Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Berry Tasty Wendys Experience

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On Saturday, we got the chance to head down to Atlanta, meet up with some bloggy friends, and have picnic with Wendy's to taste their new Berry Almond Chicken Salad. Now, you guys know that I have worked with Wendy's before on their Pick Two menu but what you probably don't know is that I still get the same thing from the pick two menu every time I drive through a Wendy's. Its habit. A tasty habit but a habit.

So, needless to say, I was kind of looking forward to trying something new and fresh from Wendy's for the summer. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. Not in the least. The base of the salad was Wendy’s typical Garden Sensations Salad (11 freshly-chopped greens) and was topped off with blueberries, strawberries, sea salt roasted almonds, Asiago cheese and of course a warm, grilled chicken breast. Of course I had to pick the blueberries off (allergic) but the strawberries in the salad were big and juicy and best of all: fresh. The best part for me though was definitely the dressing. The fat-free raspberry vinaigrette dressing was Marzettis (My favorite) so it packed a perfectly sweet, tangy and antioxidant filled punch. It was the perfect contrast to the salty almonds and fresh greens. So, yeah, I have a new Wendy's favorite.

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Look at all that chicken and the chunks of strawberries! Mmm... (dinner)

We all had a blast hanging out and talking and letting the kids play. I have to admit that it has been absurdly too long since we last got to go out as a family and have a picnic. Of course the boys had a blast enjoying all the fun goodies we brought along and didn't want to leave when it was time to go.

Now, how would you like to try out the Berry Almond Chicken Salad for yourself while treating the rest of your family to lunch as well (or not!)? You're in luck. I have a $25 Wendy's gift card to give to one of you lucky people!


Here is how to enter:

1. You must follow Render Me Mama via GFC and leave a comment saying you do. (Mandatory) *1 entry

2. Leave a comment telling me your favorite Wendy's menu item. Do this with as many as you can think of!  *1 entry each

3. Like Render Me Mama on Facebook . Leave a comment saying you did so with your First name. *1 entry

4. Follow me on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway. Leave a comment with a link to your tweet. You can do this once a day. *1 entry per tweet

5. Subscribe to my feed either by RSS or Email. Don't forget to click the confirmation link it sends you! *2 entries each. (Leave two separate comments!)


Be sure that your email address is displayed in your profile you that you leave it in the comment or I won't be able to reach you if you won! I will draw the winning number via Random.org next Monday the 7th at 6pm and email the winner. Good luck!

This giveaway is CLOSED! Thanks so much to all that entered! Check your email to see if you are the winner!
*Our lunch was paid for and I was compensated nicely by The Motherhood for this review. All opinions are definitely mine and brutally honest.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Today, I am out memorializing things, ideas, people. I hope you are doing the same with your families. The death of so many of our troops is something that weighs on me. Not so much because I think they should be doing anything other than what they feel passionate about which for so many is protecting the United States and all that but more because I can't imagine losing someone to war. I think it is one of everyone's worst nightmares to lose someone close to them. A loved one, a friend or God forbid a child.

Thing is, all of those people that have died serving in the military have been just that. They have been someone's friend, someone's love, someone's child. Those people deserve our thoughts. They deserve our reverence and our thanks no matter how you feel about our current war situation.

So, while you are out today with your families, having a cookout or while you are at work, or where ever you are, keep those men and women in your thoughts. Appreciate their sacrifice and raise your glass to them and to their families. If not every day, at least today. '

Much love, and watch out for those fireworks. The get pretty hot.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stonyfield Farms Won My Heart

Sound a little dramatic? Maybe. How? They sent me some coupons to try their Oikos Greek Yogurt and YoBaby yogurt for the monster. Now, if you have been around long, you know I am trying to lose a little weight and be healthier in my food choices. Which, I am happy to say has been going.. okay. Not great. I will not hit my goal but I am happy enough with the progress so it all works out.

PhotobucketAnyway, one of the things that has been suggested to me over and over has been Greek yogurt. It is high in protein, low in sugar and low carb among other fabulous things. A perfect dieting breakfast. Thing is though, I have tried so many different varieties and only found that it has been too sour for me. Most Greek yogurts leave that weird, gritty, sour taste in your mouth, right? I thought they were all that way until I tried the Oikos. It really was tasty. The fruity stuff on the bottom was just the right amount to balance out the tart in the yogurt and it was was creamier than anything I had tried so far. So now, I'm hooked.

