How are you giving back this holiday season?

http://www.robeez.com/ and www.twittermoms.com is having another great blogging contest. Robeez will donate a pair of soft sole shoes to K.I.D.S. with every soft sole purchased through December 23rd: http://www.robeez.com/EN-US/seasonofgiving.htm

K.I.D.S brings hope and self-esteem to children in need and their families by providing new clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books and juvenile products donated by leading manufacturers and retailers. The donations move through their network of community social service agencies in the U.S. and abroad to reach children who are ill, living in poverty, or are the victims of natural disasters.

Prizes:
· The first 50 bloggers to post on this topic will get a free pair of Robeez Soft Soles (sized for 0-2 years old).

· 10 randomly selected bloggers will receive a $50 stride rite gift card to use at any Stride Rite store and a pair of Robeez Soft Soles

· The grand prize, to the winner with the best post, gets the entire Robeez Soft Sole spring collection in their gender of choice. The styles (about 15-20 of them) range in age between 0-2 years.

What a great way to get your kids a nice stocking stuffer or shoes to go with their holiday outfit. There are so many cute styles. Check out my favorite pair for my son: http://www.robeez.com/Robeez-Soft-Soles-Chubby-Car-espresso-Robeez-baby-shoes/product.aspx?ProductID=953&deptid=342&PriceCat=2&Lang=EN-US

How am i giving back this holiday season? Anyway I can. I don’t have much money this year and my budget is uncomfortably tight but that doesn’t mean i can’t help. My kids’ school is doing a “food drive war”. I sent in shelf stable items with both of them. I try to donate to the salvation army collectors when I see them. I donated gift wrap and tape to our school so they had it for the kids shopping workshop. I usually do toys for tots every year as well.

Do you want to participate in the blogging contest too? I’d love to hear about what you’re doing this year. Go to this page: http://www.twittermoms.com/forum/topics/tell-us-how-you-plan-to-give?commentId=2291408%3AComment%3A1254726

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My experience with Gamestop

I have shopped at Gamestop for many years. Don’t have many problems and anything that i did have was minor and they fixed it immediately. I just wanted to share this story because…well…tis the season.

My christmas budget is very tight this year. My 2 oldest boys each wanted a nintendo ds. I was bound and determined to get those for them. I looked for the best prices both online and in store for a little over a month. I was hoping for black friday deals but no such luck. As I was skimming the gamestop website i noticed the pre-owned ds lites that were $40 less than the price of a new one. On the website it stated “guaranteed to work” but it also said colors may vary.

I decided to go up to my local gamestop and check them out. This way i could choose the color. Let’s face it, my boys wouldn’t not be as excited if they ended up with a pink ds. I really debated, should I get a pre-owned or sacrifice and get the new one. I mulled it over and decided to give the pre-owned a shot. (my checking account would thank me and my boys are young so i didn’t think it would be a big deal). I got a black one and a white one since that was the only “boy” colors they had. I also paid $10 on each of them for a warranty that lasted for a year. They would fix or replace it if anything went wrong.

I got them home and my husband and I checked them out. When I opened the box I thought I would cry. The black one had sticker residue and scotch tape on it. We took it out and turned it on. It turned on just fine. While I was annoyed that they wouldn’t even clean their pre-owned merchandise I tried to brush it off and said “that’s ok i can clean it up no big deal”. Then I get to the white one. This one is filthier than the black one. There was dirty finger print smudges all over the outside, When i opened it up there was this nasty orange gritty residue all around the monitor. It made me think of someone playing it with cheeto fingers.

Then we went to turn it on and the screen just flashed. I was furious by now. Not just because of the physical appearance but now it didn’t work. My husband said “maybe it just needs charged” I said “oh yea you’re right, that’s what it is” So we plugged it in for about 20 minutes while we wrapped some other presents. We came back to it…the screen still only flashed and it would not turn on.

I packed them back in the box and told my husband “That’s it I”m taking these peices of junk back to Gamestop tomorrow and tell them exactly what i think of their pre-owned ds’s.” The next day I took the ds’s back,as I said, reciept and warranties in hand. I fully expected a fight to take them back since they were pre-owned. I intended to get my money back for everything and go buy them new somewhere else. I got to the register and as calmly as possible said to the cashier. “I just bought these pre-owned ds’s here yesterday. The white one won’t turn on at all and i am not happy with the condition of either one of them. By this point I was so mad I was actually hoping for a fight.

