Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Don't Miss It: McFarland USA

Have you heard of the film McFarland USA? This movie is a must watch. Fans of true stories will enjoy this one, and if you come from a mexican household or community, you'll be filled with nostalgia. I know I was moved by the family dynamic, those 1980 lowrider scenes and the moment there's a Quincea├▒era in full swing. 

However, that's not what makes this movie so amazing. McFarland USA is the true story of an unlikely team of cross-country high school athletes who beat the odds and become a winning team. The winning however isn't their greatest legacy. Their greatest legacy was pursuing opportunities cross-country running provided them and their families. These students came from a community where teen pregnancy, high dropout rates, and working as field workers while attending school was the norm. College wasn't typical for the students of McFarland, but one coach decided to go beyond "typical" and inspire positive change while loving families rallied around these boys and their success. 

was clearly moved by this story in many ways but that wasn't the highlight for me. The highlight was how my 8 year old son cried a couple of key times during this film. The emotions and triumph was so real that this drama even hit home for a youngin' who was expecting just another animated cartoon. Through this movie my child was reminded just how easy his life is and that not every child, especially minorities from low-income households, are afforded the same opportunities. More importantly, he understood that hard work makes any dream come true regardless of your circumstances.

Don't miss this movie and take your whole family to see McFarland USA.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Extracurricular Activities

As much as I envisioned myself as a soccer mom, my kids are just not athletic. Neither of my kids have showed any interest in soccer, t-ball, basketball, volleyball, or really anything like that. Since sports were the go-to extracurricular activity for young kids I kind of just kept my kids from anything outside of school. As my kids got older we made the decision to homeschool and all of a sudden I was panicked to find some kind of extracurricular acitvity for my girls. 

There are lots of reasons why extracurricular activites are important for kids. 
  • Making new friends. Since we homeschool this is very important for us. This was also important for us parents. My husband and I are not originally from the area we live in so meeting other parents is a great bonus. 
  • Teaching teamwork. Being a part of a group, a sports team or a chess team, working with a group towards common goals helps develop a sense of team work and team pride. 
  • Self-esteem boosting. When you work towards a goal and achieve it, it's great for your self-esteem. You also have a whole new cheering section in your group encouraging you. 
  • Responsibility. As part of a group kids will learn how to manage their time as well as learn that when other people are counting on you, you need to push yourself to show up. 
For my family we found the perfect fit by joining a Girl Scout troop. Over the year that my girls have been involved I have seen their confidence and over all happiness improve. 

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
  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
  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
  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?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A New TV Series I am Really Excited About.

A new television series is putting together a lot of things I am a fan of. First I am a huge fan of producer Gregory Nava. His films Mi Familia, Selena and Frida are some of my favorite flicks. I also love California. I am born and bred 2nd generation Californian. I don't think there is any place I would ever want to live.

This year my homeschooled 4th grader and I have been studying all about California history and we went all the way back to like when it was just the Native here. We talked about the Spanish settlements, the missions and eventually how the Spanish lost control and California was part of Mexico. Of course we all know that Mexican rule did not last long and Mexico lost California to the U.S.

This new series from Jennifer Lopez' Nuyorican Productions simply called "California" will follow one family over 200 years living in California. We will see one family go through Spanish, Mexican and United States rule.

I have always liked the term "we didn't cross the border. The border crossed us". I think its important to remember the rich and complicated history our state has. This series sounds like it is going to be a must watch for me!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dieting Adventures: Raw Vegan

I joined some gals at work and took part in a five day raw vegan diet. Now, that was the hardest diet ever. Never again! I don't mean to say it isn't a wonderful alternative for those who decide to follow this type of diet, but I will say, it's too hard of a diet for me to personally maintain. This diet was a great short-term detox.

Raw vegan takes vegan to a new level. Not only is this diet about eating meat-free non-processed foods (no animal products at all), but food cannot be altered by heat. Yup, raw means raw. That means raw veggies and juices galore! No sugars, additives, or processing allowed. The most unbelievable thing that came to mind was just how many animal-products and/or processed foods I eat routinely: coffee, meats, cheese, milk, yogurt... all completely off limits.

I survived on plain salads,  nuts, flaxseed snacks and guacamole. Even oatmeal doesn't make the cut as it's considered a cooked product. Yes, cooked oats are technically processed. I enjoyed a horde of salads with lemon, salt and pepper (hold the processed dressings).

