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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve with Milkshake!

Live in the DC/Baltimore area?
Need something fun to do New Year's Eve day with the kids?
Join the band MILKSHAKE at the Maryland Science Center today,
December 31, 2008 from 10:00am to 2:00pm for a great start to the New Year!


Photo by Steve Parke

I was just on the MILKSHAKE website and the Twofer started dancing right away to the songs from the Play! cd. Now MILKSHAKE has released their first DVD, Screen Play, featuring live action videos, animations and backstage interviews with the band. Bonus tracks include two videos created for PBS KIDS, and in-concert footage of the Noggin hit "Bottle of Sunshine".

Check out MILKSHAKE today at the Maryland Science Center and check back here soon for the opportunity to WIN a MILKSHAKE prize package!

Happy New Year!

Janine

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Holidays are for Losing it!

While I am truly grateful to be able to spend Christmas and quality time with my family, so much time together can often mean losing it one way, or another.

Here's the short list:

Em losing it outside in the cold and refusing to go inside the last rest stop of our 8-hour trip up. "I....don't...have....to...pee!"

Me losing it Christmas Eve when the kids woke me up at 4:30am for the third time that night...
"I'm just as excited as you that Santa came but...but...if you don't get to sleep you'll have a houseful of really cranky parents!!!"

Grammy losing it when she got an iPod for Christmas, "Oh no! Another thing I'm going to have to learn how to use!?!?"


The Twofer losing it in very silly way on the train to NYC after a few days with very little sleep.

video

And the entire family losing it after spending all day inside, and in our pajamas....

video

I was laughing so hard while filming this that tears were streaming down my face and my stomach hurt. I wonder if anyone else finds this funny or if it's just our family?

Have you lost it yet? If so, let me know in the comments (by 10:00am Eastern Time on 12/31/08). The best 'losing it' comment will be re-enacted using my family and my Flip. I'll email you the final product soon thereafter!

Happy Surviving the Holidays!
Janine

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I won't call it the drive from Hell...


Yesterday, a trip that usually takes 5 1/2 to 6 hours took us 8. Instead of getting in around 8pm as originally planned, we got in at midnight. M was in pain from the cheaper booster seat we had. Mr. was cranky from some work-related drama. L was getting a cold. And my stomach was upset most of the ride.

But here's a list of reasons I won't call it the drive from Hell.

1. The delay was caused my mere traffic, and not a blown tire on the side of the highway with tractor trailers flying by just inches from my car.

2. For better or worse, all 4 of us were together for 8 hours, which is more than a lot of families have right now, especially the families with loved ones serving overseas.

3. We made it to my mom's without incident. We and the car are in one piece, safe, and warm.

4. It's Christmas and almost the start of a new year. I have too many things to be thankful for, and for the next few days I've decided to try gratitude on for size...it seems to be working.

Happy Whatever-You-Celebrate!
Janine



Monday, December 22, 2008

Holidays are the time to be thankful, merry, and Fire Smart

Now I'm not sure if this counts as a neuroses because fire is a legitimate concern.
What makes me neurotic is that I've been known to go through periods where I lose sleep over it. I have weeks where I unplug the toaster, the coffee maker, and anything else I can get my hands on before leaving the house.

After talking with some friends it seems I'm not alone.
I remember in school, a hundred years ago, I had to go home and make a fire plan with my family. But for some reason I was a lot smarter as a kid because I haven't a clue how to do that now.

Good thing Liberty Mutual has created a Be Fire Smart website (www.BeFireSmart.com) with all kinds of cool games, check lists, and fun stuff for kids to remind everyone about fire safety.

I just played the "How fast can you spot trouble game" (look in the right column) and I didn't spot everything. I didn't know you shouldn't leave clothes on a dryer!

I also played the "Dress a fireman" game which is terrific because it explains what each piece of equipment does and reminds kids that if they ever see someone in a suit like that, it's not a monster, just a fireman inside.

I'm going to print out 2 copies of the fire fighter coloring book for the girls to work on as we drive to my mom's this week.

Then I'm going to print out the Hazards Checklist and the Fire Escape Plan and work on that during the 6-hour drive. As with everything, I'm a control freak and having a plan will simply make me feel a whole lot better.

Here's my own quick quiz for you.
Which of these is TRUE?
a) Never leave heavy objects on the bed when an electric blanket is in use
b) You should vacuum your smoke alarms every six months.
c) Exhaust vents covered with snow can cause a fire
d) Don't leave your dryer running while you are not in the house

I'm going to pass along the BeFireSmart.com website to family, friends, teachers, and everyone else I care about, including you dear reader.

Leave me a comment if you decide to do your own plan, or if you blog about this post to your own readers. I'd love to see what others are doing.

Happy planning...
and the ANSWER: all of the above.

