Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Celebration Giveaway!

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up I want to show my love for my readers by hosting a giveaway! I'm offering a $50 Gift Card from Pottery Barn to the lucky winner! 

Enter using the Rafflecopter below

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*Contest ends 12:01 a.m. EST on 2/6/2011.

*Winner has 72 hours to claim prize.

Good luck everyone!
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Sometimes it can be so hard to find the perftect gift for that special man in your life.  I came across a great gift guide on Perry Ellis that finds gifts based on your love's personality.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Sweet Sophisticate

Charming Creative

Rugged Romantic

Ladies, does your guy fall into any of these categories? For the men, do any of these best describe you?

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Health Benefits of Grapefruit

I know most of us parents want to feed our kids the best diet possible.  It can be so hard to find food that’s healthy and that they’ll willingly eat.  Grapefruit is a great choice because it’s nutritious and kids typically love it.  Not only are they good for kids but adults too!  Here are some benefits of grapefruit:

·         Helps with weight loss. Grapefruit is low in calories with only 42 calories per serving. You can eat plenty of this fruit without worrying about weight gain! Not only that but Researchers also confirmed that grapefruit may help prevent weight gain by lowering insulin levels.

·         Prevents cancer and lowers cholesterol. It is rich in pectin which is a dietary fiber. Pectin protects the colon by acting as a laxative which lowers the amount of time toxic substances are in the colon. It also binds to cancer causing substances on the colon. Pectin had also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.

·         Prevents kidney stones. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when women drank 1/2 to 1 liter of grapefruit, apple or orange juice daily, their urinary pH value and citric acid excretion increased, significantly dropping their risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.

·         Grapefruit is good for vision, skin, and prevents lung and oral cavity cancer. Vitamin A works with antioxidants such as naringenin, beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein are essential for vision. Vitamin A and flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. New research presented at the 228th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society showed that drinking three 6-ounce glasses of grapefruit juice a day was shown to reduce the activity of an enzyme that activates cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke. In rats whose colons were injected with carcinogens, grapefruit and its isolated active compounds (apigenin, hesperidin, limonin, naringin, naringenin, nobiletin) not only increased the suicide (apoptosis) of cancer cells, but also the production of normal colon cells.

·         Prevents arthritis and works as an antiseptic. Grapefruit contains salicylic acid that helps break down the body’s inorganic calcium, which builds up in the cartilage of joints and may lead to arthritis. If you have arthritis, try drinking grapefruit juice with apple cider vinegar. You will notice a reduction in your arthritis symptoms. The salicylic acid in grapefruit also works as a powerful antiseptic. In addition, grapefruit seed extracts can be added to water to make an antiseptic spray for treating bacterial and fungal infections.

·         Helps your body heal wounds and prevents colds. It is a good source of antioxidant vitamin C. Vitamin-C is a strong natural anti-oxidant and helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals. It also assists the intestine in absorbing dietary iron. Vitamin C-rich foods like grapefruit may help reduce cold symptoms or severity of cold symptoms; over 20 scientific studies have suggested that vitamin C is a cold-fighter.

·         Affects heart rate and blood pressure. Fresh fruit is very rich in potassium. Potassium is an important part of cell and body fluids. It counters the effects of sodium which helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

·         Protects skin and prevents prostate cancer. Red varieties of grapefruits are especially rich in lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene protects skin damage from UV rays and offers protection against prostate cancer.

·         Contains many vitamins and minerals. It contains moderate levels of B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and thiamin in addition to some resourceful minerals such as iron, calcium, copper, and phosphorus.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Great Tool to Mange Money

I can be obsessive about my finances. I have always spent hours balancing my checkbook, tracking investments, creating monetary goals, designing budgets, researching ways to save money on products I already use. About a year ago I signed up for  and it changed the way I managed my finances. I go on my  at least once per day. It helps remind me of my goals which motivates me to take all opportunities to make extra money as well as a reminder to avoid spending money needlessly.

