Monday, March 31, 2014

Support WAHMs!

Photo courtesy of metrokids.com
Now that I have a child of my own, my respect for work-at-home moms has easily doubled. Finding time to commit to a job, whether it's full or part-time, is difficult when your office is in your home and easily accessible by two and four-legged babies. This is not to say that it's easy working full-time out of the house or it's easy being a stay-at-home mom sans job. This is simply saying that WAHMs are great multi-taskers and I have a lot of respect for what they do.

Most of the WAHMs I know have to wait until nap time or bedtime to really get into their second job. Giving up nap time makes me cringe (E was up from noon until 9 p.m. Saturday. I would've gladly paid cash money if he would've taken a nap) because that's some much-needed downtime ("But stay-at-home moms just watch TV all day" - you  You obviously do not have children - me). And that's not counting the work that gets done once the kid(s) go to bed, which could make for some late nights. There's a lot of sacrifice to "make it work" so I want to highlight a few ladies that are giving it their all and then some.

Also, I know the money they make from their businesses helps out at home, and in some cases, allows them to stay home with their kid(s). So if you can support WAHMs instead of (or in addition to) big box retailers, please do!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Inappropriate teens & Twitter -- is this our future?


I should be working on a blog post about the GI Bill, but for the life of me, I can't focus today. One downside of working on a computer is that the Internet is one click away, which means distractions are easy to come by a la Facebook, my favorite celebrity gossip column and my number one coupon blog. Le sigh.

So instead, I'm going to write a post for this blog in hopes that it jogs my mind a bit and I can refocus on the other blog post afterward.

The other day, a friend of mine posted a link to a news article about teenagers posting inappropriate photos on a Twitter account. I wish I could say I was shocked and outraged, but this seems to be par for the course now that social media has infiltrated our lives. The author of the article actually went so far as to say the teens needed therapy because they probably have personality disorders. Narcissism is listed as an option, but I've never met a teenager that didn't think the world revolved around him/her, so I'm not sure that would be my go-to diagnosis (although, it'd probably be the easiest to prove).

The Twitter account (@LIPartyStories) has been suspended so linking to it is not worth your time, but there were some blurred photographs released by a news agency here. One of the featured photos is a teen girl wearing a birthday tiara while urinating in a sink. Others are of naked teens in backyards and then there's a girl passed out on the stairs (drugs? alcohol? both?). Before the account was shut down, there were 22,000 followers. That's a little more than trying to be the popular kid at school, right?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spa treatment? Yes, please!

Yesterday, I went to the spa to cash in my birthday gift certificate. I've never been super into the spa (like a regular), but we like to go every once in awhile for a couples massage (the last time was three years ago when Nate was on R&R and we were in the Canary Islands). Anyway, I signed up for a Swedish massage followed by a lime scalp massage at The Woodhouse Day Spa in Belton and it was amazing.

My lower back has been giving me problems (probably from carrying 24ish pounds of baby around) so the masseuse paid extra attention to my back. And even though it was a light to moderate pressure type of massage, when I left my lower back was sore. Yep, my back is that bad. My neck wasn't great either. Today, I feel amazing. If I had the money, I would give this as a gift to every set of parents at their child's first birthday. Having a child is stressful in more ways than one and this was like hitting a reset button.

The only thing I would skip is the scalp massage because it really didn't do anything for me. Instead, I'd spend the money on a facial. Or maybe a hand treatment.

I think one of the other reasons I enjoyed this massage so much is because childbirth strips you of a lot of modesty. Instead of lying there worrying about if I missed a spot while shaving (I did), or how pale my legs are or if my skin was dry, I just enjoyed the moment. I mean, if you can go through childbirth and have an entire team looking at your lady bits, you can relax for a massage where 95 percent of your body is covered at all times.

Also, I really liked the American version of the massage better than the European one. Only because in Europe, they're very aggressive and very handsy. Yesterday, the masseuse was super respectful and maintained boundaries at all times. I wish I had gotten a name. I should probably call them.

