Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Datevitation Father's Day


Me: "Hey guys, while I have you alone, Father's Day is coming up. What should we do for Daddy?
Mags: "OH! I have the PERFECT thing, Mama! Remember the whale movie we watched the other night? We should fly to the North Pole and take Daddy to watch the whales. But it'll be super cold there, so maybe we could just go geocaching. Then buy him a card with a whale on it. Yeah. That sounds better."
Tuck: "How about a bike ride? You know how he loves bike rides."
Mags: "Remember, Tuck? His seat is broken on his bike."
Me: "Maybe we should get him a new seat for his bike."
Mags: "Maybe we should just buy him a whale."
Tuck: "That would be a KILLER wrapping job. Get it? GET IT? (insert uncontrollable laughter)
Me: "Good one, Tuck. Very clever."
Mags: (laughing, laughing, laughing, silence) "I don't really get it."

As you can see, we had quite the range of gift ideas for Chris for Father's Day. I wanted to make sure that I let the kids have a say in what they would like to get for their dad. To me, it's very telling of their individual relationships they have with him. Each of these things was doable...well...maybe not the trip to the North Pole, but whale watching...definitely. So, how could I present a whale watching trip, geocaching and bike riding to my husband?

That's when I found Datevitation.com, the web's first online platform to create a custom love coupon book. Their library contains over 350 date ideas and endless amounts of activities. I kid you not. They range from skydiving to kitchen cleanup. They have coupons for just about any occasion, including Father's Day! Sure enough, I tested their library and it didn't let me down! They had all the things the kids mentioned they wanted to give their dad. LOOK!

This really would be a "Killer" wrapping job. 
Geocaching and bike riding were in there, too! I created one on the spot. The sign-up was quick, easy and free. The kids and I made the book in about 15 minutes. The site is organized and simple to follow. But, wait, it gets better! Guess what? You can make one, too! 

I'm offering two ways to help you get started: 

1. Place the order by June 6th using the code 'ACCDGTOMAGS' to receive $10 off.
2. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a free custom book.


Datevitation is a family business run by the husband-wife team of Alex and Olga Karpman. Get to know them on the Datevitation blog.







Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An App in Review: gapNsnap

Me: "Mags, guess what? I got a new app."
Mags: "Ooh! Can I play with it? What does it do?"
Me: "Sure. It's like a scavenger hunt through the store. And you have to take pictures. Think you can handle it?"
Mags: "I'm on it! What's it called?"
Me: "It's called gapNsnap. The goal of the app is to find as many empty places on the shelves in the store as you can. When you see a tag on the shelf and it's empty behind it, you line up the camera and take a picture of it."
Mags: "You know I LOVE takin' pictures."
Me: "And being in charge."


Michele and I were asked to review the following app called gapsNsnap. It is a free download on your smartphone. The sign up is quick and easy. You can begin using the app the moment you step into a food store. Here's where to start:  

1. At the menu, you "Select Location."
2. Choose the food store in which you are shopping.
3. Locate a "hole where a product is supposed to be while shopping."
4. Take a picture of the hole with the shelf tag on your smart phone. 
5. Choose the "Campaigns" button to see how you can earn rewards for snapping pictures where stock. 



Mags and I went to the store and she was happy to be in charge of finding the empty spots and taking pictures, including the shelf tag. It's amazing how many out of stock things there are in the store once you really take notice. 


Also, once you have finished your session of snapping, the app will synch all your snaps automatically when connected to wifi. That is, unless you enable the setting to "use cellular data." The app doesn't recommend this setting unless you have an unlimited data plan.  

As they say in the gapNsnap description, "...grab your buggy, launch gapNsnap the app, and get to snapping."

You can follow them on Twitter @gapNsnap to keep up with all the new "Campaigns." Once you follow them, be sure to learn more about
 them at their Twitter party tomorrow night, 
May 30, 2013 at 8:00pm EST.
See you there! 


