Monday, December 31, 2012

1000 Shillings

100Shillingscrane1000 Shillings is beautiful hand-made jewelry that supports a beautiful cause.  The artists that make the jewelry are all impoverished women in Uganda who are working to gain capital to start their own business. 

1000shillingsEach piece is unique and has a story behind it.  My favorite necklace is made by Elizabeth who wants to start her own small business selling posho (corn flour used for cooking).

There are currently six women working with 1000 shillings to produce the paper bead jewelry and each piece you purchase is a limited edition piece.

Every time you purchase jewelry from 1000 Shillings you are helping one of these women to become a self-sufficient businesswoman that is able to support her family.

Which piece is your favorite?

Mamavation Monday: Good-bye 2012!

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Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! I hope you all had a great 2012.  I am happy to say that I have been really freakin’ proud of myself on more than one occasion this year.  I faced a lot of fears and learned that I can be a strong person if I just work at it.  I tried so many new things that I was scared of and learned that I loved them!

I always loved the idea of running, this year I made running a reality for me.  I participated in 6 different 5Ks and plan on doing 13 in 2013!

I tried kayaking, zip-lining, rock climbing, and cross-fit! I even climbed the tallest mountain…(in CT that is!) If I want my boys to be confident and open to trying new things, I have to set an example.  I can’t let my fears control me.  I learned that failing is okay.  Not even trying is way worse than failing. 

I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for us!

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bike trailer

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What fears would you like to face in 2013?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

SHE campaign

Did you know that every year in developing countries girls and women miss an average of 50 days of school and work every year because of their period? A package of maxi-pads costs more than a days wages and they simply cannot afford them.  Their alternatives to pads include cloth rags, tree bark, and mud but, these not only do not prevent leaks, they also can lead to reproductive health problems.

SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises) has developed a patent-pending, low-cost, and eco-friendly menstrual pad, the SHE LaunchPad, that makes an absorbent core (the highest material cost driver) for pads from agro-waste (i.e, banana fibers) without using any chemicals or super absorbent polymers. The SHE28 campaign launched in Rwanda in 2009, and girls and women, will now have access to a menstrual product that will be priced at 5 cents per pad.

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I encourage you to help the SHE campaign by donating $28, because a girl’s life doesn’t stop every 28 days.

You can also follow SHE on its website and blog or find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Please share with your friends!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mamavation Monday

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I was doing really great last week.  I went and got fitted for running shoes and I was able to get lots of exercise in.  When I got back from the gym on Thursday night I started thinking about a fitness challenge I could post on my blog.   I went to bed excited to get started on it in the morning.

On Friday morning after I dropped my older son off at school I heard the news of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Sandy Hook, my hometown. I was in shock. This was only 20 minutes away from where I live now, a place where I have so many good childhood memories.  I spent the day pretty much glued to my tv and facebook.  I had to keep sending friends messages that were a mixture of, “Thank God they’re okay.” and “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

It was a tough day and it is still tough.  I have lost all my motivation, I haven’t been running and my house is in disarray. The shooting is always in the back of my mind, I feel sad and angry.  I wrote a post about growing up in Newtown and a bunch of the great memories I had, that seemed to help.  Writing this is helping, too.

It was hard to drop my son off at school this morning.  I gave him a big hug and a big kiss and I am counting down the minutes until he comes home (about 23 more.) I know we will all get through this, it’s just a matter of time and healing.  Things will be different but, I know I won’t feel sad and angry forever. 

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This post is sponsored Dole and Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Growing up in Newtown

For the first, almost 20, years of my life I lived in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, CT.  If you are from Newtown and someone asks you where you are from, odds are, they have never heard of it.  It’s usually described as a small town near Danbury, but it is actually the fifth largest town in the state.  It just has that small town feel. 

The doors to our house were never locked.  Our cars were usually sitting in the driveway with the keys in the ignition.   In the summer we would go to Dickinson Park and swim in the “pool” or play on funspace, the big playground built by the community.  Saturday mornings were for soccer games, with kids from all four of the town’s elementary schools and Sunday mornings meant breakfast at My Place with my Dad.

