Columbus Update

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Ok, well, our trip to Columbus was a hit. I even let my son ride the High Wire Unicycle and I have the pictures to prove it! He loved it so much, he rode it twice. My youngest had a blast in the toddler room, which is AWESOME. I wish we lived closer because I would take him and my 10 month old there several times a week. Yes, it is THAT great!

Settled on the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. Although, "settled" seems like the wrong word. It was rich and decadent. What I really had my heart set on though was the Reese's Cheesecake but since it was only available in the 10", it was a no go. I don't think I could convince my husband that I "needed" to spend $50+ on cheesecake. I would have though, if I had known I could get away with it.

The Polaris Fashion Place was also a hit. At least with my oldest daughter. The rest of us pretty much complained about our aching feet and legs most of the time. We did manage to find an Easter dress for my daughter, so "Yay me!"

Pictures will be posted this weekend. Got some really great ones!

Are Those All Yours?

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Looking forward to our overnight trip to Columbus with the kids but I can't help but be a bit stressed by the packing. There is so much to remember to bring for 6 people ranging in age from 10 months to my age (like I'm really going to admit to being 41). Oh, I just did, didn't I? I always feel like I'm forgetting something and I ALWAYS take too much stuff. There is never really any room for it all in the van either. Currently, half of the trunk is filled up with my Sit n' Stand stroller. Those things are big, but necessary, when one has a 10 month old and a 3 year old. I have to say I love it even if it does take up too much room.

Last time we went to COSI, we all got the nasty stomach bug and threw up for days on end. This time, I am going prepared. I have: a mini can of Lysol spray, a pack of Lysol wipes, a bottle of Clorox Anywhere Disinfectant, and hand sanitizer. Going overboard? Yes, probably, maybe. I much prefer being more than a bit anal than for 7 of us to pass the pukies around and around. I don't deal well with vomit. My dh was trained as a HazMat tech. I figure that can be HIS job!

We have a friend of the family going with us this time, which makes total kids on this trip 6. I am sure I will hear, "Are all those kids yours?", "You sure do have your hands full!", and "You do know how to stop that, don't you?". Just wondering how many times I will hear it. Gets old after a while and some people get a bit rude about it. Then, I run into people with families just as large, or larger, than mine and we laugh and joke because they get asked the same questions.

Got my coupons printed out for CPK and looking forward to maybe trying the Pesto Chicken Pizza or the Spicy Chicken Tinga Quesadillas. Not sure if I can convince the kids to veer away from their standard Cheese & Pepperoni though.

I do know that I will definitely be getting me some Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. Bought my gift card today at Kroger so I could use the points towards a gas discount! I love discounts!

Check back later this week and I'll tell you how our trip went. It will be an adventure I'm sure!

Columbus, COSI, & Cheesecake

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We've been planning on a return trip to Columbus to the Center of Science and Industry for some time now and as long as the weather holds out (meaning NO snow), we will be going next week. We had plans to visit last fall to see the traveling Titanic exhibit but due to bed rest and then my daughter catching whooping cough at 6 weeks old, we missed that. While their current exhibits surely can't hold a candle to what the Titanic exhibit would have offered, I am sure we will still have a good time. My kids always marvel at the High Wire Unicycle, but have yet to try it. I don't think my nerves could stand watching them ride that!

Our trip to Columbus wouldn't be complete without stopping at the Polaris Fashion Place. Now, if you like malls....this is a MALL!


What makes this mall even better, is that they have The Cheesecake Factory! Yummmmmmmmy.......
I just learned that they now offer "Weight Management Asian Chicken Salad", "Weight Management Spicy Chicken Salad", and "Weight Management Pear and Endive Salad". Not only is that a mouthful to ask for when ordering, it is totally and completely ironic. I mean, come on, this is THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY! People who intend to manage their weight do not go there. Or, at least shouldn't! I am "supposed" to be managing my weight, but do not intend to during our visit, therefore, I am going to indulge in one of the following:

Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake


Reeses Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake



I will be sure to post how delicious it was, upon my return. LOL

















$25 Gift Card Giveaway over at Precious Cupcakes


Cynthia at Precious Cupcakes is currently running a giveaway for a $25 Jo-Ann Fabric gift card. Perfect for the crafter! Ends 3/7/11 at midnight (PST). Enter for a chance to win!


