Monday, January 31, 2011

Equality After All...?

I'm glad to see this blog post from the New York Times, explaining why a study out of Ohio State University (claiming that parents bicker less when the woman takes on a traditional role and does most of the work) isn't necessarily as black and white as it may seem from reading the news articles flying around the web.

Because, really, it would just be WAY too depressing to know that the only two choices are:

1. Share the parenting tasks, but ruin your marriage; or
2. Do everything yourself

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Deals

I'm thinking of starting a Sunday tradition where I post the best deals I've found around the web that week. What do you think?

Here are a few deals for this week:

Free laptop from Google Chrome. Visit this link to apply. If you're selected, Google will send you a laptop completely free, in exchange for you using a providing feedback on the product.

Use this link to go through Bank of America for a Turbotax discount, for those of you doing your taxes early (I did mine last week). Just click continue and it will take you through to the Turbotax site, where you should see the discount (Deluxe Federal is now $19.45 instead of the original price of $29.95).

Sign up here for a free Maggi chicken flavored pasta soup.

Request a free sample of Maybelline FitME foundation from Target's website. Just click this link then click on the gray box under the sample.

Enjoy!

Organized Working Mom

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Disney on Ice

My daughter and I went to see Disney on Ice for our Mommy and Me day yesterday and I cannot recommend it highly enough! The show was amazing, it was very high energy and kept my daughter's attention throughout. She loved all the participation, shouting at Mickey not to eat the poisoned apple and helping the fairy godmother do magic.

We are Toy Story fanatics in this house so needless to say the finale when all the Toy Story characters came out (even including Rex and Evil Dr. Pork Chop) was a huge highlight. And we both loved all the princesses, they did some amazing lifts and spins during those routines.

I thought it was really reasonably priced (we paid $15 with a promotion and were practically front row) and great value for money. Of course they make it back with the extortionate concessions ($10 for cotton candy, really?!) but even so, I would definitely recommend it. We had a great time!

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Friday, January 28, 2011

Excited!!!

So a while back I posted about wanting to do a Mommy and Me day. Well, today is the day! I booked the day off work and have a whole day of fun planned with my daughter (who got up wide awake at 5am because she was too excited to sleep!)

I'll be back later to update!

Happy Friday!

Organized Working Mom

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Making Eating Out More Affordable


No matter how organized you might be, there are some days when work has been rough, everyone is tired, everyone is grouchy and the last thing anybody wants to do is cook.

Eating out is really expensive and seems to have gotten even more so over the past few years (or maybe that’s just because I’ve gone from paying for a meal for two to paying for a family of four). Anyone who eats out with kids knows that kids meals can be expensive and definitely add to the cost of the meal.

Many restaurants offer a “kids eat free” night. But the trick is finding out when those nights are. Some restaurants will also let you combine a kids eat free night with a coupon (not all do, so check this before you go). You can very occasionally even stack a gift certificate from restaurants.com (wait for them to have their $2 gift certificate sale) with a coupon and the kids eat free night. Be sure to check the fine print for each of the offers first.

Here are some websites where you can look up your area to see what restaurants have a kids eat free night, and what time they are at.





TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hot Coupons and Freebies

So, my resolution was to get better at couponing. Lets just say it's a work in progress!

However, I found a few coupon deals and freebies I thought I would share:

Online coupons:

$1.49 for a year's domain name registration (.com, .org, .biz and more) at GoDaddy.com. Use code WINTER149. Expires 1/31/11.

$10 off $50 at birthdayexpress.com with code birthday. Expires 1/31/11.

Freebies:

Free box of Clairol Color Blend Foam. Clairol is giving away 25,000 boxes each day through January 27, 2011. Just click "like" on their Facebook page, beginning 12:00 EST each day.

Free box of Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Sign up here, the limit is one per household.

Also, don't miss signing up for a free subscription to American Baby and Baby Talk magazine. Both publications have had some great discounts for diapers through Amazon recently. Combined with savings from Amazon Mom this makes for significant savings.

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yogurt Freebie!

Lots of freebies today!

This one is for a free cup of yogurt from Yoplait (or, if you're in California they send other coupons because of CA dairy laws).

