Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: Year in Status Updates

This post was inspired by Loukia over at Lou Lou's Views. It actually turned out to be a great way to get to know someone and what their year was like in a nutshell! Here's my year-end summary. After looking back at my statuses, I decided I had a whole lot of nothing to say this year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baby Formula: Brand Name vs. Store Brand

When my son was born last year, the thought of buying formula after breastfeeding was not a happy one. I wanted to make sure I gave him the best, but just found the price tag hard to swallow. After about 3 months of formula feeding, my sitter mentioned that her daughter who also had a tot my son's age started buying generic baby formula. Her daughter took it to the pediatrician and asked what the difference is. Guess what the answer was - NONE! After that, we were generic all the way!

I have read so many blog posts and articles about the equality of brand name formulas (like Enfamil and Similac) and generic formulas, but with the marketing of these brand names as "better" than generic, it's no surprise that common consumer doesn't think otherwise.

Recently, a landmark federal court jury verdict confirmed that Mead Johnson, the maker of Enfamil LIPIL Infant Formula, has engaged in false advertising by stating that store brand-infant formulas sold at Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and other retailers, do not provide the same nutritional benefits as Enfamil.

The jury found that Enfamil advertisements were false and misleading, especially since store brand formulas have the same nutrients at the same levels as Enfamil. In the process, they have exposed the truth about infant formula: store-brand infant formulas are nutritionally equivalent to, and confer the same developmental benefits as, the more expensive national brands like Enfamil. Buying a heavily marketed formula from a big pharmaceutical company does not get you any closer to breast milk.

So what does this mean to Moms? It means we could have been saving up to $600 a year by using store brand formulas, which cost half as much as Enfamil LIPIL and other national brands. Luckily I made the switch and assumed the cost savings after just a few months. I felt it was SO important to pass this information along because as a mom on a budget- I know you need that $600 a year!

If you're looking for more back up information check out articles about Brand vs. Store Brand formula on these sites:

Baby Center
PBM Products (manufacturer of store brand formulas)

As an added bonus, Consumer Reports is giving away an excellent source of unbiased recommendations - the Consumer Reports Best Baby Products Book. This trusted manual can help any Mom navigate the world of baby products by recommending necessities that are safe, affordable and suit any lifestyle. This giveaway is all about spreading the word! Here's how to enter:

Initial Entry:
Leave a comment here - What's your take on this issue? Does the court ruling change your mind about buying store brand?

1 Extra Entry:
Follow my blog or subscribe to the RSS feed. Please leave a separate comment that you did!

1 Extra Entry:
Follow @MadMomMission on Twitter (comment here with your Twitter ID)

1 Extra Entry:
Tweet this giveaway, include @MadMomMission and a link to this giveaway, and post a link to the Tweet here. (limit once per day)

2 Extra Entries:
Become a Fan of The Mad Mom on Facebook. Leave a comment that you did so.

4 Extra Entries:
Blog about this contest with a link back to this Giveaway! Don't forget to put a link to your post here!

Giveaway ends January 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm EST. Thanks for entering and good luck!

The First Flutters

From the time I found out we were going to have a baby, I wondered when I would start to feel him move. I had been told that the first movement feels so slight that it's easy to miss.

My mom and I went out of town for an overnight stay with my Grandmother the weekend of Memorial Day. I was almost 17 weeks along and was anticipating the first movement to be any day! While we were relaxing on the couch doing a puzzle, I felt this very slight fluttery feeling. It was only a fraction of a second that I could feel it and then it was gone.

Was this the first kick? Was it gas? Was it a weird stomach indigestion thing? No, it was the definitely the first kick. This fluttery thing happening in my body, wasn't my body... it was something else making me feel this way. It was by far one of the coolest moments of my life. It made the pregnancy just a bit more real.

When you're about 4 months along, it seems like we go through this "I'm pregnant, but I just look fat" stage. The stage where none of our clothes fit, it looks like we just have a gut or spare tire, and maternity clothes are still too big. Feeling that first movement during the "fat" stage was actually more of a concrete theres-really-a-baby-in-there moment. I was very fortunate to not have any morning sickness or anything that made me feel like I was pregnant so acepting the fact that I actually was pregnant was kind of weird.

