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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Win Four Tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

Contest is now closed.  Congratulations to Heidi M. on winning the tickets!  
Yup, those pretty ladies are The Rockettes!  Did you know that they are coming to Boston's Wang Theatre on Friday?  I've always dreamed of a fun getaway to NYC to see them during Christmas time, but look no further! These high kickers are coming to us!
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is an all new show this year - new scenes, new songs, new music!  You won't want to miss it!  I can't think of a more exciting way to turn on my holly jolly this holiday season!  I don't know who's more excited, me or my kids!?  

You can purchase tickets here.  Get this - I'm offering all of you a very special PROMO CODE at checkout!  Just type in the word "STOWED" at checkout, and you'll save 25% on all NON-PEAK performances!  How do you like that?  Wouldn't tickets to the show make a perfect holiday gift?

But there's more.  One lucky winner will WIN four tickets to The Radio City Christmas Spectacular on December 28, 2011 (5pm show.)  Here's what you have to do to win:

  • MANDATORY ENTRY:  Leave a comment below with a valid email address and tell me you'd like to win!

Extra Entries:  (Please leave additional comments for each extra entry you complete.)


Contest period ends on December 22nd at 8pm (EST)  Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is picked.  Must be able to see the show on December 28th, at 5pm at the Wang Theatre.  Good luck!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*Disclosure:  I was given 4 tickets to the show to participate in this review and giveaway.  


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Five Ways to Improve Your Blog

Making it a family affair!
  1. Get rid of word verification in your comments.  This is annoying for your readers and is usually a turn-off.
  2. Use more photos!  And then some!  
  3. Keep the sidebar looking clean.  Too many ads and widgets will make load time take way too long!  
  4. Absolutely no music.  Thanks.  
  5. Think about SEO (search engine optimization) and Google Analytics when titling your posts.  And remember, Google loves lists!  Target and engage that audience!  
Looking for more bloggy advice?  Check out the SITS Girls.  And buy a ticket to their amazing Bloggy Boot Camp!  It will not disappoint!  

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Birthday Girl

Grandma really knows how to surprise Emily!
"I didn't know I was getting a cake!"  (See infamous apple pie in foreground...LOL)
Just a little excitement
She even shared with her little brother.
Happy birthday, Emily!  We are so proud of you.  Let's go bowling!  

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Disney On Ice Presents Treasure Trove: Ticket Giveaway!


Looking for something really fun to do with the family over school vacation week?  I've got something fun for you!  How about a family 4 pack of tickets to Disney On Ice Treasure Trove!?  One lucky winner will receive tickets to the 7pm show taking place at TD Garden on Monday, December 26th.  Tickets to the show can be purchased here.


Leave a comment below to be entered to win!


Extra Entries:  
  • Follow me on Twitter (one entry)
  • Follow Stowed Stuff on Facebook (one entry)
  • Follow using Google Friend Connect (one entry)
  • Tweet this giveaway and be sure to include @anniestow in your tweet! (one entry per tweet)  Tweet as much a you like!
  • Share this post on your own Facebook page (two entries)



See all the fancy buttons (they're called widgets) on the bottom of this post? Hit the t button, and this turns into a tweet! Just don't forget to add @anniestow to the tweet! Hit the f button, and this post will appear on your Facebook wall! You can also share it on Facebook by hitting SHARE underneath my post on Facebook. It's easy as pie!  Good luck!  

**Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Be sure I have a valid email address.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond.  

Entry period ends on 12/10/11 at 9pm EST.   Winner will be chosen using random.org
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My family was given a family 4 pack of tickets to participate in this giveaway.  All opinions are my own.  A big thank you goes out to Feld Entertainment and Disney!  

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Little Tikes Double Duty Engine & Workbench $50 Shipped!

Mamasource has an amazing deal going on right now.  You'll have to act fast if you want this deal.  It expires in a couple days.  One per customer and so easy to purchase.  This marks the beginning of my shopping and I didn't have to leave the house.  My kids are gonna go cuckoo over this one!  Get it while you can!


$50 Shipped Door-to-Door!  Rock on.  

