We flew out to Oklahoma as a family in the first week of December to meet with some friends that we missed over the Thanksgiving holiday. I wanted to make it out for Christmas, but it looks like we will be spending Christmas in Arizona, which is alright by me, less travel the better.
We rented an Air BnB outside of Oklahoma City in a suburb called Edmond. A beautiful place to stay in the winter, it was cold but beautiful. The home we rented was smaller, and the exterior looked as if it might have been built in the early 1900s. It was a brick foundation on a small lot of land, really cozy though, and the interior was remodeled lovely.
Sunday came along, and without a doubt, we had football on the TV because that’s what we do on Sundays. Well, the boys decided to go out in the backyard and throw the football around in the leaves. I was super excited that they were going outside, getting along, and getting exercise. This is what I always ask of them; however, there was a little twist to this Sunday’s adventure.
We were planning on driving into Oklahoma City on Monday, staying at a hotel, walking the downtown area, and preparing for our departure on Tuesday. Literally, as we were in the middle of planning the last stretch of our stay in Oklahoma, a football came crashing through the back window and disrupted everything. I tried not to get upset, but it was upsetting. Nothing in Edmond, Oklahoma, is open on Sunday afternoons, so there wasn’t anyone to call to fix the window. This meant that we had to scratch our plans for Monday, contact the owner of the Air BnB, and get the window replaced. We duct-taped a plastic trash bag over the window during the evening, which was concerning for safety reasons, I made the kids sleep upstairs, and we stayed the night downstairs.
Monday came, and I was Googling everything in Edmond and Oklahoma City, and I couldn’t get anyone out for an emergency window repair. Then I came across Central Glass in OKC, and they had availability that afternoon to replace the broken window. It was a pretty quick swap and the homeowner swung by to check it out, they were really cool and understanding of the whole incident, so that made it more comfortable. The new window looked great, and we were out of Edmond by Monday afternoon and made it to Oklahoma City in time to get checked in to a hotel and walk around. If you know me, you know I love eating where locals eat, so we found some great spots to grub down and finished off the day with a local IPA called F5. If you are familiar with tornadoes and Oklahoma, then you know an F5 is a disastrous tornado, and I can only assume that if I had 5 of these, I might be a disaster also (haha).
Anyway, it was a fun trip! I just wanted to shout out to that beer company, the homeowner, and the glass company that made the trip from Oklahoma City to Edmond to replace the broken glass window. I guess we could have replaced the window ourselves, but I was on vacation! I’m glad to be back in AZ where it’s currently in the ’60s and the sun is shining on my face as I write this.
More family adventure stories to come this month as we attend holiday parties, visit family, and get festive as fck!
When I do business with someone and feel they are deserving of a review, I’ll give them one. The same can be said when I deal with some scum-bag company that I have a poor experience with, if they have done me dirty, I’ll blog about it.
November 2019 NASCAR Race
So we were out in Avondale at the Phoenix International Raceway for the weekend watching some NASCAR and enjoying some downtime. I had picked up some friends in Peoria to join me and ended up staying the night there on Sunday because, well, because the beverages had been flowing good enough to justify me making a grown-up decision and not driving home. Monday was Veterans Day, and we were going to lay-low at the house for the day. I went to make a store run, and my Dodge Durango was running a little funny. I called my husband, who was back in Tempe, and he suggested that I take the car to Arrowhead Automotive in Peoria for repair. He has a Range Rover he takes there because they specialize in European Imports, but I wasn’t thrilled about making the trip. I had no choice, and off I went.
Best Auto Repair Mechanic in Peoria
Ok, so I ended up taking the Durango out there, and even though they specialize in high-end European imports, they took the Dodge without an issue. Now, I usually take it to Tempe Dodge for maintenance work and have thought all this time they were taking care of me, come to find out, and they charge way too much money. I had just gotten my A/C repaired at Tempe Dodge, and it cost me an arm and a leg. When I spoke with the lead mechanic Tommy, he treated me great, spoke in a language I could understand, and seemed legitimately concerned about resolving the issue with the Durango. I ended up grabbing a Lyft and left the Durango for repair. Based on the feedback my husband has given me, their Google Reviews, and the short period of time I spent with them, I would say these guys might be the best mechanics in AZ… well, maybe not all of AZ, but the best mechanics in Peoria.
Trust Issues With Mechanics
As a woman with minimal knowledge of how cars work, I have trust issues dealing with mechanics. I don’t think it’s from anything I have experienced first hand, and I think it has to do with me knowing nothing about something that often costs me a ton of money when problems surface. I felt different this time around dealing with Tommy at Arrowhead, he didn’t have that used car salesman vibe, he seemed like genuine people, and it seemed way more affordable compared to what Tempe Dodge has been charging me. I would refer my girlfriends and guy friends to them for business, and I feel they are trustworthy people, and that’s important to me. The other thing I appreciated was that it was co-operated by his wife, who was there to talk with me as they were explaining things. This was helpful and made the conversations more comfortable.
Next Time I’m in Peoria With Car Problems
I think I got lucky this time that my husband knew of an auto repair garage in Peoria, had I been in Sedona, I might have been stuck dealing with some local yahoo trying to drain me of every dollar I had. Referrals are helpful, especially when they come from family. I know very few of my readers are family, and many of you are from out of state, but for those of you that live in Arizona, and specifically if you live near Peoria, you should consider Arrowhead Imports next time your car is need of a checkup. Fortunately for me, the check engine light was a sensor issue and not an actual engine issue, still, replacing a sensor isn’t cheap, but with these guys, it was less expensive than it would have been at Tempe Dodge. From here on out, I’m going to make the trip from Tempe to Peoria for my automotive needs, and it’s worth the time and gas money for me to dee with a husband and wife owned business that seems genuinely concerned about helping you.
My niece is living in Oklahoma City and is about to get braces, but I suggested to her that she might want to take a shot at Invisalign. Seems like a less permanent option for anyone looking to get their teeth straightened without the long-term commitment of braces. Well, at the end of the day it’s up to her mother, but I always like to give my opinion to my niece and her mother, they both appreciate it and always seem thankful for the alternate perspective. The interesting thing about the discussion with both of them was, neither of them had even heard of Invisalign. So, I did what any awesome aunt would do, I wrote down some information and decided to share it here on my blog. Feel free to share this with anyone you might know who is considering braces and might find Invisalign is a better solution.
Invisalign is invisible and are custom made and shaped to your teeth. They are clear but still somewhat noticeable. Unlike braces, you get multiple trays customized to your teeth each time your teeth shift. Every two weeks you get a new tray. You take the trays out when you eat and brush your teeth after if you want to keep them clean. Then you just pop them back in and you’re good to go. This makes it super easy when on the go for adults and teens. They also come with a case to keep them safe and clean.
If you are interested in getting Invisalign, it would be best to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist and they will have a consult with you discussing the entire process and costs. They will also discuss if this is the best option for you or if braces will speed up the process. They want you to be comfortable and efficient with the entire process of getting your teeth how you want them.
After the consultation you will get a digital scan of your mouth so that they are able to create a treatment plan. This comes with 3-D images of your teeth, mouth and jaw. Using these 3-D images, you will get a customized plan and be able to see great before and after results.
Depending on what treatment plan your doctor wants to give you, the average time is about 12 months for Invisalign to work perfectly. For teens the treatment time can vary but it all depends on the person. Some orthodontics apply bumps on the teeth to help the Invisalign grip the teeth better to ensure the teeth are moving the correct way.
Invisalign not only fixes gaps and alignment but it will also help with dental problems. Gapped teeth will leave gums more exposed to bacteria which is unhealthy. Over and underbites can cause jaw stress and overcrowded teeth increase the amount of plaque. Invisalign is able to cure all of these problems.
Invisalign is easy to wear as an everyday routine. You can go all day while wearing them and take them out as you eat. When you brush your teeth, you can clean your trays too. Your teeth are cleaner with Invisalign because you clean them as you brush your teeth. Where braces you cannot take off.
They are clear so your smile is 90% normal and make you still feel like yourself. Once you’ve finished treatment with a great smile, you will get retainers. This part of the process is the same whether you had braces or Invisalign. Retainers are a must because your teeth can easily shift, especially right after treatment. Typically, you only wear your retainer at night but maybe for the first couple days they recommend wearing it throughout the day just to get used to it since your teeth have relied on structure for so long. After that you just continue to wear your retainer and you are ready to show off your perfect smile.
My best friend in Oklahoma had a daughter that started college this year. It was a happy, yet somewhat sad occasion. I flew out there to help move her daughter closer to the university, and our search for a luxury apartment was an interesting one, to say the least.
First, they are pretty well off, and the price wasn’t an issue. We looked around Oklahoma City for condos, duplexes, rental homes, luxury apartments, and lofts that would accommodate the needs of her princess. This was difficult due to the nature of her mother, I love her to death, but she is one picky person. If it wasn’t exterior she had issues with it was the interior. Our search lasted an entire weekend before she settled on a place to call home for the next four years.
My initial thought was, why not just move her to campus where she can room with some classmates? Why the need to put her up into an apartment for $1,000 a month or more when there were more affordable housing options closer to campus. Well, silly me. It wasn’t about the convenience of the location as much as it was about the status of where she was staying. They ended up renting a beautiful luxury apartment in Oklahoma City at J Marshall Square. This is a premier piece of real estate where elite residence rent and her daughter fit right in.
If this was my daughter, we would’ve made a trip to Ikea, and the apartment would have been furnished with our old furniture, and some new items purchased from Ikea. Not her though, they went and bought some of the most luxurious pieces of furniture they could find. White wrap-around leather couches for the living area, oak wood kitchen table, 60 inch flat screen TV, a new desk, and kitchen supplies that would have been enough for me and my family of six.
I’m not knocking her decision to rent a luxury apartment for her daughter, I think at the end of the day if I could afford it, I would have done the same. But there is something to be said about the struggle, and having everything handed to you doesn’t necessarily build the character that struggling does. I was long gone from my home by the time my little brother graduated from college, he was spoiled like this girl, and his work ethic is pathetic. He has never held a job, hasn’t found a job, and isn’t aggressively pursuing one. This is what I expect from her daughter post-graduation.
Hey ladies, I’m back with another post for you and this one is a little personal for me. So after having and a handful of kids and breastfeeding all of them, these things aren’t as perky as they once were. I have tried buying different bras from Victoria Secret to everything else on the shelf that designed for sagging breasts. Some of them have been pretty comfortable, really living my breasts and making me feel confident about them. Then summer hit and I was in my mom bathing suit (no longer a bikini) and I could just feel them being pulled by the natural forces of gravity and I began to consider getting a boob job. My husband supports this of course, but this is something I have been thinking about for years now. I have had four kids hanging from these things sucking them dry of every last ounce of milk I had in them and they look and feel like that. I reached out to my girl in Oklahoma who recently had her breasts lifted after three kids and they looked amazing. She found a plastic surgeon in OKC that was able to reshape them as if they were never deflated by three kids. They were sculpted to perfection in my opinion, her nipples are naturally positioned, and they look extremely real. I have seen too many boob jobs that have looked like softballs implanted under the skin and have forced the nipples out to the sides like some natural tumor-like growths. Not what I’m looking as I research my options. I have seen the results she got with Dr. Sawan and am considering a trip to Oklahoma to get these things inflated. There are some amazing plastic surgeons here in Scottsdale and Phoenix that I’m sure can get the job done, but I don’t know of anyone personally that has had the procedure done here. So, I’m at a crossroads in life at 35. Is it time for some plastic surgery to get this mom-bod back in business, do I get the surgery done here in Arizona, or do I got Oklahoma and have it done and then stay at my girlfriend’s place for a week or so while I recover from the surgery? It would be nice to recover from the surgery without my husband and kids bugging me and wanting to look. I know my husband will be wanting to touch them as soon as they pull me off that operation table, but everyone will need to wait! I’ll keep you ladies posted as this develops, plus pictures ;^}
Hey ladies, it’s been a while and I know it sounds boring as hell… but I really haven’t had much to report on other than the chaos that comes with parenting 4 kids. All has been well here as we start to wrap up the school year and gear up for the hot hellish Arizona summer days that await us. I wanted to drop a quick note and get this email out to you, the kids have just started taking music lessons in the Phoenix area and I have just been so thrilled with their growth. As most of you know my husband was an audio engineer for many years, so we have many instruments laying around the house. Drums, drum machines, guitars, bass guitars, piano, and the kids school instruments that include a saxophone and a trumpet. The instruments the kids use at school are rented from Milano Music in Mesa.