Check out the offer here!

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Free year subscription to mightybookjr (reg $99)

How about this for a great deal:

Visit the signup page at mightybookjr.com and enter the code 'learntoread'. You will get a free annual online membership! Regular price is $99.

This looks like a fun site to teach reading skills for grades K-6.

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Giftcard Winner!

Congratulations to the Crave to Save, who is the lucky winner of the $15 gift certificate from CSN Stores!

Please email me at organizedworkingmom@gmail.com to claim your prize!

The winner was drawn by Random.org:


True Random Number Generator  30Powered by RANDOM.ORG


The winning comment was #30:



the Crave to Save said...












Saturday, January 22, 2011

Last Chance to Enter!

Don't forget, today is the last day to enter the $15 gift certificate giveaway from CSN Stores!

Check out the giveaway here. The contest will close at 11:59 PST tonight, and I will announce the winner on the blog tomorrow!

Good luck!

Friday, January 21, 2011

FREE Snapfish photo book and prints

Check out this free photo book offer from Snapfish and Soap.com:

1. Click here to choose your photobook.

2. Create your book.

3. Enter the code SOAPBOOK at checkout (note: the book is free, but you will have to pay shipping).

4. If you're new to Snapfish, you're also eligible for 50 free 4x6 prints!

The deal is good through Saturday 1/22, while supplies last.

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Business Trip Guilt

San Francisco...I love this city. I get to come a few times a year on business and I'm reminded every time how much I like it. Last night after work I had the most delicious dim sum in Chinatown and bought some cute gifts for the kids. It was a fun night, I almost managed to stop whining about being sick.

My working mom guilt means I buy something on every work trip I go on. Yes, I'm aware that monetary gifts can't make up for time with mom and that I am probably setting a horrible precedent and spoiling my children. But I get SO guilty every time I leave, even when the trips are just one nighters, like this one. The men I work with never seem to get the same guilt, so maybe it really has more to do with social programming than anything else. Regardless, I feel like a horrible mom every time.

So, to make myself feel better, I've been reading this link about Toddlers and Tiaras. If you ever want to feel like a GREAT mom, this is the program to watch. Yes, I may be neglecting and simultaneously spoiling my kids while on this trip, but at least I don't make them wear cone bras at the age of two (yes really). So, enjoy this summary of the three worst parenting fails from the show!

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Got flu?

I'm sick. Siiiiiiiiiiiiick. Ugh. I knew this was coming after the coughing, congested baby sneezed in my food and my feverish preschooler, loudly shouting a question that I had answered at least four previous times, managed to spray spit directly into my eye. It was like an expertly targeted double strike attack. I stood no chance.

Now for my dilemma. There is no preschool or other activity today. Do I drag myself into work, sicker than a dog, trying to ignore the irritated sighs from fellow coworkers and subtle (or not so subtle) accusations about bringing germs into the office?

Or do I stay at home, confined with the sick kids, passing super mutant strains of our various germs back and forth, watching helplessly while they run around crazily during that period of the day where sick kids seem to have a manic, hyper recovery?

In my experience, this recovery period usually happens as you arrive in the parking lot of the doctor's office. Suddenly, your previously limp, lethargic child leaps and bounces around with abandon. They continue their spree in the waiting room, doing laps around the toy section in an effort to touch as many germ filled surfaces as possible.

Once back in the exam room, your child spends the interminable wait for the doctor asking question after question (What is that stick? Why do they put it in your mouth? What do they want to see in there? Why do they use a wood one instead of plastic? What do you mean you don't know?!)

The doctor arrives and looks skeptical as you explain the now non-existent 105 fever, lack of appetite and general lethargy. You are clearly being perceived as a hypochondriac, over-reacting, helicopter mom, and any attempts to convince the doctor otherwise are generally thwarted by your child hopping around the exam room singing "I'm fine, I'm fiiiine, I'm FIIIIINE".

Back in the car, having paid a $20 co-pay for a lecture from the doctor and no prescription, your child limply falls asleep in the back seat. By the time you reach the driveway, you have to carry their hot, feverish body into the house. Usually this is the point at which they vomit on you.

Hmmmm. I think I'm heading into work.

