Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why My Kids Will Never Believe in Santa

I really don’t like to lie. It gives me the heeby jeebies…I mean, I get this bad, horribly guilty, feeling when I lie. When I was a little girl I would tell the truth within days of telling any lie. Now, as a parent, I hate lying to my children too. I try to give them honest reasons for why they shouldn’t do things like eat MSG or jump on the couch (hello, head injury!).

So now with Christmas drawing near, my twins will be turning 2 years old, and my husband and I are being faced with what to tell our children about Santa. Everyone from Grandparents, to receptionists, to hair stylists are asking my toddlers if they are looking forward to seeing Santa, and getting gifts from Santa, and asking if they have been good for Santa etc. It just drives me crazy! The whole world just assumes that we tell our children that a rosy cheeked, large man will somehow break into our home and leave gifts for them…ugh.

So here are my problems with teaching my children to believe in Santa
1)     Jesus is the reason for the season. This season, and every other one. Our family celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and I don’t want my children’s attention more focused on the glitz and glamour of Santa and gifts rather than Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I love gifts, holiday lights, carols, glitter and reindeer….but I think that you can have all of that and still focus on the birth of Jesus. I think that Christmas is the perfect time to emphasize the gift that God has given us. Jesus is God’s gift to us and when Jesus died on the cross as payment for our sins; that was His gift to us. So in a season that seems to be all about who gives the best gift, we will be teaching our kiddos about the ultimate gift, Jesus.
2)   The whole lying thing. I can’t fathom perpetuating a lie for the next 5 or so years. Telling my children that there is currently a magical man, who lives in a magical land, with flying reindeer, and elves who make toys…that is a flat out lie. I LOVE LOVE pretend, and make believe. But I make it a point to make sure my children know that we are “pretending” to drink tea, and fly, and be puppy dogs, etc. They know reality from pretend. Enter Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. I have no problem with my kids having fun and pretending that a large rabbit laid eggs in our yard, or pretending that a winged, magical fairy flies into their room and collects rotting, stinking teeth…ugh.
3)   We all know that it is hard to trust and/or respect people who have lied to us. Especially lies that have been carried out over years, or multiple lies. So I don’t want to start long term lies with my children. I want them to know that they can trust mommy and daddy; that we will always be honest with them. Being honest with them will instill respect and trust both ways.
4)   History is fun and Saint Nick was an interesting man. I hope to teach my children about the history of Saint Nick and how he became the legend known as Santa. I want my children to know how Santa came to be, and why people tell their kids about him. I hope to teach them to therefore respect other people’s feelings and not blurt our “Santa isn’t real!” to other children.
5)    Back to my pet peeve. It bothers me so much when people use Santa to try and manipulate their children and their behavior. Saying things such as “If you don’t behave Santa won’t bring you any gifts.” Or “ Santa is watching you and keeping a list.” Okay, that last one is just creepy. What kid needs to think that someone is always watching them, but they can’t see that person….But really, a child should be taught to behave because it is the right thing to do. If they behave well only when a reward is offered, they will quickly misbehave when there is no potential for reward, or when they find out that the reward is moot.

All this being said, we will celebrate Christmas, with Jesus as the focal point. We will decorate a tree, we will hang lights, we will sing about Rudolph. We will even go to a mall and get a picture taken on “Santa’s” lap. (Or as my kids will know him, a man dressed up as the historical Saint Nick.) You can still allow your family to experience the joy of celebrating the holidays of this world without being of this world. I don’t believe that my children have to be ostracized because they don’t believe in Santa. I hope that my kiddos can share their faith and love of Jesus Christ with all of their little friends during Christmas (and all other times).
Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and the Smelly...A Pros & Cons Review of Diapers

Diapers. Yeah, we go through a few; about 20-25 a day. On a good day that is. A good day being one without poop blowouts and urine soak throughs. That being said, we have used just about every brand of diaper out there. I like to think that makes me a self-appointed diaper expert. So I think that it is my duty, as an expert (haha) to let you all know the good, the bad, and the ugly about the diapers available out there.