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Emily's Birth Day

So many of my friends are expecting or have just given birth.  Don't forget to take some time to write it all down before it's long forgotten.  I love looking back on my birth stories.  I wrote them all down during my first week home with my newborn.  Cherish the memories.  Here is my very first birth story that somehow never made it to the blog.  Would you believe we got this one on video too?  You wouldn't expect anything less, I know.  And no, you won't find it on my YouTube channel.  Emily turns six years old this Sunday.  Where has the time gone?

IT’S A GIRL!!!

December 5th, 2005 by babystow
The Birth of Emily Anne Stow
11/27/05 5:11 a.m.
8 lbs. 9 oz., 21 inches
Mommy's Girl

I had the most beautiful delivery ever. Chris says I was like a machine……I didn’t have much pain at all and during the delivery of the placenta I was saying, “that was a piece of cake….I’ll definitely be doing that again” and the doctor said that was the first time she had ever heard that said in labor and delivery…..

Well, she was a week late. Here’s a lengthy play by play of what went on.

11/26/11...Waters have broken!
We went out to Chinese food with Chris’s parents. YUM. Got home around 7:30ish and skipped out on my 10 year H.S. reunion because I just didn’t want to tire myself out or have anything happen while I was there. Good thing! At 8:45, we were sitting on the couch watching TV and I felt a tiny trickle when I sat back. Said to myself, “hmmmm.” Then I got up and went to the bathroom and felt OK. Sat on the couch, felt another trickle. So I said to Chris and his parents…..I think I might be peeing my pants or else something is going on….So I made Chris come to the bathroom with me. When I stood up from peeing, sure enough…..some went down the leg. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me…..only happens in like 20% of pregnancies or something. So I called the doctor and told them I think my water broke. We drove in around 10:15 without any pain - so weird because I thought I’d be in lots of pain on the way to the hospital. Water was gushing more and more when we reached the Emergency Room and everyone was watching me and smiling, saying good luck and everything. Super cool! We went up to the 5th floor to L&D and arrived at the evaluation room at 11pm. I put my johnny on and they had me go to the bathroom to test my fluid to make sure it was amniotic and sure enough! Then they hooked me up to the fetal heart beat and contraction monitors. The nurse said I was in fact contracting, but I didn’t feel a thing! So cool. I was sooooo excited. Then they told me Dr. Simmons was on call and she came in to see us. She checked me and I was still only 3 cm. Since I tested positive for strep B at one of my recent doctors visits, they had to put me on a penicillin drip. Then Dr. Simmons said that she would suggest pitocin as well to bring things on since my water was broken. So I said, “bring it on!” The only problem was that they hooked up the IV on my left hand and it was really, really painful. After all my drugs were hooked up the IV stand, they sent us over to L&D and I was in room 4. A beautiful, big room with all the necessities…..very comfortable and relaxing. My hand was killing me though, so I got the nurse to redo the line and put it in my left arm and after that I felt so much better! I swear, that IV was the worst part of the whole experience!

Laughing through contractions?  
I was the only patient on the labor and delivery floor! So quiet and peaceful with lots of very nice nurses coming in to check on me. Chris and I took one short walk up and down the hallway, but it wasn’t so fun because of the water still gushing. It was all so surreal! We came back to the room and I sat in the chair for a while waiting for the pains to come on. Nurse Jodi kept kicking up the pitocin every 15 mins. She said, “you just let me know when you want your epidural…..we can do it anytime.” I was so unsure of when to ask for it since I was feeling ok. Then all of a sudden at 2 am (ish) I started to feel some heavy cramping. I was so concerned about being able to go to the bathroom and was nervous about all that, so I went one last time (very difficult with gushing waters and so many contraptions strapped on to me.) Nurse Jodi told me that she would put a catheter in and I’d be all set. Ok, ok. Dr. Simmons came in to see us and we just chatted with her for awhile. We talked about her 2 year old baby and her residency and things….felt like we were just hanging out! She is soooo nice. When she left she said I think we’ll have a baby by noon time tomorrow! So I thought to myself, jeeze….better get in that bed then! So they brought in a cot for Chris and got that set up. Then at 2:20 I said the word for my EPIDURAL!!! Dr. Dave came in and explained everything he was going to do, step by step. He was very nice and calming. He put the epidural in between contractions and I could feel it working pretty much immediately. Piece of cake getting that….painless. After Dr. Dave left, Jodi monitored things for me and put in the catheter. I did tell her that I could still feel stuff on my left side. She said, “it’s probably just pressure of the baby moving.” But I didn’t think so. Felt like a window where the epidural didn’t really work so well. But it wasn’t THAT bad. I was worried though that the pain would get worse and I would feel worse and worse on my left. By 3am I was just resting comfortably while Chris was in his cot. Nurse Jodi kept pumping up the pitocin and she told me that the pitocin makes the contractions very strong and closer together, but doesn’t necessarily make my cervix dilate. Well, boy did I have news for her! At 4:00 a.m. I started getting pretty severe contractions that didn’t seem to have a break between them. I told Chris I was in a lot of pain. I tried to breathe through them, but was thinking my epidural is obviously NOT WORKING……how will I last hours and hours like this?? The pains were so bad that they brought tears to my eyes and I was grabbing the bed rail. I only felt these for about 15 minutes though. At 4:10 a.m. I told Chris to go get Jodi because I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and I was ready to get my epidural moved or something. Something wasn’t right. So Jodi came in and I told her how I was feeling. She said, “let me check you.” This was only the 2nd time I had been checked since walking in the place. She said, “you know why you feel some pain? You are going to have a baby!! You are 10 cm.!!” The tears just started flowing like a river….I was SO EXCITED!!! I couldn’t believe how quickly things had progressed. It was really unbelievable. I was ready to push!! We were going to meet our little baby!!!!!!

