Thursday, July 31, 2014

Music to Sweat To

I am trying to get myself motivated to start back on a daily exercise routine. For me music is a great motivator. Plugging some earbuds in and turning up the volume can really help me get through an hour of cardio. So when it comes to getting back into fitness regimen the first thing I need to create is an awesome workout playlist.

I have my usuals like....
  • People of the Sun by Rage against the Machine
  • Sexyback by Justin Timberlake
  • Can't Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Rabiosa by Shakira
But this........ This is my new workout anthem! (Warning! A few naughty words!) 
Heck it's my new life anthem! 

 

What are your favorite songs to sweat to? 
Leave us a comment or drop us a line on our Facebook wall! 
Better yet! Leave us a voicemail at 323-696-BLOG!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Adopting a Pet

My most recent obsession (see last Friday's post) of visiting doggie shelters & shelter websites actually manifested into adopting a dog. The whole experience was relatively painless except for the part where I was struck with pain at the sight of this...



Doggie shelter visits aren't all pretty puppies and happy volunteers. The sad reality is that there is an overwhelming amount of dogs in need of homes (especially pit bull breeds). There is a very real problem with overpopulation  of domesticated canines in this country. The saddest reality is the fate of countless doggies that don't get adopted.


If you've ever considered adopting a doggie from a shelter (which is noble and necessary) there are key factors to consider. However, more than anything, there's something wonderful about giving an unwanted, stray or voluntarily surrendered pooch a home.

A few things to consider when planning to adopt a dog (though much is relevant to adopting cats and kittens, too):


  • Will a new pet fit your current lifestyle?
  • What are your current living arrangements, available living space for a new dog, work/life schedule, and other spouse and children considerations (are they open to a new pet?)
  • Will you have the time and money to raise and train a new pet? This is especially true when deciding to take on a rambunctious puppy. The time investment also involves reading the books, taking the classes and getting your home pet-ready & pet-friendly. This also means a dog will change your home's dynamic. Ready to schedule regular walks, vet appointments, etc. etc.?
  • As you become open to adoption, consider your potential dog's breed, age and temperament preferences. Read up on these and discuss with all family members. 

For my family the decision was always to one day have a big dog. A Labrador Retriever was our first choice. We knew we wanted to raise one as a pal to our three children. I figured a middle-aged Lab would work great, but when we spotted a listing for a puppy at a local shelter my son and I jumped at the challenge of adopting him. For me personally, I liked the idea of having a puppy around our small children its entire life to ensure it was truly good with them. After convincing the husband, we adopted a puppy. The paperwork to adopt at a local shelter took no more than 10 mins to complete, cost came to around $100 and cost includes pet vaccines, mandatory microchipping and neuter/spaying services come standard. Not all dogs go home instantly from shelters but the turn over isn't usually more than a few days. We waited 24 hours to bring home this beauty...
Meet our new family member: BillyJean - Chocolate Labrador, 8 weeks old.

Have you ever considered pet adoption ?

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?? 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Why Kids Whine and How to Deal With It


Whining has come to feel "normal" in my home with three small children, but what's important to note, this whining comes in waves. Whining leads me to feel either overwhelmed & upset or I try ignoring the behavior all together. Neither of the previously mentioned scenarios actually helps a whining child. I know that much from experience. What it also doesn't do is leave a parent feeling good about themselves.

But what's a parent to do?

Like I mentioned before, whining comes in waves in our home. Therefore I realize very quickly when the waves come crashing through that something is off. For instance, do you ever notice how your children can get wild and cranky after a long birthday party?You'd think all the fun would keep them light and happy, but other than being pooped, they've also had to compete for your attention and suddenly they're not feeling very connected to mom, dad or both.

A child whines because of disconnection. They're feeling internal turmoil as they try to express a want. They do not mean to annoy mom and dad. They are simply disconnected from their parents to the point that whining feels like the natural and only measure for them to express needs, and possibly, have those needs met.

