What’s in Your Purse?

It’s a challenge to wrangle that purse into any kind of organization. I envy women who can walk around with a little, tiny purse. I could carry one too, but I would secretly have the big hobo bag in the car or my locker full of the same old junk I don’t think I can live without. Women’s purses are the stuff of legend! Men are afraid of  them, and there are even full websites dedicated to showcasing what’s in your purse! Have you ever thought, “What do I really need to carry around in a purse?” What’s in your purse? Do you need to downsize? Here is a list of ten essential items every woman should carry in her purse. Amazingly it will all fit is a small to medium size purse if you play your cards right!

What’s in Your Purse?

Identification

Your identification is important, and you should keep it with you at all times. A small wallet or card holder is sufficient.

Cards and/or Cash

You will also need your debit or credit cards and/or some cash in that small wallet or card holder. I was raised in a generation where your dad always made sure you had a quarter for the payphone (Yes, I am a child of the 80’s) and $10 in cash. Generally speaking, you need to be able to pay your way in case of an emergency.

Phone and charger

You need to be able to fit your phone and charger in your purse. You can get small external batteries for a quick charge that will fit into a small purse.

Hand Sanitizer

You never know when hand sanitizer will come in handy…you NEVER know!

Pen and Paper

Whether you carry a mini notebook or a full size planner, you should always have something to write on if needed and something to write with. Pen and paper should be in your purse.

Lip Balm

A must have, lip balm can easily fit in a little pocket for anytime use!

Tampon or Pad

You never know when you are a friend may be in need. Stick a tampon or pad in that little pocket with the lip balm.

Breath Mints

You don’t want to be caught without a breath mint or gum after dinner or coffee. Carry them with you!

Pain Reliever

There is nothing worse than having a headache when out with friends and having no pain reliever! When you carry a travel sized pill container with you, you can always have headache relief at your fingertips so your good time won’t be ruined.

Tissue

A travel sized tissue will fit in even the smallest purse. Along with hand sanitizer, you just never know when it may come in handy. How many times have you been in a public restroom stall to realize the paper was out when it was too late? Point taken!

If you have these ten items in your purse, you are pretty much prepared for any situation that may come along. What’s in your purse?

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Pregnancy Hair Facts and Myths

Oh, the thing we’ve heard on the street about hair and pregnancy. Specifically, we hear all about the effects of pregnancy on your hair, what happens to your hair post-partum and everything in between. We’ll get to the bottom of the issue with these pregnancy hair facts and myths.

 

Myth or Fact: Your Hair will Grow Faster and Thicker when you’re Pregnant

The answer here is, well, it depends. Hormone changes during pregnancy do – for some women – accelerate hair growth. Additionally, taking prenatal vitamins and eating super-healthy foods for your baby will have benefits to your hair, too. However, if you already ate healthy and took vitamins, you may not notice much difference. The real wild card is hormones – they’re just too individualized to predict an outcome for pregnant women, in general. Many women report rapidly growing hair and nails during pregnancy. Some women report some hair thinning during pregnancy – this could be hormone or stress-related.

 

Myth or Fact: You Can’t Color your Hair when you’re Pregnant

This one is a little tougher to pin down and you’ll get lots of different answers depending on who you ask. The worry seems to be that chemicals in hair colors are absorbed through your scalp and could harm the baby. However, the amount of absorption is negligible and there have not been any definitive studies to support this assertion. More likely, however, is an increased sensitivity to both the chemicals in hair dye as well as the strong smell, which for the former, could cause irritation and, in the case of the latter, you could feel nauseous. The safest bet: wait until after the first trimester to color your hair – by then you’ll likely be over the morning sickness and less likely to get sick from the smells of the salon.

Pregnancy Hair Facts and Myths

Myth of Fact: You’ll lose some Hair after Giving Birth

This one is almost a universal fact among women who have given birth. Most report at least some increase in hair loss due to the hormonal/stress changes you undergo giving birth and immediately post-partum. However, despite what your hairbrush reveals, the hair loss is generally low and will cease after a couple of weeks.

 

Myth or Fact: Your Hair is Different after Pregnancy

This one also seems to be true for many moms, who report changes to texture and curl of their hair after baby. Many women report having hair that feels coarser than before. This can be a positive in that coarse hair generally is thicker and holds curls or other styles a little better than fine hair. So, this change in your hair might be a good thing.

When you’re pregnant, your body goes through incredible changes. Some of them are temporary, while others are permanent. They can be related to hormones, stress or diet. Thankfully – where your hair is concerned – the changes are generally mild and quite manageable. In the end, a change in your hair is a small tradeoff for the new baby in your life.

 

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5 Great Reasons to Read to Your Kids

The skill of reading cannot be overestimated for success in life.  But what is really the difference between teaching your kids to read all by themselves and reading to your kids yourself?  Well, we think both things are very important, yet in different ways.  Let us tell you more along with these five reasons why we believe it is a good thing to keep reading to your kids even as they grow older.

5 Great Reasons to Read to Your Kids

To Teach or To Read?

A Goal vs. A Habit

Every parent is thrilled when their preschoolers start to recognize words and begin reading on their own.  But is that all there is to it?  What are the benefits of reading to our kids and why does it matter after they learn to read themselves?  Basically, teaching your kids to read is essentially a limited goal whereas reading to your kids is developing a habit.  When you continue to read to your kids even after they have learned to read for themselves, you are not only reinforcing the value of reading, but you are ultimately creating a love for reading.

 

The Top Five Reasons

Why You Should Read to Your Kids

  1.  Time Together.  This will benefit you and you kids in so many ways that it’s difficult to count them all.  Just being with your kids is important, but reading books together helps to create conversation, discuss emotional or social problems, or just expand their imagination and sense of the world!
  2. Develops Thinking Skills.  This is extremely important, especially in an age of numerous gadgets and technology that are cleverly programmed to do most of your thinking for you.  While the convenience is appreciated, the ability to think objectively, deductively, theoretically and so on, simply cannot be forgotten!  When you read to your kids – and particularly as you begin to read more advanced books without pictures – you help your kids begin to develop these critical thinking skills by simply imagining details and following plot descriptions with their own imaginations!
  3. Academic Excellence.  Reading to your kids not only improves their thinking skills, but also quietly builds a solid foundation of communication skills, progression of logic, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and more that will positively impact your kid’s overall academic abilities!
  4. Concentration and Discipline.  Much of technology has been detrimental to our ability to concentrate due to rapid visual and audio overload.  However, reading a book will teach your kids to slow down, to develop their focus and to delay their gratification for the time that it takes to hear all of the details or follow the story.
  5. A Love For Reading.  Most of all, we want to pass on the love for reading to our kids so that they will always continue to grow and learn and expose themselves to the many ideas of the world.  Read your kid a book and you entertain him for a day, but give him the love for reading and he will have the world at his fingertips.

 

Sources

https://www.earlymoments.com/promoting-literacy-and-a-love-of-reading/why-reading-to-children-is-important/

http://www.babble.com/babble-voices/7-reasons-why-you-should-be-obsessed-with-reading-to-your-kids/

 

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Black Friday Shopping Strategies

Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, has become a shopping tradition rather than just a once in a while thing.

To get you ready for the best Black Friday shopping experience ever, here are some tips to help you not only survive but thrive.

Pay Attention

In many states, Black Friday actually starts the night of Thanksgiving.  And it isn’t always doors open at midnight.  For instance, Wal-Mart will offer some of their best deals at 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM on Thursday night and 8 AM Friday morning and OfficeMax is showing off their best values at 8:00 PM, 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM.

What’s the point?  You need to read the ads in carefully to get the best deals at the right time.

Something you can do in advance to prepare for Black Friday is to look at the ads at a web site called bfads.net.  This website will give you a list of sales items at all the stores by category.  Also check the newspaper on Thanksgiving Day because you may find additional sales.

Do Your Research

If you’re planning to buy electronics this season, make sure you take a look at the products and compare value.  You want to use web sites like Consumer Reports and PCMag.com to take a look at professional evaluations of the products you plan to buy.

Then, take a look at consumer reviews on sites like Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.  Finally, type in the name of the product on Google or Bing and follow it with the words scam or review or rip off and see if anybody has anything negative to say.

Line-up the Deals

Here’s where the Internet is also very valuable.  You may think a price on Black Friday is a great deal but the Internet can show you pricing at online stores as well as historical pricing over the last year on the same product.  Use the price checker at ConsumerWorld.org as well as PriceHistories.com.

Be a Triple Play Expert

This is where your research will help you save the most money and time.  Find products and great prices first, then look for a percentage/dollars off coupon and, finally, look for products with an additional cash back rebate.

The Early Bird Gets the Best Deal

Some stores offer their best deals in the early hours of Thanksgiving Day like Kmart opening at 6:00 AM.  Others, like Toys R Us and Wal-Mart, open at the traditional dinner hour of 6:00 PM.

There are also pre-Black Friday sales to look for.  These tend to occur on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well as cyber Monday the following week.

Returns

Make sure you don’t get stung with a restocking fee if you decide that you need to make a return.  There are some stores that will deny a refund to people who abuse the return system.

The Right Credit Card Makes All the Difference

Most gold or platinum credit cards will already give you an extra year of warranty coverage just because you have the card.  This will save you money because you won’t be tempted to buy an extended service contract.  Check into this before you head out for Black Friday.

Load up on those deals and shop like a ninja with a great Black Friday strategy.

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Thanksgiving and Kids: How to Give Back

Thanksgiving

Tis the season and that means friends and family will be getting together for Thanksgiving.

But giving thanks is a concept that should include giving back and paying it forward. Here are some ways to show your kids how to do that this Thanksgiving.

First things first, though: Involve the whole family in deciding how they want to give back and where to do it best. Giving really is better than receiving.

Meals on Wheels

This great organization often needs extra hands and cars to get Thanksgiving dinner out to folks who are home bound.

Check out your local Meals on Wheels and see what you can do to help.

Church Turkey Drives

Many local churches have a turkey drive each year and they can always use another set of hands to help prepare and pack up.

From cooking to assembly to driving around, these organizations are great places to start to give back.

Charity Allowances

As part of your child’s allowance, you can start encouraging them to save for a charity. When their box or bank gets full, take it to the charity or bank it and send a check with a card.

Neighborhood Volunteering

Is your elderly neighbor in need of some leaf raking or dog walking? This is a great way to give back this Thanksgiving.

While they’re at it, encourage your kids to sit and chat with that neighbor who may not have anyone visit regularly.

Thanksgiving for the Troops

Find an organization that sends care packages to our troops overseas and get started making some yummy treats to go inside. This can even be an all holiday cookie box that can be done during a family fun baking day.

School Supplies

Check with your school to see if there’s a student need for those who can’t afford supplies and spend some time on Black Friday stocking up on pens, pencils and notebooks to help.

Host a Student

International students attending a local college need places to stay over the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a great chance for some cross culture experiences.

Gobble Gobble Give

If you live in or near New York, Vegas, Austin, San Francisco, LA and Santa Monica, Gobble Gobble Give is a great spur of the moment opportunity to give back. You and your child will get together with other residents to pack up hot meals as well as toiletries, clothes and blankets in care packages. Everyone is done by 1 PM to get home to your families for turkey and football.

Homeless Shelters

Head to a homeless shelter and help out serving Thanksgiving dinner to those less fortunate than you. Homelessness can happen any time to anyone and it is the season of kindness and caring.

