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Monday, April 28, 2008







(Editorial Note: I may not be the Mom In the Know, but I felt compelled to write this particular review. The story below will explain why, and I hope you enjoy.)



Many have said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Many more believe it to be true. We believe a picture can be worth so much more, and if you are lucky enough to see the pictorial art of Rachel Kemble, you will understand just how powerful a picture can be.



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Several weeks ago, my wife called me at work and was very excited, for a call from a local photographer had come in concerning a desire to do business with TheMomIntheKnow.com. Like many parents, we find great joy in pictures of our family, but the often high cost of getting professional photos can be a hard pill to swallow. From time to time, we would piece together a few bills and find a local photographer to take pictures that fit our budget. Whether it was the selection of setting or limiting the number of pictures we purchased, there was always sacrifice to insure we got pictures we would love but that would come at a reasonable cost.



Rare was the occasion when I left the experience fulfilled. I always battled the overwhelming feeling that I was cheating my family and myself, that I was letting the treasures of these years slip by without the pictures that would remind me of just how wonderful this time has been. Granted, technology today can help. Digital cameras work wonderfully and allow anyone to take quality pictures without being a pro, but there is a noticeable difference in those photos and pictures taken by a professional with an artistic gift.


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And that is when Rachel stepped into our lives.



Rachel Kemble had connected with my wife as a local photographer specializing in the subject of youth. Birth, infants, toddlers, children, and families have all served as targets for Rachel’s work and she felt TheMomIntheKnow.com would be a perfect partner to showcase her work and talents. Not long after their initial meeting, Rachel and my wife met and hit it off famously. Rachel was a wonderful and vibrant woman, excited about the opportunity to work together and even more excited to meet and photograph our children. They had decided to meet and take the kids to an outdoor shoot where our girls, rambunctious, energetic, and curious, could be children and could be free to roam and show their true colors… for that’s what Rachel does best.



Unfortunately, as a working man, I was unable to attend and simply let my wife run her business. However, just as the memory of the pending arrival of the pictures had started to recess into my mind, I got an email from my wife with a link. Rachel had posted the pictures on a secured area of her site and we were given access to review.


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I waited to get home so that my wife and I could review the pictures together, and it still remains difficult to put those emotions into words. Rachel and my wife had taken the girls to a local property that once served as a dairy farm. The old building was there, the grass in the area was rich with colorful flowers, and there were a few old pieces of farm equipment on the property. The overall feel might be best described as rustic, and the girls were set free to play. They jumped in puddles, explored the old equipment and the flowers, and enjoyed a wonderful time in the summer sun… and somehow, Rachel managed to capture it all in stunning pictures that reflected their joy, both in the surroundings and with each other.


I’ve seen many pictures of my children, but I’ve never seen pictures like this. It’s difficult to describe, but if it were possible to capture the sheer love and happiness of youth, mix it with the reflection of my wife and I, and put it in a picture of the two most beautiful creatures you could ever imagine might exist… that’s what I felt I was watching at the website presented the pictures.




It was difficult to hold the tears. The memories of fleeting youth, the uncensored adoration for our children and the magnificence of the blessing they have been in our lives, the all too intoxicating happiness of the moment, all captured on film in pictures that defy description, was overwhelming.


I visited the site over and over again, for days after the initial email I would go and spend time with each and every picture Rachel took, and all I can say is this: She is an unbelievably talented photographer, and she has given me a gift for which I could never pay enough.



This last Christmas, I realized my wife and I had not officially purchased any of the pictures. I believed my wife and Rachel had agreed to meet at some point and work out the details of purchases and the review for TheMomIntheKnow, but with the holiday just around the corner, I didn’t want to wait. I contacted Rachel via email just two weeks before Christmas, and her response was both fast and friendly. Rachel took my order and rushed the processing of a handful of matted pictures to me. Thanks to Rachel, I got some of the most beautiful photos of my children I have ever been lucky enough to own, I had time to get proper frames, and was able to present them to my wife on Christmas morning.



Rachel Kemble runs a wonderful website that demonstrates some of her latest work and allows customers to review her portfolio, contact Rachel with questions, review the process for reserving time with Rachel and her camera, and order photos and other products Rachel provides (including jewelry, books, postcards, DVDs, various artistic mediums, and other product). You can read all about Rachel, her experience, and her offerings. Rachel is also available for freelance work and can handle any job you might have that requires the touch of a gifted artist. Everything you could want is there and much more, easy to navigate and use, and Rachel is outstanding in returning messages and getting your needs filled in quick order.



