Jun 30, 2011

Lemon tree update and a bargain

Remember my post about planting a Dwarf Meyer lemon tree in a pot? Well check out how big it has gotten in the past 7 weeks!
Before:
After 7 weeks:
Of course I will not see any lemons until maybe next year if I am lucky, but I am thrilled with the fact that it is actually growing! I was worried since I paid so little for it but so far so good.

Here is my bargain of the week- Every year I buy a Mandevilla so that I can have flowers blooming throughout the summer. Normally I would have purchased it by the first of May. This year I decided I did not want to pay $20 for a plant. I am glad I did not get it at that time. Last night Dwayne and I were doing some work in the front yard and we had to make a quick run to our local home improvement store for a couple items. We both noticed that there was an abundance of plants on clearance. The garden center lady informed us that all clearance plants were an additional 50% for that day only. I found my plant that was originally $22.48 marked down to $11 and with the extra 50% off it ended up being $5.50! I was so happy! It is really big and all that was wrong with it was one little branch was broken. I pulled that sucker off and voila, new pretty pink mandevilla :-)
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 28, 2011

Teaching geography

Every evening when Dwayne comes home from work he tries to make sure he does something with William. Whether it is reading a couple books, playing outside or just getting on the floor to play with blocks/toys it has become a part of the weekly routine. For the past week they have been putting together a wooden puzzle that is the map of the United States. We recently got this neat puzzle from eBeanstalk called the USA Sound Map Puzzle by Melissa & Doug. Although it is intended for ages 6+ it still seemed like a great way to teach Will about the United States of America. This puzzle is unique since it "talks to you". When you place the state in the correct space on the map it tells you the name of the state as well as the capital city. William's eyes lit up the first time he heard it.

Dwayne and William worked on it together and would complete it about 2 times each evening for the first few days. William has figured out where most of the pieces go on his own. It's amazing how intelligent a young mind can be. Dwayne even commented how much this puzzle has refreshed his memory of what a lot of the capital cities are as well as the exact location of some states you don't think about often. This is such a fun way to teach geography without it feeling like a lesson. I would absolutely recommend this to any parent with preschool aged children. We loved the durable wooden pieces since 3 year old kids can be a bit rough on their toys. This puzzle costs $24.99 but is worth every penny. We do have to store on a high shelf when it is not in use so a certain little boy will not lose any of the states :)

Does your child love to put together puzzles?
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 27, 2011

William's playground

Lately William has really been into going to the playground. Since it has been so hot out, it makes it harder to take him on a daily basis. The rare time of day that it is cooler is when the sports teams are playing so parking is scarce and the playground becomes way too crowded. We decided to get him his own swing set or as he prefers to call it "William's playground". We went with a smaller one since he is the only little one and also he still has the majority of the yard to run and play ball.

The good thing is we never have to leave home and we put it by a tree where we can get some decent shade for most of the day. I am also glad we can take potty breaks and get a cold drink when we need it. William is loving his new toy and it's a great way for him to get some of that boy-energy out. It really wears him out with all of that physical play so he sleeps very well at night (score!)

Dwayne and I put the swing set together and it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Of course there was that 30 minutes that was wasted trying to get the ladder rungs assembled. No matter how many times we tried, we just could not get the screws and nuts to connect. I then find a little bag of 4 screws so I decided to open them up. Good move~ turns out that the paper enclosed stated that the directions were not revised with the fact that you needed to use those specific screws and NOT the ones we struggled with for so long. You know Dwayne was rolling his eyes at me and will be talking about me for a long time to come since I was in charge of the instructions.

In the end, our boy is happy and so are we! :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 25, 2011

Your children are really watching you

This morning I took the kids out to a few stores so that they could buy some health and beauty products. They both had their own money and the oldest one has a job so she had her fresh, new debit card. Chardie was so proud to feel like a grown-up using her own debit card and ever more so that it was her own money that she earned. Before we left for the stores Chardie asked me if I had any coupons for some of the things she needed on her list. We looked through the coupons and she selected the ones she needed. Both girls shopped very carefully by checking prices and comparing brands. If they were unsure they would go and scan the item at the kiosk. The words I kept hearing as they shopped was "this is not a necessity" or "that is way too expensive". Those words sounded very familiar to me.