When a child begins one of these waves of whiny behavior evaluate how much of your individual attention they've had lately. My kids share the spotlight like many and so sometimes whining just comforts them. This doesn't mean whining is okay because it's NOT. Kids simply falsely believe parents will understand their needs and jump into action when whining happens.


Some tips to utilize when dealing with a whiny child (from parent.com):

  1. Keep a record to figure what is happening before, after or during the whining. Understand the triggers and wants of your child. Whatever you do, don't argue with a whining child. That only makes matters worse. Younger kids are easy and usually whining means a child simply need to rest or eat. Older kids can be more challenging to understand.
  2. Whatever you do, don't give in, but instead teach the difference between a pleasant and a not pleasant voice. This is good with older kids. Ask them to use their "pleasant voice" teaching them what it sounds like. Giving in leads children to believe if they persist, they get what they want. It's tough, but don't give in. Not even in public! Doesn't matter who's watching you MUST be consistent with a child. Correct negative behavior immediately.
  3. Role play: You can use stuffed animals to teach pleasant verses unpleasant voices. Get a couple of books or cartoons on this subject matter. We love Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood in our home (many episodes focus on themes that teach kids to think about their feelings and appropriate communication). 
  4. Catch children in the moment. Remind kids right away about using a pleasant voice and when they do that then respond promptly. Show them that the pleasant voice mattered to you and they got the connection and attention they wanted when they used it.
Share your tips, too with a comment below...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Road Trip Essentials


Are you hitting the road this summer? I love a nice long road trip. I love seeing California through a passenger window. Before we had children my husband and I could jump in the car and just go. Now that we have a 4 year old and 9 year old road trips are still one of our favorite things, but these days it takes a some planning and prepping for a successful road trip.

There are 3 major things to think about when planning for a road trip: entertainment, food and stops. When it was just the 2 of us we would drive for many hours straight with just the radio. These days we can get maybe 20 minutes in until someone from the backseat is complaining about being bored.

When it comes to entertainment there are lots of great options. Of course music in an option, and since we all have different tastes I made a Pandora station where each family member got to pick one type of music. Our station is a mix of Selena Gomez, Blink 182 and Luke Bryan. Another option is to download a family friendly audio book. Many libraries have a audio book lending site or you can find audio books on Audible.com. We also love games like Auto Bingo (you can find the game boards at most toy stores) and classics like the license plate game, I spy and 20 questions.

Investing in a good soft shell cooler helps us on road trips. A small cooler that fits in the back seats filled with drinks and snacks. A few water bottles and juice pouches are great for drinks. When it comes to snacks, I try to stay away from things that crumble or have the potential to melt onto seats. Cut up fruits, string cheese and nuts are a great way to keep the kids full in between meal stops.

Driving 6 hours straight is just not an option for us anymore. We have found that the more stops the better. Sometimes we research stops in advance and sometimes we just look for billboards. Over the years we have found some really great and weird little places to stop and stretch our legs. Even a quick 10 minute stop can be the difference between a meltdown in the car and a peaceful ride.

Safe Travels!
What are you road trip tips? 



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Passing Your "Addictions" On To The Next Generation?

On Monday's post we discussed a topic that touched on self-acceptance. A message that also included redefining society's norms of beauty. I got to thinking about my own tendencies to feed into bad habits like "feeling the pressure to fit in." I thought about three areas of my life that can almost be addictions. I use the word addiction because bad habits are addictions. We have to break those habits, and in turn, break the addictions for ourselves and the generations that follow.

I have three areas that I am always striving to improve in my life to avoid passing these "addictions" on to my children because as we all know children are always watching. I want what they see to be the best example...

The first "addiction" may sound silly but it's a common habit of my generation. I'd hate to debilitate my children by having them carry it on. In today's world, we are so interconnected by devices and social media. I understand that I have the habit of not only "living" on social media though chronic posting, but I'm subsequently buried behind a laptop or smartphone. I don't want this to be normal to my children because as I recently read: "technology cannot replace love". Social media and electronics can be like another "limb" attached to our bodies. It's a huge part of my day, but this virtual world has ZERO connection to true and profound love. My heart is filled with joy thanks to three amazing children, a loving husband, family and friends. Therefore, I remain conscious of my social media and technology use in order to avoid an addictive pattern that carries over into my children's lives. 


