Officially Closed

Hello Dear Reader,

Apron Strings Aflutter has officially closed…BUT have no fear! I’m around a couple of different places and I’d be tickled pink for you to visit…

The Pixel Boutique | blog design & tips


Snapfish Shop

The Holiday Blog Card | virtual holiday greetings

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Garage Sales: Pastime Numero Uno

I’m telling you.

There’s few things on the weekends that are more fun than bargain hunting. Its a family affair, here. In fact, I think DH loves it more than I do. (Although, watching two or three (!) kid’s soccer games on a Saturday is pretty fun too…albeit tiring).

I thought I was good at bargain hunting and bartering. But seriously? My man can talk a baby out of it’s candy. He’s especially good with the ladies; they love him! I swear, if something is marked $1, he’ll offer $.13 and they’ll agree…with a smile, even! (Ok, not really $.13 but just about…).

Recently, I discovered a great new resource called Garage Sale Tracker. On this handy little site, you can search for garage sales in your area by distance, date, and even items you’re looking for. You can contact the seller and get direction to the sale (super cool!). Search flea markets and consignment shops in your area as well.

If you are having a garage sale, you can list your sale for up to two months in advance, meaning more exposure for your sale. You can even post images…all for free!

Its your turn: Are you a bargain hunter? Do you do it on a regular basis?

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If You Love Macaroni Grill… Giveaway

UPDATE: The winners of this giveaway are #27 – Wendy and #48 – Jackie. Congratulations!

Well, this is officially my last giveaway on this blog. Sad, but as I said yesterday, I’m so excited about what the future holds!

mg_cbToday I’m happy to share with you a fun giveaway. When I was approached by MyBlogSpark to see if I’d like to participate, I was really excited to do so. One of my favorite restaurants is Macaroni Grill. In fact, I chose to go there for “one” of my birthday dinners this year (I’m so spoiled…I got two dinners this year!).

But going out to dinner as often as I would like to gets a little pricey. (And now that we’re going to be house poor there will be no eating out for a while.) So you can imagine my glee when I discovered that Macaroni Grill has a line of pasta dinners called Macaroni Grill Restaurant Favorite that you can buy right from your grocery store. At around $6 a box, and adding in the cost of chicken, a little milk and butter, the price is right for a family of 5.

They have four varieties, all ready in under 20 minutes, but our favorite is Creamy Basil. And when every kid in your family likes something, you know you have a winner.

Now if only they’d come up with a grocery store version of this:

dessert

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Win it! How would you like to win this?

macaroni-grill-gift-image

Simply leave a comment on this post and two lucky winners will be chosen to receive a “What’s For Dinner Gift Basket” which includes:

  • a sample of the Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken Pasta
  • 3 coupons for you to try the other varieties
  • a colander
  • serving spoon
  • cheese grater

For extra entries, tweet up to once a day about this giveaway. Deadline for entries is June 12 at midnight. Good luck!

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End Chapter One…

Its taken me a month to write this post, trying to figure out just how to write it.

After a year of blogging, I’ve come to bloggy crossroad. In a year’s time I’ve evolved as a person, a mom, and a blogger. Funny how that happens so quickly.

I’ve learned so much over this past year. Made so many wonderful connections and had some fun opportunities. But one chapter of blogging is ending and another is about to begin.

After this week, I won’t be posting at Apron Strings Aflutter any longer.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Its Summer and my family needs me. My kids are out of school and we need to do a lot of swimming, relaxing and watching too much tv. We’re also taking a trip to California for vacation.
  • We’re moving! Not to Madagascar or even another state. Just about 10 miles from where we currently live. And I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter if you’re moving next door or across the globe. Moving is a big pain in the keester. We’ll be moving into our new house sometime in the end of June and as I speak I am surrounded by boxes and important sounding documents.
  • My design blog, the pixel boutique requires a lot of time and attention. I simply love creating blogs for other people and doing tutorials on blog related topics. I have started offering  premade blog graphics, with premade Blogger templates coming very soon. Take a look at what I have so far in my premade design shoppe! I will also be doing some video tutorials on things like Adobe PhotoShop Elements and Illustrator.
  • Last but not least, I’ve decided to pursue a new venture with my other passion, scrapbooking. This Fall I will be launching Confessions of a Cropaholic, a blog dedicated to all things scrapbooking, including product reviews, video tutorials and ideas. If you’re a scrapper (or want to be), please check it out! I will post a link here when Confessions of a Cropaholic goes live, but here’s a sneak peek:

coacbanner

So you see, I will still be around, just in a different way. I will still be on Twitter and will be leaving Apron Strings up for quite a while, so feel free to browse past posts and leave comments. And of course, please come say hi every once in a while at my other blogs.

Goodbye, 10s of readers. Its been my pleasure getting to know you and connecting throught this little old blog of mine. I hope to see you on the flipside!

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SnoreMate: Review & Giveaway

UPDATE: The winners of this giveaway are: #12 – Kathy, #92 – Katiea and #27 – Marina

I have a secret. Its about my husband. Unfortunately…he’s a…

Snorer.

A really loud one.

Poor guy. Its nothing to be ashamed of, I tell him. He cant help it. In fact, he sleeps like a baby through the entire chain saw imitation act. Me, however? Can’t even sleep with him on his bad nights.

We’ve tried pretty much everything from breathing nose strips to earplugs; pillows over my head to pillows under his. Nothing really seems to help.

snoremateIn searching for other solutions, I came across SnoreMate, a custom fitting mouthpiece designed to help reduce snoring. Seeing that I have the perfect case study right in my own bedroom, I approached SnoreMates to review their product.

The SnoreMate works by moving the lower jaw forward, allowing the airway to increase in size, thereby reducing the vibrations in the throat. The plastic mouthpiece is easily molded using boiling water to form a custom fit, while holding the jaw slightly and comfortably forward.

In my opinion, there are several pros…one being the ease of molding the SnoreMate to a custom fit. Its quick and easy, with clear instructions included in the box. I also notice a significant reduction of snoring when my husband used the SnoreMate…a definite plus. The price is right too, at $44 for a twin pack.

There are also a few cons with the product as well…mainly due to getting used to wearing the piece. If you are an opened mouth sleeper, it will be harder to get used to as you will have to keep you mouth pretty much closed while wearing it. I think it would be helpful if it came with breathing holes between the upper and lower teeth channels. It also takes some getting used to having something in your mouth that isn’t normally there. The documentation states that it will indeed take some getting used to, so don’t give up in the first few nights.

Bottom line, I like the concept of the SnoreMate. Its simple, inexpensive and non-invasive. After the initial break in period, it is a good option for the long term snoring prevention.

Win it! SnoreMates has generously offered a set of two mouthpieces for three lucky winners. Simply comment on this post by June 5 at midnight. Earn extra entries by tweeting up to once a day about this giveaway.

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I’m Not A Good Germaphobe Giveaway

UPDATE: The winners for this giveaway are: #4 – Maureen and #37 – Caroline. Congratulations!

May I rant for a moment?

Thanks.

Someone would have to convince me otherwise on this, but I would not consider myself a germaphobe when it comes to my kids. I’ve never understood why new parent shelter their little ones from every possible germ. I mean, I guess I get the basic idea…don’t expose them to unnecessary germs (like sick kids with runny noses and coughs) when their little bodies may not be able to handle it yet.

But at some point, kids are going to have to go out into the big, mean world and need to combat those little germs. My kids came home from preschool, church, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) plenty of times with sniffles that they just picked up from playing with a little guy with a cold, unbeknownst to me or the child care worker. Wherever toddlers are, germs are.

Now I’m no doctor, but it seems to make sense to me that building immunity to the little germs will help with the big ones later on (how’s that for big technical terms?).

Having said all of that, I am a proponent of vitamins and supplements. As much as I try to feed my family healthy foods, it just makes me feel better to give them a multivitamin and occasional supplements.

newprod-vitamindSomething new we’ve been trying recently is Wellesse Vitamin D3 supplement. When approached by Welless to review their product, I was not totally aware of all the benefits Vitamin D gives you. My first thought was bone health. But it’s so much more…

Vitamin D aids in building immunity along with bone health. And because so many of us are concerned with sun exposure, we block Vitamin D right along with the harmful sun rays. So much so that in December, The American Dermatology Association issued a position statement recommending fortified foods and supplements as the preferred vitamin D source, instead of unprotected sun exposure.

