Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tablet Talk

It's gift giving time and all your family and friends want are tablets. With so many versions of the same brands, it's difficult to determine which one is worth the money. Here is a breakdown of the most popular tablets and whether or not it's best for your giftee.

Apple IPad
$399.99 Minimum price

First let me say, I am a die hard Apple fan. That being said, I do not recommend this tablet to anyone. Unless you are a business or a full-time student, there is no need for this tablet. It is a bigger screen with more memory. You can do simple word processing if necessary. I've seen my Uverse technician use this with AT&T software. I've seen an interior designer use this with a client. I've even seen them used in Tribal TANF offices. But for the regular family member, there is no need to spend this amount of money on a tablet. Most people have smartphones. So you don't need the camera or space to save the photos and movies you want. If you use it to read, there are readers as low as $79 available. If you use it to watch movies, there are cheaper tablets with HD screens. It is also a major commodity for thieves. Take it from an Apple fan, you're paying for the name.

Apple IPad Mini
$329.99 Minimum price

Considering the price difference between the regular IPad and the Mini IPad, this really isn't worth the money either. True the price is more comparable to the Android tablets on the market. But those tablets are full sized. Why pay more for a Mini IPad than you would for a full sized Android tablet? Again, You're paying for the name.

Google Nexus 7
$199.99 Minimum price

About the same size as the Apple IPad Mini, this tablet is perfect for the"PC not MAC" person. It's an Android tablet at a reasonable price. It runs mostly Google programs (Google Maps, Gmail, Google +). You download your books and media from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This is more user friendly and cost effective. There is no rear facing camera. Honestly, you won't miss it. Most people use their phones anyway.

Kindle Fire HD

I have the first Kindle Fire. All I kept saying is, "I wish the internet were faster. I wish it had a camera to Skype. I wish the speakers were better." They heard me. It is the only tablet with Dolby speakers. It is also the first tablet with dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi. It makes almost 50% faster than the IPad. Many are calling it the best 7" tablet on the market. 

If the Apple IPad Mini were $199, I would choose it before any tablet because it is an Apple and I am a fan. With the exception of my Kindle Fire, I have an all Apple home. But I would not pay more for an Apple tablet, the computer, yes. I am not a fan of Google either, so I would purchase the Kindle Fire HD. But considering the fact that I am usually watching and listening to movies with headphones on my tablet, I can continue to use my regular Kindle Fire without a complaint. I have a smart phone so I don't need the camera. I don't need the extra memory, I have the Cloud. I also recommend it for parents who want their children to have an e-reader that grows with them. You can even lock them out of the internet to keep them from signing onto a questionable website.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The End of Weekend Cleaning

So many women email me and ask me what they can do to keep from cleaning all weekend. They ask me how to get their weekends back because they're tire of cleaning all day. There are many different ways to accomplish this based on the way your life is organized. But here is how I keep from cleaning all day Saturday or Sunday.


The first Monday of the month I clean the carpet in my living room. I dust the bookshelves and electronics. I take everything out the living room that is not supposed to be there and separate it into a designated bin for each family member. When everyone comes home, they can put away their own crap.


The first Tuesday of the month I clean the dining area carpets. I dust the chandelier and put away anything that is out of place.


The first Wednesday of the month I clean the carpet in the children's room. I do their laundry and put it away. I never do more loads of laundry than I have the time or energy to put away in that moment. I remake their beds with fresh sheets and dust. I also clean their bathroom.


I mop all of the floors in the house. I do this every week.  I declutter the kitchen and refrigerator.


I don't do a damn thing in the house. I might clean my car out if I am going somewhere. But other than the usual touch ups, I don't do any cleaning.


My bathroom is the cleanest in the house. So while I'm getting ready, I clean it. While my children are napping, I do my own laundry and and clean my carpet on the first Saturday of the month. I wake up between 6 am and 7:30 am depending on my children. I am done with my room by the time we leave the house at 9:45am.


I don't do anything. I make my children clean up their own room and touch up their own bathroom.

