Monday, September 22, 2008

Wait a minute... What just happened here?!?!

I walked into preschool this morning as my normal friendly-but-somewhat-anonymous self and walked out 15 minutes later as one of Maddie's class' Homeroom Mom! Ummm, wait, how did that happen????

Actually, it is really a great thing! I've been wanting to get involved more at school but have felt a little held back because I have McKenna with me all the time. Being a homeroom mom will allow me to coordinate volunteers and events from home without having to actually be in the classroom alot and need to get a sitter for McKenna. My friend Laura said she will probably sign on as the other homeroom mom, but wanted to think about it some more. I hope she does. It would be fun to do it along with her and get to know her even better.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Be Still My Beating Heart...

I'm not sure where I've been the last 2 months, but I just found out today that L.L. Bean has signed on to put a store in the new Uptown Worthington site that is being developed at Rt. 202 and Rt. 29. I swear, I almost drove my car off the side of the road when I drove by and saw the sign today! I love me some L.L. Bean, peeps! I wasn't sure if I could trust the sign, so I came home to do some research. And, sure enough, I found a press release on O Neill Property's site that announced this fantastic news from July.

Now all I need is a Trader Joe's closer to my house and I will be all set!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In case you just can't get enough of me....

I know... I am laughing at that title too!

But ... I am also going to be doing some writing for the Chester County Moms blog on healthy and green living. I am so very excited to be contributing to this amazing blog that is a wonderful resource for busy moms in Chester County who want to be in the know!

I put up my first post today on Making your Halloween more Green!



Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sarah, Nancy and Val: Do NOT read this!

Ok, so as proof that my brain has TOTALLY left my body since these children were born, I am going to share a story about a little (or big!) faux-pas I made yesterday.

Sarah, Nancy and dog-loving friends.... you've stopped reading, right? No, seriously, STOP reading right now!

Yesterday, I picked Maddie up from preschool at 1pm. I rushed home because I was meeting someone at the house to give me a price estimate at 1:15pm. I pulled into the driveway and she was waiting for me. As I let this person into my home, the dog got out and I let him just hang outside for a few minutes to do his business and not bother me and our guest. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Fast forward 20 minutes and I am ushering guest out of the house and I get completely wrapped up in the nap process for 2 tired little girls. Finally get them in bed, finally get myself some lunch and settle into doing some housework and blogging before the little ones wake up.

Afternoon goes along normally and nothing seems amiss until dinnertime, when I am feeding my 11 month old peaches and she dumps half a bowl on the floor. Feeling lazy, I decide to call the dog to come clean up the peaches for me. Ben? Oh, Ben? Ben, where are you? OH NO! BEN!!!! I LEFT BEN OUTSIDE FOR THE LAST 5 HOURS!!!!!!

I go outside and start screaming for him to no avail. I knew that by this point he wouldn't be in hearing distance. I also knew that he does not have our phone number on his collar. So, I pack the kiddies into the car and start on a mission to find our poor puppy dog. By some miracle, I got only half way down our street when I see a man walking Ben on a leash. I pull up (looking so stylish with my mismatched baggy sweatpants and peach-stained tshirt!) and tell him that Ben was our dog. Were it not for my 3 year old in the back seat shouting "Ben I am so happy to see you!", I'm not sure this guy would've turned the dog over to me. Apparently, Ben had made it a few streets over when he ended up at this man's house and he took GREAT care of our dog all afternoon. He decided to take Ben for a walk through the neighborhood in the hopes that we'd be out looking for him. And, thankfully we were at that time!

Ben... I am sorry buddy. This whole memory thing.. yeah, well, I am working on it! Can't make any promises, pal, but I'm hoping I'll never leave you outside by yourself again :-) As my husband said "It happens to the best of us" which made me feel better, even though he followed it up with "although 5 hours IS kinda a long time"!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: A Week of Firsts

Last week was a big week of "firsts" here. Here are a few shots to commemorate those fun firsts!

Madison on her first day of 3 year old preschool! She was uninterested in the photo shoot and just wanted to get to school, so this was the best I could get.
McKenna on her very first day of music class! Maddie did these classes too and we fell in love with the program. I am so excited to be doing this with her.

Maddie got a new bike last week. Our friends have an older daughter who had outgrown this bike, so they passed it on to us. Thanks Steve and Tracy! She had a smaller bike given to her previously, but her legs are so long she could never ride it properly. So, this is her first time really riding a bike with training wheels!