In reviewing the supplement, its obvioulsy hard to tell what lasting immune and bone health effects we’ve experienced (but I can tell you no one had the flu this season…hmmm). But no one in my family had a problem taking the drinkable suppliment. It tastes like strong Koolaid and in my opinion is better refridgerated than at room temporature.

The 16 oz. bottle of Wellesse’s Vitamin D3 suppliment is available at Target, Walgreens and drugstore.com and retails for $9.99 (and you can fill out this form for a $2 coupon).

Win it! Wellesse would like you to try it for yourself. And they are generously offering a year’s supply to two lucky winners! Simply comment on this post by Friday, June 5 to be entered. Extra entries can be earned by tweeting up to once a day about this giveaway.

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It’s Been Too Long

Hello, Blogosphere.

It’s been a while. I’ve missed you.

What have I been doing?

Oh, not much. Just…

  • Put my house on the market
  • Saw DH through his second shoulder surgery
  • Accepted an offer on said house after 3 days, 4 trips to the storage unit and a garage sale
  • Put an offer on the “dream” house.
  • Countered the counter on the “dream” house.
  • Been worrying, planning, dreaming, stressing, containing excitement for what the future holds.
  • And not blogging.

I’m sorry I’ve neglected you. Yet life demands my attention. But I promise I’ll be back with some fun stuff going on here at this little ol’ blog!

Sincerely,

Me

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Bouncing Baby Giveaway

UPDATE: The winner of this giveaway is #18, Christopher H. Thanks for all who entered!

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Babies. I love ‘em. They’re cute and little and they smell nice. Usually.

Now that my “baby” is 8 years old, I’m definitely out of the diaper-changing, burping, being spit up on stage. Honestly, there were days I thought that baby stage would never end, but just like that, my little bundles of joy grew up to be thinking, deodorant wearing, independent boys.

But when I was a new mommy, I took all the advise and help I could get from books, my own mom and other, more experienced mommies. I think that’s the whole point of baby showers…shower the new mom with gifts and resources that will help her adjust to her new lifestyle.

Today I’m thrilled to be able to give away a few great items for the expecting or new mother. Need a baby shower gift? Or are you a new mom yourself? Well, take a look…

jumpstart-virtual-3d-worldJumpstart 3D Virtual World – Way back when, when my 12 year old was just a toddler, we were given Jumpstart Toddler. I can still remember him moving the mouse across the scren to “pop” the bubbles to reveal the hidden animal. For more than 15 years, Knowledge Adventure has been creating fun, interactive and educational games for all ages (0-14), setting the standard in kid’s software.

Knowledge Adventure has recently launched a beta version of a browser-based virtual world at www.JumpStart.com. Here, kids can create avatars called Jumpeez for themselves and explore magical worlds, discovering and unlocking games, videos, and storybooks that teach everything from math to reading. More features, portals and learning games are continually added to the site.

Jumpstart 3D Virtual World offers free games and activities, with membership unlocking more games, adventures and benefits. Membership costs $7.99 a month or $74.99 a year.

400000000000000111696_s4The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to 40,000 Baby Names, Second Edition – Need help naming your soon to be born little one, or know some one who does? Think 40,000 choices might be enough?

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to 40,000 Baby Names not only provides an alphabetized name list for each gender, but dedicates approximately half of its total pages to various lists that help parents zero in on the perfect name for their baby. Lists include movie/literary character names, names from favorite children’s books and shows, famous names (movie stars, pop stars, reality TV stars), winners (Nobel, Pulitzer, Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Emmy), top names by city, state, and country, and many more.

parent-9781592578627The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Baby Sign Language, Second Edition – Did you know that babies can learn sign language far earlier than they can verbal language? Teaching each one of my babies simple signs trememdously helped at meal times. We taught them the sign for “more”, “all done”, “please” and “thank you”, enabling them to communicate with us effectively, even though they couldn’t verbally communicate their needs.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Baby Sign Language, introduces parents to the 150 most common signs nonverbal babies are able to understand and can use to communicate with adults. New and expanded information includes using signs to communicate wants/needs, using signs to express feelings and emotions, signing to promote potty training, fun signing activities and more.

