Friday, July 3, 2015

Learning Baseball The Ripken Way (AND A Giveaway!)

 Today’s post is sponsored by Ripken Baseball through the Bloggy Moms Network.

If you're a baseball fan, chances are, you have heard at least something, about the Ripkens. Usually, when I think of baseball, one of the first names that pops in my head, IS Cal Ripken. I'm sure you have heard of the Baltimore Orioles and if you know them, you definitely know who Cal Ripken, Sr and his 2 sons, Major League Baseball Hall Of Famer, Cal Ripken, Jr and his brother, Bill Ripken.

Cal Ripken, Sr always said, "If we take care of all the little things, we'll never have a big thing to worry about." That wisdom carried as much weight at home as it did on the baseball diamond. The fundamentals matter. That's just one of the core philosophies of Ripken Baseball, the youth baseball company started by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken, Jr and his brother, Bill Ripken.

Cal Ripken, Sr spent 37 years with the Baltimore Orioles organization. First as a catcher then as a manager and a company man. His sons played a combined 33 years in the Majors, with Cal Jr. setting the Major League record with 2,632 consecutive games played and Bill owning a .985 career fielding average. I can't think of a more experienced, more dedicated, more passionate or more committed family, to teach our children the sport.

Learning Baseball, The Ripken Way.

One of my favorite Ripken Way tips: Celebrate The Individual.
No two players are identical. I think this is very important to remember not just for baseball, but for any sport and life in general. In baseball, players differ in size, strength, speed, quickness, and level of understanding.

Young people are more apt to learn if they have flexibility and freedom. I find this to be true, every single day, for all of my kids and they are always so anxious to experiment and learn and try new things. If we incorporate this with things such as, baseball, which is built on core fundamentals, our kids will be able to find their own style, their own way, becoming their own individual. As with everything we try to teach our children, parents, coaches and teachers should research and understand as much as we can about it, so we can better adapt the fundamental teachings to each young player's existing talents and comfort zone.

Ripken baseball camps deliver an immersive baseball experience. Campers live and breathe baseball, while trained coaches provide an innovative instructional experience, The Ripken Way.

I grew up around baseball and a few other sports, so, it's always been a huge part of my life and my childhood. I still have shoe boxes and binders, filled with complete sets of Topps, Donruss, and Fleer baseball cards. (I invested a fortune in my Darryl Strawberry collection. I wish I would have invested some in a couple of other players!!) Naturally, baseball, soccer, ice hockey, boxing, and street hockey are a big part of my children's lives and we spend a lot of time going to games.

Our oldest daughter played basketball and soccer as a kid and now, our oldest son plays baseball, soccer and street hockey. I hope to have our younger 2 involved with baseball as well as other sports, as they get a bit older.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How To Raise An Adult

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 I'm a mom of 4 children, 3 still at home, while 1 is all grown up and on her own with my 2 granddaughters. I hear so many people, nurses, doctors, (Yes, the same doctor who delivered all of my children, delivered my granddaughters as well!), other parents, friends, family, compliment us on the job we did raising our oldest daughter and how wonderful of a mommy she is. Which is nice, but sometimes, I still wonder whether we are doing an ok job or not, with her or our younger 3. It isn't easy to raise children. I certainly don't claim to be an expert and we are always trying to figure out how to be better parents.

It's a very stressful, very rewarding job and personally, I think it's one of the hardest jobs around. I try to steer clear of giving advice to other parents, including our oldest daughter. I will try and share stories that may relate to their stories, or if asked, I will find a way to relate to the issues they are having whether I or my mother had similar issues or if I read something somewhere where they offered suggestions. But, I wouldn't tell other parents what they should or should not be doing. I believe that parenting is up to the parents and we are all learning as we go. That being said, my husband and I have also had our fair share of friends and family and of course, even our own children, making comments about some aspects of our parenting and I can understand that. However, just like when I grew up and became an adult and realized why my mom did certain things and gave me chores I did not agree with as a child and teen, I understood her reasoning and I think my children will also.

