Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grooving with Groovebook

I love Groove book. No, I haven't been contacted by the company to do a post, but I thought I'd share the love.
I heard about Groovebook through Shark Tank (I'm obsessed with the show its like the Home Shopping Network for me, I buy anything I'm impressed with). Then, I saw some Facebook ads, a post over at You are the Roots (love your blog Lindsay!). if anyone is interested is checking her out, such a beautiful mommy blogger.

Back to Groovebook. So it's a subscription based app for your phone. I know it works for the iPhone, not sure about Android devices. The cost is $2.99 a month and you get a book of 100 photos each month delivery included. I take a ton of pictures which gets sucked into the "cloud"/space/vortex, wherever it goes, and on my computer. I never have time to get them printed. I needed something I could have as a coffee table book, to take with me when meeting friends for lunch, and my biggest success...the grandparents!

With Groovebook you can send a copy of the book for another $2.99. My parents beg me to send more pictures, and if they received a Groovebook, they would be overjoyed. Words of advice: Appeasing the grandparents is key. Especially when you can send them some love when they live Afar with the click of a well with my busy schedule. Trust me the will reward you wil babysitting, trips to Costco and a candy filled child....okay scratch the last one...I'm not condoning that behavior!

So how does it work? It's an app on your phone, and depending on when you sign up you have until that day each month to upload photos to the app before it closes and your book gets made. I can upload 100 photos at once or throughout the month. I choose throughout the month, because uploading 100 takes time, but uploading 10-15 while I catch up on some emails, takes about a minute. It will even tell me which photos I've already uploaded, or if I've already used that photo in a previous book. They can't make it any easier. 

The book makes what looks like 4x6 photos binded but perforated so you can easily tear them out and stick them on the fridge or give them to a friend. It also marks the page (not on the photo but the perforation tab) with the date and time. That's pretty cool. From what I recall Groovebook gets its name from the little groove they had to put in the binding so it was flexible enough to qualify for media postage. (Dont quote me on that) Smart people!

I was weary about the quality.. I mean 2.9 cents a photo and I don't have to get off my lazy butt and drive to the store, it gets delivered to my mailbox, I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised! The paper was thinner than photo center photos, think photo printer paper, glossy, and a little thinner like the thickness of a magazine cover, like a good magazine like Star weekly (don't judge me!) I say this as I'm feeling up all the magazines in my house to get a good comparison. My daughter is staring at me funny. "Mommy's just researching honey" she's off, she says she's going to go research in her playroom.. Why does that sound creepy....

Okay I'm off topic again. Bottom line is I love this book, it's a cheap way for me to share with family. When I ordered they sent me a code: MILLIKAN3 
If you use it, you get your first month free. But keep in mind it IS a subscription, so you need to cancel or you will be charged $2.99 a month, even if you don't upload those 100 photos a month.

Less then the price of a Starbucks frappacino, totally worth it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Call....

If you are a mom who uses a daycare or child care service of some sort, you know what I'm talking about. The's usually right when you are in the middle of an important project or have a hard deadline, your phone rings, and your child care providers name pops up on your caller ID. Chances are they aren't calling you to tell you your child recited his ABCs perfectly while using the potty and wiping his own bottom.....
You wait for it to ring a couple times while you assess your work status... Okay it's still ringing..this is not a pick up the phone
"Hi....ummmm...yeah....Junior just barfed all over his friends, you'll have to pick him up..."
Face palm to the head. It's only 9am and you need to figure out the escape plan, a back up plan, and a back up back up plan because you know when things start to go downhill, it's hard to really plan anything.

The project can wait, you pack your hand sanitizer and you are on your way to pick up your tiny bundle of germs, whom you love dearly, but would rather have healthy instead of sick any day (even though you love the extra cuddle time).

You're on the phone with your pediatrician while in the car because you know you need a doctors note to get your precious wee one back to day care anytime soon. 

Then there's the usual 24 hour after a fever rule before you can bring your child back to day care, which means you and your laptop and baby are best friends for the next 24-48 hours, welcome to mommy hood! 

Once the craziness dies down, and you are cuddling your sweet angel to sleep and sweating because the Tylenol hasn't kicked in for him yet, you stop and remember this moment. Because sometimes you need this extra time. There never is enough time, but right now in This moment your baby needs their momma, and you would go to the ends of the earth for them......Even if it means the report you were supposed to get to your boss by 3pm is not happening.....the world can wait.....someone more important needs you.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Usborne Books and More: becoming an educational consultant

Reading this, your like direct sales, that's so not me! Or, why be a consultant if you have a job? All great questions, and here's why.
I was introduced to Usborne books at a large Christmas craft show. The quality of the books are amazing, the books themselves are enticing, and draws children to them with their excellent illustrations, and amazing writing. Once I bought my first 2 books I was hooked. Do you remember the feeling you got when you were in elementary school and the teacher handed out the book order forms? The excitement of getting a new book, or possibly getting a new book. If I could just bottle up that emotion, and use it on days where I'm stressed or overwhelmed that would be the cure all! Where are those books I ordered? Probably ripped, broken, donated, trashed. The quality just wasn't there...
What if you can give that excitement to your child, and have books that will last....

