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Oct 31, 2010

Celebrating excellence

The Ismail family went out to Red Robin for a special lunch in honor of Chardie and Brie. We wanted to celebrate their excellent report cards. They both got all A's and 1 B. Brie's one B was a 92 (an A is a 93) so she was very annoyed. Chardie was expecting to have 3 B's with how tough her college level classes are in combination with the volleyball season. She was able to pull it off and she currently ranks #4 in her sophomore class. We are so proud of both girls for being such diligent students and all around sweet girls. Now we can't leave little William out, he is doing a great job with his "school" time at home. He is making great strides daily and we are very proud of him. Here are a few photos of our lunch out...

Dwayne took this photo (the reason why he is not in it). I love these 3 sweet children!
Brie did not want to be in this picture because Daddy was being aggravating. The girls warned him before entering the restaurant- NO talking, NO foolishness, NO singing, NO drawing attention to any of us. Of course he broke at least 3 of these rules!!
We seldom go out to sit-down establishments to eat but this was a pleasant experience. William really behaved well and enjoyed his 'bottomless' fries!

If you have never had a burger from Red Robin I would recommend the Mt. Olympus Burger. It was divine!!

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 29, 2010

Flashback Friday

This was about 3 years ago when I was in early pregnancy with Will. I used to drink strawberry milk out of a wine glass to make it taste better. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 28, 2010

Who needs toys anyway?

Will and I were going to pick Brie up from school and he stopped and screamed out leaf! leaf! I had trimmed off the old leaves from one of my houseplants and he decided he wanted to keep it as a toy. He picked that over a truck or book. These days his favorite "toys" are leaves, grass, pine needles, flowers and stems. I guess there could be worse things he could play with!
What are some of the oddest things you have seen your kid play with?
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 27, 2010

My boy loves Dora and friends

It is amazing how much little William LOVES Dora the Explorer. He is always requesting to watch Dora and Boots. He is lucky that we can watch it On Demand through our digital cable. It's neat when you hear your toddler counting in Spanish from 1-10 and saying words like mountain, crocodile lake, rain forest or even "We did it!"

I think Dora the Explorer is one of the best preschool programs on television and I was thrilled to receive a complimentary copy of the new Dora the Explorer magazine! I love the fact that all of Dora's friends are featured, giving it a more gender neutral feel. The issue is filled with fun activities like coloring pages, matching games, puzzles, stickers and more. William sat down quietly and went through each page thoroughly and I was taken back by how much he knew. I admit, I did remove the stickers and hide them because I don't want to see what he might try to "decorate" with them :)

He was really into this particular page. He loves telling me what all the objects are. He is enjoying his magazine! I think that if he was a year older he would be able to do more of the activities in it. It's a great magazine and I would totally recommend it to any Dora fan.
Shelly, Mom Files

WTH? Wednesday

I don't I have days anymore that something does not jump out at me and make me say WTH?!

~ So I watched last night's episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta to see what all the hype it about and all I kept saying well let's pretend I was saying WTH?! I know a lot of you love that show but I just keep shaking my head. I will leave that one alone.
~ WTH is up with everyone putting their calls on speakerphone?
~ WTH is up with teenagers always taking pictures of themselves with their tongue sticking out to the side?
~ I ordered some 5x7 greeting cards the other day for the husband's business. How about the company sent me 4x6 envelopes. GRRRR!!!
~ I'm such a grumpy, mean mom this Halloween. I really don't care. There will be no candy. No rubber hand in the punch. No eyeball cupcakes. No tricks. No treats. The end.
~ I just sent off some blog related things in the mail yesterday and how about I receive my business cards TODAY. Nice huh?

OK, it's your turn. Share your WTH moments with us in the comments.

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 25, 2010

4? Really?

