Tsue ~ That's What She Said: October 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Brighter, Healthier, Younger Skin ~ Easier Than Ever ~ Microdermabrasion At Home

Gone are the days of expensive trips to a spa and time consuming doctor appointments to achieve anti-aging, flawless skin results. With the wealth of microdermabrasion products readily available online and in store, you can now start making your skin brighter and more beautiful in the comfort of your own home. While this beauty regimen has been around for a few years it was a treatment that would only be done by a professional in a spa. It was an expensive treatment that took time and days to recover from. While trips to the spa are a luxurious, relaxing event, the truth is, most of us can't afford to splurge very often, and the key to achieving flawless skin with this regimen involves a weekly or monthly routine.

Fortunately, microdermabrasion has come a long way. These days, there's no need to rely on xpensive and time consuming appointments to keep your skin feeling fresh and looking wrinkle-free. With a wealth of benefits, many women wonder about how Microdermabrasion works?
Isomers, Spa Products For Home, Less Expensive Spa Treatments

As most people age, so does their skin. Often, one's skin merely needs an extra push to be able to shed away the old layers. Microdermabrasion does just this, as it is the removal of essentially dead skin, revealing brighter and healthier skin underneath. As you grow older, your skin begins to slough off at a slower rate than when you were younger. Using microdermabrasion products such as thermal masks, exfoliating creams or easy to use buffing tools, you can remove that dead skin in a more timely fashion. These products are designed to stimulate skin renewal using tiny rough grains or salt like crystals, which buff away the old skin. The idea is that if you break up that top layer of dead skin, your body interprets it as a mild injury to the top layer of the epidermis. To eplenish what's lost, your skin cells rush to make new, healthier and smoother skin cells. Microdermabrasion products provide anti-ageing benefits as they help to correct skin discolorations, dull skin, acne scars and skin damaged by over exposure to the sun. Not only is it much less expensive than heading to the doctor’s office or a spa, but it also a far shorter recovery period.

It’s important to allow for repeated use of microdermabrasion and incorporate it into your daily beauty routine. Using a product a few times a week influences the way your skin cells replenish themselves. Once your skin has begun to experience some benefits from microdermabrasion you will notice that there are additional side benefits. For example, you will find that lotions and moisturizers penetrate more deeply than before since they don’t have to find their way through layers of old skin anymore. You’re skin will break out less often and you will also find that your make-up goes on more smoothly than ever.

The power of many at home microdermabrasion products is in the ingredients.Take, for instance, ISOMERS Manual Microderm Cleanser. This exfoliating cleanser is rich with marine algae and botanical accents and uses tiny beads to lift off impurities without scratching the skin. Doing so then helps with the absorption of creams and moisturizers, which further serve to create softer feeling skin. These sorts of products contain the same crystals or beads you'd find in spa treatments, but they're applied with your own two hands instead of a specialized tool.

Spa Treatments At Home, Affordable Spa Treatment, Younger Skin, Healthy Skin

You could certainly invest in a small beauty tool kit such as Crystalift Professional Microdermabrasion At-Home Treatment Set. This is a skincare set that is similar to what you would experience at a spa. It uses sodium bicarbonate crystals that are applied to a small wand like tool to exfoliate and stimulate the renewal of skin. It’s a bit pricier  than a normal manual mask or cream application but it’s still far less expensive than weekly or monthly trips to the spa. And it only takes an additional 5 minutes to your daily beauty routine.

So if you’re looking for a way to take your skin back a couple of years, and to get that bright, dewy finish this winter, microdermabrasion at home is the way to go. Simply do a bit of research to find a product that’s right for you. Before you know it, you’ll have brighter, fresher skin that looks flawless and is easy to achieve in the comfort of your own bathroom.

Have you ever tried Microdermabrasion?
Do you treat yourself to spa treatments at home?
How do you pamper your skin?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Guest Post.  My Disclosure Policy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Benefits Of Involving Teens In Community Outreach @ChampionsForKids #DialCFK

Once again, despite our busy schedule, my family has been reminded to take time out to think of the need of others in our community.  We have been enriched by participating in a number of SIMPLE Service projects presented by the Champions For Kids organization and this, our most recent effort, is certainly no exception.