FREE Money Management

What’s great about

1. It’s FREE! That means there’s no risk to sign up!

2. Easy enrollment. It takes less than 5 minutes to register.

3. All of your financial information is in one place so you can see your assets, liabilities, and net worth at a glance.

4. You add every one of your accounts to your profile so every time you log in you have every account and it’s information automatically updated. You can see what's happening with all your accounts–checking, savings, investments, retirement–at any moment of the day.

5. It lets you create budgets and track them. I love that it notifies me when I go over my budget in a certain area. It’s great to have a reminder when you don’t realize how much you’re spending!

6. It’s safe and secure!  has uses the same 128-bit encryption and physical security that
banks use. Our practices are monitored and verified by TRUSTe, VeriSign and Hackersafe, and supported by RSA Security.

7. It protects you 24/7.  increases your financial security through email and text alerts that notify you about any large purchases or unusual changes in your accounts and more.

8. is a well respected way to manage money. It has been a Money Top Pick, a PC Magazine Editor's Choice, and we've won awards from Kiplinger's, The Webby's, CNN Money and more. It has over 6 million users.

I do receive payment for anyone who follows these links to sign up but I want my readers to know I would never recommend something unless I felt it was a fabulous product. Even before I became affiliated with this company I have recommended this service to so many of my family and friends and they have all thanked me for introducing them to this incredible service. I get so many requests to promote different products and I turn most of them down because I don't feel that it's something I could put my name behind.  With  I was so excited for the opportunity to become an affiliate so I could promote a product I truly believe in. So head on over today and sign up for  ! You can thank me later!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Snowflake Float

Purpose:  To demonstrate why snowflakes float gently to the ground.

Materials:  2 pieces of notebook paper

1.       Crush the first piece of paper into a paper ball.
2.       Hold the paper ball in one hand and the flat piece of paper in the other.
3.       Drop both pieces of paper at the same time.
4.       Record which paper falls faster.

Outcome:  The paper ball will fall faster and hit the ground first.  The flat piece floats slowly down.
The science behind it:  There are two forces at work here: gravity and the upward force of air.  The gravity is the same for both piece of paper but the upward force of air is different.  The flat pap falls slowly because it has a great exposed surface area and therefore receives more upward force from the air.  This is the same science that causes raindrops and snowflakes to fall differently.  They are both made of water but they have very different shapes.  The raindrop is like the paper ball, they take up a small amount of space and falls faster than the snowflake which behaves like the flat piece of paper.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Look Great While Losing Weight

I know most of us have set New Year’s Resolutions that have something to do with working out and losing weight.  I know if I’m going to be dragging myself to the gym I’m at least going to look decent.  The hardest part of going to the gym is getting there and with these three looks you’ll look forward to getting ready and showing off your great work out outfits.  Best of all, you can get free shipping on these orders by clicking the link below and using the promotional code.  I stocked up on all the workout clothes I’d need for the year!

Black and White:
The first look is the most subtle.  It's just black and white and covers the most as it comes with long pants.  You could also just throw a plain black or white T-shirt over this if you'd like more coverage.

Red stands out and gets you motivated. I love capri workout pants because you stay cool while working out yet don't have to reveal all of your legs.

Neon Green:
This look is when you're confident enough to call attention to yourself with neon colors and wear revealing shorts.  I know I personally am not at that point yet but some of you fit moms may love these.  If you've got it you may as well flaunt it!

Have you been working out a lot this year? Which one of these outfits do you like the best?

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Dealing With Angry Parents

I wrote a post called “Judging Moms” and had a reader post this comment.  It’s a great question because there is such a fine line between not judging another moms and our social responsibility to stand up when we see something that is truly wrong taking place right before our eyes.  As anyone who has read my blog knows, I am a huge advocate of not judging one another BUT I also believe in reporting behavior that may endanger a child.  I believe that many kids who end up seriously hurt or worse killed by their parents could have been saved if someone had spoken up on their behalf.  Protecting a child is more important than any other message I could possibly send here.

