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Sigh

Mom: Caleb, do you remember what you’re supposed to do as soon as you get there?

Caleb (10): Sigh

Mom: Did you just say, “sigh”?

Caleb: Yes.

Mom: So, you didn’t actually sigh, you said the word ‘sigh’?

Caleb: Yes.

Mom: Why?

Caleb: Because if I just sigh, like this [heavy breath], you might just think I’m breathing. And I want to make sure you don’t just think I’m just breathing.

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6th Grade Reading List: Teen Pregnancy, Rape, and Gangs

Reading survey sent home to some Florida 6th graders attending the acclaimed Ben Hill Middle School (do not miss the scrolling double headers (because one scrolling header is never enough)) included this fabulously pertinent question:

List the subjects you would like to read about. (teen pregnancy, rape, gangs, etc.)

6th Grade Reading List

6th Grade Reading List: Teen Pregnancy, Rape, and Gangs continued

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Cranberry Veggie Quinoa Salad

If you’re looking for a vegan entrée that will fill you up — while using fairly typical ingredients and only a little time — give this yummy meal a try.

Cranberry Veggie Quinoa Salad

It’s also very colorful and will add loads of flavor as a side dish or on a potluck buffet table.  Cranberry Veggie Quinoa Salad continued

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Children are the Best Good

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of New York Life. All opinions are 100% mine.

Every day I see Facebook posts from a friend who works as a nanny. She loves her charges to pieces and constantly posts photo after photo of their adventures together. And she tags the parents in all her adoring (and adorable) posts.

As much as she truly loves these kids, one day this friend will move on — hopefully to marry and have a family of her own — and these kids will be left with near strangers while the real  parent is gone.

I’s not that this parental separation doesn’t happen naturally. We all live with some uncertainty. But these kids have a life intentionally structured to include this devastating loss. Children are the Best Good continued

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Tangy Tasty Greek Salad Dressing

I’m kind of in love with feta. You can put in on almost anything and I’ll be an instant fan. Right up front let me tell you that this greek salad dressing is delicious, but it’s really the feta that give it the zing.

Tangy Tasty Greek Salad Dressing

Put this on my Scrumptious Greek Salad for an amazing dish that won’t last! Tangy Tasty Greek Salad Dressing continued

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Scrumptious Greek Salad

This greek salad isn’t fancy or particularly unique, but it is so amazingly good. We use this with some whole grain bread to make a perfect light summer supper. It also makes a great side for any main dish.

Scrumptious Greek Salad

You can use regular cucumbers, but I love the English ones. (They are long, bumpy cucumbers that come wrapped in the produce section.) The skin is thinner and less chewy, so I never peel them, just slice thinly. Of course you can also use any variety of greens you like. About a year ago I completely abandoned iceberg lettuce as being nothing more than crunchy water. Instead we use highly nutritious greens like spinach and kale. Yum!  Scrumptious Greek Salad continued

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If you think cleaning windows is horrendous nightmare, I have the most amazing window cleaning solution to save your sanity!

No Squeegee Window Cleaner

When I decided — contrary to everything I had planned — to become a stay-at-home mom 27 years ago,  I knew that the only way it would work for me was if I took it seriously, saw myself as a professional, and approached home management in a systematic, efficiency-minded way.

With that in mind, I started using janitorial supplies to clean my house back in the 80s, when Sam was still in grad school. Not only were they actually cheaper in the long run, but they worked better. Proper tools and systems (such as Jeff Campbell’s speed cleaning system) made housework thorough and efficient.

It was during this time that I purchased my first squeegee. Not just some flimsy old automobile type, but a genuine brass Ettore Steccone squeegee. And not just that, I also got an old school Ettore “golden glove” window scrubber (they aren’t golden anymore, they are even better). Later when we moved to multi-story dwellings, I added an extension pole to the mix. No Squeegee, No Wipe, Self Sheeting, Streak Free Window Cleaner continued

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Slow Cooker Enchilada Lasagne

Decades ago I did freelance work for Novell. During the week of Dexpo (a huge industry conference) the Marcom managers left unprepared. Consequently, we had to do a rush, all-night print of advertising materials. The cost just to ship them to Texas in time was more than I made in two months. (I actually volunteered to drive them to Texas for the same price, but my manager didn’t understand the brilliance of my idea.)

Slow Cooker Enchilada Lasagne

There’s a saying in business that says you can only have two of the following three items, but never all three:

  1. High quality
  2. High speed
  3. Low price

Generally speaking, that’s an accurate axiom. In the case of Novell, it certainly was. The lack of planning cost the company big time. (At least in terms of my bank account balance.) Slow Cooker Enchilada Lasagne continued

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Is the Blippar App for You?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Triad Retail Media. All opinions are 100% mine.

Blippar is a new app I downloaded to my iPhone today. It’s unlike other apps I’ve used, both for good and bad.

To use Blippar, you start the app, point the integrated camera at a Blippar-ready object and scan. Once the scan completes, you are connected to an interactive mini-ste of some kind.

Monica and BiscuitFor example, when I scanned the Heinz® Ketchup Blippar image, it popped up a series of recipes that included ketchup as an ingredient. (Ketchup nachos, anyone?) When I scanned the CoverGirl® image, it played a commercial and then gave me options to look at makeup tips, see a different commercial, or buy the producct.

Some scans show commercials, some play a selection of music, others include games or interactive play. There are myriad ways companies could use this app to share their products.

If you go to the @Beggin‘® Spring Fling page on the Purina® Pet Park Walmart website, you can scan the image of Hamlet (the cartoon dog). This app allows to you play games with the dog — roll over, fetch, stand up, back flip, or throw him Beggin’ strips — or take a picture with the image embedded. I took a couple with my kiddos. Is the Blippar App for You? continued

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Clean One-Pan Pasta

If you’re looking for a supremely simple dinner that is easy on the budget, behold the joy of this pasta dish. All the ingredients — including dry pasta, just plopped into a pan and cooked for a few minutes. Dinner is ready in less than 15 minutes top to bottom. I kid you not.

The recipe uses Martha Stewart’s crazy popular dish modded slightly for the clean eating crowd.

Clean One Pan Pasta Prep

After nearly 50 years of living, I finally broke down and bought red pepper flakes. Not a fan of hot, I’ve never felt the need, but wanted to be authentic-ish. I actually made the recipe with a half teaspoon of the fiery flakes and — being a total heat wimp — I thought it was still too spicy for my taste. Your mileage may vary.  Clean One-Pan Pasta continued

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Join Me for Better Sleep Month

This post brought to you by Better Sleep Council. All opinions are 100% mine.

Better Sleep MonthI’ve shared my sleep woes with you in the past — including my efforts to sleep like a normal person. I’ve had trouble sleeping since I was a baby. That is no hyperbole. And I’ve tried every holistic and non-holistic solution I’ve ever heard of. I’ve tried light therapy, aromatherapy, sleep masks, white noise, wave sounds, warm baths, and warm milk. But nothing has worked. Nothing.

In fact, this very morning I went to bed at 4:30 am — even though I had to get up at 7:00 am.

Here’s the thing. I’m still functional, but I’m not my best. I’m sluggish and unmotivated and just worn out. (Until about 9:00 am when my awake button magically comes on and makes me want to go out to party. Even though I’m staring down on my 50th birthday. Makes no sense all.

Mostly, it’s frustrating to be unable to get on a normal schedule. Join Me for Better Sleep Month continued

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Save Money on Infant Formula

This post brought to you by Sam’s Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

My daughters and I love to attend the Parade of Homes. It’s an annual event where various builders open furnished model homes for tours. It’s fun to see ideas and styles and cool innovations. But to date I’ve never seen a home — no matter the price range — that had a great laundry room like mine. What makes it great? Function.

