Wednesday, December 26, 2012

You've Got the Power! choose your own energy supplier if you live in these states:

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

Rhode Island
Washington DC

I am a customer of United Illuminating because I live in CT. My power is still provided by them but I found out that I can choose another supplier. It was so easy to switch that I changed my home and business to North American Power. UI's rate at the time was $.872 per kWh (per kilowatt hour) VS. North American Power's rate of $.699 per kWh. That was a no-brainer decision. I figure I should save a few hundred dollars in a year. Want to see if you can save some moolah? Simply go to to get a quote. If your state participates, all you have to do is enter a few numbers from you recent utility bill. They take care of the change and in a month or so you will see them as the new supplier along with the lower energy rate. Once you switch, they will give you a cash bonus by encouraging your friends and family to switch.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December Extreme Cash Giveaway until 1/14/13


Welcome to the December Extreme Cash Giveaway! Gumdrop Swap has partnered up with some amazing blogs for this special giveaway where one of our readers will win a $400 cash prize!

The Extreme Cash Giveaway runs for a full four weeks, which means that you will have lots of time to complete the entries that you choose to do. Remember, all entries are OPTIONAL. We have a variety of daily entries available as well, so bookmark this giveaway and come back everyday for more chances to win! 

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends January 14th at 11:59 PM EST. Good luck!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Home Sweet Home Again

We've been in our new location for about a month now and starting to feel settled. Thank you to all who supported in some way. Whether a customer, donor to our fundraiser campaign or physically helped move - THANK YOU!

Be sure to visit as soon as possible. We are now at 993 Main St, Suite 1U, Bridgeport, CT 06604. We didn't move far. If you are familiar with our old location we just moved from in side the Arcade Mall to the outside, right across from Jimmy's. Our street location makes it a lot easier to unload and load for swapping. If you haven't checked out our new digs, here are some photos to wet your palette.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

FedEx Business Grant contest

I have entered the FedEx Business Grant contest. If you are a business I recommend that you try to win $25,000. I would appreciate your vote! (click here)

Entering is simple. Go to the link above and at the bottom you will see a link to enter your business. You must submit your business story and photo by November 17 (for more days). Once your application is approved, you can vote for yourself once a day - and get all your friends, customers, and associates to vote as well - through November 24.

Thank you & good luck!

Apple Pie Pancakes

I love adding fresh fruit to pancakes. We usually use blueberries or raspberries. But since it's apple season and I had apples available I decided to try something new. This recipe is so easy and screams fall.

  • Aunt Jemima instant pancake mix 
  • 1 apple 
  • syrup or whipped cream
  • cinnamon
  • about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted 
  • 1 pan for apples, 1 pan for pancakes
  1. Prepare pancake mix as the box instructs (I made enough for 12-16 pancakes)
  2. Peel apple and slice thinly discarding the core
  3. Melt butter in med-high skillet
  4. Coast apple slices with cinnamon and add to hot butter
  5. Begin browning apples and sprinkle brown sugar as you stir until apples are soft
  6. Let cool and mix with pancake batter
  7. Prepare 2nd pan with oil and prepare pancakes as usual
I hope you enjoy this savory and sweet spin on your usual pancakes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012 Live Green CT Festival is this weekend!
Gumdrop Swap will be an exhibitor at this festival for the 3rd year! It takes place at Taylor Farms (near Calf Pasture Beach) in Norwalk, CT on the weekend of September 15-16, 2012. Here are photos from my tent in 2011. People assume Gumdrop Swap Children's and Maternity Boutique only sells used merchandise. That's so not true! We carry lots of new merchandise as well. Plenty of gift options available and I make custom gift baskets. 

I will have a booth for this 2 day festival to expose more people to Gumdrop Swap's unique spin on kids & maternity consignment. This unique service keeps the most important "green" (money) in your wallet. It's a FREE EVENT if you are on foot and $5 charge for each car to enter so if you must drive - carpool!

Do you have a business that is eco-friendly or family friendly? I highly recommend you being an exhibitor at this event. The organizers are very accommodating and organized. Live Green Connecticut gets better every year! They have entertainment, a kid's tent, food, discussions and of course a variety of vendors with products and services. Contact Daphne or Scot and make sure you mention Gabby from Gumdrop Swap sent ya!

Even if you can't come but you want to learn more about Connecticut's green movement, get involved or promote your green efforts (no matter where you live) you should to sign up for free at Search by state and city to see what's going on in your area! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What I Wish I would Have Known before Launching My IndieGogo Campaign

In my previous post I explained that I am testing 2 crowd funding sites. With one week left on my Indiegogo campaign, I've learned more about the complexities of getting your campaign to go viral. Some things you should know before launching your campaign. Here is my email to The Indiegogo Happiness Team expressing that I wasn't very happy.