I asked Jodi about how bad the pain would be during delivery if I was having pain now. She said that the pushing actually counteracts the pain and she was SO RIGHT! I started pushing with Jodi right away and I knew when I was contracting so I crunched and pushed while holding my own legs. I had no idea if I was doing things correctly, but I ended up doing 3 big pushes with each contraction and resting in between. The resting was awesome. I felt so good. Pushing was awesome too because I was SO EXCITED. I took control of the pushing, no one needed to tell me when to push or what to do. Within the first few pushes Chris and Jodi could see the top of the head and lots of hair because the baby was crowning. Jodi told me that we want to get to a point where that head doesn’t go back in and it sits there. I said, “ok, how do I do that?” She said just keep doing what you are doing….doing great. I would say I pushed for about 10 more contractions before Jodi had Chris call for Dr. Simmons to come in. I couldn’t believe it. SO FAST, SO PAINLESS, SO READY TO MEET MY BABY! Chris kept telling me how great I was doing and how much head was there and they asked me if I would like to see and I said ok. So, they wheeled in a big mirror and I got to see all that was down there. I said, “OH MY GOD!!!! NOW THAT’S MOTIVATION TO PUSH!!!” I could not believe my eyes. The head was sitting right there! I wasn’t feeling an awful ring of fire, or scary pain…..just pressure. Dr. Simmons and Jodi got all set up and it was just amazing…they removed the lower part of the bed, got all the equipment ready, started talking baby ID #s and warming up the baby station. I asked if I could push and they told me to wait……I thought, “oh, ok….”

I pushed only a few times with Dr. Simmons there. The best moment was when she said, “Ok, Anne……we’re having a baby on the next push. You have the most momentum on your first push of the contraction and he/she’ll slip out on this next one. Once the head is out, the shoulders are easy.” TEARS, TEARS, TEARS. We were so happy and so excited to find out boy or girl. I was still saying BOY. Just like the nurses and Dr. Simmons…..They asked me if I wanted the baby up on my chest or if I wanted her cleaned up. I told her, “put him right up on me!!!!” (l had always referred to the baby as a “he”.)

Emily Anne Stow
I pushed hard and sure enough……..a big gush of slippery, wet baby head and a big body to follow. Chris yelled it out first….”IT’S A GIRL!!!” It was the most unbelievable moment of my life. I was crying while they brought her right up to me and she was so beautiful and I told her I loved her so much and kept saying things like, “Oh my God, A GIRL!!, How are you a girl? Everyone is going to be in shock…I can’t wait to tell everybody!” She was sooooo good to me. Such an easy time of it. She was so warm to hold and she peed on me almost instantly! She was just perfect. Her head was perfect, her face…….her everything….a perfect little bundle. I held her while I delivered the placenta and then Dr. Simmons removed my skin tag down below too. YAY! I was talking about how easy the whole delivery was and how it was SO MUCH EASIER than I ever imagined. I even said, “I’ll be doing this again!” Dr. Simmons said, “wow, that’s the first time I ever heard those words spoken during the delivery of the placenta.” She thought Chris and I were very cute and she said Chris was the smoothest dad she had ever seen. He managed to cut the cord with his left hand while videotaping with his right and taking pictures all over the place. He was so interested in everything going on and we even had Dr. Simmons talk to us about the placenta and show and explain it to us. Super cool. As she started to sew me back up. I said, “how bad was the tear?” And she answered with “It’s about what you’d expect”. So I said, “Not bad.” She said it’s a 3rd degree in the shape of a W.” I was like, “out of how many?” And she said 4. OUCH. She was down there for a long time sewing me up. I’d say about 45 minutes. My legs were so sore from being spread eagle for so long.