IT'S ALL ABOUT PRODUCT PLACEMENT

Tuck: "Mama, can you tell me a story from when I was little?"
Me: "Okay, let me think..."

Once upon a time, there was a small boy at the tender age of five and three-quarters. He was shopping in Wegmans with his mom and baby sister where there were delicious treats as far as his four-foot-eye-level could see. The boy's mom always stopped by the bakery first so that he and his baby sister could choose a scrumptious cookie to devour and crumble throughout their shopping trip. Usually he got in the back of the cart so that he could concentrate on just the cookie, but today was different. His mom told him that they had a BIG list and she would need all the space in the cart she could get. He promised his sleep-deprived mom that he could handle walking AND eating the cookie at the same time. 

As they left the bakery he noticed a lot of colorful boxes piled up in front of the fruit area, much like the large building boxes in his Kindergarten classroom. There were a multitude of colors and pictures all over the boxes.  Not to mention all the LETTERS AND WORDS! How exciting. He was a FANTASTIC reader. His teacher told him so. Only a few words stumped him.  The young boy locked his eyes on one particular box. It was brown and had a crazy looking dog on it. He giggled through the mass of cookie pieces in his mouth. The words above it were bigger than the ones he was used to in his readers. But, no word was impossible. His teacher and mom always told him it was just blending the sounds of the letters together. He couldn't wait to impress his mom and baby sister. He would sound out those big words confidently and LOUDLY. He could do it! 

In his head he practiced. Then, he looked up, ready to share what he read. His mom was gathering some florets of broccoli as he tried to get her attention.

"Mama! Look. Look at this box. It has a crazy dog on it."

His mom smiled, turned quickly to acknowledge him, and said,

"Cool. He is crazy, isn't he?"

Then she went back to bagging up the produce. But he knew that wasn't going to be what would get her full attention. Once he read those big words, he knew she'd drop that bag of veggies in amazement. So, as loud as he could, he began with the first word.

"Mama. See this box with the dog says...RAY-RAY-G-ING...RAGING B-B-BI-BIT."

He sure was right. His Mama swung around with a wild look and tried to stop him. But he knew what he was doing. It would be okay. She didn't need to help him. Just one more sound to go. 

"-CH."

"Oh, oh, oh! Okay. Great job, son. Yes. RAGING. Wow. That's a big word."

She was impressed, but she didn't say ANYTHING about the second word he had sounded out, so he repeated it nice and slow so that each letter could be heard LOUD AND CLEAR.. B-I-T-C-H. 

His mom was SO proud that she was BEAMING bright red with pride. And guess what? All the other moms around were looking in awe, too. Everyone was impressed with how he read those big challenge words, right at his eye level.

Then the boy, his mom and baby sister made a pit stop by the Customer Service counter where the boy heard his mom talking about something called "product placement." 


The End


OF COURSE I did not tell my son this story, who is now seven and three-quarters. But I will tell him this story over our first beer together...
when he's old enough. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

THE CALL OF THE WILD

Tuck: "What is that sound, Mama? Do you hear it?"
Me: "It's birds talking to each other." 
Tuck: "What are they saying?"
Me: "I don't know yet."
Tuck: "I bet they're talking about who can fly the fastest."

Today I learned something. Well, two things...okay...maybe three. For weeks now I've seen a woodpecker land on the same tree outside our kitchen window. It's always around the same time when she swoops in, does a dance around the tree and then flies off again. I've been trying to capture a picture, only to have her elude me time and time again. 

But today was my lucky day. As I sat on our deck writing, I began to hear the familiar calls of the birds around our back wooded lot. It was really distracting, especially because some of the calls were so shrill and continuous. Then, something flew right over the top of my head. It was THE WOODPECKER! She landed on a tree close to me so I grabbed my camera from inside. I moved around the deck to get a better view and started snapping. 


It took me a few tries, but I got her. Chris was watching the photo shoot and noticed something interesting.  

"Look, I think there are other woodpeckers on that tree with her. Two others, in fact." 