I thought I read and understood how your platform works. In hindsight, I
think the preliminary info is lacking. The site brags that starting a
campaign is easy and simple. That is true, but I've discovered that getting
your campaign to go viral proves to be quite complex. The first thing that
caught me off guard was once I launched my campaign the confirmation email
said I needed to get 2 donations to just appear in the search results. I
begged friends to do that for me. I wiped my brow in relief a few days
later when 2 came through. I understood my gogo factor was influenced by
how viral my campaign link became. I'm a solo entrepreneur so I read as
much as I could of your tips to spread the word and I did as many tips as I
could. Unfortunately, it wasn't until a few days ago when I got my report
by email saying my gogo factor was down and I was looking at the analytics
that I read the asterisk that referrals were counted if I used the link
that appears WITHIN my campaign. For the first half of my campaign I had
posting/sharing the organic URL in the address bar. I was crushed. So then
I began a new wave of posts and begging friends and family to post the
"correct" link (a bit embarrassing because I'm quite sure everyone that
knows me is tired of hearing about this fundraiser by now). Maybe if I tell
you why I chose to do an Indiegogo campaign, it will be easier to explain
why I'm disappointed with about 1 week left until it expires.
I was hoping to get the generosity of strangers that were moved by my
mission and story. I knew my project was well vetted, my fundraising goal
realistic and I had a great video and superb rewards. After reading some of
your success stories, I thought, "I can do this." I was reaching out to
strangers because I know my friends and family are broke. If they weren't,
I would have just asked them all for donations directly. So far my loved
ones have ponied up $295. The whole point of this was to get $5 bucks or
more from people I don't know. But yesterday was the devastation when I
browsed through 67 pages in the "small business" category (multiple times
because I was convinced I had overlooked it somehow) for my campaign. I
kept thinking, I must rank above all these people with 0 donations and why
are there pages and pages of expired campaigns taht people can no longer
donate to? Then I went to FAQ page for help and read "Why can't I find my
campaign" to find out that after a few weeks if a campaign hasn't raised
$500 it no longer shows up in the browse results. I cried and I'm crying as
I write this. I realize with 7 days left I have failed. I cannot do a new
campaign and start over to try to do this "right" a second time. There's no
time. I would like to suggest that these "make or break" requirements be
made part of the "get started" stuff before people launch a campaign or at
least email that info to the admins. It would have been nice to know I had
to meet certain milestones to be visible in browse results. I like to go
into things with my eyes open and I feel I had to dig for this info. Whats
the point of improving my gogo factor if I don't even have a chance to
increase my rank in the browse results? That was the whole point of doing
this! Am I missing something here? Is there any hope for my
campaign<>with 7 days left? I
appreciate any advice to rescue my campaign.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Peerbackers VS. Indiegogo for crowd funding

About a week ago, I launched a 30-day fundraising campaign on Peerbackers to help my business cover the costs of finishing the bigger store front we're moving to in September. I discovered today that Peerbackers isn't as well known as I thought and decided to create another campaign on Indiegogo which is a more known peer funding site (higher Google rank, more campaigns running, more funders giving overall). I'm hoping for this thing to go viral and get the support of strangers along with family and friends. Thank you to the people I know that donated through Peerbackers already! That campaign will still run and I will honor the rewards as promised.  I copied the same rewards from Peerbackers to Indiegogo. I partnered with some other businesses to offer a variety of bribes rewards in exchange for donations.

Indiegogo does take a bigger cut of money I raise (4% if I meet my goal and 9% if I don't) in addition to the standard 3% that Paypal keeps to process the payments. I chose "Flex Funding" so I can get any funds I raise. When you choose "Fixed Funding" all the money goes back to the funders if you don't reach your goal. Since my project will happen whether or not I raise all the monies, I just the former. Peerbackers keeps 3% on top of Paypal's 3%. I'm hoping I will get more supporters through Indiegogo's platform. The catch with Indiegogo is they say I need 2 funders to be able to appear in their search results. But I didn't find that out until like the last step. Kind of hard to go viral if I don't even appear in browsing results when people are looking for ideas to fund.

Overall, I think I liked the back end of Peerbackers more. It seemed a little more user-friendly when setting up. They even allow you to upload specific images for each reward. That was a nice touch since I was featuring other people's products. But Indiegogo wins in tech integration. You can easily copy and paste an iframe code to paste into your website. I couldn't find that on Peerbackers so I emailed customer service and they quickly replied that the feature didn't exist yet but I had permission to create my own image using their logo. Which I did (see on right). Then I did an image link. This has since been replaced on my website's home page with the widget provided from Indiegogo. (see below)

This crowd funding thing is new to me so bare with me folks! If you've done one before, I'd love to hear your opinion and get advice. I am open to feedback and will try to answer questions if you consider trying this avenue to raise capital. Both of the above mentioned sites are non-restrictive as far how you can use the funds. Health expenses, travel, non-profit - anything goes it seems.  You may have heard of a site called Kickstarter. But they have this disclaimer stating very clearly what kinds of projects you can post.
  • 1. Funding for projects only. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it. A project is not open-ended. Starting a business, for example, does not qualify as a project.
  • 2. Projects must fit Kickstarter’s categories. We currently support projects in the categories of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater. Design and Technology projects have a few additional guidelines. If your project is in either of these categories, be sure to review them carefully. View Design and Technology requirements
  • 3. Prohibited uses:
    • No charity or cause funding. Examples of prohibited use include raising money for the Red Cross, funding an awareness campaign, funding a scholarship, or promoting the donation of funds raised, or future profits, to a charity or cause.
    • No "fund my life" projects. Examples include projects to pay tuition or bills, go on vacation, or buy a new camera.
    • Prohibited content. There are some things we just don't allow on Kickstarter.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Win a Beezer Playhouse for your Imaginative Kid!

Beezer Playhouses are perfect for kids who love imaginative indoor play! Each playhouse comes with a variety of letters, numbers, and accessories that offer a personal touch.
Beezer Playhouses are cute, durable, and interactive with plastic windows and a strong plastic door frame.  The double thickness cardboard door features a fun doorknob that is easy for kids to turn and plastic hinges which make the door far stronger and more durable than any other cardboard playhouse.  

One lucky reader will win a playhouse from Beezer Playhouse ($159.99 ARV) for their kids! Giveaway is open in the US and ends on August 22 at 11:59 PM EST.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

August Extreme $100 Amazon Giveaway

Welcome to the Extreme Amazon Giveaway! I've joined up with other awesome blogs to bring our wonderful readers the chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card! There are lots of entries to choose from - you can do one or ALL to increase your chances of winning the big prize. 

Giveaway ends August 17th at 11:59 PM EST. Good luck! 

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Peerbackers: Help Gumdrop Swap Maternity & Kids Boutique finish moving!

Help Gumdrop Swap Maternity & Kids Boutique finish moving!: Gumdrop Swap has outgrown our existing boutique storefront. We need a bigger store to better serve our customers and add a fitting room. I have launched a Peerbackers campaign for this project. You can give as low as $1 but I've set some donation benchmarks with awesome rewards (including Love Munchkin body oils, cake pops from Lele's Cake Creations, Mariah's Chow Chow Relish, hair accessories form Mama'tique, a 1lb cookie tin from Sweet Potato Sensations Bakery, and more!) I really appreciate your support!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Free Blogger Sign-Ups: Let’s Give Away A Playhouse!

Are you a blogger? Here’s a great chance to sign-up for a free summer giveaway!
Sign-ups are now open for the Beezer Playhouses Giveaway that starts on August 8th.
Bloggers will receive a free Facebook entry in exchange for hosting + promoting the giveaway.
You can also add a Twitter entry or even host a follow page for extra pageviews.
See the sign-up sheet for full details.

Click here to get started!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WIN $500 Paypal Cash in July Extreme Cash Giveaway!

Welcome to the July Extreme Cash Giveaway! Gumdrops & Groanings has teamed up with Oh My Gosh Beck!, Broward Saves, Kimberly's Thoughts, SmartySaver, Life With Levi and other awesome blogs to give all our readers the chance to win a huge cash prize! 

This giveaway runs for a whole month, so you will have plenty of time to get through all the entries. There are also daily entries available so be sure to come back every day to grab as many entries as possible! 

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends August 20th at 11:59 PM EST. Good luck! 

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Holding Pattern...

Patience is a virtue that I don't possess. Funny thing is, only way to get patience is to learn to WAIT. The good news is, I surpassed the 250 required votes to qualify for the Mission: Small Business grant contest. And it was no easy feat. I begged harassed reminded people daily on Facebook. With 700 FB "friends" and over 3000 "Fans" for Gumdrop Swap's Facebook Fan Page, I thought getting 250 votes would be a breeze. I'm sure Facebook's new "Pay to Promote" posts fleecing of businesses, had something to do with the majority of my fans not seeing my posts but geez.... I was practically begging once I hit 200. I can accept if I'm not chosen as a recipient but I would have been so disappointed if I didn't even qualify. Thankfully, people came through. THANK YOU if you voted and especially if you asked others to vote for me! Winning this grant will be amazing for the 12 small businesses that are selected. Now, for the hard part... waiting until September for the announcement. It's going to be a long summer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I only need a few more VOTES to QUALIFY!

