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Saturday 9: Vision Of Love

Vision of Love | Mariah Carey Wiki | Fandom

Hey, friends.  I hope you are doing well. We're in something like our 9th week of hotel-living, and I can tell you, we are so over it!!!

But, the sale of our Idaho house is going well, and we should be closing at the end of the month. I'm thrilled it was picked up so quickly. Now, I just hope we can find a new one here in Maryland (or possibly Delaware) at such a great pace!

Link up here if you're playing along with us this week!


Saturday 9: Vision of Love (1990)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) The lyrics refer to "sweet destiny." Do you believe in destiny?

IS TRUE LOVE FATE? – Katie L Lindley
I don't really know what I believe there. But like this meme here, I tend to think it's some parts chance and some parts making intentional moves.
2) This week's artist, Mariah Carey, has something to fall back on. She studied cosmetology and worked as a hair sweeper in a salon. When you get your hair cut, do you socialize with the stylist?
10172020 Stacey Purple Hair
At first, as little as possible. I have to be comfortable with someone before I can get chatty; I'm an extroverted introvert. When my sister gets ahold of my hair (she's a stylist in New York; that's her up there in the purple), then of course it's a non-stop chatterfest.
3) She isn't likely to turn to cosmetology any time soon. Mariah is currently on the best seller list with her autobiography, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. Was the last book you finished fiction or non-fiction?
White Fragility”: Robin DiAngelo answers our questions
I've got White Fragility still in my laptop bag, and a few others I really need to get started on.
4) So far, more than 800 people have reviewed Mariah's book on Amazon. Do you review products/services online?
11 Hilarious and Funniest Yelp Reviews - Vendasta
I really don't do that many reviews, and when I do, I find I usually do write more negative ones - the really negative experiences - than positive ones. So I've been working on changing that. I don't know how often I'll get to the middle-of-the-road reviews, though!

5) When she was a high school student, she was nicknamed "Mirage" because she skipped class so often. Did you ever play hooky?
The Roosevelt Review | Unreliable People
School and work? Almost never, if not never. I never played "hooky" unless being too sick to go counted. But now that I'm sick, I'm completely unreliable. And I hate it.

6) Mariah doesn't apologize for spoiling her dogs, who have been known to travel by limo. Do you know anyone who treats their pets like people?
10012020 Pepper
Oh, yeah. Like, my 19-year-old daughter treats her cat here, Pepper, like her son. He's her absolute baby. She lives for that boy!

7) In 1990, the year this song was popular, Martina Navratilova won the Wimbledon Women's Singles Tournament. How's your tennis game?
Poor Depth Perception - TE Koza Optom
I liked playing, but I was never very good. I've got poor depth perception. Pretty important for tennis!

8) Also in 1990, Pope John Paul II toured Mexico. Have you ever visited our neighbor south of the border?
6 Unlocked Things To Do in Cozumel - This is Cozumel
Yes. Twice. The first, time, I was on a cruise, and my grandfather took me aside when we were in Cozumel. I don't remember anything about the location (other than that it was beautiful), because he took me to a pharmacy or two to get cheap drugs. Heh. I was a poor, struggling graduate student then, and Grandpa knew I had no health insurance but needed a lot of  meds. He'd learned that you could get them cheap in Mexico, and so he bought me a year's supply. (He seriously was the greatest.)
The second time, Hubs and I were on a retreat to somewhere, shortly after his brain surgery. We had a lot of semi-relaxed fun, drank a lot, and enjoyed each other's company. I know we were in Mexico, but I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the resort or the region!

9) Random question(s): There are Gofundme campaigns for many purposes. Have you ever solicited funds online? Would you?

Keeping Your Mouth Shut | Tricia's Ball of Yarn & Scott Family

Yes. For my kid's art supplies for a great class she was taking, of the Masters. (Hat tip to Sam.) Otherwise... it hasn't always gone well. I'm out of that game.


Hope you all have a pretty decent weekend! I'm hoping we get to look at a couple houses and maybe take a day trip somewhere. Where will the road take you...?


Sunday Stealing: The Winter Questionnaire

Hey, folks! Welcome back. I'm on my husband's piece of crap Toughbook laptop with the missing "p" key, making all my years-long keyboarding skills basically useless, so I'm trying not to start out this meme already grumpy!

Also - Hey, Bev! Whither the opening Sunday Stealing foto? I had to go back four posts just to copy one! Anyway, link up here if you'd like to play along this weekend!


How do you get past the gray skies during winter?

Image result for winter gray skies

It's actually really bad for me this year. I mean, unspeakably bad. We've moved to this rinky-dink little town in the middle of Idaho with NOTHING to do to take my mind off the misery of being here. I'm not doing well at all. We've recently discussed moving and narrowed it down to Guam or southern Portugal. Money is what stopped us.

Do you like snow? Why or why not?

Image result for syracuse blizzard of 1993

Good lord, no. I grew up mostly in (well, outside of) Syracuse, New York, and was there for the Blizzard of '93, aka "the Storm of the Century" (above). Our house was up atop quite a steep slope. Thing is, once all that beautiful white snow falls, the plows come through. And then the cars, so that it all turns a disgusting brown and black speckled dirty color. And it melts and refreezes and melts and refreezes, turning your entire sloped driveway, and the lawn, and many streets to sheer ice. And let's not even get into how much I despise being cold!

    What are your favorite activities to do during the winter?

Image result for hibernation

Hibernate and wait for it to be over.

    What does a perfect winter day look like to you?

Image result for gorgeous summer day

This. It looks like this.

    What are your favorite meals/food you enjoy eating during the winter?

I'm actually really not enjoying eating this winter, but lately Rob has been trying to make it work for me. He's been making me the vegan version of this Italian white bean and sun-dried tomato soup, which is really quite good!

    What is your favorite winter holiday and why?


Oh, it's definitely Christmas. I love giving gifts I hope they'll love to the people I adore!

    What is your favorite pizza flavor and toppings?

Image result for new york pizzeria pie

Oh, the first thing I have to do when I step out of Grand Central Station onto the streets of Manhattan is get a slice of a local pizzeria pie! Plain cheese is great for me, but I do love some pineapple on my peez, too.

What are some items in your daily bag/backpack?

Well, here are just some of the things I dumped out of my Vera Bradley crossbody purse: Aside from the cash, I see my oft-used asthma inhaler, and the passport that our heavy-chewer doggo, Tapioca, fished out of my purse for a nibble once or twice. There's the bouquet of hair doodles my daughter Chloe gave me for Christmas, knowing the three of us "girls" are always searching for a ponytail holder. I have a small tube of SPF 28 (so random) facial moisturizer from MyChelle Dermaceuticals, one of my favorite skincare companies.

I have some Thieves hand sanitizer and a Savvy Minerals Poppy Seed Lip Scrub, both from Young Living. I have a tiny tube of Cerave moisturizing cream, which works great in the winter! The Hello charcoal-infused floss, which I ordered from Grove Collaborative, really makes my teeth feel clean and refreshenated. (What, it's a word.) I bought the peppermint-infused C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint at Bath & Body Works, and this, I love. (I have several others, but I'm not sure where they've gotten to. Maybe Tapi ate those, too?) I've got some Scandaleyes waterproof mascara from Rimmel - the only cosmetics I'm really using these days - and some q-tips to blot my inevitable mistakes. And finally, I keep a variety of my beloved TUL pens handy. Note: I NEVER write in black ink, unless I absolutely have to.

    Your favorite snacks?

Image result for pistachios

I don't do a ton of snacking these days. Maybe a banana, or a handful of Wonderful pistachios.

Some foreign countries that you would like to visit?

Image result for beautiful world

You know, the only things stopping me from visiting every country are the world are money and my poor health. So my answer? All of them.

What things remind you of home?


Don't you know? I don't really feel like I have a physical home. Home, for me, is wherever these guys are.

If you have one, some items from your Amazon Wishlist?

Outgrowing the Pain: A Book for and About Adults Abused As Children by [Gil, Eliana]

Well, I really want - no, need - this book.

There's this olive oil dispenser I don't remember putting there, but I probably did because I am absolutely EVOO-crazy.

2 PCS Set Cute Animal Hedgehog Shaped Ceramic Cartoon Home Garden Decoration Succulent Cactus Vase Flower Pot

And, there are these disgustingly adorable hedgehog planters, because the girls and I have gone succulent-crazy lately.

What was your favorite Christmas gift?


I loved everything I received, especially the eco-friendly produce bags Chloe gave me... but I think my absolute favorite was Rob renewing my Mensa membership. I'd gotten it way back 20 years ago and have long since let it lapse. I wanted it mostly for the card to look at when I'm feeling especially dumb, but I'd lost that. I'm thrilled!


Well, Rob and I are back to searching for Lyme-literate MDs near and far, 'cause, y'know, I'm trying not to die. That would be nice. Or would it?

Take care, y'all.


Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Howdy, Pardners... 

So in this post, I'm going to be giving you my recommendations for apps, products, and services that I, myself, use and love (or have in the past but, for whatever reason, no longer can). I will not endorse anything that I do not love or believe in.

I'm going to leave this at the top of the blahg semi-permanently, update it when necessary, and add/delete/change things when appropriate. Some links will be my referral links. Some will not.


Ella + mila nail Photo Collage

The first company I'm going to introduce you to, if you haven't already met their acquaintance, are ella+mila.

Ella + Mila Order

The first items I bought from ella+mila are these: the 4-oz Soy Nail Polish Remover, which is a bit surprising in that it's oilier than I expected but also works beautifully to remove every last drop of colour; the Two-Pack Base & Top Coat Duo, because duh, I need both if I'm going to have a proper mani-padi; and the Cup O'Latte polish. I  this shade! If I weren't so capricious, I'd have it on all day, every day!

2019-02-12 01.56.26

So here are some pretty epic things about ella+mila that you should know, in order to help you make your decision about whether to purchase:

They are a 7-FREE company, meaning their products do not contain:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene
  • DiButyl Phthalate (DBP)
  • Formaldehyde Resin
  • Camphor
  • Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP)
  • Xylene

Additionally, ella+mila products are VEGAN & cruelty-free, which as a fellow vegan, y'all know I adore. 😍🌱💚

Hand 1 ella + mila

And finally, because I loved the Cup O'Latte and the entire manicure in general - it dries super fast and lasts and lasts, y'all, I purchased another color polish from ella+mila: Dulce Amor. It's beautiful and performs just as wonderfully as the previous products I'd tried.

Lip Scrub | Peach Smoothie

I can't wait to get lots and lots more colors of polish, and I'm really excited to get a lip scrub or two (that Peach Smoothie) one is calling my name! 

PLUS right now, you can get 40% and FREE SHIPPING with the code HIP749 (limited time!!!) - so jump on that and get yourself some goodness at ella+mila!


Full Circle Farms 1st box 02072019
Next up, we have the vegetarial (sure it's a word, because I wrote it!) goodness at Full Circle. 

I have a code for, I think, ONE person to get their first box free, a $33 value, here:


Try that first, and then if that doesn't work, and you still want to order, visit here and use my referral code:


CSA Share 02212019

That code will give you $15 off your first box. There is no permanent commitment, and you can cancel at any time. What's more, the boxes are fully customizable, and you can add or change or delete so. many. different. items. to your box to make it perfectly perfect just for you.

These two photos represent what's been in our first two boxes, and I must say, I have been beyond thrilled. Very high quality of fresh, organic, local to the Pacific Northwest, fruits and veggies have come our way, and IMHO, it's a terrific value. Try it today!


And now for some apps I use:

Image result for fetch rewards icon

For Fetch Rewards, you simply scan your receipts - mostly grocery, but from anywhere really, and you get points for doing so! If none of your items match up with point-rewarding products, you still get about 25 points for that receipt; but if you do have some matching items, you get a lot more points. I usually wait until I have 3,000 points on Fetch Rewards, and then I cash it in for a $3 Amazon.com gift card.

And now, if you use this link and my referral code: VD4KY, you'll immediately get that 3,000 Fetch Points just for starting! Whee! So what are you waiting for? You can get it in both the App Store and the Play Store.

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Related image

ibotta is actually a fun one, too. You scroll through the grocery, bar, hotel, and other offers (which is a lot easier now that they have added the dang search option) and add the ones for the items which you plan to purchase. Sometimes they just add when you click on them, and sometimes you have to watch a short video, but honestly? I just checked my own ibotta app, and I have gotten back $697.70 since I signed up. Totally worth it, y'know! That's not  a small chunk of change.

What you do is scan your receipt, and you can add and add and add sections for longer receipts, and then submit. Once it uploads, it will select those offers you've already chosen. Once you confirm those, you submit again, and boom! Within 24 hours - and sometimes, within 24 minutes, I swear - you have the money you've earned in your account!

If you use this link right now, you can get up to a $20 bonus - and cash that out for rewards like PayPal, Amazon, Starbucks, and lots more!

Again, ibotta is available on the App Store or the Google Play store.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Like I said I'll keep this post updated at the top of the blahg, so more to come...


7th Gen Wipes

Recently, the fine folks at Seventh Generation, the makers of all kinds of eco-friendly household goods like cleansers, disinfectant sprays, dish liquid and oodles more good stuff, sent me these three freebie sample packets of their Free & Clear baby wipes. Now, as you might know, my "babies" are all now teenagers (sob 😭), but I did give birth to four of them not all that long ago, so I know a thing or two about such things as diapers (Seventh Generation also makes these) and wipes. I swear.

7th Gen Wipes b

Now, if you can read the package for yourself, you don't need me telling you this, but just in case my site graphics are too much for your device (which is entirely possible if you tend to keep as many screens and apps open at any given time as I do!), I'll reiterate for you.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes:

  • are safe for baby, hands and faces
  • {Side note: I don't have a baby tush to clean, but I did use the wipes to wash the makeup off my face, and they were soooo perfect for that! I also washed my dirty feet from walking around outside barefoot - yes, in the winter, because I'm stupid and/or stubborn - with the wipes, and they did a stellar job}
  • are fragrance free

{Side note: I can vouch for this! Definitely no icky artificial scents here!}

  • Contain NO alcohol
  • Contain NO Parabens
  • Contain NO Phenoxyethanol
  • {This is a now commonly-used paraben-alternative used as a preservative in many cosmetic items, the Environmental Working Group states this can be a lung, eye, or skin allergen, can cause harm to immune systems, and can cause non-reproductive organ toxicity. Since I have several immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders, I really don't want to encounter much of that!}

This, altogether, means that these wipes are great for sensitive skin which, not surprisingly, I have - and I did not have any kind of irritation or reaction after using them. WIN!

7th Generation Wipes c

Now there is a LOT of information on the back (click the picture to embiggerate if you can, so you can read it more easily) of the wipes package, so I'm just going to highlight some of the goodness here.

The Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes:

  • are made from plant-based materials, which as a newly-bornagain vegan, y'all know I adore!
  • are not tested on animals which, duh, big ++++ there!
  • are safe and highly effective (I can vouch for this!)

Now, the ingredient list is on the package, but you can also shoot me a comment and I'll write those down for you, as well.

If you want to contact Seventh Generation on social media, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest! Check out their website, too, for all the great environmentally-friendly products Seventh Generation makes.

"Join us in nurturing the health of the next seven generations."

Full Disclosure: Seventh Generation provided these three packets of Free & Clear baby wipes for me to sample and also share with my friends. I received no payment or any other compensation. In this post, as with all my product reviews, all opinions are and will always be my own honest thoughts on the product.


Speaking of plant-based goods, have you signed up for Veganuary yet? Run over here and sign up to take the pledge and give it a try! It's not too late - it's never too late!

Black Bean and Refried Bean Burritos 01122019

Also, if you want some recipe inspo, be sure and follow my Instagram account for what we're cookin' up now that we're all vegans. Something super tasty is coming up later today!


Product Review: Brooklyn Cloth Clothing, For Always Fashionable

Jack's Always Fashionable Brooklyn Shirt 1

Check it out! I was contacted by a company called Always Fashionable to get complimentary clothing items in exchange for my opinions.

Full Disclosure: I received this shirt for free, in exchange for publishing my reviews on social media and on Amazon.com. As with all other product reviews I have published, all opinions on this post are 100% my own. No other compensation has been offered or received.

The first item Always Fashionable gave me was this fun Hawaiian-print boys' shirt from Brooklyn Athletics. My son Jack will be 16 in mid-March, but thanks to his pituitary dwarfism, he's about the size of your average 12-year-old boy. So based on the size chart provided on Amazon.com, I chose a size Large for Jack to wear. The shirt fits perfectly! It's made of 100% cotton and runs true to size.

Jacks Always Fashionable Brooklyn Shirt 2

Jack reports that his shirt, which we opted to purchase in the "Black Palm" pattern, is extremely comfortable - especially after a few washes! (We do not use fabric softener sheets but rather choose to use wool dryer balls for our laundry. I don't know if that makes a difference to any of you, but there you go!)

Red Floral Shirt

The shirt is also available in the "Red Floral" pattern shown above, at the same $14.99 price point, and runs from Small to XX-Large. I was torn between this print and the Black Palm, but with the excellent construction and superior quality of the shirt we received, I might just pick this one up on my own!

Black Pineapple Shirt

There is also a third print, Black Pineapple, available in the same sizes. It's priced now at $8.86, which, to be perfectly honest, doesn't completely surprise me. I'm not a fan of it, nor was Jack. But if you love it, snag the deal! It really is excellent quality.

Jacks Always Fashionable Brooklyn Shirt 3

Oh! I almost forgot. After two or three washes (I honestly forget, so sorry!), the shirt has not shrunk at all. Woohoo, I picked the right size when ordering online for once. Go me! (Never happens.)

Jack's Always Fashionable Brooklyn Shirt 4

So, to sum up: For under fifteen bucks, you can get a really cool shirt for your kid shipped directly to you. Well-made, pre-shrunk, made of natural and not man-made fibers. What's not to love?

Thanks for this opportunity, Always Fashionable. We're thrilled!


Doing Our Part To #MoveTheDate: Part The First

Hey, peeps! I've always been an avid tree-hugger, and right now is really a time in my life where I want to focus on actions that are good for me, good for my family, and good for our planet. I thought I'd tell you about some of those things.

Eco Post #1 - Amazon Straws

So for our scientific exploration this year at Sweet Pea Academy, we're focusing on Ecology and the Environment. One of our objectives for this class is to take one of the #MoveTheDate pledges from this website each month and, individually and as a family, make it a top priority to implement that pledge in our daily lives. Then we evaluate how we've done at the end of each month. The first month we pledged to #GoVeggie, and although we didn't 100% meet our goal, we definitely made some significant progress.

Also, as a mom, educator, and concerned citizen of the planet, I'm taking every additional step I can think of to contribute and set an example. Reducing packaging and waste is a big push for me. So recently, we ordered this set of 12+2 Cleaner Pieces Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws, in four colors: Gold, Silver, Rose Gold & Black - 20 oz & 30 oz Tumblers Straws (Bent). This whole plastic straw mess - as well as all the plastic garbage clogging up our waterways - is killing me! So the straw thing is going well with this set, and 12 seems to be enough for our family of five so far. I recommend them!

Multi-Colored Napkins

I have lots of other eco-friendly goodies on my family wish list, of course, including this colorful 12-pack of cloth napkins for $16.99. At 20x20", they're big enough to cover any number of messes that this team of sometimes-sloppy people can make! Of course, we already have some cloth napkins, but they're always in the laundry, it seems like, so there are never enough. And I have more toned-down neutral colors on that wish list as well, so you can be sure there are plenty of options.


MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel

So you probably don't know, but for nearly 20 years from age 22 or so until 41, I was a die-hard Jafra skincare fanatic. I mean, Royal Jelly was where it was at, as far as I was concerned, and Jafra could do no wrong. Now, don't get me wrong; the products are great, the benefits are amazing - and they work. But after getting involved with Young Living in 2016 thanks to my great friend Shana, and becoming even more in touch with my hippie flower child Bohemian side, I started thinking long and hard about my connections with Jafra. The ingredients just aren't always the kind I want to smear all over my face and body every day, and not just that, but the business side of things was not something I wanted to be a part of anymore, either. So I unceremoniously ended my longtime relationship with Jafra, cemented it with Young Living, and opened the door for more opportunities to live more wholly wholesome.

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel 2

Recently, I read about MyChelle Dermaceuticals on a post by Nadia over at Body Unburdened: Healthy Living Made Simple.

Personally, it has always been important to me to use a good eye cream - well, ever since I was introduced to good quality skin care at Jafra, that is. And now that I'm in my early 40s, a well-made eye-plumping product is one of the most important items in my skincare arsenal. I can always, always tell when someone is either not using an eye care product - gasp!! - or isn't using a very good one. I don't want anyone to ever think that about me! So I decided to try the Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel Nourish & Moisturize Eye Care from MyChelle Dermaceuticals first.

MyChelle Dermaceuticals Ultra Hyaluronic Eye Gel 3

I love the way the cooling gel feels on my tired ol' eyes in the morning and then again by the end of the night. This gel helps decrease the appearance of fine lines and dark circles - which is key for moi!

About MyChelle Dermaceuticals:

Founded in 2000, MyChelle was the natural industry’s first to use anti-aging peptides, plant stem cells, and clinically proven dermatological ingredients. Their 360º approach to beauty provides clean, conscious, and comprehensive products that are bioactive and ethically sourced. Sounds good to me!

MyChelle Clean Beauty VIP

What's really sweet in addition to the great products at MyChelle, you can use this code to get 30% off your first order total: MYCHELLEBEAUTY2018  - and, what's more, shipping is free, and returns are free on all orders. They have the BEST customer service. I swear.

On top of that, you can earn points toward meaningful discounts for completing simple actions. For instance, I earned 500 points (= $5 off an order!) just for subscribing to their newsletter. I earned 50 points each for sharing my eye gel purchase on both Facebook and Twitter. Subsequently, I earned 100 points each for following the brand on Twitter and liking them on Facebook, and so on and so forth. I was was delightfully surprised when I received this Clean Beauty VIP award in my email inbox, which afforded me extra benefits like bonus points and a free product:

MyChelle Sun Protection SPF 50 Stick

For achieving VIP level, which was exceedingly easy to do, I was given a free MyChelle Sun Protection Sun Shield Clear Stick SPF 50 - worth $12 - absolutely free! I didn't pay one red cent for the product or, of course, shipping. I haven't gotten it yet, but it should be here early next week.

MyChelle Lip Hints Nude

What's more, I was able to redeem $10 in those reward points for a big discount on a $12.50 MyChelle Lip Hints Conditioning Lip Balm in the Nude shade. Counting free shipping, nothing extra for tax, I only paid $2.50 out of pocket. I can't wait to try it, since I am addicted to lippies! Any member of Team Odette will happily verify that for you - I have multiple stashes of lip balms in every conceivable location I encounter in my daily life: my bathroom drawers, my purse, my desk, my car dashboard... everywhere. So I have high hopes for this one!

So maybe give natural beauty products a try and start with MyChelle Dermaceuticals. They work really hard to develop quality products that are safe for you and the environment, and they work even harder to keep your business. I'm quickly becoming a big fan!


Grove Collaboative 001

And finally, the last new-to-me company I want to fangirl over to y'all is Grove Collaborative. Have you guys heard about them yet? If not, you need to head on over here and get yourself a totally FREE Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Kit with five full-size products!

Here's what you'll need to do:

Head on over here in order to use my referral code and receive your free gift. You'll need place at least $20 worth of items from Grove Collaborative into your cart, but that's super-easy to do with all the amazing down-to-Earth, good-for-the-Earth products they offer. You can choose from baby and kiddo products, household cleaning items, personal care, and even their own Grove brand of items to help you get even more value from your first delivery.

Grove Collaboative 011

As for me, we needed laundry detergent, and I'd been wanting to try Molly's Suds Laundry Powder forever and a day. So that was $13.99 right off the bat (though valued at $16.99), leaving me only $6.01 worth of goodies I still needed to add to my cart.

Grove Collaboative 003

I liked the Zarbee's Naturals brand already, and we were having some sore throats going around Chez Odette, so I splurged on a $6.99 package of 14 throat lozenges.

Grove Collaboative 008

In return for my $20.98 buy-in with nothing additional for tax or shipping, I received a 12½-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Honeysuckle hand soap valued at $5.30 for free,

Grove Collaboative 005

a 16-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Honeysuckle dish liquid valued at $5.30 for free,

Grove Collaboative 010

a 16-ounce bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner valued at $5.30 for free,

Grove Collaboative 007

a 12-ounce bottle of Method Sweet Water dish liquid valued at $5.40 for free,

Grove Collaboative 004

a lovely Grove Collaborative red-and-white 100% cotton dish towel valued at $5.95 for free, and finally, a set of two Grove Collaborative walnut scrubber sponge valued at 3.95 for free!

Grove Collaboative 012
As if this offer couldn't get any sweeter, I do have to say that I'm a sucker for nice, careful, and thoughtful packaging - and Grove Collaborative definitely did not disappoint. The dispensers were carefully taped to prevent leakage during shipment. The note inside was handwritten. And the packing job inside the box was clearly planned and not just thrown together like so many other packages we've all received, I'm sure. 

You'll love what you get - in product, in service, and in peace of mind - from Grove Collaborative, and if you don't, that's okay, too. Their 100% Happiness Guarantee means you can return anything at any time, and they'll even send you a prepaid shipping label. There's literally no risk - but plenty of risk if y'all keep using those heavy industrial-level commercial cleansers around the kids, pets, and yourselves, y'know?


So what kind of eco-conscious changes have you and your clan made lately, or are thinking about making? I'd love to hear about 'em!


OFFER On Your Next Full Young Living Order!

Oils collection - Heart

(My own personal collection of *some of my* Young Living Essential Oils)

YLEOs Coupon

I'm currently offering a 15%/20% coupon for ANY size order from my Young Living account. The benefit to you is that you will get the finest essential oils on the planet at a really nice discount.

Meanwhile, the benefit to me is that for the size of order I like to purchase each month (I'm not required; I just like to max out my rewards for doing so as much as possible), that much less will be out of my own pocket for my own order. So it's a win-win.

Actually, it's a win-win-win, because truly I have always loved helping my friends and others I know get the best deals possible, and I assure you, this is one of those great deals!

You can look around on my personal Young Living website, but do not order through that site. Instead, send me your order so that I can take the discount off on your invoice myself.

Please do try to honor the October 31st deadline.

Image result for young living samples

Additionally, I promise that I will always include as many samples as I can with each and every order you place. Some will come pre-made by Young Living, such as those in the photo above, while some will be customized to try and address your particular needs at that given moment in time.


I know a lot of you think a lot of us have just jumped on the ol' Young Living / Essential Oils bandwagon, but for me personally, that is simply not the case. I was just ask skeptical as the next guy, and I kept saying "no" to Shana when she offered to send me some things. Pffft, please! I'm a scientist; I had no interest in what I thought were non-scientifically developed products.

Image result for young living samples

I was so wrong. That initially sample bag she sent me helped so much that I jumped on the offer to sign up, and since then, I have accumulated as many Young Living oils as I possibly could. But that's not all - I use many of their EO-infused products like skincare, bodycare, and house-cleaning products, just to name a few.

So if you'd like to benefit from this great order, just drop me a quick line & we'll go from there.


Saturday 9: Teenage Dream

Guten Morgen Klasse! What's the haps? I woke up around 0545 and, after using the facilities and finding a blanket (I'm insulted by the 59ºF temperature despite it being STILL SUMMER!!!), the first thing I did was queue up "Have It All" by Jason Mraz (love, love, love it) and come to write this week's edition of S9.

So welcome back! I hope you've all had a great week. Link up here if you want to join in the fun!


Saturday 9: Teenage Dream (2010)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Much of the video for this week's song takes place in a convertible and on the beach. How's the weather where you are? Would you be comfortable riding around with the top down today?
Image result for beautiful dreadlocks
This is funny. I was just talking about this with my 17- (!!!) year-old daughter, Chloë, yesterday. She's got thick, ringleted curly hair; I have straight, fine hair. Somehow we got on the topic of riding around in a convertible with the top down. Growing up, my dad always had at least six cars - one of them being a '71 Dodge Challenger convertible in mint condition. White, with red racing stripes. We drove around constantly, on the weekends, just for the sake of riding around with the top down. No seat belts, wind whipping my hair around so it stabbed me in the eyes, and I loved every minute of it. Loved it. I insisted she'd end up with dreadlocks in her hair after a ride like that, but she disagreed. I know I'm right, but there's only one way to prove it, and we don't have a convertible. Anyway, yes, unless there was snow on the ground, I'd be comfortable with it! It'll get up to 73ºF by 1400, and that's when I plan to steal a convertible - red Mazda Miata for me, please - to do just that. ;)

2) This video was filmed all around Katy Perry's hometown of Santa Barbara. Amtrak runs through Santa Barbara via The Pacific Surfliner. Tell us about a memorable train trip.
Image result for Florida Tri Rail
When I was in my middle year of college (never know what to call it, since I graduated in three years), one of my two best friends, Shana, came down to the University of Miami from New York to see me for Spring Break. One day, we wanted to go out to South Beach, but I didn't have a car yet at that point. So we first jumped on the MetroRail to get from Coral Gables to the end of that track, in Hialeah. Then we rode the Tri-Rail from Hialeah toward South Beach. Finally, we hopped on the local bus to get down to the beach. We had a great time in the sun and surf that day, and then we did the same thing in reverse to get back to UM. The whole trip took four hours round-trip, but it was worth it, because I'll never forget that day with my girl!

3) Katy sings that her boyfriend thinks she's funny, even when she gets the punchline wrong. Do you think you're a better joke-teller or audience?
091218 FREE Pedicure from Reginald
Oh, I'm a much better audience. I suck at remembering jokes, much less telling them correctly the first time; I'm much better at making my own one-liners on the spot. Rob, on the other hand (seen here giving me a pedicure for my birthday the other day), is a master at telling jokes. He constantly has me in stitches. Occasionally, he'll tell me a story, to which I'm trying to listen intently, and it'll end up being a complete set-up for a joke he's heard. It'll take me a few beats to realize the whole thing was a joke, and I'll end up jabbing him in the ribs in disgust. But he amuses me nonetheless.

4) Her "teenage dream" lover is shown working out with a heavy bag. When is the last time you visited a gym?
Image result for gym funny quotes
I'm not one to spend much time at the gym. I just hate it. An hour on the treadmill on the gym sounds dreadful to me; I'd much rather be going somewhere, seeing new scenery, having new interactions and encounters... anyway, technically I was at the gym Friday afternoon with my physical therapist, learning new exercises to help get my pelvis back in alignment. Does that count?

5) Katy changes her hair a lot. She's gone from long black hair to cropped blonde hair with stops at red, green and purple. Today, are you having a good hair day?
Target Beauty Box
Well, I just woke up, so not currently. Up there, in the top right, is the new Dry Shampoo by OGX, which I just received yesterday in the latest Target Beauty Box. I used it yesterday, not being up to taking a shower, and it smells soooo good! It also helps extend my shampoo out another day (or, ahem, two), so I can skip the shower and look halfway presentable for being seen in public. Have y'all ever used a dry shampoo? Which one do you like?

6) Katy thinks dimples are "irresistible" and can't help poking a finger when a dimpled friend smiles. Do you have dimples?

Mel dimples selfie
I do have dimples. A few of the kids inherited them from me.
7) Two of Katy's fragrances (Meow and Purr) are sold in cat-shaped bottles. Are you wearing a scent as you answer these questions?
Charcoal + Magnesium Deodorant Stick
Not really, but I am wearing Schmidt's Charcoal + Magnesium Mineral Deodorant (also a new thing for me, from the Tar-jay Beauty Box) at the moment, and I find the scent of it delightful.
8)  Katy's favorite dessert is ice cream (specifically Cold Stone Creamery's Birthday Cake Remix). What's the last dessert you ate?

091318 FREE Cheesecake & Drink from Chili's (2)
I had some of this free cheesecake from Chili's as part of our Birthday Freebies Tour (ongoing), Thursday night. It was delicious!
9) Random question: How often do you change your bedsheets?
Ideally, every week, especially since our two pups, Tapioca and Paco, sleep under the covers with us each night... but we don't get to stick to that schedule very often. Our laundry is forever goingN nonstop...! If I had more opulent sheets like these, I might be more motivated to wash them on the optimal schedule. Now where can I find these...?
That was a fun one! Thanks, Gal... er, I mean, Crazy Sam! ;) Always good a good cuestionario from you. Hope all of you have a great weekend!

My Hair Detangler & Regrowth Serum Recipe #YoungLiving

My tried-and-true formula! I'm about ready to make up another batch now, so I wanted this top of page (and mind) for doing so. Let me know if you successfully try it, too!


Product Review: Young Living Skincare Products


So since I've decided to stop representing JAFRA Cosmetics, I've made the leap into fully committing myself to using Young Living skincare and cosmetics. I recently purchased this YL ART Skincare System, above, which includes the 3.38-oz Gentle Cleanser, the 4-oz Refreshing Toner, and the 30-mL Light Moisturizer

Let me just say that the packaging was beautiful! It always is with Young Living products, and this set certainly did not disappoint. I couldn't wait until the next day to start using the products.


The bottles inside were gorgeous as well, and I appreciated their aesthetics. I used the ART™ Gentle Cleanser in the shower first, of course. Described by Young Living as using "a mild foaming action to lift and capture impurities without irritating the skin or stripping its natural oils,"  I have to say, I'm not a fan of it. It is too gentle! It's all fluff and foam and no substance. If you're like me and <ahem> frequently forget to take off your makeup before bed, this cleanser is NOT the one you're looking for to remove it (particularly mascara) the next day. I came out of the shower looking like Ozzy Osbourne. So that was a disappointment.

Thank goodness I had the ART Refreshing Toner to back it up. Young Living says it "removes any residual impurities without drying out the skin. With a perfect blend of essential oils, our toner will help balance your skin's natural pH." The toner helped remove the traces of mascara that were left under my eyes, as well as the rest of the little dirt or oil or whatever that remained. I did get some in my eye (with contacts in), and that stung a little but only for a moment. Oops!

The ART Light Moisturizer was nice and creamy, but not a rich, thick cream. The description reads, "works with your skin to help retain and maintain proper hydration. The proprietary blend of essential oils and natural ingredients will leave your face feeling soft and supple." Overall, I would say this is a decent starter system for someone getting their feet wet with Young Living, all of which products are made with their pure Seed-to-Seal essential oils. But... make sure you cleanse your face both morning and night!

YLEO Skin care collage

I had originally started out with this 4-oz Young Living Orange Blossom Botanical Face Wash, which I loved. I felt it worked much better than the one in the ART Skincare System. I didn't have any problems with it -- except for accidentally leaving it in my hospital bathroom (from my recent week-long pneumonia stay) when I was discharged, so that was a stunning loss from which I barely recovered. ;) I decided to try the ART System after that, but once that cleanser is gone, I'm definitely going back to the Orange Blossom wash.

Thankfully, I still have the 2-oz Mint Satin Facial Scrub. I love this scrub! Sometimes I even use it when I'm not particularly feeling like I need a good sloughing, because the Peppermint essential oil in it really wakes me up and helps me get started on my day! It feels amazing afterward. I highly recommend this one.


Now, those aren't the only Young Living skincare products I have used. I also use this fine-looking set of goodies. I'm going to switch it up and describe these from right to left, from the picture above.

I really like the Art® Intensive Moisturizer, seen in the white tub with gold lid. The pump system inside is fun, with a hole in the center where the product comes out when the top is pushed. I don't know why, but this brings me joy now that I know what to expect. I like the innovation. Little things, I guess... ;) About this moisturizer, Young Living says, "This deep, ultra-hydrating lotion recaptures the qualities of younger-looking skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helping skin feel smoother and more pliable." It's a nice, thicker cream than the Light Moisturizer in the set at the top, and I use it when my skin is feeling a little drier and/or less supple. These Idaho winters are so dry - and Idaho already has a much drier climate than I became accustomed to in Miami, so I probably use this one about 2-3 times per week. It absorbs nicely and after a minute or two, I don't feel like I've caked my skin in moisturizer, you know? 

The ART® Sheerlumé is a lovely cream that helps make my sometimes-dull skin feel much brighter and fresher. The description provided by Young Living reads, "An advanced formula powered by a sophisticated, proprietary blend of alpine botanicals and pure essential oils, Sheerlumé™ will visibly brighten and balance skin tone." I feel like it really lives up to that description, and it'll last a good long while since I only use it once or twice a week. It's a nice addition to my Young Living ART® Skincare System.

Now the next product, the Essential Beauty Serum with the purple label in the small bottle, is one of my favorites. If you're not used to using essential oils, the scent may be off-putting for the first few uses, but you quickly get used to it and, I found in my case, come to like it. Plus, it blends in quickly, so that scent is not overpowering in my opinion. Young Living says it "contains essential oils like Blue Cypress and Lavender, known for their ability to restore the skin’s natural moisture balance." To mix things up a bit, instead of using the Intensive Moisturizer, I sometimes add a drop or two of this serum (it's next to impossible for me to only eke out one drop without a second drop sneaking out) to the ART Light Moisturizer to add moisture and sheen to my skin. Like all of the Young Living skincare products I've tried, it blends into my skin quickly and beautifully, so that I don't feel greasy or oily afterward. I can recommend this product highly, as well.

Wolfberry Eye Cream

Every single day, I use the Young Living Wolfberry Eye Cream. "Wolfberry Eye Cream is a natural, water-based moisturizer. Containing the anti-aging and skin-conditioning properties of wolfberry seed oil, this cream soothes tired eyes and minimizes the appearance of fine lines." Now, at 41 years old, I can honestly say I've been using an eye moisturizer for 20 years, because I know that the eyes and the hands are usually the first parts of the body to show signs of aging. For 19½ of those years, I used a Jafra eye moisturizer, but now that I'm switched over to Young Living skincare, the Wolfberry is my go-to for this need. Believe me when I say that when you get to be about my age (or older), if you're not using an eye cream particularly targeted to this delicate skin area to provide specifically targeted moisture, it's obvious and noticeable. #SorryNotSorry if you're not using one, but if you're in need, I heartily recommend the Wolfberry Eye Cream. I was leery at first because I used the JAFRA Pro line, which is top-notch, but the Wolfberry stepped up and is a winner in my book. 