Quality and Company
Usborne books is different, the quality is outstanding and these books will be passed down for sure. I've never once seen an Usborne book at a thrift store, or a consignment sale, and these aren't (for long while) offered on amazon. You have to go through a consultant to place an order. This shows the commitment the company has to their consultants. They offer a lot of tools for a consultant to be as successful as he or she wants to be.

There is no commitment by a consultant to sell. I can host shows weekly, or decide I want to take time off, there aren't minimum requirements for sales. This is so important to me, because I don't always have time to breathe let alone promote my business.

I can host a party live, a Facebook party from the comfort of my home in my pjs, go to libraries and complete orders, or get into book fairs, preschool and reading drives. The ability to take this where you want is huge. If I'm holding a party, it's usually appropriate to bring my child. I don't have to be afraid I'm not spending enough time with my children, I can include them, and so can party attendees.

The sport system is huge. My consultant team is like a family. They offer resources, tools, advice, and will even help me at party by skyping in and hosting the party with me. Any question about a book or recommendations are answered usually within the hour, and I never feel like my questions are dumb. Someone always wants to help me.

I told my husband I needed something fun to add to my work life. Something that I can try and succeed at, but can fail and it be okay. I want something I can make a little extra side money with, and pay for my daughters dance lessons, or my sons rehab sessions. It makes me feel good that I can do that!

Not interested in becoming a consultant? Host a party on Facebook, and get double free books until the end of September if you host with me. For example, a party with $350 in sales and a booking, you've earned $120 in free books, plus more at half price. Fun, easy, and all you need to do Is invite your friends and promote the books, which really sell themselves!

Interested in Usborne books, check out my company website at

Email with questions

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reflection time

I tend to do my best reflecting In the 5minutes I have after dropping my children off at daycare, and before I pull out of the parking lot. Yes, I sometimes sit in my car by myself and drink my Luke warm coffee, and think about what I'm about to do during the day. Do I have everything, did I remember to bring my daughters favorite book to school because its book day. Yes, ok good. Do I have my computer? okay great. Did I pay the kids tuition today? Did I end up switching the laundry to the dryer....darn it i didn't....ill have to redo that load later. 

I watch all the other parents drop off their kids. It's very therapeutic because I often feel sad I don't get to spend my whole day with my children, but I see other parents like myself dropping off their kids, and I feel like I'm not alone. There's the mom in the suit probably running late to a meeting, yes, those were breakfast crumbs she was wiping off her dress. There's the dad in the workout pants, and t-shirt, I wonder if he works from home, or maybe he gets in a run before he heads into the office. There's the parent with 3 young kids getting them out of the car one little one at a time. (I'd hate to see their tuition bill!) The mom who lugs a car carrier with her baby and a toddler Into the building by herself. There's someone with a car messier than mine (I told my husband that was possible). I saw those pieces of goldfish fall from the car and land in a little pile in the parking lot. I can spot goldfish a mile a way. I see the kids  run inside with huge smiles on their faces, greeting the teachers, backpacks on, ready for their field trip to the zoo.  

No matter if I work outside the home, work in the home, or stay at home, as long as my child is safe, healthy and happy, I'm doing a good job!

Then I snap out of it, put my car in reverse, and head to work. 

I may not have remembered to put the creamer back in the fridge before I left the house, and I'm wearing one black shoe and one blue shoe, but my child has her favorite book for book day...that is good enough for me!

Friday, July 4, 2014

A lesson from The Sandlot

Happy 4th of July! The family and I kicked it off with one of our favorite summer movies of all time...The Sandlot.
We seem to find ourselves quoting the movie from time to time...I don't know when the movie came out, but I've feel like I've been watching it FOREVERRRR FOREVERRRR (see how I snuck that in there)....

I really focused on one scene today, it's where the mom encourages her son to ask her step father to teach him the play fetch. She was like "well go in there and ask him" que awkward scene where boy stutters, and shyly asks. Every time I watch this scene I think to myself "why doesn't the mom just tell the dad to do it...why doesn't she pull him to the side and say 'hey, in a few minutes go ask your stepson to play catch, make him feel special like you WANT to do it" then I realized....that's the problem....what I'm thinking should happen is the problem...

