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Give Your Pooch Some Swagger {Octoberfest Giveaway Hop!}

In late February 2008, I got a call from my husband.  It was around 6 in the evening, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary to hear from my husband around that time.  Normally we would discuss how our days went or what we were going to have for dinner, but this call was far different.  “Why did you leave the door unlocked?”, he asked.  I thought about it for a moment and replied, “I didn’t.  In fact, I’m sure I didn’t.”  It was at that point we both paused and realized something was very, very wrong.  Sure enough, as he walked into the house he realized that our back slider had been left open and things were out of their usual place.  We had been robbed.

The people who broke into our house got very little – a laptop, a watch my husband got for high school graduation, a baseball, and a blanket (presumably to wrap all the stuff in).  But the back slider being open meant that our cat, Sonoma, had gotten out.  My first “child” was missing.  I was a basket case.  For 3 days, we circulated flyers, made phone calls to shelters, and visited local vet clinics.  The only thing that gave me comfort was the fact that Sonoma had her tags on.  If someone saw her they could reach me.  And eventually that happened.  After 3 terrifying days Sonoma was home safe.

To say I’m a big believer in pet tags would be an understatement.  But there’s no reason they can’t be stylish, right?  And that’s exactly where Pooch Swagger comes in.  Pooch Swagger is an Etsy shop specializing in handmade, stylish pet tags.  All tags are made using a 1 inch pendant and filled with resin.  And best of all, you get to choose the shape of tag and the type of metal used.  Plus, there are tons and tons of styles to choose from.  These tags are completely custom, to represent you and your pet’s personalities.  And we all know they have personalities, too.

Here are just a few of their fabulous designs.

But remember, these tags aren’t just for cats and dogs.  The sky’s the limit – monkeys, bunnies, horses, whatever!  And if you don’t have pets of your own, these tags make the perfect gift for the pet lover in your home.

I think this is my absolute favorite:Check out those fall colors!  Love them!  And the Pooch Swagger Facebook pages is chock-full of new designs, just like this one.

Want to win a pet tag from Pooch Swagger?  Great!  But I can do even better than that, because today the good folks at Pooch Swagger are giving away not one, but 2 tags (a $21 value!).  So if you’re a two fur child household (like we are) you’re set!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Welcome to the Octoberfest Giveaway Hop!
Hosted by Planet Weidknecht and
From October 1-7, you can visit all the participating blogs below
and enter to win all the prizes!

Reel Cash Critters {Review}

I’ll admit, I’m not much of an online gamer.  I actually enjoy online games, I just don’t have a ton of time.  And often online games require a continuing commitment, which quite frankly, I just can’t make.  I’m a busy working mom – I just don’t have time to run an online cafe, grow virtual crops, or run a small village.  But a game that I can sit down and play every now and again as a stress reliever?  I’m in.  And that’s exactly what Reel Cash Critters is.

Reel Cash Critters is  slots style game that is totally manned by woodland creatures.  You know, like Vegas, but way cuter.  Check it out:Adorable, no?

When playing, you wager your Gamesville virtual dollars (or GVs as their called) and spin.  Much like real slot machine, you can decide how much you want to bet and if your lucky, it will pay out real money.  Yep, you heard that right.  You can win real cash prizes from $5-$10 just for spinning!  And if you’re a Gold Member you get access to Reel Slots Shots in addition to the Spin-o-Matic.  Reel Slots Shots is a country fair style shooting gallery where you aim for ducks, rabbits, and chipmunks for your chance to win GVs.  You even get a chance to aim at Poke, the mascot for Gamesville, and trust me, you’ll want to hit him because he’s just heckled you all the way through your Spin-o-Matic game.He just looks smug, doesn’t he?

I don’t want to brag or anything, but I rock at the Spin-O-Matic.  Okay, technically, there’s not much real skill to it, but I did really well.  The game is easy to learn and I quickly figured out what to wager and how many lines to bet.  Within minutes I was making GVs.  I’ve played a few times since starting my Gamesville account and still have a ton of GVs left (almost as much as I started with, which is impressive given the amount I’ve played).  Admittedly, I’m a bit addicted to this game.  I love that I can play when I want to.  If I’m having a rough day it provides a few minutes of fun and then I can put it down.  If I return a few hours, days, or weeks later, everything is still there and I can play again.

