Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hello Crocs! (Free Shipping Code)

crocs Classic Clog,Black,Men's 11 M/Women's 13 M
A plastic hoof?
Crocs have been around for almost a decade and, I must admit, that I have always find the original style to be quite hideous on adults. Of course, I'm not the only one who feels this way: Tim Gunn even told Time "The Croc--it looks like a plastic hoof. How can you take that seriously?"

That said, I understand that they are the perfect boat/hobby garden shoe and extremely comfortable, so I do give these swiss cheese "beauties" credit where credit is due. And the little baby Crocs are actually really adorable (I guess size does matter.)

But Crocs has grown a lot in the near-decade that they've been around and they've come out with a few (hoofless) styles that have been catching my eye. Just recently I picked up a pair of black Kadee Ballet Flats and I'm a real fan. The shoes are sooo comfortable--like walking on a massaging squishy cloud--and they are super cute. Not to mention that they are really slip-resistant and you can just clean them up with a hose.

You can pick the Kadee Flats up in 8 different colors on the Crocs site for $29.99. FOR FREE SHIPPING: enter promo code FREESPRINGSHIP at checkout. The shoes are pretty true to fit, so go ahead and order your real shoe size. Be aware, though, that Crocs stretch out a bit as they get worn in (or so the Crocs salespeople tell me.)

You can also purchase the Kadee Flats from Amazon--they are on as of now for $18.95-$23.99 on select options ($23.99-$32.95 regularly) plus shipping costs. And for my Rockland area friends, you can pop on over to the Crocs kiosk on the 2nd floor of the Palisades Center Mall (the shoes go for $29.99 retail).

So all I am saying, is give Crocs a chaaaaance. (Sing it with me!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Music & Fun for Tots with Miss Debbie (Rose Memorial Library, Stony Point)

Pair of Mini Plastic Maracas (with 2.5" Head)
Get ready to shake it!
Maybe I wasn't savvy enough when we lived in Queens, but I didn't find many (any) mommy and me programs that were flat-out free. In Rockland County, luckily, its a whole different story!

Music & Fun for Tots is one such program presented at the Rose Memorial Library in Stony Point by children's music specialist Debbie Gulino (Miss Debbie). It is FREE of charge for children who can walk up to age 3--all you need do is have a library card and register with the children's librarian. We even registered for the program weeks after it was in session and were able to attend 3 classes before a June hiatus. (And, to be honest, we didn't even show our library card!)

During the 30-minute class, Miss Debbie tells stories and sings songs accompanied by her guitar, tambourines or maracas. The children are encouraged to participate by making music of their own (clapping, singing and using instruments which Miss Debbie supplies), dancing or marching in circles around the children's library, and interacting with books or puppets that Miss Debbie uses as aids for storytelling or reciting poems.

Miss Debbie has a very sweet voice and gets along so well with the children taking the class. At first, I was taken aback by the fact that she is not afraid to put an arm (gently) out to prevent the kids from touching her guitar or taking a toy that is not currently in play. But, I've come to realize that she really must do so or she'll have both a broken guitar and an unproductive class!  

Like any class, it does take some time for the little ones to get used to Music & Fun. Andrew is still  a little bit too interested in taking books off the children's library shelves or running out into the hallway to climb the stairs (I wish they had a door they could shut!) to fully participate, but a lot of the other children in our class are into it 100 percent. Who knows, maybe this class is just not active enough for Andrew or maybe he is just too young to pay attention for so long (or maybe both), but for the price and for the educational and socialization value I see in the class, I will be happy to take him to more Music & Fun classes until we can figure it out!

Interested in joining us at the next Music & Fun for Tots series? Here are the details:


Tuesday, July 5th - 9:30am-10:00am or 10:15am-10:45am
Tuesday, July 12th - 9:30am-10:00am or 10:15am-10:45am
Tuesday, July 19th - 9:30am-10:00am or 10:15am-10:45am
Tuesday, July 26th - 9:30am-10:00am or 10:15am-10:45am
Tuesday, August 2nd - 9:30am-10:00am or 10:15am-10:45am


79 East Main Street 
Stony Point, NY 10980 (map)

For more information on Miss Debbie (she offers entertainment for birthday parties, religious mommy and me classes, instrument lessons for children and adults, and more) you can check out her Hot Diggity Dog music website HERE.