Although we often volunteer our time together as a family to a variety of local efforts and organizations, this busy Mom loves how easy it is to work giving into our chaotic schedule with the SIMPLE service project outlines.   Champions For Kids makes it easy for anyone to make a meaningful difference, no matter their budget or personal circumstances.  It's as SIMPLE as checking their website for the latest monthly project, picking up some extra supplies for a donation while doing your regular shopping to help children in need.

Dial Soaps Walmart Champions For Kids Simple Service Project Dial Into Giving

As veterans of the Champions For Kids service projects, my family likes to challenge ourselves to give even more.   Although it was a bit awkward at first, we were both surprised and delighted by how easy it was to reach out to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to join us in our effort.  Retrospectively, we shouldn't have been so surprised.  We are surrounded and touched by wonderful people in all aspects of our lives.  Like my family, it can be so natural to become caught up in our every day routines and forget to take those few moments to make a SIMPLE effort that has the power to make such a powerful impact on the life of a child in need.  An effort that can be increased dramatically with just a phone call, email or quick mention to others we interact with everyday.

For the October SIMPLE service project, Champions For Kids teamed up with Dial to encourage the donation of essential hygiene products to help children in need.  It is simply heart-wrenching to think of a mother, in despair over providing her family with their next meal or a bed to sleep in and easy to understand that, with limited or no means, basic essentials are difficult or impossible to obtain.

Dial Soaps Walmart Champions For Kids Simple Service Project Dial Into Giving
Make A SIMPLE Difference ~ Dial Into Giving #DialCFK

Children in need are already at a huge disadvantage, with lack of proper nutrition and stability.  The often stand out among their peers at school and are often left feeling unwelcome and even shunned, further serving to distract them from focusing on the education that could lead them to a brighter future.

While shopping for items for our donation, we sought affordable products to enable us to give as much as possible within our budget, but also quality products that would be effective and long-lasting.  We were pleased to find a great value on Dial liquid body soap and bars of soap at Walmart.  We often purchase Dial liquid soaps for home and are both pleased with the quality of the clean as well as the fresh and appealing scents.  With a number of variety to choose from at Walmart, we selected the All Day Freshness and new Round The Clock Odor Protection varieties.

Dial Soaps Walmart Champions For Kids Simple Service Project Dial Into Giving

In speaking about this concern and the Champions For Kids SIMPLE service project with Dial, my daughter, a high school senior, decided to reach out to students in one of her classrooms at school, to ask that they join her in collecting hygiene products for our donation.  While not every student remembered to bring an item for her collection, several did, doubling the amount of quality hygiene products we were able to donate to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing.  Twice as many children and families helped, simply by sharing her effort with friends.

Dial Soaps Walmart Champions For Kids Simple Service Project Dial Into Giving

It is certainly true that the experience of collecting, encouraging others and donating to the rescue mission is inspiring and emotional.  No member of my family is able to participate without being moved and affected by the experience.  Not only does our charitable effort provide our family with an easy way to re-connect and bond, there are inherent benefits of involving our older children in our giving.  With two children, one an older teen and the other a tween, it is crucial that they are involved in our family's efforts. Each donation helps them to realize and appreciate the life they enjoy, to broaden their understanding of the reality around them and helps to shape the adults they will become.

Dial Soaps Walmart Champions For Kids Simple Service Project Dial Into Giving

Please consider participating in a Champions For Kids SIMPLE service project to help children in need in your community.  The need is great, the effort is easy and the rewards are extensive.

Dial Soaps Walmart Champions For Kids Simple Service Project, Charitable Projects for Teens

How does your family give back in your community?
Do your children participate in your charitable efforts?
What benefits have you found from giving as a family?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Dial Soaps  #DialCFK  #CBias #SocialFabric. The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tech Holiday Treats ~ @Verizon Samsung Galaxy SIII with Ice Cream Sandwich

Although we have many important family dates upcoming in the next couple of months, there is one date that everyone in the family is excited about and it is, perhaps surprisingly, not a national holiday.  Our cell service contract will expire.

Frankly, that happy day could not arrive soon enough for my family, having outgrown our current cell phones some time ago, marveling the latest smart phone models with no small amount of chagrin.  Although each member of my family values features in varying levels of priorities and has their eye on a specific new phone model with relish, two of us are not unlike kids in a candy store, or rather, in an ice cream parlor.

