Friday Fun: We're heading south

Friday, May 28, 2010
It's that time again. Time for a Disney vacation. Every two years, I take the girls to Walt Disney World for several days. Nope, the Husband is no where in sight. He can't tolerate that kind of vacation. A theme park goer he is not. He says behind while we head south to Orlando.

But first, we'll be flying to Tampa to meet up with my sister, Brenda, who will be joining us on our vacation. She's such a good sport! She has recently moved into a new home, and we are very excited to see it.

On Saturday, we'll trek over to Orlando where we will remain until Tuesday. This year we are staying at the Grand Floridian. It's going to take an army to get me to leave this hotel each day.

Emma is upset not to be staying at The Contemporary, where we stayed two years ago. She fell in love with it and would prefer to stay there all the time. I, however, insist on changing it up. I do suggest, if you've never been, to stay in one of the hotels that has direct access to the monorail. The convenience pays for itself.

We've got lots planned. Character meals, dinner in Mexico, crepes, wine and cheese in France. The big adventure this time around is that Emma is daring to go on Space Mountain. I hope she does. I think she'll love it.

Tune in next week for a full recap of our trip and some recommendations for your next trip to Walt Disney World.

Confessions of a Lipstickaholic

Thursday, May 27, 2010
It started when I was a sophomore in college. From the first few strokes of the iridescent purple Wet 'n Wild lipstick I applied, I was hooked. Over the years, the colors and techniques have evolved, but one thing has remained constant. I MUST have my lipstick. The more shades and brands, the better. I like choices. Lots of choices.

I don't have any particular brand loyalty, but I must admit that I love, love, love M.A.C. lip color and lip liner. It's like silk on your lips. The selection of shades is hard to beat. Plus, the price is unbelievably reasonable.

At last count, I was carrying around (shhhh!, don't tell) about 46 tubes of lipstick, liners, and glosses. God, I hope my husband isn't reading this. Carrying around means in my purse, on a daily basis. I know. That is so wrong on so many levels. Take a peek at just a small sample of what I own.
This little collection is what I carry around on a daily basis! I know. It's insane, right? Believe me, if there were a 12-step program for lipstick addicts, I'd be the first one there.

My current favorite is, I have to admit, a bit of a splurge for me. It's the full-finish lip color by benefit® in the shade "finders keepers". It retails for $18.00 and can be purchased at Sephora.

I love my makeup, but I've got to have my lipstick.

What's the one makeup must-have that you can't live without?

Disclosure: I was not compensated by the aforementioned brands. The opinions expressed herein are solely mine.

Giveaway: St. Eve Kids 3-Piece Girls' Sleepwear Set (Toddler)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
As we move from spring to summer, we are inevitably shopping for clothes that are appropriate for the warm weather. Sleepwear is no exception. My girls love lightweight, soft, and colorful pajamas for those warm summer nights. Planning a summer vacation? New PJ's are a must-have for any getaway! Where do we turn for all of our sleepwear needs? St. Eve® Kids.
St. Eve® Kids has introduced its spring and summer collection of boys' and girls' sleepwear, lounge wear, underwear and accessories. With styles that kids want to sleep in and prices that Mom and Dad won't lose sleep over, St. Eve® Kids sends the entire family to bed with sweet dreams.

St. Eve® Kids has generously offered to give two (2) Pieces of a Mom readers each a Three-Piece Girls' Sleepwear Set.

Send the girls off to slumber parties in the two and three-piece sleepwear sets ($12.99 - $26.00)  that feature playful characters and phrases they'll love on a tank, T-shirt, shorts or pants. Terry cloth robes and rompers for the girls are perfect for the shower or a beach outing.

Outfit the rowdy and rambunctious little boys with three-piece Poly Jersey sets ($22.00 - $22.00), which include a short-sleeved T-shirt, pants, and appliqué shorts. All sets are available in a variety of prints, such as dinosaur styles or sports motifs.

St. Eve® Kids is available at Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Nordstrom, Bealls, Belk, Kohl"s,, and other select retailers. But you can enter to win a Three-Piece Sleepwear Set right here!

This set fits a toddler girl (size 2T - 3T) and includes a short-sleeved T-shirt, shorts, and pants. It is absolutely adorable! Retail value of this set is $22.00

To Enter:

Leave a comment including your name and email address. It's that simple!