Hope to see you at the library soon!    

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stop, Time

As I sat in our rocking chair earlier today, with Andrew asleep in my arms, I said a prayer for time to go a bit slower and was reminded of a really touching song from the musical version of Big. 

"Stop, Time" is sung by the mother of the young protagonist after he runs away (if you've seen the movie version of Big with Tom Hanks you'll know that he really didn't run away; he just became, well, big.) I think any parent can relate to these feeling of just wanting to hold onto each moment for just a while longer.

"Stop, Time"
from the musical Big

Two months old, he looks up at you

How his smile melts your heart
You want to say, "Stop, time"
Don't move on
Even as you watch that look is gone

Then he's two, such a little man
So alive and so smart
Again you say, "Stop, time"
Stay just this way
But the future comes and he can't stay

Nobody warns you of this parent's paradox
You want your kid to change and grow
But when he does, another child you've just begun to know
Leaves forever

Birthdays fly - 7, 8, 9, 10
Every kid he becomes you clutch and say "Stop, time"
Hold this one fast
But it's not supposed to last
And that time has come and passed
For he's growing
And he has to go

If I had only stopped the clock four weeks ago
Somehow had frozen time right there
He'd still be here, I'd see his face
I'd hold him in my arms
Safe forever

It can't be that he's reached thirteen
Now the real changes start
But he's not here
"Stop, time"
Don't rush life so
Bring him back
And then I'll let him go

Agh! Way to make me tear up, you stupid (but actually awesome) musical. Every word of it is so true and urges us to remember to squeeze our little ones as often as we can for as long as they'll let us. 

Mommy Haiku #3

Husband's still at work. 
Poor guy works so hard for us;
thankful mom and son.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Product Review: Mobi Tykelight Glomate Plus

Mobi Tykelight Glomate Plus
I'm $20, but awesome.
I've been meaning to pick up a Mobi Tykelight Glomate Plus ever since I saw it advertised in the One Step Ahead catalog. Firstly, I find the little no-faced, arms-up man adorable. But, most importantly, I needed a nightlight that Andrew wasn't going to rip out of the light socket or take apart every five seconds.

I just got around to picking one up for $20 at Babies R Us and it is everything I hoped it would be. While 20 bucks might sound a bit steep for a night light, the Glomate really is special: after charging on his docking station, the Glomate will glow continuously off the station for 10 hours--that's an entire night for my little one!

The Glomate is soft to the touch (solid, though, not mushy or gooey like you might think.) and never gets hot due to the LED lights inside which don't give off heat. You can also choose a constantly glowing color (red, blue or green) or rainbow mode which cycles through the colors (but doesn't hold the charge as long). There is also a 15-minute timer mode which gradually shuts off the Glomate and is very useful for older children who like to sleep with their Glomate in bed.

Mobi Tykelight WallmateI think I may be more in love with the Glomate Tykelight than Andrew is! (Just like we watch The Fresh Beat Band for my enjoyment!)

Mobi also makes a 3-inch tall Glomate Junior--which requires 3 AAA batteries for 100 hours of light--and a Mobi Tykelight Wallmate which plugs into the wall (and is pictured right). Just beware: the Wallmate is not portable and the little man does not detach from his base. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Avon is hot! (and husband approved)

Years ago, my mom and her friends would get together to drink coffee and buy Avon from the chatty local Avon rep. My opinion of Avon's products back then was so so: some pretty lipsticks and fruity bath soaps, clothing that was a bit too old for my preteen self, and lots of costume jewelry. But, boy--they seem to have gotten a lot better in the last decade or so!

Avon Oversized Layering Tunic
My friend and fellow mama, Kat, recently started selling Avon (shop her storefront here) and my husband and I found a surprising number of awesome items to purchase. I wore the shirt pictured left for the first time today and my husband couldn't stop complementing me on it! He even kept complimenting me on it after I had changed into my pjs--a shirt that keeps on giving!!