I feel as a parent I am guilty of wanting things done for my daughter. Buying things for her because I know she'd like it, not because she's asked me for it. I find myself asking my husband to sign her up for things like dance because she likes dancing, but have I ever asked her if she wanted to have or do these things? Letting family know what to get her for her birthday when they ask me, instead of telling them to talk to her and figure out her likes and dislikes. Now that she's a big talker, I want her to use her verbal skills to communicate with others, in a polite and respectful way.

Is that an issue these days, where we provide things for our children without them asking or letting us know why they want or need something? Do I see the correlation around me, where people are afraid to ask for things, like a raise, and just wait until someone tells you you did a good job, and when that doesn't happen, you get angry and quit. Wanting something from someone should be a two way street. What do you want? Why do you want it? What does it mean to you? Is it an appropriate time for you to have what you want?

Im going to do better with how I treat My daughter, and ask her what she wants. Instead of providing her things and her just expecting good things to happen. Will she always hear yes? Heck no! She SHOULD hear no, and be okay with that. It should be an open conversation, she explains why she needs something, I explain why she can't have it right now, and if its something she can work towards, explain to her how she can achieve it.

This parenting thing is exhausting, and I know I'll never get it right, but ill try my hardest to do it in a way that works best for my family, and gives my children the opportunity to grow up to be respectful to others and themselves, that's my #1 goal.

Thanks Sandlot!

(Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I gave my child A Kid Cuisine meal.....and it's OK

Walking down the frozen section on my local Kroger the other day, I stopped in front of the frozen dinner section. There....I saw it! That blue box that took me back to my childhood. A Kid Cuisine frozen meal. This brought back memories of summer at my grandmothers when we were all too tired from a crazy filled day, and dinner had to be quick. It still however was rare. Once in a blue moon my mother would let me pick a Kids Cuisine meal from the freezer. "It's not healthy" she would say. She also said that about my cookie crisp cereal I always begged for but never got.

As a child I grew up thinking that blue box was bad for me, yet I still craved it.

Once I had kids I saw it, the health food craze. I made my daughter baby food from scratch, I choose organic when I could. I bought the fancy baby food cook books, with the ingredients I couldn't pronounce, because if given the option we always want what's best for our children. I felt like I'd set myself up to fail. I didn't always have time to roast the butternut squash or find the organic quinoa. My daughter didn't always like the fancy meals I spent hours pre making at the beginning of the week. It was hard. Why was I doing this? And why do I feel like a horrible mom for not wanting to sometimes. I had to let it go, and not put too much pressure on making everything perfect. I had to tell myself it was OK to buy the pre made baby food once in a while. Yes 2 ply toilet paper was okay, and store brand baby wipes got the job done.

Now don't get me wrong, I have many friends that just prepare organic, and that's great. I come from the thought that we do what works for our families. Moms need to do more supporting of one another instead of pushing what we feel works best for us. I think then, we will all know we are doing the best we can, and mommy guilt may be a thing of the past....maybe....

It came as a shock to me, that the other day, I stopped and actually reached in to grab one of those blue boxes for my daughter. "Penguin food mommy!" It put a smile on my face to think back to those random memories, but I thought what the heck, one meal won't be bad.

2 weeks later I was stretched thin for time. As a mom who works outside the house, dinner time fits in the sliver of time between sitting through rush hour to get home, bath time, and bed. I try my hardest to cook a wholesome meal each night, but this night it wasn't working out. So I broke out the penguin meal. Her eyes lit up, and she cried at the fact that she had to wait for it to cool down before eating up.

While she was inhaling her food (which never picky eater usually sticks her nose up at dinner time), I read the back of the box. Cooked spaghetti, whole grain pasta, tomato sauce with tomato, onion, and garlic, spices, soybean oil, Romano cheese from milk, meatballs with pork and beef, corn (with sugar....that was a little odd), applesauce, 280 calories, 9% of daily intake of fats, 15% for sodium (lower than I thought), it seemed to me that this meal seemed pretty well rounded for a frozen dinner. Now, I'm not a health expert, I don't claim to know anything really about nutrition, so I could have this completely wrong, but it seemed "healthier" than those lean cuisines I spent my 20's devouring for lunch.

Now, my goal is still try to cook a nice meal for my family each night, and enjoy it.... but if I have to break out the blue box once in a while......I won't feel like a horrible mom. My daughter CAN have a meal from a box and its OK. 

Sometimes I need to take a step back and look at the big picture....and tonight that picture is of a penguin, and he's snowboarding next to a pile of meatballs.....thanks Kid Cuisine!

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