But Spin-o-Matic and Reel Slots Shots are just two of the Gamesville games.  There are tons of others that will pay you real money for playing.  Some of the jackpots even reach $10,000!  And if you’re a Gold Member, jackpots are doubled!  Want to try it?  If you sign up using this link, you will get 10,000 free GVs added to your new account.  It’s free.  It’s easy.  It’s painless.  Think of it as free virtual money that could lead to some cold hard cash.  Oh, and your welcome for your new addiction.

Pssst…Make sure to keep up with Gamesville on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest woodland news!

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I received a Gamesville Gold Membership and compensation for my time investment and work on this campaign. 


Last week I brought Hazeline in to the pediatrician’s office for her shots.  We had been there in late August due to her being sick and they were able to do the physical part then, but the shots were a no-go due to her illness.  I promised to follow-up and do the shots the following week when she was better, but…well…life got in the way.  Work, weekends away, and the practice’s schedule all got in the way and they didn’t get done.  Until, of course, I started receiving notes in Hazeline’s diaper bag that she wouldn’t be able to go back to daycare if they didn’t have the necessary forms.  And as it turns out, you can’t get the necessary forms without the necessary shots.  So off to the doctor we went.

“Shots only visits” as they’re called, are typically very short.  You’re in and out in approximately 30 minutes as opposed to the 1-2 hours you need to reserve for an actual doctors appointment.  And sure enough, just as my butt hit the waiting room seat, we were being ushered into the back to be seen.  The medical assistant asked why we were there and what shots she was due for.  I gave her all the information and was then asked, “Oh, and will we be doing the Flu Shot today?”.  After thinking about it for a minute, I responded, “No, not today.  I’ll have to schedule another visit for sometime in early October.”

Okay, here was my reasoning.  The last time Hazeline got the flu shot, she got really, really sick.  Scary sick.  One of the doctors we normally see attributed her illness directly to the shot, the other (who we saw a week later for a follow-up) said it was probably just a fluke that she happened to get sick within days of getting the Flu Shot.  Either way, Hazeline was out of daycare for 5-7 days, scattered over a 2 week time period.  At the time of our shots only visit, our daytime babysitter that takes care of the girls when they can’t go to daycare was out of the country.  So if the shot made her sick again, I was out of luck.  And with clients coming in from California and both my bosses in the office, me being absent from work wasn’t an option.  So I decided it was best to postpone the shot.  Besides, flu season just started.

So imagine my surprise when the medical assistant whipped out a form that said “REFUSAL TO VACCINATE” in big, bold letters at the top of it.  I told the medical assistant that there must be some mistake.  After all, I had scheduled this very visit to have my child vaccinated.  She then replied that there was no mistake.  If I declined the Flu Shot, I had to fill out one of the forms.  Period.

I stood there in total disbelief that I was about to fill out a Refusal to Vaccinate form.  Me.  A mom that’s never, ever been against vaccinations.  As I briefly read through the verbiage, I couldn’t believe what I was signing.  Essentially, it stated that I had been fully informed of the benefits of vaccinating and yet I was deciding against the medical advice that I had been given (P.S. – I was never actually given any medical advice during this visit, before or after I filled out the form).  It then went through a huge list of awful things that could happen to my child because I was making the decision to refuse vaccinations.  In the last two or three sentences of the form it begged me to reconsider my choice.  I was (potentially) harming my child.  Really?

Grudgingly, I signed the form.  I needed her school forms.  I had allotted 30 minutes for this visit and couldn’t be late to work.  Especially not to argue over whether postponing the Flu Shot was the same as refusing to vaccinate my child.  Because to me, they are very different.  To the medical assistant?  Not so much.  We went into the exam room and Hazeline had her shots (took them like a champ, I might add), then I got her dressed and we left, but I just couldn’t shake fact that I had to sign the refusal form.

Looking back, I wish I hadn’t signed it.  There are times when I take the path of least resistance because it is just that – the path of least resistance.  It’s easy.  Signing it got the shots done sooner, us out of their faster, and me to work (almost) on time.  But now I wish that I had refused to sign.  I wish I would have asked to speak to a doctor about delaying the Flu Shot.  Explaining the situation, hoping that they would understand.  But I didn’t.  And now that form will forever stay in her file.  I didn’t need documentation or exemption of the Flu Shot for school.  They recommend it, but don’t require it.  The only one that wanted the refusal form signed was the doctors office.

