Thursday, April 30, 2015

What's a Mom to Do!?!? Holey Shoes Edition

My almost nine year old gave up on wearing jeans to school because it was a struggle. He looked great. He loved wearing jeans. He's got style, but he couldn't manage to keep them in one piece. Holes around his kneecaps were such a norm and more frequent than this mom knew what to do. So we battled. It'd expect him to wear holey jeans, he'd expect me to get him new jeans every week or so. It was the standard debate until he gave up and this entire school year he's only worn shorts to school. Shorts don't lead to holey kneecaps, just dirty knees.

That debate being settled should have been the end of this issue, if it weren't for holey shoes. This is where things get interesting. My son received a great new pair of Nike shoes over the holidays. You'd think those would have lasted. They didn't. These suckers were holey in less than 5 weeks. What in the world?!? I crazy-glued holes to simply squeeze out another few weeks. I thought Nikes would have been the best buy. Wrong! 

                Cost: approx. $50 bucks:

We moved on to Payless shoes which cost around $27 dollars (Champions Brand) and these also lasted only a month or so, but appeared much less holey. In fact, I'd expect a month out of Payless shoes, but not Nikes. 

                   So what did I do a next? 

I went to Ross. I dread Ross and usually find the long lines and messy aisles a hassle. Now, I'm singing a new tune. My kiddo picked a pair of $20 Fila shoes that have now lasted beyond a month, and get this, NO HOLES.

Moral of the story, shop around. Plus, don't overspend. Like with this case, sometimes the best deals do lead to the best items. Find a brand that works and stick to it! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Free-Range Parenting

We are familiar with free-range chickens, but have you heard of free-range kids? In the age of the helicopter parent, there is a new completely opposite movement emerging.

Free Range Parents are raising free-range kids. And just like the chickens, these kids are free to come and go without parental supervision. The idea of free-range kids came into the media spotlight recently when 2 boys from Maryland were picked up by the police while walking home from a park. The boys are 10 and 6 years old and had permission from their parents Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, to walk to a nearby park, play for 2 hours and walk home. Their parents had talked and made the decision that their children were mature and smart enough to walk to the park alone. While walking home, just 4/10 of a mile from home and due to a 911 call from a neighbor who saw the boys playing alone at the park, they were picked up by police. The boys were held for hours and taken to Child Protective Services. Their parents, who were obviously out of their mind with worry, were not contacted until hours later. Before they were given their children back the Meitivs had to sign a safety plan that would not allow them to leave their children alone ever again. If they were to allow their children to walk alone they would be taken away again.

This incident made me think of my childhood. My grandparents lived maybe 200 yards from a park. Once in awhile my cousins and I were given permission to walk to the park and play by ourselves. It was totally normal and we saw lots of other kids there without an adult in sight. I remember when I was a kid how some kids walked home from the school bus stop on their own. Would I allow my kids to do this today? HELL NO. Why? Because I am way too freaked out with all the what-ifs and maybe's. Because I would rather be crazy over-protective than sorry. But because I feel that way, should other parents be punished for not being over-protective?

Free-range parenting is obviously highly controversial. There is the pro side who feel that by giving your child freedom you are teaching them a valuable lesson of independence. There is the anti side who feels that allowing your child to be unsupervised is neglect.

What is your opinion on this new (or is it really old?) parenting style?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Halo Effect: Apple Products

Whether you love or loath Apple products there's no doubt Apple is a success juggernaut. I can remember owning my first iPod. It was so simple, so useful and literally revolutionized music mobility. Now there's no point for an iPod since my iPhone, and eventual iPad, took the place of it and then some.

Recently, my hubby went on an Apple products binge. He got everything for us from new Apple iPhone earbuds, to an Apple TV and a new iMac desktop. I swear he's making way to sneak in an Apple watch. But could we really rationalize a $400+ price tag for a watch? I mean this is a watch that does what our iPhone already does. Why the need for a watch?

Note to self: I will likely "eat these very words" one day. 

What I once thought about the iPod will become what I once thought about my iPhone. One day owning an Apple watch will be typical of most. It's the Halo Effect at play. According to "The halo effect is a term used in marketing to explain the bias shown by customers towards certain products because of a favorable experience with other products made by the same manufacturer or maker. Basically, the halo effect is driven by brand equity."