Janine
Thank you to Mom Central and Liberty Mutual for making me
Fire Smart!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Diving head-first into the shallow end of the blogging conference

im_goingtext-only Badges

So I did it.
I paid my $100 to sign up for my very first blogging conference, BlissDom 09.

Not only that, I think I'm going to drive...11 hours...(one way)...and share a hotel room...with a stranger (although fellow twittermom and mom blogger)....for 3 nights, and 4 days.

How's that for jumping right in?

Since I started this blog last May I have learned a lot, but not nearly enough.
I have made blogging friends and built a great support system, but I need to reinforce those relationships.

One of the best ways to do that is head to a conference. When I heard BlissDom 09 was in Tennessee I thought that might be doable.

Then when Linda over at Short Pump Preppy said she was near Richmond and would be willing to carpool well I figured if she's crazy, than I'm only 2 more hours crazier than her!

Linda was very persuasive when she booked a room, reminded me registration is only $100 until Dec. 31, and then sent me a cocktail menu for the week.

OK! I'm in!

And actually, I am very grateful to Linda for getting the ball rolling and now I'm not looking back.

I can't wait to meet Linda, and all the other bloggers I've been chatting with.
I can't wait to build more traffic to this blog so I can hopefully earn back the money I'm spending going to BlissDom 09.
I can't wait to drive 22 hours without incident! (think positive)

Already packing my bags,
Janine

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another amazing National Geographic show

Clear your calendar this Sunday night, December 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET for the premier of National Geographic Channel's In The Womb: Identical Twins.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to see an advance copy and I was amazed by just how different identical twins can be, and why.

You can see the moment when a single cell rapidly multiplies into a blastocyst and see the many milestones as identical twins grow in-utero. Learn what happens when one identical twin doesn't fully develop, and why identical twins are not always subject to the same diseases.

My twins are obviously not identical but like most people (with or without twins) the idea of 2 identical children is fascinating. National Geographic covers several sets of identical twins including 2 boys one of whom weighed 6 1/2 pounds at birth while his 'identical' brother weighed just over a pound. Another set of twins had no contact with each other for 40 years and yet lead parallel lives.

Plus, the show explores what behavior is a result of nature versus nurture and how scientists can study the effects of genes on someone's personality.

The 4-D ultrasound is very cool and had me thinking back to my own pregnancy when the Twofer would kickbox each other on that little screen!

The girls really want to watch it and my only hesitation is the c-section part, and the fact that they don't really know how babies are made. I can hear it now, "Mommy? What's sperm and how do you get it?"

But I'd love for them to see what 2 babies inside a mommy's tummy looks like since they are used to hearing me tell stories.

Enjoy the show and I'd love to hear what you thought!.
Janine


Thursday, December 18, 2008

WINNER!


Congratulations to Shannon at From Cribs to Car Keys!
She is the winner of the Pacific Shaving Company gift set!

Check out her blog, leave her a congrats thanks, and thanks to everyone who entered this contest!

Happy shaving Shannon! Come back and let me know what you think.
Janine

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The best Sunday snack

As I've posted before, we have a wall of TVs that exist solely for football Sundays. The TVs bring much more than football into our house...they draw guests.

And with guests, comes food - or really the need for food.
Thanks to Mom Central
I recently discovered Ultimate Party Meatballs!



Just 3 ingredients plus 20 minutes, and I have a filling little snack.

Her
e's all you need:
1. 2lb bag of frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail-size meatballs
2. 16 ounce can Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
3. 12 ounce bottle Heinz Chili Sauce

Put the cranberry sauce and chili sauce in a large pan on med-low heat and stir until smooth (about 5 mi.)
Add the meatballs, cover and cook for 15 min. (stirring occasionally) or until meatballs are heated through.


That's it! They taste tangy yet sweet. The Twofer LOVED them and took the leftovers to school the next day in a thermos for lunch! My husband LOVED them and ate more later that night. I LOVED them because not only did they taste great - they were quick and easy to make! (Plus, anything that is accepted as lunch the next day get extra points in my book.)

And now for the obligatory football reference joke... The Ultimate Party Meatballs scored a touchdown and were a real crowd-pleaser!

I will definitely stock these ingredients for future Sundays.
Visit UltimatePartyMeatballs for more recipes, entertaining tips, and the chance to win a $3000 Ultimate Party*! *sweepstakes ends. Jan 31, 2009

Then if you win, invite me to the party :). Or maybe I'll offer to host it in my basement and my wall of TVs.

Now back to the game,
Janine
Thanks again to Mom Central for the opportunity to review this item!




Monday, December 15, 2008

How Facebook changed the way I shave

Facebook has, among other things, changed the way I
communicate with friends
use my cell phone
network
and promote this blog.

Now it is responsible for changing the way I shave.
You see, through Facebook I have reconnected with an old college friend who also happens to have started a little company called Pacific Shaving Company.

