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    A Simple Kinda Life

    Momma D and Da Boyz


    Lilypad Baby Closes Doors After 12 Years

    It took so long to make the decision. We wish it was easy to explain. We are sorry for those who were put off by the call but it had to be done. Owning a business is easy but maintaining it to the levels of customer service, variety, quality and creativity is another challenge altogether. What we are thankful for is the lessons learned, the relationships created, friendships made and loyalty that can't be measured with a simple thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, we treasure the experiences big and little. - The Team at Lilypad Baby.


    Back to School Shopping iPad Style

    I know it's only the end of July but school will be here in days for some and weeks for others. Either way, it's time to get shopping. This iPad® app, Catalog Spree, offers a fun, easy and green way to shop for clothes, backpacks, shoes, jackets, and supplies. With more than 200 catalogs from 110+ retailers under one app, this app give you access to top brands in kids clothing, essentials and toys. Unlike their paper ancestors, the catalogs in Catalog Spree come to life with rich media videos and “how-to’s” embedded and the ability to click, zoom and buy, right from the app. Now I love a good catalog to flip through, but let's save some paper this year. Go download Catalog Spree for free...


    Holiday Travel with Your Pets

    If you're tagging along the furry family members this holiday season - here are some helpful tips to follow:

    Consider your pet’s needs.  Distance, location, temperature, mode of travel, your pet's health, age, etc. are all important factors to consider before traveling. Remember that your pet is very sensitive to change, and when stressed, the immune system is likely to become weakened, so be sure to boost immunity prior to travel.

    Packing & preparation. Remember the essentials like medications and medical records, food and bowls, a pet first aid kit, bedding, carrier, tags, and toys.

    Before any trip, make a quick stop at your vet to have your pet examined to make sure vaccinations are up to date, and to get any medications your pet might need, etc.

    Relaxing your pet.  Anxiety and car sickness are two of the most common concerns amongst pet owners. For anxiety, take your pet on short trips regularly to help accustom him to traveling, and remember to bring a favorite toy or blanket. If traveling by car, make sure the vehicle is well-ventilated, and open a window if necessary.

    If your travel plans leave no rooms for the paws, here are some helpful tips for boarding your pet:

    Make a reservation. Boarding facilities become hectic during the holiday season, so be sure to book in advance.

    Find out what’s permitted. Certain toys may be dangerous for other animals and prohibited.

    Leave favorite items at home. Keep in mind that boarding facilities deal with many pets and owners a day, meaning that your pet’s favorite item may end up in someone else’s hands.

    Leave your emergency numbers. Always provide your personal contact info, and even the hotel or house you will be staying at just in case.

    Give clear instructions. If your pet is on medication, verbally tell someone in the facility about medication needs and also leave instructions.

    Bring the essentials. Include a list of feeding instructions for your pet along with an unopened bag of food. In some cases, there may be times when another animal eats out of your pet’s dish;  sending a fresh bag of food will ensure your pet has enough of his/her food to last while you are away

    Tips are courtesy of PetAlive (www.petalive.com), the leading online provider of all-natural herbal and homeopathic remedies for cats, dogs, horses and other small pets.



    As I was racing through my day today - with all the hats I am wearing right now I do nothing but race - I stopped to read a post by a wonderful longtime friend. It caught my eye because she always has a gem or two to share....and she's not even a blogger - egads - she should be. Enjoy!


    When your Mom spoons food onto your plate at Thanksgiving and you get the amount you need, you say,
    "Thank you, that's enough".
    When The kids are arguing or the dog is barking or life hands you more than you can deal with, you may scream,
    "Stop it, I have had Enough!".
     But how often do we examine at our gluttonous lives and say, "It's Enough"? 
    Do you ever look around your house and wonder, what is it all for?
    I have 8 sets of dishes, but rarely entertain company.
    I have 2 refrigerators and a freezer, but rarely cook a meal.
    How many pairs of shoes or jeans or coats do I actually need?
    We work to buy more stuff while still owing on the stuff we have. 
    We buy bigger homes to store our stuff and yet we are hardly home to enjoy any of it. 
    We are slaves to commercials that tell us to take the kids to Disney.
    What happened to playing in the mud....
                    or dreaming under the stars.... for free?
    We don't make time for long meals with family and friends
    because the kids have practice or we have work to catch up on. 
    Instead, we polute our planet with fast food trash and plastic bottles
    that help to expedite this rush-rush life.
    We watch this beautiful world go by through office windows and windshields of cars.
    We strive to impress those we may not even know with our fancy homes and vehicles.
    We work to give our kids, and ourselves, all that is wanted, but not enough of what we need. 
    We convince ourselves that it is worth it.
    We don't stop to ponder, worth what?
    It is time to downsize our stuff and Supersize our time.
    It is a precious gift that we take for granted and
    we hope it will be there waiting for us
    when we're old.
    I, for one, am fed up.
    I have more than I will ever need.
    Come and share my food, dear friends,
    My plate is full,
    and I
    have had
    - Kate P.
    (Thank you to my kids for my clarity of this life!)


