Monday, November 30, 2015

Hot Holiday Gifts To AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

So did any of you brave the stores over Thanksgiving weekend to start your Christmas shopping. I know I did not. It is practically tradition for me to wait until the last 2 weeks and completely stress over holiday shopping.

This year my kids lists are as long as ever. I swear they just watch a few shows on Nickelodeon and just write down every dang commercial that comes on. Here are a few items on their lists that I will be avoiding at all costs....

Kinetic Sand in Metallic: This combine 2 things I hate for my kids to play with in my house, sand and glitter. No matter what the box looks like or what the commercial says this stuff will be all over your table and floor and will impossible to clean it all up. You will find glitter ans sand all over everything, including yourself for months.

 This is a top toy this year as if I take myself back to 11 year old me I can see why. But with a $40.00 price tag for what I can guarantee will be a one time thing. Much like the cake=pop maker my kids begged for one year this is the kind of toy that your kids will open and use one time. Or until the cookie making kits it comes with are done. For $7.00 a refill pack you will most likely never buy them. Plus real girl scout cookie season is right around the corner and you will be able to grab a whole box of cookies outside your local grocery store for $5. And those cookies will not disappoint in taste.

Okay my little one really wanted these. And for a second I thought about having a box of these under the tree Christmas morning.

Until I started seeing pictures like this on social media.... 
Not my kid, but very easily could have been! 
Aww hell no! My kid is constantly rolling around on the floor and she never every cleans up her crap. This is a recipe for disaster. 

Are there any toys on your kids list this year that are a definate NO? 

Friday, November 27, 2015

I stand with the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement!

Today is Black Friday and the hype to shop is crazier than ever. I've never been a big shopper on this day, but today, I woke up and felt renewed about my conviction to steer clear from consumerism. On the radio I heard about a large boycott in the largest sector of retail in Minneapolis.

Why boycott? 

To shut down the economic backbone of a town that still experiences division by race. What freaking year is this? Sadly, black lives continue to be suppressed by violence and oppression, especially from law enforcement. Now, not all law enforcement officers of course, but you can't deny the countless accounts via video footage surfacing time and time again where a Black American is being violently attacked, or even, killed at the hands of a white police officer. 
All situations tell their own unique story, but that so many stories are being told is alarming and a clear indicator that justice evades us.  We have an epidemic in this country and I am proud to boycott Black Friday sales and instead stand with the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement.

Additionally, I will continue to stand for any movement that demands equality and peace, vote accordingly at the polls, and speak up against continued racial oppression. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thank you for the memories, Facebook.

The new memory feature on Facebook is warming my heart everyday. I am one of those chronic posters who chronicals everything about mine and my children's lives. To me, social media was always my scrapbook and now that scrapbook is completely song what it's meant do by showing me memories of previous posts.

I appreciate that Facebook has created a practical feature that allows users to enjoy what we've posted through the years. Now, I wish we could simply save all of these video files back on personal clouds. I am surely keeping old photos that are no longer exist in my digital library.

Plus, the memory feature is the best entertainer for children. My kiddos have thoroughly enjoyed watching videos of them 4-5 years ago. Now let's flash forward... my hope is this feature will last for many years because I can only imagine the joyfulness memories will evoke decades from now.

Thank you for the memories, Facebook! I am digging this new and improved functionality. And on that note, when do we finally get our "unlike" button? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. It is almost time to cook or even deep fry the bird and eat your weight in mashed potatoes. Many families have different traditions when it comes to Thanksgiving...

  • My family take turns hosting the whole family for the big meal. It is the job of the host to cook the turkey. 
  • Because a lot of people go back home for the holidays the guys from my high school still get together on Thanksgiving morning to play some football. This has been a tradition since 1991. 
  • Many families like to go around the table and say what they are thankful for. 
  • Breaking the wishbone is also a tradition that many families do. Sure it's a little gross but cute. 
  • Many people like to start Thanksgiving day cuddled on the couch in pj's watching all the balloons on the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. 
What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions? 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Santa Claus: Bursting the Bubble for Kids

I just had the big talk with my 9 year old, 4th grader about Santa's existence. I took a moment of natural conversation that organically involved into the big reveal. He took it so well until his dad got pretty intimidating about keeping the secret for his siblings. Then, there was tears.