After you do that, be sure to visit her charity blog Operation Sweet Dreams (winner of a $25K Pepsi Refresh Grant) who's mission is to provide Sweet Dreams to local needy children. They are dedicated to making a difference in their community by providing free pajamas, toothbrushes, and books to children in low-income areas. What a great cause!



CSN Stores Review Soon To Come!

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I was recently given a chance to purchase an item from CSN to review. They have over 200 stores so it literally took me over a week to decide what I wanted to review. Then, I found this - the Taby Tray (pictured below).



I had one of these years ago and I absolutely loved it. Then, my kids grew too big for strollers and car seats, and thinking I was finished having kids,  I passed it on. Eight years later, number 4 came along and I have been looking for one of these trays ever since then but have been unable to find this exact tray. Until tonight, at CSNstores.com. I am thrilled and cannot wait until it arrives! This is perfect for long car trips. I am anxious to try it out on our stroller, as I had never thought to do that before.

I was very pleased with the ease of the ordering/check-out process on CSNstores.com. Looking forward to the "box man" (as my 3 year old calls the UPS/FedEx guy) showing up at my door!

Check back soon for my review. Until then, visit CSNstores.com to browse or shop and visit their blog. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter .

Valentine's Day Giveaway Winners


All winners were chosen by Random.org and have been sent an email of notification. Winners have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen by Random.org. Thank you to EVERYONE who visited my blog, my giveaway partner's blog, and to all those who entered our giveaways! Congratulations to the winners.



         

9. sarah said...http://twitter.com/#!/sarah_cote/
status/34568961752309760 daily tweet















139.SisWins said..
following you on twitter (@SisWins)



92. Kimberly said...Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!
/kcoud33/status/34377332202405889




48. Gianna said...

I entered the Klutz Choice of Book Giveaway.




108.  Aileen said...http://twitter.com/#!/
monkeygrl59/status/34671400891457537. Tweet 2. 





13.  sarah said...
i follow both blogs via gfc





48. Operation Sweet Dreams said...
I follow H,B,C,and F on Twitter







Raise Money for Your Favorite Cause By Surfing the Web

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As a homeschooling family, we visit our local library quite often. As a matter of fact, most of the librarians know us all by name (all 7 of us). In the past year, state funding to our library was cut drastically. I'd hate to lose such a valuable resource and was happy to stumble upon GoodSearch. A penny a search might not seem like much, but it adds up. My father-in-law picks up pennies off the ground whenever he sees one. My nephew asked him why he bothered doing that and told his grandpa, "I hate pennies. I throw them away whenever I get them." After hearing that his grandpa collected a 5 gallon bucket full of pennies in a year's time, I think he started thinking twice about throwing them away. Like I said, it adds up!
Here's a new easy way to raise money for your favorite cause. Just start using Yahoo! powered GoodSearch.com as your search engine and they'll donate about a penny to your favorite cause every time you do a search!
In addition, do all of your shopping through their online shopping mall, GoodShop.com, where you can shop at more than 900 top online retailers and a percentage of your purchases will go to the charity or school of your choice. You pay the same price as you normally would, but a donation goes to your cause!
Here's the web site — http://www.goodsearch.com. You can also read about GoodSearch in the NY Times, Oprah Magazine, CNN, ABC News and the Wall Street Journal.

Frugal Find of the Day

Recently, I posted some of my favorite Valentine's Day gift ideas. This necklace at Red Envelope was one of them:

love letter necklace
             $79.95 at Redenvelope.com
Nan, over at mumblebeebuzz.blogspot.com & girlygirlsplace.blogspot.com/ just brought this to my attention:

Your Friend, Necklace

!
$15.99
Definitely worth checking out, considering the price difference. Although I do still think I prefer the more polished look of the necklace from Red Envelope, the "Your Friend Necklace" has a warm Shabby Chic feel to it that I like. I guess "Shabby Chic" probably applies more to furniture and decor though and maybe the word I should use is "vintage"?

Thanks Nan for your awesome frugal fashion sleuthing skills. lol

More Collage Artwork

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My oldest daughter has recently discovered Polyvore and since then, has been creating one beautiful collage after another. Some are Fashion collages and some are Scenic. Of course, I'm biased, but I LOVE them! Since I can't show these off on the fridge, I'm posting them on my blog.

