Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where The Bees At?



The other day I had some amazing ice cream drizzled with local honey. It was heavenly and in my mind I gave props to the bees that helped make that delicious honey.

I have a love/hate relationship with bees. I hate them because stingers duh! I have never been stung by one (knock on wood). But as a kid whose family income relied on agriculture, bees were super important. You may have noticed that bees have made the news lately thanks to "Colony Collapse Disorder". It is as bad as it sounds, for bees and for people. The honey bee is disappearing. About 7 years ago their numbers began to plummet. In 1945 there were 4.5 million hives, in 2007 there were 2 million hives.

There are a few different reasons for the decline in the bee population....
  • Pesticides can straight up kill bees when ingested or make them intoxicated enough to not be able to return to the hive. Pesticides also weaken bees and make them much more likely to die from a disease or parasite. 
  • Large farms or ranches growing the same crop. Agriculture these days is done a lot differently than in the 1940's. Now one crop is grown over large areas. Once that crop is pollinated for the season there is nothing else for bees to eat. 
Did you know that honey bee pollination is required for about 1/3 of all crops? That is $15 billion dollars worth of crops! That is food for you and me.  Fruits, vegetables, flowers all require bees to produce. Don't think just because you are a meat eater you are okay. Bees are required to produce grasses and hay that are used to feed cattle. This is a big deal and even large companies like Whole Foods are working to bring awareness with their website Share the Buzz.

Is this anything you and I can do to help? According the bee expert Marla Spivak the best thing people can do to help the bees is simply plant bee friendly plants and avoid using pesticides.

Que Viven Los Bees!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Love Relationship Q & A

Have you had to ask or answer any of the following questions in a love relationship: Who has the most power in our relationship? What do you think is holding me back from success? Am I the best sex you've ever had? When do you feel closest to me? By visiting Theand.us you and your partner get a very quick and easy format to take a relationship Q & A. It's really a great tool to reconnect or simply learn or share something new.



My hubby recently came home and said "remind me I want to do something with you later" and for once that didn't mean he was hoping to get frisky a half second after our children fell asleep. Theand.us app/website sets up four basic ground rules and makes it easy to quickly ask a handful of deep and not-so-deep questions. 

The whole experience starts with a short quiz you and your partner complete. Ten questions (from over 140) are generated and in a matter of minutes the exercise is done. The hubby and I really enjoyed watching clips from different partners who were filmed as they answered the same types of questions we answered. The videos were funny while some were more profound. Be warned watching the videos might lead to even more questions between partners.

A big question that I enjoyed answering honestly with my spouse was: "What are you hesitate to tell me?" The answer was likely something my husband already knew because I don't usually hold back, but saying it during the exchange almost created a different level of sincerity. My big mouth isn't afraid to spew good or bad, but something about this Q & A format made the exchange feel new, light and wholehearted. 

All in all, this exercise is great to create a fresh dialogue, spark a renewed interest in each other and open up lines of communication. Check out the site, try out a round of questions and come back to tell HerMamas.com how it went!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Current Obsessions


NOOOO! How can it be the last Friday of July already! Why does summer go by so dang fast!

Here are what we are currently obsessing over.

Elissa: 

Dexter: America's favorite serial killer. Yes I know that this series ended years ago, but I never got past season 5. That's when we stopped paying for those premium channels. Thanks to Netflix I get to find out Dexter Morgan's fate. I forgot how suspenseful and exciting this show is. I loved Colin Hanks as the Dooms Day Killer (Spoiler alert!) I also forgot how sexy Michael C. Hall is as the messed up yet lovable Dexter.

Paddle Boarding: While on vacation last week we rented a couple of paddle boards to cruise around on the lake. I have always wanted to try them and the people on the lake made it look really easy. I am hear to tell you that it is not as easy as it looks, but it's not too difficult either. My 9 year old daughter and 8 year old niece took to it like ducks to water. One of my favorite vacation memories was sitting on the back of the paddle board with my 4 year old on the front and just gliding over the water. I really hope that we can find some time and a place to do this again soon.

Buzzfeed: Like I need another website to read! Recently my cousin emailed me this link. It had me cracking up and it also lead to about 2 hours lost reading through BuzzFeeds' articles. They are funny and entertaining and even informative. I especially love the Buzzfeed Parents thread.

Irene:

Date Nights with My Children: might seem like something odd to obsess over, but here's my secret: date nights work wonders! As soon as I feel my kids are acting up I start upping the one-on-one date nights and poof somehow we're back on track behaviorally. One-on-one time is both fun and beneficial for parent and child. I'm happily obsessed. 

Garlic Knots: first I'm obsessing over the Walmart supermarket chain and now their products. For $2.98 you get eight delicious ready-to-bake garlic knots. I swear if I let my family do so they'd eat these morning, noon and night. They're that good! I'm drooling now just thinking of popping a bag in the oven.

Doggie Shelters/Shelter Websites: I oddly have doggie-fever. We already have a Yorkie we've owned for almost 8 years, but when she was recently sick I realized how much we love her, what a part of our family she is and how another big dog would be an awesome companion for her and our children. Now I'm scouring sites and visiting shelters like crazy hoping to adopt a pooch. Though I still have to convince my hubby a new dog is a good idea!  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dealing With A Child's Fear Of The Dark

Being afraid of the dark may seem crazy, but this fear is very real for many young children. The fear is so real that kids often carry this fear into their grade school years and in extreme cases adulthood. The first step in dealing with this typical childhood fear is to sooth your child and express understanding.

