ABCya


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ABCya!  ABCya is an educational site that we found for Xavier and he loves it.  He’s outgrown Nick Jr. so this site is the replacement.  The site has educational games and activities for Kindergartner’s through fifth grade, and has become the leader in on-line education for kids.  One of the great things about the site is that you don’t have to create a username or password to access it.  The site was created by teachers and it’s goal is simply to assist parents and children with education.       


The site has math and language arts as well as basic computer skills. Many of the kindergarten and first grade activities are equipped with sound to enhance understanding. You can found holiday activities in the grade sections as well. 

Xavier has become astute in navigating the site.  We use it primarily for spelling, math and occasionally game play.  The site makes learning fun.  There’s Bingo to help with spelling and math.  There’s an app for sight word recognition, learning the coins and how to tell time.  

ABCya.com has been featured by Apple, The New York Times, Disney Family Fun Magazine and Fox News and has received many awards.  I understand why.  I suggest that you introduce your child to this site.  They will love learning in a creative and fun way. 

                                                                    

Would You Have A One Night Stand?


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I had drinks with my girls over the week-end.  We always engage in interesting conversations during our gatherings and this week-end was no exception.   The single ladies debated whether they would have a one night stand or hook up.   Several said they would and several said they would not.  Wondering what my position was?  I said no regardless of whether a condom was used or not. 
As much as I enjoy sex, I was not that trusting of another person at this stage of my life.  Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that 2 consenting adults should do whatever turns them on.  I’m just not willing to put my life in the hands of someone for an organism.  I understand that dating as a single parent can be difficult and hooking up is an option, but personally I don’t believe that a one night stand would be satisfying. 

Twenty years ago my position may have been different as a single woman, but I’m just to afraid to take this kind of chance now.  Several of the single ladies believed that a condom would prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.  I stated that condoms were not 100%.  They do break at times, and it would be my luck that I would be the one that it would happen to. 

I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older and a little wiser, my outlook on life has changed.  My willingness to take chances has dwindled and I’m more cautious with who I socialize with.  The fact that I have a security clearance also plays a role in that.  My job requires a credit and background check, so it’s important that I come out squeaky clean and disease free.  

I also believe that my years as a teenage mother plays a role in my perspective.  I have learned to choose wisely or at least put some thought into my decision making.  This includes my sexual encounters.  Would you have a one night stand if you were single? 

Great Finds – Disney Princesses

I found this adorable 2 piece Disney Princess outfit on Zulily for Zarriah for $18.99.  It’s regularly $40.00.  Hard to believe my little preemie is wearing a 2T.  I think this outfit is adorable.  I’m going to have her wear it with a pair of white tights and ankle boots.  She loves the Disney Princesses, and this outfit is perfect for a birthday party or holiday gathering.  

 
                                                          

I also found this adorable Cinderella tee for $8.99 regularly $16.00.  It will look great with a pair of skinny jeans.  Yes, Zarriah has skinny jeans.  She wears them with motorcycle boots.  My little darling is a fashion icon at 2! 

                           
                                                       
         
I finished the shopping excursion with this adorable mini backpack.  It’s perfect for days out with mom or grandma.  It’s large enough to hold her pull-ups, wipes and sippy cup, but small enough for her to wear on her back.  She has a Mini Mouse backpack that we currently use for outings, so the Disney Princesses would make a nice addition.  You can find it on the Zulily site for $7.99 regularly $13.00. 

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I Love Lucy I Really Do


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 The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, a one-hour special featuring two newly colorized back-to-back classic episodes of the 1950s series, will be broadcast Friday, Dec. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

I Love Lucy I really do.  For all the I Love Lucy Fans, CBS will be showing back to back Christmas episodes of I Love Lucy December 20 at 8:00 pm.  The kicker, they will be in color.  I started watching I Love Lucy as a little girl with my mother.  I remember those days vividly.  She would pick that time to do her ironing.  Back in those days, everything was ironed.  Pillow cases, jeans, curtains everything.  Not only did she iron everything, she used a ringer washer to
do laundry and hang everything on a clothes line to dry. I remember removing towels, sheets and jeans that were frozen and stiff as boards.  They had to thaw out in the house, haha.  Can you imagine women doing that these days.

On set photo from "Cuban Pals" episode (1952).


                                                 
I watch reruns of Lucy on Saturday mornings on the Hallmark Channel.  I’m looking forward to watching the Christmas episodes, especially in color.  I think I’m fond of programs from that era because they come from a much calmer period of time.  There were shows like Mr. Ed, Green Acres and Petticoat Junction.  The big soap opera back than was Dark Shadows with Barnabas Collins.  Barnabas was a vampire.  I knew that two thing would happen at 4:00, Dark Shadows would on and mom would be starting dinner.   

Now that I’ve gotten older and I’m watching the reruns, I think Lucille Ball was a beautiful women, and I loved the clothing that she wore.  I wish they would show all the reruns in color.   The 60’s were a time when stay at home moms were glamorous.  That’s not what was going on in my home, but it was fun watching it on TV.  My mom worked hard, and she didn’t wear high heels or make-up when she was cleaning house and raising 7 children.  I remember my mom laughing and laughing when Lucy was on.  She would usually have me coloring, baking a cake in my Easy Bake Oven or playing with my paper dolls.

                                                        

I now understand the laughter from mom.  It seemed that life was much calmer during that time period and you could see the beauty and humor in things more clearly.  Lucille Ball was a talented woman.  I can also see why she fell in love with Desi Arnaz, such a handsome man, and great actor too. 

                                                                           

I have to  give side kicks, Fred and Ethel Mertz, their props.  They were a great addition to the show.  Although they were portrayed as older, William Frawley was frugal and Vivian Vance frumpy, they were a big part of the show’s success.  I’m looking to seeing these episodes in color, and for all the I Love Lucy fans out there, mark your calendar.                                    

Virginia Beach Parade of Lights


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Virginia Beach Parade of Lights

Live in the Hampton Roads area?  If you do, please add the Virginia Beach Parade of Lights to your list holiday activities.  I’ve decided to make it annual trip for my family, it’s such a wonderful sight to see.   It’s a great family outing if you’re in the area and want to entertain the children for an hour or two.  They have more than 250 animated light displays and 100,000 plus visitors to view them annually.  




                                      parade of lights



It’s the only time of year that cars are allowed on the boardwalk.  You can order hot chocolate, popcorn and hot dogs for your trip or bring your own goodies to munch on while you watch the show.  Each car is provided a free CD of holiday music to get you in the mood as you cruise.  You can drive at your own pace and hop out for a picture or two.  The Parade of Lights is sponsored by McDonald’s.  Approximately 30,000 cars make the trip each year. There are displays to be enjoyed by everybody.  Drive slowly, you’ll find displays on both sides and in front of you. 



                                       things to do in Virginia Beach





You can find fish jumping out of the ocean, dinosaurs, Santa, soldiers and the list goes on.  I look forward to seeing these great displays, but most importantly I look forward to seeing my grandchildren in awe of the lights.  Isn’t that what Christmas is about?  The excitement and the looks on little faces.  We’ll be taking Zarriah for the first time this year.  She’s enjoying the lights on the Christmas tree, I’m sure she will enjoy the displays as well.  I’m getting excited myself.  I love bringing joy to my grandchildren.   





The lights will be on display until Wednesday, January 01, 2014.  The event has been named American Bus Association’s “Top 100 Events in North America”!  Our family likes to go on Christmas Eve if we have Santa’s cookies baked.  Otherwise, we head out Christmas evening.  Mark your calendar this year.  Your kids will love it.    


Kindle e-Book Review – The Prince’s Nanny


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I must be into romance this year.  I seem to be downloading quite a few romance novels on my Kindle.  The Prince’s Nanny is no exception.  Without giving too much away, Sabrina West, who is a nanny in her stepmother’s agency has been chosen for an assignment in Italy for the twin
daughters of the Prince of Savoy.
  The twins prove to be a handful, but Sabrina is determined to take on the challenge.  Little did she know that she would fall in love with the twins and their father, the Prince of Savoy.

To complicate matters, the Prince is engaged to another woman.  Sabrina struggles to remain professional and perform her duties as the children’s nanny, afterall nannies aren’t suppose to fall in love with their employers.     

The author does an excellent job of getting you absorbed in the beauty of the Prince’s Villa, the country side and fashion worn by the elite in Italy.   It’s a great read for those days that you just want to relax.  If you’re one of those who can’t sleep on the plane, download it before you head to the airport.  I downloaded it free on Amazon as a Prime Member, for those who don’t have a Prime Membership it’s $2.99.     

Great Find – Mother and Grandmother’s Bracelet


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We found the perfect gift for your mom or mother-in-law.  I designed this mother/grandmother’s bracelet at Pearls by LaurelThe center pearl is, Zarriah’s birthstone, August and the Sapphire is Xavier’s and mine, September.  I love it. 

The price is excellent, $33.90 for the 3 stones which includes shipping.  The bracelet is handmade from Swarovski pearls (not fresh water pearls) and rhinestones.  It’s also made in the USA.  You can order sizes small – XX large.  For those who have a high PH, the company offers an alternative silver component which prevents the silver from touching the skin and causing a reaction.  I would recommend measuring your wrist to ensure a proper fit.  If the size is off, the company will resize for free.  In addition to free resizing, if the bracelet breaks the replacement is free.  This company vigorously stands behind its work.   

You can design the bracelet on-line using up to 6 pearls; otherwise, you must contact the company.  The site is easy to navigate and designing the bracelet is quick and easy.  You just drag the pearl that you choose to where ever you wish to place it on the bracelet.  You can play with it until you’re satisfied with design/color placement. 

