Friday, July 29, 2011

Sick

Sorry ladies, no Blog Frog Hop today! I have been at the Dr and I am too sick to put it together. I am going to take a nap! It will be back next week though;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10 Tips and Tricks to get your kids to eat more vegetables

Here is my confession. I hate most vegetables. Truly, honestly cannot stand the taste or texture of most vegetables. The vegetables I am willing to eat, have to be cooked and prepared in a certain way, or I won't eat them. I know it's not healthy, I know it's not a good example for my kids, but it's the way it is. I am doing better trying to eat more, and by "tricking" myself into eating some of them, the same way I trick the kids into eating them:) Here are 10 of my Tips and Tricks to getting myself and my kids to eat more vegetables:

1. Puree them in a blender and add to sauces that you serve as part of casseroles, spaghetti, lasagna, etc.

2. Add seasonings and spices to them as you cook so that they taste better.

3. Cover them with yummy cheese!

4. Use dipping sauces to disguise the yucky taste.

5. Puree them into a smoothie. I have been reading up on "green" smoothies, and to my surprise, you really can't tell they are in there!

6. Offer a reward at the end of dinner to whomever finishes all their veggies. Maybe it's dessert, choice of tv show, choice of book, extra time before bed. Whatever works in your home.

7. Let your kids choose one of the vegetables each night for dinner. They are more likely to eat willingly if they had a hand in selecting it.

8. Try something new. Let the kids pick a new veggie at the store, research together how to cook it, and see what happens.

9. Utilize the three bite rule. You don't have to eat it all if you don't like it, but you do have to take three bites and try it. You never know when you might develop or acquire a taste for something!

10. Be flexible. If you know they don't like Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli or Lima Beans, don't make them every night and force them to eat them. Make them once a month or something, and just have them give it a try. If you work around what they DO like, they'll enjoy eating veggies more!

I hope these have helped you, because they do work for me! If I can trick myself into eating vegetables that I don't like, I know you can use some of these to get the pickiest kids to eat them, haha!


About Peas and Thank You
Peas and Thank You is a collection of recipes and stories from a mainstream family eating a not-so-mainstream diet. It's filled with healthy and delicious versions of foods we’ve all grown up enjoying, but with a Mama Pea twist—no meat, lots of fresh ingredients and plenty of nutrition for growing Peas. From wholesome breakfasts to mouth-watering desserts, there’s plenty here to satisfy the pickiest Peas in your life. It’s easier than ever to whip up crowd-pleasing meals that will have the whole family asking for, “more, Peas.” Sarah Matheny'sdelicious recipes and entertaining stories draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to her blog, peasandthankyou.com each month, where she makes raising a vegetarian family easy and fun. She is the author of  “Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love.”


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

He's got Style!

Earlier this week, I wrote about how Aaron has Asperger's and it helps him cope out in public when he can wear a costume. I also briefly touched on the fact that when we have to go somewhere more "formal" that he has to "dress up" in nice clothing. What I didn't really get into is his sense of style when he is wearing nice clothes.


You see, he really prefers to be in a full suit when he's dressed up. He LIKES wearing a suit jacket, with a tie, a button down dress shirt, and nice slacks. With sneakers, because other shoes hurt his feet, so in his eyes, sneakers are dress shoes, LOL:) I have been fortunate enough to find some clearance jackets on sale at department stores, because when he gets in dressed up mode, he only wants to wear suits. 


Other times, he wants to dress like his dad. Dad usually wears a polo style shirt with jeans when he goes into the office. Aaron is ok with that, but he prefers dress slacks with his polo shirts, so he looks more "fancy" in his opinion. He is all about being fancy.


Joshua, the middle child, could really care less about fashion or style. He wears whatever is available and clean, regardless of whether or not it matches. Logan is sort of the same way as Joshua, but his little personality will crack you up! Recently we were going to a dinner party, and Nick told them all they had to wear nice shorts, and a shirt with a collar. He meant a polo style shirt, but in Logan's eyes, T-shirts technically have collars on them, so he put on his favorite Winnie the Pooh T-shirt. Nick told him to go change into a nice shirt with a collar, and he rolled his little eyes, pulled out the collar of his T-Shirt and asked, "What do you think this is Dad....it's a collar!". He wasn't being smart mouthed, he was just being Logan taking things literal and asking what popped into his head. I had to leave the room laughing because it was hilarious!


With three children, it is very easy to see that they all have their own unique sense of style, and I feel it is important to let them explore that whenever possible. I go with the choose your battle strategy. They may dress how they choose most of the time, within reason, but when it is a special event and we need them to dress a certain way, they are expected to comply without argument.


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and jcpenney blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Real Mom Kitchen

You know what is refreshing? A cookbook for REAL MOM's. Those of us who can never get to the bottom of the laundry pile because it grows faster than the machine can wash. Those of us who are in a constant battle not to get the house perfect, just at a level of sanitary clean to keep germs at bay. Those who have kids that never stop saying "I'm hungry, what's for supper? I don't like that, can you make me something else:"

I have 2 kids that go to school, and one that homeschools, so my day is from 7am-11pm (ish). There is always something to be done, and I try to squeeze blogging, cleaning, cooking, laundry, taxi service, couponing, shopping, etc. all into those days. What I need is a cookbook full of fast, easy recipes (with ingredients I have on hand, or can get easily), and for food my kids will not just eat, but enjoy without whining!

