Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Moving Hilarity

Beyonce stuffed to the gills
Safety First


Oh the eating out.
The first night

Sleepy snuggles

Late night dinners
Monster's new crib is just right.


My ginormous couch is in there somewhere...

Poor T. He kept falling asleep while eating.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Settling

The dust is anyway. We are finally getting settled into our new place with very little grace and finesse. We are trying to get everything put away in an orderly fashion this time. The last few times we moved, we would just open boxes and shove the contents into cabinets and spend the next six months looking for things. Not ideal.

It's been nice to be able to do things at a little slower pace but I am ready to get back to life in a big way. Back to the things I enjoy and back to the things that help me keep my sanity. Like my morning coffee. Oh, how I miss my morning coffee. The elixir of life.

Of course that requires getting some other things settled too. Well, not the coffee. My coffee pot was one of the first things set up. Things like getting my mother back to being independent again. She has been quite dependent on us since she broke her arm at our old house. She "can't" eat or clean or cook or do laundry or.. well anything really. Now, don't get me wrong, I understand it hurts and I understand it has been extremely frustrating, especially since it was her right arm but its been a long road for all of us. Next time I will put her pain pills in her drinks so she will take them. The good news is she finally got the cast taken off this week. She is still in a brace but it will be much easier to manage which will in turn mean we will all get more done.

Something else that needs to be squared away are the details of the boys' birthday party. I haven't really been able to do much at all in the way of planning and thinking, being so preoccupied elsewhere, so there is a ton to do. I know the whens and wheres and sort know what we are doing decoration wise but I want to find some sort of craft and we have to get the food decided and bought. 18 days. I was able to get their presents early this year though and while it was not fun hiding and moving them, its nice to not have to worry about that. Hopefully this little area won't take too long to get settled and ready.

Of course, I am still in total denial about their birthdays coming up too. In a little over two weeks, I will have a four year old and a two year old. Saying I'm not ready for that would be kind of a lie. Life has gotten a lot easier since they are getting bigger and more independent. I don't have to carry diapers or sippy cups anymore. We get dressed and leave the house. Bam. Easy peasy. On the other hand though, I am not ready for all the things that come along with their new found independence. How wishy washy is that?

Mostly, I am ready to get back to playing with the boys. That time has been seriously cut short and we are all out of sorts because of it. We have been able to take little breaks here and there and do some fun things but let's face it, moving sucks for everyone involved.

Today, we are going to the park and possibly the pool. Just having an easy going, relaxing kind of day. Trying to get into the groove of the new place and the new schedules the boys' have adapted to accordingly. Lots of eating, playing and resting. The dust is settling in around us and finally we can relax.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Beautiful Boys

This week, I was lucky enough to meet up with the lovely Porcha of PKey Photography to have some pictures of my boys taken. I had hoped to have some pro pictures done of all of us but it just wasn't in the cards this time. Maybe a little later this year we can get around to that. If not, I say this counts for the 2011 list. Mostly because of how completely thrilled I am with the results. She was able to captured a lot of the boys' personatlites and I just love them.





Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Mighty Pin

If you are around on the internet very much, you have likely heard of the new addiction that has been taking the Mama crowd by storm: Pinterest. A site where you can go to organize your lists of all things crafty or photography or quotes or whatever the heck you want. You can "pin" things from anywhere online (Except Facebook. Just another reason to despise Facebook, no?) and keep track of the things you love or the things you want to accomplish. This... thing is addictive. Its almost scary how it creeps into your mind and takes over.

Then there is the social aspect of it. We all know how that creeps in. See, you can connect with other people and follow their boards and see what they love and want to accomplish and then you can like their likes/ hopes and repin them for yourself if you so desire!

Lost yet? Yeah, probably. I don't think I am explaining it right somehow. Just suffice it to say: Pinterest is addictive. There is a whole world wide web out there of awesome stuff that is just begging to be looked at and pinned for me to oddle over again and again until I get the chutzpah to either order whatever it is or make it myself. Its almost a hobby to pin things for my hobbies. I guess that all works out in the end, right?

I posted a few weeks ago about one of the things that I have already tried off my Pinterest boards and I have to admit there are a few things that I have already done that I pinned anyway because they should be shared. There are some things too that make me just kind of roll my eyes. Like the hundreds of projects that seem to be floating around taking those discarded wooden pallets from the local big box mart and making them into other things. Seriously, there are a lot of them. Who knew? Also, I'm all for recycling things that make peoples lives better but is a yard full of rotting pallet furniture going to improve anyone's life? Unless I supposed your love to invite termites into your yard. Then go ahead and pin away!

