On Saturday my sister-in-law graduated college, and in a few weeks my brother will be graduating high school. So there are two gifts that I have to buy, and quite honestly, I’m idea-less for both of them. We gave my sister-in-law a snazzy little LCD television when she went away to college (we did the same for my other sister-in-law), and my brother already has a TV…so there goes that idea, which is a shame because there are a lot of TVs on sale right now.
Honestly, I’m thinking about some music-oriented gifts. My sister-in-law has an iPod or iPhone, I believe; and my brother has an iPod, but there are plenty of other audio accessories that would make really nice gifts. One thing my brother has been wanting for a while is a guitar. He’s asked for an acoustic bass more than a few times, but I’ve hesitated to spend the money because he’s somewhat irresponsible with items. And, because he lives in a group setting, there’s no guarantee that his items wouldn’t be safe from theft or vandalism. But now that he’ll be 18 in July, and may be living elsewhere, a guitar isn’t off the table entirely. If he’s really musically inclined, a guitar would be good for him – a way to expand his hobby.
Alyssa’s 8th birthday was in October, and by Christmas she began shaving. Because my mom made me wait months before she would finally let me shave (I was 12, just a few months from my 13th birthday, and the hair on my legs was embarrassing, especially because both boys and other girls were pointing it out and teasing me about it), I’ve sworn that if my daughter comes to me with a request to shave, whether she’s 13 or 10 I wouldn’t say no. A few months after turning eight was a little younger than I expected, but I said yes, and then demonstrated for her good shaving techniques (use a sharp blade, hold the razor correctly, go against the grain, soak legs in bath or stand in a shower for a few minutes for optimal hair softness, and use shaving cream or gel!).
Alyssa’s razor of choice is the Gillette Venus Embrace (in a lovely bright purple, thanks to Gillette’s Limited Edition Passionista Purple), and she uses Gillette Satin Care Shave Gel (also one of Gillette’s Limited Edition products, Passionista Fruit) in order to get a smooth, close, nick-free shave. I use these products too, and we both love them. The Venus Embrace’s 5-blade design, in conjunction with the ribbon of moisture that surrounds the blade makes the razor possible to shave with on its own, though we both use Satin Care Shave Gel for a better shave and more protection and ease of glide. She hasn’t cut herself once, and since switching to Gillette razors I’ve been enjoying pain-free, irritation-free shaving, too.
Disclosure: Gillette Venus provided me with free products in exchange for my honest opinion.
While we’re all about the inboxes these days, many of us still have regular mailboxes. I’m doing my best to go paperless whenever possible, and yes that does include magazine subscriptions. There are loads of magazines out there, including Parents, Self, and a best cigar magazine, but the truth is: I don’t need them cluttering up my inbox. Between my phone, my laptop, and the kids’ iPads, there’s always a way to access the digital format of magazines, even if it’s a paid (premium) subscription.
These days, the majority of our mail is product review packages, the occasional purchased item in a package, really important letters, and cards from family and friends.
How about your mailbox? What’s its current state?
Thursday 13: 13 Superficial Things I Want To Buy
(and by superficial I mean things I won’t need, and won’t be buying anytime soon because, hello, bills + groceries > fun stuff!)
- The Nikkor VR 10-30mm lens (I even dreamed about it last night!)
- Western Digital My Book 3TB External Hard Drive Storage (because my two 1TB drives are just about maxed out)
- New window treatments for the windows in the kitchen and in Ryan’s bedroom (I love the oversized white wooden blinds. Bonus: the cats don’t chew on them!)
- A elephant eared Betta Fish
- A matching set of storage canisters for my flours (yes, plural: bread, all-purpose, cake, quick-rise) and sugars
- This bookcase headboard (especially because we don’t have nightstands)
- A new dog bed for Leah (I’m tired of looking at the same one she’s had since 2008)
- These Deborah Lippmann nail polishes
- A Nintendo Wii U for Ryan (potential birthday present? I have until the end of July!)
- A vanity plate for Dan’s car (I can’t list what it is, it’ll spoil the (eventual) surprise)
- 10 lbs each of ground beef, and various cuts of other beef for vacuum sealing and storage
- A new duvet for our bed
- A bigger monitor for my work space
One of the best parts of warmer weather, if you’re a parent, is the ability to go outside for more than just a few minutes. Last week Dan and I planned an after-school trip to a local playground. I picked the kids up from school (after school activities), he packed food, and when I arrived home all four of us headed to the playground. It was great: sunny, warm, a big playground, unlocked bathrooms, and plenty of grass to spread out our sandwich fare on.
And what’s a playground without baseball? This playground had a baseball diamond adjacent to it, and while some of the fathers stood around talking (but no smoking, fortunately, even though baseball & Rocky Patel cigars seem to go hand in hand), and some of the mothers sat around reading, there was a lot of parental involvement in the team practice, which was nice to see.
One of the best parts about school night playground visits is how well the kids sleep afterwards. Oh, and not having to worry about cooking dinner!
Alyssa is going to be nine this year, and Ryan is going to be seven this year. Despite living in a very rural, very conservative, and overwhelming Caucasian area, Dan and I have done our best since they were very young to instill in them the importance of treating everyone equally, because we are all equal, regardless of the color of our skin, our gender, our sexual preference, and so on and so forth. While we’ve mentioned that there are issues with racism and other “isms” — people not liking and picking on people who are different from them — we never had the outright This Is Racism discussion.
Until yesterday. After having lunch with a friend, I stopped at a grocery store to pick up a few items. And on the way out, I ran into a neighbor. Or rather, a former neighbor. We’ll call her Z. For informational purposes only: she is white, her husband is black, and they have a couple of children – two of whom are friends with Alyssa and Ryan, and have played together here around our house, as well as in our house, many times over the past couple of years.