**Just a note, my daughter did not draw or create each individual picture she used in each collage. She combined design elements that others created and put them together to make the collage.

<3




Untitled





Untitled




Untitled




cinderella




Valentine's Day is Almost Here!

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My children have asked me if we are taking Monday off since, "it IS a holiday, Mom!"  I haven't decided yet if we will just do a few subjects, or none at all. That is one of the wonderful things about Homeschooling - setting one's own agenda. Learning opportunities are abundant in holiday activities, so I guess I won't feel too guilty if we are "slackers" for one day.  

Our Valentine's Day Plans:

Watching a couple of our movie favorites:
My oldest daughter adores all things Audrey!





Coloring this printable from Kaboose.com
Hearts Printable Coloring Page from Kaboose.com is
the perfect activity for my 3 year old who LOVES to color.

For more Valentine Pictures & Coloring Pages from Kaboose.com, click HERE.


Making Valentine's Day cards like the ones below, shown on Kaboose.com

Favorite Valentine's Day Crafts by Editors of Kaboose





Making Rolo stuffed Sugar Cookies. 

I was originally going to try the Milky Way Stuffed Sugar Cookies I commented about the other day from Making Memories With Your Kids blog, but when I mentioned that Erin (the blog owner) was going to try Rolos the next time, my son jumped at the suggestion and immediately located the Rolos. Now, I just need to locate my favorite Sugar Cookie recipe (which might be easier said than done). Good thing I have until Monday to find it!



Having a Tea Party

Although my son has balked at the idea (and he's 11, so who can blame him), I think that the rest of us will be sipping tea while he is gulping Hawaiian Punch. While at Meijer today, I ran across some Bigelow tea that I just had to try. 

White Chocolate Kisses & Sweetheart Cinnamon


Taking Pictures

My littlest one will be celebrating her very first Valentine's Day this Monday, so lots of pictures are in order. Who's to say WHEN I will actually get the pictures organized and put in scrapbooks, but at least I'll know I took some! The older 3 aren't very keen on posing for pictures so I'm glad I have the 2 little ones that will humor me. Sometimes, anyway. If they are in the mood to; and not hungry or sleepy. Hmmmmm....... LOL

Hugs & Kisses

My 3 y.o. gives the best hugs and the sweetest kisses. My littlest daughter enjoys giving the slobbery wet ones. I feel very blessed that they all are so affectionate with me. Now, if I could just get the older ones to be that way towards each other! I think it might be easier to bring about world peace. 

So, whatever your plans are for this Valentine's Day, I hope you enjoy it and I hope that you feel loved!


Mmmmmm......Cookies!

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Photobucket

I recently discovered this blog when another blog (Homegrown Learners) posted about them on Facebook with a link to Milky Way Stuffed Sugar Cookies. I had to look. Now, I have to make them and see if they are as yummy as they sound. They sure do look delicious! 


The Color Purple



Purple Day is March 26th - Wear your purple to support epilepsy awareness globally.

Epilepsy. To some people, it is just a word. It is a disorder that doesn't apply to them. It is a condition that doesn't affect any of their loved ones. Having had an adopted cousin who was diagnosed in the '80's with the condition, I was "familiar" with Epilepsy, but not really "aware". I knew it was difficult on my Aunt (and still is), not just because of the epilepsy but, because my cousin was a special needs child and had a myriad of other conditions as well. That made getting her meds just right a bit tricky. My cousin is now in her 20's and hasn't had a seizure in years but it is something that is always in the back of my Aunt's mind and she doesn't rest easy. My cousin would be unable to alert my Aunt to any of the warning signs and most likely, would not even recognize that they even were warning signs. 

DID YOU KNOW

Epilepsy affects approximately 1 in 100 people.              

There are approximately 3 million Americans living with epilepsy.

There are approximately 50 million people around the world living with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is NOT contagious.

Epilepsy can occur for the first time at any time, including during old age.