 I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will be using this as reference in the future and passing on to friends and family when they may need to borrow it. Julie Lyythcott-Haims, did a fabulous job articulating why it is so very important to raise your children to become successful adults. No, this doesn't mean a CEO of a company or a millionaire or a celebrity, it means something even more important. A very well rounded individual who has respect, values, morals and can manage and function on their own.

It is surprising to me, how many young adults and even some older adults, can't figure out how to do their own laundry, change a tire, pay a simple utility bill or even write a check. (I know, so many bills are paid electronically, which is another reason I sometimes think so many seem to have forgotten.) It's unrealistic to never help your child understand simple tasks that they will need the second they leave home. (and even before they leave home.) Preparing your children and focusing on life skills, are extremely important and even if they moan and whine, they will thank you in the long run. School has always been a great place for our children to learn, of course. But, do all schools teach your children how to unclog a toilet? Use a mop? Make a dentist appointment? Or make a grocery list and prepare a meal? Sure, some do, some tasks are covered in school. Our school offers a program, (voluntary), where your child can attend a Vo Tech and be introduced to different trades, including, cooking. But, for the rest of school, they stress on math, reading, science, history, handwriting, gym class, etc. Parents can't and shouldn't rely on just your child's teachers, to teach them how to survive. 

Julie Lythcott Haims was a dean of freshman at Stanford University for 10 years and she discusses how over the years, her students came to school, less prepared for adulthood. Which is why she decided to dig in and research and figure out what exactly is going on and she came to the conclusion, that our children are being coddled and their hands are being held a bit to much. Sure, as parents, we worry about our children, but we shouldn't be constantly holding their hands. We should be teaching our kids how to be individuals and make their own decisions and advocate for themselves. Advice is fine but at some point, they should be more independent and be doing their own work and figuring out their own social issues. I couldn't agree more with the author and I'm really impressed with her findings, her advice and her book.

One of my favorite lessons is to not use the word, "we" so much. "We" are not on the soccer team and "We" are not doing a science project or studying for a history test. There does come a time when it is up to our children to make decisions and figure out things on their own. Sure, we can be in the background for them to rely on when needed but if we continue to be over protective and make all of their decisions, they won't learn how to do this on their own in the real world.

 I also love the chapter that focuses on what age groups should be able to do what chores and simple life tasks. I was more than pleased to find that we already do most of what is on her lists! However, there are still some that I never thought about but will be adding immediately to our chore and skill lists. For example: we already have our 11 year old, planing a grocery list, making a menu plan and making dinner one night a week, all by himself. Not only does this help him in the long run for when he goes out on his own, but he actually enjoys this quite a bit! He begs and pleads to be in charge of dinner more then 1 night a week and lately, I've been thinking, I may take him up on his offer :) He also mows the lawn, helps look after his younger siblings and has a list of chores that he sometimes complains about and when his friends are over,t hey say things like, "Wow! I'm glad my mom doesn't make me do things like that!" But, it's all for the best. However, I found some things on the list for instance, age 8 read a recipe and prepare a simple meal and take care of personal hygiene without needing a reminder. These are things we haven't necessarily started with our 8 year old daughter just yet but we have already put the plan into place to get these 2 things off of Julie Lythcott-Haims' list. Actually, I am revising our chore chart and the kid's "time cards" and things we expect and this will be implemented tomorrow.

I would recommend this book for ALL parents, no matter how long you have been a parent or even if you are just expecting your first child. I promise, your children will thank you when they get older and they will be very pleased with themselves and how they were raised to be upstanding, functioning adults and very independent individuals. This book isn't boring, it doesn't read like a "How to" book. Julie adds humor, life experiences and a ton of wisdom as well as covering every aspect you can think of, in, How To Raise An Adult.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

#TeamSnuggle Fresh Spring Flowers Mission

** I received a free box of Snuggle Fresh Spring Flowers scent, in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own. **

I am always trying to find ways to keep everything smell as fresh and sunny as I possibly can. I love springtime air, fresh cut grass, fruity scents, wildflowers and anything that smells super clean.

Snuggle has been a staple in our laundry room for as long as I can remember. I remember seeing the Snuggle bear commercials when I was a kid and I always wanted one of those bears for my bedroom. (One of my younger brothers believed the Snuggle bear really talked and played in laundry!) I don't think I ever had a favorite Snuggle scent, so, I guess I would choose the original scent. They are always long lasting and fresh smelling and I can't think of a scent we didn't like. 

