Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day and Good Friday Ideas

Turn off the power and read

One of my favorite books to read with my son is It's Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer. In this book the little critter learns about global warming and how to stop it. He becomes concerned about the polar caps and the future of the polar bears. He decides to invent a machine to stop global warming and save the polar bears.

The story is simplistic enough for a four year old to understand. There is a comedic aspect to the Little Critter series that both children and parents comprehend. For example, the little critter in the book "helps" his parents but the illustration clearly shows he is making a bigger mess. Both parents and children enjoy a laugh.

Plant a garden

Legend has it that whatever you plant on Good Friday will continue to grow throughout the year. Before you run off to the pot farm and try to grow some purple weed, it should be noted that this is a holy tradition.

Easter came late this year. So you can't really plant spring plants. I recommend planting summer fruits and flowers. The Easter Lilly is still the tradition along with the tulip. Just remember to snip the blooms and protect the bulbs. Use your coffee grinds to keep you garden moist.

Though this is a Christian tradition, many pagans are planting their magical gardens today as well. I have made the switch to organic so I will be planting my own herbs and tomatoes.

Earth Day / Easter Pinata

Use recycled materials and make an Easter pinata. Be creative don't just make an Easter egg or a rabbit or a duck. Make a globe or or another shape.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bounce Dryer Bar Review

Here is the product information direct from the website

My Experience

In the store I noticed that the other Bounce Dryer bars were cracked and some were even shattered. There are complaints online about the bar detaching from the holder and leaving pieces everywhere. My bar did not appear to be cracked until I placed it on the dryer. The shrink wrap concealed one vertical crack down the center. I also noticed that some were for 2 or 4 months. I opted for the 2 month Outdoor Fresh bar. It was cheaper and I figured, if I don't like it I won't be stuck with it.

The bar was comparably priced at $4.99 to the 80 count pack of Bounce dryer sheets. I should state that I have suffer from chronic sinusitis and acute rhinitis. Strong smells are not my friend. I haven't used dryer sheets in 20 years due to this fact. Bounce dryer sheets are strong in fragrance. The fragrance free Bounce is about $12 in my area. I can't see paying so much for something I am going to throw in the trash.

The online complaints about the Bounce Dryer Bar are that it doesn't stick to the dryer. The directions say to clean a spot on the dryer drum, not the fin and attach the bar holder. I placed it once and never moved it. My 2 month bar never came off or came loose. There were complaints that the bar fell apart in the dryer. It is my belief that there were cracks in the bar before it was attached. The cracks are really hard to see until you apply it. There are complaints about the bar leaving streaks on clothing. I also did not have this problem. I also found that my 2 month bar lasted 4 months. I launder 1-2 loads daily. I think my bar may last for another half a month if not a full one. The fragrance was subtle but noticeable. It was strong enough to mask that mildew smell from clothes left in the washer but gentle enough not to aggravate my allergies. I should also note that I use All Free and Clear as a detergent.

My overall verdict is that this product is a definite buy. It lives up to its promises if you purchase an undamaged product. If your bar breaks or detaches, call the company and ask for a replacement or the money back guarantee.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Facebook Etiquette Violators

So, your friend requests go unanswered or are flat out denied. Your friends list is dwindling in numbers. In fact, your blocked users list is increasing faster than your friends list. Chances are, you are one of the following Facebook Etiquette Violators.

The Apps-tract

No one likes spam or status update takeovers. But The Apps-tract isn't aware of this fact. She suggests mindless quizzes and time consuming games without verifying that the link is legit. So you click on the link and wind up seeing spam posted 12 times in 2 minutes on your page. Your friends then take the bait and become disgruntled. No one wants to follow your links anymore and its all the fault of The Apps-tract.

The Tagger

He wants to promote his business or cause. Instead of asking his friends to "share" his posts or "like" his videos, he tags them like crazy. He has essentially hijacked their pages and forced them to advertise for him. Not all your friends support everything you do. Don't take advantage of their page by tagging them in a photo or video they aren't in just to get a few more clicks. You'll make enemies not friends.