Epilepsy can be fatal (SUDEP)

Want to know more about epilepsy? Visit http://www.epilepsyadvocate.com/



Become a member of the Epilepsy Advocate Program and receive:

  • Monthly emails with tips and support for people with epilepsy and their family, friends, and caregivers

  • Free issues of EpilepsyAdvocate magazine



Fast foward to 2010. After losing touch with each other for a very long time, I reconnected with a cousin who was a part of my life during my childhood. I'm not sure how it is with other people, but the older I get, the more sentimental I seem to be. I was thrilled to have found her and was touched with how receptive she was to renewing our relationship. I feel very blessed to have her in my life, even if we do live too many miles apart. 


During this time is when I really became "aware" of epilepsy. 





                                                
Jamie


My cousin's daughter, Jamie, was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 5 years old. It was a scary time for them. When Jamie was visited in the hospital and given gifts and snacks, the idea to help other kids sprang to life, and Angels4Epilepsy was begun.




Angels4Epilepsy is Jamie’s project, in which she aims to help other kids with epilepsy to feel more at home when they stay in the hospital. From packing up gift bags to delivering those gift bags, filled with all kinds of goodies, Jamie stays busy comforting those who are going through the same thing she’s going through. Angels4Epilepsy aims to comfort children suffering from epilepsy, but it also aims to educate the community about this condition. Each major holiday will find Jamie delivering the gift bags to the local children’s hospital, but she also wants other children to get involved too.



About the same time my cousin and I were getting reacquainted, Jamie was trying to win a $5000 Pepsi Refresh grant. It was absolutely amazing how friends and family, and total strangers, came together to help Jamie reach this goal. 




Jamie holding the first disbursement from Pepsi




is now an official non-profit organization and has already made deliveries to a local Ronald McDonald House, a food pantry,  and hospitals in GA, IN, and FL. 






To make a donation, to learn more about Jamie's mission to help other kids, or to learn more about epilepsy, visit www.angels4epilepsy.org.


Jamie is a kid with a mission and is as sweet as they come. I know my cousin would rather I leave her out of this (SORRY JUDY), but that just isn't possible. Why? Because Judy does not let epilepsy define Jamie. She never tells Jamie that she can't do something because of her epilepsy. Epilepsy is a part of who Jamie is, but it does not own her. It would be so easy for Judy to be overwhelmed by everything and just throw in the towel. Being a military wife with a deployed husband is hard. Being a mother with not one, but two children dealing with chronic medical conditions is even harder. Add them both together, and you have one stressful situation. Judy leads by example and because Jamie sees her mother persevering, she follows suit. It never occurs to her that there might be something she is unable to do. Nothing is impossible for her. Nothing is out of reach. Her mother has given her the gift to believe in herself. To my cousin, and her daughter: I admire you and love you both. I thank you for making me AWARE of epilepsy. I thank you for helping me want to get involved and to make others aware. 





While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas




Valentine's Day is just around the corner! There are so many cute gift ideas out there. Makes me wish I had a bit more expendable income! Here are some of my personal faves:



by Kalorik
$39.89 at CSNstores.com

by Lawrence Frames
$13.90 at CSNstores.com



Zak Designs Amore Mini Heart Shaped Bowl Set, 4-Piece

$9.95 at Amazon.com


Alessi Le Posate Ice Cream Heart Spoon


by Alessi

$12 Amazon.com

Liplicious Tasty Lip Color
I Heart Candy
$8.00
Bathandbodyworks.com





 One Dozen Sweet Expression Roses with Chocolates  
$29.99 at Proflowers.com
                      
love letter necklace
             $79.95 at Redenvelope.com
                 
$99.95 at Redenvelope.com

hidden message tie clip
$19.95 at Redenvelope.com

Heart Earrings with Swarovski Crystals
$23.95
Cornerstonejewelrydesigns.com





FREE Samples on Valentine's Day!

Marble Slab is giving away free samples
of their new Tiramisu Ice Cream
on Valentine's Day between 3 - 6 p.m.
For a list of participating stores, click HERE.


Crafty? Here's a few ideas:


Free Crochet Pattern
Heart Pillow

Lion Brand® Fun Fur
Pattern #: L0167AD

Free Crochet Pattern
Flower Hair Accessories

Lion Brand® Vanna's Choice® Baby
Pattern #: L0134AD

Image not mine. Source link below.

photo credit: Andrew McCaul

Truffles to Go

Printable craft available for $3.99 at Scrappindoodles.com
Original Artwork by Kay Miller Designs www.kaymillerdesigns.com
Click HERE for more information or to order and download.