If you click on this link, Pearls by Laurel and make a purchase of more than $20.00 you will receive free shipping.  This is an elegant gift that every mother or grandmother would love.  It’s a great gift for Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthdays or just because.  If you get in a bind for a last minute gift, you can order up to December 17 for delivery by December 24.  They have Priority Mail shipping for $6.95. 
                                                                  

Is Your Teen Sexting?


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                   Just Say No to Sexting

Is your teen sexting or participating in the “hook up culture”?  Statistics show that 22% of teen girls and 20% of teen boys have sent nude or seminude photos of themselves over the Internet or their phones.  Why, they don’t think about the repercussions.  They want to show off their bodies.  Thinks about it, girls today are built like brick houses.  They want to entice the guys
they’re attracted to or they think they’re proving that they’re committed to the young man they’re dating.  In reverse, boys think it’s cool to approach girls via text using sexually graphic content.  Social grace is nonexistent.  There are sites set-up to give examples of how to send a sexting message. 

Times have changed and Teens are Sexting.  We live in a world that revolves around modern technology and it’s here to stay.  The teens don’t realize that the person they sent the picture or text to is now in possession of material that can prove damaging down the road.  Too many times we have heard about the text or image being sent to others or being posted on a social networking site.  Once it’s sent, you can’t retrieve it.  Both teenage boys and girls have forwarded the images to others.  They in turn have passed the image on which has lead to humiliation in school, parties or other social situations.  It’s hard to undo the damage.  If it’s not misused immediately, it can be used to damage the person down the road.  People are revengeful.  

Many teens have said they felt pressured by their boyfriend or girlfriend to send the picture.  Teen pressure is not unusual.  They feel the same pressures with drinking and doing drugs.  Sexting is just another social pressure.  What can you do to prevent your teen from sexting:

  • Set aside time to have a serious discussion on the damaging affects of sexting.
  • Let them know that they’re in control of their body and reputation.  They should never allow anyone to pressure them into sexting.     
  • Give them an example.  A great one would be the beautiful and talented Vanessa Williams.  She posed nude in college and the photos came back to haunt her when she won the Miss America Pageant.  She resigned her crown as a result.    Don’t want to use Vanessa Williams, Google to find other examples of teens who have been harmed. 
  • Set rules on phone use.  Kids need structure and guidance and a cellphone shouldn’t be an exception.
  • Discuss the meaning of privacy and intimacy.  Would they want family members or friends to see the photo?  If not, they shouldn’t want the world to view it either. 
  • Discuss dating etiquette and what’s acceptable.  You set the rules or assist your teen in setting rules.
  • Discuss the legal ramifications.  Since I am not an attorney, I would suggest that you consult a family lawyer in your state for advice. 

                                                             

Calendar Gift Ideas


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2014 Calendar

I just made a calendar for one of my daughter’s Christmas gifts at Shutterfly.  I had so much fun going through pictures and finding ones that fit perfectly into each month of Xavier and Zarriah.  Although it’s not clear, this is the cover of the calendar.  The picture was taken at Zarriah’s Christening.  About 20 family members from my daughter and son-in-law’s side of the family attended.  The picture is a beautiful memory. 

This calendar will make a beautiful keepsake.  I’m thinking of making another for my office.  For January I selected a picture of Xavier playing in his first snow.  It was a great moment, January 2009.  My daughter and her family were visiting for a week-end and it snowed.  Xavier had just turned 1 the previous September.  I had a great time watching him play and trying to figure out what that white stuff was.   

                                                                 

                                                                       

How could I leave out Zarriah’s first birthday party, August 2012, and her looking at the clown.  OMG, it was hilarious.  The pictures brought back so many memories.  I’m hoping the calendar will do the same with daughter and son-in-law. 

I’ve been thinking of this calendar for years as a gift, but never made the effort to complete the calendar.  Finally in 2013 I do just that.  The Shutterfly site is easy to navigate.  To cut down on time, I would suggest that you go through your pictures and make a note of which ones you would like to use for what month.  If you’re like me, you have thousands of photos to choose from, so it can become time consuming. 

Shutterfly is currently offering free shipping.  Use Promotion Code SHIP30.  Also, new customers get 50 prints free.  The free shipping offer ends 12/23/13.  This is a great idea for your mom, a friend or yourself.  The calendar comes in 2 sizes:  8 x 11 and 12 x 12.  I choose the 8 x 11 for $21.99.  The 12 x 12 is $29.99.  They have numerous designs and layouts to choose from.  Check it out. 


                                                                    

Holiday Gift Ideas for Gardeners

gardener gift ideas, holiday gifts, gardener gift ideas

 

I’m into gift baskets this season.  I’ve found that my most memorable gifts have been homemade items and gift baskets that I’ve put together for my family and friends I’m an advent gardener and bird watcher.  If you have one on your list, a gift basket would be perfect for them too.  We have put together a list of holiday gift ideas for gardeners. Check  it out:
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