Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back To School Tech Sweepstakes!

Hey all! I am very excited to be part of my first joint giveaway with many of my fellow Mom Bloggers. The nice thing about these joint giveaways is that the prizes can be much bigger and better, just like this one that I am going to share with you.


Who's kid wouldn't freak out if you won them an HP 14" Chromebook PC? Which parent out there wouldn't love a $500 Visa Gift Card to help out with all of the back to school expenses that are, sadly, right around the corner? Or how about this amazing backpack and supplies prize pack? Just keep on reading and enter for your own chance to win one of these fabulous prize packs!


Welcome to the Back To School Tech Sweepstakes!

At Mom Powered Media, we believe in higher education and want to help our network readers get there. To help you do just that, we are giving one lucky reader a $500 Visa Gift Card and HP 14″ Chromebook PC. There will also be 20 second place winners to take home Back To School Prize Packages. So what are you waiting for? Let's get BTS ready, tech-style! Special thank you to our supporting co-host bloggers: Monica's Rants, Raves & Reviews, The Jenny Evolution, Memoirs of a Clueless Woman, My Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Life, My Daylights, Barbara's Beat, Saving You Dinero, Shaping Up To Be A Mom, Robyn's View, Coupons and Freebies Mom, A Hen's Nest, Budget Savvy Diva, Mutterings Of A Mindless Mommy, Your Sassy Self and Nest Full of New. Open your sleek, next-generation HP Pavilion 14-Q020NR 14" Chromebook PC to get online, fast. You can access your favorite websites and Google Chrome apps on the 14-inch diagonal HD display in seconds. HP 14″ Chromebook PC features:
  • Intel Celeron 2955U Dual-Core processor 1.40GHz
  • 2GB DDR3 SDRAM system memory
  • 16GB solid state drive
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN
  • Intel HD GMA Graphics
  • Webcam
  • SD memory card reader
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x Acer converter port
  • 3-cell lithium polymer battery for up to 8.5 hours run time
  • 2.76 lbs, 0.8" x 11.3" x 8"
  • Genuine Google Chrome OS Software

One grand prize winner will receive a $500 Visa Gift Card and HP 14″ Chromebook PC. Twenty additional winners will also receive a Back To School Prize Package.

Giveaway ends August 15th at 11:59pm, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Excludes Quebec. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!
Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com if you have any additional questions or comments.

Monday, June 23, 2014

BLOGGERS WANTED ~ BACK TO SCHOOL IN STYLE EVENT



Back to School in Style Event
Organized by: Mom Powered Media
10 Winners each receiving a $100 Gift Card
Event dates: 7/21 – 8/4
Giveaway is open to US and Canadian Residents.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What Am I Looking Forward to the Most?

My husband asked me the other day if I was 100% happy with the house we picked out and the whole having to move and let go of our current first home. I assured him that I am. No need to worry about me. Our current home will have a place in my heart forever but I am glad to be moving. Our family really needs this. As for what I am looking forward to the most? ... DECORATING!

Seriously. It is going to be Ginny Heaven! A new place. A fresh palette. More spaces. The possibilities make me straight up giddy!

If you want to tag along on my home decorating journey, be sure to come check back here for the next few months or so. (You could always "follow" my blog ;-) I will be blogging about my process and progress, complete with before and after pictures of each room I finish. I have already started Pinterest boards for a few of the rooms. (So fun!) If you love this whole decorating thing as much as I do, feel free to check out my boards or follow them. Here are some links, just click on each caption for the pictures:

http://www.pinterest.com/ginnylouden/new-house-living-room-inspiration//

http://www.pinterest.com/ginnylouden/new-house-dining-room-inspiration/

http://www.pinterest.com/ginnylouden/new-house-master-bedroom-inspiration/

** Thanks for stopping by. Please take a moment to click on the TopMommyBlog button to the right of the page. **

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Support Yours Truly: The Mom Blogger

Mom Bloggers are a "thing". We're kind of a big deal. ;-) There is a huge community of us all over the world. I am proud of being a mom blogger. I wanted to take a moment to let all my readers know how YOU can help me do better and be better and reach some goals I have set for myself. If you enjoy my blog, even a little bit, I would appreciate all of the support I can get.

