Friday, April 30, 2010

baseline Jewelry Review and Giveaway

Inspired by architecture + design, the environment, and our ever-emerging culture, baseline is a combination of jewelry and modern home goods. Jewelry and home goods are created from a broad range of materials including: metals, vintage + modern glass beads, semi-precious stones, fabrics, wool felt, and other inherited, gathered, and salvaged materials. 

baseline is a product of a lifetime of creativity and inspiration from someone I've known most of my life. Since kindergarten, Susan has been one of the most artistically gifted people I've known. She combines her creative instincts with sleek and modern design elements to create her truly unique jewelry line. Each piece is handcrafted

"I appreciate design on a multitude of scales. While I work full-time as an architect, I enjoy the intricate and delicate process of jewelry and sewing. I feel that simple, clean lines of architecture have translated into many of my pieces."

Her jewelry making started back in grade school with the ever popular friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss. It’s always been something that she enjoyed to make for herself, family, and friends- but it wasn’t until college that she used making jewelry as a means to earn a small income (mostly for architecture supplies and beer). In recent years, Susan has also created numerous home goods- pillows, tea towels, and recycled glass vases among others.  

"Today, I have become an active member of the Cleveland Handmade community and have had the opportunity to participate in numerous local fundraisers, handmade markets, and arts/cultural events."
I am so honored to have to opportunity to share baseline's exclusive designs with you! Susan has graciously provided a pair of stunning freshwater pearl earrings to giveaway to one lucky reader! This would make a truly fabulous Mother's Day gift! The earrings for the giveaway are varying purple freshwater pearls on gunmetal chain with hand- oxidized sterling silver ear wires. The length of the earrings is approximately 1.25” from the top of the ear wire. 

Here's how to enter! Giveaway ends at 7:00 pm EST, Friday, May 7, 2010. Good luck!

Remember- leave a separate comment for each entry!

Required: Visit and leave a comment about which pair of earrings is your favorite

1 Extra Entry: Become a Facebook Fan of baseline

1 Extra Entry: Tweet this giveaway: Enter to win handmade earrings from baseline and @MadMomMission!

10 Extra Entries: Purchase any item from baseline

1 Extra Entry: Become a follower of this blog or subscribe via RSS 

1 Extra Entry: Become a Facebook Fan of The Mad Mom Blog

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hellmann's Real Food Project

You may remember when I announced the Hellmann's Holiday Helpings site last holiday season. Now my favorite celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, partnered with Becky, I mean, actress/mom Lori Loughlin are unveiling the  Hellmann's® and Best Foods® Mayonnaise Real Food Project on, a comprehensive online resource offering tips and ideas on how to create real meals made with Real Food.
Because videos are great for multi-tasking moms, The Real Food Project features a series of entertaining how-to tutorials, hosted by Bobby Flay, to give us tools and techniques to prepare great-tasting, at-home meals for our families. I know this is a Rachel Ray saying but- Yumm-O! 

Just by visiting, you can access a wide range of recipes, including sandwiches, entrees and side dishes, all designed to please picky palates. There are even chances to win great prizes like a kitchen essentials bundle, Bobby Flay Grill It and Hellmann's® and Best Foods® products by playing the "Wheel of Real" instant win game and entering the Real Food Sweepstakes. Prizes include a $500 grocery gift card (who couldn't use that!?) and a gas grill so you can be grillin' in style just like Bobby Flay!

The Real Food Project is even integrated with Twitter and Facebook so you can join in and be a part of the conversation! So hop on over to and check out the Real Food Project!

"Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Hellmann's® prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's Earth Day

I've been driving by the landfill near Interstate 480 for 25 years. I can remember watching the landfill grow and thinking about those odd pipes sprouting out from the ground to let the gasses seep from the ground. I took an elective course not too long ago as a "filler" in order to get my last three credits to complete my Bachelor's degree. Environmental Science... why the heck do I need to take that? I'm 25 years old, I know the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.

This course was an eye-opener. There are so many other things to take into consideration other than recycling. Burning anything- even our summer bonfires- causes carbon dioxide gases to be released into the atmosphere. These gases are what we now refer to as Greenhouse gases. Nature, being the amazingly complex thing that it is, has a process that consumes the Greenhouse gases to keep things on Earth regulated. Unfortunately, Mother Nature just can't keep up with the amount of carbon dioxide us humans are emitting to keep things regulated. This is when the gases start acting as a big warm blanket and temperatures start to rise. Even though the temperature has only risen about .5 degrees over the past century, there are more carbon emissions in the atmosphere than ever, and the concentration is rising.

I thought I'd pass along some inspiring resources to help everyone see that going green can be simple. It's a lot of little things that make a big difference!

