Archive | November, 2010

With Thanks

23 Nov

Thanksgiving is just hours away and I find myself especially grateful this holiday season.

For each and every breath I have, I am grateful.

For each minute spent watching my children grow, laugh and love, I am grateful.

For a loving husband who would give his last breath for me and my children, I am grateful.

For all the people who choose good, I am grateful.

For the family I was born into and the family that took me in, I am grateful.

For the friends that always tell me what I need to hear, or choose to say nothing at all, I am grateful.

For each and every one of you, I am grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Many blessings to you and yours! Be back next week!

Be sure and check out 10 ways to Raise a Grateful Kid by the amazing Homa Sabet Tavangar here.

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Royal Mama’s Boys

22 Nov

Confession:  I adored Princess Diana.  I wept when she died and completely bought into the conspiracy theories surrounding her death.  I will leave it at that.

With the announcement of Prince William’s engagement, I find myself immediately thinking about Princess Diana again.  I acknowledge that she had her faults, as we all do.  However, I love her nonetheless.

Prince William’s engagement is so exciting on so many levels.  The fact that he gave Miss Middleton, his soon to be bride, his mother’s ring melts my heart.  I love my mama’s boy and I love the Royal mama’s boys too. Cheers to the People’s Prince and his adorable bride to be!

Start Your Engines

21 Nov

Need the perfect gift for the little Mario Andretti or Danica Patrick in your life?  Check out these fantastic block cars that are easy to assemble and fun to race! My son and I have been playing with his non-stop for the past month!  He absolutely loves it and I do too! Personally, I would opt for the pink one.

You can find the Automoblox vehicles in Target stores or online at Amazon.com.

Gift Idea 101

20 Nov

The holidays are such a special time of year.  However, it is getting harder and harder to be everywhere at once, especially once families merge and travel is involved.  Holidays tend to be split between families, time divided, you know the drill.  Thankfully, these adorable keepsake books help loved ones be a part of the holiday festivities, no matter how many miles may actually separate them.

My parents surprised my son with one of these books last Christmas! We listened to my mom narrate and my father chime in as ol’ Saint Nick as we flipped through the pages of Twas The Night Before Christmas.  It’s one of my all time favorite holiday gifts and I can’t wait to pull it out again this year!

These wonderful books are available at select Hallmark stores or you can find them on Amazon.com.  Get them now! They tend to sell out quick!

Free Thanksgiving Printables

19 Nov

This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for people that make my life easier.  Today, my thanks is directed towards Stefanie of Anna and Blue Paperie for offering adorable FREE Thanksgiving printables.  Check out these fun, festive printables that will fit perfectly flat in my suitcase to Chicago! I might not be cooking a turkey, but it doesn’t mean I won’t be bringing some turkey flare! Gobble! Gobble!

I am in love with the Turkey Tic-Tac-Toe from How Does She.  Check out more of their crafty Thanksgiving creations here.

AboutOne

18 Nov

If you are anything like me, I am in constant search of ways to simplify and organize my life.  Thanks to the amazing website, AboutOne.com, I am catapulting ahead on the organizational scale.  AboutOne is an online family management system, that allows you to safely store and organize your household information.  Yes, I said safely.  As a parent, my biggest concern is always safety.  Thankfully, AboutOne boasts bank level security and follows the strictest security standards.  (Click here for additional safety details)

Here are some of the fabulous features of AboutOne:

1. Printables– Newsletters, cards, hard cover picture books, college applications and the list goes on. The printables feature allows you to create whatever you need with the click of a finger.

2. Personalized AboutOne inbox– Email yourself pictures to your own AboutOne inbox and update them at a later date. No need to clutter your personal mailbox or worry about important items going to spam.

3. Personalized Family Member Pages.  Pretty self-explanatory no?!

4. Relationships- AboutOne allows you to connect pages forming “relationships” making it easier to keep track of the information that really matters. (Pediatricians, teachers)

5. Education History– Scan or enter education information, volunteer hours, report cards etc. Fill out college application forms in a snap.

6. Health Records-Allergy information, immunization records all at your fingers tips!

7. Home Records- Can’t find the number of that contractor you used ten years ago? No worries! Keep track of home improvement details, contractor information, home value, etc.

8. Family Dashboard-The starting point for adding information.  Gives reminders for upcoming events and holidays. No more excuses for missing a birthday!

9. Bulletin Board- Automatically generated based on the information you enter.  Offers a one glance view of your family activities.