Here's what the conversation taught me:

1. Let the moment come up naturally and stay casual yet sensitive. Kids sense our feelings, so I came across calmly with a positive attitude about how fun it's been to keep up such a giving tradition for his entire childhood.

2. Let them feel disappointment and sadness. Don't try to avoid it. This part might have you feeling as though you should have never dooped your child, let alone shared the news now, but just think how cruel it is to find out from a bratty, teasing classmate (how I found out).

3. Remind your children of the joy they've experienced believing in this tradition and others (this only applies when they understand there's no easter bunny or toothfairy). Accordingly, they shouldn't ruin the magic for others (classmates and siblings). This part is important and teaches our children to express empathy for others.

4. Get reinforcements if you feel your child may really take it hard (books, online articles, etc.). If they take it harder than you thought, assure them they can still enjoy the tradition. Assure them the love and excitement they've felt doesn't go away.

5. Share lots of comforting hugs and kisses, and before you know it, your child will be just fine with the news. Soon after the reveal, my kid began referring to me as "mom, I mean, Santa." This went on for an hour with a bunch of delirious laughter in between.

In your opinion, when's the best time to have the big convo. with kids??

Friday, November 20, 2015

Can We All Agree to Get Off Black Friday?

This picture is from my local Best Buy and it is from this last Monday. Yup November 16th. That is not a homeless person's tent. That, my friends, is a person camped out for Black Friday sales. Yes a full 11 days early. This woman (and yes she did this last year) is going to spend the next 11 days camping out waiting to get a good deal on a television.

I mentioned to my husband that the same lady for last year was already camped out and he let out a big sigh. He really believes that things like this ruin the holidays. Instead of enjoying the holiday season with her family this women is spending it on the sidewalk. It kind of defeats the real purpose of the holiday season. Instead of being with family and friends spending the day bonding, they are pouring over sales ads and gearing up for an all-night shop-a-thon. Not to mention all the people who work in retail that are forced to start work at 6pm on Thanksgiving day so that they can have their store open at midnight.

Here is the problem, unless all the big major stores agree to end the madness that is Black Friday, it will continue. Because Wal-Mart is not going to lose a huge amount of sales to Target and vice-versa. Unless everyone agrees to open at a reasonable time on Friday, Black Friday sales are going to get earlier and earlier. I will not be shocked to hear about Black Friday sales starting on 5pm on Thursday. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Groceries at your door in an hour!

Did you know groceries could be at your door within an hour? Did you know it's as simple as having an Amazon Prime membership? Well you know now!

I know not everyone has a Prime membership with, but it just might be worth it. Amazon charges just over $100 for an annual subscription to their "prime members" who get such perks as free two-day shipping and now delivery within the hour for an added fee using their Prime Now app.

Shopping couldn't be easier using this new online app. The Amazon selection may not be as great as the regular However, the convenience might just outweighed the selection. 

For me personally, Amazon Prime Now has worked wonders. One of the providers available in my area is Sprouts supermarket. Sprouts is a wonderful supermarket with organic products and their selection is plentiful. I recently went to the dentist for a tooth extraction, I was placed of course on a soft food diet, and was not feeling up for a ride to the supermarket for all things soft. Instead, I immediately used Prime Now to purchase yummy yogurts, protein milk shakes, and premium juices. The delivery arrived right on time and for free. The best part is that if you're willing to wait beyond the one-hour delivery shipping is absolutely free with your prime membership. Otherwise, it's only $7.99 to receive deliveries within the hour.

I really think Amazon is tapped into the right market of convenience here. Sure there's lots of things that deliver now to you door but everyone knows that Amazon does it best. They have the best customer service, extremely responsive, and their system is the best. I recently began using prime for work orders on supplies, necessary meals, or snacks for our students. This allows for staff to free up their time and it becomes a win win for productivity.

Would you try the Amazon prime?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Are You Reading?

I am always reading something. If you follow me on GoodReads you know that I have been on a big memoir kick for the last year or so. Just when I think that my phase is over a new book is released and I am sucked back in. 