The excitement I have felt watching them grow in school band was never really close to the excitement I feel now that they are playing instruments that I’m a fan of. Don’t get me wrong, I love the saxophone and some Louis Armstrong on trumpet in small doses, but I like traditional bands that feature drums, bass, guitar, lead guitar, keys, and some rock’n vocals. Some recent bands that I’m into include Stone Foxes and Dax Riggs. My son (for the second time) has started learning how to play drums, and my oldest daughter is back on the piano after many years off.
Both kids are into rap and hip-hop and listen to some pretty rough music. Although I’m not a fan of most of the language and content, I still let them listen to their own music without interfering with it. The fact that my son plays hip-hop beats on his drum kit does not bother me, at least he’s working on rhythms and timing. My daughter plays chords and riffs behind his drums that actually sound pretty cool. Seeing them play together makes me daydream about them becoming the 2020 version of Donny and Marie Osmond. I know if they knew I referenced that to them they would freak out, but you catch my drift!
Playing musical instruments is a mind stimulating activity. The hand I coordination, and the way the brain responds to music is so beneficial to children that it’s encouraged that they study music early in life to help prepare their brains for more complex problem solving and increased focus. This blog post wouldn’t be complete without a little shout out to Shirley Hayes, the primary music instructor at The Note Room Academy of Music where the kids study weekly and learn from a very qualified group of music teachers here in the Phoenix-Metro area.
Well, that wraps up this post ladies! I’ll be busy blogging this summer as I’ll be home more frequently with the kids. Hopefully everyone doesn’t start practicing their instruments at the same time, or I might just pull my hair out of my head. Stay safe this summer, stay cool, and make sure to have your AC unit serviced before the summer heat hits your home like a bat out of hell!
My kids train Jiu-Jitsu in Tempe at an amazing school. The owner is an active competitor and 5x world Champion. You can check out his website at http://www.atacademyaz.com/. They teach BJJ for sport, not so much for self defense, but obviously it can be used in the streets just as it can be used on the mats in the gym or during a competition.
But this post isn’t so much about the gym and all it offers, it’s about a special program one of the instructors has put together for special needs children in Tempe. I don’t have a child with special needs, but I have a friend that does and I know that finding group activities that are engaging for her can be difficult. This year, one of the professors of the gym launched a program called Unlimited BJJ. This program is absolutely free to any family that enrolls a child with a disability into the school. The idea is to give these children an opportunity to learn this amazing art from a group of amazing people right here in Arizona.
I know there will be a lot of you reading this from the email blast I will follow up with so that you know this blog has been published. I have been corresponding with you all for years through email and always appreciate the support. I’m sharing this today in hope that you can spread the word to anyone you know that may have a child with a disability that would benefit from a special needs program in Tempe. I don’t know enough about you all to know if any of you have that in your life, but if not, we ask that you pass this along to anyone you may know that would benefit.
This might be the best sports program in Tempe for these kids. I haven’t researched special needs programs in Tempe, but I have been around long enough to almost guarantee that the environment and the people behind it are the best in Tempe. Please share this on social media, through text message, email, and any other source you feel worthy to spread the word.
Hey everyone, sorry it’s been so long since I last posted something on my blog. The holidays were crazy busy with all the kids and everything going on. Plus we have a pretty big extended family, so the travel and making the rounds was not only time consuming but it wore us down pretty bad. Everyone in the house got sick and this virus going around Phoenix right now is lasting about 2 weeks on average. Also, if you haven’t been receiving the newsletters, email me and I’ll add your address. I have been doing a lot more email letters as it’s just a little more convenient than logging into the website each time I want to communicate with you girls.
Okay, intro is out of the way and I want to dive into something that is very important to me and my family here in Arizona. Last summer we had some issues with our air conditioning unit and multiple bids to repair it and felt disappointed that everyone seemed to want us to take out a second mortgage to replace some of the parts there were apparently going out. They wanted to replace the ac compressor and some of the electrical components, I can’t remember the exact terminology used, but it was a capacitor or something.
We changed the air filters, re-filled the freon, and had our duct work sealed by an energy efficient contractor here in the valley. The issue wasn’t the the AC unit wasn’t working, it just didn’t seem to cool the house down until the sun set. It maintained a constant temperature of about 76 during the day, and then would drop into the 60’s during the evening. That may seem like a comfortable temperature, but 76 during the day is still pretty warm for the interior of the home. We wanted this to be functioning 100% before the hot Arizona summer arrives and temperatures average 100 degrees or more in Phoenix. We decided to do it right after the holidays, and it was a strategic move, and something we knew was going to be an expense coming out of an already expensive holiday season. But we figured since it was winter, service calls may have been slow, and companies would be willing to work on our AC unit because of that. Not sure if it worked, but the price we paid was executable in the end.
We called around the Valley and received multiple quotes for AC repair in Phoenix and settled on an HVAC company we felt was honest and forthcoming with the true condition of our AC unit. I am a firm believer in “you get what you pay for” and I’m not afraid to pay a little extra coin for quality, especially when it impacts the comfort of my family during the hot summer months. I ended up speaking to a woman named Janah at (https://morehartac.com/) in Phoenix. From the first point of contact, to when the technician came out and inspected our AC unit, I knew it was more than a business to them. I can sniff out BS from a mile away, and the sincere nature in which they communicated with me from the beginning really made me feel good about the decision. Fixing your AC unit can be costly, and nobody wants to be ripped off. The techs at Morehart AC came in and did an amazing job getting our unit serviced before the hot summer months.
The true test will come in July when Arizona starts heating up into the triple digits and the soles of your shoes begin to melt on the sidewalk. Right now it feels ice cold, but we will know for sure just how well the AC is pumping cool air when the sun is beating down on the rooftop mid day and I’m stuck inside with the two babies. I’ll update this blog post during the summer months and let you all know how it performs.
Hey everyone! If you are here from my last email blast, thanks for subscribing! If you randomly stumbled across my blog – thanks for stopping by!
So last month I went to Baltimore to visit my bestie who used to live out here in Arizona, we attended FIDM in San Diego together and are now all grown up with families. It’s so fun getting together with friends from the past that you went to college with, but it’s a little scary how fast time goes by.
Prior to my departure, I spent the week packing and getting my wardrobe together, I couldn’t show up to her place with lame clothes so it took me a bit to pull out some old club wear and get things in order. There were a few problems I came across, one was that those amazing dresses I used to wear just didn’t fit me as well as they once did, and the other was that they were a little dated. I really wasn’t worried, I had budgeted to buy some new dresses as we had planned to go out a few nights for cocktails and appetizers. I thought about running over to Nordstrom Rack to find some clearance dresses but didn’t want to deal with the traffic and hassle of rummaging through leftover dresses. I was looking for an edgy dress, something that would fit the older me well, but would make me feel like a younger version of me.
I ran to a few local boutique shops around town but couldn’t find any dresses that really jumped out at me, I was starting to panic a little because the clock was counting down and my flight to Baltimore was creeping up on me like some loser in the club looking to get my number. I called my friend out of desperation and asked her where she was currently getting edgy dresses from, club wear, things that I haven’t purchased in a long time. I was surprised to hear her say that she had the same problem and had been scrambling to find something sexy and edgy that fit her thirties body. She went on to say that she had ordered a sexy, edgy dress from an online retailer at www.edgycouture.com and that the dress shipped quick and fit perfectly. Considering that she also went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, I took her word a little more serious than I would most of my other gal pals. I placed the order a week out and received my edgy looking dress the day before I flew out. The risk here was that if the dress didn’t fit, I would either have to go to the Rack or wait until I got to Baltimore and shop there (which wouldn’t have been the end of the world). The dress fit like a glove accentuated my curves and made me feel sexy as hell. I was extremely thrilled about this trip now!
Overall the trip was a massive success. We had a girls night out with some of her co-workers at the Mosaic club in Baltimore where I rocked my Edgy Couture dress like a 21-year-old rock star! The rest of the week we were hurting pretty bad from the liquor we consumed that night. She had people over for dinner all week, co-workers and random friends she has made since living in Baltimore. What a fantastic time we had, I wanted to get this posted for those of you that read my blog and may have found yourself in a similar predicament at some point in recent months. Not sure I will have much use for the dress now that I am back home in mom mode, but if I have a chance to hit up Scottsdale in the coming months, you better believe I’ll have the edgiest dress of all!
I am usually pretty skeptical when it comes to buying into the latest craze, there are diets that surface that all my girls rave about, workout routines that are the end all for weight loss, and carbonated probiotic drinks that guarantee to keep you healthy during flu season.
When my mother-in-law started using CBD Oils for her fibromyalgia, we had a long talk about it. I was super skeptical, I had not heard enough about CBD to have an educated discussion about it with her, I just knew that it came from the cannabis plant and I was hesitant about her using it. She insisted though that she had felt relief from using the product and wanted me to try it for my tension headaches. As a mom that is constantly on the go, shuttling kids around, and busy at home, I suffer from tension headaches. Friday nights is fine, a glass of wine usually relaxes me enough to relieve the strain in my neck, but Monday through Thursday it’s just not something I can do and still function all day.
I bought 750MG of pure CBD oil fromMedicinal Essentials to start out, a few drops a day is what was recommended to me by my mother in law and so I figured I would start there. I started by taking a droplet full in the morning when I woke, in the afternoon around lunch time, and again about an hour before bed. At first I wasn’t sure if it was doing anything, then I realized that the time the kids got home from school I was pretty tension free. Again, being skeptical, I made the excuse that it wasn’t the CBD oil providing relief for my tension headaches, it was just a better day. Well, I followed the same dosage schedule and found the results to be similar. For me, a glass of wine is never enough, I’m a full bottle girl and that usually is enough to relieve me of most of life tensions. With the CBD Oils I decided to take a little more than my mother in law had suggested, she is a little older and is usually more sensitive to things. OMG! I increased the dosage amount to six full droplets, that was double what I had been taking. The sense of calm that came over me was unreal, and my mind was completely clear and normal. I had reservations about CBD, I thought that there may be a chance that it could get me high, but there is no THC in pure CBD Oil.
So much for my skepticism, I’m a new fan of CBD oil and will continue using it until I have a reason to stop. Anything that is plant based from the earth and relieves pain and discomfort without impacting my mind is welcome into my life. So many of the muscle relaxers I have been prescribed for tension relief just left me feeling groggy with a cloudy mind. That was not the case with CBD Oil, it brought relief to my neck and shoulders without the nasty side effects you get from prescription meds. I have since told my mother in law that she needs to up her dose also to get even better results, she didn’t think twice. I bet we both take 6 full droplets daily.
One last thing before I check out of here, I would approve of a small trace amount of THC in mine. I’m not gonna lie, me and my husband have smoked weed at every concert we have attended, I like the vibe when the music is on and the sun is out. A small trace amount in my CBD Oil would be the perfect combination for this girl, and if you live in a state that has legalized marijuana for recreational use, you should be able to find yourself some edibles with a nice CBD to THC ratio that is perfect for mellowing out, but doesn’t launch your mind to the moon and back. Thanks for swinging by, if you have thought about using CBD oils I would consider just doing it. It’s legal in most parts of the country, and can be shipped to your home. It’s worth it. Bye!
I already know the answer to this one, it’s no! What in the hell is chemistry dye? School starts in August here in Arizona and one of the kids is taking Chemistry… yay! Another topic I know nothing about, nor does anyone living under our roof! So when my son came home after the first week of school and said he needed some chemistry supplies so that he could run some experiments at home. I thought that sounded normal, we could go get a beaker, a lighter, some goggles, and a lab coat and he could do chemistry stuff in the backyard. Come to find out, that is not what he had in mind, nor is it even what kids these days are doing in the science lab. Not that I’m some expert, not sure I paid attention much in science, but I know enough to be dangerous at science trivia (not really).
So he brings me this list of stuff he needs and I have no clue what I am even looking at, seriously, who has ever hear of Alexa Fluor 488, Alexa Fluor 594, carboxyfluorescein, NHS-Fluorescein, alexa fluor 488 phalloidin, 5-carboxyfluorescein, carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester,Alexa Fluor 488 NHS Ester, nhs-fluorescein pierce, and fluorescein nhs ester????What the hell does that stuff even mean? When he handed me the list I thought they might be ingredients to make a nuclear bomb or something, I was not about to buy any of it until I spoke to his chemistry teacher. I sent the chemistry teacher an email and replied pretty quick (I love the Kyrene School District). Turns out that fancy list of dyes he needs for experiments are just dyes. Like something you would dye your shirt with I guess? Once I started calling around I realized real quick that nobody knew what these chemistry dyes were. I dug around further and found a website (https://fluoroprobes.com/) that sells this stuff.
After looking at the price tag on some of these chemistry dyes, I reached back out to the teacher to discuss alternate options. He replied back that the purchase wasn’t mandatory and that my son was just doing it for extra credit. Sorry Charlie, not dropping $500 on a bunch of chemistry dye so you can get some extra credit! He’s going to need to find another way to do it that doesn’t cost me a bunch of money! Chemistry is beyond me, and dropping 5 bills on chemistry dyes is not in my budget at the moment.
Hey everyone, I wanted to share this experience we had at an Air BnB in Toronto over the summer. I have been meaning to post more about our summer adventures, but have been busy with getting the kids ready to go back to school and life stuff.
We took a trip up north to Toronto, Canada this summer to explore the great outdoors and check out some of the local attractions in Toronto. I was amazed at how clean everything was up there, driving through the states there just seems to be more trash and litter scattered about that we took notice and were impressed with the cleanliness of the area. We got ourselves an Air BnB for the week and started our adventure at the Royal Ontario Museum. The museum was full of culture and nature exhibits, we all enjoyed our time there (including the kids) which was a major bonus for us. The next day we headed out and explored High Park and hiked through the trails there, it was absolutely stunning, the landscapes and natural beauty that exist there are stunning. Wish I was a better photographer. A day spent hiking through High Park requires a nice warm shower and a glass of wine. We got back to the Air BnB and everyone proceeded to get cleaned up when I heard my daughter yelling obnoxiously through the bathroom door that the shower wasn’t draining. She’s a bit of a drama queen, so I took the yelling with a grain of salt as I went to investigate what all the drama was about. Honestly, I had assumed she stepped on the drain plug and closed it off but that wasn’t the case.
Time To Call A Plumber
This shower drain was seriously clogged, and she was standing on 6 inches of water which had her completely grossed out. Fortunately there was another shower in the master bedroom that she was able to use, but I didn’t want her getting too comfortable in there because the two of us sharing a bathroom is a recipe for disaster, besides we were paying for a two bathrooms at the Air BnB and the shower drains should be working. My husband tried unclogging the drain with a coat hanger but was also grossed out and that led to an unsuccessful attempt at getting the drain to open up. We didn’t know if there was a year worth of hair stuck down there, a kids bath toy, or what…. we just needed the drain unclogged asap! We reached out to the property owner but didn’t get a call back in any reasonable amount of time. I wasn’t going to wait for this guy to call me back before I reached out to a local plumber to get this drain fixed. I jumped on my trusty smartphone and started my search, and this was almost as much about getting my daughter out of my bathroom as it was about fixing the drain. I found a plumber in Toronto that had the availability to get out to the property that day and fix the drain.
Later that afternoon he showed up with some liquid concoction like Drano Fluid and a massive snake. He dumped a gallon of the liquid Drano in the drain, waited 1o minutes then ran the snake down the drain and through the plumbing. The clump of hair and debris that was removed from the drain was enough to make me want to vomit. I didn’t let my daughter see what was pulled from the drain because she probably wouldn’t have taken another shower in there. After the plumber removed the clog, water drained perfectly. Before I let her back in the shower though, I bleached the heck out of it.
After the drain fiasco, we were back in business for the week. The rest of the Air BnB held up fine with all of us living there. The washer and dryer functioned fine, BBQ had enough propane, dishwasher worked, and they had the place stocked with plenty of amenities to keep us busy in the evenings.
After a few days exploring the city, museums, restaurants, and of course, some local breweries (http://www.bellwoodsbrewery.com/) Bellwoods Brewery was our favorite. We decided it was time to get some sunshine and lounge by the water. We ventured out to the Toronto Island park where we lounged by the water for the day, swam, and hiked around. After a day of swimming and lounging around on the beach, we were all thankful to return to the Air BnB and take warm showers, thankfully the guest shower was draining properly or I would have had another drama moment on my hands!
All in all, the trip was fun. Toronto is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to return. The Air BnB was a decent place except for the plumbing issue. The city itself was really nice and the tourist attractions offered plenty for us to explore. Next time we visit Canada, we want to head over to Victoria, there is the Victoria Clipper we can take to Seattle for the day, we want to take a ride on that and also the Butchart Gardens we want to explore.
I also came across this video for unclogging drains.
Getting Our Solar Water Heater Repaired Was A Must!
If you live in Arizona there is a good chance you have converted some of your home’s utilities to solar. When you drive through Arizona it’s common to see the rooftops of homes covered in solar panels. Well, we have yet to convert our power supply to solar, but last year my husband bought into the idea of converting over to a solar hot water heater. You wouldn’t think that in AZ we would need a hot water heater during the summer, I mean seriously, is there any cold water anywhere around here other than in the fridge? Even when I take cold showers during the summer, the water isn’t necessarily cold, it’s just cooler than the hot water. When it comes to laundry and dishes, we are still in need of hot water during the summer months. Going solar with a hot water tank made sense, the sun is always shining here and we can always afford to save a few bucks on our SRP bill. So when my husband converted to the solar water heater, we were both enthused about the idea. It was also a bit of an introduction to solar for us, we know we want to eventually convert our power to solar, but have yet to really make the move. We are still not sure if we are staying in this home for the next few years. We both want to move, get a larger piece of land, and get out of the city. If that were the case and we could make that move, we would definitely buy a home with solar panels in a heartbeat. Anyway, this water heater was our introduction to solar and we have absolutely loved it. Last week the kids went back to school, here in Arizona schools start back up in August, this meant consecutive showers being taken first thing in the morning from all of us. Well, on Wednesday we notice that the shower water wasn’t getting very warm. I prefer cooler showers, so we could have gone two months before I noticed the hot water heater being out. My daughter oddly enough takes warm showers year-round and was the first to complain. Sure enough, the solar hot water heater was not producing hot water. We knew there was enough sun, we knew it was hot as hell out, but we did not know why our solar water heater wasn’t heating the water. If you have teenage kids (especially teen girls) then you know the drama that can come from disruptive events like losing hot water.
Her drama alone was enough for me to jump on the phone and find someone that specialized in solar hot water heater repair. I came across http://pacificwestsolar.com/ online and gave them a call. The guy I spoke with was pretty cool, spoke to me professionally, and offered some over the phone help to troubleshoot. The problem ended up being bigger than a power reset and they came out to repair the solar portion of the water heater. Within an hour our tank was heating water again and my teenage daughter was finally able to back off on all the drama. You would have thought she hadn’t showered in two months! I went into the bathroom after she got out of the shower and the place felt like a steam room, it’s 110 degrees in Arizona, why the hell would you take a shower that hot? I don’t get it, but the solar water heater is working now and life can resume. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my site, if you found me randomly then bookmark my site for more fun blog posts. If you are here from the newsletter that went out, thanks for being a part of my micro-community, I should have more time to blog now that the kids are back in school. See you soon!
Hey everyone, sorry I have been so quiet this summer but we have been super busy traveling and getting the kids to sports camps and various events and activities. As I noted in one of my last posts we had picked up a new vehicle this year so we can travel more in comfort and more importantly we can travel safe with the kids. This summer was full of driving, but I don’t think any of it was as beautiful as our drive up to Redmond, Washington. My husband has a really good friend up there that had his first kid this year and we wanted to visit. There is also some family that lives there on his side so we wanted to make the rounds and see everyone, especially his grandmother as she is getting older. We took a scenic route and drove into San Diego and then up the PCH into Northern California, Oregon, and then Washington State. We made a few stops in Oregon where we hung out at the beaches in Seaside for a few days and enjoyed those coastal winds. The beaches up north are very different from the beaches in Southern California or even in Rocky Point where we frequent.
Once we made it into Washington State we drove straight to Seattle and visited the main attractions there. We went to the Seattle Center and went to the top of the Space Needle. We also visited the MoPOP and Pike Place Market. If you have never been to Pikes Place, you gotta go because it’s a complete experience. The fish market is amazing, and if you love fresh fish you will be in heaven here shopping for lunch or dinner. There were also little restaurants there that had amazing clam chowder, fish and chips, and fresh grilled fish plates. Pikes Place was amazing!
After spending some time in the city we were ready to go visit our friends in Redmond. Redmond is East of Seattle and used to be a small farming town. It’s now a tech hub thriving in one of the more expensive areas in the State. Next to Redmond is a town called Woodinville, we visited the Columbia Winery and the Redhook Brewery there. It’s like Washington States version of Napa valley. A very foodie experience with large wineries and smaller boutique wineries. There is also a Whiskey distillery there called Woodinville Whiskey. We did the tasting and my husband loved it, we grabbed a few bottles to bring back to Arizona with us.
With all the boozing out of the way it was time to visit my husbands buddy. They have the most adorable little boy with the brightest blue eyes you have ever seen. We went back to their house and the boys grilled why the girls drank wine. There were a few other families there with kids and everyone got along pretty good. No injuries and the kids played well with each other for the most part.
We made our rounds through Redmond, visiting various family members and old friends. It was an amazing experience for the kids to see the Great Northwest. Everything was perfect until the water pump on our 2018 Durango went out! Yes, seriously!! The water pump on the Durango went out the day before we were going to start driving back to Arizona. Fortunately my husbands buddy is a mechanic in Redmond and owns a repair shop close to where we were staying. We were able to get the car towed to the shop and they had the pump replaced that day, they did an after hours special for us. My husband was down there with them and they hung out and got it fixed. Wish we had a mechanic like that in Arizona!
I gotta admit I was a little nervous as we embarked on our drive back to Arizona, having a car part go out on you while you are traveling is not something that makes the trip less stressful. With a car full of kids, the last thing you want to do is get stranded on the side of the road somewhere. We have AAA but there are some areas on this drive home where the road stretches for hours without seeing any civilization. If the car does breakdown, I just hope it’s near a city and an on-ramp. Well, it didn’t and we made it home in one piece thankfully.
We will be hitting Vegas in a few weeks, I’ll get on here and blog about that soon. Thanks to everyone that replied to my last email, I wanted to know who was still reading these and who wasn’t. I’m glad to say that I still have almost 100 active readers so that’s enough to keep me going.
Summer is here and it is hot as hell! Arizona shows no love for its residents during the summer months. Our electric and water bills go up with the temperatures. Not cool, literally and figuratively.
Every summer we plan a little vacation to get out of the city and up into the hills in Northern Arizona where the temperatures will drop 10-20 degrees. What a retreat that’s become for us and the kids! We were planning on driving up to Purgatory in Colorado to have some outdoor adventures at their facility but the raging wildfires spoiled that trip so we will resort to hitting Sedona for a week.
Sedona is beautiful, if you have never been you need to go! There is something spiritual about the place that creates a vibe for free thinking and living, except that nothing there is free… Not even close.
Last year when we went up to Flagstaff our AC unit went out in the Yukon and we had to have it repaired up in Flag. The vehicle was aging and I hate driving around with a car full of kids in an unreliable vehicle. So, I did what any sane mother would do – I took some money from savings and bought a new Dodge Durango. My husband was really wanting a new truck, but he has a truck and isn’t the one playing Uber with the kids Monday through Friday. He then complained that I got such a small vehicle, and insisted we take it back and trade it in for a Suburban. Well, again, he isn’t the one driving it through the city like I am, navigating a full sized Suburban with a car full of kids is not appealing. The Durango gives me the seat count I need to shuttle the kids plus a few friends, has a V8 engine and is an extremely comfortable ride.
We will be heading up to Sedona this year on comfort and without worry that the AC will fail us half way through the trip. Sometimes you just need to spend the extra money, to get the extra things, that relieves you of the extra stress.
I have had the Durango for about a month now and it’s already taken a beating on the inside. With the kids being out of school for the summer, I have been their personal taxi driver, shuttling them all over town for birthday parties and playdates. I hate fast food and will trash talk it every chance I get, but if you were to pull out the car seats you would probably find a happy meal toy and a few fries. It drives me nuts, and yet somehow I still allow for it. I swore there would be no eating in the new car, no drinks, no chocolate, no messes period! When you have a litter of children it becomes next to impossible to stay true to your word. When you are constantly on the go, you have to transport the children from location A to location B and find a moment to feed them in-between… Except there is no in-between! This is why fast food becomes so convenient! Whatever, don’t judge me.
So now I have a brand new car that needs a deep cleansing before we make our trip to Sedona. The last thing I need is for my husband to climb into the driver’s seat of the car and smell a rotten Big Mac that’s been tucked under the back seat for a week. I pulled all the car seats out and headed over to the self-serve car wash to detail the Durango myself. They have everything I need there to do a good job, I would have rather hired a professional car detailer but I was in the mood to dig in and clean it myself. Before I hit the road though I jumped online for some tips on cleaning my car. I’ll be using a microfiber cloth to detail the Durango like a boss, plus some streak-free cleaner for my windows and leather upholstery. The tip I liked most though was about detailing my car rims! With all the dirt kicking around on the roads in AZ your rims get filthy quick. Add some break dust to the mix and you have some dull looking rims that need attention.
The trip to the self-wash was successful and the Durango is detailed and ready to make the trip to Sedona. Hopefully, we can squeeze one more road trip in before school starts in August. My husband just notified me today that school will be starting the first week in August, that is F’ing unreal! I’ll be back for another blog post before August kicks off, maybe to showcase our 4th of July BBQ. Not sure yet, but I’ll be back soon. Bye!!!
I have spent the last month dealing with some life changing realities. The sad truth is that my parents are at an age where they will need constant attention over the next 10 years and they will need to find a place that can provide them with both the medical attention they need and a sense of community where they can enjoy a quality of life that is rich with friendships and activities for seniors. My folks have a lot of associates back in Long Island and would like to spend the next 20+ (hopefully) years there. I pushed for them to find a retirement community here in Arizona but neither of them felt like growing old through Arizona summers. I’m not sure Long Island winters will be all that comfortable, but that’s the dream they sold themselves on and I’ll be damned if my input is of any value. Mom is pretty stubborn, has always been a strong woman and made her own money. Dad is a little more laid back and pretty much went along with anything mom ever wanted to do. The guy had a ton of spine outside the home, in business, and among friends, but when he walked through that front door that woman had the final say and I think that is why Long Island is their retirement destination. So far The Amsterdam At Harborside appears to be the best retirement community
My dads situation has been a little tough to deal with, while mom is aging pretty gracefully, dad has been the one to take on all sorts of health issues. Dad was always athletic, ran everyday, didn’t drink much, and was always in amazing shape. My mom was never into exercising, also didn’t drink, and was never in amazing shape. It was so unreal when my dads health started declining and a lot of what was impacting him were physical ailments. How does a guy who has been so healthy his entire life fall victim to chronic fatigue? I don’t have the answer and neither do the doctors that have treated him. Nobody can explain what is really wrong, how it came about, or how to even treat it. He is on meds and sleeps more than he is awake. If he does anything real active while home it will run him down. He gets run down and sleeps for two days straight. It’s crazy! I need to find a facility with a Gym so he can try and get back into an exercise routine.There is that small voice in the back of my mind that wonders if my mom has had anything to do with it. Something like munchausen syndrome by proxy in the adult form. Could my mother be at an age where she cared for all of us kids for so many years that after we moved out she felt the need for my father to need and depend on her like a child? It sounds crazy even writing, but this is my blog and I get to do WTF I wanna do. I won’t touch on that any more then the mention I just made, but I will be curious if his health rebounds after moving into a senior retirement community. The medications and chronic fatigue has impaired some of his speech, memory, and at times it seems to have given him dementia. Sometimes he remembers details of every story, other times he can’t remember my kids name. So it’s weird, it seems to come and go. Whatever ends up happening I know that he will need enriched living soon to support his memory and dementia issues.
This isn’t something I like talking about, but hospice could be a reality in the next few years depending on how things go. It could be three years or it could be thirty years, at some point it is going to be another harsh reality I will need to figure out and except. Finding a long term care facility for them that offers all these things and more is ideal. They need a sense of community, places to congregate and be social, and at the same time a place to receive the medical attention they need so that life continues to be something they enjoy. I’m not sure right now if I can make more than one trip a year out to visit, and I’m not sure how many of us can afford to go. It might be me and one kids the first year, then another kid the next. Fortunately we have video streaming and they are savvy enough on their devices to video chat. I’m not sure they thought of all these things prior to making the decision to move out to Long Island, but that’s where they are going so I must except it and work around the inconveniences of family travel and long distance communications. Hopefully hospice care isn’t a discussion for another 20 years, it’s on my mind though.
I hate even writing about this, but it’s consumed me for the last two months. I felt the need to get this out there and start writing again. It’s a nice form of stress relief for me and I need to do it more. As soon as I can figure out how to enable comments I’ll get it set up so we can chat here on the blog. For everyone sending me emails I appreciate the support and love of my blog, I’ll be more proactive with my writings this summer than I have been. Thanks for swinging by my site. Have a great summer!
OMG! Where did this school year go? Here in Arizona, we are about a month out from summer, minus the teachers strike that’s taking place, summer should be on schedule. We have already planned a few vacations that seem fun. We are definitely going to spend time in Northern Arizona. The heat gets to be too much here during those few months and we don’t want anything to do with it.
Northern Arizona is the perfect mix of outdoors and medium to high temperatures. Depending on where you go, you can find some areas that stay below 100. We have talked about Colorado, California, and Washington State. Anyone that follows my blog knows those are my go-to states when traveling. This year though, we are trying something very new! We are going to make the trip to Huntersville, North Carolina.
This may seem like a total random trip but it’s not. My husband’s friends with a Chiropractor out there and we have a family week planned for a summer rental we hooked up through an Airbnb. I have never really been to the Carolinas and am looking forward to the visit. The water attractions seem beautiful, and North Carolina has no shortage of scenic opportunities for us to capture photographs and turn moments into memories.
My husband and his buddy will probably fish and do some boating on the waters, while us ladies will take time to relax, soak up some sun, and have a lemon-drop or two. The kids all get along great for the most part, the last time our families got together the kids were young, so we will see how well they all play together this time around. It’s nice having a Chiropractor with us on vacation, I’m not joking, one of the kids hurt their back boating and was able to receive a few slight adjustments that got him through the rest of the day. It’s amazing what a back adjustment can do for your body. I had never been a fan of anyone cracking my back or neck, but have grown comfortable having it done. It’s like this feeling of relief comes over you, relief from pain and stiffness you didn’t know you ever had.
Anyway, not to ramble on about that nonsense but I am excited to hang with everyone. It should be a fun trip and I expect it will create memories for the kids that they will carry with them into adulthood. Summer is here, the vacations are being planned, and this is one I wanted to talk about real quick. Come back by my blog in the near future, I will be sharing some more vacation destinations as well as pictures of our experience.
Oh, and check out this blog post titled “homes for sale with solar panels.” if you are thinking about lowering your energy bills this summer in AZ, this is a great article to read and enjoy. Till next time everyone, have a great week!
The world is Frick’n disaster, humanity is constantly disappointing me and while there are some really good people doing really good things, there are plenty of A-Holes doing A-Hole things. So many of the biggest catastrophes in history were created by man, from atomic bombs and wars, to the world trade centers. Humanity can be awesome, and it can suck at the same time. Here are some things that have gone on in history that were caused by our fellow upright walking humans. It’s easier to say looking back on these events that they all could have been prevented, especially the structural failures. We know some guys in OKC (https://tcdexpert.com/) that own a construction defect inspection company, they do this for a living. This stuff can be prevented! Enjoy the read though, it’s tragic, but interesting.
Disaster can strike at any time, and being prepared is often what saves lives. However, when the disaster is man-made, preparation may not be possible. Despite our best efforts, human beings make errors, and sometimes those errors cost lives. From collapsing buildings to crumbling bridges, commercial construction disasters occur all too frequently.
The most recent disaster was a bridge collapse in Florida, on the campus of Florida International University (FIU). The pedestrian bridge, collapsed and trapped several cars, killing six people. One of the bridge’s main structures was changed, causing the project to fall behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget. Cracks were found two days before the collapse by an engineer, and the investigation that followed by the National Transportation Safety Board noted that the day of the collapse that a stress test was being conducted. Cars were crushed under the weight of the bridge; six people were killed.
Another major catastrophe involved a suspension bridge that connected West Virginia and Ohio. In 1967, the Silver Bridge, named for its silver paint, collapsed during rush hour traffic, killing 46 people. It was determined that the then-50-year old bridge had a tiny defect in a suspension chain, and that the bridge had been supporting loads heavier than it was initially built to hold. After the Silver Bridge collapsed it was replaced by The Silver Memorial Bridge, named to honor the lives of the people lost in the bridge disaster.
August 1, 2007 was the date the I-35W Highway Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota failed, killing 13 and injuring over 100. The bridge, built over the Mississippi River, was undergoing construction work on the day a portion of it collapsed, falling over 100 feet into the river below. Thankfully, four of the eight lanes on the bridge were closed due to the construction, otherwise, the death toll might have been even worse. One hundred eleven vehicles were involved in the collapse and seventeen were pulled from the river. The disaster was attributed to a design flaw.
Not all man-made disasters involve bridges. In 1978, at the site of a cooling station being built at a power station in Willow Island, West Virginia, fifty-one construction workers were killed. Concrete was being hoisted up the tower using a new processed that had not been given the engineering okay. The concrete, along with wood and metal, came crashing down on the scaffolding holding the workers; they all died in the fall.
A dance at a Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, turned into a catastrophe, costing 114 people their lives, and injuring another 200. Folks had gathered at the hotel for a dance contest when the structure collapsed, trapping people under the concrete. The suspended walkway’s beam wasn’t built to support the weight of hundreds of people, causing the disaster. Back in the early 1980’s this was the largest construction disaster at the time.
Twenty-eight construction workers were killed while working on a 16-story residential building in Bridgeport, Connecticut when the partially built structure collapsed. A method called lift-slab technique was used where slabs of concrete are lifted on settled on the floors above; the concrete slabs, hoisted by a hydraulic lift, slipped, and the entire building came down trapping the workers.
Baseball fans were not expecting disaster to strike during a day at the ballfield, but unfortunately, 12 people lost their lives and 200 plus were injured when the bleachers at Baker Bowl, the first home of the Philadelphia Phillies, collapsed. The makeshift bleachers were erected after a fire destroyed the original set. To ensure there would be seating for fans when the Phillies returned from a road trip, the stands were hastily built. Two men started an altercation which drew the attention of more fans, and the weight of the additional people caused the bleachers to buckle.
The St. Francis Dam was a structure built to house a reservoir just above Los Angeles, basically where the city of Santa Clarita stands today. Built between 1924 and 1926, the dam failed in 1928, killing approximately 400 people with its floodwaters. An investigation followed, it was determined the dam had defective foundations, causing it to crack, crumble, and eventually give way.
While the United States has had many terrible accidents but none has been as devastating as the collapse of the Savar Building in Bangladesh in 2013. The building was a garment factory, as well as a bank, other businesses and apartments. Cracks were found in the building and the owners chose to ignore the problem; garment workers were ordered to show for work even though the warning was given that the building was unstable. Even though the other businesses and apartments had been evacuated, the garment workers were threatened with docked pay if they did not show up for work. The building collapsed killing over 1100 people. In addition to substandard building materials, the structure had three extra floors that were not permitted, causing the building to crack under the undue pressure.
Of all the disasters that could have been avoided, the failure of the Banqiao Reservoir Dam in a Chinese providence is the most destructive and catastrophic of them all. Built in the 1950’s, a series of dams were built on the River Ru to control flooding and to harness electrical energy. Typhoon Nina roared into the area in 1975 and the dams were not equipped to receive the amount of rainfall that accompanied the storm. Evacuation notices were not relayed to people, due to downed communication lines, so when the series of dams subsequently failed, the water rushed down, killing thousands. It was estimated that a six-mile wide wall of water, approximately nine feet tall and travelling at speeds of 30 miles an hour, came crashing down on unprepared villages. In all, over 117,000 people died from the flooding, disease and famine created by the catastrophe.
While structures made by human beings are never disaster proof, oftentimes, the structures fail as a result of humans taking shortcuts to save time or money. Sometimes, they are haphazardly built, causing fundamental issues that will eventually lead to disastrous consequences—the loss of human life.
Hey all!! We are considering a move here this year and are heavily contemplating going super energy efficient with our new purchase. My husband is a little extreme with his wants and is thinking we go off-grid as much as possible. I think if we didn’t have the kids I would be more open to that, but I’m not home schooling them, and I’m not sending them to some little dump school in the sticks just because we want to breathe cleaner air. The air in Phoenix is nasty, and if you ever make it up to Greer you know that there are parts of Arizona that would be heavenly to live in. Imagine a cabin off of a creek, something the kids could swim in during the summer, and the dogs could splash in year round. These properties exist up in Greer, but it’s 6 hours from Phoenix and our lives revolve around Phoenix. The kids have grown up here, and have all their friends here and I wouldn’t want to take them away from that. When I was growing up I was always fearful my parents would move away and I would lose my friends,looking back it’s silly, but at the time it was a legit concern. So here we stand, looking to make a move this year and get a little deeper where the traffic isn’t as bad an the air is a little better. We have ruled out Payson and Pine, still small enough towns where I think the kids would end up in more trouble than they do in Phoenix. At least here they are busy with school activities and the city has enough after school programs that we are always on the move. What about Ahwatukee? I have driven through there on occasion and realize that the homes are a little pricer than the one we currently live in but we have the equity to counter the expense. We would both like to have a huge back yard and possibly be against a hill side without neighbors. We would like a swimming pool, an area for the dogs to run, three car garage, and enough real estate that the kids all have their own rooms and we are spaced out a bit more than we currently are. On top of all those amenities and property requests, we really want to go solar. Of all states to live in and be solar, Arizona has to be one of the top states in the country for solar electricity. With that being said, it’s surprising that it’s so hard to find a decent property with the specs we want that includes solar panels. I searched the MLS and was surprised to see few homes on the market with solar panels already installed. I realized at that point that most people who purchased and installed solar panels were probably in their forever homes and weren’t selling anytime soon. This would make sense, I believe the average return on solar panels is like 10 years. Meaning to truly get the savings you are after, you need to be in it for the long run and 10 years is about the lifetime where you really begin to see the savings add up. This is great news for us, our next home will be our forever home and we need a solar realtor to with help us find that house, or help us find a house the is well suited to add solar panels on and make into an energy efficient property. Luckily for me and my husband I’m pretty handy on this internet thing and can navigate pretty efficiently. The MLS was a dead end for me, I just couldn’t find many homes for sale with solar panels. I decided to reach out to a solar broker hoping that they might either sell houses with solar panels, or know of some homes for sale with solar panels that were not on the MLS. I found a solar real estate broker here in Phoenix named Greg at http://www.solarhomespecialist.com/ and was blown away by the information he was able to provide me for not only locating homes for sale with solar, but also knew how we could convert a home into solar after our purchase. I liked this idea because I have been finding homes left and right without solar panels that fit our needs, knowing we can go in real quick and equip the home with solar panels, and a solar hot water heater was music to my ears. Heading into the summer months, we will continue our hunt for solar real estate, but also keep on the look out for properties without solar. Here we go, the search continues. I will keep you guys updated as we make progress on our hunt for a home. If any of you know a solar real estate specialist, or know of a home for sale with solar panels just leave a comment and a link to the property. I would be extremely grateful. Enjoy the night everyone, bye!
Hey everyone, I know it’s been awhile since I have made any posts… so sorry! I have been super busy with the kids and work, but have managed to get some other projects off the ground between then and now. May is around the corner and here in Arizona, that is when summer kicks off so I need to have a ton of stuff done before the kids are home with me all day. It will be fun, and I always enjoy having us all together for the summer months, but I can’t ever seem to get anything done with them all home. You would think having the older ones home would help with the younger ones, but that just isn’t how it works. Anyway, I am going to be launching a line of leather goods with the help of my husband. We will be making custom leather goods that we will be selling online. Currently we have made a few wallets and partners with a friend here in Phoenix at Hotchkiss Leather on the design of a rick and morty flask. We will be designing and producing small batch orders online through Etsy and Ebay but will also be using instagram to share pictures as products are finished. That will be our grass roots movement, our personal marketing efforts that will launch our leather products online to the world. But there is so much more that goes into getting seen online and I have no idea where to begin. I was going to hire a local marketing firm here in Phoenix but decided to go with some guys out of Oklahoma. We are out there enough visiting friends that we have the opportunity to meet face to face at least twice a year and game pan for the big launch. We ended up hiring a company called Beyond Theroy, a marketing firm in Oklahoma City. They are going to take all our photos of our leather goods and create print media, mailers, Adwords campaigns, and a social media campaign beyond what we are capable or willing to manage. Then again, after the Facebook privacy scandal, I’m not sure I want to promote our products on that platform anymore. I guess we can sort that out with the marketing guys when the time comes, I think it’s super cheap to promote products on Facebook so I won’t dismiss it entirely as an option for marketing. The other thing they are going to help us do is produce some video content. We will be heading out there for a week this summer with the kids and will be using that time to assemble a line of leather goods we will be selling. This will give them the opportunity to produce some videos of us in action that we can use on our Youtube channel. I’m excited about the next six months and all the fun stuff we will be making to share with you all. Leather is a ton of fun to work with and I think you will enjoy what we create. If you want to support our efforts you can visit our Etsy shop for now until our website is launched and we are actually in business. As always, I thank you all for your support and look forward to sharing more if this journey with you. Til next time ;^}
Not a fan of the man, but have been intrigued by that head of hair for minute. Couldn’t help but whip this up for you guys. hope you enjoy.
Presidential scandals are nothing new. President Clinton gave us the interesting deflection to a question about his affair with Monica Lewinsky by responding “It depends upon what the meaning of the word “is”, is”. President Obama had people speculating about his birth certificate and if he had really been born in the United States and Richard Nixon stunned America by resigning his presidency after the Watergate break-ins. While President Donald Trump is only into his first year as our president, he has rocked many a boat already. There’s the government shutdown, the border wall, and his relationship with Russia, just to name a few. While these legitimate topics may truly be the legacy of Trump’s presidency, it could just as easily be “Hair-Gate”; the on-going drama regarding the hairstyle and the authenticity of the hair of our 45th president. The question we should be asking is “does he need a hair transplant?”
While increasingly pressing issues to plague our country—potential nuclear war, anyone?—the speculation about whether “The Donald’s” hair is real still makes the news. The guy has been around in the public eye since the 1980’s—with the same hairstyle, no less, yet his hair is STILL a topic of discussion. Many people ponder that if the man is a billionaire, as he so claims, can’t he get a better hairstyle? If he is wearing a toupee, as some speculate, did he pick it up at a half price rug sale? And not only has the style and legitimacy of the hair itself come into question, but the ever-changing color of his hair is also a hot topic. He’s been a brunette, blond, redhead and even invented a few colors of his own, but the coif has remained the same. Does he have several wigs in various shades? Inquiring minds want to know.
For a man who has proven his ego drives his every move, it is interesting that he is so steadfastly clings to the hairstyle that everyone else agrees is hideous. It’s as if he is going to prove the rest of us wrong by maintaining a questionable hairstyle just to antagonize the masses; as if cutting off your nose to spite your face is “winning”. Then again, in the chess game of life, no one is ever going to accuse him of backing down, even when popular opinion begs that he do so, which may bode well for us in other, more important issues that face our country. This could be a great tool; or the end of all existence. If it’s the latter, the only thing left on Earth with the cockroaches will be Donald Trump’s hair!
The “Trump comb-over”, as it is affectionately called by some, features a shelf of hair on top of his head, similar to a diving board. In one huge swoop of hair, it covers the top of his head and goes to the nape of his neck, which must mean the hair itself must be 3 feet long to swoop and cover both the back and the front. He apparently combs it forward and then combs it all the way back and is a firm believer that hairspray cures all bad hair days. Although his hair may look like he is covering baldness or might even be a toupee, he adamantly swears that it is truly all his hair. He has even taken to having people touch it or mess it up to confirm that it is all his. Jimmy Fallon, Megyn Kelly, and Larry King have all had this honor and all confirm that they believe the hair to be his. He has been interviewed countless times about his hair—how he styles it, what he uses to wash it, does he blow dry it—the nagging questions that plague our society. He is on to one thing—anything that gets your name in the news, regardless of whether it is good or bad, it is still publicity, and he thrives on publicity. Even though his hairdo had been universally panned and much has been said about its natural state, he can just brush off whatever he does not like by referring to it as “fake news”.
Hair Transplant Or Not?
In addition to the speculation that Trump’s hair is not his own is that the hair IS his, it is just a series of hair transplantation surgeries, a claim that he also denies. Many hairstylists and transplant experts swear that they can see the tell-tale “tracks” where hair is taken from the back of his head and moved to the front of his head and that he has even had rare and costly “microcylinder intervention” hair transplantation procedure and routinely undergoes additional treatments to maintain his full head of hair. Once again, this is vehemently denied by the commander-in-chief, as if going bald and doing something about it makes him appear less virile. Noticeably, too, is that the color has morphed, as well, from a light brown to a sandy blond, to a ruddy red to his current color of gray on the sides and a light ginger color on top. He doesn’t deny coloring his hair, even though he might if he thought he could ruffle some feathers by denying that he does. Some say he has tried scalp reduction to solve his hair problems, but still nobody seems to really know.
Possibly the best part about Donald Trump’s hair is that it is so easy to mock and that doing so had become a national pastime. Trump’s hair has been immortalized in the hashtag campaign of trumpyourcat, where folks fashion their cats’ hair in homage—or mockery—of the president’s coif. There are also countless websites comparing Trump’s hair to various other likenesses, including a very well-behaved guinea pig, the hair of 33 Barbie dolls or a troll doll. Its color and “texture” have been called a patriotic shade of amber waves of grain, cigarette-stained-teeth-blond and featuring more fly-a-ways than LAX airport and more soft-serve swirl than Dairy Queen. Got to give it to Americans and our ingenuity!
Obviously, people need to concern themselves with the issues that truly matter and that are affecting our country but Trump’s hair has certainly provided a distraction. Coincidence or perfectly executed plan by the Trumpster?
Going into 2018 I had serious weight loss goals set for myself. After having my last kid it has been a struggle for me as a mother to find time to get out and get the exercise needed to drop this weight. Finding a healthy way to do it was also important to me, with so many diet fads out there it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and lose focus on the what is really important. One thing I hate though is going to the gym and not knowing what I am doing, around men and women it’s embarrassing. There are plenty of fitness babes in there that make it look so easy and feel like such a slob trying to run on the treadmill and lift some light weights. I decided recently that I was going to hire a personal trainer. One issue I had during my search was that most of the places I called that offered a personal training program only had men available to work with me. I was calling the smaller local Gyms, not interested in another LA Fitness type Gym that is packed with people. As I called around it seemed like the smaller locally owned facilities were owned and operated by a few guys that were the owners and trainers. While they were all really cool to talk too, and extremely informative, I just didn’t feel comfortable signing up to train an hour a day with some guy I didn’t know, plus my husband wasn’t real thrilled about the idea. So I kept on searching around and found a female personal trainer in Gilbert AZ at http://thebodyshopgilbert.com/site/index.php/ that seemed to be the perfect fit. As a mom and a wife, this made me feel a little more comfortable about training with her. There are things us women go through that men don’t and it makes it easier to communicate during these times when maybe you are cramping and don’t necessarily feel like doing squats. Having a female personal trainer to whisper to about that monthly deal is much more comfortable than having to explain it to some guy. Anyway, I spoke on the phone to the woman who trains there and she was extremely helpful and the feedback I received from her was awesome. That was about all I needed to move forward with a trial session and see what this was all about. To my surprise the first training session was really enjoyable, and although I thought I was going to mildly intimidated by a super fit female trainer we actually hit it off right away and it felt like I was training with a friend. The ability to have some girl talk while you train makes it more enjoyable, talking about topics that we both had similar interests in while I worked out really made the time fly. I am looking forward to this journey with her and wanted to share the story. If any of my female followers live in the Gilbert area you should definitely check out The Body Shop Gym in Gilbert and ask for Stefania. I promise ladies, you will not be disappointed in the results or the time spent with her. She is awesome to work with and has also become a friend. Training with her is fun and informative at the same time. Hope to see some of you in the Gym!
If you are interested in reading about my other Gym experience you can check this article about a Tucson Gym I discovered going into the New Year.
Hey, all. Just a quick post I thought I would share before I called it a night. A friend from work told me today that after weeks of testing it’s been deermined that her daughter has some form of cancer that will require ongoing medical treatment to cure. Apparently, they don’t believe it will be fatal, and they have identified it in time to treat it properly. Still, this stuff is so scary and it can hit so close to home. It’s like that Vegas shooting, my cousin was the brides maid for a girl here in Arizona that was shot at that concert. The Dr’s had told the husband they didn’t think she would rebound and he would need to make a decision to pull th plug or not. She was in a coma after taking a gun shot to the brain. In some meraculous fashion, she has recovered beyond expectations. She will need years of rehab and they don’t know if she will ever recover many cognitive functions. Not to get side tracked by another story, but these things just seem to hit too close to home. As a mom with a zoo of kids and a family I love, I can’t imagine facing situations like either of these. So when my coworker told me about her daughter I burst into tears and felt so sad in my heart for her. I could not imagine dealing with this or even watching my little girl deal with this. But I would have to be strong like any mother would and see to it that we cured the disease and recover to the best of our capabilities. You don’t think about the little everyday things that you can do to help these people, from giving blood at a local blood drive to making sure you are a registered organ donor and signing up to be a bone marrow transplant donor. For my friend’s daughter, she needs a bone marrow transplant and will require a blood transfusion also. So what does it take to donate? I don’t know exactly but I included those links above for anyone who wants to particiate in saving lives. This stuff seems to be abundant lately and I don’t know if it’s somethign in the water, the air, our food supply, or all of the above? It seems like when I was younger we knew of people that died occasionally of cancer or some weird disease, now it seems like there are people everywhere suffering from these illnesses and it would be amazing if enough of us stepped up to the plate and donated blood, marrow, or organs in passing. When I die I want my organs to be donated to someone in need, gut me and burn me. Use the ash from my incinerated body to fertalize a tree and grow one in my memory. I don’t know, I’m rambling now but I think we could all do more to give back to those in need. I have been fortunate enough in my life that I and my loved ones have not ever had any serious health issues. I lost my older brother to a drunk driver when he was 25 and that was the most hurtful experience in my life. Thank God for my family, my husband, and my children for helping me through it. I wouldn’t want someone else to live through that experience of losing a loved one if I could help it. So I have gone out of my way to register as an organ donor, I give blood every other month, and I am going to become a stem cell and bone marrow donor this year. That’s it, til next time friends!
My girlfriends husband was recently notified that he will be transferred to Oklahoma for work in the coming months. They gave them enough time to pack and prepare, but I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared to just pick up and move. Personally, I love Arizona and would have no interest in moving to Oklahoma, but when the opportunities knock sometimes you gotta answer. Apparently, her husband will be getting a substantial raise that will move them up in the good old tax bracket and the cost of living is a little cheaper in the area they have their eyes on. But my question to her was how much extra money are they paying you? It would take a 6 figure increase for me to want to make the move from Arizona to Oklahoma! Anyway, she wouldn’t tell me the exact amount but suggested it was in that range.
We had a girls date planned, coffee in the morning, some shopping, and then back to her place to get things organized and packed. She is not the type to keep clutter, so this process was going to be pretty smooth. We made good time day one with the trinkets, pictures, and decorative items that were around the house. We met back up a day later to tackle the garage and get the junk out to the curb for bulk pickup. That’s something they do here in Arizona, they will pick up large items from the curbside on scheduled dates. Most of the junk in the garage was her husbands, the dust collected on the boxes were a great indication that he shouldn’t miss most of it. In two days we had the walls and tabletops cleared off and the garage cleaned out. The attic was his job, so was preparing the yard to sell the home. He was also in charge of all the painting and touch ups that needed to be done before the house hit the market. Other than that, we were ready for a U-Haul whenever they decided it was time to go.
The following weekend we flew out to Oklahoma to check out some properties. I was actually more impressed than I thought I would be with some of the developed areas, I had it in my mind that Oklahoma was like some little house on the prairie like atmosphere with nothing to do. Whatever, I guess that’s what I get for not venturing to the midwest ever. I like the southwest and the west coast line, from California to Washington. Anyway, her husband was being relocated to Oklahoma City and the area his co-worker lived in was called Edmond. Guess it would be the equivalent of Phoenix and Tempe. Edmond was really nice though, more of a rural family-friendly area where Tempe is more of a college town. We drove around looking for new homes in Edmond OK that had never been lived in before, I’m talking new development and bathrooms that have never been used. Her man got a raise, so they move up the food chain and she had her eyes on a beautiful custom home. We met with a realtor and they scheduled a meeting with her man to check it out over a video feed and give the go ahead. After some negotiating the deal eventually got done and they will be moving out to Edmond next month. As excited as I was for her, there is a part of me that’s sad. Fortunately, though this custom home has plenty of space for me to come visit, which means I may be out in Oklahoma more often than I ever dreamed of.
After they get moved in and settled I will come back in here and update this post with pictures after they move in. She decorates her home so cute, she should have been an interior decorator! Stay tuned, I’ll make the update as soon as she sends me pics!
Me and my husband have chosen to use Quartz countertops throughout our home during the remodel. We had a few options including granite but ultimately decided to go with quartz because of the price and it was just so beautiful. As I was digging around the internet looking for information about quartz I stumbled upon so many interesting things that I was unaware of. There are some mystic powers believed to surround quartz crystals, which is always an intriguing thought. There is jewelry and every day items around the home that are made up of quartz. Unless you have taken a geology class, you may not know one rock from another. But the more you get to know about the different types of rocks and what they can do, you will learn that not all rocks are created equally. Some elements are denser than others, and some are softer, and more pliable. Stones and rocks have many uses, and some are quite beautiful. Quartz is a hard crystalline (hexagonal-shaped) mineral that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but has many uses as well. So here are a few things I found during my search that I thought I would share here on my blog. Enjoy!
Whats Is Quartz Made Of
Quartz is comprised of both silicon and oxygen atoms and is the second most abundant mineral found in the Earth’s continental crust, and it comes in many varieties. On the Mohs scale of hardness, with one being soft and ten being the hardest, quartz locks in at a 7. A diamond is a ten, for measure. In its purest form, many quartz rocks are referred to as “rock crystal”. The Ancient Greeks referred to rock crystals as “icy cold” because a few philosophers thought that the stone was super-cooled ice, like its appearance suggests. While rock crystal is colorless and translucent, that isn’t so of other quartz stone. Determining quartz when you see it might be a challenge, as there are many different types and colors of quartz. There are colorless quartz versions, some that are pink, like rose quartz, or purple, like amethyst, or even brown and gray opaque quartz, known as smoky quartz. Several of the varieties are considered semi-precious stones and are sold as jewelry or as hardstone carvings.
Quartz In Jewelry
Some of the most popular quartz varieties used for jewelry include rose quartz, which takes on a pinkish hue, due to added iron, manganese or titanium found in the quartz. Amethyst, another popular gemstone, takes on a purple color when the quartz mineral is mixed with iron. Smoky quartz can be brown, gray or even blackcaused by natural irradiation that releases the silicon inside the quartz. While most quartz jewelry is made with natural stones, there are synthetic versions made to inject colors that would not normally be natural to the quartz mineral. Clear quartz crystals are subjected to a heat treatment or gamma-irradiation, which forms different colors based on the location from which it is mined.
Synthetic quartz crystals have long been used in high-end timepieces due to its ability +to convert electrical voltage from mechanical stress, resulting in a positive electrical charge at one end of the crystal and a negative electrical charge at the other end, a process called piezoelectricity. Quartz crystals have an exact frequency standard, which helps the timepiece maintain its accuracy by regulating the movement. In addition to watches and clocks, quartz crystals are also used in computer microprocessors, radios, cell phones, electronic games, and televisions. Since the 1930’s, quartz crystals have been used for many purposes, and to keep up with the demand, synthetic quartz crystals have been produced.
Quartz And Spirituality
Quartz crystals are also known for their mystical powers. The piezoelectricity property of quartz also magnifies energy, making clear quartz known for their healing powers. Crystal quartz is said to provide mental clarity, to aid concentration, and help with memory retention. It is also the crystal used to help people sleep, helping them to comprehend the messages sent to us during a dream state. Many people use quartz crystals to meditate or even communicate with their spiritual guides, but its properties are said to work only if the person is truly a believer it the stone’s mystical qualities. The person using the stone must also have the best intentions; the rock is said to bring harm to someone who does not have pure intentions regarding its use. Believers carry a quartz crystal on them so they are able to touch it whenever they need a spirit boost and it can be used to filter out negative energy from other sources. By providing an invisible force field, the crystals are said to cancel out the energy of harmful forces. Many fortune tellers use crystal balls made out of quartz or made up of some quartz and other materials. In some cultures, quartz is a highly respected stone used in funeral rites or placed in tombs. Used as a passage tomb in Newgrange, located in County Meath, Ireland, the quartz wall at the entrance is hailed as an architectural wonder.
Quartz In The Home
While quartz may have many specialized uses, it also is a substance used in everyday homes. Quartz is known to withstand pressure and weathering, which makes may be why it has been gaining popularity in recent years as the successor to granite countertops as the choice du jour. Over the past fifty years, Quartz countertops have gained significance as a quality surface material, adding a touch of luxury to bathrooms and kitchens. Since it is pressed into sheets, there are few imperfections, making it a highly desired countertop alternative. Quartz, unlike granite, does not need sealing to ensure it doesn’t crack; the natural resins that bind the stone materials made up to comprise the quartz holds it together and strengthens it at the same time. Also, if granite is nicked or scratched, bacteria can build up, whereas quartz is non-porous and can withstand pesky germs. When mixed with the resins, these sheets of quartz are heat-resistant, scratch resistant and stain resistant, making them a perfect workspace for a kitchen. Since color can be added to the material, quartz countertops can come in an array of colors. Depending upon what you want and how much you need, the cost to counter your kitchen and your bathroom could get pricey. While it is a commonly found material, the manufacturing cost brings up the price.
Quartz is an all-purpose material that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be broken down into tiny particles, it can be chucked off into small crystalline pieces, or compressed with other substances to create slabs. From its uses in timekeeping, to its mystical properties to its beauty and resiliency in the kitchen, quartz is a miraculous material. Quartz is part of our everyday life, even if we don’t even realize it!
When my twins were born in August 1996 autism was distant thunder on the horizon. I’d heard about it vaguely, but it seemed so mysterious and rare I couldn’t imagine it would ever affect me. Since then, diagnoses of autism increased tenfold and it has definitely shaped my family’s life. People often ask me when I first noticed that my son, Fraser, was different. I struggle with what I knew then and what I’ve come to understand. On a beautiful autumn day, I took my two-year-olds for a walk in the fields at the Ontario horse farm where we lived. Suddenly, in mid-stride, Fraser froze. His head was at an odd angle, his hands suspended in the air as he stared into a distance I couldn’t see. I tried rousing him, snapping my fingers and gently shaking his shoulder. He didn’t move for nearly five minutes and then he startled as though waking. That was the moment. Something wasn’t right.
Looking back now, I recognize the thief that was stealing my son, but then I didn’t know what I was seeing. As a newborn, Fraser frequently went stiff as a board, his limbs so rigid that I could balance him in the palm of my hand. He startled violently at noises and seemed overwhelmed by light, sound, smells, and touch, screaming in response. He also failed to breastfeed productively and had terrible digestive issues. At the twins’ first birthday, Fraser lagged behind his sister, Hallee, in his developmental markers. I worried about that, but our kind country doctor reassured me that boys develop slower than girls and said to give him time. During floor play, Fraser lined his toys up like a train, preferring to play alone. What language he had disappeared. Instead of using words like his sister to request, he often used my hand to point to something that he wanted.
After the staring spell, which recurred several times, we took Fraser back to the doctor feeling concerned that he might be having seizures. We put him through an overnight EEG in hospital, saw two neurologists, and were nearly torn apart by a misdiagnosis and the suggestion that we institutionalize him. Finally, one day when I picked the twins up from daycare, our caregiver told me that a friend who had experience with developmentally disabled children observed Fraser for the day. “That little boy has autism,” the friend said. We saw our doctor and he sent us to a children’s center for developmental disabilities where Fraser was finally diagnosed at age three. Now, we know that early diagnosis with intervention therapies as soon as possible can dramatically improve the futures of autistic children. Educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of autism, and if you recognize them in your child, be brave enough to seek a diagnosis immediately. Autism is, indeed, strange and mysterious, an amazing journey in many respects, but with love and intervention, it isn’t always a tragedy.
