Creative Pay-It-Forward

My friends have recently been posting the same Facebook status below:

“2013 Creative Pay-It-Forward: The first 5 people to comment on this will receive, from me sometime within this calendar year, a gift – perhaps a book, baked good, music, hand-made goodie, or other surprise! There will likely be no warning. It’ll happen when the mood strikes. The catch? Those 5 people must make the same offer. Happy New Year!”

So after a few days, I finally commented on a friend’s status. I think it is a really cute idea! Can’t wait to see what kind of “gift” I receive. The person I responded to is very crafty, so I’m very excited. Stay tuned…

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Brew Crew

logoI was once again given the opportunity to host a Coffee-Mate sampling party. I invited 7 moms and their toddlers from my mommy group. The night before, I baked a batch of Winter Spice Scones and Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze (I added Coffee-Mate’s Cinnamon Vanilla Creme instead of vanilla). I also printed Coffee-Mate logos for the kids to color, set the table, organized the house and laid out the ingredients for the three coffee flavors we would be sampling.

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My first guest to arrive received a coupon for a free Coffee-Mate product to enjoy at her convenience. Congrats Enza!

As more guests arrived I started to pass out samples of the coffee I had prepared. The first one we tried was Holiday Au Lait and the second batch was Peppermint Mocha Caffè Mocha. Both tasted really good and were a perfect addition to the baked goods that I served. I also had blueberries, cheese and crackers for the tots. Thanks for coming mamas! Hope you enjoyed your morning as much as I did.

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Thank you Coffee-Mate for the sponsorship and the opportunity to share with my friends.

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My lovely models

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The tots masterpieces!

To win a coupon for a free Coffee-Mate product, leave me a comment below with your favorite flavor and email address. I’ll pick a random winner by midnight on Friday.

Disclosure: As a Brew Crew Member I was given the Coffee-Mate creamers. However all opinions expressed are my own.

New Years Eve with a toddler

Most New Years Eves I’ve spent getting glammed up and at fancy locations. This year was a little different. Last year was an expensive evening so we knew in advance this year would be low key.

Me and my bestie celebrating NYE 2011

When my friend Cheryl from the mommy group invited my family to a NYE Potluck Party, I was super excited. First I would get to spend it with my whole family. Second I would get to make yet another new recipe from Pinterest. Third I would be spending the last few fours of New Years with some of my favorite people. It was a win-win situation all around! I got Sarah all glammed up for her first NYE party (party dress, tights, pretty shoes and even a bracelet), made 2 Pinterst dishes and we were off to celebrate with our friends.

Hubby got a last minute emergency call so he couldn’t attend after all. But it was a cute party! Thanks for hosting Cheryl!

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Once back from the party and after a quick bed time routine, hubby and I enjoyed sushi and wine while we watched the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve countdown. After a short while our princess woke up. We let her cry it out for a moment and she went back to sleep. After the second time, I went in and tried to calm her down etc, but decided since it was NYE, why not bring her out to living room to celebrate with us? After a little while I placed her back in bed. The third time she woke up we knew our evening was over. Here’s to being parents of a toddler! Happy 2013 everyone!

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I wanted to share my top moments of 2012 with you (in no particular order):

1. Starting this blog. I love being able to share what’s on my mind with you. Thanks for reading!

2. Celebrating my DAUGHTER’S 1st birthday: I still can’t believe I get to say I am a mommy! It’s been a life changing experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

3. Breaking Dawn Part 2 premiere with my youngest sister. After a few years of talk shows, premieres, screenings, midnight movies and getting up close and personal with the cast we closed the chapter to our Twilight madness. I had an amazing time with you sissy! Can’t wait for our next adventure!!

4. My mommy group. This September Sarah and I have celebrated one year of support, friendships, laughs and tears with you. I seriously don’t know where I would be with you!

5. My Hubby! First thank you for being you and making me laugh! But I really want to thank you for working hard so I can be a stay-at-home mom. I know it’s hard at times, but it will be well worth it down the road.

6. My bi-annual trip to Florida! I love being able to wake up and sleep at my parents house for many consecutive days. It was also amazing that we were a part of my grandpa’s 80th birthday celebration. In a couple months when Sarah turns 2 I’m not sure how often we will fly to Florida, since 2 and over require you to pay for a seat 😦

6. To close this list and this wonderful year, my middle sister just got engaged! Mazal tov O and B! Here is to many simchas (joyous events in Hebrew) in your future.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. So I thought I’d share it with you.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Annual family pictures

By now most of you should have received our holiday letter and card. Even though Chanukah was in the beginning of the month it’s still technically the holidays, right? If you received our card but not our letter, please let me know. I’ll be happy to email it you. We had a mix up with the batches of cards and not every card received a letter. Oops!