While called an "oversized layering tunic" and pictured as grey, the shirt is actually a dark blue and looks great worn alone over a pair of dark jeans. It has a satiny ribbon collar and ribbon ties on each side to scrunch up the shirt as much/little as you like.

The hotness factor definitely comes from the fact that it is tight around the hips but loose everywhere else--so very perfect for hiding any muffin top you might have going on too! And, FYI: Avon's size chart is pretty accurate--I wear an 8 jeans and the small 6/8 top fits perfectly. 

Avon Mesh Yoke Dress
$29.99 misses; $34.99 womens
Some other awesome buys? 

A $30 purple mesh yoke dress with a wrap-around studded belt that I plan to wear to The View in June (so excited!) Stay tuned for pics of me in the dress at the show next month. 

Advance Techniques Hair Caddy
An $8 (on-sale from $10) bathroom caddy which my husband first spotted and proclaimed we needed for all of my bathroom counter miscellany (its good for holding more than just the hair stuff shown--deodorant, etc.). 

mark "Its a Long Story" dress
And, last but not least, the amazing "Its a Long Story" maxi dress from Avon's Mark line ($34). The maxi hasn't been shipped yet and--since it is from Mark--I don't know if the sizing is the same as Avon's, but I'm awaiting its arrival anxiously and will keep you updated with thoughts and photos. 

So, what are you waiting for? If you haven't checked out Avon in a while, you may be surprised at what you find. I'm certainly pleased with their new offerings--and my husband's compliments aren't that bad either! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Check out Rockland Mother's new events calendar!

Since moving back to good ole Rockland County, I've found that there are a ton of local events worth checking out. So, from here on out, I'll be keeping track of events that catch my eye on Rockland Mother's Local Events Calendar. I hope you'll pop on over to the calendar and find an event that you and your family will enjoy.

If you are a local business with an event that you'd like considered for the calendar--or a reader who simply knows of a great happening going on in Rockland or the nearby beyond--please shoot me an email at

I'm looking forward to seeing you at an awesome event soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

$10 off OKA b. Shoes

Susan over at Susan Said What?! tipped me off to great sandal company Oka b. All of their shoes are antimicrobial and odor resistant, non-slip and non-marking, machine washable, durable, environmentally conscious and made in the USA! Each sandal is also designed according to reflexology principles to be therapeutic to your feet--not to mention that they are super cute! They have tons of women's styles and a couple good-looking men's styles too--all under $40 a pair.

Bridget; $35.00
Oka b. Erin Sandal Womens
Erin; $30.00
I'm particularly in love with OKA b.'s Bridget in Hot Chocolate with Gold Leather Flower  (pictured in white at left, but check out the brown here.) I must have the Erin sandals (right) too!

And while I seem to be obsessed with flower sandals at the moment, OKA b. also has unadorned sandals, heeled sandals, and sandals with ribbons, bows stones, knotwork. I had a cart-full of envy-worthy shoes in just a few minutes and, since I'm ordering before May 30th, I will get $10 off my purchase just by entering OKAB10SU at checkout. You can go ahead and take advantage of this code too before the 30th.

Hmmm... maybe you will even want to go ahead and order a pair of flipflops or slides for a special father in your life (Father's Day is on the horizon!) At only $25 a pair ($15 with the coupon code!) what a steal!

OKA b. sandals are available on the OKA b. site (free shipping over $75) and also on

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

That's a spicy giveaway! Exploring Ultimate Fantasies game from The Adult Toy Shoppe

The Adult Toy Shoppe is just a little ole online shop where you can purchase adult products without the embarrassment of, say, running into the parish priest. They sell almost everything you could imagine, including books, videos, clothes, and toys--and even some stuff that shocked the pants off poor little me (pay no mind to the terrible pun!)
I got the chance to experience the company's discreetness for myself when they offered me a copy of their Exploring Ultimate Fantasies game for review. The game arrived in a plain brown box, with no indication of the sexiness (or, as you'll read below, silliness ) to be found inside. And, if I had purchased the product myself, my billing statement would have simply read "Legend Sales."