I really don’t want to get into the pros and cons of vaccinating.  I’ve done my research.  I feel that vaccinating is the way to go.  Lots of parents make the decision to go on a delayed vaccination schedule or not to vaccinate at all.  And that’s their choice.  I may have opinions on it, but it’s their child.  And if one of the moms that refused vaccinations altogether was asked to fill out that form, okay, I understand that.  I’m an attorney, I get it.  It’s about covering yourself.  But for the Flu Shot?  I always thought the Flu Shot was optional.  When did it become mandatory?  Better still, it’s the very beginning of flu season, why do I have to fill out a refusal form now?  Maybe if we were midway through and I showed no signs of getting one for her, but now?  There’s still plenty of time.

Right now it’s up in the air as to whether we’ll go back for Hazeline’s Flu Shot.  I mean I went through with signing the form.  And all the judgy words that it contained.  The shot that our practice uses is a live vaccine.  As the doctor explained it to me, the virus cannot replicate, but it is live.  And Hazeline really had a bad reaction the last time.  And although the doctors don’t agree as to what caused it, I feel it was the shot.  All her symptoms were consistent with the potential side effects.  Greenleigh will be getting her Flu Shot, that I know for sure.  She doesn’t have a reaction to the shot, so there’s no reason to avoid it.  But Hazeline?  I’m just not sure.  And yet, these are my choices.  As a mom, I get to make them.  And I shouldn’t have to fill out a judgy form when I do make a choice, especially on something that’s supposed to be optional.

Have you ever had a bad reaction to the Flu Shot?  Would you have signed the Refusal to Vaccinate form?



It’s a Family Affair at Family Inspired Fashion {Giveaway!}

There are so many things that my mom does well.  Sewing is one of them.  In high school and college she made many of her own clothes, and when we were kids she was always mending our clothes for us.  She even made many of our Halloween costumes.  Truth be told, I still bring things home for her to fix at the holidays, because unfortunately, sewing is not a skill that I possess.  Sometimes I think that if we lived a little closer she’d probably make more things for things for the girls to wear, but since that isn’t an option (and she’s always so busy), I have to rely on the next best thing – Family Inspired Fashion!

Family Inspired Fashion is powered by a mother/daughter team who love to sew and be creative.  Using their own children and grandchildren as models, the ladies at Family Inspired Fashion have created their own clothing label with options for girls of all ages from newborn on up.  That means everything that you see in their shop, is something that they would dress their own kids and grandkids in.  It’s their family creating for your family.  They specialize newborn sets, special occasion dresses, skirts, hairbows, totes, and even Halloween costumes, like this Dorothy Dress from the Wizard of Oz:

So cute!  Perfect for your little girl on Halloween.

I think my favorite are their newborn sets.  When Greenleigh and Hazeline were just born, I loved having a ready-made outfit.  No scrambling to see if this shirt matches those pants – a perfectly matched outfit, without any stress.  Plus, there were always people coming over to visit, so it was nice to have a beautiful outfit on hand without any need to scramble.  If Hazeline was still small I would definitely order this set:

Or this one:

Check out those adorable shoes!  So tiny.  But if sets aren’t your thing, you can always purchase pieces separately and create your own look with the wardrobe your little one already has at home.  You can even submit a custom order, and unlike so many other places that will have you waiting by the mailbox for what feel like decades, the girls at Family Inspired Fashion will have your custom order in the mail within a week.  How cool is that?

But of course, all their designs aren’t quite so tiny.  Like this polka dot peasant dress:It comes in sizes 18 months through 8 years.  And I could totally see Greenleigh in this peekaboo skirt:It’s available for order in sizes 3-7, but can be special ordered in different colors.  Love.

So while it might not be clothing you made by your own family, Family Inspired Fashion really is the next best thing – Clothing made with care, with your family in mind.  After all, they’ve already tested the designs on their kids and grandkids!

Want to win some Family Inspired Fashion?  Great because the ladies at Family Inspired Fashion are offering one lucky reader a $25 Gift Credit to their shop.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway