Wednesday, August 5, 2020

DIY: How to make the ultimate bird sanctuary in your yard.

If the quarantine and coronavirus did anything good for us, it's that we reconnected with nature.
One of the ways that my family reconnected with nature was by building a little bird sanctuary in the yard.
While the idea seems simple enough, it's not that easy.  Birds are skittish creatures that take some luring.
Additionally, different species take different methods of convincing in order to visit.
Yes, some birds are little snobs.  They may be cute, but still snobs nonetheless.

When we first started, I was under the impression that birds would just appear.
Turns out that couldn't be farther from the truth!  & to be honest, I was getting discouraged.
That's when I bought e-books on birding and read countless blog posts on successful birdies.
I researched birds found in my area and what attracted those species to come out to play.
We even visited a local nature preserve to learn about birds and their natural habitats.
After a solid two weeks of research, we redid our entire bird sanctuary and was  s u c c e s s f u l.
We now spend countless hours watching the birds and marking off what species stop by.
Oh, and our frequent visitors get names and a special place in my heart!

How to create a bird sanctuary in your yard.

Invest in quality bird food, even if it's more expensive.
Cheaper bird food is full of "fillers" that the birds would never eat.  & no bird stops by for a "filler" feast.
We've had the best luck with 100% black oil sunflower seeds.  It has no fillers and most birds love it!
We also buy quality nectar for our hummingbird feeder to attract those cute little guys.
Other birds, like orioles, also eat nectar and are attracted to things like orange peels.  Get creative!

Strategically place your feeder remembering these 3 important rules.
1.  Not all birds eat from a feeder.  It needs to be placed where seeds can fall and remain for ground feeders.
2.  Squirrels will eat all the bird seed.  Place it where it's literally impossible for them to reach or jump to.
3.  It's big enough for multiple birds.  Remember, birds attract more birds.  Think of it as the local hangout. 

Your birds will become more frequent visitors when it's a one stop shop.
Invest in a good feeder, good food, AND a quality bird bath so they can play or drink the water.
Strategically place these things in a place that they can rest and hang out without fear.
I mean, would you go somewhere to eat where it wasn't safe to linger and had no drinks?  I think not..

Don't get lazy with the bird bath and keep it clean.
Birds will not bath, touch, drink, or entertain yucky water.  Would you?
Clean your bird bath regularly and refill it with fresh water daily.  You'll be thanked with frequent visits!

If you remember one rule, remember that birds have to feel safe.
Relocate bushes and trees to your bird sanctuary area so that they have coverage or a place to hide.
We planted several rose bushes, hosta plants, and a holly bush to provide coverage for the birds.
Our final touch was a stepping stone so it could heat in the sun and make a roosting spot.

Research what plants certain birds can be attracted to.
Believe it or not, but the right plants can do a great job of attracting different types of birds.
Sunflowers, black-eyed susans, and daisies all attract different song birds.
Pansies, canna lilies, and other cone shaped flowers attract hummingbirds.
Look up the many different plants that attract insects.  Plants that bring bugs attract different birds, too.

Supply nesting locations nearby.
One sure way to bring around birds is to give them a place to move in to.
Hanging bird houses high up in a tree or in a nearby bush can convince a family to move in and stay.

Birds don't have ESP to know a bird feeder is there.  Make it known.
This is actually one of the best pieces of knowledge that I got from all my research.
A bird isn't going to magically know that you created a sanctuary for them.
You're going to have to put a little effort into attracting them to your area.
The best way to do this is to sprinkle seeds around the ground near your bird sanctuary.
Birds look down from above.  They will easily see the bird seed lingering and come down to snatch it.

Be patient and expect your sanctuary to constantly evolve.
Once you get a few birds to visit regularly, you'll see that others will follow to check out the hype.
Then you'll be able to tell what species you're attracting to your sanctuary.
When you're ready for more, you add and adjust the sanctuary to fit it.
Like mentioned above, attracting new species could be as simple as throwing in orange peels.
It could also be a little more difficult such as offering a suet or raisins for a woodpecker.
Whatever it is, just have fun with it and don't forget to learn about your new friends!

How did you connect with nature?

Monday, August 3, 2020

List: Ten things you should know before you turn 30.

Yesterday I turned the ripe old age of 32 years old.
No comments on my aging years, please.  Yes, I am looking at you, cat!
Time always passes quickly, but it seems to pick up speed once you have children.
While that's true, one thing that I always seem to have time for is reflection.
Specifically around midnight when I can't seem to sleep or shut my damn brain off..
That got me thinking about the past 30+ years of my life and all of the things I wish I knew a decade ago.

things to learn before 30

Ten things I wish I knew before I turned 30.

1.  Stop wasting time obsessing about the past.
Memories are an amazing thing.  By all means, obsess over the good ones and constantly replay them.
While that's true, sometimes the bad memories or missed opportunities haunt us.
Big emphasis on missed opportunities!  How many times do we wish that we took that risk?!
They happened.  Obsessing over them won't change them.  You're wasting precious time replaying them.
Instead, practice acknowledging them, learning from them, and doing better next time.

2.  Avoid burning bridges.
It's easy for someone who feels singed to burn the whole freaking bridge down to the ground.
Stop.  Breathe.  Think.  Act.  Repeat until you put the torch down and take 10 steps to the right.
Sometimes we realize whatever happened wasn't serious enough to sacrifice a relationship.
Sometimes you're in a spot where you really need that relationship or referral.
It's OK to walk away from a hazard, but leave the bridge standing just in case it's wanted.

3.  Prioritize your relationships.
Whether it be family, friends, or a significant other, know their role in your life and act on it.

4.  All life is precious.
I always knew about life and death, but I never minded it until my first born.
Respect your life enough to preserve it.  Flashback of those motorcycle rides.. I cringe!
While your life is precious, so is all other's lives.  Make decisions that reflect that.
I'm talking about the bush in your yard, the bird sitting in it, & even the worm it's about to eat.

5.  Don't let your fears control you.
As a woman with intense anxiety, this is a huge one for me and something I still struggle with.
Step out of your comfort zone, face your fears, and live your life to it's full potential.
If your dream is to travel, but your afraid of planes, get on one anyways.
If you fantasize of a corporate role, but fear public speaking, get up and preach.
If you want a certificate, but fear failing a test, study harder and take it.
Whatever the fear, face it.  It makes the reward just that much better.  I promise.

6.  Spend money on memories instead of superficial items.
If you wouldn't put a picture of it in your photo album, you may want to rethink the purchase.
The same goes for expensive gifts.  Ditch the presents and gift them with your time instead.
Those Gucci sunglasses may look fabulous, but they won't make for a special memory.  I don't think..

7.  Never get too comfortable because change is constant.
Life throws curve balls at even the most mundane of creatures.  Instead of fighting it, accept it.
When you embrace the change, your efforts will go into making it a positive impact on your life.
When you fight it, you waste your efforts on something that's inevitable.
...or sometimes your resistance just makes the change evolve into something even worse...
Sometimes being open to change may help present new, desired opportunities to come your way.

8.  Save some money for a rainy day.
This may seem like an obvious one, but we sometimes don't believe it until a downpour.
Open a savings account and make a habit of adding money to it on a routine basis.
If the rainy day never comes, you'll have the extra funds to splurge on a dream vacation.

9.  Learn your way around a kitchen.
For the sake of your health and finances, be capable of making your own meals regularly.

10.  Always be mindful of others.
Selfish, narcissistic, self obsessed behavior is running rampant these days.  Thanks, social media..
Remember to be mindful of how your actions and words could effect other people.
Appreciate other people's kindness and return it.  Apologize when you make a mistake.
Open your eyes and help those who need it, even if it's just a small gesture of assistance.
...and, for the love of God, don't post about it on social media for attention.
Stop thinking you're the smartest mammal on the planet and bullying people to think your way.
Donate resources to charity, whether it be time, money, necessities, or the occasional luxury.
Be reliable.  Answer your phone.  Help when asked.  Show up when promised.  No one likes a flake.
Finally, learn to listen.  Blabbing is a lot of fun, but a mutual conversation is better.

What would you tell a younger you?

Friday, July 31, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

We had way too much fun in a...
...sunflower maze at a farm out east.  Sunflowers make everyone happy, right?
The entrance fee was a little high at $5 per person, but it was worth it for my kid's ages.
An adult could have gotten out in 10 minutes, but my kids extended that to about an hour.
They also had fun playing with a pony, a giant ear of corn, and the cow playground.
Sadly, we didn't get to take home any sunflowers.  Although, these probably wouldn't have fit in my vase!
For those asking about the bees..  Yes, there were lots.  No they didn't bother us.  I only screamed once!  :)

I'm feeling nostalgic listening to...
...Socco Amaretto Lime by Brand New on repeat.  This was my Summer anthem over a decade ago.
In high school and my early 20s, Brand New was one of my favorite bands with this song being #1.
Over ten years later, and this song holds a whole new meaning.  Basically, I'm old.
"...And stay awake through summer like we own the heat."

