Archive for October, 2009

Photo Story Friday: Round 2

October 29, 2009
My little boy is 5.
He refuses to sing.

Well…except… he sings a popular primary (that’s Mormon-speak for ages 3-11) song called:
I am a Child of God.. he learned it in Nursery (pre-primary age kids). And when I asked him about learning a new song in church he would answer.. I don’t KNOW that song, mom.

Well duh.

Every Sunday, he happily sits in Primary NOT singing a single song, until I am a Child of God, comes up and then he shouts it from the rooftops.. you’ve seen this kid right?? The one who sings the chorus really loud and then nothing else.. kind of like that, only he shouts the whole song.

Fast forward to this past August.

Out of the blue in the back seat of the MomVan he says: “Hey mom I can sing a new song.” I nearly pulled over to see what he was talking about!

Have a listen for yourself.
I give you….

MY KID singing a NEW song!

And get this. He agreed to sing it SOLO in front of the whole congregation during the Primary’s fall Sacrament program. How freaking cute is that? We call up grandparents and he sings it over the phone. He happily sings it for pretty much anyone walking by. Give me a call and he’ll sing it for you!

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One big giant thank you to Cecily for allowing me to overcome my #doofus moment a few weeks ago..
THIS Photo Story Friday is thanks to her!
If you have a link to share.. please feel free to join in!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Carissa

To play PhotoStory Friday, check this. Copy this code into your post and sign Sir Linky:
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Carissa

Social Media = Positive Customer Service

October 28, 2009

If I were a company using Twitter. I would so want you to have a happy ending.




My little boy wants to be a transformer for Halloween. Specifically Bumblebee.
And the dad in our world is one awesome Dad with a capitol D. In the past he’s dressed up as Willy Wonka while the rest of us did other Chocolate Factory Characters. He’s also been the Joker, Tweedle-Dee (to my Tweedle-Dumb), Batman, and of course a Sexy Vampire. So what do you think he’ll be this year….?

(In your best James Earl Jones Voice….)

Optimus Prime.
Oh yeah. You know what I’m talkin’bout.

Being the frugal mom that I am, I searched around and found an adult OP costume at the best price I could find. AND… *BONUS*! I found the costume on ToysRUs.com for $45, but there was a $10 coupon if you signed up with BillMeLater.com… Total no-brainer. I’ve seen Bill Me Later as an option before and lately I’ve even seen them on twitter and participating in some blog campaigns…

BillMeLater.com
I literally thought to myself, since I’ve seen them around on twitter I’ll bet they will be able to help me if I have any questions? Plus, I counted no less than 4 different ways to contact their customer support.

From the online chat bubbles on their site to their Twitter account: @BMLDeals… and a toll free phone number on the site as well as a real mailing address… (I know.. who does that anymore?)

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My point: instead of assuming the worst: I believed (due to their presence in Social Media) that they would be thrilled to solve any issue or question I might have with their service.

Here’s the funny part… the $10 ‘coupon’ didn’t show up on the ToysRUs bill? Huh I thought? So I sent a chat bubble directly on the BillMeLater site. They answered, oh that’s a new campaign and the discount will show up on your BML bill…. oh? Okay…

One day later, the bill showed up in my inbox but the discount apparently got lost? This time I tweeted directly @BMLdeals. Get this… Heather, DMs me to say: I’m so sorry, I’m traveling but when I get back to my desk I’ll get this figured out…. then proceeds to offer her direct email address… Whoa.

What?! Did she really give me her email…?

Within one week, my issue was solved and I appear to have a new BFF in Heather Fields from @BMLDeals!


bill me later twitter

I’d call that a positive experience.

companies active in social media want you to have a happy ending.

Note how clean and easy to read and use the Whole Account Interface with Bill Me Later feels.
bill me later bill savings

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Welcome to Halloween’s Past…



I promise the Optimus Prime costume…. rocks.. I mean..
‘SAVES THE WORLD’!

Disclosure. There isn’t one. I got the same $10 discount you can get if you head to ToysRUs.com.

