Posts Tagged ‘Family and Home’

April flowers bring May…showers?

May 16th, 2015 6:47pm

If you live in Arizona, this line holds very true this year! Our showers came a bit late but boy did they come! We dropped from the triple digits to the high 50’s in a single day! But if you’ve lived in Arizona for more than a year, you know very well that this cool weather is a late season tease with triple digit temperatures just over the horizon! So what comes with lots of moisture followed by extremely warm temperatures?…yup! Prepare for the onslaught of the mosquito invasion!

Now typically, I’d be reaching for my store bought bug spray. But over the last few years, I have become more and more hesitant to slather myself or my children in chemical that boasts warning labels like HAZARDOUS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS and CAUSES SUBSTANTIAL BUT TEMPORARY EYE INJURY and my favorite, WASH HANDS THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP AND WATER AFTER HANDLING! …and that was the DEET FREE “PLANT-BASED” bug spray!!!! Seriously?? And they’re somehow still encouraging us to spray this all over ourselves and our children?? So I started looking for a safer alternative that I could use without concern on both me and my children. Enter essential oils!

I personally use doTERRA’s TerraShield blend which is specifically formulated to repel those nasty little buggers that are out to get you! It is all natural, causes no skin irritation, smells wonderful and works amazingly well! A few drops applied directly to the skin or clothing will work well for about 4-6 hours! This is not the only oil that works well as a natural bug repellent. Peppermint is also very powerful and makes a great all natural bug repellent to spray directly on your plants!

Here is a homemade spray incorporating several essential oils known to repel various kinds of bugs as well as the very powerful blend, TerraShield, that has been working wonderfully for my family! It smells amazing, works incredibly effeciently at keeping all kinds of pesky buggies away and is not greasy! I make it ahead of time and keep it on hand throughout the bug season.

Don't want to spray chemical on your kids to keep those bugs away? Then make your own all natural bug spray!

Don’t want to spray chemical on your kids to keep those bugs away? Then make your own all natural bug spray!

 

 

4 TB water

2 TB witch hazel

4 drops of Thyme Essential Oil

4 drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil

4 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

4 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil

8 drops of TerraSheild Essential Oil Blend

Combine in a 6 oz spray bottle and keep handy throughout the season. I can even get this recipe into a 4oz spray bottle that I keep in my purse for when we’re out and about!

Want to know more about essential oils? Check out www.wiseandhealthyliving.com. If you would like to purchase these oils, visit www.mydoterra.com/theessentialhome or contact jennifer@wiseandhealthyliving.com.

 

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New Back-to-School Movie Giveaway!

August 8th, 2013 4:00pm

We know a few of us out there are less than thrilled about school starting up again. But we want to cheer you up! We are serious Disney fans over here and can’t help but be a little bit excited about the new movie, “Planes”, that comes out tomorrow! Nothing like a rip roarin’ Disney animated adventure to bring the sparkle back into our glazed over “back-to-school” eyes! So we are hosting a movie ticket giveaway starting tomorrow! Even if you aren’t a Disney fan, you gotta admit… movies are a fun indulgence! We are giving away two pairs of tickets to any Cinemark theater. Lots of ways to enter so don’t miss out!…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ok, you thought all the summer fun was over but we’ve got one more big science event for you and your kids to enjoy a late night together! The Perseids Meteor shower will be making it’s big annual appearance in the western skies August 11-13th this year! You can challenge your kids with a little astronomy by having them find the Perseus constellation…that’s where the show is supposed to start. But according to experts, it will be visible in various parts of the sky so keep a watchful eye!

One of my favorite astronomy apps is called SkySafari. It has been a source of great excitement for my kids on our star gazing nights because it uses your phone/tablet’s compass/gyroscope to be able to view the sky in real time and identify constellations just by pointing your tablets/phones camera towards the sky! It scrolls across the sky as you move it, labeling every celestial body you see! It will not destroy your night vision either, using the special night vision setting. Check it out in App Store. They are currently running a sale on their full version but the “lite” version really works just awesome and is what we have used for quite some time.

Have fun on your meteor watch! Ask your kids teachers about extra credit they might be able to earn by describing the event in class!

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Summertime = WATER VIGILANCE!!

