Monday, January 23, 2017

Transitioning Your Child to 18: Medical Edition

Last year at this time I was very stressed out.  For one, my son and I were in the process of applying for scholarships (there are a lot of parents who make their child do everything during this process, I felt that a scholarship helped me out as much as him so we went 50/50 with them).  Secondly, I like to plan so at this point I was already looking ahead at what we would need to buy/pack for his move to college. And lastly I was facing the fact that in a month he was going to be turning 18 and all of the sudden I wouldn't be in charge of several things in his life.

Mostly, I wasn't going to be allowed to help him with medical stuff anymore.  For most parents, this is probably a blip on the radar or something they don't even think about until they have to because their child needs some care.  For me, it was front and center in my mine because my son has Crohn's disease.

We actually had his last treatment, in the hospital he had been having treatments at since he got diagnosed at 13, on his 18th birthday.  It was so sad to let the nurses know that this was his last time there.  So many of them had been there since his first time and watched him grow up and get healthy. We took a few boxes of chocolates with us for all the staff members to enjoy and then a special treat for "our" nurse (the remicade infusion nurse was always the same which was one reason we traveled four hours every 8 weeks, we liked having someone who really knew him) then said thank you and goodbye.  Time to move on!

We had already found an adult GI in our town that we really liked and I made an appointment with him for late spring. My son and I have a lot of trust built up since we have been traveling for years for his treatment.  Eight hours in a car gives you a lot of chat time and we are very close.  So, when Carter started going to his adult GI he told me I could come for the first appointment.  As a new patient he had a lot of paperwork to fill out, which I had him do but I sat there and helped him when he had a question.  The most important form for me was the one he signed to give me permission to make and cancel appointments and get information from tests, etc... We also moved his treatments to our hospital (even though it is five hours away from his college town, he likes coming back here for treatments. Might have something to do with his girlfriend being a senior in high school).  And when he had his first treatment I went with him again to help with paperwork and make sure he signed the right forms for me to make appointments and get info.

I have had some parents wonder why I don't just leave it all up to him and there is two reasons.  First, I worry way more about his health that he does.  I don't even think he remembers how sick he was before he got diagnosed, but I do.  It's not like I am constantly calling his doctors or hovering over him during treatments, but I want to have the ability to find things out if I need to.  In fact, after his first appointments I haven't gone with him.  It's a gradual transition, but it is a transition.

The second reason is that he is starting a whole new phase of his life.  He is going to college and planning a rigorous course of study for his degree (nursing).  There is a ton of new and adult things he is learning to do, college throws them right into the deep end.  If there was one thing that I could help him with to ease his load then I was willing to do that.  Eventually he will be the one to make his appointments and take total charge of his health, but for now I am going to continue to help him with that.

A few of the other things I had him do were:

*call the insurance company and approve it for me to see/receive his EOBs.  I didn't even think about this until about a month after his summer treatment when I realized I hadn't seen anything, and his weren't coming up on my online account.  This was tough for him because he was very unsure of what to say, but he did it all on his own.

*We took a picture of his insurance card and put it on his phone.  Although he has his physical card he carries his phone around way more than his card.

*We had a lawyer friend of ours draw up a Power of Attorney and we all signed it.  Again this was not something I thought of, but this friend knew what we had gone through when he was first sick.  She told me about a friend whose 19 year old daughter was in a car wreck and couldn't communicate and the hospital wouldn't let the parents approve treatments.  I am not sure how all that works out but I know hospitals are so private and protective nowadays that I felt it was better to be safe than sorry.  We will probably keep that in place until he is married.

Because he is very healthy right now I didn't do anything special at the college.  If he goes into another flare up then I will decide what to do, or he will.  He's the kind of kid that will probably always make it to class unless its a very debilitating flare up.  I am trying not to think about that right now because he is happy, healthy and loving being a college student!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Currently January 13, 2017

I discovered these Toasted Marshmallow Creme Lattes at City Brew last week.  SO GOOD!  I am always looking for a new drink to enjoy and this one is perfect.  The barista told me they also call it a Chubby Bunny. Either way, I love it.

My new favorite instagram account is Crime By The Book. Besides posting pictures of what she is reading, she also posts pictures of reading and drinking coffee. It just looks so peaceful and enjoyable.  

On January 31 new podcast episodes of You Must Remember This will be starting.  If you have never heard of this podcast, check it out.  Although this podcast started out as stories of the Golden Age of Hollywood, she often does "series."  My favorites are the ones she did on Charles Manson's Hollywood (fascinating!) and The Blacklist.

