Photo Freebies & Deals, Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

Three weeks until Mother’s Day, and there is still time to make a fun, frugal photo gift for the mom (or grandma) in your life.

Ya’ll know how much I love photo gifts- They are perfect for our family that lives all over the country. We don’t see them much in person, except for the weekly FaceTime chats, so photo gifts are a great way to stay connected.

If you want to send a photo in a frame, Free 8×10 Photo Print at CVS (chose the pick up at the local store to save on shipping costs). You can score a great frame at Michael’s or Joann’s with one of their coupons- which are plentiful online and in their apps.

York Photo is offering a 5×7 Softcover Book for FREE from York Photo (just pay shipping- which starts at $4). I love these type of photo books because they are the best size for grandmothers to stick in their purses and pull out to show all their friends.  Use Promo Code: Soft5x7 at checkout!

If the mom/grandma in your life is more of a mug person, York Photo is offering a Free 11oz. Ceramic Mug. (just pay shipping- which starts at $6). Use Use Promo Code: FBHOT at checkout!

 

 

 

Canvas People  has a great deal: Receive your FREE 11×14 Custom Canvas or get 65% off any other size Canvas from CanvasPeople, just pay shipping.

 

Order your FREE 11×14 Custom Canvas from Easy Canvas Prints, just pay shipping.

Five Ways to Help a Special Needs Mom

158b3ea47eb4b5467a381bf7aa1d910b.jpgAs much as love and tolerance for others is taught these days, sometimes the first reaction when someone sees a special needs kid in public having issues (read: meltdown or stimming/self soothing) can be to stare wide eyed, make offhand or rude comments, or just bristle at “the weird kid”.

Please remember that the parents are doing the best they can, and that just like your neuro-typical kids, their kids have bad days too. Here are my five tips for how anyone can help a special needs mom.

  1. Offer to Help:  Offer to carry a bag or box they may be struggling with, especially if they are trying to remove their kiddo from public. I remember a few years ago, we were at Chick-Fil-A and Our big guy was done. He was tired, there were 15-20 kids in the little sound-proof kids area, so it was crazy loud in there and he was over stimulated. He just broke down and started crying and was wailing like a banshee. Two moms at the next table helped us pack up our leftovers, got our drinks refilled, and helped us carry everything out to the car, so I could carry both kids out. No shame, no dirty looks. Just compassion for a situation that every mom faces: THE PUBLIC MELTDOWN.
  2. Be a Friend:  It can be very isolating to have a special needs kid, trust me. Text your friend. Offer to get together at a park or some place that her kiddo(s) can play, so you can spend time together. Some special needs parents have hectic schedules with therapy appointments or doctors visits sometimes weekly. Keeping in contact with your friend can really help “normalize” her life.  I so seldom see other moms, that texting and Facebook are two of the ways I am able to keep up friendships.
  3. Starbucks Run: Ok, so it doesn’t have to be Starbucks, but if you know she’s having a rough day, bring her a coffee or a treat. I had someone (and to this day it’s a mystery), send flowers to me after a really rough week.
  4. Expect to hear NO- and be OK with it: As much as you want to see your friend, hang out, go to the movies, get a pedicure, or just gossip over coffee, it can be hard for special needs moms to get away. Not everyone has family that can handle their kiddo, and special needs respite/care can be expensive. Sometimes, even the offer to hang out is better than being left out completely.
  5. Give Your Friend Grace, and Pray for them: Recognize that your friend may have a harder road to hoe that you and your family, and that’s ok. If you aren’t religious, think of them or send them good thoughts, dedicate your meditation or yoga session to them.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about a time when you helped another person!

Win two tickets to MommyCon!

I posted on Sunday about MommyCon and that it’s coming to town in less than a month! I’m stoked about all the cool classes and vendors.

MommyCon 12.jpgOne super awesome thing that MommyCon does is that they have a printer that prints photos posted to Social Media with a specific hashtag or tag during the event. Staff hang them up and you can grab them to take home at the end of the day!- I’m guessing it’ll be #mommycon.

Another thing about MommyCon that is cool is that babies and kids are welcome to come along. In fact kids don’t need tickets. For age restrictions on this, please check out the MommyCon website.  A lot of photos of past events show parents with littles in ring slings and various types of carriers.

 

 

MommyCon Baby | www.mommycon.com
Look at all of these kiddos!