With the house prep and the move and the pile of kids I have (hee hee) I have been quite busy and have not been able to blog/write as much as I would like to. After the move is behind me, I want to take my blog to the next level. I will be able to start hosting reviews and giveaways on my sub-blog more often. I want to continue sharing my journey as a mother of five who is still trying to find herself throughout the chaos. I would also like to start incorporating more posts about kids crafts and cooking/recipes, as those are things I really enjoy doing. The possibilities are endless.

There are opportunities for mom bloggers who are a strong force in the community and I would like to become a bigger part of that. I have my eye on a conference or two in the future where I could meet and network with other mom bloggers, many of which are on a very professional level and have broad fan bases. There are forums where I could learn about being a better writer, reaching a bigger audience and maybe branding or getting some advertisements to pay for small ad spaces on my blog. The more fans and readers and followers I have who support me, the better my chances are of getting to that next level.

There is a new project that The Weather Channel, or possibly one other production company in New York, are trying to start up as a regular feature spot in order to highlight/interview different mom bloggers that they like and I am a possible candidate. I am currently in the "loop" and hope to be chosen for one of these interviews in the not so distant future. It also appears that if this all goes well they just might have a "permanent" project for some of the mom bloggers and that would be fantastic! Fingers crossed and by supporting my blog in the ways I will list soon, you could help me get there.

So how exactly can YOU as an individual help me out and support my mom blogging efforts? Here is a list:

Like my blog page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuperMomTangerineDreams?ref_type=bookmark

Follow me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/virginialouden

Follow me on Twitter: (Which I currently only use to share other mom blog giveaways) https://twitter.com/VirginiaLouden

Follow me on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ginnylouden/

Another VERY helpful option is to click on the TopMommyBlog icon that is always on the right of my blog page and it looks like this:

This icon will bring you to their website and each click puts my blog up a little bit higher on their ranking list. I am currently #14 in my blog category "Everything Else" and am ranked @ #390 overall (out of thousands). The higher my ranking, the more readers and possible followers/supporters I can reach. The more supporters I have, the better giveaways I will be able to host and the better possible projects I could be chosen for. There are quite a few websites like this one, but this is my favorite to use so far. I have access to many other bloggers and forums where we can share and help each other. There are also links to opportunities, like The Weather Channel one, that I would not have heard about otherwise. By clicking on the harmless link every time you stop by my blog you are being very helpful. If you happen to really love mom blogs, you could also find some other great ones via this site, while you are there.

If you like a particular blog post of mine, please share it. At the bottom of each of my posts are buttons you can click on to share it on Facebook, Google + it, Tweet it, email it and so on. I would love if ya'll did this. <3

Other things that being a great mom blogger can lead to are book deals, celebrity interviews and maybe even being included in projects in magazines and so much more. I love to write and would love to stay home with the kids and make it a more substantial part of my life.

Lastly, there is an icon that looks like this on the right side of my blog:


I would LOVE it if you would follow me. Every little bit helps and I appreciate you all so much. Have a wonderful day and happy reading!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How to Feel Like a Kid Again: A Letter From my Twin Toddlers

Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Bye. Hi. I am Zayne and this here is my twin brother, Eddie. Hi. We noticed Mommy's tushy has been dragging a bit lately; she is on the higher side of thirty after all. Seeing as we are wise beyond our year and some months, we thought we would take a moment to give you all some tips and tricks to help unleash your inner child and feel youthful again. Who doesn't want that, right?

1. If you see something that you want just take it. It needs to be broken immediately. If you can't take it apart within the first minute or so, it is probably best to bang it on something really hard, repeatedly. If that doesn't work, we suggest throwing it at someone who isn't looking at you or expecting it at all. That is the best.

1. When you sit down for a meal that someone else has cooked for you, make a big deal about it. Put a bite in your mouth using your whole fist or even both fists. This is completely acceptable in public, too. Don't worry. It is a compliment to the chef, for sure. If the food happens to be extra saucy or cheesy, they want you to put some in your hair. Everybody who's anybody knows that is what the extra sauce is for. And if you do it just right you will get a bubble bath right afterwards, maybe even with fun colored water and extra toys.