The birthday girl
They took Emily from me and weighed her. 8 lbs., 9 oz.! A big girl! I was able to breastfeed on each side within the first hour too! I did that while I made the calls. I first called mom and dad and mom answered with speaker phone so dad could hear. Just the sound of her hello brought tears. I was soooooo excited to tell them!! I said, “It’s a girl!!!!!” Mom and dad were SOOOO HAPPY!!! I gave them a quick play by play and told them to come see her!!! Such a great moment. Then we did the same and called Chris’s parents. Then Kath! I’m SO HAPPY that we waited until her birth to find out what we were having. Definitely the best surprise anyone could ever ask for.
That pretty much sums up the birthing experience, but know there are absolutely NO WORDS to actually explain the moment I pushed her out and they put HER in my arms. Best day of my life for sure. I’ll never forget it as long as I live and I can’t wait to do it again. I think I’d have 12 kids if I could. It was absolutely wonderful. Thank you Emily for choosing us to be your parents. We love you to pieces. Thank you for the most enjoyable pregnancy and the quickest, painless delivery a mommy could ask for.

For the record, Emily is 5 days old and Mommy only needs to lose 10 more pounds to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight. Total weight gained was 23 pounds. WOO HOO!!!

Sleeping Beauty

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Redneck Wine Glass

This is going to be my go-to gift this year for all my Yankee Swaps and Holiday Grabs.  I'm loving the lid!  You're sure to be life of the party if you're drinking from this thing!  15.99 at Bass Pro Shops here in Foxborough, or a lot cheaper on Etsy. You can also buy it here on Amazon.  Isn't it awesome?  Imagine the head turning going on if you were sipping from this thing at your next Moms' Night Out?! What's the craziest gift you've ever seen at a Yankee Swap?

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On Sleeping

A little piece of heaven
Ya, so we finally splurged and got a king bed.  It was the tax-free holiday and the Stows (yes, all 5 of us ~  picture it) went to Sleepy's to buy a big boy bed.  We accidentally came home with a  King Simmons ComforPedic Memory Foam bed for ourselves as well.  How does that happen?  Tax-free, ya know?  AND it was on SALE, or at least they made it sound like it was on SALE...

So the big boy bed is cute and all, but I need to tell you about our new bed.  And let's face it, it may as well be the big-boy bed lately because the kid keeps reappearing face-to-face in the wee hours anyway.  And who can resist his sideways smirk whispering "hi Daddy," while dragging his inherited pink blanky behind?  CAVE.

Yes, I know kid in the bed = bad.  We're working on it.  But sometimes it's just so hard to drag him back to his own bed when I'm out like a light and suffering from pneumonia.

The bed.  The KING bed.  The firm Simmons ComforPedic is like I've died and gone to heaven.  I'm in love with my new big girl bed.  Coils are a thing of the past.  I sleep more soundly and I do far less tossing and turning in the middle of the night.  I even feel more rested when I get up in the morning.  I don't even hear the hubs getting up to shower for work anymore.  Heaven.
The big boy bed

I haven't even mentioned the space.  Holy space.  It's awesome.  And it's especially awesome on weekend mornings when there are five of us snuggling up together.  So. Much. Space.

I will admit, though, I do have a sheet problem.  I'm a high-end sheet freak and I was in love with my 3 million count sheets from our old queen bed.  I have yet to find these same sheets, made by Earl & Wilson.  I did some on-line research and found out they are only available at HomeGoods.  You know how that goes.  I'm not sure if I'll ever find them again, but I'll have you know that every time I go there, I'm rummaging through the plastic zippered pouches, searching for my Earl & Wilson sheets.  If it's not soft, I don't buy it.  And if it's all locked up like Fort Knox and I can't get my hands in there for a feel - this momma isn't buying it.  


