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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goin' Rates

Aye Matey, she needs a patch!
Ya, so I recently had this same conversation with another mom in the blogosphere, who was so happy that her kid was one of the first to lose a tooth in her inner circle.  Ya know, we have some power here.  So, what's the goin' rate?  You betcha, I'm gonna set it tonight in this house.  How much do you leave (or plan to leave) your kids for a tooth?  Let's hear it.  Oh, and a big thanks to Itzy Ritzy, because we're using your adorable little snack bag from Drool as our "Tooth Fairy Case."  That way, the tooth doesn't get lost, the money doesn't get lost, and the Tooth Fairy has an easier time doing business!  I love those bags...great for Mom's coupons too!  Must run, off to find my wallet.


Wordless Wednesday

Ready for the Tooth Fairy!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tips for My Snot-Nosed Friends

Well, it's summertime and the Stows have had a healthy stretch.  I thought it would be a good time to revisit one of my favorite topics, snot-nosed friends.

We survived the worst winter ever in terms of sickness.  With a newborn, a toddler and a preschooler, we were put through the wringer.  Conjunctivitis, 3 separate puke bugs, hacking coughs, ear infections, boogs and fevers galore.

Yup, I'm talking about "sick etiquette," as many call it.  Unfortunately, some people don't seem to get the message.  I can remember July 2008 when I caught was given an absolutely terrible hacking cough and cold from someone very close to me.  This someone, obviously, knew he was sick, but decided not to tell anyone and just showed up at our door step with his boogery, hacking self.  Yup, I caught it.  I was sick for labor and delivery. That was awesome. It was so bad that every time I coughed, I basically popped a few stitches in my crotch, if you know what I mean.  Couldn't sleep a wink.  Worst cough ever and so sore to have to smuggle your cough to avoid the worst post-partum situation imaginable in that comfy hospital bed.  This was no ordinary cough. And not to mention all the drugs you can take for coughs and colds while pregnant and nursing ~ dingbat!

Ok, so here are a few simple reminders while I'm feeling safe to say it.

  • If you schedule a play-date with me and your kids are sick, why not forget about the play-date?  I don't want to play with your sick kids, really!  Stay home and get better and leave the snot on your own toys!  (Believe me, I know some coughs linger for 6 weeks (we've had them!), but if it sounds bad to most people, it probably IS bad.  Don't come near us!  Thanks.  In fact, I keep a Rolodex file in my head of all the people who suscept us to their germs.  I'll never get over it.
  • If you, yourself are sick, don't come near us either.  I really don't want to see you at work either, putting all your boogs all over the computers, door knobs, copy machine buttons, etc.  Take a sicky! 
  • Cough into your upper arm/elbow and teach your kids to do the same.
  • Warn others before you get together that your kids have a cough or a bit of a boogie situation and speak about it.  Don't assume it's ok!
  • Try to avoid getting the grandparents sick at all costs!  If you ask me, there's nothing worse than seeing the grandparents suffer from a snot-nosed kid cold.  This goes for pregnant ladies too.  
  • Invest in some disinfectant and wipe down your surfaces and knobs.  
  • Wash your damn hands.  A lot.  
  • Don't bring your sick, snot-nosed kids to birthday parties.  Believe me, no one else wants to bring it home either.  No excuses.  Just don't do it.  

No, we can't escape all germs and I'm not a germaphobe by any means.  I believe germs are good at keeping our immune systems in check, as a matter of fact.  But as a working mother of three littles and having lived through WINTER HELL 2010/11, I thought I'd put it out there.  When someone gets sick in this house, it takes its toll on all of us.  Takes WEEKS, ore even MONTHS to get through.  So who's the culprit in your circle of friends and family?  Maybe you could share this with them.  Just trying to help another mutha out and give the numb-skulls a good shake!  How do you handle this situation?  Or do you?


Friday, July 22, 2011

An Evening with Medela

I received my Medela Pump in Style in '05 while pregnant with Emily from my cherished friends at Nixon.  They knew I was coming back to work after my 12 week maternity leave and I'd be needing the best pump on the market.  I was shocked when I opened up my Medela pump!  It was such a thoughtful and generous gift, and boy, did I get some use out of it!

