Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Is Officially Here!

The cold weather has set in here in Iowa. The leaves are falling. The farmers are combining beans and I've had my Pumpkin Pie Spice.

I eagerly await the arrival of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks. I heard they had arrived, but I held off until the weather changed and I would truly enjoy a warm up from my favorite coffee drink. Today was the day! It was delicious! I am just as anxious for the Pumpkin Spice creamers to hit the shelves. I was lucky enough to get the last one on the shelf at Target. So, I am not the only one who has been scanning the aisles lately for their arrival. Soon we will see the egg nog and other holiday creamers arriving on the shelves. As much as I hate to admit it, Fall is here, Christmas is less than 3 months away and Winter is around the corner. At least I will have my pumpkin spice to get me through!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 39

Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
-The fastest growing age group is 85 years and older.
-Every 7.5 seconds a baby boomer turns 60.
-1 out of 5 people, or 72 million, will be 65 years or older by 2030
-Nearly 23% of people aged 75 and older live in nursing homes.
-Due to the increase in divorce rates, a decrease in the number of children, and more family members living farther away from one another, family support for the elderly is less available.
1. Offer the elderly you see today simple gestures of courtesy and respect - smile and say "hello", let them have the right of way while driving, or give up your seat in a crowded area.
2. Contact a local independent living, assisted living, or continued care facility and ask if they need volunteers.
3. Ask the facility if children or pets are allowed.
4. Organize a family or a group of friends to go with you.
5. Be prepared. Volunteering at a senior or elderly care home can involve many types of activities - playing games or cards, reading , doing art and craft projects, singing songs, teaching a class, or just being friendly.
6. Ask the seniors questions about their life.
Often times while volunteering for Hospice, my patients are often away from family members and live in nursing homes. Just being someone who stops by to visit, read, or just sit with them, can brighten their day. For those who are able, going and calling the bingo games, or having your kids hand out the prizes brings joy to the residents. They enjoy seeing children and you are taking the load off of a staff member. Often times, seniors are living alone in their homes much longer. So, look around your neighborhood. Do you have an elderly person living alone near you? Make a point to stop by for coffee and get to know each other. Today, seniors are living longer, are more full of life, have more expendable income, and have achieved higher levels of education. So, if you spend time with them, you might just find that a friendly game of gin rummy or bingo will teach you a thing or two about life.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Something to make you smile!

We have just returned after a weekend away at a family wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and it was so nice to catch up with my husband's family that we don't get to see very often. There were some funny moments that I wanted to share with you from our weekend.

First of all, I forgot to pack extra shoes for myself and the 2 boys. So, the only shoes I had were my spiky heels and the boys had their dress shoes. So, driving home today, as we stopped for lunch, we went into the restaurant with our shorts and dress shoes. I'm sure people were looking at us and wondering why we were dressed like that, but the good part is, we will never see those people again!

Second, as Bennett (our 8 year old) was laying in bed last night, he asked, "Dad, what size is this bed? Is it a king, queen or a jack?" Too funny. We got a good laugh out of that.

Third, down at the pool, Patrick (our 9 year old) was asked what his favorite Pro Team was. Bennett jumps right in and answers for him.....Peanut Butter and Peanuts! Bennett thought he asked Patrick what his favorite Protein was! Tears were jumping out of my eyes on that one!

I hope this gave you a laugh and smile today! Have a great week!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Review and Giveaway! Digital Temple Thermometer

Thanks to Mom Select I was given the opportunity to review a Digital Temple Thermometer. The amazing part was that the day I received the thermometer in the mail, my son got very sick and I ended up taking his temperature all day long. This is my new favorite thermometer and won't be using any others!
The package states it is Fast and Accurate and it is! It has a large backlight display, fever alert, and memory recall. It is for use on the child's temple or underarm. It is also non invasive and can be used when the child is awake or asleep! The thermometer uses 2 AAA batteries.
Using a unique sensor, R.A.T.E (Rapid Accurate Temperature Establishment), it rapidly samples the heat flowing from the blood vessels to the skin surface and translates it accurately to the body temperature.
All you have to do is press the power button, wait for the beeps, press the sensor on the temple or underarm and read the temperature in 6-8 seconds!
This thermometer can be purchased at your local Walgreens or at http://www.blogger.com/www.walgreens.com for $19.99.
The exciting part is I have one for myself and one to give away to one of you! If you have children, I think this is a MUST HAVE! No other thermometers can compare! With flu season just around the corner, this can at least make the temperature taking a little easier! All you have to do is leave me a comment with your email address. This contest is open to US residents until 11:59 PM on Monday October 5th. Random.org will pick the lucky winner on Tuesday, October 6th!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Something to think about........