Well ladies, this is it. I got the e-book version of Real Mom Kitchen, and I LOVE IT. I suggested a few recipes to the kids, and they immediately started saying "Yum" and "when can we have that?!". I put some of the ingredients on the shopping list last week and made one recipe Sat and one Sun. I would show you pictures, except that I live with males who dive into the food while I am looking for the camera, and then it isn't really photo worthy anymore. I could've taken pictures of the protruding full bellies, but that might be weird. So, for now, there are no pictures. Next time, I'll have to get the camera ready BEFORE I start cooking, haha!

***I received a complementary e-copy of this cookbook to facilitate my review. Because really, you can't review a cookbook until you have tested the recipes...ya know? Anyway, all opinions are 100% mine and were not influenced in anyway.***

Recipe: Easy Crockpot Chili

Because it was 109 today, and forecast to be 114+ several days next week, I am dreaming of the cold, blizzard filled winter that we had. The kids have been asking for chili, but it is WAY too hot to make that. However, I am gathering my recipes because the FIRST day it is even 70, I will be making this for them, LOL:)


Easy Crockpot Chili
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 9oz cans tomato sauce
3 16 oz cans kidney beans, drained
14-1/4 oz can crushed or stewed, tomatoes
6 oz can tomato paste
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1. Brown meat in skillet. Add onion and green pepper halfway through. Drain grease. Pour into slow cooker when all meat is done.

2. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese.

3. Cover. Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 7-8 hours.

4. Serve in bowls and top with cheese.


**Note, I sometimes serve over fritos or cooked rice.

Aaron loves being a Jedi!

Many of you know that my son Aaron has Aspergers. One of the things that he has high anxiety about is being out around people. He copes with that by dressing up in various costumes everyday. Sometimes we have to agree to "dress up" in fancy clothes if we are going to a more formal situation, but other times, we allow him to dress in what he wants. Especially on days when he has doctor or therapy visits, because those can be rough on him. The ladies at his therapy location look forward to guessing what he is each and every week!

His favorite movie of all time, is Star Wars. We have several of the various Star Wars costumes, complete with accessories, and he really enjoys pretending to be these characters. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be contacted by Costume Supercenter to review one of their products. Aaron was thrilled. Unbeknownst to me, he was apparently missing a Jedi Costume from his collection, and while I thought perhaps a costume from a different movie or show might be more fun, he insisted that he wanted the Jedi Robe Child costume. He then proceeded to explain to me why this costume is different from all the other Star Wars costumes that we have in his closet. He is very particular about having all the details just so when he puts them on.

Once he knew that this costume was on its way, he waited every single afternoon at the front window watching for the UPS man to deliver his package. The moment it arrived he opened it and put it on. He wouldn't let me get his picture in it, but he has worn it every single day since it got here just over a week or so ago. He LOVES IT. I have to say it is very well made, and I have ordered items from here before, and they hold up incredibly well. All three of my boys enjoy dressing up in costumes, and do so almost daily. The costumes we have purchased from here in the past are still all in one piece with no rips or tears! If you know Logan, you know how amazing that is! I also want to point out that the Jedi Robe Child costume they sent me is very affordable, currently under $20!

At our home, costumes are year-round items that are regularly used and appreciated. I tend to purchase more around Halloween because they go on sale, and there is a large selection available. I encourage you to visit Costume Supercenter when you are shopping for your costume needs. The products I have purchased previously, and the one I received for this review were all high quality and at affordable prices. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter!

****I was provided a complimentary costume to facilitate my review of the product, but all opinions expressed are solely mine and have not been influenced in any manner. A positive opinion was not requested or expected, but was given because it is deserved. No other compensation was exchanged.****

Monday, July 25, 2011

Healthy Women

We have moved several times over the course of our marriage, and one of the most stressful factors when moving to a new area for me is finding a new gynecologist. I have had some great ones, and some terrible ones. When we first got married, Nick was in the Navy, and we were stationed in Florida. There was a naval hospital on base, and that's where we were required to go for medical attention at that time. If you went to a private physician, it was private pay, no insurance coverage, when you were that close to a naval hospital. So, when they time came for my annual visit, I went in. It was horrible. Very clinical and cold. There was quite a bit of pain involved with the exam, and some spotting issues for days afterwards. The only good thing was the free medication from the pharmacy.


When Nick was discharged, we moved back to TN, and I went back to my old doctors. They are fabulous. I was very glad to have them when I started getting pregnant. I had some issues, and suffered several miscarriages, resulting in immediate surgery to have D&C's performed. That was a very difficult few years, and it made it hard to go to the gynecologist and see all the happy pregnant women in the waiting room. Once I finally was able to carry a pregnancy to term (though not without complications) it was such a relief to have physicians I trusted taking care of me. I continued to have great physicians, even through a move to OK and back to TN with both of my other children.