Food Banks

Go through your pantry for items that you won’t use like cans of soup or canned vegetables. Pack them up and take them to your local food bank.

Opportunities to give back at Thanksgiving is limited only by your imagination. Roll up your sleeves, get your kids involved and be thankful.

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Mom Review: Too Cold to Play Outside? Try Wii Outdoor Challenge

I live in Montana and we are smack-dab in the middle of the coldest winter I've ever experienced here normally Montana is fairly mild...(mind you, I grew up in Minnesota so my definition of mild may be a bit skewed).

We had a weeklong stretch where the kids literally could not go outside due to frigid temps.  They were getting stir-crazy...and so was I.

That's what motivated me to purchase a Wii and Active Life Outdoor Challenge for Christmas - and since the weather didn't break...we opened it up early.

It was an instant hit with my kids (a four year old boy...and five year old girl).  The loved the jump-roping, log-jumping, outdoor trampoline & mine cart race.  I was literally giddy as I watched them run in place, jump and swing their arms & sweat!

We love the game so much that we spend each afternoon doing a family workout.  I do a 20 minute running, hurdle & jumping routine while the kids run in place & jump beside me.  After that, they challenge one another in a variety of games while I clean the house.

Pinch me.  I have a clean house...I am getting a quick workout...and I have exhausted kids at the end of the day.

Here is a promotional video for the game.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the game if you have it (comments section)...and if not - give it a try!  Trust me, it is well worth the $59.00 price tag!

Just What I Needed Today…A Free Household Management Chart

family-and-household-checklToday was one of those days that seem to be happening all too often lately.  I spend the day frantically running around...cleaning, errands, laundry, more cleaning...more laundry...etc...  only to end the day thinking I got absolutely nothing accomplished.

While surfing the web tonight...I found this site, "Mommyclub.ca" that offers free printable checklists (including my personal favorite which offers a checklist of things to do around the house).

I don't know about you...but sometimes I just like to be told what to do..and when to do it. =)

Simple & Fun Kids Activity – Milk & Dishsoap”Fireworks”

Ever since the Fourth of July...my kids have been begging to see a fireworks show again.  I remembered seeing a little note that was sent home from my daughter's summer camp showing how to make safe & fun "fireworks" from home.

It was a lot of fun..and a wonderful learning experience for the kids.  Y

You simply take 2 or three cups of milk...put it in a pan and let the kids add drops of food coloring randomly in the milk.

Then, allow the kids to put droplets of dishsoap on top of the drops of food coloring.  The reaction(caused by the milk-fat mixing with soap) looks like a mini fireworks show.

Our favorite part of this activity was watching the colors blend together.

Here are some photos of our fireworks show.  (The colors aren't nearly as vibrant as they are "live". =) )

Enjoy!

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Attention Children: The Bathroom Door is Closed

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Attention Children: The Bathroom Door is Closed! Author Unknown

Please do not stand here and talk, whine, or ask questions. Wait until I get out. Yes, it is locked. I want it that way. It is not broken.

I am not trapped. I know I have left it unlocked, and even open at times since you were born, because I was afraid some horrible tragedy might occur while I was in there, but it's been 10 years and I want some PRIVACY.

Do not ask me how long I will be. I will come out when I am done.

Do not bring the phone to the bathroom door. Do not go running back to the phone yelling: "She's in the BATHROOM!"

Do not begin to fight as soon as I go in. Do not stick your little fingers under the door and wiggle them. This was only funny when you were two.

Do not slide pennies, Legos, or notes under the door. Even when you were two, this got a little tiresome.

If you have followed me down the hall talking, and are still talking as you face this closed door, please turn around, walk away and wait for me in another room. I will be glad to listen to you when I am done.

Oh ... And yes, I still love you. Mom

What You Should & Shouldn’t Buy Organic

organicsA list of foods that you can safely buy non-organic, and things that you really should buy organic.

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