What is special about this company is the itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny bottle of All Natural Shaving OilTM that lasts for 100 shaves (if not more) - all you need is a few drops!

I tried it yesterday and all the places I usually get nicked were unusually free of red bumps and pain. Legs, underarms, bikini area....all silky smooth, and not the least bit irritated. So goodbye shaving cream, forever. I've changed my ways.

What's more, Pacific Shaving Company plants a tree for every bottle of All Natural Shaving Oil sold (just $6.99 at CVS.com or drugstore.com at the time of this post).


Even better - WIN 2 bottles of Pacific Shaving Company All Natural Shaving Oil right here plus a cute tank top (size large) to show off those smooth underarms!

Here's how and leave a separate comment for each one.
Contest ends at midnight on Wednesday, December 17, 2008.

1. Leave a comment (easy)
2. Tweet this blog post (leave link in comment)
3. Mention/link to this post on your blog or holiday gift guide (again leave link in comment)

Winner will be chosen by Random.org

Happy shaving!
Janine


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Groceries + Gift Cards = Free Gas!

The Safeway family of grocery stores including Vons, Dominick's, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Pavilions, Carrs and Genuardi's make it easy for you to earn free gas AND get your holiday shopping done!

Just use your Safeway Club Card as you grocery shop, buy prescriptions, and purchase gift cards to earn gas on a PowerPump card every time you spend $100 and for every 2nd prescription you fill.


Plus, n
ow until December 25th you can earn double PowerPump gas rewards when you buy gift cards from over 300 retailers including Best Buy, The Home Depot, Macy's, iTunes and more.

Simply go to Safeway's Power Pump locator to find a participating store near you.
Then pick up your PowerPump card at your local Safeway store and start shopping!
Buy some gift cards for yourself or as a donation to a needy family and get the bonus of gas rewards. But remember, the double PowerPump points only last through Christmas!

Janine
This post sponsored by



Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas came a little early

The girls and I stopped in at our local library the other day finally return their stack of books (I stopped counting the days overdue at 5...). It turned out to be one of the book sale days when they sell used/donated books for mere pennies (well with inflation and all it's mere quarters, but still).

I look in my wallet...hmm, only $7.00 in there.
ONLY $7.00? I'll just have to make do.

As they picked through the children's books, I browsed the paperbacks and found a number of books I had been wanting to read and buying them means I won't have to worry about returning them.

The girls also found 2 mini classics, Heidi and Black Beauty that I have never actually read! So I'm excited that we will have to read together.

Our Loot

The grand total came to $8.50. I dug around in my purse, found and extra $.50 and the nice library lady let me walk. I promised her I'd slip a dollar into the little box they keep by the "for sale" shelf. Plus, I always donate the books back to the library so they can sell them again. On top of that, I'm sure my overdue fines will more than cover that dollar :).

I love the library. It's cheap. It's warm in winter, cool in summer. It's bright and inviting. It has wi-fi. And, actually, a great place to people watch.

Now if it only had a Starbucks....

Janine


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Twincident #145 - differences

This twincident isn't the destructive kind, it's the constructive kind.

It's also a good example of how we have learned to embrace the Twofer's differences.

Each month they bring home a 'family project' from school.
This month the project was to decorate a very large gingerbread man that was cut out of brown paper, then write a
few sentences about it.

L, never one for coloring in the lines, quickly decided she wanted to write about a gingerbread dog. The gingerbread man was clearly the shape of a man..not a dog.
But we added ears, a tail, paws, and a leash and
by George when we were done, it looked like a dog!

Here is her gingerbread dog and accompanying story:

I asked Mommy to bake a gingerbread dog. We gave him lollipop ears, a marshmallow tail, and chocolate nose. He was so nice that I did not eat him. His name is Bruno

M, always quick to feminize things (I say go for it! Girl Power!) turned hers into a gingerbread girl. And when I say girl, I mean girly girl (oh just wait for her story). With my help, M gave the gingerbread girl a dress, shoes, necklace, earrings, nail polish (not on at the time of photo), and red licorice hair.


Once there was a gingerbread girl. She went to the mall. She saw her favorite dress and her favorite shoes and a pair of earrings and a jewelry store. She saw a place where she could get her nails done. Her name was Alyssa.

By the way, I can count on one hand the number of times I've taken the girls to mall in the last 3 years. I also do not spend loads of time on my wardrobe, or makeup. So I have to say that this girly thing of hers is just part of who she is, and for once, not entirely my fault.

I will take full credit for the shoes.

Sometimes I wonder - have we encouraged them to be different or have we encouraged them to be themselves and they are simply that...two very different people?

In the end, I'm happy if they are happy with themselves.

