How to Celebrate Mother’s Day – by Robyn Fago

SanDisk Sansa Fuze MP3 Player Giveaway Entry!Here are some tips for how to celebrate Mother’s Day by contest entrant Robyn Fago. Please read this story and rate it to help us determine a winner for our Mother’s Day SanDisk Sansa Fuze MP3 Player Giveaway! Editor’s Note: This contest has already concluded. Keep checking for new contests!

I feel Mother’s Day should be celebrated with people that love each other. In some cases like one of my dear friends, she had lost her mother many years ago. My heart goes out to her. Happy Mother’s Day – she now has a beautiful son. That is a great Mother’s Day!

Well, my mother is a wonderful woman, as my mother-in-law is, too. And I am a mom now, too. The feelings I get when I watch my mother spending time with my son are just so warm and delightful. My son is the best thing in the world. I feel that Mother’s Day should be spent and celebrated with people who bring you up, and give you strength, hope, advice, love, sincerity – the people that give you life.

Spend time with someone who is your mother, someone like your mother or someone who is just motherly. A mother is someone who has so much responsibility and patience. A mother should be rewarded with endless smiles and love from their great grandchildren, their grandchildren, children, and they should be honored for the love and strength they have provided us every day in so many ways.

So whether it is your mom, my mom, or anyone’s mom, spend time just being thankful for who created you and what you created; a beautiful family. As long as you keep the love in your heart. No matter what you decide to do on Mother’s Day, the most important thing is that you are good to yourself and to others. Take a fresh breath of air, smile, and give yourself credit – and honor yourself cause it is your Mother’s Day, too.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

P. S.
Mother’s Day is also a great time to stay home and eat hamburgers and hot dogs!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide: Unique Presents for Mom

Finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift for Mom can be quite the daunting task. In the interests of avoiding yet another picture frame or coffee mug, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of unique gifts for the mothers in your life.Wifeville t-shirt - a unique pick (www.wifeville.com) Choose the theme of your gift and get started on your hunt for the perfect present – whether you’re looking for something fun, sentimental, functional, or completely luxurious. Now let’s get started!

For Moms on the Go, or Going Green

CellKeeper Caddie – Great for active people and those who’ve always got a place to go or people to see, this hip and stylish phone pouch offers a multifunctional solution to the everyday need for toting technology. Wear CellKeeper across your body or around your waist. The caddie can hold everything from your cell phone or BlacKBerry / PDA to your iPod or MP3 player. Some small cameras also make a good fit! CellKeeper is available in original, professional, and sport styles. CellKeeper Caddies also feature an adjustable halter strap that makes toting your cell phone or small personal electronic item a breeze.

CellKeeper SportCellKeeper Professional and the CellKeeper Original offer different fabric textures and color choices. CellKeeper Sport offers a washable and reflective design, boasting attractive gray and black coloring with orange trim. It is ideal for iPods and small digital cameras. I had the joy of testing out this item for my gift guide, and it is a truly lovely carrying case for a cell phone, MP3 player, or camera. The case is soft and perfect for going to the amusement park, the zoo, embarking on a hike, or doing any number of other fun outdoor activities. I love the orange detailing and soft gray fabric, as well as the small compartments and thoughtful accommodations for cash, change, credit cards, and my all-time favorite item to tote, lip gloss! For more information, visit CellKeeper on the Web at http://www.cellkeeper.com.

Cost: $29.99

Cool Factor: This item is especially great for multitasking moms, with its wallet caddie with snap closure, lip gloss or pen sleeve, ID window, key hook, zippered internal coin pocket, cash pocket, credit card sleeves, and expandable snap closure.

 
 

little green bag (Two Green Moms Shopping Tote)Two Green Moms Shopping Totes – In case you haven’t heard, “Green” is the new black. Protecting our environment and recycling, reducing, and reusing are key themes all acoss the nation. For those environmentally aware moms out there, “Girls Gone Green” and “little green bag” shopping totes make a great companion for a trip to the supermaket. They’re an awesome anytime alternative to those flimsy, annoying plastic bags that tend to collect in excess in our homes.

Two Green Moms founders Mandi DuPuy and Jill Clark offer their stylish shopping bags in blue with “Girls Gone Green” design or a green bag with “little green bag” design. They’re available in both insulated and non-insulated styles. The totes are slightly larger than a standard brown paper bag, and their straps fit comfortably over the shoulder. For more information, visit on the Web at http://www.twogreenmoms.com.

Cost: Prices range from $3.25 for a single tote to $29.99 for a pack of ten.

Cool Factor: Not only are the shopping totes reusable, but they are actually crafted from recyclable materials!

Fresh Wave Natural Odor Neutralizing Candles – Fresh Wave kitchen candles and travel candles are all-natural and bursting with delightful fragrances. These “green” products are biodegradable and non-toxic. Fresh Wave CandlesThey feature enticing ingredients such as extracts of soy, lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove, and cedar wood. Offer Mom a truly organic experience with a variety of fragrant candles that will surely make her kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, or other area smell incredible!