So are you a sheet freak like me?  Do you love your sleep as much as I do?  8 hours of bust.  I think it's bedtime.

Queen of the Road is Queen of the King

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shoes for the Holidays

I couldn't resist.  I just had to try them on.  I thought they'd be great for New Years.  You just have to have the "right" outfit. At the amazing price of $39.99 I had to leave them (believe it or not) because they just made my legs look too pale.  Super comfy, however.  Off Broadway, or Off Blue Hill Avenue?  The perfect teacher shoes.  

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And We Finally Have a Walker!

Trying to capture some of Owen's first steps with a 3 year old hanging on my back.  He's so proud of himself. Can you tell we do a lot of clapping around here?

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Perfect Camera for Mom: Canon Rebel T1i

Feeling the need to share the camera love.  I'm no professional photographer, but the image quality on this puppy would lead to you believe that I'm a pretty damn good "Fauxtographer."  Amazing photos.  When we first purchased the Canon Rebel T1i, we took hundreds of photos of the kids and the camera really did pay for itself tenfold in its first month.  We were amazed with its amazing quality photos.  It's easy to use.  It's fun to play with.   It's fast.  It takes video.  It has a great battery life.  We've never had a problem with it.  It's a bit pricey, but worth every penny.  We wish we had bought it sooner.   If I can use it, any mom can figure it out.  I love my Rebel.  You'll never miss a moment again.  Buy it here.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Let's face it.  The holidays are coming.  Kids want toys.  Have you checked out Melissa & Doug recently? We have so many of their chunky puzzles and floor puzzles, but the kids really love playing with the Slice and Scoop Sundae Set.  


Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at MelissaAndDoug.com just for voting!




Have fun voting and even more fun shopping with your 25% off coupon!  

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Ten Tips for Reading Aloud to Your Children

Bedtime Stories:  Make Read-Aloud FUN!
It's been a while since I shared any reading tips with all of you, and didn't I mention it was Family Literacy Month here in Massachusetts?  My district held a Literacy Information Night for families last night, where I was meant to present some information to parents about the importance of phonemic awareness and phonics, but I was too busy with pneumonia.  I must say, I feel a lot better today and I'm looking forward to returning to work on Friday morning!

Since we all know how important it is to read with your children every day, I thought I would share some read-aloud tips that you can put into practice.  Here goes:

  • Look at the front cover together and talk about things you notice.  Who are the characters going to be?  What do you think is going to happen?
  • Pretend your putting on a show when you read.  Make it fun for them to listen to you.    
  • Dramatize emphasized words.
  • Make different sounds and tones for different characters.
  • Use facial expressions and change your tone for different characters and emotions.
  • Read slowly and clearly with lots of animation.
  • Read in a a quiet spot with the least amount of distractions.
  • Stop and talk about happenings as you move through the book.  Were any predictions correct?  Any new predictions?
  • Ask questions here and there to see if they're paying attention and comprehending.
  • It's always fun to leave out words and phrases from familiar stories that you love to share together to see if they can fill in the missing parts.  They love chiming in and "reading" with you, even if it's memorization.  This really helps them follow along and comprehend.  And sometimes, they may have the wrong word or phrase, but if they choose one that makes sense in the story, they are doing amazing stuff with syntax, vocabulary and learning how language works.  
Now get to it, go read a book together!  

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Monday, November 14, 2011

How Did You Celebrate World Pneumonia Day?

Well, it just so happens that November 12th marked World Pneumonia Day.
Stuff we're Stowing in November
I guess we should be grateful that we don't live in a developing country where over 1 million children under age 5 are dying from this awful disease.

We'll count ourselves lucky.  Emily is better.  I'm on the road to getting better with my $181 pretty, orange horse pills and Aidan has his next appointment this afternoon...Even pneumonia likes to work in 3s, who knew? Can we be done now?  

Wash your hands people.  Wash your hands every chance you get.  It's everywhere.  And it sucks.  

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Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11 Brings Luck for Disney On Ice TIckets! Big Sale!


Who doesn't love a Disney On Ice show?  I've got a great opportunity to share with you today.  Get some amazingly cheap tickets to Disney On Ice Treasure Trove at TD Garden taking place on holiday vacation week in December!