Some of the pros included trying various veggies for variety and flavor: radishes, cucumber, kale, etc. etc. Additionally, I drank plenty of water and freed myself, at least momentarily, from my coffee dependency.

Some of the cons: it's hard to eat out, virtually impossible, on this kind of diet. It's also pricey to shop for raw vegan snacks and juices. One lunch consisted of raw juice, almonds, flaxseed "chips" and guac and cost me $16. This isn't to say the diet has to be expensive for everyone. The solution is to pre-plan meals for cost-effectiveness and not attempt to wing it as I sometimes did. Vegetables and fruits aren't expensive in bulk, so stalk up before going this diet route.

I'm happy I tried the raw vegan lifestyle, but I'm equally thrilled it was over in five short days. Raw vegan just isn't for me. How about you?

What are the diets you've tried outside of your comfort zone?

Monday, March 16, 2015

A New York School Tells Its Students to NOT Do Homework- Parents arePissed

Homework. I have heard many parents with kids as young as kindergarten complaining about how much homework their children have and how much time it takes. There are kids who spend all day at school and another 3-4 hours after school working on homework. This seems like a bit much so elementary P.S 116 in New York adopted a new approach. They have eliminated homework for their students.

The principal said in a letter to parents...

"The topic of homework has received a lot of attention lately, and the negative effects of homework have been well established. They include: children's frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning… In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there have been a variety of studies conducted on the effects of homework in the elementary grades and not one of them could provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success."

Sounds like a student's dream come true. Some parents may have been did a happy dance. But not all parents were happy with this decision. Some parents felt that homework was a lesson in discipline and on how to work towards a goal. Other parents were concerned that their children will fall behind academically.

An elementary school in Chicago implemented a no homework policy this school year with positive outcomes. Eighty percent of parents have agreed that the no homework policy has had a positive impact on their student. The only real issue that parents are having is that they feel like they don't know what their students are studying in school. This concern was heard and corrected with a weekly email to parents with an overview of the weeks work.

As a parent of an elementary student I am torn on this issue. I can see how homework is not essential at this age. But then again if a student goes through elementary school without homework and then gets to junior high and has homework how would that transition go?

Are you for a no-homework policy for elementary students? 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Moms Against GMOs

Know what a GMO is? 
  1. genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food.

These "little suckers" are destroying ALL foods (except organic) and the impact runs deep. I recently sat at a conference that covered just how much foods being altered by GMOs are impacting our health... spikes in cancer, autism, auto-immune disorders and more. 

Moms Against GMOs is a group working to spread awareness to every mom, dad and person to do what they can against GMO usage.  Can any one person change the multi-million dollar food and pharmaceutical industry? No! These industries benefit from GMO food production and the drugs used to regulate diseases brought on by their existence in our foods. Feels like a vicious insurmountable struggle, but awareness matters. 

So inform yourself and google Moms Against GMOs! You'll be happy you did.  The more you know, the more you share so others learn about these negative effects, too. This means no one person battles this issue alone.

If Europe could ban GMOs the USA COULD & SHOULD, TOO! Our lives and health dependent it. What else can you do? 

- Buy all organic products. These are truly free of GMO contamination. 

- Write to your politicians and press the issue of banning GMOs or at least labeling foods that carry them so that we can make an informed choice.

- Watch movies and read books/articles about the horrible effects of GMO usage that severely damage our health; and again, share this info. with others.

- Share this post with others and begin thinking about the generically modified products in most food. These are likely bringing on severe ailments. These products must be stopped.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

An 11 year old Christian Grey!

Here at HerMamas we love to see anything that helps to promote a love of reading. If you have a child in grade school you may have recently celebrated World Book Day. Maybe your kid got to dress up as their favorite character from a book. There was probably a Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland . At a school in London an 11 year boy came to school dressed as his favorite book character... 

Yup that's an 11 year old in a grey suit with a grey tie holding an blindfold and zipties. Yes this kid went to school dressed as Christian Grey. Understandably the teacher was a bit weirded out by this and did not allow Liam Scholes to be in any of the class pictures until he modified his costume. And now his Mom is upset. Nicola Scholes, who is also a school teacher, feels that the school and teacher overreacted. She also felt that the school was a bit hypocritical because other students were dressed as characters with guns, and a teacher was even dressed up as the lovable serial killer Dexter yet her son was called out for her sexually charged character.

