I'm a former TV news anchor who is raising quadruplet daughters. I don't claim to be an "expert" parent, but I think my tips, triumphs and struggles will give you some insight to my life. Have ideas for this site? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My daughters' birthdays are in September. For me, that's too close to Christmas to not save/shop year 'round. This has proven much more difficult now that they're developing their own tastes. When they were younger I could buy whatever I wanted and know they would be happy. Now they're requesting things, and their idea of what's "cool" changes on a regular basis. The coveted item at the top of their list today could be at the bottom by Christmas. Fortunately, I've found a relatively easy way to save, so I can wait to shop: Swag Bucks. If you aren't already doing this, you should check it out. Basically, the site lets you earn "digital dollars" to trade in for whatever you want. In my case, I trade them in for $5 Amazon.com gift cards. You can redeem your Swag Bucks (SBs) for up to 5 of the same items a month. You earn SBs by searching the web, taking surveys, completing tasks and special offers, and a multitude of other ways. I've been doing this for two months and have so far redeemed my SBs for $45 worth of Amazon.com gift cards. The gift cards never expire, so you can just transfer them to your existing Amazon account and use them when you're ready. This isn't an all or nothing type of deal. Your SBs don't expire, so you can use the site as often or as little as you like. Here are some things I've learned:
Install the Swag Bucks tool bar. You'll receive 1 SB every day just for having the tool bar. Plus, it makes searching that much easier.
Do the "Daily Poll." Every day Swag Bucks has a Daily Poll on its site. You earn 1 SB every day that you do the poll.
Complete the "NOSO" option every day. This stands for "No Obligation Special Offers." You'll be shown a series of offers to either sign up for or skip. I skip every offer (you don't enter any personal information when you skip the offers) and earn 2 SBs every day.
Visit the "Trusted Surveys" section each day. You'll receive 1 SB each day you visit.
(By doing all of the above, you'll guarantee yourself 5 SBs a day. It's not the hundreds a day some "Swaggers" are pulling in, but it's a start)
Spread out your searches. I typically earn SBs two to three times a day through Internet searches (I've won as little as 7 SBs and as much as 37 SBs... you can win up to 100 SBs at a time). I search once in the morning, mid-afternoon and early/late evening.
Check for "Swagcodes" between 1 pm EST and 4 pm ESAT. Swagcodes are strange looking words (for example: Th3sISaCoDe) hidden in the Swag Bucks blog, on the Swag Bucks Facebook page or on the Swag Bucks Twitter page. You'll earn a specified amount of SBs for finding the code. I personally don't stress out about the codes. The times I've posted above aren't always the times the codes are released, but generally I seem to have luck most days if I look for a code during that time. (There's a "swidget" you can download, so you just click it to find out if there's an active code).
I will caution there are various "special offers" you can complete that will cost you money. That's not my thing. I'm doing it to save money, not to spend money. However, if you buy deals through Groupon, sometimes you can buy those through the Swag Bucks site, so you get your deal plus earn SBs. It sounds like a lot of work. It's not. You'll find on the Facebook page there are some people with nothing better to do than "swag" all day. I take some time to do it while my daughters are in school (there are some "tasks" that take literally 10 minutes and earn you 12-36 SBs), but that's about it. I'm not going to spend all day on the computer, but if that's what you want to do, go for it. If you're interested in checking it out, please click here. Yes, this is my referral page, so if you look around the site and want to sign up, please come back to the link so I'll get some referral bucks. Or not. Really it's up to you. Either way, I'm still feeling good about the effort I've made to save up for birthdays and Christmas. (Disclosure: Swag Bucks did not ask me to write this post, nor am I receiving any compensation for it. I just thought you would like to know about the site) PS- Time is running out to enter my In Stitches giveaway.
Every Easter it's the same dilemma. What do you do with all these hard boiled eggs? Last year I think I only boiled a dozen eggs (three eggs each). This year, Hubby insisted on boiling two dozen (six eggs each). We had a great time decorating eggs on Saturday. The girls were slightly impatient and didn't want to leave their eggs in the dye for very long. Once they saw an egg that Hubby left in for awhile and how vibrant it was, they started leaving their eggs in longer.
The girls aren't big egg eaters. So far we've all had a few salads with cut up egg on them. I'm pretty sure I'll be making egg salad either today or tomorrow. I was asked to bring dessert to my in-laws for Easter. I let the girls pick what I should make. This is what they chose:
The picture on the Betty Crocker website looks more professional than our end result, but we still had fun. The girls and I enjoy watching shows such as Ultimate Cake-off, so they kept pretending we were on the show. The cake on the left had some "issues." Part of the bottom stuck to the pan, which made it nearly impossible to put on the icing (you cut one cake round in half, ice the bottoms and stick them together to form the body). Hubby stuffed the hind end with marshmallows, which actually made the cake salvageable. The girls named that cake "Fluffy Bum Bum." Guess which piece they all wanted when it was time to eat it? Yep. The area stuffed with marshmallows. So now we have too many eggs and too much cake. At least we had fun in the process! Don't forget, there's still time to enter my In Stitches giveaway.
