out there I have heard a lot of stuff on the news lately about Bisphenol-A (BPA). It is actually in so many common items including several baby items. The first item that got my attention really was baby bottles. At the time I was using Dr. Brown's because of the anti-colic venting system. I was a fan until I discovered the ones I was using did in fact contain BPA. All of this came about when my oldest was about 6 months old. I started looking into alternative items and found that the Nuby brand had several items that were BPA free.

My second child actually did not care much for the Nuby bottles. She just never seemed to be able to figure out how to get them to flow. It would be 45 minutes and she had only gotten an ounce of food in. So, I started looking around again. I found that some of the BPA bottles were quite expensive for my taste. I found the Sassy Mam Ultivent bottles. They were within my price range so I decided to give them a try. They have a lot of parts to clean like the Dr. Brown's but I do like them a lot. Along the way I found several sites with great information. The two I found to be my favorites are http://www.safemama.com/ and http://thesoftlanding.com/. The cheat sheets at Safemama are a great resource.

Victoria's Love

I am so very lucky to have the love of two beautiful little girls. Victoria was my first and I think she is a very special little girl. She loves to make others laugh and she keeps me going all day with the funny and sweet things she says and does. I always make sure she knows how much I love her and how happy she makes me. Last night I put her to bed and tucked her in. I read her a book and we have our special little songs and routine that I know she looks forward to and so do I. Last night after I had already tucked her in I heard her crying. I went to check on her and she wanted to sleep with me. I told her she could not but I laid down next to her to snuggle for a bit. She told me to close my eyes and so I did. She rolled over towards me and put her arm on me. I opened my eyes and she had this wonderful grin on her face. Then she says to me, "Mommy you make me so happy". What more could a mommy ask for. I am so very lucky that she chose me.

Izzy's 6 month Checkup

So, Olivia went late last week for her 6 month checkup. Both girls got the flu shot which was a fun time for mom for sure. Olivia actually got 5 shots which really was not cool. She was so upset. Apparently though my little chubby girl is as big as most 12 month olds. haha I asked the doctor if that was okay and he was fine with it. He said she is proportioned just fine and growing nicely. She has her two bottom teeth and working on some top ones now. She can roll over both ways now. Just today she started pushing herself up so I think she will be crawling soon. We go back to the doctor in a month to get her ears pierced. I am nervous about it because they are doing it with a needle instead of the gun. We shall see how it goes!
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