I think that sending your kid to school as a kinky sex character with tools for bondage is inappropriate. I don't think an 11 year old should know any details about Christian Grey or 50 Shades of Grey. But does this upset Mom have a point?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Talking to Kids About Sex

All together now... "VAGINAAAAA!" It's funny to think about having the sex talk with kids until you're there. In the following video parents bravely broach this topic with mostly grade-schoolers (some seem even younger than that). 

These kiddos have the most hilarious reactions. It's funny to watch, sure, but it's also great to see parents explain sex so maturely and honestly with their young children. After all, we want them to learn about the "big stuff" from us so they feel comfortable talking about the "big stuff" as they grow up and face decisions involving sex.

Do you think talking about sex with children as young as those in this video is appropriate?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Want Kylie Jenner's Pout? There's a Product for That.

For those of us that admit to "Keeping Up with Kardashians" have noticed that the youngest of the family, Kylie Jenner has started to look a lot more like her older siblings with lots of hair, make-up and what appears to be lip injections. Recently the youngest Jenner has been posting lots of selfies with a new pout.

Of course full lips are all the rage and recently I was introduced to a product by this viral video.

I had to see what this product was. Candy Lipz will help you get those full lips without injections. I was floored that this actually exists.

They are a silicon suction apple shaped apparatus. There are 2 different types of products. One gives you 2 full lips, the other has the bottom lip suction with 2 sections to give you an indention in the middle of the bottom lip. You can get both for $120.00 or just one for $70.00. According to the website one suction can give you fuller lips for up to 2 hours. They also caution you to work up to really full lips by slowly increasing each day. If you go for full suction right out the gate, you risk giving yourself hickies around your mouth.

Of course there chance of the lip enhancement fail like the girl in the video above!

Would you use this product or do you find it silly? 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Get Ready to Laugh: Hilarious Memes Monday

Mondays often get such a bad rap. After all, these suckers usually interrupt work-free weekends zapping us back to the 9-5 routine. To get your mind off the drag Monday can be, join us as we periodically feature hilarious memes Monday... 

Share your favorite memes too! Email us at irene@hermamas.com!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Legal Guardians

It is something that we don't want to even think about, but it's something important to discuss. What happens to your children if you and your partner die? (Told you it was something you don't want to think about). Choosing legal guardians for your children is an important step that parents should make. Many of us may assume that certain people will take of your children if something were to happen but what if they don't. Without legal guardians in place you are leaving the future of your children up to the courts. They could end up with family you would never have chosen or even in foster care. By naming legal guardians you can rest a little easier.

When it comes to picking legal guardians for your children there are many things to consider. You want people who you will love your children as if they were their own. You also want to consider religious preferences and their thoughts on education, dating and other things that are important to you. One person, not a couple, should be listed as guardian so that if there is the incident of divorce.  Of course you want to have a serious talk with your potential guardians. All parties involved need to discuss everything open and honestly. All this is for the best interest of the children involved.

Remember that even after you have named guardians, this does not mean that it is set in stone. It can be changed. Maybe the person you listed suddenly moves across the country. If your children are older moving across country after losing their parents may not be what you want for your children. Or what if the person you name unexpectedly has triplets. In our situation at this time my Mom is listed as guardian but in 10 years we may change that since my Mom will be retired and she may change her mind about raising teenagers at that age.

After the decision has been made go that extra step and make it official and make it legal. A last will and testament drawn up by a lawyer will help you feel more secure and confident that your children will be taken care of. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Get to Streaming: Must Watch Instant Vids

It's that time of year again. No, not daylight savings or spring cleaning. It's time for streaming TV show gems. With the return of House of Cards,  I've gotten excited about all the possibilities for late night TV binging.

Let's start with House of Cards. Kicking off their third season this Kevin Spacey led series is the perfect balance of suspense and make-believe. At least I hope it's all make-believe. If real politics are anything like this show then Obama is one scary dude. Without giving away to much, I'd say give this show ago. The first season can feel slow in the beginning, but this show is worth it. 

