Thursday, December 30, 2010

letting go

interrupted hopes

unrealized dreams

the unrealistic expectations I put on others
(mainly my four-year old)



emotional eating


striving for the elusive "inner circle"

being easily frustrated



my fat pants
(they're now just my pants)


other people's expectations

These things can stay in 2010. I don't want them coming into the new year with me. 

What about you? What do you need to let go of?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010 in pictures

Christmas Eve
Cookies & Milk for Santa
Reindeer Food for Reindeer (duh)


Santa Present #1

Santa Present #2
(Racetrack present was a success in case you were wondering.)


Cousins with Yia Yia & Papou


Silly cousins

Punkin & Great Grandma H

Punkin & Grandpa H


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration! We certainly did!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

dear santa,

Here's a tip:

When a child sits on your lap and tells you what he wants for Christmas, it is not wise to ask detailed questions as follow-up. For instance, if a four-year old boy tells you he wants a race track for Christmas, you should not, under any circumstance, ask him what kind of race track he wants, nor suggest a certain name brand race track.

The following example should never occur:

Santa: What do you want for Christmas?
Punkin: A race track.
Santa: What kind of race track would you like?
Punkin: Uh...
Santa: Would you like a Hot Wheels Race Track?

At this point, you are likely to see a certain mom trying to tell you to shut your big mouth and say something helpful, rather than potentially destructive. Unless, of course, you plan to be sliding down the chimney with said Hot Wheels Race Track in your sack.

For future reference, here are some more appropriate follow-up questions/comments after a child tells you what he or she wants for Christmas. Feel free to steal them:

Have you been a good boy?

Have you been listening to your mommy and daddy?

Make sure you do a good job of trying new foods at dinnertime. 

Got it?

If Punkin wakes up on Christmas morning, rushes down to the tree, rips off the wrapping paper on his non Hot Wheels Race Track and I see even a glimmer of disappointment, I will hunt you down...


Monday, December 20, 2010

from our family to yours

We wish you a very Merry Christmas.

(I hope we can all have a bit of the wide-eye wonder of a child this year.)

(Seriously, is that drawing not the cutest thing you've ever seen?!)

Wish I could send each of you a card in the mail, but since I don't have all your addresses, I hope you will enjoy our 2010 Christmas Card virtually.

If you are sharing a card on your site, feel free to leave a link in the comments below, I'd love to visit!

For more warm holiday fuzzies, visit the Third Annual Great Bloggy Holiday Card Exchange

Jada Toys Battle Machines Review & Giveaway

Radio control cars have come a long way since I was a kid. Of course, A LOT of things have come a long way since then, but let's not dwell on how old I am.

Not only do you get to drive a car around and try to make your brothers trip over it (what?), but now you can actually play together and battle each other with a laser tag battle!

Jada Toys Laser Combat Tag Battle Machines allow two players to drive their cars/trucks around and shoot "laser beams" at each other's vehicle. The first person to score three hits is the winner!

The other cool aspect is that you can also play by yourself and hone your skill to annihilate your competition. Switch one vehicle to "auto pilot" and that vehicle will drive around on its own and you can chase it with your vehicle and try to kill it with three shots.

I received the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-350 trucks from Jada Toys. I'm very impressed with the size and weight of the trucks. They are definitely well made and will last a long time! 

I tried to capture the size of the truck by comparing it to an iPhone, but I still don't think the picture does it justice.

The Battle Machines are meant for kids 6 and up (and adults, obviously). I think that's a good starting age as I know I had some trouble initially figuring out the remote controls. To me, they are "backwards", but after some time, it's an easy adjustment to make. The other thing to keep in mind is that you will need a lot of open space to drive these vehicles. They don't "turn on a dime", so they require a bit of space to not bump into everything. These would be great in the summer out on the driveway and sidewalks (if you have a non-busy street of course).

So, what do you think? Do you know someone who would love to own a pair of these? (The winning pair will be a random selection of the available models, and not necessarily the ones mentioned in this review. The giveaway is being provided by Jada Toys.) 