Make sure you check out Rachel’s “Artist” link, where she updates us on the events of her life. Not only is Rachel an artist, but she is an advocate and contributor to worthy charities and cause. Rachel recently raised over $2,500 for the St. Baldricks Organization, the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. Rachel is one of a growing number of participants who have shaven their heads in the name of the cause, asking friends and associates to donate money for this superb effort against one of the most concerning ailments that plague our youth.



(BTW, Rachel updates her site with regularity, but as I type this, an outstanding example of the work she did for us can be found in the Gallery link, under growing up… that’s our oldest in the first picture, jumping around in the muddle puddle… just a brilliant picture.)


More than anything, Rachel is an artist and has a gift to share with the world. For those of us lucky enough to have children, she is nothing short of a miracle.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kind Living Designs offers a smorgasbord of delights

In my policies I say that if I have a problem with your product I would prefer to tell you first, let you correct it and then review you.

I received a journal from Kind Living Designs and the cover kept falling off. It was odd I admit it. No matter what I did, I followed the directions and it kept falling off. I contacted Kristie at Kind Living Designs. She peppered me with advice and ideas, all to no avail still falling off. She sent another one along with postcards as a thank you for the struggles we went through. They are adorable and utilized at every turn by the entire family.

Back to the journal we go.

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In a sturdy cloth cover, with a “P” centered and designed uniquely ready for an eight-year old to write her woes. In a composition book, it lays out easy with no pesky spiral in the way. Good pick there! The cover does come off so you can switch back and forth, or you can put it on another once you are finished with one book. I’m sold on them now more then ever not only did they correct an issue with the cover staying on, they sent me a new journal and fixed the design. Now it’s flawless!

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The postcards were quaint easy to use for the kids. Just a little note to say I’m thinking of you. That’s it. If they want to send a friend, relative or even a teacher a note, it’s that easy for me. If I could create these on my computer, I would but I don’t take the time or have the patience. That’s what makes Kristie at Kind Living Designs such a great stop. She helps you along and does it all for you. Invitations, totes, book covers, a smörgåsbord of delights!

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Kind Living Designs is offering a special discount to Mom In The Know readers. The code is MITK for 15% off special in honor of Earth Day.


Earth Day is Everyday at Kind Living Designs! Check us out!




But first...
Our little shop has been open for just over a year now. We are lucky to have had the chance to make great connections with our favorite Mommy & Retail 'zines online. Thank you to all of you who have helped us spread the word about Kind Living Designs' little goodies!




Pass the Paper Please!
Kind Living Designs thinks of Mother Earth first! Wherever and whenever we can we use materials that are eco-friendly and health-conscious for kiddies. We're not the first to tell you that the stationery market is saturated. There are sooo many different companies selling cute, personalized stationery.


Since opening our doors in 2003:


* We've used Via paper which is 100% recycled paper containing 30% post-consumer waste.
* The Via cotton fibers used in the paper are classified as a rapidly renewable fiber by the EPA, which means that the product is made from plants that are typically harvested within a ten-year cycle or less.
* Our paper is certified by Green Seal, and meet the EPA guidelines for recycled papers.
* Our paper is made with Green-E certified renewable wind-generated electricity.
* All virgin fiber content is elemental chlorine free (EFC) and all recycled content is process chlorine free (PCP).






Let's Talk Ink...
We're a small company. Looking through our printing options it was clear that we were going to do most of our printing in-house. We'd love to use soy-inks in our printing process, but those are only available to large print houses. (Our kooky little pink-polkas on our girl's stationery is soy-ink!)


So we decided on the next best thing - an in-house laser-printing process that uses solid inks.


Solid Inks:


* Produce 90% less waste than a typically laser printer.
* Our resin-based solid ink sticks are completely safe, toxic-free and contain no solvents.
* Because the ink sticks are so small the carbon impact from shipping is greatly reduced.
* All shipping packages are recycled!






What do to about packaging...
Packaging was a major concern. We DID NOT want to use a plastic bag that would end up in a landfill for years and years. All of our packaging (for all of our products, not just our stationery) is labeled #5 for recycling purposes.




A Big, Fat Contest...
On another note, our oldest one has turned five! Holy Cow! In honor of her birthday we're throwing a great big, fat contest. Help us spread the word. Your readers simply have to go to our website, www.kindlivingdesigns.com and give us some feedback.




Five lucky winners (selected randomly) will receive one of the following:


* Our Bow Head Club of the Month (now with Girl Power! self-esteem text included on every card)
* A Personalized Activity Binder
* Personalized Journal
* Personalized Stationery
* Ribbon Slap Bracelet with 5 Coordinating Hair bows




If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@kindlivingdesigns.com. We'd love to hear from you! Interested in adding us last-minute to your Earth Day Specials? Just drop us a line and we'll provide you with a coupon code for your readers! Thank you for your time and attention - we know you're busy!