11/11/11
Is Your Lucky Day!

Tickets to the all-new Disney On Ice skating spectacular performing at the TD Garden December 26-29, 2011 go on sale November 11, 2011 - which just happens to be the luckiest day of the year.

To commemorate this unique date, your wishes have come true. For one day only, 11/11/11, use promo code: MOMLUCK to purchase tickets for - you guessed it - $11.11* to Disney On Ice presents Treasure Trove, playing at the TD Garden from December 26-29, 2011.

Offer valid on 11/11/11 from 11:11 AM to 11:11 PM only, for select performances of Disney On Ice presents Treasure Trove at the TD Garden in Boston.

Mon. DEC. 26 - Thu. DEC. 29 | TD Garden

Holiday Vacation Week!




ONE DAY ONLY -
GET TICKETS FOR $11.11!
OFFER VALID ON $25 TICKETS
ON OPENING DAY PERFORMANCES:

Mon., DEC. 26 - 11:00 AM
Mon., DEC. 26 - 3:00 PM
Mon., DEC. 26 - 7:00 PM

(Excludes Rinkside, VIP and Club seats. No double discounts. Cannot be used for prior purchases or group sales orders. Individual tickets $11.11 each with code. Additional service charges, handling and facility fees will apply. Please note that prices reflected on Ticketmaster.com INCLUDE service charges and facility fees. Select “Price Details” on the purchase page to confirm discount price.)

Share with all of your friends!3 Easy Steps To Purchase!


Step 1: Choose your performance
          Step 2: Under Advance or Promotion Ticket Selection, choose the $25 price level
Step 3: Enter code MOMLUCK

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Removing Shellac Manicure

Look at the price tag.  You can tell it's OLD.  
So ya, I did it. I've done a lot of things this fall that have made me smile inside. I have managed to stop biting my nails (for the season, anyway), I ran my first 5K and just last week I had the easiest cleaning of my life at the dentist's office. Who is this girl? Now, if I could just exercise more and keep up with the running, maybe I would lose my muffin top. But at least for now, when I put my hands on my muffin top, at least my nails look pretty.

So, I paid $30 for a shellac manicure. How much do you pay? I'm pretty new to all of this stuff, so when she told me it would last for 2 weeks and make my nails stronger, I bought it. And all in all, she was right. My nails held up pretty well and didn't chip. And in all my little manicure feats of the past (maybe 10 max), my nails have never been as strong as they seem to be now.

So how the hell do you remove this shellac stuff? I was told to soak cotton balls in acetone and individually wrap each fingernail with aluminum foil to hold the cotton balls in place.  (Hold in place for ten minutes.)  But do you think I'd have cotton balls and fancy nail polish remover in this house? Nope. Instead, I had to use cotton cut up cotton pads and ancient nail polish remover from the early 1900s.  I did my best.

This better work.
My E.T. look
It was difficult to wrap my fingers with the pads and the foil, so I needed the hubs to help me.  It was hilarious. "The things I do for you."

I left everything in place for 15 minutes.  I really wanted it to work.  I was hoping for a peel-off.  It didn't really happen until I got to nail #10, left pinky.  For the most part, the tops were loose and sticker-like, but I had to scrape the bottom end of my nails with a toothpick!  That can't be good for my nails, I know.  So I'm guessing I need more up-to-date nail polish remover, cotton balls, or an entirely new method.  What has worked for you? Annie's got nails.  And she's not about to bite them.
Made me wanna dance.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Queen of the Road Commercial with Peter Pan

This was so much fun.  Check it out!  Will you be going to the show?  Enter for your chance to win!




Buy tickets to Peter Pan the Show here!

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Baby Locks

Fresh out of the tub. Mmm.  

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Spam That Makes You Go Hmmmm?

Recently, I've been getting some crazy junk in my Google inbox.  I know I shouldn't open it, but sometimes I just have to.  Don't worry, I'm not clicking on all those Facebook videos of ladies experiencing things on roller coasters, dad walking in on daughter, or an amazing video of a baby being born (ok, I might have clicked on that last one, but only because I have an obsession with babies.)  But seriously, this is some funny stuff. One of these emails came from a contact through Craigslist, I think.  You know how Google saves all the addresses of every single email you ever wrote?  Don't worry, he's not the Craigslist killer, but the guy who was interested in some framed artwork I was trying to sell has recently tied the knot with Anne...