The Photo Thief

You start receiving add requests from people you have never met before. You ask why that person is trying to add you and find out that they saw a pic of you on someone else's page. You go to that person's page and find a pic of you in your pj's holding your baby. How disturbing is that? Your profile is private and a "friend" steals your private photo and posts it on their public profile. You have to find out about it from a pervert trying to make you his jump off. The fact that you have access to your friend's photos, does not make them yours. You have no legal or moral right to these personal photos, especially if the profile the pictures are on is private. Never steal pictures from someone's page and put them on yours without permission, especially photos of children. Maybe someone at Facebook should come up with a way to secure photos on private pages.

The Proofreader

We all have one in our friends list. The Proofreader is that friend that spell and grammar checks every one of your status updates, comments and notes. It's a social networking site. No one cares about spelling or grammar. You're irritating everyone, stop it.

The Moral Compass

Like The Proofreader, The Moral Compass is constantly editing your status, notes, and comments. Instead of spelling and grammar they are editing your language, your actions, your pictures. They start telling you to watch what you're saying and criticize your drunken bar photos. The Moral Compass needs to learn to live and let live. If what you read or see on your friend's page is so offensive to you, "unfriend" them or unsubscribe to their news feed. Don't stifle your friend's self-expression.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Top 10 Reasons NOT To Have a Bridesmaid

It's wedding season again and brides everywhere are counting down to that big day. The cake has been taste tested. The dress has been altered at least once already. The groomsmen are all fitted for their tuxes. The bridal showers and bachelor parties are planned and ready to be denied. The bridesmaids...well, the bridesmaids are being bridesmaids.

You chose your closest friends and family members to be your color-coded allies. All they have to do is show up for the wedding and remember when and where to walk. Sounds simple right? Wrong. Every year there are brides who wish they never had a bridesmaid in the first place. Here are the top ten reasons.

10. Coordination - It's difficult enough trying to find the right wedding dress, flowers and wedding ring sets. Try color, style, and accessory coordination. It's enough to make your weave fall out before the wedding.

9. Jealousy - Remember that song "Backstabbers?" That pretty much describes the mindset of some bridesmaids. They lead you on and practically beg to be in your wedding only to drop out on you at the last minute potentially ruining the aesthetics of your wedding.

8. Broke as a Joke - Weddings are expensive especially during wedding season. No matter how cheap you think the dresses are, they are never cheap enough. The fact remains that your bridesmaids are paying $200 and up for something they will never wear again.

7. Fashionistas - You really put time and thought into the style of the dresses, hair, shoes, etc. The reality is that you are dressing more than one person in a color that is not one size fits all. You may also choose a shape of dress that is unflattering to the figures of some of your bridesmaids. If your bridesmaids don't feel their best they won't behave their best.

6. Busy Bees - You aren't the only person with a lot on your plate. Your bridesmaids have jobs and families of their own. Your wedding can be taxing to their already full lives.

5. Sweethearts - Some women are so honored to be chosen to be a part of your unforgettable day that they are afraid to say "no." They don't want to let you down so they agree to what you want even though they don't have the time and/or the money. Ironically, they wind up letting you down.

4. Drunken Fools - Some women take a few too many liberties at the bridal shower or bachelorette party before the wedding. They show up wobbly legged, red eyed, and cotton mouthed hung over on your wedding day. You spend the day praying they don't spew chunks on your officiant.

3. Pit Bull - We all want our bridesmaids to get our backs on our wedding day. Some bridesmaids take this part of their jobs a little too seriously. They rightfully earn the title of Bridesmaidzilla by snapping at anyone that gets in their way.

2. Procrastinator - She waits until the month of your wedding to tell you she doesn't have her dress, or the money for her hair. It is now too late to make alternate plans. She didn't do it intentionally buy she might as well have as you won't hate her any less.