She caught on really fast. Go, Maddie, Go!

This year is Madison's first year doing a dance class at an actual dance studio. She could not be more excited about her class and loves the fact that she has several friends from playgroup joining her in class too!

She loves her ballet bag and wearing it as a messenger bag "like the big girls do"!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dinner Dilemmas

I've never really been a great cook. I can certainly get by, but my cooking is only ever ok, not excellent. Other issues? I am a bad grocery shopper, I am a bad menu planner and I dont really even enjoy cooking. So, let's just say that dinner is a little bit of a disaster around here.

I need convenient, easy meals that are nutritious for my family. Sometimes, that can be hard to do... easy and convenient while being nutritious. I have tried both Super Suppers as well as Dream Dinners as an answer to this issue to varying degrees of success. I like the concept quite a bit, but have been hard pressed to find entrees that keep me coming back for more consistently.

Recently, I'd learned of Horizon Foods from some women in our playgroup. Horizon sells quality beef, poultry, seafood and other products directly to your door. I had been very interested in their products because they have a line of antibiotic free meats and poultry. My friend Dawn hooked me up with her Horizon distributor and he came to my house. So convenient! I placed an order for antibiotic free chicken breasts, tilapia, sea bass and antibiotic free beef hamburgers.

It has been so great having a stock-pile of high quality dinner choices right in my freezer. I havent had the fish yet, but we've had the ABF chicken and burgers and they are fantastic! Now I just need to have a stock-pile of sauces and/or toppings and I've got a variety of easy dinner combinations at my fingertips. The portions are all individually packaged, so you only defrost (in 5 to 10 minutes in cool water!) what you need. We aren't so good about eating leftovers in our house, so when we only make what we need, there is alot less waste for us!

Anyway, this has been a huge help to me, so I wanted to share. I have 2 coupons for those of you who live in the local area for new customers for $20 off your first order. Let me know if you want one of them. First come, first served! If you are interested contact Dave Howk at 484-651-0541 and he will come to meet with you for a consultation! Please tell him I sent you.

However, I can always use any extra help I can get. What are your short-cuts that help you out with dinner? Do you have any go-to easy recipes? Please share!


Monday, September 15, 2008

The Big Giveaway Winners!

Drumroll, please!

The 4 winners of the Precious Girls Club book "A Little Bit of Faith" are:

Stinky John Jones

And the winners of the FREE premium "Rainbow Membership" trial on are:

Muzbee Crazy
mrs. mommyy

Congrats to everyone and thanks so much for participating in my first of many (hopefully) giveaways!!!

I'll be in contact with you soon to get you your prize!


Baby Gap Casting Call

I got an email from Gap today letting me know that they are doing several casting calls for some fresh new little cuties for their ads! They are doing the calls in several different cities over the next several weeks, so if you are interested, check out this website for information and where the casting calls will be taking place.

Baby Gap Casting Call


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Don't forget.....

Today is the last day to enter my Precious Girls Club giveaway! I will be announcing winners tommorow!

Good luck!!!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

I *Heart* Maine: Our Adventures

I've wanted to write the vacation recap story all week, but just havent been able to. Part of the reason is that I've been too busy.... this was a huge week of "firsts" around here... more on that later. Another part of the delay, however, is that I am having a really hard time writing this post. There is just SO MUCH I want to say and SO MANY awesome memories to share that it is HARD to pick just a few highlights to share with everyone. However, I am quite sure that no one wants to read an hour-by-hour account of our trip, so let me just jump in and do my best at picking out the "best of" this best trip ever!

Neither of our kids are really car sleepers, so we knew that for all of our sanity, it was best to break it into 2 days (with several stops along the way... including the LL Bean flagship store in Freeport, ME.... OMG... ya gotta get there, people!). So we arrived in Southwest Harbor, ME around 4pm on Sunday. The kids were ROCK STARS during the 2 day drive and we arrived with all of our wits about us. Our friends Lisa and Gordon, who own Acadia Cottages, were there to greet us and, boy, were we happy to see them! We got settled in our cottage and walked down the hill to L & G's house for dinner. What a nice night!

The next day we went met up with our friends Amy and Chris and their 3 year old son, Finn. We decided to go into Acadia National Park and do some biking around Jordan Pond, and then stop for lunch at the Jordan Pond House, which I had been looking forward to since we booked this trip. They serve up their famed popovers, and while they are seriously overpriced, they are so deliciously worth it, and I couldn't wait. The only problem was the route we chose for the bike ride. Ummmm, yeah... it was up hill.... the entire way.... until I could take it no more.... and we decided we really deserved some pop-overs.

