Sunday, January 31, 2010

Olivia's soup

Pin It So tonight I was talking to my beloved Aunt on the phone and I thought my daughter was playing with her daddy downstairs.

I was wrong.

Apparently she was making me "soup" in the kitchen...

She looked so proud of herself and so darn cute doing it that I just grabbed the camera and let her carry on "cooking". She had a fascinating array of ingredients including crackers, mini-marshmallows, popcorn, and ranch seasoning.

After a few minutes of "soup" she turned it into a "magic potion"...

How can you get mad at a face like that? :)

Weekly Winners- contrast

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You can find more Weekly Winners at

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doug's owie

Pin It We had one of the boys' friends over for a playdate yesterday afternoon because it was a PD day (no school). Doug took the three boys swimming in the afternoon to help with the excess of energy. So my poor husband had three 6 & 7 year old boys attacking him in the pool and at one point was trying to disentangle himself from them and ended up getting his face mashed into the bottom of the pool.


He got TEN stitches. This is what it looked like when he got home from the hospital...

And this is what it looks like this morning.

Poor guy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Travel Insurance - Guest post

Pin It I would like to welcome my friend Shan (aka the Travel Queen) who blogs at Canada Travels who has agreed to guest post here today. Thanks Shan!

Single Trip or Annual Plan — which is best?

I used to work in a credit union and used to purchase out of country insurance through their cooperative insurance provider. Right before each trip, I’d take out a plan for that particular trip. It only took me a couple years to smarten up! Since I’m a frequent traveler to the US (3-4 trips to the US a year on average)… which plan do you think would have been best for me? It would have been nice if my co-workers would have suggested the annual family plan. Better yet, it would have been nice if I had put more thought into it myself…. think of the money I would have saved?!

An annual travel insurance policy or (multi trip annual plan) is the best option for frequent travelers. 

If you made more than one trip this year, an annual plan offers comprehensive coverage at a reasonable cost. It protects you and your family for an unlimited number of trips during a period of twelve months. There is a wide choice of maximum number of days available on the market and an annual plan may be extended in case of longer absences. I typically purchases one that allows me to be in the US (or other nations) for at least 2 weeks and if the holiday is extended, I can simply phone up and pay for an extension.

In some cases, an annual plan may also include trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. The benefits of cancellation insurance are subject to a maximum of up to $3,000 per insured person per covered trips and $5,000 per year for trip interruption, subject to a maximum of $5,000 per insured person per trips. What if this amount is insufficient? You can simply request a higher amount of coverage for your trip cancellation and interruption.

What about baggage insurance? The basic rate includes basic coverage of $500. You can always increase it to properly protect your belongings. For example, if you are traveling with your golf bag (hubby’s happy he can finally do this since our kids are out of the stroller age) or other valuable items, you can increase your coverage for baggage insurance to protect it at its fair value and therefore for the trip.

A Multi trip annual plan is the most practical and economical travel insurance coverage. Benefits such as trip cancellation / trip interruption, baggage, can easily be adapted for every trip you make in the year. There are several products available to you, an expert in the field can recommend the best program adapted to your needs and your budget.

Not all insurance companies are alike. Shop around! The most expensive plan does not necessarily mean the best and likewise, the cheapest isn’t always the way to save money.

You put a lot of time and effort into getting the right life insurance policy right?!  You should put the same effort into getting the right travel insurance policy.

Be sure to visit Shan at Canada Travels blog for more great travel tips and advice!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

YooHoo & Friends

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We were recently sent some adorable little creatures from YooHoo & Friends to review. My daughter absolutely adores them. Here is some information about YooHoo & Friends that I received from the publicist...

"Allow me to introduce you to the line of plush characters with a cuddly countenance and big eyes no plush-loving kid or collector can resist. Called YooHoo & Friends™ by Aurora World Inc. (, the company's number one selling plush product line can be found in thousands of retailers across the nation, and online at

With more than 50 styles in the line, you'll see why boys and girls (geared to ages 5-12) are obsessed with the lovable line of fun plush characters. There are a
variety of sizes and themes (i.e.: Valentine’s, Spring/Easter, Halloween, Holidays, Birthdays, Graduation) with a design for just about anyone. Aurora will introduce many new YooHoo & Friends throughout next year but look for the Beaver, Yellow Tiger, Jaban Rhinoceros and Japanese Macque (five and eight inches) to kick off 2010 introductions. They join the Scarlet Macaw, Barbary Lion, Iberian Lynx, Platypus and a host of other characters.

Even better, YooHoo & Friends teach kids about endangered species from around the globe. There's a corresponding free, interactive web site (no annoying activation codes required) that teaches about the animals (on which the YooHoo & Friends line of characters are based) in their natural habitats; as well as a host of games, desktop wallpapers, coloring sheets and more -- the web site makes learning about these animals engaging and fun. Each plush piece makes a fun sound when squeezed."

My sons were not as interested in the actual toys but they did like the website. Aiden (age 7) told me he thought the animals were "cute but made for girls". But when I asked him what he thought about the website he said it was "cool". Owen (age 6) told me he liked the "stuffies" and thought it was cool that they "talked". He also liked the website.

Olivia (age 3)  LOVES the toys... but is too young to play on the website. She has adopted the stuffies and has no intention of sharing them with anyone.

I like the educational aspect of YooHoo & Friends. I think it is great that they are based on endangered animals. The website is quite easy to navigate and completely kid-friendly. There is a lot kids can do on the site- raising  their chosen pet, decorating its room, playing games and more.

Be sure to check out YooHoo & Friends!