The candles are available in a 6.25 oz. recyclable travel tin or a 7 oz. lovely frosted glass jar (kitchen candle). Each soy candle delivers between 30 and 40 hours of fragrant burn time. While you may not want to give Mom odor neutralizers by themselves, just think of what a neat gift basket you could create with a couple of candles, a good book, some chocolates, and a bottle of bubble bath! To learn more about Fresh Wave candles and odor eliminating products, visit on the Web at http://www.fresh-wave.com.

Cost: $13.95 for the travel candle or $18.00 for the kitchen candle.

Cool Factor: Don’t be fooled by their dainty and elegant appearance. These candles are downright aggressive when it comes to eliminating cooking smells and general household odors! Simply burn the candles during and after food prep to rid the smell of fish, onions, garlic, curry – the works.

 

Life Fitness Believe in You ActiveStep Premium Digital Pedometer – For moms who are constantly in motion, consider this great gift that will keep her posted on her steps, aerobic steps, calories, and distance. It has a seven-day history so mom can keep track of her progress and increase or decrease her workouts accordingly. The clock shows both the time of day and the amount of time spent on aerobic walking.

The pedometer comes with a security strap that allows it to attach to clothing securely, as well as a strong clip for attaching. It also has a large screen display that resets itself at midnight to prepare for the next day’s activity. The battery is easy to install and remove, and the device is just as easy to use. This digital pedometer would also make a great gift for the mom who wants to spend more time exercising but just never has enough time in her day. It would be a great motivator and it’s lightweight, stylish, and easy to use. This item is available exclusively at CVS pharmacy.

Cost: Affordable

Cool Factor: This handy pedometer has a dual acceleration sensor that allows it to work even while it’s in mom’s pocket or purse!

Good Reads

Holding Her Head High, By Janine Turner – Dazzling actress Janine Turner chronicles her own experiences and those of 12 single moms who surmounted trials and tribulations to triumph and raise successful, influential children. Her accounts span from the Roman Empire to the twentieth century, touching upon key themes such as Dare to dream, Heal with humor, and Hold your head high.

Cost: The book retails for $22.99 US. ($15.63 on Amazon.com!)

Cool Factor: The pages cover all kinds of single mothers with intensely inspirational tales, from an enterprising widow who raised her youngins’ by herself while working away in a man’s business world, to mothers in the times of slavery who battled against all odds to provide a better life for their children.

Vintage Vavoom: Romantic Decorating with One-of-a-Kind Finds, By The Editors of Romantic Homes Magazine – This book is a great resource for moms who like to keep a special place in their hearts and homes for past memories and family heirlooms. The beautiful book features more than 200 full-color pages of tips and suggestions for timeless decorating and unique personal touches. Some of the top tips mom will learn include: determining the value of a piece of furniture or home accessory, creating themes, adding in elements from Mother Nature, gathering inspiration from window-shopping, and more.

The gorgeous photos throughout the book’s pages depict countless romantic settings, from seductive soaking tubs draped in wispy sheers to picturesque fairytale garden scenes seemingly straight out of “The Secret Garden.” The colors, textures, shapes, and styles are enough to make any woman want to call out sick and play hooky to dress up her own home in a truly romantic fashion. I look forward to adopting some of these lovely decorating suggestions as my own.

Cost: $35.00 US, $44.00 CAN. ($22.75 on Amazon.com!)

Cool Factor: The book teaches readers to follow their instincts and decorate their homes with the things they love.

Keep reading for more ideas…

Mother’s Day: Thoughtful Jewelry Gifts for Mom

Although Mother’s Day comes around just once a year, we should really show Mom we care every day! And often when we no longer live with our parents, it becomes more and more difficult to spend as much time with our parents as we would like. That’s why it is a great idea to get Mom a beautiful Mother’s Day gift that she can enjoy all year long and for many years to come. Jewelry items make great Mother’s Day gifts, and here are some to consider for your own mom.

Diamond Toe Rings from CliQ collection (Courtesy of SuperFit Inc.)

“The best gift for our mothers is an indulgence that they would otherwise deprive themselves,” said Eric Alulis of SuperFit Inc. “And what is more indulging than DIAMONDS! Adding extra sparkle to their jewelry arsenal is always a welcome concept – but it’s your mother, so think practical and fun – not over the top and sexy. Diamonds that every woman should have and can wear regularly….

Diamond Earrings“Perhaps when giving her a break from the kitchen by taking her to the nicest restaurant in town, you include some diamond hoop earrings. Or maybe get together with some siblings and chip in to give a fun watch (www.chopard.com).

It is always nice to get people gifts they wouldn’t ordinarily buy for themselves. The indulgent factor really adds to the special meaning behind the gift, because you want to give Mom something nice that she will appreciate, but also something that is thoughtful and personally selected.

“The ultimate compliment to that spa retreat would be a diamond toe ring from CliQ,” Alulis added. “CliQ™ rings open and close on a virtually invisible hinge, giving you a toe ring that fits perfectly whether you are wearing it with a new pair of heels or on the beach.

For additional information on CliQ, see www.cliqdesigns.com.

Token Tags

Token Tags™ are another popular gift for Mom. Moms are often so proud of their kiddos, and a personalized jewelry item offers one more way for kids to keep themselves on Mom’s mind. Token Tags are sterling silver, hand-stamped charms that can bear any special name, word, nickname, or certain phrases.

Because they are hand-crafted, no two Token Tags are exactly like. They are fully customizable and each one is made-to-order. The tags are available as charm necklaces or as key chains. Necklaces are about ¼” wide by 1 and 1/4” to 1 and 1/2” long, depending on the length of the desired word. Key chains are stamped on a heavier sterling sheet for extra sturdiness, and they are about ½” wide, with the length also determined by length of the selected text.

Personalize Token Tags with your favorite words or phrases.“For a Mom there is nothing more personal than keeping a reminder of your angel around your neck,” said Token Tags creator Elizabeth Lindsay. “Whether it is a name, birth date, or nickname, these tags will always bring a smile to a proud mother’s face.

“Imagine tags that read: ‘Thanks Mom,’ kids’ names, or a double sided tag that reads (One side): ‘Home is’ (The other side): ‘where mom is.’ Because these are 100% personal, the options are endless and speak to Soccer moms and fashionistas alike.”

To learn more about Elizabeth Lindsay Creations, visit on the Web at www.elizabethlindsay.com.

Relaxation Techniques: Drift Away from Stress

Find a peaceful place... (Photo courtesy of Romeo Koitmäe, morgueFile)

High-stress jobs, multiple roles, and endless personal obligations may leave just about anyone torn and tattered. Renew body mind and spirit with simple relaxation techniques that require only minimal time and energy investment. Take a few moments for yourself every day to refresh and renew your body and spirit. Try yoga, meditation, and massage for a complete rejuvenation of your whole self.

In addition to relieving a degree of one’s current stress load, practicing relaxation techniques on a regular basis has also been shown to promote overall healthier living, better mental condition and fewer incidences of heart attacks, strokes and repeat heart attacks.

Yoga

With strong focus on deep, rhythmic breathing, yoga has become a popular form of alternative healing. Allowing participants to clear their minds and focus on personal goals and calming energies, yoga also aids in the body’s flexibility and overall tone. Deep breaths coupled with yoga stretches and poses assist in renewal of the body, mind and soul. Even if practiced for only a few moments, yoga can positively impact a person’s outlook, guiding him or her effectively toward goals and aspirations.

As an extremely popular activity in recent times, yoga classes are offered at many colleges, health and fitness centers and gyms. For those wishing to learn yoga on their own, countless books and videos are available for that very purpose. Gathering with a group of friends may motivate a first-time yoga participant to make a regular routine of yoga, even if only for a few moments every couple of days.

Meditation

Pick your perfect time of day to meditate. (Photo courtesy of Romeo Koitmäe, morgueFile)By exercising and harnessing the power of the mind, one can truly find mental freedom and escape from stress. Meditation combines a quiet location with a comfortable position, a focus item or idea and a perfect equilibrium between awareness and relaxation. Different posture and positions may be used for those who wish to become more experienced in meditation. When practiced regularly, meditation can positively merge one’s mental, physical and emotional worlds.

Meditation practice does not have to be anything fancy or highly technical. By simply sitting in a comfortable position in a private location, one can use visualization with positive imagery. Repetition of a calming word, phrase or sound, such as “peace,” may aid in one’s ability to focus. Participants may choose whether they wish to meditate with open or closed eyes.

Massage

In addition to yoga and meditation, massage is a great release for both physical and mental tension. Whether receiving a full body massage or a simple but rejuvenating foot massage, special treatment for tense muscles goes a long way. Find a partner and swap massages so both of you can enjoy the healing effect. Instantly feel relaxed and refreshed after reaping the wonderful benefits of a massage.

Yoga, meditation and massage are all wonderful techniques to restore peace and balance within the body, mind and spirit. The power of the mind can be a truly amazing thing – allowing us to dream, believe, conquer and become those things we most desire. Practice relaxation techniques on a regular basis in order to maintain a healthy spirit and calm, tranquil mood.

20 Ways to Relieve Stress

A hot bath can do wonders for the body, mind, and spirit...

When did daily life become so hard? Between jobs or school, household chores, typical errands, raising a family, and maintaining general sanity, days are packed to the gills with more than even Wonder Woman could handle! Here are 20 tips to reduce and relieve stress in your daily life. There’s no time like the springtime to start busting your stress!

To combat all those days brimming with things to do, people to see and places to be, I’ve come up with a list of fun, relaxing and enjoyable things to defeat the stressors in your life this spring. Check them out and see if any of these stress-busters might give you the peace of mind and solace your life is missing.