My friend and photographer, Allison took our family photos for the second time this year. As always, she did an incredible job! If you are on Facebook, make sure to check out Allison Bee Photography. Her prices are also VERY reasonable!

Here are some of our favorites that did not make it into the card:

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What a difference a year makes!

What a difference a year makes!

Christmas day for a Jew

Christmas day for a Jew is as fun for a non-Jew. First – we all have the day off so we typically spend the day with family and friends. Second – we make a big breakfast/brunch. This year I made Apricot Stuffed French Toast and served it with orange juice. It was really yummy!

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Third – We (Jews) go to the movies and eat Chinese food for dinner.

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Since having a child, a movie is no longer an option. This year we decided to go to the Grove to look at some lights and head out to Chinese food afterward.

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20121225-214401.jpgHope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day, no matter what your faith 🙂

My Pantry Makeover

I love cooking and I love being in the kitchen. I dream of the day I can design my own kitchen, but for now my small apartment kitchen will have to do. That is why I am always trying to organize (which drives my hubby crazy!) my cabinets, drawers, shelves, spice rack, etc. A while back I went to The Container Store (so much fun for an organized person) and picked up a bunch of containers in different sizes. After a quick wash and filling them with my frequently used items, I sat back and looked at the finished product. Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed! But didn’t have any more time or money to spent on it, so I let it go.

Lately I’ve been Pinning a lot of kitchen pantry ideas. Some are DIY and some are very expensive pantry options. I came across a few glorious pantries I’d like to share.

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I was convinced my pantry should look the same!

After a visit to Michale’s to pick some things for Sarah’s room, I came across “Make + Print Your Own Custom Stickers” from stickeryou.com. It came with 3 sheets and custom kitchen designs already made. So for under $5 I was on my way to create my updated pantry.

After a misprint/printer issue I was down to 2 sheets. Each sheet contained 8 stickers. I had well over 8 containers therefore the packet was now useless.

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I like them, but I don’t love them. Plus I really don’t have a pantry, instead I just use my shelf.

Still dreaming of a kitchen I can design on my own one day. Until then here are some of my favorite Pinterest kitchens.

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Are you on Pinterest? I’d love to follow you, just leave me your name on the comments below! And if you’re not already following me, I’m @mamachitchat.

Birthday Grouch

December is a really busy, but fun month! There is always something going on, like the holidays, the weather getting colder and my birthday.

I wholeheartedly believe in celebrating the little joys in life. Therefore I’ve always enjoyed celebrating events (no event is too big or too small for me), but celebrating my birthday has not always been easy. Most of the time my birthday falls on Chanukah. I’m happy to share my birthday with the miracle of light, except people like to lump my birthday and Chanukah into one occasion. If it’s a card or a birthday gift I always just get one. But material objects aren’t what disappoint me, it’s the timing.

For example, last year I decided to host a tea party for my 30th birthday at a local teahouse. I figured I only turn 30 once and I’ve always loved the tea party theme. I gathered a list of family and friends, booked a venue and sent out invitations. That’s right, I created, printed, decorated, put a stamp and dropped them off at the mailbox (things people don’t do often enough in my opinion). Then I waited for responses to come in. After a few of, “I’ll be out of town”, “I already committed to going to hubby’s holiday party”, or “My family is in town” I got pretty bummed. It happens every year, but I hoped turning 30 would be different. After a few more days of disappointing responses my mom called to tell me she would be coming to celebrate my birthday. Thank you so much ema (mom in Hebrew) for coming all the way out here for my birthday!! It means a lot to me that you could be a part of my celebration.

The day of my party I started getting more disappointing phone calls: “I’m sorry, something came up!”, “I’m having car trouble”, “I have a cold”, etc. Sure everyone is busy and has the right to cancel, but this time it was a bit different. You see, I had gone ahead and prepaid $30 per person. So here I was sitting at my beautiful tea table with a whole bunch of no shows. Sure I had a really nice afternoon with my family and friends who did attend, but that would be the last time I would host a birthday for myself.

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So as my 31st birthday was quickly approaching, I started to panic. How do I celebrate and not end up disappointed? After a conversation with hubby we decided I would celebrate during the week with some mommy friends by going to dinner and celebrate at home with him on the weekend. No hype, just simple fun!

I’m happy to report that everything was fine! I was surrounded by a fun and loving group of friends at dinner, went out dancing, and spent the weekend with my family and MIL. When it came time to make a wish on my birthday cake, I couldn’t help but pause. I have everything I need. I’m married to a handsome man, I have a yummy daughter, loving parents and sisters (and a  lot more family who loves me), a supportive group of friends and most of all I have my health!

Thanks to all who called, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged, and sent me cards and gifts. You made me feel special in a way that made last year’s shortcomings a distant memory!

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