Right now I have 2 celebrity memoirs on my night stand. The first one I am reading out loud with my husband. We both really wanted to read this book and didn't want to wait for the other to finish! The book "Can I Say: Living large, cheating death, and drums, drums, drums" is the first book by Travis Barker. Travis Barker is best known as the drummer for the pop-punk rock band Blink-182. You might also know him as the rocker who was in a horrific plane crash and survived. Or maybe you know him as the Dad in the MTv show "Meet the Barkers".  We have really been enjoying reading this book because Travis grew up on the same area as my husband did so a lot of the beginning of the book was all about places we are familiar with. His story is what you expect a rock and roll memoir to be, lots of drugs, money, sex, cars and music. We are about half way through the book are we are loving it! 

The other book that is keeping me up late at night is the new book by Mindy Kaling "Why Not Me?" I LOVED her first book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me" and was very excited to find out that a second book has been released this year. I was even more excited to find it at my local library. I have to admit that the first few chapters dragged a bit but after a few chapters it got good. Like staying up way too late good. Just like her character on her show "The Mindy Project" the book is laugh out loud funny. Follow along with Mindy as she becomes successful and yet still cannot seem to find love. There is also a chapter where she kinda sorta explains her relationship with The Office co-star B.J. Novak. I am almost finished with the book and I am sad to see it end.

What are you reading these day? 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Active Shooter Situation & Response

Sadly this is a consideration for today's society and it's better to prepare and know what you'd do if ever in an active shooter situation.

Some lessons learned from watching the coverage of the Paris attacks:

1. Know where the exits are. I've always taken emergency exits for granted never thinking they could be the very thing that save my life. A witness from the Paris concert hall attack mentioned having a habit of always knowing where the nearest emergency exit was located and the fastest route to it. This habit saved her life.

2. Memorize emergency phone numbers and essential passwords. Crazy how many numbers we don't know. Learn one to call internationally if local calls are impossible due to emergencies such as natural disasters. Also memorize your Facebook password. This may be the fastest and only way to communicate with loved ones if phones are failing.

3. Play dead. Can't believe I just typed that, but I read a few testimonials of individuals who literally played dead and held their breath as much as possible, holding completely still in the midst of carnage and chaos. This should be a last resort if escaping or hiding are impossible. This act saved the lives of some in the Paris attacks. Many times we may want to scream and yell but this act actually brings attention to us and could do more harm than good.

4. Be conscious of suspicious activity and follow your gut. Our intuition is very good at heightening our senses when something just doesn't feel right. Listen to those premonitions if your mind is nagging you about a certain situation, future commitment, or person. 

5. Always look for the people helping. In an active situation be alert with all around you. Brave citizens may very well extend a hand when you need it most. Don't go at it alone when tragedy strikes.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Meme Monday- California Winter

California is starting to feel a little bit of winter and the infamous El Nino . Of course this is a California winter so....

Friday, November 13, 2015

You're Not The Cause and You're Not The Cure

... A super intelligent colleague once told me: "you're not the cause and you're not the cure" in relation to counseling high schoolers. This saying stayed with me and resonated much further beyond that chance conversation. These words went on to remind me of the even simpler concept: "stay humble!"

Lately, I've been on a mean streak of success. After a scary year at the helm of my agency, in charge of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, there's finally a light at the end of the fiscal-year tunnel. I am finally able to see the finish line after having reached essential monetary and program goals. Even still, I am in a zone of zero celebration or relaxation. The hustle doesn't stop and though the glory of winning is great, it is never permanent.

This perspective has really liberated me. I have become unattached to "winning" as much as I am unattached to "losing." I fully embrace that life is a roller coaster of highs and lows and show gratitude for it all.

Before this awareness I wanted to ignore the ugliness of trials and brag about the beauty of winning. Today, I am neither the cause or the cure for success or lack thereof, I am simply thriving and excepting that I don't control all outcomes as high as a I soar I will also fall and fail time and time again. I simply work hard everyday hoping positives will outweigh the inevitable negatives of life.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's That Time of Year! Oprah Announces her Favorite Things for 2015!

So are you ready? Have you started your holiday shopping list? Yup me neither!