1. Put on comfy clothes and snuggle up with a good book.

2. And some chocolates.

3. And a cup of tea with some cookies.

4. Take a bubble bath.

5. Give yourself a nice pedicure to pamper yourself AND get your toes in shape for sandals.

6. Determine a maximum amount of money that you are “allowed” to spend and go shopping for new shoes. And a purse. And clothes…

7. Stop and smell the roses.

 

8. Make some popcorn and watch a movie.

9. Enjoy a candlelit dinner.

10. Listen to soft, soothing music.

11. Or, if you really need to get out some frustration, listen to rock and roll or hard core music.

12. Play an instrument – especially guitar, if you know how.

13. Ask someone else to play for you if you don’t know how.

14. Take an entire night to yourself, to be completely worthless. Order take-out, walk around in your jammies and just enjoy having nothing to do.

15. Exercise! Go for a run, walk, jog, bike ride or other athletic activity. Get some friends together and play tennis or golf, have a catch or do something new and exciting in the world of sports.

16. Go on a boat ride. Canoe, sailboat, yacht, kayak – it matters not the kind of boat but that you have a nice, relaxing time on the water.

17. Take a nap or go to bed early. No lie – if you are feeling completely zonked from a tough week, your body will love you for it.

18. Make some “comfort food.” Cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pies…anything sweet and scrumptious is fair game!

19. Get together with your girlfriends and commiserate. When you all share your dilemmas and get the frustration out in the open, it’s a pretty sure thing that you’ll be feeling better in no time.

20. Go on a vacation. Whether you leave for a week or you take a five-minute mental vacation, sometimes an escape from reality is all it really takes to re-energize and rejuvenate yourself.

 

Reducing and relieving stress should be a vital part of your week. Remember to take time for yourself whenever possible. No matter what types of activities – or lack thereof – refuel you and rejuvenate you after a tough workday or workweek, remember that relaxation is only a good night’s sleep away.

Romantic Summer Vacation Getaways in the United States

Catch a breath-taking sunset.The warm sand beneath your toes, the gentle lapping of salty water tickling your feet – what could be better than a seashore vacation to escape your cares? In today’s day and age, romantic vacations need not always consist of stereotypical tropical vacations in lively resort towns. Start planning your next summer vacation now – after all, there’s no time like the present to start day dreaming about a wonderful escape from reality!

Your favorite

activities and pastimes pave the way to your ultimate summer vacation. Water sports, hiking and exploring, relaxing and catching a few rays – you and your sweetheart can do it all in any number of vacation destinations across the United States and beyond.

Take in the sights…

Itching to skip the country for a couple of days? Take a blissful trip to Niagara Falls. The falls emit feelings of tremendous exhilaration and wonder. Taking in the sites together and holding hands while strolling through the caverns beneath the falls rouse closeness between couples that visit this romantic attraction.

A cruise on the Maid of the Mist is a must-do, welcoming tiny water droplets upon the heads, faces and clothing of those who choose not to wear a raincoat or poncho. When evening falls, the light show and fireworks displays paint the skies atop the falls, truly inspiring a passionate ambiance all around.

Escape luxury while you’re at it…

For adventurous couples, few things are more amorous than falling asleep in each other’s arms beneath a midnight blue starry sky. A camping trip to a mountainous or lakeside park or campground may be the perfect escape from reality.

Your campsite for two becomes your palace and the hotdogs and bacon you grill over an open flame are the feast of the gods. Roughing it with your sweetie can bring out the softer side of your relationship. Challenge your honey to a fishing contest, make up a goofy scavenger hunt or see who can spot the most exotic wildlife creature. No one else is around to invade your personal moments together, so enjoy your time together and just be yourselves. When night falls, you can relax the hours away, snuggled up close before a crackling campfire.

Get a little wild…

Tired of the same old beach, mountains, resorts? Confer with your sweetie and see about booking a trip with reckless abandon. Check out availability for Las Vegas, New Orleans or another well-known hotspot and prepare to cut loose. Pack some extra cash for the casinos and the nightlife, plan to stay up till all hours and enjoy some fine cocktails and sumptuous meals.

If, however, these two carefree towns present too much of a carefree atmosphere, consider flying out west, renting a car and embarking upon an adventure to visit some great American landmarks! If you’ve yet to see the Grand Canyon or any of the national parks, what better company than your true love to accompany you on the adventure of a lifetime? Be sure to pack a number of US road atlases, credit card for filling up the gas tank and a camera and notebook to document all your wonderful discoveries together.

Take in the scenery...

Too busy for a fulltime getaway? Try a fun daytrip!
Sometimes career paths and personal lifestyles do not always allow for a weeklong vacation from the norm. Don’t shortchange yourself by foregoing a vacation altogether. Plan a few daytrips here and there with romantic activities interspersed throughout your summer. Couples can enjoy each other’s company, even without leaving the comforts of home. Here are a few options if you can’t spare several days away at a time:

• Go horseback riding.

• Challenge your partner to some miniature golf and top it off with some ice cream.

• Find a drive-in movie theatre.

• Go on a “real” date – candlelit dinner and dancing, movie and don’t forget dessert!

• Visit an amusement park.

• Take a daytrip to the seashore and walk along the beach collecting seashells.

