A 24 Day Challenge

My weight and I have been in a battle for as long as I can remember.

And it’s not fun.

As an adult my weight has fluctuated between a high of 240 pounds and a low of 125.

I like myself at  about 135. I feel good, my clothes fit well. I try not to go by a number, but that seems to be the weight that I truly feel good. I’m not one to step on a scale daily or even weekly. To be honest, I like to avoid the scale and go by how my favorite pair of jeans fit.

Over the last month or so, I’ve notice that my clothes are not hanging quite right. My favorite jeans a a bit snug. My face looked a bit rounder. I said a quick Hail Mary then took a deep breath and stepped on the scale.

Yea, I put it out there. I’m showing my honest, no fudging, really really true weight.

(covering face with a blanket and whimpering)

Why? Because I have been given an amazing opportunity to try the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. Not only do I get to try, Jimmy gets to try with me! Yay for not doing it alone!!!

Advocare 24 Day Challenge is not a diet or a miracle fat melter.

It is a jump start to a healthier lifestyle.

And y’all are going to help keep me on track! I will be posting once a week with an update of how it is going and my thoughts. Jimmy will be popping in with guest posts also.

I am so excited for my box with all the awesome Advocare goodies to get here! :)

Days 1-10 Cleanse Phase:

The first ten days are about cleansing your body of toxins and preparing for optimal nutrient absorption, and you may enjoy weight loss as well!

Days 11-24 Max Phase

Give your body the best tools you need to achieve your next weight management goal during days 11-24!*

Mushrooms? Seriously?

When someone says the word “mushroom”, the first image that comes to my mind is the can of button mushrooms we always had in the house while I was growing up. They were slimy. They were salty. They had a strange texture. I did not like. Now that I’m the grown up, mushrooms have not been a part of my culinary repertoire. There have been times while walking in the produce department that my eye has strayed to the displays of fresh mushrooms. They certainly didn’t look like the ones I ate while growing up. They actually looked pretty interesting. But all I knew how to do with mushrooms was open the can, dump into spaghetti sauce, then pick them back out before eating. So I kept walking.

Recently I was contacted by The Mushroom Council, a group of U.S. mushroom growers. They are promoting National Nutrition Month (March) as the perfect time to “get your plate in shape” with mushrooms.

Mushrooms huh?

The hook? 

“Increasing the intake of lower calorie foods, specifically mushrooms, in place of those higher in calories, like ground beef, can be an effective method for reducing calories and fat while still feeling full and satisfied after a meal. This approach of replacing some ground beef, turkey or other meat with mushrooms is known as “swapability.” It works because mushrooms’ hearty texture and rich flavor allow them to blend seamlessly with meats. The mushroom and meat “swapability” technique is an economical way to make family meals more nutritious and works great in family favorites like lasagna, burgers, tacos or chili.”

Swapping some of the meat? That sounds pretty interesting. 

Mushrooms and Meat: The Perfect Partner

Replacing some of the ground beef, turkey, or other meat with mushrooms is an easy technique called “swapability”

Mushrooms’ hearty texture and flavor make them compatible with meats both as a complement or replacement

Swapping in mushrooms for a portion of the higher-calorie ingredients, like meat, in a dish reduces calories, fat and sodium without compromising on flavor

The “swapability” approach is an economical way to make family meals more nutritious

This simple three-step “swapability” strategy is perfect for family favorites like burgerslasagna pizza, chili – or any dish that calls for ground meat:

o    Chop up your favorite mushroom variety to match the consistency of the ground beef or turkey;

o    Cook and season mushrooms the same way you would meat;

o    Combine the cooked meat and mushrooms and use the mix to complete your recipe.

I think I could try this. It sounds easy enough, and they provided links to several recipes.

RECIPES:

Crab and Mushroom Cakes with Chipotle Aioli

Mushroom Burger Wrap

Cremini and Pork Meatballs

Chocolate Chili

Mushroom Flatbread

Almost Lasagna

Mushroom and Beef Bulgogi Tacos

Chocolate Chili? I am willing to try anything that starts with the word  “chocolate”. Heh heh. Mushroom Council – Your challenge is accepted!