As you can see from a previous post, I read Jodi Picoult's newest book Handle With Care. This story involved a family that was dealing with a lot of crisis and how the ripple effect rolled out into other people's lives. Some parts of the book really got me thinking and I wanted to share them with you.

"You can tell yourself that you would be willing to lose everything you have in order to get something you want. But it's a catch-22: all of those things you're willing to lose are what make you recognizable. Lose them, and you've lost yourself."

"Maybe that's what we do to people we love: take shots in the dark and realize too late we've wounded the people we are trying to protect."

"Families were never what you wanted them to be. We all wanted what we couldn't have: the perfect child, the doting husband, the mother who'd let us go. We lived in our grown-up dollhouses completely unaware that, at any moment, a hand might come in and change around everything we'd become accustomed to."

There is so much drama happening in the world today. Families are struggling daily with finances, divorces, sick or elderly parents, disabled children, troubled children, abuse, homelessness, drugs/alcohol use, job loss etc. No one knows what lies ahead, we just have to take each day, each moment as it comes our way and hopefully pick the right path to take. How we handle those moments makes us the person we are today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-09-22

So, that means my winner is cjl.

I will be sending an email shortly.

Thanks for signing up.

Review: Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.
Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of willow's illness? What if things could have been diffferent? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?
Willow has osteogenesis imperfecta or OI. She was born with numerous broken bones and will continue to break bones the rest of her life, sometimes just by rolling over in her bed. It was hard to imagine having a child so "breakable" and how your life would be affected by that. The story features Charlotte and Sean as the parents, Amelia, the older sister, and Willow. Then it brings in Piper, Charlotte's best friend and Marin, the attorney. Each chapter is given the heading of one of the characters and written from their perspective. The story is written to Willow, with each character talking to her. I enjoyed this kind of chapter break up. It made it easy to follow along, but did make you wait sometimes for the result of a situation for a few chapters after going through each character involved.
I have to admit, I did not like Charlotte's character. It was very difficult for me to get into this story because I didn't care about the main characters and didn't like path the story was taking. But, since I love Picoult's books, I had to keep plugging along. Picoult won me over eventually and the story ended up gripping at my heart and causing all kinds of emotions. Picoult is known for her twists at the end and this book does NOT disappoint. I think the reader has to be prepared, especially if you are a mother, for the frustration and anger you may have while reading this story.
There are many stories inside this one book involving each individual character. Each character has their own struggles and you are anxious to get to "their chapter" to find out what is going to happen next.
I gave this 4 out of 5 stars mainly because it took me awhile to get "involved" in the story. But, the story is definately worth reading and gives you a new cause, OI, to become informed about. I have never even heard of this disease before reading this book. So, I thank Picoult for informing me about this disabling disease and making me more aware of my personal judgments toward the disabled. If you are the parent of a disabled child, my heart and prayers go out to you today.

A Challenge

I have read on numerous other blogs about reading challenges but have never joined in. So, I decided to give this one a try. I have 67 books on my bookshelf that I want to read. So, I would definately like to make a dent in that pile!
For more information, go here to read the rules:
This challenge runs from October 1, 2009 - November 30, 2009. I am going to have my percentage be the minimum 20% since this is my first challenge and I also have book club books to read. So, December 1st I will let you all know how I did, what I read, and if I got anything else done! :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 38

Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
-Every 2 seconds someone needs blood.
-38,000 pints of blood are used every day.
-Demand for blood is rising faster than the rate of donations. In fact, donations are declining.
-1 pint of blood can save up to 3 lives - maybe even the life of somone you know.
-60% of the population is eligible to donate, but less than 5% do on a yearly basis.
-Anyone who is in good health, is at least 17 years old, and weighs at least 110 pounds may donate blood once every 56 days.
1. Find a blood donor location near you and schedule an appointment today.
2. Donate blood. The blood donation process takes approximately 30 minutes.
3. When you donate, you'll receive a donor card stating your blood type. Keep the card in your wallet.
4. Put yourself on a regular donating schedule of once every 56 days. If you have type O-negative blood, the universal donor type, your blood is especially needed because it can be used in emergencies.
It is ironic that this is our topic this week. On Wednesdsay, my husband will be donating blood for the very first time. We have a blood drive coming to our small town and he was asked to sign up and he did. My mom is a regular blood donor and I am pretty sure she donates every 56 days. She has gotten numerous "gallon pins" to signify all of her donations of blood. I used to donate plasma twice a week but have never donated blood. Over 5 years ago I had to have several blood transfusions, so I am not sure about the rules relating to receiving blood transfusions and donating blood. We are going to find out this week if I can donate blood. But, I am very thankful to whomever donated their blood for me. Mine was an emergency situation and I needed that blood or I would have died. So, I know how important blood donation is.
Human blood is precious and can't be manufactured outside of the body. If you gave blood 4 times a year for the next 10 years, you would save 120 lives. Think of how many lives you could save if you gave blood for the rest of your life! I can't imagine the amount of lives my mom has saved! What a simple and wonderful gift you can give to someone!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Healthy Brain

I recently read a book titled Still Alice that was the story of a professional women who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease in her 50's. This is a book I highly recommend. See my review here: http://sincerelystacie.blogspot.com/2009/08/review-still-alice-by-lisa-genova.html

The book got me thinking about my own brain. How many times have I gone into a room to get something only to get there and completely forget what I went in their for? How many times have I gone to the sink to get the water pitcher to water the plants only to instead do the dishes, wipe the counters, put dishes away and go the whole rest of the day without ever watering the plants? What about calling someone and in the time it takes for that person to answer you have forgotten who you called and why? Now, I don't think I have Alzheimer's, but instead maybe at times a little maxed out. I am sure everyone has had one of these situations happen to them at some point. Memory lapses are a normal part of daily life. But, there are things you can do to improve your cognitive skills and keep that brain working.

1. Learn Something New: try learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, learning how to knit, or taking an art class or even a cake decorating class.
2. Physical Exercise: Exercise may be the best thing for your brain because it increases the blood supply to the brain and more oxygen means a happier brain.
3. Good Food: Food rich in antioxidants may be good for your brain. Some examples: blueberries, red kidney beans, pinto beans, cranberries, raspberries, apples, pecans, russet potatoes, blackberries, walnuts, hazelnuts, and cinnamon.
4. Play Brain Games: A study showed that people who do crosswords are two and half times less likely to develop memory disorders. When you are engaging your brain, you have to think actively rather than passively, like when you watch TV. Playing games like scrabble, sudoku, crosswords, and other word puzzles even once a day can keep your brain active.

Just 15 minutes a day of mental exercise is actively engaging your brain and giving it the exercise it needs. So, anyone up for a game of Scrabble?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Today would have been my mother-in-law's 77th birthday. Our kids called her "Grandma Margaret" and she left us in December of 2006. She was someone who devoted her life to her kids and grandkids. She raised 4 children with her husband Bill who died 10 years ago and raised them well. I am grateful to how she raised her son Pat whom I have been happily married to for 10 years. He is still very close to his siblings and all the grandkids are also very close. Margaret was a beautiful woman and our kids frequently talk about her and express how much they miss her. I just wish she could have been around to watch them grow. She would have been so proud!
This photo was at the last birthday we celebrated with her. I remember I made her homemade peach pie.

Softlips Winners!

Softlips recently sent me more of their awesome products and I decided to share it with you. So, 3 winners have been chosen today rather than just one. The winners will receive an email from me today! Be sure to look for the Softlips brand of products in your local drugstore. Thanks so much for entering and please continue to enter my other giveaways!

Here are your random numbers:

2 - vansicklel

5 - bpstrlnr

8 - tzel

Timestamp: 2009-09-15

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mondays Matter: Week 37

Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
-3 million youth are currently involved in a mentoring program.
-15 million youth are in need of mentoring. If they don't get it they're more likely to not reach adulthoood successfully. These youth are: 73% more likely to begin using alcohol, 63% more likely to skip class, 54% more likely to begin using drugs, 48% more likely to skip school.
-Nearly 70% of inner-city 4th graders are unable to read at a basic level.
-Nearly 3 million youth ages 12-15 are at risk of suicide annually, and over 35% will attempt suicide.
1. Find a mentoring program near you and apply to become a mentor.
2. Most mentoring programs will pair you with a child based on your skill set and the child's needs.
3. If their isn't a mentoring program in your area, be a self-starter and START ONE!
4. Spend an hour or two, once a week, with your mentee doing everyday activities like homework, playing sports and having simple conversations.
5. Set goals with your mentee and share in the excitement of their achievement and growth.
I am sure there are many programs that allow you to mentor a child, but the biggest one that comes to mind is Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I know what a great organization this is, and there are more kids than Big Brothers/Sisters. As a parent of young children, I know this isn't something I can add to my schedule right now. But I do try to be involved in other children's lives through volunteering at school and through our churches After School Jams program. We encourage children in the community to come after school and frequently the kids that come don't have parents home after school, and are looking for someone to be there for them.
Find a way to be involved in children's lives. You could be that one person to make a difference and take them down the right path. Kids can do great things if equipped with the right foundation, knowledge, enccouragement, and tools to make the right choices. The decisions they make can change the entire course of their future. What matters most is that YOU CARE!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review: Ecostore Products and Giveaway!

I was recently given the opportunity to review products from ecostore USA. After looking over their website: http://www.ecostoreusa.com/, I chose the liquid laundry detergent and their citrus spray cleaner as my test products.

ecostore USA uses "No Nasty Chemicals" as their foundation for the entire product line. And they mean it! Every product they offer is eco-friendly and plant and mineral based. They are as effective as supermarket brands and gentle on your skin. They offer baby care products, household cleaners, bath and body products and items for pet care. All products are free of toxic chemicals and are enviromentally safe to reduce your carbon footprint. Please check out their website for more information about each of their products....http://www.ecostoreusa.com/

I have had no problems with either one of the products. The liquid laundry soap has worked just as well as my usual brand. It did take some time to get used to the scent...kind of like a Vicks type smell...but I was happy that the scent did NOT carry over into the clothing. I dried the clothes both in the dryer and on the line and found the laundry soap to have done its job! I have used the spray cleaner on my kitchen counters as well as in our bathrooms. I like the scent and find it does an excellent job of cleaning up...especially the leftover toothpaste on the counter and bathroom sink. It doesn't leave that strong cleaner smell behind but rather a fresh citrus scent.
I have been very pleased with my ecostore USA products and would recommend them to anyone, especially those who are concerned about using toxic chemicals in their home and around children. So, if you are one of those people, you are in luck! ecostore USA has offered a $25 gift certificate to one of my readers. All you need to do is check out their website, look over their products and tell me what you would like to try. Leave me your name and an email address and if random.org chooses you, I will contact you with information on how to redeem your gift certificate! This contest will end at 11:59 PM on September 21st. Thanks again to ecostore USA for this opportunity!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recipe: Quick-Fix Beef Burrito Skillet

I tried a new recipe tonight and it was quite good, so thought I would share it with you.
I got the recipe from http://www.kraftfoods.com/. Their website is full of recipes. I like them because most of the ingredients are in my fridge and pantry anyway and they are usually quick and easy to make. If you sign up for their newsletter, you will get recipes sent to your email on a regular basis. That was how I found this recipe. I made a few subsititions that I have noted below.

Quick-Fix Beef Burrito Skillet
1 lb lean ground beef
1 pkg Taco Bell Home Originals Taco Seasoning Mix
1 Can Kidney Beans, drained, rinsed
1 Cup Taco Bell Home Originals Thick N Chunky Salsa
1 Cup water
4 Flour Tortillas (6 inch), cut into 1 1/2 inch squares
1 Cup Kraft Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup green onions
Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat: drain.
Add seasoning mix, beans, salsa, and water; stir. Bring to boil. Simmer on medium-low heat 5 minutes.
Stir in tortillas; top with cheese. Cover; let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and onions.
Note: I substituted the kidney beans for corn that I drained. I also made black beans on the side to add separately for those that like them. I just used half the package of seasoning and used finely shredded cheddar cheese. I did not add the onions.
This was very easy to make and was ready in 20 minutes from start to finish. I think it would also be good with fresh tomatoes and maybe even chips crumbled on top. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Old Hymns