See, before I had these two children, I could hold my own on my bike. Bike riding was something that Matt and I did regularly and enjoyed many weekends. So, I was a little taken aback at just how miserable I was on these hills and how out of shape I was. However, it then dawned on me that I had McKenna on my bike with me. And, my mom is gonna be mad that I wrote this... but McKenna is a Big Momma! At almost 11 months she is already over 25 pounds. So, you see, it was hard enough getting my own butt up those hills without an adorable Big Momma strapped to the back!

My beautiful Big Momma!

The next day we had booked ourselves on a beautiful schooner called the Margaret Todd for a sail around Frenchman's Bay. It was a fantastic way to spend a morning together! Once we got underway, Daddy, Aunt Amy, and Uncle Chris all got to help raise the sails, also. What a job that is!

The Margaret Todd

This is my family... aren't I lucky? Love you guys!

Another highlight of the trip was going on a Sunset Carriage Ride through Acadia. The horses pulled us to the summit of Day Mountain and it was such a scenic journey. The kids loved the horses and loved the ride. We packed a picnic dinner and ate on the carriage and at the summit. A big thanks to Amy and Chris for suggesting this outing. We will definitely do another carriage ride on a future Maine trip.

This is Jim and Bob. I love how they are looking all camera shy!

At the summit of Day Mountain!

Snuggling with my baby girl on the carriage ride.

A real highlight of the trip was a hike that the four of us did one morning at Ship Harbor. This hike was great because it was partly wooded and partly snaked along the rocky shoreline. It was so beautiful at every single turn. We kept saying, oh look over there... no, look over there. It was spectacular. This is a relatively flat hike and was easy enough for Maddie to do on her own. I remember this one point in the hike Matt saying "This is my favorite moment of the trip." And, I remember thinking the exact same thing at almost the exact same moment. There was just something really magical about the four of us enjoying the hike and the pure beauty and really feeling like nothing else in the world mattered except the four of us!

My hikers along the Ship Harbor trail

Matt was teaching Maddie how to skip rocks at one point in the hike. I love this action shot as she is practicing her rock skipping technique!

On Friday, my friend Lisa was able to get away from her work at the cottages to show us some of her favorite hotspots that she knew that the kids (and the adults!) would enjoy. She took us to this great spot to find starfish. Lisa found a huge grouping of starfish almost as soon as we got there. She pulled out two starfish for the kids to look at and hold. Maddie touched it, but didnt want to hold it. But, she and Finn loved getting to see the starfish up close and personal!

Lisa and Maddie with the starfish they found!

After we hung out with the starfish, Lisa took Maddie and I over to a private beach to look for sand dollars and sea glass. We couldn't find any sand dollars that day, but we had a great time looking for sea glass. Between the 3 of us (or really just Lisa and I :-)), Maddie has a nice collection of gorgeous sea glass. She is so excited because Lisa promised to make her a sea glass necklace for her 4th birthday and send it to her. She can't wait!

Madison with a pretty piece of green sea glass.

So, Maine, I really do *heart* you. For these few memories and the whole host of others that I have etched in my mind and my heart, I thank you. The trip was full of family, friends, food and fun. We relaxed and unwinded and it was worth the long drive 10 times over! We cant wait to book our next trip!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Greatest Show on Earth

Nothing quite compares to the experience of the circus: the anticipation followed by the sheer excitement of the lights coming up, the performers riding in on elephants, the colorful clowns, and the acrobats flying through the air. Attending a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus provides more than just a day out. It creates a memory that lasts a lifetime and a tradition that can be carried on from year to year and generation to generation. From the laughs that come at the clowns' expense, the gasps of delight at seeing a motorcycle making its way across the high wire, and the huge grins that come from seeing elephants and tigers up close, the circus truly feels synonymous with childhood.

I was so excited when the circus came here to Philadelphia this past spring. I have very fond memories of the circus from my own childhood, and knew that my animal-loving 3 year old daughter would just be blown away. So, we surprised her one Saturday with a day at the circus. We had so much fun together that day and the smile she had plastered on her face is permenantly etched in my mind.

Here she is with her FREE blinking clown nose - huge hit!