What else is cool about the Oikos brand? Its organic! Winning! Its also the only Greek yogurt available nationally which means all of you can try it!

PhotobucketThen there is the YoBaby yogurt. Which, if you have a baby or toddler that has had yogurt, you are probably familiar with. If not, you should be. Organic (win), and made with whole milk (double win) for babies growing brain, its perfect for babies and kids. Now, I was around before they did the overhaul on the YoBaby line. It used to be thinner consistency and sold in 6 packs. Honestly though, I really do prefer the thicker yogurt for babies. It makes it way less messy and I feel like I can let K feed it to himself without making a huge mess. I do wish they would bring back the 6 packs though instead of four. Both of my boys have always preferred the YoBaby yogurts. Even now, D would rather have the YoBaby than the "kids" yogurt they have.


Of course they also have YoToddler available too with slightly more "sophisticated" flavors for older kids. Another favorite around here, too, is the 3 in 1 yogurt meals they have available. Which is a mix of fruit, vegetable and yogurt. Stonyfield also has other varieties of their yogurts including soy and drinkable yogurt smoothies.

So, there you have it! Stoneyfield brand yogurts are perfect for any family. A little something for mama on a diet and a perfect snack for the kids.

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Do you want to win a pack of coupons from Stonyfield Farms to try these out for yourself? I thought so.

Here is how to enter:

1. You must follow Render Me Mama via GFC and leave a comment saying you do. (Mandatory) *1 entry

2. Like Render Me Mama on Facebook . Leave a comment saying you did so with your First name. *1 entry

3.  Like Stonyfield Farm on Facebook. *1 entry each.

4. Follow me on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway. Leave a comment with a link to your tweet. You can do this once a day. *1 entry per tweet

5. Subscribe to my feed either by RSS or Email. Don't forget to click the confirmation link it sends you! *2 entries each. (Leave two separate comments!)


Be sure that your email address is displayed in your profile you that you leave it in the comment or I won't be able to reach you if you won! I will draw the winning number via Random.org On Tuesday the 7th at 6 pm and email the winner. Good luck!
* THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!! OURSAFEHAVEN, CHECK YOUR EMAIL!*

*I was sent vouchers to sample both the Oikos and YoBaby line from StonyField for this review. All opinions are definitely mine and brutally honest.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sunscreen Breakdown

Summer is here! At least here in the South it is. It has been in the high 90s all week and let me tell you, I am over it. For serious, I am good until it hit about 85 and then I get the urge to move North. Like, Nordic North. I do not deal well with the heat but I love to get out in the sun. I have always been a tom boy type that likes to be outside messing in the dirt instead of being stuck inside doing just about anything. The sun makes me happy. Chemical that sun.

Something I feel like should be mentioned about this time of year, every year, is the topic of sunscreen. It has become increasingly necessary unfortunately and while we would all rather just head outside for the day and not think about it, we do need sunscreen. Why?  Mostly to reduce your chances of developing skin cancers, including Melanoma. It also has the added benefit of keeping your skin looking younger. Double whammy!

So, since you know you need sunscreen if you are going to be out for more than about 15 minutes a day, you want to know that your sunscreen is safe right? That it is doing the most amount of good and the least amount of harm? Of course. Watching the chemicals and nasties you are putting into your families bodies. That is a priority about everything in our house and sunscreen is no exception which of course means I have done tireless research on it because that is another thing that I get totally nerdy about. Mama loves her research.

To start, here is an interesting little factoid for you: a higher SPF, does not mean higher protection. SPF refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. You would think that if SPF 30 provides good protection, SPF 80 must by bulletproof! Yeah, not so much. According to the American Academy of Dermatology "an SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays, an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays, and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. After that, it just gets silly." So, anything over an SPF of 45 is not doing you a whole lot more good than an SPF 15 and seriously not much more good than SPF 30.

Then there are all the chemicals that are added to sunscreens to make them prettier or nicer smelling or add whatever to your skin. Those chemicals are usually not anything more than just that. Chemicals. Useless ones. They aren't adding any extra protection or essential benefits, they just make them cheap. Recently available data shows that a form of vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. Guess what is one of the most common additives to regular sunscreen? You guessed it, vitamin A.

In the U.S. your choices are “chemical” sunscreens or “mineral” sunscreens (zinc and titanium). Both of which have their down sides of course but the general consensus from the health field is that mineral sunscreens are safer. They are stable in sunlight and do not appear to penetrate the skin. They also offer UVA protection, which not possible with chemical versions.The lesser of three evils I suppose when your other two choices are cancer or hormone disrupting chemicals.

The good news is that every year the Environmental Working Group puts out a list of the years "safest sunscreens". If you haven't heard of it, look into it before you buy this year's bottle. Most of the options on their safest list are not that much more expensive that the not so safe brands and lets face it, your children's health is worth the extra couple of dollars, right?

What do you think? Something you worry about?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Its Okay. Be Jealous.

My kids never cease to amaze me. They have both always been such easy kids, its almost stupid. First it was the sleeping, D started sleeping 5 hour stretches at 2 weeks old and 12 hour stretches by 6 weeks old. K was sleeping 12 hours by 4 weeks. How? Why? No clue. They just did. They have both always just been great sleepers.

Also: Great eaters. Great players. Great learners. Well, just great.

You know what else they do easy (apparently)? Potty train. Or rather potty- teach- themselves. D decided one day early last year he was done with diapers. Done and never looked back. Again with the how and whys. No clue. He was just ready. He sat on the potty one morning after I did and pee'd and from then on, he only wanted underwear. I made him sleep in a pull up for possibly absurdly too long but he woke up dry every time. He was 28 months old.

A fluke, right?

Thats what I thought. Then, about a month ago, K wanted to sit up on the potty after I went. I did my thing, wiped and headed out of the bathroom. When I turned around to make sure K was following me, he had backed his booty up to the potty and when we made eye contact he said "UP!". I tried to argue with him that he was silly and come one but he insisted to the point we went through the process of taking pants and diaper off and sitting him up on the potty.

Then.. he pee'd. On the potty. Like he had been doing it his whole life. There was much jubilation. High fives and hugs all around. Then I brushed it off as a fluke, put his diaper back on him and we went on about our day.

Half an hour later, it was quiet. That eerie kind of quiet where you know your kids are up to no good. I found D in the playroom, quietly playing with his cars. K I found booty to the potty.

"Up!"

So, pants off, diaper off, up on the potty. He grunted like he was trying to remember how so I poked his bladder and said "right there"and he did it. Again. He pee'd. And grinned. And hugged and high fived. The next morning, he did it again. That after noon, he woke dry from his nap.

My K, at 17 months old, has potty trained himself.

Its been about 6 weeks since he first went potty and I have told precious few people waiting for the relapse. Waiting for the disinterest. Waiting for him to change his mind and go back to peeing in a diaper full time. Thing is though, he loves his underwear. He loves the cartoon characters. He loves the..uhhh... freedom to his manlyness. He likes being big like his brother.

Granted, I still put a diaper on him for sleep and when we leave the house. He still poops in his diaper at nap time most of the time but he almost never pees in them. How he manages to poop and not pee I will never understand but whatever works. The poop thing we can work on. Its a comfort issue I'm sure. Well that and he is still a baby. He also still usually wakes up a wet in the morning. He sleeps about 14 hours and thats a long time to hold your pee. I can't even do that so I can't blame him. Also: Two diapers a day? I can handle that.

So, there you have it. My kids are the awesome. No denying it. Hopefully I am not jinxing myself here but we shall see. He is very much monkey see, monkey do though so as long as the rest of the family uses the potty I think we may be safe. *Knock on wood*

Monday, May 23, 2011

Father and Son

Last Friday night, T took D to his very first baseball game. They completed number 11 on the 2011 list and saw the Atlanta Braves play at Turner Field. I think T was more excited than D when they left to go to the park but it was definitely the other way around when they came back. I was worried that D would get horribly bored and they would have to leave early but they stayed for the whole game plus the fireworks!

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D has been talking about it since they got back home and he is so excited to start trying to play baseball in the yard. Every time we pass any thing baseball or Braves related in a store he always notices and says " I'm gonna play baseball!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Heartbreak in Ringgold

On Sunday, when we were driving up to Chattanooga for the Day Out with Thomas event, we passed Ringold, GA on the interstate. Something we have done hundred of times when visiting family in Tennessee and Alabama. We used to go shopping in Ringgold when we lived in Chattanooga at the Ingles because it was cheaper and gas was always cheaper just over the Georgia line. Since we have live in Atlanta, we normally stop at the same exit every time we make that trip to get gas and stretch out before finishing the drive. Same exit, same gas station, same McDonalds to grab a drink. It is almost a tradition.

On April 27th, 2011, Ringold, GA was struck by an EF4 tornado with 175MPH winds. The tornado left a 13 mile long path of destruction, destroying most everything in its path. 

When we passed the first exit for Ringgold, going North on I-75. I mentioned to my mom that it didn't look too bad. Then we passed the second exit and we both gasped and teared up. The gas station, usually clearly visible from the interstate, was gone. GONE. There was debris all over the interstate, the damage we saw just from the interstate was heartbreaking. I wondered what had become of the rest of the town if that one station had been leveled like that.

We went on about our trip, going to Bea's restaurant in Hixon, TN and then having a grand time at the Thomas event. When we all piled back in the van and headed back to our neck of the woods, I looked down at my gas gauge and my stomach twisted. Not because we didn't have enough gas to get home, but because the image of our gas station strewn across the interstate in pieces the size of a toaster flashed in my mind.

When we hit the Georgia line on our way back, the boys were both asleep in the back seat so I decided to pull off the interstate to get a better look. What greeted us was grim and heartbreaking. The McDonalds that the boys had played in so many times was an empty shell. The stores and hotels that I had pictures of engraved into mind from my childhood and years of "passing through" are obliterated. The small town I knew well was gone and left in its place was a shell scattered with remains.






(These are the pictures I took on our way through Ringgold, GA. © RMM 2011)

There were seven fatalities in Ringold that night. Catoosa County Manager Mike Helton reported that parts of signs from Ringgold have been found in Knoxville, TN (106 miles away) and a Ringgold resident’s swimming medals and yearbook material were found in Madisonville, TN (74 miles away).

They had no warning and it was over in 20 seconds. Seconds. The storm wasn't supposed to hit them. A late, upward shift spared the town I live in but it destroyed one that I cared for. Its heartbreaking to think about all of those people. Displaced. Homeless. By something that was completely beyond their control. The first hand accounts are even more heartbreaking.

You may not have heard much about Ringgold in the after math of the storms. Its a small town that most people have never heard of. Especially not people outside of the area. The population was only 2,422 at the 2000 census. You may have heard that in 2002, a sudden heavy fog played havoc with morning traffic and contributed to one of the worst traffic pileups in Gerogia's history (125 vehicles crashed on Interstate 75 South and 4 people died) but did you know the name of the town?

Thing is, these people need help. In a big way. They need your support, they need your prayers, they need your love. They may not be as big as some of the other cities affected but they were hit hard. If you can, help out. There are so many ways to help them rebuild. I intend on gathering some things to take up to one of the drop off points one day early next week. If anyone has anything they want to send in the way of letters, cards or items, email me at Amy (at) rendermemama (dot) com and we can work out how to get them there. If you can't do anything physically, please just keep them in your thoughts and prayers. They are going to need it for a bit...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monster Expressions (WW)

My youngest, K (aka Monster), makes some of the most awesome faces. Here are some out takes from this weekend. Just because I love them too much to keep to myself.

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Gangsta baby
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Totally unimpressed.
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Nana is funny.
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Wut?
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Mama thinks I'm funny.
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Get it OFF!
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Sewious baby is sewious.
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NOTFUNNOTFUNNOTFUN! 
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But MOOOOOM.
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Emo baby resembles Anton Chigurh... creeeeepy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Our Day Out with Thomas

Sunday was it! We went to visit Thomas the Train in Chattanooga! D has been so crazy excited about this event since we told him about it a few weeks back. He has asked when we were going at least twice a day for the last several weeks and when we put him to be one Saturday night, I seriously doubted he would even sleep. He idd though and we got up early Sunday when the boy's Nana got here and hit the road.