Yes, that is over 2,000 diapers that we went through in months

I have found that overall Huggies diapers are very absorbent. They are decent at holding in wetness. They also are moderately priced. The Huggies brand is pretty good at putting out coupons too, which is a huge plus. They also have a rewards for purchases program. Their downfall is that they tend to run at least one size too small. This isn’t too big of a deal, except that when you buy a bigger size, you get less diapers per box for the same price. Ugh. What is the deal with smaller things costing more? But I will say that I like the Huggies Overnight diapers; I of course have to buy them one size larger. They are pretty good for stomach sleepers that tend to leak urine out of the top front. B

Now Pampers really is a mixed bag because they have many different types of diapers. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of most of them. I find that the Baby Dry have an odd smell and aren’t great at protecting against leaks. The Cruisers aren’t much different so I don’t know why they are touted as anything special. Another downside, Pampers are very pricey. Often they are the most expensive diapers available besides the organic type. On the plus side, I really do like their Swaddler variety. They used to be available only for small babies, but they are now available up to size 6. The Swaddlers tend to hold in most liquid and poop. They are also made of a thick and durable material. Pampers also offer some coupons and provide a rewards system based on purchases. B

Babies R Us:
I was extremely disappointed with these diapers. You would think that a diaper produced by a “baby” brand would be decent. Wrong. The Babies R Us brand diapers are thin and barely absorbent. They leak out of the leg holes very badly. A plus, they are inexpensive. But at the rate that you go through them, the low cost is moot. C-

Parent’s Choice (Walmart):
Walmart’s Equate and Parent’s Choice brand generally are a good equivalent to the national brand’s quality and better priced. However, their diapers are terrible. They are on par with the Babies R Us brand. They are super thin, not absorbent, and they leak. So again, while the price is great, it is not worth it because you will go through them so quickly. C-

I like Luvs. They are pretty low priced and decently absorbent. We still had leaks with Luvs, but not as many as with the Babies R Us and Parent’s Choice. Luvs would be my second choice in diapers. B

Target Brand:
Target’s brand of diapers is my favorite. They are of medium thickness so their absorbency is pretty decent. We have low leakage with Target diapers too. They move pretty well with our kids and their price is very good. One of the best things about Target diapers is that they often run a deal where you get a $10-$15 gift card when you purchase two boxes. A pretty sweet deal when you have two sets of twins. Plus, I got a Target Red Debit Card so I get an additional 5% off of all purchases and free shipping from their website. I don’t know about you, but it can be very hard for me to get out of the house to buy diapers. Thus, the free shipping from Target is a great option! The negative about Target diapers is that they have a slight tendency to bust open and leak the absorbent gel bead insides. Generally this happens with a semi full diaper and after bouncing or rough playing. However, I have found these beads all over my daughter when she hasn’t been bouncing or rough playing. So overall, Target diapers are my #1 choice. A-

Choosy moms choose Target lol! 

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

MAM Infant and Toddler Products Review

I love baby products. Every few months it seems like companies put out these new and innovative products that are safer, better looking, and more effective for baby’s use. MAM UK gave me the opportunity to select some things from their website to use with my 4 kiddos and review. Among the things that I have tried out with my kids are a nifty teether, some cool glow in the dark pacifiers, some soft, coated spoons with a carry case and dribble bibs.

I love, love, love the teethers! MAM sent me a blue one and a pink one so that my 2 year old boy/girl twins could each have their own. I love that you can chill these teethers and so do my kids. They have a unique shape that allows for contact on the front and back teeth, on both sides. Perhaps one of its best features is the clip-on function; my kids have a ton of teethers and leave them all over the house. With this clip-on teether, I can guarantee that they will have it for at least an hour before they figure out how to get it off.

Next, we tried the dribble bibs. So cute! We got two of them, one in green and one in pink. They remind me of a bandanna and they look way cooler than your normal bib. They have several folds that are intended to catch debris; liquid or otherwise. However, we used these bibs for bottle feeding and it was a fail. They didn’t catch the milk or the subsequent spit up. I think that the term “dribble bib” is meant to imply that these bibs are meant to catch drool from teething babies. Not the gush of spit up that comes out of my acid reflux babies.