I felt the first kick on May 29, 2008 (yes, I remembered the date!) and then it was gone. I'd try to pay special attention to see if I'd feel another little flutter, but nothing. For at least three weeks, my little guy was still. As the pregnancy progressed, my guy was a kicking machine. Then he'd stop for a couple days, I'd go to the ER and they'd tell me he's just "being quiet," then boom - back to kicking his little heart out.

Then, around week 32, he got the hiccups. I swear they were constant until the day I delivered him. Actually, he still had the hiccups after he was born. Very strange, but they went away. The hiccups felt like a gentle rythmic tap on the inside of my belly. Constantly.

Here's a great place to find more information about fetal movement.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Hanukkah?

The holidays are my favorite time of year. All the way from Thanksgiving Day through New Year's Day. It's a time to celebrate and be with family. For the past two Christmases I worked for a Christian senior living community. We'd sing Christmas songs and celebrate the season. Now that I've moved on to a "corporate" job, I'm realizing how sensitive people are when it comes to the holidays.

I am a Christian and I celebrate Christmas. I know I wouldn't get offended if anyone told me Happy Hanukkah. I hope I'm not coming off as ignorant as I feel this sounds, but what do Jewish people do on Christmas? I read an article on about what Jewish people do on Christmas but it didn't really answer my question. I mean, I know life goes on. Just like Hanukkah is another ordinary eight days for me, is Christmas just another ordinary day?

I find it interesting to learn and appreciate other cultures and views. Even though I don't celebrate Hanukkah, I always make sure to tell my Jewish friends to have a Happy Hanukkah. With how over-marketed Christmas is, do people of the Jewish faith feel pressured or left out when (as Adam Sandler says) "you feel like the only kid in town without a Christmas tree?"

When I was in grade school we learned about Hanukkah, the festival of lights, the oil burning for eight days, and of course the eight days of presents! But, I never actually met a Jewish person until I was 15. I was brought up in a very small town without a Jewish person in sight! So when my family moved and I met my first Jewish person I thought - cool! I loved hearing about Passover and Hanukkah, their family traditions, and meals.

I hate that this season has become so politically correct that I can't wish my coworker a Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas, but I have to say "Happy Holidays." As a society we're all so oversensitive. Or maybe I'm just hard to offend? I  hope that I can raise my son to appreciate other cultures. I wish I knew more about Kwanzaa. The internet can only give you so much information. I'd like to hear stories from real people!

No matter what holiday you're celebrating this season, I hope you have a wonderful one filled with family, friends, laughter and memories!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

America's Cutest Last-Minute Tax Deduction

My cousin's first born was delivered at 11:40 pm on December 31. Perfect time for a tax deduction! All Moms would agree that the joy that comes from having a new baby is priceless! The sweet sounds of cooing, chubby cheeks and the intimate bond between parent and child can make any family feel rich with love. But, as any new parents can attest, raising children can have an impact on your checkbook, as well as your heart. In fact, the typical family spends more than $221,000 raising a child through age 17.

I am thrilled to pass along the news of a fun contest that might lighten the load of one lucky family! Thanks to TurboTax®, one "last-minute" baby will help his or her parents save a bundle.

TurboTax® the nation's No. 1 rated, best-selling tax preparation software from Intuit Inc. is conducting its 3rd annual nationwide search for America's Cutest Last-Minute Tax Deduction. The parents of one lucky baby, born in the month of December 2009, will win $5,000.

To enter, parents or legal guardians should submit a photo of their baby born between Dec. 1-31, to The deadline for submissions is January 7, 2010. Judges will select 10 finalists, and America will determine America's Cutest Last-Minute Tax Deduction and the $5,000 grand prize winner!

So if you or anyone you know has welcomed a new addition to the family this month, make sure you send them over to! What a way to ring in the New Year!

No-Bake Cookies: Haystacks

There are about a million different variations of this recipe out there, but I thought I'd share anyway. This recipe has become my new favorite no bake cookie! So easy that I can remember the recipe without ever writing it down! Here's what you need:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup peanuts
1 bag butterscotch morsels
7-9 cups corn flakes cereal


Melt morsels and peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds or just until the morsels start to soften. Stir the mixture until the morsels lose their shape and blend with the peanut butter. Add peanuts and cereal and toss until evenly coated.

Cover baking sheets with wax paper and place scoops of the mixture on the sheets. Let set in fridge until "solid." Enjoy!

This is a quick and easy treat that's sure to please! Plus it's easy enough to leave as a last minute plea to Santa! Don't forget the milk!

Boys Get Yeast Infections?

The one reason I was scared to have a boy was because I didn't know what to do with their little weinies. I'm oneof three girls. I didn't have any little boy cousins to babysit or anything so the first time I saw one it wasn't in a diaper.

Well my son has a little stomach bug. He's been pooping like crazy! Luckily we already had an appointment scheduled for the doctor today - his 12 month check up. The doctor said (exact words)- "no matter how clean you keep him, diarrhia will eat yer booty." We love our pediatrician... :) Poor guy has developed quite a nasty rash that we just can't get rid of.

My son would cry and cry all day. Everytime he moved the wrong way he'd clench his little butt cheeks, tense up and let out a big yell! I felt so bad for him. Poor little guy. Good old Desitin just wouldn't do the trick. The pediatrcian perscribed Nystatin which has seemed to do the trick.

Little did I know, the real trick would be to give him an oatmeal bath. Good advice from my mom. After all, a mother knows! My son is a little swimmer in the tub! He loves to splash around and ultimately ends up swallowing a lot of bath water... unfortunately. I didn't think it'd be a good idea to just throw him in with a store bought oatmeal bath solution so I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the good old fashioned quick cook oats!

Little guy was clinging to me all day so I knew it'd be a challenge to get him into the tub. As soon as his feet hit the cloudy, oatmeal water he screamed and reached for Mommy! Of course, as his mommy, it feels good when your baby wants you to "save" him. But he needed this bath! So, I stripped down to my tank top and undies and hopped into the bath with him.

It was really gross. That oatmeal bath eventually turned into a shower for mommy to get all of the oatmeal out of places where there shouldn't be oatmeal. But hey, a mother's gotta do what a mother's gotta do!

After the bath he was happy as a clam and the rash has almost completely cleared up! The Nystatin has really helped. If your baby seems to be getting a diaper rash, no matter how bad or if they have some minor skin irritation elsewhere, I definitely recommend tossing them in the bath with some good old fashioned quick cook oats!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hellmann's Real Holiday Helpings Giveaway WINNER

Congratulations lmurley2000!

You're the lucky winner of a $25 AmEx gift card from the Hellmann's Holiday Helpings program!

Thank you to each and every person who entered! A special thanks for making this my most successful giveaway yet! Stay tuned for the next Mad Mom giveaway!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Griswold Old-Fashioned Family Christmas

Nothing says it's the Christmas season like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! This is not only one of my favorite holiday movies, but one of my favorites of all time. Every year, my family gathers around the TV together to watch the Griswold's fun-filled, old fashioned family Christmas unravel into a holiday mess. It's a movie that everyone can relate to. From the gaggle of in-laws and relatives invading your house to the over-cooked turkey and suprise visits from crazy distant cousins, Christmas Vacation does manage to remind me of what the holidays are all about.

One thing about the holidays that I can't stand is the rush. I tend to avoid the mall and stores like Walmart because they turn into a zoo after Thanksgiving. Jam packed with parties and gift exchanges, the holiday season seems to disappear before I can really get into the spirit. Gift giving is fun for me. I love to spread the Christmas cheer to others by getting them a nice and thoughtful gift. The overwhelming task of shopping for everyone has become such a drag. Especially with growing families and office exchanges. With so many people to buy for, its hard to find the time to put a lot of thought into the gifts we give.