Chattanooga, TN is about 80 miles North of me but its a straight shot up the interstate so no biggie. It was actually nice that we had an excuse to head up there. Me whole family did some growing up there at one point or another in our lives and its always oddly comforting. Oh, how I wish I could go spend a few days. This time though, we were headed to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum which is quite impressive, if you are localish and have never made the trip.

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When we pulled into the parking lot and got all parked and started piling up, a golf cart "taxi" met us at the hatch and helped us load the boys and all the things that go along with a day anywhere with two young children onto the cart and they chauffeured us to the entry gate. The boys jumped off that gold cart as soon as it stopped and took off towards the huge trains screaming "A train! Mama! Nana! LOOK!". It was good to see their excitement was still in full force and we had not even gotten to Thomas yet.

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At the gate, we were greeted and given "treasure maps". We were instructed that if we got stamped at all four of the locations marked on the map, we would get a special prize at the gift shop on our way out. My mom made that her mission. Probably mostly because I am too absent minded to remember things like that but at least she knows me well enough to know that I guess. Always looking out for my boys, that one.






Anyway, as we walked in, there were several really cool old locomotives that the boys felt the need to rub themselves all over but just past those, there were a series of tents with all kinds of activities. The first stop for us was the tattoo booth. D got Thomas and K got James (For some reason, they have always split it up like that. Works for me though, easier to tell the toys apart.). They had a ton of train tables set up for the kids to play with and of course a ton more Thomas toys to run around the tracks! The boys were torn when it came time to move on to the next area. They really wanted to stay and play with the trains but also wanted to see what was next!

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When we got to the end of the row of tents we all stopped dead in our tracks. There was Thomas. In real life. Sitting there on the tracks with smoke billowing out his smoke stack, grinning at us. It took a few seconds for the boys to react but when it sank in and they were able to speak again, they both yelled "Thomas!!" almost in unison. D really wanted to run up and touch Thomas like he had with the other trains but we were able to explain to him that Thomas was working hard and he was very hot. My mom and the boys did get their picture taken in front of him though and that seemed to be good enough. For now. T minus one hour until our ride time.
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The next place we headed was to meet Sir Topham Hatt in his tent. The boys were a little fuzzy on who he was because they have not seen the shows that much but were still excited to meet the Chairman of the Railway all the way from Sodor. Well, at least D was. K was a little intimidated. Skeptical baby is skeptical after all.














PhotobucketD and I spent some time in the petting zoo while my mom and K spent time waiting in line for the bounce house they had set up. K would have gotten to pet the animals too if he had not tried to scale me like a ladder when a goat so much as looked at him. Like I said, skeptical baby. D had fun getting to pet all the animals though. He is always so gentle with animals and it kind of always surprises me. He has a lovers heart despite his crazyness.



When we met K and Nana over at the bounce house, it was on like Kong. The boys had a blast working out some of that nervous, excited energy they had pent up. The lady in charge of it was impressed at how well K kept up with the much older kids he was in there with. He may be skeptical but he knows how to have a good time.
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PhotobucketWhen the boys got out of the bounce house, it was finally time. Time to go get in line to get on Thomas ourselves and take the ride they (Well, D) had been dreaming about for weeks. The line wasn't too bad by the time we got down there and they had us split up in to three different lines for three different cars so the loading was super easy and quick. Once we got on and chose our seats, we waited. We took a few pictures. We wrestled with the monster to keep him in his seat and talked to D about trains and the jobs they do.


The ride was about 25 minutes, which was just right. Long enough to thoroughly enjoy but short enough they didn't get bored. D watched out the window almost the entire time. Watching the trees and sights go by. K kind of freaked out at first. He made his most hilarious stone face yet and sank into the seat to soak it all in. He got used to it though and spent the rest of the trip looking out the window.

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After we got off the train and told him goodbye and thank you for letting us ride, we hit the movie/ storytelling part of the event. The boys say quietly watching the movie but we didn't make it through the story. It was way past nap time and they were exhausted. So we hit up the gift shop for some goodies and our free prize (not going to tell you what it was though, you'll have to go do the treasure hunt yourself!) and headed back to the car in our little "taxi".

