Friday, August 30, 2013

Wow! Summers have changed!

It seems to me like summers are changing quite a bit for children. I hope this isn't the case for all of them, and I hope it's something that we can un-do.

I know that I am lucky about the summers I spent as a child, and I thank God, and Dr. Bob (my dad) often for how easy I had it. We always went on a family vacation. As we got older, we were all allowed to bring a friend. Some vacations, like Cancun, were a huge success, while others, like any of the vacations where we drove, were awful. So we had the family vacation, that only occasionally resembled the Griswolds. I was in Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Holy Lands before the age of 10. Again, probably not great now, as I remember very little. We went to the 1984 Olympics, and Mary Lou Retton became my hero. I remember not minding family visits, thinking my older cousins were cool. So those were the vacations.

The time at home was a blast too. When we were younger, living in a particular neighborhood, all the kids hung around outside at night. We played Kick the Can and Hide and Seek (which was awesome, because we lived in a huge wooded area). I remember the entire neighborhood, parents included, coming out to cheer my brother on as he learned to ride a bike on our court. It must have felt great for him. These summer nights were fantastic. I'm sure our parents had cocktails, as we caught lightning bugs. There weren't really kids my age in that neighborhood, but I loved it still, as I tried my best to be included with the older kids.

We moved to a newer part of Bettendorf, Iowa when I was 8. I'm sure that you're laughing your ass off right now, but it's true-it was beautiful.  The best part about it was there were lots of friends for all three of us. The girl across the street became one of my best friends for years. We were further out of town, so seeing our other friends was difficult, but we lived on a golf course. When I was elementary school age, we would get up and walk to the club. We started with tennis lessons, then had golf lessons, followed by swimming lessons/swim team. We ate lunch at the snack bar, swam the rest of the day, and made it home in time for dinner, exhausted and sunburned. 

Obviously, we don't allow our children to get burnt to a crisp like our parents did, although I was glad that despite the sunblock, C. and H. have a bit if color as they return to school. 

I think another major change is that most of us have households where both parents work. I think that the huge family vacation, for most of us, is a thing of the past. C. and H. went to camp for almost the entire summer. They're still too young for sleep away camp, but they had fun for what it was. I will admit, that while I was glad that C. had some reading/writing time at his district run camp, I really wish he had spent more time outside playing kickball. He did have great swimming time though. H. had a blast at his camp, but I can say, at the age of 4, I have no idea what he did. He'll sing a song every once in a while, and he comes home rosy cheeked, filthy and happy. I guess that's how we can gage whether or not we got our money's worth.

If they had stayed home, we couldn't offer them a country club. In the last few weeks of summer, I've sent them outside, but none of the other kids are out until evening. The 8 year old girl who lives behind us wants the boys to bring their Nintendo DS's to the fence to play. How is that fun? It probably is for them, but I won't have it.

I realize that times have changed, but I refuse to let real soccer or tennis be replaced by the Wii versions. Luckily, my boys loved their week of soccer camp, and can't wait to start league play next week. 

I'm not against the Wii at all, but you can't replace going to the Olympics with the Mario/Sonic version. Ever.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The BEST product for little boys ever!

OK-so I realize that not everyone will agree with me on this, but I found one of the best products for little boys'.....stinky feet!!  Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes for Little Kids.  I REALLY wish I had discovered these earlier in the Summer, but oh well.  I found them on Birchbox.com, and they are amazing.

Birchbox describes these dirt and muck destroyers as, "Thinking back on summers as a kid brings back memories of riding bikes, playing tag, and eating ice cream as quickly as possible before it melted. The one thing we don’t remember? Ever being concerned about being a dirty, sticky mess. My how times have changed. These wipes, created specifically for kids, quickly clean and freshen up feet with all-natural ingredients. The pack of 10 wipes fits easily in your bag for on-the-go cleanups."

I have two sons, C. is 7, and H. is 4.  They both come home from camp every day this summer with the most disgusting feet.  For whatever reason, the dogs kept eating H.'s shoes, and we kept going back to TJ Maxx to buy Osh Kosh sandals/sneaker combos because his socks never made it home from camp if he was wearing his regular sneakers.  I didn't think it was possible for the feet of a 4 year old to ever smell so gross.  I have to admit that I thought we wouldn't have to deal with that until they had lacrosse or hockey gear. Yowza! That's probably why Snickers and Waffles kept breaking into the mud room to sneak them out.  Baby wipes got the dirt off the feet, but not the smell.  I tried soap, stuffing the shoes with dryer sheets, you name it, but nothing helped.  I found these on my last (ummm.....almost weekly) "necessity visit" to Birchbox.  The wipes are made especially for kids, and are grapefruit scented.  The boys don't mind them at all, and I have to say that we've wiped (hahaha) out the gross, stinky, nasty smell in addition to the dirt, just in time for new school sneakers and socks.  

I will seriously never be without these again.  They are antibacterial and alcohol free, and they will come in handy as we're about to start karate and tumbling.  Seriously, you'll never want to use a baby wipe on your kids feet again!

*Disclaimer-I purchased these on my own, and received no compensation for my review.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

The First Day of School!