However, when we moved back to Oklahoma in 2007, we lived too far away from the previous OB/GYN I had seen previously, so I had to find a new doctor. I went to my insurance website and selected the one closest to my home. She was HORRIBLE. I was having severe cramping, exceptionally heavy cycles, and other issues relating to complications with the birth of my third son, who was 2 at the time. The doctor I went to basically told me I was being a wimp and I needed to toughen up because all women have these issues, it's just part of life. She didn't take me seriously, and made me feel like a hypochondriac! 


I suffered on for an entire year until it was time for my next annual visit. This time I asked around, and got the name of another doctor, who happened to work across the hall from the previous doctor. It was like night and day. He listened to my concerns, ran some tests, FOUND MY ISSUE, gave me medication for the problem, and it was resolved immediately. I wasted an entire year suffering because of one incompetent, non-compassionate physician. 


Mom Central recently surveyed 500 Mom's and found that:


Heavy monthly bleeding symptoms impact daily routines.The vast majority (92%) agreed that the condition frustratesthem, and more than two-thirds (68%) feel that their periods control them.
Women don't always know where to turn for help with heavy monthly 
bleeding symptoms. More than 75% of women don't know help is available for their heavy periods. Less than half have spoken to their OB/GYN about theirsymptoms.  
Information and persistence may empower women to seek the right help. Of those who were satisfied with their treatment, 38% went to two or more visits with a health care professional before they found an option they liked. 

If you are suffering from any female issue, I want to encourage you not to give up. Help is out there, sometimes it just takes persistence in finding the right doctor to help you. Sites such as
 HealthyWomen.org, have put together a series of online resources about heavy monthly bleeding, an issue affecting millions of women. The resource section includes a survey to determine if your symptoms align with heavy monthly bleeding, key questions to ask, and available treatment options to discuss with your physician. Please don't wait and suffer for as long as I did. Use the tools available to you on the internet to help you go into your next doctor's visit prepared. It is vital that we are our own advocates!


The following guides are also available to provide you with more information:
Understanding Heavy Monthly Bleeding
Treatment Options
Causes of Heavy Monthly Bleeding
Normal or Not
Talking to your physician


“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Ferring Pharmaceuticals and received a promotional item to facilitate my review.”

Book Review: The Last Archangel

I am so excited to be able to participate in the tour for The Last Archangel! I know that not everyone is into books dealing with Angels and Demons and how their battles affect humans, but I enjoy this genre of books. I remember the first book I ever read in this style was in 7th grade. I went to a private Southern Baptist school, and we read a fiction book in this style for our Bible class. It was very moving, and I have since read every book from that author, and plan to do the same with the work of Michael Young.

This book is very fast paced, and it will grab you from the start. I had heard great things about it, and knew it was one I'd want to read without stopping. The day it came, I cleared my schedule, went to bed early, and read it from start to finish. It is exciting and entertaining, and you definitely won't want to put it down. The story makes you want to keep turning the pages to see what will happen next.

Book Description: 
Xandir has been exiled to earth until the end of time. But when his cherub trainee disappears, Xandir makes a deal with rogue angels and giants that could restore life to the mortal woman he loves and end his assignment as a destroying angel in exchange for helping them bring about the end of the world and all of mankind.
Thank you to Cedar Fort Publishing for providing me with a complementary copy of this book to facilitate my review. A positive opinion was not requested nor required and all opinions expressed are without influence and completely my own.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Master Lock

I remember way back to the olden days when I was in school. I went to a small K-12 private school, and when we graduated 6th grade, things changed drastically. Once we were in the 7th grade, we started changing classes and using lockers. It was a very big deal! We planned our entire 6th grade year for how we wanted to decorate our locker, and could not wait to purchase our locks to keep things safe and have our own private space at school to store things! I am no expert on locks, but as best as I can recall, Master Lock was the only brand available, so they will always hold a special place in my heart of memories.

To make things easier when first transitioning back to school, I have a few tips to help make things easier and less stressful for you:
  •  For parents, I have to say, it is very important to write down and keep with you, the combination of your child's lock. Inevitably they will forget what it is at a crucial moment and call or text you for help! 
  • For students, consider storing your combination on your cell phone (I wish we had that option when I was in school!). 
  • Make sure to purchase a locker organizer. I always found it helpful to have a shelf to put my books on, and an opening at the bottom where I could store extra pens, pencils, make up, and other misc items.
  • Buy a magnetic mirror! It is never a bad idea to have a plastic mirror attached to the door so you can do quick checks of your hair and make up in between classes;)
  • Keep pens AND pencils (with a small sharpened) in your locker, preferably in an organizer. I remember when doing my student teaching that students were always desperately searching for sharpened #2 pencils on test days!

Master Lock is still striving to stay on the cutting edge of what is hot and happening with youth, so they have hired The Master Mind and his sister, who have a hilarious You Tube video, and are answering parents and students questions on the Master Lock Facebook page. Parents and students are invited to submit their own questions for the Master Mind and participate in daily sweepstakes for a chance to win back-to-school must-haves, including popular Master Lock school and campus security products.