1. Show Stopper - It's your day. The only person your groom should see at the alter is you. Some brides report catching their grooms looking at the sexy bridesmaids behind them. Although your family is there for you, people will be looking at the bridesmaids instead of you for a few moments at a time. They are evaluating the dresses, their behavior, and even their weight. Either way, you will not be the center of attention.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Your Credit Card Company Won't Tell You

Credit Limit Increases

So you have a $100 credit card limit and need at least $500. You pay your bill on time so why can't you get an increase after 5 years? One reason is insurance. It typically costs about 10 cents to $1 per $100 of your balance. For example, if you owe $500, the insurance is $5 for that billing cycle. The insurance cancels an agreed upon number of payments for a specified time in the event of death, injury, loss of employment, birth, relocation, and change of marital status. If you currently have no insurance for your credit card, add it. It's not only a wise choice but within 60 days you will find that your credit limit has dramatically increased.

Another reason your limit has not been increased is payment history. If you have paid your card late in the last 12 months, you will be denied an increase. If you pay off your balance every month you are not establishing a balance payment history. Carry a balance for 3 months before paying it off. The bank needs to believe they will make money off of your interest. Once you receive the limit increase, go back to paying in full.

The last reason you haven't received a limit increase is your credit. If you only have one store credit card and all of your other credit items are reporting late or delinquent you will not receive an increase.

Disappearing Credit Limits

In March you had a $2000 limit. In April you only had a limit of $800. What happened? Why weren't you notified? This is something new with store cards like Macy's as of March 30, 2011. Here's what's happening. Because of the current credit card laws and economic stress of consumers, banks are reclaiming control of the credit they loan out to consumers. With Macy's, if you pay late, your limit will automatically be reduced to the amount you currently owe. You then have to request permission to have your limit increased. Once this happens, you have to reapply for a limit you already had. Pay late more than once and you can lose the card completely. During the authorization process you will be asked for your income information and your credit will be run with or without your permission. If you report a lower income, your credit limit will be lowered or terminated. If your credit has declined, you will lose your credit limit or completely lose the card. Use payment reminders or pay your bill immediately so you don't lose the increased limit.

Annual Fee Shakedown

Banks like Bank of America are recouping their lost revenue by charging annual fees for their credit cards. This spring, many Bank of America customers received a letter informing them of the new $39 annual fee for their credit card. There is a choice. You can pay the annual fee or you can lose the card. If you decide not to pay the annual fee you still have to pay the balance on the card. Some consumers received a letter where that choice was not given. They merely were told that their card accounts have been closed and they still owe the balance. This is enraging long term customers who have never paid late. What you aren't being told is the reason. The reason is that the bank is running your credit and finding that you are paying your other bills late or not at all. To reduce risk, banks are closing the accounts of people who slid under the radar by not using their credit card or by paying only the minimum. If you are upset about a $39 fee then you probably can't afford to have a credit card.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Non-Medicinal Treatments for Sinusitis

Steamy Showers

A hot steamy shower loosens the mucus in your nose and sinuses. The heat and moisture from the shower makes it easier to remove more mucus per blow. You can completely clear congestion by blowing your nose in the shower. Gross, I know but it stops the congestion, coughing and runny nose. The heat also relieves swelling in the sinuses.


Many of the poses, specifically inversion poses help to relieve sinus pressure. The controlled breathing helps to strengthen your lungs making your coughs more productive. Yoga improves digestion and relieves stress which are triggers for the allergies that lead to sinusitis.

Cameo Apples

Cameo apples help with bleeding gums but they also help with sinusitis. Of all the apples it seems to make the largest impact in combating sinusitis. Perhaps it is the vitamin C which also helps in combating sinusitis.


A single cup of regular, black coffee can help with your nasal allergies before they lead to the sinusitis. If you must have cream, use non-dairy.