Peace, love, and differences,
Janine


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mom Central making gift-giving easier

Here is a holiday gift guide that covers everyone on your list!Mom Central's Holiday Gift Guide has everything for him, her, you, me, big kids, little kids and even pets! Price categories (under $50, under $100, over $100) make it easy to find the right priced item. Mom Central has already tested and reviewed many of these products and there are links to the reviews.

Enter to win daily prizes too!
Just register at Mom Central, then leave a comment at the Gift Guide post.
For extra entries Twitter or email your friends about the giveaways.
Just be sure to leave a second comment if you tweet or email on the post so you get that extra credit!

And hurry! Giveaways are going fast...so register and get your comments up today!
Remember to come back and tell me if you won anything.

Now, back to my shopping,
Janine

Monday, December 8, 2008

Win a Samsung phone! UPDATE ***Winner***

We have a ***Winner***!
Congratulations to blueviolet from A Nut in a Nutshell on winning the Samsung M300 phone from Kajeet!

Thanks to everyone who left a comment, tweeted, and in general spread the word.
If you didn't win, you can still get a great deal:
15% off any phone AND
$10 at activation
by going to www.kajeet.com and use promo code: JANINE

_______________________original post__________________

Need an extra
cell phone for someone in your family?

You can win a Samsung M300 from Kajeet (a $69.99 value)!
This phone has:
  • 4x digital zoom camera
  • Speakerphone
  • Bluetooth

Plus all the benefits of the parental controls that come with Kajeet.
No contract necessary. You can pay as you use it (just 10 cents a minute) or you can get a monthly plan (lowest starting at $4.99 a month) and go back to pay-as-you-go whenever you want!

Enter 3 different ways by Midnight (EST) Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FIRST:
Go to HERE. Read the 10 Great Things to Know About Kajeet (scroll down page a bit).

THEN:
1) Tell me in a comment here which of the 10 things is most important to you

2) Twitter this this:
If anyone is looking for a family-friendly cell phone, here's a great place to start: www.kajeet.com/JANINE DM @twincident for $10 bonus
3) Blog about this contest and include a link to www.kajeet.com/JANINE

Make sure you leave a separate comment here for each one so it will count as a separate entry! Winner will be chosen by Random.org and will be announced on this blog on Thursday, December 11, 2008.

If you want to learn more about Kajeet and the parental controls they offer you can see my earlier post here: "Don't buy your kid a cell phone until..."

Good luck!

Janine

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Flashback - babies come from Florida


Sure, even as 5-year olds the Twofer give me enough content for this blog. But there were a few really great things that happened before I started blogging and I reserve the right to post these flashbacks whenever I feel like it.

And today I'll take you back to August 1, 2007.

This is taken from an email I sent my close friends...before I knew I could embarrass my children publicly through blogging:

"OK, so this is just about the funniest conversation I've had with El and I just had to sit down and write it out before I forget about it.

Both girls are always asking where they were when mommy and daddy were little. And my response is always that they were little eggs in my tummy.
This morning I told El that she has little eggs in her tummy that can become a baby when she gets older...much older.

Em came downstairs.
L: "Hey Em, we have eggs in our tummy!"
M: "WHAT?"
L: "We have eggs in our tummy that will turn into babies!"
M: "WHAT???"
ME: "And only girls have the eggs, not boys, so boys can't have babies."

M walks away satisfied.

L: "But Mommy, where did we come out of your body at the hospital?"
ME (ignoring the 'body' part of the question): "Yes, you came out of me at the hospital. I pushed you out."
L: "But WHERE from your BODY did we come out?"

She couldn't be any more direct and I think very hard before answering...take a deep breath and,
"Out of my Private Area."

L with a HUGE smile on her face: "Out of your wee wee?? That's silly! You're joking!"
ME laughing: "No I'm not. Babies grow in the tummy but come out down there. Where else would they come from?"

L: "Florida"


Who knew! By the way-we have never taken them to Florida. And now, I'm sorta afraid to go.
Happy memories,
Janine

Friday, December 5, 2008

Save $5 on a SeatSnug and give the gift of safety!

If you have a child in a booster seat, you definitely want to consider SeatSnug. And now through the holidays you can get $5.00 off by using the coupon code: MOMCENTRAL when you purchase a SeatSnug at www.seatsnug.com.





I posted about SeatSnug recently because I was lucky enough to be chosen by Mom Central to test and review this product.


SeatSnug is a device that helps to secure booster seats so that they don't tip, rock, and slide as they are prone to do even under normal driving conditions.
The SeatSnug easily attaches to the existing seat belt and my kids noticed the difference right away.

You can watch the SeatSnug video here: www.seatsnug.com and then see my original post with my own video here: Janine's SeatSnug video


Take advantage of the savings and buy a SeatSnug for your kids, nieces/nephews, even grandkids this holiday and give the gift of safety!