     


***I am writing this post as an entry in a contest for a Master Lock back-to-school prize pack as a member of the Mom Bloggers Club.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Whale watching for beginners

Guest post written by Billy Bowerman

I think that I had never even heard anything about whale watching before I went on vacation. Then when we checked into our hotel and talked to the hotel concierge, she told us that whale watching would be one of the best things that we would do while we were on vacation. So after hearing all of that, we bought tickets for us to go on the whale watching cruise. Well, I actually did enjoy it a whole lot but it wasn't exactly what I had expected because there was so much waiting on the whales.
I did a bit of research for our vacation beforehand and while I was looking through some sites about local attractions I ran across the site http://hearingaids.miracle-ear.com/hearing_aid_prices.html. After I looked through it a little bit I went to a hearing aid center and got some.
I guess that we just expected to see whales everywhere and while I was looking to see them on the boat ride I thought that any break in the waves was going to be a whale. Well, once we did see a whale it was really exciting! But it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's a crazy life sometimes

I likely won't be able to post anything on Monday or respond to emails. Our air conditioner went out last night and our temps are around 105ish, and I am melting! My asthma doesn't tolerate the heat, so I am busy gulping ice water trying to stay cool. Not to mention that Nick burned his arm on his motorcycle exhaust pipe and it has huge nasty ugly blisters on it, and Aaron has strep throat. The good news is that the A/C guy said he thinks the AC just needs Freon and he can put some in tomorrow right after lunch, I had some Silvadene in the house from when Aaron burned his fingers, and the pediatrician can see Aaron in the morning. Hopefully things will be all better by tomorrow night and I'll be back in action! Hope y'all have a great Monday;)

F6GJUNCYYKV9


http://feed1.w3.org/check.cgi?url=http%3A//feeds.feedburner.com/PracticalFrugality

Friday, July 15, 2011

Can you hear me now?

By now y'all now that we spend a lot of time seeing specialists for various reasons. One specialist type  that we have seen on an ongoing basis since Aaron was about 9 months old, is a Speech Therapist. Due to some of the myriad of issues he has, he needs Speech Therapy to help him, as do many other children on the Autism Spectrum. A related issue that he has is with his hearing. We see an ENT as well, a few times per year, and they do a full hearing screening annually to document the changes in his hearing. We are very fortunate that he has not gotten to the point where he requires hearing aids yet, but it is probable that he will get to that point eventually.

When Aaron was about 18 months old, he was not walking, rarely crawled, and constantly leaned his head to one side. It was determined that his ears were the problem, and we had tubes put in to help. The procedure took much longer than anticipated due to some unexpected issues with the nature of his ear wax, which is a different concentration that what most people have. However, once we got home, we noticed a positive improvement almost immediately. He began crawling, walking, and talking. This was phenomenal for many reasons, not the least of which was that his brother Joshua was due in just 3 months!

One of the hardest things about being the parent of a child with special needs, especially when it is your oldest child, is that you aren't exactly sure about what is or isn't normal, and when you should go see a doctor or insist on a specialist. Miracle Ear has graciously sponsored this post, and I am happy to share with you that can click any of the links in this post to visit their website to get a FREE No obligation hearing consultation and/or test. While most people think of the elderly when they think of hearing aids, that is not always the case. We see many children with them when we are out. If you know of anyone in need of a hearing test, I encourage you to visit the site to learn more about how to get them the help they may need.

Save money with Zenni Optical

This post brought to you by Zenni Optical. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was shocked to see the glasses on my face when I pulled up the Zenni Optical website. We have very good vision insurance, and my co-pay for lenses and frames was $40. When I saw the Zenni Optical website, my frames are listed there for $19 WITH lenses included!!!! I had to copy it in to show you. If you know me in real life, you can attest that these are in fact the EXACT frames I have. The retail price on these frames at our optometrist was $119, so I thought that a $40 co-pay was saving me a ton of money, and it is, but I am excited to see that I can get them for even less! Not to mention the savings if you DON'T have good vision insurance! In addition, our insurance only covers frames every 2 years, and lenses once per month, so if they break, you have to pay full price out of pocket to replace them. Zenni Optical is an excellent resource to purchase a second pair for myself as a backup, or should I need a replacement. Last year my frames broke, and I had to use duct tape to hold them together for 6 weeks until my time was up to get new frames, so I've been a nervous wreck knowing that I couldn't get new frames until 2012 if something happens to these, because it is not in the budget to pay $119 for new glasses!

718015 Half-rim Stainless Steel Frame
#718015 -
Base price with single vision 1.57 lens $19.00
Configured Price $19.00
Bifocal: Y
Progressive: Y
 
Zenni Optical was mentioned in an article in Time magazine, where the editor of the magazine said he had paid $1000 for a new pair of glasses. Y'all know that is something I just cannot imagine! LOL:)

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: Freedom Spray Mop

 www.libman.com
Some of you may remember a week or so ago, I posted about how I feel in love with the Libman Wonder Mop. It was not a sponsored post, nor is this one. I contacted the company before I posted to get permission to talk about the product, and got the okay. They enjoyed my review, and asked if they could send me a Freedom Spray Mop to try out and see how I liked it. I got it on Friday and gave it a whirl on Sunday.