I am asked all the time how old little William is and I tell folks he is two and a half. They reply in shock and say that they thought he was 4. Wow, 4? I really don't see it at all until this past weekend. We went to a cookout and there was a lot of little kids ages newborn to teens. I saw a lot of little ones I thought were William's age but it turns out they were older... 4 & 5! I guess because I am with him 24/7 I don't notice how big he is getting. Does that happen to you where people think your kid is way older or younger than he/she really is?

Look at him looking like an old man in his pajamas. He was not looking at the camera which is not surprising. I don't post a lot of photos of him these days since he does not cooperate. He usually only wants to view the photos you take and run away when you try to take them.

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 22, 2010

When watching TV with me...

I have a very simple rule for when Dwayne watches television with me. He is not allowed to watch:
  • reality TV (unless it's a fishing or nature show)
  • comedy of any kind (especially Kathy Griffin or Monique)
  • Tyler Perry films
  • Nancy Grace, Wendy Williams or Geraldo Rivera
  • inappropriate cartoons- Family Guy, South Park
  • No MTV, BET or VH1
  • no gossip or talk shows
I know, I'm so mean and boring :)

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 21, 2010

I love my husband but....

Dwayne took the day off yesterday so that we could run some very important errands and also attend Briahnna's last volleyball game (details on that later). It is not often that Dwayne is home in the middle of the week so I was looking forward to it. Why did William feel that he should be mischievous ALL day long? Seriously, he is almost a complete angel during the week and he got into every kind of trouble possible. One of those bits of trouble required the use of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I don't get it. My sweet child was a monster yesterday. Dwayne laughed it off and said it was testosterone hanging with testosterone. Well no thank you. Go back to work.
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 19, 2010

The best guard dog ever

I could not imagine a day without having Milo bark at every person or dog that walks by the house. He goes nuts when UPS or FedEx delivers and you better not be a salesperson... he will be ready to break you off! He is such a sweet dog and he always sits guard at the front window in protection mode. I never feel uneasy knowing that he is with me each day. I love my doggy.
It's funny to think that I never used to like dogs and was really afraid of them for the first 18 years of my life. I am so happy that Dwayne and Chardie broke me down and convinced me that we needed a dog. He is such an important part of our family and we love him dearly. Most people who visit (even the non dog lovers) get such a kick out of the fact that he behaves just as well as the kids and does not act like a real dog. Milo lives the good life. My father-in-law always jokes and says that if Milo ever had to live a dog's life he would not survive. Needless to say, Milo has never tried to run away! :)
Milo is a purebred long coat Chihuahua and is getting ready to turn 8 in a couple months. It's hard to believe he is that old. Oh and BTW, he does not know that he is an actual dog ;-)

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 17, 2010

I'm a Carmex Blog Squad member! {Closed}

**Contest Closed**
Winner is #177 miss ahsia~ Congratulations!!

I am so excited to be an official Carmex Blog Squad member! Of course you all know we have some serious Carmex fans in our household. We have been loyal users for over 10 years now and can't go a day without the stuff! I was very happy to hear that Carmex came out with 2 new skin products, Carmex Healing Lotion and Healing Cream. I have some serious issues with dry skin especially when the seasons change and in the colder weather months. I also have super dry hands from all the hand washing I do all day long. I tried out the Healing Lotion on my legs and arms and really loved the feel and smell- Not heavy or greasy but just enough of an emollient feel. The scent is subtle and almost reminds me of playdough (in a good way). My 16 year old took the travel size tube of lotion to practice on Friday and the whole volleyball team was raving about how cool it was that Carmex makes lotion and how nice it smelled and felt. Needless to say her travel tube is empty! You can purchase the lotion and cream at Walgreens and It runs for about $5.99 and that is not bad at all!

Since my family already was VERY familiar with the traditional Carmex lip products (tubes, jars and sticks) we were eager to test out the Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm especially with the hint of color. I grabbed the peach tinted one and I really love how subtle the color was as well as the deep moisturized feeling my lips had. It was not greasy or heavy at all and lasted for a few hours. I really love how the tube looks like a lipgloss/ lipstick. Very girly and pretty :) I think these are great as add-on gift for teenage girls as well as stocking stuffers.