It reads:

"Hi Friends,

All long and far from LA.

I just wanted to tell you tomorrow 10/21 I am going to Van Nuys County Clerk Office to get married to one Anne Tolkkinen who many know and some have not had the pleasure to meet.

Anne and I met in NY the summer of 2009 and have recorded the worlds furthest long distance relationship from Helsinki to Los Angeles.

We now finally have the chance to be together in the same city, which provided me the motivation to clean my apt.

Anne is an amazing sound designer in the film industry and the loveliest person to experience joy with.

I wish I could share this moment with all of you who are all very near and dear to my heart.

Luckily one day soon we will have a reception that I hope you can all come to. 

Lots of love from the city of angels,

Michael"


Best wishes Mike and Anne!  I can't wait to make my dinner selection.  I'l have the filet.  

And then this came today...

"Dear          

Hi,I just returned from my oversea official trip.I am Sandra Kassim,I work with a mining company in UK here as a supervisor.We may not know ourselves for now but it is my heart desire to take vacation leave from our company to visit Malaysia for the first time . My father originally came from Malaysia unfortunately I lost my father early without even knowing  my relatives.I want to come but I do not know anybody to show me around,

It is no longer a news that Asia is developing so fast and catching up with developed countries with a lot of tourist attraction  centers,it gives me so much joy because I want to witness it and be part of it. I may possibly discuss some business matters.

I do not mean to inconvenience you neither do I want my presence to affect your work or business hours,instead I can adjust my time so that we can only meet in the evenings and weekends.I will appreciate it if you can spare your little  time to welcome and a ccompany me,never mind I will take care of the expenses.If you say OK please let me know the nearest airport that will be easier for you to come and fetch me on arrival.

Rgds

Sandra"

She didn't even fill in my name after the "Dear."  And what's up with all the short hand?  Is Malaysia really that long of a word?  Should I go pick her up at Terminal E?  What the hell?

What kind of crazy junk is sitting in your spam folder?  Have you ever checked it out?  Whackadoodle, for sure, but hilarious at the same time.  Can you do better than a wedding and an unexpected mining guest from the UK?  


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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Read and Romp Boston: Giveaway!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, November is Family Literacy Month in Massachusetts.  Have you ever heard of Reach Out and Read? They are a nonprofit organization that helps to promote early literacy in coordination with pediatricians all over the U.S.  By offering developmentally appropriate books to young children during a well visit, this organization is helping millions of young children in the fight against illiteracy.  Did you know that 88% of first graders who are below grade level in reading will continue to read below grade level in fourth grade?  (Juel, 1988)  This is a frightening statistic.  Please keep reading to your children.

Reach Out and Read has put together a fabulous literacy event, which is being held in Boston next Sunday, November 13, 2011 from 10:30 - 2:00 at the Seaport Hotel.  It's called the Read and Romp and all proceeds go directly to Reach Out and Read.  The Read and Romp promises to be a fun-filled day for the entire family. Here's what you'll get when you purchase your tickets:

  • Meet Clifford the Big Red Dog
  • Get your passport stamped as you travel through storybook adventures with Curious George, Fancy Nancy, The Runaway Bunny and MORE!
  • 12 storybook stations with fun-filled activities
  • Gift bag that includes a book, toys and other goodies
  • Meet and Greet with some amazing authors, such as Peter Reynolds, the creator of Judy Moody!
  • A yummy Buffet lunch with entertainment from Stacey Peasley  (I love her!!)
  • Raffle and online auction with a chance to win some great prizes


Doesn't that sound like fun?  Tickets are $50/person (under 2 are admitted free) and all proceeds go to Reach out and Read.  I have some great news for the readers here at Stowed Stuff.  I'm giving away 4 tickets to this amazing event being held next Sunday!  Here's what you have to do for your chance to win:
  1. Leave a comment below telling me you or your child's favorite storybook.
  2. For an extra entry, leave a comment on Reach Out and Read's Facebook page telling them Annie sent you.  
  3. For an extra entry, follow me on Twitter.  
  4. For an extra entry, follow me with Google Friend Connect.
  5. For an extra entry, leave a comment on my Facebook wall.  
Your family will have a blast at this event.  Entry period ends on Thursday, November 11th at 8pm.  Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond.  Good luck!  

