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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Milkshake- the band that keeps on giving! **WINNER**

***WINNER announced 2/3***
Thanks everyone for entering! Debbie N. has won the Milkshake prize pack.
Enjoy the music Debbie!
Janine

Original Post
_______________________
For parents like me who dislike most kids music, ther
e are a few bands that have pulled me, along with my twins, into their fold.

For this post I'm going to focus exclusively on Milkshake for several reasons:
  1. They are a 'local' band based in Baltimore (but travel so check their tour dates) and they passed the "dance test"
  2. They 'get' the power of mom blogs and are generous enough to provide a most excellent Prize Package.
  3. Vocalist Lisa Mathews has tapped into my inner ballerina with her fabulous selection of tutus. I heart tutus.

So let's begin with the dance test.

If the Twofer are not dancing within the first 3 minutes of hearing a new CD or DVD, the music has not passed the test.
With the Milkshake Screen Play
DVD the girls were up and dancing (curse me for not having the Flip video going at the time) in 1 minute, 43 seconds. They immediately recognized the songs from years of listening to Sirius Kids radio, and were mesmerized by the video of the band. I take for granted that I grew up watching music videos on MTV and well, where have all the videos gone?

Click Here to listen to Milkshake songs and give your kid their own "dance test".

Moving on to the GIVEAWAY:

Milkshake is so hip, so cool, and so supportive that they have given bloggers like me a chance to reward our wonderful readers. Here's the Prize Package:



  • 1 copy of the CD "Play!" that has tracks made famous by ToddWorld and DiscoveryKids
  • 1 copy of the new DVD "SCREEN PLAY!" that has all kids of music videos, clips of the band backstage, and lots of really fun music
  • 1 copy of the Milkshake comic book (which I've discovered is a great way to encourage reading!)
Here's how you enter to win:
Leave a comment with your favorite Milkshake song/video OR tell me who you will be giving this fabulous prize pack to, should you win.

Extra entries:
  • Follow this blog (in right column just under Kajeet button click follow then leave me note in comment)
  • Blog about this contest and link back to this post (leave link in a separate comment)
  • Tweet about this contest (leave link to tweet in a separate comment)
  • Email your friends and cc me: scarytwins [at] yahoo [dot] com (great for all my non-blogging friends to get an extra entry)
Deadline to enter: Tuesday, February 3 at 12 Noon, ET.
Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced Tuesday before I go to the fake ABBA concert (more on that later).

Good luck! And Thanks Milkshake!
Janine

Friday, January 30, 2009

Storytime with the Twofer Week 5- Little Snowman

L wrote this book before we actually had any snow this winter. But seeing as we just had a 2-day school week due to snow and ice, I thought this would be a good week to post this story.

Enjoy!
Janine


Help me get dressed for Blissdom 09!

Blissdom 09 is going to be my first ever blogging conference. I'm excited to meet so many amazing women, learn some digi skills from my roommate Linda, and get inspired for v2 of this little time suck I call my blog.

I'm also a little overwhelmed....


because there is a cocktail party...

and I haven't been to a cocktail party in a very long time.

What do I wear???

That is why I have begged, cajoled and harassed you into visiting my blog.
I need you to help me choose from 3 outfits.

Here are 3 outfits shown in crappy photos I took with my phone and a little description. I could put each outfit on and model it for you while my husband plays photog with our Nikon D40 digital SLR camera, but that would make too much sense and make this blog look way more professional than it really is.
Also, I'm lazy.

So do the best you can with what I have here.

Outfit A: conservative yet classy

Pencil skirt with pink blazer paired
with my favorite (only) Prada purse, and peep-toe pumps

Outfit B: fun and funky
Black velor coat with embroidery, satin shoulder blouse,
skinny jeans (not shown) and black mules

Outfit C: the dress

Dark navy dress with red satin slingbacks and a
kelly green quilted satin clutch (not shown) for more color



Your job?
Leave a comment telling me what is most appropriate for a blogging conference cocktail hour: A, B or C

I will forever be grateful!
Faithfully yours,
Janine

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yanni brings back the romance

Do you need inspiration as we get closer to Valentine's Day? Would it help to hear something that brings you back to when you first started dating? Something that is both romantic, and upbeat?


As a member of the One2One Network I was given the chance to preview the new Yanni Voices CD and DVD. I have found the music inspiring as I write, and as I reflect on where my husband and I have come in our 10 years of marriage.

Yanni Voices took 2 years to complete in collaboration with producer Ric Wake (who did J. Lo's "Waiting for Tonight"), and for the first time ever, Yanni re-interprets his compositions and introduces vocalists Nathan Pacheco, Chloe, Ender Thomas and Leslie Mills.