At first, we don't see products taking over our lives. It's these small changes like purchasing an inexpensive iPod that eventually turn into larger purchases. Suddenly we're $1,000 in the hole, faithful to one brand, and we have everything that brand ever created synced into one seamless way of life. For me, that's the case with Apple products and still I once swore we'd never get an iPad or an iMac. I swore we didn't need these commodities and yet here we are completely enthralled by them.

As much as I can't rationalize an Apple watch purchase today, I know enough to know that one day my entire family will likely have one around their wrists. It's this Halo Effect and the fact that we just keep indulging in the technology all around us.

Do you have items in your life that are a result of the so-called Halo Effect?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Meme Monday- Frozen Edition

Happy Monday. Just when I thought my kids had moved on from the Frozen bandwagon, they recently busted out the DVD and jumped right back on. 

For all the parents out there who have watched Frozen 100,000 times here are some funny memes just for you. 

Have a great week! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Millennials ruining the workplace?

In the middle of a training on staff development millennials kept coming up. Truth be told, it wasn't very positive each time they did. To be clear this generation  is usually referring to anyone born between the early 80's and early 2000's. That would make me a millennial (or someone on the cusp at least).

The gripes folks had about mille's is that they're often entitled and spoiled. They didn't want to work traditional hours and are too connected to electronic devices. Also, mille's are starved for validation and needed to hear thank you every 10 mins. Now, I don't know that I identified with that completely but I definitely saw some of this in me and in millennials I've worked with. 

As the conversation went on it became less a matter of 'those young folks' and more a matter of every generation is different and every generation has value. In this discussion folks kept calling this group kids. And finally one person who wasn't a millennial bravely spoke up. "These aren't kids." These are thriving, energized, walking marketing agents. They're hardworking, constantly boasting about the great work they perform on social media (a walking commercial for their workplace), and creative high-energy employees. They're a key sector of our new and vibrant workforce.

Millennials aren't all that bad, but the perception of them can come across as such... 

Like with everything there's two sides to every coin and truth be told not everyone can be put in a "generational box." As my hubby put it, "we're always going to have that older generation slightly ragging on the next all: oh-well-in-my-day". But this isn't a matter of younger vs older people at all. This is a matter of working with varying professionals of all walks of life and personality types. 

The key question as leaders and co-workers: do we know how to effectively work with different types of people regardless of when they were born?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mom Received Angry Letter From Friends: Stop Posting About Your Baby!

Jade Ruthven of Australia has a beautiful 6 month old baby at home. Like a lot of new moms she enjoys sharing pictures of her daughter with her friends on Facebook. Recently Jade received a letter from her "friends".


I have got together with a few of the girls and we are all SO OVER your running commentary of your life and every single thing Addy does. Look we all have kids that we are besotted with- guess what- every parent thinks their kids is the best ever. But we don't ram it down everyone's neck!!! She wears an new outfit- well take a photo and send it PRIVATELY to the person who gave it to her- not to everyone!!!! She crawls off the mat- we DON'T care!!!!! She's 6 months old- BIG DEAL!!!! Stop and think- if every mother posted all that crap about their kid- I'm sure you'd get over it pretty quickly. 

We can't wait for you to get back to work- maybe you won't have time to be on Facebook quite so much. 

Addy is gorgeous and we all love her, but our kids are great too. 

I guess you are just pissing a lot of people off with all your "Addy this and Addy that"-we all thought it might ease off after the first month, but it hasn't.

No everyone is interested as you are about what Addy does so give us all a break. 

We're doing this to let you know what people really think. 

Wow. Just wow.

Okay I can see both sides of this. I know people who post pictures of their kids constantly. Also I am one of those people who posts pictures of my kids constantly. I imagine there are some people out there who are so over seeing picture after picture of my kids, but they are polite enough to keep it to themselves.

Oversharing thorugh social media is a real thing. People do it all the time and people are annoyed by it. But most people are probably smart enough to find the Unfollow button on Facebook. You can still be Facebook friends with a person and remove their updates from your feed. What a simple solution.

The fact that this woman took the time to compose and send out this letter says so much about her. She comes off as bitter and mean. In the letter she states that she doesn't care when baby Addy crawls off her mat. When a friend of mine has a new baby, especially if they are a friend I don't get to see often, I am thankful for Facebook because it allows me to watch these babies that I adore, hit new milestones. I want to see when they first crawl, when they eat solids for the first time, when they get their first tooth.