Mommy and Maddie making circus memories together!
To celebrate a variety of new and exciting Ringling Bros. shows in cities across the country this fall, I'd love to share a 20% discount code to my readers who live in or have family/friends in the following areas:

Indianapolis, IN - Sept. 4-7, 2008
Kansas City, MO - Sept. 10-14, 2008
Grand Rapids, MI - Sept. 18-21, 2008
Denver, CO - Oct. 2-13, 2008
Boston, MA – Oct. 8-13, 2008
Cleveland, OH - Oct. 24 - Nov. 2, 2008
Chicago, IL - Nov. 6 - 30, 2008
St. Louis, MO - Nov. 6-9, 2008
Auburn Hills, MI - Nov. 12 - 16, 2008
Highland Heights, KY - Feb 27 - Mar. 1, 2009
Cincinnati, OH - Mar. 4 - 8, 2009

To get your 20% discount on any of the above-listed shows, please use the code MCC. Feel free to spread the word to your friends and family near those areas. You can simply go to and type your zip code to find the shows and purchase tickets online with the code!

And, in case you didn't know, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey offers a Baby's First Circus program! To help start the family traditions early, the Baby’s First Circus program allows babies to receive a free ticket voucher that can be exchanged for a free ticket to any Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performance, anytime, anywhere. No expiration date! Check for details online.

Have a great time under the Big Top!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Get Organized!

Heard about this great new organizational tool from Mom Central and just wanted to share it with everyone!

As Moms, we all participate in so many groups and activities that it can be hard to keep everything straight. From volunteering as a classroom Mom to coaching your son or daughter's sports team, getting groups organized can feel like managing the unmanageable, taking up time in already jam-packed days.

Enter, which makes organizing your homeroom parent meetings, playgroups or book clubs incredibly easy. Qlubb is a web-based service that helps organize your real-life groups online, providing all the functions needed to easily and actively participate within a group. Qlubb allows you to connect, plan meetings, assign responsibilities and share pictures with all of the members of your group at once. Features include an event calendar, sign-up sheets, member rosters, a task reminder service, and bulletin boards, which every member of your community can access and update from their home computers.

Accessing and using the site is incredibly easy for even the least computer-savvy members. Qlubb's secure sign-in protects group information, so only members of your group have access. However, participants don't have to individually register and can simply sign in using the group password.

Go check it out and get some organization back into your life!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Random conversations with Madison in the last few weeks:

Me: "Madison, you are being cranky. I need you to find your happy attitude."

Madison (picking up her toy cell phone): "I'm going to call Mimi (my mother). I bet she knows where my happy attitude is!"


Matt and our friend Chris took Madison and Finn (also 3) hiking while we were in Maine. At one point, both kids were riding on the dads' shoulders.

Madison: "Finn, you sure are lucky." response from Finn or the Dads. Everyone waiting to hear why Maddie thinks Finn is so lucky, expecting her to say something like he got to go on a cool vacation, whatever.

Madison: "You're lucky that I like you."

Um, gee, thanks, O Great One Madison.


Vacation: The Back Story

We just returned from a glorious, fantastic, awesome (are you getting the picture?) week of bliss in Vacationland. Vacationland? The great state of Maine is known as Vacationland, at least according to the tag line on their license plates, and I would have to wholeheartedly agree with that assessment!

My first visit to Bar Harbor, ME and Acadia National Park was an extended Labor Day weekend 3 years ago when Madison was just 8 months old. We rented a house with our friends Amy and Chris and their 3 month old son Finn. Amy and Chris have been going to Bar Harbor/Acadia for years and years, both indiviually and then as a couple. We had a wonderful stay that long weekend and Amy and Chris were fantastic tour guides. They escorted us to all of the major "must do" attractions and we fell in love with the area immediately.

Then, last April, our friends Lisa and Gordon announced that they had decided that they wanted to make a change in their lives. For several years, Lisa and Gordon had been doing extensive research and planning as they were considering purchasing a bed and breakfast. When they decided that Maine would be the perfect location for them, they started looking at properties. Lisa and Gordon fell in love with this site and are now the very proud (and, boy, they should be!) owners of the Acadia Cottages. Acadia Cottages in in Southwest Harbor, about 20 minutes outside of Bar Harbor.

We knew that we wanted to get back to Maine and we were also really anxious to see Lisa and Gordon in their new environment, so we booked our trip. And, even better was that our friends Amy and Chris were going too! We knew that seeing Lisa and Gordon would be special, but we had no idea just how special this week would be. Their cottages are truly remarkable. So cozy, clean, and well stocked. I am sure that I am biased a little, but really, these accomodations were fantastic. It was so great to have a seperate bedroom area and living space complete with a galley kitchen. It was a great place to come "home" to after out adventures each day! An added bonus??? Lisa and Gordon are very environmentally conscious in all that they do at the cottages. From the organic linens to the organic shampoos and soaps they provide, you will enjoy every bit of "green" luxury. Please, if you plan a vacation to Bar Harbor... go check out Acadia Cottages... you will not be disappointed!