Food, Food and more Food! Whether folks care to admit it, many of us are addicted to food. Growing up I was a huge over-eater. Food was love in our family; it still is. My momma cooks up a mean feast. We also soothed our crazed emotions through food. This is such a common part of society. Like with any addiction, admitting it is an essential first step to overcoming it. I've been a "normal" body weight for a handful of years after 30+ on this earth. It wasn't until I understood that for me food fed an emotional void, and how bad of a habit over-eating was, that I was able to break the addiction. Past eating habits left me unhealthy, unhappy and lethargic. This is clearly something I don't want my children to carry on. By becoming conscious of daily eating habits, I am breaking this addiction of using food for comfort, staying healthy and ensuring my children don't develop food issues, too. 


The final "addiction" is another biggie and it has to do with one's nagging tendency to care what other's think of them. Why do we always want to fit in anyhow? We're hoping to fit in to be "approved of" and that's the kicker. We all at some point or another feel the insecurities of being judged. Caring about what other's think of us is a common addiction. It becomes a senseless worry and it's a real pain in the rear. I've evolved a lot in this area, but that doesn't mean I don't work on it daily. It's hard to let go of a chronic habit of caring what other's think, but once you do it's liberating for you and grateful generations to come. Not caring about how I'm perceived has led to an inner-confidence, a heightened ability to be honest, a need to surround myself with good quality relationships and it makes me a much better mother. It's truly a great habit worth BREAKING! You're welcome for that, next gen.


What addictions are you hoping NOT to pass on to your offspring?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Technology on Vacation?


Right now my family is on vacation at the lake. The whole family is together and either 2 things are happening. Either the kids are having a great time swimming and playing on the shore OR they are miserable and complaining because we decided as a family to not allow tablets or handheld game consoles during our vacation week. I am really hoping for the first one.

As a way to make sure that the kids have a good time and don't even think about their electronics we have planned a few fun activities for the week:
  • Family Talent Show: We have the annual talent show planned! Each year we put on a big show and there is a trophy for the winner! This gives the kids something to practice and work on during down time. 
  • Team Puzzle Challenge: Every year we make a puzzle, this year we upped the odds and made it a competition. We bought 2 of the same puzzle and picked teams. There will be a specified time during the day for the teams to work on the 1000 piece puzzle. First team to finish wins! 
  • Day Trip: To break up the week a little bit we have a day trip planned to take a train ride through an old logging area. This gives the kids something to look forward to during the week, and something to talk about for the rest of the week. 
Do you have a no electronics rule on vacation? 



Monday, July 14, 2014

Do you like YOU? Colbie Caillet Chimes In!

Have you heard the new song by Colbie Caillet called "Try"? It's really a great message about inner beauty and letting go of that pesky habit that makes women feel immense pressure to fit in. I don't believe any woman could listen to these lyrics and not relate, but once you get a hold of this video there's a new level of understanding. I got chills watching different women mouth the words of deeply felt lyrics that declare one sentiment over all others "LOVE YOURSELF FIRST!"  It was touching to watch women strip down to their natural selves beginning with Colbie, a modern day celebrity!

Colbie was recently interviewed by Elle magazine and she shared that this song came about when she was discussing the constant push and pull of celebrity life and having to fit a mold that isn't her. There she was chatting with Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds about how she was done-up to meet with him, but didn't actually feel comfortable. Her normal and natural inclination was to forgo a visit from the makeup artist and manicurist before meeting with this hotshot producer. However, the expectation to live up to society's beauty norm had once again overruled her own comfort and desires. This is a norm that is so unrealistic in today's Photoshop world. Babyface asked Colbie to create music with these feelings in mind. What resulted was authentic beauty...



