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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Duck Tape School Supplies {DIY}






There are some who say Duck Tape can be used for everything! I know people who use it for repairs and I’ve used it for things ranging from decorating a pumpkin, homemade maracas and making my son a folder for his school papers. Annually Duck Tape holds a contest for people making prom dresses/formal gowns with this material! Folks are really creative and with the multiple designs available the sky really is the limit.







In the past I’ve done a tutorial showing how to make a folder decorated with Duck Tape for the school year. I had to make another this year for my son and you can check out my post about how to make it. This year I also wanted to add a little something special with Duck Tape and so I made a pencil holder for my son. I must admit that I liked it so much I ended up making my own and plan on using it in my purse to hold my essential makeup supplies! So you may be wondering how to make this multi-use pouch. No worries, it is simple!

You start with your favorite design of DuckTape, in this instance I used flames. My son loves Hot Wheels and this design is reminiscent of the brand. I also needed a ziplock bag, I used a quart sized Hefty ziplock bag. This way my son (or I) can fill the pouch without worry that it will open. And the Duck Tape reinforces it so sharp pencils or pens don’t damage the pouch.


I take the tape and use it horizontally on the bag. I try to use one long continuous piece of tape for each row and eyeball it. If you want to be more precise, you can measure the bag and cut the Duck Tape, taping front and back until the pouch is completed.
And that is it! Making a pencil case/pouch is easy and fun. This is a craft that your child can make and depending on age, can do it completely without supervision. Best of all? The mess is minimal! I really like this craft because it provides your child with a one of a kind pencil case handmade by you!





Healthy Lunch Ideas {video}


Neat-Oh The Picnic lunch box and Lunch blox


My son has always been a picky eater. There are times when he is willing to expand his palate just a teeny little bit and I am joyous. Most times it doesn’t last too long. Something he liked last week can be on his “I don’t eat it list” today. It used to really bother me but after speaking to his pediatrician many years ago and being told he would eat when he was hungry. Well, I simply provide him with the food I know he will eat (unless he changes his mind) and hope for the best.
For me this means very rarely can I do cute sandwiches - he doesn’t eat sandwiches of any kind! No pb & j, no tuna, NO SANDWICHES! So it is important for me to be creative, sometimes slip something new into his lunch and hope for the best.

On my last visit to Walmart headquarters I was introduced to a ton of fun lunch box ideas. Sadly, I will have to do those with someone else’s kid because my son just ain’t having it! However, I am ecstatic about the actual lunch  boxes. My son has been excited about using his Neat-Oh The Picnic Lunch Box and Placemat He absolutely loves it and so do I. The lunch box provides all the room needed for his lunch but also opens out so that he can have a place to eat his lunch. I think it is a brilliant idea!


Next up is the Rubbermaid Lunch Blox ($7.97). This is a great compact lunch kit. It comes with an ice block that you can freeze nightly to keep your child’s lunch chilled during the day. It also has compartments that you can fill with the various foods your child enjoys. It basically is a Bento box and I know creative parents will have a field day using it. My favorite aspect of lunch blox is that each compartment snaps in to the ice block and the largest compartment has removable sections in the event you want to use the entire thing to hold a sandwich. I have to note of course that this is reusable so no waste like when using disposable sandwich or snack bags.  Speaking of resusable, you should check out the Lunchkins resuable lunch bags. All summer we used these for my son’s lunch.  Here is a video I made showing how I fill the Lunch blox with healthy foods my son will eat.



Although I do allow my son treats, I keep his meals healthy most of the time. He loves chicken nuggets and the Simply Smart chicken tenders from Purdue are my choice from him. They are free of the additives that concern me with other frozen strips.

I think this is a great alternative to me actually cooking chicken strips for him. I also like the Great Value Protein bars ($2.50) He has snack time at school and I like this option because he gets a boost of protein and hopefully a zing for his brain power! I give him Mott’s fruit snacks for dessert and as a side he has baby carrots. I usually include a fresh fruit and strawberries are one of his favorites. I rotate his fruit on a daily basis and sometimes substitute it with fruit and veggie mix that I know he likes.

Lunch time preparation could be stressful but in my household we keep things pretty simple. As my son matures I’m sure there will be additions to this particular meal but in the meantime I indulge his wishes!



Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to School Apparel at Walmart #wmtmoms



Back to school season is in full swing. My son has been in school for three weeks already - we start early in the South. I chalk it up to hot summers that feel like you are living somewhere in the midst of Dante’s inferno. Being a native New Yorker, I know that kids in my hometown will be starting school next week. I really enjoy shopping for school clothes. It was always a right of passage for me, a new year, a new opportunity and new clothes. I love clothes! My mom helped form my personal style and as a child I not only looked older than most kids but I dressed like a business professional. I don’t think I ever wore pants in elementary school and in 6th grade I was mistaken for a teacher assistant.


My height and dress contributed to my looking older but by the time I entered high school all of my friends had caught up with me. By the time I hit college I fit right into the crowd and when I graduated people always thought I looked younger than my years. It is a blessing. To this day I can easily pass for 10 years my junior and for that I am grateful. But what does this have to do with back to school? Well, I remember my mom’s influence on my style and I hope to have a similar influence on my son.