• Double date with another couple and plan a night out to a show or concert.

• Organize a picnic for two. Fly a kite for old-time’s sake.

• Visit a local park and take a lazy walk, reminiscing about your times together.

• Check out a museum or attraction you’ve both wanted to see but hadn’t had time.

• Tour a local brewery and have lunch with a fresh brew.

• Cheer on your favorite sports team at an away location.

• Find a quiet place to relax and watch the clouds together.

No matter where you and your sweetheart decide to go for summer vacation, remember that it is your special time together. Put any stress factors and underlying issues out of sight and out of mind. Focus on the closeness of your relationship and how much you care for each other.

Remember to pack a blanket and pillow so you can enjoy the stars and don’t forget a camera to catch some of your vacation adventures on film!

The Benefits and Basics of Pilates

Pilates - exercise for body, mind, and spirit

Concentration, control, flexibility, alertness, shape, alignment, strength…. These wonderful characteristics unite in an effort to give you the body you’ve always wanted, merely using your strong mind and your determination. Pilates is a fun and exciting way to get your body to be in great shape and to improve your flexibility. The unification of mind, body and spirit in a coordinated effort will produce the results that you seek as you weave Pilates into your life.

Pilates, founded by Joseph Pilates, offer a focus on the strength of one’s “powerhouse,” which includes abdominal muscles, lower back, buttocks and inner thighs. Designed to follow a natural flow from one position and exercise to the next, Pilates typically features a low number of repetitions in a controlled setting.

By working with low reps and many diverse positions and exercises, those who practice Pilates are often able to improve their body shape without becoming overly exhausted or losing interest. Pilates has also been designed for those who lead busy lifestyles. Without missing a beat during the daily grind, professionals can practice Pilates in 20 minutes or less from the comfort of home.

One of the keys to a successful Pilates program is directing your focus to the appropriate element, essentially your “powerhouse.” By allowing your mind and body to work together, you ultimately introduce visualization into your workout. Try picturing yourself as the object or perfectly in the desired position, and you will improve your posture and enhance your physical strength, not to mention your figure!

Some of the great benefits of Pilates include:
• Body alignment
• Body shape
• Flexibility
• Mental alertness
• Muscle tone
• Posture
• Renewed energy
• Slimming effects
• Stress relief and management

By learning Pilates, you will discover many things about yourself that may have been hidden behind a busy lifestyle. To achieve the most success with your Pilates workouts, you must focus on your “center,” or “powerhouse.”

Concentrate on your breathing, deep breaths in and out, keeping rhythm and clearing your mind. You will also need to focus on the desired positions and movements, striving for precision even if your body cries out in slight discomfort. Maintain control and highly focused concentration. Let each exercise and position flow into the next.

Work your powerhouse. Find your center!Lastly, imagine your body is a rectangle from your shoulders to your hips. With this rectangle serving as your “frame,” be conscious of your frame throughout the workout and try to stay within your frame for best results.

For Pilates to have an effective impact on your body, you must commit to a regular schedule of workouts. You will probably need to workout at least once or twice a week for several weeks before you notice any changes in your body. For best results, consider adding a cardio workout a few times throughout the week.

To get started in Pilates, you first need to make a commitment to yourself. You can read and learn from books, but unless you put what you learn into practice, it isn’t going to do you any good. You can rent, buy or borrow workout tapes and DVDs, but you’ve got to follow a regular routine in order to achieve the benefits of Pilates. Finally, you can join a class that meets weekly or attend a gym where you can drop into classes as you please.

Just remember that the results you achieve are largely tied to the commitment and persistence that you put forth. Your dedication is the key that will take you to the next level!

Continue reading The Benefits and Basics of Pilates

How to Add Romance to Your Bedroom Décor

Romance isn’t all about action these days. From subtle to outrageous, romance is creeping and barreling its way into home décor. In many homes, the master bedroom is the first place to fully absorb the decorative passion. If you’re pining for a sensuous chamber to call your own, you needn’t look far or go to great lengths. A romantic, sexy bedroom can be yours in a weekend’s time or less!

The first consideration you must make when contemplating a revamp of your bedroom’s ambiance is budget. Just how much are you willing to spend for passionate perfection? Also consider if you will be replacing the furniture, or merely adding accent pieces and romantic accessories to indulge your decorative desires. Do you already have items you would like to keep, or are you starting over from scratch? Come up with a game plan and a budget to help you get started on your quest for a newly decorated, romantic bedroom!

Consider these tips to help you choose the colors, furniture, bedding, window treatments, and accessories you’ll love as you revamp and create your perfect romantic bedroom.

Bring Color into the Bedroom
Once you’ve discovered your budget and the renovation scope, you can begin to plot and plan your lovely and romantic ideas for change. Truth be told, romance isn’t all about frills and lace. Women and men alike can enjoy a romantic hideaway that is theirs and theirs alone – without the worry of turning everything pink and lacy. On the contrary, bold reds and blues and purples – royal hues – create a wonderfully seductive palette for your bedroom.