Lastly, Hulu is doing a series on The Handmaid's Tale.  The trailer looks so intense and since I had never read this book, I decided to read it before the series.  I cannot put it down.  Such a creepy look at a dystopian society.  Sends chills down the spine and makes me so excited for the series. I think they can do so much with this story!

What are you enjoying right now?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Objects of Comfort-Dry Winter Skin Edition

I have such dry skin in the winter, it's uncomfortable.  Last winter it got so bad and I scratched so much I was making myself bleed.  It was awful and going into this winter I knew I didn't want that to happen again, so I set about finding ways to combat the winter.  Here's what is working for me so far:
1.  Back scratcher:  I have so many back scratchers, I keep one in my car, one in my purse, one beside my bed and one in my tote. I love being able to reach that one spot that I can't quite get with my nails.  The other benefit is that I often chew and tear my nails down too low so I can't scratch with them, so I find myself using my back scratcher to itch other spots, plus it's a little bit softer and doesn't tear into my skin.  (Also, normally when I pull out a back scratcher, instead of getting weird looks, most people ask me where I got it because everyone loves a good back scratching!)

2.  Humidifier:  I have a snoring problem. I am actively trying to find ways to cure me of this problem (more for my husband as honestly it doesn't bother me). One of the things I decided to do was use a humidifier. I got this one that just sits on my nightstand table and while I don't think it helps my snoring I do think it helps my dryness.  (I also think I am going to buy one of these for traveling)

3.  Lipsmackers: I love lipsmackers. I love all the flavors and I love how soft they make my lips. Like my back scratchers I keep one everywhere I am (my desk, my purse, my car, my bag, etc...) I am never less than a foot away from a lipsmacker.  And now they have Marvel lipsmackers, you can bet I got a Captain America pack! (I normally buy mine from their website when they have sales or from clearance sections after holidays.)

4.  Lush Butterball Bath Bomb:  I discovered Lush when I was in Washington last summer.  If I could I would buy one of these butterball bath bombs for each week. My skin feels so good and soft when I get out of the bath after using one of these!  They are amazing and luckily I can order from their website since we live nowhere close to a Lush store!

5.  Cetaphil: While I like Bath & Bodyworks lotions and body creams I don't use them as much in the winter.  If I put Cetaphil on right after I get out of the shower that seems to help me combat dry skin the best.  Lat year I didn't use it as much but this year I committed to using it daily and it has helped the most.

What have you found that works the best when to fight the dryness of winter? 
And, why is it so dry when we have so much snow?1

Friday, January 06, 2017

Looking for the Perfect Tote

If you know anything about me you know I always, always have a tote bag with me.  (Someday soon I will do a post about what is in my bag), it basically has everything I need to make it through my day.  Mostly I have used an LL Bean or Lands End canvas tote, but this spring I want to change it up.  I have loved the Color Canvas Totes from Lands End because the canvas is softer than the natural canvas of either Lands End or LL Bean.  I have a pink one and a burgundy one.  The problem is I can't fit everything I need in there so I end up taking a small size tote as well.  Plus I am just ready for a change.  (I also used to carry a Vera Bradley, which I loved but there just isn't that many pockets in one of those!)

Last year I discovered a company called Birdling. I am not sure how they first came onto my radar (probably some blog I follow) but I quickly fell in love with them.  When I work extra shifts (like scorekeeping middle school basketball games or working Teen Night) I always save that money for something really selfish I can buy, so I bought myself a Weekender bag (I got mine in pink which they no longer have).

It is amazing.  It is so well made and holds tons of stuff.  I am impressed with the quality every time I pick it up.  My favorite part is the zippers, they are so strong and sturdy.

This fall I decided to save up again and buy myself the Overnighter, which I got in Washed Olive. I love this one more than the Weekender because the main compartment is wide open (the Weekender has three compartments).  I have used it a few times and just couldn't love it more.  So, in my search for a new tote, I think I am going to go with their Day Tripper.

I have a round of girls basketball scorekeeping and will have the money to buy myself one soon.  I am just hesitant to buy one if I don't love it.  Remember this will be an everyday bag.  There are a lot of pockets and I know it will be very well made, but will it be everything I want in a tote?

Do you carry a tote bag?  What is your favorite one?

(Also, I need a new laptop bag, any suggestions?)

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

How to Have a Good Night's Sleep

It seems that every blog has a post on how to get a good night's sleep.  Most of them recommend not using screens any time close to bedtime, but sometimes that is the only time one has to get caught up on social media.  I love the Twilight app, but have found it works best on my Nook, not my phone.
Normally when I go to bed I catch up on instagram, then take my turn in any games of Words with Friends I have going, then I switch out my phone for a book and read a little bit.  If I am reading on my Nook I turn off the light and read, if I am reading a print book I keep the light on.
 Ultimately though, I don't have trouble falling asleep.  