There was the Ice Cream Shop where it always seemed to be “Zebra Week” and you could try to find pictures of yourself or your friends on the wall while you waited for a cone or an avalanche.  If you drove by during the colder months you would see they were “Gone Fishin.”

I remember $2 movies, ice skating and trick-or-treating with my neighbors, the tree lighting, the Party Naked guy, basketball games with the New York Giants and trying to catch a stuffed animal at the Labor Day parade.  I remember when the Newtown Indians became the Newtown Nighthawks and how upset everyone was about it.  I remember the house with all the toilets in the front yard, hanging out at the town hall and then the center and all the secret party spots hidden away in the woods.

Although I did not attend Sandy Hook School, it was a part of my community.  I always thought it was so cool how they had the Jolly Green Giant’s giant green footprints on the road leading up to the school.

When I heard the news of the shooting on Friday morning at first I was shocked and then I thought, “Oh, it’s probably nothing, it’s Newtown.” But as the day went on and more and more details were released, I was just in utter disbelief.  My heart is broken for so many people and I just want to do something, anything to help.  But where do you even begin?

Now my little home town is on the map because of a tragedy. A tragedy that never should have happened and has so many people asking, “Why?”

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Home Brew Photo Dump

These are a bunch of the instagram pictures I took at different points during our latest batch of home brew!
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Pale malt, ready to be toasted.
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The grains after they were steeped and strained.
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Starting to bubble!
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Transferring to the carboy.
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Sterilizing the caps.
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Sterilizing the bottles.
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All bottled up!
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Ready to be tested!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Free Advanced Screening of Parental Guidance in Plainville, CT

You and a guest are invited to a special advance screening of 20th Century Fox’s upcoming release PARENTAL GUIDANCE!

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Screening Details:

Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM

AMC Plainville, CT

For your chance to receive screening passes, log on to WWW.GOFOBO.COM/RSVP and enter RSVP Code: Q74C8AU6

**THIS FILM IS RATED PG. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SUPPLY LIMITED AND AVAILABLE ON A FIRST-COME FIRST-SERVED BASIS, SO ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS NOT GUARANTEED. THEATER IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE CAPACITY. TWO (ADMIT-ONE) PASS PER PERSON**

IN THEATERS THIS CHRISTMAS

www.parentalguidancemovie.com

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Find Your Total Fit™ with New Balance

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This morning after I dropped my big guy off at school, I headed off to my local New Balance store for a new pair of running shoes.  I chose New Balance specifically because I’ve heard great things about their shoes from other women in the Mamavation community and also because I wanted to get professionally fitted.  They offer Total Fit™ at their stores, which measures 88 points of fit. WOW. This is why they are better at picking out shoes for me than I am myself.

I stood on their special scale (not anything like those crazy foot x-ray machines from the 40s & 50s!) and had my stance analyzed.  I learned that I put most of my weight on the inner part of my feet and that I also have high arches.  This is what causes me to have knee pain during and after my runs.

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The salesman suggested a pair of New Balance 940s, which are designed to accommodate overpronators.  If you are like me and you tend to roll onto the inner part of your foot once you land on it, you could be an overpronator.  When this happens, it not only twists your foot, but your shins and knees too.  This could cause pain or injury while running – no good! He also picked out a pair of NB400 Performance Orthotics to support my high arches and distribute my weight more evenly.new balance 940

hands off, baby boy!

When I first tried them on I felt like I was doing the awkward newborn horse walk.  But, I also felt like my posture was better (it’s terrible.) I wore them around the house for a little bit before taking them out for the ultimate test. A two and a quarter mile loop around my old New England neighborhood.  It involves inclines, declines, uneven terrain and cracks in the sidewalk.  Plus, it’s been wet and rainy lately and I didn’t want to run through any mud puddles in my new shoes!

I slowed my pace up a bit for the run so I could get used to running properly for the first time.  It took me about 30 minutes to complete and now, 9 hours later, I haven’t had any joint pain! What a difference a good fit can make.  I would recommend that everyone does this.  It is so worth it. I am thrilled with my new shoes and I can’t wait to wear them for all 13 of my #13in2013 races!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mamavation Monday

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Only 15 days left until Christmas and I’m starting to feel the time crunch! I only got to the gym one day last week, all my other free time was spent Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts and going on an awesome Holiday House tour! If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw some pictures of the beautiful houses I toured. 

