Friday, April 29, 2011

5 Fabulous Wood Learning Toys for Toddlers from Melissa & Doug





Well, I figured that if I waited until a day when I had time to make both myself and my home look presentable enough for video, I'd never get around to vlogging, so here I am--no makeup, spitup on my shirt, hair in a pony tail--you know, the "mom" look! :)

Well, here it is, my first vlog (video + blog):

video

I seriously had already finished this vlog and was waiting for the video to upload, when I noticed that Melissa and Doug are having a Twitter party tonight, at 10 p.m. complete with GIVAWAYS! I might just have to bit the bullet and get on Twitter, people. (Do any of you Tweet?)

If you'd like to continue to see these each Friday, please let me know! (My blog isn't monetized, at least not yet, which means I'm not making any money off of it. So if I don't have any readers--or any who like seeing these, I'll seriously lack motivation for posting!)

Like I mentioned in the video, I'm not getting any "kick-backs" from Melissa and Doug, but I do really like the company. (Among other reasons I mentioned, it's a family-owned business and still offers truly personal customer service: if you call, a REAL PERSON actually answers the phone, and if one of their products is defective, they actually replace it--for free!) If you're like me and tend to shop online these days, I figure videos like this is the next best thing to trying before you buy.

Here are pics and links to the Fabulous 5 Wood Learning Toys for Toddlers that I featured in the video, plus the "bonus" one:
Here's the Magnetic Hide-and-Seek Board.

Here's the Fishing Magnetic Puzzle Game
Here's the Rainbow Stacker Wooden Favorite
Here's the Magnetic Chalkboard/Dry-erase Board.

Here's the Vehicles Mix-n-Match Peg Puzzle
Here's the Barnyard Jumbo Knob puzzle.

Please share this blog with your mommy friends, and don't forget to let me know if you liked my first vlog!

Signing off in hopes of a sunny spring weekend--in your area and mine, this is








reminding you that the days may indeed be long, but the years are oh-so-short!

P.S. This Latches Board is on my "mommy wish list," but the price is just a bit much for this momma! If anyone has a used one or sees a good price on one, could you please let me know? Thanks!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Work-from-Home Wednesdays--Getting Started as a WAHM

Okay, so I don't have a banner created for this series yet, but I did decide on a Wednesday theme, as you can see.

After a delayed deadline of last Friday and its correspondence to our first ER visit with one of our sons, I was a little relieved to have no writing jobs coming up. However, by Tuesday afternoon, I had more leads than I could realistically handle, as well as a huge new project due this Saturday. In addition, I've had seemingly constant questions from friends, old and new, about how to get started with freelancing. Especially since many of my writing leads thus far have come from Facebook friends of mine, I truly do want to share what I have learned. But it's hard to find the time.

So in this new Wednesday series, I plan to give you a few tips and/or leads each week, to help my fellow SAHMs (Stay-at-Home Moms) become increasingly successful WAHMs (Work-at-Home Moms). I'll let you know about some of my successes as I live this journey, as well as some of my pitfalls, so you can avoid them. I also plan to feature other WAHMs who have started their own businesses in areas other than freelance writing.

Well, like I said, I have a deadline looming, so I need to cut this off. I think you'll benefit from reading this this post, error-laden though it be. And it's also one of the tips I'm sharing this week! 
Some week, we'll get into what I'm learning about affiliate links and advertising (ways to make money on your blog), but for now, you can blog on that site, and even 12 "Likes" can earn you $20! (I kind of wish I'd spent my time soliciting "Likes" on there--maybe I would have made more than I did by coming in 2nd in the Momsquawk contest! Oh, well. I met some fabulous friends, and they're the ones who turned me onto this site, in the first place. 

You'll have to register to comment or "Like" my post, or to post your own. If you let me know you join, I'll add you as one of "my bloggers," so I can "Like" you up, too!

Here are a couple other helpful sites I've come across and would be great for those wanting to write or earn a few bucks in other, random ways:

http://www.wahm.com (For writers, this post and its related threads are especially helpful: http://www.wahm.com/forum/wahms-who-write-46/130-looking-work.html.)

https://www.mturk.com (I just started looking into this when other writing gigs started heating up, so I never really got started on it, but you can read this helpful, detailed review of another person's experience: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/07/05/can-you-actually-earn-reasonable-money-from-mechanical-turk/.)


http://savingsteward.blogspot.com/ (Here, you can find many tips from a personal friend of mine who has been very creative in earning a decent income for her family of 2 since she doesn't have a permit to work for income where she currently lives. She turned me on to many coupon and money-saving deal-of-the-day sites earlier this year.)

http://www.yellowbrickroad.com/follow/5-steps-to-break-into-freelance-writing/ This post is by a new friend of mine, the one who won the Momsquawk contest. She obviously knows what she's doing, so her tips are probably much better than mine. ("Like" it for her, if you do! And if you comment with a question about something you read, I'm sure that she'll respond.) In a comment, she asked me to add in this link where she's found ways to get paid to blog!



By the way, we're getting really close to those 50 FB followers and a $5 gift card givaway, so tell your friends to "Like" Tammy Mommy Madness fan page on Facebook! If they post on the wall, telling me you sent them, I'll enter your name an extra time for each friend!

Once we hit that  50-fan mark, I'll have other mommy-friendly givaways for you, my lovely fans, each week!

No matter how much money you have in the bank or due on bills, and no matter how many leads or deadlines are calling your name, make sure to take some time to look at each of your precious children full in the face, and tell them you love them, today! And show them you love them with some quality time, too! (If I can find the time and energy, trust me--so can you!)

This is
reminding you that even though today may be very, very long, the years are far too short!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Double Birthday?


Last week was my first baby's second birthday, but it was my birthday, in a way, as well. If you know me, you know my birthday is actually in December (2 days from celebrations of the most significant birthday in the history of the world!), but that's not what I mean.

The Wagner Family is having a red-wagon-themed year!


It was fun to see him blow out his own candles, this year!

Finger-lickin' good stuff!

I find myself more sentimental about my first son's birthdays than I imagine I'll be about that of my second son or any other children with whom God may (I hope!) bless me. I attribute this feeling to the same fact I blame for my obsessing over my first pregnancy, my first baby nursery, et. al. And don't we all take more pictures of that first tiny little person to make his home in our arms?


As a firstborn, myself, I still feel sympathy with those seemingly slighted later children whose parents can't seem to find five pictures from their childhood, while myriad boxes cannot contain the excess pictorial records of their older siblings' infant years. But I'm starting to understand why.


The obvious preoccupation with mommying other children may play a role, but I don't think that's the main issue at hand.


The reason is this: Not only was a baby born two years ago, but a mother was born as well.  During that first pregnancy, I wasn't just reading about my first baby's development and planning for his arrival--I was truly readying myself for becoming a mom to however many children I would have.


So with my first child's birthday, each year, I celebrate not just the birth of a child, but also the birth of a mom.


This is a very sentimental





reminding you that the days may be long, but the years (at least these first two, for me!) are really way too short!

Friday, April 22, 2011

5 Fabulous Spring Freebies for Moms & Kids


Okay, so I missed my second "Mommy Mondays" post! I had it "saved as draft" before we went away for the weekend, and then I came back to feeling behind in that crazy Momsquawk contest, and, well, here we are ready to say bye-bye to Friday!

By the way, I want to create a theme for Wednesdays, too, so if you haven't voted on what you'd like to see, yet, make sure to vote in the poll at the bottom of the sidebar!

After spending half the day in the ER with my 2yo, Caleb, and the other half trying to finish writing for an already kindly delayed writing deadline, I just couldn't find anyplace in our little home respectable enough to shoot a vlog, so you'll have to wait one more week for that one. I have an idea for next week's, though, so messy house or no, I will do video for next week!

Without further ado, here are this week's Fabulous 5 Mommy Freebies for you and your Kiddos, this spring:

  • This "Happy Earth Day" activity book is a little beyond my kiddos' abilities, right now, but I thought some of you would like to use it to help develop environmentally conscious kiddos!

  • If you have an Ereader or an iPhone, you can download check out this "The Very First Easter" ebook download from Amazon. My Caleb loves flipping through these!
  • (Thanks to one of my favorite deal blogger, Heidi, The Frugal Girls!)
  • Do you have a hard time getting cards out on time? Somehow, I tend to end up sending out cards late, even when I buy them in plenty of time! They just get stuck in a holding pattern between the store and mail box. Well, you're home free with this FREE Mother's Day Card that Tiny Prints even ships for you!
  • (Thanks to Sarah Gibbons and her fabulous deal blog, Raining Hot Coupons!)
        • On these cold, rainy spring days in Wisconsin, having some indoor play time is a very good thing! Last week, Caleb got to play on rides and do some games at Chuck-E-Cheese with our 60 free tokens! (Jonathan and I each received coupons for Caleb's birthday and Josh's "half birthday," this month, just for being on their e-mail list!) You can also get them for your school-aged kids' grades and any aged kids' filled chore charts!

        • If you have older kids, you can make up your own crossword puzzles or other games on this site, powered by Discovery Channel. (I've also used them for bridal showers and baby showers, as well as in the classroom, when I taught high school full time.
        Sorry this is a very visually unappealing post, but it kind of goes with the rest of my surroundings right now. (I don't know why the formatting is so hard for me to get right--if any other bloggers who use Blogspot have any tips, I'd be obliged!)

        I'll remind you as I remind myself, today, that the days may be very, very loooong, but the years are oh-so-short!

        Signing off for the weekend, this is

        Friday, April 15, 2011

        5 Not-So-Fabulous Ways to Sabatoge Your Children's Sleep






        Okay, so my intention with this series of posts is to be helpful and even inspirational, but I just don't have that kind of thing in me right now. This week has been totally overbooked for me; I knew from the start of it that it would hold well-baby visits, a few other appointments, Caleb's birthday, a writing contest (please comment on my piece, if you haven't already!), another writing deadline, and preparing to go out of town this weekend. I did not know it would also bring increased efforts to sleep train Joshua, which would mean having his Pack-n-Play migrate to the living room (for night time) from our room (for naps) and back again each day, and then re-arranging our storage room, only to find a ton of MOLD, meaning we had to empty it out, so boxes and bins are currently crowding our already crowded living spaces. And my first vlog? You'll have to wait until at least next Friday for that!

        All that to say, for your entertainment, here are my "5 Not-So-Fabulous Ways to Sabatoge Your Children's Sleep," all of which I have stupidly done:
        
        1. Leave the light on in your child's room.
        2. Immediately after putting your child to bed, drop dishes, glasses, pots, or pans in the kitchen, when your kitchen is close to your child's room.
        3. Accidentally put your child to bed an hour early, when he or she is not yet tired.
        4. Give your child a lot of sugary snacks right before bed.
        5. Forget to put a diaper on your child who is not yet potty trained. (I did this just last night.)

        Extra Tip: If your baby falls asleep in a Jumperoo, be sure to turn off the sound!













          Now that you're feeling like the smartest mommy in the world, I hope you feel energized and empowered enough to be have a super Saturday and Sunday, full of relaxation and memories to last a lifetime.

          Signing off, this is



          reminding you that "the days may be long, but the years are oh-so-short!"

          Monday, April 11, 2011

          Sometimes We Need Permission

          Okay, so the first "Mommy Moment Mondays" post is actually being written on Tuesday, but it isn't yet 1 a.m. yet, and I have this set at EST, so I say, it still counts! (This tells you how together I am--not!)

          In the movie Shadowlands, the love story of C.S. Lewis (one of my all-time favorite authors!), I heard this statement: "We read to know we are not alone." I hope these "Mommy Moment Mondays" help remind you that you're not alone in this mommy journey. (And by reading your comments--hint, hint!--I'll be reminded that I'm not alone in mine.)

          Anyhow, today was definitely a Monday, if ya know what I mean. Recovery from the weekend amounted to "blitzing" the house while my hubby (you'll learn to really like him--he's a 'keeper,' to be sure!) took our boys for a walk, pulling them around in his birthday present--our little red Radio Flyer wagon. (He actually asked for that--what a dad!)

          The most significant part of our day was taking my kiddos to their well-baby appointments, Caleb to his 24 mo., and Josh to his 6 mo. It went pretty well, but I'm not going to bore you with the details of my sons' developmental milestones. The greatest significance of the visit rested in what I received there: permission. Permission to leave my baby in his crib to cry.

          Now, with Caleb I was not a co-sleeper at all, except when he was sick. I followed a "parent-directed feeding approach" to a "T" that basically led to his sleeping 7-8 hours through the night by the time he was 7 weeks old, and without tears! (I did sleep on the couch, while holding him, a time or two when he was sick.) There were a few nights after he was consistently sleeping through the night when he was well that he awakened and I let him cry a bit, but I'd just turn down the monitor. (You think I'm evil, now, don't you?)

          Our living situation this year, with Josh, has been so different, though--and, thus, so has our approach. I won't go into all of that, but Josh has been in our room all along. Until last night. For the first time, I let my baby cry (in the living room) while I slept comfortably in my own bed, next to my husband. For the first time in quite some time, I actually got a good night's sleep.

          My point is that sense of "needing permission." It wasn't even significant to me that it was someone with a few initials behind her name giving it. Sometimes we moms just need "permission" from someone to do what we know is best for us or our children, even if it feels wrong or selfish or what have you. In case I needed any further "permission" to continue to sleep train my son, I received this encouragement from "The Baby Sleep Site" in my e-mail inbox this morning:

          "If your baby is not where he usually sleeps, he might toss and turn until it DOES feel like he is in his bed. This means that the first night or even the first week, there may be some long nights, but it doesn't mean he won't get used to his new bed with time, patience, and consistency. Always give your sleep plan time to work and give him time to adjust. The first response is not always the end of the conversation. Stick with it. He can do it! :)"

          Later, my husband gave me a different sort of permission. I had just put both boys down for their afternoon naps (Bliss!), and as he got ready to leave for work, he told me to go out on our little porch and enjoy some alone time and relax. No computer, no phone. And I did.

          Maybe you're past the stage where sleep is a struggle, but do you ever feel like you need "permission" as a mom? What for? Who provides it for you? And do you find yourself doing things much differently with other children than you did with your first? I'd love to hear about those, too!

          Well, if it's as nice outside wherever you find yourself, I'm giving you the same "permission" today that my hubby gave me: Take some time out for just you today. Reflect and be still. You deserve it and you need it.