“itty bitty HeartBeats” Give-Away Winner is…

 

 

 

 

The time has come to announce the winner of my very first give-away here on "Mommy Powers!" Thank you to those that took the time to enter the "Itty bitty HeartBeats" give-away, I really appreciate it. The winning number was comment number 10…so Stacy, thats you! Congratulations! I will be emailing you, please get back to me with your mailing address within 48 hrs, so your prize can be mailed out to you.

If you did not win this time, don't worry, I have more give-aways planned!




Thanks & take care,

MP

Don’t be so hard on yourself!

I see a lot of Mommies that are not happy with their lives and it makes me very sad. I believe the media has brainwashed women. There are moms out there who are starving themselves, trying to look like the models they see on the covers of magazines.  As a woman and mom myself-that angers me. We are all beautiful, you don't have to be a certain size to be beautiful! Yes, it is important that we take care of ourselves, eat healthy, and exercise daily…but we do not have to be a size zero to be attractive!  Don't be down on yourself because you don't look like a super-model. As long as you are heathy, or trying to get healthy, that's all that matters! Your children look at you and see a beautiful woman, that's what you should see when you look in the mirror. You are amazing, you are a mother- that is the greatest accomplishment ever!

If you watch TV long enough, you'd think every woman walked around in $600 designer dresses and $1,000 shoes…and that's just to do the grocery shopping!! ;) That may be reality for a very tiny percentage of women, but the majority of us do not even own a pair of $1,000 shoes! I know I don't!  I put on my mom jeans, a cute tee and my flip-flops and I'm ready to go. Don't believe the hype… don't feel inferior because your life does not resemble the lives of characters you watch on TV…they are just that: "characters!"

My favorite show on TV is "The Middle". They are an average family, a "real" family with real struggles. They have three children, a son in high school who does not want to do anything in the house but lounge around, a daughter who is a bit nerdy and struggles to fit in at school and a young son who loves to read but is kinda "different". The parents struggle to make ends meet and provide for their children. They argue, they make up. When I first watched this show, I identified with it so much, it was like a breath of fresh air! A lazy teenaged son… I could relate to that! ;) A mom in mom jeans, yep, I can relate! This show made me feel like I was "okay", I'm not the only one with these struggles, and it's all right!

Be thankful for everything you have, the good, the bad & the ugly. You are a strong woman, fearfully and wonderfully made! So what if you are not a size zero, you are a mommy, you are loved and that's what really counts! Life is a gift, we are not here forever…don't waste precious time being bummed out about superficial things…get out there and Live! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never stop using your Mommy Powers,

MP

itty bitty HeartBeats Review and Give-Away!!

I was recently contacted to review a series of animated, musical adventures, geared towards children ages 2-6.  The series is titled "itty bitty HeartBeats" and after watching an episode, I KNEW I wanted to review this and tell everyone about it! 

 

 

"itty bitty HeartBeats" emphasize three core values:

* living a healthy, nutritious lifestyle

* having a healthy heart, both physically & emotionally

* and teaching positive life lessons.

As the mother of two children, a teenager and a preschooler, I am constantly looking for shows that teach good values…"itty bitty HeartBeats" meets that standard. Episodes of the show deal with everything from sibling rivalry, stage fright, using good manners to first day of school fears. Every episode opens with a live-action situation in which a real-life child faces a challenge. The characters in "itty bitty HeartBeats" help the child make positive choices. The characters are very likable, and the music and songs are sure to become some of your child's favorites!  You can view the episodes for yourself, they are all available, for FREE,  online at:

http://ittybittyheartbeats.com 

  <— This is GiggleHeart, GiggleHeart loves to laugh!


 

 

itty bitty HeartBeats episodes  <— click to watch episodes!

I enjoyed watching "Home is Where the Heart Is', with my preschooler. He really liked all the bright colors and music. 

itty bitty HeartBeats song!  <— click to hear original music from the series! 

My child was able to grasp the message that the episode was conveying. He thought the characters were "cool!" I felt really good knowing he was watching something that will help him solve problems he may face in the future. I didn't have to worry about objectionable language or images, I knew my son was "safe" watching this award winning series. (Kids First! award recipient). We need more shows like  "itty bitty HeartBeats". 


GIVEAWAY!

I am overjoyed to announce an "itty bitty HeartBeats" giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive the following:

* an itty bitty HeartBeats DVD

* one plush doll

* and three sheets of stickers! 

Open to US residents only. Must be 18 to enter. Contest ends Sept. 26 at 11:59 pm. Winner will be chosen by Random.org from all eligible entrants, and announced on Tuesday Sept. 27, 2011. 