I was squealing like a girl when I received a package from Carmex that contained this cute (and big) travel bag.

When I opened the bag and found all of these goodies I was giddy with excitement and my kids were calling dibs on what they wanted. This fantastic kit came with an assortment of Carmex Lip Balm tubes, sticks and jars as well as 3 Carmex Moisture Plus sticks and one each of the Healing Lotion and Healing Cream. The bag is nice and roomy and it came with 2 cute zipper pouches perfect for all your travel beauty essentials. This kit is valued at $53 and guess what? I get to give a kit away to one lucky Momfiles reader!

Here is how to enter:
*Mandatory: Please tell us if what Carmex products you would like to try. Already a Carmex fan? What is your favorite Carmex product?

For additional entries (leave a separate comment for each entry to count):
~ "like" Carmex and Momfiles on Facebook
~ Follow Carmex and Momfiles on Twitter
~ Tweet this giveaway (once per day)- Enter to win a big @CarmexLipBalm kit from @momfiles #giveaway
~ Mention this giveaway on Facebook
~ Sport the Momfiles button on your blog
~ Follow Momfiles through Google Friend Connect

This contest is open to US residents only and will end on November 8, 2010 at 9:00 pm EST. Please leave a visible email address if you do not have a Blogger profile. Winner will be chosen via and will be emailed. Good luck to everyone!

Disclosure: I received a Carmex travel kit as compensation for my post and hosting giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 15, 2010

Mixed feelings

Well volleyball season will be coming to a close next week. Chardie's team improved tremendously this year although it was not enough to take them to the play-offs. Brie's team is undefeated as of this week. Next Wednesday is the final game of the season and that will determine who the District Champions will be. We are facing an equally talented team so it's any one's game. I won't lie, my nerves are bad right now!

I am really happy in some ways that the season is almost over yet really sad. The girls really love the sport and don't want it to end. The bright side of things for them is at least they can have more time for schoolwork, friends and family. During v-ball season they have no life. Just school and volleyball. I have really enjoyed watching some good volley action and next year both girls will be at the same school together. This means only going to one school for both! I really am so happy about that yet at the same time I can't believe little Brie (although she is taller than me) will be a freshman in high school *sighs* I guess growing up is something that can't be avoided. I sure am proud of those girls. At least now I can see them a lot more and I can have my shopping partners back. It's not the same gallivanting all over without them :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 14, 2010

Yo Gabba Gabba! prize pack giveaway

**Contest Closed**
Winner is #9 Heather~ Congratulations!

Hey guys! I have no shame in admitting that I (along with the entire family) LOVE Yo Gabba Gabba! We all flipped out when we found out that the YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE!: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY! North American Tour is coming to our city of Columbia, SC on Nov 2! Show times are at 2 and 6:30 p.m. at the Township Auditorium. Tickets are $39 and $29, plus applicable service fees, available at Township Auditorium Box Office, All Ticketmaster Outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at

Champions on the stage and in the community, the Gabba Gang will partner with Habitat for Humanity to further their homebuilding efforts in Columbia. In addition, $1 from every ticket sold for YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE!: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY! in Columbia will be donated to the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. VIP packages with premium tickets and meet and greets will also be available. For complete tour, ticket information and VIP packages, visit Children under one year of age will be admitted free to sit on a parent’s lap. *Dates, venues and ticket prices are subject to change.

The state-of-the-art production features music, singing, dancing and animation. The show is an interactive experience that offers audience members of all ages the opportunity to witness their favorite characters come to life. Joining the characters on stage will be hip-hop legend Biz Markie to teach kids how to beat box with “Biz’s Beat of the Day”. Special guests will join the party on stage for the Super Music Friends Show and Dancey Dance segments.