I thought back on the first few Valentine's Days we spent together as a couple. One year I planned an elaborate "treasure hunt" which took my husband to various stores where each shop keeper had a clue to the next destination...the last of which took him to Victoria's Secret and then to a hotel room where I was waiting.

I'm looking forward to the video and watching the PBS Special to see these amazing vocalists at work and what it takes behind-the-scenes. Check HERE to find the dates for your local PBS station.

And who knows? Now that I'm loving Yanni, I just might find my way to the Yanni Voices: Live in Concert tour as a special date night. Right now we don't have the time (or a babysitter) for another treasure hunt, but we do still like spending time together, and romance is not a forgotten word.

What was your best Valentine's gift to someone?

Janine

January Birthdays are better as an adult




Today is/was my birthday. Today was also a snow day - schools were closed. Had I been a child this would have been a bust of a birthday because I would have missed having cupcakes at school with my friends.

As an adult, this day was near perfect. The only thing holding it back from perfect was the little bit of work I had to do, and I didn't get that nap I wanted.
Here's what I did get:
  • tons of birthday wishes from family, friends, and old/new Facebook friends
  • an afternoon of sledding with my entire family
  • grilled cheese and tomato soup (yum!)
  • cheeseburger and fries from 5 Guys (double yum!)
  • ice cream cake for dessert
  • American Idol auditions (this is my favorite part of the new season)
What can I say? I'm a simple person.

Happy Birthday to me!
Janine


Monday, January 26, 2009

Storytime week 4- The Girl Who Loved Water and Rainbows

I'm a little late with last week's Storytime post so I've got a twofer to make up for it!
M continues with her series of The Girl Who Loved.... and the second one is short enough I figure I'd toss it in here.

Grab the kiddos and some popcorn and enjoy Storytime with the Twofer!
Janine





Sunday, January 25, 2009

The last time I went to Park City

Image via Hifispin on Flickr

The last time I went to Park City, Utah....
1. I did not have kids.
2. I was out there for a business conference.
3. It was one of those annual company-wide conferences where everyone drinks too much at night, and then has to get up for a day of ses
sions that start at 8:00am.
4. It was summer.

I had a friend who was living in Park City at the time and she gave me 1/2 day tour to show me what the Land of Sundance was all about. I was amazed at the number of restaurants and shops packed in to that Main Street. We took a tram up the mountain and hiked around. I was surprised that there were so many cool things to do in the summer, I could just imagine how fun it would be in the winter.

Fast forward to today and Mom Central gives me the opportunity to explore Park City Mountain with a different set of eyes. I just spent an hour on the website and I'm itching to get back there...this time, with my family and my skis.

This place looks like the perfect family vacation with tons of fun for all different ages. Of course there is skiiing with over 3,000 acres of trails that vary from beginner to crazy (I mean expert). The Kids Signature 5 program means there will never be more than 5 kids in each ski and snowboard class.

Adult lessons and clinics are great for newbies and experienced skiiers because there's always room for improvement or to learn something new (like snowboarding or telemark).

Off the mountain choose from lift-served tubing at Gorgoza Park, the incredible Alpine Coaster, plus snowmobiling, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Of course, that doesn't even begin to cover the quaint (but hopping) historic Main Street that is easy to disover by taking one of two ski runs or the lift service that drops you off in the middle of it all.

Definitely check out the Park City Mountain site and the interactive vacation planner, as well as the Adventure Blog where local moms give you the inside scoop on getting the most of your family vacation.

Then enter to win a 3-night, 4-day family vacation (includes 2 adults and 2 kids) to Park City. Be sure enter before January 30th to be eligible!

Have you 'rediscovered' a vacation place with your kids? Was it better the second time around as a family or did it make you miss the 'old days'?

Janine
this post sponsored by

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chores for twins does not always mean teamwork

I have posted before about the Twofer having certain jobs around the house. What I have not told you is how I realized that twins do not always work best as a team.

Take for example the dreaded dishwasher.


I hate emptying the dishwasher.
My husband will do it reluctantly, and only when he damn well pleases which is often 24-48 hours after I've asked him. (I used to think his delay in emptying the dishwasher was a big F.U. to me. Now I know it's not about me, it's about the dishwasher. But that's another post. One that requires some level of therapy.)

I was happy hand over the job o
f emptying the dishwasher (with some supervision) to our twins. At first they were happy to help. Then it got stale, because our dishwasher is run every single day. Sometimes twice a day.