Mandatory entries:

1. To enter, please make sure you follow my blog (mandatory) and visit  http://ittybittyHeartBeats.com and leave me a comment telling me which episode you like best AND the name you are following my blog with! 

2.  "Like" itty bitty HeartBeats on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/ittybittyHeartBeats and comment telling me you did. Show them some love & let them know which episode you liked best! 

Bonus entries:

3. Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/#!/mommypowers and leave a comment with the link.

4. Post this give-away on your FB or twitter page and leave me a comment stating so.

5.  "Like" Mommy Powers on FB here! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Powers/271429556205811?ref=ts


Good luck to all entered! 

 

MP


Spring…err…Fall cleaning!

Today I got a little burst of energy and decided to clean out the pantry! I had been putting it off for the past couple of weeks, dreading it. This morning, I could not tolerate it any longer. I was tired of looking for something and not being able to find it.

I must say, my pantry was nice and orderly…until my preschooler decided he was old enough to search for his own snacks! LOL! Poor pantry didn't stand a chance!

As I removed everything and placed it on the table…and countertops…the stovetop…and any and every place I could find some spare room…I realized I probably do not need to buy any oatmeal for the next 20 years! I'm a coupon queen…not extreme or anything, but I do love my coupons. Every time oatmeal goes on sale and I have a coupon for it, I buy some. Evidently we are not consuming it as quickly as I purchase it…there are now three rows of oatmeal in the pantry! Hey, we'll eat it…eventually! ;)

I also had tons of cereal in there…boxes with about three flakes of cereal left in them…you know, just taking up space! Got all those boxes out and to the recycle bin. I buy lots of cereal when it is on sale too, our oldest loves cereal.

I don't know what it is about having an organized pantry…but I always feel such a sense of accomplishment when it is all tidied up! I find myself going into the kitchen, just so I can open up the pantry and admire my work! I have issues, I know! 

How often do you clean out your pantry? Do you have little ones messing it up as quickly as you clean it? I'd love to hear back from you, so please leave me a comment! 


Never stop using your Mommy Powers!

MP

Ovarian Cancer Early Warning Signs!

I am a big Dr. Oz fan & last night he did a show on Ovarian Cancer. I have a family history of cancer, so I paid close attention to everything that was said. Towards the end of the show, three foods were shown that can cut your risk of Ovarian Cancer by up to 75%. They are: raw Endives, Red Onions and Sea Bass. I am always amazed at how God has placed foods here on Earth to help us! 

Below is a sheet to help you see if you have any of the early warning signs of Ovarian Cancer, please review the sheet. Fill it out and if you have any of the symptoms, PLEASE get checked out by your doctor. Please share this with everyone you know, you might save someone's life! 

 

 

 

 

 

Take care,

MP

So you wanna be a Freelancer?!

Hello!

I thought I would share some of my freelance experiences with you. I know many women, especially moms, would like to know how to get started in the freelance world. I am currently a freelance photographer and have done some freelance writing in the past. First, let me start out by saying I could not make a living doing the freelance work that I currently do. Luckily, my spouse is gainfully employed-so my earnings usually go towards clothes for the kids, vacations and savings.

I sort of stumbled upon my freelance photographer job. I had taken some photos at a local farmer's market and thought they were pretty good. I contacted a local newspaper, via email, and told them if they were planning on running any farmer's market stories; I had some photos they might like to use. The editor of the paper got back to me and asked me to forward the photos to him. He said he would review them and if he liked them, he might be able to get me some freelance work. Say What?! I was in shock! I was just a SAHM, with a point & click camera, not a professional photographer! I quickly forwarded the photos to him…and then I waited…and waited. After one week, I had just about given up hope of hearing back from him. "I guess the pics weren't that great", I remember thinking to myself.

I decided to email him again, asking if he had a chance to review the photos. He got back to me and said he had not, but he would. So I waited some more. Another week went by, nothing. "Ok, this will be my last email to him", I said to myself, as I mustered up the courage to send him yet another email. This time I asked him what he thought of the pics, told him no one had ever critiqued my pics before and I just wanted to know what I could do to improve them. Within a couple of days, I received an email from him. He said he liked my pics and said there was a city council meeting he wanted me to attend and photograph for the paper! Say What?! Are you serious?! Woo-Hoo! And just like that, I became a "Freelance Photographer"!  I did that first assignment with my little "point & click" camera! I was so nervous, I still get nervous every time I am sent out on assignment.