    Eye-Q - Eye Exams


    Wii Summer Games National Championships

    We are an expansive family of gamers and we couldn't be more excited to see all the teams compete in the Wii Summer Games final competition. Friday September 3rd through the 5th in Redondo Beach, CA see the best of the best compete for the final prize. If you can't make it, start an event in your own home with a free download! We love these interactive games that get everyone moving. Find out all of the details here: wiigames2010.com


    Classroom Mom in a Box

    Need to find inspiration week after week for this coming school year? Want to be more involved but don't feel like working as the class room mom is your strong suit? Budget cuts are happening everywhere and volunteers in the classroom make up for the dwindling school budgets and increase in class size. This tool box is perfect for grade K-3! Room moms from across the country share their classroom tips inside this special activity deck of 45 brightly illustrated cards and classroom-friendly pointers and projects.

    Sections include:

    Nuts and Bolts—everything from a room mom's job description to specific details on logistics like emergency preparedness.

    Parties—room moms will find suggestions on party planning, treats, decorations, activities, and more.

    Indoor/Outdoor Games—no matter what the weather, room moms can count on an array of games to keep kids occupied.

    Arts and Crafts—includes a variety of seasonal craft projects and ideas for hands-on art lessons

    Teacher Appreciation Week—activities and suggestions to ensure your teacher knows you care.

    Find it here: www.andrewsmcmeel.com


    Bill Nye Answers - Does 3D Make You Dizzy?


    Race to Nowhere - A film, a movement

    From the wonderful site: Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political, igniting a national conversation in her new documentary about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in our achievement obsessed public and private education system and culture. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

    Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

    Join the site, sign up for the newsletter and sign the petition. If you're a parent of a school aged child, you need to take a look at the trailor. Get motivated. Help the kids.



    This Little Piggy Wears Pink

    Once you have seen the demonstration of what chemicals in standard nail polish does to a Styrofoam plate...you'll wonder why you would ever paint your nails? Piggy Paint is non-toxic, odorless, water-based and hypo allergenic. We got the opportunity to give it a try and the pink is perfectly pink and the claims they make seem to be spot on. Odor free and fast drying. The colors are fun and the kits are very affordable. Great for gift giving. Very refreshing to find a non-toxic nail polish....but it begs the question, if they can make it for little girls, why not for us big girls, too? 

    As luck would have it, we happened upon (at the Bonnie Hunt Show mother's day episode) nail polish from Julep. Found at retail locations in several cities and online for purchase, Julep Nail Polish offers fashion nail color in healthy, "Three-Free" formulations — free of formaldehyde, toluene and DBP. We got a fun kit with bright summer colors but found some classics on the site. Finally, a safer option for the big girls, too.

    Find Julep Nail Polish here: myjulep.com

    Find the line of Piggy Paint here: PiggyPaint.com


    Egg Free Easter Eggs - A little on the sweet side

    We were watching television and noticed the ad for Rice Krispie™ cereal (the one with the sweet mom and children making Easter Eggs) and I thought, how fun is that? How hard can it be? We set out to give it a try. It's not as time consuming as you would think IF you have all the fun ingredients. 

    First, we made the mixture of cereal, butter and marshygoo and shaped it into about 20 eggs. The trick is to let the mixture cool a few minutes and then either spray your hands with a non-stick cooking spray or a little butter. We shaped them all while we had white chocolate chips melting in a double boiler (I just KNEW there was a use for it outside of holiday baking). We also set out several sprinkle dipping options into separate bowls. When the eggs were formed, we dipped one side of the egg into the chocolate and then quickly into a sprinkle.


    Super fun for everyone and really yummy. Enjoy!


    Partnership To Educate Parents About SIDS

    With the coldest of the winter months now upon us, parents and caregivers are more likely to crank the heating and reach for plush, thick blankets to keep their babies warm. Infants who are overdressed or covered in heavy blankets or many blankets are at higher risk for SIDS. It is very important for babies to be dressed lightly and comfortably to avoid overheating. The CJ Foundation recommends the use of wearable blankets and sleep-sacks in place of blankets to keep infants warm while sleeping.

    aden + anais®, creator of the original muslin swaddling blanket and unique muslin cotton sleeping bags, is proudly sponsoring the CJ Foundation for SIDS and their continuing efforts to educate parents about the importance of not over-bundling and over-heating their infants. Over 2,000 babies in the United States still die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) each year, and overheating is a leading risk factor.  