I cannot believe that today was the first day of school! Maybe it's because we stayed in Cleveland, and didn't take a vacation, but it just doesn't seem like summer should be over.

C. and H. were so excited to go back to school though. I know that won't be the case as they get older, so it's pretty special now. C. started 2nd grade with a missing front tooth that he lost Sunday night. Actually, I'm glad-I was starting to get a little worried that he lost his two front bottom teeth a year ago, and then nothing at all. Plus, he looks so cute with the little gap. I secretly hope his permanent tooth hasn't grown in by picture day. M.'s mom gave C. the tooth fairy pillow that was M.'s when he was little. It was so sweet how excited he was!

H. will continue at the private school for pre-k, and then he'll have to leave. It's only girls from kindergarten through 12th. There was a group of about 5 boys in the same class last year. They were pretty rowdy, and M. and I think it's interesting that they have all been split up this year. I'm sure it's difficult for the early child education teachers-I can imagine they came to the school thinking, "oh, I'll be with only girls, and it will be quiet, etc..." Nope-they got H. and his crew! I know he'll have a great year.

That's about it for a Monday here. I'm looking for a job, so it was nice to have the house quiet, and not to be getting up from the computer every few minutes to break out arguments and to fill juice cups! I'm actually looking to combine my two areas of interest, and I'm applying to be a cosmetic company trainer.

I hope everyone had a great Monday. If your kiddos started school, how did their first day go?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

August Popsugar Must Have

August was a great month for Popsugar. While they officially started their subscription box a year ago in July, August was their official anniversary box. I don't think I've ever been disappointed in a Popsugar box. In case you didn't read my subscription box post (I totally get it, I'm new-ish to the blogging world), Popsugar Must Have is a lifestyle box, so you get a variety of items.  I almost always peak at online spoilers, but I still open every box like it's my birthday!


Pretty great, right?? Each month, you get a foldout card that explains each product. The team in charge of picking the "must haves" seriously have the best job ever. These aren't ridiculous things either. Remember when a certain starlet came up with her Summer Must Haves, and they totaled something like $50,000?  This isn't like that!!

 The first item was Popsugar's birthday gift to its subscribers. It didn't disappoint me at all! It is a beautifully simple gold necklace from Gorjana. I haven't worn much yellow gold in years, but I'm so into it now! I'm glad to have a cute piece to wear. Popsugar gave subscribers a bracelet and a discount code a few months ago, and I'm finding that I love their pieces.


The next item in the August box was a Bentgo Bento box. I've been wanting a bento box, so this made me really happy. I received the box in blue, and it's totally cute. It's microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. Hopefully this will help me eat healthier at lunch. There are even websites dedicated to making a bento lunch. So excited!!


The next item is a shower gel, which I'm days away from needing. This shower gel is by Lulah. I've never heard of this brand, which is rare for this product junkie!! The scent is Orchid Vanilla. It's pretty strong, but it smells wonderful. It will be interesting to see how long the scent lasts. My husband, M. usually uses my shower gel, because I normally pick something fruity. We'll see if he likes this one. I went on the company's website, which is always fun to do when I learn about a new line.
The next item I opened is totally "me." It's an adorable weekly planner/notebook by May Books. It has an adorable turquoise chevron print-totally trendy. I think it's funny that the motto of May Designs is "People Against Ugly Notebooks." I use an electronic calendar, but this will be great to keep in my bag for "at a glance" scheduling. My boys are getting older, and will have soccer, swimming, etc, and M. is traveling quite a bit for work now, so I think this will be really helpful for this visual learner.
So, this next item, I find particularly posh, and I'm impressed to find it in a subscription box that is $35/month. Obviously, the items I've already shown already total a greater amount than that, but this is just so pretty. It's an apple shaped bowl from Lunares. It just makes me smile. It reminds me of a trip that I took with my parents when I was 14. I was interviewing at boarding schools in New England, and my parents took me to NYC. While we were there, my dad bought my mom a glass apple from Steuben. It's so simple and pretty, and it brings back a happy memory. Anyhow-this apple bowl will be a piece that I display (somewhere away from accident prone sons and crazy dogs).
So, I've already mentioned my product obsession. I was tickled to open a cleansing duo from Dermalogica. It has a cleansing gel and a precleanse. I've never used a precleanse before, but I'm happy to give it a shot. It's more of an oil that you then follow up with a gel. It's supposed to get your face cleaner, which is why I use a brush, but hey, I'm totally anxious to try it out. I've got drier skin, so this may help out with that.
The final item in the box is considered to be a "special extra," as it actually comes from another subscription box service. It's a bag of dried Granny Smith apples from Naturebox. I like it that the bag isn't tiny, so we'll be able to actually give them a try. There is also a coupon for half off your first box if you subscribe.
So, I thought August was fantastic. Everyone's tastes are different, so it's always interesting to hear the opinions of other subscribers. If you'd like to try Popsugar Must Have, you can click here http://popsu.gr/GBt. Also, if you enter "refer5" as the promotion code, you'll get $5 off your first box. You won't be unhappy!

*Disclaimer-I purchased this box myself, and I received no compensation for my review.