The girl was very nice and professional. Gave me no trouble about taking back the ds’s and even credited the warranties. She asked what I would like to do. I had to think for a minute. I didn’t expect the calm and friendly demeanor of the sales clerk. I looked at her for a minute and said 2 new nintendo ds lites and then I’ll pay the differnce. AND they had the blue ones which is the ones my boys wanted in the first place.

While I hope that Gamestop will take better care in their pre-owned merchandise that they are selling to customers I am happy with the service and will continue to be a repeat customer.

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What’s the Most Surprising gift you ever received?

Twittermoms.com and Target are doing it again. Another great blogging contest. 10 winning bloggers will be selected to receive a $100 Target giftcard. I have so much fun with these. You can enter yourself. Go to this page: http://www.twittermoms.com/forum/topics/what-was-the-most-surprising

What’s the most surprising gift I ever received? I gave birth to my 3rd son this year. Son number three though was the first child for my 2nd husband (I know try to stay with me here). I kept complaining about my old computer (had it for 7 years. The cd/dvd burner didn’t work anymore, it was too slow and didn’t have enough memory to do what i wanted it to do). My husband said “maybe for christmas” But I had my son in june. Jokingly I said to him “well you know I’m carrying your baby. Dealing with morning sickness, fatigue, and eventually pain you’ll hopefully never experience. I think that deserves a computer” I said this when I was around 6 months pregnant. Of course I didn’t really expect a computer for that (my son is reward enough) but about 2 weeks after I gave birth my husband said “I ordered you a computer it should be here this week”. I thought he was kidding until it showed up at the house a few days later.

I’d like to hear about your surpring gift. http://www.twittermoms.com/forum/topics/what-was-the-most-surprising
and check out http://www.target.com

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How do you get your kids to sleep at night?

http://www.dramau.net/ and www.twittermoms.com is sponsoring a blogger contest. Answer teh question: What are your five tips & tricks for getting your kids to bed on time and getting them to stay in bed?

I’ve rarely had a problem getting my kids to sleep at night. I’ve stuck to the same ritual since I was able to start them on a regular bedtime.

1. Start them off early around 1 1/2 to two years old.

2. Decide on a bedtime and stick to it as much as possible. My kids bedtime is 8 pm except weekends and special days it’s 9pm. (2 of my boys are 5 and 7).

3. Make it a soothing routine for bed. Take a bath/shower, then brush teeth then it’s story time so there’s kind of reward for completing the things they have to.

4. If you have to change the routine for a night or 2 (for example staying up for new year’s eve) let them know what time it is and why they got to stay up for example: IT’s new year’e eve so you get to stay up until midnight which is really late but it’s a treat for the holiday”

5. Cut off any junk food such as soda and sugary snacks at least 2 hours before bedtime. This will help them to sleep better.

Most importantly stick to the routine as much as possible. My kids never give me trouble about going to bed because I’ve done the same routine for several years. As they get older you can adjust as you see fit.

Don’t forget to check out http://www.dramau.net/ and www.twittermoms.com. If I win the blogging contest one of my lucky readers will also win.

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What are you doing to go green?

I have to admit. Up until about 5 years ago I didn’t make a valiant effort to go green. In fact I was even entirely sure what it meant. Now, a lot of companies are making it easier for you to go green.

Annie Chun soup bowls for example, Their soup bowl containers are made from cornstarch so they are biodegradable. (their soups are delish too!)
Seventh Generation is another company that all their products are environmentally friendly. Buying products like these can not only help the environment but maybe encourage more companies to do so.

My kids learn about helping the environment in school. Our community building has recycle bins you can drop your items for free for cardboard, newspapers and plastic. I’m still pushing for a community recycle collection. Until then my son reminds me to recycle and help take our recyclables to the bins.

Think about reusing your empty packaging or give it to someone who may use them. I use empty jelly jars for my soy candle making. My kids school takes the empty plastic baby food containers to sort items, painting, and other classroom needs. Search the web for cute kids craft projects to do with empty coffee cans, toilet paper rolls, empty baby food jars, and more.

For more ideas check out: Recyclebank.com

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