Monday, June 29, 2020

List: Ten products that I use every day.

After an extended period of mandated quarantine, it became vital to differentiate between needs and wants.
The stores were barren, funds were low, and trips to venture out were limited, making each trip crucial.
It was during this time that my husband and I needed to decide what were things that we really needed.
For example, I prefer certain shampoos, but settled for the cheaper, easier to find store brands.
My husband loves his goodies to munch on, but he sacrificed his snacks for the kid's favorites.
The kids learned to eat new things such as granola and berries instead of their typical cafeteria meals.
These were small changes to make to ensure that bills were paid and that we lived comfortably.

This got me thinking, what are items that I use daily that I'd be disappointed to go without?
Luckily, I bulk purchase more expensive items so my favorite products were well stocked in my house.
While I wouldn't call them a "need", I'd categorize them as a level ten "want".
We all have our high level wants which I bet we go out of way to stock up on in our new normal.

top ten beauty products; essential daily products; favorite products

Ten of my favorite products.

I knew that I used my fair share of almond milk, but didn't realize how much until isolation.
I go through about 3 gallons a week and I don't even drink it straight!!  I only use it for my coffee.
My hubby teases me now because when I get down to a few containers, I panic, like legit panic!
This is one item that I know I'll be subconsciously hoarding for years to come.

I've mentioned this product before here.  My feelings still hold true making this my #2 wanted product.
I use it at least once daily.  It really helps my trouble spots and I get anxious when I miss a dose.

As much as I love my coffee in the morning, I cherish a soothing cup of chamomile tea at night.
It helps me relax while giving me something hot to drink.  Can you tell I don't drink much water?

With my sensitive skin allergies, I limit the brands of laundry detergent to what I know.
We typically stick to detergents that are labeled for sensitive skin and free of perfume.
To make up for the clean laundry smell I miss, we use this fabric softener in lavender.  It's heavenly!

I opted to go make up free throughout the quarantine, but couldn't stay away from my mascara!
Despite being isolated aka hidden away from society, my lashes were always glamorous.

At a time when we are washing more than ever, I'm so glad I have a lifetime supply of scented soap!
The Rose Water & Ivy is my favorite but my cabinet is stocked with all sorts of fragrances.
Scented soaps seems to be a go to gift and I'm totally not complaining!

In a world where antibacterial cleaners are crucial, I still reach for my favorite granite cleaner.
Every night before bed, I spritz and shine all of our counter tops in the kitchen.
This keeps the kitchen smelling lovely, the counters sparkling, and my OCD smiling!

Here's another product that I've mentioned in the past, but it remains a must have for me.
My facial skin literally craves the moisture after each washing.  My skin absorbs it immediately.

I use this body wash as a nourishing shaving cream and cleanser every day.
It leaves a subtle, lovely scent on my skin.  It also keeps my skin soft and nourished.

I go through tubes upon tubes of this stuff.  It makes my lips soft with a lovely hint of mint!
Bonus - My daughter hates the smell of mint so she leaves my tubes of lip balm alone.
I'm also a big fan of the tingly feeling that the mint leaves behind on my lips.

What are your favorite products that you use every day?

Friday, June 26, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

friday rose

We really enjoyed our mini...
...Father's Day celebration last week!  The Viking came to visit and we hung out in the backyard.
The kiddies had a blast in their inflatable pool and the men enjoyed relaxing with a cigar.
I surprised them with a tray of sausage and peppers for dinner and some sides.
My hubby was extra happy for that because he didn't have to grill in that crazy heat!
We lit a bonfire, roasted marshmallows, and listened to The Viking tell us spooky stories.
It was yet another example of simplicity passing just as nicely as an extravagant celebration.

I was shocked to learn...
...that The Viking's spooky stories were true!  He spent the entire night trying to convince me.
His spooky stories were all about Sasquatch and real life encounters with it.
While it was entertaining bonfire conversation, I'm not sure how much I believe it.

I feel beat down because...
...I had to deliver termination notices to 8 of my team members this week.
It's never an easy thing to do, especially when the people being let go don't deserve it.

I'm wishing Nanny...
...a very happy 79th birthday.  It's a little late, but is still said with the same amount of love.
We can't imagine life without you.  You're truly the rock to our family and world.
Here's to many more years of youthful life, happiness, and memories!

We really enjoyed watching... son dive into his homemade birthday cake on Tuesday.
This boy loves to EAT!  Forget a party.  Just get this boy something sweet to eat!
While we're having a mini birthday gathering on Sunday, I couldn't let it pass without a birthday wish.

I'm really looking forward to...
...seeing my son's face when he learns of my silly surprise!
Since we couldn't hire a Baby Shark to come to his party, I had to do the next best thing.
I got Thor the puppy of thunder a Baby Shark costume to wear to my son's birthday party.
If there were inseparable before, I can only imagine how inseparable they become after this!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Life: Happy Birthday, Prince Charming!

Today my last baby is officially not a baby any longer.  He's two years and one day old.
In other words, yesterday was his birthday.  He's officially a toddler.. &, I cried my eyes out!
We didn't get to celebrate in the traditional sense nor the way that we all wanted to.
Instead, we acknowledged this milestone with a simple cake and lots of hugs.

Prince charming, you have grown so much in this past year.
You were a late walker because you had a lot of weight to carry, but you first walked end of October.
You're a great eater.  Your favorite foods are blueberries, goldfish crackers, yogurt, bananas, beans, and WAFFLES.
I legit hear my little prince screaming "WAFFLES, pease, WAFFFLLLEESSS" in my sleep.
Your favorite shows are Spongebob Square Pants and Mickey Mouse Club House.
Your favorite movies are The Incredibles and all of the Toy Story films.
Your favorite game is to chase your sister while either growling like a lion or OooOoo-ing like a ghost.
Your best buddy is Thor and your favorite place to be is wherever he is.
You're a true mommy's boy that will only fall asleep at night while holding my hand and I love it.
You really hate bathrobes and fight with them any chance you get.
You've been speaking in full sentences for months now and you know how to count to ten.
The only color that you ever say is "green" so I'm going to assume it's your favorite!
You have an obsession with any type of remote so you love to steal and hide them from us.
You also like to call random strangers on the phone and scream "HI" loudly into their ears until they hang up.
You love to sing your favorite songs including Baby Shark, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and Perfect by Ed Sheeran.
You have the cutest dance that you bust out anytime you hear any hint of a rhythm.
You're petrified of snakes.  You cry and scream "scared" even if one just pops up on the TV.
You are stubborn and have a temper, but you also have the sweetest most charming disposition of anyone I know.
I'm so proud to be your mommy and love the little man that you are!  Just stop growing so quick, please..

Please join me in wishing this very handsome boy a happy birthday!

Monday, June 22, 2020

List: Ten Summer activities to do this year.

This past Saturday marked the end of Spring and the start of a new season.
Ladies and gentleman, it's officially Summer time!

While Summer isn't my favorite season, it's usually associated with carefree fun.
...and who doesn't love some carefree fun?  Yes, please!!
This year may be a little different, but that just means we need to get creative.
With a little outside of the box thinking and some smart decisions, this can still be a fabulous Summer!
Here's a list of Summer activities that we hope to be able to do before the end of the season.

summer bucket list; things to do in the summer; summer fun ideas; ten summer activities to do this year

Ten Summer activities to do this year.

1.  Get creative with an outside DIY project.
While I'm the least artistic person, like ever, even I have done some simple DIY projects.
Build yourself a wooden planter to grow vegetables or build a bird house to hang in a distant tree.
Refurbish old planters with spray paint or hand paint smooth stones for a small rock garden.

2.  Climb to the top of a lighthouse.
This is the best time of year to make the climb up the never ending steps of a lighthouse.
You'll feel accomplished for making it to the top and be rewarded with a spectacular view.
It's also the place for the ultimate game of I Spy!  You'll be surprised what you see up there.

3.  Listen to live music at a local park.
Bring your lounge chairs, some refreshments, bug spray, and your closest friends.
The kids will have a blast dancing among themselves while you sway to the music and chat.

4.  Make a homemade frozen treat.
Our favorite is a homemade ice cream sandwich with Ben & Jerry's ice cream, of course.
If those aren't your thing, try a homemade ice pop, slushie, or Italian ice.
5.  Go fresh or saltwater fishing.
I grew up going on a fishing date with my brother and father every Monday night.
While we don't do it as often with our kiddies, we try to go at least once or twice a year.
The babies love the thrill of catching a fish, playing in the sand, walking in the water, and watching boats.
For a bonus, it's usually followed by a quick service fish meal and ice cream on the shore.

6.  Have a water balloon fight.
Our favorite Summer memories are when daddy someone gets soaked from a surprise attack.
Fill up a bucket of water balloons, bust out the water guns, or just turn on the hose, and c h a r g e  !

7.  Attend a local festival.
We've been to all sorts of them including seafood festivals, strawberry festivals, and even a Greek festival.
Whichever festival you choose, enjoy the themed food, music, and activities.
You'll also be doing a service to local businesses that are acting as vendors at the event.  That's a win, win!

8.  Slide down the Slip N Slide.
Rock a well supportive bathing suit, run, and slide down a slip and slide!
This may sound a bit childish, but it's even more fun as an adult.  Let loose and slide with the kiddies.

9.  Play a neighborhood game of man hunt.
When the sun goes down, set hiding parameters and rules.  Then play a massive game of man hunt.
Everyone hides to the best of their ability.  "It" tries to find and tag them before they get to base.
Think of man hunt as an extra challenging version of hide and seek and tag, but in the dark.
Just remember, no backyards and don't cross the invisible perimeter.  It's only fun when you play fair!

10.  Explore a new terrain and have an adventure.
Visit a nature preserve or park and explore along the nature trails.
Jump in the car and take a mini road trip to a new town and play tourist.
Venture to your local city for some urban exploration on foot or via segway tour.  I won't judge.
Wherever this takes you, just make sure it's a memorable Summer adventure!

What is on your Summer bucket list this year?

Friday, June 19, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

We had an absolute blast at...
...the drive through Safari this past weekend.  While I was amused, the kids had a ball!
From the luxury of your own car, you drive through the safari where the majority of animals roam free.
The entire safari takes about 2.5 - 3 hours to get through, dependent upon animal interruptions.
At one point, we had to stop to wait for a giraffe to finish crossing the road.
My son screeched at every animal he saw and my daughter did her best to be his tour guide.
It was a great adventure and welcomed change to the dreariness of our isolation.
Except for when a moose decided to charge full speed at our car and made me almost crap my pants!

Ever since, my son won't stop...
...ROARing.  Everything you say to him is responded back with a simple "roar".  Ok, Mr. Lion.  Do you!

The Mr. & Mrs. have had...
...babies!!  Our favorite little birdie friends have finally brought their babies to say hello.
They are all real noisy with the sweetest chirps and they are obsessed with sunflower seeds.
They come to visit every day.  My favorite is the one with two crazy feathers that look like angry brows!

I'm moping around all sad because... baby boy will be turning two years old in just a few days!
While I'm glad that he's growing into a happy and smart young man, the thought is depressing.
He's my last baby and I'm just not ready to admit that my last baby isn't a baby anymore.
...onto the next ramble before I start tearing up again..

I'm completely horrified because...
...we just received the news that my daughter's BFF has to have her jaw broken to repair it.
She's been sucking her thumb for so many years that it caused bad enough damage to warrant a break.
I can't even imagine having my own jaw broken, let alone a 7 year old girl's.

We're seeking advice...
...on how to get my thumb sucking baby boy to stop sucking on his thumb!

We're seeing the light because...
...our governor finally gave us a date for when gatherings of 25 people are allowed.
It looks like it's coming just in time for my baby boy's birthday!
We will only invite immediate family, but it will be so nice to celebrate his birthday with guests.
Double the light is shining because nails salons are also being given the clearance to open!  YAY!
I immediately ordered a few Baby Shark party decorations and an ice cream cake for the event.
It's nothing like the party we usually do, but small and intimate has been actually really nice.

We're so proud of... little ballerina!  While they couldn't have a normal recital, they put on quite a show in the parking lot.
They danced their little hearts out and did it with the biggest smiles on their faces.
Way to go, baby girl!  We're so proud of you for sticking though it despite a few hard months.
Keep being optimistic and working hard.  Watch how it pays off in the end.  :)

I'm wishing a very happy day to...
...all the hard working, loving, and responsible daddies, granddaddies, and uncles out there!
You help provide for us.  You offer us protection.  You give good advice.  & sometimes fix a broken sink.
Happy Father's Day!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Let's Discuss: When is it OK to be judgmental?

Ladies and gentleman, I have a confession to make.
Against all of my personal beliefs, I engaged in an argument with a troll.
A random troll on Twitter came at me for no reason at all and I'm ashamed to admit that I responded.
Normally I roll my eyes and move on when I see something that I disagree with, but this time I couldn't.

to judge or not to judge; why are people so judgmental; discussion is it ok to be judgmental; walk whitman quotes; judgmental quotes

"Be curious, not judgmental"  -Walt Whitman

I was checking my social media accounts when I noticed a new message come through.
The message was from a younger woman that I didn't recognize.  The message said as follows.


After browsing through your blog I notice that you have men that already have had women.  To be a man's first love is the only thing that matters.  If you are not their first love then whatever love you have doesn't matter.  I hope your children learn this because you do not.

God bless"

Um, what in the what did I just read?!  And WHY do I feel the need to respond???
This message was clearly from a human being, not a bot, and it was sent with animosity.
Several things crossed my mind at this point, but mostly the 4 Ws - What? Where? When? & WHY?!
What is the purpose of this message other then to offend a stranger?
Where are you that you are so damn bored that you creep random people online to troll??
When did you become so almighty that you have the right to judge others?!
But most importantly, WHY do you care?

I calmly responded to the woman that expecting to be a man's first love is an immature thought.
Instead you should strive to be a man's last true love or at least their strongest love.
She went on to tell me how I'm going to Hell and some other unworldly comments she felt the need to say.
At that point I stopped responding because I usually know better than to argue with crazy.

This whole situation got me thinking.  We've become a very judgmental society.
You are not better than me and I am certainly not better than you.
Your way or your opinion may differ from mine, but it doesn't make it better or worse.
You may like to roll around in grass while I prefer to dance on cement, but both is fine.
You may have a rough past while I was privileged.  We should empathize with one another, not hate.
You may dream of being a man's first love while I strive to be his last, but, who cares!

I get that it's easier to say then to actually do, but let's strive to get there.
...or, at the very least, not troll strangers on Twitter just to pass judgement...
My new goal is to become less judgmental and I hope it becomes your too.

When is it OK to be judgmental?

Monday, June 15, 2020

List: My top ten favorite flowers to plant for the Summer.

Our Mother's Day tradition is to plant a vegetable and flower garden.
After eight years of this tradition, I find myself reaching for my favorites year over year.
We also tend to plant in the same spots as a strategic move to attract and detract specific wildlife.

To become one of my favored flowers to plant, I have a few non-negotiable items.
1.  They must flower all season long.
2.  They must be able to handle high heat and direct sunlight.
3.  They must be a resilient plant in terms of care and temperature.
The weather here can be fickle and we don't want one cold night to result in dead flowers!

Luckily for us, we have found quite a few flowers that meet all of these demands.
I never in my life thought I'd get compliments for our flowers, but we do, and pretty often.
Here's a list of my favorites and the reasons why.  Hopefully some of them become your favs too!

top ten summer flowers

My top ten favorite Summer flowers to plant.

1.  Cabbage Roses
While I do love a traditional tea rose bush, nothing gets me as excited as a cabbage rose!
They come back every year, grow as large as you allow, and bloom beautifully during the warmer months.
I have two flower beds completely dedicated to different colored cabbage rose plants.
The only con to a cabbage rose is that they fall victim to mites.  Be prepared to spray monthly with fungicide.
Fun fact - My wedding flowers were solely, gorgeous, pink cabbage roses with gold tinted leaves.

2.  Scarlet Sage
Scarlet Sage or Red Salvia plants are gorgeous flowers to plant annually for color.
They flower all season long and grow outwards leaving your garden covered in colorful gorgeousness.
They do real well in full sunlight and scorching temperatures as long as they're watered properly.
They also attract hummingbirds which is another added bonus to this resilient flower.

3.  Impatiens
This is by far the most delicate flower on my list, which is why I save it for indoor gardening.
I grow them from seeds and let them flourish in a pot under the sunniest window.
They grow in a bush like shape and bloom countless flowers in all varieties of color.
They thrive better indoors because they are sensitive to mites, aphids, mold, and other yucky things.

4.  Sunflowers
Sunflowers are my favorite flowers but I prefer them cut and in a vase.
Unable to tell the difference, my daughter gifts me with one sunflower plant each year.
She gifts me with a sprout and we enjoy watching it flourish throughout the season.
They are such large, happy looking flowers that can't help make but you smile until they attract bees!

5.  Clematis
We inherited this beautiful perennial flower when we purchased our first home.
The original owners had a woven square of fence that the clematis would climb up as it bloomed.
The plant would return like clockwork year over year even after being cut down mid season.
The blooms are gorgeous, wide spread purple flowers that are unmistakable.
The honeybees love this plant so it's best planted at the edges of your yard and away from entertainment. 

6.  Wax Begonias
While these certainly aren't the prettiest of the flowers, they are the most resilient.
We plant them each year where the sun hits the strongest because we know they can take it.

7.  Fuchsia Plants
In the far corner of my yard is a rock garden that's almost always in full shade.
To brighten it up, I hang two Fuchsia plants because they are easy to grow and prosper in shaded areas.
They attract hummingbirds and bloom bold, multicolored little flowers that resemble a berry.
They make a great hanging plant because they grow down but make quite a mess with fallen flowers.

8.  Calla Lilies
Last year we were gifted two beautiful, yellow calla lily plants that grew gorgeous, exotic looking flowers.
After researching, I learned that they were perennials but because of their exotic look, didn't believe it.
They not only prospered all Summer long, but they lived and continued blooming throughout the fall.
Spring came and they returned.  If you're looking for a blooming perennial, this is a good choice.
Like most of my other plant choices, they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Last year I saw my first ever hummingbird on Long Island..and it was visiting THIS plant!

9.  Black-Eyed Susans
This is another perennial flower that will come back year over year with almost zero maintenance.
We plant them in flower beds close to the fence so that borders can be trimmed with annuals.
Sharing a flower bed with annuals allows for color when waiting for the black-eyed susans to flower.
We also put them near the fence on purpose because they attract pollinators such as bees.
This is a resilient perennial that's survived harsh chemicals such as ice preventing salts in the Winter.

10.  Petunias
My backyard is filled with plant hooks to hang some potted plants for extra color.
My favorite hanging plant flower are petunias because they are resilient and grow bold colored blooms.
They also tend to grow downwards which makes for a gorgeous cascade of falling flowers.
Petunias are another great addition for someone trying to attract butterflies or hummingbirds.
They are also available early in the Spring because they won't die off after a few chilly nights.
Tip- Bees don't like the bell shaped flower, so these are safe to plant near your entertainment area.

What are your favorite Summer flowers?

Friday, June 12, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

The kiddies were super excited to...
...Slip N Slide and play some water games in the yard.  The suns been shining, so why not?
They have a blast running, sliding, and pretending that our backyard is a water park.
If you're looking to entertain young kiddies, than this $25 investment is money well spent!
Daddy is getting a little frustrated because they're destroying the lawn, but he'll get over it.
Not pictured is daddy having as much fun as our babies on it!  Guess he over the "drowning" lawn..
What have you been doing to keep the kiddies entertained in isolation?  Bonus points for new ideas.

I'm over the moon with excitement because... boy went back to school part time this past Tuesday morning!  
Here's to baby boy being much happier around other kids while actually learning something.
He wasn't happy to leave his mommy at first, but he was smiling ear to ear at pick up time.
Being home while mommy is stuck working and beyond stressed is so overrated..

I'm completely and totally obsessed with...
...the Coconut Colada scented hand soap from Bath and Body Works.
I'm washing my hands way more than necessary and keep sniffing away at the lingering scent.  
In fact, I love the smell ever so much, that I just splurged for a 3-wick candle with it.

My office looks empty because...
...we got rid of the 8' X 8' play yard that's been sitting there since December.
It served it's purpose, even more than we thought it would thanks to COVID19, but it was time.
Baby boy lifted the play yard up and rolled out from underneath.  It wasn't containing him anymore!

I'm in total shock that...
...Pier1 is completely going out of business!  This was one of my favorite home decor stores.
I knew that smaller businesses would close, but never imagined large chains like this would shut down.

I was smiling ear to ear at... Shutterfly memory of this week five years ago.  It was pictures of my bridal shower.
I was pretty adamant that I wanted a low key wedding, but my mom surprised me anyways.
They invited our closest family and friends and showered me with love in her small condo.
It was simple, sweet, and one of the only times that I was actually surprised in my life!

Now that the office is empty...
...I can't help but imagine how I would like to more permanently utilize this space.
I keep looking at fancy desks, unnaturally long console tables, book shelves, and ottomans.
While I won't splurge on furniture in the near future, I did pick out a nice area rug for the space.
We recently invested in a new floor and I'd hate for the kids to ruin our investment.
It's a much larger space than I originally thought it was so I'm having a hard time designing it.
What do you put in the middle of a large space acting as an office space/den?
I'm off to Pintrest and Google to see if I can find any inspiration or ideas!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Ideas: How to make eggs without them sticking to the pan.

Ladies and gentleman, I'm about to admit something that I'm terribly ashamed of.
I absolutely, completely, and totally  s t i n k  at making a decent egg.
Well, at least I did stink at making decent eggs up until I learned a magic trick!

How to make eggs without them sticking to the pan.

My husband melted another spatula.  This time it was melted onto my nonstick pan.
I was upset because that was my only nonstick pan and the only pan that made an OK egg.
After learning that it couldn't be saved, I started doing research on natural pans.
I wanted a 100% ceramic pan made with zero teflon, aluminum, or other harmful materials.
The only "natural" nonstick pans in existence are priced for a billionaire, so I admitted defeat.
..& then complained to Nanny b/c only my grandma would listen to such a silly complaint.
That's when Nanny blasted me with some serious words of wisdom.
She taught me the deep, dark secret of cooking an egg without them sticking to the pan.
We're talking ANY pan, thus eliminating all of my nonstick pan woes.  Go Nanny!
After testing out her secret method and seeing how fabulous it worked, I decided to share on R&W.

How to make eggs without them sticking to the pan.

Step One:  Prepping the pan.
Lightly oil the bottom of the pan and heat the oil briefly on a low heat setting.

Step Two:  Cooking the eggs.
Put the eggs in the pan.  Avoid touching the eggs at all until the bottom layer of them are cooked.
For some unknown, magical reason, the eggs will separate itself from the bottom of the pan.
Even if making scrambled eggs, don't touch them until you see the bottom solid and cooked through.
You can then start to scramble at that point because the uncooked eggs know not to stick again.
I'm sure there's science behind this, but for this post, we'll continue to refer to the phenomenon as magic.

Step Three:  Plating the eggs.
Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, slide off the pan with zero stickage or mess left behind!
Tip- Let the pan cool before washing but don't let it sit too long.  This will extend the life of your pan.

It may sound simple and like something that should be common sense, but it's not.
It took me 31 and a half years to learn how to make an egg without it sticking to the pan!
To avoid sticking, I used to play with the eggs right away which is where I was messing up.
Little did I know that I had to let the eggs have some time to magically release themselves from the pan.
Bonus points to whomever may know the science behind this magic trick!

What is your favorite type of egg?

Monday, June 8, 2020

List: Ten tips to survive a road trip with toddlers.