Questions with Answers – Vol. 3: “Christ and His Work” – This is the last in the series from Songs For Saplings. It teaches children about Jesus’ nature, what his roles (offices) are, and how he reconciled us to God. Sound heavy? Don’t worry. Kids are ready for it, and there’s no better time to start teaching them the deep truths of God, in a simple and fun way. Vol. 3: Christ and His Work was recorded in Vancouver, WA in 2007, and includes the voices of 11 children.

To round out the set, is the original Songs for Saplings: ABCs, simply my favorite. This CD is designed to teach your little ones the word of God as they study their ABCs. Parents will enjoy singing these simple songs with the little “saplings” in their care. Songs for Saplings: ABCs was recorded in Vancouver, WA in 2004, and includes the voices of 14 children.

The Side Yard Superhero - We all want to help our children grow up to be responsible adults. As president of the University of the Ozarks, Rick D. Niece, Ph.D., believes responsible children grow up to be responsible adults and that teaching begins and ends with parents. Beyond his 40 years as an educator, Niece is also the author of, The Side-Yard Superhero (Synergy Books, March 2009), where he comically recounts his childhood experiences as a paperboy in small-town DeGraff, Ohio, and the special relationship he forms with Bernie Jones, a teenage boy with severe cerebral palsy.  Through this heart warming story, Niece shares the lessons learned from cherished friendships that still inspire him today.

Win it! Enter to win thing Bouncing Baby Giveaway, which includes:

  • Jumpstart 3D Virtual World – A 3-month membership to any virtual world at any time (ages 3-5, 4-6 or 5-7).
  • A copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to 40,000 Baby Names
  • A copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Baby Sign Language
  • A copy of Questions with Answers – Vol. 3: “Christ and His Work” CD
  • A copy of Songs for Saplings: ABCs CD
  • A copy of The Side Yard Superhero, including a copy of Niece’s “Six Tips to Teaching Responsibility in an Irresponsible Market”

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. Earn extra entries by tweeting up to once a day about this giveaway (and come back and tell me you did so). Entries must be submitted by Friday, May 22 at midnight.

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I’d Break Out My Pie Stand for These Girls Any Day

Last night was National Moms Night Out, hosted by MomSelect. Did you participate?

We had a small little get together for the many three Tucson bloggers at my house. I got to play hostess to two of my favorite bloggers…Darcie of Such The Spot and Stephanie of Metropolitan Mama.

national-moms-night-out

I love the way Darcie writes…she always has a clever way of telling a story, either making me laugh out loud or shed a tear or two. And Stephanie (my “bloggy mentor”) is one of the smartest, business savvy bloggers I know. So yeah…in pretty good company, I was.

My DH was sweet enough to take the boys for the evening so it could be a true Mom’s Night Out. And I must confess, I was a bit cranky trying to get them out of the house without leaving crumbs on my clean floor and fingerprints on my clean sliding glass door. For which I had to send an “Im sorry” text after they were gone. But don’t tell anybody…I’ll deny it ever happened.

We had a great time eating, chatting, and ogling over Stephanie’s baby. Everything went smoothly except for when Darcie had the audacity to look at my dog, Nacho, making him growl at her. (Way to go, Darcie!) Oh, and the coconut cupcake snafu.

coconut-cupcakes-moms-night-out

Speaking of which, here’s the Ina Garten recipe. Just beware: it lists 14 oz. coconut in the list of ingredients, but then only calls for 7 oz. in the directions…a small little detail I missed. Don’t tell Stephanie and Darcie.

I love getting together with friends. I love blogging. And eating.

And Nacho and Darcie were friends by the end of the night.

It was a good night.

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Wordless Wednesday: My Favorite Part of A Soccer Game

soccer-parent-tunnel

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