Blow your nose

Don't suck in when you should blow out the virus or bacteria that is causing your sinus inflammation. If you find yourself sniffling, blow your nose. If you find yourself coughing, you have post-nasal drip. Drink water and blow your nose.

Hay fever is no fun, it's worse when you don't have health insurance. When all else fails talk to the nearest pharmacist about an over the counter remedy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top 5 Reasons WIC Doesn't Work

WIC stands for Women, Infants & Children. It is a program designed to help low and no income mothers with feeding their babies and children under the age of 5 healthy choices. Sounds great on the surface. So why don't more women sign up for it? Why do so many women drop out of WIC?

5. EBT cards are easier - WIC is done be printing checks that may only be spent for the allotted amounts on the specified products. If you don't purchase the minimum or the right brand the check is no good. Each check is run separately at the register but the EBT card is one swipe.

4. EBT is more discreet - In this economy people who normally are working a high paying job are finding themselves on welfare. They are embarrassed and would like it if the people in their neighborhood did not know they were using public assistance. EBT is like any other debit card. WIC is painfully obvious. Though you are supposed to report it, the clerks at the stores treat you worse. When you need help finding something you aren't worth the time. People in line behind you huff and puff at you. You have these large pink and blue checks that everyone can see.

3. Shopping takes twice as long - With WIC you have to buy a specified amount of products. For example, if the check says "32 ozs of Cheerios" you can't buy 36 ozs, even if the only sizes are 18oz boxes. So you need 32 ozs but wind up with 18 because you can't afford to go over. Name brands are easy to find. The generic will have you pacing at least twice down an isle trying to find the items in the amounts that qualify for your check. With EBT, you can grab what's on your list and go.

2. Formula discrimination - WIC believes that formula is not good for babies unless there is a problem with breastfeeding. They will determine what is a problem. The moment you are no longer breastfeeding you are denied fruits, vegetables, and tuna. You are only given half of the formula your baby needs to survive to discourage formula feeding and encourage breastfeeding. You are then scheduled an unwanted visit with a lactation consultant who will not listen to what you tell her. You can say repeatedly that your baby is latching, that you are feeding regularly but that you need formula until your milk comes in. They won't listen. They will do all they can to force breastfeeding on you thus turning you against breastfeeding and WIC. Don't even bother to ask for a breast pump when you return to work. You will be told that you can handle breastfeeding if you do it right.

1. Double duty - You already have to take your baby to the pediatrician for regularly scheduled well visits. Your pediatrician has no need for blood tests unless your baby is showing symptoms that need further investigation. WIC demands blood work every 3 to 6 months. They also demand you bring your baby in to be weighed and measured. It's like having two pediatrician visits.

Moms everywhere truly need a program like WIC. However, the way WIC is designed it does more harm than good for many women. If you choose WIC, choose it with the idea that it supplements what you can already do on your own. Remember to go to the grocery store during the wee hours when all of the other WIC participants will be there. You won't have to contend with the dirty looks. Know that if you choose formula you will still need your EBT benefits to cover the difference. If you're still frustrated, you aren't alone.

Breastfeeding Fatigue

Breastfeeding Fatigue is a term you won't find in your fancy baby books or hear in your local WIC office. You can ask your OB/GYN or pediatrician and they will categorically deny it exists to encourage you to continue breastfeeding or simply blame it on post-partum depression. The fact is that breastfeeding fatigue is real. The denial of its existence is actually making new moms everywhere feel inadequate. It isn't depression. It isn't the "baby blues", such a cute term for such a sad state of emotions. Search internet mommy sites and you will find endless threads in countless numbers dedicated to moms who are so tired of breastfeeding they are ready to break like the skin on their nipples and arreolas. They're crying louder than their newborns and are being criticized for it. Meet a breastfeeding mommy in the park and she will likely have dark circles under her thousand mile stare.