I bought a "real camera" and have been happily clicking away ever since…that was one year ago this month. The pay is nothing to brag about, I receive $30 for the first shot the paper prints and $5 for every shot thereafter, for the same article. So an article with three published pics, gets me $40. Some weeks I get 2-3 assignments, some weeks none. I really enjoy taking photos and meeting people I would otherwise never interact with, like the mayor! ;)

I also did some freelance writing for a few months. I stumbled upon that gig also! A Facebook friend (whom I have never met) posted on her page that her niece was looking for freelance writers. Since I love to write, I told her I was interested. She hooked me up with her niece. Turns out her niece works with an up & coming musical artist that has his own website. His website has articles about other musicians, hip-hop clothing, etc. He would assign topics for me to write about, usually other artists and/or a specific clothing line and I would write about them. I would have to research the topic and then write a 350 word article. It usually took me about 45 mins. – 1 hr. to finish a post. The pay was very low…very low! After awhile, I told him I just could not do it anymore. My time is worth more than what he was able to pay me. It was a great learning experience for me. I still follow his career and we still chat via FB. If he ever needed me to write for him again, I would…for the right price, of course!  ;)

What do you like to do? What is your passion? Contact people that are working in the fields you want to work in, send them an email. Ask if they are hiring. Tell your friends to keep their eyes and ears open and to let you know if they hear anything. Just remember that you must value your work, before anyone else will. 

I want to continue to take photos and learn as much as I can about photography. I also want to do some more freelance writing. So keep our eyes and ears open for me! ;)


Take care,

Mommy Powers! 

Muslims & 9/11 …

Last weekend I had an opportunity to visit a mosque, for the first time ever! I am a freelance photographer, and I accepted an assignment at the mosque. Having never been to a mosque (I'm Christian), I was a bit concerned about what to expect. Would I be looked down on? Would the Muslims there have an "attitude" since I am an outsider? I would soon find out!

I must say, although I have lived here for a couple of years, I never knew there was a mosque nearby. I mean, I knew there had to be, there are many Muslims here, but I had never passed by it.  I live in a very diverse area, I have seen the Hindu Temple, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Buddhist Temple…just never the Mosque! It is tucked away near the hills, a very "normal" looking building.

I parked the car and got out. As I got out, I freaked out a little bit because I realized my head was not covered…I did not know if that would be an issue or not. As I approached the Mosque, I saw a gentleman getting into his car. I stopped him and asked him where the entrance to the Mosque was…as there were many doors on the building. I was expecting him to point to the front door, but instead he escorted me to the front door. So far, so good. He led me to a gentleman that was in charge and then bid me adieu. The man that was in charge introduced himself to me and gave me his business card. He was very polite and very soft-spoken.

I guess this would be a good time to tell you what my photo assignment was. As a way of commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Muslim community organized a blood drive. Their goal was to collect 10,000 pints of blood, enough to help save 3,000 lives. 

The gentleman in charge showed me around. There was one room for all the men to donate, and another for the women. Everywhere I turned, there was a smiling face, a kind word, everyone was so willing to help me. No one said anything about my head not being covered. No one gave me any "attitude". I was not shunned because I am not Muslim. I saw people of every race and nationality, every religious background, working together. Muslim and non-Muslim, sitting side by side, donating blood. The Mosque was filled to capacity with people donating blood. Blood that will save thousands of lives, not just Muslim lives, but everyone's lives.

       

I was deeply touched by everyone's kindness-their willingness to accept me. I wondered if the tables had been turned, would non-muslims have been as kind to them, as they were to me? I can only hope so.

Not every Muslim is "bad", not every Muslim is plotting an attack on us. The vast majority of them are just like you and me…they work hard to provide for their families-they love their children and they want the best for them. They may worship differently than you and me, but that does not make them "bad" people. 

I am very thankful that I had this experience. It was nothing but positive and I applaud the local Muslim community for all they did to help us...ALL of us! The blood drive will continue throughout September and I know the Muslim community will meet their goals! 


Never stop using your Mommy Powers,

MP

I’m gonna tell you a little secret…

I'm a Mystery Shopper! Shhhh! Don't tell anyone! Let's keep it on the down-low. ;)  If you are like me, you have probably received spam emails promising you great riches if you become a mystery shopper…don't believe it! And definitely do not reply to unsolicited emails, they are most likely scams. They will tell you they can make you a mystery shopper IF you send them X amount of dollars. That is NOT the way to become a mystery shopper. You do not need to PAY anyone. Let me share with you how I got started. Don't worry, it didn't cost a dime and it was simple and painless! 