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Contact Kind Living Designs @ www.kindlivingdesigns.com. Tell Kristie I sent you!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Turn it off for an hour.

In honor of Earth day conserve ... turn off your computer for an hour and everything you don't need.


Buy reusable bags, I've reviewed them here.

As a matter of fact one of my dedicated readers is in a contest for designing them.

Vote for her.

http://www.designagreenbag.com/vote-for-designs/bag.aspx?BagId=17320



Ways to encourage your kids to go green.

* Shut off the water when they brush their teeth
* Walk, ride a bike or take the bus instead of traveling by car
* Take faster showers or baths in just a small amount of water
* Help hang clothes on the line instead of putting them in the dryer
* Choose products that are not over packaged


Just a few things ... and please read the last review!
Monday, April 21, 2008

Colorscape Designs on etsy

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I’ve been on Etsy lately and found a lot of gems. This time it was Colorscape Designs jewelry inspired by nature. It truly is. The necklace is a peach freshwater pearl with clay pendant. That isn’t all she has though a variety of earrings and bracelets in beautiful colors and stones.

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Jade, quartz, citrine, labradorite - all stones that I’ve never heard of and all are stunning in their beauty. I could see her fingerprints in the flower on the pendant. It was remarkable to me. My daughter wore it to school and was asked by more then one mom if I had it made for her. Well, no, but I told them all about Kelly. She’s a wonder and amazing. The thought and feeling she puts into her designs is like no other. To see her passion for her craft I can’t imagine.

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What is your summer wardrobe missing? I think it’s this bracelet.

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That’s just my opinion but shop and get a few accessories, what summer whites need are a few splashes of color to brighten them up

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I think my favorite thing about what I do is when I’m asked where I got something or who made it. I get to direct them to Colorscape Designs or many of the other people I review for.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pardon Moi

In my many hours of looking for products to tell you all about, I found something that was not only clever but could save someone’s life too.

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Why or how can something I reviewed do that?

allergy notepad


Pardon Moi has a vast line of products for everyone. Items that caught my eye were for allergy sufferers. The line is open to quite a bit of health related issues from diabetes, to autism, dietary restrictions, custom allergy shirt, in addition to the nuts, eggs, dairy and much more. When sending a child off to a party, do they all want to tell you they can’t have that ice cream? Probably not, so here is your solution. Throw one of these easy shirts on them as a reminder for the overwhelmed parent and you’re done.

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Are you single and looking to mingle? Pardon Moi can help with that, too. In a distinctive way to do it, standing out from the crowd you can. Once you get past that awkward first date using your Shaken, not stirred cards, you need a checklist. Make sure that all the pieces fall into place. Right? Well, use the Dating Bliss notepad. Seriously, it’s all right to say what you want and how you want in this day and age. Men and women alike are still single, divorced and separated looking to get back on the market. You have standards though, right? You don't want to waste time though, right? Pardon Moi saves you just that and you don’t have to look pretentious just cautious. Not only are they available in business cards in a nifty little carrying case, they come in napkins too. Now you have to throw a party, invite your single friends, have them invite their single friends and so on. Let Pardon Moi do the talking for you … good or bad. Let’s hope it’s all good!

cocktail napkins


Clever and fun, all and one say it one way or another.

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king of hearts edition

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parenting edition

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allergy edition

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Pardon Moi

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Kicking it out New Skool

Kicking it out … New Skool

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Did you grow up with the hippy hop in your step? A boom box on your shoulder? Did you have cardboard in your locker or backpack? Oh okay, me either. Well those people who did and liked jams like, “Jam on it”, "I Know You Got Soul", “The Message”, “My Adidas”, “White Lines (don’t do it)”. People who knew ever line to Beat Street or even Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo will love the site for all ages.

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Shop New Skool is the creation of Nate1, who lives and works in San Francisco with his wife and two kids. He is often listening to and making beats, painting canvases, and designing the latest New Skool line all at once! Influenced by his hip-hop roots he saw a need for kids and parents to all dress in a way to express the love of a culture missed by many of us.

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The clothes so comfy, it’s as if Nate1 tried every hoodie in the free world on and then touched the ones he picked with the hands of an angel. I could sleep in these for the rest of my life and be completely happy. The design isn’t screen-printed. It is embroidered. Again, a unique quality that’s rare and found in few items these days at least where I look. I have my many hoodies I wear and trust me I am picky. New Skools are soft, comfortable, form fitting when you buy your true size and well constructed. Hubby also wears his in brown and wears it proud. It gets a lot of abuse at work but has stood up to all of it. It’s been washed almost nightly and has shown no fading. That’s a big Mom’s up from me, no wear and tear. Can I tell you how much I appreciate that? Ummm yeah less shopping for me down the line, he doesn’t do it don’t let him fool ya.