Finally, I don't use the Rose Ointment™ on my face but rather on the really dry areas of skin that sometimes pop up on my overly-moisturized body. If you can't tell by now, I am a lotion fanatic and abhor any kind of dry skin, so this rarely happens to me. But for some reason, my left elbow in particular needs extra moisture, as well as the occasional kneecaps and heels or whatever. I've also repeatedly told my kids that if they don't moisturize their hands during this dry winter, they may eventually dry out, crack, and bleed. Just a few days ago, Sophia came to me and said, "Mom, you were right," and sure enough thrust her dried and cracked hands in my face sadly. I handed her the Rose Ointment™, described as "a deeply nourishing blend for dry skin. Rose essential oil improves skin texture, while Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) works to soothe rough, irritated skin," and she immediately felt relief with just one use. I wouldn't call it a miracle cream... or would I? ;)


So there's my bare two score and one year-old face after using the Young Living ART Skincare System products mentioned above. (Note: Obviously, I didn't use all the products I described, as I pick and choose each day which ones I feel are most necessary. I always use a cleanser, the toner, the eye cream, and a one or more of the facial moisturizers, though.) You can tell my face is still puffy from all the fluids - oh, my gosh, all the fluids (!!!) I received during my two weeks in the hospital, but never mind that. I can pretend it's not visible if you can. Please? [I started this post over a week ago, right after I was discharged, so things have eased out quite a bit since then. But I digress...] But not so bad, eh?



Now, on to the Savvy Minerals by Young Living cosmetics line! I have to admit, after 20 years of using almost exclusively JAFRA cosmetics, I was hesitant to make the leap when Savvy Minerals came out. I mean, look at my make-up case, which is entirely JAFRA except for the products above - and it's not even a complete look at the whole kit 'n' kaboodle:

Image may contain: makeup

But anyway, I made the leap. Young Living states: "A Savvy woman should never have to compromise quality for beauty. That’s why Savvy Minerals by Young Living™ was formulated to include only the most pristine ingredients." Our site goes on to say, "Every Savvy Minerals product was carefully crafted so you can feel fabulous about yourself and what you’re putting on your skin. Our range of products is developed with an unwavering standard of purity and quality, giving you a full variety of naturally derived products made without cheap fillers or synthetics." Now, I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me. I'd much rather have these products on my skin, all day long, day in and day out, than something ... else.


So now, a few months later, I own a Warm and a Cool Foundation Powder (I use the Cool normally, but when I have a bit of color in the summer, the Warm is more appropriate); two of the Blush and also a Bronzer; the powder Eyeliner (please use this sparingly - there is a definite learning curve with this one, so take your time!); seven of the different Eyeshadows, the Veil for a glowy, air-brushed look (seriously, this product is amazeballs); and a gorgeous Lip Gloss. I really want to get the Mascara, because I wear my fall-back JAFRA one every single day, but it's been sold out for months! Come ON, Young Living, make some more! If you go on the Savvy Minerals page, you'll see there are plenty more cosmetics to from which to choose, which I don't have yet ... but I'll get there! ;) There is definitely something for everyone, every preference, and every skin tone. I can honestly say, I love this cosmetics line and feel good about wearing it, too.


So that's me - oh, that puffy face, though! <cringe> - wearing all the Young Living skincare and Savvy Minerals products I deemed necessary that day. Note, I am also wearing JAFRA mascara, for the reason mentioned above. Except for my moonface, I do love these lines of skin care and cosmetics enough that I have shut down my affiliation with JAFRA after 20 years and am exclusively repping the Young Living brand. I can't say enough good things about it, so I'll end here. Hit me up here if you are interested in hearing about more!

Thanks for your visit!


Which publication or website do you visit for parenting advice? #CulturelleClubhouse

Culturelle clubhouselogo

As a Proud Parent in the Culturelle Clubhouse, I care a lot about my tween and teens, and their digestive health. There are thousands of other Proud Parents out there just like me!

Full Disclosure: I received a sample of Culturelle Probiotics for Kids for my children to try, in exchange for my participation in this Clubhouse. This occasionally results in posts like these, to help open the dialogue among parents regarding a wide variety of topics. No other compensation has been given or received and, as always, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

January's Discussion Question is: Which publication or website do you visit for parenting advice?

My absolute favorite parenting website for about the past 7½ years or so is Positive Parenting Solutions, run by Amy McCready.


"About Amy McCready

and Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc.

"Parenting educator and TODAY Show contributor, Amy McCready is a ‘former yeller’ – she’s been in your shoes. So she understands what it is like to feel disappointed and even defeated at times trying to raise positive, happy, well-behaved children. Now, she’s trained more than 60,000 parents in over 21 countries, on 6 continents to transform themselves from YELLERS to calm and cool parents with the tools and strategies to solve the stress, and start to ENJOY their most important job: Raising terrific kids."

Sounds good, right?

When I first purchased access to the website, I was very hopeful that my chaotic household would become tame and more organized. Mostly, I hoped for less yelling. Well, as it turns out, we kind of run on chaos here at Casa de Odette, but the yelling and crying quickly ceased as we started employing the tools in the toolbox we gained from PPS. I heartily recommend the site for anyone who has trouble with yelling and wants to end the, as Amy says, cycle of "blame, shame, and pain" in our parenting encounters.

Now that the kids are older, I'm still employing these techniques as well as new ones that have become more relevant with their changes in ages, as well as the changing times. (How DO we get our kids off the 24/7 desire to be engrossed in technology?!)

Register Now

I highly recommend that you check out this webinar, if your homelife is struggling or you just want to bone-up on some excellent parenting techniques and tools for your family's peace.


So check out the Culturelle Probiotics Clubhouse, and if you're game, Positive Parenting Solutions as well! You won't regret you did.


Unleashed The Movie: Review And #Giveaway


Hey, everyone! Have you seen the movie Unleashed yet? It's a comedy for the furry friend in all of us!

Disclosure: I was chosen to receive a copy of the movie Unleashed in order to review it and provide a giveaway for my readers. All opinions expressed in this post are, as 100% my own. Each household is only eligible to win Unleashed via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open to residents of the United States only.


In Unleashed, Emma, a brilliant but awkward app designer, moves to San Francisco after a massive betrayal by her boyfriend with only her beloved pets, an adorable cat and an energetic mutt, in tow. One night, drawn by the light of a Supermoon, Emma’s pets escape into the night and are transformed into full-grown men, forcing Emma to reconsider her outlook on dating and hilariously work out her trust issues.




I watched this movie with my soon-to-be 16-year-old daughter, Chloë, and we both agreed that it was a little much on the adult humor, so please use parental caution if you're going to view this with a minor.


Would you like to win a copy of Unleashed? Be sure and tweet me or shout out on Instagram whether you are #TeamDog or #TeamCat, and then come back and enter as many ways as you'd like in the form below. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. I like both, but in the end I'm always #TeamDog! ;)


Product Review: Wrist Society Watch

Hey, everyone! Remember me? We completed our move from Miami, Florida to Boise, Idaho one week ago, so that's why I have been largely absent from posting here lately.


Anyway, I was chosen by Wrist Society to try out one of their watches in exchange for my honest review.

Wrist society watch 1

This is the watch and bracelet I received. It's a beautiful watch with a bracelet, which you can get as part of Wrist Society's monthly subscription service. I was going to do a YouTube unboxing video, but between having severe pneumonia and moving, I just did not get a chance! Boo. 

But that's not the watch's fault, so let's carry on, shall we? ;)

Wrist Society is a service that aims to help men grow their watch collection. Featured on Huffington Post, Better Homes and Gardens and more, men can subscribe to the Noble level for $29 per month and receive a  top-notch wristwatch that they keep. Or, they can subscribe to the Elite level for $39 per month and receive a watch plus a bracelet picked by the Wrist Society staffers. The watches never have to be returned, so it's a great way to add to your style wardrobe, receive a high-quality watch, and not pay top dollar.

Rob's wrist wasn't available during this review, so I wore the watch for a few days and even received a few compliments on the watch and bracelet set I received. In addition to the bracelet and beautiful watch each month, Elite members can also vote on occasional choices during their subscription service.

The great thing, I think, about Wrist Society is that they are so flexible. Instead of monthly delivery, you can also choose quarterly, biannual, or annual delivery.  If you join the Society, you can even order the previous month's watch if quantities allow and you really can't wait!

The watches ship on the 1st of each month, and are great way for guys to add the perfect finishing touch to their style for the day. All kinds of styles are delivered, once per month, so that as the collection grows, they can have may choices from which to cap off their days' outfits. I love this! There is no entry fee, just the $29 or $39 monthly charge, and all of the watches work and are high quality.


So there you have it! Subscribe if you like the concept, and stay because you love the watches.


DiamondBloggers and Wrist Society selected me to try out the watch service in exchange for my always-honest opinions. 

Thanks for stopping by!


MegaFood Kids Nutrient Booster Powders


Disclaimer:  I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.


We received the Mega Food Kids Nutrient Booster Powders, some recipes, and this awesome reusable canvas bag to try and get a feel for the brand. Unfortunately I haven't had a lot of time to donate to this program because of all the medical issues Team Odette has been facing lately, but perhaps that is exactly why I chose to devote some time to it Wednesday morning!

Developed in 1973, "MegaFood has been committed to making products that use real food from family-owned farms to make a real difference, and has produced some of the most effective and award-winning supplements available today. A pioneer in the natural products industry, MegaFood was one of the first companies to make their FoodState® vitamin and minerals from scratch starting with farm fresh whole foods. MegaFood continues to innovate by manufacturing more than 36 individual FoodState Nutrients™ using their proprietary Slo-Food Process™, all in their own facility in New Hampshire."


I looked through the recipes provided in my kit, and also here on the website, for inspiration. I wanted to use the Kids Daily B-Centered powder, to help them get centered and focus on the day ahead of us. As homeschoolers, it's important to me that we focus on what needs to be accomplished each day and not lose interest in the learning process!


I gathered some ingredients I thought might befit a delicious smoothie the kids would actually eat, to be blended up in my trusty Cuisinart food processor. Aside from the Kids Daily B-Centered Powder, I grabbed a big ol' fat platano from Hawaii, a carton of Oikos Vanilla Greek Yogurt, and some Agave for sweetener. I have some chia and/or some ground flax seeds somewhere, but I couldn't locate those, so I also dumped in some oats for a little extra texture.


I made a quite large portion of smoothie, so that everyone in the family could try a healthy-sized portion, so I also added about four scoops of the relatively flavorless powder. Time to blend!