We sterilized the new glow in the dark (Perfect Night) pacifiers and introduced them to our toddlers. They loved them! These new Perfect Night pacifiers are designed to reduce the risk of misaligned teeth and thanks to Dento-Flex® the nipple neck is 60% thinner and the nipple itself is 4 times softer. We obviously love that these glow in the dark. My twins are champs at losing their pacifiers behind their cribs. Then, of course, we cannot find them in the dark. Now, voila, we can suddenly find the glowing pacifiers! Yay!

One of the great things about all of the MAM pacifiers we received is that they all came in their own little sterilizer box; which is so convenient for cleaning. The spoon set is also great! The smaller spoon has a nice curve that helps little eaters in training. I also really appreciated that a MAM representative followed up with me to see how we liked the products and if we had any questions.

MAM also sent us two mini teethers specifically meant for the front teeth, and two small training tooth brushes for ages 6 months and up. The mini teethers are too small for my 2 year olds, and I tried giving them to my 4 month olds but they are still thrusting their tongues forward so that didn’t work for them yet. And the toothbrushes look amazing, and perfect for small hands. It has a tongue scrubber on the back and a lot of grip for little hands.

So far we haven’t had any disappointments with MAM products and I would recommend them to any of my friends. I can’t wait until my little ones are big enough to use the other great MAM products that we have bat cannot use yet. Check out MAM UK's website today, follow them on Facebook and on Twitter too!

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: 1-2-3 Just Play With Me Child Development Toolbox Winner

Congratulations! Nancy Dentler! You are our Lucky winner!! Merry Christmas! Be sure to continue to follow Mama On The Bright Side for future giveaways!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Whispers & Words Winner

Congratulations! Amanda Baker! You are our Lucky winner!! Merry Christmas! Be sure to continue to follow Mama On The Bright Side for future giveaways!


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Children 'n Us Stroller Organizer Review


With two sets of twins under the age of two we have many strollers. The two that we use the most are a double stroller and our new quad stroller (yikes!). They are pretty nice strollers, however, they don’t have anywhere to put drinks, phones, chapstick, or anything else small. And mommy needs her chapstick.

Thankfully, I was recently given the opportunity to review a stroller organizer that straps onto any stroller. It has several small pockets, a main pocket, and two mesh elasticized pockets that are great for holding bottled water or baby bottles. (Gotta stay hydrated when you are pushing an 80 lb stroller plus 90 lbs of kids!) This nifty organizer is sold by Children n’ Us. It is very easy to install; just hook the straps over the stroller bar.  It is easy to order through Amazon, and reasonably priced. And be sure to check out their Facebook page for all things baby!

I’m not really sure what I was expecting in a stroller organizer, but I will say that I wish this were more sturdy. It will hold things, but it won’t keep things from tipping over unless they are in the elasticized pockets. On the plus side, this organizer would also be handy to have in your car for the bagillion things every mommy carries with her; just in case.

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Nerium Firm Lotion

So…I cheated. I had 4 kids and only had to carry 2 pregnancies (2 sets of twins). I gave birth to these 2 sets only 19 months apart. The consequences for this cheating, however, have been harsh for my body. You could certainly say that my body has seen better days. From my ribs down I have a wonderful new road map of stretch marks that tell the story of how I carried my two sets of twins for 35 weeks and 38 weeks…in addition to the marks I have what is so fondly called “twin skin.” Ya know, the extra skin you are left with after your body stretches to mind bending proportions.

