Monday, October 27, 2014

Winter preparation in the wild...and in my home.

As fall is upon us and the weather turns colder, animal and humans alike begin their winter preparation. And you might be surprised as to how similar our preparations are. You may think that you have nothing in common with that squirrel you see scavenging for nuts, but you do. At least, I know I do.

Do you need some examples? Yes, I'm sure you do. And it's your lucky day because I have quite a few examples for you right here.

First, let me start by saying that there are 3 main things that animals in the wild do to prepare for the cold, long winter months. Those are adapt, hibernate, or migrate.

Now I'll get into specifics.

Adapt:

Many animals grow new, thicker fur to prepare for the drop in temperature. I do the same. On my legs. Solely to prepare for the temperature change. WHAT? That is why. It has nothing to do with sheer laziness and the fact that my legs are covered by my pants on a daily basis.

Animals also grow an extra layer of body fat. As do I. DUH. It's clearly the smarter way to stay warm. You don't want to go cranking up the heat and paying higher electric bills, do you?

Animals such as honeybees and squirrels store extra food for the winter. Watch out Costco, here I come!

Hibernation:

Animals like bears, raccoons, and groundhogs hibernate during the winter. Many others become inactive or dormant, which is similar to hibernation, although they do venture out in warmer temps. Animals that become dormant spend most of their time in the fall eating extra food to prepare for the inactive winter months.

Ummmm, sounds about right to me. Someone's gotta eat all this pumpkin crap.

Migration:

Finally, some animals migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Honestly, these are the animals that have it all figured out. Flying south to warmer weather during the cold, snowy winter sounds like the absolute best option of all. Doesn't it?

Sadly, for folks like me who are strapped down with kids and job, it just doesn't work out. Therefore, my only options are to adapt and hibernate. It's simple science.

My body obviously knows what to do and I think I need to trust it. And right now it is telling me that a pumpkin spice muffin is the way to go. It's all about survival, right? 

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Disclosure: This post is in no way endorsed by companies that make pumpkin spice muffins. However, I would always be willing to accept them as a "thank you" for providing my readers with this useful winter preparation info.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mini-milestone: Our own little Beethoven

Do you belong to Netflix? If not, WHY??? Seriously, it is instant gratification...which is wonderful for impatient people like me.

So obviously I was THRILLED when Netflix contacted me to join their Stream Team. Each month I get to watch awesome movies or shows, and then I blog about them. I have so many things to share with you about Netflix and a bajillion reasons why I love it. Yes, bajillion is a word.

However, when I found out that the #StreamTeam theme for October was mini-milestones, I decided to check out the recommended programs. As I was scrolling through, one of the milestones was "first puppy" and this movie popped right out at me:


As most of you know, we got a puppy in August...and she is a little pain in the ass. But she is our pain in the ass. And she also happens to be a little Beethoven, although she won't be little for long!

So obviously I watched this movie with my kids.

They LOVED it! And not only did they love it, so did I. Mainly because it made me realize that our little hell raiser puppy could be a lot worse...

What?? I am a perfect angel.

I even let the kids harass me.

And I'm adorable when I'm tired.

But this is the EXACT reason why I love Netflix! We can find programs to watch as a family. Or I can find shows that I want to binge watch for days while neglecting all other household duties. Either way, it's a win-win. Am I right? And again, there is always that instant gratification. I want to watch something, I sign on to Netflix, and BAM...it's right at my fingertips. I love it.

So go to Netflix and celebrate some mini milestones with your family. Or watch OITNB while your kids go all WWE in their bedrooms completely unsupervised. Whatever works.


Disclaimer: As a Netflix #StreamTeam member, I receive a free subscription to Netflix. However, all ideas and opinions in this post are my own.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Won't you NOT be my neighbor?

Remember this song by good old Mr. Rogers?

Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
 
Of course you do. It's a classic. But if I'm being honest, I think that my neighbors many years ago when I lived in a college dorm where NOT singing this tune. I'm going to come out and say it: I was a bad dorm neighbor. 

Let me explain.

My roommate in college was a very good friend from high school. We got coordinating bedding and extra long sheets. We got cute decorations. We went shopping on move in day with our moms and it was the first time that we learned the word "Berber". Our moms raved over a very nice Berber area rug that they ended up buying us for our dorm room. We were all set. Sounds promising. Right?

But here's the deal. Since my friend and I already knew each other and we also had many, many close friends on campus (being that we went to college in the state that we grew up), we weren't exactly making an effort to meet new friends. I mean, we were friendly enough. But we weren't forced to put ourselves out there and meet a whole new group of friends. So we didn't. And we, well mainly I,  possibly alienated the others as well.