Well we are in luck! Oprah has released the much anticipated "Favorite Things" list for 2015. I know last year we made a little fun of her list and some of the more ridiculous items  But this year's list has some really great finds! And of course a few outrageous ones! $200 sweat pants and $500 basket made of chocolate!

Here are just a few of my favorites of Oprah's favorites.

Fitness trackers are so hot right now. We see everyone with the plain black ones around their wrist. The Jawbone Up3 comes in pretty fancy colors. Add these to your list for $180.00

Here at HerMamas we love writing and these "Letters to My..." box sets are so awesome. These are cute writing prompts that encourage you to send that special someone a love letter. These are from Chronicle Books and are just $15 a set!

We all know that the front flash on your iPhone is awful. This phone case from LuMee not only protects your phone but also comes with a LED light that gives the perfect glow for all your night time selfies! At $50 its a pretty good deal.

Now this one is not super expensive but kinda silly. For the pooch that has everything...

See the full extravagant list HERE . Or head straight to Amazon to shop for the entire list! Can it be an easier? Happy Shopping! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank you to our Veterans thanks our servicemen and women for their sacrifices to serve our country in preserving its freedom!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Veterans' Day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Introducing Mr. Stapleton

I have been writing a lot about music lately, but there has been such great music being released lately all over the music spectrum. Today I want to introduce you the man who won award after award at the 2015 Country Music Awards. I had never heard of Chris Stapleton until that night but then he performed this....

and I became his biggest fan! 

Chris Stapleton has a awesome classic 80's country vibe. During one of his acceptance speeches he talked about how he had lost his father and he wanted to make an album that his father would have liked to listen to. That album was released this year and is called Traveller and it is fantastic. There are some songs where you think Johnny Cash or Kenny Rogers is singing. Even if you are not a country fan you will enjoy this album. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Coffee Cup Controversy

This year Starbucks released it's usual red cups to mark the beginning of the holiday season and their yummy seasonal drinks. Well, something was amiss. This year the cups were a plain red. There were no snowflakes or Christmas tress.  They are simply red cups.

You'd think that would mean nothing, but online an outcry erupted. Christian groups believe this is an overt Anti-Christmas move on the part of Starbucks. What? Does everything have to be an issue these days?

Here's the idea: Christian groups believe Christmas is slowly warping into a simple (jesus-free, so to speak) holiday that is more about shopping and less about the religious symbolism of Christianity. 

I personally don't see a problem with plain red cups. My faith is determined by more than a snowflake on a cup, but I can see that many would complain holidays are becoming commercialized and tradition is disappearing.

In my business, we used to host an annual Christmas party and somewhere along the way the word Christmas was replaced with holiday. However, here we wanted to become more inclusive. Not all people celebrate Christmas.... there's Hanukah, Kwanza, and similar. A holiday party expanded our celebration to include other faiths, so how do we know Starbucks isn't just being more inclusive with this move?

To me, maybe there's nothing even behind the simple cups and it isn't about taking Christianity out of the holiday season. What's your take? Could all the online buzz be true, and Starbucks is sending a clear message, and ultimately, watering down the meaning of Christmas?

Friday, November 6, 2015

The New Adele

Like the rest of the world I was really missing Adele and was so excited to hear that some new music was finally going to be released. Adele's new single "Hello" is everything you missed in an Adele song. My BFF is a huge fan and as soon as I heard the song I knew she would love it. I immediately texted her...

I don't know how she does it. That must have been one intense break-up back in the day because 5 years later she is writing and singing like it was yesterday. I have to admit that this song really spoke to me, and like I told my BFF, it could be about every ex-boyfriend. Now I am the type who usually remains friendly with the ex's but in a really surface-only way. This song really hits all those feelings and all the things that you have ever wanted to say but were too afraid or just too messed up to say. She is singing about what some of us would like to do, to rehash the past, explain ourselves and our past actions, apologize and move on.

I cannot wait for the "25" album to drop. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

#ThrowbackThursday ruining your life?

Doesn't a photo from the past just warm your heart? Mine too! Nowadays everyday is #flashbackfriday or #waybackwednesday. Whatever you call it we're able to engage in a blast from the past with a simple old school photo posted online.