Happy shopping,
Janine









Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Twittermom Blog Swap


"Today's guest post is brought to you by Brandi Schaefer from Bishop`s Room.
This is all part of the TwitterMoms "Blog Swap".
Don't forget to go check out my post over on their site


Nowadays, it is a whole new world for me and being a mom has really changed my perspective.
I want everything to be so perfect for him because that is what he is, perfect.
Sometimes the stress of trying to work, running a household and still keep my sanity get to me though. I`m running everyday, eight to five, trying not to loose sight of what truly matters.


Then comes the weekend and everything is refreshed and at peace again. So, what do I do during those long work weeks to keep from losing it?

I blog. Obviously. I get to meet all kinds of wonderful people, find new things and all kinds of inspiring ideas.

Along with my pens, and folders there iare always recent pictures of my son on my desk.

Retail therapy always helps, even if it is just window shopping.
Merlot

Knowing that my two favorite guys are waiting for me to come home....and that I am loved.
Did I mention the Merlot?

Sometimes, I do wish that I was the one staying home with my son. However, my husband does a wonderful job and it makes me feel good to provide for our family.

So, these are some of the things that I do to keep me sane...What about you? If you stay home with you children, work from home, part time of full... I know we all need to find time to just unwind and just relax. What do you other moms out there do to keep your sanity?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Follow your one True North

True North, the brand of those most delicious 100% natural nut snacks that don’t last but 5 minutes in my house, have teamed up with good old Hollywood for the contest of a lifetime!

They are looking for a real True North Story to be made into a 60 second commercial directed by Helen Hunt that will air Oscar night.


What is a True North Story?

We all know someone who has followed his or her one true north and created something significant out of mere passion. Whether it’s a business, a community project, or even something that just makes life a little easier, a True North Story doesn’t have to be huge. But the person behind it should be excited to share their passion with the world. I read some True North stories and they immediately brought to mind some people I know who have followed their dreams.

How to enter:
Go to www.truenorthsnacks.com/story and click on the “Share a True North Story” then write your (or your family member’s or friend’s) True North Story in 300 words or less before December 31, 2008. Upload photos, video or music (check limitations) to accompany your story.

The Prize
The winner will receive $25,000 toward the pursuit of their true north and their story will be used to create a 60-second commercial to air during the 2009 Academy Awards®.
Plus, sharing your story just might trigger others to follow their dreams!

Thanks to Mom Central and True North for the opportunity to share this contest and for recognizing that passion breeds passion.
I can’t wait to read more True North stories and see the winner’s commercial.

If you decide to enter, leave me a note here so I can cheer you on!
Janine

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is there room in the schedule for lazy days?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I almost wish we had one more day at home with the girls!

I went into this weekend having lined up a few things so that we didn't go stir-crazy. My husband was scheduled to have knee surgery Wednesday and so we were not going to be doing the movies and museum visits we usually do during a holiday weekend at home.


For the most part we stayed at home, indoors, and a lot of that was on the couch. And for once, I didn't freak out about it.

I think the girls were tired. My husband and I were tired. And we just needed to have family time that involved doing nothing. We watched movies. We read books. We did some Christmas decorating.

L wearing Santa hat, M wearing tree skirt

We spent days in our jammies. We were silly. And we argued and yelled at each other.

But for the first time in a long time, I'm sad to get back to the routine of school, activities, homework, and work-work tomorrow.

I'll miss our lazy days. I need to 'schedule' more of those :).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am Thankful for...

My family and friends

Good health


And complete Thanksgiving Dinners that I don't have to cook.


Just wait until it's all heated up and placed into pretty dishes...I'll have to add that photo later!

Girls wanted to share what they are thankful for so I let them vlog it.
video video
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Janine

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Don't buy your kid a cell phone until you see this

Do you know who's going to be texting your child?
What happens when they misplace the phone?
How can you realistically set limitations as to when they use the phone?

(Feel free to jump to video farther down this post)

I never gave this topic much thought until I came across a phone service called Kajeet who impressed me not only with the parental controls that can be applied to any of their phones, but also because they recognized the power behind moms as decision-makers, and savvy shoppers.

I then applied, and was accepted, to be on the Kajeet Mom Team. They sent me a phone to demo and now...

I believe in:
1. GPS locator....seriously, this is to locate the phone, not necessarily your child, but I can't tell you how many times I've lost my phone. Now I can log in online and find it!

2. No contracts or termination fees...monthly plans are available for as los as $5.00 a month (adding a phone to your existing plan is about $9/mo) or you can pay just 10 cents a minute.

3. The kajeet configurator....to easily and flexibly configure parental controls including
how much money is spent
what time the phone can/can't be used
and who can call or text your child!

Plus...kids really love it! They can take pictures, text, download ring tones and games - all the things they love but with limitations they set along with their parents.

Here's a short video that shows how all the limitations can be easily configured online.