10. Time and Money Saving Tips– The National Organization of Professional Organizers offer tips and advice for money-saving ideas and organizing.  Who can’t benefit from a few money saving tips?

11. Low price for exceptional value-$5 a month or $30 for an entire year!!! Still not convinced?  Sign up for the 15 day free trial.

***The author was offered a trial in exchange for this review.  The views expressed are the author’s honest opinion, findings and beliefs on the AboutOne.com management system.

Count Your Blessings

17 Nov

Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  I have been relieved of cooking responsibilities this year. Yes, I will be including it in my gratitude journal.  And, with all the time I am saving on not scanning cook books, magazines and online recipe websites, I have directed my focus toward Thanksgiving rituals.  (Besides feasting and watching football)

Here is a fantastic list I found online from Families With Purpose.  I absolutely love some of the ideas and wanted to share!  In addition, I am totally checking off my nieces and nephews on the Christmas list, because they will be getting picture puzzles of them and my children.   Shh….don’t tell!

Family Thanksgiving Traditions, Rituals, and Activities

Tree of Thanks – Take advantage of the fall leaves to build a Tree of Thanks. Send the kids to the back yard for a tree branch and some fallen leaves.  Plant the branch in a pot filled with craft sand.  As family members arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, let the kids give each person either a real leaf or a cut out leaf from paper and ask the guests to  write something on the leaf for which they are thankful.  Use either paperclips or Christmas tree ornament hangers to hand the leaves on the branch.

Give a Thanksgiving Dinner to Those Less Fortunate – Use the money you have been saving in your Giving Box to purchase a Thanksgiving dinner for those in need.  Check with your local social service organizations, senior citizen center, or place of worship for names of families in need.

Spend the Day Volunteering – Nothing will remind us more of how much we have to be thankful for than spending your day at your local homeless shelter or food kitchen serving Thanksgiving dinner.

Share Thanks with Family – As dinner is served spend a few moments going around the dinner table and asking each person to name something they are thankful about for each person sitting to their left and right.

Blessing Book – Start a blessing book by buying a simple journal and have each family member write down one blessing from the past year.  Keep the journal from year to year and have family  members add new blessings every year.  For those children that are not yet able to write, a simple picture will do.

Create a Family Cookbook- Create a family cookbook by asking family members to bring a favorite recipe to Thanksgiving dinner.  After the family cookbooks have been completed, give them as gifts at Christmas.

Sharing Quotes and Words of Inspiration – “I usually put some kind of quote by everyone’s plate and have them read it. One year the quotes were from the Dalai Lama. Last year [my husband] read something from Carlos Castaneda. This year I plan to print out the Simple Gifts song – from the Quakers – and put it on everyone’s plate.” Saralee Sky

Make Thanksgiving Dinner Together – Give everyone small jobs like cleaning and peeling the potatoes, setting the table, and rolling out the crust for the pumpkin pie. Remember kids love to help, so use the opportunity to involve and enjoy them. The Thanksgiving meal may not end up meeting Martha Stewart’s standards, but the time spent as a family is definitely worth it!

Share and Read Stories – Read books together that inspire and reinforce the idea of thankfulness and giving to those less fortunate.  Some suggestions you might want to try by visiting Amazon.com are Fly Away HomeThe Lady in the BoxThe Goodness GorillasThe Giving Tree, and Kid’s Random Acts of Kindness.

Take Pictionary to a Whole New Level – Divide your families into two teams and play Pictionary as a family using flip charts and markers to draw your pictures.  You can add extra fun with team t-shirts. Watch the video below to learn more!

Tablecloth of Thanks – Create a family tradition by having everyone sign the dinner table-cloth with their name and something for which they are thankful. Use the same table-cloth every year and have family members add something new every year. Be sure to use fabric markers, so that the ink doesn’t come off in the wash.

A Mixed Up Family – Take a family photo and have it made into a jigsaw puzzle. Mail the puzzle to family members who couldn’t attend, elderly family members confined to a nursing home, or to family members overseas. You can have puzzles made from your digital photo’s at places like Snapfish.com, Shutterfly.com or Upinpieces.com.


Ready, Set, Shop

15 Nov

Who says you have to wait until Black Friday for holiday steals?  Apparently, not Gilt.  Check out these adorable GREEN gifts for the kiddos.  My son has had his eye on these trucks for a while! Good thing Santa shops at Gilt.

***Be sure and check the delivery times.  If you are not willing to gamble with the postal service during the holidays, I can’t say I would blame you.