First, I've noticed a trend at the bridal and baby showers I've attended this year. Instead of those fancy gift bags that will just end up in the trash, give your gifts in reusable shopping bags. Use blankets or kitchen towels in place to tissue paper. And, when you are only picking up a few things- don't get your milk in a bag and throw the other things in your tote or larger handbag.

Here are some good Earth Day reads:
US Energy Info Administration
Top 10 Easy Ways to Go Green
Cleveland Inks Deal to Design Small Power Plant to Produce Energy from Waste

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Intolerable Toddler Tantrums

You may recall a fairly recent post detailing my troubles with my son becoming a "hitter." This must be the age where everything starts coming together: realization of physical abilities, paired with improving communication, and topped off with explosive emotions. Nothing feels better that Josh throwing his arms around me to get a hug. With this "big" love also come other "big" emotions.

Naturally, being the paranoid mother that I am, I start wondering- is this normal? Are all 16 month old babies this emotional? Before I jumped to any conclusions and put a call into the doctor (which I was only moments away from doing), I hopped on the Internet, researched and chatted with other moms who've had similar experiences. Yes, this emotional stage is very normal. Just like my 'mommy instincts' told me, it's just a lot coming together all at once. After reading countless articles and all kinds of advice, I finally found techniques that work!

1. The Warning Signs
The first thing I try to do to avoid the tantrum is to identify the triggers and the warning signs. These, I'm sure, vary from child to child. My son's tantrums either result from him not getting his way or out of frustration. The moment his tantrum starts to brew, he usually waives his arm(s) in a hitting motion. This happens before he hits me, screams, or starts his fit. This is the first warning sign.

2. Using the Right Language and Set the Boundaries
After the arm(s) flail and I see him coming my way in an attempt to unload his anger and frustration on me, I tell him that I understand that he's upset. "No," just doesn't cut it. I believe he needs to know why I don't want him to have these outbursts. Telling him "no" or to just "calm down" won't help him communicate his emotions, therefore, he feels he can't stop.

When choosing your language, remember that this kiddo is just coming to grips with the fact that he's an entirely separate person from you. After I let him know that I'm aware of why he's upset, I tell him how his behavior is making me feel. For instance, when Josh threw his au gratin potatoes at me the other day, I responded with, "you're not allowed to throw your food." He instantly stopped. Of course this lasted a split second before he was winding up for round two. "It makes me angry when you throw your food." That was the end of that.

3. Encourage Verbal Communication
You've stopped the tantrum. This, in itself, gives you quite a feeling of accomplishment. Don't stop yet! This tantrum may be over, but the overall goal should be to help your learn to effectively communicate his emotions. Or maybe the tantrum isn't quite over but you've settled your kiddo down enough to listen to you. This is when I tell my boy to use his words. I'm completely aware of the fact that he can't just come right out and tell me how irritated he feels when he can't take the toy home from the sitter's house, but I help him along. I want him to be able to identify his feelings and communicate them to me.

This may seem like a lot of fluff just to get through a tantrum - especially when you're at your wits end after a long work day and all the child wants to do is scream and hit you. I've found that after just a short while of using these techniques, the tantrums have tremendously shortened in length and severity. Further more, perhaps this is just coincidental, Josh has been saying more words and using language more to communicate.

I'd love to hear any feedback, stories, and other tips you may have to offer fellow readers!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Giveaway MADNESS

Apparently, the entire time I've been running my giveaways for Kellogg's FiberPlus bars and Chunky Bling Jewelery, the posts and my blog in general have not been showing up correctly in Internet Explorer.

I didn't notice because I've crossed over and become a FireFox user. I'm not sure what the glitch is, but I'm still running the giveaways!

I'll revise the entry guidelines:

Tweet this: I want to win Chunky Bling from @MadMomMission and!
Tweet this: I want to win Kellogg's FiberPlus bars from The @MadMomMission Blog!


Post a comment on my Facebook Fan Page about which giveaway you want to win.

You can read about each giveaway here: ChunkyBling giveaway and Kellogg's FiberPlus giveaway

Due to the irritating nature of the forms of entry, entries will be limitless so enter today! Giveaways end soon!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easiest Easter Ever

My husband and I decided to have our first holiday dinner this Easter. Sure, we've done the big holiday feasts with family but we wanted to have a quiet meal together with our son this year. But, since we were planning to skip dinner, that meant we'd have to visit our families and come home to prepare dinner. That chaos usually calls for a fast food run or whatever you can find in the fridge.

After some searching, I found a super easy recipe (which I slightly tweaked) that helped our holiday be the Easiest Easter Ever! You can never go wrong with a crock pot meal! I prepped everything Saturday night so all I had to do Sunday before we left for the Easter Egg hunt was to put it all together and push the "Start" button!