After the first store we headed to the next destination. The first place the girls went to was the clearance racks. You would not believe the excitement a $3 top could stir up in a teenage girl. We took our time and looked around and they picked out a couple items each. We were taking one last look in the Junior's department and Chardie told me that she was feeling bad about spending money. She said that all of her friends that have jobs spend every dime of their paychecks and end up with an empty bank account. Chardie said she was really glad that she does not ever want to drain her account and then she tells me, "I am just like you Bawbi". That really made me very proud. My kids are smart and responsible when it comes to money. This is so important for them to learn before they get out into the real world. This goes to show that even when you think they are not paying attention to what you are doing~ they really are studying your every move.
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 23, 2011

Only my husband would do this

Dwayne was drinking his cherry soda the other day aka his "brotha drink". I will never understand why he likes to put his glass in the freezer with soda and ice in it. It stayed in there for days. Brie got tired of looking at it and let it thaw out on the counter and then poured it out. Does anyone in your house do this sort of foolishness?


Shelly, Mom Files

Dr. Drip Coffee review

I recently tried the neatest portable "coffee maker" that is called Dr. Drip Coffee. Each serving size comes individually packaged and contains actual ground coffee~ NOT instant. How does it work you ask? You take the Dr. Drip pack and tear the top off. You then place in on top of you mug as pictured below.


Next, you slowly pour hot water into the top opening. The good thing about it is you can brew it to your liking. More water for a lighter brew and less water for a stronger brew. I personally like mine strong so I opted for less water. I tried the Ultimate Pick-me up and boy did it do just that! Maybe I should not have been drinking coffee after 4:00 since I could not go to sleep that night. It tasted just like drip coffee and nothing like instant. That was a plus for me. Dr. Drip Coffee comes in 4 varieties: The Organic Tonic, The Double Daily Remedy, The Ultimate Pick-me-up and The Decaf Energizer.



I love the idea of having a freshly brewed cup of coffee that I can make myself over going to a coffee shop. Dr. Drip Coffee is a great idea to have at work since it is a sanitary choice and of course a way less expensive way to have a good cup of coffee without paying the coffee-house price. This would also be a great choice for travel, especially if you go camping often. You can buy Dr. Dip Coffee here and you can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

I received product samples for review purposes. All opinions are 100% mine as always.
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 20, 2011

Don't mess with the man's records!

Over the weekend, Dwayne and I cleaned out and organized one of our storage rooms. We came across a lot of things that were keepers and just as many items that were either going to be donated or thrown out. Now if you have been reading Momfiles for a while then you would know that we are really old school. Actually my husband sort of takes old school back way more than I do. We came across billions of cassette tapes...EPMD, Slick Rick, Luke, Vanilla Ice, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Salt 'n Pepa and the list goes on for days. He has a suitcase full along with a few shoes boxes full. He refuses to ever part with them. He tells me if I ever try to get rid of his collection that it will be grounds for divorce! Of course he says this in his Bernie Mac voice!
Of course we had at least a couple dozen mix-tapes. Haha, I remember making them off the radio and the DJ always messed up the last part of the song. If you have no idea of what I am talking about then you are a youngen.

After we browsed through some of the tapes we moved on to the records. He has a big box full that he has actually put in his will. I think they will go to William.
I laughed so hard when I saw the Beat Street album. On the left hand side it says "Dwayne AKA Little Wizard" bahahaha! That was his Junior High School dance name.

We sure reminisced over some good times. He has the first album Prince put out and so many other classic artists. Now I need to buy Dwayne a record player.

Do you still have your old cassette tapes or record albums? If you are laughing at us right now shut it up! :p

Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 16, 2011

eBeanstalk makes toy shopping so easy


I have been purchasing toys through eBeanstalk for about 3 years now and I have never been disappointed. We are really big into educational toys for our son. Whether you are looking for gifts for 3 year olds or babies, you will find just the perfect item. I have been looking for something new for William and I am thinking either a puzzle map of the United States or some building toys might be cool. He has really gotten into making castles and houses with anything he can get his little hands on. I also have my eye in this cute Green Toys Tool Set. I can just see William trying to be like his dad! I actually caught him the other day trying to pick up a very heavy hammer. He scared me silly!
The good thing is it is pretty easy to find toys for 3 year olds and as well as children of all ages through eBeanstalk. The website is so user friendly and you can break down toys by age and gender. I purchased William the Band in a Box by Melissa & Doug and he LOVES it so much! eBeanstalk carries a lot of well known brands and Melissa & Doug happens to be one of my favorites. I completely recommend eBeanstalk for your toy shopping needs.

