Friday, July 31, 2015

School in August!

My kids start school in 2 weeks. Yup they start in the middle of August and I feel like we are getting ripped off of 2 weeks of summer. When I was in school the school year went from the Monday after Labor Day to early June. First day of school was associated with falling leaves and cooler weather. Since my own kids have been in school the first day of school gets earlier and earlier.

 So what's the deal?

By law, schools are required to have a certain number days or hours of instruction. Over the years you may have noticed that there are more holidays throughout the year. Spring and winter breaks are getting longer. Also I don't know about your school, but my kids get a week off for President's Day. In order to ensure that the school district hits the required number of days of instruction the school year has to start earlier than ever.

Although I enjoy the extended days off during the year I really feel like summers are being cut short. 10 weeks just does not feel like enough time to enjoy a vacation. Sending the kids to school when it's still 100 degrees outside seems wrong. Seeing school supplies next to pool supplies seems wrong.

When do your kids go back to school? 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fuller House: would you watch?

There's a generation of kids who grew up on Full House and because Netflix does everything awesome they are bringing Full House back to these "kids." Everyone, but little Michelle Tanner, is back for Fuller House - a new show that gives us that "where-are-they-now?" feeling all wrapped into repeat episodes. I'm into it as a kid who watched the original.

Yes, I personally plan to watch, but I also got to thinking... how will this show fit-in now? Full House was so wholesome for its time. Will Netflix go with today's times and add that non-prime time TV flare? Would folks like it, if so? Or would we really pick up where we left off and have that tame pg-13 tone?

When Boy Meets World came back as Girl Meets World it was on the Disney Channel. It met the right market of young teens the original targeted. I personally found the spin-off that flashed Cory and Topanga forward as parents really enjoyable, but then I stopped watching, unless my kids wanted to see it.

To me, Fuller House will need to step of to the times. I don't see the extremely wholesome premise of the 80's fitting a Netflix line-up with shows like OITNB and Grace and Frankie especially since the Tanner household and its father figures are all so much older! I am also all grown up and what I believed as a young kid watching Full House has come to pass. So to that point, I hope Fuller House is Full House with a little kick of something new!

Do you?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mortified the Podcast

About a year ago I wrote about the Mortified documentary that I loved. Since then Netflix has released a Mortified show where celebrities share some of their embarrassing items and pictures from their youth. Now I love celebrity news but this show didn't feel as real as the people on the documentary. Then they started a podcast.


The Mortified Podcast: Share the Shame is fantastic.  I find myself refreshing the feed and crossing my fingers that there is a new episode. It's that good. Regular people and a celebrity thrown in here and there read from their childhood journals.

Topics range from teen fan fiction for Jurassic Park, trips to remote areas of Mexico, using Star Wars to understand the opposite sex and first sexual encounters.

Despite the mortifying topics I think I could relate to almost every single episode. We all went through an awkward stage. A time in our lives when our bodies were changing, our relationships with our friends and family were changing and things were so confusing.  This podcast gives you flashbacks to those times and reminds you just how far you have come.

Each episode is about 20 minutes long and there are currently 24 episodes. You will be hooked after the first episode!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Toxic Dollar Tree

Today I signed a petition on urging stores like the $.99 store to label their hazardous items. Turns out there's hundreds of products at stores like these that carry materials full of toxins. I've never really thought about it until I was in a 'dollar tree' that actually had labels all up-and-down the shampoo and lotion aisle. I couldn't believe the amount of notices throughout those aisles that mentioned hazardous cancer-causing toxins one after the other.

When I got to thinking about it, I realized there's no way there's this many items costing you less than a dollar that are 100% safe. Now I get it:  what get what you pay for and you shouldn't expect toxic-free, safe, organic, produce, skin products, and other household goods. However, there are no warning signs or labels to correspond with those dollar price tags.  So it's simple, let us know what's in those goods so we really have a choice to decide if we want to take the toxic gamble or not. 

The saddest part is that $.99 stores and 'dollar trees' are usually located in Low low-income communities. It is the impoverished neighborhoods that are targeted with cheap prices and just as cheap material and hazardous substances.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for a good bargain and I definitely purchase items from these discount stores. Again, my issue is with the lack of information. Many customers are being tricked to believe that the shampoo, lotions, and makeup are harmless when they're not. 

20/20 recently aired an undercover sting raiding heavily discounted store items including medicines that proved full of toxic and contraband material. Many contained ingredients that cause cancer and are actually band in countries outside of the U.S. We don't have the same rights and this for companies to turn a rediculous profit. So do the research, sign the petitions, and more than anything, make sure you know what's in the stuff you're buying dirt cheap. Plus, sometimes if the price is too good to be true, it's because it is. 

Exercise caution at swap meets and flea-markets. Also spread the word to the communities that may not be defending themselves or know enough to stand up against toxics in the deeply discounted products they buy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Packing for a Camping Trip

This year for our annual trip to the lake we are tent camping. Yea! (did you catch my sarcasm there?) As a kid I loved going tent camping with my family and I still love at the fun parts like sleeping outside, campfires, cookouts and swimming all day. But when I was a kid then and going camping as an adult is way more work. Even now we go with my whole family so my parents still take a lot of the bigger items like camping stove and easy-ups and it's still a lot more work than I think vacation prep should consist of.

Here are a few things from my family of 4's camping packing list...

  • Trash bags: They are not just for trash. I give the kids one and my husband and I use one as a hamper. Our dirty clothes go directly into the bags and not all over the tent. 
  • Doormat: Nothing is worse than dirt all over the tent floor. One way to cut back is to invoke the "no shoes in the tent" rule and to have a doormat to wipe off any muddy feet. 
  • Baby Wipes: When we camp we usually showers once in the middle of the week. Yes gross I know. But to keep everyone a bit cleaner on those non-shower days baby wipes are a life saver. 
  • Rope: to avoid wet swimsuits and beach towels from getting mildewy it's best to get them onto a rope line to dry as soon as you can. 
  • Toilet Paper:  never head to the restrooms and assume there will be toilet paper. It's best to keep a roll handy and take it with you. It is better to be safe than sorry. 
  • Headlamp: I do what I can to avoid having to walk to the restrooms in the dark, but my kids will need to go at least once after dark. A headlamp is a great way to light the way and keep your hands free to hold little-ones hands and the roll of toilet paper. Here is a great one under $20.00 from REI.
What are some of your must-have camping items! 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Water Saving Tips

Despite the nice rain us in California experienced last weekend, the drought is still a very really problem. Water is a very necessary resource and with the lack of any real significant rain fall over the last few years it is very important to use the water we do have wisely. Here are a few tips to help you save some precious h2o.

  • Read up on any water restrictions that your city may have implemented. In our town you can only water your lawn 3 days a week and your days are determined by your street number. 
  • Limit showers to under 5 minutes. Set a timer of put on some music and give yourself a 1 and 1/2 song limit. 
  • If we do get rain put out plastic containers or buckets to collect some rain water. Use this to water indoor plants. 
  • Fix any leaky faucets or sprinklers. Even a small leak adds up to a lot of wasted water. 
  • Let the car get dirty. Skip a car wash. 
Droughts are something that Californians are use to. We have been through many in the past and will probably go through more in the future. It is important to learn how to conserve water during these dry spells. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Is Go Fund Me the New Panhandling?

I feel that every other post on my Facebook these days is giving me a sad story and directing me to a GoFundMe page and asking for donations. Of course some of these causes are dire and situations that have legitimate reasons to ask for donations. In times of medical emergencies or natural disasters asking the public for money is a great way to raise funds fast. Donating to causes is not a new thing, but crowdfunding is fairly a new concept. The idea is great, but has websites like GoFundMe become the new socially acceptable form of panhandling. Somehow it has now become okay to ask everyone you remotely know and all their friends for money.

Over the last year I have seen people ask for donations for vacations, weddings, help with a new apartment, help with a down payment on a dream home, decorating a nursery, a new car, even to help pay tax debt. Now maybe this will sound cold-hearted but a lot of these are luxury items and if you can't afford it then it doesn't happen. Here is the other thing that happens with you start a frivolous GoFundMe page - people start to look at what you are spending and will judge you for it. If you ask people to help fund your trip to Europe and you are constantly posting about the new clothes you just bought, the fancy restaurant you went to, even the Starbucks selfies you take, people will judge you for it. If you can afford new clothes, why are we paying for your trip?

Maybe I am old-fashioned, but if you wanted something out of your budget then you saved until you could afford it. Because these are online campaigns and the recipient is just sitting behind a computer does this make it okay? If you were starting a new job and had a gap in between paychecks shouldn't it be your financial responsibility to have prepared for that and have saved money to get through it? If you wanted to redo your kitchen would you go up to all your friends face to face and ask them for money?