My trouble with sleep is going back to sleep after I wake up sometime during the night, which I do 95% of the time.  I always toss and turn for awhile because I feel if I get up to watch or pull out my book to read then I am just giving up.  If I stay trying to sleep in a dark room then I will eventually fall back asleep, right?  Nope, I always need some help.  Here's what I do to fix this problem.

1.  Prevent the problem by TAKING SOMETHING.

I understand that not everyone wants to take something to help them sleep.  Like I said, I don't have trouble falling asleep, I have staying asleep (or going back to sleep).  I find that if I take something before I go to sleep then I don't wake up.  Here are my three favorite things to take:
I find that if I take 1 Nyquil or 1 Tylenol PM I am pretty good to sleep the whole night.  I also love Emergen-Zzzz, but only take half of one of those and it works good for me.  Scott loves Emergen-Zzzz, but he drinks a whole packet.  It comes in three flovers, Berry, Peach and Mellow Berry.  I like Peach the best but they are all good.

2.  Listen to Something.
I have found a podcast that will always put me to sleep: The News from Lake Wobegon. I feel bad saying that it always puts me to sleep, but Garrison Keillor's voice just soothes.  And I turn it down kind of low so that I need to kind of focus to hear him.  I think that's what finally puts me to sleep, the fact that I am focusing on the show and not on the fact that I can't sleep.

3.  Watch Something:
If I find myself awake at 2 or 3 I might get out of bed and watch something.  I put my feet up in the living room chair and use a heated throw to get cozy, then turn on the TV.  Normally I will watch for 20 minutes to a half hour then go back to bed.  It's just another way to get my mind off whatever it is that is not letting me sleep.

4.  Read Something.
This is one reason I have an ereader--to read books at night and not wake up Scott.  And with the Twilight app I feel that it helps me get back to sleep quicker.  I normally have an ebook I am reading and a print book so that I can read any which way.

These are the ways I go back to sleep if I wake up.  Sometimes I get in such a bad habit of waking up and not going back to sleep that I dread certain times of night.  Lately sleep has been good and I've been waking up feeling pretty refreshed.  Hope it continues.

Oh, and one of my New Year's goals is to stop saying, "I'm tired."  I want to shift my thinking!

What ways do you use to go back to sleep at night?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Currently: January 3, 2017

Currently I cannot stop thinking about Manchester by the Sea.  It was so good and so sad, but I wouldn't tell people not to go because of the sadness. The acting was so powerful I just cannot stop thinking about it.  Give it a go if you are looking for something different. And expect to cry.

On a totally different note, my new favorite podcast is My Favorite Murder. It's so funny and very interesting.  It's hard to describe and if you are not a fan of much swearing, avoid it.  But if you want a podcast where you sit down with your two best friends and talk about disturbing things, this is it.

I'm reading Dayshift by Charlaine Harris.  She wrote the Sookie Stackhouse books that the show True Blood was based on. This spring NBC is doing a show based on this trilogy called Midnight Texas.  I really liked the first one and am enjoying this one, just not getting much reading time lately.

And, I am planning for 2017!  I will do a post soon about my planner and what I am doing for 2017.

How has your 2017 started out?

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

2016 Christmas Card

Here is our 2016 Christmas card.  
Every year I take pictures in the autumn of Carter and Max.  They are very good sports about it and, I think, even enjoy having their pictures taken. The most current one is in the center. When I was going through the past years I realized that I had many, many shots of one of them ruing in the picture or just laughing, so I decided to do that for our Christmas card.  I found some of my favorite candid shots and collaged them all with this year's version.  Man, the years went fast!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Christmas Prep: Avalanche Cookies

We all have those Christmas treats that we only make during the Christmas season.  It's one thing that makes the Christmas season so special.  One of my very favorite treats are called Avalanche Cookies (side note: I realize that one of the biggest draws of cooking blogs is the photography of the food, I haven't made these yet this year and have no pictures, but if you'd like to see them, go here).  This is a new favorite recipe of mine, I only discovered it a few years ago. They are so easy and so delicious and everyone I have made them for has scarfed them down.

Here's the recipe: (which I double and triple so I have a lot of gifts and a lot for my family)(and here is a printable version)

2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 bag white chocolate chips

Mix together the rice cereal and the mini marshmallows in a bowl and set aside.  Melt together the chips and peanut butter (I do it on the stove, but you could do it in the microwave).  Mix everything together and drop by spoonful onto aluminum foil or wax paper.  So easy and so good.  This will be a hit in your house as well!