This is just the message I want to reinforce with my daughter. I desire for my sweet child to feel a self-confidence and self-acceptance that comes from deep inside of her being and isn't dictated by a cold and materialistic world. Thank you, Colbie Caillet for countering that world through song and for giving myself and other moms the music (and role models) to inspire our children, and us, to love ourselves first.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cinematic Blind Spots

I was recently reading a blog post and the author used the term "cinematic blind spots" to refer to classic movies he had never seen before. I loved this term and it got me thinking about some of the classic movies that are my "cinematic blind spots"!

I grew up in a house with all sisters so when it comes to big action blockbusters there were a lot I missed.

*Indiana Jones: I have never seen any of the films. I am of course with the iconic scene where the Indiana Jones dude switched out a bag of something for some kind of treasure. I don't live in a cave. I assume that there is a big boat involved and possibly a football team.

*Star Wars: Despite the fact that I have purchased the original trilogy for different people I have never sat down and watched one of these movies from start to finish. From what I can tell it is a pretty classic good vs evil battle with a paternity twist.

Now action/ sci-fi movies are the not the only ones I have never seen, even some pretty classic chick flicks are on this list...

* Love Actually: I know this is a staple in the chick flick collection, but I have never been able to get past the first 10 minutes or so. From what I can tell it is a one of those movies that takes a bunch of different little love stories that eventually all come together to become one big love story. Or maybe I am totally wrong. I have no idea, I have never seen it.

What movies are in your cinematic blind spot? 




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Outdoor Games for Summer

This summer I'm hoping to stay active by staying outside! The best way to make this happen is by incorporating my whole family, but with three young children this isn't always easy, so I've decided to add some new and old games to the mix!


This past weekend, we hit the beach with a simple frisbee and had a complete blast. Just think a frisbee toss of "monkey in the middle" while ocean waves crash all over you. We had a complete blast beachside. I had actually forgotten just how fun it is to toss around a frisbee. This is definitely an activity for slightly older kids, but it's one they'll love. And if need be, remember to bring along water toys to keep younger siblings entertained.

Have you heard of a game called Ladderball? My husband just nabbed one on Amazon for $50 and it's already led to hours of fun (and a little frustration, too). This is a simple aim and toss game, but it's easy/tough enough to become fun and addictive. Try this one out this summer! 

There are your usual summer games and sports that come to mind like beach volleyball, but what about participating in some other classics such as kickball or handball? With a few bucks you can grab a handball from any sporting goods store that works for both kickball and handball, plus you don't need any other equipment to actually play. When I recently played handball with my son he was having a blast talking about all the new & different rules and types of "hits" involved in today's handball world! Moral of the story, it makes for another fun summer game the whole family will love.

What are your favorite summer games?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

No Eyebrows are the Latest Thing

We are pretty sure the Miley photo is photoshopped, but she really did dye them blonde at one point!
Yes you read that right, on many fashion runaways eyebrows are M.I.A. From Miley Cyrus, to Katy Perry and of course Lady Gaga this trend is moving into celebrity and you know once it goes to celebrity it's only a matter of time until this trend goes mainstream.

Believe it or not, this no eyebrow thing is nothing new. Monks have been shaving their eyebrows for spiritual reasons for a long time. Go back and check out the Mona Lisa and all her eyebrow-less glory! And of course Whoopi Goldberg has been sporting the almost zero eyebrow look for the length of her career. In fact try to picture her with eyebrows! It's weird.

Now if you are not ready to commit to completely plucking or shaving your brows there are other options. Instead of shaving, waxing or plucking every last eyebrow hair (ouch!) break out the bleaching cream and bleach them so light that they look close to your skin tone. Of course if your eyebrows are really dark you may have to do this often to keep them light. Hmmm I wonder if ombre eyebrows will be the next big thing.
This might be one trend I can't get behind. As for me I will keep my eyebrow inspiration with Frida Kahlo and rock the heck out of my thick brows. But like they say, never say never!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Eating for Two?

... You hear it when you're pregnant! It's fun when you're looking to splurge. It leads to fueling delicious cravings, but it's all a myth.

Sadly, don't tell that to my trice-pregnant self. I swear every one of my pregnancies was an "eating for two one-woman campaign". Even before having my first child my husband would yap about how he'd single-handedly fatten me up. So wrong! 

There's no such thing as eating for two.

Pregnant women are eating for themselves and a growing fetus. In fact, a woman should actually only eat 300-600 extra calories (per day) than her usual pre-pregnancy consumption, if that consumption is adequate for one's height and weight. That comes down to adding something like one PB&J sandwich, NOT a rack of ribs with a side of ice cream cake. Sure, there's variance to consider for all women, so check with your doctor early on in pregnancy to discuss just how much more you should healthfully eat.

And here's why...

Your post baby bod will thank you! Too many moms-to-be get sucked into an over-eating phase of pregnancy to think about the havoc it wreaks. Stretch marks and saggy skin may in fact come with the pregnancy territory, but excessive eating can exacerbate the outcome. So when you're tempted to overeat imagine the toll your body will take both externally and internally. My midwife warned me plenty that I was overeating. She showed me the excess fat just under my belly button that had nothing to do with a growing baby! She tried to help, but I didn't listen and no amount of crunches can fix that now!

Your baby will thank you! Not only will a healthy balanced eating pattern fuel baby, but it will fuel a soon to be exhausted new-mom! The newborn phase needs all the help it can get. Rev up your body with good foods and habits that will lead to added energy not lathargy post-delivery.

Your doctor will thank you! Eating too much does have its complications for mom and baby. Gestational diabetes (GD) is a common byproduct of overeating while pregnant. This is an ailment where babies develop diabetes in their mothers' wombs. Keep your eating habits healthy to actually reduce possible birth complications such as GD. In my case, I ate so much my children were all 9+ lbs. This wasn't ideal. It also wasn't safe. In the end, I was lucky, but my children could have been very easily born via c-section all because they were simply too large to delivery. I also had to test three separate times for GD during each of my pregnancies. That wasn't fun. Who wants blood drawn every hour for three hours on an empty stomach, well, empty if you don't count the disgusting sugary drink you must consume three times as part of this medical exam? Yuck!

Did you over-eat while pregnant, too? Or know a mom who does? 
Were you more of the balanced, healthy eater? Share your input in the comments section!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Easy Arts and Crafts for Kids: Lithograph Prints


We are now into the heart of summer and chances are, if you have kids at home you have heard "I'm bored" more than once. To keep my kids busy we have made Fridays "Arts and Craft days" and recently we did a really cool lithograph print project that I was so surprised was super easy!

You will need:
  • styrofoam plates
  • scissors
  • chop stick or mechanical pencil
  • paint and foam brush
  • paper


 First I took the plates and cup the lid around the edge to give a bit of a flatter service to work on.


Next we drew our pictures. The idea is to make indented lines into the styrofoam as deep as you can without poking holes! We found that a chopstick worked great. You could also use a mechanical pencil without the lead.


After the drawing is complete, next it's time to make the print. Start by using a foam brush to add a thin layer of paint onto the same side you did the drawing.



Flip your paper plate over onto a clean piece of paper and press down.


Lift your plate and you are left with a really cool print. I am in love with these 2 fish my daughter made.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ready for Fireworks?!?

HerMamas.com wishes you a fun and safe 4th of July holiday!


Parent and Child Back and Forth Journal

 I am hitting a weird stage with my 9 year old daughter. Is there such a thing as a pre-pre-teen? We are moving away from that stage in life where she told me everything. I use to get complete summaries of her days from what her friend said in math to what she ate for lunch to how she had a wood chip in her shoe all day. These days I feel like I have to pry any information out of her. Many conversations go like this....