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Judgemental Parenting and Moms Lies

A new study has revealed, perhaps not surprisingly, moms feel under so much pressure to be the 'perfect parent' they resort to lying about the amount of TV their kids watch, what they cook for their families, and even how much "quality time" they spend with their partner.

Netmums, a UK parentling website, surveyed over 5,000 moms and found that we lie in overwhelming numbers. Two thirds of mothers fib about how well they were coping with the stresses of motherhood, half covered up financial problems and one fifth of moms lied about how long they spent playing with their children.

Peer pressure and the modern-day culture of perfect parenting was identified by Netmums as being a major cause of the perceived pressure. More than 9 out of 10 moms compared themselves to other parents, and reported feeling inadequate as a result.

This week Netmums launched a campaign 'The Real Parenting Revolution' which aims to remove the illusion of 'perfect' parenting and increase support for parents.

The webiste has developed a parents code, calling for parents to 'get REAL':

R - Relax and trust yourself
E - Enjoy being a parent
A - Accept each others' choices
L - Look out for each other

Anyone who has ever visited a parenting forum or even had a random conversation at the park knows that the pressure on moms isn't isolated to British women. I'll be interested to watch how this campaign develops over the coming months and if any real changes are made to parenting culture in the UK.

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebrating Martin Luther King

As we celebrate and honor Martin Luther King day today, I have to wonder what the man himself would make of our nation's current employment situation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that as of January 7, 2011, the unemployment rate for the country as a whole stands at 9.4%. However, the white unemployment rate is at 8.5% in contrast with the black unemployment rate of 15.8%.

An article in the New York Times highlighted that the unemployment rate for college-educated men aged 25 or older was twice as high for black men than it was for white men. This information cannot simply be explained away. As an article on the black-white earnings gap observes: "numerous studies, in fact, find that not even half of the racial differences in test scores can be explained by family background and school quality. They also show that the economic returns to the test scores and their determinants vary by race and that even when test results are effectively equal, racial earnings gaps remain. So, plain discrimination remains part of the story."

A study of social networks found that more job leads for high level positions are received by white males than women and members of minorities, lending credence to the old adage that it's not necessarily what you know, but who you know that makes a difference in job hunting.

The gap between men and women continues despite the introduction of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. An article in Time magazine noted that women earned less than men in all industries and occupation groups surveyed by the Census Bureau in 2007, even in fields in which their numbers are overwhelming.  This trend shows no signs of abating.

The mommy track has an even greater effect on pay. Mothers not only earn less than men, but they also earn less than their childless female counterparts, according to recent research.

We have come a long way as a nation since Martin Luther King Jr's infamous speech. But it's not time to stop dreaming yet. All the evidence shows we still have a long way to go.

Have a great Monday, whatever you're doing today.

TTYL

Organized Working Mom

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Diet friendly football food

I love me some football. I also love to eat some tasty football snacks. But considering the time period between thanksgiving and the new year was a complete blur of over-indulgence, I really need to make sure my diet stays on track today.

Incidentally, I have now lost six of the ten pounds I put on over the holiday season. I probably should have made that my resolution instead of the two that I actually did make, but haven't made any progress towards whatsoever!

So, here are my strategies for eating healthier football snacks:

  • Make your own pizza instead of ordering some. This cuts the calories by over 2/3 and is just as delicious (plus it's a fun activity for the kids).
  • Eat plain chips instead of ruffled chips. I LOVE ruffled chips, but the ruffles increase the amount of potato into a smaller surface area so it automatically adds calories (if you think about stretching the chip out, it would be huge compared to a regular chip).
  • Trade in the creamy, ranch dips for hummus or salsa. Lower calorie, and healthier too.
  • Make your own guacamole. Guacamole is actually a very healthy spread and with it's pure ingredients, can lower cholesterol. Unfortunately, what is in the fridge at the grocery store might not even contain avocado.
  • If you are a grazer like me, have fruit, veggie sticks, and edamame available to snack on.
Enjoy the football today! Since the Chargers (my team) didn't even make the playoffs, and the Eagles (hubby's team) already got eliminated I think I'm going to have to root for LT and the Jets.