It is a bit more difficult because quite frankly style for boys is no where near what is available for girls but there are some options out there. So, I took a trip to Walmart to see what I could get for my son on a budget. You might be surprised to learn that Walmart has a myriad of options in children’s clothing. Not only are there options but they are on point for style and the clothes have a guarantee which means if I am not satisfied I can return it! Yes!

I have yet to be disappointed by Walmart clothing and this year was no different. With a budget of $15.00 I was able to find a very nice outfit for my son. The licensed merchandise Walmart carries has been a staple in my household because it is reasonably priced and my son gets to wear his favorite comic/movie characters. This time I focused on Spider man. I purchased this spiderman top for $8.00 and the shorts were $6.96. The shorts are by And1 look quite good and durable.

My son couldn’t resist modeling his new outfit so I made this video, replete with a spiderman backpack which is available at Walmart for $6.00. Check him out.




So if you are looking for back to school apparel I suggest you check out Walmart. I’m pretty sure you will be surprised by the selection of reasonably priced, durable clothes available!






Thursday, August 28, 2014

Invisalign an alternative to traditional braces

Freshman year in college. Wearing braces and a big smile!


When I was in high school I asked my mother for braces. I was probably the only kid in history who willing asked for such a thing. I was in the 11th grade, 16 or 17 and unhappy with my one errant front tooth that stuck out just a little too much for my liking. My mother didn’t see the big deal but acquiesed when I requested a trip to the orthodontist. The verdict was I needed braces and I got them. I thought the braces would be removed by the time I was ready for college but no my doctor thought they should remain in place for another 6 months so they weren’t removed until I was on Christmas break my freshman year.

For a year and a half I wore the classic metal wire braces, complete with rubber bands. Having braces didn’t keep me from flashing my signature smile but sometimes the fear of a rubber band popping out of my mouth did! Fun times I tell you, fun times! In the years since I’ve had my braces my teeth have shifted again and I probably could use another year of treatment. I’m not sure if that is going to happen but I am pleased to know that there is an alternative to metal braces - Invisalign. If I were a teen (or pre-teen) today I know I’d ask for these clear removable aligners that straighten teeth without wires and brackets. Clear braces? I say yes!

You might wonder if Invisalign is more expensive than metal braces. Invisalign is usually comparable to the cost of traditional braces and many dental plans cover Invisalign. And if you are wondering about efficacy, well Invisalign corrects most common teeth straightening issues from severe cases to minor cosmetic adjustments with average treatment time of 12 months similar to traditional braces. You can read about how it works on the Invisalign Website.

Have I peaked your interest? Are you interested in Invisalign for you or your teen? Enter to win a free Invisalign treatment in the Rafflecopter below. The contest is open until September 30th. Good luck!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway






Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Verizon Ellipsis 7 tablet saved my life! #vzwbuzz





There are many things that bring me joy but I had no idea how much joy I could garner from an electronic device. This thing has literally saved my life the week and it is something that both my son and I have been using for the past few weeks. I guess you are wondering what I’m talking about? It is the Verizon Ellipsis 7 which runs on the 4G network. This is a 7 inch tablet with HD display that is good for both work and entertainment. It is small enough to fit in my purse and so light I wouldn’t even notice. But let me explain how it saved my life.

Last week for some unknown reason my laptop decided to stop working on me. A BIG PROBLEM! My laptop is essential for me to complete my work and all I could think about was all of the deadlines passing me by while I waited to get my machine fixed. I have never been one to do a lot of writing on tablets - I will in a pinch but always send the copy to my laptop to add photos and any final edits. With multiple deadlines approaching and no other options available, I resigned myself to using my Ellipsis 7 and hoped for the best.

To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. The Ellipsis uses Android and ties right into Google. Although I generally don’t use Android, I’ve become familiar with it because of my Samsung Galaxy Camera. I quickly realized that I could work on my blog directly from the Ellipsis! It is just the right size to make typing comfortable and I was able to easily download into my posts from the tablet. The screen is amazing and my posts look flawless. I am beyond ecstatic about this! Aside from the life saving aspect of the Ellipsis, it provides fun for both me and my son.



He is thrilled with the games (both fun and educational) that he can download. I am happy to have the i Heart Radio app so I can listen to my favorite radio stations right from the tablet. I am also able to read all of my books from my Kindle app and watch shows.

I think the Ellipsis is my favorite Verizon device so far. I haven’t even bothered hooking it up to the 4G network because I use it primarily at home on WiFi. And if I want to use it when I’m out and WiFi isn’t available, I simply link it to my Verizon phone which is a hotspot. This little gem has added value to my life and I truly am thankful that I am a Verizon Life Ambassador and had the Ellipsis 7 right when I needed it most!


Disclosure: I am a Verizon Life Ambassador. I am periodically provided with Verizon products to use in my every day life and share my experience. All opinions are my own.

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