Friday, September 21, 2012

Chevy Volt Electric Car for our Family??

My husband got a mailer all about the Chevy Volt.  Very nice I told him.  A few days later he said he was going to go look at the Volt.  Really? A four person car for our 7 member family?
Yes, he said. It would be a great car for when we are just a small group.
So he visited the Volt a few times and I still was not sold.
The car is way too small I repeated.
But since this would be my husbands car I told him fine.  You want it, you can get it.

So now we are proud leasers of a new Chevy Volt.
The first few weeks I really hated the car.
It smiled at me and then started to grow on me a bit.
I started to love some things about it.
*No gas to pay for.  With prices hovering in the $4 a gallon mark, I did not miss filling up my car as often.  Each charge will get you about 36-38 miles of driving without needing to plug in again.  There is a small gas tank as a back up if you are going on a longer drive.  I am proud to say we have gone almost 500 miles and not used even .1 of gas, woohoo!  This picture is hard to see but it says 478 miles and 0.0 of gas. I love this!

*Smaller groups are quieter to drive around than larger ones. :)
*Onstar for the life of the lease. Onstar is awesome!
*XM Radio with a way of rewinding a song.  Can you say Call Me Maybe played over and over again while driving to preschool? Maybe this should be a negative.

*Easy to park, I have only driven big cars for years now and this car is really easy to park!
*Speedy little thing.  You barely step on the pedal and woosh you are off!  Careful though, you do not want to get a speed camera ticket.
*Quiet.  This car is sooooo quiet.  You turn it on and you can barely tell it is on.  Sometimes people will stand next to the car and not realize I am trying to drive away.  There is a teeny horn that you can use to alert pedestrians that you are moving. Smart Chevy Volt designers!
*Great NAV system and console area. Easy to figure out and use.
*Race car feel says my 4 year old. She only wants to go to school in her race car.
*Last positive is a very comfortable seat for each person. Bucket seats all around. A real improvement from the minivan days.

*Remembering to plug it in.  Sometimes you just do not remember that extra little step.
*You cannot fit as much in the trunk as you can in the minivan.  I buy a lot at the store and need a way to bring it home.
*You try to plan your trip to be in the under 40 mile mark, so that you will get back home before you need to charge it.
*There are not that many charging stations YET. We do have a few, but not at every store we go to.

Macy's Spelling Bee

Is your 8-11 year old a great S-P-E-L-L-E-R?
Do you live near:

*Houston TX
*Aventura FL
*Coral Springs FL
*Orlando FL
*San Diego CA

If the answer is yes, you are in luck! Tomorrow, Macy's is sponsoring a spelling bee with truly amazing prizes.  Would your child like to win an Ipad 3? What about a $100 Macys gift card? A year's worth of online tutoring from Kaplan?  Or maybe the online gift card from Scholastic is what they would love to win.
Get there early to line up and sign in.  Watch Twitter for live tweets and follow #MacysBee for updates throughout the day.
We had the opportunity to interview a number of this year's contestants from around the country.
The contestants gave us lots of advice and suggestions.
Many of the kids who try out really love spelling.  They enjoy spelling games, get quizzed on spelling words at meals, and practice spelling lists during their free time.  Some contestants are really serious about this.  Other kids we met just were walking by and thought this looked like fun.  The best tip we learned is that you can use your entry number as a piece of paper and you can practice "writing" the word on your "paper" with your finger.  The kids said this way of visualizing a word can really help them.  What a great tip!

The Macy's Spelling Bee has some incredible sponsors including:

*Reading is Fundamental
*Kaplan Kids

*Radio Disney

Even if your child does not fit the age range, it is really fun to meet the contestants and cheer them on.  It is inspiring to hear their stories, and watch them spell words under pressure.
Some fun websites to practice spelling that my kids enjoy are:
and finally this website has a really cool way to practice your weekly spelling words!

Good luck to all the spellers this weekend!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Spelling Bee.  All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.  I have two amazing spellers in my house and one day I hope to be able to watch one of them win a spelling bee!

Anyone else concerned about Halo?

I just got my latest Cravebox in the mail yesterday and most of the items were really fun.  The theme this month was "back to school".  The pens and pencils were really awesome.  So were the cute tissues.  But one item in the box really concerned me.

Have you seen this product before?
Halo Germ Defense.
Like I would with any food I plan to eat I looked at the box carefully.
What did the cover say to me? It looked to me like a little girl was spraying this product into her mouth on this box.  Hmmmm, keep reading. I turn the box once to the right.  The box tells me I should use Halo when I am exposed to airborne germs, and they suggest that these airborne germs are found in:
*and restaurants.

I turned the box over to the back side.  Active ingredient is: Cetylpyridinium Chloride.  WHAT? That does not sound good to me.  And yes, you are supposed to spray this product three times into the oral cavity( I am guessing they could easily have said mouth here)  allow the medicine to spread through the mouth, then swallow.
Next step for me was to google  Cetylpyridinium Chloride. Here is the wiki page for this ingredient.  Scroll down a bit and it says "It is toxic when swallowed or inhaled".
So now lets go back to the cover picture. To me, that looked like a little girl.  She would be going to school and I would want to protect my little girl from all the terrible germs in the air.  But WAIT!  The back of the box says this product is only for adults and children 12 years of age or older and it says Children under 2 should consult a dentist or physician.

There are so many things that scare me about this product.  And if you know me, I am a huge germaphobe who must ask the kids 100 times a day, have you washed your hands recently??

