Tips to get your Christmas shopping done early!

That’s right! I’ve done it again! Christmas shopping for 2020 is now complete. Mind you, I typically pick up a few knick knack items if I run across them between now and Christmas day, but ultimately, I am finished! I make it my goal to be finished shopping before December 1st every year. That way I have about 25 days to wrap.. I hate wrapping.. Maybe I’ll invest in bags this year instead of wrapping. I digress.

Here are a few of my tips to getting Christmas shopping done before December 1st!

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Thankful, Humble, and Kind

No matter what has happened this year, we can all agree on two things: 2020 SUCKS, and Carole Baskin killed her husband. However, on this most giving of days, I am trying to remember the meaning of this holiday season. With COVID ramping up again and restrictions on how to spend your holiday, it’s easy to forget the true meaning of this supposed wonderful time of the year. Instead of dwelling on the negative, which has been in abundance this year, I am determined for even just this one day in this horrible year to take a moment and be thankful for all I have.

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Going Zero-Waste – Ethique

Continuing on our zero-waste journey after discussing two of the areas in which we wanted to cut back our single use plastic, toothpaste and cleaning products, we now find ourselves at shampoo and body soap, or shower essentials. It still amazes me how many of these companies are up and coming in the zero-waste space. I want to badly to support them all, but when it comes to researching their true goals, we have quickly found which organizations align with our goals.

Ethique drew us in with their zero-waste products, but they don’t stop at just providing products without single use plastic. Their products go so far as being packed in compost-able material! Why is this a big deal? Because it means their waste, their packaging, their products end of life has no negative impact on the environment! AMAZING! Did I also mention they plant a tree for every order made?

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Happy Birthday, Hubby!

Happy birthday to the man of my dreams! He’s the best father and husband I could ever ask for, and aging like fine wine. (We’re only in our thirties, but still. That’s old for wine, right?)

Thank you for all you’ve done for our daughter and me. Thank you for always loving me even when I have made it impossible to do. Every year together means another year in forever, and I couldn’t imagine spending it with anyone other than you. We love you!

Going Zero-Waste – Bite

Research ways to become zero-waste, and you will be amazed at how many small businesses are popping up everywhere! There are so many new organizations being born in this space, it took quite a while to decide which company to go with. On a broader scale, it became a focus as to what products to start with on this journey. After some serious thought, cleaning supplies, shampoo and soap, and toothpaste are where we decided to focus first.

In the toothpaste race, there are so many choices to choose from! There’s Unpaste, Chomp, Georganics, and so many, many more, all with the promise of zero-waste. For my family, it truly came down to a composition race.

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Going Zero-Waste – Blueland

Blueland’s amazing cleaning products!

If you haven’t seen the advertisements on your social media for Blueland yet, get ready to start seeing it pop up! The moment you read this article, the tiny gremlin in your phone tells Facebook, Instagram, etc., that you looked at something related to Blueland! Now every ad will be about the zero-waste company. (Insert maniacal laugh.)

Our household decided to go zero-waste for a number of reasons, but single use plastic is one of the largest drivers. Once we were done with a detergent bottle or a toothpaste tube, it was dropped in recycling, and hopefully, it is handled properly. Too many times now, I have seen that recycling isn’t dealt with appropriately, so instead of throwing it away, we looked at alternatives.

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Married, Year 7

It is the 7th wedding anniversary for my husband and me. Seven years married, and a lifetime to go. It’s interesting now to think back on the advice we have been given throughout our years together.

“Never go to bed angry.”

“Share the load.”

“Oh, you won’t be doing that for much longer!”

All of it was taken with a grain of salt because not a single person knows what goes on in some other couple’s relationship. Regardless of how close the outsider might be to the couple, they will never understand what it is like to be in your relationship with your significant other.

However, there is some sound advise out there. Not all of it should fall on deaf ears.

But, does advise ever grow old? Is there a time limit for the value of the advice? Does it grow stale over years, or lose its potency? Does it keep forever regardless of when it was given?

The best marriage advice I have ever read can be found in an article from a writer in 1886 named Jane Wells.

“Let your love be stronger than your hate and anger.”

Man, of they entire world doesn’t need that lesson right now, no matter the marital status. Letting hate and anger fester does nothing but foster more hate and anger. Only love can heal. True for life and marriage.

“Learn the wisdom of comprise…”

Another life lesson, but I feel this so truly for marriage as well. No one agrees with another individual completely on every topic known to man. And, if they do, they may need to take a journey to discover themselves. Find what really matters to them, and understand their own mind.

“Believe the best…”

Because the worst is sometimes an imagined doubt rather than truth. Give the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty.

“…living up or down to opinions.”

Set the bar high. Demand what you want, but be ready to compromise and be surprised.

“…true friendship…”

The basis of any marriage should be friendship. The couple should have a foundational bond of fondness toward each other, which will serve to keep them from falling apart. Friendships may be tested, but it is the connection between the two people that will endure.

“…hand this down to your children..”

Because the more things change, the more they become the “new norm”.

Finally, I leave you with this.

