Cleaning: 101

I have a confession. I am a terrible housekeeper! I don't like to clean. When I was young, I told my mom that I would have a maid. She asked what I would do if I couldn't afford one, and I said, "I'll just get a penny maid." :) Well, things have gotten more simplified for those of us that convulse at the word "housework"-especially when it comes to the WORST room to clean-the dreaded bathroom!

Scrubbing Bubbles has the Action Scrubber, which I love. Everything you need to clean your entire bathroom comes contained in a disposable sponge that attaches to a reusable handle. No more bottles of cleaning agents and bleach in this house. I've found the answer to my bathroom conundrum!

I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time cleaning the shower. Why does it seem like such a chore? Of all the housework, this is definitely my biggest obstacle (yes, even over the toilet!). Now that tub crayons have been introduced into my life, I've wanted to run and hide at the thought of cleaning the shower...until now! Today, I got the Automatic Shower Cleaner. Although I have not fully put it to the test, I have a feeling this product is going to be my dearest friend. A shower that's clean, that you don't actually have to clean??? Who could ask for anything better? I'm going to give it the 2 week challenge, and I'll let you know how it works out.

Have bathroom woes of your own? Never fear, because you can WIN an Action Scrubber of your very own. We've got two to give to the readers with the best child-related bathroom horror story. Leave your bathroom tale in the comments.* Winners will be chosen on Sunday, February 3rd, at 9 PM CST. Good luck!

*Anything inappropriate or just too disgusting will be deleted & disqualified. In the spirit of the contest, keep it "clean"!

Pretty Exciting, for a Wednesday

We found out today that we're heading to the newest Great Wolf Lodge for Noel's 2nd birthday! He is going to love it, and I can't wait to post the review. Our room looks awesome, and has a cave-themed sleeping area! I'm not sure that he'll sleep in it, but he'll sure have fun exploring in the room and visiting the water park, complete with a zero-depth children's activity pool. We decided to keep the birthday party low key this year, meaning it's just going to be Noel & us. Let's face it: any energy I ever had has ground to a screeching halt. I'm glad it's only his 2nd birthday, and he won't be horribly disappointed. What am I saying? We're taking him to a water park and he gets to stay in a "cabin"! He's going to have the time of his life!

Watch & Win: Olive Kids Teams Up with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Tonight, January 27th, at 7 PM CST, Olive Kids will be featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition! We're so proud of OK! In celebration of this amazing opportunity, Olive Kids wants you to win!

How to win:

Watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition TONIGHT and send email to contests[at]olivekids[dot]com. Let us know which room we help to decorate and for a bonus entry tell us what Olive Kids Product they saw in the the room.

Winner will be selected by random selector.

Prize: Olive Kids will be selecting 2 winners. Each will win a $150 gift certificate to Olive Kids.

Contest ends on Tuesday January 29th – winner will be chosen on Wednesday January 30th

Good Luck, and be sure to congratulate Kim when you enter-Horray for Olive Kids!

It's Official! The Cradle Has Launched!

The Cradle, aka, the coolest new website for expectant and new parents, officially launched today! Go check it out, set up your account, read some great articles, make some announcements & even a website for yourself-whatever your heart desires. Enjoy The Cradle!

New Styles at Hand Picked Pumpkin

Hand Picked Pumpkin has it's new spring and summer styles available on their site! I love this store. YOU build your own, unique clothing from Allison's awesome array of fabrics. Not only are these clothes adorable as can be, they're super comfortable for your little one. Whatever items you get from Hand Picked Pumpkin, you're sure to love. HPP has also generously offered Mums readers a 15% discount if you enter "Mums" in the coupon code! Head over and see what's new at Hand Picked Pumpkin today!

I Love a Happy Baby, Don't You?

As a new parent, you get a lot of advice, some good, and some, you can just let go in one ear and out the other. A few weeks before Noel was born, I was at my friend's house, and it was time for her 1 1/2 year old to go to bed. He stood at the stairs and waited at 7 PM. She took him up, and was back down stairs with him quietly in his crib at about 7:02 PM. I was stunned! How did she do it? From the day he was born, she used the techniques outlined in The Happiest Baby on the Block and stuck with them.