I googled "Halo germ Defense Concerns" and I got nothing.
I am the only person worried about this product?
Forget about the main ingredient of Cetylpyridinium Chloride for a minute.  Lets look at the inactive ingredients that are included:
flavor, yeah, what is that?
hydrogenated castor oil
sodium benzoate
sodium saccharin
xantham gum

My google search gave me very little so I went to the Halo Facebook Page. Here I found lots of, save yourself from germs, use our product posts.  I also saw lots of people posting that they got the Halo product in a goody bag, at Blogher, or as a sample and they just loved it.  Other people posted that they were going to use it everyday.  These posts scared me even more.

Any scientists here who can explain this product to me, and tell me why it is safe?
If not, I will be keeping my oral cavity clean and free of Halo, and probably getting sick as soon as my kids bring home the next germs from school.

4 weeks of school

Is it possible that we have almost 4 weeks of school behind us?
It really has flown by.
Sure we have had some tough days, weeks even.
Our Sunday plans were recently ruined by illness and the depressing too much homework disease.
But overall we have mostly survived the first 4 weeks of school.
Good job kids!

Before school started I had really big plans for how I would be spending my days.  My youngest is now in a full day program.  That means I am usually home by myself from 9-2:30 every day.  I thought wow, I will be getting so much accomplished!  Yeah right. Funny one.
Somehow I have been busier than ever the past 4 weeks, accomplishing very little.
The other assumption I made was that my little girl of 4 years old would be so tired from an 8 hour day of school that she would be going to bed much earlier.  HAHA she said.  Since school started she is going to bed a bit later than usual.

I guess the lesson I learn from this is, never try to figure things out in advance.  Always go with the flow.  Play things by ear.  Enjoy each day as they come and do not try to make too many plans in advance.  All that free time I thought I would have is consumed by helping in the kids schools, helping with homework, shopping, doing dishes, taking people where they need to be, and occasionally finding time to post on my blog.

I hope you have enjoyed your first 4 weeks of school!!
One last thing.
I think I forgot to post a video that I made with my oldest son.
We were asked to make a video with back to school tips for teens.  HP and Walmart sponsored our video.  The outtakes from this video were hilarious.  Our bird was flying around, then refused to get off the top of the fan, and different kids were crying, all while trying to shoot the video. Diane wanted to be in the video, then not be in the video.  It was really a lot of fun ;).  I should make videos with the teens more often, it sure does keep them quiet as soon as the camera starts to roll.
Anyway, if you want to see our video, here it is:

Only 3 Ingredient Dessert

Sometimes I get so busy making a nice dinner that I run out of time for a nice dessert.  I do not serve dessert very often, but when I do, I want it to be healthy, and be ready in minutes.

I have the easiest dessert ever for you.

One problem though with this dessert. You need to buy one ingredient at Trader Joes.  TJs, as we call it around here, is one of my favorite stores. They have so many great products, with healthy ingredients, and at a great price. What more can shoppers ask for?

Last week while shopping, I noticed a new dessert mix.  It was called the Blondie Bar Baking mix.  I then looked at the preparation instructions.  Add in one egg and one stick of butter.  Seriously, one stick of butter? No way, no how.  I think I use one whole stick of butter in about 5 months in my house.  I knew I could make this mix better, so I still bought it with the intention of making it my way.
I tried a few different combos with healthier ingredients.  But the best combo by far was easy.  Put the Blondie Bar mix in a bowl, then stir in one egg (you can easily sub in egg beaters or a flax or chia egg here) and 1/2 cup of apple sauce.  That is it! Stir it just till blended and then put in a well sprayed 8x8 pan.  I made this in my toaster oven and it was ready in 26 minutes.

This is what it looked like before baking.
There is no photo of the after blondie bars because they were almost all eaten up.  All the kids loved them.  No complaints means a successful dessert.  No one said these tasted healthy and the proof is in the empty pan.

Leave me a comment if you have an easy and healthy dessert you like to make for you family.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First day of JK

Yesterday was the first day of JK. And by JK I do not mean just kidding. It was the first day of Junior Kindergarten.  My baby is now in school all day. I know we chose the right school for her and I know she will be happy.  But wow, it is hard on ME!
I could not sleep the night before the first day. I tossed and turned and could not believe my baby was old enough to be away from me all day long.  She is more than ready, but I do not feel ready.

She woke up, got dressed and ready to go. She literally could not wait to leave.  I have one picture from her first day of school and here it is.
The look on her face describes it all.  Mom, stop taking pictures and take me to school!!
We dropped off her brothers and went to her new school.  We were the first ones to arrive and she listened where she should put her lunch, her backpack, and she ran in to start working.  I stood at the door, hoping I would not start crying and I said, Can I have a kiss goodbye?  NO she answered, I am working here, no go home and do your work.  I walked away.  Tears flowing down my face.  Why should I be so sad? I have raised an independent, happy, bossy little girl who could care less she is starting a brand new school.  She was so happy to be there.  She did not need one more kiss, or to hold my hand any longer.  My baby is all grown up.

The director of our new school was so awesome and responded right away to my email I sent asking, how is my little girl doing? Of course she was fine and was acting like she had been there her whole life.  I even got a picture in the afternoon.  My happy girl in a circle playing the name game.  She was fine, thriving, growing up and blossoming. And late last night we got a Smilebox video.  45 pictures showing us everything they did on their first day.  We watched and rewatched the video this morning, showing me friends, Spanish, PE and the playground.  This video allowed me to feel like I had been there on the first day.  Awesome!

I sit here on day #2 and reflect.  While I am typing this up and looking at this photo the tears are again flowing.  I am not ready for time to go by so fast.  I am not ready for my oldest "baby" to get his driver's license this year.  I am not ready for my babies to be so independent.  But it is happening and I will have to let go and be proud of the wonderful kids they have become.

Each day at dropoff will get easier. I am sure it will.  For now, I will have to cherish each hug and each kiss and know that it only lasts for a minute.  I hope your first day was filled with fewer tears than mine was.