Using half my normal amount of ground beef.

Beefy

Next I carmalized the onions.

While the onions were doing their thing, I contemplated the next step. What do I do with these?

I chopped, and took a deep breath, and added them in.

The mushroom/beef mix. It smells really, really good!

Then I added in the beans, tomato sauce and spices.

Then I did this. Oh yes I did.

I simmered for about 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. That is such an awesome word. Meld. 

Verdict? Total yum! Do you see that happy face? No, really, it IS his happy face. He’s 17, this is ecstatic. Teen boys don’t show much emotion. This is a recipe that will have a solid place in our menus…..and…..I WILL try a few more mushroom swaps. 

Interested in learning more? Join us at a Twitter party on Monday, March 12th at 8:00 PM EST. The event hashtag is #Mushrooms and there will be prizes awarded. (US and Canada, 18+). RSVP is available at: http://resourcefulmommy.com/8634/mushroom-channel-twitter-party/

 

{{Mommy Rambles was compensated for this post by the Mushroom Council and Global Influence, but the yum was all mine!!}}

 

A 2nd look at Lupus from #Clever2ndMD #spon

Thank you to 2nd.MD for providing me with a $200 stipend to test-drive this revolutionary online medical service.

It’s no secret to my readers that I have Lupus.

Lupus is bullshit. In a normal body, the immune system is an amazing machine. It identifies bad stuff (virus, infection…) and attacks it.

Bing. Bang. Pow. Done.

In a person with Lupus, the immune system thinks it’s own body is the bad stuff. The immune system launches an attack on the offender. It’s self. And it sucks. Sometimes it attacks the skin, sometimes the kidneys, sometimes even the brain.

My Lupus, that I have nicknamed “stupid lupus” or SL for short, thought it would be awesome to go after my brain a couple years ago. Whoa nelly, that was some fun.

Seriously, that was a bad time. Luckily I have a really great, traditional doctor that has been on this SL road with me for the last 4 years. He recognized what was going on and quickly sent me off to UW for several other consults with the top docs in the area. They all worked together and halted the damage SL (or in this case Central Nervous System Stupid Lupus) was doing to my brain.

Unfortunately, they way they stopped the attack on my brain was by using a super-strong, ninja-kick-your-butt immunosupessant. Immunosupressants work just like they sound they would. They suppress your immune system. Which is awesome if your immune system is busy kicking the crap out of your brain. Not so awesome in day to day life when surrounded by sneezing kids and coughing adults. The immunosuppressant I am currently on also has the side effect of making me feel like I am always sick to my tummy. Not cool.

I love my doc, I really do, but he is very traditional. He sticks with what he has worked with for a long time and feels comfortable with. It is also somewhat awkward to bring up different therapies with him. I have been on my ninja-kicking immunosuppressants for 2 years. And at times I wonder if I am always so sick because of them. I am ready to try something new, but I wanted to have more information before broaching the subject with my current doctor.

When given the opportunity to try 2ndMD, I jumped at it.

The concept is simple. Video appointments with top doctors around the country. No referrals, no traveling, no long waits. Log on. Make an appointment, see your doctor!

Check out this video: Peace of Mind – http://vimeo.com/24934042

I made my account, logged on and looked at the available specialists for Lupus.

After reading the extensive bios for each doc, I chose Dr. Chaudhary. Making my appointment was simple. I chose the times that would work for ME, then I received an email letting me know which of MY available times would also work for the doctor. Talk about convenience!

I logged in to the virtual waiting room on the day of my appointment and at 2pm right on the dot, Dr. Chaudhary appeared on my screen.

I was having a virtual doctor appointment! Dr. Chaudhary asked several questions and listened to each of my concerns. He was calm, patient and explained several complimentary therapies I could try. He even suggested an antiacid taken with my ninja-kick med. Simple. He brought up a couple supplements I had not thought to try. He asked about diet, about my sun exposure (a no-no for lupus) and exercise. He also discussed a couple other ninja-kick medications that would have the immunosupressant power but might be easier on my tummy. The entire conversation was calm and low key. I felt very comfortable with the process.