I'm wishing my baby brother...
...a VERY HAPPY 29th  BIRTHDAY!!  Here's to ending the decade with health and happiness.

I'm absolutely and completely OBSESSED with...
...Pinterest!  I can't stop creating pins, boards, and just organizing all 10 years worth of posts.
Pinterest even introduced me to a new graphic design site that's free where you can make such pretty things.
Here's to no more cheesy pictures on Blogger.  Hopefully I can create some cool graphics now!

We're getting ready for...
...our trip to Kalahari in the Poconos!  It's to celebrate my hubby's 30th birthday.
While it's not somewhere I'd pick to go, I'm looking forward to getting away for a while.
I'm packing my bathing suits, flip flops, sunscreen, and fedora.  & dieting.  Lot's of dieting..

Calling all experienced mommies because...
...I don't know what to do with my son!  He's too big for a high chair and too small for a dining chair.
How do you feed your children without them crashing onto the floor in the interim?
He tried to flip the high chair over with himself strapped into it a week ago.
Then he threw himself off the dining chair while eating a cookie a few days later.
Is there an answer for this or should he just have to eat on the floor until he's big enough for a chair?!  Help!!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Life: Cafe Il Villaggio

For my husband's 30th birthday, I wanted to surprise him with a nice night out.
Besides, we haven't been to a restaurant in almost 2 years because my son just wasn't ready..
For the special event, I chose one of our favorite Italian restaurants called Cafe Il Villaggio in Babylon Village.
Cafe Il Villaggio is a restaurant tucked into the heart of Babylon Village on the south shore of Long Island.
This restaurant stands out because the owners are from Sicily and the menu reflects it with Sicilian dishes.
It's not easy to find a Sicilian menu.  Most restaurants serve traditional Italian or Italian-American food.
Long story short, I made the perfect choice for my husband's surprise 30th birthday dinner.
The food was perfect.  The service was amazing.  The dessert was on point.  & my son even behaved!

cafe il villagio babylon village

Cafe Il Villaggio | Babylon Village | NY

Cafe Il Villaggo was super accommodating to work with, even during a pandemic.
They had outdoor seating available along with limited indoor seating with required social distancing.
The staff all wore masks, along with the patrons, with the exception of when they were seated at their table.
They took my reservation a week in advance and even made a note to surprise the birthday boy with dessert.
The table was prepped in the corner of the restaurant away from guests and with a high chair for our son.

We started with our favorite appetizer, fried calamari, a beer for my man, and a glass of moscato for me.
Oh, and HOT, fresh bread.  Baby boy was dancing in his high chair when he saw that.  Seriously!
My daughter ordered her absolute favorite dish ever, the classic spaghetti with meatballs.
The portion was big enough to feed her, my gavon of a son, and have leftovers for a lunch.
My husband ordered their shrimp monochino which was absolute perfection.
I ordered the special of the night, spaghetti in a wine sauce with tomatoes and clams.  It was delicious!

Before we knew it, over an hour passed of delicious food and entertaining conversation.
The whole staff came out from the wall behind my husband with dessert, a lit candle, and was singing.
His face was priceless as the whole restaurant put their attention on him and joined in on the the song.

His birthday dessert was a traditional Sicilian dessert known as cassatelle.
Cassatelle look like empanadas, but taste like a cannoli stuffed zeppoli.  In other words, they're heaven!
The kids ate their cassatelle and were spoiled with gelato imported straight from Italy.

We were packing up and getting ready to end our night, when the owner took the time to say hello.
Even the patrons took time to tell us how beautiful our kids were and to wish my husband a happy birthday.
For those unfamiliar with Long Island, friendly conversation is not the norm for around here.
It felt like we were dining in a Sicilian village and running into our old family friends.

I would highly recommend Cafe Il Villaggio for food and service.

What is your favorite cuisine?

Monday, July 27, 2020

List: Ten ideas to bring excitement back into your life.