How do I get more information on these fabulous products?  Click here.

Arm Candy Must Read

13 Nov

Each year my New Year’s Resolution is the same:   be a better version of me.  I, of course, break down my resolution into more specific goals.  One of my resolutions always includes a reading requirement.  Since having children, I have failed to meet the reading requirements I have set for myself.  Shocking right?!  Unless, of course you include the countless Marketing, Business Law and Financial Accounting papers I have read over the last year in pursuit of my MBA.  It’s a stretch, I know.  Too bad my celebrity magazines don’t count towards my resolution goal either.  I would easily meet the reading requirement for my lifetime if I were to include US Weekly and OK. Unfortunately and fortunately for me, neither my MBA readings nor my brainless gossip mags count.  So, in a last-ditch effort to cram in another book before my 2010 resolution comes to a close, I have ordered The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks written by Rebecca Skloot. This book happens to be number 1 on Amazon’s top 100 Books of 2010.

Check out the review below and join me in making this book an Arm Candy Confessions must read!  Be sure and let me know if you plan to read it.  It’s probably pretty apparent by now, that I love to talk about pretty much everything–books included.

Amazon Exclusive: Jad Abumrad Reviews The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Jad Abumrad is host and creator of the public radio hit Radiolab, now in its seventh season and reaching over a million people monthly. Radiolab combines cutting-edge production with a philosophical approach to big ideas in science and beyond, and an inventive method of storytelling. Abumrad has won numerous awards, including a National Headliner Award in Radio and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Journalism Award. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks:

Honestly, I can’t imagine a better tale.

A detective story that’s at once mythically large and painfully intimate.

Just the simple facts are hard to believe: that in 1951, a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks dies of cervical cancer, but pieces of the tumor that killed her–taken without her knowledge or consent–live on, first in one lab, then in hundreds, then thousands, then in giant factories churning out polio vaccines, then aboard rocket ships launched into space. The cells from this one tumor would spawn a multi-billion dollar industry and become a foundation of modern science–leading to breakthroughs in gene mapping, cloning and fertility and helping to discover how viruses work and how cancer develops (among a million other things). All of which is to say: the science end of this story is enough to blow one’s mind right out of one’s face.

But what’s truly remarkable about Rebecca Skloot‘s book is that we also get the rest of the story, the part that could have easily remained hidden had she not spent ten years unearthing it: Who was Henrietta Lacks? How did she live? How she did die? Did her family know that she’d become, in some sense, immortal, and how did that affect them? These are crucial questions, because science should never forget the people who gave it life. And so, what unfolds is not only a reporting tour de force but also a very entertaining account of Henrietta, her ancestors, her cells and the scientists who grew them.

The book ultimately channels its journey of discovery though Henrietta’s youngest daughter, Deborah, who never knew her mother, and who dreamt of one day being a scientist.

As Deborah Lacks and Skloot search for answers, we’re bounced effortlessly from the tiny tobacco-farming Virginia hamlet of Henrietta’s childhood to modern-day Baltimore, where Henrietta’s family remains. Along the way, a series of unforgettable juxtapositions: cell culturing bumps into faith healings, cutting edge medicine collides with the dark truth that Henrietta’s family can’t afford the health insurance to care for diseases their mother’s cells have helped to cure.

Rebecca Skloot tells the story with great sensitivity, urgency and, in the end, damn fine writing. I highly recommend this book. –Jad Abumrad

Sounds good right!?  Order it, borrow it, Kindle it…….just get it!

Sweet Land of Liberty

11 Nov

Confession:  I have an overwhelming sense of guilt for having the Swiss flag on my blog for as long as I have today.  Even though it has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than my refusal to take part in any type of holiday festivities until after this weekend.  Moving on……..

In the State of Washington, we are constantly updated on military personnel.  Most of which, happen to be their homecomings.  This is, of course, the news I prefer.  It is absolutely one of favorite things to witness. (Ok…I can’t help it, that I also love reality television, I realize it’s a serious personality flaw). I just wish I had an alert that would notify me to grab the closest box of Kleenex when stories regarding military families appear in the news.  Unfortunately, I can no longer blame the tears on pregnancy hormones.  I have already confessed, I cry a lot.  (see here) The selflessness displayed by service men, women and their families moves me to tears on a regular basis.  Today, I am prepared for the waterworks.

In honor of the many sacrifices military families make on behalf of our country, I am featuring a few Arm Candy favorites. Happy Veteran’s Day!