This event was way above and beyond what I thought it would be. I thought it would be just a train ride and maybe some coloring sheets and overpriced souvenirs. I am pleased to tell you though I was wrong. Way wrong. The tents and extra events they had were all free (expect the ride tickets). There were tons of activities we didn't even really get to. A live magic show and putt-putt included. The souvenirs were all reasonably priced even! When was the last time that happened at a kids event?

My advice is that if you have a chance to go to that Day Out with Thomas event that is coming close to you? Go. You won't regret it. Even with gas prices at 4 bucks a gallon, it was well worth the 80 mile trip to give the boys the experience that they had. It won't be one the forget.

*I was sent tickets to ride free of charge. The opinions are mine though and I really do recommend you check it out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sweet Tweets for Sweet Peeps- Giveaway

When was the last time you sat down and actually wrtoe someone you love a note? One that didn't have to be less than 140 characters and was written on an actual piece of paper? With all this text, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter stuff making it so easy to just sit down with your phone or computer and tap one out, we almost never take the time to write handwritten notes anymore.  Still, that’s what makes it even more special when we receive a handwritten note from a loved one like the one I wrote for me mother last year.

This week, I got an email about a new product from Bazooka that might make that a little easier to manage, especially for the mama crowd. Its called Sweet Tweets. Cute, no? These are small note cards with a emoticon candy attached, perfect for your child’s lunch boxes, school bags and or camp care packages. Even great for your husbands shirt pocket or wallet. Hey, even your coworkers if you are lucky enough to have the kind of job that you actually like them. They are small enough to stick in just about anywhere to send a short sentiment to create that warm fuzzies in the recipient.

Or you can even enjoy them for yourself as you jot down a few “notes to self”! 
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Now, wondering where to get them? Coming ten to a package, they retail for about 99 cents available for purchase online at www.sweettweetsnotes.comand will be available at retailers nationwide soon. Seriously, that is awesome. What a great way to leave your family/ coworkers a little reminder that you care about them and a little treat to make them smile.

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The little emoticon faces are too cute!

So, who would like to win a “Mom’s Note Cards with a Sweet Surprise” Giveaway gift bag including some Sweet Tweets of your very own? Good news! I Have FIVE goody bags to give away! Sweet, right?
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Sample Goody bag!

Here is how to enter: First, you need to follow me by Google Friend Connect (GFC) over there on the right hand side. You must do that or you won't win. Then, complete one (or all) of these entries!

1. Think back on your chidlhood and leave a comment about that one special message that your mom used to say to you, or placed in your lunch box or book bag. You can leave as many memories as you'd like but be sure to leave a separate comment for each to gain more entries! ~1 entry per comment

2. Follow both @sweettweets and @rendermemama on Twitter and tweet this message: "Check out this @sweettweets giveaway on @rendermemama! I entered to win my goody bag, have you? #SweetSurpriseGiveaway" Leave a comment telling me you did so along with your twitter handle. You can tweet once an hour. ~1 entry for each tweet

3. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email and let me know which you did. Be sure to confirm your subscription! ~1 entry each.

This contest will end at 6pm EST on May 23rd! I will email the winners and you have 24 hours to email me back with your mailing address or I will pick the next winner. Don't forget, there are FIVE winners here, so you have a great chance at winning! Good luck!

*I was sent a sample of the Sweet Tweets note cards to review for this post. All opinions are mine.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Its going to be the death of me I swear. We have only lived here since October, yeah, but the problem is we moved in such a hurry, that all of the junk from the old place got moved to the new place. All of it. I found a bag in the attic yesterday of old recycling stuff. Just newspapers and paper stuff but seriously? Seriously. Its insane how much stuff Tommy and I have accumulated over the last 8 years of our lives together. Granted we did have two kids in the process but seriously, we have too much junk.