If you're in the mood to splurge on yourself (and if you're really nice, your significant other) I highly recommend making an appointment here (note: they have locations throughout the country).

Cheers!
Jen




Friday, March 21, 2014

Do other states have special dress codes? Just Texas?

I didn't realize there were state-specific dress codes until we moved back to Texas. In the past few months, we've had to attend work events that had Texas formal and Texas casual dress recommendations.

In case you were wondering, Texas formal means a cocktail dress and boots, a broomstick skirt and boots, dark wash jeans and boots for men and lots of hats and turquoise jewelry. And I should know because they sent out a PowerPoint presentation to make sure we were all dressed appropriately (Nate's military ball was Texas formal last December). I was hoping it would be the regular attire because we both already have things in our closet to wear (evening gown and dress blues), but I ended up in a new black cocktail dress and red cowboy boots and Nate wore jeans. It was actually a lot of fun.

Which got me to thinking, do other states have special dress codes too? Or is this Texas-specific? After a quick Google search, I found dress codes for schools and in one case, a prison, but failed to see anything on the social scale. Can anyone chime in on this?

Cheers!
Jen

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Naked & Afraid

Does anyone watch Naked & Afraid on Discovery? We usually watch it (and by usually, I mean during the weekend when we're searching for something to watch and happen to see it listed). If you haven't seen it, the show takes two survival experts - one male, one female - and drops them in a remote location. They're naked and supposed to survive for 21 days. Sounds fun, right?

Nate told me he wants us to do the show. Bahahahaha. I have no doubt that Nate could survive. Me, on the other hand, not so much. He said he would take care of me (I am the mother of his child), but I still don't want to do it.

First of all, I eat consistently throughout the day. Every couple of hours, I'm ready for a snack. In the jungle/swamp/desert/island, there probably won't be snacks available. I'm also opposed to eating bugs (unless I'm on the Amazing Race because hello, that's a million dollar bug) and don't do well with food poisoning (does anyone?). And going without food isn't acceptable. These people lose 20 or 30 plus pounds in three weeks. In one episode, all they had was one turtle in 21 days and then one of them got sick (bet it was salmonella or something). No thank you.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The touchy subject of vaccinations

Yesterday, I read an article about another D-list celebrity joining the ranks of anti-vaccination supporters. In truth, I think she's doing it more for publicity than the cause because when she tried to back up her statement with facts she couldn't remember the name of an organization and stumbled a bit (she blamed pregnancy brain). My guess is she wants to do what Jenny McCarthy did, but I wouldn't recommend that route since she based a lot of her protesting on a lie (she said vaccinations caused her son to become autistic. A couple of years ago, it was revealed he doesn't even have autism). And even though she's D-list at best, I can't help but wonder if she's going to sway people into the anti-vaccination camp?

Which got me to thinking about where I stand with vaccines. I am firmly in the pro-vaccination camp. There are a couple of vaccines I question, like the chicken pox vaccine (I had chicken pox, he can have chicken pox, then again that means you're at risk for shingles, shingles runs in my family, shingles are painful, maybe he does need the chicken pox vaccine), but for the most part I say let's take some preventive measures to protect our kids. I mean, I just read that there's currently an outbreak of measles in New York City because people are forgoing vaccines. How is that possible in 2014? It was all but eradicated in 2000.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Today, we went to Austin to have my engagement ring fixed. It's been sitting in the safe for months because the center stone was loose and I was terrified it would fall out (apparently, diamonds can also shatter that way, what the what). Now that I think about it, I haven't worn my engagement ring in almost a year. After E was born, I was worried I would scratch him with it (it's a princess cut so it has pointy edges). But now I'm ready to wear it so I was super excited that we got it fixed today.