This mop was very different from the Wonder Mop, as it is the kind that you spray fluid, and use a cloth to mop it up. I love that you are able to use your OWN solution to clean. You just pop the plastic piece off, fill it with the solution of your choice, then slide it back on. The mop head is also machine washable on cold, which is fabulous, so you aren't always having to spend money to purchase replacement cleaning cloths. It was very easy to use, and I also like that the head swivels and rotates, so if you need to get in tight spaces, such as behind a toilet, it is very easy to do so. This cleaning cloth didn't get up one of the jelly stains off the tile that was really stuck, I did have to get the wonder mop for that (it got it right up, no elbow grease!), but the freedom mop did get everything else on all the other tile floors in my home. I have to say though, (promise not to tell Nick!) that this was so easy to use, with zero strain on my back, that I could mop with this every day. I think that doing a quick swipe of the floors daily with the Freedom Mop would keep them as clean as I like them, and I wouldn't have to worry about any dried, hard jelly stains on the tile.

***Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. Libman sent me a complimentary mop to facilitate a review and my honest opinion on it. My opinion was not influenced in any way.

Cool Cuts 4 Kids Review


I first heard about a salon that specialized in cutting children's hair, including kids with special needs, from a friend that lives in the Dallas area. She also has a child on the Autism Spectrum, and he has issues with allowing anyone to touch his head, as does my son, but that he would allow they stylists at this particular salon to cut his hair with no issues. So you know it was something I had to check into. When I looked into it, I found that: Cool Cuts 4 Kids stylists apply techniques that work with each kid’s temperament, special needs or sensory difficulties. If your little ones still need additional coaxing into the salon chair, Cool Cuts 4 Kids will make them feel right at home with entertainment zones that offer a wide selection of movies, video games, and more. Cool Cuts 4 Kids is dedicated to creating a safe, trusting, and fun environment for kids and parents alike. They accept both walk in and appointments, because special needs or not, we all have busy schedules! Sometimes we need an appointment so we can put it on the schedule, and at other times we need to fit it in around other errands.





We do not have a Cool Cuts 4 Kids in my area yet, but look at that picture above, how fun would that be for kids?! We are able to stop at the one in Dallas when we are in the area visiting friends and family, and you can check HERE to see if there is a location near you.

$5 OFF COUPON
I am pleased to announce that as part of their blogging campaign, they are allowing me to share with you a coupon for new customers to get $5 off any service $11.95 or higher.! Click here to print your copy of the coupon – but act fast! This offer is good until 7/31/11. This makes it a great affordable option to get your kids hair cut at the funnest salon in town!

1st HAIRCUT
As a parent, you want to remember all the important “firsts” for your child, and their first haircut should be no different! At Cool Cuts 4 Kids, not only will your child be treated with the utmost care, they’ll also receive a certificate with a lock of their hair to remember the big day.


Make sure to bring your camera along and snap a photo to remember this adorable milestone! Cool Cuts 4 Kids has magnetic picture frames available so you can make a memory last a lifetime.

COOL REWARDS CLUB

As a member of The Cool Cuts 4 Kids Cool Rewards Club, the savings (and fun) will never stop! Sign up at a nearby store – it’s FREE, easy and the perfect way to start saving!

Check out the cool perks you receive as a
Cool Rewards Club member:
  • 1 point for every regularly priced service ($11.95 or higher)
  • Reward coupons for reaching 4, 8 and 13 points, emailed right to your inbox
  • 20% off all retail products the day you join
  • 10% off Cool Cuts 4 Kids haircare products
  • 5% off all other haircare products
  • Advance notice of fun specials and promotions

Turn your tub into an ocean!

Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store

Continuing in my family friendly series on Couple Time, sponsored by EdenFantasys, I want to share with you a fabulous product, Treasure of the Sea ***Must be 18+ to click any links in this post***. One of the most relaxing things a mom can do for herself, is make time for a luxurious and relaxing bath! This mixture of crushed sea salt, seaweed, and moisturizers will turn your bathwater that glorious shade of ocean blue! You can transform your bath into a relaxing ocean getaway, and emerge feeling renewed and refreshed. It also comes with a sea shell scoop and a loofah to help complete the bathing experience.

I love when I have the opportunity to escape from the fighting children for a bit and escape to a fantastic bubble bath. If light a candle and turn out the lights, you can just lie in complete peace for a bit. I find that it helps me get to sleep much easier, and I wake up the next day ready to face the challenges ahead. So often we as moms get caught up in trying to get everything on our to do list done, then crash into bed, but lie there worrying about what we didn't get done that day. I challenge you to purchase a product such as this one, and just give it a try for a week. I guarantee you will love it so much that you will make it a new priority to do on a regular basis!

While this post is family friendly, the purpose of the series is to encourage parents to make time for the romantic side of their relationships, because when you have a healthy romantic relationship as parents, it makes dealing with all the other issues that come up daily in family life easier to tackle as partners. EdenFantasys is sponsoring this series, and they offer a variety of products, many are not suitable for anyone under the age of 18 to view. Viewer discretion when clicking links in this post is advised.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

10 Tips for making your life easier and more efficient while on the go

I spend a lot of time in the car. Between carpooling the kids to school and their activities, to taking Aaron to numerous specialists and homeschool functions, it often feels like we live in the car! So, here are 10 tips that I use to make it easier:

1. Keep a few plastic grocery bags in the car, and one in the front floor board for trash. I gather all trash from everyone and place it in this bag, then throw it out when I fill up with gas.The car doesn't get overrun with trash anymore requiring a ton of time to clean it out.

2. I keep a case of bottled water in the trunk, and fill a cooler with ice before we leave the house if we will be gone for a while. It is MUCH cheaper to buy it by the case than it is to run into the convenience store and pay $1 per bottle!

3. I keep a reusable grocery bag stocked with ziploc bags of snacks by the back door. On the way out I grab it with the cooler of ice, and then there are ready to eat snacks for the kids who ALWAYS say that they are hungry. This avoids quick stops in drive thru lines;)

4. Keep a copy of the yellow pages in your trunk in case you get lost, or invest in a smart phone with internet access and download a maps app. I got lost just Monday and had a smart phone with me. The map function tracked where I was and gave me exact directions to my location.

5. Keep some baby wipes in the car. These are excellent for cleaning up children who always manage to get messy in the car...it doesn't even seem to matter what snack they have eaten!

6. By the same accord, keep a roll of paper towels in the car to clean up any spilled water, or if someone gets car sick.....you'll be glad then for the plastic grocery bags to put them in, LOL:)

7. I keep a change of clothes for each child in the trunk. It never fails that when we need to go into an appointment, someone will spill something or get sick all over their clothes!

8. Plan out your errands before you leave the house, and write it down! This always helps me so I don't forget to stop somewhere or forget what I was stopping for. It also helps you streamline your stops so you aren't backtracking and wasting gas.

9. Download mp3's or purchase CD's of music that YOU like. It will make the drive and the endless waiting much more tolerable. I take my Kindle with me so I am never without anything to read!

10. Keep books for the kids in the car. If they are each reading their own book, they will be QUIET and most importantly NOT fighting with one another! :)


I hope some of my tips help you and make your time on the go less stressful. Also, if you are a coffee lover, Seattle's Best Coffee has generously allowed me to share a coupon for Click to save $1.50 on a 4 pack today! with you! Caffeine always seems to help moms on the go relax and unwind.
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seattle’s Best Coffee blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

About Seattle’s Best Coffee
As coffee blenders and roasters since 1970, we’ve seen a lot come and go. We went from a tiny shop on the Seattle waterfront to being declared Seattle’s Best Coffee in a local competition. In 2003, we joined the Starbucks family which has allowed us to place more resources into further honing our special way of crafting delicious, impossibly smooth coffee. Every step of the process, from coffee cherry to your cup, is managed to fit our exacting standards and our premium approach to coffee. Now, we’re making it easier to find your perfect coffee with our new Level System.

It’s low calorie: Just 130 calories per can.
It’s affordable: A premium latte for just $1.49? And a 4-pack is an even better deal, at just $4.99.
It’s everywhere: Available in major grocery, convenience and other retail stores.

More info on Seattle’s Best Coffee: http://www.seattlesbest.com

Seattle’s Best Coffee on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SeattlesBestCoffee  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review: Global the Game

My kids are at an age where they LOVE playing games. I try to set aside one scheduled night each week, usually Saturday, when we can play a game together. Of course we often play more than that, especially during the summer months, but it's nice to have that scheduled time as well.

Recently I was offered to test and review Global the Game.  It is expected to hit stores in the fall and be priced around $40, but is available on the website now! The objective is:

We developed Global® in an attempt to transform the way people lead their lives by
bringing a different focus to the environmental debate by discussing how finance is tied
to solving the Earth’s delicate situation. Through meaningful and informed debate, the
game also encourages all individuals’ opinions, allowing players to focus collectively on
solutions with an urgent sense of optimism. Some of the issues discussed in Global® are
controversial (such as nuclear energy, use of genetically modified foods and processing
tar sand for oil), but Global® does not take a position on any issues. These hot topics are
ideal for discussion in a classroom setting, where the instructor may act as moderator,
allowing students to focus collectively on solutions. Global’s® interplay of finance and
environmentalism combine to make an intriguing game that will appeal to future MBAs
as well as environmentalists in the worldwide marketplace.

It is designed for 3 to 5 players, and takes around 45 minutes to 2 hours to play. The game does not take a stance on environmental issues, that is left up to each player.

I have to say that this game is so much fun! While it targeted for ages older than that of my children, we were still able to put them on teams with adults and let them help us make our team choices, and they loved it. I would say it is a perfect game for teens and adults. I know that so many teens and young adults are focused on debating how they would handle certain environmental situations, and this gives them an outlet to see how one another's theories play out against each other.

I am also pleased to announce that Global has won the 2011 Game of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine!


Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Global to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own, and were not influenced in any way. No monetary compensation was exchanged.