I pretty much just left the Cuisinart on instead of pulsing for a good five minutes, to make sure everything was well-blended and the oats were a little chopped up. Worked out perfectly.


The girls wanted to try theirs first, so I poured them each a large mug of the smoothie with a lime wedge for garnish. Turns out, at least in my opinion anyway, the lime really added quite a lot to the deliciousness of the already-tasty plantain and yogurt smoothie. YUM!


Sophia went first, and she liked the smoothie quite a bit. Down the hatch for her!


Chloë gave the smoothie a thumbs-up, and I agreed with her. Personally, I'm on my second mug of smoothie right now!


Jack gave the smoothie a go, and while it wasn't his favorite, let's just say that it's extremely difficult to please this kid! 

I can't wait to make more of the MegaFoods Kids vitamin recipes, like this one:

Mango Turmeric Sorbet,

and there's so much more here to explore in the recipes! I'm excited to explore all that these supplements can do for my kiddos!

There is so much goodness here, and I'm thankful to be a part of it. Thanks, MegaFoods!

Thanks for stopping by!



GIVEAWAY!! And Product Review: NeilMed Naspira For Babies & Kids


Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.


First, I'm going to review the NeilMed NasaFlo NetiPot, which is available here for $15.99 or $17.99, depending on whether you want a clear pot design or the blue porcelain design, like I was given. (You can also find it in plenty of stores nationwide, like RiteAid, Walgreens, and Walmart, and also online at Amazon.com, drugstore.com, and lots more - so shop around if you're a deal shopper like I am.)


You need to use distilled water with your NetiPot, as well as the saline Sinus Rinse packets (also provided to me for free, and 50 packets come in the box with the pot). My kids were sick before I was, so both Jack, aged 13, and Chloë, aged 14, learned to use it before I did. Okay, okay, let's be fair, here: I still haven't learned to use it, and I have to have one of the kids or my husband set it up for me when I need to use it!

I was diagnosed with mycoplasma pneumonia in May, and I'm still recovering well over a month later, so I have had plenty of opportunities to use the NetiPot myself. 


(We're such hams.)

As you can see, I have a giant nose ring in my right nostril all the time, so I wondered to myself whether that would be a problem with the NetiPot, which is used by breathing normally through the mouth whilst pouring the saline solution in one nostril and letting it drain out the other nostril (then switch).

Well, was it?


(Hammy, hammy hams.)

Not a problem at all! I don't know if it would be if I'd have had a septum piercing instead, but ahhh, I don't, so I'm not sure. ;)

For adults and older kids, I give a big thumbs-up to the NeilMed Naspira NetPot! A friend of mine was sick the other day, so I gave her another new NetiPot I had received from NeilMed for a campaign, and told her how to use it. I haven't seen her since, so I can't report back how she is now, but as for me, well when my daughter's pediatrician recommended it to her, and then my own primary care doctor recommended it to me for my blocked ears, I finally bucked up and gave it a try. It worked, and I can hear!



And now for the review and giveaway of the NeilMed Naspira for Babies & Kids.

Chloë, my very petite teenager, was my guinea pig for this since I don't have very small ones of my own anymore (sniff). (You can see the ham apple doesn't fall far from the apple ham tree - or is it ham apple tree? Either way, yeah.)


Here's the product in its package, which is available online or in stores for about $9.99 - $14.99.


The Babies & Kids Naspira comes with the bulb aspirator, seven filters (one is already on the aspirator), and the net storage bag. It's a pretty simple set-up, really. You can take off the hose and use the nasal aspirator on older kids by itself, using the traditional hand-squeezing method, or you can put the hose on for babies, and use the orange suction piece in the caregiver's mouth the help suck out the oogie-boogies in the babies nose. There is a filter in place so, as yucky as it may sound, you never um, suck down the contents of your congested baby's nose!

I highly recommend this product for the younger set, and I tried it with my older kid. We found it simple and well-designed, though we definitely relied on this video from Nielmed for further instruction on use and sterilization:

GIVEAWAY: I have THREE NeilMed Naspira for Babies & Kids to give away to my readers! That's YOU!

Please leave me a comment on THIS POST with the age of your baby or child and whether you have tried any NeilMed products in your household before for five entries.

Leave a (relevant, please) comment on ANY OTHER post of mine for five additional entries per post. Make sure you're letting me know after your comment that you are submitting it as an entry for this giveaway!

Like NeilMed on Facebook for five additional entries; comment a second time on THIS POST to let me know you did.

Follow NeilMed on Twitter for five additional entries; leave a third comment on THIS POST to let me know you did.

This giveaway will close at 6 PM EST on June 30th. I will randomly select THREE winners for the Naspira for Babies & Kids from the entries received by that point and notify the winners and Moms Meet that you won!


That's it! Get to commentin'!


Product Review: DYMO LabelManager® 160

Full Disclosure: I was given a free DYMO LabelManager® 160 to try, along with several rolls of labels, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed herein are - as always - 100% my own.

Dymo Labeler Campaign

I was so excited when my DYMO kit arrived in the mail from Smiley 360! I love to organize, label, and list, so this campaign was right up my alley. What would I label first?!


I actually let the Hubs take the first crack at using the DYMO LabelManager, because we have an abundance of cords hanging on and around the entertainment center area, and he wanted to label what buttons were for what functions on the A/V box. I'm not saying he did a less-than-perfect job of placing the label, but, um... it works for him, so okay! ;)


I had to buy a new binder for my youngest kiddo, Sophia, for this year's homeschooling adventure. (The older two kids were able to re-use their binders and already-labeled subject dividers, but Sophie is The Child Who Destroys All The Things and thus needed a new one.) ANYway, I couldn't wait to label her divider tabs!

As you can see, I played around with the letter sizes to make sure things fit, and I probably could have adjusted some of the smaller ones even larger, but I didn't want to waste my precious label tape. Very neat and organized-looking, I thought; no?


And here's here awesome binder, all set up and labeled. Woot! I wonder if she's as excited about her lovely labels as I am? Hee.

Image result for DYMO logo


Ready to make your mark on the world? The DYMO LabelManager® 160 makes it easy to create high-quality labels for all your organizational needs. Plus, it's compact and lightweight for portability, so you can label just about anything, anywhere!


One thing I love about my LabelManager is how easy it is to edit the text. You can format your labels with bold, italics, vertical, underline, and boxed text, with one-touch quick work. Fun!

The QWERTY keyboard makes for fast, easy typing, and you can create labels with six font sizes, eight text styles, four boxes plus underline and 228 symbols and clip art. I love the clip art feature! Plus, it takes 36% fewer steps to create a label vs. competition (*vs. Brother™ P-Touch® 1090, P-Touch® 1290, and Epson® LW-300 for an “abc” label bold and italicized).

The label maker has an automatic shut-off feature to save battery life, which is great if you're like me and forget to turn things off all the time. Am I the only one who goes through 50 billion batteries a month here?!!

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As for the compatible D1 DYMO labels themselves, the backings peel off quickly and easily for trouble-free application. Plus, you can remove the labels without leaving adhesive residue.

The labels have thermal transfer printing technology – no ink or toner required.

They're available in 12 colors and 5 widths, plus limited edition DYMO Neon Labels. I love my green ones!

Ready to label? These labels adhere to most clean, flat surfaces including plastic, paper, metal, wood and glass!

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The DYMO LabelManager® 160 is available at an MSRP of $29.99 at Amazon.com, Staples, Office Depot/OfficeMax, Walmart, and Target. Check it out here for more information, if you still have questions before you buy. As for me, I have some more labeling to go do... ;)


Product Review: Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Creams


Recently, I was engaged by Smiley 360 on a mission to try the Ultimate Miracle Worker Day Cream SPF 15, Nighttime Serum-in-Cream, and Eye Cream by philosophy. Here's my delivery, right out of the package. I couldn't wait to get started!


These are the samples I was given. They're itty-bitty, but they're very concentrated, so a little bit goes quite a long way, and I still have a lot left. 

As many of you know, I'm not only a longtime JAFRA Consultant, but an exclusive JAFRA skincare user myself, so I'm always skeptical about trying other brands. But this looked promising, and so I have been giving it a shot.


I used my JAFRA face wash to get ready, since I didn't have anything from philosophy for that purpose. Here's my "BEFORE" photo.


And here's my "AFTER" photo from using the Ultimate Miracle Worker Day Cream SPF 15 and the eye cream, as well as, yessssss, JAFRA cosmetics. Not bad for being 39 years old, am I right?! You better say yes. Ignore the jacked-up hair; I needed a haircut and that was what it wanted to do at the moment. Hee.

So I'm still using the philosophy samples I was given, and I really like them. I would say, if you can, give them a shot. My favorite of the three is definitely the eye cream, but I do like all three.

If you'd like to try it out for yourself, click here and use promo code: welcome15 to receive a philosophy welcome gift (includes 1oz purity made simple facial cleanser, 1oz amazing grace shower gel, and 0.4oz hope in a jar moisturizer) with any $25 purchase - I hope you'll let me know if you do!

Full Disclosure: I was given these samples in exchange for my honest review, but all opinions are - as always - 100% my own.

Thanks for stopping by!


April Tinker & Doodle Crates from Kiwi Crate


Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. However, I love Kiwi Crate, Tinker Crate, and Doodle Crate so much (as do the kiddos), I like to blog about them from time to time. Links contained within this post may be my referral links, for which I may get credit. However, all opinions are, as always, 100% my own.

April brought another crop of Kiwi Crates to the youngest two Odettes of the household: Tinker Crate (for ages 9-14+) for Jack, the mechanically-inclined child, and Doodle Crate (for ages 9-16+) for Sophia, the artistically-inclined child.


Jack's box was about ROBOTS for April. What I love about these Crates, apart from the fact that they get the child to think outside the, um, crate, is that they offer supplemental material and activities to further the lesson. My kids don't always want to continue, but with these Crates tailored to their particular interests, this lesson expansion is much more likely to happen.