I am a self-proclaimed bookworm. While it is easy for me to veg out on the couch at night in front of the TV, I would much rather read a book. When my daughters were born, reading had to be put aside. Now that they're older, I try to read more often. I'm always looking for a good book and I was excited to be asked to review and host a giveaway for In Stitches: A Memoir by Anthony Youn, MD with Alan Eistenstock. I have to confess, I am a huge fan of Nip/Tuck, so I was expecting all sorts of juicy stories about bizarre plastic surgery cases. Instead, what I found was an intriguing and often touching recounting of Youn's journey to become a doctor. Youn, who makes frequent appearances on The Rachael Ray Show and The CBS Early Show, has a wonderful outlook on life... and himself. He's not afraid to describe himself as a nerd or recount the seemingly endless number of women who turn him down. While many parts made me laugh, there were a few parts of this book that made me tear up. From birth, Youn knew he would be a doctor. The day his parents bring him home from the hospital his father says he will be a doctor... and that's the end of the discussion. Youn has moments when he questions whether this is what he really wants to do. The incident that confirms his passion to become a doctor, specifically a plastic surgeon, is one that will likely stick with you long after you're done with this book. Sneak Attack Media is offering one lucky Buried in Laundry reader a copy of In Stitches. (FYI: The book will be released to the public tomorrow, April 26). To enter this giveaway (THIS STEP IS MANDATORY. NO OTHER ENTRIES WILL COUNT IF YOU DO NOT COMPLETE THIS STEP) *Please leave your email address in your comment or make sure it's visible in your profile
Leave me a comment telling me what you're currently reading (like I said, I'm always looking for a good book)
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The deadline to enter this giveaway is Thursday April 28, 2011 at 9am MST. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. The winner will have 48 hours after notification to provide me with a mailing address or a new winner will be chosen. I reserve the right to remove any comment/entries at my discretion (mainly because I always have a few spammers or someone who doesn't complete the mandatory entry). (Disclosure: Sneak Attack Media provided me with a complimentary copy of In Stitches to review and will be providing the winner's copy. I received no monetary compensation for this post and the opinions in this post are strictly my own).
We have lived in this house for nearly four years. We haven't done much work on it. In all honesty, it doesn't need that much work (thank goodness), but the bachelor who lived here before us had horrible taste... at least when it came to choosing paint. I call our TV room "the cat puke colored room." If you've ever seen a hairball, then you can visualize what color the walls are. For whatever reason, he thought that color transitioned nicely to burnt orange, which is the color of the dining/kitchen area. (The kitchen and TV room are essentially one big open space). The downstairs bathroom and the girls' bathroom upstairs are also a lovely shade of cat puke. The rest of the downstairs is white, mainly because there's no logical break in the walls to paint the rest of the downstairs, unless you want the entire upstairs to be that color, too. Speaking of the upstairs, we did have to paint the girls' original bedroom before we moved in. I'm hoping the bachelor used it for a study because it was that trendy red everyone is gaga over. Good for a study, not so good for a bedroom for four little girls. We painted it lavender. Let me tell you, covering up red is no easy task. Our bedroom is somewhat neutral, browns and grays. Unfortunately, the paint job is so bad that I'm not sure we could ever cover it up if we wanted to. There's paint splattered on the ceiling, spots where you can see through to the white. I just really wish I could have been here to see who did the actual painting. This all leads us to the master bathroom. To me, a bathroom is a sanctuary. A place to relax in a scalding hot bath and get away from the worries of the day. I won't go into the fact that this bathroom has a regular-sized tub. (Someday I WILL live in a house with a luxurious garden tub). But how the heck are you supposed to relax in a forest green bathroom? There's no light! It's not bright. It's dark and depressing. Since Hubby is tired of listening to me complain about all the icky-colored rooms in our house, he has finally agreed to paint the bathroom. (It may have helped that I had one of the girls hand him a paint sample and say "This is what we should give Mommy for Mother's Day). In just a few weeks (we need to find the time to actually do this), I will have a nice neutral colored bathroom. A bright, cheery place to relax, on the rare occasion that I find time to relax in a hot bath. It's about time!
About two weeks ago, I chaperoned my daughters' preschool field trip. It was fun and exhausting. My group included my four girls and two other students. Somehow I ended up being the only chaperone who did not have help from another parent or teacher. (One group had six kids and four parents!) Oh well, the seven of us did our own thing and had a lot of fun. Of course, with six preschoolers there are bound to be plenty of trips to the bathroom. Not a big deal. The girls in my group needed some help reaching the sink to wash their hands, but could do everything else on their own. As the entire class waited for the bus, a few of the girls in my group needed one last trip to the bathroom. The teacher's aide asked if I would mind taking another girl from the afternoon class. I didn't have a problem with this, until we were headed to the bathroom and another mom mentioned that this girl needed "help" in the bathroom. I felt a little uncomfortable because a) it's not my child and b) I'm not the teacher or her parent. But I figured if you have to go, you have to go, so all the girls did their business, I helped the other girl and we were done. So what's bugging me? When we went back outside, I found out the girl's dad was on the field trip. Why in the world did he not take her to the bathroom himself? Why would he let a complete stranger help his daughter in the bathroom? (This facility has several unisex/family bathrooms, so the issue of using the men's room wasn't a factor). Am I wrong to be a little miffed? I had no problem helping this girl, but what is he teaching his daughter? There have to be boundaries, especially with strangers. I'm a mom. I had 0% bad intentions, but how does he know that?! I'm not even blaming the teacher's aide in this situation. The teacher hadn't arrived with her group, so the teacher's aide was trying to keep track of all the kids and chaperones who had arrived. She knows me. I have four girls. Of course she had no problem sending this child with me. But the dad? I'm just not sure why he didn't take care of it himself.