I hope that Jade has reevaluated her "friendship" with these women. Geez!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mindfulness and why everyone's talking about it...

My husband got to go to a work retreat on Mindfulness last week hosted by UCLA and it was full of experts helping folks embrace mindfulness principles? Heard of those? Sure you have... Seems like the concept of mindfulness is everywhere these days.
  1. Mindfulness is "the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment", which can be trained by meditational practices."
What does that even mean, right?

Mindfulness in practice could be defined a few different ways: meditation, presence, and the resting of our minds from relentless thoughts. 

According to here's a bit on how to accomplish mindfulness... 

Mindfulness meditation practice couldn't be simpler: take a good seat, pay attention to the breath, and when your attention wanders, return. By following these simple steps you can get to know yourself up close & personal.

How are you feeling? Meditation gives us a chance to entertain that question at a deeper level. It can give us the room to fully experience an emotion for what it is. 

Mindful movement gets us out of our heads and into our bodies—and into the world around us. It can be as simple as a series of movements and posture options you can use as part of a sitting meditation session—or anytime.

What do you think about this concept... helpful or fluff? 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

She-Sheds: Womens Answer to the Man-Cave

Everyone deserves a space of their own. We have all heard of man-caves. They are the equivalent to the "No-Girls Allowed" clubs little boys made. Man-caves are typically filled with big screen TV's, overstuffed recliners and maybe a deer head trophy on the walls. There is a new trend, women's answer to the man-cave and they are calling them a She-Shed. 

Women are taking the free standing sheds that you can buy from Home Depot and turning them into these beautiful spaces. 

Women are making their own spaces to do things that they enjoy. Some have made a craft room, a reading nook, a sewing room, a yoga studio or even a home office.

I love this idea! If I could have my own She-Shed I would have scented oils and a big cushy chair with a mexican inspired print. There would be Frida posters and an altar with lots of paper flowers. Of course I would have a great sound system. I would love to have a space to retreat to, to read or crochet quietly for an hour or so. And of course there would be a sign that says...


posted on the front door.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quarantine Me: Surviving Flu and Cold Season

My family has been sick for what feels like over a month. First an endless bout with stomach flu took four of five of us down (I came out unscathed), then cold symptoms took over. In fact, I am home today with not one but two sick kids. This is torture, for all involved.

Every year I feel will be different and that I'll magically get my family out of flu and cold season minimally impacted. Every year, I am wrong. What's a mom to do?

According to WebMD surviving this season is totally doable. Here are the basics (if only I had researched sooner):
  • Wash your hands: So common-sensical right? And still we don't do this enough. Have a handy hand sanitizer pump (out of kids reach) so you can quickly grab and squirt. Make sure it's safe for kids.
  • Catch symptoms early: child eating or sleeping less? Do they seem overly cranky. Look out for the other tall-tale signs such as runny or stuffy noses.
  • Get your medicine cabinet ready: best way to battle the early signs is to ensure you have all necessary essentials. Stock up on flu meds, thermometers and healing meds that will bring comfort to your child (e.g. saline drops for stuffy noses). 
  • Keep Sick Kids Home: they need rest and recovery and not a trip to school or daycare where germs may be running rampant. This may be tough, but enlist a relative to take on your kiddo while you're working.
  • Don't share eating utensils: better yet use disposables to curb lingering germs. We tend to get three bottles for our three kids and with a large sharpie write their names on each to ensure they don't share. 
  • Pump kids full of liquids: feed them their favorite soups, smoothies or other drinks. Hey maybe even yummy popsicles. Whatever it takes to keep kids hydrated. 

These are just some helpful tips we know, but all too often we overlook. Then suddenly colds and flu season attacks take us completely down for longer than ideal.

Good luck moms and dads and may happy healthy days be just around the bend! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

40 years of Marriage

It's been said that rain on your wedding day is good luck. I think it must be true. On April 5th my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. That's right it's been 40 years. In 1975 my then 19 year old Mom and 21 year old Dad married in the local Catholic church on a rainy day.

According to statistics only 65% of those married in the 70's made it to their 15th wedding anniversary. But 40 years later my parents sat at a restaurant surrounded by their 4 children, 3 son-in-laws, and 5 wonderful grandchildren because 40 years of marriage is something to celebrate.

Growing up my sisters and I were the strange kids at school because our parents were still together. We didn't mind being the odd man out when it came to not having divorced parents. My parents gave my siblings and even my friends an example of what marriage could be and should be about.

My parents almost never fought, they worked through rough times together, they always had fun together and they were always a united front when it came to us kids. They made marriage look fun and effotless. Now that I have been married for 9 years I now realize that marriage is hard work, an ultimate commitment, and totally worth it.

I asked my mom, Mercy Gomez, what she has learned after 40 years of being married to my dad, Felix Gomez.

She also added....

I am so grateful for the hard work and commitment my parents have put into their marriage.  They have given us a solid foundation and great example of marriage.

Happy 40th anniversary Mom and Pops. Cheers! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Are organized sports ruining your kid?

Okay, ruin is a strong word. I just needed a title to express what I felt when my kid was told "not to cheer" after he scored a 2nd goal during a recent soccer game. Granted he and another kid practically did back flips and simulated fighter jets as they celebrated, but is this really reason enough not to cheer?
Here's the coaches' reasoning: don't cheer because other kids may feel bad. What???? So my kid should contain his excitement to not hurt the non-scoring kids' feelings and this for kids on both teams. Isn't that a bit much? I mean a kid works so hard to score. They get that one moment of elation and to tone that down in the name of fairness seems nuts.

I say: let them cheer!

To be fair, cheering goes both ways. You better believe I am okay with my son losing and having to watch other kids go on and on celebrating their win and personal goals. I mean why not? Bottom line I want my child to work hard. I find that creating this illusion of chronic fairness doesn't breed realistic expectations of life. Life has winning and losing sides. The corporate world isn't all fairness and equality. College won't be an experience of "everyone gets an A" just like everyone gets a trophy at the end of  soccer season. He has to work for what whatever he gets in life.

I fundamental want my child to feel the natural highs and lows of winning and losing. I don't want his feelings spared out of fairness. Other parents clearly see it differently and this includes my kid's current coaches. Great guys so I respect their calls, but moving forward, I'd actually seek out a different organized sports entity that cares about winning and losing, keeps a tally of wins versus losses, and encourages kids to  obnoxiously celebrate their goals!

My son recently played basketball where every point mattered. Kids made it to playoffs and the value they placed on winning was acceptable as well as a realistic part of life. They cried through some tough losses. I saw the character and bond that built within them individually and as a team. Celebrating was important and I was the biggest cheerleader in the stands. Parents sometimes even gave me snarky looks, but why should I, or anyone, back down from celebrating hard work and wins?

This isn't to say we shame a team that loses. Winning gracefully is key. Sportsmanship is still critical but to minimize the value of a win and celebrating goals/wins shouldn't be considered standard out of so-called fairness.

What do you think? Agree with this HerMama's point of view? Why or why not? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Would you be okay with a Costco date night?

Date night is my favorite night of the week. My husband and I plan an outing at least once weekly and spend time out of the house. This is especially important since we're a family of five and could use periodic alone time as a couple.

Now if our usual date night was your typical dinner and a movie then we could spend close to $80 per date (babysitting fees included). Eighty might not seem like much but I'm not one who wants to spend $320 monthly on your standard four dinners and four movies. Instead, we get creative.

Here are some awesomely inexpensive date night ideas that won't break the bank:

Coffee shop chess: I say chess but any game board applies. This is a fun way to spend an evening laughing, chatting and sipping on your favorite coffeehouse brews. Find a no-name coffee shop for a more intimate effect. Yelp local coffee sellers to get a feel for what's in store at your local java spots.

Costco datenight: Sounds silly I know, but who doesn't love window shopping at Costco. Here's the thing: you can always surprise your partner with a rocking new book from Costco, grab a bouquet of flowers then make your way over to the delicious (and totally affordable) food court for dinner or lunch.

Sunset picnic: How romantic is a sunset? Find a lovely park bench, beachfront spot of any lovely viewpoint bring a blanket and delicious snacks from your local supermarket and you're all set. With portable music devices it's so easy to set a romantic mood in a secluded spot.

Bookstore binge: Grab your favorite mags, a cup of coffee and find yourself a great little spot to spend an afternoon chatting and reading at your favorite bookstore. Try travel mags and others that make dreaming together fun!

Explore outdoors: If you're by the beach or anywhere scenic outdoors find a trail to enjoy. Rent bikes beachside or opt for a hike mountainside. This is sweet and active date that won't break the bank. Even better, pick a starry and warm evening to lay together counting stars and splitting a 2 buck chuck bottle of wine (or 2 or 3 or 4).