I logged out of the 2nd.md website after the appointment and almost immediately received an email notification that Dr. Chaudhary had posted a note.

After my appointment on 2nd.md, I have several new ideas and options that I will be bringing up with my regular doctor at our next appointment.

My appointment had a fee of $120. That seems like a lot until I really thought about it. We live in a somewhat rural area. Most specialists are in Seattle and a trip over to see the specialists = all day trip. Here is a breakdown: Gas $15.00, ferry fee to and from Seattle $25.00, lunch $25.00, babysitter since I won’t be back to meet the bus $15.00, co-pay of $30.00. That’s $110 and a whole day wasted!

I would not hesitate to contact 2nd MD in the future for a specialist consult.

My John Hancock

Thank you again to 2nd.MD for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about 2nd.MD. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #Clever2ndMD #spon

Sharing a cup of joy and a giveaway #PeetsCoffee #Cbias

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to try Peet’s Coffee for the first time. That stuff is GOOD! Now, just in time for the holiday and for gift giving, I thought we would give Peet’s Holiday Blend a try.

You can follow along on my shopping trip HERE.

Once I had this yummy coffee in my hands, my next mission was to try and figure out for whom to make a gift of coffee.

You know how I love my coffee.

And I love giving gifts.

Giving the gift of coffee? Yes please!

Gosh, who can I chose to give a gift of coffee to? I want to give the gift of Peet’s Coffee to more than just one person.

What if instead of giving the gift of coffee I gave the gift of something made with the coffee? Then I could give the gift to many people!

Yes!

I am going to make Peet’s Coffee shortbread cookies. Can you say yum???

I have all my ingredients, ready to go.

Look at this amazing Peet’s Coffee! I wish you could smell this!

Have you ever tried the ziplock method? Talk about easy!

Cut into cute squares. The coffee is so aromatic, it really smells amazing while baking.

Cooling. It wouldn’t hurt to sneak one… Or two….

Packaging up, with cute ribbons.

I can’t wait to hand these out! Peet’s Coffee makes more than just a great cup of coffee, it is perfect to cook with!

Would you like to win a Peet’s Coffee gift pack worth $75?? I thought so….

Mandatory Entry

Hop on over to Peet’s and then come back here and tell me what blend of Peet’s you would most like to try. (One entry per person)

Extra Entries

“Like” Mommy Rambles on Facebook then leave me a separate comment below telling me you did so. (one extra entry per person)

“Share” this giveaway on Facebook  using the buttons below. Then leave me a comment below telling me that you did. (one extra entry per person)

This giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 9th, 2011. I will use Random.org to chose a winner from all comments. Winner will be contacted. Even though there are several #PeetsCoffee giveaways are running right now, each person can only win once in the #PeetsCoffee Holiday giveaway.

“This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias However all opinions and yummy cookies are my own”

My John Hancock

Reach for the sky!

This past Sunday we did something I did not think we would ever be able to do.

We reached for the sky….

When our oldest three children were younger, we thoroughly enjoyed attending events and special productions. Fireworks, movies, concerts, even amusement parks. It was fun for all of us and made for some amazing family memories.

But then Faith was born and things got a lot more complicated. Suddenly we had to factor in so much more into “simple” family fun.

Would the time interfere with medication schedules?

Did it involve any waiting?

Loud noises?

Bright lights?

How fast could we get out if needed?

One of the places you DON’T want to be with a child in sensory overload, screaming, thrashing, and vomiting is on a tiny passenger ferry in the middle of Charleston Harbor. Trust me on this one.

Faith is 8 now and we have made some great leaps this year. Her ability to reason has increased greatly. Imaging trying to reason with a 2 year old and a 3 year old. You can fa-get-ta-bout-it with the 2 year old, but you might, just might have a slim chance with the 3 year old. This year Faith has been more like a three year old.

When we were given the chance to see Disney on Ice – Toy Story 3, my knee jerk reaction was “No”. We don’t DO things like that.

But then a tiny, probably heavily medicated, part of me thought….”Why not try….?”

