Saturday, November 27, 2010

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with "Everything Christmas"

It doesn't really take much to get me and my family into the Christmas spirit.  Soon after the Halloween costumes are packed away each year, I quickly get the urge to pull out our festive decorations, music, and recipes.  So when I was offered the opportunity to review the new book, Everything Christmas, I gladly accepted, knowing simply from the title that it would be an enjoyable read.

Everything Christmas (by David Bordon and Thomas J. Winters) is filled from beginning to end with wonderful ideas, stories, and historical facts concerning just about anything to do with the Christmas season.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the craft ideas, decorating tips, quotes, Scripture verses, and classic holiday stories that this little reference book offers.  Spread throughout the chapters are lyrics to many favorite hymns and carols that are sung/played this time of year.  For those who enjoy celebrating the days of Advent, the book is divided into 25 readings for each day, beginning with December 1st.

On top of all that is included on the inside, this hardcover book is also lovely on the outside.  Everything Christmas would make an attractive seasonal book to leave lying on a coffee table for anyone to pick up and admire.  I definitely recommend buying a copy of this book for both your personal library and as a unique gift for a teacher, grandparent, hostess gift, neighbor, or simply anyone who loves all things about Christmas.

If you'd like to take a "sneak peek" into Everything Christmas
then click HERE to download the first chapter for free.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to provide a positive review, only an honest one. The viewpoints expressed in this review are my own.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Easy Ways to Prevent Diaper Rash

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

My firstborn made it through her diaper days without even a hint of a diaper rash.  Then my son came along and made up for what we luckily avoided with her.  For the first 18 months or so of his life, he had some pretty rough battles with many rashes... most of them caused by illnesses and a sensitive digestive system.  If you have a little one like mine who has a tendency to develop diaper rash, consider the following tips on preventing and treating the outbreaks:

• Check your baby's diaper often and change it immediately when soiled.

• Believe it or not, wipes aren't necessary with every single wet (not soiled) diaper.  Urine is sterile and doesn't hurt the baby's skin when changed often.  Wiping excessively with commercial wipes can actually break down the skin and cause a rash.

• Skip those wipes that smell good.  These have added fragrance which can irritate baby's skin.  Use baby wipes which are fragrance-free and made for sensitive skin.

• Allow your baby's skin to dry before putting on a clean diaper.

• Pay close attention to foods the baby may be consuming during the day.  Highly acidic foods, especially, can cause painful rash in some children.

• When drying the baby's bottom after a bath, be sure to pat his/her bottom dry with the towel instead of rubbing.

• Use a barrier cream, such as Boudreaux's Butt Paste, to protect the skin from moisture... especially when an extended no-diaper-change situation occurs, such as overnight or during a long road trip.  Boudreaux's Butt Paste was specifically formulated by a pharmacist with direction from a respected pediatrician to provide effective diaper rash care.

• And, of course, the one and only TRUE way to prevent diaper rash once and for all:  POTTY TRAINING.  Fun times. :-)

To receive a free sample of BBP, visit their website by clicking the button below:

The Lord Is My Light & My Salvation

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, 
my adversaries and foes, 
it is they who stumble and fall. 

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; 
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. 

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: 
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, 
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. 

For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; 
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; 
he will lift me high upon a rock. 

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, 
and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;  
I will sing and make melody to the LORD. 

Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 

You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek." 

Hide not your face from me. 
Turn not your servant away in anger, 
O you who have been my help. 
Cast me not off; forsake me not,  
O God of my salvation! 

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. 

Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; 
for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. 

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! 

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Psalm 27 (ESV)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Expensive Doesn't Mean Better

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

It just happens...  No matter how much time, energy and emotion we spend on planning things perfectly, sometimes life just doesn't work out the way we expect it to.  And if there was ever a season of life where this was more true, it would certainly be during parenthood.

My first head-on collision with this reality happened only a short time after my first child was born.  I was firmly convinced that I would choose nature's way and breastfeed my children.  What I never saw coming was that my body had its own plans that were in direct opposition to mine.  My body simply refused to follow my expectations and I had to make the difficult choice to nourish my newborn with infant formula.

Because I never gave formula-feeding a second thought at any point during my pregnancy, I never had the opportunity to really do my "homework" about the costs, brands, benefits, etc.  I just assumed, like many others, that only the most expensive name brand formulas were healthy and safe for my baby.  We cut corners in as many areas of our finances as possible that first year to purchase the supposedly better brand.  Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now!