To "make" a happy baby, just follow the "5 S's" outlined in the book. The author, Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician, bases these principles on what he considers a "missed" 4th trimester, in which a baby's nervous system is not quite ready to be out of the womb, but because of the constraints of a human body, it must be. I know that this might sound a bit confusing, but once you read the book, it will make so much sense!

We incorporated the 5 S's (swaddling, swinging, sucking, shushing, and the side/stomach hold) into Noel's routine while we were still in the hospital. The night he was born, he slept with me, tucked in my hospital gown. When he heard another baby cry, he started to whimper, and I started shushing...he was immediately quiet and went right back to sleep. I knew then that I would be a "Happiest Baby" convert, and I was! Noel slept soundly almost all the time. If ever he would get really upset, we'd use all the S's at once, and he'd calm down! I was in awe of how well these techniques worked to calm him down.

The Happiest Baby on the Block is it. Period. I have told everyone I know about this book since we used it with our son when he was born. If you want to get sleep with your newborn, this is a must read and must use process. I have my Amazing Miracle Blanket (the best swaddling blanket on the market-guaranteed!!!) washed for the hospital, and we are armed and ready to go with the other S's when Lennon arrives. If there is one read for any parents of a newborn, The Happiest Baby on the Block is a MUST READ!

Kathy Lo Rocks and We Agree

I'm one of those mom's who's all about showing off her tot. When I found out about Kathy Lo Rocks, I added them to my list of excellent places to shop for show-and-tell. You'll find an array of customizable accessories over at Kathy Lo Rocks. From necklaces to cuff links and everything in-between, you can show off your child, your favorite flower or a fabulous pattern from their collection.

I chose to have a picture of my daughter on one side of my necklace and a photo of a local piece of art on the other side. I love walking around with a reversible necklace and when people ask to see it up close, I'm proud to show off the excellent craftsmanship.

You can pick customizable necklaces from $58 or a necklace from their Alphabitz line from $38. So many other accessories to see, just stop by Kathy Lo Rocks and take a look at their one-of-a-kind pieces for yourself!

Have you seen any Skipping Hippos?

I have and I think they are the most adorable things EVER!

Skipping Hippos' signature fleece ponchos are quite darling and will keep your little one toasty when you're out and about. The ponchos come in an array of different colors and range in size from 6 months to size 6 and retail for around $46 each.

I am so pleased with the quality of this poncho and love wearing it on my toddler when we go outdoors. It's perfect for those days when a winter coat is a bit too heavy and a spring jacket is...well, we're just too far away from that right now! She even loves wearing it around the house, as it's kind of like being snuggled up under a warm blanket.

We hope you will all stop by the Skipping Hippos' online boutique and take a look around. Expect to receive a lot of attention when your daughter is in one of these fabulously fashionable little ponchos!

New to Skipping Hippos are the "Day in May" jackets (photo on right) - perfect for springtime! They are available in multiple colors.

*There are quite a few stores around the CA area and several around the east coast that carry Skipping Hippos ponchos. Click HERE for the list.


Your kids will be delighted to crawl in to bed if you get their bedding at Warm Biscuit! Warm Biscuit takes creative children's decor to a whole new level. You are sure to find originality here. Just take a look at their baby, boy and girl room bedding and proceed to wipe the drool from your keyboard. Don't see something already there that suits you? Order fabric from their completely awesome selection of fabrics (they even have ric rac, people!!!), and do it yourself!

Warm Biscuit doesn't only sell bedding-they've got a great gift shop full of things like vintage toys, holiday and seasonal items, as well as personalized items, among other things!

But wait, there's more! One of you lucky folks will


Here's your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Warm Biscuit! Send an email to mumsthewurd[at] with the subject line "Warm Biscuit" and answer this question: Where did the name "Warm Biscuit" originate?

The contest ends next Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008 at 9 PM CST. Good luck!

Just Ducky Originals: Classically Customized

I was pleasantly surprised recently to learn about Just Ducky Originals, a customizable clothing company based out of Asheville, NC. They have an extensive list of gorgeous fabrics and designs available to choose from. You can mix and match your favorite fabrics on any of the designs to create an outfit specially for your child or to give as a gift.