Verizon, Verizon of Michigan, Smart Phones, New Smart Phones

That's right!  The Teen Diva and I have our hearts set on the new Samsung Galaxy SIII from Verizon, overflowing with techy treats like Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform!  (Yes.  It is as tasty as it looks!)

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich 
The integration of this new platform makes using the Samsung Galaxy SIII a virtual treat.  Everything about it is smooth, easy and enhanced.  

Increased Customization ~ home screen folders and favorites trays
Face Recognition and Device Unlock option
Improved Camera Capabilities ~ including face detection and panorama mode
Virtual Navigation. ~ all controls on screen, swipe action
Enhanced Photo Editor App & Live Transforming Video Effects
Voice Engine Input ~ voice recognition and text dictation
Android Beam Sharing ~ touch Android devices and tap send to share

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is akin to that perfect sundae, with scoops of all your favorite flavors and the all important cherry on top.  We loved the huge screen, a whopping 4.8" Super AMOLED display, teen proofed with Gorilla Glass, as well as the ability to maneuver with swipes on the user-friendly touch/swipe screen and the new motion and voice command options.  

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Smart Phone Features, New Smart Phones

This new-comer to the smart phone scene is a multi-taskers dream.  Powered by the Verizon 4G LTE network, with the support of a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2 MB of RAM, combined with all the new innovations, the Samsung Galaxy SIII is your alley in staying connected and keeps up with your demands.   The ability to work in numerous applications simultaneously is fantastic, as well as the easy share options between compatible Android units with the S Beam and Share Shot technology.

Large Display Smart Phones, Innovative Smart Phones, New Smart Phones

As if all these goodies were not enough, we were truly impressed with the camera functions on the Galaxy SIII.   We were able to capture wonderful photos with the 8.0 MP rear-facing camera and this Mom appreciated the addition of the Burst Photo technology which allows for multiple rapid photo shots as well as the zero shutter lag.  What a plus for a Mom on the go!  The Galaxy SIII also offers HD video recording and a 1.9 MP front-facing camera.

If a new smart phone is on your holiday list this year, take advantage of the phenomenal special offer from Verizon, available with a two year contract!  This Mom certainly will be!

Verizon, Verizon of Michigan, Smart Phones, Smart Phone Deals

What features do you look for when shopping for new family phones?
Does everyone in your family want the same or different features?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I was provided with a Samsung Galaxy SIII to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Some information sourced from Verizon.com.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mom Tips ~ Search For Family Budget Friendly Cell Service

My family and are are looking forward to this holiday season for the traditional festive reasons, as well as for a few techy ones - new cell phones!   Although we've been with the same provider for a number of years, when our contract expires in less than a month, we're looking forward to going in a different direction.

Smart Phones, Ice Cream Sandwich Android, Verizon, New Smart Phone Models

Although our old plan and provider suited our purposes when we first signed up, as my children grew older and my husband became more tech proficient, our tech needs rapidly changed, although our plan and phones seemed to lag behind.  After a great deal of research and comparison, we've decided to make the switch to Verizon.

There are a few reasons why we have decided to go in this direction, among them and truly the deciding factor is flexibility.  Flexibility to customize the right plan to suit the whole family's needs, both collectively and individually, from selecting the perfect cell phone for each family member to the data usage plan that fits our needs.

Data needs.  Honestly, with upgrading some phones and adding a new line and device, I honestly had no idea what our true data needs might be.  Fortunately, Verizon saw bewildered me coming a mile away and it was very easy to estimate our combined monthly data need using the online data usage calculator.  Although if asked, each family member would likely volunteer that they need both a smart phone and a tablet however this Mom is making sure that our new selections will easily fit into our family budget, providing us with much needed connection without taking too big of a bite.

Verizon, Verizon of Michigan, Smart Phones, Family Budget Friendly Cell Plans

Which new smart phones are on Santa's list this year?  With each member of family motivated by different features and options, our holiday cell shopping list is as varied as we are.  Of course, after having an opportunity to test the new Samsung Galaxy SIII, the Teen Diva and I are of the same mind.  Read our Samsung Galaxy SIII review.

Are you planning a new tech purchase this holiday season?
What is tops on your must have tech list?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I was provided with a Samsung Galaxy SIII to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Some information sourced from Verizon.com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Creative Kid Project Survival Tips ~ Amazon Gift Code Give Away

For the past couple of years, each fall has meant the beginning of an adventure for my family.  An adventure involving countless rolls of duct tape, rubber bands, PVC pipe and Gorilla Glue, along with a saintly level of patience.  An adventure otherwise known as Destination Imagination.