Exploring Ultimate Fantasies
Exploring Ultimate Fantasies is a couples' game that comes complete with props--a leg restraint, arm restraint, feather, blindfold, mini massager, body lotions and oils, a candle and edible body paint. The first goal of the game is for each player to get the other to strip down to his/her birthday suit. The second goal is to... well, get busy.

While the goal may be obvious, the rules of the game aren't quite as clear. Through some "advanced" mathematics you must roll the five included dice to earn points and beat your partner's score, causing them to pick up a passion or fantasy card, whose instructions you must follow.

My husband and I couldn't figure out how to add up the points, so I read a few of the passion and fantasy cards just to get a taste of what was in store. Maybe its just me, but a lot of the activities described just inspired laughing fits. Take off a piece of your partner's clothing with just your feet? Have your partner take off their clothes while doing a striptease (I can just imagine my husband doing that!)

Also laugh-worthy is the the image on the front of the package. I mean, seriously, does the man at left look sexy or like he is about to get sick (or both?)

But maybe you're a more romantic type and can see the fun/fantasy in Exploring Ultimate Fantasies (hey, a little laughter is good, right?) If so, The Adult Toy Shoppe has been generous enough to offer one game to a lucky Rockland Mother reader!

To enter (mandatory entry): 

1) Be a Google Friend Connect follower of Rockland Mother and comment below.  

Extra entries for the brave: 

1) Like Rockland Mother on Facebook 

2) Post a link in the comments below to another interesting product at The Adult Toy Shoppe

3) For the really brave: Tweet or post a FB comment on Rockland Mother's page mentioning another interesting product at The Adult Toy Shoppe

The giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 1st. Good luck! Also, I will be sure to notify the winner privately via email since this is such a spicy giveaway! :) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spill-proof my butt! Gyro bowl Lied to Me.

GYRO BOWL Spill Resistant Kids Gyroscopic Bowl with Lid
       You deceitful bowl, you! 
After I saw the Gyro Bowl infomercial I thought "Cool! I will buy it for Andrew partly because I like the idea of a bowl that doesn't spill and partly because I want to play with it myself!" Then, a program like "Mob Wives" came on and I promptly forgot about it (how scary are those mob wives??)

Unfortunately, Walmart sucked me into the Gyrobowl vortex again with a register display and price of 13 bucks. Into our cart--and lives--it went, only to offer nothing but disappointment (ok, I'm being dramatic.)

But, seriously, the Gyro Bowl is not spill-proof at all. All it took was my 16-month-old to hold it by the blue handle pictured above and swing his arm back and forth and out flew his Goldfish crackers. He didn't even have to exhibit genius capabilities and hold the orange bowl in place with his finger--he just swung it and out the food came.

Not that the bowl isn't fun to play with--and, if you use it gently, the food does stay contained in the 360 degree rotating bowl. I just have a problem with a company that claims a product is spill-proof when it so obviously isn't. Did they even test the product on real children?

Also, the Gyro Bowl website is one of those websites that peppers you with popup messages when you want to leave ("Are you sure your want to leave?" "We have a special offer if you don't leave!") That maybe should have tipped me off to the deceitfulness of this little bowl and its makers.

Bottom line: Spare yourself the disappointment and buy a Snack Trap or other similar item. And, if, like the informercial says, you want your kids to walk around while eating cereal and milk without them spilling it, you should probably get out of la-la land. Sit those kids down for breakfast!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stroller Lust - The Power-folding, Self-Charging, Beyond-my-price-range Origami Stroller

If I won the lotto, I would pay off my parents' mortgage, set up a ridiculous trust fund for Andrew... and buy the Origami power-folding stroller from 4Moms. Not only does this baby power fold, but it has an on-board LCD screen that tracks the temperature, your walking speed, and how far you've walked. It has daytime running lights and pathway lights, four-wheel independent suspension and a sensor so that the stroller won't fold while your kid is in it. Oh yeah, there is also a generator in the stroller's wheel so that you never have to charge the glorious thing or use batteries! And that's just scratching the surface of what the Origami offers (full specs HERE).