A few weeks back, I found myself sending out pleas for help to bring excitement into my life.
That's when I started thinking, I've been down this dreaded road before.
Many times, actually.  See in 2016 and again in 2012.  Sigh...
Both posts are from two very different times in my life proving that life can be mundane despite circumstance.
I don't mean mundane or boring in the sense of a lack of drive or responsibility.
The boring I'm referring to comes from a mundane routine where every day is predictable.
While I recognize that some people relish in a life that's stable and predictable, that's just not me.
I crave spontaneity, excitement, and up hill mountains that need to be climbed.
Here's a new list of simple ways to bring excitement back into your world without sacrificing morals.
Hopefully three times really is the charm..

how to bring back excitement; how to break your daily routine; how to be spontaneous; how to stop being boring; how to change a boring life

Ten ideas to bring excitement back into your life.

1.  Plan a weekly date that doesn't involve family.
This could be a date with yourself or a friend.  Either way, break routine by changing company.
..or by opting for no company.  Trust me when I say this is the biggest change of all!
The dates don't have to be long or costly.  It's just a simple pleasure to indulge and look forward to.

2.  Set up a monthly game night with your favorite people.
It may be difficult to coordinate something weekly, but monthly is typically doable.
Break your routine by setting up competitive fun.  Loser has to host the next game night!

3.  Take a lunch break at least once a week and share it with someone.
This break from the work day is sometimes all that you need to get you through the second half.
Lunch breaks are far and few between these days.  Lunch breaks with company are almost extinct.
Dedicate yourself to getting a slice of pizza or sitting in the lunchroom with a coworker once a week.
If you get a good enough vent session or belly laugh in there, you'll be good for a few more days!

4.  Volunteer your time to an organization that you believe in.
In the past, I've dedicated time to various fundraisers but never anything that I initiated.
In order to spend more time with my daughter, I decided to become a catechist.
As a catechist, I would be able to teach religion to the kiddies, including my little Mushy Face.

5.  Create a Blog and write lists for random people on the internet.
When you put it that way, it does sound a tad bit pathetic, doesn't it?  Well, IDC, because I enjoy it!
I have lots of fun in Blogger and have made quite a few friends and acquaintances through here.
My second favorite part is seeing all the people that came to my page through different Google inquiries.

6.  Plan for at least one monthly family outing.
I'm at the point in my life where date nights don't matter quite as much as a family outing.
Your monthly family date will break up routine and be something that everyone looks forward to.
This could be as simple as a fishing day, as fun as a school play, and as crazy as a day of go kart racing!

7.  Host a Love Love Party with your closest girlfriends.
When I was about 20 years old, I hosted a Love Love Party and it was a night to remember!
This is a juicy party guaranteed to give laughs as the host tries to sell all different types of sex toys.
Similar to a Tupperware party, the host gets credits based on other people's purchases.
I almost died when I got a $1200 credit!  Does that mean that I have kinky friends?
My second favorite was seeing everyone squirm during anal beads BINGO!

8.  Volunteer your time to babysit the kiddies.
This may sound counterproductive to what we're trying to accomplish here, but hear me out.
You'll have lots of fun with all the babies by playing games, watching movies, and making snacks.
This is a definite break from your daily routine and gives you much needed time with other people's kiddies.
Double win - You'll have an IOU for a future babysitting day when you're in need!

9.  Plan a seasonal mini road trip.
While I would love to take a seasonal vacation, let's just face the fact we'll never be rich enough for that!
We can wait to hit the lotto, but in the interim, settle for a seasonal mini adventure.
This could be a self guided tour in a nearby town, a day at the aquarium, or a road trip to a new beach.
To qualify, it should take at least two hours to get to your destination so it feels like a getaway!

10.  Periodically change up your look.
Imagine the moment of bliss that you get every time you open a new tube of mascara then times it by 10.
You can get a new outfit, new hair style, or even simply change your shade of lip stick.
This barely noticeable change in your appearance is going to leave you feeling fresh for a while!

What do you do to add some innocent excitement into your life?

Friday, July 24, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

japanese eggplant

One of my favorite veggies is...
...Japanese Eggplant!  This is a long, thin eggplant with a delicate taste and less chewy texture.
I prefer it over regular eggplant because the seeds are so tiny that they're almost nonexistent.
The only problem with this vegetable is that you can't buy it in the regular grocery store.
The only way that I can get my hands on it is to grow it in my garden.