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Shirts? Onesies? Yep got ‘em! Rasta phones, I heart hip hop, Original Headphones T, and Bodysuit Row of Cans are a few of my favorites. I did the MITK tests on a few in different sizes and colors; they all passed with flying colors. MITK testing includes several washing and drying sessions, kids wearing them, me wearing them, on and off several times, a few spills, to see how fabric holds up. All were fine. Nate1 took a lot of pride in picking his manufacturers and it shows. All of the shirts are printed, not embroidered like the hoodies. Still held up during the testing and looked great.

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New Skool also features lines of accessories, and art.

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I’m keen to the scene … you?

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

I wear my sunglasses … Eternal

oakleys
When I was approached about wearing Oakley Sunglasses to see what was new with them I contemplated for a bit. My other name brand ones had been holding up for a bit and I was all right. I decided okay, I‘d try would two pair of sunglasses hurt?

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Then I realized I had spent way too much money on my other name you will recognize sunglasses for no other reason then to run them over.

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Oakley Eternal in polished black and grey lenses was easy on the eyes in more ways then one. Appealing enough and I was impressed by the feminine lines, not that easy to do with a quality sunglass. The lenses curve around to block out the UV rays, nifty! More about the lenses, you ask? Well, I asked Oakley and here’s what they said:
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The pure PLUTONITE® lenses filter out every damaging ray of UV while offering the unbeatable performance of HIGH DEFINITION OPTICS® (HDO®). The clarity is so crisp, it meets the uncompromising demands of ANSI Z87.1 standards, and the durable design does the same for impact protection.
Stylish, they protect and feminine at the same time. All styles are unique and comfortable and fit to the woman who picks them.
Oakley has the market on womens sunglasses!
betray

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Under construction and more ...

We are in the middle of moving to our new domain, and things have become insane here. Please understand if it's not up to par and if posts are a tad late. My wonderful webmaster has a lot of pressure on her doing both! I just test, review and write she makes it all look so pretty for you!
If it seems like it's off schedule and more get posted we are trying different formats here to see what will be best on the domain/site/ and new idea out, too!

We would love to hear what you think.
Thursday, April 3, 2008

Button up for organization and a little bit of sanity if you like

Do you have files, papers floating around with all of that important information? Maybe even on your computer? Folders here and there just filled to the brim? Is it all in a place that's safe and easily accessible? The “what if” weighs on your mind, right?

The wonderful minds at Buttoned Up had the same thoughts and made life that much easier on you. It’s all in one separated binder by sections that are pertinent to the topic. The Life binder is a must have for any family. It comes with a CD for you to fill out all your information or you can do it by hand with the pages included. The topics are:

The Life.doc® Binder has eight sections including:

· In Sickness & Health

· Dollars & Sense

· Insurance

· Legal

· Emergency Plan

· Family Basics

· Caregiver information (babysitters, elder care, house sitters)

· Home Sweet Home



Plenty that fall into those categories if I’m not mistaken and every separator have a space for your own papers to be stored.

What does Buttoned Up have to offer? Well, I can offer you a little tour. All pads have 75 pages.



Collision.kit - Included for a collision are a camera, pre-printed cards for important information, pen, clipboard for easier writing, and an envelope for your current insurance and registration.

Valuables.doc - Similar to the life.doc but it’s a place to keep register of your valuables.

Pocket.doc - Critical, emergency information to keep with you on the go. It’s the size of a credit card so keep it in your wallet for simplicity.

Babysitter.pad – A simple 75-page pad of can and cannot, bedtimes, forbidden foods, schedules, contacts, and how to reach you in the event of an emergency. It also has spaces for have they done their homework, special rules, and favorite bedtime rituals.

Shopping.pad- If you are anything like me you have a list for several stores, well no more. The Shopping pad provides you with a way to keep track of the items you need to pick up from various stores: grocery store, pharmacy, discount store or somewhere else. I love it.

KidPack.pad- A checklist for kids, making them accountable for their own actions and belongings my dream! As a parent I’m constantly asking, or maybe hounding them about if they have everything they area supposed to have. This was one thing I didn’t get to test, but one thing I will be ordering.

BabyPack.pad - A checklist for the diaper bag? Where were you 8 years ago? Probably the same place my brain was, off in a better place resting peacefully. I know that I will be telling my friends about this and anyone who knows someone who is pregnant. What a wonderful idea. Do I have enough diapers? Does Mom have hand sanitizer? Do we have the right clothes if the weather changes? Snacks for all of us? Well let’s look at the list. Thank you Buttoned up for helping us make it that easier.