Assorted Rubber Bands, Creativity supplies, Creative Kid Projects, Bill Ebbesen Photography
Photo Credit:  Bill Ebbesen
With a group of mini type A engineers, full of ideas and simply bursting with enthusiasm and energy, my husband and I have had the rewarding and often challenging job of trying to guide them through an annual creative problem-solving challenge, without interfering with their process.

The Destination Imagination program is an outstanding outlet to foster creativity in young minds, providing them with the freedom to choose the challenge they want to tackle and the room to experiment, fail, re-evaluate and develop successful strategies.  Of course, with a group of 8-11 year old children, all of whom are blessed with strong leadership characteristics, we've discovered a few techniques to be imminently helpful in surviving the seven month creation and competition season.

Creative Materials, Kids Creativity, Creative Supplies, Gray Duct Tape
Creative Kid Project Survival Tips

You can NEVER have enough duct tape on hand.

Smaller groups are more productive groups.

The answer to questions involving the term "blow torch" is always "no".

If you can hear yourself think, it's time to do a head count.

Take the Tylenol BEFORE you leave the house.

Great meetings always begin with a 15 minute jog.


Creative Kid Supplies, Creative Kid Projects, Online Shopping, Easy Entry Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate Code and shop for your kid creativity needs or your heart's desire! 

This event is hosted by Makobi Scribe and Sason & Pobi and is open Worldwide to those 18+.  This giveaway will end on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 23:59pm EST.  

To simplify entering, you can follow the participating sites via this convenient Facebook List!

I received no promotional items or compensation for promoting this giveaway event.  Sponsor is responsible for supplying and shipping the prize.  Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ are not involved in, nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion. 
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Four Christmas Decoration Tips ~ Impress Your Guests

Christmas represents the one time of year when you can jazz up your house with decorations to the veritable borders of good taste. Of course, the Christmas tree is the hub of your decorations, along with decorations to brighten up the rest of your home interior. A Santa figurine in the foyer? Of course!

While the kitsch value of Christmas is for our own benefit as we enjoy cookies and sip eggnog around the tree, is there not an element of competition in this holiday decorating phenomenon, as well?  Certainly, the idea that we all go from house to house at Christmas time sharing tidings and holiday baked treats may be highly antiquated, however when family and neighbors gather during the festive season, we still want to impress with our own imaginative and elaborate Christmas decorations.

With this in mind, find four key Christmas decoration tips to impress your guests. Australians looking to buy quality Christmas supplies should look at OO's Christmas Decoration page

Colorful Christmas Balls, Glittery Christmas Decorations, Asteegabo Photography
Photo Credit:  Asteegabo
Go for glitter

There is no such thing as too much sparkle. Even the scatter gun approach, although a bit random, is acceptable for your living room come Christmas time.

But for those wishing to be a bit more exact in their using of glitter and sparkles, there are certain ploys available. For example, make sure that shiny ornaments and other eye-catching decorations are hung on your tree close to the end of the branch to give them maximum impact.  The darker, heavier colors can be placed further into the tree, balancing out the color scheme and creating a dazzling presentation.  Do remember to put the glittery items on the foremost edges.

Let there be light

Lights add mood and atmosphere to the Christmas decorations in your home. While you might place them randomly if desired, however a more deliberate approach can create an enchanting effect. Do remember to light the tree from the top down.  It is also work the lights in towards the trunk of the tree and out again to achieve an even distribution of your festive lights. This same method of spreading lights evenly across your space may likewise be applied to the light decorations in other areas of your home. Australian readers might want to try OO’s range of Christmas lights.

Traditional Christmas Tree, Decorated Tree, Holiday Decor, Shimelle Photography
Photo Credit:  Shimelle
Go green

To truly make your Christmas decor stand out, consider decorating with natural items from the great outdoors.  Consider pine cones, sprigs of holly and other greenery.  The addition of natural elements can serve to balance the glitter and sparkle in your home, achieving a classic look in your Christmas decor. Even if you lack the availability of appropriate natural items, simply seek out decorations that have that natural green hue and appearance.