What is your favorite no bake cookie recipe?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gilmore Girls Review (pre-revival)

If you have been paying any kind of attention to pop culture you know that a Gilmore Girls revival/reunion is in the works at Netflix.  Gilmore Girls was a series on The WB (which then moved to The CW) that started in 2000.  My life in the year 2000 was a lot different than it is now.  For one thing, I had a two year old and a baby, so I was a pretty new parent. I LOVED Gilmore Girls and devoured almost every episode (I kind of faded out during the 7th season).

When it came onto Netflix a few years ago I decided that I would rewatch it. But I didn't get very far. My problem is that I don't really like Lorelai and she is one of the main characters. I do adore Rory and there are a lot of secondary characters I really like as well.  It's just that when I went back, after being a "real grown up" and a parent for a lot more years I realized how unlikable Lorelai was.  She is bratty to her parents, I know she "hated her childhood," but grow up. As a mom you should recognize they were trying the best they could. Quite whining about the way you were raised, you are fine now.  She is a helicopter mom, this was the most annoying one to me. In the first season when Rory was late to her test and couldn't take it Lorelai marched right to the headmaster's office to get them to let her take the test. It was a good lesson for Rory, if she wanted to go to an Ivy League college she needs to know there are rigid standards. Rory was just so used to things always going her way, and I am sure a lot of that was Lorelai's doing, that it was hard for her to handle when something didn't go her way. That whole episode just bothered me.

There were also a few other things that I realized I liked and most people didn't.  And after reading negative things about the characters I liked online and glowing things about characters I didn't it tainted some of my feelings for the show.

First off, I love the actor who played Christopher.  Because of that I wanted him to mature and be a viable candidate for Lorelai. It's not that I didn't like Luke, but I just really like David Sutcliffe.

Secondly, if you had a mature, smart, darling daughter you would not want her to date Jess.  Ever.  I know a lot of people will argue this one with me, but I just cannot and will not ever be Team Jess.  Seriously, if Rory ends up with him at the end of the revival, it will really taint the series for me. (I have never been one to like the "bad boys" but I know those tend to be the most popular in TV shows).
Dean was a nice guy, until the writers destroyed that by having him get married, then cheat on his wife with Rory. That was so out of character for both Rory and Dean and I know people make mistakes, especially young people, but come on.  This one was just awful. I truly loved Logan for Rory because he challenged her the most. The first scene where they debate in the hall at college, he nailed it right on the head. But I was fine with Rory not ending up with Logan. (read this great article on why Logan was the best for Rory, love it!)   Going into the revival all I can think is...please get Rory someone new. Or let her be totally happy being alone.

Anyway, I wasn't going to watch the revival because of all my negative feelings towards the show now, but there is a lot of hype and good reviews and I decided I am going to give a shot.  I'll let you know what I think later...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Packing My Oldest for College

Now that the dust has settled and Carter is firmly entrenched in college (except for the weekends he comes home to visit his girlfriend) I can look back on how I prepped him for school and decide what worked and what didn't.  Today I am going to go over packing.  After researching on pinterest I created a Carter-specific packing list:

Click the picture to get a downloadable and printable copy.  This was pretty specific to Carter and what he and I thought he needed, but it's generic enough for everyone else.  
When I was packing him one things I did (that got me accused of being an enabler) was to pack him a big box of extra toiletries.  I bought two and three of everything, except shampoo and conditioner.  There were a couple reasons for this--the first being that it just is one less thing he has to worry about.  He was not going to have a car at school and this way he doesn't have to worry about finding a ride to replace something.  Also, he can share. If someone needs toothpaste or deodorant, he has extra. Since college he has also discovered ordering from Amazon so he has already replaced a few things himself by just ordering it online.
Here are the things he is really glad we packed:

1. Backpack:  We bought this one from LLBean.  He loves it.  It holds all his digital equipment and isn't too bulky. It's one of his favorite items and since it's from LLBean, I know it will last (commercial!).
2. Chromebook: Carter isn't a really big computer guy, so when we were looking for a laptop we decided that he should give a chromebook a try. Chromebooks are basically online devices and since he was coming from a high school that heavily used Google Classroom he realized 99% of everything he does on a computer is online. The small glitch to start was printing, but he got Google Cloud set up and is now able to print easily.

3. Portable charger and 6 foot cord:  I talked about this in a previous post, but he uses this constantly. He never has to worry about his phone or ipad dying on him, and he has a nice long cord for plugging his phone in at night and still being able to use it in his elevated bed.