CatchUp.pad – This is one that I thought was just clever and cute. It’s a “catch up” pad. My husband and I both work a lot, like we all do. Aside from having the normal kid time, school stuff, house things, and the normal job he works he also is a full time writer and then I do the blog for all of you. I tend to as I think a lot of us to forget that we need a daily affirmation of thank you, love and appreciation. This makes it so easy for us. It has an “I really wanted to give you … a giant hug … a smooch … I really wanted to tell you … I love you …I miss you. “ It also has spaces for little things for the kids, essentials we need to pick up at the store, listen to the voice mail or whatever you may want to mention.

Directions.pad - Now you don’t need to access the internet every single time you need a map. Address, intersection, at the top space to draw your map with the little directional in the corner, at the bottom room to write it all out. Now if my husband would ask me to look at them.

Errand.pad - Priority, delegate, done. Three words have never sounded so simple. You write what it is on the line next to it and check the correlating word. Priority, delegate, done. Easy as one, two, three.

Homework.pad – This one will soon become my lifeline and/or lifesaver. I have a second grader and a first grader, my kids and I don’t know if I would say in the know. I’d say in the "I get distracted mode". A .pad like this is perfect for the little ones in my family and I’m guessing in many others since it was created. As long as we don’t forget or lose it, I think my kids in the try not to get distracted mode will make it.

Idea.Pad - Do you have a million ideas running through your head and nowhere to put them? Are you a designer in the making? Are you even made already? Have a thousand pieces of paper floating around but no real organized thoughts? Here’s a great pad for you. The top you draw on and the bottom you write out the idea. If I were more creative, I’d have one!

NotToDo.pad – I like the concept of this for the simple reason, you can allow yourself to NOT do something and delegate it or not do it at all.

TravelPrep.pad- Part of the reason I don’t travel is because I know I’ll forget something. Now I can’t and won’t! What’s my next excuse …?

WouldYou.pad- There are times when you don’t want to send that email, make that call or pick up that thing. Now all you have to do is fill out this simple request and sign it with the kisses or flowers at the bottom, the person it’s made out to feels as loved as you feel relieved. I know mine will be used promptly.

Pet.doc - Pet.doc™ will be available April 2008. Is your pet part of your family like so many millions of people out there? Well, I keep records on our two furry four-legged family members. This has six sections include family history, medical basics, medical history, insurance, training and pet care. It also holds all the vital information concerning pet sitters, food, and even their favorite toys, which makes it a little easier to vacation without worry that is if you would actually leave them behind! It also fits neatly in your Life.doc. Never has being a pet owner been so easy.

Moving.kit - A clear, concise kit that includes everything and I mean everything for moving. Just look inside and its there. It counts down from two months to moving day, change of address forms (and you can download more on the site), delegation lists, information about moving companies and how to choose the best one for you. It almost makes me sad that I’m not moving.

Dates.2Remember- Not only does this include eight cards, it has 2 days per page for every day of the year. I need two of these one for the house and one for the car. You?

DoandDelegate.list(taken from the website) If you're feeling like there's no way you can possibly get it all done, chances are you're probably right! Keep track of everything that needs to be done on the clean and simple canvas we've provided. Then step off the task treadmill and effectively enlist the help of others with the carbon copy delegation notes provided.

DoandDelegate.work - (taken from the website) The Do&Delegate.work™ notebook is the perfect place for keeping track of the who, what, where, and when. Why? Because work is too hectic to keep it all in your head. Manage the daily grind, big picture projects and tasks you've assigned to others in one notebook.

File.starter - Twelve ways in one to start your filing system right.

Fitness.doc- If I worked out, I bet this would be perfect! In all honestly, no, I don’t but the friends that I have that do said this was a great little idea!

Receipt.catcher - I think it’s perfect for birthdays and holidays I need to track what I spend per child and I tend to go overboard.

Taxfiler - I should have had this a year ago! I’m off to order it now though …

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wake up with ellen

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saying about us
about me
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Mom in the Know
Location: Golden, CO, USA
Who am I?

Well, aside from a mom and a wife, I'm a person who wants the best for all of us. I have two daughters, two dogs, and a husband – all of whom I wanted to be at home for – so I put my talents to use, looking out for my family. Shopping (well, kinda you send me the products!). Surfing the Internet. Meeting new people. Recommending products to friends, after I fall in love with them. And figuring out how to make products better.

Enjoy.

If you want to submit a product for review, just contact me.
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