Holiday Wreath, Christmas Wreath, Christmas Craft, Natural Wreath, Eden Pictures Photography
Photo Credit:  Eden Pictures

Adding personal touches with children's lovingly crafted holiday pieces is a common Christmas practice.  Paper lanterns on the tree, necklaces of pasta and pictures on the wall all add to the charm of your holiday decorations.  Creating new holiday memories from a cozy afternoon session of creating simple Christmas crafts together as a family can be a special way to slow down and connect during the busy holiday season.

Guest Post.   See my disclosure policy

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fab Fall Footwear ~ @Langstons Minnetonka Moccasin Give Away

As much as the Teen Diva hates to put away her strappy sandals, with temperatures dipping into the freezing zone in Michigan, she has been busy switching out her wardrobe and filling her closet with her fall apparel.   Although only weeks ago she was on the prowl for apparel items for back to school, each year it is the same familiar story.  Despite knowing that she needs to be shopping for stylish boots and warm sweaters, she invariably brings home lighter wear that will only suit for a few short weeks.  Rather than enter into a losing battle of reason, I have learned to smile and murmur in positive tones as she displays her finds and beams about the bargains she uncovered while shopping. Knowing the new pieces will be in nearly new condition when spring arrives again, this Mom is happy to humor.

Fab Fall Footwear, Langstons, Fringed Boots, Fall Boots, Fashion Boots, Suede Boots

Of course, once she accepts that the last of summer has passed us by, she is full of needs and must-haves that are more weather appropriate.  Predictably, fashionable fall footwear is of a pressing concern.  Boots, moccasins, mules and booties, in every glorious shade of fall, are a necessity for her fall wardrobe.  In truth, after commandeering a pair of her boots last season in a rush out of the door, I can certainly appreciate the appeal. In gorgeous shades from buff to the deepest of browns, rusts and golds, black and grey, these leather and suede confections for the feet are beyond easy comfort.  They are the quissential addition to any Teen Diva's cool weather wardrobe, not to mention this Mom's as well!

With as much wear and shuffle as one might imagine pair of boots or mocs might endure at the feet of a teenager, selecting quality footwear is essential.  Neither the Diva or I will shy away from a sale when shopping for apparel or footwear, however we've learned that you truly get what you pay for when it comes to fashion.  The little bit of your budget you might save purchasing a lesser quality items will end in functional disappointment far to soon to suit.  Smart purchases and proper care for your footwear will pay off in the end, providing seasons of enjoyment, rather than mere months.

New to the Diva's wardrobe this fall is an adorable pair of Minnetonka Booties.  They are a lovely rust color, perfect for the season, topped fringe, with a rear zipper.  Soft and supple and oh, so comfortable, the Diva is enamored.

Minnetonka Moccasins, Fringed Boots, Fashion Boots, Lansgton's Footwear For Women

We were thrilled to find an easy resource for fall footwear for women online from Langston's Western Wear!  Of course, Langston's offers a full range of footwear for the whole family, certainly some John Deere boots that caught my husband's and son's eyes, however the gem to the Diva and my mind is their collection of Minnetonka Mocassins!  From traditional mocs and lined mules to sheepskin boots and calf high fringed boots, we just love the selection.  Minnetonka is a maker known for quality, yet the prices are quite reasonable.  Even better, Langton's offers half sizes and we found the 7.5 size ran true for the Diva.  Of course, had we missed on the sizing, Langston's offers one free return and exchange for footwear purchases to ensure you have just the right fit!

I know.  You want a pair of your own, don't you?    You are in luck!

Langston's is generously offering That's What She Said readers a 15% discount on any Minnetonka Moccasin purchase from now until Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 11:59pm EST.  Minnetonka Moccasins would make a stylish gift anyone fashionable gal on your holiday list would appreciate!   They even offer the most adorable double fringed booties for infants!  Too cute!  Use code: mocs15 to avail yourself to this exclusive, limited time only discount!

Minnetonka Moccasins, Children's Mocs, Cranberry Suede Booties, Langston's
Langston's is generously offering That's What She Said readers an opportunity to win their choice from their Minnetonka Moccasins collection!  Your choice!  How fabulous is that?

This giveaway is open to residents of the US, 18+ and will end on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 11:59pm EST.   Winner will be selected randomly from all eligible entries.  Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond before an alternative winner is chosen.  If you email address is not available through your comment name, please leave it in your entry comment in anti spam format.