I want one!! But at $850 retail price ($499 now for a limited advance quantity through 4moms before the official product launch this fall), it really is beyond our means (especially since it is only a single stroller and we hope to have use for a double stroller in the future.) But a mom can dream of lotto millions and a future double Origami--and, in the meanwhile, be mesmerized by the power fold video over and over again.

Ooooooh. Aaaaaaah.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dr. Brian Quinn and Clarkstown Pediatrics in Stony Point

Warning--this is long!

First, let me say that I sincerely miss Dr. Paul in Glendale, NY (reviewed HERE). Dr. Paul is the sweetest, most knowledgeable pediatrician that we have ever come across. He once saved the life of a choking newborn in his waiting room by sucking the mucus from his mouth and nose with his own mouth! You don't find doctor's like him every day.

And the nurses at his office were so amazing--particularly Yissenia and Chris in Glendale. Andrew loved them and he loved Dr. Paul--and so did my husband and I! I don't think we're ever going to get over not have him as our pediatrician anymore!

That said, we tried out the Stony Point office of Clarkstown Pediatrics yesterday and my unease with them made me miss Dr. Paul so much more. From the moment I called up Clarkstown Peds' appointment line and it took 20 rings for an automated message to answer, I became a bit wary. After deciphering what button I needed to press for appointments, I was passed over to the billing department to have my insurance verified. Nobody picked up in billing, so I left a message and received a callback and verification a half-hour later (not bad at all.) Finally, I was passed back to the appointments desk where I was set up with an appointment with Dr. Brian Quinn in Stony Point for the very next morning.

We arrived early for our appointment so that I could fill out the required paperwork, but when I walked into the office, the receptionist did not even look up to acknowledge me because she was on the phone. After 15 minutes of waiting and Andrew playing with the decent-enough toys in the waiting room, I walked up to the desk again to see if maybe I needed to sign in. After finding no sign-in form and not getting a word from the receptionist, I just grabbed a clipboard that had some forms on it and started filling it in. Finally, after maybe another 10 minutes, the receptionist hung up the phone and gave me some forms to fill out.

We were ushered into the examination room by a sweet nurse named Patty. She weighed and measured Andrew (I think she measured him wrongly, though, because they have a free-standing ruler rather than one connected to the table and she recorded him shorter than he was a month ago). Then she informed me that they take all temperatures rectally up until the age of 3!! What? They can't use the ear thermometer like most other doctors? Andrew is super strong now--I wanna see her try to get a rectal thermometer into Andrew's behind when he's kicking you in the face at 2 1/2. So strange.

Dr. Quinn came in and he was nice. (His full bio and picture are HERE.) He checked Andrew out, was very kind and sweet to him, answered my questions, and when we met in his office after Andrew's vaccinations, he printed up helpful articles on biting and sleeping through the night for me. What I found strange, though, was that he gave the OK for Andrew to get 3 vaccinations even though he had a cold. I should have listened to my inner mommy instincts because my poor little boy now has a fever. (Dr. Paul would have never given him that many shots in a row and not even one shot if he was sick!)

I think maybe the most terrible part for me was that a nurse or nurse-practitioner (I'm not sure--I didn't catch her name) came in to administer the vaccines and she literally had me lying on Andrew to keep him still as he thrashed about crying and she jabbed the needles into his leg. It was heartbreaking! He has never reacted this way to a shot before, and I understand that maybe he was under more duress because he was in a new office, but it still gave me a negative feeling in my stomach.

Finally, on my way out of the office, I tried to book Andrew's 18-month appointment in two-months time so that I didn't have to call the automated system. The receptionist said "Oh, I don't have that schedule up yet, so just call us in a week." Um, I've made appointments as far as 6 months out at other offices...  I just didn't get it...

The bottom line: I have friends who go to doctors at Clarkstown Ped's other offices in New City and Nanuet, and they swear they are great, but I am going to try another practice all together. Maybe because I was spoiled by having Dr. Paul, but I really prefer a practice that is much smaller. I want a person, not a machine to answer my phone calls. I want a doctor and staff that will remember my son--and it is hard to do that when you have a million patients.