Shannon Wray is a writer and television producer with credits in both Canada and the U.S. Raised in a Hollywood show business family, her aunt is Fay Wray, Canadian actress, and star of the classic film King Kong. Ms. Wray has enjoyed careers in music, book and magazine publishing, television and film. Currently, her family is the subject of the upcoming CBC POV documentary film, Love, Hope & Autism airing on March 18, 2018, and she is at work on a companion book to the film entitled A Different World. Shannon lives in a small mountain village in Southern California with the love of her life and her son, who has autism. Her daughter is graduating from film school this Spring.
I didn’t want to blog about this in January because I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of the new year and honestly I still don’t. A happy home, healthy kids, and success in whatever we pursue sounds like enough to make me happy. But all that aside, there is something that would not only make me happier, it would make me healthier and that is weight loss. I got down on seconds over the holiday season and didn’t shy away from anything that was edible through November and December, but now I am truly ready for a change. I have looked into some weight loss programs but an a firm believer that I need a change of lifestyle more than anything. I want this to be a lifelong transformation, not just a few months of eating healthy and exercising and them back to the snack shack for some chips and soda. Arizona is beautiful most of the year and I have no excuse not to be outside in the sun most of the time. I just need a little motivation. My husband is awesome, but we just don’t seem to motivate each other like we used to. We can both just as easily plop down on the couch with a bottle of Pinot and binge watch Game of Thrones, getting out of the house to work out has never been our thing and with all the kids around it’s become even less of an option. I called a Gym in Tucson to ask their personal trainers a few questions about diet and exercise to see how they might manage me as a customer. I spend a few days a week down in Tucson and am usually without the kids so it just made sense for me to start there where my schedule is most free. The girl I spoke with was super cool and and answered most of my questions the best she could, but ultimately suggested that I stop in for a visit, check out the Gym and get some face time with her to see if getting a Gym membership and hiring a personal trainer was the route for me. I’ll be heading in there at the end of the month to evaluate the Gym and see what kind of environment it has. I definitely need some entry level classes to get me started, and have no desire to be thrown in with the wolves.
I have seen the shape some of these girls are in competing in crossfit competitions in Tucson and I could only dream of achieving those kind of results. I need to trim down about 20 pounds so I can fit back into my favorite bathing suit before summer hits. Since the last baby, I just haven’t had the time or motivation to trim this extra weight, but I am hoping that 2018 brings a year of change for me and my family so we can enjoy the pool once again looking happy and healthy.
Look, if the 60+ crowd can get busy like this then I can definitely do this! Stay tuned for progress reports and more blog posts about my journey to be more fit in 2018.
Quick update on the open, we aren’t the biggest golf fans but when there is a party as big as this around a sport we typically find time to become fans! We got a group together for the 2018 Waste Management Open and we were not disappointed. We took a Lyft there and back and started with some drinks in the AM to get the party started. My girlfriends and I bought some cute golf outfits that included these cute little golf tops and skirts. We were ready to party at one of Arizona’s biggest sporting events. With spring training just a month away, this is when the spring season really kicks off. The weather is to die for, and the people that turn out for this event show up in droves and ready to party their arses off! The actual game was cool to watch in person, although I don’t know all the rules I do understand the basic concept behind golf. The gotta hit the golf ball all the way down the grass lane and eventually land it in the hole. Driving a ball down the lane and landing it in a hole… ok, that sounds like something I can be a fan of. There was a drunk guy there though before the event really kicked off that ended up streaking out onto the course. There was some much fun to be had, but unfortunately there was also a very tragic moment that I want to mention. There was a Tempe firefighter killed by a young man with a gun late in the evening on the streets of Scottsdale.
Apparently the firefighter was a passenger in a Golf Cart that was driving around Old Town Scottsdale and a vehicle was getting dangerously close to them, driving close to the bumper and swerving near them. The cart came to a store and the firefighter exited the golf cart to approach the car and a young man fired a gun shot into the firefighters face killing him. It’s an extremely sad story, my best friends husband was in the Marines with this guy and they came out from San Diego to attend the funeral this past week. So, with all the fun and excitement that surrounded the event, there was also that tragic event that unfolded. All said and done it was an absolute blast and I will be doing it again in 2019.
Spring break is already approaching at the speed of life. I can’t believe that shortly after that we will be entering the summer months and the kids will be home again for 3 months. Whatever though, I can’t slow down time, but I can sure manage it. I have rented an off road Jeep for a fun 3 day excursion in Sedona with my husband and kids. My husband and our 10 year old son really enjoy hunting, and they spend a lot of time in our old hunting Jeep driving through the Arizona desert where they hunt quail during the season and other varmints. But this spring break I have planned an off road adventure that the girls can ride along for.
Jeep Tours In Sedona
I had read a lot about the Jeep tours in Arizona offered by Pink Jeep tours and some of the other local excursion companies. The problem I have is that we don’t want to be confined to a vehicle with someone else at the wheel. The Jeep tours have good reviews and seem to be great for the family that wants a mellow journey through Sedona. That is NOT US! My husband would go stir crazy sitting in a Pink Jeep while some uninterested driver earned his hourly wage navigating the desert carefully to avoid injury and excitement. We will be off roading Sedona this spring break, but not in the back of a Pink Jeep… hell no!
Sedona 4×4 Rentals
Ok, so the tour thing would be cool for my mom or my grandmother but the adventure resides in renting your own Jeep for a few days, hitting the trails that you want to hit, stopping when you want to stop, and spending the night where you want to spend it. I ended up renting a 4 door Jeep for us. We can pack the entire crew in it with room in the far back for packing an ice chest and our bags. We reserved our Jeep through this Sedona off road rental company and are extremely excited to hit the trail heads with our family. There is a built in navigation system with pre-programmed trails for us to travel, but knowing my husband the GPS system will be turned off and he will be driving up the hills that we probably shouldn’t be driving up. These off road rentals in Sedona are perfect for family excursions. We checked the Jeeps out before I booked the rental. the Jeeps were well maintained and reliable, so packing my kids into them isn’t going to be an issue for me.
Trails To Explore in Sedona
There are amazing trails out in Sedona and the surrounding areas. If you have never visited Sedona and the beautiful Red Rock formations that exist you will be pleasantly surprised.
Ok, so after the fun has come and from exploring Sedona, we will be winding down for a few days around the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. Not so much a place for the kids, but we will have to make that work. I have heard that there are a few amazing restaurants in the area that offer great steaks. There are also some very cool local adventures you can check out like the cowboy adventures offered by a local adventure company. Also while we are there we will be dining out for some good eats at the best steak house in Sedona. There is nothing I would rather do then enjoy all these excursions with my husband and kids, but if we end up eating there we might find ourselves a babysitter so we can sit down and enjoy a meal without the distractions of the kiddos. If the weather is warm enough we will visit Slide Rock for some fun in the river and the natural rock water slides.
Valentine’s day is approaching! Ladies, if you are searching for a perfect present for the men on your gift list, consider the gift that is unconventional, but appreciated by men of all ages: a trip to the barber shop! Men, regardless of their ages, love to feel pampered and a barber shop appointment is an ideal solution—something he wouldn’t usually get for himself, but an indulgence; a special treatment for a king!
Men won’t come right out and say it, but deep down, they like to look good and feel good. Most barber shops offer individual services or packages geared just for men because being pampered isn’t just for women! Offer the man in your life a unique opportunity to unwind and relax or to partake of some aesthetic services to make him feel brand new again. He will appreciate your thoughtfulness and he’ll emerge feeling rejuvenated and pampered—just like he deserves! He can take advantage of some traditional beauty services and feel great about how he looks. From teens to granddads, a barbershop treatment is the ultimate gift.
Each barber shop varies its services, so make sure you are either buying a particular service, package, or they offer gift certificates to be used on a treatment of his choice. Many men enjoy traditional services, like an attentive shave. To truly impress your man, invest in a spa shave—one that includes a hot towel service, a pre-shave oil, an old-fashioned, close shave with a straight edge razor and hot lather, and wraps up with an aftershave balm to hydrate the skin. He may shave daily, but he’s never had a treatment like this! His skin will be silky smooth, and he will love the relaxation he feels while in the chair!
Another great option for men: a spa manicure and pedicure. This is a simple, yet comfortable way for your man to feel pampered, and you may even enjoy the experience together! He’ll really love the hand massage and paraffin treatment and the way his hands look after his nails are filed, clipped and buffed. And if he has never had a pedicure, he will completely appreciate the whirlpool spa, the leg massage and hot towel wraps, and the meticulous attention to his feet. It’s a great way to unwind after a tough week at work and no, he doesn’t have to have his nails painted!
In addition to stylized hair treatments, including haircuts, highlights, and scalp massages, many barber shops also offer waxing services for men. If your man is embarrassed by the hair on his back, shoulders or other body parts, waxing is an excellent answer to that problem. Hair removal by hot wax is a quick, effective way to leave him smooth and sleek while in a private, soothing environment. Barber shop waxing rooms offer calming music, aromatherapy and skilled, trained professionals to ensure the comfort of the client. He may be apprehensive at first, especially if he’s seen “The 40-Year Old Virgin”, but once he experiences a true waxing treatment, he’ll crave the maintenance of his newly soft, smooth skin!
MCTs are a kind of fat which may be easily used for energy from your own body and don’t need to be broken down prior to usage. They’re precursors to ketones and help your body burn fat rather than burning carbohydrates. Ketones are among their brain’s two main fuel resources, in addition to a very important supply of ATP energy to the body. ATP energy is what enables each and every muscle in your body to maneuver. While ketones from fat, instead of glycogen from carbs, are the principal source of fuel for people on a ketogenic diet, however, you do not need to totally go keto to gain out of MCT oil and ketones.
** MCTs get their name due to the period of the chemical structure. All sorts of fatty acids comprise of strings of associated hydrogen and carbon. **
•• Othere using MCT Oils for appetite control have also found success with CBD Oils. **
Most fats absorbed are taken into your body then needs to be blended with bile discharged in the gut and acted by pancreatic enzymes to break it down into your digestive tract. Medium-chain fats are digested easily and as soon as they reach your gut they’re sent through the blood directly to a liver, in which they have a thermogenic effect and also the capability to positively change your metabolism. MCTs even pass the adrenal barrier to provide your mind with an immediate increase of energy. MCTs are absorbed faster than longer chain fats, since there is less work for your entire body to perform, in breaking the carbon bonds, meaning that they may be used faster as fuel, instead of being stored as fat. MCT oils can be broken into four subcategories.
MCT oil is dispersed and derived from coconut oil (but some also come from palm oil), so while olive oil includes MCTs, it isn’t 100 percent MCT oil; coconut oil includes a high percentage of lauric acid, which functions similar to a naturally-occurring fatty acid (instead of medium-chain). Coconut oil, since it comprises MCTs conveys these very same advantages, but not as powerful and focused as pure MCT oil. As a result of this, coconut oil doesn’t convert quite as economically into ketones and consequently doesn’t contribute just as much of a power increase as the right MCT. Nor does it suppress appetite or assist feed your mind how C8 and C10 do.
Coconut oil is about 50 percent linoleic acid. Lauric acid (or C12) takes a pit stop from the liver for processing instead of becoming immediately converted to energy such as another MCT’s (C8 and C10).
** While technically tagged an MCT by scientists, C12, lauric acid, acts longer, biologically speaking, such as an LCT (long chain triglyceride), which means that you do not get the speedy ketone power to fuel your mind and body which you do away from other MCTs. If it’s own right, malic acid does have lots of its own advantages, such as with antimicrobial advantages, which can be successful in combating a variety of infections. **
The two MCT and coconut oil also offer anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties and may also offer you anti-microbial aid, to help rid the intestine of harmful pathogenic germs, parasites, parasites, etc..
How to Pick a Quality MCT Oil?
For fluid MCT Oil, I usually opt for Brain Octane Oil that is 100 percent C8, which will be ideal for brain functionality. C8 is 18 times more powerful than coconut oil. Bulletproof’s XCT petroleum that is equally C8 and C10, is 6 times more capable of providing medium chain triglycerides compared to ordinary coconut oil. C10 is much slower to become energy compared to C8, but is less expensive. Prevent C6s since they may cause gastrointestinal distress. Furthermore, if your MCT oil manufacturer of selection makes your neck burn off or has a bizarre flavor, 1 reason could be that the distillation didn’t eliminate enough of the C6. Coconut oil is greatest in C12 (Lauric Acid) MCTs, therefore in case an MCT oil is C12 derived, I advise you to save your cash and only opt for coconut oil, then you’ll find exactly the very same advantages. There are loads of manufacturers of MCT oils available on the marketplace, therefore it is ideal to do your homework on where they’re derived from, how they’re expressed and which kind of MCTs they feature.