This is why I am never cleaning house all weekend. Doing a little everyday allows you more time to do other things. Daily touch ups prevent a 12 hour day of scouring something that could have been cleaned up days earlier. I also keep a bin in the living room for all of my toddler's toys to be thrown into at the end of playtime. It's less work than carting them all the way back to her bedroom just to see her drag them back out. I keep everyone's laundry separate so that if only one person's laundry needs to be done, I don't have to sort through an entire house of laundry to find it. Also, it allows me to wait until I have more time and energy to do the other laundry. By touching up the floors at least every other day I find that the bucket mopping is less labor intensive. Cleaning the carpets at least once a month prevents irreversible damage and make your house look cleaner that it is.

Do what ever works for you. Just make sure you divide your chores among a five day period. And of course, delgate!

Monday, November 5, 2012

What Moms Want Everyone To Know

No Means No

You are at the bank and a child wants a free sucker. The mother tells the child no. Along comes a stranger that has heard her deny your child this piece of candy. They bend down and hand the child a piece of candy anyway. Here is what the mother of that child is thinking.
     1. If I wanted my child to have the candy, I never would have said no in the first place.
     2. By giving my child that candy, you have inadvertently taught my child to accept candy from strangers.
     3. You have no idea what dietary limits my child has. What if what you just gave him makes him sick?
     4. You are undermining my authority as a parent. I said no, that should be the end of it.

Always respect a parent's wishes. They know what's best for their child. You have no right to grant permission to have or do anything of which a parent has explicitly denied. It teaches a child that if mom says no, someone else will say yes. You have now shown this child to ignore his mother's authority. 

Mind Your Business

You are at the grocery store and you turn the corner down the cereal isle. You hear a woman speaking sternly with her child. She says, "Stop it, right now. Do NOT make me take you outside." The child seems to be recovering from hysterics or at the very least a crying fit. You don't like what the mother is saying to the child so you stand by and watch or decide to talk to the child to lighten the mood. Here is what the mother would like you to know.
     1. You have no idea why this child is in trouble and you are therefore incapable of determining the appropriate tone I should take when resolving this issue.
     2.  I finally get my child to calm down after throwing an epic temper tantrum after I have told him for the fourteenth time in three minutes that he could not have any sugar cereal. Here you come giving him an audience, thus encouraging him to drag out the tantrum even longer.

When you come upon a child that is in the midst of discipline, play deaf and blind. This deprives the child of an audience. It is very embarrassing for the adult to have to publicly discipline their child. In today's society, a mother is constantly concerned both about someone accusing her of abuse, and someone confronting her for not disciplining her child enough. A mother is not free to be a mother under those circumstances. As long as there is no abuse taking place, you should allow the mother the freedom to do what she feels is necessary to solve the problem. Some discipline must take place publicly to discourage public meltdowns by the child. Ironically, it is those who join in on the discipline and take the mother's side who offer the most help.

I once came upon a mother with twin toddlers and a son about two to three years older that them. He was not listening to her instructions. I stayed out of the situation to allow her to parent. But then the child knocked all of the cans on the shelf to the floor in a raging fit. The mother looked like she was about to literally break his neck for it. I intervened. "Pick-it-up...nooow." I said in my Amittyville Horror voice, leaning down over the child. "Don't you ever embarrass your mother in public again." The child was caught off guard. Strangers were supposed to step in and save him from punishment not call him on his bad behavior. The mother was grateful and the child behaved for the remainder of the shopping trip. I stepped in because I could see that the power struggle was about to escalate to a potentially unhealthy level. But in intervening, I maintained the mother's authority and reaffirmed the expectation of the respect he owed her.

Stranger Danger

You see the cutest kid you have ever seen walking down the street with her mother. You can't resist the temptation to talk to her. You say hello, and ask her name. The more you talk the closer the mother holds the child. You sense that she doesn't want you talking to her child but you don't understand why. Here is what the mother is thinking.
     1. You are a stranger. You have no business approaching my child.
     2. How can I teach my child about stranger danger if you're in her face talking to her when you should be talking to me?