Is this too much to ask? I don't know... but I'll keep you posted, as always, on my search. If any of you Rockland Moms and Dads out there have recommendations, please let me know!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Diaper Bag a Day in May Giveaway from Preganancy & Newborn

Go GaGa Slide Tote - CopperPregnancy and Newborn magazine is giving away one diaper bag a day for the entire month of May! Up for grabs today is the beautiful copper Go GaGa Slide Tote pictured left. 

Click HERE to enter daily through the 31st of May.

Be sure to also click on the "fabulous free stuff" link on the right-hand side of the page to enter daily for a chance to win a variety of awesome monthly prizes. This month's prizes include a Baby Jogger 2011 City Select Single Stroller!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Product Review: Little Tikes Pop Tunes Big Rocker Guitar

Little Tikes Pop Tunes Big Rocker Guitar (Blue)I stumbled across the Little Tikes Pop Tunes Big Rocker Guitar while at a Toys R Us in Queens. I was looking for a toy guitar with actual strings that would not break--unlike the strings on my violin which literally recoiled at Andrew's touch!

I wasn't sure that such an unbreakable instrument existed until I found this little $18 guitar. The strings are actually made out of string, not wire. And they can actually be strummed, producing a surprisingly large variety of rock and roll chords. Genius!

The buttons on the neck of guitar play a great sampling of non-annoying songs (Message in a Bottle, Love Shack, Wild Thing, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and All Star), so your little one can strum along with the tunes or play chords on his own. There is also a whammy bar to play with and pretty flashing lights in the tuning keys. The guitar also comes in pink for little girls who prefer that color.

Andrew really loves this guitar and I often find him (and my husband) rocking out around the apartment. And while the toy manufacturer suggests ages 36 months-6 years for this toy, I find that it is a favorite with my little 16-month old and his friends. Once I get my flipcam working again, I'll be sure to post video of Andrew rocking out on his Little Tikes guitar. Until then, just take my word for it--this guitar rocks!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope you all had a very Happy Mother's Day and were given the greatest gift of all--lots of special time with your loved ones. What's extra special about this day is that, even though it is focused on honoring mothers, we all honor and cherish each other in the process.

So here's to my amazing family--my beautiful mom, my incredible dad, my loveable brothers, my incredible husband, and my rambunctious, silly, adorable, and incredibly sweet redheaded baby. I had a wonderful time with you all this Mother's Day and I feel grateful for every day that we are blessed to be together.

Happy Mother's Day!

(Oh, and my mother loved her gift!)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gorgeous Etsy Jewelery from FYHDesigns - Giveaway to Follow!

The woman behind the beautiful jewelry at FYHDesigns is, among other things, a talented Rockland County area makeup artist and photographer--and she is also my cousin, Josie! And lucky cousin that I am, she has given me a gorgeous bracelet and earring set to review as she is getting her FYHDesigns Etsy Shop off the ground.

Asian Inspired Earrings

Asian Inspired Bracelet
Amazing jewlery AND photography, no?
Even if we weren't relatives, I'd be telling you about FYHDesigns. I think that Josie has a fabulous eye for designing jewelry that is both unique and beautiful. She is also a quality jewelery-crafter, whether using non-precious or precious materials. My bracelet and earrings would be considered "costume jewelry" because they are made of metal and non-precious beads, but they look and feel like I spent a lot of money of them. I really just adore them--especially the special red flowery bead. My husband even walked into the house, saw them, and said "Wow! These are really nice!" (This is major coming from my straight-laced, diamond-stud-loving man.)

Cat Lover's Earrings
Oh, and did I mention that the bracelet costs only $12 and the earrings are only $13? That's a bargain for Etsy! Also, I just have to mention these adorable, assymetrical, $10 cat-lover earrings--the perfect gift for any trendy cat lady: 

So, pop on over to FYHDesigns on Etsy and drool over the jewelry there. Then stay tuned to Rockland Mother for an announcement of new jewelry added to the shop--and how you'll be able to win one of them through a Rockland Mother Giveaway! 