Just leave a comment below telling me who you would give these to or who you would challenge to a duel if you kept them for yourself!

For an additional entry, follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway, making sure you include a link to this post, and then leave a comment with a link to your tweet.

The giveaway will close December 27th. I will email the winner, so make sure you leave your email address in your comment if you don't link your comment to a blog profile.

While I received the Battle Machines from Jada for this review, the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

interview with a 3 1/2 year old

So, I was recently shuffling piles of papers from one spot to another cleaning the office and found notes from when I "interviewed" Punkin back in May.

My mom is   9   years old.
My mom is the prettiest when   eyes  . (So, I have to work on the word 'when', but I like his answer anyway.)
My mom likes to   play with me  .
My mom always says   I love you  . (Heart Melting.)
My mom is funny when   she laughs. I mean, when she says something funny  .
I love my mom because   (she does) everything nice  .
My favorite thing to do with mommy is   going in the swimming pool  . (Such a switch from the beginning of the summer.)
The thing that always makes my mom laugh is   funny faces  .

My Favorite
  Colors:   Purple and Green  
  Place to Go:   McDonald's  
  Food:   Chicken & French Fries & Hot Dogs 
  Drink:   Lemonade  
  Game to Play:   Hide & Go Seek and Matching 
  Craft:   Making French Fries   (I have NO idea)
  Music:   Mickey Mouse Clubhouse  
  Sport:   Bowling  

And a couple of random pictures from May:

Interview was taken on May 14, 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: Petz Nursery 2

I was given the opportunity to review a copy of Petz Nursery 2  for the DS from Ubisoft & Clever Girls Collective. 

What do I look for in a video game for my four year old?
  • By far, the most important things is the ability for him to play on his own. We don't let Punkin nap anymore, so especially at school, he needs something quiet that he can do when his classmates are napping.
  • I also like for the games he plays to have some educational value, because I'd like to think he's learning something while his face is in a screen. Yes, I know there's varied opinions on just how much kids actually learn in front of a screen, but that is another post.
  • Lastly, of course, the game has to have a fun factor that will keep his attention for more than 5 minutes at a time and that will have lasting appeal. If he plays it one time and doesn't want to play it again, then it's obviously a waste of money.

When we opened up this game, I sat down with Punkin to help him get started. He selected a cute penguin to be his pet (there are also the more traditional puppy dog or kitty cat as options). After some debate, he settled on the name Hoppy.

I thought there was quite a bit of involvement needed from me to get him going. First, Punkin can't read yet, so any screen that had words on them, he would ask me to read to him. I also didn't find the game very intuitive myself. There were quite a few times when I wasn't sure exactly what we were supposed to be doing to "take care of" our penguin.

Punkin played with Hoppy for about five to ten minutes the first time and, unfortunately, he didn't ask to play with him again. I did remind him the next day and asked if he wanted to play with him again on a car ride. He said yes, but about ten minutes down the road, he declared that he was all done. He then started playing Mario Kart (which I know has no educational value whatsoever, but it did keep him content for the next forty-five minutes).

So, even though this game wasn't a success for us, I can see this being popular with other kids. I think my niece would really enjoy this game, so she may be receiving an extra present this Christmas!

If you'd like to buy this for your child for Christmas, you can do so through Toys R Us (not an affiliate link).

While Ubisoft provided me with this game to review, the opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. Ubisoft, Clever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

today, I am thankful for

a wonderful husband

a fantastic kid




chocolate chip cookies


diet coke

"real moms"

the internet

colorful leaves

a beautiful sunset

black friday

nfl football

my camera


the love of Jesus Christ

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day is filled with all of the things you are thankful for! (And lots of pie.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

6 years ago today...

...the world made a little more sense. began to have more meaning.

...I married my best friend.

I love you more than I'll ever be able to express.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

leaves and apples and s'mores, oh my!

Our friends had a fabulous "fall festival" at their house at the end of October. We had such a great time!

Punkin discovered the joy of jumping in leaves.