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Family Literacy Month: Giveaway!

Did you know that November is Family Literacy Month?

Do you read to your child every day?  We do.  Emily loves to read and Aidan is at the stage where he flips through books on his own and makes up the story to go along with the pictures...an excellent technique at the age of 3! It is so important to put books in their tiny hands and enjoy stories together.  I really feel that lots of exposure to books and stories will lead to a higher interest in reading as they enter school and hopefully, avid readers in the future.

Owen loves books too.  Especially our board books.  We have collected so many over the years, but my favorites are the ones that I received from my students at a shower thrown by the parents of the children of my third grade class when I was pregnant with Emily.  Each student wrote inside the cover of the books and we are still cherishing them six years later.  What a great idea, right?  I love reading the notes inside and it's a great idea for anyone throwing a baby shower for a new mom-to-be.  I still can't believe they did something that special for me.  (And the books were piled high in a beautiful moses basket...)

We all love Natasha's Wing's best selling series, "The Night Before..."  So in honor of Family Literacy Month and the upcoming holiday, I'm giving away an autographed copy of The Night Before Thanksgiving to one lucky reader!  This is a really cute book to get your kids excited about Thanksgiving and it would be great to use in any classroom!  Kids of all ages will enjoy hearing the rhyming verse and the family-filled fun!  I know all my teacher friends love all of Natasha Wing's books!  Her website is so cute and she even does Skype calls with classrooms who purchase her books!  Oh, how I wish we could get her to Foxboro!

Here's how to enter to win the autographed copy:
  1. Leave a comment below telling me one thing you're thankful for this year.
  2. For an extra entry, write on my Facebook wall telling me you entered this giveaway.  
  3. For an extra entry, tweet this giveaway and leave a separate comment with your Twitter handle.    
  4. For an extra entry, leave a separate comment for following Stowed Stuff using Google Friend Connect.   
  5. For an extra entry, share this blog post on your own Facebook wall by using the widgets at the bottom of this post (Facebook Share button.)

Contest ends Nov. 10, 2011 at 8pm.  EST
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Disclosure:  I was given a copy of The Night Before Thanksgiving for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own.  

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

How to Organize Coupons

My disorganized mess of yesteryear
I've had a rough life with coupon organization until tonight.  I've always been asking friends and looking for that perfect tool that will help me keep track of my money saving coupons for our family.  I've had recent systems of failure.  Don't try these at home because they don't work:
  • Stuff them in your purse
  • Leave them in the front seat or side door of the car 
  • Shove them some place safe in your home (your "clutter collector" as we like to call it)
I remember listening to a professional home organizer speak at a Moms' Night Out event last year and I asked her if she had any tips for me on this hot topic.  She suggested a binder and some baseball card sleeve protectors. Ok, sounds good.  I did get the binder, but I didn't get the baseball card sleeves ~ I couldn't find them anywhere and I thought they'd be too small.  Instead, I bought the cheapest, slipperiest sleeves out there.  What a disaster. Don't do it.  This thing was far too big, slid all over the place, dumped my crap all over the Traverse all the time whenever I moved it and made me look like the biggest DORK ever whenever I took it with me...
Introducing the mini-binder!
So today, I stopped in at my nearest Staples and found this!  Much smaller, won't slip and slide, and doesn't  dump my stuff when I tip it upside down!  AMAZING!  It even fits in my purse!!!  Goodbye floppy, huge, plastic mess and hello mini, flexible spine cuteness!  I've filled it with sturdy, no-slip sheet protectors that actually hold my stuff, colorful binder pockets and write-on plastic dividers!  Woohoo!  Watch out daddy, no more sitting on coupons in the passenger seat or sliding gift certificates on the center console!  It's perfect!

No more mess!
I'm going to organize my dividers according to my shopping needs.  I'm thinking...
  • Groceries
  • Clothing stores
  • Target
  • Home/Garden
I might even make a section for receipts and Christmas lists.  Doesn't that sound organized?
Portable and fits in my purse!
This little life saver can hold up to 275 cute lil sheet protectors!
What are your tricks for organizing coupons?  Do you have a method that works for your family?  How do you organize them?  Let's hear it.  And wish me luck on my new mini-binder!

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