4. Dollar Shave Club: I posted about this before but just have to say again how awesome this service is for college guys. They also have a line of body and hair care products that can be added any month. I am going to teach Carter how to log into "his" account and look things over so he can add to his order if he runs out of stuff.   
(by the way, if you want to join for one of the men in your life, use this link so I can get some credit)

5. Cold & Flu Medicine: Add this to the toiletry box. It's so nice for them to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

6. Apple TV (or a Roku): Carter's room came with a TV, I don't think that is standard yet and if your child plans on having a TV they will want to be able to stream onto the TV so their computer is not always busy. Carter loves his apple TV and it is used constantly in his room. I think he would tell me it is the favorite thing he packed.

7. I also made him a "just in case" box with things like tape and a screwdriver and scissors. I know that they have all been used because I have gotten calls and texts about how someone needed something and Carter had it and they were all excited they didn't have to go buy it! 

When I made the list it was mostly for shopping so I didn't put things on his list that I already had. As the summer was progressing and our pile of stuff to pack got bigger I realized that there were a lot of things that he used daily that we needed to remember to pack, that's why there is a section on the list of things to "remember to pack."

One thing we didn't pack that we ended up ordering (seriously, amazon prime, best thing ever) was a desktop organizer. Carter didn't ever use a desk at home so he didn't need an organizer, but the first day realized he'd need something, so we ordered from amazon and it was there two days later.

If you are a parent packing your child, what aha moment did you have when packing?  If you are a college student what was one thing you were really glad you packed?

Monday, November 21, 2016

My Bag of Power

There is nothing I hate more than being faced with the prospect of needing to charge my phone or nook or ipad and not being able to.  I pretty much have a charging cord in every room of my house and my car.  I always have cords in my bag, but I didn't like how they looked just hanging out in the pockets in my bag.  Drove me nuts. Last spring someone gave me a little bag filled with pens, which is very nice, but I already have pen carriers.  Then I got the brainstorm to create a "bag of power" that I can carry with me, either in my bag or my purse, everyday.  It's all the things I don't want to find myself without if I am somewhere for any length of time.
The bag is just a cute little cloth bag so it fits anywhere, it's squishable.
In my cloth bag I put an ipad cord, a samsung cord, earbuds, lipsmacker, a portable battery charger (it's not the best one you can buy, but it's small and will charge your phone up when it's at full power), a cigarette lighter usb plug, two outlet usb plugs, a mechanical pencil and a black inkjoy pen.

The ipad cord is a 6 foot cord I bought from amazon.  I bought one for each member of my family and they are beloved. Seriously, one of the best presents you can buy a teenager is a 6 foot charging cord.  There are even 10 foot cords! (make sure to get mifi apple certfied cords)

I love my bag of power and I end up pulling it out almost everyday to get something

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Currently: November 18, 2016

So, welcome back to my blog.  Maybe, hopefully I will write on it more.  Honestly, I haven't been overly active on either of my blogs!  Anyway, this is what I am currently doing:
I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and LOVED it.  So good, I haven't stopped thinking about it since I left the theater.  I will be going again sometime this winter!

I love the podcast Casefile.  It's hosted by a guy from Australia but the cases he talks about are from all over the world.  So interesting and engrossing, I look forward to a new episode every other week.

I have been planning out Thanksgiving week.  We are going to eat at a friends house, so I don't have to do the whole meal.  However, I have to make a turkey for Scott's work because now that he is in an office that is mostly women they plan potlucks a lot.  And he volunteered me to do the turkey! What a guy.  Plus Carter will be home so we are having a game night with his girlfriend's family (tip: plan family activities and include the GF's family so that you will actually get to see your son when he is home on break!)

I am re-reading A Wrinkle in Time.  This is one book I love.  I did not read it when I was younger, I tried but could never get into it.  When I was around 30 or so, I picked it up and tried it again, finally finished it and loved it.  They are starting a new movie version and when I heard that Chris Pine was playing the father I went to my library shelves and checked out a copy to re-read.  Chris Pine, plus a story I love is going to be awesome!

So, that's what I have been up to for the past week.  What about you?

Monday, July 04, 2016

Random Thought

We spent last week in Bozeman at orientation for Carter.  I cannot believe he is heading to college this fall! Where did the time go?
There is a certain amount of excitement to the thought of having Max home alone.  And I am very excited for Carter and all he will get to experience--I loved college and I know he will to. But I will miss him so much and sometimes when we are doing something--Scott, Max and I--I will miss that Carter doesn't get to be experiencing it with us. Such is the way with children growing up--it is very, very bittersweet. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The PEN of My Dreams

Normally I do not like gel pens, NOR roller ball pens.

 Until now...

These are the most amazing, most wonderful pens that I have ever used.  EVER.  They are Papermate Inkjoy GEL pens.  There is also a ballpoint version of the inkjoy pens that are also good, just not this great.