The last week and a half I have hit the house hard. Cleaning out closets and rooms and organizing and cleaning until I thought my back was going to break. We were up until 2am Saturday night cleaning and sorting the playroom. Its crazy clean in there right now. We got rid of all the toys they were too big for and all the junky McD's toys and whatnot that is inherent to having kids but just generally keeps things messy.Its crazy clean in there now though. We pulled four bags of stuff out of there. So nice to have less clutter! You can actually see there are centers and organization. Things have a place, yo! We were also able to get the giant firetruck climber in there too. It has been in my living room since I bought it at a consignment sale a few months back and while it wasn't in the way, its good to have the space back.



Today though, I tackle the garage. Its scary in there. All kinds of random piles of stuff. Things that need to be donated somewhere or sold at the eventual garage sale or even just tossed. Its not that we have a problem getting rid of things emotionally, its more like we are just too lazy to take the time to take things where they need to go. Goodwill isn't far,but you have to load the car and drive there. The solution is to have one heck of a garage sale but first, I have to organize it. We shall see who wins that fight. My money is on the junk.

I think the trouble is in the fact that I clean like a crazy woman during the week and then do family stuff all weekend. Which is awesome and fun but I need some down time too. With T working pretty much 24/ 7 I get very little of it organically so I need to start making the time. Problem is I feel the stuff in my house caving in on me when I sit down. I'd like to think I am getting closer to being able to just chill with every little thing I carry out of here. Soon.. soon I will be free!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Final "Green Your Scene" Winner!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the Scott Naturals fun has come to an end! Just to review, over the last month we learned was to green your cleaning habits, ways to green your ride, we talked about ways to keep your yard greener by being greener and finally we talked about ways to get your kids involved in going green. I know I have learned a few things and I hope all of you have too!

The final Scott Naturals Prize Pack goes to:
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You have 24 hours to respond to my email and send your street address to me at Amy @ RenderMeMama (dot) com to claim your prize! Hurry! Go!

Thank you to everyone that participated in the giveaways and I hope you all remembered to click the link to donate to the National Wildlife Federation. Did you forget? OR want to click now? THIS LINK is the one you need! Hopefully I will be able to update everyone on how much we were able to raise soon! Thanks again and keep on "Greening Your Scene"!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Best. Parents. EVER.

Last week, I was in the kitchen cleaning up and getting ready to cook lunch when Monster started yelling at me from the other side of the room. Not fussing just yelling.

"Hey! Mama! Maaaamaaaa! Hey!".

I ignored him for a minute but he just kept at it so I finally went over to him and picked him up and started back into the kitchen with him figuring he just needed a little attention and that way I could hold him and still finish lunch.

As we walked into the kitchen though he freaked. Screaming no and trying frantically to crawl backwards over my shoulder to get out of the kitchen almost causing both of us to fall backwards. I set him down and he went running back into the living room still screaming no like he was terrified.

I immediately started trying to figure out what was so scary in the kitchen all of a sudden, holding up random things from the counter and opening cabinets. None of which seemed to bother him. Then I stepped on this in the kitchen floor:

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When I stepped on it, K screamed and I got frustrated that I couldn't figure out what was so freaking scary and I kicked this little ghosty towards the playroom door but it bounced off and landed about three feet from K. He FREAKED. OUT.  I have never seen a toddler fall all over himself trying to get away from something so fast. It was like a scene from some kind of horror movie except instead of running away from a masked chainsaw killer, he was running from a 4" tall smiling ghost plush.

So, of course like any good mother, I tried to reason with him about it at first. I tried to show him it was okay and it was just a toy and it was fun! See! Fun! He was having none of it. Every time it would come within a few feet of him, he would run and scream and hide. I pretty quickly realized the upside of this silliness is that it would keep him out of my bathroom where he loves to unroll the toilet paper and leave it in a big pile in the floor. So of course I sat it in the doorway and he hasn't been in there since.

Then I made the mistake of showing T how terrified he was of it which of course prompted him to chase him around the house with it, which prompted me to grab the camera and take a video of it and then post it on the internet for everyone to see what totally awesome parents we are:



At this point, it turned into a mix of terror and laughter. He realized T was playing with him but he was still so freaked out by ghosty's smile or whatever that he couldn't even look at it. Nice, right?