I have loved a man with my entire heart for over 15 years, and dedicated the rest of my life to loving him 7 years ago. It has been hard, full of compromises, times of anger, but the love we share is worth it. The relationship we have is everything to me because we keep surprising each other.

Happy anniversary, babe!

ABC Mouse Subscription

As most mom’s know, we are trying to find ways to keep our young ones learning, entertained, and, for just one moment, occupied while we try and do anything around the house! We also want to see our kids using technology in a way that is more than mind numbing television or video games. We want sustenance for their little minds!

Enter ABC Mouse.

I’m sure you’ve seen the ads as much as I have, especially if you’ve even thought the words “homeschool” or “kids at home learning”. HOW DO THEY KNOW?!

I finally caved because I was tired of hearing other apps being used on my five year old daughter’s tablet that were nowhere near educational. The ABC Mouse app at least has a purpose to teach the child something.

Again, I digress.

When I first got the app for my daughter, she’d play for a few minutes then look for her other apps. I’d redirect her and get her back on the learning path, but I think it is beneficial to all considering the app to know there is a motivational aspect to it that I had to explain to my daughter.

To keep the child engaged, ABC Mouse has a built in reward system. For every module they complete, they receive tickets for in app “purchases”. (They cannot buy tickets with real cash. I checked. They gotta do the work!) These “purchases” are for their virtual classroom, in app pets, and avatar clothes and home decorations. Money is a concept my daughter is still learning, so explaining the tickets and what they could be used for helped tremendously to motivate her and do the work!

Her current favorite thing to do is buy stuff for her avatar’s house. She was having fun buying up all the class pets and coloring by numbers, but we’ve moved on to decorating!

Overall, I think my daughter and I are both happy with the app and it’s teaching ability as well as it’s engaging qualities. I would recommend it to Mom’s looking for a way to keep their kids learning. I would just add, be on the lookout for the best discount code. There are a lot of them!

Self Awareness

I’ve taken several soft-skill classes pertaining to communication and personality types, and the one thing I have learned from each is how much room for growth I have. Call it ego or immaturity, but in my 20s, I could have sworn to you I knew exactly who I was and how to communicate with anyone effectively.

I WAS WRONG!

I’m approaching my 30s swiftly, and I am finding myself reflecting on my communication skills and personality type in ways I’ve never taken the time to consider before. Am I a details or big picture seeker? Do I like small talk or getting down to business? Am I competitive, or am I collaborative? I’ve never stopped to consider any of this in my communication style. In doing so, I have learned so much about myself and am working on the parts of me that can be improved.

For example, to answer the small talk versus getting down to business questions, at work specifically, I loathe small talk. I have a job to do, and I only have so many hours in a day to complete my tasks. When communicating with coworkers, I want to get to the point and move on to the next.

What I have realized this says about me and how it translates into my personal life is my amount of patience. I have a five year old daughter, and I try to summon all the patience in the world sometimes when I am talking to her. Otherwise, with anyone and anything else, my fuse is short! This is one area in my life I want to badly to work on. I want to be more patient. I want to take the time out of my day to stop and smell the flowers rather than plowing through life like a bulldozer.

I’ll get there one day, but for now, I’m just glad I have become more self aware. The first step is acknowledgement, right?

Trolls World Tour – Movie Review

My five year old daughter loves Poppy and Branch! After that first movie came out, it was all she would talk about. She would sing the songs and want to wear “Poppy pink” all the time! The movie was sweet and catchy with the mashups, so not too much heartache to be found after watching it multiple times a week.

When we heard a second movie was coming out, my child was so excited! We made the viewing party into a real experience for her since we weren’t able to see it in theater (due to the thing that must not be named). We baked cookies, made crazy drinks, and ate whatever she wanted for dinner. We laid out our spread and turned the movie on.

We built the moment of watching the movie up so much, this child was bursting the moment the first song began! Every few seconds she would say, “Daddy, did you see that!” Or, “Momma, look!” It was hilariously adorable! Luckily we were at home because this child could hardly contain her excitement.

As the movie played out, she was completely sucked in!

I, on the other hand, missed the first movie.

Don’t get me wrong, the second movie was cute, too, but something about the dialogue didn’t work for me.

In the first rendition, there is a conflict, a mission, a redemption, and a resolution. All of that is present in this sequel as well, but the interactions between the characters just feel short and bland. I know these movies have a lot of music in them, which I thoroughly enjoyed in both films, but there is a lackluster quality to the spoken exchanges between the characters themselves. Anytime they weren’t singing, there wasn’t much value added to inform the audience of what was happening.

Without getting too detailed, there is mention that certain events happened before and history was repeating itself. There is even a quick reference to whom the conductor of the first event was, but it’s blown off so quickly, it’s hard to tell if it’s really what they meant or if they were just wondering if that was the case. There are several instances like this where they just casually throw a comment out, but there is no further interaction amongst the characters to progress the thought process.

I know, it’s a kids movie. I didn’t have any overreaching expectations of the movie other than my daughter’s enjoyment, and she definitely enjoyed it!

Queue playing the soundtrack on repeat until we can buy the movie and play it incessantly!