I recently joined the Snuggle community and was accepted for the Fresh Spring Flowers mission. That is one scent I don't usually buy in many cleaning or laundry products, it's usually a bit to strong. So, I stick with everything but. (I go crazy over real fresh flowers though!). 

One thing I found with the Snuggle fabric softener sheets, was that the flower scent was NOT overpowering and actually is rather pleasing. I can deal with these! Especially when, (Now, I don't know if it's just me, but...), they seem to have a little afterscent of original Snuggle. 

These sheets are pretty long lasting. Clothing, towels, sheets, blankets, can sit for a few weeks in a drawer and the scent STILL lingers. We decided since they last so long, maybe a good idea would be to make some pretty sachets for our drawers! I can't sew, lol! and I have so much fun with do it yourself projects so, it's hard to believe but, my husband does the sewing here. I just helped by supplying the patchwork fabrics squares and being the cheering team. Oh and helping to stuff with Snuggle sheets! 

The kids were able to learn how to sew and dad was included in this project so, that was a bonus! We have so many different sizes and some are being used for doll pillows! The neat thing is, they are just as fresh smelling as they were on the day they were made! 

One of my cleaning hacks, has been to use fabric softener sheets for dusting. They work extremely well on electronics and on heating vents, edges of floors, walls and behind hutches and cabinets. These little buggers pick up every speck of dust, polish game consoles nicely and they keep the dust from falling back down. My sons actually brought up the fact that when they opened the bottom of the TV stand, to play some video games, they could still smell the fabric softener sheets! 

I will be buying these again and will be using them for everyday dusting and hoping to get the kids to sew some more gorgeous sachets for the house. Maybe to use as air fresheners!! Besides, they make our bathroom closet, bedroom closets and drawers, smell so lovely, that I actually enjoy opening the dryer and folding laundry!

Have you tried this scent yet? What did you think? 
I would love to know what you thought of the new Fresh Spring Flowers scent! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Best Buy And GoPro Hero = Best Father's Day Gift Idea

** The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free **

GoPro HERO+ LCD Launch at Best Buy

I'm sure you have been slammed with ads all across the internet telling you what to buy for Father's Day, what does dad deserve, what would make him the happiest dad in the universe, blah blah blah. But, if you have a dad (or husband) who is a pretty cool guy, always has his cell phone in his hand and even if he doesn't, you are going to want to check this deal that Best Buy came up with to celebrate the special father in your life! 

The new GoPro camera is perfect for capturing sweet family moments, long summer breaks and every journey that lies ahead. 

One of the niftiest bonuses about the new GoPro Hero is, if you buy this for dad, you can probably use it whenever you like! I can't decide which feature I would enjoy the most? 

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® connect to the GoPro App for shot preview, total camera control and easy content sharing to Instagram, Facebook, and more.

1080p60 video, 8MP photos and built-in Wi-Fi, plus the convenience of a touch display.

I mean, these shots are just brilliant! I (I mean, my husband) would carry this everywhere! 

 Capture incredible moments and relive them on the spot with the LCD display.

Another reason to stop at Best Buy and to buy the brand new GoPro Hero is of course, the special price and deal they have available through June 20th:

HERO+LCD (Sku 6954009) with free 32GB Extreme Plus memory card (Sku 9387066). Valid 6/14-6/20
·         Free $50 Best Buy Gift Card with purchase of the GoPro HERO4 Silver (Sku 8374096) or GoPro HERO4 Black (Sku 8374078). Valid 6/7-6/20

Best Buy is the destination for the latest cameras and camcorders, including the new GoPro HERO+LCD. The new camera arrives in stores just in time for Father’s Day

Joy Williams Venus Album Review

** I participated in the Joy Williams Venus album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own. **


 This is the first I have heard of Joy Williams, when I received an email about the opportunity to review her album. So, I immediately started checking Google and Youtube and started researching a bit about her and learned about her days with, The Civil Wars and found out about her son, Miles and many other interesting tidbts and realized, she is quite the interesting person!