So, I aimed my lens and focused. Sure enough I did see two other heads popping around the tree! 


When she flew away, I realized that those two little heads were still popping out from behind the tree squawking away. That's when I realized...those were her babies! No wonder she has been devoted to that tree for months! I walked down to get a closer view and there they were, both babies, poking their Mohawked, red-heads out of a hole calling for their mama to bring them some lunch. 


Countless times she'd come back, bringing them the bugs she pecked out of a nearby tree. Those two little creatures were insatiable. As soon as she'd fly away to get more goodies, they'd get on their calling kick again. I started to understand what was going on between them. They'd shriek and she'd ignore it for a little bit of time. Then, once the babes' calls got to a fevered pitch, she'd give them a quick chirp back to let them know she was on her way. Have a listen.
  
  

That didn't last long, though. The babies' patience was wearing thin waiting for more tasty morsels, as I'm sure their mom's was of their incessant calls. That's when I knew EXACTLY what was going on in that tree...


Yes. That sums it up PERFECTLY! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

STRAIGHT FROM THE BABY BOOK

Tuck: "Hi Maggers."
Mags: "Hi."
Tuck: "No sucky (pacifier) for you, Maggers. Dis one mine."
Mags: "Peeeeeeeease."
Tuck: "No way. Dis mine."
Mags: "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH."
Tuck: "Here Maggers." (holds out pacifier) "No crying."
Mags: (immediately stops crying, takes pacifier, crawls away)
Me: "And so it begins."


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

THESE SHOES WERE MADE FOR WALKING

Me: "Hey, wanna help me find my other shoes?"
Mags: "That'll be easy. I'll just sniff 'em out."

I love how Mags thinks my shoes stink when that girl could knock over an elephant with her foot odor. I have no idea how such precious little feet and toes could work up such a funky aroma, but they do...on a daily basis. 

However, yesterday I needed help finding my shoes because my physical therapist told me my soft boot cast needed to be put away. My Achilles has been healing, but after five weeks, she wanted to start building up those muscles again. Turned out I developed a little attachment to that boot. It was my security blanket of sorts. So, I spent the whole day yesterday boot-less. 

Boot-less and looking for all of my left footed shoes. 



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Trifecta: Hobbled

This post is in response to Trifecta's weekend challenge. They asked that we write thirty-three words. Three of them had to be from a list of words they chose and thirty had to be our own. I chose the words topple, nerve and underneath.

Hobbled

Coming to grips with the fact that things are not right underneath.  Every movement strikes a nerve, raw from plucking. The pain is relentless. Then, finally you topple. Time to rebuild and strengthen.

It's my Achilles. I'm taking care of it the right way...this time.


Friday, May 17, 2013

S-S-S-S-SNAKE!

Me: "Okay, Mags. Time to go inside. Come around the pond THIS way."
Mags: "What? Why? We haven't been out that long and I'm not even that dirty yet."

Mags and I were cleaning up our ponds the other day. After the fall and winter seasons they were in pretty rough shape. We decided a little TLC was in order. We got dressed and headed outside to conquer the leaves, the ponds and our little garden. (Those poor, innocent plants.) We grabbed our gardening tools, a rake and the nets for our heads to keep the swarms of gnats out of our eyes and nose. 



As I rearranged the large rock borders, Mags was happily scooping up leaves and counting tadpoles from the pond. A woodpecker was busy on a nearby tree as I lifted one of the rocks. That's when I saw it. At first I thought it was some black hose from the pond's filter. But then...it moved. And I gasped...and silently screamed. The yellow ring near the top of it's head stuck out to me as it slithered away most likely ticked that I disturbed his slumber. I wasn't sticking around to find out just how ticked.  Begrudgingly, Mags went inside. I made it worth her while with a popsicle and Play-Doh. 

I took a moment to look up the snake I had just seen. This is what I found...



 AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

After I called the moving company, I texted Michele from ODNT.