Shelly, Mom Files

A lower food bill in the summer?

One of the first things that was on my mind with the end of the school year was feeding the kids and not wanting to spend a fortune. I was really afraid of what I might encounter. Strangely, it has been costing me LESS with the kids being out of school. I didn't think it was possible but I figured out why... When school is in session I always have to be sure that the kids have a variety of quick options for breakfast since we leave the house at 7. This means no time for home-cooked big breakfasts. I buy things like bagels, cinnamon toast, granola bars etc... Both girls took lunch from home as well as extra snacks. I am one of those moms who goes above and beyond to make sure they have quality things to eat. This is where it costs me a whole lot. Yes, school lunch would be cheaper but my kids don't eat it plus I don't want them to. There would also be the numerous times that they stayed after school for sports, activities and projects so I always made sure they had extra snacks and drinks.

Being home makes it so much easier. I can cook a good breakfast and even make ahead items like pancakes, waffles and bacon. Lucky for me my kids can eat just about anything so they tend to have whatever was leftover from last night's dinner for lunch. They drink water ALL day long (not that they don't ever drink anything else).

I think I am spending about $30-$50 less per week in food. Not bad huh? I really did not think it was possible! Perhaps since they are so busy they are not thinking about eating as much.

Has you food budget changed with school being out?
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 15, 2011

Milo's Kitchen™ home-style dog treats Review & Giveaway

**Contest Closed**
Winner is #66 Saira H~ Congratulations!

When my family saw the commercial for Del Monte Foods new product called Milo's Kitchen home-style dog treats we knew we had to get some. After all, our family dog's name is Milo! Milo's Kitchen dog treats are 100% real jerky, sausage slices, and meatballs. They have no artificial flavors or colors and are made with real meat or chicken. They look like they were homemade. I tore off a small piece of the Chicken Jerky for Milo to try, and out of habit I sniffed it. I could not believe how much it smelled like jerky that humans would eat. Milo gently grabbed it from me and stood over in the corner. I'm not kidding you he sat there for about 2 minutes and he was drooling until he couldn't take it anymore. He devoured it! Needless to say he was lingering around the snack cabinet for much of the day.
Milo's Kitchen home-style dog treats come in 4 delicious flavors: Beef Jerky, Chicken Jerky, Beef Sausage Slices with Rice, and Chicken Meatballs. I can't wait to share these tasty treats with the neighbors' dogs. I love the fact that these treats are made with real ingredients since our pet's health is very important to us.

Speaking of health, Milk-Bone has come out with new, all natural Healthy Favorites Granola Biscuits. They are made with real chicken, sweet potatoes, rolled oats and flaxseed. They contain no corn, soy, fillers or artificial preservatives. Milk-Bone also makes Mini's treats that have only 5 calories per treat. These mini dog treats provide 12 Vitamins and Minerals and over 200 treats come in a box. This is a great option for pet parents that are afraid of over-treating their furry family member. We have always loved Milk-Bone. They are a household brand and have been around since 1908!












Giveaway:
One lucky Momfiles reader will win the prize pack pictured below including all 4 flavors of Milo's Kitchen home-style treats as well as the 2 new Milk-Bone snacks.

To enter: *Mandatory: Please tell us which variety of dog treats you think your furry family member will love the most. What kinds of treat do you currently give your dog?

For additional entries:
~ "like" Milk-Bone, Momfiles & Milo's Kitchen (there is a "like" button on the top right side of the page) on Facebook (leave the name you are 'liking' from)
~ Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave a link
~ Follow Momfiles on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway (once a day, leave the link to your Tweet):

Enter to win a Milo's Kitchen & Milk-Bone prize pack for your #dog from @momfiles http://tinyurl.com/3s6b3qh #giveaway

~ Follow Momfiles via GFC or grab my button (let me know if you already do)

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end at 9:00 PM EST on June 30,2011. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment if you do not have a Blogger Profile. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email to claim prize. Good luck!

I received products samples to review and all opinions are 100% mine always.

Shelly, Mom Files

Wordless Wednesday


Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 13, 2011

He still LOVES Carmex

I will start off by saying that this photo was in no way set-up nor was the row of Carmex arranged by no one other them William himself. I can't believe he had 5 of them at one time and was so proud spread them out and count them. William wakes up some mornings and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is "Where is my Carmex cherry?". He knows his little hiding places and will search high and low to find them! Wow, I am thinking intervention here! My boy is too funny :)


Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 11, 2011

Why I love Swagbucks

Are you familiar with Swagbucks? I joined over a year ago and quite honestly I did not use it much the first few months. It took me seeing everyone talking about it to make me motivated to see what all the hype was about. I made Swagbucks my default search engine and downloaded the toolbar. I think the toolbar is what sold me. I have the kids and husband using it for searches and I am so proud of how much I have accumulated so far in Swagbucks.