Throughout the years I've done plenty of long road trips with children under the age of 5.
We've gone to Disney several times, Savannah twice, St. Augustine once, and the worst Miami.
Most of these exceeded 15 hours and some of them were with a child under the age of 1.
Well, now that you know my resume, one may say that I'm almost a road trip with kiddies expert.
That "one" may be myself, but that's fine.  My experience speaks for itself!
The first two or three trips were rough, but we learned from our mistakes.
Here's to hoping that I can help the amateurs skip over those common errors.
Shout out to the love bug who never made it to those trips..

how to survive a road trip with toddlers; road trip with kids; road trip with babies

Ten tips to survive a road trip with toddlers.

1.  Schedule your trip strategically.
While being mindful of arrival times, try to schedule your trip strategically.
This means planning the bulk of your trip around your children's sleep schedule while considering your own.
For example, when driving to Florida we like to leave around midnight for several reasons.
It's easier to drive through urban areas during the night as opposed to rural, boring areas.
The second reason is the first half of the trip will be with sleeping babies that won't scream "OUT".

2.  Invest in a portable DVD player that attaches to a head rest.
There's nothing better than coming prepared with your kid's favorite films to watch during the trip.
They can entertain themselves with movies and avoid neck strain by attaching it to your headrest.
 Bonus points for their favorite Disney films on their way to Disney!!

3.  Set up a Pandora playlist that is kid friendly.
A few weeks before the trip, set up a Pandora station and "dislike" the songs that will bore the kids.
You'll have fun passing time singing as a family and they can't say "Are we there yet?" while singing!

4.  Take plenty of stops to refuel.
You'll need to refuel your family in addition to your car so make sure you plan accordingly.
Take time for coffee stops, pee breaks, sit down meals, diaper changes, and just to stretch your legs.
Kids do much better when they are comfortable as opposed to fighting an emergency tinkle!

5.  Plan a fun stop to look forward to along the way.
These don't have to be long trips, but a lunch at a touristy spot is always a fun break on a road trip.
We've done the Paula Deen restaurant, The Cracker Barrel, and The Rainforest Cafe.
As long as they are a place that gets the babies excited, they are a great choice for a stop while enroute.
After all, the best part of a road trip is that you can plan it to your convenience.  Take advantage of that!

6.  Come prepared with mint Lifesavers.
Car sickness is a thing that comes and goes at random.  Or, when you look down while moving like me..
Mint Lifesavers are a quick heal to car sickness and a road trip must for those prone to nausea.

7.  Use a spare GPS to leave in the back seat.
We use Google Maps and love it.  It redirects you and magically gets you out of traffic when possible.
Most of us are the same, yet we still hang onto that spare GPS that gets zero use.
Set it up so that the kiddies can use it from the back seat and so that it doesn't make noise.
This will give them a fake, yet important job to do and it will reduce the "are we there yet"s.

8.  Limit everyone's liquid intake.
While I'm not promoting dehydration, take caution to limit everyone's consumption of liquids.
There's nothing worse than being in a traffic jam with an emergency need to tinkle!

9Bring plenty of snacks that won't leave a mess.
Have you ever swapped a car seat to find a life time supply of Gold Fish?  I have, now they're banned!
Instead of creating a car seat pinata, bring snacks that are filling, yet won't leave a horrible mess. 

10.  Print out a list of license plates.
Leave your oldest in charge of a VERY important task and leave them equipped.
They will be entertained and feel useful as they cross off each license plate that they find on the road.
This also entertains my hubby to no end.  Weeks later he'll get real excited when he finds the missing plate..
If they are too young to work a list, there are free apps you can download to help with the task.

What was your longest road trip?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

purple tulips

I was uncontrollably excited and cheering loudly because...
...Disney World finally released a reopening date and plan!  They will be reopening as soon as July 11th.
It looks like they will be following standard guidelines such as masks, limited capacities, and social distancing.
I'm hoping that by the time September rolls around, some of these restrictions will improve.
It's frustrating to think that we would pay full price for only half of the Disney experience, but we are invested.
This most certainly is only a first step and no indication that we're in the clear, but I see the light!!  Can you?!

Our excitement heightened when...
...our governor gave the green light for Long Island to begin phase one of the reopening plan.
While opening construction doesn't mean too much to me personally, it's certainly a step in the right direction.
Let's hope that we continue to contain this virus and that life is back to normal before we know it!