Lisa and Gordon, it warmed my heart to see you both and your thriving business venture. We miss you terribly here, but it is a true inspiration to have friends that follow their dreams and have great success! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to make us meals, take us to local hot spots, show us great starfish and sea glass collecting spots, and come on our biking adventure! We'll be back, many times over ... I have a feeling our kids will be retelling many Maine trip stories to their kids one day!
Next post: I *Heart* Maine: Our Adventures


History in the Making!

I wrote last month about how I have finally gotten engaged in a presidential election ... it only took until my mid-thirties to do so! What an incredible time for me to finally open my eyes and take part in the political process. Come November, we will either be greeting our first black President or our first female Vice President. Of course, I am hoping for one outcome over the other, but any way you look at it, these are VERY exciting times! I couldn't be happier to be experiencing this time in American history.


Monday, September 8, 2008

It's a Big Day here at You Ott 2 Know!

Today, I am offering my FIRST giveaway! I'm a little excited, can you tell? Not only is it my first giveaway, but the giveaway I am doing is so totally, awesomely, and completely wonderful that it's really hard to not be excited. Check out this WONDERFUL new product line from Precious Moments!

In today's world of virtual societies, life-like dolls and young celebrities with risqué images being marketed directly at children, there is a rising concern among moms that their little girls are being influenced by questionable role models. The desires of today's moms are simple -- to stay involved in the lives of their little girls and extend the innocence of their childhoods.

Moms are actively seeking wholesome brands that mirror the values on which they raise their daughters, but are having trouble finding them on the store shelves. Now, these Moms will have one more option for safe play that fosters mother/daughter bonding and family values.

Precious Moments®, the inspirational figurine and collectible company, is happy to introduce the Precious Girls ClubTM. The Precious Girls Club is based on an all new book series for girls that revolves around the life of Katie Bennett and a diverse group of her friends. Through the experiences of Katie and her friends, wholesome values are reinforced in a fun and engaging way. Their world is brought to life not only through books, but also through a state-of-the-art virtual world and exciting retail product offerings, including figurines, jewelry, charms, and other related accessories. More than a club, it's a way of thinking and being, a safe place for young girls to discover how wonderful it is to be precious.

By visiting the Precious Girls Club virtual world, young girls will be able to create a profile and make friends, participate in fun online games and have access to tools to start their own clubs in their communities. There will also be a charm bracelet component to the club, where members can earn charms by exhibiting "Precious Values" such as acting in loving, kind, helpful and responsible manners. The first book in the series, A Little Bit of Faith, will be available in select gift and specialty stores and online beginning on September 1st. Related charms, figurines and plush dolls will also be available through those same outlets.

In addition to wanting their daughters to be raised with the right values, Moms are also concerned about Internet safety and the websites their children visit. The Precious Girls Club answers both concerns by incorporating value-based games, stories and characters into a safe and secure virtual environment.

As a Mom to 2 girls, I couldn't be MORE excited about this product line and hope that more companies will follow suit. Let our little girls be little girls!

If you are interested in winning the first book in the series, A Little Bit of Faith, please leave a comment here by Sunday, September 14th. Four winners will be randomly selected and announced here on Monday the 15th.

Additionally, I have 9 scratch-off cards for a FREE premium "Rainbow Memebership" trial on You can also be entered to win one of these by commenting here by Sunday, September 14th. I will also randomly select and announce these winners on Monday the 15th.

A second bonus entry can be earned if you link to my post on your blog. Complete the post on your site and then enter the link to it here in a second comment!

Good luck!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

So Much To Say...

And so little time....

I have so many things I want to tell everyone about like my birthday, our AMAZING vacation to Maine, some very funny Maddie-isms from along the way, her first day of preschool tomorrow, some awesome product reviews to tell you about, and also some fun new tips on greening your life ... I think I got even a little more crunchy (in a good way!) while we were in Maine.

Anyway, need to go unpack, prep for preschool, and maybe catch some ZZZ's. Will spend time this week trying to work on the backlog of fun posts!

Hope everyone had a great week while I was away! Missed you all, internet!


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