Mostly for me its the crafty stuff. I like to be crafty but its not something I tend to make time for. I love to buy handmade things and make gifts for people for the holidays or whatnot. I Luke look Needless to say, I have a ton of things "pinned" on my craftiness idea board but have yet to actually accomplish any of them. There are 41 pins so far on that board and all of them are things that I really do want to try out. Things I think I could really do. Easily and cheaply for the most part. Of course there are a few that may require a little extra work.

So, I have decided to challenge myself to do at least one thing off my Craftiness pinboard each week until I either get caught up on it or get bored with it to the point I want to pull my hair out. 41 pins though isn't too bad of a start. If I can just keep myself from pinning more and more things as I do the others, I might actually accomplish something here. Of course, I intend on keeping you all informed of my progress as well.

Now, who wants to join me? Set a reachable challenge for yourself regarding one of your pinboards and keep us all informed of how its going? If nothing else, come back and see how its going. It should be an interesting venture. After all, I said I liked to be crafty not that I am good at being crafty.

Monday, August 15, 2011

UPrinting.com Review and Giveaway!

UPrinting is a high-quality online printing company that has been providing businesses and designers with quality printing services for over 25 years. A leading online printing, marketing and technology firm, has established itself as a major player in the industry with its ability to help small businesses grow and large businesses expand their reach.

I was lucky enough to be picked to review Uprinting's print flyers. They come in thick, 14 pt. glossy card stock, and are perfect for save the dates, party invites, announcements, charity's, special events and the like. You can even choose between 2 sizes: 4.25" x 5.5" and 4" x 6". These are the glossy, eye catching type flyers that are given out for concerts and fancy night clubs. I was really surprised by the quality!

What would a blogger need with flyers? These will be perfect to hand out to people at events and blog conferences to help spread the word and bring people by! More impressive and more detailed than a plain business card, these can be a beautiful example of your unique presence.

Want to purchase your own party flyers for your next outing but worried about the design process? Uprinting has down-loadable templates for you to use to make your flyers the best they can be!

Want to win 250 party flyers from Uprinting? Here is what you will recieve:

Party Flyers / Flyers

250pcs. Flyers for one winner

4.25" x 5.5", 4" x 6"

14pt Cardstock Gloss, Front Only Printing, 

3 Business Days Turnaround, *Free Shipping

(Restriction: Limited to *US residents 18 years old and above only. )


Heres how to enter.You can do one or all entries but be sure to leave a separate comment for each and leave either an email address or make sure it is visible in your profile so I can contact you!:

1. Visit Uprinting.com and tell me what your favorite product they offer is!

2. Subscribe to Render Me Mama by email or RSS.

3. "Like" Render Me Mama on Facebook. Leave a comment here and there saying you are entering the Uprinting contest!

4. "Like" Uprinting on Facebook.

5. Follow Render Me Mama on Twitter. Be sure to leave your Twitter handle for verification.

6. Follow Uprinting on Twitter. Be sure to leave your Twitter handle for verification.

The winner will be drawn On August 26th at 7pm! Get those entries in!

*This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given and I will receive party flyers for hosting.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Flash Mob by Car

This week I was invited to attend the unveiling of a new concept in the rental car industry by Wrap Media Group out of Boca Raton, FL.. You might think that sounds a bit odd but this idea is pretty revolutionary for rental cars in general. Especially with the economy spinning its wheels in the ditch, families and businesses alike are looking for a more economic option with travel.

What is this new option? This week, Budget Rentals in Atlanta unveiled a fleet of wrapped rental cars. These cars by Wrap Media Group are wrapped with a 3m vinyl design material specific to an advertising brand and offered for rent to the public at an amazing discount. Right now there is a mix of small SUVs and cars available. Perfect for a family gateway or even a businessman looking to save a few bucks of corporate money. Something any boss would love! The cars really look cool. It's not the cheesy local tanning salon wrapped vehicle. These are classy, local businesses that sponsor the vehicles. So no worries about being laughed at while you are riding through town.