So, naturally, I was pretty anxious to hear this album and have the chance to help spread the word and write up a review. First, I have to say, I listen to a lot of different music and I tend to stick with heavier stuff. Mostly thrash metal, hardcore, but also freestyle, old school rap and hip hop and a few other genres. One of my most favorite artists of all time, is, PJ Harvey. (Polly Jean Harvey). Which is odd, because it doesn't "fit" any of my other favorite genres. I like to say that I like the best of the best in each and every genre there is. And a lot of those genres seem to be just one artist. Much like, PJ Harvey or even Bjork. From what I've found and listened to of Joy Williams, I believe she also "fits" into this category of artists who don't necessarily "fit" into those little tabs and labels that you find at record stores.

She is indeed, all on her own and I imagine that is what really did it for me and really makes her as seriously appealing as she is. I have been enjoying reading about her life and how she decided to go on her own and create her own album. I also find it intriguing that she is such a gracious, very talented artist but yet, she is a typical mom who has been on a journey to find herself and now she is sharing this with the universe! The best part of Venus, is that we are able to hear about how Joy ended up here, how she became happy just being herself and we are able to envision the paths she took to get here. It's such an enthralling album and a wonderful way to "meet" an artist you knew nothing about or even if you did know a bit about her before.


Now, from what I gather, it seems, (at least from comments on Youtube and other social media.), there are a lot of people trying to compare, Joy Williams and her new music to The Civil Wars. I did listen to a bit from The Civil Wars and I only hope that this album sets her apart enough from The Civil Wars, enough for people to realize who she really is and who she has become.

Joy has a very strong voice, she really rates up there with other phenomenal singers and I am very impressed with her lyrics. Lyrically, this album is a 5 star album. She really did an outstanding job on this album and has made her mark in music history. (At least in my opinion.) I would hope to hear more from her in the near future. Venus, will end up being one of those unforgettable albums and every song is quite intense, very moving and I think we will find that she gains a large amount of new fans, thanks to Venus.

There are 11 tracks on this album and I can't really choose a favorite. I love them all and think most will find the same.

1. Before I Sleep
2. Sweet Love of Mine
3. Woman (Oh Mama)
4. One Day I Will
5. Not Good Enough
6. What a Good Woman Does (I believe if I have to pick a favorite, this is it!!)
7. Until the Levee
8. You Loved Me
9. The Dying Kind
10. Till Forever
11. Welcome Home

I don't mean to compare her to other artists but I can't help but hear PJ Harvey in Joy's music, which doesn't mean that I think she is trying to be like PJ Harvey in any way or that it's a bad thing, because it's completely the opposite. Joy definitely stands out in a crowd. With her raw talent and brilliant mind, very well rounded personality, awesome outlook on life and in everything, she far surpasses many, many, many around her.

Venus will be available on June 29th and available for purchase through Amazon  and iTunes.

You can find, Joy Williams on Youtube,  her website, Facebook,  Twitter,  and on Instagram.

PS!! I probably shouldn't add a review of a person when reviewing their album but, I guess in a sense, that is what an album review is? I think it is, just a little bit. Anyway, I just wanted to add one thing and that is that if you follow, Joy, on her social media networks, she will probably respond to you and that says a lot about an artist to me. I have been sharing my review, also sharing her album info on Twitter and every day, I receive a notification that, The Joy Williams, either favorited or retweeted my Tweet! I feel that this speaks volumes about a person. Especially one who is as busy as she is. There is so much more I could add to this paragraph but, I'll leave it just at that :)

Enter To Win The #HylandsDreamDad Contest

** I received Hyland's products in return for my post and help promoting the #DreamDad contest. **

Hyland's always has the best contests (and the best products too!) and if you enter, you get a coupon for the next time you run to the store to restock your medicine cabinet.