Search & Win

I have this thing with how I cash them in. A lot of people let them accumulate in the thousands and even the tens of thousands. Not me, I'm so paranoid that the site could crash and disappear so as soon as I reach 450 SB's I cash them in for a $5 Amazon gift certificate. I have been accumulating about 500 SB's a week recently. I have made it to $60 (Amazon) so far and I was able to pay for all the girls' summer reading books at no cost to me. If you are not a part of the Swagbuck Nation I recommend you jump on it! You can apply here. It costs you nothing and you can accumulate FREE things just for doing a search!
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 10, 2011

How would you like to smell like a million bucks? | Giveaway

**Contest Closed**
Winners are:
#114 Heather S~ #136 traciet~ #187 Jackie Albino



I don't know about you but I have been a long time fan of Gain® laundry detergent. It cleans our clothing very well but there is something unbeatable about the scent. It is a great compliment when my kids' friends are always telling them how good they smell and it turned out to be their jacket or t-shirt. Gain smells like a million bucks! Speaking of which Gain has launched the “Smell Like a Million Bucks Contest” to give people across the country a chance to win one million dollars, turning one lucky winner’s dreams into a reality.

To help spread the word about the contest, Gain enlisted the help of alternative rock band, Barenaked Ladies, who are largely known for their hit “If I Had a Million Dollars.” The band has re-recorded a new version of the song, “If I Gained a Million Dollars,” which includes lyrics inspired by the dreams and wishes of Gain fans. Check out this cute video and please don't get mad at me if you start walking around randomly singing "If I had a million dollars". It is very catchy :D



To enter the Smell Like a Million Bucks Contest, visit www.facebook.com/Gain (be sure to "like" the page). Participants must submit a video stating that they “use Gain and smell like a million bucks.” All video entries can be viewed on Gain’s Smell Like a Million Bucks Contest tab on Gain’s Facebook page. Each video will be judged based on the creative score assigned after posting the video and the number of video views acquired. The 25 highest scoring videos will then be voted on by the Gain Facebook community. You can check out some of the video entries here. Your video can be less than a minute. I saw some that were only 10 seconds long! Easy huh?

One winner will be selected and announced on August 2, 2011. Entries will be accepted from May 18, 2011 through July 7, 2011. The top 25 videos can be viewed and voted on from July 18, 2011 through August 1, 2011. Full contest rules and regulations can be found on Gain’s Facebook page.

*This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to Procter & Gamble and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used in connection with the Contest or in connection with promotional or other activities by Gain.

My friends at Gain wanted to share the gift of smelling like a million bucks with Momfiles fans. We are giving away one bottle of Gain® laundry detergent to 3 lucky Momfiles readers!

To enter: *Mandatory- Let us know if you are a Gain user. If so, what is your favorite scent?

For extra entries:
~ "like" Gain and Momfiles on Facebook (leave your name you like us from)
~ (5 entries) Enter the Gain video contest and share the link here. (see contest rules above)
~ Tell us what part of the Barenaked Ladies video you liked the most
~ Follow Momfiles on Twitter (leave your Twitter name)
~ Tweet this giveaway & leave the link to your Tweet(once daily):
Don't you want to smell like a million dollars? Enter to win #Gain laundry detergent from @momfiles http://tinyurl.com/3gd594c 3winners
~ grab the Momfiles button
~ Follow Momfiles via Google Friend Connect

Contest is open to US Residents only and will end at 9:00 PM EST on June 25, 2011. 3 winners will be picked at random and contacted by email to claim prize. Please be sure to leave your email address if you do not have a Blogger profile. Good luck!

I received a product sample and no other compensation was received. All opinions are 150% mine as always.
Shelly, Mom Files

Snack is Fwack

Lately William has shown us what a big boy he is through his language. He never fails to amaze us with the words that come out of his mouth. He can speak in full sentences and manage to throw in some big words here and there. He does have one little problem though. He has trouble pronouncing his "L" and "S" sounds. For instance:
  • snack = fwack
  • snake = fwake
  • sleep = fweep
  • smell = fwell
  • slippers = fwippers
  • smart....I'll let you figure that one out!
It seems to be more of a trend with the sl, sn and sm words. He can say words like sky, sister, sun... I have been working with him to correct it and he gets it sometimes. It is really neat that he can say certain words flawlessly and others more in "baby talk". We are still very proud with how much he has learned and think back to the days that we thought he would never speak. I am hoping in the near future I will have the same memory about potty training!

