Hello, thanks for stopping by.... if you're reading this I hope you'll stop by and visit my updated site www.susiebhomemaker.com :)

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year In Review... and Resolutions for 2011

Well, we're coming up on another new year... time keeps moving forward, but I wanted to take a look back and reflect on some of the happenings of the past year as 2010 comes to an end...

7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti- estimated over 200,000 were killed
Toyota recall

I watched the birth of my first niece!
8.8 magnitude earthquake & tsunami in Chile

TSA starts installing full body scanners
Had a Happy Easter
my hubby celebrated his 32nd birthday
our middle daughter turned 2
I started my blog Susie B. Homemaker- first post

West Virginia mine explosion kills 29
made it to our 12th wedding anniversary (I'm amazed we've made it this far sometimes)
BP oil spill

enjoyed Mother's Day with my hubby & 3 girls
Times Square attempted car bomber

our oldest completed Young 4's & turned 5 yrs. old
celebrated lots of birthdays, plus Father's Day
1st family boat ride

Had a wonderful 4th of July!
Wikileaks releases war documents
BP oil spill capped

33 miners in Chile trapped
President Obama declares an end to combat operations in Iraq

oldest daughter starts Kindergarten
hubby started a new job (such a blessing)
celebrated my 32nd birthday
our baby girl turned 1 years old (*sob)

Chilean miners rescued
visited the apple orchard
Dressed up for Halloween

I started caring for my grandma a few days a week
Had a great turkey day with family

finally got a new couch and dining set!!
had a wonderful Christmas with my family

And as we ring in 2011, here's a few resolutions (or goals as I like to say) for the new year:
  • catch up on the girls' baby books
  • register oldest daughter in dance & swim classes
  • get middle daughter completely potty trained
  • eat/cook healthier, become more fit & toned
  • start kitchen remodel in spring (maybe)
  • Take the girls to the zoo this summer
  • visit Frankenmuth before Christmas of 2011

I hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year and wish you many blessings throughout 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Christmas Moments

It has been a busy, happy holiday around here.  We celebrated Christmas twice- the girls got super spoiled (as usual)!  Here's just a few of the pics:

Waiting to open presents Christmas morning...

She loves iCarly!

Mrs. Potato Head!!

Minnie Mouse drum set (one of her favorite, and loudest, presents)

Our littlest girl finally has her own pillow pet... Ms. LadyBug!

Barnyard Playset

Doctoring their new babies on their new picnic table

Hope your Christmas was a merry one!  :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- O Christmas Tree

I can't wait til "Santa" puts some presents under this tree and I see my girls faces light up!!

And how about a friendly Green vs. Red competition... who's got the better Ho, Ho, Ho?

To see more or to link up your own, visit 5 Minutes for Mom

Monday, December 20, 2010

Two Winners... Congrats!

Here's the winner of the Oxylent Prenatal Drink:

8. Em said...
Subscribe via email

And I missed announcing this one, The Gallery Collection Giveaway winner:

10. paulasue said...
I follow you on twitter

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" A Pop-Up Book {Review}

There's only a week left before Christmas, but still time to pick up this classic tale to bring home and share with your loved ones.  Most of us have probably heard the story as a child or watched it as a movie... in some form or another most people know of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol".   The tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.  This book has a new way to read and look at the story though- in  POP-UP form!
Every page has a beautifully intricate and detailed scene from the story illustrated by Chuck Fischer- it's a book both young and old will enjoy.  For younger children you can go from memory and tell a shortened version of the tale while just letting them look at the pictures.  There's also hidden treasures on some of the pages so there's lots to see.  For the older kids and adults, there are five removable mini-books throughout, one on each page.  The first one is a biography of Charles Dickens the author, the remaining four books include the entire text of "A Christmas Carol".
This would make a great addition to your bookshelf at home, a holiday classic to read and look at, over and over every year.  A new tradition with your children (just don't let the real little ones actually get ahold of it as there's lots that can be torn off if not careful).  This is one of those books you'll want to have in the family for a long time, sharing the tale as it was once told to you.

You can find "A Christmas Carol" pop-up book by Chuck Fischer from these retailers, and locally at stores like Barnes & Noble and Walmart.

Disclosure:  I was given a product for the purpose of the review.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and yours may differ.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- My Christmas Girls

It's tough work getting all these beauties to smile at the same time... while looking at the camera.  This is about as good as it gets!  :p

To see more or to link up your own, visit 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AMMO Books Giveaway Winner & 35% OFF Promo Code + FREE Shipping!!