I'm real excited because...
...we had our first substantial harvest of Japanese eggplants from our garden!
We picked 7 full grown eggplants to enjoy alongside our barbecued chicken thighs last night.
A little olive oil, a pad of butter, a dash of garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper pairs perfectly.
Sautee on medium heat, mixing often, for about 20 minutes or until tender.  Serve and then enjoy!
The picture on the right is 7 eggplants chopped, seasoned, and ready to be cooked.

I can't stop thinking about...
...the Wayfair Scandal.  True or not, the possibility shows how truly disgusting society has become.
The few people vocalizing their feelings on it can't believe how people are turning a blind eye.
My next venture down the rabbit hole is to finish the docu-series Jeffrey Epstein:  Filthy Rich.

I'm getting nervous that...
...schools won't fully reopen in the fall.  I get the health concerns, but there has to be a better way.
It's unhealthy mentally and physically for the parents and kiddies to juggle all of this.
Working full time from home while watching, feeding, and TEACHING kids is impossible.
While I don't know what the right answer is, I just know that this isn't it.

On the bright side...
...New York went from being the epicenter of COVID19 to one of the safest states.
Here's to continuing this trend and eventually reaching herd immunity so that life can start again.
In other words, wear your freaking mask until Cuomo says otherwise!  For the love of God..

And, finally, the HIGHLIGHT of today is...'s the hubby's 30th birthday today.  He's officially joined the 30's club.
Happy 30th to my handsome, handy, and supportive husband.
I wish you another decade filled with health, happiness, & our annoying voices screaming your name!
We'll be celebrating with the four of us rocking the outside seating of our favorite Sicilian restaurant.
Then we get to give him the big surprise gift.  We are going to Kalahari in the Poconos for 4 days in August!!!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Ideas: Anniversary gift ideas for five years of marriage.

As I shared earlier in the week, this weekend we will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary.
The traditional gift for a 5th anniversary is something that consists of wood.
That leaves us with many more options to get something to represent our anniversary.
The past traditional gifts were a little more difficult to follow such as cotton, leather, and flowers.
We opted to purchase a piece of wooden furniture since it is something that we can both enjoy.
We've been saving for the buffet table to match our dining set.  Took us 5 years, but worth the wait!
Before committing to the long awaited purchase, I did brainstorm a few other ideas to share here.

five year anniversary gift ideas

Anniversary gift ideas for 5 years of marriage.

To make this gift extra special, fill it with your pictures from your favorite moments.
On the back of the pictures, you can write the date, event, and why it's so special to you.
This album is so pretty that it could be put on display in your home where guests are bound to browse!

A wooden trunk to place at the foot of your bed is one of my favorite ideas.
You can use it to store linens, photographs, and more making this a luxuriously functional gift.
For the record, this was my second choice behind the buffet table!  Isn't it pretty?

After we purchased our home, the real estate agent gifted us with this and we absolutely love it.
It's something that you will use at your special events.  Besides, cheese = love, right?!

I've always loved the look of wooden shutters to match the front door of your home.
This is something you both could enjoy in celebration of your fifth wedding anniversary.
I've also seen shutters hung with a faux window as a statement piece inside of a friend's home.

If you're looking for the ultimate wooden anniversary gift, you can always go straight to the source!
A tree is a gift that will continue to grow and may outlive your lifetime.
A birch tree has many symbolic meanings in different cultures making it a perfect choice.
Bonus points if you be all romantic and carve your initials into the trunk of tree!

A wooden game set is classic coffee table decor and a fun way to play with your spouse.

This is something that I had in an old apartment I rented.  It was the most useful thing ever.
If you're looking for another practical wooden gift, this may a good choice.
Some even come complete with a mail holder which absolutely doubles it's purposefulness.
Oh, and it can hold the "key to your heart"!  Too cheesy?  Agreed, let's move on..

Coasters are a household must, especially when you have furniture that you're trying to protect.
These little discs can remind you of this milestone anniversary every time they defend your furniture!

A cute way to celebrate your anniversary could be to start a home for a feathery mr. & mrs.

This wooden planter is a great way to bond while purchasing something that you'll have for years.
You can fill your planter with your favorite vegetables or fruits in a neat and organized way.
This is a great gift idea for the couples with a green thumb or a love for the outdoors.

What are your 5th anniversary gift ideas?

Monday, July 20, 2020

List: Ten anniversary celebration ideas.