Then I sent her the information I found on the snake. 
She was quick to sum it up for me...


After I told her there was NO WAY I was going back out there and I'd send Chris once he got home, she saw the silver lining....

YES! I can take care of Father's Day and the venomous snake 
all at the same time. Two birds...one stone. 
Thanks, Michele!


Now, who knows where I can get a Mongoose around here? 

Photo Credit: Rikki Tikki Tave

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ketchup With Us - Prompt #18


This week, Michele and I were talking about books. Well, we were really talking about summer vacation, but that led us into books. Well, no. That's not entirely true. Summer vacation led us to talking about slowing down. Slowing down led us to talking about being able to breathe a little. Breathing a little led us to maybe finding time to actually SIT while eating a meal. Eating a meal in the seated position led us to maybe finding some time to read a book in said position. Then we laughed because we remembered the kids will be home on summer break. So that led us into books we'd read with them...in the seated postion. 
Here's what I recommend in 57 words...

Joining a book club is an idea that may assist.
To get you to read a book that ends with a twist.
You have to read it to contribute.
The details you will distribute.
Except when everyone read the amount of zero.
Then you all pour some wine and play Guitar Hero.



For a quick explanation of this link-up, click here. In short, Michele and I will post a picture or video with a writing prompt on the 1st and 15th of every month. You can write your entry in any form. We love creativity. And, with each prompt, we'll feature a writer from the previous link-up. 
Which reminds me...

Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer for today is...


 Dana from Kiss My LisT


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Rules? Who needs 'Em?

The rules are...THERE ARE NO RULES! Just guidelines. 

And we'd love it if you posted our button and followed us on 
Facebook (Michele /Mel) and  Twitter (Michele/Mel). 

ketchup with us
<a href="http://www.accordingtomags.com" target="_self"><img src=&#34http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/s492/accordingtomags/th_a410bb31.jpg" alt="Ketchup With Us" width="125" height="125" /></a>

'KETCHUP WITH US' - PROMPT #18

In 57 words or less, tell us about a favorite book or author. 
We're all looking for good summer reads, right?



WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Tuck: "Hey! Check out this little worm."
Me: "That's an Inchworm. They can release sticky thread out of their bodies like a spider. It helps them hang onto the leaves they're eating and escape from predators."
Tuck: "That's so cool. I'm going to name him 'Inchie' because he's an Inchworm. Get it?"
Mags: "I think we should call him 'Thread Butt' because he shoots sticky thread out of his butt. Get it?"


Of course, the kids fell in love with how this little guy moves. 


And, well, I couldn't resist taking a quick video. 
You'll need sound to get the full effect of my dork-ness. 
Enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother of All Instincts


Mags: "I spy with my little eye a Mama bird in her nest."

It took me a minute, but I found her and snapped a picture. When I looked at the picture, I thought about how it really summed up motherhood across the species.


Nurturing
Selfless
Comforting
Loving 

And she'll peck your face off if you get too 
close to take a picture of her nest. 
Yep. That's a mom for ya!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Trifecta Weekend Challenge: Curiosity

This post is in response to Trifecta's weekend challenge. They asked us to write 33 words (exactly) using at least one example of onomatopoeia. 



Curiosity

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz...oh what a relief it is.” 
Did the jingle ring true? An entire package 
lay dormant in Mama’s bathroom. 
Into the toilet. It WAS true. 
Except for the overflow.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

You Say Potat-o, I Say Po-tat-o


Mags: "We need to go to the Jell-O aisle when we get to WalMart."
Me: "We have Jell-O at home, Mags."
Mags: "I know, but you heard Ms. Amanda at dance class. She said we need Jell-O for the recital to put in our hair. The cheaper the better."
Me: "Oh! You mean GEL. Hair GEL."
Mags: "Okay, if that's what you want to call it. But I'm telling you, she said JELL-O. I think the cherry kind will smell the best."