Have you seen or heard of the show Transparent available on Amazon instant video. This is a show about a father who decides to transition to being female later in life. This change impacts the lives of all he loves including his three grown children. This one while funny at times, is really a show about family and overcoming. Dialogue feels so common place; this family loves and argues like any other normal family while going through major life issues. Stream this one today.

June 2nd is around the corner and that means Orange is the New Black is almost back on Netflix. Another show in its junior season that only continues to ignite buzz. The best part of this show is the fiery and unique ensemble made up of amazing female actors (and a couple of male goofs too). This is not only a hilarious show to watch, but it gives you something bigger to think about regarding the prison system and women. This group of actors actually just won an Emmy for best TV ensemble. All in all, this is a must stream series, so get started on season 1 & 2 if you haven't already. 

What are you steaming????

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What's Your Child's EF?

When it comes to parenting there are a lot of different words, terms and acronyms that we learn all about. Recently I read an article all about EF. This was a new one for me. EF stands for executive function. EF is all about the ability to regulate emotions, organize thoughts, setting goals, paying attention and resisting impulses. These are all things that as adults many of us have, but our kids can sometimes lack these things. Basically it is what allows us to focus and work.

Obviously kids are not born with EF, it is something that develops over time. In certain types of disorders like autism and ADHD the EF is impaired. When a child has an impaired EF they have trouble with self-control and attention. There are also many cases where a child does not have any kind of disorder and scores high on intelligence exams and yet lacks EF. Without the executive function kids find it difficult to concentrate on a given task like homework.

I have found with my 9 year old that she has a hard time getting to work on things she has to do. She has this "It's not fun" mentality and sometimes just shuts down when it comes to things like school work. Reading about EF made me realize that she is still developing her executive function and this is something that as a parent I need to help her with. So off to the internet I go!

Some ways to help improve EF skills are...

  • Stick to a routine. Starting homework at the same time everyday instead of waiting until your child feels like it. 
  • Enforce clean-up time to help keep a clean an organized space.
  • Set time limits for activities or break down tasks in time increments. 
  • Have you child use a day planner to help to teach organization and time management.
  • Checklists for things that need to get done during the day or for a big project.
  • Games that involve tracking, memorizing, and matching.
  • Music or dance lessons can help with attention and memorization. 
  • Puzzles like word searches, crosswords and even sudoku can help with attention. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lessons in Love

Today marks 12 years since I've officially been with my hubby. This means 12 years ago he asked me to be his girlfriend. At that point, life was easy. The most annoying part of life was having to be apart for too long. Much has changed since becoming my hubby's newly minted girlfriend. We grew up, evolved and learned invaluable love lessons:

1. Love is a verb. Such a clich├ę and yet it's true. When I was two and a half years into my marriage it was so hard we almost divorced. My husband recently revealed that during the troubled times though I spoke to him with contempt and used harshly critical words, my actions were loving overall. I supported him. I contributed and never truly stopped loving him (you wouldn't have guessed that by my hateful words at the time). Even when things aren't turbulent for couples and you aren't facing challenges love is still all about ACTION! Love is in the doing and not simply about words strung together. That being said the best way to keep your relationship in a loving space is to show love through your gestures, listen actively and constantly "woo" one another.

2. Love is evergreen. Ed Sheeran said it best. Real love doesn't grow old. Love is about being able to transition and grow together because life itself is ever-changing. This dynamic is inevitable, so relationships must grow with time. This growth means progress of any kind, reaching new goals together and simply maturing. 

3. Love is hard work. If your long-term romantic relationship has always been easy then you're a rare, rare specimen. Challenges like changes are typical aspects of life and so love will inevitably go through ups and downs. The secret is to understand the downs will come, prepare for them and enjoy the highs when you have them. Embrace that love takes work and never giving up on the hard work leads to truly successful and lasting relationships. 

What has a loving relationship in your life taught you?

Monday, March 2, 2015

YouTube Kids

I remember when my kid came into our room freaked out thanks to falling into a YouTube hole that left her scared. She started on the Angry Birds game and it ended up on some scary anime clip. YouTube can be a really great resource. As a homeschooling Mom I use it all the time, but am always worried what video will pop up during  search or after a video ends. 

YouTube has made parents a little more secure with the new YouTube Kids app. I love this! There is so much good, funny and educational videos out there and now kids can safely explore all YouTube has to offer. This app will definitely go onto my kids tablet!