All my friends and family (ie: my faithful readers) can get an additional 15% off the cost of your Kajeet phone when you sign up here: www.kajeet.com/JANINE (Many phones are already on sale for the holidays and this is 15% off in addition to the discounts listed online!)

PLUS - leave me a comment here when you've signed up and I'll give you a promo code to save $10 when you activate your phone!

I hope this is helpful to you parents trying to navigate the world of mobile phones for your kids. I was certainly impressed. Happy shopping!
Janine



Monday, November 24, 2008

PARENTise = Parent + Wise

Compare and contrast - we all do it. Especially when it comes to things relating to our kids. It helps us make wise choices.
"What music class did you like?"

"Which swim instructor is the best?"
"Did you like the soccer program?"

Thanks to a new site, PARENTise, you can view and submit ratings for all kinds of services including classes, schools, sitting services, pediatricians, and lots more. It's free and shows local services based on your zip code.

Plus - to celebrate the beta release of the PARENTise site, they are having a 14 Days of Giveaways blog tour! Each day there is a new giveaway announced on a new blog and today I have the honor of celebrating with Ellie Bellie Kids!

Go to the PARENTise blog for details on how to enter to win either an
EBK reversible lavender/lime tutu
or an
EBK mini messenger bag

Then join PARENTise and let me know if you leave a review - or if you win a giveaway!

Janine

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A booster seat's best friend

Since we already know how neurotic I am, it's no surprise that I spent months researching booster seats and finally found one with latch, AND a 5 point harness that works for kids up to 65 lbs. Of course, this is no $20 booster seat, plus I had to buy two of them. But at the time it was the safest option I could find for those 6 hour drives to Grandma's house.

We do, however, have the cheaper, lighter boosters in Mr.'s car for quick trips around town and for carpools.

Which is why after watching the first 10 seconds of this short video, I was sold. (Watch the video here: www.seatsnug.com)

Thanks to Mom Central I was given the opportunity to test the SeatSnug child stability device and discovered that this nifty device can secure those less expensive booster seats for half the cost of the boosters in my car!

SeatSnug gets that annoying slack out of the belt, and prevents the booster seat from bouncing around, rocking, and tipping as can happen even during normal driving conditions. Those that live in and around DC can vouch there is no "normal" because people are always late, weaving in and out of traffic, and slamming on breaks (not yours truly, of course).

Installation:
It just took me less than 10 minutes (in the freezing cold so my fingers were a little slow) to install. I realized the "off" switch makes the tongue and strap slide easily and then the "on" is what locks it in place.
The BEST part? When Mom Central told SeatSnug I had twins, they sent me a second one right away! Not that's a company that CARES.

Here is my own home video of the SeatSnug in action!

video
So thanks again Mom Central and SeatSnug for keeping the Twofer safe & snug, and me a little less neurotic.

Janine

Friday, November 21, 2008

Is it a "Mom" cut?

A little over a week ago I posted a video asking for some help on deciding what I should do with my hair.

Today was the day, and with a little help from my amazing stylist (and his colorist), I am back to my old red-headed self with a cute little cut to boot!
It's NOT a bob, for those of you who voted, but it's also not short-short (he suggested I wait until the weather is warmer as it was snowing today).

It's somewhere in the middle but he, along with a room full of 19 year-olds, assured me it's definitely NOT a mom cut!

So here's the before:



And Voila, the after!



PLUS - it's red (strawberry blond) again! No more, "Where did your girls get their red hair?" Because honey, it's obvious now that they got it from me!

This, by the way, is no small feat. Three colors help make this possible. I don't even think that's in their price list (I see 2-step color but not 3)! I wish my Mac's photobooth picked up the depth of color but you can definitely see the difference.

Here are some pics of me and L so you can really see that we match.


Thanks for all your help, support, or at least faking interest in my BIG decision!

Whatcha think?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A slice of apple pie to celebrate 400 followers on twitter!

This one's for you twitter friends!

My grandmother's famous recipe for apple pie, including home made crust.
Please note: there is an element of trial and error here.
Sometimes the apples are really juicy. Sometimes you need to add more oil to the dough. It's a lot of eyeballing, getting a feel for consistency, and learning more, the more pies you bake.


Enjoy and PLEASE come back and let me know how your pies turned out!
And extra credit (vanilla ice cream) if you digg, stumble, or kirtsy, this post.