My husband and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this weekend.
While we don't get each other gifts, we like to make this a special day sans any kiddies.
We only go out twice a year.  Once for Valentine's day and once for our birthday & anniversary combo.
Since it's a big thing to get some alone time, we try to put some thought into the evening.

My favorite anniversary celebration was for our third year of marriage.
It was my favorite because my husband planned it all on his own and it was full of little surprises.
He took me to a small French restaurant because my biggest dream is to travel to France.
He surprised me with the champagne from our wedding day and a gorgeous display of flowers.
He ended the night with my favorite dessert and a dance to our wedding song in our living room.
He also accidentally ate chicken liver which is something we still laugh about today.
It was a simple evening, but it was sweet and very thoughtful.

The moral of the story is that extravagant gifts and/or trips are nice, but it's not what matters.
It's the thought and relevant little surprises that you do for your partner that win the day.

anniversary date ideas

Ten anniversary celebration ideas.

1.  Recreate a meaningful event.
Whether it be a first date or a favorite date, reinvent it and experience it in a whole new way!
Our first date was a small cafe/sports bar.  We never returned, but we point it out whenever we pass it.
How about reliving your worst date ever together?  That could end in laughs.  Maybe..

2.  Go on a chocolate tour.
Many large cities have dessert or chocolate tours that you can venture out on together.
While a beer or bar crawl doesn't really scream "romance" to me, bring on the chocolate tour!

3.  Enjoy an evening dinner cruise.
Get tickets for a reputable dinner cruise where you'll spend a unique and romantic evening.
You'll both enjoy a meal, cocktails, and maybe even some dancing while floating on the water.
Peep the world "reputable".  We did a night cruise after our prom.  It was so not anniversary appropriate.

4.  Spend the day at a winery.
Take a drive out to a local winery.  Pair and taste different wines with meat and cheese offerings.
With the beautiful scenery and the inevitable buzz, this could be a real romantic anniversary day date.

5.  Create a DIY annual anniversary item.
Each anniversary year represents a different item.  For example, year four is flowers and year five is wood.
For our 4th anniversary, my daughter and I hand pressed a rose from our garden and framed it.
With wood for a fifth anniversary, the opportunities for homemade decor are endless.
If you're crafty, spend the day doing a thought out DIY to represent that year of marriage.
Just don't share what you made for the year of leather.  We don't want to know!

6.  Go to a local fair.
You can share a funnel cake, kiss at the top of the Ferris wheel, and win your sweetheart a stuffed bear.

7.  Tour a local mansion or castle.
I never thought of this as a romantic outing until we toured the Flagler mansion on our honeymoon.
We got to hide away in a gorgeous garden, learn the history, and see a room made out of gold.
We've also visited the Vanderbilt mansion.  We saw a planetarium, gorgeous courtyards, and a real mummy.
No two mansions or castles are created equal.  Go have fun exploring together!

8.  Have a bowling match.
Bowling is always a fun night out, especially when you get competitive.  Loser does the week's laundry?

9.  Make a faux wedding cake together.
Using YouTube as your guide, bake a multi layer cake together and decorate it like a professional.
Recreate the moment you cut your original wedding cake with your new one.
..& be prepared with champagne...lots and lots of champagne..

10.  Go on an fancy picnic.
I love the romantic passages in novels of a couple on a picnic enjoying fresh bread and cold meats.
They usually enjoy a bottle of wine, make a crown out of daisies, and talk about their dreams.
While I've never been on a picnic, it's on my bucket list.  Preferably in a place with no bugs, crowds, or sand.

What was your most romantic date?

Friday, July 17, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

I bet that you are all...
...wondering what the heck you're looking at in that picture!
Well, it's a picture of my home grown lemon next to an ear bud for scale.
My little lemon finally produced fruit!!!  Too bad it's the size of a lemon shaped tear drop...
I was little disappointed that I couldn't eat it, but am looking forward to next year's harvest.

On the flip side, we are having...
...hearty harvests of Japanese eggplant, red peppers, and tomatoes!

We have officially cancelled...
...or at least rescheduled, our trip to Disney in September.
My babies are in Summer camp and are partially cared for by my grandparents.
As sad as we are to push it out again, it just wasn't worth it to put others at risk.
We weren't happy with face masks in the heat.  We were disappointed with no character dining.
Then we watched the positive cases climb to >10,000 a day and decided to admit defeat.