26. Discovering the Me in Mommy said...
following you on twitter

Congratulations to the winner and thanks to all those who entered!  And if you'd still like your own set or any other item from AMMO Books, check out their 35% Off Sale + FREE Shipping going on now thru the end of the year, use Promo Code HOLIDAYVIP!

Surviving a Snow Day...

...when it's too cold to send the kids outside!

Where we're at here in Michigan, the kids had their very first snow day of the year.  And Tuesday will be the 2nd snow day of the year.  So how to keep your kids from bouncing off the walls while they're cooped up in the house and keep your sanity too?

My oldest is 5 and only goes to Kindergarten half day so this wasn't too much of a change for us.  But it was still an extra three hours having her home instead of at school.  Three extra hours to fight with her 2 year old sister and bug me to go play outside in the snow... except that it was only 9° (with a wind chill making it feel like -5°) so I couldn't send her outside!
Thank goodness for kids shows on tv, and finally new holiday episodes so I don't have to wear earplugs while they're watching them (it can be rough hearing the same songs over and over).  So the girls watched some of those, also good ol' coloring book and crayons and playdoh helps to keep the kiddos occupied.

If you have older kids, hopefully you have all the goodies- video games, computer, ipod... stuff to keep them entertained.  And hopefully you also have plenty of food and snacks on hand to keep their tummy's full- hungry kids are always cranky!
If you're up for more hands-on activities, a craft or some baking (what kid doesn't like frosting and eating Christmas cookies) is something most younger kids, and older as well, will enjoy.  Here's a few websites for some easy holiday craft ideas, depending on what you have on hand:
I think we'll be attempting to make some simple homemade ornaments for the tree tomorrow.  And hopefully I'll have some pics for Wordless Wednesday. 
If your kids also have a snow day, what will you be doing?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Caring for the Elderly

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NMEDA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I wrote a post for NMEDA about a month ago, but at the time didn't really know what it meant to actually care for someone with a disability or an elderly person.  Just a couple weeks ago that changed for me.  My grandmother is over 90 years old, and now needs around the clock care.

I've started staying overnights at her house a couple days a week, making sure all her bedtime routines are taken care of properly and that she gets in bed safely.   I can now see the need for equipment to help her get around, and for those that are caring for her during the day to get her out of the house to her doctor appointments. 

NMEDA is a non-profit trade association that doesn't actually sell anything, they educate consumers on buying mobility equipment from a qualified NMEDA dealers.  NMEDA dealers, members, are the ones who sell handicap vans and vehicle modifications for disabled and elderly people.

The Quality Assurance Program (QAP) is a recognized accreditation program for the mobility equipment industry.  The program was developed to promote quality, safety, and reliability within the industry.  Some states now require a dealer's participation in the QAP to perform work for the Vocational Rehabilitation Programs.  The QAP is the only program of this nature developed for the mobility equipment industry.  A QAP designation enhances vehicle modification and mobility equipment installation in a manner consistent with the highest guidelines available in the industry 

I am thankful that my grandma is still with us and of sound mind.  And anything that can make her more comfortable and able to live her life to the fullest down to her last days is something that's worth looking into.

You can find out if there's a qualified NMEDA dealer near you here.

Visit Sponsor's Site

The Mommy Brand- Stylish, Handmade Baby Items {Review}

The Mommy Brand, and its blog "A Young Mom's Guide to Motherhood, Money & Marriage", was founded by Jenny.  The idea for The Mommy Brand came when Jenny was in her last semester of school, thinking about what her career had in store for her after graduation.  The thought of going to work and being away from her son all day was simply heartbreaking (as the decision is for a lot of moms)!  So she created The Mommy Brand, an online store for baby items, all handmade by stay-at-home moms, as her way to help keep her family afloat as her husband began medical school.  You can also meet all the other "creators" behind the products at The Mommy Brand website.

The Mommy Brand has adorable handmade items for both boys and girls including onesies, diaper bags, hooded towels, tutus, hair bows (over 80 different ones in the collection) and more.  I received the medium size Phoebe Bow for my girls and absolutely LOVE it.  I have 3 girls and it actually works for all of them, even my youngest (14 mos. old) who still has really fine hair.
I was worried because the hair bow didn't have the no-slip on the clip but it held just as good as any other bow I've used in my girls hair, if not better.  Ordering on the site is super easy and Jenny is really quick at getting back with you if you have any questions.  I was unsure on the size of the hair bows and Jen let me know the medium size is about 2.5" inches across.  All the bows and flowers have lead-free metal double-pronged alligator clips (no teeth) and are lined with ribbed gross-grain ribbon.