***UPDATE: I only need a few more votes. I'm so close! If you already voted, please show a friend or co-worker how easy it is.***
If you have a Facebook account, PLEASE help us receive 250 votes to qualify for the Mission: Small Business℠ $250,000 Grant sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial. Go to and Log-in with your FB account (bottom right) then search for "Gumdrop Swap" in the search bar to find our business (location is not necessary) and click "VOTE" for us. Here is an excerpt form my application:
What would a $250k grant mean to your business plan and how will you utilize the funds to ensure long-term growth and stability?

I started Gumdrop Swap with a few thousand dollars in savings. I started in a 545 square foot retail space because it was all the space I could afford and I wanted to be sure that my idea was actually a viable business. In a little more than two years, I have built a steady following of customers and swappers without doing any traditional advertising. That is something I am proud of... doubters wrong. Now I have the opportunity to move my business to a larger unit in the same building. It would triple my square footage and put Gumdrop Swap on Main St instead of being hidden inside. I've come this far by reinvesting every dollar earned back into the business... I've managed this long with the support of my husband, mother, friends and volunteers... The future of Gumdrop Swap includes classes to show people how to repurpose clothing, offer arts & crafts to recycle household items, and increase community outreach.

 THANK YOU IN ADVANCE for your vote! 

Giving away a Reusable Canvas Tote Bag!

Earn up to 32 entries. Ends 6/30/12. GOOD LUCK! You will get one of these styles with a "green" theme.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

The CookieCoo Dancing Star app lets kids play along with their favorite traditional children’s songs, like “Hokey Pokey,” while watching a whimsical 3D cookie character dance and sing with the music. CookieCoo Dancing Star is a perfect combination of fun and learning—it’s a game parents can feel good about letting their kids play, because they’ll be learning and practicing important concepts while they enjoy themselves.

 Download CookieCoo Dancing Star for FREE from May 18 - 31 here:

To celebrate, CookieCoo Dancing Star will be giving away a $200 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky reader! Giveaway is open worldwide and ends May 31st at 11:59 PM EST.

CookieCoo is also giving away an additional $100 on their Facebook Fanpage. Visit for more information!
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

May $400 Extreme Cash Giveaway

Welcome to the May Extreme Cash Giveaway! Gumdrops & Groanings has teamed up with over 80 awesome bloggers and businesses to bring you the chance to win $400 cash

This giveaway runs for a whole month, so don’t worry if you don’t have time to do all the entries at once. And don’t forget there are daily entries as well so come back every day to rack up all the entries you can.
Giveaway is open worldwide and ends June 10th at 11:59 PM EST. Good luck!
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Enter to Win! Bright Starts Sunnyside Safari Collection Giveaway

I love this collection! It all the essential baby equipment in a coordinating bright, unisex pattern. What a prize to some lucky winner. Good Luck!

Welcome to the Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway!
Bright Starts and Mom to Bed by 8, the Iowa-Mom have teamed to offer an amazing Bright Starts Sunnyside Safari Collection giveaway to one lucky reader!
This includes the Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair, Playard, Plug in Sway & Swing, Portable Swing and Saucer making this truly the Ultimate Baby Shower Gift.
Special thank you to the wonderful bloggers who made this possible including our co-hosts: To Sew with Love, The Lucky Ladybug and Mom Blog Society.

Big smiles and bright adventures go hand in hand in this exciting, fun-filled collection!
Take a walk on the sunny side-where baby gear goes together in delightful new ways. It's a win for infants and parents alike, with irresistable jungle characters adorning an array of fun coordinated products you'll use every day. Each piece of the collection does its job charmingly, with non-stop fun at an unbeatable value.
The Bright Starts Sunnyside Collection is available at Wal-Mart!

Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair
A good high chair is a must for moms, and Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair is as good as they come! It does what a full-sized model does and more, adjusting to four different heights (and nearly any table), reclining to three positions, and converting to a booster seat for smooth transition to the toddler years.
The reversible seat pad is made of stain-resistant fabric you can wipe clean or machine-wash. The removable Stay Level Tray™ remains flat even when the seat is reclining. All this, plus the friendly characters of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Make mealtime and snack time more enjoyable for baby and you. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Convenient 2 piece reversible seat pad is made of stain resistant fabric that is wipeable and machine washable
  • 4 height positions to fit most table sizes
  • 3 position recline
  • Removable Stay Level Tray™ remains level even when seat is reclined
  • 3 locking positions to grow with baby
  • Built-in holders are convenient for drinks or snacks
  • Converts to booster for easy toddler transition
  • 5 point convertible safety harness

Sunnyside Safari™ Playard
A bright, sunny place for baby to rest, play, get a quick diaper change and spend a few moments with some friendly jungle pals! That's the Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Playard. This playard includes a removable bassinet with our time-saving One Less Step™ feature for easy fold-and-go mobility.
There's a convenient changing table, a handy side storage pocket, easy-roll wheels, a travel bag, plus a colorful toy bar to delight baby. And like all Bright Starts™ products, this playard is an unbeatable value. Part of our coordinated Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Removable bassinet with One Less Step™ to quickly fold and go
  • Convenient changing table
  • Toy bar with 2 fun toys
  • Side storage pocket
  • Wheels for easy portability
  • Includes travel bag

Sunnyside Safari™ Plug in Sway & Swing™
Some swings go back and forth. Some go side to side. This one does both—and does it with music, toys, and delightful jungle style. With a seat designed for 180° rotation, allowing three swing directions, the Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Plug in Sway & Swing™ uses our unique TrueSpeed™ technology to sense baby's weight and adjust for consistent speed—so it grows along with baby.
The swing also boasts a volume-adjustable 20 minutes of melodies and nature sounds, an overhead mobile—even an AC adaptor to save on battery expense. And it features the fun and engaging characters of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Seat rotates 180° for 3 swing directions
  • TrueSpeed™ technology maintains 6 speeds as baby grows
  • Mobiles with 2 playtime toys easily pivots out of the way
  • 20 minutes of melodies and nature sounds with volume control and auto shut-off
  • AC adaptor saves money on batteries
  • Swing time with 3 settings: 30, 45 and 60 minutes
  • Whisper Quiet™ operation
  • 5 point harness
  • Machine washable seat pad
  • Non-slip feet

Sunnyside Safari™ Portable Swing
Find baby's favorite speed with this innovative portable swing. The Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Portable Swing is a win for parents and babies—from its machine-washable padded seat right down to its bright yellow, non-slip feet. With six distinct speeds to choose from, you'll find it easy to suit your little one's mood—and our patented TrueSpeed™ technology keeps those speeds consistent even as baby grows.

The Comfort Recline™ seat gives you a choice of two positions, and WhisperQuiet™ operation makes this swing silent in use. Wrap it all up in the super-fun animal decor and you've got a perfect travel companion. Part of Bright Starts™’ Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

  • TrueSpeed™ Technology maintains 6 speeds as baby grows
  • Comfort Recline™ seat with 2 positions
  • Whisper Quiet™ operation
  • Easily folds for storage or travel
  • 5 point harness
  • Machine washable seat pad
  • Non-slip feet

Sunnyside Safari™ Saucer
This is where babies go for serious fun. A Walmart exclusive, the 7-activity Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Saucer offers entertainment options galore—and a lighthearted jungle theme with fun characters you'll adore.

The seat rotates a full 360° for endless interaction with the activity stations. Twin overhead toy arms provide even more entertainment options. And the three different height positions make this one saucer your baby won't soon outgrow. Four link loops mean still more toys can be attached. Part of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection, this saucer will quickly become a family favorite. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • 3 adjustable height positions allows entertainer to grow with baby
  • Seat rotates 360° for nonstop interaction with 7 activity stations
  • 2 overhead toy bar arms with mirror, hanging toy and fabric crinkle leaves
  • Hanging elephant toy
  • Bendy giraffe teething stalk
  • Bead chaser with easy to grip textured beads
  • Lion popper with spiraling beads
  • Rotating ladybug barrels with fun textures and beads
  • Rocking toucan on leaf stalk
  • 4 link loops for attaching more toys
  • Lays flat for storage
  • Built-in toy tray is easy to clean
Giveaway starts on May 7 at 12:01AM and ends May 28 at 11:59PM. Open to the US residents only; must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Enter to win the Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway including the Sunnyside Safari Collection on the rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from your own. Gumdrops & Groanings Blog is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May Extreme Cash Giveaway (Blogger Sign Up)

Bloggers, come see why the Extreme Cash Giveaway is one of the most popular monthly giveaways and watch your numbers go up! Cost is only $3 for first link and $2 for each additional link.
Sign up for the Extreme Cash Giveaway here and be sure to say that Gumdrops & Groanings referred you!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Trash or Treasure? I can't save it all!

