Friday, March 27, 2015

Adversity Doesn't TOTALLY Suck and Here's Why...

Year over year I've learned that "bad" periods often precede a GRAND benefit. It's so hard to see it amidst actual struggle, but as we shape our mindsets growing older and wiser, we become self-aware enough to embrace moments of the highest highs as equally as the lowest lows.

Exhibit A: I've lost friends only to gain better ones along the way or reconnect more authentically with relationships once lost amidst adversity.

Exhibit B: I've taken the best jobs and/or promotions after overcoming professional turmoil and uncertainty.

Exhibit C: I've come to build such a loving and mature marriage after overcoming a period of brokenness and unhealthy coupling.

Exhibit D: I've met amazing goals after failing over and over again at the same goals. 

I could go on and on about the periods of my life that were so "bad" or "hard" and yet those moments now attribute to success, developing and growing to become a better person and perspective to embrace goodness.


Adversity gives us contrast. We know sweetness only when we've tasted intense bitterness. This contrast is essential to life. In my opinion, we live life's journey as two sides of a coin with two parts of every emotion experienced. It's only until one devastating emotion is felt that we truly know and appreciate the opposite of set emotion. 

The best marriage advice I ever received was from an unmarried woman who was the worst professional coach ever but was suppose to mold me professionally. Instead she ended up in one chance encounter counseling my husband and I in the midst of marital turbulence leading towards imminent divorce. She assured us to remain hopeful, faithful, and true and to remember how hard we once loved and possibly hated each other. Those emotions having been so intense and raw, we'd likely never love again in such a way without guarding our truest selves from future love. She was right. I came to feel such immense pain with my husband that to come to the other side of the pain and express immense love -  well surely only greatness could result. This woman was right telling us to accept the adversity, we did just that and we've been married many, many years since. Plus, our marriage only grew from that lowest point in time to become one of our proudest accomplishments.

So again, to know a good friend, you must first have a bad one. To elevate your marriage you must first fail at it. To be professionally successful to the highest degree you must have also failed to the lowest point. May not make sense at all, but it is my truest belief that adversity is a good thing. Adversity brings success, so embrace it. Learn to live through it and know that when you're uncomfortable in it, that's a good thing with something amazing coming just around the corner for you!  So hang on in the struggle because something big AND great is about to happen. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Enjoying Nature

I live out in the California desert so we have a small window of good outdoor weather. Springtime is the perfect weather for getting outside and enjoying nature. Over the weekend we took our girls out to the Oak Glen Wildlands Conservancy for an afternoon of outdoor exploring. 


This little gem of a place is only 15 minutes from our home and the trails are very kid-friendly. It's also free (donations accepted.) There are even posts set up with kid's quizzes to help teach about the plants, trees and animals in the area.

I have only been to the conservancy in Oak Glen and I was so impressed on how amazing it was. I hope to visit more soon. There are 12 all over California.

Map of California Conservancy's



  1. Irvine and Jean Stone Sounding Seas Reserve- Humboldt County
  2. Eel River Estuary Preserve- Humboldt County
  3. Spyrock Reserve- Mendocino County
  4. Jenner Headlands Preserve- Sonoma County
  5. Wind Wolves Preserve- Kern County
  6. Mariposa Reserve- Orange County
  7. Bluff Lake Preserve- San Bernardino County
  8. Bearpaw Preserve- San Bernardino County
  9. Oak Glen Preserve- San Bernardino County
  10. Whitewater Preserve- Riverside County
  11. Mission Creek Preserve- Riverside County
  12. Pioneertown Mountains Preserve- San Bernardino County


Click here to visit the Wildlands Conservancy Website. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Science Fair Project Ideas


Two years ago my son arrived at school in complete tears because it was science fair day and he didn't have a project. My heart broke for him so in the middle of my day I bailed on work and picked up frozen yogurt to complete a social experiment for him. I showed up with an extra large serving of froyo, a ton of mix-ins and about 10 spoons. My son was pleasantly surprised and felt like such a cool kid as his mom arrived and explained to his classmates that we were performing a mid-day social experiment in lieu of a science fair project. That year's science fair was a breeze though it started out a little dicey.

Last year, my hubby and son went the pre-boxed project route. My guys pulled together a fun with magnets project bought at Micheal's. They have a great assortment

Flash forward to today: it's that time of year again and my son has waited until the very last day to work on his third grade science fair project. Every year I say to him that he should do an optional project if he wants to... WITH DADDY. My hubby doesn't mind, but he's pretty stern about only helping my son after he's initiated all prep. Sounds great, but also unrealistic at times, so this infamous prep. work falls to me.

This year I survey some folks to get their ideas. One quick and easy idea was to match-up brands of bubble gum, compare and contract and find out which brand blows the biggest bubble. Now that's an interactive and fun idea. 

Here are some other cool ideas (from parenting.com):

Taco Sauce Cleaner
You might have heard that taco sauce is great at cleaning pennies. Try this experiment to find out of if it's true, and what ingredients might do the trick.
You'll need:
  • Dirty pennies (try to collect tarnished pennies that all look the same)
  • Taco sauce  (mild sauce from Taco Bell works well)
  • Vinegar
  • Tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Small plates
  • Masking tape or sticky note
Instructions:
  1. Place two or three equally tarnished pennies on each of four plates. Use masking tape or a sticky note to mark each plate with the ingredient you are testing (vinegar, tomato paste, salt, and water).
  2. Cover the pennies with the various ingredients and allow them to sit for at least two minutes.
  3. Rinse the pennies from each test plate with water. Much to our surprise, none of the ingredients did a good job of cleaning the dirty pennies. Where did we go wrong? Maybe two or more of the ingredients work together to react against the copper oxide on the penny.
  4. Place two or three equally tarnished pennies on each of three plates. Make three signs that say "Tomato Paste + Vinegar," "Salt + Vinegar," and "Tomato Paste + Salt."
  5. Cover the pennies with each of the mixtures and give the ingredients at least two minutes to react.
  6. Rinse the pennies under water you will find the clear winner is the mixture of vinegar and salt.
Baby Diaper Secret
Help your school-aged kid learn all about polymers--and just what happens in baby sib's diaper.
You'll need:
  • Disposable diapers (several brands)
  • Zipper-lock bag
  • Scissors
  • 8-ounce plastic cup
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • Salt
  • Spoon
Instructions:
  1. Place a new, unused diaper on the piece of newspaper. Carefully cut through the inside lining and remove all the cotton-like material. Put all the stuffing material into a clean, zipper-lock bag.
  2. Scoop up any of the polymer that may have spilled onto the paper and pour it into the bag with the stuffing. Blow a little air into the bag to make it puff up like a pillow, then seal the bag.
  3. Shake the bag for a few minutes to remove the powdery polymer from the stuffing. Notice how much (or how little) powder falls to the bottom of the bag.
  4. Carefully remove the stuffing from the bag and check out the dry polymer you just extracted from the diaper. 
  5. Pour the polymer into a plastic cup and fill the cup with water. Mix it with your finger until the mixture begins to thicken.
  6. Observe the gel that the polymer and water create. Turn the cup upside-down and see how it has solidified. Take it out and play with it. Amazing stuff!
  7. Put the pieces of gel back into the cup and smoosh them down with your fingers. Add a teaspoon of salt, stir it with a spoon and watch what happens. Salt messes up the gel's water-holding abilities. When you're finished, pour the salt water goo down the drain.
  8. Grab a new diaper and slowly pour about 1/4 cup of warm tap water into the center of the diaper. Hold the diaper over a large pan or sink and continue to add water, a little at a time, until it will hold no more. Keep track of how much water the diaper can absorb before it begins to leak.
Color-Changing Milk
Help your child find out what his/her morning glass of milk has to teach us 
about molecules in a few easy steps.
You'll need:
  • Milk (whole or 2%)
  • Dinner plate
  • Food coloring (red, yellow, green, blue)
  • Dish-washing soap (Dawn brand works well)
  • Cotton swabs
Instructions:
  1. Pour enough milk in the dinner plate to completely cover the bottom to the depth of about 1/4 inch. Allow the milk to settle.
  2. Add one drop of each of the four colors of food coloring—red, yellow, blue and green—to the milk. Keep the drops close together in the center of the plate of milk.
  3. Find a clean cotton swab for the next part of the experiment. Predict what will happen when you touch the tip of the cotton swab to the center of the milk. It's important not to stir the mix. Just touch it with the tip of the cotton swab. Go ahead and try it, then observe what happens.
  4. Now place a drop of liquid dish soap on the other end of the cotton swab. Place the soapy end of the cotton swab back in the middle of the milk and hold it there for 10 to 15 seconds. Look at that burst of color!
  5. Add another drop of soap to the tip of the cotton swab and try it again. Experiment with placing the cotton swab at different places in the milk. Notice that the colors in the milk continue to move even when the cotton swab is removed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Future Husband,

Now it's no secret that here at HerMamas we love a fun catchy tune. We are also about gender equality and girl power! So I am a bit torn with it comes to the new Meghan Trainor video.

Take a look and listen for yourself...



This song and video is a mix of 1950's stereotypes and girl power. The video is obviously a cute throwback to Leave It to Beaver times but its her message that is kinds confusing. A few lines.....

"Cause if you treat me right. I'll be the perfect wife. Buying groceries":  really. that's what makes a perfect wife. 

"You have a 9-5. But baby so do I. So think I'll be home baking up a pie": okay I like this, something I have probably said before. 

"Even when I'm acting crazy.." Ugh, I hate this idea that when women express their emotions they are crazy. They are not crazy, just human. 

" If you want to get that special loving tell me I'm beautiful each and every night": shallow much? Tell me how smart, creative and ambitious I am instead. 

"Open doors for me and you might get some ..... kisses": oh Meghan we know what you mean there. Let's not use sex as a reward or a weapon.

Despite the mixed message we have to admit the song is dang catchy. 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Tina Fey Does It Again...

Tina Fey made her mark on SNL then cracked us up via 30 rock, but just because those moments have come to pass it doesn't mean we're left without Tina Fey's unique brand of humor. Her most recent production is a Netflix produced comedy that hits all the right notes.

Are you watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? 


From the very first scene this show delivers. Both Ellie Kemper (The Office) and Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) are hysterical. Even funnier is Ellie's roommate played by Tituss Burgess. The premiere first season consisted of 13 episodes and that was 13 episodes too few. This show is that good and I can't wait for season two to begin streaming. 

Specifically, this show challenges stereotypes like no other in a refreshingly hilarious way. Plus, if you're a lover of the 90's this show is full of 90's references that today-in-age prove hilarious. The entire premise of this hit show revolves around Kimmy's character moving to NYC after she's rescued from a life in captivity since she was 14 years old. My favorite is how Kimmy is adjusting to today's world with her 90's mindset of MC Hammer rap and Walkman music-players in tact.

This show is a must watch! Don't miss it.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pointillism with Crayons.

One of my favorite classes was always art history. I loved studying different art periods and artists. One of my favorite pieces is "A Sunday Afternoon" by Seurat.


I even have this on my dishware! Seurat was the pioneer of art known as pointillism. Simply its a picture made up of little dots. Just remember: Seurat the dot!

Here is a great craft to practice pointillism. You will need:
  • Canvas or thick paper (I used a poster board)
  • Pencil
  • Crayons 
  • Tea light candle 
Yes I said candle. Start off by lightly drawing a picture. I was working on a St. Patrick's Day project so I drew a rainbow. Next pick your first color. Take all the paper off your crayon. Light your candle. Heat up the tip of your crayon with the candle. 



Then press your crayon onto the paper or canvas. 



Continue with all the colors you need to complete your piece. 


This was a really fun project and would be great for older kids with supervision over course. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Living Wax Museum

My kiddo just dressed up as Babe Ruth for his third grade living wax museum event. I'll admit I was frustrated trying to pull together a vintage baseball outfit, but in the end it all worked out:


Not only did it work out but the whole event was a big hit. Kids were dressed so adorably and listening to them recite biographies on their chosen famous person was informative and fun. I was especially proud of my kiddo who mastered a pretty long bio which he repeated countless times for anyone who pressed his info "push" button.

How adorable were Wayne Gretzky, Frida Kahlo and Cleopatra....

   

Students were quite creative and there was everything from sports legends to civil rights activities, famous painters, actors, singers, adventurers, scientists and more.

Check out Bob Dylan:

This event is something anyone can host. It's a fun excuse to have a dress-up party and an even better excuse to educate children on some of the greatest people who ever lived, so host a living wax museum party, too. This premise will surely impress folks of any age. Plus, who doesn't love an excuse to dress-up?