We chose not to tell Faith about our upcoming adventure. We know that time is very hard for her to understand and if she is anticipating an event, it becomes an obsession. She will hyper focus on the event and to be honest….make it pretty miserable for all around her.

The morning of the event (We chose the 11:30 showing since it would not interfere with any medications) we told her that we needed to get dressed and she needed to choose a few toys to take in our special travel bag because we were heading to the city. We reassured her that we were not going to the doctor and that it was just a fun trip. She willingly got in the car – that can be a challenge at times – first hurdle cleared!

She was anxious during the ride to Kent because going in the car on a Sunday morning is not part of our normal routine.

The drive to Showare Center is about 1 1/2 hours. Right at the very end we began to lose her. She was starting to stim and repeat “comfort” phrases. That usually means we are at critical mass and about to explode. Right as she began make the squeaky noises that we know precede a full blown meltdown she spotted this:

“It’s Jessie! It’s Woody! It’s Buzz! Mommy look! Look! Look!”

As we pulled into Showare, we hung Faith’s handicap tag up and were immediately directed to the handicap parking. Easy and fast. As we stopped, a parking attendant approached the car to make sure we were ok and could handle unloading. What great service! At this point we chose to not bring in Faith’s wheelchair. The distance to the door was manageable and we felt that Faith was rested enough to manage that walk. We walked to “Will Call”. It was a very short, easy to manage walk and we encountered no line.

However, by the time we reached Will Call, Faith was struggling. At that point I asked at the window if we could change our seats to ones with no steps to help Faith as much as possible. I offered to show the ticket person our disabled card but she didn’t need to see it. After a small switcheroo, we had our ADA seats and we entered.

The lights and noise and general commotion caused some hesitancy at first. Faith was moving slowly and seemed very anxious.  In order to refocus and direct her I used the old parenting standby…..the bribe.

Look! A Jessie dolly! Just what you were going to ask Santa for! Would you like one? 

She handled the commotion around the vendor very well and even, with some prompting, asked for the Jessie all by herself.

Jessie in hand we resumed our walk to our ADA seats. The directions and signs were very clear and we found the right section with no issues. As soon as we showed our tickets, the usher walked us right to our area and made sure we had what we needed to be comfortable.

At this point she was calm but it became apparent that we were on thin ice. Lots of yelling, excited children, vendors walking around with spinning lights and food, loud music. Faith began to hyper focus on the hats for sale. It seemed that every kid there was either wearing a Woody or a Jessie hat.

“Where’s my hat? Mom? Where’s my hat? Dad? Where’s my hat…….”

Don’t judge me.

When the lights went down, she reached for my hand. Scared but excited. The bright lights were not too much of a distraction and while they did move around a lot, did not seem to bother her as much as I thought they might. The music and voices were at a loud, yet tolerable level. She only had to cover her ears a couple times. And her wonder….her wonder was infectious.

“Look! It’s my toys! They came to alive!”

My only real complaint about this entire day is this….this picture below is what the view is for a handicap child who is unable to stand up for any length of time. This is what Faith’s view was:

The ADA seating was right at the ice, however there were several additional rows of seats actually on the ice. And the children in those seats, like the rest of the arena, were encouraged to stand and dance part way through the show. Once they rose from their seats, the ADA seating was blocked. Faith was able to see tiny snitches and glimpses of the show, but since she was unable to stand, she mostly listened.

The voices were dead on for the movie and the story line was right on with parts of all three movies. The special effects were fun and not scary. The “fog” was not overpowering and did not have a funny smell. The cast tried very hard to engage the crowd and made a point to wave and smile at the kids (who could see….).

As we exited she saw a flyer for Phineas and Ferb On Ice. A little voice beside me asked….”Can we see Perry?”

Maybe kiddo…..

{disclosure: Mommy Rambles was given tickets to Disney on Ice – Toy Story 3. However I was not asked to write a review and all thoughts and opinions are my own}

My John Hancock

My first bloggity thing – part 2. I did it! #ACTIgames4girls

Part 2:

If  you have been following my adventures so far….

Thanks for reading! You are awesome!

BIG GROUP HUG! Mwah!