GoodNCrazy Gift Ideas For Mom

October 27, 2009
ideas for mom gifts

FanCast.com
There are several of these ‘Free to View TV Shows on Your Computer’ sites. This one is new to me. I tried it out over the weekend and I had an Aha! moment. There are a lot of new TV shows out there and if I try to DVR them all (knowing I’ll never get around to watching them…) it fills up my DVR; (and let’s face it). What’s the real reason for DVR at MY house? For my kids to tape a gazillion Halloween shows all month long. And Ben10, and Wizards of Waverly Place and then it will be Holiday shows… and well… there isn’t room for the mom shows.

Another reason I’m checking out Fancast is to see if I can watch whole seasons of shows I’ve missed in the past. I’m only on Heroes Season 3 right now.. (DO NOT TELL me what’s going on right now!!) However, I was bummed to see they don’t have past seasons of Heroes. But they do have the pilots of most of the shows I want to check out this season. I watched most of ‘The Good Wife’… compelling and interesting, and probably I’ll watch a few more of that series when the hubby is away on business! Yay for my laptop and Fancast! Cost: FREE.

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Shiseido Zen
I received a sample shower gel from a PR rep at blogworld… and I gotta say, I don’t love heavy perfumes. Haven’t since I was 16. I much prefer a lighter lotion or shower gel. I never smelled the Zen fragrance before and was expecting it to be a little like my grandma? WRONG. I totally like it, it’s light and flowery and not overwhelming. And the shower gel is so yummy in the morning when you are still waking up! I love how moisturizing it feels. Cost: $35 (Which at first I thought was kinda pricey… till I smelled it and used it. I’m buying one for my sister… DO NOT TELL her…shhhh!) I wish the screen was scratch N sniff.. all I can say is test this out next time you are in Macy’s or Sephora!

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The Sacrificial Sock
Every Home Needs One! That’s what the website tells you…
At first I was all… huh? Are they serious….? Ohhhhhh now I get it, it’s a gag gift! How funny. How very very funny. Need a white elephant gift no one else will have at the boring office party this year…? Or do you have a funny friend who always comes up with the best stuff.. this year YOU will win that prize! Cost: $9.95 plus shipping.

No more lost socks. The Sacrificial Sock Saves the Day!
Oh my gosh the instruction page is hilarious… plus there is a whole discussion about how to accurately use your Smack Talk… here are some examples (as we all know how intimidated washer and dryers can be… ).

  • “Your mama was a Cement Mixer.”
  • “your lint trap smells like cat urine.”
  • “If I wanted it to take 5 hours to dry my jeans, I would have used my hair dryer.”
  • “The next load is dirty diapers.”

    and more… srsly funny.

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Disclaimer: Some products provided. Some affiliate links included. Thoughts are my own.

Tween Talk Pouts An Image

October 26, 2009

Goodncrazy Tween Talk superhero girl

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Tween Superhero Image Created by my Ahhmazing Artist Friend:

NapWarden… If you like it, have a look at more of her artwork.

I saw her little boy superhero and realized I needed a girl tween pouting superhero for my Tween Talk Series… is it perfect or what? I simply tweeted her out… asked her how much it would cost (I was super excited at her affordable illustration prices) and Voilá… my very own image for my very own series, matching my site’s very own colors and my dear tween’s hair color!

Have you seen the prices of images on other sites? Redonculous! I paid under $50 for this image, and she tweaked it for me, the right size and the right colors!

She was 9 when I first heard the words: “No. And You Can’t Make Me!”

Welcome to my tween world.

Disclosure: I purchased the artwork, I love @Napwarden, thankyouverymuch.

What Is Motherhood To You?

October 23, 2009

motherhood baby flowers

The movie Motherhood comes out tonight.
I sat in on a panel for the #motherhood twitter chat last night.

And I loved hearing everyone’s take on the joys and the guilts and the loves of being a mother.

I think everyone mentioned at least once basically this thought:

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I feel guilty for not being theBestFreakingMostAwesome mother in the world.

Seriously. We have guilt over perfectionism? I kept asking the moms…

  • Do your kids love you?
  • Do you love your kids?
  • Do they KNOW you love them?
Game over. Lose the guilt. We’ve got enough with all the multitasking, phone-calling, car-pooling, butt-wiping… don’t ya think?