My Medela pump has survived 4 kids.  I would consider it in perfect condition, minus the recent problems caused by our late cat, Gorby.  (More on that forthcoming.)  I'm sure you can imagine what he did to my pump while it was in the closet...  Anyway, I also lent the beloved sucker out to a dear friend before she bought her own. (Yes, it's sanitary and safe to lend and share pumps, you just need to purchase your own accessories!)  Anyway, I have been so impressed with everything Medela.  I've used their nursing pads, nipple shields (a GOD send), storage bags, bottles, hydrogel pads, and micro-steam bags.  Oh, and remember, breast is best!  I'm still nursing my Owen twice daily!

Are you expecting in the near future or currently breastfeeding and in need of some Medela freebies?  Well, spread the word, because I am hosting an evening with Medela for 10 lucky guests here at my home in Foxboro. The party is being sponsored by Medela and I will be raffling off a Pump In Style On-the-Go Advanced Tote to one lucky guest!  Pretty awesome, right?  Retail value is $270.00!

Medela Mommy Party

  • When:  Thursday, August 11, 2011
  • Time:  6:30pm  (light food and beverages)
  • Where:  My home in Foxboro  (I will send you more details via email)
  • Can you bring your infant?  Absolutely!
If you would like to join me, please leave a comment below.  First come, first served.  And remember, there is only room for 10, so serious inquiries only!  You need to be present at the party in order to win.  You also need to be a new or expecting mom who is currently breastfeeding or plans on breastfeeding within the next 6 months. Feel free to share this information with anyone you know who may be interested!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whale Watch with Boston Harbor Cruises

BHC at Long Wharf Boston
Top deck
We ventured out early on Sunday morning to Boston's Long Wharf for a whale watch on board the catamaran Aurora with Boston Harbor Cruises.  We left the baby home with Grandma (smart move!)  The 3 hour boat ride was so much fun and we spent most of our time on the outside decks!  WINDY and FUN!  Not to mention, the extraordinary views of Boston.

Loving life.
Pack a sweatshirt even if it's HOT!  WINDY!
Humpback Fluke

The clan
We saw Minkes and Humpbacks.  Lots of 'em too.  The photos just don't capture our awe or the proximity of these massive friends to our boat.  Had about 20 sightings and the captain and guides were so patient and caring, making sure we stayed put for perfect viewing for everyone on board.  I highly recommend a day trip on a Boston Harbor Cruise whale watch.  They promise sightings ~ if not, you get another ticket to come back and try again! So much fun.  Emily and Aidan are now both obsessed with whales and there's nothing cuter than listening to Aidan tell the story about the whales and their "bwow hoes."  Can't wait to go back and ride Codzilla!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Finally, after all the yearning, A is at summer camp with his big sister.

A recent dinner convo:

Mom:  So how was summer camp?  Did you meet any new friends today?

A:  Yup.  F has a mushroom on his pee pee.

Mom:  (Choking on her chicken) What?

A:  I said, F has a mushroom on his pee pee.

Mom:  Ok, make sure you talk to Daddy about this at bed time, ok.

A:  Ok.

Wow.  Love that kid.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baby Brezza Giveaway!

Let's face it, we all like winning stuff.  So it's time.  I'm giving away a brand spanking new, life changing, super duper Baby Brezza!  What the heck is a Baby Brezza, you might ask?  Well, get in the know...

  • It's a ONE STEP baby food maker - I like the sound of that.  
  • Healthy
  • Homemade
  • BPA Free
  • Cooks fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish
  • Easy to use
  • Multi-functional (will fold and sort laundry)
  • Steams and blends in one simple step
  • Steam only
  • Blend only
  • Reheat and Defrost

Here are my rules.  Gotta have 'em.  Oh, and you must live in the continental U.S.
Entry period ends on July 27, 2011 at midnight, EST.

Leave one comment saying that you:

  • Follow this blog using Google Friend Connect.  It's in my sidebar.  Click follow and enter your info.
  • LIKE Stowed Stuff on Facebook.  (you gotta do both for ONE entry!)

For up to 2 optional bonus entries, you can do either of these things listed below and leave a separate comment for each one that you complete!

So in order to have all 3 entries, you must leave 3 separate comments telling me which ones you did!  Good luck! Be sure to leave a valid email so you can be contacted if you win!

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Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton's H20 II Tour in Photos

The pictures say it all!
Premium Parking!
Spot the Traverse!
My new boyfriend, Blake Shelton
Setting up!
Here he comes!!!!
Letter To Me
The Fishin' Song
Pretty amazing!

Thanks, Chevy.  I love you forever.  What a fantastic night.  Don't you want a chance to be Queen of the Road?  