The Mommy Brand has fabulous handmade items for holiday, birthdays, baby showers... any time of the year!  You can keep your baby looking sweet and you'll look like a stylish got-it-together mom.

You can connect with The Mommy Brand on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest products as well as deals and sales.  And be sure to subscribe to her blog, where she offers giveaways, financial advice especially for young families, baby shower ideas and recipes, product reviews, and advice for young moms.

Disclosure:  I received a product for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and yours may differ.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Consumed by Christmas...

I have been feeling very consumed by the holiday season this year.  The stress of decorating the house, hunting for the perfect presents (and trying to stay within budget), baking holiday treats, planning for company... all the hustle and bustle that can go along with the Christmas season.
I'm not sure why it's getting the best of me this year but it is.  Everyday I feel like I have so much to do, but at the end of the day I feel like I've gotten nothing done!

So... I'm making my list and checking it twice... each time I can cross something off that list will be one less thing I have to do.  I'm going to divide and conquer, since everyday I'm focusing on ALL the things that still need to be done (and not getting anything done but stressing out), I'm going to start focusing on ONE thing at a time and hopefully can begin to complete all the tasks that need done.
And when it comes down to it, if something on the list doesn't get done... well, I just need to focus on the real reason of the season and not stress about it.  It's about being with family and enjoying each other and making sure my kids are happy.  And if all else fails... follow instructions below:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

BabyBond Nursing Cover-Up: Covers Mom, NOT Baby {Review & 75% Off Discount Special}

BabyBond is a nursing accessory that allows you to nurse your baby discreetly, but it covers mommy, not baby.  So you have better bonding with eye contact and interaction between mommy and baby.  I always hated having to cover my baby's head when I nursed out in public back when I first started nursing.  And I rarely did, but those times where I tried to cover up, my poor baby wound up sweating and I can't imagine it was a very pleasant dining experience.  But there weren't many options- either put a blanket over your baby's head or use a nursing cover-up that did the same thing but was lighter material.    

With my 2nd and 3rd babies I invested in some nursing tops, but couldn't afford many as they can be pricey.  So of course there were times when I still found myself without a nursing top to wear and had to resort to the blanket over my baby's head.  BabyBond eliminates the need for multiple nursing tops and the traditional nursing covers- you just wear your own shirt and put this on over, or under as a tummy wrap
I'm not nursing anymore now, so when I received the BabyBond Couture (also available in Original and Flex, with burp cloths), I gave it to my sister who's currently nursing her 9 month old.  She's never really used a nursing cover before so was pretty new to the whole idea.  She really likes the option of wearing it like a sash to cover up on top or around the tummy when in a shirt that lifts up to nurse.  I don't know any mom who likes having their tummy and/or back exposed when trying to nurse their baby, you get cold and usually self-conscience of your post-baby body.  The BabyBond material is super soft and it looks great on, not like those large cover-ups that go over your baby and sometimes actually draw more attention to the fact that you're nursing.

Right now BabyBond is offering a 75% discount on their site for any reader who orders a BabyBond on Babies R Us.  All you need to do is email a copy of your receipt from Babies R Us to missy@babybondnursing.com and she'll reply with the discount code to order another BabyBond on their site for 75% Off.   So you'll get 2 BabyBonds for less then $46- you can keep one and give one away as a gift!

You can also stay up to date and connect with BabyBond on Facebook and Twitter.

[Product review & giveaway disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."]

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"ABC is for Circus" Board Book & Nesting/Stacking Blocks {Review & Giveaway} Ends 12/12

AMMO Books publishes unique, one-of-a-kind, visually stimulating books for adults, and books and toys for kids.  These are beautiful items showcasing art, design, illustration, photography, and pop culture.  It's like modern art for your home... these will be pieces you'll want to display on your coffee table or bookshelf, or in your child's room.
I was able to review the "ABC is for Circus" board book by Patrick Hruby.  "Hruby is a Los Angeles-based illustrator who grew up in a log cabin within an Idaho forest.  As a young boy he dreamt of running away to join the circus and become a trapeze artist.  Eventually, however, he grew up to study math and physics before attending the renowned Art Center College of Design and pursuing a career as an illustrator.  His interest in the geometry of nature is central to his work.  Influenced by artists and designers such as Charley Harper, Paul Rand, and Mary Blair, Hruby has gone on to develop his own stunning and modern aesthetic."

This is a chunky board book perfect for little hands.  It's well made and has been standing up to the not-so-gentle hands of my toddler.  The pages are colorful and the letters and words on each page are big and easy to see.  It's a fun book to read and all my girls enjoy listening to it and looking at the pictures.  I like that it gives the opportunity to discuss so much more when looking at each page.  What does an Acrobat do, what flavor Ice-cream do you think that is, what sound does a Lion make, what color is the Ringmaster's coat... and on and on and on.  You can make this book as simple as just reading it from beginning to end, or you can make it a great in-depth interaction with your child.