So, we made it to the Hyatt, handed the (please don’t run out of gas) van over to the valet and after taking a deep breath…walked inside.

We found the elevator and made it to the right floor. Then we proceeded to try and join the veterinarian conference also taking place on that floor.

Uhhh…wrong group.

A very sweet waiter pointed us to the right conference room.

Walking through those giant, fancy-schmancy doors was one of the scariest things I’ve done.

OMG. OMG. OMG. I can’t do this. I can’t not do this. I can’t do this.

Then I’m pretty sure Alane pushed me inside.

 I must have been sporting the “deer in the headlights” look because as soon as Jenny spotted me, she  came right over and gave me a hug.

You have NO idea how much I needed that.

Ok, I’m through the doors, still breathing, I have a few familiar faces….

You know the scene when the new kid goes to the empty cafeteria table? Yeah. That was me.

But it’s all good….because I was there!

Now on to the important stuff, why the heck was I there anyway?

The Activision Games For Girls Summit is exactly what it sounds like. A summit of people, mostly moms, getting together to talk about video games for girls. This particular summit focused on 6 games in particular: LalaloopsyZooblesWappy Dog, ZhuZhu BabiesMoshi Monsters: Moshling ZooSquinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize! . I will review the details about each game one by one in upcoming posts. During the summit we learned quite a bit about the positive side of gaming for girls. Some of the facts that stood out the most to me…

  •  Games provide us with the 4 ingredients that make for a happy meaningful life
    • Satisfying work
    • Real hope for success
    • Strong social connections
    • A chance to become a part of something bigger than ourselves
  • Games create a positive mindset and making them more resilient in the face of failure
    • Gamers spend 80% of their time failing
    • We like and trust someone after we’ve played a game with them
    • More likely to help someone in real life after we’ve helped them in an online game
    • 40% of time on Facebook is spent playing social games

(40%????? Really? Wow, that’s a lot of Mafia Wars and Farmville!)

Video games aren’t just hard, they’re adaptively hard

  • Keep people at the edge of their abilities and push them further
  • Adaptive challenge is stunningly powerful for learning, according to John Gabrieli, a neuroscientist at MIT.
  •  Faster reaction times
  • Increased hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity
  • Increased spatial skills
  • Ability to divide and switch attention, pay attention to more than one object/person

Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life study (Feb 2011): girls who play video games with a parent enjoyed a number of advantages.

  • Behave better
  • Feel more connected to their families
  • Have stronger mental health
Did you know all that? I had no idea. I just knew that Faith had a lot of fun playing. :)
Watch for some FUN giveaways in the coming weeks!
Want one?
{Mommy Rambles received a bag of goodies at the Activision Games for Girls event. I was not asked to write about my experience, nor was I compensated for this campaign.} 

My first bloggity thing- Part 1 – What an adventure! #ActivisionGames4Girls

Part 1:

When I began this adventure about a year ago, I didn’t know where it would lead.

Faith was in need of a new car seat, but due to her size, she had outgrown all conventionally produced seats. That narrowed my choices from 4000 seats, to about 4 special needs seats.

To be honest, not a one was cute, or looked confortable. But how would I know…..I could not find any real reviews.

“Real-life, this is my kid, in my car and this is what I think of the seat and this is what my kid thinks of the seat.”

If I am spending upwards of $2000 to keep my  special needs child safe, at least give me more information than a boring line-by-line fact sheet. I want to know what other real moms, of real special needs kids, think of it.

I was never able to find real reviews on any of the seats, and we had to make a choice based on pictures.

That got the wheels turning….

I had been blogging since 2005 but I felt it was time to add more elements in. If I was searching, and failing, to find information on how products work for special needs families, it was also happening to other special needs families.

I did an informal poll on my personal blog, and of my Twitter and Facebook peeps. Would a review blog focusing on how products work for special needs families interest you? The response was overwhelming and immediate.

YES!

Armed with that knowledge, and on coffee wishes and valuim dreams, Mommy Rambles began.

I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, I just try and do right by you, the loyal readers who I hope I am helping. I try to show you parts of our life, good and bad, and try to get to know you, my readers.