I know that some children are so adorable that you just want to love them, and pet them, and call them George. But your actions are that of a stranger. A small child lacks the ability to reason whether a person is a dangerous or safe stranger. Approaching a child and asking their name is placing them in a situation they are not equipped to handle. You are also forcing the mother to decide between being rude to you or allowing you, a stranger, to talk to her child. Consider the safety of the child before you approach her. Tell the mother how cute you find her to be. Ask the mother what the child's name is. Leave the child alone.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Non-Medicinal Cold Treatments

At the first sign of a cold, most of us run to the local drugstore and buy a bottle of cold syrup or a box of cold pills. We also add lozenges and drinks, anything that will make us think we are getting better. The reality is, there is nothing that will help you get over a cold faster. There are several medicines that will make your symptoms go away, but the virus is definitely still there. How many times have you gotten over a cold and then a week or two later someone else in your home has the same cold? This is because you never got rid of your cold. You hid your symptoms and eventually passed it on due to a false sense of security. By treating your cold without medicine, you can be more aware of what is happening in your body and will be less likely to spread it throughout your family.

Runny Nose and Sneezing

If these are the first symptoms of your cold, chances are high that you are suffering an allergy cold. When your nose runs, it is because your nasal receptors have been irritated by an allergen. Your body tries to rid itself of this irritant by expelling it with a sneeze. If that doesn't work, it turns on the water works. If you know what you're allergic to, rid your home, office and car of it immediately. You can avoid the cold that follows. If you must use medicine, use a nasal allergy spray. Keep using it until the symptoms stop. This means your body is winning the battle with the allergen and doesn't need any more of your help. Document the first sign of the attack so that you can be prepare for the next one. If you don't have medicine the best thing to do, other than avoid the allergen, is to blow your nose. If you use a medicine for a runny nose, it will stop the process that was designed to make you better. By blowing your nose, you prevent the mucus from thickening and causing congestion and you prevent the thinner mucus from draining down you nasal passage into your lungs, (post nasal drip).


Coughing is such an annoying and painful symptom to have to live with. In order to cough, your lungs fill up with air and your diaphragm forces the air out in an attempt to force the phlegm from your lungs. It is your body's way of preventing bronchitis and pneumonia. This process causes aches in your core muscles, your neck, your head, and even your shoulders. The best way to deal with it is to listen to your own cough the same way you would listen to and evaluate a child's cough. If something is coming up, your body doesn't need any help from you. But if the cough is frequent and causing discomfort, blow your nose. Yes, blow your nose. If you find that the cough is coming in waves or cycles, then post nasal drip is the cause. Post nasal drip leads to the lungs and causes a cough. Prevent the mucus from getting in there in the first place. After blowing your nose drink water or hot tea with honey. The water washes the mucus down so it can't cause further damage. It also detoxes your body so it can spend less time trying to hydrate you and removing toxins, and more time fighting the virus. The hot tea warms the phlegm in your lungs making it easier to cough up. The honey soothes your throat. If you must take medicine, Robistussin is the best on the market because it isolates specific symptoms and treats them with different formulas so that you aren't taking medicine for symptoms you don't have. Consider this, if you go to the emergency room with bronchitis, they give you Robitussin with Codine.


For those who partake, this could make having a cold a less unpleasant thing. One of the active ingredients in cough syrup is alcohol. It helps with sleep, aches, and coughs. Alcohol increases blood flow to the capillaries. This makes coughing easier and thus more productive.

Cayenne Pepper

It's a disgusting remedy but a remedy nonetheless. Spicy foods in general increase blood flow which allows for quicker healing. So sprinkling this spice into some tea will deliver it to your throat and help it heal faster. You could also put it in a spray bottle. Of course there is always Chloraseptic.


My favorite to drink is the organic, rainforest blend available at Costco. I drink it whenever I have an allergy attack or a regular cold. The caffeine increases blood flow which helps with nasal allergies and coughs.


