Holidays in Branson

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson. All opinions are 100% mine.

Joe is likely traveling to Branson, Missouri, for a work convention next year, and I’m thinking about tagging along with Lucy. I’ve always wanted to go there since there are a variety of touristy things to do from shows to theme parks.

Even if we do go with Joe next year, I want to try to go sometime during the holidays. The Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing and The Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel have several holiday packages to appeal to everyone. For example, visitors to both hotels can enjoy the “Santa Claus is Coming” package, which includes a portrait with Santa; the “It’s a Wonderful Life” package, which includes a spa treatment; and the “New Year’s with Style” package. While the “It’s a Wonderful Life” package is something I would love (because what woman wouldn’t enjoy a vacation that includes spa treatments??), the “Santa Claus is Coming” package would be more for us because I know Lucy would love to see Santa, who delivers presents, milk and cookies to guest rooms. The packages range from $189-$329 a night.

It’ll definitely be a few years before we take a holiday trip because I’d like Lucy to be a few years older, but it’s something I’d love to do in the future. It would be so much fun for the whole family!

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Non-maternity Clothes

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Ramblers Way. All opinions are 100% mine.

Now that Lucy is here, I am desperate to get back into regular clothes. I’ve lost most of the weight in my stomach and can now wear regular shirts again (yay!), but I’m still in maternity pants. So, to make myself feel better, I bought a new sweater yesterday. The only problem with non-maternity shirts is that they’re not long enough if you’re wearing maternity pants. That’s one of the things I hate about this transition period because I really don’t like the elastic waistband from my maternity pants peeking out from under my shirts. But, I don’t want to wear maternity shirts now that I don’t need to. I’d like to get some shirts like this long short-sleeve scoop neck top from Ramblers Way to help with my wardrobe. Not only could I wear them by themselves, but I could also layer them under other shirts and sweaters.

I really hope I’m not in maternity pants too much longer, but I’m not really holding my breath since it’s hard for me to lose weight in my hips and thighs. But, since I really like the length of maternity shirts, I definitely need to shop at Ramblers Way because I could and would wear these shirts after I get back into regular pants. And, at least wearing regular shirts is making me feel a little bit better about myself for now.

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Christmas Songs for Kids

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This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Madacy Entertainment. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’m starting my collection of music for Lucy. I received several CDs from friends and at my showers, which I’m ripping onto my computer to save in her own little library. However, I don’t have any Christmas music for her yet. I haven’t even really started looking for children’s Christmas CDs yet, but luckily I found that Amazon has an “MP3 deal” going on right now for the digital album “60 Christmas Carols For Kids“, a collection of of Christmas favorites performed by the Countdown Kids. The deal started on Black Friday, and the digital album that normally retails for $9.49 now is on sale for $3.69, which I think is a fantastic deal. I just wonder if and how I can import the MP3s into iTunes. If not, I’m sure I can burn them onto a CD for Lucy to enjoy as she gets older.

I can’t wait to start buying holiday music for my little girl. To me, the music is one of the best parts of the season, and I’m really excited about sharing it with her. What better way to start her collection with some great children’s songs that she will one day be able to sing along with? What are your kids’ favorite Christmas songs?

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Charter Giveaways

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This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter Communication. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve blogged before about some of the awesome giveaways Charter has offered to new customers signing up for one or more of their packages like an HDTV-a-day, a Toyota Prius, a new 2010 Chevy Camaro 2SS and Xbox 360s. Charter now is offering gift cards worth up to $200 from major retailers in electronics, clothing, home, accessories, and restaurants (and who couldn’t use gift cards at this time of year when holiday shopping is in full swing?) as well as great deals on their packages. And, beginning tomorrow, Charter is starting its 38 days of specials with different giveaways every day, such as iPods, camcorders, TVs, GPS units, web cams, photo frames, among others. Each day features a different item, and there are multiple chances to win each day.

There also is paraphernalia from hit cable shows — such as Dexter, The Tudors and Californication — to be given away, as well as box sets of hit HBO shows like Big Love and Entourage. Want to keep up with the prizes being given away every day? Check out Charter’s Daily Deal Web Site or become a fan of Charter on Facebook, as Charter officials will be updating their Facebook fan page every day during the holiday season.

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Infant Formula

As I’ve mentioned before, I plan on pumping and feeding Lucy out of bottles. I want her to get the benefits of breastfeeding, but I don’t feel comfortable actually nursing her. There are so many benefits with breast milk, such as the antibodies it helps the baby build up. Plus, it’s free! Formula can get expensive, as my sister-in-law is discovering. She can no longer nurse her baby because it was giving her daughter acid reflux.

But, I do want to supplement with formula. I want Lucy to be used to both breast milk and formula, and the plan is to leave bottles of formula when we leave her with a sitter. I’ve just been blown away at the cost, especially when you compare the name brand formula to the store brand formula. I know that I likely will choose store brand because, really, there’s no difference between the two. And, name brand formulas aren’t any closer to breast milk than store brands. All formuals are regulated by the FDA and are nutritionally equivalent to breast milk. That was something I looked into when I was still debating how I want to feed Lucy. I want to make sure she gets the best possible nutrition.

Did any of you use formula? If so, what brand did you like and why? Did any of you supplement with formula?

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Healthy Halloween Options

The one thing I hate about the places I’ve lived is that I’ve never been able to give out candy on Halloween. I’ve managed to pick apartments or houses in areas where there aren’t many kids and, though I sit in my living room every night on October 31 with my porch light on and a bowl full of candy, I never get to give it out. And, of course, that means I end up eating it.

I’ve never really been one for giving out healthy treats. I remember trick or treating as a kid and tossing the healthy apples or raisins to the side as I dug into the unhealthy but oh-so-yummy miniature sized candy bars. That’s what kids want on Halloween, isn’t it? Something good and chocolatey?

This year, Trick or Treat Me (or, as the adorable kids with lisps would say, Twick or Tweet Me) is starting a campaign to promote yummy yet healthier Halloween snacks — containers of chocolate milk. Not only do kids love chocolate milk, but it’s better for them, and these cartons are even good for the environment. They’re made from paper and have a low carbon footprint. And, they are shelf stable, which means they can be kept in the pantry or in the fridge, which makes them perfect Halloween treats. I’ve never heard of milk before that can be kept in a pantry!

I’d love to give this a shot if I had kids in my neighborhood who would come by. Our next house will definitely need to be in a kid-packed subdivision.

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