"Hey! How was your day?"
"Ok"
"What did you do?"
"Stuff"

I know that keeping an open line of communication with my kids is important. I know that it is important for my daughter to know that she can come and talk to me about anything. Recently while shopping Amazon for a new journal I came across this one. Written by a Mother and Daughter this journal was created as a way for parent and child to communicate through journaling.

SO UP MY ALLEY!

I loved this idea and I had the perfect notebooks to use. I bought these Pendleton notebooks months ago and loved them. I had been carrying one around waiting for the perfect reason to write in it. I wanted to use it for something I would want to keep because how gorgeous is the cover art?

I added a few labels and wrote my daughter a letter and handed her the notebook. She flipped over this idea. She thought it was so cool to have something that was just ours that no one else could see. I think that part is important. In order for her to feel comfortable and allow her to be open and honest she has to know it is just between us.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Benefits of an Electronics-Free Zone

In our home, there's three cell phones, a TV, iPad, and two laptops. It's really technology overload. Things play out much like this if we're not cautious: one kid's on the iPad, another watching Netflix on the television using our Wii console, and another playing games on mom or dad's cell phone. Even my husband and I could be utilizing our laptops, and in a family of five, zero human interaction is happening. When I see this unfolding in our home, I immediately feel uneasy. I'll be honest, we are not the kind of family that limits the use of electronics everyday, but we're definitely getting there.

Just yesterday, I declared our home an "electronics-free zone" and made it 6 hours technology-free. What this comes down to is making sure children have good alternatives. It also means parents have to stay away from their many gadgets.

For us an "electronics-free zone" consisted of water play, soccer, scrap-booking, a long family walk, a visit to our local pizza parlor and family chores. I  was thrilled to put away the iPad, shut down our PC's and keep Netflix off. Naturally, this led to added conversations, time to be creative (i.e. my son and I read a kid's cookbook together and planned dinners for the week), and more overall connection among our family.
Also, this gives us time to explain to (and show) our children the benefits of staying in the "no electronics zone"...

  • Improves interpersonal/social skills. I let my children know that the best love and interaction comes from irreplaceable humans and not those dime-a-dozen machines.
  • Keeps us healthy and active. Having electronics off leads to outside play and in our home that translates into long walks or soccer matches on the lawn.
  • Creates Real Connections. There's so much more to talk about among each other if we're not all buried in an electronic device.
  • Reminds Us of What Matters Most. Friends and family are one of a kind. They cannot be recreated virtually and deserve more attention than an iPad App or Television show!
Do you limit the use of electronics in your home, too?!?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Get your Groove(Book) On!


I take a ridiculous amount of photos on my phone. After they were posted onto social media they just stayed on my phone until the memory was full. My next step was to transfer all my photos from my phone to my external hard-drive where they would just sit, forever and most likely never be seen again.

Last Valentine's Day my husband bought me an app. Yes an app. Turned out to be a super cool app that I didn't know I needed! Groovebook is an app that you get for your smart phone. You then sign up for services that cost $2.99 a month.(this includes shipping!)  And what do you get for $2.99 a month you are asking? Well, you get 100 prints of any photo from your phone!

There are so many great things about this app...

  • Easy to use! You simply open the app and click on the photos you wanted printed and them hit upload. 
  • Never miss a book. It could be super easy to forget the monthly deadline for uploading pictures. Not with Groovebook, they send you a few reminders to your phone before your deadline. 
  • Easy to share and store: Each book comes in a different super cute cover design and look great displayed. The photos are are perforated at the top so they are easy to tear out and give away or frame. 

A few things to know....
  • What ever day you sign up will be your deadline day. 
  • The pictures come of photo paper that is a little thinner than I expected.
  • Instagram photos will not cover the whole 4x6 photo since they are square. 
  • If you miss your deadline you are still charged the $2.99




I get so excited when my new Groovebook comes in. I have been filling my monthly book with pictures for each month on the year. Plus my kids love being able to look at photos of themselves.

This is such an easy way to get those pictures off your phone and into your hands. 
And yes it really is only $2.99!