Now go tickle your kids and listen to Catherine Connors:

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herbadmother Ah, I love my kids to pieces, and they know it.

herbadmother No matter my insecurities about my motherhood I know my kids are HAPPY, that they laugh every day, even when times are tense.

Why Do I Love My Dyson?

October 21, 2009
Let me count the ways.

  1. No bags. Minimal Mess. This is a good thing for 30-something women as well as favorite vacuums! In fact maybe if I use my new vacuum often enough I can get rid of the under arm flappy bags… now THAT would be an awesome vacuum!
  2. Totally easy to take apart: Snap, Click, Open, DONE. From dumping the contents, to removing the brush head.
  3. Which brings me to: Easy to clean the brush head. I pulled out a quarter, opened the latch, pulled out the brush… and removed all the icky hair… (yeah, it’s a mom job).
  4. LOVE the ease of switching to the hand held telescoping vacuum arm. Upholstery? Check. Ceiling vents…oh yeah. Crack, Crevices, Stairs? All over it baby.
  5. IT AUTO TURNS OFF the brush head when (ahem…) I accidentaly suck up the corner of my kids’s favorite blanket! (ask me how I know)… The vacuum is still on but the brush has stopped turning… you know? That awful smell a vacuum makes when you suck up a shoe string or a plastic bag?? NOT this masterpiece. Kids can work it with no fear! (Moms love that.)
  6. Also there is a manual turn off for that same brush head, when switching to a hard floor from my hallway to my bathroom. Voilá, like magic! LOVE that! It also turns off the brush when you place it in it’s upright position.
  7. UNDER THE BED. Let me repeat. UNDER THE BED! I used the thing several times before I realized while using the extended arm with the really flat attachment, that DUH! If you turn the handle sideways the whole thing stays flat and will fit UNDER BEDS! Heck under my night stand! Dust Bunnies… be gone.

  8. Easily reach high places. Ceiling vents. And Cobwebs. And lighting fans. And dead flies. And anything else gross hanging out above eyesight!
  9. Kids can use it. Even better? MY KIDS do use it! Worth it right there.
  10. This thing is a BALL to use. Literally, there’s a ball on it to swivel around corners. Easy on my shoulders, and so far little stress on my back… I definitely don’t feel like it is knocking all my corners and cabinets either.

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I have racked my very clean carpet and brain… but honestly I can’t come up with anything I don’t love about the DC25 Blueprint?

The color? Nope. I love that mine is white and clear and like you want to match a vacuum to decor anyway??

The size? Nope. It’s lightweight and easy to carry up and down stairs.

I’ve got it! The extension coils on the telescoping arm are kind of tight… maybe like they need to stretch out a bit… but sheesh it’s so dang long I’m able to reach from the top to the bottom of my stairs enough that I don’t care about the tightness!

Next week… a few more things I’ve gone without in my 15 years of marriage. What have you gone without?

Companies That Get Social Media

October 11, 2009
I was recently asked: “Which companies ‘get’ social media?

One company that stands out is @CandH_sugar.
I first saw them tweeting a few months ago. I followed them. I figured they might be happy to chat with me about sugar related things.. you know. BAKING? Yup. They did. (Big shocker huh?) In fact they replied, asked me questions back, I was thrilled!?

Another company I’ve been impressed with is Cuisinart. Mainly due to their Facebook group. They run giveaways, but not the standard boring stuff. Instead, they ask for recipe submissions and ideas from their fans as the contest entry. (Thus featuring and highlighting their readers and fans!) What a great way make it interactive more than simply tweeting out stale links. Jennifer Perillo is the woman behind the scenes at the Facebook group and she tweets from @JenniferPerillo as well. Tell her I said hi!

Here are some real life examples from C&H Sugar:

PhotobucketFor one of my Summer Beat The Boredom Posts… I asked @CandH_Sugar if they had any great kid friendly recipe ideas. (Something my 11yrold could make on her own.)
This was their reply: Molasses Ginger Cookies.
She made them. WE ate them!