1. If you do not like the food you tasted, just let it fall right out of your mouth, right onto your shirt or lap. You could also scoop it out with your fingers and fling it as far from yourself as possible. If your Mommy is nice, she might hold out her hand and let you spit it into her palm. If she does this, it is best to add a little extra drool to really make it count.



1. Look someone in the eye when you poop. The redder your face gets, the better. You never truly know how someone feels about you until they have watched you poop. This is key.

5. If someone else is getting attention, the only way to get it back on you is to hit them in the back of the head with your toy xylophone. You can pick one up at most toy stores. This will be the most effective way to have all eyes on you. It is super fun.

1. When you are finished with something like a toy or a book or maybe the milk in your sippy cup, drop it on the floor wherever you may be. Someone else is sure to pick it up for you. No need to take all of those extra steps and tire yourself out. If there is any milk left in the bottom of your cup, you will want to shake the cup a lot until some drips onto the carpet...you know, for your homeys.

1. No one wants to be alone, ever. So, follow your favorite people around most of the time. Especially when they are in the bathroom. This will give them the chance to return the favor and look you in the eye when they poop, too.

1. If you are a prankster, like us, you have got to try this one. If you feel a little sick in your tummy, do not tell anyone. There is a chance you will have to go somewhere soon so you should definitely wait until you are all buckled into your car seat and have been driving for a while. If you wait for just the right moment to barf, Mommy makes the craziest face you will ever see and starts driving all wonky. It is awesome. Totally worth it, trust us.

1. When you are in public, like a store or something, and you see something out of your reach that you want to hold, freak out with everything you've got. Yell, flail, whine, drool, the whole shebang. If you have the space, you could even lay down on the floor and kick while you scream. Even if you don't get what you want, or even remember what it was, it will have been so worth it. It is energizing.

1. Be naked. Whenever and wherever possible. Running naked is the bee's knees.

So there it is. By trying out a few of these tips in your boring adult day to day lives, you are sure to feel more youthful or at least be seen as so. Remember that "no" means "yes" and "yes" means "yes" but the only word you really need to know how to say is "no." YOYO! (You're only young once!)



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Moving to Tears

What I should be doing right now: packing. What I am doing right now: blogging. Why? Because I am on schedule so far and know that the next three weeks are going to be crazy, busy and tiring. Writing calms me, so here I sit. Just for a little while.



We spent the last year and a half preparing our house to go on the market. Silly looking back that we never got to some of those projects sooner so that we could have enjoyed our home in the condition it is now for a little longer. But, isn't that the way it goes? You come in with big plans and grand ideas only to learn a little about your self along the way while life and responsibilities consume you all the while. Yeah, I know we aren't the only ones. We live and we learn.

We learned that we are not fixer-upper kind of people. When we purchased this home, our first, eleven years ago, we were 21 and 24 years old. Feels so long ago and went by in a flash at the same time. We were so young. I remember the excitement and joy and feelings of pride that we were actually homeowners and had something that was ours to call home. Our first real and large purchase together as a couple. I remember getting the keys at closing, after getting hand cramps from the ridiculous number of signatures we had just done, and driving to our new home as quickly as legally possible. We slept on the floor that night, camped out in what became the dining room, happy as clams, just the two of us.

We became a family here. We were able to give my two amazing boys from a previous relationship a normal, stable and loving place to call home. This house is where our real lives began together, the four of us. My husband built deeper relationships with my boys in this house. We got a dog and named her Lucy. (And two cats within the following couple years) The boys were 3 and 4 back then and they have grown so much here; physically, mentally, socially and every other way possible. We have had good times and bad here but no regrets to speak of. I am so attached to this house, as if it too were a part of the family.