We still see the light because...
...while we aren't rocking Disney, we'll still take a few days to explore.
We'll be taking a road trip to Rhode Island to spend a few days as tourists.
They have lots of historical sites, beaches, mansions, and other fun things to enjoy.

I almost cursed out a...
...a mom at my kid's school/Summer camp for being a rude, self centered woman!
Before drop off, you wait in the lobby area for temperature checks and for the kid's escort.
Adults have to wear masks and social distance, which means one family in the lobby at a time.
I was patiently waiting outside the lobby door for the family in there to finish their process.
It was raining, I was late for work, and baby boy was beating me up.  But, I follow rules.
Then this LADY cuts right in front of me and pushes her kids into the lobby.
She completely ignored social distancing, the school's rules, the family inside, AND us already waiting.
Listen, we're all in a rush to make it to work on time, but slow your roll, WOMAN!!!!!
Those rules are in place to keep our children safe, us all healthy, and to RESPECT each other's fears.
Let me end my rant right here before I say something not lady like.. errrr..

I'm happy to report...
...that I got the MRI results.  My brain was declared "unremarkable".  Insert sigh of relief here.
Thank you all for the well wishes, good vibes, and prayers!
We're still unsure what's causing the hearing loss other than possibly TMJ.
Since I'm not comfortable with that answer, I'm going for a second opinion.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Let's Discuss: Wayfair Scandal

I had to interrupt my scheduled R&W posts to talk about this sooner than later.
Which, BTW, is a big deal for my OCD!  I erased on my R&W calendar which made smudges..

Yesterday I read an article that struck a nerve, or in modern terms, took me "down the rabbit hole".
It was about the Wayfair Scandal.
First I felt denial, then interest, then fear, and eventually sick to my stomach over it.
Yes, I was actually afraid.  I posted about it on Facebook and took it down over fear for my babies.
The past few months have been filled with all sorts of hell, but let's draw the line at children.
When it comes to children being hurt, I just don't have the stomach for it.

The Wayfair & Amazon Scandal

Wayfair was selling extremely overpriced storage cabinets on their website.
These cabinets were all labeled with with girl's names that were recently listed as missing children.
The theory is that this is how sex traffickers were selling stolen children.
It's ok, I started with denial at this point too.  It sounds crazy, right?

The first thing I did was try to find WFX Utility cabinets, or anything similar, priced that high.
After 20 minutes of searching, I gave up.  They just aren't sold for that price.
The second thing I did was cross reference those uncommon female names to missing people.
Every single one of them came up as a child that recently was listed as a missing person.
This is where the interest started because the conspiracy theory is looking to be true.

The next step down the rabbit hole was a mad dash to get information through the internet.
Common people were finding similarly unreasonable priced items with female names.
One was a pillow for $10k, named after a missing child, and with crazy shipping terms b/c it was heavy?
Another one was a crazy priced shower curtain that was proven to be worth <$100.
Now I started to get really afraid.  Are my kids at risk?  Are other people's kids safe?

Then I started looking up some examples myself through Wayfair & Amazon using the sort feature.
I'd type in a common, typically inexpensive home item and sort from price highest to lowest.
These items existed.  They were in front of me.  I could purchase them.
Then I noticed there were reviews on these items.
Sick, crazy reviews that clearly weren't about a pillow or a shower curtain.
Take a peek at this article.  It does a great job posting screenshots of these reviews.
One man wrote about a pillow that he first used on his jet and another about how it had the Midas Touch.
Are you sick to your stomach yet?  I certainly am and even more so after posting this.

Wayfair responded saying that the allegations are absolutely not true and took down the items.
Amazon has yet to respond as of Monday morning, but I'm sure it's on it's way soon.
Many of us are waiting for their response to cancel Prime subscriptions and boycott business.

The final step to all of this was fact checking the information with fact checkers.
According to Snopes, it isn't true due to lack of evidence but did a poor job of disproving it.
I checked several other popular fact checkers and none were able to disprove it.

The bottom line is this, true or not, the possibility of this is sickening.
What's worse is, why is there hardly any media coverage on this or people talking about it?
Something this big and this serious should be investigated thoroughly with a big push from media.
The media shoves garbage down our throats daily.  Now that they should be, they aren't?
In the meantime, what is something substantial that we can do to end sex tracking?
I want to help.  I want to save these children.  I also want to puke and cry at the same time.

What are your thoughts on this?


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