Time Travel Tuesday

Yes, its Time Travel Tuesday
Readers, grab a cup and get comfy ...
 Bloggers, hit the archives
But Bloggers, pretty please do not leave your url and run ...
its not fair to my bloggy friends AND I will know who you are ;)
(PS. leave a comment for a follow)
TIME TRAVEL TUESDAY
I heart y'all SO much that all you have to do is copy and paste
the URL from an old post you'd like people to go and visit!
It does not require a post, just a url, yes, that is true!
(but do share and tweet please)
The more you tweet and share, the more people there will be
to comment, read, follow, and show you some bloggy love!
Oh yes, it does wonders for your Alexa Ranking!

My  Supah green recycled post ...
Earn It, Learn It


1. Download the Alexa Toolbar which you can download for free at Alexa.
2. Check my post & follow me because its the polite thing to do :)
3. Leave comments, let people know if you are following them.
4. When visiting a blog, you MUST allow the page to fully load then click 
a second page in order for the Alexa and bounce rate to drop
5. Follow other blogs, comment back to the people that visit you.
6.Tweet, Share on Facebook, Stumble, work that ALEXA SCORE for you! 
EVERY WEEK!
 

Monday, July 11, 2011

10 Reasons Why I Would want to visit Virginia Beach

Oh how I want a vacation! Our wretched heat wave continues with the 100+ degree temps, hitting 110 this weekend! I am sure you can understand why a trip to the beach with those amazing ocean breezes would be a welcome respite before school starts. But, it isn't in the cards for us this year. However, I would love to take you on a quick virtual vacation by showing you what I would do IF I were to visit one beach specifically;)

1. It's a Beach.....that could probably be reason enough in and of itself!

2.  A chance to play in the ocean. My kids have never seen the ocean, and I would love for them to see how beautiful it is.

3. To see the Military Aviation Museum. My grandfather fought in the Korean War and I would love to show my kids items in this particular museum relating to the war their great grandfather fought in.

4. To take my kids deep sea fishing. My own dad used to own a bait shop, and my grandfather has been a fisherman all my life, as was my father-in-law, and my mother in law lives on a lake, so fishing is in their blood!

5.  Colonial Williamsburg is not far away, and as a homeschooling mom, I am ALL ABOUT working the educational element into any trip!

6. Busch Gardens. My kids also have not ever been to an amusement park, and I think this one would be a BLAST for their first. So many fun things to see and rides to delight them!

7. Cape Henry Lighthouses. When Nick and I first got married, he was in the Navy and we were stationed in Jacksonville, FL. One of my FAVORITE things to do was go to beaches and tour the lighthouses. They are beautiful and fascinating. My kitchen was decorated in a lighthouse theme pre-flood.

8. To see the Adam Thoroughgood House. It is one of the oldest brick homes in America. I have always lived in brick homes, and they are especially useful here in OK. It would be an honor to see where it all started.

9. To visit the Naval Base where Nick's squadron got relocated too after they moved from Florida to Virginia. Their new home isn't far from Virginia Beach. My kids have seen a Discovery Channel Documentary featuring the former squadron, and it's hard for them to comprehend that it is real since they know most of what is on TV is NOT real, so it would be neat for them to meet current squadron members and see things in person.

10. To see some friends of ours who live in the area now. They currently are trying to have a baby, and we haven't seen them in probably 6-7 years! We keep up with them on their blog, but how much fun would it be to see them and encourage them in person!

I hope you enjoyed taking my virtual beach vacation with me. Didn't it seem at least 20-30 degrees cooler in our imaginations! Ahhhh, I feel relaxed just thinking about sinking my toes in some glorious sand under a huge umbrella for shade.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Virginia Beach Tourism blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Earn It, Learn It: Teach Your Child

I was thrilled a few weeks ago when Alisa T. Weinstein found me on twitter and asked me if I would consider reviewing her book Earn It, Learn It: Teach Your Child. My own kids are 5, 7, and 9, and are getting to the age when they like to have their "own" money to make purchases at the store.

In this book, she describes the "Earn My Keep Allowance Program where kids learn the value of money by test-driving real careers. Parents and kids choose a task from one of 50 fun careers, complete it within a set amount of time, and earn while they learn. The program is quick, easy, authentic, cheap (almost always free) and most of all, FUN! (www.earnmykeep.com)

In this book, she guides parents away from the traditional payment for "chores" such as making the bed and setting the table (which they should be doing anyway as part of a family working together) and moves towards introducing them to a variety of careers, and what it means to earn money in the real world. You can spend as little as 15 minutes per week on this method (or much more depending upon your availability and interest in the "career" of the week). I love that there are so many careers included in this book, but I would say that you are not limited to those included. If there is another career that interests your child, take the foundation of the program from the book and grow the idea from there.

