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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 :).