Photo by the lovely Lisa. Check her out at Life With Lisa!
Which is exactly what we did on Tuesday. A group of local bloggers all gathered at Hartsfield Jackson Airport to check out the fleet. The cars we rode in were sponsored by Sheets energy strips and were a beautiful red with the Sheets logo all over. It surprised me to find out that the cars were actually silver underneath! An amazing and seamless transformation. After a quick breakfast we gathered in a group of ten Sheets cars and took to the streets to tour Atlanta as our own little mobile flash mob!

Photo by me!
We drove all over the city handing out samples and surprising groups of pedestrians all over Atlanta, from Atlantic station to Olympic Park to the Varsity for lunch. We even had our own little rodeo on the campus of Georgia Tech! People's reaction to the convoy ranged from strgange looks and double takes to waving and yelling at the cars "Whats this about?". In short, everyone's reaction was pretty cool. Even the policemen we encountered were curious and super friendly. We even got a short "escort" from a couple of members of the mounted patrol.

So now the news is out! Right now these wrapped cars are only available in Atlanta but they are expanding to most major U.S. cities soon so be sure to be on the lookout! Check out Budget Atlanta to book one of these sweet rides for your next venture in Atlanta and be sure to let me know you are coming!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Help


A few weeks back I was invited to attend a preview showing of the new movie "The Help". Having read the book, I was so very excited for the opportunity. If you aren't aware of the story, you should be.
Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon,  “The Help” stars Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (“Doubt”) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s,  who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed —even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. ~From TheHelpMovie.com
Like I said, I had read the book and it touched me so much. I knew the movie was going to be huge also. Especially when the cast list came out. With such well rounded talent like Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard it was sure to be a good one.

Lets just say I was not disappointed. The acting was amazing. Spencer's portrayl of the lively Minny reminded me so much of my grandmother in all her spunk and attitude. Davis' Aibileen was every bit the strong, amazing woman that she was in my mind. Even Stone played an amazing, free spirited Skeeter that was every bit the out of place fireball that was in the book. The dynamic through the whole cast was really just amazing. Even for the lesser parts, the glue was there. The dynamic between the actors was intense.


The sets were astounding. Every little detail has been considered. Everything was just perfect.

The story, even though I knew how it went, was so touching, endearing and moving. The whole audience was provoked on a journey through an array of emotions. From the hilarity of  Miss Minny to the heartbreak of Constantine and everywhere in between. The fear was almost palpable in the scenes surrounding the dark underbelly of life in Jackson for the African Americans at the time. I was fully engaged for the entire movie, right up to the very end, which is not usual for me. The ADD in me has a hard time sitting through the lag that happens in so many movies today. I have not been moved to tears in a movie in a very, very long time but the emotion at times was just too powerful. I still get chills thinking about it. Bring tissues.


If you are thinking about going and seeing this, do. If you aren't thinking about it, do. This is the kind of movie that I think everyone should see. Not only because of the social issues raised but for the feelings, for the cinematography and for the chance to take a peek into the sordid history surrounding parts of the South that went on for too long. You won't be disappointed. Of that, I am sure.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tis the Season

It has arrived. About this time every year, I do my very best to hold it together. The middle of August has arrived and with it, the count down to September. Despite my rising anxiety and nostalgia, its coming. And its coming fast. The busy month.

September 9th is T's birthday. September 14th my baby turns two. September 15th my big boy turns 4. September 18th our marriage turns 7. Add in the birthday parties and the others we attend that month plus the fact that I am (direly and exasperatingly) hoping my sister is able to come for a little bit for the Boys' birthdays and you reach critical mass on time and energy where everything is rushed and hectic and.. well, awesome. This year we have the added stress of trying to find a living space that won't have all of us pulling out our hair all the time. Oh, and I can't forget to add in D's preschool stuff and activities. That along with all the drama that comes along with being us in general and you can imagine how hectic it gets around here.

September every year we celebrate all month long. There is always an exciting step for our family just around then bend. A new milestone every weekend. Then, when September ends, there is fall. Wonderful fall. Just there, waiting for us in all its wonderfulness.

For now though, this last few weeks of August, I spend my days running around preparing for September. It seems silly to me right now to stock up the freezer with easy meals and such but in all reality, come September 1st, I will be thankful I did. Much easier to just pull things out and heat than to have to think about it.

That and getting every thing together for the Boys' birthday party. Which I am crazy excited about this year. We are doing it a a local park that features a huge pirate ship shaped playground (one of their favorites) and of course, what theme would you have but pirates! It is crating a tad bit more work for me having to figure out what to do and what to have and that but I am still excited and I know the boys will love it.