This giveaway will end on June 2, 2010 at 11:59 PM EDT.
Two winners will be chosen at random using The winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, I will choose another winner using

Good luck and thanks for entering!

Disclosure: I received complimentary sets of sleepwear from St. Eve® Kids in exchange for absolutely nothing. I chose to write this post and offer this giveaway. These are my sincere opinions about the St. Eve® Kids products.

Friday Fun

Monday, May 24, 2010
Not only are we lucky to live just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean, but we also are lucky to live just seconds from a river. On occasion, I take the kids to the river beach. The water is calmer than that of the ocean. Crowds and parking aren't issues. It's like a big block party, there are always plenty of families we know there.

On Friday, Harper and I stopped by to play in the sand. After about 30 minutes, a slew of her friends showed up, and fun ensued.


A conversation with a four year old

Saturday, May 22, 2010
Today I got sucked into a question and answer session with Harper. Her questions being "Why?" and my answers being of the curt variety. I had just finished working out. I was hot, sweaty, and in dire need of a shower. Here's how it went down:

Legend: S = Sheila    H = Harper

Scene: We were in the bathroom. My hand was on the faucet ready to turn on the water to take a (much needed) shower.

H: Why are you turning on the water?
S: I'm going to take a shower.
H: Why?
S: I just finished exercising, and I really need a shower.
H: Why do you exercise?
S: It's good for your body. You need exercise to stay healthy.
H: You said eating fruits and vegetables is healthy for you.
S: Well, it is, but your body needs exercise too. When you combine exercise with healthy eating, your body stays super healthy.
H: What does "combine" mean?
S: It means adding two or more things together.
H: What happens if you don't exercise?
S: Exercise keeps your heart healthy. You could become sick if you don't exercise.
H: What's your heart? Is it red and heart shaped?

At this point, the sweat was starting to recede back into my pores. Not good. I was in desperate need of a shower. I wasn't sure how much longer this conversation could go on.

S: It's the organ in your body that keeps you alive. {I knew she wasn't getting this, but I was going with it.}
H: What happens when you're not alive?
S: You die. {Sorry, but patience was waning at this point}
H: What happens when you die?
S: You go to Heaven, a place where you live after you've lived your life here on Earth.
H: What happens when you are born?
S: When you are born, you come out of your mommy's belly as a little baby.
H: How do you get a baby?
S: Well, {before I have a chance to answer, she interrupts}
H: Daddy says that if you mix flour, water, eggs and sugar together, you get a baby.

{OMG, are you kidding me?}

S: Well, not exactly.
H: And he said if you don't put a lot of sugar in, the babies grow up to be mean.
S: Yes, that's a possibility.
H: I like babies. Can we go downstairs and make a baby in the kitchen?
S: Maybe after my shower. {Thinking she'd become distracted with something else while I showered}

Lucky for me, she became distracted with another project, learning to draw horses. Hopefully, we won't be revisiting this topic anytime soon. Not only did I need a shower, I needed a nap. That conversation exhausted me.

Down on the farm

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Over the weekend, the kids and I took a trip to a local farm/petting zoo, Atlantic Farms. During the spring months this is the place to be to feed and pet animals. In the fall, this is the place to be for pumpkin picking and hay riding.

Here the girls feed some kids and a lamb.

This is actually a great big laugh. As I was posting the picture, I realized that it kinda looks like she's crying.

And here's a sampling of some of the more interesting animals we saw.

Mama and her baby
An emu


Papa goat

A llama

Wordless Wednesday: the lone butterfly

Our azalea bush has been teeming with butterflies. I was lucky enough to catch this shot.

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here and here.

Days of the Week - a catchy tune

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
When I visited Harper's preschool class for the Mother's Day celebration, the children sang a bunch of songs. Here's a clip of her singing the "Days of the Week" song. Cute jingle!


I'm a babyssentials blogger!

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Just a little tidbit of exciting news to share! I am one of several official bloggers for babyssentials. I am on the panel of mom bloggers and will be blogging under the Home Front section of the babyssentials community. Stop by to check out the community and meet the other bloggers. Or you can view my first post, which was adapted from a similar article that I wrote for


Friday Fun

Friday, May 14, 2010
Today turned out to be a fabulous day at the Jersey shore. I was expecting rain, and therefore, planned my day around running errands and getting some things done around the house. Instead I ditched the plans for the house and after finishing the errands, Harper and I spontaneously headed to the beach.