Crust
Stir together:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Chill then mix with fork until creamy:
1/2 cup oil (safflower or Mazola)
1/4 cup milk
Pour over flour mixture all at once and stir with fork until blended
If dough is too dry add tbsp of oil (oil is key)

Bottom Crust
Roll 2/3 of dough between 2 sheets waxed paper
Make sure to roll out bubbles and even thickness (approx. 1/4 inch)

Remove top piece of wax paper and invert the crust and press lightly into pie pan
Remove the second piece of wax paper, press evenly up, and just slightly over edges of pan (you can "patch" any holes with remnants of dough)



Apples
Peel core and slice 6 cups of apples
Mix 1/2 cup white sugar with 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
(if you use tart apples add more sugar)
Add
1 tbsp tapioca or cornstarch (juicy apples
require more)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
You should have about 1/4 cup of liquid at bottom of bowl (if not, add tbsp water)
Mix gently and place in pie shell
Dot with butter or margarine

Top Crust:
Roll remaining 1/3 dough and cut strips for top
Strips are crisscrossed at an angle like this:


Or place as a solid piece and cut out holes for steam like this:


Pinch together edges of top and bottom crusts.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes
Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 35-45 minutes until bubbly

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Miley Cyrus isn't the only one with 7 things

Sorry, you have to have 5 year old girls, and specifically girls who love Radio Disney to know the Miley Cyrus song "7 Things" so I hope that title didn't lose you.

But it's appropriate because
The Coupon Coup tagged me with a meme called Seven Things.

So here are the 7 things about me:
1. I know all the words to Don McLean's American Pie

2. I've always wanted to join Stacy & Clinton's as the third Style Guru on TLC's What Not to Wear

3. I didn't have a middle name until I got married.

4. I hate spiders but ALWAYS put on a brave face and play it cool for the benefit of my kids when there is one in the house.

5. Our 2 cats are named after Grateful Dead songs

6. I've been inside the Pyramids in Egypt and all I could think about was how hot and stinky it was, but I was floored by the devotion I witnessed in India.

7. I was an extra in an episode of Sex & the City.

Here are the people I'm tagging:

Kitrona
MV On the Spot
This Military Mama
The Neurotic Mom
Life on the Run
JerseyMomma
MamaDivas

Let me know your 7 things in a comment and then check back to see who else left some!

Janine (SM)

Neurotic - all the cool kids are doing it



When Kelly over at The Neurotic Mom asked for "neurotic moments" I was happy to share one of my more recent ones about my dread of letting the Twofer use a port-o-potty.

I know I'm slightly neurotic and I spend equal amounts of energy fighting off those neuroses as I do giving in to them. I've also accepted that it's just part of who I am, for now.


Check out my moment and let me know what you think, or if you have any tips to help me to get over it!

Janine (SM)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Caviar vs. Fish Sticks

My twins are not your typical 5 year-olds at least in terms of food.

They would rather eat caviar than fish sticks.

Random photo that came up on search for 'fish sticks'

They also eat, among other things...
grilled octopus
sushi (Cali roll is all I'll let them have)
tofu
eggs with spinach
shrimp
Ms. Vicky's Jalapeno chips Miss Vickie's Potato Chips, Hand Picked Jalapeno, 1.375-Ounce Large Single Serve Bags (Pack of 64)

as well as...
taramoslata (caviar dip)
and just about anything on the CAVA menu.

Take note - they have always eaten stuff like this. Oh, on occasion they've gone through picky periods but it doesn't last long. Most recently M went on an "I don't like peanut butter" spell that had me all worked up because she's been eating it once a week since they were 'cleared' for it at 2! (Plus, PB &J is my go-to food when I have nothing else to make for lunch - you can't take that away from me!!!)

And also note that I'm not counting on this lasting forever. Now that they are in school and exposed to more kids who don't like certain foods, I'm guessing their tastes may change because frankly, it's just not cool to bring in hummus and veggies for lunch...or is it? I noticed the school menu has more exotic offerings than the chicken fricasee from my days.

For now I'll keep offering different foods whenever I can and especially when we are out. I'm going to try and hide the kids menus, and have them pick from the regular menu. Anything to avoid the mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets rut a little longer.

Oh, and for real, they HATE fish sticks.

Do your kids like any unique foods?
Tell me what else we should try!

Janine (SM)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vlog #2 How should I cut my hair?

A quick video so you can help me decide...should I cut my hair short or really short?

Please leave a comment with your vote!
About to take the scissors to my own head,
Janine (ScaryMom)


video

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ask and ye shall receive

I have been very busy NOT blogging. I wouldn't say I had writer's block, but I was definitely more consumed with twitter, work, planning a holiday shopping bazaar, and keeping up (actually falling behind) on 15 Days of Marketing homework.

Tonight I decided I MUST write a few blog posts for the week ahead. What good is a blog if I don't update it? So when @Robyn of Robyn's Online World sent a tweet asking if anyone wanted a meme I jumped at the chance! Sometimes you just need a little fire under your butt to get the blog posts going and a meme works for me.

Ah - be careful what you wish for! Because minutes after replying to Robyn I checked my email and found I had already been tagged by someone else for another meme!

So now I have twice the inspiration to write posts about my all-time favorite subject...ME!