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mommy & Me Days

I've been thinking about where I can take my daughter on a fun mommy and me day. Occasionally the hubby and I trade off and take each of the kids for some one on one time, but it's been a while since we did that so I'm trying to think of something special for us to do.

If you have any ideas for activities I would love it if you could leave a comment! Thanks!

On another note, don't miss our $15 gift certificate giveaway! There's just one week left to enter.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Organized Working Mom

Friday, January 14, 2011

In need of some comedy

Well, I was going to post this article out of the UK stating that exclusive breastfeeding up to six months 'harms babies'. I was going to discuss whether this was bs, not bs, whether the researchers were paid by formula/baby food companies, and generally get fired up.

But it's Friday, I'm tired, and I have a general apathy about everything in general.

So INSTEAD, I am going to post this clip from one of the funniest comedians around, Louis C.K.

I have loved this guy since I saw an HBO special "Shameless" in 2007. Since then I've watched two more specials, his TV show, and recently went to see him live, which was also hysterical.

So, here is Louis C.K. on Conan O'Brien. Enjoy!



TTYL!

Organized Working Mom

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Good news for the slacker moms...play is more crucial than we realize

If you're like me, and have a generous helping of that working mom guilt, you might feel that you don't spend enough time focused on academic activities with your preschooler. It seems that we are told our children should be reading, studying flashcards, and prepping for kindergarten earlier and earlier. On particularly bad days you might even catch me wondering if Amy Chua has it right, and 3-4 hour daily piano practice is actually the way to go.

Well, a new article from researchers at Harvard University indicate that focusing on the academics might not actually be as useful as we think. They theorize that play, and play based curriculums actually prepare children far better for school success.

So what I'm saying is, we can ignore the dishes, flashcards and chores in favor of hanging out with the kids. Ok, ok, so I was already doing that anyway. But the difference is, now I can feel virtous about it!

Happy Thursday!

Organized Working Mom

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chinese Parents are Superior?

I recently came across this article (really, how can you avoid it in the blogosphere right now), titled “Chinese Parents are Superior”. The first thing I thought about it was, well, that it was f^!*ing insane.

Seeing more clips from the author, Amy Chua’s book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” only reinforced my initial impression. When the girls' beloved grandfather died, Chua forced them to write speeches for the funeral, despite their pleas not to do it. Chua writes: Sophia’s first draft was terrible, rambling and superficial. Lulu’s wasn’t so great either, but I held my elder daughter to a higher standard. Perhaps because I was so upset myself, I lashed out at her. “How could you, Sophia?” I said viciously. “This is awful. It has no insight. It has no depth. It’s like a Hallmark Card — which Popo hated. You are so selfish. Popo loved you so much — and you — produce-this!”

In another incident, Chua's daughter gave her a birthday card she had handmade. Too plain for Chua's taste, she chastized her child: I grabbed the card again and flipped it over. I pulled out a pen from my purse and scrawled ‘Happy Birthday Lulu Whoopee!’ I added a big sour face. “What if I gave you this for your birthday Lulu- would you like that? But I would never do that, Lulu. No — I get you magicians and giant slides that cost me hundreds of dollars. I get you huge ice cream cakes shaped like penguins, and I spend half my salary on stupid sticker and erase party favors that everyone just throws away. I work so hard to give you good birthdays! I deserve better than this. So I reject this.” I threw the card back.

After some consideration, I guess I can agree that there are times when it’s not good to give up. And that expecting more from your children and encouraging them to practice can be a good thing (note that I said encourage, not scream at and humiliate). But I just can’t get past my feeling that the methods the author talks about just wouldn’t lead to a genuine love for an activity, or the simple joy of doing something just because.

Maybe it’s the coddled Westerner in me coming out, but I want my children to enjoy their childhood. I don’t want to belittle them. I don’t want to spend my time with them forcing them to practice piano. Quite frankly I don’t care if they are ever in a piano recital.

Any “one right way” approach to parenting has an instantaneous flaw from my perspective, in that all children are different. I could have congratulated myself for weeks on my ability to have a child sleeping through the night practically from birth, if it wasn’t for that inconvenient fact that my other child, parented in exactly the same way, still gets up multiple times a night because in her words sleeping is a “waste of time”.