So far I have only found them at Target and Staples and Amazon.  They are kind of expensive for the big pack, but they are SO WORTH IT!  I have tried the .5 version and it is wonderful, but the .7 version is my favorite pen ever.

It's crazy how wonderful they are!

Seriously, if you like writing, buy some of these pens.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Currently May 2, 2016

Drinking:  One day this spring someone brought me a coffee from Copper Mountain.  They had asked the barista to make me a coffee that they liked as well and she made me a White Chocolate Gingerbread coffee.  It was AWESOME!  Unfortunately, the gingerbread flavor is seasonal, so they don't have a bunch left.  But, I went back  the next day and the same barista was there and she said she'd always make me one and even order more gingerbread if need be!

Watching:  I just love Veep.  Season 5 just started on HBO, but on the HBO Go app (which if you are a cable subscriber to HBO you can log into this app and watch all HBO stuff) they have all the season, so I am watching it all again!

Awesome Etiquette:  I very recently discovered this podcast and I love it.  It's not so much of an etiquette podcast, but more like how to treat people.  But it's done in such a nice positive way and mostly it's answering questions people have.  I just love it.

You Must Remember This:  Along with discovering Awesome Etiquette, I discovered this podcast.  The host tells stories and myths about old time Hollywood.  I love listening to it!

What has been keeping you fulfilled recently?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Favorite App

So, this isn't a favorite app so much as it is a favorite program.  If you sign up for an account through, you can eventually earn a free night stay.  I figure, I have to stay in hotels, I might as well go through the website or app and eventually save some money!

The app is nice and I have used it before to book the same day I needed the hotel.  I haven't compared the prices on with other travel sites and I am not sure if other sites do the same thing with a free night stay after 10 bookings, but I started on this one, so I am going to finish it.

Right now I have 5 and by the end of spring break I'll have 7.  I am sure there are restrictions on the free night stay, but it still should be better than paying for a whole night.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Currently: February 15

I am reading Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, this is a great modern day retelling of Pride & Prejudice.  It won't be out until this spring, and by the time this posts I will be done reading it.  It's so good!
I am listening to the Tanis podcast.  It's a pretty intriguing story of the search for a fictional/mythical place called Tanis.  It's probably not for everyone, but I am really liking it so far.  The problem is I am all caught up and it only comes out every 2 weeks.  So I am going to let a few more episodes build up before I listen again.

There is a streaming service called Acorn TV.  It is only $4.99 a month and it mostly shows British, Canadian and Australia TV.  Some of it is current and some of it is old.  My least favorite thing is that there is no app on my smart TV for it, so I have to watch on my computer or ipad.  But I recently got interested in a show called 19-2.  It's a Canadian police show that is really good.  
I am using bright orange sticky notes to keep track of Carter's scholarship applications.  One thing I have discovered is that you should apply for most of them, even if you don't think you qualify.  Some of the programs award scholarships to most of the applicants.  It's worth putting in a little effort even for a little bit of money!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Grading My Closet

Wow, February is just flying by, I can't believe it's almost Valentine's Day.  I hope you all have very romantic plans for the day!

I have been thinking about my clothes lately, can you say RUT?  I need to start getting clothes that fit better.  I was listening to a podcast the other day that says "grade" your closet, and If I really look at it objectively, I have some A clothes, some B+ clothes, but the majority of it is B- and C, so I would grade it overall as a B-.  And that's just the stuff that I like, I am not even sure if it is anything that looks good on me.

I have been searching stuff on pinterest, like "10 key pieces" and am finding some stuff on there that I am going to start looking for.  The first thing on my list is a nice black belt.

What would be on your list of essentials?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dollar Shave Club & the Warnells

(I don't think I have put Carter's senior pictures on here, but now that I am on the countdown to graduation I will be posting more of them)

I think my son is darling.  (Both of them actually).  He is blessed with an attractiveness, for sure.  And he has that confidence that comes with knowing he doesn't have to worry about his looks so he never does.  It drives me crazy because he neglects things.  Like washing his face more when he has breakouts, which he does.  And SHAVING.  He is starting to have to shave more and more, but is lazy and just doesn't.

Anyway, I had been tossing around the idea of joining the Dollar Shave Club for him.  The reasons are twofold:  he won't have to worry about getting himself blades and every other month he will get a package in the mail.  Every college student loves getting packages!  (Although I hope to be the kind of mom that sends care packages, I might be too lazy for that, so this will take the place of a care package from mom every other month!)

Plus, it is so freaking cheap.  They have a two blade $1 option, a 4 blade $6 option and a 6 blade $9 option.  I did the $6 option for Carter.  You can also set it up so they come every other month.  That's what I did for Carter.