The second item I reviewed was a set of Charley Harper Nesting Blocks.  "Charley Harper’s whimsical and well-loved illustrations are featured here on this classic set of nesting blocks. The alphabet and numbers 1 through 10 are expressed with Charley’s colorful animal illustrations that wrap around the surface of each of the 10 nesting blocks. When completely stacked, the blocks stand almost 3 feet tall, and when they nest, they become a compact 6 x 6 x 6 inches square. These CHARLEY HARPER NESTING BLOCKS are interactive, decorative, and a great addition to the existing line of Charley Harper books and toys for kids. Perfect for brightening any nursery room!"
I love the look and feel of these nesting blocks.  Which not only nest but also stack, and have both ABC's and 123's for even more learning.  They have beautiful artwork on every side and they're made from a really thick, sturdy cardboard.  Your child will have fun nesting them together or stacking them on top of each other... and then knocking them down of course!  And I'm sure your child, like mine did, will find a multitude of other uses for them- carrying toys inside, making "soup", wearing as a hat, or playing a guessing game of what's hiding underneath the block.  These blocks are great for your child's imagination and are pleasing to look at for mommy and daddy as well.  They're not just your basic primary colors kids toy.

WIN IT:  1 lucky reader is going to win the same set I was given- these would be great Christmas gifts!

Ways to Enter (leave a separate comment for each one you do or already do):
  • Visit AMMO Books and tell me another item you like
  • Like AMMO Books on Facebook
  • Follow AMMO Books on Twitter
  • Follow my blog publicly via Google Friend Connect
  • Subscribe via Email
  • Like my Facebook page
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Enter any of my other giveaways +1 for each
  • Vote for my daughter in the Fancy Nancy Contest +2 Entries (may be done daily)
  • Post about this giveaway (blog, Facebook, Cafemom, etc.) +5 Entries, leave link
  • Tweet about this giveaway (may be done daily, leave link) may copy and paste the following:
Enter to #Win American Modern kid's Board Book & Nesting Blocks @susiebhomemaker http://bit.ly/fJOcJ7 #Giveaway ends on 12/12

This contest ends on 12/12/10 at 11:59 pm EST. Open to U.S. & Canadian residents only. The winner will be drawn via random.org and has 48 hours to respond to winning notification email before another winner is drawn. Please make sure your email is visible on your profile or leave with your comment(s).

Disclosure: I was given a product in exchange for my review. No other form of compensation was received. The opinions and thoughts I’ve shared with these products are 100% my own and yours may differ.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stay With Me Socks- Wiggle and Pull Off Proof {Review + Holiday Sale}

I don't know any baby that doesn't like taking their socks off.  Parent's put them... and babies pull them off!  My girls all did it when they were little- my youngest is 14 months old and still does it frequently.  So I'm constantly on the lookout for something that will help her keep her socks on, especially in these oh-so-cold winter months.
I came across Stay With Me Socks and thought the concept was pretty unique.  They're socks for newborns up to 14 months with an adjustable velcro tab.  They're wiggle and pull off proof, staying on until you, the parent, want to take them off.  They velcro in the front or the back adjusting for smaller or larger ankles, so they fit your baby's growing feet.  They have a non-skid bottom for babies that are cruising and walking.  And they loop together so no more getting lost in the wash!
My daughter was right at the cut-off age so I didn't know if they would work for her or not.... they didn't!  She was smart enough to know how to undo the velcro tab and then pull the socks off.  So I gave them to my sister for her 9 month old daughter.  They worked very well for her, her baby tugged and tugged and couldn't get them off... it was kind of funny to watch.  The socks are really good quality too- well made.
The only issue we had was that I have all carpeting in my livingroom/playroom and the velcro would get snagged on it and come undone on its own.  I think these would be great on a harder surface floor- wood or tile.  Or maybe if the velcro was slightly longer, so when you adjust it to fit smaller there's not an overlap of velcro sticking out.  All in all, I think these are perfect for small babies (pre-crawlers), and if you don't have all carpet in your house it would work well for older babies up to 14 months.
Stay With Me Socks come in white, pinks, blues, and greens and would make a great 'stocking stuffer' gift for your own baby or someone you know with a little one.  And right now, Stay With Me Socks is having a Holiday Special... so it's the perfect time to buy some gifts.

You can also stay connected with Stay With Me Socks on Twitter