Because of that, I’ve always wondered why in the world architects, home designers, and builders don’t hire someone who actually does laundry to design their laundry rooms.

Apparently Sam’s Club has already caught onto this idea in designing their SIMPLY RIGHT™ baby formula packaging.

  1. The foil top opens with one hand (for those times you’re trying to make up a bottle while holding your baby).
  2. The top has a “scoop leveler” that allows you to measure accurately.
  3. Best of all, the scoop has a little sleeve for storage so it doesn’t get buried and messy in the formula powder.

When my kids were born, the first formulas I used were the brand names provided free from the hospital. But the brands can be mighty expensive and I always looked for quality products that cost less. If you look at the comparison calculator screen shot shown below, you can see that SIMPLY RIGHT™ Complete can save you over $600 dollar per year! That’s a lot of cash toward that family vacation!  [click to continue…]

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Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Nothing compares to breakfast. Although Sam might argue (ppphhhttt), it’s easily the best meal of the day. Unfortunately, many breakfast menus are seriously heavy on refined carbs and equally low on other essentials.

Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

This past week I found a higher protein pancake recipe that sounded delicious. I modified for a clean eating lifestyle — increasing whole grains, lowering sugar and fat. Plus, I made it easier due to my laziness and hatred of all things kitchen. It’s definitely not as full of gourmet loveliness, but it still passed the family taste test! Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

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April Fools’ Day – Can’t You Take a Joke?

In a conversation a few years ago, I used the phrase “It’s not brain surgery.” It was in the same spirit as “It’s not rocket science.”

The woman proceeded to lecture me on the fact that some people really have actual true life brain surgery and that I was being utterly insensitive to those struggling with this trial. I kind of know this, because one of my dear friends died of brain cancer, but never mind that.

I could also point out that some people have been fired from “rocket science” jobs and also might be sensitive to that phrase. So, in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, please refrain from any references to brain surgery and/or rocket science.

April Fools' Day - Can't You Take a Joke?

Earlier today I saw an insensitive prankster post that he was engaged — even though all his friends knew he wasn’t dating anyone at all, let alone seriously. Apparently he is unaware that there are actual, living, breathing people who want to be engaged but aren’t. This gesture probably sucked their guts out.  April Fools’ Day – Can’t You Take a Joke? continued

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5 Thinking-Outside-the-Box Goal Setting IdeasIn one day it will be April and I’m sure your New Year’s resolutions are at least one fourth completed! You’re on your way to the best year ever! Woo hoo!

Wait. What? You what? You started strong and dropped out on January 6? You intended to start, but never got out of the gate? You’ve decided to roll your 2014 goals over into 2015 and tape a nap until then? Nooooooooo!

Unfortunately even the best intentions can run out of steam or right off the track very quickly. As much as we dream to great (or even mediocre but at least completed) things, change is hard. It just is. But it’s possible!

A few years ago I wrote about how to do a hurricane kick and noted one of my favorite quotes:

That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do has increased.

It’s true that once a habit is established, it’s actually harder to stop than to persist. So how do we create those elusive habits? How do we push through to make our dreams come true? How do we become the person we want to be, living the life we want to live? Amazing Life Hacks: 5 Thinking-Outside-the-Box Goal Setting Ideas continued

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Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

I’m all about easy, healthy food. Because of that, my slow cooker is one of the most used appliances in my house. Prepping the dinner food when the kitchen is already being used for breakfast and possibly packed lunches, means one cleanup. It also means less stress in the evening when we may all be heading out for rehearsals, games, performances, or dates.