Visit the Langton's website and tell me in a comment below which pair of Minnetonka Moccasins you would select if you won.  Why do you love them and who would they be for?


*Like Langston's on Facebook, leave comment here with Facebook name, 1 entry

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*Follow That's What She Said on Twitter (@tsue1136), leave comment heer with Twitter name, 1 entry

*Enter any other active That's What She Said giveaway, leave comment letting me know which, 1 entry

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*Tell me which Langston's products you might pick as a gift for the upcoming holiday season and who you would gift them to, 1 entry.


I received a pair of Minnetonka Moccasins to explore for the purposes of creating this feature.  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Sponsor is responsible for supplying and shipping prize.  Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ are not involved in nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sweet or Tart: Best Apple Varieties For Eating ~ Amazon Gift Code Give Away

Always on the lookout for new healthy foods to introduce to my family, I love that my local groceries have been increasing the variety of fruits and vegetables they offer over the past couple of years.  It is a special treat for the kids and I to discover a new to us delight, although often buying a new fruit can be a bit of an adventure.  While the unique look certainly catches the eye, we usually do not know if we have scored a new family favorite until the revealing taste test at home. 

Although one of our local chains sported a fruit and vegetable guide in the produce section, I was disappointed to discover that many of the pages listed in the table of contents were missing, especially those describing the new arrivals.  It is so helpful to know, before you make a produce purchase, what to look for in regard to ripeness, as well as what to expect in taste and suggestions for preparation and serving.

Long Lasting Apples, Apple Varieties, Best Eating Apples, Michigan Apples

Certainly, we don't often miss the mark when purchasing our tried and true fruit favorite, such as crisp Michigan apples, however, even within such a popular fruit category, the choices can become quickly overwhelming.  With each member of the family having a bit of a different take on what makes for the best apple bite, knowing a bit about what to expect from each variety can be tremendously helpful before filling a bag at the store.

Best Apple Varieties For Eating

Gala  ~ Sweet and mild
Fuji  ~ Sweet and crisp. 
Empire  ~ Sweet and firm
Jonagold  ~ Sweet and tart
Ginger Gold  ~ Tart and mild 
Golden Delicious  ~ Sweet and soft
Red Delicious ~ Sweet and crisp
Honey Crisp ~ Sweet and crisp
Jonathon  ~ Sweet and tangy
Paula Red  ~ Tart and firm
McIntosh  ~ Tart and soft

Best Apples For Eating, Apple Varieties, Eating Apples, Sweet Apples


Baking Supplies, Kitchen Gadgets, Online Shopping, Easy Entry Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate Code and shop for your baking needs or your heart's desire! 

This event is hosted by Makobi Scribe and Sason & Pobi and is open Worldwide to those 18+.  This giveaway will end on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 23:59pm EST.  

To simplify entering, you can follow the participating sites via this convenient Facebook List!

I received no promotional items or compensation for promoting this giveaway event.  Sponsor is responsible for supplying and shipping the prize.  Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ are not involved in, nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion. 
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Three Year Surviversary ~ Speaking Out And Saying No More

Feeling as yesterday
yet deep in our past,
all at once,
we mark the three year Surviversary,
of the terrible, black day
my daughter was assaulted.

With meager satisfaction,
this date looms over us
each year
in a lesser degree.

Less smothering,
less emotionally crippling,
it remains
the most bitter of days.

Looking back
with a numbness,
it is miraculous
that we survived.

soul-wrenching anguish,
fallen knee defeat,
crimson rage,


through the pain
waiting just below the surface,
to rear its violent head,
is strength.

The strength
gathered by standing up,
captured by raging against the wrong.
carried by the angry words speaking out,
passed on to a sister in pain.

The strength to survive.

Standing Up Against Sexual Assault, Speaking Out Against Sexual Assault

1 in 4 women experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.

1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats 
from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.

1 in 6 women are survivors of sexual assault.

1 in 5 men have experienced some form 
of sexual victimization in their lives.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men 
were sexually abused before the age of 18.