I heart Jonas DVD review

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 Information on the DVD taken from

Crushin' on JONAS? Get ready to experience the lovable antics of three of the world's most famous musicians with 7 specially selected episodes of the hit Disney Channel Original Series in I HEART JONAS.
Watch and see how Joe reacts when he discovers that Stella has a date with another guy, and check out what happens when the tables are turned and a struggling young actress makes a play for Joe. Plus, with the never-before-seen DVD feature, "You've Just Been JoBro'd! -- Surprising Jordin Sparks," I HEART JONAS is a must-have for any Jonas Brothers fan!


Well... I'm not exactly "crushing" on Jonas but this DVD was cute. The show itself is very family friendly and not nearly as annoying as some teen programming. It actually reminded me a little of the classic "Monkees" TV show from years ago.  The characters are quite funny and totally kid-safe. The bonus features on the DVD were fun- I found the "You've Just Been JoBro'd!" feature pretty funny. If you have kids who are into the Jonas brothers than this is a great choice for you!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the ice vexes me

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I am not a fan of winter driving.

Which is unfortunate since I live in a place that has winter for half the year.

It is not that I don't know HOW to drive in winter conditions... I have done it for 18 years... it is just that I hate it. Passionately.

And just in case you think that is just silly let me tell you what happened to me this fine afternoon while I was driving my son home.

We were stopped at a red light on a relatively steep hill facing up. There are two cars in front of us and a few behind us. Suddenly we start sliding backwards. I am stopped completely and my foot is firmly on the brake and yet we are very slowly going backwards.  I begin to panic. I put the van in park. Still sliding backwards. Folks behind us start backing up. I start doing everything I know how to do to get the stupid van moving forward. I try going sideways. I try flooring it. I try going slow. Nothing. After a few light changes and backing the wretched van halfway down the hill I finally manage to get the stupid van to turn enough to catch on a rough patch and we get moving... slowly and with much spinning of tires. I avoided stopping once again at the red light by turning off that hateful road.  Eventually I made it home.

But during that ordeal I was terrified. My son was freaking out in the backseat. I was praying outloud asking God to help the stupid van up the stupid hill and home.

It was not fun.

When I got home I was more than a little upset and my husband said these very helpful words:

"That never happens to me when I drive".


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Myths of disaster relief (press release)

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Aid groups address public stereotypes about overseas disasters

SEATTLE – As they rush to save lives in the wake of the Haiti earthquake, aid workers also must address myths about disaster relief among the American public. Edward Brown, relief director for Christian humanitarian organization, World Vision, debunks five myths around disaster relief.

1. Collecting blankets, shoes and clothing is a cost-effective way to help
The cost of shipping these items from around the country – let alone the time it takes to sort, pack and ship them – is prohibitive and entails much higher cost than the value of the goods themselves. World Vision has relief supplies already stocked in disaster-prone countries as well as in strategically located warehouses around the world.  World Vision had supplies pre-positioned in Haiti in preparation for hurricane season, which allowed the agency to respond immediately to last week’s earthquake. 

These supplies are designed to meet international standards for humanitarian relief and are packaged up and ready to deploy as soon as a crisis strikes. Cash donations are the best, most cost-effective way to help aid groups deliver these life-saving supplies quickly, purchase supplies close to the disaster zone when possible and replenish their stocks in preparation for future disasters.

2. If I send cash, my help won’t get there
Reputable agencies send 80 percent or more of cash donations to the disaster site; the rest is invested in monitoring, reporting and other activities that facilitate transparency and efficiency in their operations, as well as in sharing information with those who can help.  Donors have a right and a responsibility to ask aid groups how they will be using those donations, and what will be done with donations raised in excess of the need. Transparent and effective organizations will readily provide that information.

3. Volunteers are desperately needed in emergency situations.
While hands-on service may feel like a better way to help in a crisis, disaster response is a highly technical and sensitive effort.  Professionals with specialized skills and overseas disaster experience should be deployed to disaster sites.  Volunteers without those skills can do more harm than good, and siphon off critical logistics and translations services.  Qualified disaster professionals ensure that help is delivered effectively, safely and efficiently.

4. Unaccompanied children should be adopted as quickly as possible to get them out of dangerous conditions.
Hearing about the specific needs of children often sparks a desire to adopt children who seem to have lost their families.  However, early in a crisis, children need to be protected, but should remain in their home countries until authorities can confirm the locations of their family members and explore adoption possibilities within their own communities and cultures.  International adoption may be the best solution for some children, but it is too early to know for sure in the first weeks of a crisis.

5. People are helpless in the face of natural disasters
Even in the poorest countries like Haiti, people often reveal a great deal of inner strength and often show a resourcefulness that can save lives.  While support and aid are necessary, the Haitian people are by no means helpless.

For more information on World Vision’s response, or on ways the public can help, please visit, or phone 888-56-CHILD or by texting the word “GIVE” to 20222.

Red haired bandits

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Flirty Aprons review

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I was recently given the opportunity to review this adorable Cherry Blossom apron from Flirty Aprons. I just love it! It is super cute. The Flirty Aprons are one-size fits all and they really are! My mom is teensy tiny and I am plus-sized and the apron fits both of us nicely.

I personally am not a big fan of the "domestic arts" but wearing a cute apron DOES make t a little more enjoyable. Olivia kept asking for her own apron too so I got her to look at the website and she picked this cute one...

The apron is 100% cotton and very well made. It is very comfortable to wear. The website says that it is made with quality 2- ply construction and that it won't fade or tear. Flirty Aprons has a 30 day money back guarantee as well.

There are dozens of different styles available at Flirty Aprons, including styles for men and children. There is bound to be an apron to suit your personal style.

This post was written for Family Review Network as part of a program for Flirty Aprons, who supplied the apron for review.

"Silly Dancing" starring Miss. Olivia

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