Punkindaddy was a HUGE sport & let all the kids bury him in the leaves (repeatedly).

I don't know if you can see the kids' faces, but EVERY TIME they would scream with delight (and maybe a little fear) when Punkindaddy would jump out of the leaves.

I was shocked that Punkin even considerd putting his face in a tub of water, but he did it multiple times.

He was very intent on getting that apple with his teeth!

He didn't even want to take turns. Thankfully, the other kids were willing to "share".

But with a lot of determination (and a little bit of help from mama...shh...don't tell him!), he finally got his apple!

Punkin also got to enjoy one of my favorite fall treats: S'mores! A month or so ago, he refused to try one, but this night, he was all about it! Yummmm!

For more WW fun, go to 5 minutes for mom and Two of a Kind.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

halloween 2010

The world's cutest Luigi

You loved it when you got to pick out your own candy. And 9 times out of 10 you picked a sucker. I guess I'll have to teach you that Resse's Cups trump suckers. (Actually, most chocolate does. Keep that in mind next year, okay?)

This little girl was enamored with you. You would scoot away; she would scoot right next to you. It was adorable. Even if you didn't think so.

Mario & Luigi

"Let's a go!"

For more WW fun, go to 5 minutes for mom  and Two of a Kind.

Monday, November 1, 2010

in search of the perfect Christmas card... (& giveaway)

**The giveaway is now closed & flesworthy is the winner!**

So, I know that Halloween has just ended and Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, but I can not stop thinking about the "perfect picture" for the annual Christmas card. I am always the first to complain about "Christmas creep" each year - I mean do we really need to be buying stocking stuffers along with our trick-or-treat candy?!? - but for some reason I can't get the thoughts of our Christmas cards out of my head! What is wrong with me?

Perhaps it's because until last year, we always just featured Punkin on our Christmas card - and how can you go wrong with such a cute kid?! But last year, we decided to have the three of us on the card... what were we thinking? Well, we weren't thinking much anyway, because the picture was not our finest moment. And so perhaps this is why I keep thinking about it... I want to make sure the picture we have is "refrigerator worthy" because I just found out a friend still has that terrible picture from last year on her fridge! (Or maybe we'll just go back to having only Punkin on the card... hmmm...)

Anyway, I've been looking around the ol' internet at different photo card websites, because it all starts with design, doesn't it?

Have you taken a look at Cards Direct? I just discovered their website and am oohing and ahhing over many of their styles.

They have pages and pages of Christmas Photo Cards. Here are a few of my favorites:

They also have a ton of non-photo Christmas Cards and cards for any Holiday.

And if you're not the card sending type for Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year's, they also have Birth Announcements, Moving Announcements, and on an on...

So, is anyone else out there thinking about their holiday cards yet? What if you had the chance to win $50 worth of cards? Now are you thinking about it?

Giveaway: $50 worth of Holiday Cards from Cards Direct.

How to enter:
Leave me a comment telling me what you normally send for holiday cards - do you include photos? Do you include the whole family or just kids (or pets)?

You can get additional entries into the giveaway by:
- following my blog.
- following me on twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. Make sure to include @punkinmama in your tweet.

Leave an additional comment for each additional thing you do.

I will pick a winner sometime Friday evening, November 5.

** Disclosure: I received two codes for $50 worth of product from Direct Cards through Global Influence Network for hosting this giveaway: one for myself and one for one of you. **

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

summer in pictures: part 3: august

Bears Practice at Soldier Field

Visiting Shedd Aquarium
Being penguins with Cousin L

Photo Shoot Around Chicago

Indiana State Fair

Touch a Truck

First day of Pre-K

And the summer is over...

For more WW fun, head to Five Minutes for Mom and Two of a Kind

Thursday, October 14, 2010

summer in pictures: part 2: july

School Picnic
Miss R and Punkin

Fourth of July Festival with A

Fourth of July - Fireworks

Indians Game

Concert in the Park

First time eating the bun with the hotdog!!
truly monumental

 Practice Day at the Brickyard

Visiting Papou and YiaYia's for the last time in Ohio

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