Share your cheap date ideas too? Comment with tips.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hillary 2016

For years people have wondered if it would happen. People have been asking her "Will you run in 2016?". She has been coy about it but over the weekend Hillary Clinton made it official. On Twitter of course. She is running for President of the United States.

She made the announcement with this video.

Of course her announcement was immediately followed by gems like these...

and Twitter went nuts with things like...

While writing this my 9 year old daughter asked "What are you writing about now?" and I said "I'm writing about Hillary running for President." She asked me who HE was. I told her that Hillary was a women. She replied with "A girl is running for President. That's so cool." Just because Hillary is a democrat and a woman does not mean I will automatically vote for her. Over the next year or so I will follow the campaign and see if I feel that she is the candidate that best fills my wants and needs for a president. But my daughter's reaction reminded me why even just by running Hillary is doing something important. She is reminding girls everywhere that we can do and be anything we want to be. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pulling The Mom Card

Working with teenagers most of my career, I hear excuses as often as I breathe. That might feel excessive, but most teens, and eventual adults, only speak in excuses and don't even realize it. If we're lucky, one day we realize this about ourselves and evolve. Truth be told, it's quite empowering to drop all the excuses.

This past weekend I was sitting in a career fair with a woman who said the best advice a mentor ever gave her was "never apologize, never explain." Sounds pretty brash, but here's the logic...

How many times do we start an email with: "sorry - I didn't do ABC, because of XYZ." You get my drift, right? We've all been there. We suddenly spew direct or indirect defensiveness and give excuses and apologies more than we should. Doing this is actually completely unnecessary. We can and should leave out all the I'm sorries and lame excuses that follow. 

When I became aware of this, I suddenly realized how often I did apologize or throw out some excuse for simply being me. I began curbing the habit and before I knew it I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself for keeping the useless usage of overly apologizing and using excuses in check.

This doesn't mean I am completely immune.

If there's any area where parenting adults apologize and use excuses too often it's in parenthood. Whether we're back outing, being late, or just simply living an over-consumed parent life, we often gladly use our children to throw under the bus to justify some disappointing short-coming. Shame on us for doing that intentionally. Now, this isn't to say we don't ever get to do that. In fact, sometimes pulling the mom card is the only thing that makes sense. 

I very recently pulled a huge mom card with work.  I was going to be late because it was one crazy morning. My 8-year old pooped his pants (he'd been fighting a stomach bug for over a week, so bowel controls were unpredictable), my 3-year old accidentally peed all over my bed and less than 30 mins. later my 4-year old was barfing on it. This is so good you couldn't make it up. So what did I do? I pulled the mom card, but here's the thing... I did it out of humor. I was late to work, no doubt about that. I said I'd be late and that was that. Then I simply followed up with the mom card to share a little reality of my day with staff, not to use it as an excuse or to rationalize tardiness, but to share life happens, and on this day I'd be late because of it.

Yes, I pulled the "mom card" and I wonder: how often other parents do too? Share your best "mom or dad card moments." Comment with yours below! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Selena on Tour in 2018?

Remember when Michael Jackson's hologram performed at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards? Or when people lost their minds when a hologram of Tupac performed at Coachella in 2012? I watched it on a live stream and it was pretty cool. But would I pay concert ticket money to see a hologram perform for 2 hours. The family of the late and great Selena Quintanilla think you will.

Last week the family announced that they have been working with the company Acrovirt to develop a walking, talking, singing and dancing hologram version of Selena. The family hopes that by 2018 the digital version of their star will be ready to go on tour and record new music in a project called "Selena the One". 

Some may think the idea is weird of creepy but Selena's sister Suzette said in an interview with Billboard, "By no means is this something that's creepy or weird. We think it's something amazing. A lot of new fans that did not get to experience what Selena was about hopefully will be able to get a sense of her with this new technology that's going to be coming out."

Could this be the future of music and concerts? 
If the technology get really good could we one day be going to an Elvis Presley concert,              or a Beatles show. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Otteroo for Babies. Weird or Awesome?

Summer is right around the corner. Over the last few weeks my Instagram feed has been filled with poolside fun. We highly recommend swimming lessons for all kids because water safety is so important.

There are lots of different floating devices for kids out there. You can get the cool Puddle Jumpers, water rings, arm floaties and of course life jackets. But what is there for babies? There wasn't much on the market until the 'Otteroo'.