I received no compensation in exchange for this post. Image and statistics sourced from NoMore.org. The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Best Apple Varieties For Baking ~ Amazon Gift Code Give Away

Autumn has certainly arrived in Michigan, treating us to temperatures a bit crisper than ideal.  In fact, we have been hitting freezing temperatures over the last week that is keeping my family indoors more than usual.  Of course, this extra time together is the perfect time to bake.  Muffins, strudel, fruit crisp, pies and bread are only a few dishes on my family's 'short list'.

Apple Varieties, Best Apples For Baking, Michigan Baking Apples, Apple Desserts

Although I usually tackle shopping myself, for the time being my husband is taking over that duty while my foot continues to heal.  After several months of sending him to the grocery, I've learned that the key to success is in providing him with a very specific list!  Truth be told, I have even resorted to pulling up images online to share with him before he heads out for shopping. I've discovered that, for my husband, finding a close match, rather than an exact match to my carefully planned lists is a score in his mind.  For the most part, his 'close match' selections are acceptable, however when it comes to baking up a special dessert or treat for the family, I do have some ingredients that I am firm about, such as real vanilla extract and the right variety of Michigan apple.

To help him in his most recent journey to the grocery, we spent a bit of time learning about Michigan apple varieties, much to his delight as you might imagine!

Best Michigan Apple Varieties For Baking
Golden Delicious     Paula Red     Northern Spy   
Rome     Ida Red     Gala   
McIntosh     Empire     Courtland      


Baking Supplies, Kitchen Gadgets, Online Shopping, Easy Entry Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate Code and shop for your baking needs or your heart's desire! 

This event is hosted by Makobi Scribe and Sason & Pobi and is open Worldwide to those 18+.  This giveaway will end on Sunday, October 07, 2012 at 23:59pm EST.  

To simplify entering, you can follow the participating sites via this convenient Twitter List!

I received no promotional items or compensation for promoting this giveaway event.  Sponsor is responsible for supplying and shipping the prize.  Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ are not involved in, nor responsible for this giveaway in any fashion. 
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Family Plans ~ Are You Prepared For The Future?

It's funny how life events can sneak up on you, especially when your daily routine is so demanding.  Between college visits, applications and financial aid forms, I have certainly been elbow deep in our family's finances, although a recent event certainly through my husband and I for an unexpected loop. My mother in law is ill.

As the oldest of three children and certainly just into my own middle years, my parents are quite a bit younger than my mother in law.  We lost my father in law a few years ago, as well as my grandmother.  Emotional, jarring and all encompassing events we are certainly not anxious to revisit with another elder family member any time in the near future. Although my husband and I thought about how we might be called upon to help our elderly relatives as they move further into their golden years during those times, the busy motions of grieving and the chaos of our everyday lives seemed to distract us from taking as close a look into what might lie ahead for us in the future.  As life has a tendency to do, that time is here well before we anticipated it..

As my husband and I are thrown into the arena of unprepared planning for my mother in law's long term care, so many other planning issues are pressing us for attention.  How ironic, although I am quick to mention that my own parents are not so golden, I was struck by the age they are wearing after a recent family dinner.  While I doubt that this natural progression happened overnight, rather that our current focus on my husband's mother has opened our eyes a bit wider.  Even though I have little doubt that my parents have thought ahead about plans and needs for their own future, my husband and I certainly have not.  The last thing we want to do is be a burden to our own children.

My husband and I hope to retire, eventually, and move from the 'burbs to a quite place on one of the Lakes, but a quick look at our current plan puts our grand scheme under great question.  With college expenses for one quite literally knocking at our financial door, only to be greeted by the same expenses for another four years later, I am beginning to doubt that we have our fabled ducks in a row.  Everyday occurrences and expenses tend to cause a visible ebb and flow to our savings.  If we were to endure more significant unexpected events, I wonder if we would be in a position to ride them out.  Although we certainly had grand dreams after we married, such much has changed over the past few years, reconsidering our plans made then are certainly on the pressing part of our agenda.
I have no doubt we will learn a great deal from our experiences in helping my mother in law.  We will know just which sensitive questions to ask my own parents, as well as be well versed in the planning tasks we need to investigate for our own future.  The key will certainly be in not putting off our long term financial strategy for free time to present itself in the future. Our frenetic family schedule doesn't suggest many wide open days ahead.
Do you and your husband or spouse have a solid future financial plan?
Have you drafted a will?
Have you had to care for an ailing elder?
Sending a child off to college?
Tell me about it in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Information sourced from Genworth Financial The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.
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