I fell in love with my husband, again and again, a hundred times over in this very house. We have laughed together, cried together, had deep and meaningful conversations in almost every room. We have grown together, discovered more and more about each other and made serious life decisions here. He asked me to marry him in this very kitchen. I, obviously, said yes. I planned our wedding here; hand made invitations at the coffee table, filled favor boxes with my boys in the booth, meticulously placed every flower into place with my own two hands and sat at the computer with my soon to be husband for hours burning a large pile of CDs with carefully chosen songs to use as our programs. The limo picked us up in this driveway to begin our honeymoon. So much love has happened here.

I conceived my three younger children in this house. I found out I was pregnant in these bathrooms. I told my husband we were expecting within these walls. I ate so much food and felt the babies kick me a million times while living here. I sat in this living room during the early signs of labor, waiting patiently to go to the hospital, to meet them and bring them here...to bring them home.

We have celebrated countless holidays, birthdays, family gatherings and momentous occasions in this house. I have cooked many many meals and desserts in my kitchen. I could not even begin to estimate the number of people who have been fed here. One of the ways I show love and appreciation is through my cooking and there has been a lot of that. A lot is probably a bit of an understatement.

Music has been made here. Many a local musician and friend has rocked these cellar walls. Life lasting friendships have been formed here, many over music.

There has been a tremendous amount of joy while living here. There has also been a significant amount of heartache. I would not change anything from the past and I am going to be so very sad to leave this home, to let it go. At the same time, there are a couple of things that I hope to leave behind and let go of as we take the next big step of our lives and move on to our next home. The next home that we plan to stay in forever. The next home that, many years from now, our grandkids will come to visit.

It is going to be different in so many ways. It is bigger and better for us as a family and knowing how much we need it makes the letting go a little easier. I know that I am going to cry when we leave our current house in just over two weeks (in fact, I already did a little crying just writing these words). I will probably cry the night before we move while we are camping out on the floor one last time, this time with the teens, so we can all say goodbye to the unique little blue house that has been a part of our lives for so very long and served us so well. I also know that I am going to cry when we walk into our new home. The home that we have worked so hard to get to. The home we wished so hard that we could give to our children. The home that is going to change our lives for the better in so many ways, but we will get into all of that another day. It will be different and the same.

We are the same. We will continue to grow as a couple, as people and as a family. We will continue to love, laugh and cry. I will continue to feed the masses. We will continue on with our lives from a couple miles away. I am looking forward to this new chapter and adventure of our lives. I am going to try to keep my chin up as I go pack up and begin to let go of this place I call home. First, I will go stuff my pockets full of Kleenex.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Please DO Hide the Veggies

Image from: http://weestro.hubpages.com/


I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that I am not the only parent out there who has one (if not more) picky eaters in the household. Frustrating, right? Over the years I have had to get creative in finding ways to get a little more veggies into some of my childrens' diets. Now, please remember that I am in no way a professional when it comes to dietary needs. I just thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts as a mother who happens to enjoy cooking very much.

1. If you find a vegetable that they like, please let them have it often. Do not use it as a substitute for all other vegetables, though. Keep making and trying new vegetables as often as possible. As much as my daughter loves carrots and would probably eat them almost every day, I know that her little body needs many more nutrients than carrots alone contain. Variety is important.

2. If your child comes up to you at an odd non-meal time and asks for a healthy treat, like a vegetable...stop what you are doing and get it for them. (I do not mean run to the store and buy it quick. Just if you have it on hand already ;-) My daughter discovered that she likes V-8 juice. What?! Yup. I had a pack of the small low sodium cans from Costco a while back and let her take a sip of mine one afternoon, fully expecting her to make a face, spit it out on the floor and be otherwise upset about it for a while. She surprised me. She loved it. She had her own can and has since requested it here and there. Baby Girl wants a V-8? Baby Girl gets a V-8. How can I argue with that?

3. Don't force it down their throats, so to speak. Just keep putting it on their plate. Night after night after frustrating night. They might whine or complain but once they see you are not giving up...they just might take a tiny bite. Key word "might."

4. You should eat the vegetables too, by the way. This will show your child many things. They will see that you are not giving them anything that you yourself wouldn't eat. I have had to explain to my kids many times that I do not cook gross food. I mean, come on, why would I make something yucky for dinner? I don't want to eat anything that tastes disgusting. See look, Mommy is taking a bite. Ooh, mmm, it's so good.