For the past couple of years my in-law family has done a Secret Santa exchange. Rather than buying for the whole family, we each draw a name and buy one special, thoughtful gift for one person. I love this idea. Not only is it budget friendly, but it takes the focus off the gifts and puts it back on the family. We all get together and have food, share stories, and of course indulge in the Brandy Smash!

Has your family changed its gift-giving habits? Perhaps due to the economy or to eliminate some of the holiday stress. Maybe your family doesn't exchange at all. Or, maybe you have a full-blow holiday gifting extravaganza! Either way, I hope your holidays are filled with family, friends and whatever makes you happy. De-stress this year! Holidays are supposed to be happy, after all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hellmann's Real Holiday Helpings Giveaway

For most moms, multi-tasking is second nature. We heal boo-boos while making dinner, type one-handed while feeding the baby with the other. One instance where we want to avoid pulling double duty? In the kitchen - especially during the holidays!

If you're like me and seem to always end up heating up chicken nuggets to please the little ones, here's the perfect solution for you! To help parents prepare Real Food they can feel good about serving the whole family this holiday season, Hellmann's® and Best Foods® Mayonnaise has teamed up with one of my Food Network favorites - critically acclaimed chef, author, Food TV personality Bobby Flay to create the "Real Holiday Helpings" program on and

By visiting the site you can find recipes and tips for how to easily prepare Real Food that tastes great and is made from simple ingredients including Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise (made with eggs, oil and vinegar). There are even some really great recipes to use up those holiday leftovers! My favorite would have to be the Sweet Potato Green Onion Fritters. YUM! You can also watch video demonstrations that showcase stand-out holiday dishes. While you're at it, don't forget to enter the Real Holiday Helpings Giveaway for the chance to win a year's supply of groceries!
Hellmann's wants to give you an extra helping for the holidays! As a part of the Hellmann's Real Holiday Helpings program I was sent a $25 American Express gift card to help with holiday food shopping. Hellmann's wants to "spread" the cheer to my readers!
Enter to WIN a $25 American Express gift card. Here are the entry details. Contest ends at 7:00 pm EST on Friday, December 18, 2009. Remember to add a separate comment for each entry! Good luck!
Initial Entry:

Leave a comment here about your favorite holiday dish!

1 Extra Entry:
Follow my blog or subscribe to the RSS feed. Please leave a separate comment that you did!

1 Extra Entry:
Follow @MadMomMission on Twitter (comment here with your Twitter ID)

1 Extra Entry:
Tweet this giveaway and post a link to the Tweet here. (limit once per day) Just copy and paste! Win a $25 AmEx gift card! Hellmann's Real Holiday Helpings giveaway!

2 Extra Entries:
Become a Fan of The Mad Mom on Facebook. Leave a comment that you did so.

3 Extra Entries:
Blog about this contest with a link back to this Giveaway! Don't forget to post a link to your post here!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First Haircut Jitters

My child is starting to look like a raggamuffin. He had a full head of beautiful dark hair when he was born. As the months passed, those dark locks lightened up to a bright cheerful blonde. Then he went through the balding phase. You know, that phase when all they do is lay there and move their head right and left. He had a mohawk. All the cute little locks on the top of his head stayed right in place as the hair from the sides and back rubbed off.

Now those locks are a little long. If I put him in pink, I'm sure you'd think my baby was a girl. Ok, maybe I'm just a picky mom, but it's getting long. I keep thinking about how badly he needs a haircut. He's so squirmy I don't think he'll ever be able to get a trim! He is in constant motion. I feel as though I'm diapering a monkey sometimes. Arms, legs, hands, feet, everywhere! He won't hold still. Not to change a diaper, not to put his shoes on... nothing!

What's a mom to do? I've read article after article claiming they've got the tips and tricks to keep your baby occupied for their first haircut. Give him a toy? Yeah, that'll get old in about 30 seconds....

So now I just have to wait and see how long I can stand his hair to be before I take the plunge and try to get his haircut!

Monday, December 7, 2009

BJ's Wholesale Club Giveaway Winner!