Disclaimer: As mentioned, the owner of FYHDesigns is my cousin and I was given the necklace and earring set above for free for review. I was not in any way induced to write a positive review of FYHDesigns, regardless of our relation. I honestly do love the jewelry!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Footprints for Grandma

Before Gluing and Framing
I really adore framed little footprints and handprints, but I'm not too keen on buying expensive and hard to use print-making kits--especially since it is really inexpensive and easy to come up with a colorful print on your own!

For your mom on Mother's Day (or Mother-in-Law, child's godmother, or Aunt), why not make prints of your little one's/ones' hands or feet using non-toxic, washable paint and a little bit of pretty paper? Just follow these easy steps:

1) Paint your little one's hands and feet, one at a time, with non-toxic washable paint such as Crayola Washable Kid's Paint.

2) Press each hand or foot onto a sturdy piece of paper such as poster board or heavy card stock. You may need to make multiple prints if your kid moves around a lot like mine. You can make things a little easier on yourself by putting him/her in a high chair while you paint his feet and print (Andrew really liked the squishy feeling of the paint too!)

3) Cut out the best prints and use glue dots or a glue stick to paste them to a pretty piece (or layered pieces) of paper. I again used some scrapbooking paper that I had lying about the house. You can also add a photo and a label with your child's name and age as I did above.

4) Frame the whole darn pretty thing and give it away! (And, if you're like me, you'll make yourself one as well!)

The finished product! Sorry for the bad photo resolution!

This is by far my favorite project of the week and I know my mom is really going to be pleased and surprised when she gets it (hope she doesn't read this post!) Its just so pretty and sweet--and you can't by anything like this in a store. That's something special!

With that, my week of easy, budget-friendly Mother's Days gifts is over (I'm resting tomorrow before the big day, of course!) I hope you've enjoyed reading the ideas I've posted and have been able to come up with a creative gift of your own for the moms in your life.

I also hope you have some special time planned with your family this Sunday. We'll be at the amazing Magnanini Winery in Wallkill, NY.  Nothing makes an Italian mama more happy than good wine, food, Italian music and family!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Super Cute Handmade Clutch for Mom (and for you... and for your friends... and...)

I think the girls at The DIY Dish are adorable and their latest handmade clutch handbag project is just perfect for Mother's Day gifting (and birthday gifting! and just because gifting!) You don't have to be too handy with a sewing machine to make these clutches--and, in my opinion, you could even forgo the machine all together in favor of hand stitching these cute little clutches.

All you need are:

  • Two different 9"x12" pieces of fabric
  • One 9"x12" piece of fusible interfacing
  • 1/7" of ribbon or elastic and a button (for clutch closure)
  • Optional embellishment items (lace, flowers, etc.) 
Once you've gathered up these materials, pop on over to DIY Dish for their easy video instructions. Try not to be too flustered by their description of how to use their super-fancy sewing machine/embroiderer  (I was at first!). All you need to worry about is what to stitch and where to stitch it.

I hope you'll post links to pictures of your own handmade clutches in the comments below. I'll definitely be back to post my creations once I free my sewing machine from its packing box (how slow-going at unpacking can I be??)

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pretty Paper Goodie Box for Mother's Day Treats

If your mom likes yummy treats this quick and easy Mother's Day Gift idea (or any other day gift idea) is right up your alley. All you need is pretty paper, a couple minutes of origami-inspired patience, and the video and written directions on the following website to make a cute paper box to hold your mom's favorite candies, cookies and other treats:

As you make your box, just remember a few things: 

1) The stronger the paper, the stronger/longer-lasting the box. If you want to have heavier treats in the box, you'll need cardstock or similar heavy paper. 

2) The bigger the paper, the bigger the box. Your box will come out to a little bit smaller than a quarter of your starting paper size.

3) Unwrapped candies, cookies, etc. should be wrapped in plastic bags or cellophane before going into the box if you want mom to be able to reuse it. 

For the box pictured above, I used different sheets of pretty patterned scrapbooking paper that I always seem to have on-hand. You can also use any suitable squares of paper you have on hand--as long as it is heavy enough to hold what you intend to put inside the box. You can even decorate paper yourself with markers, stickers, etc.--or have your kids decorate the box for an even more special gift for grandma.