    In an effort to support the CJ Foundation for SIDS’ mission, aden + anais® began sponsoring the foundation in October 2009 during SIDS Awareness Month. Each aden + anais® product is made of 100% breathable muslin cotton, which allows baby’s body temperature to adjust naturally, reducing the risk of overheating.

    The CJ Foundation recently launched its Sleep in Safety, Grow in Style (SSGS) campaign to help educate parents about the importance of designing safe sleeping environments for babies. aden + anais® is working to help the CJ Foundation inform parents of the many ways they can keep their baby safe. While over-heating is one risk-factor for SIDS, SSGS and aden + anais® seek to educate parents about this and the other risk-reducing, precautionary practices:

    • Consider the use of fans to increases ventilation
    • Room temperature should be comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult, approximately 61-67 degree Fahrenheit
    • Cribs should be totally free of all loose blankets, stuffed animals and crib bumpers
    • Lay baby to sleep in an improved crib, on a firm mattress; do not let the baby sleep on soft things, like a couch, pillow, sheepskin, foam pad or waterbed
    • No smoking when pregnant or near baby
    • If possible, breastfeed baby
    • Offer a pacifier at bedtime
    • Co-sleeping should be in the same room but not the same bed or other sleep surface as parents

    Find out more here: www.adenandanais.com and about the CJ Foundation for SIDS here: www.cjsids.org


    Text BABY to 511411

    AT&T has partnered with the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) and other carriers for the launch of text4baby. The text tips apply to expecting moms who are as early as four weeks into pregnancy, through the first twelve months of their children’s lives.
    To opt in to text4baby, expectant family members can text BABY (for English-language tips) or BEBE (for Spanish-language tips) to 511411. After providing information on the due date, the program will begin sending the user a weekly text message containing health and medical guidance timed for that week of the pregnancy.

    To help text4baby reach millions of families by Mother’s Day 2010 with the good news and free text tips, AT&T is joining forces with well-known mom blogger Heather Spohr.  Named "Best Mommy Blogger of 2009" by thebump.com, Spohr’s blog, "The Spohrs Are Multiplying," initially became popular as she detailed her family's experiences dealing with a high-risk pregnancy, an extended NICU stay and the difficulties of caring for a premature baby.

    Since text4baby health tips will vary based on the due date of participating moms, AT&T has also invited two real world expecting moms-to-be to opt in to the text4baby text tips, help promote the cause, and share what they learn along the way. Beginning next week, AT&T employees and moms Nicole Anderson and Laura Hernandez will be guest bloggers for AT&T’s mom blog, Calm, Cool, Connected .

    All participating moms-to-be need to opt in is a wireless phone that receives texts. 


    New Favorite Find for Cooking with Kids

    We have two very busy wanna be chefs in the making. It's hard to assign everyone a different task that doesn't require supervision worthy of a superhero. We tried these unique bowls during our holiday kitchen baking season and they are the best tools to help manage at least one aspect of all of the "help" we received. Measuring cups and bowls by Pourfect® are the new kitchen must have. The Spill-Proof Bowl Set’s smartly designed features make it the only mixing-measuring-pouring bowl you’ll ever need. The unique channel and gull wing design creates a dripless spout to guide the ingredients where they need to go, eliminating overspill. And a small pivot below the dripless spout allows the bowl to latch onto the edge of another bowl or stand mixer while it is running without danger of hitting the beater or spilling a single drop. These bowls are perfect for cooking with the kids. Find the info here: POURfect.com


    We Remember Grandma Mary

    Mary Alice Cox, a longtime resident of Ventura, died Sunday, Dec. 20 surrounded by her loving family. She was 84.

    Mary was born on Dec. 18, 1925 in Prescott, Ariz. to Charles and Lizzie Reagan - the only daughter in a family of three boys. During the Depression, Mary and her family moved to California, to the city of Seiad and later to Happy Camp. After the death of her mother, Mary relocated to Long Beach where she met her husband-to-be, William (Bill) Gerald Cox. Mary and Bill married on Christmas Day, 1943 and lived in Ventura County for over 60 years.