Less Than Perfect Parents,
Good reminder. I try hard to remember that you never know the whole story and that most parents are trying their best to do the right thing. We all mess up from time to time, or have to "get through" certain stages where our children may not want to bathe, have their hair combed, eat healthy foods etc. I guess the only time I have a really hard time NOT judging is when I'm around parents who yell a lot or spank. It's upsetting to my daughter and really ruins the whole play environment when parents do this (or put their kids in "time outs" and let them scream while other kids are trying to play), so... just wondering since I struggle with this -- do you think it's ok to tell another parent that I don't appreciate their behavior? Or is that "judging" too?

Liberal Mama,
I think this is a tough topic.  We want to protect our own children, we don’t want to see another child being treated badly or even abused, yet we don’t want to offend another parent.  Here are a few of my suggestions:
First of all, if a parent is getting out of control and you suspect or witness abuse, do not hesitate to report it.  You may save a child’s life. There are many professions that are legal mandated reporters, which means that they legally have to report suspected abuse.  I think that morally we are ALL mandated reporters whether or not the law dictates that.  Here are two great resources for reporting abuse:
1.      This is a hotline that serves the U.S., its territories, and Canada: 1-800-4-A-CHILD.  For more information check out their website.
2.      This is a list of phone numbersand websites for each state in the U.S. to call if you suspect abuse.
My second point is from Grandma K of Guilt Free Parenting, if what the parent is doing is losing their cool and creating a tense display but not crossing the line into abuse, you can look at it as a learning opportunity for your daughter.  I know I’ve done that with my son.  When he’s gotten upset by a parent yelling at their child I’ve said, “Everyone loses their patience sometimes.  That person is not a bad person but do you see how hurtful it is when we yell at someone.  We do that because we are mad at the other person but when we yell we actually make ourselves look bad.”  You can then discuss other ways that you can express anger without losing patience.  An important lesson for children is for them to understand that anger itself is not bad and there are constructive ways to express it.  You could also talk about how to apologize when you do lose your temper.  We ALL lose our cool sometimes and knowing how to apologize is an important skill.
Third, remove your daughter from the situation.  If it's so bad that your daughter is really getting upset just walk away.  I know it seems that the obnoxious parent/child is controlling your day but if you are at the park you can just walk to another area and have just as good of a time there.  Plus if the parent is angry enough they may take it out on you in front of your daughter.  That would ruin your day more than watching them yell at their child. 
Consider putting yourself in the other parent’s shoes.  I know for me, my son had some major behavioral problems when he was about three.  We’d be out somewhere and he would start with his animal behavior.  I’d get more and more embarrassed as he got out of control and I couldn’t stop him.  I felt like the worst mother ever as I felt the other parents staring at me while their angelic children played quietly.  The more embarrassed I got the more enraged I’d get.  What was wrong with him that he acted like that?  What was wrong with me that I couldn’t control him?  Why was every other child perfect and I had a demon from hell?  Why was I such a terrible mother that I couldn’t stop him AND I lost my temper?  Many times I was able to wrangle him back into my car and take him home but there were also times when I finally lost my cool and let him have it in public. I didn’t care who saw or if it bothered them or not.   A few times I let him cry it out in public because I had my goddaughters with me and I didn’t want them to be punished by leaving the park because he had done wrong.  When a parent is to that point, they already know what they’re doing is wrong so pointing it out probably won’t help.  I think most of us can relate to losing our cool with our children, I don’t think it’s ever something we do on purpose or something that we are proud of.  I can also tell you that I was usually a loving, understanding mom.  I usually held him close and spoke sweetly and gently to him.  I don’t believe in yelling or spanking so I usually didn’t scream at my son, but I’m sure the people who only witnessed my parenting for that brief moment in time probably felt sorry that my son had a crazy shrew for a mother.  If they chose that moment to point it out to me things probably wouldn’t have gone too well.
Fifth, also from Grandma K, is to ask yourself, “What do I hope to accomplish by bringing this to the other parent’s attention?”  Bringing up another parent’s moment of bad parenting will probably only enrage them further.  They may leave you and your daughter in peace but the kid who’s getting in trouble may end up really getting it once they get home.   Also, they may end up screaming at you which will only upset you and your daughter further.
If you really feel that you want to talk with the parent here are some really great tips to help to calm an angry parent:
1.   Start by smiling and being friendly!  Make sure you are judgment free!  People can pick up on that!
2.   Start by showing understanding.  Saying something like, “It’s amazing how fresh kids can be at that age huh?  My child has embarrassed me by {throwing a tantrum, not listening, running away, or whatever else their child is doing}.  Luckily we all have gone through it and we all understand.”
3.   Next, compliment their child.  “Your daughter sure is beautiful though even when misbehaving.”
4.   Make a small joke to lighten the mood.  I often put the compliment and the joke together with something like, “Your daughter sure is beautiful.  Kids are so lucky they’re cute the way they misbehave.  It’s the only thing that saves them sometimes!”
5.   Offer to help but don’t act like you’re doing them a favor.  “I’m going to push my daughter on the swings if your daughter would like to come play with us for a minute.  My daughter does so much better when she has another child to play with so you’d really be helping me out.”
Thanks for the great question Liberal Mama!  I love anything that makes me think and creates good dialogue between parents.  What do you guys think?  Do you have any good tips when dealing with screaming parents or kids?