Today's will be the shout-back to Robyn. Later this week I'll post the other one. But with both, you're going to learn all kinds of juicy things including....my REAL name!

Five Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago
1. Enjoying being a newlywed
2. Trading in my Honda Accord for a Lexus (later traded Lexus for minivan...boohoo)
3. Getting up every day at 5:00 am and heading to the gym before going to work (wish I kept that up)
4. Going to happy hour every-other day (an estimation)
5. 10 years ago we were in the midst of wedding hell - everyone got married that year!

Five Things On My To Do List
1. Send my friend Debra $65 for tickets to see an ABBA cover band
2. Clean my house for M's playdate on Tuesday
3. Sew the yellow petals onto Girl Scout Daisy uniforms
4. Return library book I renewed and never cracked open
5. Get tickets to local high school production of School House Rock

Five Things I Like To Snack On
1. Coffee
2. Chocolate
3. Popcorn
4. Cheese
5. Hummus

Five Things I Would Do If I Was A Millionaire
1. Build a closet just for shoes and handbags
2. Travel
3. Invest in bio fuels
4. Build a "green" home with solar panels and wind turbine
5. Donate to my favorite causes

Five Places I Have Lived
1. Seattle, WA
2. Ridgefield, CT
3. Syracuse, NY
4. Washington, DC
5. Potomac, MD


Five Jobs I Have Had
1. Server at Uno's
2. Discovery Toys rep
3. File clerk at doctor office
4. Sales staff in a mall record store (complete with nifty black vest and angst)
5. Copywriter for radio station

Five People I Am Tagging
BizzieMommy
CutieBootyCakes
Missives From Suburbia
PMKU
SuburbSanity


If you were tagged please tag 5 others, and if you weren't tagged, feel free to do this meme and leave me your link in a comment!

And now for the moment you've been waiting for...
My real name....



Janine/ScaryMom

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hi my name is ScaryMom and I'm a twitteraholic...

I've had big plans for blog posts, product reviews, and really great jump-in-the-leaves photos. I have, however, been slightly distracted by the election, and twitter.

Actually, Tuesday night I hardly watched the election on TV - because twitter was way more interesting!

Don't worry, I stopped long enough to drink in Obama's victory, the speeches, and the fact that history was made. But then it was back to my tweeple, and their tweets. Srsly (seriously) - I'm learning a whole new language and that means writing in under 140 characters.

I think I'm starting to talk in 140 characters.

So tomorrow I will limit my tweeting to certain hours. And I'm going to tell my tweeple that now, so that I stick to it.

Here's to more productive days.
Twitter, I'll miss you. But this is best for both of us.
ScaryMom




Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Letting Go this Election Day Tuesday..


Here we go quick and dirty:

Today I'm letting go of...

1) the fact that the Twofer have used up all their "play nice" points and it's only 10:00am.

2) I'll have to wait in line to exercise my right to vote, and then who knows if we'll even have a solid winner tonight

3) 2nd session of riding lessons filled up quickly and I may be making 2 trips in one day, or heading to the stables on Sundays (dreadful)

BONUS 4) the dirty socks that litter my house. For today, let them sit there.

What are you letting go of?
ScaryMom

Make me a STAR Baby!

So I'm currently participating in 15 Days of Marketing over at JessicaKnows.com. Each day I'm learning more and more about branding ScaryMom and marketing this blog.

Today is Day 3 and our homework was to take a risk and try vlogging (video blogging) or write a "confessional" post so that my true personality can come shining through. Since I've already blasted people on this blog and thrown my family under the bus a few times, I figured I'd try a nice peppy video with lots of smiles.

So here goes. Watch, criticize, and learn something new. But take note: I wouldn't have to do this if y'all would just tell your friends to read my blog and click on the ads now and then.

video

Sharing the good with the bad,
ScaryMom

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pull, tug, suck, don't breathe....

That's how you get into your wedding dress after 10 years of marriage and twins.

I did it, I loved it, I took pictures of it, I wore it trick-or-treating...


....WHHHHEEEWWWW! And now I can breathe again.

I'm thinking I should make this an annual thing. You know, motivate me to hit the gym more often. Or starve myself every year before the big holiday season hits.

M told me, "Oh Mommy, you look pretti
er than me!" (is that her vanity or her humbleness speaking?)

L wanted to hold my flowers and kept petting my stomach where the dress was a bit, um, snug. I think she just liked the fabric - course it could be she thought I was hiding something under there.

My husband, bless his heart, refused to video tape it just in case it didn't fit. At first he suffered the wrath because in my language that means he thinks I'm now fat. But then I realized it was just a Cover Your A$$ move on his part. Well when I got it on and came out of the bathroom he had googly eyes for me and said (unsolicited) I looked beautiful!

Then I made him wear a Frankenstein mask for the pictures.




Loving the moment,
ScaryMom