Breasfeeding Fatigue is easily understood once you learn what breastfeeding really entails. I know your friends and husband think that you are a walking pair of convenient, money saving, milk bags. Breastfeeding is more involved than that. When you were pregnant you were eating for two. When you choose to nurse you are still eating for two. Babies can take half of the calories you take in everyday. This is both why you must continue to eat like a pregnant woman and why you lose so much weight after delivery. Imagine eating a basic meal of pasta, salad, water, wine, crusted chicken breast, dessert and coffee, all at about 6:30pm. At 7pm you nurse your baby. At 8pm you feel like you had absolutely nothing for dinner and start to microwave the same meal. The microwave wakes up the baby. The baby is now wet and hungry as newborn babies eat every two hours starting at the time their last feeding began. Yes, I said began, So in reality you are nursing almost once an hour to begin with. Feeling tired yet? Multiply this by 24 hours. Eventually what happens is that mom no longer has time to do anything anymore, let alone cook. So mom doesn't eat as well, which means baby starts taking half of what she has to give, calcium from her bones, protein from her muscles etc. But let's make this really interesting and add something called Cluster Feeding.

Cluster Feeding
is when your baby is on a power feeding schedule. As they grow a quarter of an inch a week they hit growth spurts somewhere in between. The baby, the smart little science fiction creature that it is, starts to send signals to your body to make more milk to meet the up and coming demand. It does this by cluster feeding. Instead of feeding once an hour they start feeding every 30 minutes. If you're luck this will take place during the day. If not this will happen at night. No one else can nurse the baby but you. Bottle feeding during a cluster feeding is actually going to be a cluster f#$k in the long run. You won't have enough milk for the baby when she's hungry thus frustrating the both of you. So now that you know that breastfeeding fatigue exists and that you aren't crazy or a bad mother, what is the solution? I have more than one.

Hire a Maid

Get over the idea of a stranger in your house and hire help. Let someone else get the house together so you will have time to cook, feed the baby and yourself, run errands and sleep. Most women say that they do housework while the baby is sleeping instead of sleeping. Let the maid do the work while you sleep. The maid doesn't have to be a stranger. It can be a friend or family member. They all come by offering to take the baby for you so you can sleep and clean house. They aren't helping. This is your baby and your time to bond. It really does matter in a time like this when you are nursing. Tell the people around you that they can help by bringing by dinner or cooking it and leaving it in the freezer. Let them clean house and pick up the other children so you can sleep.

Turn to the Bottle

There are a bevy of bottle Nazis out there. I am not one of them. The truth is the bottle is only an enemy in three situations. The first is when you are still establishing a milk supply. Your baby needs to be at the breast to establish the right amount of milk. Once she can properly latch and your milk flow is steady, offer a bottle in the middle of the night. This way your husband, mother in law, teenager etc can pick up the slack late at night. The second is when you allow the baby to sleep with the bottle in her mouth. This leads to choking and tooth decay. The third is when people put things other than milk in the bottle like cereal. This messes with the baby's natural tummy sensor that tells the baby she's full. Try waking up at 2am to clean vomit from a screaming newborn. I know that the ladies at WIC will put you down for this but a happy, well-rested mother is a safe mother, not an Andrea Yates. Ask any Pediatrician and he will tell you that if there is breast milk in the bottle they aren't losing any benefits. It's when you switch to formula that they add multi-vitamins with fluoride. Make sure you have a good pump and that you keep it on a lower setting. You don't want to be too sore to feed the baby yourself.

Wake the Baby

I know that when your baby starts sleeping in 4 to 5 hour stretches during the day it's like Heaven on a silver platter. In reality it is making your bed time a nightmare. By resting up all day long your baby is wide awake to cluster feed all night long. Let her cluster feed during the day so you can sleep at night.