Did your child have any issues with his/her speech? What did you do about it?
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 9, 2011

Doctor's diagnosis "You are not dead"

The other day my 16 year old was complaining that she was having some odd pain in her chest when she left volleyball practice. I asked her a bunch of questions like "Did you spike the ball hard? Do you think you pulled a muscle? Could it be gas?" She said it was not a normal pain. After about 2 hours I felt like we had better get it checked out, just in case. Off to Urgent Care we went. I told Chardie we should go ahead and get her knees checked while we were there since she has been suffering from knee pain for some time now. We were so glad that we were the only ones in there and was able to be seen within 5 minutes. Wouldn't you know that the pain stopped? Yep, no more pain. Classic. Long story short~ the nurse checked her vitals and did an EKG. My daughter has a problem with anyone touching her. She is VERY ticklish. I mean even if I try to give her a simple manicure she will go nuts with laughter.

Flashback- When Chardie was 6 months old she fell off the bed while I had my back turned to grab a diaper and powder. I was frantic and she was on her back laughing heartily. She has never changed. Whenever she falls or runs into something you will see tears streaming down her face. This is not because she is in pain but it is from laughter. Yes folks, my kid laughs when she gets hurt. You can never tell if she is okay or not.

Now back to the doctor... He walks in to let us know of any findings from the EKG. He let us know that her problem had nothing to do with her heart. It was more than likely from her physical activity that she irritated her chest muscle. He said that if a 16 year old was having a heart attack that they would not be able to survive. He then tells us that the good news is that she did not have a heart attack and she did not die. I could not help but giggle. Every time he tried to touch Chardie, she would start laughing. The doctor said maybe it's a good thing she is that way. He said if she is alone with a boy and starts to giggle then we would know that he better back off of our daughter. He then attempts to touch her knees. Of course we all know how that went! He told us that knee pain is the most common problem in teen athletes and recommended she take Ibuprofen. So the end result is that she is fine, just as I suspected. Thank goodness! We keep cracking jokes about her not being dead. That doctor was crazy but we really liked him and will surely go back to him again :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 8, 2011

Delete Delete DELETE!

I have been in a serious cleaning mood lately. This includes my online life. Both Dwayne and I came to the realization of just how much time social networking takes up in our lives. So many important things would get pushed aside so we could be more 'social'. Well enough is enough. We both deleted our Facebook and Twitter apps from our phones. Dwayne got rid of his Facebook account and I was about to get rid of mine. The only reason I did not was due to some groups I am a part of that are pretty important to me. I am getting ready to close off my wall and disable comments. I thought I was going to miss it and although it has just been less than a week, our lives have improved so much. I have lost interest in so much of the crap that people put out there for the world to see as well as all the complaining and whining. We really think Facebook is a bad thing when it is not used in the right way. Dwayne and I are planning get-togethers with REAL people more often. Now that is what I call being social! I will continue to post on my Momfiles page. I am enjoying living in real life :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 7, 2011

Please help the dogs!

In celebration of the launch of their brand new dry food formula, Pedigree will be donating more than 100,000 lbs of food to shelters across the country, because they believe “Every Dog Deserves” leading nutrition. Chelsea Kane, of Dancing with the Stars fame, will help kick off the “Every Dog Deserves” campaign by delivering the first 10,000 lb food donation to the Amanda Foundation in Beverly Hills on June 1.

Throughout the month of June, they’ll be asking dog lovers to help them help dogs by logging onto Facebook and Twitter (#everydogdeserves) to say why they think “Every Dog Deserves” the very best. For each Like, comment, @reply, re-tweet, photo upload, etc. directed at Pedigree, they’ll donate one pound of food (up to 100,000 pounds total). Every single engagement with Pedigree on Facebook and Twitter helps feed dogs.
Feel free to use this as a Tweet: Pls RT/ will be donating more than 100,000 lbs of food to shelters across the country because good nutrition!
This is such an easy way to help dogs in need at no cost to you. Thank you in advance for you help!
Shelly, Mom Files
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