The jeweler told us that you should have your ring (or other diamond jewelry, I guess) appraised every couple of years for insurance purposes. We had my ring appraised when Nate bought it about five years ago, but it never occurred to me to get it appraised again. The jeweler told us that the price of diamonds has increased 30 percent in their store in just the last month. So if something happens to my ring, I would be up a creek for sure because the amount the ring is insured for wouldn't cover what it's worth today.

The jeweler said they could have my ring appraised for $100, but they'd have to send it off. Ugh. My Memaw always told me not to leave your diamonds with anyone because they could switch the stones on you and you'd never know. So now what? I've put in a call (OK, text) to my friend who used to work in the jewelry business. I'm hoping she has some sage advice for me (and I'll pass it along).

But overall, it was a good day. Quick trip to Austin, fixed ring, my diamonds are worth more money (cha-ching!) AND I splurged on an iced sugar cookie covered in sprinkles. 

Hoping your day just got a little richer, too! 

Cheers,
Jen


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Honeyfund - tacky or genius?

Yesterday, I was introduced to a honeymoon registry (also called a honeyfund). I think they've been around for a few years, but I've never come across one before. With so many couples getting married later in life - or who have lived together for several years already - it's hard to put together a traditional registry because they simply don't need certain things. Sure, they could upgrade their current sheets, but why bother when they could put together a honeyfund? With a honeyfund, wedding guests can contribute to the couple's honeymoon by purchasing things like an excursion if they're taking a cruise or a wine-tasting in the area they're visiting.

I tend to err on the side of old-fashioned, but I thought this was a really cool idea. But after talking to some others and doing some research online, I'm having second thoughts. Let me explain why.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

11 Types of Army Wives - Where do you fit in??



In the interest of full-disclosure, I stole this post from Army Wife 101 - you can find the original post here. I decided to share because I think she has a point. Keep in mind, it's all in good fun. Have you met people who fall into these categories? I definitely have. And I'm sure I fall in there somewhere, too.
Here we go! 
The I Am Hooah Hear Me Roar Wife
This is the wife whose life revolves around any and all things military. She was probably a military brat, swears she knows everything about military life, cooks and bakes for all the military functions (even the ones she’s not invited to) and wears “I’m an insert branch here” Wife t-shirts. She goes to every single FRG meeting and genuinely has a passion for military life and is most likely not mean, but just a tad bit annoying and competitive.

Vegetable Beef Soup - Dinner for 4, less than $10

When it's cold outside, all I want to do is sit around in my pajamas and drink hot tea. The last thing I want to do is stand in the cold kitchen and cook dinner - blah. So I love our old stand-by, vegetable beef (or deer) soup. It takes about 10 minutes of prep time and then it simmers all day. It makes the house smell amazing. Added bonus - it's less than $10 for dinner and could feed about four people (I'm guessing here. Nate and I can eat dinner, have leftovers the next day and still have some to freeze if that tells you anything).

Putting the soup together is beyond easy. First, brown your stew meat (we've been using deer) in a large pot. When it looks done, add two cans of tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is super important. We like Muir Glen's organic tomato sauce. This is your taste base so make sure you like the sauce before you put it in the soup pot. Next, add four cans of water. You can also add beef bouillon cubes for extra flavor (I'd say between two and four). Then add your veggies. I use a bag of frozen veggies (carrots, peas, green beans, corn), but you can use a can or leftovers - pretty much whatever you have on hand. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The longer it simmers, the better. Honestly, sometimes it tastes better the next day.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

8 ways to kill time while your kid sleeps in the car

On our way home from the grocery store today, E fell asleep about five minutes away from the house. This would've been ideal a month ago when he was still in his infant car seat, but now that he's in a convertible seat I can't move him without waking him up. Sigh. I considered parking in the garage and waiting him out, but then I'd have to turn the car off (so we wouldn't die) and it was way too cold to sit there without the heater on. So I did what lots of other parents do; I drove around until he woke up.

Unfortunately, it didn't take long to run out of things to do. I'm hoping if I share my list with you, you'll be able to add to it. Here we go: