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

Wordless Wednesday: Vintage Picnic

A little over a week ago, I posted my pictures from Pre-Photo Shoot, Photo Shoot, but now the pro pictures are back, and I just couldn’t wait to share them!
The Vintage Picnic set was adorable and the girls really had fun with the props.  And of course, Lily from Lilyta Photography was fabulous!  Now I’m extra excited about our Halloween mini-session!

Happy 18 Months, Hazeline!

My Dear Hazeline,

Today you’re 18 months old.  You are such a big girl.  You know so many words, but your favorites are Minnie Mouse (pronounced Minn-Mowww), Elmo (pronounced Mel-Mo), and Mine (not surprisingly, pronounced correctly).  On gameday, we can even get you to say, “Go Dawgs!”.Your sister is your best friend, and you’re always happy to share your spotlight with her.  The way you smile at Greenleigh melts my heart.

You’re wearing size 18 month clothes, but occasionally can fit in your sister’s 2T clothing.  I see lots of sharing clothes in your future.  You wear a size 6 diaper, and let’s hope you don’t grow too much more before you’re potty trained because size 7 diapers are really hard to find in drug/grocery stores.  But given how much you love to eat, I’m not really counting on that whole “not growing” thing.You’re going through a rough patch of teething, that will. not. end.  Unfortunately.  For both of us.  Speaking of, anytime you’d like to start sleeping past 6:45am, that would be fine with me.  I welcome it.  In fact, if you’d give me the chance, I’ll show you how it’s done.

You love toys, especially dolls and your Minnie Mouse stuffed animals.  You are constantly putting them to bed and feeding them.  It’s adorable to watch, but frightening when I’m walking through the house the next morning to find a baby doll face down and half-covered with a blanket in the middle of the living room.  Because, in case you didn’t know it, baby dolls really freak me out.  I’m hoping that the whole baby doll thing passes quickly, but no such luck so far.

In all seriousness, there are so many things from this time in your life that I don’t ever want to forget – the sound of your giggle, your early morning bed head, the nom-nom-nom noise you make when you eat, the way you clutch your blanket as you run around the house,and the sound of your snores when I put you to bed at night.

And as I write these words, I’m left to wonder where the last 18 months have gone.  How can time pass so quickly?  I’m left only to imagine what the next 18 days, 18 months, and 18 years will hold.  I’m excited to watch you grow.

We are truly blessed to have you in our family, Little Sister.



P.S. – I’m totally serious about that sleeping past 6:45am thing…anytime you’re ready.


Our Butterfly World Adventure

Today the girls and I packed up the car (okay, in fairness, I did most of the packing, they just got in their carseats) and headed up to Butterfly World, a local butterfly aviary, botanical garden, and education/research center.  We’d never been before, so we didn’t know what to expect, but the girls really had a good time.  There’s so much to see!  It would have helped if it weren’t 90 degrees out, with 100% humidity, but what can you do?  Hopefully Fall (and its delightful temperatures) will visit South Florida soon. And then we hit the playground.  Because who can turn down a playground?  Certainly not these two.

What did you do this weekend?

Gutzy Gear: Transform Your Child’s Backpack {Giveaway!}

When I was in New York last month I was lucky enough to meet the lovely ladies from Gutzy Gear.  If you’ve never heard of Gutzy Gear before, you’re missing out.  Born out of the same idea as their Grandma Betty’s golf sweater, adorned with patches of courses she’d played and adventures she’d been on, Gutzy Gear is a way for your child to wear their personality.  It starts with a pair plain black backpack straps, but from there the possibilities are endless.  There are patches, more commonly referred to as “Gutzys”, for everything – sports, snacks, animals, you name it – they have it. Each Gutzy easily attaches to the outside of the strap, and can be removed when it’s time to rearrange or change them.  It’s not just decorating your child’s backpack, it’s displaying their hobbies, showcasing their accomplishments, and boasting their latest adventures!  And if your child grow tired of a particular patch, they can always trade them with their friends or change it out for a more fitting patch.  It’s completely custom kids fashion.  But why limited it to your back pack?  Gutzy Gear straps can be used to transform messenger bag straps, guitar straps, or, well, anywhere your imagination takes you.

Have a child that would love Gutzy Gear?  Well, the great ladies from Gutzy Gear have offered not just one, but THREE lucky readers a chance to win!  Each winner will get a Starter Kit, 2 Patch Packs, and 2 Starter Packs to share with friends!  Just in case you weren’t counting, that’s 3 Starter Kits per winner!  Fill out the rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The temperatures are falling, the leaves are dropping, and Fall is in the air! Welcome to the When Seasons Change Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by And the Little Ones Too and Taking Time for Mommy. Each of the blogs below is hosting a giveaway of their own with a prize valued at $25 or more. Enjoy hopping around to all the blogs and (hopefully) winning some great prizes! Good luck everyone!