You may be wondering how I did that? Well, sometimes it was on purpose...like when I drew penises on everyone's dry erase boards. Yep, that was me. Although I don't think they suspected me. I also wrote nice little messages like, "Stopped by to visit. Love, Steve." Although I didn't know a Steve and I'm not sure they did either. But "Steve" made many visits and left many, many notes for them.

But here's the all time best moment that most likely drove our neighbors to the brink of insanity. And it was actually an innocent mistake. It was a Friday and my friend and I were both heading home for the weekend. However, we forgot to turn the alarm clock off...and it was set for early in the morning since we both had 8 AM classes.

So picture this. Saturday morning the alarm clock goes off.  It must have been going off for close to an hour when the first message was left on our phone. It went something like, "Hey guys, can you turn off your alarm?" As the hours ticked by, the messages became more frequent...and extremely  vicious, if I might say. "Turn off your f*cking alarm!" "You suck!" "What the F*%&!!! Turn the alarm off! What is wrong with you?!"

As you can imagine, most people in our hall loathed us after the "Great Alarm Clock Incident of '97".

But honestly, I can't say that I'm sorry. I am proud of all of those penises I drew. And I am proud of my creativity when leaving short written messages on the doors of complete strangers. I am proud of "Steve".

Honestly, I hated dorm life. It hated me.

And so did my neighbors.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mini BUT Mighty Heroes

In May of 1998, a young boy named Jacob was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma is a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue and usually occurs in infants and children. INFANTS and CHILDREN. Yes, children get cancer. And September is Childhood  Cancer Awareness Month. 

Here are some statistics. Each year, over 175,00 children are diagnosed with cancer. It is the LEADING cause of death in children. Yet, only 4 percent of the National Cancer Institutes's budget is allotted for pediatric cancer research. Only 4 percent.

So let me tell you a little about Jacob. He was treated by the neuroblastoma team of doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Many, many people prayed for and supported Jacob and his family during which was an extremely difficult time.

And guess what? Jacob has been in remission for over 14 years!!! How amazing is that?!

My challenge to you is to share this story or ANY story about a child battling pediatric cancer. Raise awareness. Raising awareness helps raise funds for research. Research helps develop LIFE SAVING treatment for these mini but mighty heroes.

Some places you can donate include:

Alex's Lemonade Stand
St. Baldrick's
Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation
Children's Cancer Research Fund

For this post, I joined the Mighty Fight and teamed up with Auntie Anne's ! They donated $50 in my name to Alex's Lemonade Stand at https://www.crowdtilt.com/campaigns/themightyfight

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Snazzy Back to School Tips OR How the Slacker Moms (me) Do It

I was making my daughter's lunch the other day and I used a flower cookie cutter to cut her peanut butter and jelly sandwich into cute little shapes, hoping this would make her complain less about her boring sandwich. And it really works. I basically did this all last year and she loved it. In the fall she had pumpkin shaped sandwiches, in the winter it was Christmas trees or hearts, and then flowers in the spring.

I started to think that I was hot shit, going all Martha Stewart on her. But as it always does, Pinterest proved to me that I am still an absolute failure. I simply look on there and my confidence is shattered. Not only could I NOT do half the crap I see, I wouldn't even want to. I mean, who has that kind of time?

I've compiled a list of all the snazzy back to school tips I've seen vs. the alternative that might be more your speed if you are a slacker mom.


Snazzy Back to School Tip
Alternative for Slacker Mom
Using cookie cutters, turn your child’s sandwich into a magical fall scene. (I actually do this one. And it’s magical, dammit.)
Throw in a PB&J Uncrustable and call it a day.
Cut carrots and celery into creative animal shapes. Using an edible adhesive (cream cheese, peanut butter), use raisins to create eyes, a nose, and mouth.
Buy baby carrots at the grocery store. Place them in a plastic container with a picture of an animal on it.
Carve strawberries and melon into geometric shapes. Your child can learn while they enjoy a healthy snack.
Throw an apple into their lunch box. It’s a circle.
Using rainbow yarn, stitch your child’s initials into all school clothing and gear.
Label stuff with a sharpie. Lose it by week 2 of school.
Make a reading practice chart and initial it every night. Your child can earn weekly rewards for reading the designated time each night.
Assume your child is reading while they are in their room completely unsupervised.
Create bins in your fridge for sandwiches and snacks and teach your child how to make their own lunch each day. They can take one thing from each bin to pack a well-balanced meal for school.
Forget to make lunch and give your child lunch money in the morning.
Paint the inside of your child’s lunch box with chalkboard paint to write cute notes each day.
Use a piece of junk mail to write a note. Teach your child about recycling.
Print back to school pillow boxes to fill with candy as a sweet treat in your child’s lunch.
NO candy at lunch. This is coming from a teacher. Thanks.


 So...what do you think? Any helpful "tips" you would add? Please share!
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