So what now? I don’t think I am done having children, so there is only more saggy skin in my future. I asked my doctor what I could do about it and she didn’t mince words. She said, “looks like there is a tummy tuck in your future.” Hah, thanks doc; very encouraging. As if I could afford a tummy tuck.  This left me with a pretty dim outlook.
Sara, your go to Rep for Nerium!
Enter Sara, a very sweet sales rep who sells a product called Nerium. Sara is a young mother of three who helps supplement her family’s income by selling their fantastic product line. Nerium only sells 3 products right now, and one of them is called Firm. It actually firms up sagging skin; exactly what I had been looking for. Now, I know you, like me, are probably skeptical. But come on, a company that only sells 3 products and is highly successful must be doing something right. So I agreed to try out their Firm lotion and write up a review about my experience with it.

Here are some before and after photos of people who have used Nerium Firm:
Real Results Real Results

Real Results Real Results

My sales rep Sara uses Nerium herself and loves it; she is honest, fun, and never pushy. She is the best person you could buy this product from. She will answer any questions you have and make sure you are happy!
I started using Nerium Firm on October 10th, it has been over 30 days and I have seen great results. I apply the lotion twice a day; it only takes about a minute to really rub it all in. The very first day that I used Firm, my skin felt different. For lack of a better word, it felt firmer. As the days progressed I honestly couldn’t tell for sure if anything was changing. I kept asking my husband how it looked, and referencing my “before” photos…but my belly didn’t look too different. However, it felt different. I continued to notice that my belly skin felt tighter and firmer.

So 30 days later and I am finally seeing tighter, smoother, firmer belly skin. And it feels that way too! I seem to have real problem with sticking with a regimen when I don’t see results, but I am so thankful that I stuck to this Firm lotion regimen. It took a month of “I’m not sure if I see any results” to get to the results that I am now seeing. **Just a note here, to protect my own feelings, I have not posted my own Before and After photos, however, if you email and ask to see MY before and after photos I will be more than happy to show you!** I will say that Nerium is expensive, but it works. It is worth it; and the alternative equivalent to these results is surgery, or injection, etc. costing in the thousands! One of the great things about Nerium is that you can sign up as a preferred customer and receive your product monthly at a VERY discounted price! For example, the Firm lotion is regularly $98, but as a preferred customer you can get it for $70!

You can reach Sara for sales and information at her website or via email.

This isn’t just a moisturizing lotion; there is real science behind it. According to the Nerium website, “NeriumFirm is a skin-tightening cream developed from the patented NAE-8 extract of the Nerium oleander plant. Its powerful antioxidant formulation has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite and dimpling and to help smooth, tighten and firm the appearance of loose skin. NeriumFirm also helps restore the appearance of youthful contour, tone and texture…. NeriumFirm is the only contouring product on the market harnessing the power of the NAE-8 extract, the key ingredient in the renowned NeriumAD skincare line.”  In addition to the proven results of NAE-8, NeriumFirm contains five other key ingredients:

  • Peptide matrix
  • Caffeine
  • White willow bark extract
  • Green tea leaf extract
  • Forskohlii root extract

In a recent third-party clinical trial, 92% of participants reported positive improvements on their thighs after 28 days. 92% reported an increase in their skin’s hydration, and 83% reported an improvement in the appearance of their skin’s cellulite and smoothness.

One of our lucky readers will win their very own Nerium Firm lotion! Enter below to win, and tell your friends!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Uppercase Living: Removable Vinyl Wall Decor

Upper Case Living. I must admit, I had never heard of this company until recently. Really, until a lot of my friends began to post pictures to Facebook of their beautiful new vinyl wall décor that they bought from Upper Case Living (UCL). My interest was piqued! Not too soon after this I was invited to an UCL home “party” where the company and its products were presented to me by the lovely Diana Crouse; I loved it! UCL has a huge catalog of designs that you can choose from. They have categories that range from inspirational to children to whimsical.

Some Favorites:


Vinyl wall décor definitely seems to be the latest craze! I mean, really, who doesn’t love art that won’t damage your wall; is easy to remove; and is completely customizable?! Not to mention, it can be applied almost anywhere you desire. I love to have scripture and phrases all around my house, but I hate to put nail holes in all my walls, plus I am pretty bad at hanging things straight. Thus, UCL designs are perfect for my family.