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Monday, July 18, 2011

"My Oh My, He's SO Good Looking"

Dear Z,

Thank you so much for blasting that country music at ATO from 1997 onward.  It worked.  You dragged me to Country Fest 1999 and I started listening to the Chicks, Jo Dee, Tim and even George!  From then on, I've been doing my best to convert others.  My sis is finally sold and so are a few close friends, but I still get the occasional, "Annie, I didn't know you listened to that."  Now I remember when I thought the same way..."it's all just a bunch of stupid people in big hats and a whole lot of twang." 

We all know that there's been a lot of "crossover" from various artists over the years, playing some country hits on pop stations.   I kinda love that because it gets more people thinking they should convert.  Chris and I even danced our first dance in July of 2004 to country music.  Tim and Faith's "It's Your Love."  

Well, Z, I just wanted you to know that I hold you fully accountable and I'm grateful for that.  I should probably also thank a fond friend and roommate from VA. who also played the good stuff.  She had me listening to Blake Shelton's "Austin" back in 2001.  Z, I want you to know it is o.k. if you still have posters of Shania plastered to your walls because today I am going out to buy posters of Blake Shelton for my walls.  My oh my, he's SOOOOOOOOO good looking.  And how did he know that I paint my toes because I bite my nails?

Who turned you on to country music?

Blake & Brad on the Big Screen at Comcast Center

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

I ♥ SSP!

I took myself for some pre-menstrual (that explains it!) retail therapy last Tuesday, which was the first day that Owen and I had to ourselves after camp drop off.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE CAMP?  We headed straight to SSP.  Hadn't been there without everyone in tow in ages!  It felt so good to be out with just the babe. I was so excited to get my shopping on.

Pure Jill
I had a small gift card to J. Jill, so I headed there first.  Arrived at about 10am.  SALE!  I hadn't been in J. Jill in years and didn't really think I'd have any luck.  Boy, was I wrong.  I even managed to open up a credit card account.  Oops.

CLEARANCE SALE going on now with a ton of comfy summer dresses and tanks.  I got 2 tanks and I'm in love with them.  Everything is machine washable and a great length and super soft.  Perfect for this hot weather we're having. The tanks were on sale for $19.99 and an additional 30% is taken off at the register.  Score!

The Pure Jill cropped pants are also super soft.  I tried WAY too much on and couldn't get it all, so I chose a few favorites.  You can get these cropped pants on sale now if you purchase on line.  Highly recommended.  I will definitely be packing them for our upcoming vacation!
She loves it!

Last but not least, the wearever tank dress that I had to have.  Paid full price (or so I thought) because I fell in love with the beautiful blue hue that has always been my color.  My new favorite dress.  Did you know teachers get 15% off all fully priced items by showing their MTA card or other proof of employment?  Well worth a trip, teacher friends!  The SALE is still going on and the folks at J. Jill SSP were awesome and helpful.  If we hadn't been gabbing and having so much fun, I probably woudn't even know about the teacher discount!

So then I mosied my way down to Nordstrom because who doesn't love Nordstrom?  Somehow I got sucked into Baby & Kids.  Not quite sure how it happened, but so glad it did.  Once again, I opened up a new credit card. Shhhh, don't tell Chris.  This may have happened because of the super friendly retail therapists on hand once again.  Thanks, Abigail!  Anyway, let's get to the good stuff.

It all took place on the rounders and I think I just happened to hit it right. First thing on a Tuesday morning, new sale items galore.  I tend to talk to the clothes I pick up, "Oh, so cute!" and my therapists' replies seemed to repeatedly be, "I just marked that down!" Vacation on the brain helped seal the deals.

Girl finds!
Boy finds!
Ok, time to watch the mail for my new credit cards.  Don't worry ~ I didn't open any more new accounts.  But camp IS back in session this week.  I ♥ SSP!

Time to go pick up the campers!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Aidan!

Happy Birthday Aidan!  Love you so much.  You bring me just as much joy today as you did on the day you were born.  Always will.  Love ya, kid.  

Best Cake Yet! Thanks Grandma!
Amazing and Yummy!
Water slide!
Make a Wish!
My cutie!


10 Reasons to Visit Gooseberry Beach

Pissed, because we wouldn't let her take her hermit crabs home!
The Stow family has been beaching it on Gooseberry since the summer of 2007.  It's my favorite place to venture off to when we are visiting with Grandma and Grandad in Tiverton, RI.  Looking for the perfect summer staycation beach adventure?  Hit Gooseberry.