(One other thing I have liked so far is that you can cancel your membership, or make any changes you want, right on the website.  None of that calling customer service.  They just let you do it without trying to talk you into staying.  Try getting out of ProActiv, it is horrible.  My mom joined that for Carter and it took forever for her to get untangled from them.  That stuff could be pure gold and make your skin like that of an angel and I still will NEVER join them again.)

I showed my partner librarian the commercial, it's on the front page of the website, it's hysterical and she joined it for her husband first.  Then she sent me a request to join under her so I did and she got $5 off her first order.

We got the razor and the blades about a week later and I was super impressed.  The package was cute and came with a sample of their shave butter.  Carter used it that day and because he is not a razor snob yet, he liked it just fine.  I am glad I am getting him started with this club so early because he won't every have to live through the horror that is buying expensive blades every month!

Scott, however, is a different story.  I had him use Carter's razor because the blades for his are horrendously expensive.  He didn't love it because he is a razor snob.  I am keeping at him, though because I know he doesn't change his blades as much as he should because they are so expensive.  I keep pointing out that with this club he could use a new blade EVERY WEEK.  But he's not convinced, yet.  I think I will join it for him and if he doesn't come around, I can always use them.  If he doesn't like them on his face, at least he could use them on his head.  He has to do lots of shaving, that one does!

If you are thinking about joining, let me know and I will send you an invite so I can get credit (actually, just click here and I will get the credit!).  I am spreading the word to the many moms I know who have sons going off to college too!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tech For Moms: Watching Shows from Other Regions

Have you ever wanted to watch a show that is streaming on a foreign website?  Then gotten a message that the content is not available in your region?  For example, watching season 3 of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (kiss, dammit!!) that is only playing on the Australian station because it's still a current show in Australia.  It is actually possible and relatively easy to accomplish this.

What you need to do is set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network).  I use TunnelBear, mostly because it's cute, but it has worked well for me.  (I can't link to it because I am at school and it's blocked here).  VPN's hide whatever you are doing and many people say you should always use one.  I only use one for TV...

Anyway, download TunnelBear, you can use it on your laptop, desktop or tablet.  Set up your account, the website will walk you through everything.  When I as watching Miss Fisher, I had an account because it wouldn't access Australia servers without a little money.  Right now I am using it to watch the second season of Schitt's Creek on the CBC website (Melissa, this whole post is for you in case you were wondering), and it is free to connect to a Canadian server.

One thing I have had trouble with--I can't get it to work on my ipad.  It works pretty good on my laptop, but works best on our Chromebook.  That could mean I should use it with Chrome on my laptop, but I haven't tried that.  Because it does work on my Chromebook I haven't worked that hard to fix it on my laptop.

Anyway, one added benefit of this is that it opens up a TON of shows on Netflix.  Netflix thinks you are in a different country when you are connected to your VPN, so it opens its catalog from that country for you.  This is awesome because you can watch shows that aren't available on Netflix here!!

Good luck!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Currently January 24, 2016


Watching:  Schitt's Creek.  This is a Canadian comedy that I have been waiting to watch since I first heard about it last spring.  Right now the first season is on Amazon Prime Video and it's hysterical.  Seriously.  Give this one a try.  It's only 13 episodes and I predict you will find yourself watching them more than once.

Listening:  A friend of mine recommended this podcast and I am really enjoying it.  It's just two next door neightbors sitting around discussing a topic of the week.  Since I am in the car more and more by myself (Max got his license, by the way) I have more time for podcasts.  I love discovering new ones to enjoy!

Reading: I was invited to be part of a blog tour for this book, Sweet Home Alaska.  It's actually a very fascinating book.  It takes place at the end of the Great Depression and is the story of a family that takes part in an Alaska settlement program.  I had no idea this even happened so I am learning new things as I read!

What are you currently enjoying?

Friday, January 22, 2016

My New Favorite App: Twilight

Sometimes I have trouble sleeping.  I know, join the club, right?  But, it was driving me nuts so I went looking for some answers.  I had always heard that you shouldn't use a device before bed and since I read from a Nook or play around on my phone a lot before bed I wanted to know why.  Experts all agreed that it has to do with the blue light of a screen.  So I wondered if there was an app that dampened that effect and THERE IS!!!  It's called Twilight and I do think it helps.  I put it on my phone and Nook and it just takes away the glare of the blue screen and adds a warm tone to it.  Normally I don't have trouble falling asleep, but its when I wake up in the middle of the night that I have problems.  Now, I read off my Nook and I believe that this app helps me fall back to sleep.  You can set it so it starts automatically at sundown or you can give it a time to be on and off. 

 Unfortunately it is only available for Android devices. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Portable Charger Reviews

When we were planning our Salmon River trip I bought us a portable battery charger.  I was very sure I wouldn't sleep well and I wanted to be able to read on my Nook if I needed to or listen to a podcast or music.  Since we were going to be out for a full week I knew I had to spend a little bit more to get one that might hold its charge for that long.  I ended up buying this model (which was not that price when I bought it.  I think it was around $40).  It has been an amazing charger, it is still going strong, charges my phone up fully around 5 times before dying and holds its own charge for over a week.

Carter started using it a ton last year on soccer trips and any bus rides.  It gave me the idea to buy these as graduation presents for a few of our friends graduating from college.  I figured they could use them when they are studying, etc... and away from a plug.  I bought this model for them and I think has worked well (one of them told me it was awesome and they use it all the time).

So I decided to buy Max and Carter each one for Christmas so they could use them on bus rides or at school, whatever.  I bought this model.  Max says his is working fine, but Carter's really wasn't.  It only charged a phone to 40% before dying.  I am not sure Max has used his much because he got a new phone that actually holds a charge longer than two hours. 

Carter is swimming right now and I knew he would want to use one for the rest of swim season and then into college.  So I sent the one that wasn't working back and got him this model.  He said it is awesome.  At his last swim meet he charged three phones up to 100% and the charger was still going. 

Its only 19.99 and if you have a teen that is going to be doing a lot of traveling on buses or to areas that charging phones will be hard, think about getting them one of these chargers.  Believe me, nothing is more annoying than not being able to get a hold of them to find out where they are and when they will be back to town!  I am going to buy a few of them for college students again this spring.  They make great presents!

Monday, January 11, 2016

My New Favorite App

There is an app called AfterShip that is amazing.  Here's how it works, once you place an order and get your tracking number you add it to the app.  Then the app updates you on where your package is.  There is nothing more excited than when the notification comes on your phone that your package has been delivered!  Here's what mine looks like now:
As you can see I have joined the Dollar Shave Club.  I actually joined it for Carter, but if the razors are as good of quality as they look like they will be, I will probably join it for Scott and I as well.  Max doesn't need it yet.

What's your favorite app now?

Monday, January 04, 2016

Go Cats!

Carter has decided where he wants to go to college. 

I am so excited for him!  College is going to be so much fun for him.  And I LOVE Bozeman so I will have a lot more excuses to go there to see him.  It's going to be very hard the day when I have to drive away leaving him in Bozeman all by himself.  But, for now, we have a lot of stuff to organize and prep and scholarships to apply for and a new doctor to find...Phew!

For now, let's just have a drink of coffee and enjoy the moment.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

New Year Wallpapers

Right click to download if you'd like.
Samsung Galaxy Papers:

ipad air 2:

I think that should work.  My New Year's Resolution?  Try and blog at least once a week.  Hopefully I can get that done!  I will have a lot to share with my oldest son prepping to go away to college!

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23-Currently

Watching:  Jessica Jones on Netflix.  It is so good!1 It's hard to concentrate on work today because I want to keep watching.
Listening: to a pop culture podcast from Australia called The Weekly Planet.  All about movies and TV.
Reading:  The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.  This one is going to be great, and heartbreaking.
Writing: Christmas lists--all kinds of plans!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Autumn Wallpapers

I made some wallpapers for mt laptop, ipad and galaxy.  I love them and I wanted to let you have them if you'd like!

Galaxy Wallpapers:
ipad lock screens:
Click on each image to download.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

July 31-Currently

reading:  I read I AM PRINCESS X by Cherie Priest this past week.  I really enjoyed it!  The cover, being all pink and purple, makes it seem like it's going to be a light hearted story, it wasn't.  But it was just good.
watching: The Walking Dead. This winter Scott started watching this series and although I had watched the first season, I stopped partway through the second season. So while he was watching it I kind of got interested again.  Spent this past week watching it and am not ready for the season 5 marathon in August.
listening: Start Up was a very interesting podcast about a guy starting a media company.  His company produces the podcast I was listening to last week, Reply All. This one was quite fascinating.
writing: I got some new pens this week so I of course had to write with every single one!

I have some new recipes to post! I will get that done next week.  Good stuff is on the way!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19-Currently

reading:  giving Fangirl a try.  I adored Eleanor & Park and always hear amazing things about Rainbow Rowell's other books.  Plus, I love the cover!
writing:  to do lists and menu plan for company we are having later this week.  My husband's brother and his family from California are coming and we are super excited because they haven't been here for years!
watching:  cheesy, wonderful, romantic movies that I recorded earlier this summer.
listening: I listened to all of the Reply All podcasts this week and adored it.  Now I have to find another one.