MommyCon Baby | www.mommycon.com And now for the best part- MommyCon is giving me the opportunity to give away TWO General Admission tickets to the fun here in San Diego, CA on Saturday, November 10th! That means two of my readers will get their chance to win!

Entering is easy-peasy. Just leave a comment below letting me know why you’d love to attend. Wanna check out the latest goodies for your child? Excited to meet other local moms in a supportive environment? Want to have a few hours alone to socialize? Whatever your reason, I want to hear it!

I’ll choose two winners on October 26th. Winners will be notified by email and provided with a one time use code for 1 free General Admission Ticket.

 

Good Luck!

Planning for Pregnancy with Sharp Hospitals

My sister-in-law is about to have her first baby. Some months ago, we loaned her husband, my brother-in-law a copy of The Expectant Father.  While he was reading the book, he discovered that we had left a set of our oldest’s ultrasounds in the pages of the book.

She texted me a few days ago to let me know that they were mailing them back.  I received the ultrasounds today, and it really took me back to when I was pregnant with my oldest. I had no idea what I was in for. He was unexpected, and so neither myself nor my spouse knew what to expect beyond what modern media tells us (and what I’d experienced babysitting family and neighbors growing up). Reading the books we had purchased blindly at the bookstore (so many books on being pregnant and birth are available!) were helpful, but learning about what we needed to know first hand from professionals would have been so much better. I wish I had known about Planning for Pregnancy Events from Sharp.

CORP00264-Planning-for-Pregnancy-B-1080x1080.jpgComing up July 23-26 at 5 different Sharp locations throughout San Diego County is a free Planning for Pregnancy event where you’ll meet doctors including a Sharp-affiliated reproductive endocrinologist, OBGYN and other experts.

 

In addition to getting your questions answered about pregnancy and preparing for pregnancy, you will learn more about:

  • Preparing your body for pregnancy, including diet, birth control and what to avoid
  • Having a baby later in life
  • Choosing an OBGYN and pediatrician
  • Reproductive planning
  • Determining your natural fertility schedule and optimizing your ability to get pregnant
  • Fertility challenges and treatments, including how common conditions — such as endometriosis and fibroids can impact pregnancy
  • Support groups and classes at Sharp HealthCare. We used a lot of these support groups after our oldest was born. I had a lot of challenges with breastfeeding and PPD.

What I really like about these classes besides that they are free and open to ANYONE, regardless of which insurance company you have, is that doctors and specialists are there to help you on your journey to parenthood. Wherever you are in your journey, even if you’ve just gotten married or are thinking about kids someday in the future, this class at Sharp can help you.

I’ve taken a lot of classes at Sharp- all of which were free, and easy to sign up for. If this Planning for Pregnancy Event sounds like something you are interested in, you can learn more, and RSVP here.

This post was sponsored by Sharp, however all opinions are my own. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Mom Gets Sick Too!

file0002037778834.jpgI’ve been sort of dark on the blog lately because we’ve all been sick.  A few weeks back it started with Miss Bitty. She had a tummy bug, then went right into a cold.

Then Henry got a mild case of the sniffles, and then about a week ago, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Body ache, fever, ears killing me, headache, sore throat, you name it. And of course, just in time for Spring Break! What’s a mom to do?

After calling the nurses line, they told me that if I wasn’t feeling better after 2 weeks to call back in for an appointment or go to Urgent Care. So, it was time to whip out the home remedies:

  • A little DIY-Made a batch of Honey Lemon Ginger syrup. And chucked it diluted with boiling water like a boss.
  • Set up the humidifier next to my side of the bed.
  • REST!! Encouraged the kids to have snuggle time with me in the afternoon (climb onto a big pile of pillows and blankets and watch a movie). Bitty napped, Henry snuggled me and told me it was ok. He fell asleep and I did too.
  • Took my vitamins and other daily meds (A lot of times when you get sick, you forget your daily maintenance stuff).
  • I tried a new medicine, Boiron Oscillococcinum. I met with the people from Boiron at Influential Summit and they hooked me up with some samples of their products. I’m always willing to try something new.  I’m not saying it’s the reason I feel a lot better, but it probably didn’t hurt! I took it in the morning. And at night, I went with a night time medicine to help me get to sleep. I also filled in my cough needs with A bottle of Boiron Chestal. It’s an awesome cough syrup made with honey.  Combined with my Honey Lemon Ginger Tea, my throat felt much better in just a few days.
  • Went to bed early. Not like 7pm early, but 9:30-10pm early- It’s all abut baby steps!
  • Gave myself some grace. It’s ok for mom’s to get sick too. It’s ok not to run the vacuum 3 times a day, or wash laundry every day, or do 2 loads of dishes when you feel like your head is going to pop off and float away and you are dripping in sweat while you have chills. The kids will survive if they have a dinner of snacks (applesauce pouches, Cheese sticks, croissants, celery sticks with PB cups, and a popsicle for dessert). For the record, I served them on cafeteria style trays like these. These kind of meals are always way more of a hit with kids then when I spend hours making them something.
  • Hydrate-Drank a lot of water and tea.
  • Declined social events- As much as we love our friends, we stayed home a lot this week. We skipped a lot of our usual Easter-time events and focused on being healthy.
  • Leaned on Hubs for support. As always, he made me dinner, went to the grocery store, gave me medicine, and sent me to bed when I needed it.