PhotobucketI asked if they had a FAST recipe for labor day weekend since we were heading to a friend’s house to watch them shoot off a water Rocket!
Again, their reply: Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
Wow…how perfect and… toasted almond crust? Ohmyheck. SOLD.

PhotobucketI mentioned that I had just made my favorite Blueberry Sour Cream Bundt Cake.
They asked me to upload a photo of it to their facebook page. Um… Heck yeah!

PhotobucketI recently begged: HELP! I bottled 21 quarts of pears and 10 quarts of pear sauce… and EEK! What should I do with all that pear sauce?
Wow did these guys come thru or what? They wrote a whole Facebook note answering my recipe mayday!
Here’s a couple of their genius ideas:
Ultra Chocolate Cake (WHAT!)
Brown Sugar Pound Cake.. uh huh.. (see what I mean)??
Check out the rest to really enjoy what I’m talking about! And yes I’ll be posting a photo of my pear sauce draped cake… as soon as I stop drooling.

See how they make it more about me than the company?
They GET Social Media from the Mom’s perspective.

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There are plenty of other companies out there who ‘get’ social media.
And just as many who don’t.

My list of DON’TS:

1. If I tweet you a question about a product or about your site, do not answer me with a link to your website and nothing else. Um… I KNOW where your website is?
{Instead, reply! Answer me realistically. Assume I’m a real person, maybe I have kids, maybe I work full time, maybe by interacting with me you’ll gain a loyal customer for your client. If you sell clothes it’s safe to assume I WEAR clothes. If you sell a service, ask me if I use it, then why or why not. Don’t be afraid of the negative. Working to solve negatives helps me realize you are human too.}

2. If I tweet you directly about a problem I’m having with your site or product… feel free to offer a customer support email, but likely I already sent in a customer support ticket.
{At least tell me you are checking on it and will get back. Or heck give me a REAL email where I can try to solve my issue. Then check back and see if it got resolved. I think I would faint if I got that kind of follow up.}

3. Don’t use your Facebook page only as a way to shoot out new product updates or blog posts. The point of social media is to be SOCIAL.

{Again let me direct you to the C&H Sugar Facebook page. Note the interaction. Note the part where they feature their fans. Note how they use the discussion panel to further a bigger conversation with their customers and readers.}

PhotobucketC&H Sugar gets it right on their website too.
check out the Family fun section:

Disclosure: There is no disclosure. I wrote this article of my own free will and choice. People have asked if I’m working with CandH, and I answer: “If they offered to pay me I would say no, they GET Social Media they don’t need me!”

#LearnNplay: Let’s Rock Your Child’s Learning Experience!

October 9, 2009
Sponsorship Disclosure:
For the Month of October GoodNCrazy will be sponsored by Knowledge Adventure.

Jumpstart.com #learnNplay wii games children

{What does that mean?}
It means Knowledge Adventure (creators of Jumpstart.com) has agreed to help send me to Blogworld and SITScation in Las Vegas. I get to share Jumpstart treats and goodies with the other bloggers at the conventions! I also get to help spread the word that Jumpstart would like to work with other bloggers… And stay tuned… I get to share some exciting new games and prizes coming out later in the month!

As a clear and open disclaimer I want to let everyone know that when I am using Twitter and Facebook and you see me using the hashtag:


#learnNplay

It will be because:

1. I love Jumpstart. The product. The people. And because my kids have used Jumpstsart computer games since they were toddlers and could barely click a mouse!

2. I will be compensated and have agreed to:

  • mention the products I already use and love
  • share about exciting new products coming out
  • help reveal the new Jumpstart Wii game
  • let everyone in on a big upcoming contest and giveaway that will go live later in the month on the Jumpstart.com Blog!

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Feel free to Jump in! #learnNplay is for everyone!

Moms. Dads. Aunts. Friends. Pets? And of course… KIDS!

  • How do YOU learn as you play?
  • How do your kids?
  • How do the grandparents get involved?
  • Where do you learn new things and where do you play?
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Great #learnNplay ideas from Jumpstart:

Play Petz Bingo. Free Downloadable Game Sheets with Jumptastic pets as Bingo slots!