I personally know how nutty bedtime can become when a child is afraid of the dark. I'm currently watching my four year old anxiously get to bed and though her fear of darkness is hard for her to articulate it's there and makes bedtime a time of resistance.

The fear of dark usually develops in toddlers when they begin to establish a sense of imagination and fantasy before they're able to decipher what's fantasy and what's reality. According to WebMD, "The best thing a parent can do for a child with a fear of the dark is to communicate, be respectful, and show that you understand." Limit TV usage and books with scary content. We don't often register how books and TV can feed into a child's fear, but they very often do.

Offer children an item that might bring comfort in the darkness like a nightlight, special blanket or toy, and whatever you do, don't give in to having them sleep with you because of their fear. Of course, this is easier said then done, but instead of letting a child simply sleep with you, create a space where they can develop coping skills. Though you may easily want to rescue them from darkness with a simple sleepover this only gives them a false sense of security and they obviously can't sleep with you forever.
In our home, the hubby and I often pray with our toddler, we offer her a plush toy and redirect her desire to jump out of bed to play in the light (avoiding her fear). We also try to never ridicule her feelings and validate that we get she's afraid, while we try not feed into anxiety by acknowledging "monsters" or the "boogeyman", or worse, tease her for being afraid of them.
Many kids will eventually develop a very real fear that something "scary" lurks in the darkness. Remember their minds are developing. With love from understating parents this fear soon subsides. Be consistent in your understanding, kind in your approach and keep offering your child ways to cope with this anxiety all on their own.
Do you know a child who's afraid of the dark or maybe deathly afraid of spiders or clowns? 
Share your stories in the comment section!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beating the Post-Vacation Hangover


We waited all year for it to come, you spent the best time doing whatever you love to do. You spent time away from your work and house responsibilities. You probably stayed up late and slept in even later. And now it's all over and your experiencing what I like to call a "post-vacation hangover". Where the task of unpacking just seems so hard and depressing. You avoid calendars because you know that the following dates include going to back to work and to your everyday routine. You refuse to open the fridge because once you do there will be no more denying that a grocery shopping trip needs to be done. Why do I know so much about this? Well because my whole house was experiencing this exact thing for the last few days. It happens to us every year.

Here are a few things that help us get through our post-vacation hangover....
  • take an extra day off before going back to work. We usually get back from vacation on a Saturday night, which means Sunday is for unpacking. We also take Monday off to give ourselves a day to relax, decompress and mentally prepare for reality. 
  • understand that this is normal. It is perfectly normal to feel a bit blue after a great vacation. 
  • take some lessons from your vacation self. While I was on vacation I kept my cell phone on airplane mode most of the time. This allowed me to take photos and even read a book. It was nice to not keeping my ear out for a phone ringing or a text message. I have taken this approach and am using it during times I don't need to be "on call", like having dinner with my family. 
  • If none of this works one way to get over your last vacation is to start planning the next one!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Marriage in Celebrity Culture

Over and over again we hear about celebrity divorces. Tabloids run rampant and the Hollywood couple demise feels standard. There's the trice-divorced Jennifer Lopez standard, the Tori and Dean chaos and now even Kendra and Hank. Sadly, both reality starlets, Tori and Kendra are dealing with cheating scandals after giving birth to children. I find that insane! What's marriage coming to in celebrity culture?


 

Too many of today's scandalous stories get airtime and headlines, but what about the successful marriages of Hollywood? I recently saw a report that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith would soon celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary. Way to go, Will and Jada! In my opinion, there needs to be more examples of longterm commitment in celebrity culture especially since celebrities set the tone for today's modern culture and the youth of our time.

Then again, though I'd like to see more positive examples of marriages in celebrity culture, I also keep a realistic expectation of celebrities. I don't let them define my ideal of marriage, I don't believe everything I read and I definitely don't get my marital counsel from celebrities on a screen. That is reserved for outstanding couples in my actual life. 

What's your take on celebrity marriages?




Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Salads

Growing up for me salads were as basic as you could get. Some iceberg lettuce with some chunks of tomato and Italian Dressing. Over the years I have been exposed to a bigger range of salads. With the summer heat at its peak, a quick and cool summer salad is a great way to have dinner on the table without adding the extra heat from the stove.

Here are 3 salads that not only taste delicious but take advantage of all the great summer fruit and veggies available now! Just click on the pictures to go straight to the recipe! 



Growing up in Ventura County nothing said summer like strawberries and avocados. This salad is made up of 4 ingredients, salad, avocado, strawberries and blueberries. There is also a simple homemade cilantro recipe. Some blending and some chopping and you have a perfectly sweet summer salad. 


My kids will instantly complain when they see lettuce on a plate, but they love themselves some pasta. Fill this salad with veggies, use whole grain pasta and just use some light oil based dressing and you have a pretty healthy and filling salad that even your kids will eat.


Your backyard grill is most likely getting a work out this season. For a quick and flavorful salad add some veggies to your grill. Just chop, season with oil and seasonings and throw in a grill basket. This is one of my favorite ways to eat vegetables. There is something about the grilling that brings out the flavor.

What are some of your favorite summer salad combos??