Wednesday, May 8, 2013

THINGS I'LL MISS

Mags: "Mama, you WON'T believe what happened at Pre-K today!"

From the moment she says this until the moment she finally has to come up for air, she fills me in on her morning. Every second of every minute of the three hours. No detail is too minute. And you know what? I'M SOAKIN' THIS UP!

I sit, listen, nod, smile, laugh, chew my lunch, remind her to take a bite of hers, nod some more...but I never, EVER interrupt. I'm dreading the time she comes home and when I ask about her day, she replies with a simple, "Fine."

So, I'll take this for now. Because next year, this chicky starts Kindergarten. All. Day. Long. And me? I start back to work full-time. That means lunches with my littlest girlfriend will only be on the weekends.  And there's NO ONE who can rival this lunch date!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

GONE IN SIX SECONDS

"Morning, Mama! I'm so hungry. Can we make breakfast now?" 

Have you guys heard of Vine? It's a fun little app put out by the makers of Twitter. Vine allows you to make six second videos. You can create stop motion videos...or just go for it for the whole time! It's a free download. 

Just like Twitter, it takes practice to get adjusted to the abbreviated time you have. But soon, like me, you'll be taking your day six seconds at a time!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pick-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

From the backseat of the car: 

Mags: TUCK, STOP THAT! IT'S SO GROSS!"
Tuck: "What?" 
Mags: "You are PICKING your nose. Mama, Tuck needs a wet wipe, he just had his FINGER up his NOSE!"
Me: "Tuck, honey. We've talked about this. If you have a booger, let me know and I'll get you a tissue. Mags, my purse is in the seat next to you. Please find a wipe in my purse." 
Tuck: "Mags I don't need it. I just ate it."
Mags: "Are you KIDDING ME? I'm gonna puke. Tuck, you just ate DIRT. DIRT from your NOSE wrapped in BOOGERS."
Tuck: "Yep. Deeeeelicious!" (insert maniacal laugh)


It just so happened that the song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah was on in the car at the time. I took the opportunity to ad-lib the words to best suit the situation. Feel free to use it with your little nose picker. Happy Friday! 

Pick-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Pick-A-Dee-Ay
Why oh why do you pick it today?
Plenty of tissues heading your way.
Pick-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Pick-A-Dee-Ay

Put your finger on your shoulder.
Or you'll get sick, it's actual
You won't feel so satisfactual.
Pick-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Pick-A-Dee-Ay

Fight the feeling, fight it today.
I found this gem at The Teacher Wife blog.




Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ketchup With Us - Prompt #17

This week, Michele and I are talking about women in your lives who are exceptional moms. Lucky for me, I am surrounded by wonderful role models of strong, determined, passionate women. One in particular stands out to me...




Forever my cheerleader, my rock, my confidant.
She knows my mood the second she hears my voice.
A flash of her smile puts me at ease. Her silly laughter is infectious.
Gentle and full of heart with all. Determined and head-strong when needed.
Always being referred to as “my sister” by strangers who meet us.
My mom.  

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For a quick explanation of this link-up, click here. In short, Michele and I will post a picture or video with a writing prompt on the 1st and 15th of every month. You can write your entry in any form. We love creativity. And, with each prompt, we'll feature a writer from the previous link-up. Which reminds me...


Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer for today is ...


* * * * * * * * * * * * * 


THE RULES OF PLAY
  1. Submit your entry using the linky at the bottom of our KWU posts.
  2. Follow us on Facebook (Michele /Mel).
  3. Follow us on Twitter (Michele/Mel) & tweet us your entry using the hashtag #KetchupWithUs.
ketchup with us
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'KETCHUP WITH US' - PROMPT #17

In 57 words or less, tell us about a special mother in your life. 
You can pick anyone you want. We won't tell.


BLAST FROM THE PAST

Me: "Mags. Can you say MA-MA?  MAAAAAA-MMMMMMA. You can do it, baby. 
Say MA-MA."
Mags: (smiles, giggles) "DA-DA."