More interested in the neutrals and earth tones? No problem – look into billowy white or pearl bedspreads and some celery-colored throw pillows to bring in some color. Then add long, flowing white curtains to your windows, or a set of sheer canopy linens to fit your poster bed. Or, consider some lovely taupe bedding piled high with chocolate-colored throw pillows. Any of these shades offer a delightful unisex combination that looks like you pulled your bedroom right out of a magazine.

Color adds so much to a room, and you have so many options for where to place the color. Don’t forget your floors (Carpet? Hardwood?), your walls (paint? textured paint? wallpaper?), and of course, your linens, furniture stain, and the curtains or draperies that you choose. You may wish to come up with a plan for choosing your colors – start with all the colors you like in mind, and then determine what you will do with the floors, walls, bedding, furniture, and windows.

TIP: Mix and match colors to create exciting combinations. Try light blue and brown or orange and hot pink or plum. Or make up your own wild shade!

Romancing the Bed – Satin, Velvet, Throw Pillows, and More…


How to Plan a Family Reunion for Relatives Living Everywhere

Planning an annual family reunion is a great way to keep all your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, and nephews connected. A yearly gathering of all the extended family members is a wonderful way to keep everyone in the loop about upcoming or recent weddings and births, new pets, career news, and other life events. Family reunions offer a much more personal experience than a yearly Christmas card, so even if you aren’t in the habit of planning a family reunion each year, there’s no time like the present to get started!

Sometimes family members live so far apart from one another that getting together and having fun happens only once or twice a year. This is especially true with extended families – all the cousins and great aunts and uncles whom you see rarely unless you host or attend a family reunion. Not to mention, the older we get, it seems we get busier as well. This combination of distance and busy lifestyles makes it vital to start planning a family reunion at least several months before the date you wish to host it.

Family Reunion Location, Location, Location

Choosing a location for your family reunion can be a wonderful experience of narrowing down many unique and interesting locations to the one perfect fit for your group. Or, it can be a stressful event of trying to figure out how you can be fair to the relatives in New Jersey and also fair to family out in California, Louisiana, and Virginia all at the same time.

Sometimes when planning a family reunion, it becomes necessary to make decisions that could impact whether certain guests will be able to attend. Location of the event and the cost of getting there will often determine whether family members will be willing to travel for the event. In cases where family members live all over the country, just try to select a location that will please the largest number of people… or, send out an e-mail survey with the locations you are considering and try to get a verbal response of what people would prefer. Then go with majority rules.

An ideal location for your family reunion could just as easily be a park or a lakeside community, as a beach town or a mountain retreat. Consider all your possibilities for the location, as well as the ages and interests of your family members who would be most likely to attend. In the end, don’t beat yourself up about the small stuff. The most important thing is that you are making an effort to create this fun and enjoyable event.

Family Reunion Events and Activities….


Bachelorette Party: Scavenger Hunt

Why do the bachelors get to have all the fun? Not anymore, with this clever bachelorette scavenger hunt game for the bride-to-be! Whether she’s your friend, your cousin or your sister, make this a night the bachelorette will never forget. No purchase necessary, no strings attached…just some good, old-fashioned fun for a bachelorette party extravaganza. A bachelorette party scavenger hunt game can keep you laughing for hours…. This bachelorette party and bride-to-be scavenger hunt is sure to knock your socks off!

Bachelorette party time is something just about every bride anticipates. A bachelorette party is a chance for one last night out with the girls as a single, unmarried woman. Granted the bride is soon to be married, but the bachelorette party time is a chance to experience for one last time what it feels like to go out and have a carefree good time. Create some hilarious memories with a bachelorette scavenger hunt!

Gather together the girls for a night on the town and be sure to have a designated driver if drinking is in the agenda. You might want to adorn your bride-to-be with a cute or mischievous veil to wear out, or maybe even a suggestive T-shirt proclaiming her last night of freedom. Whatever the case, prepare to send your girlfriend on a chase for some hilarious items and situations! Bride-to-Be Scavenger Hunt List and Dare Game: Safety in numbers, the more the merrier, and may the best lady win!

Put your gal-pal to work with these innocent, obnoxious, and embarrassing objects and situations in the bachelorette party scavenger hunt. OK, if you are feeling particularly generous, the rest of the female crew can join in the fun to see how many items the gals can check off the bachelorette scavenger hunt list of attractions! Make sure someone in the group takes pictures of the fun with each numbered item so the memories live on beyond the buzz.

Last Night Out Do-or-Die List:

1. Get a guy to serenade the bride-to-be. This shouldn’t be too hard if you know the right places to go… like a karaoke bar… or the local dive where you know everyone and their cousin!

2. Get a guy to buy her a drink. This should be an easy one if she has a veil or a T-shirt explicitly stating that she will be off the market very soon. A lot of guys may congratulate the bachelorette and hopefully at least one will offer to buy her a drink. If not, it shouldn’t be tough to get some unsuspecting male to pick up the tab for at least one shot. If alcohol is not part of the evening, opt for a soda or some spring water.