Check out the informational video....

                                                Otteroo Baby!!! from OtterooBaby on Vimeo.

This floating device looks really strange but kinda cool at the same time. I don't think I would use it for my own kids. My fear would be to look over and just see the otteroo without the baby head.

What do you think of the Otteroo?
 Is it the must have item of the summer? 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dealing with Difficult People

First, I hope I am not the difficult one people have to deal with. Truth be told, we've all been there. Either we're having that kind of day, month, or even, a very bad year and someone in our lives isn't very pleased with us.

The best way to deal with a difficult person is to remind yourself of one very powerful thing: This isn't about me, and even if it is, this isn't my problem. Follow me here... what people believe is their business and not in your control. It's our job not to take their opinion or anyone else's personally. The philosophy here is that it doesn't matter what others think of you. The most important thing in life is your own self-love and acceptance. So when a difficult person is driving you a little nuts do everything possible to be transparent and let it slip right through you. Again, don't take it personally and remember this isn't about you - this is about them. Their difficulty is theirs and theirs alone, so never let their personal struggle hinder or hurt YOU!

Next, and this part takes practice, don't let difficult people lead you or keep you from leading. To be clear, difficult people can be defined in many ways. 

Exhibit A:

In the context of this post, I define difficult as a person who tends to be negative, hard to please and constantly complains. Those who act in this way sometimes dominate individuals, or worse, environments through their negativity. Don't let their approach dictate or dissuade yours. It's important to avoid being manipulated by drama because you're trying to "keep the peace" with difficult types. I often see individuals catering to these character types which helps no one involved. Now I fully understand this is easier said than done, but it's crucial for your own mental health. 

If we listen to our gut instincts, we're usually able to tell if we're being led by difficult colleagues or loved ones in an attempt to avoid their personality's wrath. Instead, remain strong and hold true to you. Speak up when you need to and always feel confident to push back (even if you have to do this in the most careful and calculated way).

Lastly, difficult people don't always understand just how difficult they can be. So remember to be patient. As you lead them without bending and catering to only their needs, you should look to praise them in the times of cooperation and validate their wins. Soon enough they may become conscious and hopefully motivated by those times when they're approach is well-received. Now this takes some ego-management on your end. The essense is to be the best YOU no matter what and feel confident  validating their best, too. Don't deprive a difficult person of praise holding against them those times they didn't make life easy. This approach only make matters worse.

To sum up: 
1. Don't take things personally with difficult folks. Their opinion is not your  problem.

2. Don't let difficult people or situations lead you astray in an attempt to avoid drama. This approach makes matters worse in the long-run.

3. Be ok with acknowledging the good and finding at least an ounce of it within "difficult" folks. This positive praise may work wonders and hopefully diminish drama. But remember, this takes a lot from you to check your own ego and give praise to someone who may very frequently drive you nuts.

How do you manage difficult people in your life?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Talking Like a front of the kids!

There are some times that just require an F-bomb. It doesn't happen often but maybe once a year I drop a good one.

I remember the first bad word I ever heard. I was in the 4th grade and my friends and I were playing hopscotch. We were huddled around the water fountain wetting a wad of paper towels to start a new game. My friend Marybell dropped her wet paper towel on the floor and yelled "SHIT!". I looked over at my BFF Jessica with wide eyes because even though I had never heard anyone say it, I knew immediately that it was a BAD word.

I have been known to drop an F bomb in the middle of a conversation once in awhile. But I have never been totally comfortable using these kinds of words because they were not allowed in our house growing up.  After I had my kids the amount of curse words that fly out of my mouth has dropped significantly. Now that we have 2 small kids in the house we don't curse in front of them. As hilarious is might be to hear a little kid say a curse word the first time, having a 9 year old dropping F bomb is harsh.

We were recently on a vacation and a friend of a family member had no problems with cursing, loudly, constantly, in front of our kids. It was so uncomfortable for us, and my husband and I would cringe when it happened. There are even people who have such potty mouths with no filter that we avoid them when we have the kids with us.

We understand that we can't keep ugly words from hitting our kids ears, but we feel that if they have parents who don't curse (often) then they might grow-up the same way.

Do you curse in front of your kids? Do you care if other people do it? 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hilarious Memes Monday









What's making you laugh these days???