  • Located on scenic Ocean Dr. amongst the beautiful mansions of Newport, RI.  The view from the sand is just amazing.  You feel like you could be part of a novel! 
  • No red seaweed (like there is at the First Beach!) 
  • Rocks for climbing, docks for jumping, beautiful soft sand and an incredible low tide nook which is great for the littles. 
  • Hermit crabs!
  • No riff raff, YAhoos, or whatever you like to call the sort. 
  • A short drive from Boston (if leaving from Foxboro, it takes us about 1 hr. 30 mins.)A scenic drive through beautiful Bellevue Avenue to get there!
  • An awesome snack bar, clean bathrooms, changing rooms, and shower! If you're adventurous like me, you can even sneak into the "private club" for a tinkle!
  • A scenic drive through beautiful Bellevue Avenue to get there!
  • No need for a lot of schlepping because the parking lot is literally right behind the sand, yet hidden by the dunes.
  • Simply put, it's gorgeous. And so is Newport.

What's your family's favorite hidden gem of a beach?  

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Whatever You Do, Don't Buy These!

My dear husband does a TON of our grocery shopping.  I know, I know, what a lucky lady I am.  Last week I asked him, "Can you add some popsicles to the list?"  "Sure, no problem!  Any particular kind?"  "Anything will do!"  What a mistake that was!

These are called Mighty Minis Slow Melt, by Popsicle, The Original Brand!  You should have heard my reaction when I unwrapped the white plastic!  "How much did you pay for these things?  I hope they were on sale!  They should be called, Holy Sh*t, They're Small!"  I was mad!

So Emily gets a real kick out of their tiny size.  After one, they obviously ask, "Can I have another one?"  My response, "Sure you can!  Have 5!"  Honestly, the stick is the same size as a regular popsicle, as well as the packaging.  What a waste!  Anyway, I do love other Popsicle products and will give them props for Slow Melt ~ they do that fancy trick with some gelatin.  But my God, could you make them any smaller?  And to be honest, who needs slow melt when it takes 5 seconds to eat one?   And you don't even get a joke on your stick.  Perhaps I should be giving them to Owen.  

What's your favorite freezer treat?  Whatever you do, do not waste your money on the minis.  

Aidan doesn't mind, as long as he can have more than one!  

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Friday, July 08, 2011

My Next Giveaway...

Hello Friends.  I only need 25 more FB Fans at Stowed Stuff until I give away one of these. Bribery works wonders, doesn't it?  How badly do you want it?  You may as well click JOIN THIS SITE for Google Friend Connect ---------> (over there in my sidebar)  Gotta have requirements...

I kinda wish I was keeping it, but I know there are some moms out there who would appreciate and use it more than me!  Looks AMAZING and would make baby food time so fun and healthy!  Start sharing the link!  What would you do for a Baby Brezza?

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

What a Bummer...

It may be time for a cleaning lady.  I just ripped off one of our toilet seats.  Props to Emily for snapping the photo.

A royal pain in the ass...
Honey, I think you need to stop by Lowe's on the way home.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Mendon Twin Drive-In With the Chevy Traverse

Today we have a guest post from Cheryl from The Life of LilMisBusy.  She is another Chevy driving mom who is totally diggin' her Traverse this summer.  
The Chevy Traverse parked in reverse with liftgate open ready for the movies!
For many years now, our family has been going to the Mendon Twin Drive-In in Mendon, Massachusetts. My husband and I first found out about it when it was just the two of us, and have gone at least once a summer for the last eight years. For the cost of just $20 per vehicle, you get to see two movies. Now that our children, ages seven and three, come along with us, we usually see a kid-friendly movie first, and something more adult follows. Since they can't show the movie until it's dark out, it's a pretty late night for the kids, and in recent years we haven't stayed to watch that second movie. But when we're cozily wrapped up in our Traverse, you don't even notice how late it's getting!

We've had our Traverse for just over a year now, and this was its second trip to the drive-in. Before we left, we packed up the car with the essentials: blankets and a sleeping bag, the kids Pillow Pets, water bottles, and most importantly for me, bug spray. The kids love their captain's chairs in the second row of the car, which give them enough personal space for all their belongings. The drive-in is about a 45 minute drive from our house, but we like to leave on the early side and be sure to have a good parking spot for the movie. When we arrive, we're given a menu for the snack bar (more on that in a minute!) and a trash bag. At the end of the evening, all of your trash is left by your parking spot in that bag, so the clean-up crew isn't forced to collect litter all over the giant parking lot. Parking spots are delineated by the white poles that used to hold up speakers to hear the movie, but these days you use your car's own radio and speaker system.