The winner of a $25 gift card to BJs Wholesale Club is... Doreen!

Congrats! Please email me your shipping info-  themadmomblog @

Thanks to all who entered! Stay tuned for your next holiday giveaway!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to Throw a Simple, Stress-Free 1st Birthday Party

I was nervous about throwing my son's first birthday party. I wanted to make sure he had a blast and that my guests had a good time, too. How do you satisfy both a one year old and a group of mostly twenty somethings and grandparents??

Simple, cut out the stress, don't make a big deal of it, and party! I went cheap on the decorations. After all, my son is one, what's he going to care if the house doesn't transform into a Sesame Street or Tonka truck room? I had a birthday table cloth, banner and balloons already on hand. That was my decor! Hung it up and bam- instant party!

We did easy food too. I lack a dishwasher - you can imagine how fun it is to clean up after parties and holiday dinners with no dishwasher! So we went with pizza, wings, a veggie tray and macaroni salad. Everything was eaten! We didn't have one piece or pizza or one wing left over! I have a tendancy to over do it on the food when throwing parties, so I really wanted to just make Josh the focus of the party. Not the food, not the decorations, just the birthday boy!

It was a success! Everyone enjoyed watching Josh play with his new toys. The food was all eaten! I had almost no leftovers! It was great. Just wrapped up some cake and sent everyone on their way.

Perfect. Forget the favors and themes and over-the-top decor... At the end of the day the baby turned one. He will never remember that fabulous Go Diego Go theme with the full size cut out of Diego himself. Relax! You set the tone for your party. I have plenty more years ahead of me to make a big deal out of birthday parties - I want to make sure he'll at least remember them!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How Did You Find Me?

So I was checking out some of my stats today and almost busted a gut laughing so hard at the keywords people found me with. I mean, it all makes sense when you think about what some of my posts are about, but take a look for yourself:

"large boobs" asian blog  - This must be a combination of this post (about how your boobs change with pregnancy) and my Wanchai Ferry Asian meals giveaway... very weird search query though....

am i traumatized - you might be if you read my blog regularly (this one's probably for the post "That One Time I Traumatized my Baby")

ever pooped with the door open?  - gotta be related to this post about comfort in your relationship

filling rubber pants with pee

is a always pad like a diaper - aren't they all? this post is more for actual diaper pads

mommy in rubber - that's just weird

pee pee rubber panties

"irritating in-laws" - bet this person was suprised when they saw my post actually described how much I love my in-laws!

in-laws are cheap - nothing I've written says that, but I thought it was funny :)

So, how did you find me?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Is OCD Hereditary?

My husband is a neat freak. Everything has its place. When we first got together I thought it was cute. Now, it kind of irritates me. I am not a neat person. I like organized chaos. It may look a little messy to you, but I know where everything is. He is the yin to my yang. Keeps my butt in gear when I get lazy and don't feel like putting things in their designated "place."

I'm pretty sure my son has inherited that trait. It's so cute! It started a couple months back when he was about 7 or 8 months old. He'd stand up in his crib when he was done napping or sleeping and by the time we got in the room his stuffed animal would be in his hamper. The hamper sits right next to his crib. We thought it was so peculiar that only the stuffed animal would make it to the hamper while the toy in his crib would be on the floor- every time.

Then after we noticed his preference of Ally the aligator being in the hamper as opposed to on the floor, he started "helping" with laundry. I'd bring the basket downstairs, dump the clothes on the floor, and sort into piles. As soon as the clothes hit the floor, here comes Josh, picking up each article of clothing and placing it back in the basket. He'd give me a look like - "Mom, you know this is where the clothes go. Not on the floor."

Now he's starting to help me put his toys away. He picks up each block and puts them into the bag. Going around the room to make sure he has them all. I love it! I'm just amazed at how he knows where things belong. I guess after living in a house for one year, you pick up on where things get put away. Haha

As long as he doesn't get on my back about "where my bath towell goes" (like someone I know), it'll be great to have a little helper around the house! ...Or does this "wanting to help" thing wear off at some point? Teenage years, maybe?