I joined a challenge group, #13in2013 with the goal of running 13 races in 2013! I’m so excited and it is definitely a big motivator.  So, even though I’m having a tough time finding time to run, I am so happy to feel motivated again! I will be going for a run tonight after dinner and hopefully on Thursday I will be heading to my local New Balance store to get professionally fitted for a new pair of running shoes!   (Yeah, that didn’t happen yesterday!!)

Are you all set for the holidays? When is your favorite time to sneak in some exercise?

This post is sponsored by Doctor G and hosted by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I’m Joining the #13in2013 Challenge!

I was so excited when I came across a challenge this morning to run 13 races in 2013! Last year I had set a goal to run one 5k a month but I hurt my knee in December of ‘11 and I wasn’t able to start running until May ‘12. I’m back on track for this year and it’s so encouraging to be involved with a group of people with the same goals!

I can’t wait to knock out 13 5k’s this year and hopefully set some new PRs! If you would like to join the group, the link on how to sign up is here!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Semester with Music Together

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Yesterday Ty and I went to his last class with Music Together of Fairfield County.  He of course had a blast like always, but I was a little sad that it was ending! I had so much fun each week watching him have fun and learning and growing through music.  But, he wasn’t the only one learning!

 

Our teacher gave us a sheet of paper on the last day that explained the parent’s experience with Music Together throughout different semesters.  I have to say, it’s pretty spot-on.

During the first semester….

  • You and your child share the joy of making music, learning a whole repertoire of songs, movements, and playful activities.  At home, you and your child look through the songbook and play with musical ideas.
  • You discover the pleasures of having a CD filled with music that both you and your child know and love.
  • As your child responds to your musical play, you understand the importance of modeling, regardless of your own musical ability.
  • You and your child begin to develop musical relationships with other families through ensemble singing and group dancing in class.
  • You enjoy sharing your child’s delight in his growing relationship with Music Together teacher – possibly his very first classroom teacher!
  • You discover a new place for music in your life: you and your child sing your favorite songs together, and incorporate lullabies into your bedtime routines.

As you continue with Music Together and attend more semesters, your experience evolves!  I’m hoping to enroll Ty in another semester soon!

If you are in the Fairfield County area, you can enroll now for the Winter 2013 semester!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mamavation Monday

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Happy December! I had a pretty great week, I made it to the gym three times, the baby is officially weaned and sleeping through the night and I also got to do some fun Christmas stuff! Actually, I’m pretty sure  have Christmas things to do every weekend from now until the 25th!

On Friday my oldest son and I went to a Holiday Light show at our local theme park and on Sunday the whole family went to a children’s Christmas party.  I definitely kept really busy and I’m excited to get back to the gym again this week.  I’ve been running on the treadmill and I hope to meet my goal of running one 5k a month for 2013! I hadn’t been running in awhile so I’m trying to build my endurance back up, it’s amazing how fast you lose it!

I hope everyone has a great week!

This post is sponsored by Eco-Foil and hosted by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce

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On Friday night I took my 4-year-old to the opening night of Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce.  He was so excited that we were going to an amusement park in the winter and in the dark. I was pretty excited, too!

I can remember going to Lake Compounce several times when I was younger, in fact it’s North America’s oldest amusement park – how neat! This time the experience was way different.  The park was beautifully decorated with hundreds of thousands of holiday lights! It was surreal.

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It was so much more than just lights though.  Many of the family and kiddie rides were open or you could take a train ride around the lake on the North Pole Railway.  You could watch ice sculptor’s in action or listen to carolers.  If you wanted to warm up a bit you could head indoors to grab a bite to eat, take a picture with Santa, decorate cookies, make a gingerbread house or get some holiday shopping done.  You could also help your kids write a letter to Santa and have him mail them a response back, right to your house!

Lake Compounce did such a great job putting this together, it was hard to believe that this was their first year hosting Holiday Lights!

 

 

I hope to make this a holiday tradition and I can’t wait to head  back next year with the whole family in tow!

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Disclosure: We received our admission into the park for free as a part of media night, as always all opinions are my own.

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