Before I became a mom over 9 years ago, I worked as a social worker for Hospice. I absolutely loved my job, but knew that once I became a mom, that job was more important and I left Hospice behind. I did volunteer for them for awhile, but found my home life made it difficult for me to continue doing that....until recently. I refreshed my training and became a Hospice volunteer once again. I have had a few patients since I have started back up and I realized again how much I believe in this service. To be able to be a part of someones final journey is truly a privilege and I cherish every moment of it.

Last week I met my newest patient for the very first time as well as her daughter. My newest friend is 97 and lives in a nursing home. She is blind, hard of hearing, and has no short term memory. My first thought was "great...how am I going to visit with her?" But, last week, I had a nice visit with the daughter who was able to give me some background on her mom, while I sat and held the mother's hand. In our conversation the daughter shared that her mom is a Christian and loved going to church and singing the "old hymns". So, I decided that the next visit I would bring a hymnal and read the old hymns to her. Because she is so hard of hearing I thought it would be easier to read them loudly than to sing them loudly! :) So, today, that is just what I did.

When I walked in I told her who I was and chatted a little bit, then I told her what I had brought to read to her today. Her face lit up and she smiled! I started right in with "Sweet, Sweet Spirit", then "Sweet Hour of Prayer", and moved on to "The Old Rugged Cross". I read 15 different hymns to her today. I had never READ a hymn. So many of them I could sing by heart and know them instantly by the melody. But, I had never READ them. The words are beautiful and carry such meaning and lessons. I saw her mouthing the words several times and both of us had tears in our eyes throughout the visit. I am so grateful that God brought us together and gave me the idea to read these hymns to her. I am anxious to go back next week and read them again. She is such a blessing to me and I pray that God stays with her during her final days on this Earth and makes those days comfortable and pain free for her.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in doing, contact your local Hospice program and find out about their next volunteer training. There are many ways you can offer support to the families, like running errands for the caregiver, mowing the lawn, washing dishes, or staying with the patient while the caregiver goes to the store, church, or just out for a walk. You will not regret the time you spend with a family in Hospice.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

As many other families, we closed out our summer (even though the kids have been in school since August 20th) with a great weekend. God certainly blessed us with perfect weather this weekend and allowed us to recharge our batteries and get ready for a busy schedule ahead. This was our last free weekend for a long time as soccer starts Saturday and football starts Sunday. Free weekends are a thing of the past for awhile.

Friday night we spent the evening at a local winery with Pat's sister Julie and husband Bill and our friends Mike and Tina. We laughed A LOT, had great wine and enjoyed the music of the Silver Wings playing the oldies. It was a great evening! The kids had fun too, playing with their cousins that night!

Then Saturday we attended the neighboring towns annual "Sauerkraut Days". It starts with a parade and then all the free hotdogs and sauerkraut you can eat, carnival rides for the kids, a car show, and various other food items for sale. Our nephews were in the parade, driving their tractors. We enjoyed our dogs and kraut. I even gave in and had a funnel cake. The kids had fun riding the carvial rides. By the time we got home we were all exhausted and had naps!

Saturday night we had a bonfire in our backyard and Pat and the kids slept in a tent in our backyard. Dad didn't get much sleep, but the memories made were worth it!

Sunday we enjoyed a day at home, picking up, cleaning and organizing rooms, playing catch outside, and playing games inside. Today we slept in. Then we had a picnic, played at the park, fed the geese and ducks, went to Chuck E Cheese to play the games, went out for ice cream.
This was such a great family weekend for us. It was just what we needed. Our family has been blessed and we had such a beautiful weekend to enjoy and be thankful for. The memories we made this weekend will carry us through our next several busy weekends.