Maybe Amy Chua’s methods will work for her children. Maybe not. Maybe they would work for mine. Maybe not. This is the other problem I have with the article and Chua’s book. We don’t know how her children will turn out, or whether they will endorse her methods. Neither of her kids is even done with high school yet so to say the parenting approach has “worked” is a little premature to say the least. Not to mention the definition of “worked” is going to vary from person to person. I suspect that Amy Chua’s definition of “success” and my own definition of the concept have some major discrepancies. And who is to say that our children would agree with our approach when they too become parents.

All differences taken into consideration, there is still nothing that could convince me that criticizing and guilting a child over what they write for their grandfather’s funeral, or rejecting a birthday card they took time to make for you because you don’t like the way it looks would help your child in the long run. Even some parents in China are moving away from the traditional academically focused approach, as described in this article (ironically published in the WSJ at the same time as Chua’s article).

Ultimately, parenting is a crapshoot, and you’ll probably never know if the choices you made were the right ones. So I think I’ll take my chances with the Western slacker approach on this one.

If you're interested, here's a clip of Amy Chua on the Today show yesterday, defending the controversy over her book. If nothing else, she certainly knows how to generate publicity.

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hot Deal! AMC Movie Ticket

Get a gold experience (basically unrestricted) AMC movie ticket for only $4 at Mamapedia!

This is a great deal worth $11! Plus, 5% of your purchase will be donated to the school of your choice.

Enjoy!

Organized Working Mom

Monday, January 10, 2011

PSA: Road Rage

Dear Mustang Driver:

When your car is totally tricked out and you personalized license plate reads "da bullet", you cannot drive at 50 mph in the fast lane of the freeway.

Just sayin'

Organized Working Mom

Really Living Your Life

Browsing The Huffington Post this morning I came across this article by Joe Robinson, a work-life balance trainer and personal coach. It was a good reminder of something I need to remember more often - in life, slow down, and enjoy the ride.


Thinking back to when I was a kid, I remember wondering why we had to pack so much into the weekends, why we had to rush to get things done, and why vacations needed to include so many additional trips and sightseeing opportunities. Now I'm sure my children have the same thoughts from time to time. After a week at work, and knowing the next one is coming up fast, the temptation is definitely there to stretch as much productive time as possible out of the weekend, get as many chores done, only fitting in 'fun' activities according to a strict timetable.


But the message the author gives us in the article can be summed up in one paragraph:


"The things that make you efficient and in control at work operate against you on the life side. Having everything figured out, never straying too far from routine, an aversion to risk and spontaneity -- it all stifles the full expression of life. The most optimal moments come from surrendering to your experience (a crucial feature of optimal experiences, or "flow"), stepping into the brand new, and not holding back."


In a way, trying to be organized is completely antithetical to what the author is saying. But from my perspective, being organized about certain areas of your life (the boring parts, like housework and doctor's appointments) can free up your time enough so that you can spend the weekend exactly as you choose; doing nothing, if you want to, other than relaxing with the kids and playing the days away. In the end, it still all comes down to that concept of balance (which for me, is still a work in progress).


But, it's Monday morning and I'm headed to the office so it's probably time to get my game face on! Happy Monday everyone!


TTYL,


Organized Working Mom

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Job Hunting in a Recession

The most popular time for changing jobs is in the New Year. Apparently finding a new, better, or just plain different job is at the top of a lot of people’s resolutions. Unfortunately in this economy, it’s no longer a matter of searching a long list of available opportunities and applying. The market is TOUGH. In large urban markets especially, the competition for jobs is fierce. People with graduate degrees are applying for McJobs. In droves. Recruitments that usually generate 20-30 responses are now getting 200+ responses, and the quality of the candidates is really, really high (I’m speaking from personal experience here).

So what is a savvy job hunter to do in times like these? In this post I’m going to give my top five tips for getting the edge in job applications.


1. Customize your resume and application
Customize your resume for every. single. job. you apply for. I cannot stress this enough. Look at the requirements, duties and responsibilities for the job you are applying for. Then pick out the skills from each of your previous jobs that most closely mesh with the desired skills for the job you want. From the company’s perspective - if you cannot be bothered to spend five minutes customizing your resume, what does this say about your work ethic?