Your final step? Fill up your beautiful creation with goodies and hand it over to mom. How can she not be pleased by your origami prowess--and that you took the time to create something special just for her. 

Happy folding! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

And the winner is... KIDStrong Hydration Drinks Giveaway

KIDStrong Natural Grape Hydration Drink, 12-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)The winner of the case of KIDStrong Hydration Drinks is Lisa Weidknecht! Thanks to everyone for entering--and be sure to stop by for future product reviews and giveaways!

Lisa, please contact me with your mailing address at and KIDStrong will send those drinks right out to you. I'm very interested to hear what you and your children think of them!

Homemade Body Scrub for Mother's Day

Today's easy and budget-friendly Mother's Day gift idea is handmade body scrub, courtesy of the March 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine (my fave!).

You can make this gift even more budget friendly simply by using baby oil instead of expensive body oil and also by reusing a suitable toiletry jar that you have at home. Just empty out the old/rarely-used contacts into Tupperware or a zip-lock bag (if possible) or into the garbage (even better!) Clean and dry the container thoroughly. Wrap a piece of pretty paper, fabric, or tissue paper around the container, covering the old label, and secure with glue or tape. Slap a paper label of your own design on top--and voila--you're even more budget and eco-friendly than Martha!

You could even use a wide-mouthed mason jar, but please warn your giftee to be careful using glass containers in the bathroom or tub.

Homemade Body Scrub
Excerpted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine, March 2011


  • Body Oil
  • Epsom salt, sea salt or organic cane sugar
  • 12 oz PET jar with cap, (or see my not about reusing above!)
  • Lemon zest 

Homemade Body Scrub How-To:
Combine 1 cup of body oil with 2 cups of Epsom or sea salts or organic cane sugar (depending on how fine a grain you like.) We added lemon zest for color and fragrance. Package in jars (plastic is safest by the tub).

Happy gifting!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A More Special Bouquet for Mother's Day (Budget Friendly!)

Working from home leaves me with a lot less money for birthday and holiday gifts, which means I've got to get frugally creative when a special day rolls around. So, with Mother's Day less than a week away, I'll be posting a budget-friendly handmade gift idea a day that would be perfect for any special mom in your life. 

Today's gift idea is a twist on the traditional Mother's Day flower bouquet. Instead of popping into a grocery store or onto a retail florist website for a premade bouquet, how about creating something more personalized? 
  • Step 1: Stop by your local florist and pick out a couple blooms that you know she prefers and are within your budget. Buy just enough flowers to make a special number, such as the number of grandchildren or number of children (or both) the honored lady has in her life. You can choose to buy all of the same flower, or have different flowers/colors for male and female children, or children and grandchildren.
  • Step 2: Place the flowers in a vase or mason jar and create vase filler with any attractive long-stemmed foliage, wild flowers, or sticks from your back yard. If you have the funds, you can also purchase baby's breath or other filling foliage from your florist--or simply let your purchased blooms stand on their own. (You'll obviously need to put water in the vase too!) 
  • Step 3: Create a pretty tag using cardboard, construction paper, scrap fabric, or any other suitable material you may have lying about the house. Write on the tag something to the effect of: "Mom's Growing Garden," "Grandma's Special Flowers," or "Thanks for helping us grow!" and list the name each flower represents. For example, our tag would read: "Thanks for helping us grow! We love you, Matt, Lisa, and Andrew." Punch a hole in the tag, pass a ribbon or piece of yarn through it and attach it to the vase.
And that's all you have to do to make a pretty, budget-friendly bouquet for Mother's Day! 

Tulips, daffodil, hyacinth &
wild brocollini flowers from our backyard.
If you live in an area where wild flowers are abundant, you might not even have to visit your local florist at all. I myself will be picking flowers or visiting Stony Point Florist. Stony Point Florist provided gorgeous flowers for my wedding three years back, and they always have created beautiful bouquets for any special occasion that we need flowers for. They are also very friendly and have been a neighborhood fixture for years--and it just feels good to support a local business!

Happy gifting!