Disclosure: And The Little Ones Too, Taking Time For Mommy, and the When Seasons Change bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prizes.

Don’t Judge Me By My DVR

Last night I reached for the remote control and flipped on the television.  Much to my surprise, the television was on the National Geographic channel.  It was at that point that I remembered Erajh had a short day and came home early.  Suddenly the channel setting made sense; his television choices are always so educational…unless it’s sports, and even then sometimes it’s educational because he watches all the sports documentaries.  Anyway, I quickly changed the channel and proceeded to do my nightly catch up of what’s in my DVR.  Unfortunately those selections are not nearly as educational as the National Geographic channel.

But to me, that’s okay.

Listen, I work full time and raise my kids, so at night if I want to watch something that rots my brain – so what?  I don’t subject my kids to it.  Wait, technically I do watch episodes of Toddlers & Tiaras on Saturday Mornings if Hazeline wakes up before 7:30am, but I think that’s only fair considering I’m up before 8am on a weekend.  Unless I put her in one of those ridiculous outfits and do her hair so that it stands 10 feet up in the air, I think we’re okay.  One episode a week won’t kill her.  Besides, maybe it will provide encouragement for her to sleep in?  Let’s hope.

Today as I was sitting at lunch, I asked a co-worker when the new season of Beverly Hills 90201 was starting.  Before I got a response, another co-worker chimed in, “I don’t know that I’d admit to watching that, Jennifer.”

Why not?  Who cares?  Why should I be judged for my television choices?

I’m a working, 30-something, professional mom and totally not ashamed to admit that I watch a little trashy tv here and there.  And 90210 isn’t even close to the worst of it.  I’ll freely admit that I’ve watched 2 entire episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  I probably would have watched more if they had it available On Demand, but alas, they don’t (Seriously, what’s up with that, Comcast?).  And there are so, so many more shows that I could add to that list:  Secret Life of the American Teenager, Teen Mom (may you rest in peace), Beverly Hills Nannies, Switched at Birth, the list goes on and on.   Because at the end of the day, that’s what I need.  I don’t feel guilty about watching them.  And I don’t even want to consider living life without my trashy tv.

Trust me, there are tons of reasons to judge me, but my DVR shouldn’t be one of them.

Any not-so-educational shows that you love?  What are they?  No judgment here, I promise.


TreeTango Photography {Giveaway!}

Photography has been a passion of mine lately.  I find myself dragging the camera everywhere with me, hoping to get that perfect picture of my kids.  But every now and again, I find myself turning the camera away from my kids, trying to capture the beauty of the backdrop.  Of course, being an amateur photographer, I can’t capture it perfectly, but I really appreciate when someone like Heidi from TreeTango Photography can, because it’s such a tricky skill to master.TreeTango Photography is a new Etsy shop focusing on the splendor and vibrancy of nature.  Heidi, the Virginia based photographer behind TreeTango, specializes macro photography, which she then develops into prints and notecards.  Simply put, Heidi captures the details of the smallest things in nature that we tend to overlook.  But for Heidi, that’s were the true beauty is found.  She seeks them out, captures them digitally, and then delivers them to you to decorate your home, office, or retail space.  Each photo is printed by a professional lab on quality, archival paper and inspected by Heidi, personally, before shipping.  The goal is to provide you with a photograph depicting the wonder and amazement that can be found in the world around us.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it’s called TreeTango, because it’s a combination of the 2 things that Heidi loves most – nature and ballroom dancing.  How cool is that?

Here are just a few of my favorites from TreeTango:Have I tempted you enough?  Want to win a print from TreeTango Photography?  Well today is your lucky day, because Heidi has so generously offered one lucky reader a 8×10 print of their choice!  Fill out the rafflecopter form below and it could be you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Welcome to the Gifts For My Girlfriends Giveaway Hop hosted by BloggerPR!  September is Women’s Friendship Month, so we decided to celebrate our girlfriends!  In honor of these friendships, we have put together an event to highlight some of the best gift giving ideas for our girlfriends! Our bloggers have some amazing giveaways to help you celebrate your friendships and win some great prizes, too! This event will END on September 27th, which gives you plenty of time to hop down the linky list below! Each blogger is giving away prizes valued $20 or more, so you don’t want to miss out! Good luck and have fun!