Several years ago, my FIL became a mystery shopper, a friend of his got him into it. He would tell me about all the "shops" he was doing. (That's what they call each assignment, a "shop".) At the time, I was working a full-time job and really did not think I had the time to become a mystery shopper. After I had our youngest, I left my job to be a SAHM. I wanted to supplement our income, so I asked my FIL to send me some info on mystery shopping. He obliged me, and also sent me links to the companies he works for as a contracted mystery shopper. I applied and was accepted. I am registered with about ten companies. Whenever a shop becomes available in my area, they send me an email. If I am interested in it, I can apply for it. If I am chosen, they will contact me by email with all the details.

The way you begin mystery shopping, is to be referred by your friends and/or family members. The companies that hire mystery shoppers are always looking for more and are quite pleased to get new referrals. If you are a solid mystery shopper and you refer someone you know to become a mystery shopper; the company knows they can trust your judgement and that you are sending them someone who is reliable. 

You may be asking yourself what do you need to be a good mystery shopper…well, I'm gonna tell you! First, you need to be detail-oriented. You will need to observe many things while doing a shop and you will need to remember what you saw. You need good writing skills. Most shops require a written (albeit short) report of your experience. You need to be able to write a cohesive report, excellent grammar and spelling are a must. You need to be reliable, before you accept a shop, you need to make sure you will be able to perform the shop at the time stated. And last of all. you need to take your mystery shopping job seriously! When you are performing a shop, it's all business, no playing around- this is a job, like any other. Sure, you have flexibility, but it is still a job. Many of the sites you will be doing shops at have video cameras and they will be recording the shops… those videos can be referred back to at any given time. Never tell anyone you are performing a mystery shop! As far as everyone else is concerned, you are a regular customer… very important! 

Why do I like mystery shopping? Good question! I enjoy being a mystery shopper because it is exciting! I love going into places I might not visit otherwise. I like giving business owners feedback that they can use to better their businesses. I am able to take my child with me on many of the shops I do… like at restaurants or retail shops at the mall. I have even done shops via phone and email, from the comfort of my home! How cool is that?!

What can you expect a typical shop to consist of? Most shops are evaluating customer service. Let's say you have a restaurant shop to perform. You might be asked to observe what the condition of the parking lot outside looks like…is there trash strewn about? Are the windows clean? Once inside, you might be asked if the hostess greeted you with a smile, did she make eye contact? You will be asked about the waitress, your food, perhaps the conditions of the bathroom…easy stuff! When you get home, after your shop is complete, you will need to log on to your computer to fill out your survey form. Do it as soon as you get home, while everything is still fresh in your mind. 

How's the pay? The pay scale ranges from $5 for a phone or email shop, to $100 and up, for more complicated shops. The most I have been paid for one shop (so far!) is $85. I had to pretend I wanted to enroll at a business college, talk to the admin dept & the finance dept…that's it! And for that, I was paid $85. Most shops at restaurants will reimburse you for the cost of your meal, some will give you an added bonus on top of paying for your meal. I have done shops at car dealerships for $20-$50. Retail shops at the mall for $25. Need your brakes fixed, or an oil check? There's a shop for that! Airport shops are a favorite of mine! I have received $25 to purchase a coffee, $30 to apply for a credit card (they supplied me with a fake SSN to use!) I also like to set up shops (mostly restaurant shops) while on vacation. Nothing like getting a free meal in another state! Or better yet, a free hotel stay! I saw a shop the other day for the San Diego Zoo, free tickets, money for food and souvenirs! Movie theaters too expensive for you? Not when you are doing a shop and seeing that movie for free! 

Once you have been doing mystery shopping for a while, you might get invited to take a cruise somewhere, all expenses paid! Now that's something to think about. Or if you have a cruise planned, it might just be one a company is looking to assign a shop for. Can you imagine planning a cruise and then finding out you can take that cruise for free?! I'm going to do that one day! 

I know I am not going to get rich doing mystery shopping, but I am able to supplement our income, get some free meals, free entertainment and have a blast, all at the same time! If mystery shopping sounds like something YOU might be interested in, leave me a comment and I will get back to you with the info you need to get started! 

 

Keep using your Mommy Powers,

MP


As 9/11 approaches…

I am wondering what your feelings are towards Muslims and Islam. Do you have any Muslim friends? Up until this weekend, I had not really given much thought to Islam or Muslims-even though I now live in an area with many Muslims. I think a tiny part of me was like many Americans, you know, kinda leery of anyone in a turban or head covering. I just want to know what YOUR experiences have been with Muslims. I will be sharing a post with you later in the week, telling you what I experienced this past weekend and how it has shaped the way I feel Now! 

Thanks & take care,

MP