    An avid traveler, Mary's many trips included China, Germany, Italy, Panama, Russia, Scandinavia and the United States coast-to-coast. Mary loved going to movies and plays with friends and family. Mary was eternally positive, quick-witted, had an infectious laugh and had a wonderful smile that could light up any room she walked into. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

    Mary is survived by her loving husband, Bill, and her four children, Julie and George Compton of Camarillo, Arthur Cox of Oregon, Beverly Helland of Clovis and Glenn Cox of Santa Maria; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

    The family will hold a private funeral with a celebration of life ceremony for friends and the community at a date and location to be later announced.

    In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations to be sent to either Ventura Friends of the Library or the Museum of Ventura County - two organizations Mary was active in and cared deeply for.

    The family would also like to extend their appreciation - and Mary's - for all of the cards, letters, prayers, flowers and encouragement they have received over the last month

    Thank you all for your support as we mourn the untimely passing of the most amazing woman anyone had the honor of meeting and having in their lives.


    Another Say What?

    It's turning to the season of holiday travel. Whether you're heading via airplane, train or automobile you're bound to run across every temperament imaginable. We just made a short trip up the state to a beautiful wedding. On the way home, we were getting off our flight and noticed a grumpy man ahead of us. Seems his problem was with first class passenger, the famous Charlie's Angels star Jaclyn Smith who is not only alive and well, but looking as amazing as she did when the series premiered.

    You know when you board a plane with carry on baggage (and even more so now that the airlines are charging up to $50 - that deserves its own "say what" if you ask me - a bag) you are never guaranteed the overhead storage above your seat. Well, my "say what" goes to the first class jerk who decided to just stare at Ms. Smith in disgust that she couldn't retrieve her own bag from the storage above his head. Mind you, he didn't budge or even allow a little wiggle room for her to maneuver around him to get her bag. He just kept huffing about and yelling to his travel mate "I can't move, this lady can't get her bag" instead of 1) getting the bag down FOR HER like a gentleman or 2) moving out of the way. What a troll. Thank you sir, for making our travel just a wee bit longer than it needed to be.

    Remember the golden rule this holiday travel season....do to others as you want others to do to you. Put a smile on your face and be helpful when you can. It's called Karma and travellers aren't immune to it.


    Back To School Lunch Must Haves

    Easing in to the new school year? Working on a budget? Bringing a lunch from home each day can save hundreds of dollars a year. We've picked some great products to share with you to help you put together a fantastic, and easy, lunch for any age.

    Start with the basic lunch bag. Skip the brown bag and try a reusable bag from KidsKonserve. This kit includes everything you need from the water bottle, napkin, lunch wrap sack, and stainless steel food containers all in a washable cloth bag. They are offering a special right now on their reusable alternative to plastic baggies, plastic wrap and foil. These 13" round wraps are recycled, FDA approved, non-toxic, non-leaching, recyclable PE plastic and BPA free. Find the great styles (stylish enough for any age, even mom or dad at work) here: KidsKonserve.com.

    Looking for healthy alternatives for snacks and drinks? Our new favorite juice boxes are Sensible Sippers. Compact and easy to carry and store, the juice boxes are packed with 50% organic juice and 50% water offering 40% fewer calories than regular juice. A wonderful way to stay hydrated without the extra sugar and calories. Another bonus? No artificial flavors or preservatives. Find them at a store near you or at knudsenjuices.com

    For the peanut butter lover in us all, this peanut butter from Santa Cruz Organic comes in light roast and dark roast both offering a robust peanut flavor. The website also offers some unique recipes for cooking with nut butters. With no added sugars, no hydrogenated oils and no artificial ingredients, the certified organic ingredients in these peanut butters taste great. Find the variations in stores and more info here: scojuice.com

    Once you have your lunch box and food in order, it's time to consider a litter-free lunch. LunchMates Set of 5 Reusable Napkins for kids are perfectly sized for little lunches and are machine washable. Made from repurposed and scrap fabric, each set is truly unique. Sturdy double sided cotton make these a must have for home, too. Find them here: Lilypadbaby.com


    Back to School Advice from The Debt Diva

    Even though many of us are still enjoying summer vacations, parents and kids are already thinking about starting school, and your local retail stores are getting ready for the back-to-school shopping season. But the economy has been tough this summer and back-to-school shopping will likely be a more expensive undertaking than in years past.

    The following are some tips to help you save money on those back-to-school necessities.