The following quote from Dr. Barbara Levine of Weill Cornell Medical College accurately describes my thoughts and feelings about name brand formulas at the time:
"Moms often experience feelings of guilt if they choose not to breastfeed, so they purchase expensive formula. But very few really know the truth about infant formula- A higher price does NOT equal better nutrition."
Nutritionally, there is no reason to buy the much more expensive formulas sold by the big pharmaceutical companies.  All infant formula marketing in the United States must meet the same nutrient guidelines and specifications set by the FDA, whether they are store brand or name brand.  Historically, store brand (also known as private-label) formulas cost less because they are not heavily marketed or advertised and are not given away to hospitals for free.  Those cost savings are then passed along to the consumer.  According to some estimates, as much as $600 can be saved by new parents annually by choosing the cheaper store brand formula.

The contributors of the new 10th Edition of the Consumer Reports Best Baby Products write that they see no need for parents to choose expensive national brand infant formulas over their much more reasonable store brand counterparts sold at retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, CVS, Kroger, Walgreens, and Babies R Us.

Not only are many new parents dealing with financial uncertainty from difficult economic times, but consumer confidence is also quite vulnerable at this point from the recent recall of Similac formulas because of the possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in their products.

Even though the benefits of breastfeeding are indisputable, it's not always an option for every mother.  As parents we can now shop confidently for infant formulas to safely and healthfully nourish our children without being blindsided by all the hype, marketing and, most of all, the high price tag.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Decisions, Decisions!

It's that time of year again and the ever-important decision must be made soon.  Well, I guess in the grand scheme of life this decision isn't *that* important.  But right now, at this moment, it feels like a big decision to make.  And that decision is all about choosing THE perfect Christmas card for 2010!

If you're like my family at all, we love to both send and receive photo cards.  Just a few weeks back, we had a few family snapshots taken by a friend, so I'm now in the process of choosing which one(s) we'll use for our card.  Even though I'm still trying to choose a picture, I am glad our decision to use Shutterfly has already been made!

Have you seen all the many card designs that Shutterfly has in their 2010 Holiday Collection?  I have looked and looked and looked, and I just have to say-  their designs are BEAUTIFUL!  How will I EVER be able to choose one?!  Goodness, goodness...

Here are a few of my favorites-

"Ornaments All Aglow"

"With Glee"

"Ho Ho Ho"

"With Love Blue"

If you've never used Shutterfly before, the card designing process is quite simple.  Just choose a card design, use the photo uploader to insert your own picture into the design, choose your wording and other details, and VOILA!  Your card is then ready to be submitted, printed and delivered to your home.  Easy, right?!  Shutterfly also offers other cool products that would make for special Christmas gifts, such as photo books, calendars, and personalized stationary. 

The clock is ticking... hurry on over with me to Shutterfly before the Santa's sleigh bells start ringing! : )


Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly!  Sign up here:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gobble, Gobble!

My two turkeys and I tried our hands this week at our first Thanksgiving craft together.  
I found this idea to make turkeys out of prints from our hands and feet from  
They turned out adorable and more importantly, my little ones LOVED making them! 

Photobucket  Photobucket  Photobucket

If you'd like to do this Thanksgiving craft with your kiddos, you can find the instructions here.

Even though my two children are growing up so rapidly, I do enjoy getting to do more hands-on activities with them... and that definitely brings me JOY!

Good, True & Beautiful


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordish Wednesday

7.  Get a family portrait taken.
(From Fifteen Things in Fifteen Months.)

Photo by Jason of Jason Lee Photography.  Edited by Leslie at Rivas Reflections.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"...Featuring" by Norah Jones- Review & Giveaway

Thanks to the lovely people over at One2One Network, my toes have been tapping this week to the cool, smooth new sounds from Norah Jones.  Her latest album, "...Featuring," releases next Tuesday, November 16th, and I was graciously granted the opportunity to give it an early whirl.

...Featuring is a star-studded collection of the multi-platinum selling, multi-Grammy Award winning singer's musical collaborations from the past decade.  The 18 songs on the album include cool cameos, collaborations and duets with such legends as Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton, and with 21st century icons from OutKast to The Foo Fighters.  The tracks on ...Featuring span Norah's entire career and reveal her astonishing musical versatility, from jazz to country, hip-hop to rock.