I think this is a wonderful idea in today's economy to teach children from a very young age about fiscal responsibility. I think that there are other ideas that can be expanded on from this method when paying out the allowance. Once they have been taught about how to earn the money, you can then teach them how to be responsible with it. For example, if you were paying the child $10 per week (round number), you could have one jar for tithe (10%) and they could put $1 in. One jar for savings (10%) and they could put another dollar in. One jar for giving to charity (10%) and they'd put another dollar in. It could go on depending on your situation, until the final jar where they place the remaining dollars they are free to spend. Give them some check register (free at most banks) and let them track how much is in each jar. If they are saving for a specific item, they'll know and be able to plan exactly how long they have to wait until they can get it. This will teach them to save and pay cash for things they need, and not rely on credit!

My own kids love this book. They are very interested in various careers anyway, and the ability to earn money while learning about them just thrills them. I started involving my kids in normal chores from early on, and they haven't ever gotten an allowance for doing them, so I was did not have to make any changes. My kids do their own laundry (I turn on the machine and put in the soap, but they load the machine, empty the dryer, fold, and put away their own clothes. Even the 5 year old!), clean and clear the table, help with trash, etc. I hope you will each take a moment to look at this very affordable book and consider purchasing it to use in your own homes!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Intoxication

Tim Kizer recently contacted me and asked me to review his novella, Intoxication, which is a psychological thriller. Some have compared it to "horror" stories by Stephen King, which I have to say I am not a huge fan of, but I found this to be more suspenseful than horror filled. Yes, it is based on murder and does contain some strong language, but the story is more about the psychological state of mind of the main character than the events that are taking place.

Positive: This story has a very unique plot that has twists and turns that are not predictable. I have to say that I did read the reviews of this novella before I started reading the story, and I knew that there was a surprise ending, and I STILL didn't guess what it was. Typically when I know that a story has a surprise ending, I am always on the lookout for what it will be, and usually have it figured out. That was not the case in this instance.

Constructive Criticism: I hesitate to point out that this book has grammatical errors because I believe that it is self-published and did not have the benefit of professional editing services, but I would be remiss not to mention them because they are present. I also feel like the story could be just a tad bit longer to develop the characters and embellish the theories of why the main character believes what she does. It quickly becomes obvious that she has some psychological issues, and developing those thoughts more thoroughly would help the reader comprehend why she believes her theories.

Finally, if you enjoy suspenseful stories, especially short novellas, and don't mind a touch of strong language, you would probably enjoy this. There is a bonus novella, Hitchhiker, and a 1,000 word short story, The Bike, included. I enjoyed each of these as well. Both of these also have unique plot twists and surprises that you won't see coming. I think that Tim Kizer is an up and coming author with a ton of great potential.

The Last Archangel

Due to my ongoing insurance issues post-flood (JANUARY!), they STILL have not replaced my laptop, so I have been unable to access e-books for book tours. I will be getting a hard copy of this book soon so that I can offer you a full review, but I wanted to post a quick snippet from a review at Amazon to let you know why I am so excited to help promote this particular book!

It seems like a book about a fallen angel sentenced to be the bringer of doom wouldn't be inspirational. Yet somehow, it is. What about a cute little cherub as a sidekick who shoots a pretty mean bow and arrow? Again, it seems a bit of a stretch, and yet, it works. In fact, everything in The Last Archangel works on several different levels.
In addition to the exceptionally imaginative storyline, Young presents some fairly incredible concepts that are not only believable in the framework of the story, but also take it to the next level of originality.

Xandir is an angel punished for his wrongful deeds. What could an angel do to be punished? How about revealing the secrets of Heaven to man. And then there was the matter of entering into illicit relationships with humankind, which created the race of Giants--an abominable race that would have proved the end of humans if left unchecked.

Yeah, I can see why he would be punished. His sentence? To be the Destroying Angel until the End of Time. I'd say that's a pretty stiff penalty. However, he's given two weapons to use. One of Justice and one of Mercy. The trick is that Justice has to be served, yet Mercy cannot be ignored. It's a conundrum to be sure.

To reveal more of the plot would be unfair to the reader. It's really something that is best enjoyed along the way. I will say this: I give it an A+ for pacing. Never once did I say to the book, "I get it, move on already!"

Young isn't afraid to tackle some subjects other authors may shy away from--Heaven, Hell, Angels, Demons and various other religious topics. Does it come across as preachy? No. Does it make you stop and ponder? It should.

When you get this book, you'll want to clear your schedule for the next couple of days. At the very least, leave a note for your loved ones explaining that you're fine, just lost in an excellent story.

Baby's First 100 Days


I am so thrilled to be participating in the Book Tour of Baby's First 100 Days! This is such an adorable book, especially for first time parents. It would make a fantastic and affordable baby shower gift! It is full of pictures and tips to get you through those first 100 days when you are most scared and worried about every little noise and look that doesn't seem "normal" to you. It teaches you what to watch for, reminds you to take care of yourself, and is reassuring that you are doing and watching out for all the important things!

Please take a moment to check out all the other blogs participating in this tour and show them some love! I hosted a giveaway for this book recently and had a wonderful response. Some of the other blogs participating in the tour are hosting giveaways as well, and you might be able to win a copy for yourself or a new mommy to be that is in your life!

***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Baby's First 100 Days courtesy of Cedar Fort Publishing for review purposes only. All opinions expressed are 100% mine.***