This helps you sleep and lets your muscles recover from the intensity of making you shiver or cough.

Hot Toddy

It matters not how you spell it or what recipe you use. The bottom line is that it makes you feel good. Why? It's alcohol. You feel warm and tingly and cough less. You'd be better off with a glass of wine or a shot of rum.


Very helpful in opening nasal passages and providing that cooling menthol feeling.

Vapor rubs

Made with eucalyptus it allows you to breathe and makes coughing easier. If you add a few drops of camphor oil, you will find that it relieves aches as well. Grab a tube of Icy Hot and you will see camphor in the ingredients. 

Ibuprofen vs. Acetaminophen

Whenever you take your child to the pediatrician or urgent care, she is given Tylenol which is acetaminophen. They recommend it as a fever reducer because it is more difficult to over-medicate with it. If you read the bottle, there are more doses allowed in a 24 hour period than there are for ibuprofen. However, take your child to the emergency room with a fever, they give her Motrin, which is an ibuprofen. They never get concerned about a fever not coming down with Tylenol. But tell them that Motrin didn't work and watch them bring out the doctors and monitors. Typically, acetaminophen is for headaches and sharp pains. This is why it is given in stronger doses after surgeries. Ibuprofen works best for swelling and muscle aches. After my cesarean, I was given acetaminophen. After my natural delivery, I was given ibuprofen. For a cold, if you must use one, I recommend ibuprofen. It's your muscles that ache and the fever that wipes you out.


The cold weather is what makes you sick. This is false. The common cold is a virus that is spread by way of saliva and mucus. Since the germs from a cough can travel approximately 3 feet after you've coughed, it's easy to see why everyone in your house is always sick. When you step out into cold weather, the mucus and phlegm thickens, causing the infected person to cough and sneeze harder. The uninfected are just sitting ducks. Most people take cold medicine which means they think their cold is gone when it is merely subdued yet contagious like chicken pox scabs. So that person comes out into the world rubbing their nose (mucus), coughing into their hands and clothes, (more infected mucus), touching doorknobs and computer keyboards, talking to you (spit=infected saliva).

Hand sanitizer is helpful. As much as I am against hand sanitizer because it makes you sicker and makes recovery more difficult, this is a fact. The cold virus lives for 3 days on objects. So the infected should use the hand sanitizer, not for their own benefit, but for others. Use disinfectant wipes on doorknobs, steering wheels, remote controls etc. Consider this fact. The air in all transportation vehicles is recycled. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to avoid it.

Colds only last about a week. This is false. By the time you know you have a cold, you have potentially carried the virus for up to a week prior. Cold medicine labels tell you to see a doctor if symptoms persist after 7 days because they are manufactured to prevent the symptoms. If this isn't working then there is something seriously wrong. But your cold will persist beyond 7 days without symptoms. This is why your family members get sick. You think you're healthy and you're infecting others.

Honey works better than cough syrup.  This is true and false. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, "dextromethorphan is used to temporarily relieve cough caused by the common cold, the flu, or other conditions. Dextromethorphan will relieve a cough but will not treat the cause of the cough or speed recovery. Dextromethorphan is in a class of medications called antitussives. It works by decreasing activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing." As of March 14, 2012 the same source states that,
"Cochrane reviews have assessed the effectiveness of over‐the‐counter (OTC) cough medications, but none have studied honey as a cough relief. A review of two small randomised controlled trials (RCTs) showed that honey was moderately better than 'no treatment' for the relief of cough, reducing bothersome cough, improving quality of sleep for children and parents and reducing the severity of cough. This review included two small trials involving 265 children, aged two to 18 years. The effects of honey and dextromethorphan on symptomatic relief of cough, bothersome cough, and quality of sleep for both child and parent did not differ. Honey may be better than diphenhydramine for symptomatic relief of cough, reducing the severity of cough, and improving sleep quality for both parent and child. Dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine are both common ingredients in cough medications." As a parent, i'll take the natural remedy over the drug with the overdose warning.