5. On the other hand, I hate peas. I hate 'em. Blech! But I eat them anyway. Everyone is allowed to have things that they don't like to eat. I just prefer they take a fair bite, chew it and swallow before they state their opinion on that. My children know that I have a strong dislike for peas and they see me eat them anyway. They have asked me why I make peas if I don't like them and I have explained to them that peas are good for me so I should eat them. I also let them know that just because I do not like something does not mean that I should not make it from time to time for the other people in the house that do like them. That would be unfair of me to eliminate them altogether.

6. There is a rule in my house. All the kids get a plate of food that is portioned appropriately for their ages. The 15 year old gets a bigger plate of food compared to the 4 year old, obviously. If they want seconds of the parts of the meal that they liked the most than they must eat all of the food from their plate first. They don't get to eat the chicken and the stuffing and skip the veggie and then get more stuffing. If you are hungry enough for seconds than you are hungry enough to eat your veggies, too.

7. Do not be a short order cook. Beside the fact that, "Who the hell has time for that crap?!" I feel it sets a bad precedent. Do it for them once and they WILL remember. "Hmm, if I don't like dinner then Mommy will just make me a PB&J. Whoopie!" Sorry kid, that's not how life works and it's really not that healthy. PB&J's are delicious and all but we probably shouldn't live off them. Just sayin'.

8. Explain yourself. One of my children is the pickiest eater in the whole wide world. Well, maybe not the whole world...but it can get pretty bad. I need him to know that I am not making all of these foods just to specifically torture him for pure parental pleasure. There really is a reason for it all. The biggest of those reasons is love. I love him. It is important to me that I teach him healthy habits for someday he will be all grown up and venture out into the world and will choose for himself what he wants to eat. Why do you need carrots, son? Vitamin A for your eyes. Meat? Protein and iron for healthy blood. Dairy? Strong teeth and bones, my Love. This is all simplified, of course, and there is much more to these foods and groups than these child-friendly explanations...But it's a start to the communication on food.

9. Let them help. Have them help pick out the produce at the store. My kids love to do that. I remember my oldest always wanted to pick out and bag the tomatoes. He knew to check each one for bruises or mushy sections. He enjoyed it very much and was always proud of his picks. Even more so when sweet old ladies would stop in awe and tell him what a great job he was doing helping out his Mommy. If you grow your own, let them help you in the garden. It might be tough having them underfoot sometimes but if they want to help, let them. And cooking. It can be a pain to have literally too many hands in the kitchen, small inexperienced hands at that, but if it helps to get them excited about the vegetables, do it. This is actually something that I personally have to work on. I need to get mine into the kitchen more. I don't want them to be helpless in the kitchen when they move out of the house someday and I told my oldest that it sure would impress the ladies if he knew how to whip up a couple simple dishes like spaghetti or something. He laughed and rolled his eyes a little bit but I am pretty sure I saw a sparkle of interest in his big brown eyes.




10. You'd be surprised at how many meals you can sneak veggies into. This is my favorite way to get the vegetables into their tummies. Seriously, you should try it. Making tacos? Well, why not finely chop some celery, bell peppers, and onions? Throw in a cup of frozen kernel corn and a can of dark red kidney beans while you are at it? It is delicious and way healthier! The kids most likely won't notice because it tastes so darn good. And...bonus...you have just stretched out that pound of ground beef by a lot. Win-win! Try it with any pasta dish, casserole...just try to make the veggies complimentary to whatever you are having.




Maybe you are making homemade soup. You can put tons of veggies in soup. Many veggies get all mushy and fall apart in the broth, but they are still in there. When I make Wild Rice Soup I add way more carrots and mushrooms than the recipe calls for. There is no reason we can't. I do the same thing when I make Zucchini Bread or Carrot Cake and many, many other dishes. I am thinking about sharing more recipes on my blog but I will get to that later.




Here are a couple website links I found that may be helpful when trying out and introducing new vegetables to the kiddos. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-why.html and http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.

Good luck and have fun with it! Peace.