Suffice it to say, things are about to get real crazy up in here. Its the kind of crazy hectic that I tend to thrive on though. The more I have to do, the less time I have to eat. Plus, I am gearing up to complete the grand 30 day no spend challenge! That should be an adventure all in its own. We start October 24th. That way I can knock it out before black Friday!

I guess I say all that to say, bear with me. Its going to be a fun and exciting few months here until the end of the year. I won't say the best is coming but certainly the most shenanigans are so hang in there and hope for the best! At the very least prepare for a photo explosion!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Chickenpalooza

We, as a family, are omnivores. We love our fruits and veggies but we also like our meat. We typically really only eat one meaty meal a day unless we have it on hand which is kind of becoming more of a problem here lately. Meat.. is expensive. Chicken is expensive. Especially fresh chicken. In fact, I haven't seen fresh (unfrozen) chicken breast for under 2.99/lb in awhile. Sure you can buy the stuff that has been frozen, delivered to the store and then thawed to be put out ( did you know that chicken is already two weeks old when you buy?? Two weeks!) Not to mention all the solvents and "broths" they have been "enhanced" with.
No,  I'm talking about real chicken.

That is, until last week. When I was given the opportunity to review 40lbs of fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Yes, 40 pounds. You see, I had the fine luck of working with Zaycon Foods. Zaycon Foods' chicken is 100% natural with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients. Never frozen. The chicken I received from Zaycon Foods was only 5 days old.


With that being said, let me tell you a little about Zaycon. This company is based out of Washington state and is steadily expanding into the Southeast; Zaycon Foods. Founded in 2009, Zaycon Foods offers fresh meats and other products directly to consumers at wholesale prices. They bring products direct from the farm / processor (or as nearly as direct as possible). The products are as fresh as if you had your own farm, but of course way less messy. They sell food products only by the case. No extra costs for handling.

You can imagine how fresh and wonderful this chicken tasted. Go ahead and imagine the best chicken at the finest restaurant and multiply how good that tasted by a thousand. Seriously the best chicken I have ever tasted. Plus, these chicken breasts are huge. Like, intimidatingly huge. Ok, maybe not intimidatingly but still big enough for one whole breast to feed to fullness my family of four plus my mother a fried chicken dinner. Impressive, no?

Now, I do have to be honest with you, 40lbs of chicken is a lot of chicken and since this chicken is packed to skimp on cost to the consumer, you do have to do a little prep work. There is no bringing the box in an sticking it in the refrigerator until you use it all. Unless of course you intend on having a block party and cooking it soon. For one, the box is huge. It took up one whole shelve in my refrigerator. Not a bad thing considering the cost but still not totally handy for long term storage.

The other thing you need to prepare for is to do some prep work on the chicken. They come as untrimmed whole breasts so they need to be cut apart and trimmed before cooked or frozen. It took me a couple of hours to trim and prep them though which is not bad considering how many of them there were!

What did you do with the 40lbs of chicken breasts from Zaycon Foods you ask? Well, here is a breakdown for you (after splitting and trimming of course):
  • Put all the trimmings in some water to boil for a few hours with some celery, carrots and onion to make a rich broth to have on hand for soups and whatnot. 
  • Wrapped about 3/4 of the breasts and stuck them in the freezer. They will still be way better for you and way better tasting than the store bought kind even having been frozen.
  • Grilled some for dinner the night we got them. So. delicious.
  • Cut into strips and fried a few the next night for dinner. Again. Melt in your mouth taste.
  • Put a few in the crock-pot with some of the homemade broth and cooked them on low for about 8 hours. This made the broth richer and made some perfect, falling apart chicken to make chicken salad and quesadillas with. (4 breasts made three days worth of food for us.) - I did this twice!

As you can see, 40lbs of chicken is enough to last you quite awhile. The best part about that? The price of the chicken. Zaycon Foods sells their chicken breast cases (like this one) for around 1.65/lb. So, not only are you getting a superior product and supporting local farms/ facilites, but you are also getting an amazing price!


Ready to get started and check out what Zaycon Foods is bringing to your neck of the woods? Register HERE and get ready to save on some amazing, fresh foods for your family!

*I was provided the 40lb case of super awesome chicken breasts by Zaycon Foods at no charge for the process of this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tommy Takes On

Ok, here is a little brag for you for today: Tommy, my husband, recently decided to pic up the camera for a little spin. Turns out, he is quite talented!




*For more check out his 365 Project.

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