Z told me that the reason they abruptly packed up and moved wasn’t due to financial straits, which is so very common these days, but due to racism. While I know that where we live there is plenty of redneck type of people with redneck mentalities, I was still appalled to learn that blatant racism is alive and well right here in our neighborhood. She and her husband were targeted, their house was targeted, and the children were getting bullied. They were honestly afraid for their safety, not to mention their children’s well-being. So they moved. They moved. I cannot comprehend being bullied out of my own home. I cannot fully grasp what they are going through.
I can’t adequately express my horror, disgust, and shame in regards to people like this. I feel awful that her children were being bullied, and I had no idea. If I had known, I would have invited them into our home much more frequently, rather than leaving them playing outside (though in my “defense”, nothing was ever said or overheard on our property or around our home to indicate any issues).
Fortunately for the kids, the family is still somewhat nearby…just away from here. Z and I exchanged phone numbers, and we are friends on Facebook, so I hope that we’ll be able to set up playdates and/or sleepovers, because her kids are awesome, and I think mine are pretty awesome, and nobody deserves to lose friendships, let alone their home, over the color of their skin.
Folic Acid is often referred to as a prenatal superhero, and it’s something you should take in conjunction with a prenatal vitamin, if your prenatal vitamin doesn’t alone provide a sufficient amount of folic acid (the daily recommended amount is 400 micrograms). Folic acid can help with the prevention of birth defects of the brain and spine, and as it’s a B vitamin, it can also help with red blood cell production and neurological health.
To learn more about and what it can do for you, visit FolicAcid.ca. This educational site provides in-depth information about folic acid, connections with retailers, great resources, and even a community forum.
When was the last time you stayed in a hotel or a motel? For us, our last stay was last September, while spending a weekend in Pittsburgh. And before that, July, when I went with a friend (Jssn) for an overnight trip to Ocean City, MD. One thing I haven’t given much thought to with motels and hotels is where their supplies come from. Without really thinking about it, it’s assumed that the hospitality industry has an endless supply of items for their hotels and guests: furniture, linens, extra pillows, condiments, cooking supplies, etc. But I guess everything has to come from somewhere, and just as restaurants and fast food places order their food and other items from third party supplies, so do hotels.
Peach Suite is one online destination for everything and anything that the hospitality industry could possibly need, including hotel bar supplies. The nice thing about a hotel supply online is that you can order at any time of the day or night, any day of the week, and you can take your time putting your order together before completing the checkout process. You don’t have to worry about finding a local Atlanta hotel supply, because PeachSuite.com will deliver your order wherever you are.
For more information, visit PeachSuite.com.
I am a very organized person. I can go back to my childhood and give you examples of my need (compulsion?) to have everything organized: the contents of my desk and backpack; the toys in my bedroom; the stuff in my mother’s kitchen, etc. As an adult, the need to be organized going hand in hand with the need for cleanliness has worked out well for our home and family: everyone and everything in it it neat, clean, and organized. Well, almost. Alyssa, my eight and a half year old, may be neat and clean, but organized she is not, unless I get on her. Keeping her bedroom in order isn’t too difficult to do, since it’s here in our house. But her backpack? That’s a whole different story. Her desk at school is neat and tidy only because her second grade teacher gives out awards as incentives to keep everything organized.
Until recently, Alyssa’s backpack looked like a bomb went off inside of it. Or, more accurately, that the contents of her desk vomited into her backpack, got shuffled around, and were never cleaned up after. Then I introduced her to the concept of the My BFF Organizer, which is a 3-part organizing system for students — or anyone that needs help organizing paperwork while on the go and at home! Designed by a learning specialist who wanted to help her students manage their school work in order to better manage their own academic needs, My BFF Organizer is made up of two components: a binder that has a “for home” and “for school” section, and a filing system that stays at home and contains completed work and projects in an organized fashion. The binder also includes a small pocket for pens and pencils, a handy hole-puncher so you can add papers to the binder without lugging around a separate standalone hole-puncher, and a firm plastic sheet that makes for a great writing surface.
Before we introduced the My BFF Organizer and re-did Alyssa’s “method” of organizing her school work:
My BFF Organizer is a great system that can make all the difference in the world in keeping students organized, and helping their teachers and families stay organized along with them. You can purchase the My BFF Organizer in your choice of red, blue, or black for $39.99.
Disclosure: My BFF provided me with a free product in exchange for my honest opinion.
There are many different dietary approaches to not only weight loss and weight loss management, but to the management of various digestive (Celiac, gluten intolerance) and even neurological (autism, Asperger’s, ADHD) disorders. Low-carb is one such diet, with the benefits being as follows:
- Weight loss
- Sustained weight loss
- Better management of diabetes
- Stable energy levels (less sugar spikes and crashes), which can lead to a better overall feeling
- Mood improvement due to more stabilized energy levels
Going low-carb isn’t as simple as cutting back on what you eat. Carbs are in almost everything. That’s why switching to a low carb diet entails changing some of the actual foods you eat — not just the portions of them. Take fettuccine miracle noodles, for instance. One serving of this low-carb pasta alternative contains just 0.5 carbohydrates. Traditional fettuccine noodles, on the other hand, have around 35 carbohydrates. That is a HUGE sugar-altering difference!
Counting carbs by logging your food is an essential part of successfully maintaining a low-carb diet. Use a journal, a spreadsheet, or even a smartphone app (such as My Fitness Pal) to log food and meet your goals.