But what if you don't like the contents of that picture? I hear there are now companies such a that fix your social media image? What? Now my description might be simplying it, but it sounds like these companies are promising to rid your digital footprint of those embarrassing pics or tweets from back in the day.

Firstly, I don't know how these sites work and lord knows I have moments I'm not so proud of likely captured on film, but to pay to "repair" those moments seems ridiculous.

Chime in... would you pay to repair your social media past?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

10 year olds. Am I right??

My oldest kid has always been a really easy kid to raise. She slept through the night at just weeks old. She practically potty trained herself. She has always done so well in school. And then she turned 10 years old. Something switched and hormones must have started pumping through her veins because holy-attitude- Batman!

For the first time I feel like I am at a loss as a parent. For the first time I am clueless as how to deal with my own child. My sweet little kid has started giving me attitude. I have seen more eye rolls from her than Liz Lemon gave on all 7 seasons of 30 Rock. She is starting to defy us and has become so much more closed off. She wants to sit in her bed and draw and would rather be alone than with us most of the time.

This is a weird stage because there are times when she is that silly fun kid. Laughing hysterically with her little sister and collecting Shopkins toys. And there are other times when she is just too cool to be seen with us. I feel like at this time I need to be even more involved and talk with her more. Except talking to her these days is like taking to a brick wall. A brick wall that can roll its eyes.

The other day it was like Huff Post was reading my mind and posted this article...

10 Things Your Daughter Should Know By the Time She's Ten

 These are all great lessons for a young lady to learn but the one that stuck a chord with me was the first....

How adored she is. No matter what you disagree on and even though sometimes you may yell, she should know she is the center of your universe -- always.

This hit me because during the last few months, as the arguments have become more frequent I don't think I have done a good job on reminding my daughter how much I love her. Even as a parent it's sometimes hard to be kind to someone who is pushing all your buttons. Even when you gave birth to that person. This is something that I need to work on everyday. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Mom, You're Embarrassing Me!!!"

remember loving the 4th grade. I had my first pivotal teacher in that grade. I also have the fondest memories of lessons, books, and field trips. Something I don't remember is being embarrassed by my mother. If anything the only embarrassing moments of my upbringing came in high school when my mom insisted I shop for clothes at the "$3.99" clothing store. Now I look back and could care less, but then, it was sooooo embarrassing.

When my son began 4th grade I was so ready to share this great year with him. If he felt how I did about this year of  schooling, I knew we'd bond and connect on the best aspects of it. What I didn't count on was him feeling so embarrassed suddenly.... about.... everything.

First it was me simply watching him as he did morning exercises before school (he used to love when momma stayed to watch and he'd wave and wave). Then it was me writing in his daily journal in the teacher/parent section. What's embarrassing about that? Okay maybe I did write something cheesy like "Isaiah is so awesome!" Well, when your kid uses the username "awesomeisaiah" for everything you think it's fair game. Sadly, it's not. The latest straw came during basketball tryouts when I reached to hold his hand and he quickly snatched his hand out of mine. 

In that moment, I ached a little, but I also understood. Suddenly, my kid cares about fitting in. Now, I don't believe he's hungry for approval; he just doesn't want to deviate from the perceived norm. The norm in his case seems to be avoiding all things that could be perceived as childish.

To that point, this year he also struggled with dressing up as superman for Halloween. He picked the costume weeks in advance, but as the big day neared, suddenly he had second thoughts and again... that nasty stinging E-word surfaced. "But mom, what if I get embarrassed???" 

He went for it, after my pep talk, and my deep desire to make him work through this as opposed to rescuing him from the moment. He dressed as superman and had a blast. It all worked out. 

He's also told me in the kindest way not to write notes in his daily journal or watch him at morning exercise time. These things matter, so I respect that. I just thought I'd have until the teen years to worry about embarrassing my kid.

Hermanas chime in? This momma wants to know how you've dealt with this change in your child.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Feliz Dia de los Muertos

We would like to wish you a beautiful and joyful Dia de los Muertos. 
We hope you get to spend some time today remembering and celebrating your loved ones who have passed on.