June 5th, 2013 12:54am

It is never a thought we want to entertain for long…a childs young and innocent life cut short by a drowning accident. But living in a climate where swimming happens nearly all year, it is constantly on our minds. We stumbled across a wonderful article on Slate.com written by that brought our attention to the fact that while most of us are insanely vigilant with our kids around water, it might not save our children if we don’t know what to look for. They have offered up some very helpful tips to assist us in knowing what drowning really looks like…

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs—vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Notice there is no mention of “flailing madly in the water” or “loud splashing” noises. That is because if someone is truly drowning, they will not make a sound. As a witness to a child slipping under the water literally right by my side, I can attest to the shocking truth that no sound is made and most of their panicking will happen under the water where we are least likely to notice. Luckily, we had fast acting help all around and this particular child was rescued quickly without trauma. But it is frightening to realize how quickly and quietly drowning happens. Vigilance is necessary but please be sure you know what it is EXACTLY that you are supposed to be vigilantly looking for!

Keep your kids safe by being informed. You can also look into getting CPR certified or other water safety classes. Check your local hospitals for information or visit the Red Cross “Take a Class”  to find out about classes being offerred near you. CPR training can be a valuable tool in protecting our kids around water but wouldn’t it be better to never have to need it??…STAY VIGILANT!

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Internet security for your kids

April 2nd, 2013 8:09pm

As our world speedily seeks to replace books with technology, our good old paperback friends have a little advice before they disappear into the background of our lives!

I know it’s on every parents mind. This is the new world of technology we live in. The internet in all it’s glory, amazement and horror are so easily accessible for our children at all times and seemingly in all places. It is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor, police, educate and generally protect our children as best we can from some of the onslaughts that await them in the interactive world we live in. But does that mean we give up?? NO! We have some amazing tools to tell you about!

First, for those of you with kids either using their own cell phones/tablets or using yours, you might wonder how can you get some control over interactive content on these devices. Our first tip is to download the Mobicip app! It is a free browser available through the app store or through their website at http://www.mobicip.com/. Once you have this browser on your device, you want to disable the safari browser or whatever browser came standard on your device. We are iphone users so we also have enabled all the security restrictions in our settings where we can control whether to allow app purchases, what apps are visible, etc. which is all password protected. At that point, the only browser available will be the Mobicip browser. Within the browser settings, you can set restrictions that are age appropriate for each user. Very handy when you have various ages using the same devices!

Now on to the computer issue. We HIGHLY recommend a program called NetNanny which can be purchased and downloaded at http://www.netnanny.com/. This program allows you to customize your settings for family members, customize your filter settings, receive reports regarding user accessed content, immediate text/email should one of your users attempt to access restricted material, and a log of every page visited by each user. This has become an invaluable tool for my family and I hope you will take a moment to review all the amazing features available through this program.

We hope you will continue to be vigilant on your children’s behalf in helping to protect them from the dangers of the internet while teaching them responsible habits in using their technology. Please weigh in on this issue with any suggestions you have found to work well in your own families and together we can help protect our families!

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Calling all history buffs!…

February 27th, 2013 8:44pm

Commemorative Air Force's Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, FIFI, first flown in 1942 and beginning active service in 1944. Best Known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of WWII.

For those of you who have kiddos that are seriously into airplanes or, in my case, World War II airplanes specifically, you need to know about an event at Mesa Gateway Airport starting Thursday, February 28th and running through Sunday, March 3rd! The Commemorative Air Force’s Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber (the ONLY remaining flight ready example of this aircraft in the world!) will be visiting this airport along with another famous World War II bomber, the B-17 Flying Fortress, Sentimental Journey, and a P-51 Mustang, Man O’War! For those WWII aficionado’s out there, some of the other famous aircraft on tap will be the C-45 Expeditor, a Navy SNJ and a Navy N2S!

The aircraft will be on the ramp at Gateway Aviation Services, 5803 S. Sossaman Road in Mesa from 2:00pm-6:30pm on February 28 and 9:00am to 6:30pm through March 3rd. Admission is $10 per person; $20 for families with children 17 and under; and free for children 10 years old and younger. Cockpit tours are available with admission and rides in the airplanes can be purchased for an additional $65-$595. Please note there may be a discount if purchased online. For more information, visit the Mesa Gateway Airport press release.

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Encouraging Goal Setting

January 21st, 2013 1:45am
New Years Resolutions

It's time to remind ourselves as well as our children about the importance of goal setting and achieving!

Yes, it is once again that magical time of year when we sit down with ourselves, evaluate our progress over the last year and recommit to (or redefine) our goals for the new year. This is challenging task for us adults and even more so for out children. Oftentimes we put ourselves and our families on autopilot and miss out on the importance of goal setting in our lives. Leading by example and teaching our kids to set their own goals helps give them focus in their work and play. It helps them, as well as us parents, make decisions about the use of their time. And being in sync with our children’s goals can help us guide them to making better choices throughout each day.

Here are a few suggestions that I have opted to try out on my own family this year. Sometimes the greatest challenge to goal setting is knowing where to start. Here are a few prompts to get you going!…

• Set goals that build spiritual strength
Whatever your religious beliefs, seek after goals that bring you closer to your spiritual self. Pray and teach your children to pray. Freely forgive others. Read to your children from scriptures or stories that teach good principles and values. Develop a habit of study (help your kids learn to give over a part of their day to some kind of practice or study). Participate in your religious meetings with your children.

• Set goals that increase knowledge
Select a subject of interest to study (a great way to discover some of your childs hidden intersts!). Learn another language (kids love learning even a few words of a different language…make it a secret way to communicate between you!). Develop or learn about a new skill or interest (a great way to start identifying your child’s abilities). Improve your ability to communicate with others (teach your children manners in…how do we talk to one another?).

• Set Goals that increase personal well-being and health
Develop healthy eating habits (make a game of the pantry…what is good, better, best to eat?). Learn to prepare healthy foods (kids especially love this one! Use a cookie cutter to cut those healthy bites down to a more manageable and fun size!). Develop a program of regular exercise (dancing in the family room with your toddler definitely counts!). Create opportunities to be active with family and friends (bike riding is very popular in our household).

• Set Goals that increase your ability to serve others
Give service to your family (what jobs can we do for each other?). Volunteer to help a neighbor or friend (have your child ask themselves “who needs me today”). Write (or draw for younger kids) a letter/picture to send to someone special. Commit to finding someone to help each day.

• Set goals that increase moral strength
Overcome a bad habit (any thumb suckers out there? How about interrupters? Waiting your turn to speak is a tough one for kids). Learn to be grateful and express your appreciation (teaching kids the value of thank you notes after the holidays is a great way to accomplish this!). Improve your ability to manage time (print your calendars!). Learn to enjoy hard work (chore charts, anyone?). Cultivate patience and tolerance for others (helping them identify ways to get along with a sibling). Identify ways to recognize in yourself when you are doing your best.

We hope these guidelines will help you shape some wonderful goals for yourselves and your  family this year! Remember, “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement!” (Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog). Good luck stoking those little furnaces this year!

We hope you will sound off in our “Inspiration for Parents” forum about the ways you have found success in your own families with goal setting.

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Laveen is having their Laveen Art League and 2nd Friday Community Market This Friday, December 14th from 6:00pm-9:00pm in the South Mountain Community College – Laveen Campus courtyard.

The Laveen Art League will have their on campus gallery open for viewing of art from the majority of Laveen Art League members. The artists that will be hanging in two rooms work in a variety of mediums, such as papercrafting, jewelry, photography, mixed media, painting, drawing and more. On Friday December 14th, there will also be children’s activities and crafts, like a “Seek and Find” activity as well as an “Art Petting Zoo”, Music and Puppetry performances, Paint and Take and a visit from Santa Himself!

Fantasy Face will be face painting at this event so come join us for some holiday glitter!

Fantasy Faces (courtesy of yours truly!) will also be hanging out with Santa to paint faces and bring some holiday glitter to your smile! So stop by and get a unique work of art you can wear all night long!

Some other vendors you might recognize are Kettlecorn, Native American Frybread, It’s a Divine Bakery, Double L Originals, The Spirit Box, Native American Jewelry (Rosina), Rider’s Ranch, Maricopa County Stormworks and City of Phoenix, Hot Dog cart, 4 Elements, Fantasy Faces, Joyce, Bethany and Capiz by the Sea!

Outside the gallery will be a wonderful selection of food and craft vendors, with beautiful handmade crafts and delicious food. While some do take debit/credit, you may want to bring some cash with you for when you find something you love!

This is a not to be missed holiday event! The location is South Mountain Community College Campus at 5001 W Dobbins Road, Laveen, AZ 85339.

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Count your many blessings!…

November 22nd, 2012 12:21am

This has been a tumultuous month to be sure. In the wake of a distressing election, struggling economy, and a cataclysmic super storm, we know there are many out there struggling just to cope with seriously significant loss. Our thoughts are with all those who are in such need this season. As we struggle for understanding, the words of Spencer W. Kimball come to mind, “Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.”

One of my family’s favorite songs gives wise counsel…

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

"Gulp!...what are YOU thankful for Mr. Bear?"... "Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down." -Eleanor Roosevelt

As we count our blessings, perhaps we can find some way to turn our hearts from our own troubles and heal through service to others this holiday season. We have compiled a list of ways we can all help assist some of those in need by sharing our time, talents, money or even just our thoughts. We hope it can at least serve as a springboard for you and your families to assess your abilities, however large or small, to assist those that may be in dire need…

1. Donate to your local Woman’s Shelter. Don’t know where one is? Check out http://www.womenshelters.org/ which provides a listing of Women’s Shelters throughout the United States, searchable by area code, and find the nearest shelter to you. They are always in need as they struggle to help and accomodate the rising number of women and their children that are escaping truly life threatening domestic situations. Call individual shelters for information on how best to donate.

2. Help out at a local food bank. You can find opportunities at http://unitedfoodbank.org/get-involved/volunteer/

3. Don’t forget our furry friends! Animal shelters, especially “no kill” shelters, are in dire need of blankets, toys, food, special treats…these shelters struggle simply to provide care and living quarters for these often abused, neglected and abandoned pets and being able to provide a few extra comforts goes a long way in helping these animals through their recovery. Find the nearest “no kill” shelter near you at http://www.nokillnetwork.org/

4. Remember our troops! This is a favorite for my kids and an easy one for them to participate in. Help them write letters,  create artwork, or put together care packages for our men and women defending our freedoms. Here are a list of websites recommended to us by a fellow serviceman as very reliable and effective in making sure donations reach their source…
http://www.give2thetroops.org/items.htm

http://www.well-chosen-gift.com/gifts-for-troops-overseas.html

https://usowishbook.uso.org/

http://action.uso.org/action/thank-you-letter

http://www.operationgratitude.com/get-involved/write-letters/

We wish you all many blessings this holiday season and know we will all find great satisfaction and healing as we turn our hearts to others! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Halloween Safety!

October 31st, 2012 1:09am

As your kiddos get ready to run out into the neighborhood, please be prepared with some basic safety tips and guidelines!

If your kids are anything like ours, they are chomping at the bit to get out and show off their coolest costume creations while collecting an insane amount of candy from strangers! While we want everyone to have a great time this Halloween, we are most concerned about the safety of our little ones and want to share a few reminders and tips for keeping our kiddos safe this Halloween night!…

• Children should always be accompanied by an adult whether it’s at a party, trick or treating or sitting around watching scary movies with their friends!

• Have a plan in case you get separated. Set a place and/or time where you can meet up if you should happen to lose one another.

•Make sure your children wear a light of some kind while they are trick or treating. It makes finding them easier and helps drivers to see them better.

• Remind your kids never to cut across back alleys or fields. Encourage them to stay together in large groups at all times.

• We know some consider it old fashioned, but PLEASE don’t let your kids eat their candy until an adult has checked through it. Throw out any candy that looks tampered with (ie. loose wrapping, unidentifiable treats, etc.).

• Never go into a strangers house. Whenever possible, you should stick with houses of people you know.

• Always be careful crossing streets!! Look both ways and avoid crossing altogether whenever possible. Remember, it’s dark and cars are not always able to see you, if they happen to be looking at all! Rule of thumb: remember, in a mash up between you and a car…the car will ALWAYS win! So be looking for them, don’t expect them to look for you.

For more information on Halloween Safety, please take a moment and breeze through www.halloween-safety.com.

Be safe out there and have a Happy Haunted Halloween!

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