When I parked the car, it was about 88 degrees. I parked just steps away from the beach. By the time we made it to the water's edge, it must have been 20 degrees cooler. But, hey, I'm not one to complain.

It's been a loooong winter.
It won't be long before the crowds line up for the quintessential Jersey breakfast sandwich, pork roll and cheese on a hard roll. Can't wait for summer!

My Mother's Day celebrations

Thursday, May 13, 2010
My Mother's Day festivities kicked off last Thursday when the moms were invited to spend an hour at preschool. We got a taste of their activities and how their morning plays out. They sang some songs for us.

Some children were able to pick their job for the day.

They posed for pictures with their proud mommies!

On Friday, the girls and I joined some other Philly-area mom bloggers and their children in the audience of the NBC 10! Show. The show was taped at 10 am and aired at 11 am. Lots of fun!

Photo op in the hosts' seats!

On Saturday, my nephew and his wife hosted us for Mother's Day. We also celebrated Emma's birthday a bit early. She was surrounded by sweet treats!

However, when she woke the next day, Mother's Day, she wasn't feeling so well. She went to bed early and missed our special dinner. :( She was so upset, and I missed her at the table. But I had a fantastic few days.

As it turned out, she had an ear infection and missed a few days of school, including her birthday. :(

Then and Now

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Eight years ago yesterday I became a mother for the first time. I am still amazed by this fact. I never wanted children. I'd always considered myself devoid of maternal instincts. I was mothering my career and didn't feel I had time for much else. Although that career included traveling 60-70% of the time, I was enjoying it despite the fact that it was wreaking havoc on my personal life. Much of my time was spent in sunny southern California, one of my all-time favorite places. But after about 2 years of non-stop traveling and working, I was burned out and left wondering what more there was to life.

Thirteen months after leaving that job, Emma was born.

No one prepares you for motherhood. You hear lots of stories and advice, none of which actually prepares you for what's to come. The isolation and loneliness of a first-time parent is overwhelming. Yes, there is the joy and elation that accompanies having a baby, but for me, the first year was filled with more trying moments than joyous ones.

What had burned me out and made me feel empty was suddenly beckoning me again. The humdrum corporate life, stuck in a 10x10 office all day was looking quite attractive. I felt like this most of the first 6 months of Emma's life. I wondered if I'd ever feel whole again. Would I ever feel like what I was doing mattered and would make a difference? Would I ever feel as successful as a mother as I had as a consultant?

As my confidence as a parent grew so did my overall enjoyment of being a stay-at-home mom. We lived steps away from the beach. Our summers were spent frolicking in the Atlantic Ocean, picnics at the park, strollercise with other moms and babies. What was not to love?

Emma at 3 months

Now, eight years later, I wonder where the time has gone. Where have my babies gone? That time that I once wished would end I long to have back, at times . But I am excited about their futures too. I am excited for the women they will become and the experiences they will have. Most of all, I am excited to share all of that with them.

Picasso Tweetup at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Saturday, May 8, 2010
Last Friday, I was lucky to be surrounded by beautiful art and fabulous women in a fantastic city on an idyllic spring evening.

Where was I? I was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, of course. I joined several other Philadelphia area mom bloggers for an evening of art, conversation, cocktails, and a spectacular view of the city. The PMA has a fantastic program, Art After 5, which offers a chance to stroll the galleries while enjoying cocktails, appetizers, and music in the Great Stair Hall.

The evening began by exploring the exhibit which not only included the works of Pablo Picasso but other artists who defined the Cubist movement, such as Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, and Marc Chagall.

Here were some of my faves:
Bather, Design for a Monument, Pablo Picasso (1928)

Three Musicians, Pablo Picasso (1921)

To be blessed with such talent and creativity is awe-inspiring. I was completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the exhibit. I've never really considered myself to be an admirer of the works of the Cubist painters or sculptors, but after having seen this exhibit, I certainly changed my mind. I have to say that I was drawn to the clean lines and deliberateness of the art.

After taking in the exhibit, we retreated to the terrace to bask in the setting sun and the Philadelphia skyline. I caught up with Tina and Bobbie, both of whom I had met a few weeks prior at a MomSpace event. I met the fabulous Erica and Kelly, with both of whom I've tweeted for months. So happy to finally meet them as well as several other Philly area bloggers. Here's a group shot, courtesy of Erica.