2. NO typos or spelling errors!
Check, check and check again. I cannot even tell you just how bad it is when someone lists one of their skills as “accuracyand atention too detail”.


3. Don’t pester HR
In bad economic times, you may be tempted to pester and follow up with the company. Remember that the state of the economy probably also means that the HR Department is dealing with three times the number of applicants with three times less staff. They don’t have time to check on the status of your application every day. One or two questions – fine. A thank you card – great. Multiple calls and emails daily – no job for you.


4. Prepare for the interview
Research the company, in detail. Look up their website, read any relevant policies, and come well informed about the company mission, values and goals. Dress professionally with no wrinkles. Arrive in plenty of time, but don’t go in too early. Think about standard questions and hypotheticals they might ask, then identify what strengths and skills set you apart from other candidates, and how you can highlight them in your answers. Bring relevant printed material to the interview, and present it if it makes sense. I was once asked a question of what I thought the most important emerging trends in my field were. I had prepared a bullet point summary of the five most important trends I had identified for the company, short term and long term, and so I was able to pull it out of my binder and give a copy to each panel member (make several copies). I got the job. However, not everything you prepare will be relevant, so don’t bombard them with information they don’t want. If the topic doesn’t come up, just take it back home with you.


5. Don’t have your parents call on your behalf
Yes, really. It’s almost unbelievable that I even have to put this, but it happens on a daily basis. I’m not talking just high school kids here. Even people in their early thirties have their parents call for them. There are just no words to express what a manager thinks when a thirty-something’s mother calls to tell you how wonderful they would be for the job, or worse, to berate you for not giving their little snowflake a job. I don’t know when this started to become a common occurrence but it needs to stop!

Good luck in your job search!

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Saturday, January 8, 2011

FREE $15 Gift Cert Giveaway!

I’m really excited about the blog’s first giveaway opportunity! CSN Stores are giving me the opportunity to give one lucky Organized Working Mom reader a $15 gift certificate towards ANY item from ANY of their 200+ online stores!

CSN Stores sells everything from sleek and stylish modern dining room furniture, to housewares, flatware, baby gear, kitchen equipment, lighting, luggage and more. They even have a specific section for fire pits so I might need to check that out for my "al fresco" date night idea! And they have a HUGE array of items for kids and baby, including a large selection of toys.

The company is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and prides themselves on stellar customer service and competitive pricing. CSN Stores and their products have been featured by the Today Show, Elle D├ęcor, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Better Homes and Gardens, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, the Rachael Ray Show, and many more.

To win the $15 gift certificate, just check out the link above, and leave me a comment telling me what you might put your gift certificate towards. The giveaway will end on January 22, 2011, and I will announce the winner on January 23, 2011.

Extra Entries:

You must leave an extra comment for each additional entry. You earn extra entries for each of the following:

1 entry: Follow this blog (see top right)
1 entry: Post about this giveaway on your blog. You must link to this page and leave a link to your blog post as your comment.
1 entry per FB post (max of one entry/day): Facebook post about the giveaway. Your post must link to this page.
1 entry per tweet (max of two entries/day): Tweet about the giveaway. Please leave me a link to your tweet as the comment. You may use this as the tweet: 
#win $15 gift cert to CSN Stores hosted by @OrgnzdWorkinMom http://organizedworkingmom.blogspot.com/2011/01/free-15-gift-cert-giveaway.html

Thanks go to CSN Stores for sponsoring the giveaway and providing the gift certificate free of charge. I will pick the winner via random.org and winner has 72 hours to respond or I will pick another winner. I have the right to delete comments if the mandatory entry is not completed. This giveaway ends January 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm PST. US and Canadian Residents only. You must be over 18 to enter. Good luck!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Date nights without a babysitter