This great idea of mine was turning into a major referee job because the girls were fighting over every little thing...who did more, who wanted to do the silverware, who got stabbed with a fork, you get the idea.

I tried, "If M won't help than you just do your share and she'll have to do the rest."

I tried, "L, you do the silverware and dishes, M you do the pots/pans and glasses."

I tried splitting the racks, with one on top rack duty, the other, bottom.

I realized the dishwasher was better left to one person.

So now we keep track (sort of, you know I'm really bad at that) on a calendar, who emptied the dishwasher the day before.
They each get a day off, which makes it less of a battle when it's their turn.
Not only that, but they are thankful (I know, right?) when my husband picks up the slack!

As for filling the dishwasher, I still take that one because I'm the only one capable of loading the thing with any precision. (The same can be said for packing the car when we go away but again, that's another post because it involves exploring male/female roles in marriage and how my household seems to be a little skewed.)

Bottom line here folks, if you have twins, or even 2 or more kids, keep the chores separate. Each child can be held accountable for their quality of work, and they can be rewarded justly. Plus, they can learn teamwork on the soccer field where there are professional referees.

Just my 2 cents.
Janine

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pencil to pen to pencil again

It just took me 10 minutes to locate a pen.Then I realized, things have come full-circle from when I was a child, because the writing instrument of choice these days is a pencil.

In elementary school I only used pencils (well,crayonstoo). I don’t think I ever wrote with pen because I was always having to erase. Sure, they came out with the 'eraseable pen' but it always left a mark on the paper.

I remember in High School when I really ditched pencils and used pens exclusively. I also remember having to buy highlighterswhich made me feel so mature. Not only was I going to be writing permanent things, I was going to mark things in very bright colors!

Since I never actually learned to type in typing class (sorry Mr.s Van D.A.) I used to have my dad’s secretary (ie: my mom) type anything that was longer than 2 pages. Yes, I was that kid. But then I got to college and I remember thinking how adult was of me to be typing up my own papers using (and this will date me) a word processor!

Enter the working years, and two very key things: a computer, and a Staples catalog. Oh the Joy! I would spend hours pouring through the pages of that catalog making a list of all pens I wanted to experiment with: Uniball, thin point, thick point, refillable, Sharpie, dry-erase – pens of all different colors, shapes and sizes. Pencils were the farthest things from my mind.

Then I had children.


These children learned to write. These children also started collecting pencils. I am now swimming in pencils. We have pencils from birthday parties, schools, pencils given out at fairs, the bank, the shoe store, the firehouse. We have pencils with hearts, with stripes, with jack-o-lanterns, with Christmas trees and snowmen, pencils with bouncy things at the top, mechanical pencils, really thick pencils, and colored pencils.

I did not realize until now that I appreciate the flexibility you get with pencils. The fairy you drew for your kid isn’t up to par? Erase it! There isn’t enough room on the calendar to fit the Girls Night Out you’ve scheduled? Erase everything on that date and fit it in!

Plus, pencils often offer a darker, thicker line than many pens. Pencils are usually free. And, unlike their tainted counterparts, pencils never run out of ink.

Janine

Friday, January 16, 2009

Play games with your kids and lose weight?

All over Twitter I read about people playing video games like Wii Fit, My Fitness Coach or Dance, Dance Revolution for exercise. It's hard to ignore the groups popping up like this Wii Fit Moms Group. It's also hard to ignore the fact that a lot of these people are getting in shape while they are playing games with their family.


Now GameStop is giving those of us who haven't joined this craze the chance to find the games that that are right for us and our families. While games like Brain Age or Crosswords DS give your brain a workout, the new fitness games really do give you a workout. GameStop stores are now offering a "Sharpen the Mind, Shape the Body" initiative so you can stop by a local store and demo a range of titles that match your interests and skill level.

As a special incentive, all GameStop shoppers who spend $35 or more on designated products will receive a free 12-month trial subscription to their choice of Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Redbook, Good Housekeeping or Esquire.

Plus, the freezing temperatures make the idea of working out in the comfort of my own, cozy living room very appealing.

Janine
this post sponsored by

Storytime Week 3 "Little Red Fish"

Welcome to week 3 of Storytime with the Twofer. In this episode we meet Little Red fish who meets the dangers of the deep face-to-face. Watch it with your little ones and see what happens!




Go little Red!
Janine

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No More Sticky Notes!

Here is how I stay organized, and I use that term very loosely.

I have all my important numbers, school stuff, and reminders hanging about in a mess in my kitchen.