Calling all moms! What do you do with all of your kid's art work and school work? Since my daughter started pre-K last fall I am accumulating so many school papers and art projects, doodles, crafts... I could wallpaper her room in the amount of paper I'm saving. Some are masterpieces and others are... well... let's just say I'm saving those because I'm a conservationist. But the inner voice that wants to break the hoarder tendencies that run in my family says, "RECYCLE!" How do you determine what or how much to keep for posterity? I mean, I have to draw the line somewhere, she has another 13 years of school ahead of her. HELP!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Extreme – Email #3

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Made with Love and other natural ingedients!

Who's skin is more important than your own? Well, if you're a mom, that skin would belong to your child. So many things can affect our skin: sun, humidity, chemicals in swimming pools or other products. We all know how irritating dry and itchy skin can be. 
Well, I've recently been introduced to a locally made product line called Love Munchkin. I love a fellow "mompreneur"! Developed by a CT mother, Linda Delepine. She studied nutrition in college and learned about the effects of artificial foods, preservatives, pesticides, GMO's and all other things unnatural. Her senior thesis was based on the correlation of unnatural additives in our everyday products and foods and their correlation with autism in our society. This project opened the door to researching the consequences of everything else that we put into and onto our bodies, consequentially leading to my passion for all things natural and simplistic. She decided to use her knowledge to make products that are simple, clean and natural. Love Munchkin products are a more holistic, uncomplicated approach to skin care. So far, she has created a line of nourishing oils made from the highest quality natural plant based ingredients. She plans on expanding to other natural products in the near future (expecting baby #2 any day).

I explained my daughter's dry skin to Linda and she specially blended a bottle just for her. I suspect she suffers from eczema although we haven't sought an official diagnosis. Whatever the cause, it flares up in the winter and she suffers from dry patches on her hands, elbows and knees and a random patch of bumpy skin on her side. I've tried the (modified for sensitivity) Sensitive Skin blend on her for a bout a week and I already see a significant improvement. Not to mention the lovely aromatherapy affects. My daughter loves the scent and likes to help me apply it. You get great coverage with only a few drops. It's not greasy, and absorbs quickly. We typically apply the oil before bed so it can absorb while she's sleeping. This would be great for infant massages as well! Here is more info on this product:

Newborn &Sensitive Skin Oil  (4oz) is made with all natural, non-toxic, safe and researched oils and essential oils specifically with Baby and sensitive skin in mind. Each ingredient serves a purpose, to comfort mind, & nourish skin. Sweet Almond Oil, Olive Oil and Jojoba moisturize and soften; jojoba also unclogs the pores and lifts impurities and grime since babies shouldn't be bathed too often. Dill and Mandarin uplift moods and act as digestive aids, while Chamomile & Lavender promote relaxation. Also helps clear up newborn acne due to natural astringent & anti-oxidant qualities found in the ingredient oils. Made for baby’s delicate skin, from simple, natural oils that will only nourish and hydrate baby's skin while relaxing and calming baby's mind.

Belly Oil is a hydrating, moisturizing aroma therapeutic belly oil rub made especially for pregnant mothers but may also be used post-natal. Smells amazing and makes mommy feel good! Effective in treating and preventing stretch marks caused by stretching of the skin during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a crucial time to be aware of what we put into, as well as, onto our bodies. Chemicals and preservatives are found in every day products and can leech into our systems, passively poisoning us and our fetus. That's why Belly Oil is as natural and simple as possible, it's simply trustworthy. It's great as a massage oil for achy shoulders and feet. Made with the best natural plant based carrier oils and essential oils that each have a purpose and function to nourish skin and mind. Pregnancy-safe, vegan, and paraben-free. Absorbs quickly into skin, best used after bathing. Can also be added to baths for extra moisturizing and aromatherapy (just be wary that may make tub slippery). Belly Oil has also been shown to reduce acne scars, scars from any other source and hyperpigmentation and therefore can be used by mostly everybody!

Shake well and apply liberally. As with any other skin product, always test a patch of skin, wait 24 hours to notice if any reactive change in skin occurs. Shelf life of all products 2 years. Store out of direct sunlight, in cool, dry place preferably.  

I have decided to sell these products in my store, Gumdrop Swap. So, if you live in the Fairfield County, CT area you can pick it up from me instead of paying the shipping charges. I have some tester bottles so you can try before you buy. No matter where you live, I recommend Love Munchkin products! Order from their website. I will have some for sale at this Friday's Mother's Day Boutique from 12pm-5pm at City Hall Annex.

Recyclebank is AWESOME & 2nd Annual Eco Kid Bash!

Get paid to recycle? Well, kinda. Everyone knows recycling is "good" but how many of us think its easier to trash something instead of finding a recycling bin? Would a monetary reward entice you to make a better effort to recycle everything you can? Recyclebank sure thinks so!

Recyclebank is working towards a world without waste by rewarding people for taking everyday green actions. It’s free to join and as easy as 1, 2, 3. Earn points for taking everyday green actions, redeem them for great rewards, and learn ways to save money and live greener every day!

I am such a fan of this company! And I appreciate their Primary Sponsorship of the FREE community event in my town of Bridgeport, CT on Saturday, May 19, 2012! The 2nd Annual Eco Kid Bash will take place, rain or shine, inside the historic Arcade Mall in downtown Bridgeport at 1001 Main St. Learn about local green efforts like BGreen 2020, the greening of our local public transportation GBT, crafts, seed planting, and more. The event takes place from 1pm-4pm. This event is brought to you by Gumdrop Swap and Pryceless Consulting with the support of the City of Bridgeport and DSSD (Downtown Special Services District). Learn more at

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bright StartsMom to Bed by 8 and Iowa-Mom is excited to present the Baby Shower Event from May 7th to May 28th. This is a free blogger event and accepting signups now.
Join the Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway event today, grow your readership and offer one amazing baby shower gifts giveaway!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Party for the Planet! Earth Day 2012 Bridgeport's Beardsley Zoo

Gumdrop Swap will be an exhibitor at the "Party for the Planet" event at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, CT on April 21, 2012. This is in honor of Earth Day. This is a perfect opportunity to let my local community know of Gumdrop Swap and my mission to keep kids clothes, books, and toys out of our landfills. We "recycle" damaged clothing into new apparel, accessories, and quilts. This is my 3rd year as a participant!

The Zoo is offering environmental education activities, amazing animal encounters, and fun for the whole family. This conservation themed bash will take place on Saturday, April 21 (Sunday, April 22 is canceled due to expected rain) and will shine a light on initiatives that make our planet a more sustainable place to live. This event is FREE with paid admission to the Zoo.

"Party for the Planet is the largest Earth Day celebration in North America and we want everyone to get in on the action by visiting the Zoo this weekend!" said Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director. "It's up to all of us to play our part in saving the planet and making our community a healthier place to live for people, animals, and all living things."

Party for the Planet encourages local, organic, earth-friendly choices as a way of promoting better health for our planet and ourselves. Environmentally friendly vendors will be on hand with everything from green cleaning products and recycled fashion accessories to better lawn care for humans and wildlife. The Mudpuppies and by The Environmental Hootenanny with Tom Calliman and Ann Shapiro will perform at the Peacock Pavilion.

To highlight the Zoo's ongoing connection to nature and support of the arts, Kim Kuzina has created a large sculpture of the earth, which greets visitors at the Zoo's front entrance and will remain outdoors year round. Kuzina, a Middletown resident, creates art that honors the beauty she finds outdoors.

UPDATE: Here is a photo from 2012 event. It turned out to be a beautiful day!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April's Extreme Cash Giveaway $500 Paypal cash!

It’s time for the April Extreme Cash Giveaway! This month’s prize is... a $500 Paypal cash prize!
There are many entry options and daily entries as well, so keep this page bookmarked so you can come back every day to increase your chances of winning. Giveaway ends 5/13 and is open worldwide. Good luck!
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Grow Your Social Network with FREE Giveaway!

Hello, fellow bloggers! 

Mom to Bed by 8 is excited to present the Housewarming Dyson Event from June 1 to June 15. This is a free blogger event and accepting signups now.

Join the Housewarming Dyson Giveaway (click here to participate) event today, grow your readership and offer one fantastic cleaning tool giveaway!

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm participating in this exciting Giveaway!Enter for your chance to win in $450 Paypal Cash
There are lots of entries available and this giveaway will go on for almost a month. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can come back every day and claim your daily entries too.
This giveaway ends 4/12 at 11:59 pm EST and is open worldwide. You only need to enter the giveaway on one of our blogs. Good luck!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Budding Fashionista

I never set out to raise a girly girl. I'm a child of the 80s and never owned a Cabbage Patch doll. People gave me Barbies as gifts but I kept them in a zip up case and brought them out upon request when friends came over. I did like My Little Ponies and Rainbow Bright and I remember having bedding with those characters. So when I became a mom of a girl I just assumed she'd be like me - kind of middle of the road on the girliness factor. We both love nature and I'm not afraid of touching worms, frogs or lizards so I'm pretty sure her love of animals and general curiosity is from me.

Sure, I love fashion and even considered majoring in Fashion Design in college. But her love of princesses and Barbie is so foreign to me. It seems her obsession with the over the top girly stuff began when we took her to a live Nick Jr show that included a scene with Dora becoming a princess. After that it was princess mania which evolved once she discovered the Disney characters. I'm not even sure how Barbie permeated my protective force field. In the last 6 months she's acquired enough Barbie dolls and accessories to require a case on wheels to house them. And those minuscule accessories! For her birthday she only wanted one gift: the Barbie Jet. This thing came with "ice cubes" that are almost microscopic!

Anyway... most of her dolls are usually nude because she is constantly switching their clothing. She was out of school for Winter Break this week so when I get home she is so excited to see me. She greets me at the door with "Mommy, will you play with me?" So I had to think of an activity we could do together. I was simultaneously trying to prepare dinner and noticed some colorful tissue paper leftover from her recent birthday."Why don't we make dresses for your Barbies with these?" I said holding them up. Her eyes lit up so I know I had a winning idea! "YES!" And she went to work. I let her use the tape dispenser which is usually out of her reach and she felt so grown up. We made "shoes" out of strips of paper wrapped around their feet in mummy style bandages. She corrected me and said they were socks, not shoes. I loved finding ways to re-use things we normally throw away - like crumpled tissue paper from a gift. I think we did an awesome job. How about you?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bummed Out About Her Birthday

I hope this post will prove to be therapeutic. I am dreading my daughter's birthday in 9 days. I love my birthday, I must admit. It is my favorite holiday. But I'm easy to please. Requirements for a successful birthday celebration for me: good company and great food. But the older my daughter gets (turning 4 soon) the more pressure I feel to give her an awesome birthday. Her first birthday involved a pink tutu and family members singing and clapping which scared the bejesus outta my kid. You can see how red her face is after she finished crying and I helped her taste her cake.

See how simple this was? So the next year, we had a little house party. Mostly family (adults) because our friends' kids aren't close to her age. Here's a fun video of dancing in the living room. She has some good moves! Yes, she got a few gifts. We put up some streamers and served some home cooked food. Simple.

When she turned three is where I think it got a little out of hand. Last year she fell in love with Disney princesses and especially Tiana from Princess and the Frog. My husband hired an Princess Tiana impersonator. (video here) We (my husband) bought Tiana themed balloons and paper goods. We ordered pizza and wings because my husband said it didn't make sense for me to make pizza and stress myself out. We had abut 10 kids and their parents plus the usual suspects (family). We set-up my brothers dj sound equipment. The one thing I am most proud of was that was a huge hit with all the kids was that I baked cupcakes and set up a decorating station. They piped their own icing and added all kinds of toppings and I even had clear to-go containers so they could take their creations home. Some of the kids really got into the decorating and made intricate designs. We gave out goodie bags (I'll get to that), broke a pinata, played Twister... Sure it was fun and memorable but I was exhausted after and I still had to clean up.

Now, brace yourself... this is where I get all grumpy. When did it become "the right thing to do" to give your party guests gift bags? I don't remember getting gift bags when I was attending other people's parties as a child. But now it seems a given. I thought the tradition is that the birthday honoree gets the gifts? So the host plans a party, provides food, and now I need to give all the little attendees and additional gift? I just don't get it. I will give your kid a gift when its their birthday. I'm assuming this 'tradition' was born out of some child attending another kid's birthday party and being upset because the birthday kid got all the presents and they felt left out? It just feels weird to leave with a goodie bag when I attend another child's party. Like our attendance was being bought or we're getting a consolation prize. Hey, the cake and ice cream was plenty. You don't have to give my daughter more candy and dollar store fodder that will end up floating around in my car or confetti on my living room floor. There's a recession going on for goodness sake. Save your money!

I'd love to maybe do an activity with our immediate family but I feel guilty because people will ask why they weren't invited. Or they will inquire what we did to celebrate and I worry they will think (well I invited you to my kid's party, the least you could do is return the favor). I have a hard enough time choosing a birthday give for my own loved ones. My daughter is very girly through no intentions on my part.I wanted to spend the day at this kiddie spa in CT with my daughter and her 2 grandmothers. It ain't cheap but I know she'd love it. But she is old enough to know what a party is and hears how excited her friends get about their parties. She's been planning her guest list for months. I don't want to deny her that and I won't but I don't like getting sucked into these "must do's" and restrictions. It's stressing me out. I'm worried I'll forget to invite someone or my party will be "lame". I hate to feel that I need to prove myself to others but isn't that what we're trying to do... out-do the last party we went to? Where can I draw the line without being labeled a birthday grinch?

Do any of you buck the system? Is this goodie bag thing just in the Northeast (I'm not from here) or is it a new generation thing? (I'm in my 30s) Is it just who I grew up around, or did we NOT get parting gifts in the 1980s when we attended someone else's birthday party?