Apparently age 5 is the age where everything you tell a child is met with "Why?" "It's time to clean this room." "Why?" "You can't play video games right now." "Why?" "It's time to go to bed." "Why?" I'll admit it, I'm guilty of responding with "Because I said so" or "Because I'm your mother" on more than one occasion. I've gotten to a point where I just can't keep explaining myself. One of my girls uses "why" as a delay tactic. If she doesn't want to clean, then she'll go into "why-mode." I used to explain to her in great depth why she needed to clean up. Rather than say "Because I said so," I've started responding with "Because if you make a mess, it's your job to clean it up." I really do try to provide my daughters an answer when they have a "legitimate" question. If their "why" has more to it than that, I try my best to have a good response. "Why are the clouds so big?" "Why do we sleep when it's dark out?" Those are "whys" I can handle, although sometimes I need the Internet to help me out. (Don't forget to check out my latest giveaway!)
Have I ever mentioned how many loads of laundry I do a week? (I'm being sarcastic. I know I have. Repeatedly). In a good week, I do 12 loads. A good week means no accidents or a cat that decides to crawl under my covers and hack up a hairball. (The latter actually happened last week!) I'm always looking for ways to make laundry day easier. As a Purex Insider, I had the chance to try Purex Complete with Zout. It is one of the best laundry detergents I've used. It's a detergent and a pre-treater in one. I put it to the test and it does a great job of getting out most stains. After spaghetti night, it didn't get out all the pasta sauce and I had to use my trusted stain remover. Still, after one of the girls woke up with a bloody nose, I didn't need any other stain remover, so I'm impressed. Purex Complete with Zout is also a "dual compatible formula," which means, lucky for me, it can be used in top loaders or High Efficiency washing machines. Plus, Purex gave me a "free and clear" version. We're a fairly sensitive family, so I appreciate having a detergent without dyes and fragrances. Want to try it for yourself? Purex is offering two Buried in Laundry readers a coupon for a free bottle of Purex Complete with Zout. To enter the giveaway: (Please leave a separate comment for each entry. You must leave your email address in your comment or have an email address that's visible in your profile).
This entry is mandatory: Visit Purex.com and then leave me a comment tell me what other Purex product sounds interesting to you.
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Follow Buried in Laundry or let me know you're already a follower
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This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You must have a valid email address to participate. The deadline to enter the giveaway is 9 am MST Thursday April 14, 2011. The two winners will be chosen by Random.org and have 48 hours after notification to provide me with a mailing address or a new winner will be chosen. (Disclosure: Purex provided me with a complimentary bottle of Purex Complete with Zout in order to do this review. Purex will also be providing the two winners with a coupon for complimentary bottles. I received no monetary compensation for this post).
Tonight was kindergarten round up for our school district. My girls were really excited to go and see their new classrooms. They're quite disappointed that they won't be starting kindergarten tomorrow. I had to explain that first they need to finish preschool, then they'll have summer vacation and then it will be time for kindergarten. Now it's time for the big decision. The principal said he'll start figuring out class lists next month. So I need to figure out how I'm going to separate my girls. He's leaving it completely up to me, which is good. The girls who share bedrooms at home will not be in class with their roommates. I think it will do them all some good to be away from one another. The identicals won't be in the same class, either. I want them to be able to be seen as individuals, rather than have people constantly trying to remember who is who. (Their preschool teacher still confuses Cakes and Tortilla). So that leaves the combinations of Roo/Cakes and Sue Sue/Tortilla or Roo/Tortilla and Sue Sue/Cakes. I think I'm going to with the latter. For whatever reason, Roo and Tortilla liked the looks of one classroom and Sue Sue and Cakes liked the look of the other. It's probably not the best way to pick, but I'm not sure what other criteria to use. The teachers are both friendly, competent, etc. The curriculum in both classes is the same. I can't believe my babies are ready for kindergarten!
This is one of those weeks when I'm just going to be happy to get through it. Spring Break is over, so we're back on the "school schedule." I volunteered to chaperone a preschool field trip. I have to go to my part-time job. I'm also doing a temporary test grading job from home. This is all on top of trying to keep up with laundry and keeping the house clean (yeah, right). I'm afraid there may not be enough hours in the day this week to accomplish it all!