This adorable corduroy jumper was sent to us and I was fully impressed by the quality of the outfit. On one side is the brown corduroy and the reverse side is pink with brown polka dots. I just fell in love with this outfit!

I just paged through the Spring catalog and there really are some fabulous pieces that are available right now for the upcoming season.

Just Ducky Originals has two physical locations in Western North Carolina. A huge part of the company's business are home shows. You can view a list of the upcoming home shows HERE. If you'd like to attend a home show in your area and customize your own outfit, you can click HERE to fill out the online form to receive an invitation from a hostess near you. If you would like more information on becoming a hostess, click HERE.

If you find an outfit you like, you are able to place your order online or over the phone for catalog orders. However, to get the most out of your Just Ducky shopping experience, going to a home show is the best way to go, as that is where you are able to customize outfits.


Just Ducky Originals has teamed up with The Mums to offer our readers a chance to win a $50 gift certificate redeemable at their online shop!


Email us at mumsthewurd[at]gmail[dot]com with "Just Ducky" in the subject line. In the email message, let us know the year Just Ducky Originals was founded. (Hint: click HERE)

A winner will be chosen on Monday, January 21st at 10 PM CST and notified via email.

Good luck!

Hanes for Kids!

I'm pretty sure you're all familiar with Hanes products. I think we've probably all been wearing something Hanes at some point in our lives practically since birth! Hanes has come a long way since we were kids though. Now, they offer children everything imaginable in all sorts of colors and patterns-undies, t-shirts, sweats, even fleece f0r boys, girls, babies, and toddlers! The great thing about Hanes is the low cost and durability. This stuff lasts forever!

Hanes sent Noel some Hanes socks and this "oc-pus" t-shirt that he loves. Unfortunately for him, the 2 pairs of sweatpants and 1 sweatshirt they sent him won't fit him for about 5 years...but, that's good news for you!


Email mumsthewurd[at] with the subject line "Hanes" if you'd like some colorful, long lasting, comfortable Hanes sweats in size 8. This contest will end Saturday, January 19, 2008, at 12 PM. Good luck!

More Peas on Earth, please

I have fallen in love with a t-shirt and it comes from a great little boutique called Peas on Earth out of Nashville, TN. I would be happy if my toddler's entire wardrobe consisted of each design from the "Dream Green" collection.

The child-like designs on the Peas on Earth tees are hand silk screened on American Apparel tees, my favorite brand of cotton tee because of the softness and durability. Sizes in this line range from infant to size 6 and prices are $22 for baby tees and $24 for toddler/kids tees.

Want to score points with that environmentally conscience parent? Surprise them with one of these adorable tees for their child so they can show off their do-gooder attitude in style!

I'm thrilled that there are boutiques like Peas on Earth out there. I believe they will play a part in making a difference in our children's future. It's all about raising awareness and they're on the right track.

One True Media will warm your heart

Before I discovered One True Media, a creative online photo and video service, I was using Window's Movie Maker or PhotoShow to create photo and video slideshows. The downside of those programs are, Window's Movie Maker does not have all of the great effects like One True Media and it's not online and PhotoShow does not allow you to use your own music, which I highly prefer.

You can use One True Media for free with limited access to all of the fantastic features they offer. Free version features are:

-Quickstyles, effects and transitions
-Premium quickstyles $2.99 each
-Storage space: 200 photos and/or 10-15 min. of video (up to 200 MB)
-Montage song limits: 3 per montage
-Personal TiVo Channel/2 anytime TiVo shares

That's still not a bad deal but with One True Media's Premium service, the features you will have access to include:

-A free pro-quality DVD worth up to $24.99
-Quickstyles, effects and transitions
-Premium quickstyles
-Premium music
-Unlimited Storage space
-Unlimited montage songs
-Personal TiVo Channel/2 anytime TiVo shares
-5 monthly TiVo shares
-Custom embeddable online players
-Download to your PC/Mac or video iPod

The service is very easy to use. One True Media offers a high quality DVD of your montage and photo books, among other personalized items as well.