Be sure to go to to see if the show will be visiting your city.

I am so excited about the great Yo Gabba Gabba! prize pack that I get to give away to one lucky reader! The prize pack includes a Yo Gabba Gabba!, Party in My Tummy book, a Yo Gabba Gabba! Clubhouse DVD and a Yo Gabba Gabba!: Music is Awesome Volume 2 CD!

The Nickelodeon DVD “Yo Gabba Gabba!: Clubhouse” released on June 15 and features performances by musical guests Erykah Badu, The Killers, Jimmy Eat World and more.

Based on the popular song from Yo Gabba Gabba!, Party in My Tummy makes healthy eating fun for little ones! Lift the flaps, sing along, and find out what everyone in Gabba Land is bringing to the party!

YO GABBA GABBA! MUSIC IS AWESOME! has a compilation of music featured from Seasons I, II & III
To Enter (Mandatory) Tell us who your favorite Yo Gabba Gabba! character or episode is. Maybe you have a favorite guest from the show.

For additional entries:
~ "like" Momfiles and Yo Gabba Gabba! on Facebook
~ Follow YGG! on Twitter
~ Follow Momfiles via GFC
~ Sport the Momfiles button on your blog
~ Follow Momfiles on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway (once daily):
Get your sillies out with a Yo Gabba Gabba! prize from @momfiles

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 29, 2010 at 9:00 pm EST. Please leave a visible email address if you do not have a Blogger account.

Disclosure: I will receive complimentary tickets to the YGG! Live show as compensation for my post.

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 13, 2010

Oct 12, 2010

Pink Together, Raising Awareness and a Giveaway

**Contest Closed**
Winner is #77 sohamolina~ Congrats!

I am sure that no matter where you shop you have noticed that everything is in pink to represent Breast Cancer Awareness. General Mills created Pink Together. Pink Together is a campaign that aims to raise greater awareness of the disease and to help those touched by breast cancer find strength together. You are encouraged to visit, an ever-growing community of hope of more than 680,000 breast cancer survivors and supporters. There you can share stories, post comments of encouragement and send virtual flowers to let someone know you are thinking of him or her. There are so many inspiring stories on there and it is a great feeling knowing that you can get support from others- even from strangers.

To encourage personal connections in the online community, General Mills will donate $1 (up to $20,000) to Komen for each inspirational story submitted, encouraging comment posted, or virtual flower of support sent on, and for each shared message of hope posted on Pink Together’s Facebook fan page during the month of October (up to $5,000). This $25,000 is in addition to the $2 million donation General Mills has committed to Komen to advance breast cancer research and support education and community outreach projects.

I was provided with a “Connecting for a Cure” gift pack for spreading the word about this great cause from General Mills through MyBlogSpark. My gift pack included a Pink Ribbon car magnet and key chain, travel mug, and drawstring backpack, along with coupons for free packages of one Big G cereal, Green Giant® Frozen Veggies, Macaroni Grill® Dinner Kit, Fiber One® Bars and Progresso® Soup . All of the items included in the gift pack are from, where 25% of the merchandise purchase price benefits Komen. Let me tell you, there are some cute things on the site for all pink lovers!

MyBlogSpark is also providing another "Connecting for a Cure" gift pack for one lucky Momfiles reader to win! Here's how to enter:

Mandatory: "like" the Pink Together Facebook page and send a message of hope. I did it and it only takes about 20 seconds!

Additional entries:
~ Sends a virtual flower or add a comment on the Pink Together site.
~ "like" Momfiles on FB
~ Follow Momfiles on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway (once daily)-
Win a #myblogspark Connecting for the Cure gift pack @momfiles
~ sport the Momfiles button on your blog
~ Check out the ShopKomen site and tell us which item you would be interested in purchasing.

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm EST. Winner will be selected via and contacted by email. Please be sure to leave a valid email address if you do not have a Blogger profile. Good luck!