When purchasing MCT oil, constantly search for powder or oil that’s been expressed or processed without using solvents. Many liquid MCT oils are produced through chemical/solvent optimizing, which may mean that they need using compounds like hexane and distinct enzymes and combustion compounds. Not great, safe or clean. Furthermore, lots of MCT Oil Powders have additives, thickeners and compounds added, therefore best to make certain you’re selecting an MCT Oil Powder which is clean and free from any crap, such as Perfect Ketone’s MCT Powder.
How to Eat MCT Oil?
Though some people suggest using in salad dressings, homemade mayo, etc, I’d caution against having a lot of, a little goes a very long way using MCT oil plus a few too many tablespoons of dressing or mayo slathered in your sandwich could result in an upset stomach, depending on how sensitive you’re.
It’s crucial to begin using MCT oil gradually. As it’s so easily and quickly employed by your system, it may result in gastrointestinal distress in case you jump in too fast (however less using all the MCT oil powder compared to the liquid). For many, the outcomes from a lot of MCT oil too fast can result in what’s commonly known as “tragedy pants” — use your creativity with this one. It’s usually considered smart and safe to begin using 1/2 to 1 tsp and operate around 1 to 3 tbsp each day, as your digestion and stomach allow.
That said, however, as a direct fat it may nevertheless be taxing on your system, being with no gallbladder, perhaps more than the typical individual, so please proceed slow, start small and I’d strongly consider consulting with the opinion of your medical care provider or like bile or digestive tract supplementation (which I would strongly suggest, together with gallbladder removal, no matter swallowing MCT oil).
As with any other food or supplements, it’s wholly possible to get too much of a fantastic thing and also to take your ingestion of MCTs and even coconut oil too much better. Furthermore, bio-individuality has to be taken into consideration. Always. We’re all distinct. Some research indicates excessive quantities of MCT or coconut oil can trigger inflammatory or immune problems within the entire body. I find the MCT Oil Powder for a much more tender and simpler option compared to liquid oil.
Living in Arizona has many perks, the weather is warm, the landscapes are beautiful, and you can swim 5 months out of the year which is great for the kids. Our Arizona Sun Room sits off to the side of the pool and is equipped with a picnic bench, mini fridge, fans, mister, and a flat screen TV mounted on the wall. This is awesome for entertaining adults and kids. The problem I have faced is clean up after a birthday party or an event that we put together for the adults. Anything that spills with sugar attracts bees and ants. Both can be extremely annoying, and if you are an AZ resident then you know that cockroaches are just about everywhere. When the kids throw the crust of their sandwich off into the bushes, or an adult dumps out a beer into the garden it creates an opportunity for rodents and insects to feast. Well, I am no fan of these nasty little critters, nor do I want them in my Arizona room. To keep them out, and out of my yard I have hired a company that offers pest control services in Phoenix. Pre-treating the property a week prior to having any events has proven to be an efficient way to handle the infestations. Especially with the red ants. They are so small, but extremely aggressive and the kids are often times bit and left with itchy ant bites on their feet and ankles. The cockroaches seem to survive anything you throw at them, but two treatments leading up to your bug event should prove worthy enough to limit the amount of them you may see wondering in the backyard. Arizona cockroaches are hard to kill, but believe me, as a mother of 4, I will find a way to kill them to keep them from my babies.
I’ve always been a lover of producing fresh and innovative ways to lure your child to eat. Beyond this simple definition, however, virtually anything could be made to enter these lunch boxes along with the ideas are infinite.
Different Kinds of Bentos
There are numerous varied types of bentos, with various functions. Makunouchi bento is fancy bento foods presented at proper meals, supposed to be eaten in a desk. This is the kind you’ll see served in pubs, organized in tasteful lacquered boxes. The type of bento which has got the most attention lately, particularly outside Japan are what are known as kyaraben or charaben, ‘adorable bento’ ‘artwork bento’ or ‘amusing bento’ extremely elaborately decorated little functions of art.These are often made by moms for their little children.
Ultimately, there is the plain easy bento which most men and women bring to school or work for lunch. It is important to be aware that many Japanese people don’t invest their time creating fancy charaben or ‘adorable bento’ – that is more in the domain of a craft and hobby as opposed to everyday living.
My Bento Doctrine
This is the fundamental bento doctrine about the best way best to make a healthful bento your children are going to love. I utilize bentos to integrate some healthful food into my everyday eating. So I use as many vegetables and vegetable products as you can, see the quantity of fat and oil, and attempt to steer clear of processed foods. The utmost time that I wish to spend on constructing my bento is 10-15 minutes. The majority of the time that I need it completed below 20 minutes. It needs to be safe and yummy to consume at room temperature, (with a couple exceptions), escape- and – spoil-resistant, and filling. They ought to appear yummy, but I do not spend that much time producing them very pretty and elaborate. Sometimes I will add cute little edible Beanie Boos or trinkets in the bento box for fun. I love to keep things easy. Since I wish to spend less by bringing my bento instead of eating out, I attempt to keep the price down as far as you can.
Purchasing a Bento
Where do you start? There are many websites that sell bento boxes and possibilities are limitless as well as diverse.
Amazon has a few great and cheap bentos with various applications and expectations here are a couple of of my favourite ones.
• This one is great for kids due to it being leak proof and coming in multiple colors. https://goo.gl/2LwwVQ
27 ℃. That’s the perfect temperature for summer camping according to Scouts – Canada’s youngest outdoor experts. So, go check the thermometer. It’s time to answer the call of the wilderness!
Scouts learn essential outdoor skills and how to prioritize safety in all activities from day hikes or week long portage tours. Prepare for your next camping trip – whether it’s the first of fiftieth – just like a Scout with Scouts Canada’s Ultimate Summer Camping Guide to make your adventure both memorable and safe.
For many, a campfire is a beloved tradition and the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of camping: laughing, roasting hot dogs and sharing stories around crackling flames. The best fires are made up of three things:
Tinder: Small twigs, dry leaves, needles, bark, wood shavings, paper or even dryer lint. These burn immediately and are a crucial element to spark the fire.
Kindling: Sticks as thick as fingers help to build a strong foundation.
Firewood: Logs of wood keep the fire burning long into the night.
Collect plenty of dry wood before striking a match so the fire isn’t left unattended to gather more fuel. If the campsite has a designated fire pit, use it to keep the flames contained. If it doesn’t, build the fire away from brush, branches, and tents on a durable surface like a rock, dirt or sand to prevent scorching the earth. Always have water close by to extinguish the fire.
You’re venturing into animal territory while camping. Knowing in advance what types of wildlife reside in the area will help prepare for and avoid animal encounters. Check for reports of recent sightings and keep an eye out for signs of wildlife nearby such as tracks, fresh droppings, scratches on tree trunks, or animal homes.
Be particularly cautious to protect against ticks, tiny bugs typically found in grassy, wooded areas or along shorelines and in parks – all places campers like to go! Some ticks can be carriers of illnesses like Lyme disease.
To prevent a tick bite, wear long sleeves and pants tucked into socks so they can’t crawl in, use bug spray that has DEET, and wear light clothing so ticks are easier to spot. Before heading back to camp do a thorough check all over your body – and continue to check because ticks can stay attached for five or more days.
If you are bitten by a tick, remove it carefully with tweezers by pulling upward with steady even pressure, clean the area well, and watch for symptoms including a bulls-eye shaped rash. Seeing a doctor is recommended, as early detection is key. Symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear for weeks or even months after being bitten! Make sure to save ticks in a clean container and contact a local public health unit. As Lyme disease spreads to more ticks, it is increasingly important that ticks be identified and tested.
First Ow, First-Aid
Before heading out on any camping adventure, make sure your supplies include a fully-stocked first-aid kit. Scouts use the below checklist of items, so they’re prepared for anything!
Adventurous activities go hand-in-hand with camping, and prioritizing safety is essential to a great trip. A few Scout favourites are:
Canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding provide stunning views of nature, but even on a clear day, safety is key. Always paddle within your capabilities, wear a life jacket, bring an emergency kit, tell someone where you’re going and stay close to land when possible. Also, there is a difference between a lifejacket and PFD (personal flotation device): a lifejacket will turn most people over to keep their faces out of the water even if they lose consciousness. A PFD will not.
Stargazing is of the most beautiful parts of going camping and a perfect opportunity to learn about constellations and the mysteries of the night sky!
Swimming is the best way to cool off on a hot sunny day. Always swim in a group, avoid rough water and strong currents, and wear a PFD if you’re not a strong swimmer. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen!
Hiking Watch out for hazardous plants like poison ivy. Remember: leaves of three, let it be! No one plans to get lost, but it can happen even on a short walk so always bring a daypack with emergency supplies including extra water, snacks, a headlamp, first aid kit and emergency blanket.
Leave No Trace
One rule Scouts always follow is Leave No Trace. This means not disturbing nature while enjoying the outdoors. Plan trips to ensure waste is packed up and disposed of properly, invasive species are not brought into the campsite, and wildlife isn’t disturbed by excessive noise, light or garbage. Leave nature exactly as you found it.
For even more camping and safety tips visit scouts.ca/safety/safety-tips or join Scouts Canada to learn firsthand! Register for your local Scouting group at scouts.ca/join. Join by June 30 and receive a $30 discount!
“Sleep while you can! You won’t sleep again once baby arrives!”
How many times have you heard that? If you’re a parent, chances are you heard it at least a thousand times in the weeks and months before your child was born. And as soon as your little one arrived, chances are everyone started asking, “are they a good sleeper?”
It’s enough to give anyone a complex!
And have you noticed that the makers of baby gear have figured out that sleep is one of the biggest concerns new parents have? I can’t turn around without bumping into a new product that claims to make baby sleep longer, better, quicker, deeper, or some other magical claim. From swaddles to noise machines, big expensive gadgets to books. It doesn’t matter, there are a million products designed to solve a million sleep problems. But what if we’ve been looking at sleep all wrong?
I’m not talking developmentally. We’ve talked about the myths of sleep training before and we know that sleep can change depending on the age and stage a child is at. What I am talking about is the stuff. Of course there are tools and tricks that help us sleep, but which ones are legitimately helpful and which ones are just dollar signs in disguise?
I wanted to know so I reached out to our sleep coach, Rosalee Lahaie Hera of Baby Sleep Love and we very quickly realized that not only do most of these gadgets not work (either in the short-term, or in the long-term), some of them are just outright dangerous!
One of the most important things for parents to know is that how a product is marketed is extremely important. In Canada, the only approved, safe-sleep surfaces are labeled “crib”, “bassinet”, or “cradle”. In the United States, “play yard”, or what we call a pack’n’play is also safety tested.
Any product that does not call itself one of those things has not been safety tested or evaluated for safe sleep by Health Canada.
Unfortunately, that means all those fancy “soothe your baby to sleep” baby beds, “sleepers”, rock and plays, and cosleepers are not safe sleep surfaces. And in addition to being potentially unsafe, these beds are only meant to last a few months! Babies grow quickly and by four months most infants have outgrown many of these products. Leaving babies in these gadgets after they have outgrown them can make them even more unsafe.
Okay, but sleep deprivation is real and tired parents are looking for solutions, right?
Right. The thing is, gadgets aren’t actually solving your problem anyway! Not in the long-term at least. While you might get a few immediate weeks of relief, before long your child’s sleep is going to shift (four month “sleep regression” anyone?) and now your baby is too old for that wonderful, expensive, sleeper bed and they don’t know how to put themselves to sleep.
So what do you do?
Take all the money you would have spent on fancy machines and lights and beds and everything else, and put it toward building a support team for the entire family. It is possible to create healthy sleep habits and hygiene right from birth! Use a doula to help you become familiar with your baby’s normal sleep patterns. If that isn’t working or you want more help with sleep, working with a sleep coach to create an individualized sleep plan for your baby and your family can create the life-long healthy sleep habits and skills your baby needs.
By hiring expert help, you are learning the skills you need to support your baby both now and in the future.
Like so many other things in life, the experiences are so much more valuable than the things.
Meaghan Grant works with families to explore their options and help them to discover their own strength through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. She is a Certified Labour Doula, Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Postpartum Placenta Specialist. As co-owner of Toronto Family Doulas, Hamilton Family Doulas, and Family Doulas of Ottawa, she is committed to providing judgement-free support of all birth and parenting choices.