What this recap is leading into is….. Today I was invited to, and actually attended my first Bloggity Thingy.

I have severe social anxiety. Awful!

I am scared to drive. Terrified.

When the invite to Activision Games for Girls Summit arrived, my first response was ….no. I can’t. I can’t drive there. I can’t walk into a room with people I don’t know. I just can’t.

But a tiny, probably heavily drugged, part of me said….”You have to.”

If I want to keep Mommy Rambles on the right track, moving into bigger and better things, to be able to help you, my readers, find out the information you need, then I need to take the next step. I needed to step out of my comfort zone and actually start meeting people.

This was the perfect place to start. I knew the wonderful lady I was invited by, Jenny. I knew that one of my close friends Alane was going. I could do this…..I could……

Oh goodness…..what did I get myself into?

The day before the Activision Games for Girls Summit, I received the dreaded call from the school. Faith was sick, throwing up, and I needed to come pick her up. Right Now. And she needed to be out for at least 24 hours.

I managed to get our respite care worker scheduled to cover from 9 to 3. Which is all fine and good, but I needed to leave at 8:45 to catch the ferry…. Hubby looked at his schedule and was sure he could sneak home from 8:30-9

The morning of the summit arrived and my tummy was in knots. I was ready to back out. I felt a major panic attack just moments away. 8:30 – no hubby. 8:45 – no hubby. If I didn’t leave at 8:45 I ran a risk of missing the ferry! Full panic starts now. 8:50 hubby calls…stuck at work. (Deep calming breathes….I can do this. No I can’t.) 9am the respite worker arrives. I literally run out the garage door as she walks in.

Crap, crap, crap….I am late. So late. And WHAT THE HECK? My van is on Empty. My GPS says we have 15 miles to go. I’m not proud of it, but I have driven 20 miles with my gas light on before so I think I can make it to the Hyatt 8, then get gas afterwards. Right? Right?

I stopped by to pick up Alane. Knowing how late we were, and how close I was to a nervous breakdown, she did her best to keep the conversation flowing. She also spent the ride to the ferry terminal talking in the “soft, soothing, everything is fine, ooooommmmmm” kind of voice usually reserved for dangerous people holding weapons.

With 2 minutes before sail time, we got through the ticket booth, flew up to the holding line, and watched the gates close.

We missed the ferry!

We did some rerouting, Google mapping and plain ol’ cursing and came to the realization that the fastest route to get us to Seattle would be to just stay right here and wait for the next ferry.

Okie-dokie. Put in a movie for kiddo, got our electronics charging for the trip, got the car warm and waited. While we were waiting, Alane briefly mentioned something about her battery having died in the ferry line. Whatever…my Scarlett had never failed me before. The conversation was good, the tweets were good, the movie was good, the next ferry arrived and unloaded right on schedule. My anxiety level was waaaaay down. I COULD do this.

Then the movie stopped, then my GPS stopped. Oh nooooooooo! 

My battery was dead. In the ferry line. Seconds from loading.

I jumped out of the van and ran to the car next to us. It happened to contain the sweetest older guy. He was so sweet that I want to adopt him and keep him as my grandpa.

He helped us jump the van in literally minutes. Less than 5 minutes later we rolled onto the ferry and were on our way. Thank you Grilled Cheesus, thank you!

I spent most of the ferry ride calming my racing heart and reassuring myself that I COULD do this. Every cell in my body wanted to turn around and just go home, but dang it….I needed to do this to help my blog grow. And make the connections I needed to make in order to keep reviewing the products that my readers are looking for.

As we approached the Seattle ferry dock, the adrenaline started. Would the van start? Would we have enough gas to get to the Hyatt 8? When I reached my van down on the car deck, who should be there? Sweet guy I want to adopt as my grandpa. He wanted to make sure the van started. (Can I please hunt him down and keep him? Does that sound too stalkerish and strange?)

I said a quick Hail Mary and…..Scarlett started right up!

Perfect! This day was turning around! We made it to Seattle, the GPS was locked on to the Hyatt 8, we were only going to be 10 minutes late!

