Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ah....the time-honored ritual of Christmas cards!

Every November I open a tab with each of the online photo companies, upload our selected photo (post edited to leave out the stress of having that taken and choosing just the right one - you know that drill!) and look for the cutest possible combination of graphics, colors and available text space.

I forward my husband my passwords and he goes in to look at each of the choices.
I stress about the cost of something that kills trees and only gets looked at for 20 days, then tossed.
We debate.
We disagree on the choice.
We eat, sleep, go on with our lives.
Then, suddenly (yeah, right, as if Christmas comes as a surprise each year), it's the middle of December and I'm in a time crunch.
I blow off Husband's attitude to skip cards this year and, for the past 5 years, Shutterfly saves the day!

Given my past history, it's amazing that I'm so close to ordering this year's cards.  And it's only the last day of November.

So, without further delay...I think...am almost 100% positive...for 2010....we're using this one.  I'm a sucker for all things retro and all things blue = perfect.

There are many reasons Shutterfly stands out:

Their selection of cards gets cuter and more stylish every year!  Here's their latest batch of Christmas photo cards and holiday cards.  Of course, we do photo cards now that we have three cute faces to share, but pre-marriage my choices were the plain, boxed sets from the stationery store.  Now there's a huge variety of stationery cards that don't require matching outfits or pulling teeth to get smiles.

Another perk for my pocketbook - there are many price points.  I can't stomach the cost that some companies want me to pay per card but Shutterfly makes me feel wise and trendy without worrying that our card will be politely placed on the bottom of someone's card holder behind the free notepad from their realtor.
They also have calendars which I give to the grandparents EVERY year.  The benefit of such is that I can make sure they know all the birthdays and anniversaries they might otherwise forget (not naming names here, but someone forgot our youngest's 1st birthday this year....)  I make a special one for my grandmother using photos from all the extended family, adding new babies and new spouses is a must!  I finally got smart and set Gram's calendar to start in Feb of the next year so I can insert any last minute holiday pics from this  year and still get it to her without wasting a month.  Brilliant feature, Shutterfly.  Maybe I'll do an 18-month calendar for her this year.

Shutterfly also has my vote for supporting Heifer International.  In my classroom, every year, the kids and their families participate in a Read A Thon to raise money for the purchase of livestock to help families in third world countries become independent and self-sustaining.  10% of the purchase of these cards goes to Heifer!  Terrific!  They also support LiveStrong and the American Lung Association.  Albeit the cards aren't that cute, the point of Heifer is the livestock, not snowflakes and it's for a good cause, right?

Not only do they offer fabulous holiday cards, but we've done #2 and #3's birth announcements and thank you cards from Shutterfly.  Over the years, I've needed one copy here and there for baby books and such, so it's nice that they allow me to save all my old projects without a fee or minimum annual order.

#1 and #2 have first-year of life photo books from Shutterfly as well.  The quality of the glossy hard cover and the ability to caption and design each page made it simple for a brain-dead, lack-of-sleep mommy to create a book for each boy in the middle of the night.  Of course, Trilogy is already 16 months old and I have yet to order his, but it's created and in my cart now!

They always have coupon, codes and special offers so be sure to sign up for their email newsletter or connect to them on FB or Twitter.

December is just around the corner and I bet you'll be getting your first holiday card in the mail before the end of the week.  Some people are just that together, aren't they?  Well, now with Shutterfly and the reminder I'll get from my husband when he reads this post, you just might get mine by then too! =)

Happy Holidays!

If you have a blog and would like to check out what Shutterfly has to offer, click here. Disclosure - I did receive 50 free cards for promoting Shutterfly, but I was planning to use them anyway!  So that means I'm only paying for 75 of my cards =)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Organic milk. Is it worth it?

Every week I stand in front of the dairy section and debate my kids' health.   Is paying $5.99 for a gallon of organic milk versus $3.29 for a gallon of Trader Joe's no-Rbgh milk going to save them or haunt me years from now?
Here's a great break down from Healthy Child Healthy World on all the reasons I feel guilty when I walk out of the store and why tomorrow they'll be getting organic again.  (PS I never get it for myself, but why not when I am nursing?

Does your kid's book destroy the rainforest?

Wow.  Can't believe I never thought of this one?...Coincidentally I'm sitting next to a recycle can holding the remains of one Spanish-English flip book that didn't survive a 2 year old's naptime...
The RainForest Action Network (RAN) recently published a guide to the publishers who are and are not rainforest friendly.  Sad to see our Puff the Magic Dragon book is not a friend of the trees.  Shame on you Puff.
It's a good thing Simon & Schuster's Generation Green edition is!
Click here to see if you recognize some of the names on your spine...

Patch those holey jeans!

Sommer over at Green and Clean Mom posted a review of a new item, well not new, but you'll see what I mean.
JohnnyPatch takes recycled jeans and makes them into iron-on patches you can purchase and use.  Not sure myself if $9 per patch is worth it, but to not have to sew it, to have it look cute and not waste more space in the world by buying a brand new patch....
As the boys enter the next stretch of outdoor play, I'm sure we'll be needing a heck of a lot of these...free shipping = Yay!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things you maybe knew about being a mom but were afraid to ask!s

This came through today from AlphaMom.
Right on target.  Love the one about the puke.  Especially as my oldest is puking as we speak...=(
by Chris Jordan
Nothing really prepares you for becoming a mother. Sure, people tell you what to expect, but until you actually have a kid or two, their words mean nothing. Needles in your spine? Dignity lost on the delivery table? You think after hearing everyone’s labor delivery nightmare stories that nothing else will shock you.
The only thing that prepares you for motherhood is becoming a mother.  And then you can have your own shocking realizations.
1: Loneliness.  Motherhood is very isolating.  Even when I had several kids I described my life as being lonely in a crowd.  Now that my kids are older I  have moved past this stage, but I still think it is one of those things mothers don’t talk about much.  Somehow it is taboo to admit that your baby doesn’t fulfill  every last desire that you have.
2: Your body will never be the same.  I’m not sure why this one shocked me so much.

Click here to read the rest.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Felt crafts

I found this for a friend and thought I'd share.
She wants to put a felt or flannel board in her daughter's room for storytelling fun!

No Poo - Am I brave enough?

For the past year I've treaded the "No Poo" waters...
It might be time to dive in.
Here are a few of the fabulous posts I'm visiting and re-visiting to build up my courage.
Want to join me on my swim into the world of No Poo?

BabySlime - a great break down on "fixes" as well
SimpleMom -  has short hair like me. (note - this is not me =)
Kitchen Stewardship -  my life wouldn't be the same without Katie and her tireless research into all things green and important to me now =)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Big Blue? Easy-peasy! Joe's always ready for a challenge!

This week's matchups!

Ladies and Gentleman - with the time change, you now have ONE EXTRA HOUR to vote for Joe Bruin!

Last night, my family and I cheered on the UCLA Bruins to their, literally, last second win over the Oregon State Beavers.  Proof positive that Beavers can't build a dam, our kicker made a last-second field from 51 yards to seal the deal and win the game!  17-14

During the game, I threw out the "Mascot Alumni" card and asked some of the Yell Crew to bring Joe Bruin over for a family portrait.  Always gracious and humble, Joe proudly walked among his fans to our section and gave us a 30-second private audience before wowing the rest of his adoring fans who had lined up for aisles.

Ever so strong, Joe offered to hold all three of the kids himself, but we knew he had to save his energy to take on Big Blue in this week's Capital One Bowl Mascot Challenge.  Have you voted for this studly, family-friendly bear yet?

Do it now - Vote!