Disclosure: General Mills provided me with information and giveaway through MyBlogSpark

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 11, 2010

When the neighbors give you eggplant....

You make Eggplant Parmesan!

It was easy and complicated at the same time to make. I started with about 3 big sized eggplant. I washed, peeled and sliced them into 1/2 inch thick slices. I had 3 separate dishes set up for dredging. First bowl had some plain flour. The second bowl had beaten eggs with some seasoned salt, cracked pepper & some Kosher salt. Third bowl- plain fine breadcrumbs. I lightly coated each slice of eggplant with flour then into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs. I fried the slices in Canola oil for about 4-5 minutes (until nice and brown).

I prepared my sauce. I used 2 jars of Barilla tomato and basil sauce. I added my own seasoning to taste including a little sugar, garlic, some hot pepper sauce etc... I also added good handful of freshly chopped cilantro instead of the traditional basil.
I started the layering process with the sauce and cheeses. I used Mozzarella, Feta and Parmesan. I know Feta in not traditionally used either.
I baked it covered for 25 minutes at 375 and then for another 10 minutes uncovered to brown the top. It makes the entire house smell so good!

Here is the final product. It came out delicious and the Feta and cilantro were the secret ingredients to make it extra special.

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 10, 2010

I want fweep

William is a thriving 2 1/2 year old who is full of energy all day long. His new thing is deciding that he wants to take a nap-- "I want fweep" in the late afternoon each day. This is not your ordinary nap. Dude wants to sleep hard and long... 2 hours+ if you let him. I refuse to have him napping past 3. He ends up not going to sleep at night until after 10 or 11. That makes me feel like such a bad mother.

I tend to let him catch a good 20-30 minutes and I wake him up. He is pretty grumpy for about 5 minutes but then he springs back into action. I never thought I would say it but I wish my toddler would NOT take a nap during the day!

Have you ever experienced this kind of sleeping behavior with your child?

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 9, 2010

Family Taco Night (giveaway)

**Contest Closed**
Winner is #43 Shirley~ Congratulations!

I don't know about you but our family loves to have family taco night at least every 4-6 weeks. It's a fun way to get everyone to sit together, chat and share some good laughs while keeping the cost low. I received a "family taco night" prize pack that included a packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, a Cactus Chip & Dip Serving dish, a set of 3 Fiesta Chili Pepper serving dishes and a $10 gift card to purchase our taco fixings.

We went with the Old El Paso Gordita dinner kit and also the Old El Paso traditional soft taco tortillas. You can go here to print a coupon for $0.60 off any two Old El Paso products.
I used some chicken tenders that I sliced thinly and cooked it according to the seasoning packet instructions. I added a handful of fresh chopped cilantro for extra flavor and it came out perfect.
My family sticks to the traditional toppings like shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, a mixture of shredded cheeses and some ranch sauce (included in the dinner kit I purchased).
Here is the finished product. They came out so tasty and was ready in about 20 minutes. We all sat at the table and joked around a good bit. I used to work at a fast food taco joint when I was younger so my husband had great fun talking about old times :)
How would you like to win your own family taco night prize pack? You will get the same prize pack I received which are pictured below and a $10 gift card (not pictured)
Here's how to enter:
Mandatory- Tell us what you would do to make your family taco night special. Maybe you can tell us what unusual toppings or main ingredients you like in your tacos.

For additional entries:
~ you can "like" Momfiles on Facebook
~ follow Momfiles through Google Friend Connect
~ Follow Momfiles on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway (once daily) :
Win a family taco night prize pack #giveaway @momfiles from #myblogspark

~ sport the Momfiles button on your blog

*Please leave a separate comment per entry method for each entry to count. Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm EST. Good luck!

Disclosure: The coupon, information, and prize package for giveaway were all provided by Old El Paso through MyBlogSpark.

Shelly, Mom Files
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