Here is a little montage I put together to show you how much fun all of the different features are:


We have TEN - 1 year, ONE TRUE MEDIA PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTIONS (with a free DVD included - up to a $65 value) to giveaway to TEN lucky MTW readers!


Send and email to mumsthewurd[at]gmail[dot]com with "montage" in the subject line. Ten winners chosen on Sunday, January 20th at 10pm CST will be notified via email.

Good luck!

What Every Pancake Makin' Mama Needs

I love a good pancake, but I always found them to be somewhat of a pain to make. I only had a regular sized nonstick pan, and I could make maybe 2 pancakes at a time. Inevitably, they were cold by the time I was finished with all of the cakes. Being a mom now, and one who strives to be as 50s as possible, I just had to master my pancake technique. I asked for a double burner griddle for Christmas, and my husband, who swears that I'm the best cook ever (even better than his grandmother!!!), indulged me.

There are all kinds of griddles out there, but I don't think you need to go expensive or cast iron (just my non-chef opinion) in order to achieve the perfect pancake. What you DEFINITELY need though, is the double burner style so you can get the max amount of pancakes possible. The one I got is here-nothing fancy or expensive, but it certainly does the trick! I can get approximately 4 4-5" pancakes and 2 "dollar" sized pancakes done at one time. It's totally amazing what a difference it makes when you can make ALL the batter in two "cycles" instead of about 7!

Now, what really makes a pancake great is a good recipe, so give this one a try (it's my very own!):

1 c. bisquick
1 c. cream of wheat (any cook time works)
1 1/3 c. milk
1 egg (2 if you like the pancakes more flat)
3 tbs. melted butter
1 tbs. vanilla

put it all in a bowl, and mix...simple!

Cook over medium heat-flip when bubbles appear (about 2 minutes for side 1, 1 minute for side two). You can add bananas, chocolate chips, etc. to this recipe. I promise, they are divine!

Choose your state of mind, ladies

If you're in a handbag "state of mind" then look no further. Star 50 Handbags is right smack dab on the map where you'll want to be. With each bag inspired by a different state in the union, there will no longer be an excuse not to own at least 50 incredibly luscious handbags!

Right now, Star 50 Handbags has at least 24 fabulous collectible designer bags to choose from and more making their debut very soon! I'm anticipating the release of the Pennsylvania ??? as well as the Montana Treasure Tote. Two of my very favorite states in the union. Colorado would be my third and I'm loving the Colorado Lodge Tote (picture to the right). Some of the handbags are more on the pricey side, ranging in the $100s but that's what you can expect to pay for one-of-a-kind bags like these. "A modern heirloom" is how designer/owner Amity Cooper describes her line of delicious treats.

Not all of them are out of the "I-need-a-million-handbags now" price-range, however. Take the Alaska Trapper that I'm drooling over right now. She retails for $65.00 and comes in three colors; Trapper Orange (pictured), Hunter Olive or Oil Black.

Recently, you may have noticed that we had a couple different Star 50 Handbags up for grabs during our Holiday Blog Hunt, the sassy "New York Hot Pot" and the glittery "Arkansas Diamond Digger".

As you get acquainted with each bag on the Star 50 Handbag website, notice at the bottom of the page the "Fast Facts" about each state where said handbag gets her personality. Oh, and don't forget to tell your hunny-bunny that Valentine's day is fast approaching...wink-wink, nudge-nudge. =)

*Star 50 Handbags was introduced to the Mums by The Winning Pitch PR.

Congrats to a fellow blogger friend!

Christine who runs "From Dates to Diapers" was featured in her local newspaper (uh, last month - we know, we're late to the party again)! Check out the article in the Lincoln News Messenger that features Christine and her family HERE.

Congratulations from The Mums, Christine!

As I Grow: DVD Series

When you became a parent, you may have received Baby Einstein or some other educational DVD for your child but you may not have heard of "As I Grow" from Egghead Learning Systems.

The DVD series "As I Grow" was created by pediatrician and mother of two, Dr. Ilham Algayed. Dr. Algayed and a team of child development experts designed this series with early childhood developmental stages in mind.

