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Green Works® Kids Gear Swap

April 12, 2010

I like Green Works. I use the all-purpose cleaner regularly to clean my desk at work and for spot cleaning at home. So when I got an invite to a Green Works® Kids Gear Swap House Party I was interested.

The premise is a simple one. Partygoers get a sample Green Works® Natural Laundry Detergent and a Natural Compostable Cleaning Wipe before the party to clean items that will be swapped. At the party you browse for items that you can use, while donating items you no longer need.

I say this is simple, but I had a slight moment of concern. My girls have sensitive skin, so I’m hesitant to try new laundry products. But I also don’t like doing a half load of laundry, so I went to Green Works’ website to read customer reviews and to make sure there were no irritants. Luckily I didn’t see red flags and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, so I sucked it up and did a load.

I’m happy with the results. The girls haven’t had any breakouts and the clothes were clean. That being said, I’ll probably go for the free and clear version when I purchase it. After all, I’m a creature of habit.

As for the party, it was nice. I didn’t find anything to bring home, but that was perfectly fine. Free closet space is priceless.

Wear Green and Get Moving!

April 7, 2010

To celebrate National Start! Walking Day the American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to wear green and walk at least thirty minutes. You can find more information on their site, including the positive impact of physical activity.

If you’re beginning a walking or running plan, here are some links to help you get started:

 

Top 100 Workout Songs from Fitness Magazine (we all need motivation!): http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/music/popular-playlists/the-fitness-top-100-workout-songs

 

How to choose the right shoe from The Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ00885_D. Personally I love newbalance.com and nike.com, because I have a high arch and these seem to work best.

 

If you are looking for workout gear, I suggest Target, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.  Target has a nice selection of workout gear and you can normally find something on the clearance rack. I recommend TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, especially for starters, because you will want to try different fabrics and cuts to see what works for you. There is little need to buy expensive pieces, only to find out it doesn’t work for your body type.

Enjoy your walk! Spring is the perfect time to get moving!

Ummmm… That’s Not a Treat

April 5, 2010

When I travel without the girls I always bring them back a treat, or at least what I consider a treat. So in my last trip to NYC I bought outfits, really cute outfits. I get home, pull out the bag and I’m excited to see their faces once I do the “treat reveal.” 

 They are bubbling over as I pull out the clothes, not because they love them, but because they are still waiting for their treat. I try to explain that the outfits are the treat, and they like them, but according to Princess 1 “clothes are not a treat.” They insist the treat is the half eaten bag of plantain chips in my purse.  I give in and let them share the bag. I also make a mental note that next time I don’t have to try so hard.

The following week as I was on my way to New Orleans they don’t take any chances. Princess 1 says, “Can you bring us back a real treat, like candy or cookies or something?” And Princess 2 cosigns with a nod and says, “Yes Mommy, candy.”

At this point I wonder when the secret meeting happened to discuss my inability to choose treats. I also wonder if Princess 1 was voted spokesperson or if she took it upon herself to lead the cause.

Nevertheless, I went with candy. White chocolate lollipops (see picture) to be exact, and they were a HUGE hit. Wonder what my pep talk will be next time.

The Talk

March 30, 2010

Explaining death is never easy. Especially when you’re talking to a four-year-old that is full of questions. Unfortunately last week I learned this the hard way when I lost a very close aunt and had to explain to Princess #1 why “Mommy’s sad.” I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t quite sure what to say, so I gave her a very basic answer and changed the subject.

Then I did some research and I bought the book, God Gave Us Heaven by Lisa Tawn Bergren. She understands that she has some relatives in heaven (those that died before she was born), and this book did an excellent job of explaining heaven in further detail.

Later when it came up again I was prepared to explain death a little better. I’m not sure if all of this will work for you, but here’s my  answer to her. It seems to have answered her questions, at least for now.

“Mommy is sad because her Aunt died and I won’t be able to talk to her, hug her or see her again. She lives with God in heaven now and I’m going to miss her a whole lot.” In explaining what dying meant, I said, “People, animals and plants die when their body doesn’t work anymore.