ROBOTS was a really cool crate. When Jack saw markers, his first sinking feeling was that it was an art-related box. If you read this post, you'll remember that Jack "hates Art." But soon, we learned that he would be building a robot that colored on the paper after he built it, and that was Awesomeness. He let his robot go on drawing for quite a while and just admired it from nearby. And that, my friends, was a check in the "WIN" category for my boy.


Sophie's Doodle Crate was all about PAPERMAKING for the month of April. This was quite challenging, Sophia found. She could not get the paper pulp to come out of its container at first, and she actually got upset and walked away from it the first night. True to form, though, she came back and worked at it the next day - this, all on her own, just like I knew she would - and then, she was successful.


"Look, Mom! I made paper!" It looked just as I expected it to look, having seen homemade paper plenty of times. Sophia found it to be, shall we say, rustic, but I explained that that was part of the charm of making paper at home.

The next part of her April Doodle Crate was about BOOKBINDING. She used the paper she made, cut up into teensy pieces, to bind together pages for a book for her Littlest Pet Shop characters. Her latest obsession craze is creating little vignettes for her LPS critters and having me photograph them, which I then print out, miniaturized, onto photo paper for her to frame in her handmade frames. This is one of them.


So it didn't surprise me when she decided to make a tiny bound book for the LPS guys. For the cover, she had me scan the cover of our well-loved copy of e. l. konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler "so that it will match the style of the paper," she said. I miniaturized the scan and printed that out, and that became the cover of her newly bound book for the LPS. I love this. LOVE it.


So there you have it. This month's Kiwi Crates, a "Robots" Tinker Crate for Jack and a "Papermaking" Doodle Crate for Sophia, were complicated and challenging on both counts but definitely scored an A+, each, from both. Way to go, Kiwi Crate!


P.S. We started out with Kiwi Crates when my three were younger, and they all absolutely adored them. These are tailored to ages 4-8 and have plenty of adventures to keep the kids involved and intrigued for month after month of fun!


And now, for even younger kids (toddlers or so), they have introduced Koala Crates. These look so cute, and you can get them even more inexpensively with a monthly subscription like we have for Tinker and Doodle crates. I have no personal experience with the Koala Crates, but based on our love of all the other Crate series, I think these must be pretty fabulous, too!


Bzz, Bzz: Boursin Gourmet Cheese #GotItFree


So, you all know that I am a member of Smiley360, which gives regular folk (like moi) the chance to try products that we might otherwise not have, usually for free. 

For more information on Smiley360, click on over here.

I was given a coupon for a free Boursin cheese product, which was priced at $6.29 at my Publix.


Lucky-ducky me, because they were also on sale for Buy One, Get One Free this past week, too! And, I had three more manufacturer's coupons for $1.50 each, and there's a $1 Boursin rebate right now on the Checkout 51 smartphone app. Cha-ching! With all those combined, I managed to snag four tubs of this deliciousness for a total of 79¢!

Yeah, baby.

I happened to have some Crostini left over from Thanksgiving, and since I wanted to keep it simple, I decided to pair my Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs with those.


Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

That stuff was SO good. I bought them on Sunday, and by Wednesday night, I had eaten two tubs. #WhatAPig

I hope I get to try some other varieties soon, but that's the only flavor my Publix had on sale at the time. It's definitely on my Yum List!

Have you tried it yet?


Bzz, Bzz: NESCAFÉ with Coffee-mate® Hazelnut

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Recently, I was selected by Smiley360 to try new NESCAFÉ with Coffee-Mate® in the Hazelnut flavor.

{I have coupons for trying the other two flavors (French Vanilla and Sweet & Creamy Original), but I haven't been able to locate the product in my Publix just yet. Maybe it's too new, or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?}


Shortly after receiving the package from Smiley360, I gave it a try. I liked it tons, but I added extra powder from the canister into my mug to make it even creamier, as per the directions.

When my dad was here over Thanksgiving, I shared some with him. He liked it exactly as directed, without adding any extra sweetener. In fact, he was so fond of it, I had planned to give him mine, but I forgot. Sorry, Pops!

I'm really looking forward to trying the other two flavors with my freebie coupons!

Here is a coupon for 75¢ off, if you'd like to try it, too!


Bzz, Bzz: Sara Lee® Pound Cake

Recently, BzzAgent selected Team Odette to try Sara Lee® Pound Cake for free, which of course was exciting because DESSERT IS YUMMY, y'all.

{I was technically supposed to redeem my free product coupon at Kroger, but since I couldn't find one nearby, I used it at Publix around the corner. Hopefully, that was all right...!}

Because, at the time, I was homeschooling four kiddos (we're back down now to our own three chirpies), I had to give them some incentive to get their work finished that day: Sara Lee® Pound Cake to the rescue!

Sara Lee Pound Cake

I served slices of the cake with homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries and strawberries. Rob, Chloë, Jack, Sophia, and Victoria were smitten kittens when they saw the Fiestaware coming their ways with that onboard, you guys.

We all found the Sara Lee® Pound Cake loaf (which also comes in slices!) delicious, and I'll probably use it again soon... maybe for Christmas or New Year's Eve?

Thanks for the scrumptious treat, Sara Lee® and BzzAgent!


#Homeschooling: Minecraft Units by Educents.com & #GeekFamous


A week ago, I was given the opportunity to test out three different Minecraft-themed educational units from the curriculum website, Educents.

You can find those here: www.educents.com/minecraft-units.html for only $4.99 for all three!

When they heard I was chosen, they were so excited! All three of my kiddos LOVE playing Minecraft (pocket edition on their Kindle Fires , though we are hoping to get the XBOX 360 version soon), so they could not wait to see what these units were about.

There were three Minecraft-related units:


* Perimeter & Area, which I gave to 13-year-old Chloë to do,


* Angles, which I gave to 11-year-old Jack to work on, and


* Writing, which I gave to 9-year-old Sophia to complete.


Chloë has worked on perimeter and area before (well, they all have), so it was fun for her to apply this learning to the Minecraft world they all love so much.


Jack wasn't thrilled with his study on angles, until he got to the part where  he actually got to build and work on things in his world on the Kindle. Then he said, "Hey, this is actually kind of fun!"


This is the cubey world he built for the unit. He had to build something with 200 right angles, so we figured out that was 50 blocks. He also had to find obtuse and acute angles within his Minecraft world, and this was quite abit more challenging! Really made him think.


Sophia, who is quite the little story-teller anyway, found the stories she had to write a fun exercise, indeed. She got into it!

However, only Jack finished his unit on angles. Chloë and Sophia had to be poked and prodded along, and even though I told them that I would give them a Minecraft-related Christmas present when they finished, well... they just decided they wanted to finish them later. And they will, but not tonight.

And then, it was time to whip out the promised (kinda) Minecraft presents! I thought they were all pretty cool, so I let them play "musical gifts," and whatever present they ended up with when I stopped the music was the one they had to open. Trading, as always, was an option after that (but no one ever has, to my knowledge).


Jacky opened this big ol' Light-Up Wall Torch, which I bought from ThinkGeek.


Also from ThinkGeek, Sophie "won" this Minecraft Light-Up Redstone Ore, which means nothing to me, but she thought it was cool, so hey.


Here are the "liddy-liddy" and the "middy-liddy" with their lights.


Chloë scored the "big" Minecraft prize, a LEGO "The Cave" to build, which I bought on the LEGO website.

The other two were, um, dismayed about that until they saw their own. And little do they know, I might just have more such gifts hidden away somewhere! 


It took her a while, but she finally build a LEGO Minecraft Cave, with Steve eating a sammich, a spider, a creeper, and other stuff I wouldn't know if it kicked me in the nose!

Overall, I would recommend the Educents Minecraft learning units, but be ready to provide help and encouragement where it is needed.

(And big thumbs-up to the LEGO and ThinkGeek goodies!)

Thanks for stopping by.



Kiwi Crate Crafts, Part Deux

(Again, this post and that last one were not compensated posts; I just want to share!)

We did the second set of Kiwi Crates today. I had planned to save all six boxes for Advent, but the kids saw them, and that plan went right out the window. Ah, well.


Jack's second Crate was Fun With Flight, which included a rocket craft and a flying kite craft.


I didn't help the kids at all, and perhaps I should have, because there was a bit of difficulty with this. It didn't "rocket" off the base, and he was so pissy bummed about it, he refused to even try the kites activity. Perhaps we can try it another day?


Sophie's Crate was Wild Safari, which included My Safari Jeep and My Safari Search.


The Jeep gave her a bit of trouble at first, but I encouraged her to put it aside and stop thinking about it, going instead to the second activity. By George, it seems to have done the trick!


She had great fun making, arranging, and rearranging her safari animals! She created the stamps herself, and in the blink of an eye, she was finished. I think these critters will be sticking around for a while. 

(Also, she had some Webkinz cats that made an appearance and took a ride around in the Jeep. Or two. Or ten.)


Curls' Crate, Around the World, included a flag banner and a world map game.


The banner was really fun to make, and she did a great job, I think. She's a perfectionist like her mom, though, so she kept complaining about minor flaws in her work. :(


The map craft included a fun game, and all three kids played a kind of geography BINGO together. When Victoria joins us next week, maybe she'll play, too.

Overall, it was a great set of Kiwi Crates - and if you'd like a free $10 toward your first order, click on over here to get it!

Thanks for stopping by!



Your Ticket To Click It

Yup, I'm going to do a bunch of reviews on my Smiley.com sampling projects here, and I would appreciate it if you all would please, please, please click on each link to give me credit for telling you about this stuff. Pretty please, with sugar, whipped cream and a cherry on top?

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Up first is Caltrate Calcium & Vitamin D Gummy Bites. I'm not even going to lie, I love these things for the taste and texture alone. They're seriously yummy! I may or may not have popped a couple-two-three like candy on one particularly sweet-toothy day. Aside from that, they're great for strengthening bones - a must for us women - and the D increases absorption of Calcium, so that's a WIN, right?!

Click here for a $1 coupon or a $2 coupon, depending on which size you're interested in buying.

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Next up, I'm going to talk about bottoms. Specifically, hemmorhoids. Do you have them? Because I totally have them, ever since I was pregnant with Chloë 13 years ago. They SUCK! I've even gone to an anus doctor (hehe) to see about having them surgically repaired in the past, they were so bad. Enter Preparation H Medicated Wipes for Women

I've been using these for about a week now, thanks to my free samples from Smiley, and wowsa! They really help soothe my sore behind. Wanna give them a try?

Click here for a $1.50-off coupon. Trust me. Your bum will thank you (and me, right?!)

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Thirdly, we have Pepcid Complete, which I jumped at the chance to sample. I have suffered from some serious GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) for about 16 years now, and it's a real pain in the neck. Literally! Smiley sent me a coupon for a free bottle of Pepcid Complete Acid Reducer & Antacid, and I rushed right over to my nearby pharmacy to redeem that bad boy.

I had run out of my prescription acid reflux meds, so this was really just what I needed. Pepcid Complete tamed that savage beast in less than an hour, and I have been comfortable ever since. I might even use it in conjunction with my Rx, if I ever fill that again, because it works so well. If you're a fellow sufferer, you can click here to get a coupon for $2 off your purchase. You'll be glad you did.

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My next mission is about something that's very close to my heart: Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV). As a product of CDV myself, it's my goal that everyone who cares about this issue - whether from first-hand experience or not - will go out and purchase Invincible by Brian F. Martin here. Let me know if you do; it would mean a lot to me just to know you looked at the page.

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And finally, for now, a bit of fun: Build-a-Bear Workshop and Smiley gave me a gift card to go and make a Superhero, My Little Pony® or Disney® Princess Palace Pet at their workshop. Sophia recently made a sparkly kitty, and Chloë's getting a Princess Palace Pet (Ariel's kitty, which she's named Pumpkin) for her upcoming birthday in two weeks, so I think I'll use this gift card to get a Superhero for Jack. How fun!

Have you ever been to Build-a-Bear Workshop? We've done it several times now, and each time we go, it's super-fun and super-special for the kids and us parents alike. The staff really go out of their way to make sure the kids' (or your) creations are one-of-a-kind and just the way they're wanted. They even throw great parties for special occasions!

Click here for a special $5-off-$25 coupon to use on your next visit - and make sure you let me know you went!

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Thanks for stopping by, and please remember to click, click, click for me. Thanks!



Random Tuesday: Baseball, #Jamberry Nails, And Pancakes?!


This may be only the second or third time I've participated in Random Tuesday with Stacey Uncorked, but I'm feeling it today, so here I am! Link up if you're completely random on a Tuesday, yes?

Shall we?

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Last week, Sophia and I spent a good 3½ hours at the pediatrician's office to get her bloodwork done. She's completely traumatized by doctors and dentists and especially their needles, so she spent that whole time screaming and carrying on about getting the blood drawn. It was exhausting - for her, for me, for the poor bewildered doctor, for the staff, and maybe even for the next office over, some of the staff of which had to come in and help hold her down to end the whole episode.

I had promised Sophie pancakes at IHOP, having gotten a certificate for a free stack in my email inbox a few days prior, but by the time we got home from the doc's office, she just wanted to go to sleep. I couldn't blame her; so did I! And that we did.

By the time we were both ready to go to IHOP for a short stack of flapjacks, it was about three o'clock in the morning. But we went anyway, and as you can see, the trauma had subsided and she was all about getting her stawberry hotcakes on. 

I don't quite have the heart to tell her she needs more bloodwork and some immunizations in the very near future... :\

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Crafting 2

I've been doing a buttload of planning for this upcoming homeschool year, 2014-2015, and the kids have been kicking around the house kinda bored. I had stocked up on craft supplies for Sophie's birthday party, but we never held it, to her utmost disappointment.

I had also had a ton, give or take a few hundred pounds, of both cardboard and styrofoam egg cartons saved up for a crafty occasion. Actually, I was hoping to Freecycle them to someone who needed them for chickens or what-have-you, but such a person never materialized. Enter Pinterest! I found oodles of egg carton crafts on that wondrous site, and behold, two or three days of crafting were born.

Crafting 1

All three kiddos started out with the supplies, which included pompoms, feathers, glue, patterned crafting tape, paint, and so much more aside from the egg cartons. Jack, my least crafty kid, wanted to join... but he finished with slap-dashery that was hard for me to encourage. And so, in a rare (I hope?) moment of shoddy, discouraging parenting, I asked him why he bothered. Admittedly, that was pretty shitty of me, and we both agreed to have a time-out from each other for the remainder of that afternoon. #MomFail

Chloë is pretty crafty, but I think it's Sophia who is the most talented in this arena. Not that Chloë isn't artistic, because she is; however, she's a complete perfectionist like her mother, and therefore she finds it harder to break loose and just have fun with the process with no perfect goal in mind. The above pompom family was Sophia's creation, with no inspiration form Pinterest or anything else but her own imagination.

I could wrap up this segment of post in numerous ways, but suffice it to say that I learned something about the kids and their different abilities and learning styles, yes, but more about me and how I parent differently to them. Fortunately, I think I grew from the experience!

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Somehow, I managed to lose my entire post and get it back again without having saved it myself. Whew! I tend to give up when that happens. Yay for Autosave features!

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Another difference between Jack and his sisters is that he does not generally enjoy being photographed, whereas the girls love having a camera lens aimed at them. So when I changed my Facebook profile picture to this, my dad started condemning the lack of Jack, talkin' 'bout how he (my dad) applauds Jack for being a different kid, etc, blah blah, yakkety yak, and I shouldn't exclude him.


It touched a nerve, as parents and their comments are wont to do. I bend over backward - occasionally literally, even! - to make sure my kids feel recognized for their individuality and their strengths. Rob and I both have abysmal self-esteem, and so it is high on my list of priorities to develop a healthy sense of self in all of my children. Furthermore, I try to spend time with each of them, alone, every single day, and honestly, I do the best I can do be the best mom I can be for them!

I think we're doing all right. So my message for all the grandparents in the world, if you happen to come across this is: Unless you have cause for grave concern, step aside and let your kids do their job with their kids. You raised yours, and now it's our turn to raise ours. Not that input isn't necessary or even desired, but come on. Wait until we ask, if you can, and in the meantime, be as positive and supportive as you can manage.

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Baseball 1

On Saturday, Chloë and I took Sophia over to baseball tryouts at a park in Miami. How cute is she here?! I love this picture of her.

She was "trying out" (which really meant having her skills assessed for placement on the best team for her) at the oldest age group, 9-10 years, in the league we're joining, so really she ended up being one of the very few with no experience playing baseball.

I don't think she cared. She's got confidence to spare, that one!

She was also the only girl we saw on the field, the only one not fully decked out in a uniform from season's path, and from what I could see, the only Southpaw. That didn't stop her! She went up there, swung her bat three times at the pitches, ran around the bases, and practiced catching and throwing with an assistant coach.

She thinks she did poorly because she didn't hit the ball, but that will improve. I think she did fine because she showed up and bravely tried something new!

Baseball 2

After Sophie's try-outs ended, the three of us ran across the park to the playground for some fun. Both of them made friends, as per usual, and they played until we ran out of water and heat exhaustion became a threat. I haven't heard back about the baseball team yet, but I'm sure there will be more on that in future posts. Watch this space!

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Jamberry 0

Apropos of not much, I painted a French manicure on my nails the other day. I'm sharing partly because I just like the picture, and partly as an intro to the current state of my nails (I know you're waiting with baited breath to find out).

Jamberry 1

My friend Tiffany sent me this awesome package on Saturday, so that I could experience the Jamberry phenomenon! As a JAFRA Consultant, I haven't had the pleasure of being introduced to Jamberry nail wraps until now. I couldn't wait to get started... but I did until yesterday, because I didn't open the mail until late Sunday night and discovered the treats contained therein!

Jamberry 2

How cute is this manicure I did all by little ol' self, with Berries and Gingham? I love it!

Tiffany sent me more "grown-up" adult-sized nail wraps, with these in mind for Sophie and Chlo, but I kinda stole them because I thought my nail beds were too tiny. Luckily, there are still plenty left for the girls, because each sheet comes with enough for several manicures. We'll have to do theirs tomorrow!

A few observations I've made so far about my Jamberry mani:

☼ There's just a very slight learning curve! I did my left hand first, starting with the thumb, and I immediately realized upon application that I could have gone with the larger size and dealt with minimal trimming of the wrap. I did my index finger second, and I accidentally wrinkled the wrap. I'm going to try to use my hair dryer, which is used to soften the wraps to make them easy to manipulate, to smooth that down. ☼

☼ There are SO many designs in the catalog, even for little girls' hands, that I know I'll be getting more in the future. Plenty of mature, adult designs (please, get your minds out of the gutter!), along with lots of whimsical themes. I love them all, and I can't wait until the Collegiate set includes one for my UM 'Canes! ☼

☼ For my oddly-shaped upside-down triangular nail shapes, I realized I could either go to the larger, regular size and trim the decals down easily, or paint my nails to match the wraps before applying them, so the gap's not so obvious. Tiffany assured me the wraps go on just as well over painted nails as bare ones. I'll be trying both methods soon, and you know I'll be reporting on that! ☼

Have you tried Jamberry nails yet? I'd love it if you would check out Tiffany's site and tell me what your favorite design is. Stay tuned for a special offer in the near future!

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Finally, we had a bunch of burnt-out light bulbs in the house, so we ran to Lowe's to get a bunch of new ones. What did we spot but this huge Halloween décor display?! Seriously, mid-August is way too soon for that. Do you agree?

Thanks for stopping by!