This is just in time for Father's Day and runs through Father's Day, so you want to hurry and enter fast! Plus, you get to vote for your dream dad. I voted for "Funny Dad" although, my kid's dream dad is the perfect mix of all of the choices and well, maybe not so much of the sports dad. That's more where I come in and the gourmet dad. Unless you count mac and cheese as gourmet and well, he does and so do the kids. Oh, but I forgot about grilling season, so, maybe he is more of a gourmet dad. Either way, "Funny Dad" is my top choice and my kids definitely have that! (If you agree with me, please run over and enter and vote for "Funny Dad" too! He's at 28%!)

Wait, I just took notice to "At Home Dad". Hmmmmm now, that could very well be the #HylandsDreamDad! I mean, my husband does help when needed and even though he doesn't do as good of a job as I would. (He doesn't lift things up to dust!), I still appreciate it, tons! I wonder, though, asking for a Dyson for Christmas? That would be like heaven!

Anyway, here are our choices for #HylandsDreamDad:

Funny Dad
At Home Dad
Handy dad
Gourmet Dad
Outdoor Dad
Sports Dad

Enter here to vote and get your coupon!!

Hyland's also has a product listed for each dad. For instance, Funny Dad, has Hylands Leg Cramps PM.  Which is actually the perfect choice for my funny husband. We always have these in our medicine cabinet. All of our dream dads have a corresponding product and you can learn more about each one when you enter.

Now for the prizes!
Hyland's always seems to have the coolest prize packages and of course, the #HylandsDreamDad contest is no exception!

  1. Grand Prize: $200 VISA Gift Card and Hyland's Adult Gift Basket
  2. $50 Target Gift Card, Hyland's Calms Forte and Hyland's Muscle Gel Therapy with Arnica
  3. $50 Target Gift Card, Hyland’s Leg Cramps PM and Hyland’s Bioplasma Sport
  4. Hyland's Leg Cramps, Hyland's Nerve Tonic and Hyland's Headache
  5. Hyland's Bug Bite Ointment, Hyland’s Arnica 30X and Hyland's Indigestion

Click here to read the rules and regulations! 

Good luck and happy Father's day!
Please let us know which #HylandsDreamDad you voted for and don't forget to grab your coupon just for entering!! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Protect The Skin You Are In

It's almost summertime, the days are longer, the weather is nicer, which means, we are outside a lot more. The sun is beating down on us much stronger and our skin is taking a beating, more so then in the fall and winter months.
Of course, sunscreen should be used year round. (That's how I stay ghost white or see through, as my kids say!). A lot of people tend to think that sunscreen or sunblock is only needed when it's warm out or when they are at the beach. Nope! It's needed every time you go outside. So, a safe bet would be to just add it to your morning beauty regimen. It takes just 21 days to form a habit (Yes, that could be a few more days for some but you get my drift.) and this one could end up saving your life.
Sunscreen is just one of our weapons against that scorching, fireball in the sky. But, there are more steps you can take to protect yourself. You also can not rely on just clothing to help stop the sun from causing damage either. But, you can, use a waterproof (if you will be around water of course) sunscreen.
Something that not everybody thinks about, is your scalp and the damage that can happen without protection. Hats are always a great way to keep the sun from getting in but there are also scalp powders out there that can help. You can match these to the color of your hair and they are fairly easy and quick to apply! These scalp sunblock powders are also great for children, newborn on up! It's a powder, so it isn't greasy and they usually come with a self dispensing brush to make the application process much easier.
We all know about wide brimmed hats can help keep the sun from our eyes. Sunglasses also play an important role in keeping your precious peeps safe from almost anything!
If you are taking the kids to the water park for the day or to the beach, chances are, you will be in and out of the water all day. Waterproof sunblocks are essential to water play days but did you know? You can also find Sunscreen Bands from Sunburn Alert! These handy little are bands can be used on your little ones and can be relied upon so that you don't have to worry about whether or not you or your kiddos are still blocking the sun or if it is time to reapply. Sunburn Alert also offers UV stickers if you or your kids prefer these instead of the wristbands.
It may take a little to add some of these ideas into your daily regimen, if you don't already. But, I promise you, it will all be well worth it! Not just protection against skin cancer but if you take the extra few minutes each day, add some sunscreens, whether in the form of your eye creams, moisturizers, primers and compacts, or just regular old sunscreen, you will be saving your skin from aging quicker then it should and helping to battle against age spots!