If you’re like me and don’t have family living close by, you won’t necessarily have the cash or opportunity to find a babysitter on a regular basis. But my personal philosophy is that date nights and quality time are really important in a marriage, especially during the early years when most of your time together is spent changing diapers, catching toddlers before they crayon on the walls, cleaning up spilled food and drink and making sure those little hands don’t smear it further into the couch. Hmm, romantic!
Many of us have done the date nights in the house with a movie or tv show when the kids are asleep. But here are my top five alternatives for some fun and different date nights – sans babysitter.
1. Drive-in
My all time favorite date night option. First, this requires really wearing the kids out during the day, and dressing them in their pj’s before you leave so that they will fall asleep during the drive to the theater. We have an SUV so we make up the back to be like a cozy bed with covers and pillows. We also bring our favorite snacks and drinks. Then while the kids sleep in their seats, we can snuggle and watch the movie in peace. Master the art of carrying them to their beds without waking them up and voila! Date night where you can almost forget the kids were there.

2.  Dinner al fresco
This one may be better for the summer months, but a personal favorite of mine is to put the kids to bed, get take out from our favorite restaurant, and enjoy the meal and a glass of wine under the stars in our back yard (with baby monitor of course). I REALLY want to get a fire-pit soon so that we can do this in the colder months too.

3. Spa night
Instead of the usual movie or vegging in front of the tv, try taking a joint bubble bath together, with candles, and giving each other massages. I love the massage oils The Body Shop sells, they are really reasonably priced and you can select whichever of their fragrances you want to use as a scent.

4. Camping
Depending on your perspective, this may not be your idea of fun. However, I love to go camping by the beach. Bring pack and plays or camp beds for the kids, and once they’re asleep in the tent you can have a romantic night listening to the crash of the waves and roasting marshmallows by the fire. The added bonuses are 1) it’s inexpensive, 2) you’re not at home, so it really does feel more like a date, and 3) you can really tire the kids out with the excitement of the day so in my experience, they often fall asleep earlier

5. Game night
Here’s another twist on the at-home date night. Get all your favorite board games from childhood (for example, twister, game of life, sorry, ghost castle, clue, uno, etc). Then have fun with a retro game night and snacks. I always have a lot of fun talking with hubby while we play, it definitely beats watching our usual tv shows and not really communicating. Of course, if you want to spice things up, the games don’t necessarily have to be kid-friendly *ahem*. It is date night, after all!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Nothing like the cold hard truth

If there was any doubt in my mind (there wasn't, fyi) that I could stand to lose a little weight, I just got a dose of reality from my 3 year old.

As I stepped off the treadmill, feeling positive about my workout, I was greeted with "WOW!!! Your belly looks a little like Santa's!"

Gamely, I tried to muster a quick smile and escape to the shower, but my daughter hadn't received a response to her satisfaction. "Mom!" she yelled, following me into the bathroom. "Do you know what that means? Do you know what that means, Mom? You have a belly like a bowl full of jelly! Jelly!"

Awesome. Nice that a c-section gives double rewards, the aforementioned jelly belly and the delightful child to remind me of that fact on a daily basis!

Oh well...at least this time I was spared public humiliation, unlike the time we were at the zoo and my daughter yelled loudly from the elephant exhibit "their skin is so wrinkly! Just like your tummy, Mommy!"

LOL! Gotta love the honesty!

TTYL,

Organized Working Mom

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolutions revisited

Apparently I forgot to add one more item to my list of new years resolutions. After an unfortunate incident on the scale this morning (why did I decide to step on it again??) it appears that I gained a lot more than a few gifts over the holiday season.

Sigh. But it all tasted so goooooood!

TTYL,

Hungry Working Mom

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Productivity and Office Temperature

So after yet another day freezing my butt off waiting for my office heating system to be fixed, I came across this timely article published online today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).


The article discusses how the optimum office temperature is around 71 degrees. Low temperatures negatively affect productivity, with cold workers making more typing errors while simultaneously having a lower typing output. Yeah...from my experiences this week that's a no brainer...you try typing when your fingers are frozen stiff from the cold!


*Disclaimer...despite my whining about the cold the last two days I still reserve the right to bitch about my office being too hot in the summer : )


TTYL,


Organized Working Mom

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ugh!

It's Monday.

It's raining.

My commute was hosed.

I got to work and realized I left my work computer at home.

The heating is broken in my office and it's colder than a...

The borrowed work computer has now frozen.

I give up!!!