3. Get a guy’s phone number on a napkin. Again, this is child’s play. How old are we again, twelve? Let’s go, ladies, we should be on number five by now!

4. Get a guy to let the bride-to-be wear his hat. First you have to find a guy wearing a hat. Then you have to hope he isn’t superstitious about his sports team and his lucky hat. Once you’ve got that squared away, you’re golden. OK, onto the next project!

5. Get a guy to give up his underwear/ boxers. See, I tried to warn you this was the toughie. But I have faith that you girls will be able to stand up to this demand… after all, there’s a zany guy in any bunch—you just have to find him! Well, and get him to drop his drawers and hand over his loincloth. Good Luck!

6. Meet a guy with the same name as the groom-to-be and get the bride-to-be’s picture taken with him. Just think how great that will look in the scrapbook, with the caption saying, “Jane and John, before the wedding.” Honestly, this could be fun… Just hope your bachelorette pal isn’t marrying someone named “Poindexter” or “Wilfred” or some other unusual name!

7. Do a “Body Shot.” This one is targeted for the bride-to-be, but one of her faithful heroines can bail her out if she blushes or shies away from the notion. If alcohol is not involved in this party, skip to the next item.

8. Find a guy with an accent. Let her get it out of her system now while she is technically single. Many women seem attracted to men with foreign accents, so now is a much better time for her to get past that than on their honeymoon in Australia, Fiji or Jamaica.

9. Find a guy with an out-of state Drivers License. Who knows if it’s a fake ID or not… your only purpose is to find someone who isn’t a townie!

10. Find a guy who shares a love of the bride-to-be’s favorite sports team. (If she doesn’t like sports, she needs to pretend… OK, just kidding! Pick a team amongst the group and search for a fan).


Peanut Allergies – One Ounce of Prevention is Worth Ten Tons of Cure

PeanutfreeIn recent years, the presence of life-threatening peanut allergies has increased by leaps and bounds. “Peanut-free Classroom” and “Peanut-free Lunchroom” are becoming household phrases as extra precautions are taken to ensure the safety and well being of all students. Something as small as a fleck of peanut dust or a piece of food cooked in peanut oil can send individuals with peanut allergies into a full-fledged array of symptoms, ranging from itching and hives to all-out anaphylactic shock.

Peanut allergies arouse more symptoms than most other food allergies, often beginning with a tingling sensation that creeps into the mouth and the lips, sometimes followed by facial swelling and wheezing. Itching, hives and a feeling of warmth are also common indicators of a reaction. Other typical allergy symptoms such as cough, itchy throat, nasal symptoms, colicky pain, abdominal pain and nausea also occur within minutes of contact or ingestion. Another common symptom is Erythema, or reddening of the skin.

Of highest concern, anaphylactic shock occurs in serious cases of peanut allergies, causing difficulty breathing, asthma, swollen throat, and/or a drop in blood pressure. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction to sometimes even the smallest traces of an allergen, causing excessive swelling to the throat and obstructed breathing, which necessitates immediate medical attention. If not treated, collapse and unconsciousness have also happened as a response to the peanut allergy aggravation.

For those with peanut allergies, consuming peanut products or foods cooked with peanut products is comparable to ingesting toxins. In these individuals’ bodies, an enzyme does not exist to properly break down and digest the proteins contained in peanuts. This causes the body to react as if the peanuts were poison.

 

Suspicions exist as to whether consumption of peanuts and peanut products by pregnant mothers increases a child’s chances of being born with a peanut allergy. No substantial evidence can advise on this issue, but it is suggested that those at-risk (i.e.-those with an immediate family member who is allergic) refrain from peanuts and peanut products while pregnant and if breast-feeding. Also, it is important to avoid exposing an at-risk child to peanuts and products made from peanuts until at least three years of age.

Even when presence of a fatal peanut allergy is not 100% certain, it is important to be vigilant about checking certain foods for peanut ingredients before eating or serving to those with allergies. Items such as pastries and baked goods like cakes and cookies are especially prone to containing nuts. It is better to check into the contents prior to taking even the smallest bite. Cereals, crackers, ice creams, candy, health bars and granola bars also pose the possibility of containing nuts, and Oriental dishes often contain nuts or cook in peanut oils. When dining in a restaurant, it is perfectly acceptable to make your peanut allergy known to your server in order to ensure the most cautious care.

Problems also arise when companies produce food products on the same machines or in the same work area. If a company produces candy with nuts and without nuts, there is always the dangerous possibility that a crumb or a tiny bit of the nut could find its way into the packaging of another product. Furthermore, those with peanut allergies may also face problems when someone in the same room has consumed peanut products. Even just opening a jar of peanut butter or a can of peanuts may be enough to agitate the symptoms of someone who is highly allergic.

Another concern comes into play if you are dating someone with a peanut allergy or if your child is allergic. When you share meals or prepare baked goodies, avoidance of peanut products is critical. Holidays bring pounds and pounds of sweets and treats that could be brimming with hidden bits of peanuts in the crust, in the filling and in the toppings. By the way, there IS a wrong way to eat a Reese’s… if someone you love is allergic to peanuts! The bottom line: be careful if anyone you know has a peanut allergy.