The kids love their captain's chairs!
After backing into our space, so that the trunk of the car faces the screen, attendants pass out ropes to tie down the back hatches of the larger vehicles. This helps to ensure people behind you can see over the roof of your car with an unobstructed view. We usually bring a couple of folding chairs, but some families have fairly elaborate set-ups. Then we get down to the real business of analyzing the snack bar menu. "Snack bar" is really a misnomer, because this is our dinner, not just a snack. You're not going to find the healthiest of options here, but it's a fun summer treat (I recommend the jalapeno poppers!). One of us will get the food while the others spread out the blankets and fold down my seven year old daughter's seat for a little extra space, since her booster is easily removed. It's so easy to put down the seats in the Traverse, that she was able to do it all on her own!

The kids love eating dinner in the rear of the Traverse, getting such a kick out of doing something we don't usually get to do. After dinner and before the movie starts, things can get a little crazy. My three year old loves climbing all over the car, and spends lots of time hanging out in the front seat pretending to drive. Many families bring balls for games of catch or soccer, sometimes joining up with the random family in the car parked next to them! We usually make one more run to the snack bar for an ice cream cone just as it's starting to get dark, and then we all stake out a position for watching the movie. This time around, my daughter and I were able to lie in the trunk together, with my son making occasional visits. That's the great thing about going to the drive-in - if your kids have a hard time sitting still or being quiet while watching a movie, they're unlikely to bother anyone else as you have lots of room in to roam in your own car!

The drive-in can't be beat for a great family evening, and even a bit of nostalgia with their 1950's theme and commercials** (move ahead to about 3:15 to see the hot dog jumping in the bun!)

The Chevy Traverse is roomy and comfortable that it's the perfect pick to take you there. We can't wait to go again soon!

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Flightless Goose: The Author Is Here!

Here's Eric D. Goodman answering a few questions about his book Flightless Goose.  Don't forget to enter the contest to win your very own hard copy!  This book would be wonderful to use in any elementary classroom.  All the teachers out there should definitely get their own copy of Flightless Goose.

Here's Eric:

As an elementary school teacher, I think Flightless Goose lends itself nicely to a discussion on anti-bullying.  Do you have any tips for young children on overcoming bullying?

Although I'm not an expert on bullying, I do think the best reaction to bullying is to ignore it.  Often, if they bully sees it's not bothering you, the bully will stop.  If that's not the case, and the bullying continues, it's probably a good idea to talk with an adult you can trust, whether it's a parent, older sibling, uncle or aunt, a teacher, or school counselor.

I know the story is based on a real life experience with an injured goose you found.  How long did you have him and where did that all take place?  

We lived on that lake for two years so we know the goose survived at least one winter alone, with the help of those of us in the neighborhood who fed him bread crumbs.  When we moved out of state, we didn't have an opportunity to revisit the goose again.  For all we know, he could still be sliding on the iced-over pond.

How long have you been writing children's books?  What are some of your others?

Flightless Goose was our first, and we started it about 10 years ago.  We are working on another children's book with an entirely different cast of characters.  But it will probably be a few years before it is ready for publication. 
In the meantime, I also write grown-up fiction and my debut novel in stories, Tracks, just came out last week.  So far the reviews have been good and it has gotten a lot of advance praise.  Tracks is set on a train headed from Baltimore to Chicago. Each chapter in the book is the story of a passenger on the train, and the stories link together as the strangers on a train touch one another in meaningful ways.  You can learn more about it, read excerpts, listen to radio readings, and more at

Who or what inspired the common themes in Flightless Goose?   (bullying, overcoming adversity, disabilities, etc.)

These are all subjects Nataliya and I feel strongly about in general.  Everyone has the choice of focusing on the positive or the negative.  When we saw the real goose we thought it would be a great way to teach these important lessons, especially overcoming adversity, dealing with disability or difficult situations, treating others with dignity and respect, etc. 

What is your favorite children's book?  

I always loved the books of Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Shel Silverstein, and Maurice Sendek. It's hard to pick a favorite, but maybe The Giving Tree, Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle, or The Sneeches.

Which children's authors have inspired you to become an author?

Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Shel Silverstein, and Maurice Sendek are my favorite childrens' book authors. 

Thank you so much for stopping by, Eric!  It was great hearing more about your book!  If you'd like to learn more about Eric, here are some of his links:

Writeful, a literary blog
Author of Tracks, a novel in stories

 Flightless Goose, a storybook for children

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win your very own copy!

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