Create your own Fall Wreath with your kids! Simple and easy and your kids will love exploring the neighborhood to ‘research’ leaf designs!

And for Halloween? Boo-Tiful Bat Crafts! Help kids with their motor skills and color recognition then play with your decorations!

MORE #learnNplay ideas: Flowery Pencil Pots, Science Projects with Vinegar and Baking Soda, The Bubbling Cauldren

Check out My Review of the Current Jumpstart Wii Game:

Pet Rescue

And introducing the newest area of the Jumpstart.com 3D interactive online game:

Marineland!

Artist Dabbles In Social Media: Shares Her Collage

October 8, 2009

Guest Post:
Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson

I met Elizabeth @sthilairenelson when she asked for help getting the HTML code for a Tweet This button on her blog. After a little back and forth I peeked at her site and her art gallery and was absolutely BLOWN away by her work. I asked her to write a guest post.. mainly so I could claim to have some of her art on my site!! WOW.

I am a collage artist in Orlando, FL. When you think of collage, you probably think of abstract combinations of printed materials, personal mementos, photos, etc.

My style of collage is different. I hand-paint all different types of art papers, old book pages, maps, and found papers, then I use those materials in collage. I treat every torn bit of paper like an individual brush stroke, and I use them to create what I call a “Paper Painting”.

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In order to sell my work, I have to be good at marketing. I utilize social media in an attempt to spread the news about my art (my blog, my website) to people who are friends, or friends of friends…. who never heard of me before!

I do not sell my work on Facebook or via Twitter, those venues are better left as ways to raise awareness. I find the best way to introduce my work to as many people as I can is to utilize social networking through FB and Twitter. Plus it is a postage FREE way to do that!

When I post to social networking sights, I always try to draw people into my blog: Elizabethsthilairenelson.Blogspot.Com Where I offer small collages up for sale, provide a link to my website and monthly newsletter, list workshops I am teaching, and talk about my collage process with photos of work in progress and new work.

I find that using social networking to draw people into my blog and my website helps me with sales, and even better with potential exhibition opportunities.

Please visit my blog, leave me a comment, or even subscribe!

I Can Pears… Can You?

October 6, 2009

Learn how to bottle pears!
Canning is easy.

Pretty huh?
Tasty too, and come January and February…the perfect lunch treat!
I love pears with cottage cheese!

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Sanitize your bottles. I run the extra sanitize on my dishwasher but really hot soapy water works too. But new lids, but the old rings on your jars are fine. I prefer wide mouth jars.

canning pears tutorial
Prepare your pears. You really can’t get around peeling them by hand.. so wash ’em up, dig in and peel away! I like using a medium sized melon-baller to carve out the core after slicing in half.

Helpers are good!

Add 1 cup hot water (tap is fine) and 1/4 cup sugar per jar. This year I tried using 1 teaspoon of a fruit preserver as well. (Contains acid and helps keep the pears from turning brown.)

Pack your pears in as tight as you can get them, leaving a half inch or so below the neck of the jar, then fill with additional water to the neck of the jar. After 7 of your jars are filled wipe the openings well with a wet washcloth. Boil your lids for 1 minute and carefully place on the jars with the rings and hand tightening.

canning pears tutorial

Place the jars in your water bath. Fill the bath with warm water til about 1 inch over the jar lids. Bring to a low boil and time for 20-25 minutes.

canning pears tutorial

Remove the jars and let cool slowly on your countertop. You’ll hear the lids seal and pop the rest of the afternoon. And if any don’t seal (you can press down on the lid to test if it moves) no worries, refridgerate and eat those in the next few days!
I picked these pears myself in a U-pick orchard in a neighboring town.
Look around and see if there are any U-pick apple orchards in your area? They should be ‘on’ right now all over the country! At least go buy some fresh apple cider!

Supplies Needed:
Water Bath Canner
Canning Tools
Jars, Lids and Rings

I call my mom when I need help…
Here are a couple canning websites:
CanningPantry
FreshPreserving


And in case anyone is listening??
I really want a pressure cooker maybe for next mother’s day?
The best way to bottle tomatoes and other great recipes like chili, soups or salsa!