 

So once you or someone you know have been diagnosed with a peanut allergy, what is there to do? Sometimes encounters occur without any notice or warning, and immediate actions must be taken to alleviate the problem. A device known as the Epipen provides the body with a life-saving injection of adrenaline to combat the toxins of the ingested peanuts (or other allergens). Emergency medical attention is often required for severe allergic reactions. If you know you will be around someone with a peanut allergy, simply take the extra time to safeguard him or her from any risky encounters. Avoidance of peanuts and peanut products altogether is the best precaution you can take, and vigilance in this matter is invaluable.

Tips for living with a peanut allergy:

– Always check ingredient lists before consuming foods / serving foods to those with allergies.

– If you have young children with peanut allergies, it is best to keep the products out of the house or locked up to prevent accidental ingestion.

– When ordering in a restaurant, ask to find out if the ingredients include peanuts or peanut oil, peanut flour, or other peanut products.

– Keep an Epipen and emergency contact numbers close at hand, and be sure you have quick access to a phone in case of an emergency.

– Be cautious at all times. The extra minute or two you spend to avoid taking chances could be all it takes to save a live!

Safety Tips for Your Child’s MySpace, Facebook, or Friendster Account

If you’ve ever watched “To Catch a Predator,” MySpace and Facebook may be on the list of off-limits sites for your kids. These social networking Web sites attract people of all age groups and all backgrounds, and sadly, safety and security on these venues are far from sufficient. With all the crime in the news today, it is imperative that parents take extra precautions and follow safety tips when letting their pre-teens and teens use these social sites. While chatting and blogging and meeting new people online can be a lot of fun, it can also be unsafe.

Members who use sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster can create profiles about themselves, upload photos, and search for people to add as “friends” to their social networks. They can leave comments for other members and they can send them e-mail messages. They can write blogs about themselves, their friends, and what’s going on in their lives. These sites are very much like online journals and diaries that broadcast one’s life to the world.

Children, teenagers, and adults turn to social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster to meet new friends, locate old and forgotten friends, keep in touch with current friends, and often to find new dating partners. Often, a member’s profile page divulges personal information about his or her life, including age, interests, religion, even body type, and alarmingly, school and hometown. For safety and security reasons, this array of information combined with the member’s photograph can be a dangerous combination.

A common fear among parents and authorities alike is that pedophiles and sex offenders have easy and instant access to their targets. Chris Hansen of the popular show “To Catch a Predator” suspects that MySpace and other online friendship networking sites are a breeding ground for sexual predation. Predators don’t always represent themselves truthfully online according to age and other identifying factors, so it isn’t always easy for kids and other site members to pick them out.

As a parent, you want to ensure that your child is always safe and protected. Here are some safety tips to help you keep a strong and healthy relationship with your child while also leveraging good security precautions.

Safety Tips for Social Networking Sites:
Follow these steps to safeguard your child’s activities on MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, and other social sites.

1. Explain the potential dangers of the Internet to your children. Talk openly and honestly with them about bad people who use the Internet to do bad things. Discuss the importance of disclosing their proper age rather than lying to appear older. Also explain how anything your children say online can come back to embarrass them if they are not careful with what they say. The Internet is an open forum for the world to see. It’s just like shouting from the rooftops!

2. Keep open lines of communication with your kids. If you work at it from the time they are young, you should be able to develop a good relationship where your kids feel comfortable coming to you for advice. Encourage them to tell you about their school day each night at dinner. Ask them if they had a good time when they visited a friend’s house. Show an interest in your child’s life, and you should find that you have fewer surprises as your child matures.

3. Don’t allow your child to use the Internet behind closed doors. Keep the computer in a family area so that you have an idea of the types of sites that your children are visiting. Enable passwords to ensure that you know when your child is on the Internet.

4. You keep the password to your child’s account. If you allow your child to post a profile on any social networking sites like MySpace or Friendster or Facebook, decide on a password that your child could not easily crack. You then become an essential part of your children’s experience on MySpace, and they cannot access their profile without your permission.

5. Encourage your kids to only add people that they know to their friends’ list. The chance of a pedophile, sex offender, or other criminal targeting your children is drastically reduced if your kids only accept people they know into their network.

The social networking sites do impose their own safety guidelines and security procedures. MySpace requires that its members be at least 14 years of age, and requires a birth date be entered when they sign up. Staff members perform surveillance from time to time to detect underage members. But no amount of site maintenance can make up for good parenting!

When it comes to keeping your children safe from online dangers, close supervision and good, open lines of communication are paramount. Follow the safety tips in this article and develop some rules in your household for Internet use. MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster can provide hours of fun and excitement for all who join the sites. With proper attention to safety, you can rest easy while your children can have a good time networking with their friends. Even if they don’t understand right now, your kids deserve the best safety and protection a parent can provide!