For now, the ghosty sits here on my desk, keeping K from climbing up in my chair and pounding away at the keyboard like usual. He no longer screams when he sees it and when we chase him with it he just dissolves into a fit of giggles and lays down on the floor so we can tickle him with it. Still though, he does give it the stink eye every time he passes it. Somewhere in the back of his toddler mind, that thing is going to fling itself at him all harry carry like it did out of the kitchen floor the other day and his screamer baby instinct is ready for it. Just in case...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Green Your Scene: Getting Your Kids Involved *Last Giveaway!*

Are you  ready for the last week of the "Green You Scene" series?? I don't know about you guys but I have had a blast learning about super easy ways to go green! If you have missed out, the first week we talked about great ways to green your cleaning habits. The second week we talked about ways to green your ride. Then, last week, we talked about ways to keep your yard greener by being greener!

Along with each week's post, I have also been giving away an awesome prize pack from Scott Naturals. This prize pack is packed with all kinds of awesome goodies that will make your house a little greener. For free! So, before we get started, lets announce the winner of last week's "Green Your Scene" Scott Naturals prize pack!

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Congrats To gmmerrell, who said:

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You have 24 hours to respond to my email and send your street address to me at Amy @ RenderMeMama (dot) com to claim your prize! Hurry! Go!

So, this week I am going to share some ways I have been able to get D into helping keep things green around the house. K, well, he is 19 months. Everything is "NO!" still. I'll work on him later. Point is, if D can manage these things at 3 years old, so can big kids.

The first thing he helps with is by being in charge of our reusable bags. He is "in charge" of getting them out of the van when we get to the store, he helps me put away the groceries and then he puts them back in the van for the next trip. It may not be exactly green in the short run but it is starting a habit that will last (hopefully) his entire life.

We also make sure to remind him to turn off the lights, television and electronic toys when he is done with them. Saving energy is a big thing in our house. Both for the environment and cost!

D has also been very involved in helping me with our garden. We talk about the plants and how they grow. He helps me with the planting and the watering. He is mad excited about the tomatoes and strawberries we have already and it has made him even more interested in learning about all kinds of growing things!

For older kids, it is obviously easier to get them involved in being green. There are cool crafts you can do to help them learn, they can help with recycling and participate in group and activities geared towards kids.

Now for the fun part. Our family has been asked to participate in the Scott Naturals 4-Week Test Drive.  In honor of Earth Month, the Scott Naturals brand is challenging Americans to take an easy green step by testing out its line of hybrid paper products: bath tissue, paper towels, flush-able wipes and napkins. If everyone that visited Google today took the 4-Week Test Drive there’d be 4,414,400 trees saved. 

As part of this project, Scott Naturals will be making a donation to the National Wildlife Federation. For every unique click-thru to THIS LINK, Scott Naturals will donate $1 (up to $25,000 total) to the National Wildlife Federation. Sweet, right? All you have to do is click!

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I also have four huge prize packs to give away (one a week) to a lucky RMM reader! This prize pack includes a full size package of napkins, toilet paper, paper towels and moist, flush-able wipes. Don't tell me those are things you would rather pay for when you can win them.
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How to enter (These have changed! Pay attention!):


1. You must follow Render Me Mama via GFC and leave a comment saying you do. (Mandatory) *1 entry


2. Visit Scott Naturals and take the 4 week test drive pledge (all you have to do is click and you even get some sweet coupons just for doing that. Plus, you just donated a dollar to the NWF!). Leave a comment saying you did so. *1 entry


3. Click the link of above (or here) to donate a dollar to the National Wildlife Federation. This is going to have to be an honor system thing here ladies and gents but seriously.. if you are going to lie about clicking a link to donate a buck to a charity so you can win some paper products (sweet as they may be), you need a life. *1 entry


4. Like my Facebook page to stay updated and leave your first name & last initial or your page name. *2 entries (Be sure and leave two comments to get both entries!)


5. Subscribe to Render Me Mama to be delivered via email (Over there ---> ) and be sure to confirm it. *5 entries. (Be sure and leave five comments to get all entries!)


I will draw the winning number via Random.org next Monday. Don't be discouraged if you don't win this week though, come back next week for more going green wisdom and another chance to win an awesome prize pack! Good luck!

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! THANK YOU TO ALL THAT ENTERED!*

*I was given the opportunity to review the Scott Naturals line and compensated for my time as part of this post. All opinions and tips are mine.

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