The track listing for ...Featuring is as follows:
1. Love Me – The Little Willies 
2. Virginia Moon – The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
3. Turn Them – Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
4. Baby It's Cold Outside – Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
5. Bull Rider – Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
6. Ruler Of My Heart – Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
7. The Best Part – El Madmo 
8. Take Off Your Cool – OutKast featuring Norah Jones
9. Life Is Better – Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones
10. Soon The New Day – Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John – Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
12. Here We Go Again – Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
13. Loretta – Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
14. Dear John – Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
15. Creepin' In – Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton
16. Court & Spark – Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
17. More Than This – Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
18. Blue Bayou – Norah Jones featuring
M. Ward
My thoughts on ...Featuring:  If you've enjoyed her other albums, then I'm relatively certain you will like this one, as well.  It's basic Norah Jones stuff... nothing out of the ordinary.  I admit I was hoping she would bring some new things to her musical table; but, apart from the guest artists on each song, there really wasn't anything that stood out as vocally different or new.  I still very much enjoyed the album, because let's face it-- Norah Jones' soothing voice is like chocolate... good with just about anything!

Check out her website, Facebook page, and YouTube Channel for the latest news, tour dates and other information from Norah Jones.

...Featuring is available for pre-order from Amazon.  Reserve your copy here.

One reader of Keeping Up Klapper will receive a copy of ...Featuring by Norah Jones.
To enter the giveaway, choose to do any or all of the following actions, then leave a comment letting me know what you did:

*Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)

*Subscribe to my feed via email or reader. (1 entry)

*Follow me on Twitter AND tweet about the contest. (2 entries for 1 tweet, per day)

*Go to the Facebook page and like Norah Jones. (1 entry)

*Share this giveaway on your personal Facebook page. (5 entries)

*Blog about this giveaway.  It doesn’t have to be a separate post.  Just include a blurb about it when you blog about other giveaways. (10 entries)

Comments will close on Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.  One comment per person, please (unless you do the extra entries).  US residents only.  Duplicates and comments not including the above information will be disqualified. Comments are moderated.  Please note that winners must respond within 48 hours of being announced/contacted or another winner will be drawn.  Be sure to leave a SEPARATE comment for each additional entry.


A cd was provided to me at no cost by One2One Network in order to facilitate my review.  I was not required to provide a positive review, only an honest one.  The viewpoints expressed in this review are my own.

An Exclusive Opportunity to See "COOL IT"

Next Wednesday night, my husband and I will be joining various others in Music City for a free, prescreening of the new film documentary, COOL IT.  I'm really looking forward to getting a sneak peek at this new movie and its vision concerning climate change and other serious environmental matters.

Here is a short synopsis about the film:
While not directly a faith-based film, "COOL IT" takes a broad and challenging look at global climate change while it offers important environmental and social justice messages for everyone.  A call to stewardship that not only focuses on the planet and its resources, but also on its people.  There must be a healthy balance in caring for the least of our brothers and sisters as we become responsible caretakers of our planetary resources.  This documentary suggests an approach to tackling the sustainability of creation in light of awareness towards other global concerns such as world hunger, education and access to safe shelter and clean water.  In "COOL IT," environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg goes beyond global climate change to remind us of man's obligation to his fellow man.  He urges rethinking a "just throw money at it" approach in favor of one that will enable the critical investment of more resources to help benefit suffering people along with the planet we inhabit.  "COOL IT" offers an opportunity to offer another way forward for the entire planet with a message that will resonate with the world.  
Just this afternoon, I received permission to invite my readers to also participate in the FREE prescreening events already taking place around the country.  If you're interested in attending a prescreening of COOL IT, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Access the following link to review the available events in your area:
  2. Click the "RESPOND / RSVP" link to confirm your seats (for you & your guests).
  3. ENJOY the event! :)

A limited number of seats are available so be sure to reserve your tickets as soon as possible.  Leave a comment to let me know you're attending and/or your thoughts about COOL IT after the event.  I look forward to hearing your opinions!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Making a list & checking it twice...

Can you believe that Christmas is almost six weeks away???  

It's just unbelievable to me.  The older I get, Thanksgiving and Christmas really do seem to arrive faster and faster each year.  One of my favorite obsessions during the holiday shopping season is to hunt down great deals to make our money stretch the farthest.  It's pretty much a silly game to me that gets my adrenaline ridiculously surging.  This past week I made my Christmas list and began the search.  Already, I'm SO PUMPED about a few things we've purchased for our children.  Here are three of my most recent finds:
Imaginarium Classic Train Table with Roundhouse Wooden Train Set

Found this complete train table set from a seller on Craigslist for $85.00.  The set had only been used a handful of times and every single piece (including the table) is in MINT condition.  Not a scratch or mark anywhere.  We were beyond thrilled to find a set like this without having to pay full retail.

KidKraft Deluxe "Let's Cook" Kitchen
This wooden kitchen runs around $130-$150 and I picked one up, brand new in the box, at a local Essex store for $79.99.

Melissa and Doug Wooden Easel
This easel is listed on the Melissa and Doug site for $69.99.  I grabbed a brand spanking new one at Essex for $22.99.  SCORE!

Finding quality gifts at great prices is really a lot of fun.  I can't wait to see what will pop up next in my bargain escapades! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

National "UnFriend" Day- November 17th

This snippet from Jimmy Kimmel is so funny and so true!

Good, True & Beautiful


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Back when I began my blog at the beginning of 2010, I started my own meme titled "Frame-It Friday."  I used Fridays as a day to share recent pictures for our family and friends to view.  As of today, I'm discontinuing that theme and will be joining other bloggers each week for "Wordless Wednesday."  So here we go!


Moms of Boys: I Need Your Help!

Let me begin this post by confessing that I'm about to break a hardcore blogging commandment of mine:  To never use my blog as a sounding board to complain about my children, husband, or family.  But desperate times call for desperate measures, right?  I'm genuinely asking for any and all advice here, because this mama is about to go nuts.  

NUTS,I'm telling ya!

For the past four weeks or so, my almost-two-year-old son has been crying.  Not just fussing... CRYING.  And it seems to never end.  I don't understand at all what's going on with him.  Therefore, I have no clue how to help him.

There's no fever.  There are no symptoms of any illness.  He sleeps a sound twelve hours each night.  He begins the morning happy, which causes me to have false hope, thinking, "Happy, Happy!  Joy, Joy!  Today's the day he's not going to cry!"  Only to have my hopes shattered about an hour or so into the day.

My daughter never went through a stage such as this one.  She did have her own share of strong separation anxiety, but easily transitioned out of it around 19-20 months.  My little sad boy will be two years old in December.

He wants his mama.  He wants his mama to carry him constantly.  If he doesn't get every little thing he wants, he wails.  We've tried ignoring him.  We've tried coddling him.  We've tried a balance of both.  Nothing is bringing this to an end.

Yes, I am a VERY hands-on mother.  I reserve blogging and other personal activities for when the kids are asleep or outside playing with their father.  There's no way my son isn't getting PLENTY of attention from me.  Ironically, the crying honestly makes me NOT want to be around him at times.  Instead of responding tenderly and sensitively, the sound of his crying is becoming as pleasant as fingernails scraping down a chalkboard. 

So, my question to all of you is... What the heck do I do?!  I've read my share of parenting material by Sears, Dobson, etc.  I understand that boys struggle more than females to detach from their mothers.  Could this be an internal struggle that he's going through?  Is he learning so much, so fast, that he can't handle it emotionally?  Arghhhhhh!  This psycho-analytical mother needs answers.  Even incorrect answers would do at this point.  Having the slightest explanation would probably help a tiny bit.  At least I think so... *Sigh*

Did any of you have this experience with a growing toddler boy?  

Losing it slowly-

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I ♥ New Followers!

Note to self:  Don't ever choose to do "housekeeping" on blog while participating in a hop.

A big welcome to my new followers who found me today from the Tuesday hops!  I apologize if you saw my site in a mess today as I goofed around reorganized my layout a bit.

And as I promised, I will visit your sites and follow each of you back.  If for some reason I overlook anyone, do me a big favor and email me so that I'll know that I missed your blog.

Okay... back to blogging for real tomorrow.  See you then!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giveaway Winners!

A big  thank you  to all who participated in my recent DVD giveaways!

Winners chosen by are:

"Upside"- Jeska

I plan to host another DVD giveaway later this week, plus an extra giveaway when I reach 200 followers.  Stay tuned and thanks ALWAYS for reading...

Happy November!