Docked….cars rolling off into the wilds of Seattle….but…our lane wasn’t moving. Dang it people, I have things to do, fears to get over, challenges to overcome…..why are we NOT unloading?

Because the car in front of us broke down.

Of Course.

A multitude of muscular Ferry workers appeared out of nowhere and finally pushed the car far enough out of the way that those of us stuck behind could drive around and off.

Then I was doing it. I was driving in Seattle. Alane did resume her calm speech and helpful directions and…..we made it! We pulled into valet parking, handed over my keys, said another prayer to Grilled Cheesus that my van would not run out of gas while the valet was parking it, took a calming breath and headed to my very first Bloggy Thingy!

My John Hancock

I switched your coffee #PeetsCoffee #Cbias

Alaskans can tell fine differences in snow.

Wisconsinites can wax poetic about cheese

Texans can tell you all about the finer points of barbecue.

Floridians can spot all the different types of tourists.

I’m in Washington. What do we know?

COFFEE!

We know the coffee. And the rain, but this particular post is about the coffee.

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I love coffee and hate when I run out. Coffee is my mommyjuice. It gets me up in the mornings, it keeps me company in the afternoons, it keeps me awake in the evenings. It is my love. My muse. My get up and go. My hand warmer, my forehead cooler. If you were to take a DNA analysis of me, I’m sure at least one part would be related to the coffee bean.

I was pretty excited when I was given the chance to try Peet’s Coffee.Peet’s is a brand that we have not tried yet. I was planning on pulling an old-fashioned coffee switch on my husband. I wasn’t going to tell him when or how, I just was.

But, as is often the case in our family, things took a different turn.

Faith has not been feeling well. Her Familial Mediterranean Fever cycle began. She was grumpy and feverish.  One of the few things that help her feel better during the cycle is hanging out in the bathtub. Since she can not run a bath, or even undress herself, she can’t be left alone in the tub. What that also means is that I spend my time hanging out in the bathroom also. Whoo-hoo. Not.

One morning she woke up extra grumpy. She wanted to rest in the tub NOW. Not after my coffee and breakfast. Not after I had a chance to get out of my jammies. NOW. So I got the water running, got the kiddo in the tub, and yelled down to Jimmy to please….please….PLEASE….bring me up a cup of coffee.

Little did I know, Jimmy had a Peet’s Coffee “Coffee Switch” of his own planned.

Jimmy made my coffee exactly how I like it. With one pump of sugar free caramel syrup and a hearty splash of creamer. I knew right away what he had done! The Peet’s coffee was a bigger, bolder flavor than my usual K-Cup. I usually drink Coffee People Donut House. It’s a medium roast that tends toward the lighter side. The Peet’s was a more intese, richer flavor. I really enjoyed the taste and it was a perfect start to our day.

What fun! I thought I was going to switch his coffee, and instead, he switched mine!

Follow along as I go on the hunt for Peet’s Coffee.

How do you usually take your coffee?

If you are interested in trying Peet’s Coffee for yourself, here is a $3 off coupon. http://bit.ly/peetscoupon

{This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All thoughts and opinions are my own.}

My John Hancock

Guest Post by JustPlainJ – Neutrogena ® Wet Skin Sunscreen Review {can be applied to wet skin}

I was recently given the opportunity to try the new Neutrogena® Wet Skin sunscreen.  The name alone immediately grabbed my attention since for me sunscreen has been a bit of a frustration. I sweat, and not just a little and always. I know I should be using sunscreen but since it has always been such a hassle (apply to dry skin) I have more often not been remiss in my use.  And then comes the reapply after swimming, excessive perspiration, or extended sun exposure.

Why Do I Need Sunscreen At All, I Don’t Burn

Let’s start out by pointing out that sunscreen is needed to protect the skin from damaging UV rays from the sun.  From the American Cancer Society, …research studies link skin cancer with sun exposure on unprotected skin.  Now there are two types of UV rays that are responsible for this damage – UVA and UVB.  UVA rays penetrate more deeply than UVB and are the cause of premature skin agin while UVB are the primary cause of sunburns.  “To reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging, dermatologists continue to recommend generously applying a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen – that protects against both types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) – with an SPF 30 or higher, in conjunction with other sun-safe practices…” said Ronald L. Moy, MD, FAAD, president of American Academy of Dermatology.

What Makes This Neutrogena® Sunscreen Different From The Rest

Paraphrasing from the Neutrogena® website; All sunscreens are not created equal.  In some sunscreens, UVA protection begins to break down the moment your skin is exposed to the sun.  Avobenzone is one of the best FDA-approved UVA blockers, but it is highly unstable when exposed to sunlight.  Neutrogena® was the first in the US market to introduce sun protection in which the Avobenzone was stabilized using Oxybenzone and DEHN, providing better, longer protection from those harmful UVA rays.  This was the beginning of their Helioplex® technology.  Today it encompasses additional technologies and ingredients while continuing to provide the same benefits of stabilized sun protection.  Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena is the only line of sunscreen utilizing Helioplex® technology.

And now they have gone beyond that with the new Wet Skin line – the first line of sunblock designed to be applied directly to wet (read sweaty also) skin.  It sprays on easily, cuts through the water and forms a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protective barrier.   With this I have very little excuse not to apply the sunscreen, before, and even during, my times outside.  It is simple enough – a quick spray and then I’m off.  The new Wet Skin line works both on wet and dry skin, does not drip or turn white when applied to wet skin, contains broad-spectrum UV protection, and has a gentle hypoallergenic formula.  You can see that the protective barrier is there as the water beads up and rolls off.  Seems that Neutrogena® is onto something with their new line.


 The Review

Right after I purchased my Neutrogena® Wet Skin at our local WalMart I had a perfect opportunity to give it a try, I was manning the VIP gate at the local rodeo.  (You can walk with me through my shopping experience at WalMart by following my link to my This Moment (This WILL open in a new Window))  The Wet Skin is a spray sunscreen, and that is also something new to me.  The bottle is very easy to operate, sprays out consistently and has very good coverage.  The spray smelled different from most other sunscreens I have tried; and it dissipated rapidly.  I suppose that could just be the smell of the propellent combined with the scent of the sunscreen.  The sunscreen absorbs in quickly leaving behind a slight sheen.  You can “see” the protective barrier it forms and feel a slight residue without the greasy feeling that oils give.  Rather than spraying on the face, I recommend spraying a bit on the hands and then applying that to your face.  It applies very easily to the top of the head for those of us with follicle-free zones (or a standard military high-and-tight).  Over the last five days it has performed very well.  It offers long-lasting protection even though there was quite a bit of sweating going on.  Overall I am highly impressed with this new product and I highly recommend the new Wet Skin sunscreen the next time your life takes you out into the sun.  Remember that sunscreen is important even on overcast days to protect you from those UVA rays and their skin damaging effects.  My thanks to Mommy Rambles for giving me this space.

As of this writing Neutrogena is offering $2 off Wet Skin, so be sure to sign up on their web site, get your coupon and share with your friends.  Register at this link:

https://www.neutrogena.com/sp/specialoffer/sun_save2/coupon-register.do

LIKE Johnson & Johnson on Facebook

LIKE Neutrogena on Facebook

LIKE WalMart on Facebook

**This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions stated are my own.**

New vocabulary and a request

In the past week since Daisy has joined our already crazy household, we have all picked up a few new words and phrases.

Mushers Secret

Dehydrated Firm Up

Clicker

and the most common one….

Oh my gosh she shredded it!

Daisy is a voracious chewer. Even things that are supposed to be for “vigorous chewers” are in pieces. Little, tiny pieces. I can honestly say I had no idea how much stuffing some small toys had. Or maybe it just looks like much more when it is spread all over my living room.

So far the only two toys that have survived are boiled wool balls for fetch and a black Kong. The balls are not actively “chewed”, but lightly mouthed as she is returning them to us and the Kong, well, she doesn’t really like it. I put some cream cheese into it today and popped it in the freezer in hopes of inciting her to like it more than she likes McDonalds Smurfs.

My question to you my wise readers…

What toys can I try? HELP!

My John Hancock