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

Today I made an enormously simple meal that took less than 10 minutes to make. It consists of dumping some stuff into the slow cooker and turning it on. All that is left to do is gather the condiments and I’ll be making a vegetable (today, butternut squash, which looked to pretty!) to go on the side. Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos continued

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The Obvious Thing About Childhood Accidents

Dear friends: this post is for you. Whenever you are in a conversation (particularly one on a blog or, better yet, on a news site (where anonymity reigns and civility vanishes)) that involves an accident of some kind (particularly accidents involving children) and some brilliant soul feels compelled to point out that someone could have done something to prevent the accident, please point them here. Suffice it to say that accidents occur during normal, everyday life events, by definition. Unless there is gross negligence involved (you know, like putting a toddler’s favorite toys next to the pool, driving drunk, dropping lit cigarettes into a piles of crib bedding, sprinkling thumb tacks in dark well-travelled hallways, or placing open bottles of poison in enticing places, maybe — just maybe — the best responses are to learn from the mistakes (or mishaps) of others and/or show some humanity and compassion. Or whatever.

Obvious Childhood AccidentsLast year when I decided to finally share my horrific shopping cart accident of 2000, I anticipated that a percentage of people would feel a need to point out the obvious. They would need to tell me that the accident wouldn’t have happened if some of the elements were different, that the accident could have been avoided if the circumstances had not been what they were.

In order to ease these minds — and to avoid the incredible desire to scream, “DUH!” — let me tell you that I do understand this. In fact, I even know the definition of the word “accident” which actually includes this very information! Here, let me google that for you:

Accident: an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity.

So, let me list here a few ways in which this particular accident that risked the life of my son could have been avoided (to save you the trouble). The Obvious Thing About Childhood Accidents continued

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Pocket-Sized Safety Device Crowdfunding Discount

TigerLight Peacekeeper MiniI have a blue belt in karate — you’re terrified of me now, I know — and I live in Happy Valley, Utah. So what could I worry about, right? Honestly, I’ve never carried anything more sophisticated than my empty hands (if you know Kenpo, you know what I mean). This week I was asked to review an earlier model of a new self-defense product that is being crowdfunded on Indiegogo.

I was willing but, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t very enthusiastic. It’s just not my thing. But when I opened up the package, I got a little excited. This is no simple can of mace.

The TigerLight® T100 is a handheld non-lethal defense system. (Read that: protect yourself and your family without killing the bad guy.) It is a substantial chunk of metal that feels like a pistol grip. Forget the other features, you could seriously just use this thing to whack someone on the head and make them see stars, but you won’t have to.

First, I’ll describe how it works and then I’ll tell you about a special offer you can get on the new model.

Pocket-Sized Safety Device Crowdfunding Discount continued

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Why I’m Not Really All That Grateful to My Birth Mother

All my life I’ve been asked questions about my adoption. Today I heard a new one.

When I had Jessica (our oldest child) I got a sense, for the first time, of how hard it would be to carry a baby for nine months and then just walk away. A relief, perhaps, and a resolution, too. But I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be mind-bogglingly difficult for anyone with a heart.

My entire life I’ve been grateful that my birth mother allowed me to grow up in an intact family.

Not Grateful to Birth Mother

But today, as a few people on Facebook discussed the “Burger King Baby” — a 27-year-old adoptee who’s on the hunt to find the birth mother who abandoned her, wrapped in a shirt, in a Burger King bathroom — I was baffled at the curiosity. I know all about lack of DNA history, but there would have to be something pretty darn big going on to make me to want a meet up with the woman who dumped me, for the love of all that is holy, in a public bathroom. Why I’m Not Really All That Grateful to My Birth Mother continued

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Parent Delighted by Kids Falling On Ice

Parent Delighted by Kids Falling On Ice

OK, everybody’s been slipping on ice. Let’s see what these ladies do.

After this charming, fatherly intro, a girl proceeds to do a full frontal body plant on the ice. The loving dad chuckles and says:

Oh, there goes one! Oh, that’s funny!

We’ve all seen the slips and trips and pratfalls so popular on YouTube in the style of America’s Funniest Home Videos. And we collectively laugh at the misfortune of the unknown victim. But today a friend of a friend of a friend posted a video on Facebook that took me aback.  Parent Delighted by Kids Falling On Ice continued

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