Commiserate with me! I want to hear about how you cope with being sick!

Playing and Learning with Safari LTD.

2B6678AB-B924-49B9-81D9-A9E4F2510AAE.jpgEver since Henry was itty bitty, one of his favorite kinds of toys were what he calls “Mean Animals”, you know those plastic animals that you can buy everywhere? Some of them are realistic, and some not so much.

We have a pretty hefty collection/menagerie of mean animals, but we are always open to increasing our herd. Last week we received a package from Safari LTD that contained our three newest friends: Frogfish, Hermit Crab, and Sea Turtle. As you can see from the picture above, Margaret has taken a shine to Sea Turtle.

IMG_8450.jpgThese new friends are not the usual tiny animals that come in a plastic bag or tube, these guys are BIG! I mean, look how big the Sea Turtle is in Margaret’s hands! And they look realistic too! That’s what I love about the toys from Safari LTD. Regardless of the size, all of their toys look real. No purple rhinos or bright green whales. Everything looks like it could come from a nature magazine. In fact the hermit crab scared the cat!

Safari LTD. has a great selection on Amazon, but you’ve probably seen their “Toobs” at Michael’s and some of the Good Luck Minis and Fun Packs at museums and aquariums. You can also buy them on the Safari LTD. Website too. Henry loves animals. Some of our favorite family animal based shows include: Wild Kratts, Octonauts, Blue Planet, Dinosaur Train, Zoboomafoo, and Coyote Peterson on Youtube (it is one of the few things I am ok with the kids watching on YouTube), so I was stoked to discover the SafariPedia on the Safari LTD. website. The SafariPedia has a full, amazing wiki with tons of information about all of the animals and creatures of the toys they make.

IMG_8457.jpgWe play really rough with out toys, and our ocean gang has held up to some pretty rough play. They are no worse for the wear.

I asked Henry if he would recommend the Safari LTD. toys to his friends, and he said, “Yeah, these guys are awesome. They are cool and look real. I think we should buy some Mean Animals for (insert the name of two of his friends) for their birthdays!” So there you have it- Mom and kiddo approved!

Thanks to Safari LTD. and Mommy Con for the three new animals. All opinions are my own, and I received no financial compensation for this post. Some of the links posted may be affiliate links that may generate a commission or revenue. Please refer to my disclosure policy.

 

 

Support your New Years Resolutions with our Uplifting Prize Pack!

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Three weeks into the new Year and there are so many of us that are settling into our routines that incorporate our New Year Resolutions (NYR). One thing that really helped me is posting our family’s weekly meal plan. I love the Weekly Meal Planner pad from Shutterfly- It’s easy to use!

I’ve partnered with my friend Brooke, over at Crying Out Loud to help one lucky winner with their NYR with an awesome Uplifting Prize Pack!

This Prize pack includes:

  • Yoga Toe Socks
  • Adult Coloring Coffee Tumbler (I go one of these for Christmas and I love it! I use it daily- it helps me stay out of the coffee shop). I’ve stuffed it with some of my favorite tea bags!
  • The Gratitude Journal for Women
  • Weekly Meal Planner pad (30 pages)- That’s enough for a whole year, plus a few extras.
  • Multi-color Unicorn Pen
  • $25 Tiny Tags Gift Certificate
  • $10 Starbucks GC (not shown)

To Enter to win, Click here or here to enter.  We’ll randomly choose a winner on 1/27/18. Giveaway is open to all US residents.

Don’t forget to leave a comment as part of the mandatory first entry! Have you turned your NYR into a habit yet? If so, how? If not, Do you need support?