Usually this happens when a person has lived a REALLY REALLY REALLY long time, but sometimes it happens when people get very sick and a doctor can’t fix them. This is when they are ready to go live with God in heaven. And we know God is very nice and loves us all very much, so he takes very good care of them. Just like he takes very good care of us.” I then went on to explain the beauty found in heaven.

This was a very draining exercise, but it actually helped me, too. It gave me a chance to talk about death in a healthy way, to not focus so much on my grief, but on the fact that my aunt is no longer hurting. She is in paradise.

Princess 1 is probably going to bring it up again, because I saw her wheels turning. And I’m not sure how this information is going to come out when she decides to share her newfound knowledge (which I’m sure will happen at an awkward time…), but at least I feel like I’ve explained it to her on a four-year-old level.

*RIP Aunt Gwenda. There are no words to express just how much you impacted me, my life and the way I try to live. In your memory I will continue to try to be a good, God-fearing person. A woman full of love, compassion and joy. Love you much Auntie!

Mr. Richardson

March 16, 2010

Clarkton High School closed in 1992, forcing the classes of ’93, ’94 and ‘95 to attend one of three area high schools. I ended up at East Bladen, while most of the teachers, classmates and friends I had known since Kindergarten went to another school. So here I was in a new school, my senior year, and having to make new friends, learn new teachers and maintain a decent class ranking (I was number 5 at Clarkton).

I walked into my Business Law class and there was this big, deep-voiced teacher, Mr. Richardson. He looked serious and I thought, “Lord, just get me through this class.” But, he was the opposite of my first impression and by the end of the year he had become one of my favorite teachers. He not only covered his subject matter, but he did his best to prepare us for life after High School.

I first experienced this when we had to announce our post-graduation plans. I knew I was going to college, and I had been accepted to many, but I had not made a decision. Mr. Richardson made it his mission to make sure I went to a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). He would ask me EVERY week if I had decided and he would whisper “Central” as I walked past his desk.

See, he graduated from North Carolina Central University so that was his number one choice. When I told him Central wasn’t on my short list (I just didn’t care for the campus), but A&T was on the list he said he could “deal” with me going to North Carolina A&T. He touted the experience of an HBCU and the fact that he had gone to both an HBCU and East Carolina University so he knew what he was talking about. And I’ll admit, that is a major reason I went to A&T.

He did other things, too. He spent a month teaching us how to do taxes so that we would have a “marketable skill” when we graduated. He knew the guy I was dating was not a good choice and he told me so. Then he moved me to the other side of the class so that we couldn’t sit near each other. 

He was a great teacher of both Business Law and of life lessons.  Most recently he was appointed Commissioner for Bladen County and was set to be sworn in to that seat in April.

Mr. Richardson was killed in a car accident last week. I found out while reading status updates on Facebook and it instantly took me back to 1993 when I was a graduating senior and he looked so proud as I told him I had chosen A&T. Rest In Peace Dr. Stanley Richardson. You are truly missed.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

March 7, 2010

That’s right, it’s Off-Season Shopping Time and I LOVE it! March is the perfect trio of shopping sales. Whether you are looking for clothes, electronics or household items, you can find them all REALLY CHEAP right now.

Just this week I have purchased a pair of Gianni Bini shoes, normally $109 for $26! I have also purchased coats, dresses, kids’ clothes for next year, sheet sets and I’m eyeing a TV at Best Buy.

I’ve also spotted bookshelves at Target for 50% off and great dishes on clearance at Macy’s. Plus, it’s $2.99 time at The Children’s Place. All this and I haven’t made it to the Outlet Mall… yet.

Happy March and Happy Shopping!

Try It, You Never Know…

February 26, 2010

I was checking out at Macy’s yesterday when I commented to the cashier that I am stalking a yellow INC dress, just waiting for it to go on sale. She smiled and admitted when the color came in for the spring line she didn’t think it was going to sell. After all it’s a BRIGHT, awkward shade of yellow (it’s not as golden as the photo). To her surprise the color was flying off the racks.

We discussed how the color complemented various skin tones, even though you wouldn’t expect it. And it made me think. How many times do we not try something because we just KNOW it won’t work? And how many opportunities have we missed because we allowed our preconceived notions to rule?

It’s easier to make choices that aren’t risky, and you may be fine with the results. But amazing is known to come in a package that’s bright and awkward.