Jun 30, 2011

Hello Mutha, Hello Fatha...

Sunday morning, two two handsome guys and I got up bright and early with a car full of suitcases and sleeping bags.  After spending hours labeling every piece of clothing, toiletries and linens they would be taking on Saturday, my boys were ready for their first time going away to camp.  I think we were all a little bit nervous but they had each other and my younger brother works at the camp full time so he'd be there too.
So off they went, five ours away for 4 nights.  Because my brother is there I had the benefit of being able to check in (briefly) via text to hear they were doing well each day.  And thanks to facebook and the camp's page, I was able to see a handful of photos of what they were doing.

Last night I came home to some special mail. Letters from camp!  I MAY have teared up a little, but since there was no witnesses, I'll never tell!

Jun 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday, 6/29/11

This past Friday I had Batman riding along helping me get my errands done. 

Jun 28, 2011

Just Jen Custom Shirts, Bridal Shirts & More Review and Giveaway CLOSED

I have been eying up the fantastic creations at Just Jen for quite awhile now.  SO when I had the chance to have my own shirt made I was THRILLED!  You see Just Jen is site that specializes in bridal party shirts and customized t-shirts.  

With tons of fun designs to chose from on the site, it was hard to pick just one.  But I ended up going with a custom shirt that features my Twitter handle.  If you'll be at BlogHer you'll spot me in this fun, sparkly creation!

The shirt is a super soft t-shirt.  And although many of the styles mention running small on the site, I think the unisex style (the one I have) was perfect.And even for a laundry hack, such as myself carer is pretty painless.  I can't wait to show this baby off at BlogHer and other local media events. 

If you like the bling but aren't looking for self promotion, check out just a few of the great designs available from JustJen so all sorts of great occasions.  If I was getting married again, I'd totally use these as fun bridal party gifts!! 

Check out these great designs for the bridal party.  (Just a small sample of what they have.)

  Tons of great ideas for the bachelorette party.  (Way cuter than a cheesy tiara or sash.)

 Fun everyday bling

 Wear your heart, or a cause close to your heart, on your sleeve!

 Or celebrate your favorite holiday in style....

 St. Patrick's Day

 Valentine's Day


Tons of cute designs for girls of all ages!

Enter to win your our shirt from JustJen!!

Giveaway Rules
Required Entry: Visit JustJen and come back and leave a comment sharing which shirt style you would pick.

Additional entries: (Extra entries are only valid after completing the required entry. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry)
~Follow me publicly on google friend connect (at bottom of page) - 1 entry
~Subscribe by email (must activate) - 1 entry
~Follow my blog on networked blogs - 1 entry
~'Like' my blog on FaceBook  - 1 entry
~'Like' JustJen on FaceBook  - 1 entry
~Follow me on twitter - 1 entry (leave username)
~Follow JustJen on twitter - 1 entry (leave username)
~Tweet the giveaway- may be done once daily, include @lisanoel03 and a link to this post - 1 entry (leave direct url to tweet
~Post my button on your blog (make sure it's my NEW button) - 2 entries
~Blog about the giveaway - 3 entries (leave link and 3 comments)
~Enter any of my other current giveaways (listed at the top of my page) - 1 entry per giveaway

PLEASE NOTE: I will do my best to mediate any problems in delivery of giveaway prizes with the sponsor, and I do my best only to represent companies I trust, however I am not personally responsible for any prizes which are not received for delivery or any other reasons.

**Winner will be added to this post when selected**
15. Penelope said...
You look so cute!

I love their fitted tees, black or white, and I'd probably put a pretty pic (like a heart) on it.
Contest ends 7/11/11!
US Residents Only!

Please be sure that I have a way to contact you either with a email available on your blogger account or leave your email in your comment. If I can not contact you via email, or you do not respond with in approx. 48 hours to my email, I have to pick a new winner. And I really hate doing that!

Disclosure:  The product(s) featured in this review was provided free of cost to me for the sole purpose of product testing and review. This review has not been monetarily compensated and is based on the views and opinions of my family and/or self. Please note that the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Jun 25, 2011

Have you visited Kmart Playdate Place? The online community has recently relaunched its new design and hopes to become a go-to destination for parents looking for ways to keep their kids entertained and engaged, with articles and advice to facilitate play and planning get-togethers. When you sign up for the Playdate Place newsletter to receive tips and special members-only deals, you are automatically entered in their weekly and monthly prize giveaways, too!

I was given the chance to check out Kmart Playdate Place first hand and I was pleasantly surprised by all the great stuff I found.  

First of all you'll find a huge variety of competitively prices toys that are made to be even better deals with member only specials.  You can order online to pick up at a local store (though I found my local store wasn't close enough for my taste) and can pay via paypal (something I personally love because we don't use debit or credit cards very much).  I will be hosting a great outdoor playdate in a couple weeks and ordered a ton of great new outdoor toys for the kids to enjoy.  Ordering online was easy even though I changed my mind a hundred times on exactly what I wanted.  I was also thrilled with the speed of their shipping.  The site gave projected dates and since my party date was right in the middle of the projected dates for standard shipping, I decided to eliminate the risk and when for expedited shipping. But within hours I had emails telling me my items were shipping.  Items were shipped separately to speed up shipping and most of my items arrived in half the time they were promised in.  (This is not a guarantee of shipping speeds, please use their estimates for shipping and be pleasantly surprised if you too get faster delivery!)

If you are a parent, and haven't braved the playdate milestone yet, check out Kmart Playdate Place for some help, like this great post on the blog

Make Your Home a Playdate Paradise

If you’re a stay-at-home parent of a toddler or preschooler, you know that as fun as Play-Doh and Candy Land can be, sometimes you need a little adult conversation.
That’s where playdates come in. Done right, they can be as much fun for the parents as for the kids themselves. Kids love the chance to travel to a new place and explore someone else’s toys, and parents can recharge for an hour or so over mini-muffins and coffee. Before you invite young children over to play, though, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you’re ready.
~To continue reading~

If you haven't checked out Kmart recently, it's time to take a new look.

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. However, all opinions expressed are my own honest, personal opinions.

Travel Without Being a Tourist

While it's sometimes fun to check out all the tourist-ey stuff in a new place, sometimes there is nothing better than seeing a destination as it really is.  Often when we go running from one attraction to the next we can miss so much of the real beauty of an area.  One way to avoid missing the hidden treasures of an area is to view it from the eyes of the locals.  When we visit somewhere new we like to stop and ask people who live in the area what places we really need to see.  When we were in South Carolina several years ago we were in the middle of a tourist destination with hundreds of things to do...except many of them were closed because it was the off season.  We took the opportunity to check out more of the lesser known sites at the recommendations of the staff at the resort we were staying at.
Another way to explore a city like a local is to stay off the beaten bath.  One great way to do this is to check out short-term rentals from a site like Roomorama.  With short term rentals you can find the perfect place for your family.  With a quick search, I was able to find a ton of places that would be big enough for our family of 5 in Orlando (where we hope to vacation to next) complete with multiple bedrooms and our own kitchen.  A full kitchen is a huge plus for families because it allows you to save a lot of money on dining out.  Which you can use to do more fun stuff.

Untitled from Roomorama on Vimeo.

This post brought to you by Roomorama.

Jun 24, 2011

Microwave S'mores

Summer time means camping and bon-fires in our house.  But I have never been a fan of the flaming marshmallow method of s'mores making.  Molten hot marshmallow being flung around by young kids is simply not my idea of a relaxing evening by the fire. And I'm also not a fan of the taste of charbroiled marshmallow.  I DO however love some melted marshmallow and chocolate messy goodness.  But I just like to roll, microwave style.  And you don't need one of those crazy $20 s'mores makers.  Seriously!  Check this out, they are easy, delicious and you won't even need a fire extinguisher.

Step One:
Lay out the bottom graham cracker for the quantity of S'mores you want to make.  I'm making 4!

Step Two:
Add your chocolate. I use 1/4 of a standard sized Hershey bar.  I've heard Andes Mints or even Reese's Peanut Butter Cups make great S'Mores too.

Step Three:
Add a marshmallow to each of your S'mores! I use standard marshamallows but you could also use several of the smaller marshmallows.  The new GIGANTIC ones do not work though, they make a ricidulous mess.

Step Four:
Microwave for :15 seconds.

When you take them out nothing will look very melted but trust me, 15 seconds is enough!  They should look like this:

Step Five:
Add your top graham cracker.

Let sit for a minute, then enjoy!!  All the messy marshmallow and chocolatey goodness without the charred taste!

For other great S'mores creations check out these delicious recipes.  
(click on the image to be taken to the recipe site.)

Disclosure: I have been in no way compensated for this post.  I simply decided to take some photos when I had a s'mores craving recently.  Then I happened to get an email from Betty Crocker with these yummy looking recipes the next day and thought I'd share.

Jun 23, 2011

Finding Work - Life Balance

In Season 6 of The Closer, Brenda’s (Kyra Sedgwick) work interferes with her personal life.  While I am lucky enough to have a job that is 8-4 and very rarely goes beyond that, it can still be hard to be a working mom.  In addition to the fact that my 3 year old would much prefer I stay home and play with him every day, there are the things I miss out for the older boys.  I can't help out at field day  or be there for class parties.  I am not the one who picks them up from school every day so I barely know their teachers or their friends.  BUT I have to make choices.  I make the choice to miss some things so that I can take the time off when I feel like I really need to.  It allows me to be the one to take them to the Dr when they need to go or sneak out of work early to make sure they make it to the big game on time.
For me, finding balance between work and home is all about priorities.  While I'd love to be there everytime they WANT me there, it just simply isn't reality.  So I need to carefully chose those things that years from now will still matter.

How do YOU find work life balance in your life??

Pre-order your copy of The Closer: The Complete Sixth Season on DVD here today

Disclosure: I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote The Closer Sixth Season on DVD.


Saturday night I finally made one of my own childhood dreams come true by getting to see New Kids on the Block in concert, and I was NOT disappointed.
photo source

I was taught that if you don't have anything nice to say...don't say anything at all, so I won't discuss the real opening act for the evening.  But I was thrilled when Jordin Sparks became the featured act before NKOTBSB because I've been a fan since the beginning of her Idol season.  She did well and looked beautiful!  Even my 'date' for the evening didn't think she was a fan but was surprised by how many of her songs she knew and liked.

If you were following along on my countdown, you may have noticed that I kept referring to the concert as the New Kids concert but it was actually the NKOTBSB concert.  That's New Kids on the Block and Back Street Boys in concert, together.

I hadn't really done any checking to see what this concert was going to be like.  But they did a great job of blending the two groups in one seamless concert.  They came out together, then alternated back and fourth being on stage alone. Then the ended the concert togehter.
For the encore, BSB came out first, then NKOTB, and then all took the stage together.
I thought that the way they switched back and forth was great.  Often at concerts there are times when you can tell they are intentionally stretching things for a costume change with something like a extremely long guitar solo.  But there was none of that here.  It was one hit song after another.  I am not typically one to dance in public (not without some liquid courage at least) but I couldn't help but get up and move.  Not only does the music of these groups just take me back but they also really did a great job in working the crowd.  It was seriously the most fun concert I have ever been to! Even in the 3rd balacony you couldn't help but feel the energy.

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New Kids On The Block, clearly aren't really new or kids anymore but they still make me totally weak in the knees.  Like fine wine, these guys have only gotten better with age.  They are all still looking great and can still sing and dance like crazy.
Back in the day I was in LOVE with Joey McIntyre...and that hasn't actually changed.  He's totally still my favorite.  But my least favorite was Danny Wood, but da'mn, he is looking good these days.  He has some KILLER arms.  But Jordan, he blew me away with his ability to still hit those crazy high falsetto notes. 

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I didn't take my good camera so I got zero decent photos but I am glad I didn't weigh myself down with a dslr because I'd rather have the memories of dancing and having an amazing time than having a couple cool photos and have been too worried about my camera meeting the (insanely sticky) floor.

Here is my photographic proof that I did in fact go.  You can sort of make out the NKOTBSB on the big screen to the right of us.

Disclosure: I paid my own way to the concert and will receive no compensation for this review.