Ham and Potato Au Gratin
- 4 lbs peeled, sliced potatoes
- 1 - 1 ½ lbs cooked ham sliced into ¼ inch strips (size of matchsticks) 
- 2 cans of Cheedar Cheese condensed soup
- ½ onion, minced
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 tsp pepper

Peel the potatoes with a mandolin slicer to easily slice your potatoes. Chop the ham and mince the onion. Throw them all in the crock pot and give it a good stir so everything's evenly distributed. Combine the two cans of soup with the milk and pepper. Pour the soup mixture over the potatoes. Set the crock pot on 6 hours and enjoy your Easter!

This meal went great with fresh rolls and green beans! It was truly one of the most relaxing and non-rushed holidays we've had in a while! One little variation you may want to try if you like the potatoes crispy like I do. Once everything's done (and provided your crock pot is oven safe), Add some shredded cheddar cheese and a little bit of bread crumbs (dampened with butter of course) on top and put the entire pot into the oven under the broiler.

Kellogg's FiberPlus Bars Review & Giveaway

I was recently approached by a representative of Kellogg's to taste their FiberPlus snack bars. You've probably seen the commercials boasting the rich, decadent flavor of these high-fiber snacks. Kellogg’s™ FiberPlus™ Antioxidants Bars let you treat yourself to better nutrition with 35% of your daily fiber needs, plus antioxidants Vitamin E and Zinc. But there’s so much more. They have 7 grams of whole grains, plus a tasty chocolate drizzle, and are a good source of your daily calcium needs.

That tasty chocolate drizzle perfectly balances the flavor of these treats! If you're a mom on the go like I am, you probably tend grab whatever is fast and portable. I feel good grabbing this snack. One of the most important things about this snack is that it's satisfying! There's nothing worse than being in a car, in a meeting, or at the grocery store (especially) when that hunger strikes! This little bar is powerful and satisfies my hunger perfectly! And believe me... I can eat! And, if I can pace myself and indulge in each delectable bite, this snack is just as satisfying as dessert!

This product comes in three tasty flavors: Chocolate Chip, Chocolatey Peanut Butter, and Dark Chocolate Almond. Each flavor is just the right amount of rich chocolate to balance the satisfaction of the fiber. This Mad Mom feels good in knowing that my afternoon snack tastes like I'm cheating on my diet but is actually good for my diet!

The representatives of Kellogg's would like to give 2 lucky readers a chance to try each flavor! Here's how to enter to win! 

Initial Entry:
How do you usually snack on the go? Healthy or not so much?

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)

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

 2 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 Friday, April 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm EST. Thanks for entering and good luck!

Chunky Bling Giveaway: Swarovski Ring

They always say diamonds are a girl's best friend- but what about crystal? Swarovski crystals are considered the highest quality cut crystals and beads in the world. This crystal also holds a special place in my heart because these beautiful beads adorned my bridal gown just a few years ago. The jewelers at use these glistening Swarovski crystals to craft chunky jewelry, including Swarovski crystal and bead rings, which you can win here at The Mad Mom Blog! 

So what's so special about a Swarovski crystal? The Swarovski name means high quality. Swarovski uses a special compound in the crystal which creates maximum sparkle and creates a delicate palette of crystal colors. Using 3D computer simulations, they optimize each crystal design, positioning of the hundreds of facets to create maximum light reflection. And their precision cutting machinery allows for perfect facet juncture cuts—meaning each facet juncture meets at precisely the same point. These crystals glisten! 

Swarovski makes pearls?! Yes, and they are exquisite! Swarovski pearls are finely crafted using the heart of the finest Austrian crystal which has been finished with layers of highly luminous pearlescent coating. The crystal core and evenly applied coating give these Swarovski pearls a balance, luminosity, and luster similar to that of real pearls. To the touch, Swarovski pearls provide the same sensual experience valued by pearl enthusiasts. And like natural pearls, Swarovski pearls adjust to the temperature of the skin. Swarovski pearls are more durable than natural pearls. They are abrasion proof and resistant to UV light, scratches, perspiration, and perfume. They will not be damaged by washing or dry cleaning which works for me because many a time has my husband found a piece of my jewelery in the washer! (Oops!) Which makes them perfect for the Swarovski Pearl ring you can find at

The jewelers at are providing one lucky reader with a lovely prize of either a Swarovski Crystal ring or Swarovski Pearl ring! Enter to a ring that gives you the Swarovski luxury without a hefty price tag!

Here's how to enter! Don't forget to leave a comment for each entry!

Initial Entry:
Jump on over to and participate in the
Name That Bling contest. Leave a comment here with your entry and name.

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)

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

1 Extra Entry: 
Become a Fan of on  Facebook

 2 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 April 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm EST.
Thanks for entering and good luck!