I started dancing with joy while speaking to... son's principal at his school!  They are reopening the school with limited capacity.
They are ready to welcome him back and gift me with my sanity!
He hasn't been in school since March 13th so I think it's going to be a bit of a tough transition for him.
It may be tough, but it's worth it!  He needs the freedom to play and learn with other children.
At home he gets ignored and kept quiet so that mommy can try to work.  Isolation was really the toughest on him!
Let's hope that he's looking forward to running as much as he wants while screaming as loud as he wants.

Everyone can't stop laughing at... trying to figure out how to work a slip & slide!  No matter how hard I try, I just don't slide.
After running, diving, and stretching out my limbs, I just sink into it and remain completely stationary.

My son won the week when...
...I was on an important conference call with senior management and he decided to embarrass me.
Mid sentence, my daughter barged into my room and screamed at the top of her lungs-
"MOMMY, brother put his hands in his pants AND GOT POOP ALL OVER ME!"
The senior manager on the line said "Uhh, do you have to go?"
Talk about embarrassing...

I had a complete anxiety attack when...
...senior management announced that my position along with countless others were eliminated.
With a 15 minute emotionless phone call, senior management left hundreds of employees without jobs.
I panicked and tried to figure out how we would get through it without losing our home and still feeding the kids.

My family owes their life to... old manager of mine that learned of my job elimination and immediately hired me to work for him.
He didn't share his plan or ask if I wanted the role.  Simply because there was no time to discuss it with me.
He managed to keep my salary, keep half my direct reports, and just be an all around super hero.
I can't even begin to express the appreciation I feel for what this man did for me.
The job he signed me up for won't be easy, but I'm going to give it my all and perform to the best of my ability.
The second best part to this was his excitement at recruiting me.  His exact words were "I have my A team again"!
If you haven't seen the light yet, this had to at least show you a little glimmer of light in the darkness.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Let's Discuss: Aluminum Free Deodorant

This past December, I asked my doctor the question regarding allergy meds and their link to dementia.
He completely dismissed my question by raising a concern that he claimed to be more real.
His exact words were "I'd be more concerned with your deodorant and all of the aluminum in it."
Um, what?!  Causing me more panic is this genius's idea of distracting me?!  Anyone know a new dr..
He went on to explain that massive amounts of aluminum are in deodorant and that's what makes it work.
He said to be more concerned with my antiperspirant and its link to Alzheimer's disease than allergy meds.

Not wanting to stink, I was happy when he went on to list some alternatives to my Dove antiperspirant.
I wrote them all down and hurried to the store to pick up the first product listed.

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Tom's of Maine deodorant Versus Native Deodorant

The first product I tried was Tom's of Maine Long Lasting Natural Deodorant in lavender.
It cost me $4.89 and smelled strong, but lovely.  I should have taken the strong scent as a hint..
Within a few hours of wearing the product, I developed sweat marks on my blouse under my armpits.
This left me feeling disgusting and gross.  Two days in a row I made an excuse to leave work early.
When I went home to change my shirt, I noticed that my pits had a noticeable odor that I did not like.
Imagine the scent of lavender magnified times 1000 with a little hint of body order.  bleh gag barf...
I tried cleaning a little extra the next morning and giving it another try only to get the same results.
The Tom's of Maine deodorant went right into the trash can and I went on to option #2.

The next product that I tried was Native deodorant in coconut & vanilla.
I almost fell over at the price.  It was about $12 a stick, but after reminding myself of the why, I purchased it.
I also told myself that you get what you pay for.  If I had stinky pits after $12 a stick, I'd be pissed!
As expected, I still sweated more than I did with an antiperspirant but it was a tolerable amount.
The scent of the product wasn't overpowering at all.  I actually really enjoyed the coconut & vanilla scent!
At the end of the day I still smelled fresh and lovely with absolutely zero hint of BO.
The stick lasted me a little over a month which was another pleasant surprise.
Besides, when thought of that way, is $12 a month that much if it means better health?

After trying both products, I'm pleased to announce the winner.
I would highly recommend Native deodorant!
I'm even going to pass it a Jax seal of approval!  There is no higher honor, right?!

Have you or will you switch to an aluminum free deodorant?

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