For more information about the Philadelphia Museum of Art, visit their Web site.

Last minute Mother's Day gifts

Thursday, May 6, 2010
Are you still searching for Mother's Day gifts? A better question might be have you started shopping yet? In either case, if you haven't found that perfect gift yet, why not take a look at

I used to think Zappos was just for shoe shopping. I was pleasantly surprised when I took a look at the site around Christmas and found that I was able to get most of my shopping done with just a few clicks of the mouse. I hopped on this week to take a peek at some of their Mother's Day offerings. They have something to suit every taste and interest.

Zappos has something for every mom, whether she is the fashionista, the mom on the go, the athletic mom, or the mom who does it all. Being a one-stop-shop, Zappos offers great gifts in apparel, pajamas, handbags, accessories, housewares, and spa and beauty products.

With so many different styles and personalities, it can sometimes be challenging to find the perfect gift for Mom. Zappos makes it easy to browse through the site. Zappos even has a gift page with some great gift ideas! FREE SHIPPING is included with EVERY order!

Here are some of my faves:

Highbury Bahama Hurricanes (set of 2), $39.00
I adore this Vera Bradley Hipster for only $60!

Love these Jayne sandals by Seychelles. So cute and versatile at only $84.

Get over to now to check out some great gifts at great prices!

Stamp Out Hunger food drive - May 8

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The National Association of Letter Carriers, in conjunction with the United States Postal Service®, will be holding its annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive this Saturday, May 8, 2010. Carriers will be collecting non-perishable items such as canned meats and fish, canned soup, juice, rice, pasta, vegetables and cereal on Saturday, May 8 to help families in need in our communities.

Hunger affects over 49 million people across the United States, some of them in your communities. Please help a family in need by placing a food donation at your mailbox on May 8 before your letter carrier arrives with the day's mail. It will be taken to the Post Office and then delivered to local food banks or pantries.

Stamp Out Hunger is the nation's largest single-day food drive. For more information and to see a Public Service Announcement featuring David Arquette, visit the Stamp Out Hunger Web site. More information can also be found at the USPS Web site,

** Please do not include items that have expired or those in glass containers.

A milestone: First Holy Communion

On April 24th, we celebrated Emma's First Holy Communion. Hard to believe that it's been almost 8 years since her Christening. I can still vividly picture her in my arms screaming her lungs out as holy water was poured on her head. A far cry (no pun intended) from this peaceful angel sleeping in her Christening gown.
Where have 8 years gone?

What a good Catholic girl!

Mmmm, yum!

Emma and her Godmother
A special day which she is sure to remember forever.

It's Happy Hour at Starbucks!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Mark your calendars! What runs a close second to a traditional happy hour? Happy hour at Starbucks!!

From May 7 through May 16, Starbucks is offering half-priced frappuccinos® between the hours of 3 and 5 pm. But only for 10 days. Don't miss out on a truly delicious treat at a truly delicious price!
Photo appears courtesy of Starbucks

For more info, visit Starbucks.

My whereabouts

Monday, May 3, 2010
I've been a bit absent from bloggy land lately. The week leading up to April 24th, I was consumed with Emma's Communion (pictures to follow, at some point). I was preparing the house for weekend guests and for the celebration which followed the Mass. After all the chaos had ended, I learned that a close family friend passed away the day after the Communion.

Late last week, I traveled to my hometown in central Pennsylvania to attend the visitation and funeral. And since, I have spent time reflecting on his life. He was such a wonderful person who was so fun and full of life. I am so saddened by his passing and so sad for his family.

It is generally at times like this that I tend to put my own life into perspective. As always I walk away with the same clichés: don't take anything or anyone for granted, life is short, be grateful for what and who you have in your life. But this time, something is different. Those clichés somehow mean so much more to me. Is it because my friend was a mere 9 years older than I? Perhaps. Is it because I've experienced the death of a parent or friend 4 years in a row? Possibly.

I'm on the mend emotionally. I'm slowly getting back into my routine. The only thing I've managed to do consistently is exercise. Otherwise, I've had some difficulty focusing. But I keep reminding myself that life is short. We each have just one, and it was meant to be lived to the fullest.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Steven R. Johnson
1958 - 2010
A wonderful friend, husband, father, brother, and uncle who lived his life to the fullest and who will be sadly missed by all who loved him.