What I Wore Wednesday

I mentioned how I was feeling in a bit of a rut lately. Well, I think I know the perfect way out. I've actually started watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians for the first time, and it really has me interested in fashion. I'm no Kardashian, but I think it'd be fun to focus a tad bit on fashion in my life. So... here it is... a fashion & style post I'm calling What I Wore Wednesday. :)

Here's what I wore for a moms night out dinner at Quaker Steak & Lube. I haven't shopped at Walmart for clothes in ages, but between hand-me-down jeans from my sister and some old, old, shoes, I'm sure wearing more than enough from there!

Lace-Trimmed Tank - H&M
Faded Glory Jeans - Walmart
White Stag Shoes - Walmart 

Taking this photo reminds me that I really do need to get a new pair of jeans for the winter. I have exactly zero jeans that fit me well right now. My go-to store is usually Express. They tend to fit the best and be the most flattering on mt body. Who knows, maybe I'll be sporting some new jeans in my next fashion post! ;)

I'm Linking Up With:
Where is your favorite place to shop for jeans? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :) 

The Tablecloth

"Ken have you seen the black circular table cloth?" I yell loudly from the living room.

It's Sunday. The day our family has dedicated to cleaning the house. Only it's not we that usually clean the house. It's more just me. So I suppose today is the day our family has dedicated to have me clean the house. Because that never happens. 

So far I've done three loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, mopped the kitchen, and washed a few heaping piles of dishes in the sink. The table was a disaster after the pot-stickers and rice our family had for lunch today. So, I cleared off the tablecloth and got ready to throw in the washing machine. As I grabbed a recently-laundered tablecloth to put on the table, I was greeted by a disgusting sour milk smell. Gross. I grabbed a second tablecloth, and it smells even worse. 

"Why do all of our table cloths smell like sour milk?" I wondered. I suppose a logical answer would be that somehow between a three-year-old and a five-year-old, milk has been spelled plenty of times on the tablecloths. 

The two sour milk-tastic tablecloths got thrown into the laundry room to be washed asap. As I rummaged through drawers looking for a black circular table cloth, I was surprised that it was nowhere to be found.

"How do we lose a tablecloth?" I wondered in my head. 

"Ken have you seen the black circular table cloth?" I yell loudly to from the living room.

"No... Did you check in the closet?" He yells back. "You might have put it in there thinking it was a towel." 

Not likely, but I check anyways. I've checked everywhere else, so who knows where it could be at this point. 

I see a black corner of fabric peeking out from underneath some towels. My heart almost skips a beat as I move the towels on top of it to see what it was. Only a pillowcase. I keep looking. Sure enough, after moving a few more towels I see it. My tablecloth. My black beautiful circular tablecloth. I quickly remove it from the pile of towels and take a quick whiff. I want to make sure the nasty milk funk hasn't gotten to this one yet too. It smells clean and I am relieved.

I quickly walk over to our table, shake out the tablecloth, and center it perfectly on the table. I place our stainless steel napkin holder on top of the table. Our napkins are a mix of store-bought white squares, brown rectangular ones from Taco Bell, and a packaged wet wipe from Quaker Steak and Lube. I stand back and take a minute to observe the clean table. It won't stay this way for long, dinner is coming up in two hours. But for now it looks good.

I love to hear what you have to say. Just leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every comment. :) 

The Truth About Kids & Screen Time

I have always been a fan of limited screen time for kids. Mostly, I limit screen time to about 60 minutes a day, but we have unplugged completely on occasion.

I'm always interested in learning about viewpoints that challenge my own. So, when I read an article about allowing children to self-regulate television habits posted at http://sandradodd.com/t/economics, I was intrigued. To sum up the article, when we limit access to something, we make it important. When we allow unlimited access to something, it becomes less important. So, when we limit television, we make kids want it more.  I wasn't sure if I was sold on the idea, but I was willing to give it a try. So, for the past 7 days, we've allowed out kids to watch unlimited television, and gave them unlimited access to the Kindle & LeapPad.

In a nutshell? I'm so not a fan of unlimited television and screen time for my kids.

Here is what I observed.
  • They clocked in 6+ hours each of television a day. Between the two of them, my kids would, when given the chance, watch television from 9am-noon. Then, after lunch, from 1pm-4pm, and sometimes have room for a show or two after dinner. Watching television and playing Kindle/LeapPad literally became their life. And, for what it's worth, they only watched two shows, both of which were non-violent, and age-appropriate: Wild Kratts & Toopy & Binoo.
  • They weren't interested in activities they would normally be interested when the television was on. The would normally love to cuddle on the couch to read a book together, but this week, not only did they not want to listen to a book, they actually seemed to hate the idea.
  • They became aggressive. Turning off the television to eat became a battle. They became full of anger, hate and resentment because they needed to stop watching television.
  • They became impatient. Normally, if they'd call me for help, I could tell them to hold on, and then I'd take care of what they wanted. This week, if I didn't help them immediately, they became furious.
  • They became uninterested in things that were educational. Usually, I can get my kids to watch an educational DVD, read an educational book about science, etc. But, this week, they wanted nothing to do with anything educational. Both as a homeschooler and unschooler, this simply wasn't going to fly. While I consider myself an unschooler because I never force my kids to do anything educational, they're usually open to doing educational things. It'd very important to me to keep this desire for learning alive.
I've been told that the copious amounts of television my children have been watching is part of the binging process... allowing them to have as much as they want until they no longer want it. But, I just couldn't live this way. I couldn't deal with the lack of desire to learn, the attitudes and dis-respect. So, I've officially put our unlimited screen time experiment to an end.

AAP And Screen Time Recommendations
  • Children Under 2 - No Screen Time
  • Children Over 2 - 1-2 Hours/Day

Can Children Be Addicted To Television?
In short, yes. A person can be addicted to anything. Here's what the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition says in regarding use-related disorders.

Substance use disorders span a wide variety of problems arising from substance use, and cover 11 different criteria: 
  1. 1. Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than the you meant to
  2. 2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to
  3. 3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance
  4. 4. Cravings and urges to use the substance
  5. 5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home or school, because of substance use
  6. 6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships
  7. 7. Giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of substance use
  8. 8. Using substances again and again, even when it puts the you in danger
  9. 9. Continuing to use, even when the you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance
  10. 10. Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance)
  11. 11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.
The DSM 5 allows clinicians to specify how severe the substance use disorder is, depending on how many symptoms are identified. Two or three symptoms indicate a mild substance use disorder, four or five symptoms indicate a moderate substance use disorder, and six or more symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder.

I suppose that for some families, children may learn to monitor themselves, but it wasn't working with ours, and I wasn't willing to keep trying in hopes that one day things will change. This unlimited television experiment also reminded why I started limiting television time in the first place. It's not because television is bad, but rather because play is so good. Every minute my kids spend in front of the television is a minute they could have been playing. I'd much rather have them playing, especially since they're so young. At this age, playing is a child's work. It makes sense to take advantage of this wonderful time by giving them as many opportunities to play as possible. I already knows what works for us, and I'll be going back to that. :)

Phoenix & Ariana's First Acting Class!

I've been wanting to get Phoenix into an acting class for a while now. Well, today was the day. Our local metropark is offering a class "Big Stories, Little Actors". In a nutshell, it's an acting class for the preschool-8-year-old crowd. The class includes activities and games that focus on introducing kids to movement, rhythm, drama and character.

I was actually quite impress with how well Phoenix & Ariana did. While Pheonix is quite outgoing, Ariana is much more reserved, so seeing her let loose in class was very cool to watch. The did a few acting warm-up exercises. Next, they read The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. After the story, they did a craft, and finally acted out The Sneeches using everything they had learned in the class.

Here's a video of Phoenix & Ariana doing some of the warm-up exercises. :)

I thought I filmed when they acted out The Sneetches... but I didn't so... you'll just have to trust me that Phoenix and Ariana both did great!

Have your kids ever taken an acting class? Have you? What did you think? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

"Oh My, Oh No!" Book Review

I was given a complimentary copy of "Oh My, Oh No!" to facilitate this review.

Oh My, Oh No!

By: Lisa Charrier
Illustrated by: Agnes Domergue

Running Press Kids; Ages 2 - 6
$15.95 US · $18.50 CAN · Hardcover
8.5 x 8.5 · 32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7624-5409-9
Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Our family loves books. We also love letting kids be kids. Enter Oh My, Oh No! by Lisa Charrier, Illustrated by Agnes Domergue.  Oh My, Oh No! is a beautifully-illustrated story about how a little girl tries to do things to be just like her mother, and gets herself into all sorts of unintended mischief along the way.

When's the last time you looked at something from your child's perspective? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Blogging Blues | Fun New Photos Of Phoenix and Ariana

I feel like I've been in a bit of a blogging rut lately. Actually, ever since I attended BloggyCon 2013 a year ago, it kind of dawned on me that I really didn't have the desire to blog like I used to, and like so many other bloggers do. Those people that blog for money, money to live off of, are hardcore. Seriously. They're another breed. The whole "blogging is your business" just isn't for me. Sure, I'll do a sponsored post or work with a company here or there... but in terms of any sort of meaningful income, I'd rather just work 4 hours a week at a job than spend 40 hours a week blogging for the same income... if that makes sense.

But... if there is anything to bring me out of a rut, it's beautiful autumn weather. So, today, while the hubby is doing a 24 hour fast to prepare for his black belt testing, I've been hanging out with the kids. We just took Hugo for a walk, rode bikes, and I was able to snap a few.

Phoenix - 5 years & 9 months   |   Ariana - 3 years & 3 months

I know I'm their mom, but I love how these photos turned out. Taking Phoenix & Ariana's pictures today was a blast, and it reminds me of how fleeting these moments are. I think I'll be carrying around the camera a bit more. Oh, and, it doesn't hurt the Ken got a new lens that takes up much less room too! ;) 

Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one.

Why I Vaccinate My Children

I made the decision to vaccinate my children five years ago. My decision was based on a few discussions with a pharmacist and a counseling psychologist who worked with individuals with autism. Back then, the study relating vaccinations to autism had not yet been discredited.

I still stand by my decision to vaccinate my children. Since becoming a bit more of a skeptic and freethinker, and a member of a few "natural parenting" groups, my decisions to vaccinate have resurfaced again. In a few Facebook Groups I was in, numerous new mothers ask for advice when it comes to vaccinations, and I'm astounded by the general consensus amongst these parents - you should not vaccinate. I think the anti-vaccination movement is rooted in fear, not evidence.

The sheer amount of illogical reasons why parent's shouldn't vaccinate is astounding. I am able to see right through the "proof" they give simply through applying what I learned way back when I took an Intro To Formal Logic class back at Kent State University. Here, I was given the tools to analyze arguments in a systematic way that has been highly beneficial in my decision to not vaccinate my children. If you've never taken a class on logic, I highly recommend it. Here's a free one offered by Stanford. In a world where information is everywhere, being able to analyze arguments is now more important than ever. Here's a simple graphic illustrating how one of the anti-vaccine arguments is illogical. The "Re-Think Vaccines" is an actual graphic used & shared by ant-vaccers to support their movement. The images below illustrate how poor their logic is by applying it to other situations.

I can't micromanage ever parent's vaccination decision, and yet I feel it would be incredibly irresponsible for me to just say nothing. The internet is full of so many vaccination myths it's horrifying. So, in a world increasingly filled with anti-vaccination propaganda, I bring you some information on why you should vaccinate your children.

An infant girl in Intensive Care with Whooping Cough (Pertussis).

The infant above is too young to be vaccinated herself, so relied on herd immunity to keep her safe. Anti-vaccers compromise herd immunity, and as a result, we have situations like this. For herd immunity to work, a certain number of people in a group needs to be vaccinated to prevent the spread of disease. So, even though we can't vaccinate infants they shouldn't get sick due to the number of susceptible people around them being vaccinated. have been saved via herd immunity. 

As one commenter states, "This is a huge frustration for me. Vaccinations have the potential to relieve more human suffering than all the ICU care we could possibly provide. I've seen whole disease categories all but vanish during my career, and yet there are scores of people who think they know better because of anecdotes, their own fears, etc. The data on vaccines are better than any data on which you base any other decisions in your life. Please, I don't need the job security! PS. If you think that video is hard to watch, try it in real life with your own kid. For days. No sleep. Just get the shots."

On WIRED Magazine, read:
An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All
How to Win an Argument About Vaccines
What’s the Real Story on the Vaccine Debate? Learn More

Check out the anti-vaccine body count at http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Preventable_Deaths.html

And, read Dear parents, you are being lied to.

Read the story of this 58-year-old woman who contracted polio.

I'm also excited that NOVA is airing "Vaccines-Calling the Shots" today. Here's a little preview of the special:

Please feel free to share this on your favorite social media sites. Send this to anyone you know who is pregnant or has children who aren't vaccinated. I don't believe anti-vaccers are bad people, they have just not been presented with convincing evidence on why they should vaccinate... but evidence IS out there. 

What are your thoughts on vaccinations? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one.  

Taking A Break As A Mom #mymikesmoment #MC #Sponsred

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for mike’s hard lemonade. I received a Circle K gift card to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Wow, has it really been 15 years? According
to my math, that would put me at 19 years old...
so let's just say it's been 13 years. ;)
First off, let me say that most people know I'm not a big drinker. I have no shame in being the only one drinking a diet cola if I'm not feeling up for a drink. When I do have a dink, I'm picky, and tend to go for something of the "girlie drink" variety. So, when mike's asked me to sample their new mike's hard pink lemonade... I simply couldn't resist!

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co., best recognized for its iconic mike’s® hard lemonade, is currently celebrating its 15th anniversary. They use real lemons – the whole lemon, including both the juice and the zest – to flavor their beverages resulting in the crispest, most refreshing taste around. :)

Tell me more about mike’s hard pink lemonade...

Who are the cutest owls in the world?
These guys are!
Well, mike’s hard pink lemonade is a limited edition, seasonal flavor that’s on shelves now and available until Octoberish. I love how mike’s hard pink lemonade starts out with a crisp, bright citrus notes and finishes tart and refreshing. Since 2009, mike’s hard lemonade has released its seasonal pink lemonade flavor each year in support of breast cancer awareness and has contributed more than $1 million to breast cancer research. Score on that. And... what's not to love about those adorable little owls to the left... everyone loves owls, right? I promise my photo doesn't even do those cute little guys justice. They're way cuter in person.

Why, hello there sunshine!


As a mom, I know it can be pretty tough to get a moment to treat yourself. But, this past Saturday, I had the chance to do just that. During the day, I was able to make a quick stop to Circle K to pick up some mike's pink lemonade as well as swing be the library to pick up a few books I had on hold. Multi-tasking. Always multi-tasking. ;)

Fast forward to 8:30pm. Both kids were sound asleep, and it time to kick back and watch Glee-runs while I try out my new mike's hard pink lemonade. It's been years since I've had a mike's but they taste just as good as ever. :)

Chillin' out on the couch watching television as I enjoy some kids-free time... that's my mike's moment. :) 

Treat yourself! 

This September, mike’s hard lemonade is helping you treat yourself and do good at the same time. As a mom, you’re on the go all the time and Circle K is an easy stop to grab the kids a snack after soccer, pick up something to bring to the sleepover, etc. But don’t forget to treat yourself while you’re out by picking up a mike’s hard pink lemonade to relax and enjoy your own #mymikesmoment.

When you “drink pink,” you not only have a moment to savor for yourself, and, at the same time, also raise awareness for breast cancer research. Share your favorite #mymikesmoment while enjoying mike’s hard pink lemonade. And, don't forget, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Be sure to follow mike's hard lemonade on TwitterFacebook, and at http://www.mikeshard.com

What would be your ideal #mikesmoment ? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

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