    1. Recycle Last Year’s Supplies. Inventory your current stock of school supplies from last year, and make a list of those items you still need to purchase.  This will give you time to monitor the various store circulars and sale flyers for the best school supply deals in town.  Just remember to try and purchase as much as possible in a single trip so you don’t waste gas going to multiple locations.
    2. Make sure to follow the supply list provided by teachers.  Most teachers provide students with a list of supplies they will need for their courses – specifically the appropriate types of notebooks and folders.  Use this list as a shopping guide so you don’t purchase unnecessary items and have to make a second trip to the store.
    3. Avoid purchasing your supplies from office supply retailers.  While office supply retailers offer flashy, high end school supplies, you can find the same quality items for much less at discount retailers like The Dollar Store, Big Lots and Walmart.
    4. Take advantage of online sales.  Don’t forget about Bargainist, eBay and Craigslist when it comes to school supply shopping – especially for more expensive items like backpacks and electronic items like calculators.  You can find great, unexpected deals from online vendors that will help you save money and time from cruising your local stores.
    5. Buy in bulk for multiple students. You can save big bucks shopping in bulk if you have one or more students to prepare for the new school year! Try a wholesale club like Costco. Individual packaged supplies can cost two to three times more at a regular store than when you purchase them in bulk.  If your child doesn’t have siblings, split the cost of bulk items with friends who are also headed back to school.  Don’t forget basic supplies like pens, pencils, folders, binders and notebooks will last the entire school year!
    6. Make your purchases early! Take advantage of clearance sales and coupons as soon as you see them advertised! Some stores stop back-to-school sales within a week or two of kids starting school. By buying just enough for those weeks early on, you can stock up on supplies for the rest of the year at half off (or even more) those already-discounted back-to-school prices.        
    7. Skip the logos.  Many schools now sell supplies, materials and clothing with the school logo.  These items are usually pretty pricy.  If your child wants to show their school spirit, pick out products in school colors from a discount retailer to save on cash. 
    8. Pack a lunch. The average cost of a student’s lunch can range from $2.90-$3.25. That’s not including the snacks that students are tempted to purchase – smoothies, nachos and pizza (that can raise the cost to $5).  With some smart planning, you can pack your child’s lunch for less money, and it will be more nutritious than the items offered at the school cafeteria.
    9. Back to School Clothes.  Students in most climates are still able to wear their summer wardrobe as they head back to school, so avoid purchasing the full-price, fall clothing items that start appearing on racks in July. You may want to invest in a sweater or light jacket that can be layered with summer capris and pants as the weather cools.  If you must purchase a few back to school clothing items, start your shopping trip at an off-price retailer like Steinmart or TJ Maxx, where you can find in style, on-trend clothing already discounted 20-60% off retail price.  Later in the season you can take advantage of sales on those heavier fall clothing items you see at the mall!

    This article was brough to you by Clarky Davis, The Debt Diva for CareOne and her website is www.thedebtdiva.com


    Gross Misuse of Invitation Note

    This one took me for such a loop that I decided to start a new feature. It's called "Say What?" and it's intended to spotlight the absolute ridiculous behavior on party invitations. Beyond the, in my opinion, directions on specifically what to buy someone (printed on the actual invite is really my beef), this note takes the birthday cake.

    Over the weekend, my new very entertaining buddies informed me of this faux pas on a children's birthday party invite. First hand account, and you just can't make this up. It went something like this.

    Party invite for 4 year old little boy comes in the mail. Tiny print on the bottom states "Call prior to party to have gift approved." Right? Gets better. Friend now assumes perhaps there's an issue with guns or violent toys. She calls a friend with closer ties to the mother. This friend thought the same thing so she called to discuss this statement with the mom prior to shopping.

    Friend: Hi, got the invite and was hoping to find out...is it an issue with guns or violent toys?

    B-day Mom: No, we just don't want any crap.

    Of course I asked my friend if they attended the party. What do you think she said? This invitation gets a Say What? from us. Do you have some doozies you want to share for a "Say What?" article? We'd love to hear them. And by all means, you're entitled to write what you want, it's your party, but when did being polite and gracious leave the invitation world?


    Smarty Crafts

    Do you ever run across a site and see that it matches so perfectly with your kids, you almost wish you had thought of it yourself? When I saw this site, Smarty Crafts, that was my moment. My older one has more crafts and "projects" in her closet than she has clothes or shoes. It's astounding how involved she can get creating her masterpiece of the day (like there is only one). This site (founded by two moms, of course) is brilliant for several reasons. First, they offer a monthly subscription of kits full of crafts for your kids. Second, the kits are based on national kindergarten standards, so parents have the tools to play with their child in a smart & creative way, while helping them prepare for preschool and kindergarten. So if you're the expert crafty mom or the mom who can't stomach a trip to the craft store, these kits show up at your door fully organized every month. Each shipment includes 5 activities, instructions, parent guide and more. Each package also contains a quick "grab-n-go" kit to keep stashed in your purse. Find out more: Smarty Crafts