Irritated Working Mom

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beating the Sunday Blues

A 2010 study by the UK mental health charity MIND found that over a quarter of workers (26%) dread going back to work so much that they are unable to enjoy the weekend. The charity stated that this was primarily related to the economy, forcing people to work harder, longer, for less money and with the fear of layoff. 


Almost all the study participants said they were unhappy with their work life balance, and the stress in the workplace was affecting their sleep, illness and morale. With no real end in sight to our economic problems, we need to find ways to manage the stress. Time off is an important part of lowering stress levels, but if we can't enjoy the weekend, how can we make use of that time to relax?


In this post I will list my top five ways to beat those Sunday blues. If you have any others, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!


1. Exercise


Exercising releases feel-good endorphins which combat stress, depression and anxiety. A quick 30 minute workout on a Sunday morning gets the day off to a good start.


2. Plan something fun


Get outdoors for a fun activity. It doesn't have to cost anything, check your local paper or family magazine for events happening in your community. Other family friendly suggestions include going to the park, ice skating, bowling, going to the beach, swimming, visiting a kid-friendly museum, volunteering for a charity event, or meeting up with friends and family for Sunday brunch.


3. Get organized in advance


I personally hate to have to get work clothes ready, fill up the car with gas, grocery shop, etc on Sundays. It just feels like an earlier start to the work week. Instead I prefer to get all my work-related chores out of the way early on a Saturday morning. 


4. Turn chores into fun family activities


I like to prep some dinner options to make the following week a little easier, but I don't like it to feel like a chore. My kids love to cook with me so we turn it into a fun activity. We'll make meals while watching some football, we have fun all pitching in, and we have lots of heat and serve options in the fridge. One of my favorites is homemade pizza. Trader Joe's has some delicious pizza dough, and the kids love to stretch the dough, sprinkle on the cheese and pick their toppings. It makes for a great Sunday night meal, with the bonus that the pizzas are HUGE, the leftovers easily last for a few days in the fridge and they taste even better re-heated.


Here's my daughter making pizzas:






5. Make the most of Sunday evenings


If you're like me, you start seeing the end of the weekend approaching by about noon on Sundays. I find that if I have something to look forward to on Sunday night it lessens those noon-time blues. This could be something as small as a new episode of the Amazing Race (I love that show) or it could be a dinner with extended family, a mini date night in with hubby once the kids are asleep or a drive-in movie with the family.


Happy Sunday!


TTYL


Organized Working Mom

Xbox Deal and Swagbucks Coupons

If any of you got an Xbox for Christmas, there is a great deal at Amazon right now, the Xbox 360 12 Month Live Gold Card is only $39.96. That is a 33% discount from the usual price, it is generally $60 almost everywhere and I rarely see the price drop below that. So this is an awesome deal. After seeing pretty much everyone in my extended family get a Kinect for Christmas I have to admit I really want one. So I'll be on the hunt for a good deal on that this year. If you see any let me know!


In keeping with my New Year's Resolution, Swagbucks is featuring their coupon generator on the main page. Not only do you get money off the item, but you also get 10 swagbucks for every redeemed coupon. There is a coupon for $3 off a Tag book, so I have a feeling that one will come in useful for my daughter's birthday.


Today is the last day of my vacation and I am having major back to work blues *sigh*. I'm really not sure why, because I LOVE my job. I just love being home with my family more! Ah well, such is the life of a working mom. I'm trying to put together a post on ways to stave off the Sunday blues and I'll post them later.


Have a great Sunday! TTYL,


Organized Working Mom

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

What are your resolutions this year? I have two resolutions - try not to sweat the small stuff, and get better at couponing.

I am the type of person who can be cool, calm and collected in a major crisis, but will quickly lose it if something I'm cooking sticks to the pan, or I can't find a particular sweater in my closet. I need to learn how to let the small stuff slide and be more relaxed about it in general.

As far as couponing, I have to admit I was inspired by the Exreme Couponing show! Granted, I don't want to go extreme, and you definitely won't catch me dumpster diving, but it would be nice to save on items that I use all the time.

I would love your tips, comments or referrals to good sites and blogs that can help with my resolutions.

Have a happy, safe and healthy 2011!

Lyn