Friday, April 3, 2015

Mad Money

I can remember as a kid being fascinated by this $100 bill that my Mom always had tucked away in her wallet. She called it her "Mad Money".  It wasn't, "I am pissed off and am going to spend money, money". She meant it as a little money set aside just for her to buy unnecessary items that she just wanted. Of course my Mom being the ultimate sacrificing mother never bought herself anything. I would not be surprised if that same $100 bill from my childhood is still in her wallet.

Now that I am an adult with kids and bills of my own I have my own stash of mad money. Mine is a bit more modern. Instead of a folded up bill in my wallet I have a paypal account. It is a little lump of money that I keep stashed away for things like etsy jewelry, make-up, a new Victoria's Secret bra or even to refill my Starbucks card. This works for me because, very much like my own Mom, I have a really hard time spending joint money on myself. Since this is a separate account with extra money that I earned through blogging that guilt is gone.

Do you keep a stash of "mad money"? 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Power of Lent & Other Habit-forming Rituals

Did you give up something for lent?

You know this custom in many religions that tasks a person with giving up something for 40 days?

You often hear of folks who gave up soda or chocolate, then there's coffee and cursing. Lots of goodies to say goodbye to momentarily so Jesus (or your equivalent) is pleased. Now, I don't mean to come off as facetious. Truth be told giving anything up as a sacrifice is in and of itself noble.

However, someone wise once told me that you should never aim to give up something insignificant that you'll quickly gorge on when the first chance appears. For instance, you give up chocolate for 40 days and on day 41 practically overdose on mini kit-kat and twix bars, yea that wasn't very sacrificial or positively habit-forming. In that moment of chocolate binging all sacrifice is lost and your best chance of forming a new and better life habit is headed right down the drain. 

The true power of lent, New Years resolutions and other habit-forming journies is to actually "sacrifice" or better yet create a new, positive life habit. This year my family took this exact approach and lent has been extremely powerful because of it.

Here's the breakdown:

As a family we could only have dinner out on Saturdays during lent. This was amazing. Now the kids are a custom to eating family dinner at home and greatly look forward to family meals out on Saturdays. We pulled this off and in turn got back to the best habit of having nightly family dinners at home. At this point we pray, eat and share our days. It may sound simple enough, but for our busy family eating on-the-go and out of fast food paper bags was slowly becoming our norm. This habit needed to be reversed and lent was the perfect time to do so.

Next, I personally gave up not going to church. Follow me here. I didn't sacrifice anything. What I did was reengage and renew my commitment to church. We've been all five weeks so far and there's no stopping us now. This habit is reformed and with it came many blessings. So many profound things resulted out of faithfully attending church every Sunday of lent. This may not be as important to your family, but find a ritual that is. Family rituals can be bonding experiences that keep you connected and present.

Finally, my husband gave up a ton of things over lent... a ton. He did amazing too. And what was the big deal there? His example. Our children saw how committed he was for 40 days and this impacts their ability to commit, sacrifice and grow. One such goal was my husband's ability to be physically active and fit for 40 straight days. So much so our kids often ask "Where's Dad... Gym or Work?" Our kids expect a father who is hard working, physically active and so many other great things all based on his ability to maintain good habits. Plus, he's one hot hubby, such a win-win!

Now you don't need lent to rev up good habit building routines. Pick your own time frame, set up your own personal and family goals, then stick to it. Soon enough habits are formed and benefits you couldn't even imagine come to be.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Beyond the Chocolate Bunny: Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas

April is here and Easter is just a few days away. Between godparents, aunts, uncles and grandparents my kids always score mounds of candy. They always get so much that I make a deal with the Easter Bunny and we have come to the agreement that Easter baskets will be light on the candy and filled with non-candy items.

Here is a list of great ideas for all ages that are fun and will not break the bank.

  • Jump rope
  • waterballoons
  • chapstick or lip gloss
  • nail polishes
  • notebooks
  • crayons or colored pencils
  • small canvases
  • books
  • phone/tablet charger cords
  • pony tail holders
  • matchbox cars
  • DVD's
  • teethers
  • sand toys
  • bubbles
  • puzzles
  • legos
  • hair bows
  • hand sanitizer and holder
  • sidewalk chalk
  • sticker packs
  • baseball hat
  • sunglasses
  • gift cards (amazon, starbucks, itunes)
  • rattles
  • sippy cups
  • beach towels
  • baseball and glove

Wishing you all a happy and fun Easter weekend!