The series includes six DVDs. Each DVD consists of a three month age span. Such as, 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 and so on (up to 18 months). Click HERE to view sample video excerpts from each DVD. A baby absorbs information very quickly in his or her first year and a half of life and this series is meant to grow with your child.

The As I Grow DVD series is sold as a set because as your child moves into a different stage of learning, each age-appropriate DVD builds on what the previous DVD has introduced.

Dr. Algayed and her team have taken quite a bit of time to research this series and that was obvious to me after sitting down and talking with her at great length about As I Grow.

The As I Grow DVD series retails for $74.99. You can purchase the set by clicking HERE and for a limited time, free shipping is being offered.


We are pleased to be able to offer one of our readers an As I Grow DVD set!!!

To enter, please send an email to mumsthewurd[at]gmail[dot]com with "As I Grow" in the subject line. In the body of your message let us know which, if any, educational DVDs you have for your children.

A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, January 16th at 10pm CST.

Good luck!

Looking Forward to Some Baby Adorableness

I've received a few great items for Lennon and I can not WAIT to showcase him in them here on MTW. Only 6ish weeks until I can! Unbelievable, really...I can't believe how soon I will have 2 children in my midst-one running, talking, playing, rambunctious, fun-loving toddler, and a baby! Oh my. I know there are a lot of you out there that have children that are 2 years apart or under. We'd love you to leave us comments about how you did it. Is there a secret to success?

Anyhow, on to the fun stuff-OUTFITS! What do The Godfather and sock monkeys have in common? They're both available on baby clothes!

Baby Fish Mouth is a brand new company started by two movie loving friends. Their t-shirts are cleverly reworded lines from movies made to fit babies, with slogans like "This cry goes to eleven," from This is Spinal Tap, and my favorite, "He made me a bottle I couldn't refuse," which of course, comes from one of our favorites "The Godfather". There are several other t-shirt choices and sizes to select from here. All of their items come uniquely gift wrapped in their own popcorn box! Isn't that clever? I'm thinking of possibly getting some more shirts for my movie loving friends that are expecting twins this spring. I'll be reviewing the shirt itself very soon!

A long time ago, before Noel was even born, I found this fabric and went absolutely "ape" (ba dum dum) over it. I immediately set to work making him a blanket and using the fabric to appliqué onesies for friends. Who can go wrong with a sock monkey? That particular blanket isn't one of Noel's faves, so I think it will be passed on to little bro, and he can hold it while sporting this sweet sock monkey onesie by Morfs from Polkadot Patch Boutique! It's inspired by the actual red-heeled sock monkey doll and even has real button eyes! It's so cute, words can not do it justice. Again, this clothing item alone gets me pumped for the arrival of the new baby!

Be sure and check out Baby Fish Mouth and Polkadot Patch Boutique next time you're in the market for something fun and unique for your cool kid!

Lots of Land's End Love

Clothes, bean bags, doll houses, diaper might say that Land's End has a little of EVERYTHING, even for kids! If you've never heard of this company, I guess you've been living under a rock for the past 45 years. I get their catalog regularly and always enjoy thumbing through it, wondering what I'd pick out if I lived somewhere cooler, or if i actually enjoyed camping. I have, however, enjoyed my fair share of Land's End products over the years. By far, one of the best purchases I have made in my lifetime is this down comforter that we've had for about 7 years now. If you purchase from Land's End, you're guaranteed quality and satisfaction forever. How great is that? Very few other companies anywhere offer such a guarantee.

To the left is Noel wearing his corduroy overalls and striped bodysuit. This outfit also came with a three pack of socks and some adorable little loafers, but bigfoot over here is in a 2-3T sock and a size 7 shoe, so they'll go in the "for Lennon" drawer. Truthfully, this whole outfit will be in that drawer very sooh, but it was just so cute I have to let him wear it as long as possible!

We also received this great bean bag that I already told you about in this post. We all love it! It's big enough for adults too, so we can all use it!

Now, on to the good news for you! Land's End wants to give you something! How about a diaper bag?!? We've got 3 girl pattern, and 2 boy. To enter, email mumsthewurd[at] In the subject line, please put "Land's End", and tell us what you love that Land's End has to offer!

When you email us, please let us know your preference of boy or girl bag. Here's the skinny on the totes:

Pattern Diaper Bag Tote

  • Retails for $34.50
  • The colors and styles we’re sending you are the last available in the company. New colors and styles will be available this spring.
  • 6 mesh pockets inside to help you stay organized
  • Outside pocket to keep items easily accessible
  • Cushiony changing pad included
  • Full-zip top for extra security
  • Sturdy cotton canvas withstands daily use
  • 17 1/2"W (top), 12"W (bottom) x13 1/2"Hx6"D
  • Spot clean
This contest will end next Monday, January 14th, at 9 PM CST. Good luck!

Back to Reality

What have we been doing for the past week or so? Well, honestly, not much. Amy's been gallivanting about in the northeast with her family while I've been working and relaxing, just taking a break to enjoy the simple things, like watching the $100,000 Pyramid Marathon on New Year's Eve. I have enjoyed my son's great love of his Christmas gifts from Santa, who bought them from a lovely little website called eBay. Have you heard of it? :) Here's an eBay store to get you started. Santa spent a grand total of $40 and won a Little Tykes Turtle Sandbox and a ukulele from Hawaii! Seriously, I don't think the ukulele (aka the guitar, or as Noel prefers, the "tigatam") has come out of his hands since Christmas morning. I love a good bargain, especially when, in his eyes, it's the greatest thing on the planet! It was nice enough on Christmas day to actually use the sandbox. Occasionally, there are perks to living in the south-like you can take your kid out and let them burn off energy for hours in the "dead of winter"!

See the cute brown warm-ups in the sandbox picture (and again with the awesome boom box hoodie)? I got them on sale at Old Navy for around $6. The boom box hoodie was also on sale for $9. Hurray for Christmas gift cards! I really love Old Navy, because while everyone and their dog (literally) shops there, you can have your entire family looking adorable for practically nothing. They're always having awesome sales, and I have managed to find the ONLY pairs of maternity pants that I can stand at "The Navy". And you want to know what I spent for 2 pairs of these perfect pants? $14 TOTAL. Of course, now I can find none of these things on their website, but just go in the store and take a look around. I can promise that you won't leave empty handed and you will have spent just a tiny amount of money.

What would a holiday break be without a little room decorating? FLOR sent me this rad carpet for Noel's room and it is PERFECT. If you have never checked out FLOR modular tile carpeting, run to their site right this second! They have this great line for kids, and an enormous selection for adults. This is perhaps the answer to your never ending quest to find a carpet that doesn't look horrible after a week with a toddler in the house. FLOR is basically big squares of carpet that you put together. You can purchase as many as you like, and the beauty is the versatility. They can carpet an entire room, or a small space. The "installation" of Noel's floor took a grand total of about 10 minutes and it looks great. If you're outfitting a whole room, you can cut squares to fit the space. I have seen my carpet future, and it is FLOR.

Here you can also see Noel perched on his Land's End bean bag. Isn't it fresh? This is not a bean bag that is going to fall apart on you. This thing is built to last. I don't see any bean spillage happening here. The greatest part, is that the cover comes off and is machine washable! Your kid spills milk on it? Throw it in the wash. You decide you hate it after 10 years? Land's End will take it back and refund your money, no questions asked. That's a pretty sweet deal. The bean bag definitely is a nice touch to what is now a "big boy" room.

Finally, I have one more picture for the back to reality montage. Noel's favorite piece of winter clothing is his robot fleece from Zutano. The fleece came with this cute pair of courdroys, and stripey shirt. Again, you can depend on Zutano to bring quality to the table. I have found all their clothing to be durable and they fit to last. You buy a 2T, it's actually a 2T, and not a skin tight shirt made for an infant. If you cloth diaper, you don't have to worry about whether or not the pants are going to fit! I love their bold colors and zany graphics. There's nothing else out there quite like Zutano.

We'll kick next week off with a Land's End Giveaway, but in the meantime, enter the same giveaway here. That's right, we don't mind showing another review blogger a little love!

The Mums wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2008!