Mondays Matter: Week 36

Taken from the book Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways To Make A Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
-The average dual-career couple works away from their home a combined 18.2 hours/day.
-People spend less than 15 minutes/day doing outside chores and gardening compared to over 3 hours watching TV or movies and surfing the internet.
-The average person or family has friends over for dinner about 45% less often than they did in the 70's.
-In 1926, the first electric automated garage door opener was invented by C.G. Johnson beginning the drive-in-and-shut-the-door method of entering your home.
-The increased number of fenced backyards, coupled with the disappearance of front proches and verandas, has privatized residences more than ever.
1. Meet a neighbor you have never met before. Simply knock on the door and introduce yourself. Take some produce from your garden or something you have baked, or invite them over for a beverage and a snack.
2. Make yourself more available and approachable to your neighbors.
3. Mow your lawn, wash your car, go for a walk, or play with your children outside, and if you see your neighbors doing the same...go outside and visit.
4. Plan a neighborhood yard sale or block party.
5. Write a quarterly neighborhood newsletter.
I know that we are fortunate to live in a very small town, around 700 people. So, we know every one of our neighbors and you can frequently find us standing in someone's driving sharing stories and swapping garden produce or beverages! My neighbors call me if they need sugar, I call them if I need someone to watch my kids for a few minutes. We have "Porch Fridays" with snacks and beverages and the kids all play in the backyards. We have town-wide garage sales, town-wide celebrations, school events, etc. I am so proud to live where we do and I just love all of our neighbors.
Does your mailman know your neighbors better than you do? Change your daily routine, just walk out your front door, visit with your neighbor. Remember, you have to be a good neighbor to have a good neighbor!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

God's Light

Tonight I have the devotions for my church's Circle meeting. I thought I would share it to remind you that God is always with you.

The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. Psalm 121:8 NLT

A mother and her four-year-old daughter were preparing for bed one night. The child was afraid of the dark, and the mother, on this occasion, felt fearful also.

When the light was out, the child caught a glimpse of the moon outside the window. "Mother," she asked, "is the moon God's light?" "Yes," said the mother.

The next question was, "Will God put out his light and go to sleep?" The mother replied, "No, my child, God never goes to sleep."

Then out of the simplicity of a child's faith, she said these words which gave reassurance to the fearful mother: "Well, as long as God's light in on, he's awake, and we might as well go to sleep."

I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light. Mary Gardiner Brainard

Taken from the book "What A Wonderful Life for Moms".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another Political Win!

Nearly a year ago at this time, our family entered the "political arena" with our son Patrick winning the title of Room Representative for the student council. Well, today, after much stress and work on speeches, our son Bennett won his election for Room Representative!
A tradition in our home is using the "Star Plate". When you have something exciting happen, have a birthday, etc, you get to use the "Star Plate" at dinner. I made it a few years ago at a local make-your-own pottery place. So, the kids like it because there is no other plate like it...special just to our family, and of course, because I made it! I am sure when they are adults and I am gone, there will be fights over who gets to keep the "Star Plate"! It is a great idea for any family and it doesn't have to be a plate you make, you can just go and buy a brightly colored or striped or fancy plate and use that as your family "Star Plate". It is just another small way that I make our kids feel special.
So, tonight was a "Star Plate" meal for Bennett....and he cleaned his plate!

Review: Softlips Organic Lip Conditioner and Giveaway!

Thanks to Mom Select, for sending me the Softlips to review.

Softlips is a 95% organic lip conditioner. It is 100% natural. It contains a blend of organic oils, beeswax and shea butter. It also has Vitamin E to protect the lips. This product is free of pesticides, harsh chemicals, and parabens. It is gluten-free and cruelty-free which means is does not test its products on animals. It comes in a variety of flavors, but I tried the Pure Peppermint kind.

I liked the long skinny tube because it fit easily in my pocket. I liked the minty smell as it kind of gave me a little wake up when I put it on. The product went on very smoothly and stayed on. My lips have felt soft all week. Once it was on, I liked to keep applying it throughout the day. I would like to try their raspberry flavored lip conditioner or their tinted varieties.
Lucky for you, I have a Softlips Pure Pepperment to giveaway to one of you. All you have to do is go to http://www.softlips.com/ and then come back here and leave me a comment telling me which product you would like to try if you could. Be sure to leave me an email address to contact you. The contest is open until 11:59pm Monday, Sept 14. I will choose the winner using random.org on Tuesday, Sept. 15.