I was given the opportunity, by Diana, to pick a design and write a review of it. Being the complicated person that I am, I of course created my own design with 3 separate elements to it. With UCL you can basically create what you want. You can choose color, design, content, font, size, etc. A very cool thing about UCL is that you can play around with all of these elements in their My Design Suite application, which can be accessed through Diana’s website. Or, if you are design challenged, such as myself, you can ask Diana to create your art for you. I mean, you can even turn your favorite photo into a removable wall vinyl with UCL! Just tell her what you are thinking of doing and she will work wonders to create the perfect piece for you!

I don’t know about all UCL representatives, but Diana came to my house and actually applied the vinyl to my wall! Thank goodness! I may have destroyed my entire home simply trying to peel and stick a vinyl on the wall, evenly! Diana is such a pro. She brought along a tape measure and a level…she meant business. The result was beautiful! I am very pleased with the look and quality of my UCL wall vinyl. You can order yours today via Diana’s website. You can also contact Diana via Facebook, as well as follow her business and designs on PinterestTwitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

But of course, this is the Holiday season so one lucky reader will win a beautiful Welcome vinyl as well as a $25 credit to use as you wish at Diana’s Upper Case Living website! You could give the vinyl as a gift and use the credit to create your own masterpiece! Viola!
The Vinyl You Could Win

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Holiday Gift Guide: Rodan + Fields Beauty Products

Rodan and Fields Dermatologists

Rodan + Fields: Their mission is to connect people with the products, the knowledge, the resources, and the opportunities to change skin and to change lives.

Rodan + Fields is a high end dermatology product. They are so much better than your basic Avon or department store brand. The company was founded by world-renowned dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, the creators of Proactiv® Solution. These ladies really know their stuff. Their products make it possible for you to get real, beautifying results at home, without injections or procedures.

A sweet friend of mine, Christy Crummy, is an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields and her beautiful skin is a testament to the results of their products. I trust her, and I have tried out many of their items, and I can say that they work!

I have used the lip shield every night for a month and my lips feel better than ever! I used to be addicted to Chapstick, but since learning that Chapstick actually strips your lips of layers of skin, I have been trying to avoid it. I tried using "natural" lip products like Burt's Bees and the EOS line; however, my lips still dried out and needed moisturized several times during the day. I am very pleased to say that with the Rodan + Fields Essentials Lip Shield I no longer need daily moisturizing; just once at night! I am no longer a Chapstick addict. The Lip Shield is also a great sunscreen for your lips, so that is an added bonus to me.

Another great item I tested was the foaming sunless tanner. I must say I was skeptical. I have a natural red tint to my hair and I have very pale skin. Needless to say, I don't tan. And I don't want to look orange. So I have stayed away from most sunless tanners. They usually smell bad, are a mess, and make you look a strange orange shade. I wasn't expecting much different from this Rodan + Fields product. I was pleasantly surprised. The tanner is actually a foam; it is lightweight and clear, not messy at all. And it smells nice! I am such a sucker for a nice scent.

The color doesn't appear for a few hours so you should apply it the night before you plan to bare skin. I would also recommend you apply this after you shower at night because you don’t want to bather soon after application. This tanner contains RF-Dcell technology, which extends the duration of your sunless tan. It also contains vitamins A, C, and E which defend your skin against free radical damage. The great thing about Rodan + Fields products is that they don't just make you look beautiful; they actually improve the health of your skin! And for those of you who are curios, here is a photo of my leg where I skipped some areas so you could see the color difference. 

Lastly was the Micro-Dermabrasion Paste which comes in convenient packets. This is an oil free formula that exfoliates, smoothes, and evens out skin tones. You can apply this paste to dry skin for an extreme exfoliation, or use on damp skin for a gentler scrub. I prefer using it on damp skin because my skin is prone to dryness and flaking. This product really does promote smoothe skin!

You can try Rodan +Fields for yourself today by contacting Christy via email  or by visiting her website . However, one lucky winner will receive one Redefine Eye Cream, valued at $60 and one Foaming Sunless Tanner, a $24! Enter below to win.

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