Binky, Nook Nook, Paci

No matter what you call it, your baby calls it relief. After your baby's 2 month immunizations you will notice that at certain times of day they are drooling and crying heavily as if in pain. You will also notice they are startling awake and blowing raspberries. Pediatricians deny this but I have yet to meet a mom whose baby didn't begin teething once their baby was immunized. Teething pain comes with the aforementioned symptoms. It also causes the baby to turn to the breast even more frequently. They may seem like cluster feedings until you realize your baby either isn't eating or is coming off and on every 5 minutes. This means you are officially a pacifier. Pay attention to the signs and give the baby a pacifier to give yourself a brake.

Hopefully I have informed your friends and family well about what you are experiencing. Feel free to add your own extra comments.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Into Pier 1

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Outdoor furniture has arrived for spring at Pier 1. That's just in time to beat your neighbors to the most unique and versatile styles in outdoor furniture. Have you seen anyone in your neighborhood with a Swingasan? Neither have your neighbors but after they see you with one they will want one too.

All of the basic staples are available and are on sale. Check out these Rock Point outdoor chairs

My favorites are the Double Papasan, and the Swingasan chairs. The Swingasan s the perfect place to relax and read a book. I'm looking forward to those warm, romantic days sipping wine in a Double Papasan with my husband. With the Double Papasan on my patio I would put the Swingasan and Papasan end table in my little reading nook in my living room.

The great thing about the outdoor furniture at Pier 1 is that it's actually indoor/outdoor. You can update any room in your home by adding the Azteca Settee and matching Ottoman. Or you can change the cushions and arrange the furniture outside on your terrace or in your garden if you choose.

Not every room needs new furniture to look updated. Go to the Accent Pieces section of the Pier 1 website and you'll find beautiful butterfly book boxes for only $9.95 as well as a flowers and butterfly clock that looks like it came straight from the recent version of Alice in Wonderland. It's only $50.

New furniture and accessories are added frequently. You can keep up by following Pier 1 Tweetups

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Naked Preggo

The web is all a buzz with the nude photos of pregnant Mariah. As usual these naked memories were shared with the world and swiftly compared to the iconic Demi Moore poses when she was pregnant with Rumor. There's just one problem, Demi Moore wasn't the first. She wasn't even the second.

The first to pose naked was Patti LaBelle, Miss Lady Marmalade herself. The next to bare it all was Olympic Gymnast Nadia Comaneci. She posed with a large snake, possibly python or boa constrictor. Immediately following that then racy photo was Demi Moore, Lisa Bonet, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Claudia Schiffer, Orlando Bloom's wife (do we really care what her name is?), and Mariah Carey. I'm sure the order is jumbled after Demi Moore and I am positive I left out a few.

But it's time to stop giving Mrs. Kutcher all of the credit for these rarely tasteful, mostly gag worthy, profit mongering photos. It started with Patti LaBelle. God help us, let it end with Mariah Carey.

Update, Thanks for your
help Baby Bumpers and Gen Xers:
The first naked preggo cover as Patti LaBelle some time in the 60's.

Circa 1991 Nadia Comaneci posed nude with a boa constrictor. She was NOT pregnant. However, Lisa Bonet, the next in line was. There was an uproar about it because she was preggo and nude, a Cosby kid, and there was concern about the baby due to the way the snake was wrapped around her.

Next was Demi Moore covered in paint then Demi Moore preggo and snake.

Yet another update!
This is really fun now. There is an unofficial competition between the generations trying to prove who was first and who didn't pose at all. Here's what's new.

We have Melissa Gilbert in Us Magazine in May 1988, Lisa Bonet about 2 to 5 months along on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1988. Both were before Demi Moore in August of 1991. But Gen Xers had the Nadia Comaneci one wrong. It was Nastassja Kinski. How could we get that one wrong? I have no clue. Could it be that we were but tweens and were traumatized? Or could it be that she had black hair? No clue but we were wrong about that one. Now, could the Baby Bumpers be wrong about Miss LaBelle? To be continued...