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Friday, January 6, 2012


Photo Courtesy of: © Starbuck Liqueurs
I love smooth and creamy drinks in front of a warm fire on a cold winter night.  I can be pretty picky because I’m not a big drinker but this martini never disappoints.  It’s made with Starbucks’ Cream and Coffee Liqueurs and peppermint schnapps topped with some fresh mint.  Sometimes I even add just a little dark chocolate shavings for a little chocolate flavor with my mint.  It’s sooooooooo good!

1 part Starbucks Cream Liqueur
1 part Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
1/4 part DeKuyper Peppermint Schnapps
fresh mint sprig for garnish

1.    Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
2.    Shake well.
3.    Strain into a frozen cocktail glass.
4.    Garnish with a sprig of mint.

If you like Less Than Perfect Parents click here to vote for me for Babble's "Most Useful" Award!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Yarn Letter

I love type. Everything about it. Can’t get enough of it. I collect all kinds of “Ds” and use them to decorate my study at home. I found a small-sized capital D at Michael’s Crafts a few weeks ago. Rather than just painting, I thought it’d be a neat idea to give the letter some texture by wrapping it with yarn.

Yarn (any color – I used “Vanna’s Choice” – Taupe, by Lion Brand)
Letter (wooden, painted or unpainted, any size)
E6000 glue
Q-Tips or toothpicks


-          Begin by cutting several strips of about two yards of yarn; you’ll use this to wrap your selected letter. If you need more strips later on, no worries, you can just cut more.
-          If you’re using Q-Tips, cut the tips off of some (you’ll be using these with the glue)
-          E6000 glue is a pliable glue that I use for most of my crafts. It comes in small tubes (mine is rather large – to prevent it from spilling out I keep it upright in a mug or cup). Use a Q-Tip or toothpick to glue one end of a strip of yarn to the back of your letter, and start wrapping the yarn around.

-          Make sure that the end of the yarn can also be glued to the back. You’re going to get glue on your fingers – be prepared.

-          Repeat the wrapping around the letter for all the straight sections, and save the corners for last.

-          The corners are just a little trickier, and I found that it was easier to spread E6000 on the letter first and then wrap the yarn – guaranteeing that the yarn will hold its place. You don’t have to wrap the corners too tight – just make sure to cover your letter with the yarn.
-          Let the glue dry, and there you go! Simple as that.