I have no less than 4 notebooks with various lists including shopping and To-Do lists.

I leave things like grocery lists and important messages to my husband on the place I think he'll see first that day: the fridge door, his computer monitor, the bathroom mirror.

See, I'm very organized.
Really.

The system works....
I'm lying.

But now, thanks to the very organized ladies at Mom Central, I'm testing out a FREE family management tool called Cozi. With Cozi I can track everyone's events in the family calendar (color-coded for easy viewing), and manage customized To-Do and Shopping lists (grocery, Costco, home office, vacation planning, party planning, etc.).

Cozi Family Home Page


Mobile Access
I can now scrap the sticky-notes and text any Cozi list, reminder, or message to my husband so I know he'll get it. If I'm already at the grocery store, I can
call the Cozi toll-free number and they'll text any list to me. I'll never have to make 2 trips to the store in one day again!

The Cozi mobile version (for iPhone and Windows Mobile phones) allows account access direct to the phone - add or edit lists and view the family calendar.

Family Journal
Because I blog I didn't think I would use the family journal, however, I don't blog about every little thing my family does. I realize this is a great space to quickly jot down something funny that happened, or something silly the girls said, before I forget or feel the need to come up with an engaging blog post. Plus, my husband and the Twofer can use because, as you can imagine, my blog is off-limits to them.

This space is just for our family to use...and eventually we can make it public. I will probably turn to it during my writing dry spells - who knows?

Win a $5,000 Home Organization makeover!

Sign up for Cozi (it's FREE!) before February 4, 2009 and you'll be entered to win a 2-day home organization makeover with professional organizer, and incoming NAPO President (National Association of Professional Organizers), Laura Leist. In Laura's two-day visit, she will makeover either the kitchen or home office in one lucky winners' home; a service with a retail value of $5,000.

So check out Cozi.com to sign up for free, and visit MomCentral.com for more great ways to get organized. Then let me know what you are doing to stay organized in 2009.

Happily sorting through the paper,
Janine

Monday, January 12, 2009

A peek inside playtime with twins


It's no surprise that as twins, the Twofer seem to have their own unique way of playing with each other. They already know the object of the game, the characters involved, and the adventure they are going on as they wander down the stairs with their walkie-talkies, binoculars, and sunglasses.

It's a daily dose of improv in my house:

M/Chicosay: "Calling Toofree, calling Toofree. Where's the mazradeur we need? Have you located it yet?"

L/Toofree: "It's in the clubhouse. I'm heading there now. Can you meet me Chicosay? Bring the flashlights!"

They also have designated roles that they play which doesn't really seem fair to me, but what do I know? I'm just the 3rd wheel they call Mom.

M's List of Roles:
Mommy
Princess
Queen
Fairy
Baby

While L is always the:
Daddy
Pony
Dog
Cat
and Worker

Mommy's Role:
Costumes, Props and Craft Service
(mend dress-up clothes, get flashlights working, serve Go-Gurts)

Sometimes they are both fairies, adventurers, etc. Still, for the most part they have reached an agreement on this without ever discussing it. An older sibling will engage the younger one in a particular role. With twins (my twins, anyway) they seem to automatically know.

And they seem happy like that...usually for at least an hour.
Nothing lasts forever.

Janine (head of the drama department)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My second award!

Thank you to DJane over at Blogging Momma for honoring me with the

When Life Hands you Lemons, Make Lemonade blog award!


DJane has an amazing story and the positive energy she musters up for others while she is dealing with so much is an inspiration.

The rules are that I have to link back to the person who awarded me, add the 'lemons' logo to my blog, and pass it onto to ten more people who express gratitude or good attitude.

The award recipients are (in no particular order):

Tara at Feel Like Home because she is the queen of retweets on twitter and gets through a tough situation with her head held high (and a few new followers I hope).

Minnemom at Travels With Children because her husband is a farmer...a real farmer and her tweets document the trials of farming life in a light, and often humorous way.

Anna at Shoe Smitten because somewhere in history the line was re-written. It's supposed to be, "When life hands you lemons, go shopping for shoes." Right?

Linda at Short Pump Preppy because the photo-shopped photos she makes of herself are friggin hilarious AND I'll be rooming with her at Blissdom09 and frankly, I wanna get that party started off on the right foot!

Lisa at Workout Mommy because I am constantly falling off the workout wagon but a quick visit to her blog and I'm inspired once more.

Renee at Cutie Bootie Cakes because she takes things like watching her son grow up and losing weight and turns them into insightful posts that I love reading (and watching).

Toni at A Daily Dose of Toni because of this post that talks about being thankful in tough times.

Robyn at Robyns Online World because she just didn't mope about knowing she needed a new dishwasher and fridge...she tapped into her blog/twitter network where I know she'll get the best advice.

Debbie at Suburb Sanity because she can laugh at her un-stylish self and make me laugh as well.

Everyone at Travel Savvy Mom because traveling with kids can really suck, but this site has so many great tips, trick, and ideas to make it better...even, dare I say, fun!

Congratulations!
Janine

Friday, January 9, 2009

Storytime with the Twofer - Week2

Bare with me as I fine-tune my camera & editing skills. I considered another take, but this one is so genuine with all the interruptions and mistakes, I decided to leave it as-is. Plus, you get a good sense of the twin competition that is just something we live with...every...single...day.

The Girl Who Loved Nature



If you liked the book, please leave M comments below and she'll read them tonight and respond (if necessary).

Now back to working on my video skills,
Janine

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A natural calorie-free sweetener? My coffee just got better for me!

I just received my sample of Truvia sweetener and I'm in LOVE.
I've gone through the pink stuff, the blue stuff, and thought I'd found bliss with the yellow stuff until I realized what was in it. Eventually I went back to old-fashioned raw sugar.

Now enter Truvia - the green stuff.

Truvia is made with rebiana, the best part of the stevia leaf. The stevia plant, a member of the chrysanthemum family, has been used for hundreds of years as a sweetener for food and beverages.
Truvia is made by taking the leaves of the stevia plant, drying them and steeping them like tea to extract the sweetest part.

Video



Things to know about Truvia
  • great for people with diabetes
  • kosher certified
  • 1 packet = 2 tespoons of sugar
  • I'm giving it a Twofer Thumbs Up

The taste?
I loved it in my coffee - not too sweet, and no aftertaste.
I put a little straight on my tongue and while there's a little 'cold' sensation (almost like mint), the granular texture felt like real sugar and I still didn't experience an aftertaste.
Go here to see how people in the Truvia Greenhouse thought about the taste. Or read what others are saying on the community boards.

While my sample came compliments of Truvia and Mom Central, I did look up where to buy and found lots of local grocery stores listed under my locations.

I'm excited to bake with it and serve it to my family, knowing that it's natural and not filled with chemicals.

Have you tried Truvia yet? If so, leave me a comment with your thoughts & tastes.

And now back to my coffee,
Janine

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Free scoop of BR BRight Choices new ice cream Jan 15th!

Thanks to twittermoms I just found out about another FREE scoop event from my most favorite of ice cream shops.
But this one comes with less guilt!

Firs of all, Baskin-Robbins is kicking off the new year with BRight Choices treats, that offer better-for-you ice cream options.
Choose which one is right for you!

fat-free
dairy-free
sugar-free
or low-fat, low-calorie.

Each flavor offers something different and is labeled with a pink star decal so you know which ones to choose from.

Plus, YOU can try it FREE on BRight Choices Day, January 15, 2009 with proof of a gym membership!
How cool is that? Just one more incentive to dust off those sneaks and find that membership card. Heck - you might actually head to the gym afterward!

Check out the flavors here and let me know which one YOU want to try. I think I'm going with the Raspberry Chip Ice Cream....yum.

The funny thing is that I just got back from the gym - first time in 2009.
Now my mouth is watering,
Janine

Friday, January 2, 2009

Storytime with the Twofer - a new weekly feature!

Grab your little ones, get comfy and enjoy storytime...Twofer-style

For a few months now the girls have been doing lots of reading, and more recently, lots of writing. I am constantly spelling. Seriously, I spell all....day...long. Mr. has done his fair share as well. Sometimes we just tell them to try and sound it out, but we aren't sure if a 5 year old who can read is supposed to be able to spell - isn't it a different skill?

I digress -

All of this has lead to the production of books. Lots, and lots of books. It has also nearly wiped out our supply of printer paper and staples (mental note: teach them to type & save some trees). Some of the stories actually have a beginning, middle and end. Some have a little unexpected twist.

I decided to capture them reading their stories on my Flip Video and decided to make Storytime with the Twofer a weekly feature.

So let's get started! First ever Storytime with the Twofer.

video

What was your favorite part of the story?
Janine

(Do you have a book you'd like us to feature on Storytime? Email Janine at scarytwins [at] yahoo [dot] com

Start the New Year off right - accessorize!

Got a Flip Video camera from Santa and I'm unstoppable. Thought I would show you how I'm going to start my day every day in 2009...and no, it's not exercise.


How are you starting off your new year ;)?

Janine video