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Book review – My Little Leprechaun

 

Can you believe that St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Seriously… wasn’t it just New Year’s Day? Valentine’s Day seems like it was yesterday. Sigh… time flies way too quickly.

St. Patrick’s Day seems to be more of an adult holiday. It’s not something that most kids (especially little one) look forward to. That is unless you make it something fun to look forward to.

When my kids were little (elementary school age), they used to try and capture a leprechaun on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day. Each year the came up with a new and inventive way to capture the mischievous little fellas.

So that their creative efforts were no in vain, I would sneak into their room at night (or where ever their trap was laid out) and disrupt it. I would knock things over and make it look like the leprechaun was at one point trapped (then escaped) or nearly trapped. In addition I would sprinkle a little bit of green glitter in the area. The glitter eventually ended up all over the place because my kids would make a mess of it.

I also left a little gift behind (from the lucky leprechaun of course) which were usually stickers or some kind of a small St. Patrick’s Day toy (I would find goodies at the local dollar store) or green beads/necklaces.

I think it’s fun for little kids to think that jolly little leprechauns come out to play on St. Patrick’s Day. As an adult I think it would be both fun (and perhaps a little creepy) to see these legendary creatures in person.

What happens if you are are lucky enough to catch a leprechaun? In the book, My Little Leprechaun, a little boy finds out the hard way what can happen.

The book was written by a seven year old boy name Levi Johnson (co-authored by his mom Christa Johnson). The book is based on a short story that Levi write all by himself.

The book is illustrated by Rabia Gelgi.

In the book My Little Leprechaun, a young boy finds a leprechaun in his back yard and was able to capture it using a trap he devised.

Initially the leprechaun was fun to have around, but the young boy soon realizes there is a good reason why people shouldn’t capture leprechauns.

This is a fun bed time book that parents or grandparents can read to their child and get them excited about St. Patrick’s Day. Parents can even use this fun book as a segue into creating a trap together to capture a leprechaun (a fun bonding experience to bring the family together). Although after reading about what mischievous things leprechauns do when you capture one of their own, you might not want to capture one. Ha Ha.

The story is accompanied with darling illustrations too, which really add to the story.

For more information about this book, you can visit the official website, MyLittleLeprechaun.com.

You can purchase the book on Amazon too.

Does your family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Do you have any fun traditions that you do together? Have you ever tried to capture a leprechaun?

The authors: Levi & Christa Johnson

Kimberly

*I received a free copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Time for a change? Check out what’s new from VITA Good Life

 

How often do you switch things up around your home? Are you someone who hasn’t painted a wall or purchased new curtains in ages, or are you someone like me who likes to changes things up every couple of years?

Maybe its the Gemini in me, but I get bored with thing quickly – including home decor, wall colors and furniture. Needless to say my husband is not too keen on indulging my whims by repainting rooms. Thankfully I haven’t had the urge to repaint a room in a long time – except the bathroom. We bough paint for the bathroom going on four years now and he has yet to paint it.

We live in a teeny, tiny condo. There is only so much space to do things. Adding and/or replacing furniture is not that easy to do, so I usually focus on home decor items (lamps, decorations, throw pillows…) rather than furniture. Trust me, if replacing furniture was that easy I’d have a new desk by now.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to make changes in your home. Even the slightest things like rearranging furniture placement or adding a colorful throw rug can really make a difference.

I tend to go for colorful things. I think color makes things happier and more “people friendly.”

When was the last time you replaced your bedding? Not even for aesthetics, it’s probably a good idea to replace your bedding every few years to keep it looking good. Time and use can wear away at the fabrics making them look dull and gross. Plus age and use can make things less soft.

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My husband and I are forced to sleep on a sofa bed in the living room. We don’t have enough bedrooms so we made the sacrifice to give up our room.

I won’t even begin to tell you how uncomfortable sleeping on a sofa bed for the past 15+ years has been. Not only that, sofa beds are no pretty to look at. That is unless you add some colorful and comfortable bedding.

Bedding can’t help with the thin mattress and that darn bar that digs into your back at night – but it can make looking at an ugly sofa bed better.

We swapped out our old bedding for the Alegria 7 piece Comforter Set by VITA Good Life. VITA Good Life is a new brand that recently launched.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios, the Los Angeles based award-winning multidisciplinary design firm, has just launched VITA Good Life – a brand born to spread happiness, with designs that celebrate the power of bold colors, patterns, and creativity.

“We created VITA to celebrate the multi-cultural fabric that makes up our native Los Angeles,” shares Mark Rios, Founding Partner, Rios Clementi Hale Studios.

The line has launched with 6 affordable bedding designs; 3 comforter sets and 3 quilts sets. The comforter sets include 7-pieces – 1 comforter, 2 shams, 3 decorative pillows, and 1 bed skirt. The quilt sets include 3-pieces – 1 quilt and 2 shams. The comforters and the quilts are both reversible and feature bold patterns in vivid hues inspired by the lush flora of the tropics, the seductive colors of the Mediterranean, and the vibrant spirit of Los Angeles.

“Our exciting new VITA fashion bedding line was introduced to several key retailers at the recent New York Home Fashions Market. They universally embraced the concept enthusiastically and noted it’s fresh universal appeal. We expect to have strong distribution across major market regions for Spring 2017 and an expanded offering available for the Fall season,” adds Bob Moran, EVP Sales & Merchandising, Inovatex.

The Alegria Comforter set that we have was inspired by classic Latin art and architecture. The set includes decorative pillows that add bursts of color and texture to complete the look.

I love this set! Not only is the comforter super soft and snuggly, but it’s also kept it’s shape very well. In the past we’ve had comforters that end up going flat after you wash them and use them a while. So far, so good with this comforter. It’s just as wonderful as it was the first day we used it.

I LOVE the colors and patterns in this set too. It’s very cheery. I love colorful things.

The throw pillow are awesome. When not in use we put them on our couch to add a pop of color. Our couch is navy blue, so it really needed the pop of color that it gets from this set.

It’s hard to tell from the photos but the small rectangular pillow has tassels on all four corners.

For some reason the round pillow is my family’s favorite. Someone is usually lying their head on it or snuggling with it.

Because this set is so colorful I don’t see why it couldn’t work in just about any bedroom. This set is good for adults as well as children and teens. I think it appeals to all age groups.

VITA Good Life comforter sets are available in Twin, Full/Queen, King, and Cal King sizes. Retail prices range from $59.99-$79.99.

Here are some other lovely comforter and quilt sets from VITA Good Life.

You can check out 3 piece quilt sets here, and the 7 piece comforter sets here.

For more information you can visit the official website, www.VitaGoodLife.com.

You can purchase the products directly from their website. You can also find VITA Good Life products at Walmart.com.

Be sure to check out VITA Good Life on Instagram too.

What do you think of the VITA Good Life sets? Do they look like something you would like to see on your bed?

How do you change up the look of a room in your home?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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How to spend quality time with your four-legged family members

 

February is the month of Love, after all, Valentine’s Day falls in the month of February.

Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day with your significant other? My husband and I didn’t do much, but that is OK. The anniversary of our fist date is on February 2nd, so we celebrate that anniversary and Valentine’s Day at the same time (21 years and counting…). Besides, I don’t need a box of chocolates and flowers to know that I am loved. He shows me each and every day with all the little things he does.

There are other lives that we can show how much we love them, not only on Valentine’s Day, but also year round – your pets. After all, they are part of the family too.

We recently had to put our beloved dog, Espn (pronounced Es-pin) to sleep this week (Monday, Feb. 20th). He had an incurable liver disease. The doctors gave him 2-3 months to live back in June 2016. We fought tooth and nail to keep him alive, trying anything and everything possible. Sadly, he was in a lot of pain and his quality of life was suffering. It was time to let go.

I couldn’t take him to the vet. I just couldn’t. I knew I would be a total wreck. My husband and our son took him (my son opted to stay in the waiting room). I feel guilty that I wasn’t in the room with him when he passed, but at least he wasn’t alone. My husband whom he loved dearly was right there by his side the entire time.

I had to say my good-byes before they left. I took him for his final walk before it was time to leave for the vet. I told him how very much I loved him and that I am sorry that we couldn’t have done more for him. Even know it brings tears to my eyes when I think about him. I’m totally heart broken. I miss him so very much.

Looking back I wish there was more I did with Espn. More cuddle time. More walks. More play time. I know I was a good dog mommy, but I can’t help but think I could have done more with him while he was still with us.

Don’t live with regrets. Cherish each and every single moment you have with your beloved pet.

Michele Dixon, Health & Nutrition Specialist at Petcurean, offers these great tips on how to get the most out of the precious moments you have with your pet, because life can change in a heartbeat.

Bonding. Live in the Moment.

Pets are the king and queens of living in the moment, and the best bonding experience we can have, is to meet them at that level. Share calmly in being joyous, playful, and relaxed, whatever positivity your pet is giving you in the moment. In times of stress, be your pets rock, and let them know that everything will be ok. If it’s quiet time, simply spend time doing what your pet responds to positively. For some, that may mean just sitting with them, and doing nothing else.

Bothering. Body Language 101.

Learn to read body language, so your pet can clearly communicate with you, and respect what they are telling you in that moment. Remember your pet is fully present. Avoid giving affection when your pet is giving you a negative response. You do have the opportunity to change the experience to a positive one. So either change your approach to your pet, or back off.

Signs of annoyance include: Turning their head away in avoidance, lick lipping, lip curling, yawning when not tired, sudden sniffing of the ground, or a paw being raised. With cats, they often flick their tails, put their ears back, or get up and leave

Kisses and Quality Time.

Kisses are one way, but to a dog especially, showing love is often more about their loyalty and respect for you. Cats show love by wanting to spend time in your lap, or by interacting (such as giving head bonks).  Ever see your cat give you a “slow blink”? That’s also a sign of pure love and is often referred to as “kitty kisses”.  Next time you see it, try giving a slow blink in return.

Cuddle Buddies.

Some pets enjoy a cuddle, but in some cases hugging can be tricky. Many pets feel “claustrophobic” when been hugged, especially if they are not permitted to leave. The hugs of small children who tend to squeeze too hard and not let go are a prime example. Additionally, a pet should only be hugged when you are feeling calm. In the case of an injured pet, or upset pet, hugging is often not the best solution, as this case often nurtures the unwanted behavior, and creates more of the negative behavior.

Pets Aren’t People.

It’s important to remember that pets aren’t people, and their language and emotional needs are different. The best gift you can give your pet is to be truly present, by focusing all of your attention on them whenever you choose to interact. Now is the time to stop thinking about work, your schedule, your troubles, or tomorrow, and enjoy them at their level. If you’re stressed, your pet will often reflect your stress. Learn what they like and don’t like by paying attention to the small things. And respect that like people, they are all different. Some love closeness, some are more independent.

These are fantastic tips.

I have heard that cats give winks as signs of affection. Our youngest cat, Bella, does that all the time. She even responds when I slowly blink/wink back at her (usually she jumps on me when I do that). She also LOVES to give “head bumps.” I tell my family all the time that it’s her way of “kissing” us.

One of our other cats, Anakin, is very chatty. He loves to talk. So we spend a lot of time engaging him with conversation. He has no clue what we’re saying to him, and vice versa, but he loves it when we talk to him so we do it every chance we get.

Our crazy, funny, chatty cat Anakin.

If you are interested in learning more about Petcurean, you can visit them online at Petcurean.com. The brand is also found on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

You can even print out a money saving coupon (found towards the bottom of the Petcurean website).

Petcurean offers pet parents foods they can feed their beloved four legged family members that are made with with organic ingredients, and food for specific health requirements, including foods for pets who require grain free foods and/or foods with limited ingredients. Espn used to benefit from limited ingredient dog food. He had a very sensitive stomach.

If you are not sure which pet food would be best for your dog or cat, you can check out Petcurean’s Food Finder.

How do you bond and enjoy quality time with YOUR pet? I’d love to hear about it. It might help to ease my broken heart from the loss of our dear Espn if I read about special ways people interact and bond with their pets.

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Petcurean to bring you this information. I received pet food and compensation for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own (unless otherwise noted) and not influenced in any way. 

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The incredible Lemon

 

Are you a fan of lemons? I know that not many people are because lemons are extremely sour.

When our son was little he would eat lemon slices. The sour and bitter taste didn’t bother him one bit. I guess that is why he can tolerate extremely sour candies. Blah! I can’t eat those things.

I like lemons when they are incorporated into recipes. I also prefer lemon juice in my tea instead of milk, cream, sugar or honey. A dash of lemon in my hot (or cold) cup of tea is very refreshing.

Did you know that lemons are good for you? Lemon juice, and even the skin, has health benefits that you shouldn’t overlook, even if you are not a lemon fan.

Lemons are low in fat and calories, as are most fruits.

Lemons provide you with important vitamins and minerals like Folate, Niacin, Riboflavin, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitaamin E, Vitamin K, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc. Lemons don’t provide you with huge amounts of some of these vitamins and minerals (you’d have to eat a lot of lemons), but lemons are a tasty way to get these important vitamins and minerals into your body.

Lemons do contain more potassium than grapes are apples. Potassium is important for heart health.

My lemon squeezer

Lemons are part of the citrus family and are a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system.

There are plenty of other health benefits associated with eating lemons (or drinking their juice). Some have some scientific basis, where as others are unfounded but many people to be true. Here are just a few examples.

  • Lemons can help restore balance to the body’s pH level.
  • Lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier.
  • Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties and can help destroy bacteria that causes such diseases as malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.
  • The citric acid in lemon juice can help to dissolve gallstones, calcium deposits, and kidney stones.
  • Lemon can aid in digestion and help to regulate your bowels.
  • Lemon juice can help boost your metabolism.

These are just a few benefits to consuming lemons or lemon juice. Like I mentioned before, come claims do have science to back them up. Others are things that people say and believe to be true. Regardless, I enjoy lemons – in my tea, a glass of water and in recipes.

I use a lot of lemon juice throughout the week (mostly in my tea). I used to buy those little lemon shaped squeeze bottles but I found that I went through them too quickly. Juicing fresh lemons is too time consuming and messy. I only use real lemons if a recipe calls for it.

I like Santa Cruz Organic 100% Lemon Juice because it not only comes in a nice sized bottle (which means I won’t run out of it so quickly), but it’s also organic. My family and I have been slowly transitioning to more organic products. Our daughter is way ahead of us in that aspect (she will only eat organic foods).

You can enjoy Santa Cruz Organic 100% Lemon Juice to create mouth watering marinades, zesty salad dressings, cakes, pies and of course beverages like ice tea and lemonade. Lemon juice is very versatile. You can even clean with lemon juice. I use a little bit of lemon juice in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for a minute and let the lemon scented steam clean, deodorize and refresh our microwave.

When I was a teenager (a million years ago) I would use lemon juice to add highlights to my hair. It does work but I don’t recommend it. It’s messy, sticky and not exactly good on your hair.

You can even freshen up your home with a bowl of lemons. They are nature’s air fresheners.

If you are unfamiliar with the Santa Cruz Organic brand, here is some additional information.

As a pioneer organic brand, Santa Cruz Organic® was the first to have a wide range of organic, 100 percent juices and blends and the first juice processor to use all organic fruit sourced from growers certified by an independent, third-party certification organization.  With a history of developing innovative products, Santa Cruz Organic currently offers more than 60 organic items ranging from organic fruit juices and lemonades to organic fruit sauces, chocolate syrups, peanut butters and fruit spreads.

All Santa Cruz Organic products are Certified USDA Organic Non-GMO Project® Verified.

You might have seen their products in the organic section of your local grocery store.

If you are into lemons, and enjoy lemon juice, you should pick up a bottle or two of Santa Cruz Organic 100% Lemon Juice. It’s great to keep on hand since lemon juice has so many wonderful benefits and uses.

If you are interested in learning more about Santa Cruz Organic, you can visit their official website, www.SantaCruzOrganic.com for more information. The brand can also be found on social media.

Are you a fan of lemons? What is your favorite way to enjoy lemons/lemon juice? Have you noticed any health benefits from consuming lemons/lemon juice? Feel free to share your thought. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Santa Cruz Organics to bring you this information. I received free product samples and compensation. The opinions expressed are my own (unless otherwise noted) and not influenced in any way.

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10 Ways stress is written all over your face

 

According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez Psy. D, Colombia University Professor and Founder of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services in New York City; stress is written all over our face and can result in looking years older when stressed for prolonged periods of time.

Dr. Hafeez whose expertise is in understanding neural pathways as they respond to anxiety, stress and trauma explains that how we think directly impacts how we age and how youthful we appear. The routine stressors in our lives really impact how fast or slow we age. When stressed, we see it in our skin tone, texture, elasticity, and over all glow.

“When someone is under stress they can appear up to 5 years older, 10 years if they don’t manage stress or make changes to their lives. Stressful relationships and careers age people. I have seen patients end relationships or get new jobs and look 10 years younger within days.  People are spending money on creams, facials and cosmetic procedures but if the stress is still there it will still show in their face,” offers Dr. Hafeez.

Here are Ways Stress is Written All Over Your Face

You have dark circles.

Stress results in blood flow to main organs plus capillaries under eyes are fragile and break under stress leaving your face looking sallow and tired. Dark circles seem more apparent.

Mini-Menopause

The jury is still out on exactly how or if this is possible, but it appears that the constant flow of cortisol that goes along with chronic stress causes a dip in estrogen, one that mimics, on a smaller scale, the dip that occurs during menopause. Less estrogen means less collagen and less moisture. So, while estrogen levels may not drop enough to shut down your period, stress may make them dip enough to make your skin look dull and dry.

You notice more wrinkles. 

Life’s stress due to divorce, death of loved one, job-loss, financial concerns; impacts our brain chemistry. When we feel sad or anxious, are crying or not sleeping well it’s common to see deeper lines around the middle of the eyes, forehead, under eye area and mouth.

You itch, flake and even have hives.  

Stress leads to inflammation which may lead to rashes, rosacea, eczema flare ups and changes in skin moisture.

People ask if you’re feeling okay. 

When the Starbucks barista or guy at the dry cleaners asks if you’re feeling okay, pay attention. These people may not know the details of your life but they know how you look because they see you quickly. 

Under-Eye Bags.

Tomorrow’s to-do list can weigh on your mind, keeping you from getting enough beauty sleep. This can cause fluid to pool below your lower eyelid area, and what you end up with is a puffy mess in the a.m. Stomach sleepers, bad news: You can expect the puffiness of your under-eye bags to be even worse because of gravity.

Increased jaw size – Heavy jaw

Grinding teeth and clenching of the jaw are common symptoms of stress. Unfortunately, these habits can cause the jaw muscles to work overtime. This can result not only in damaged teeth, but also a heavier than usual jawline, as the muscles become larger with the grinding action.

Hair Loss

Stress can cause sudden hair loss by literally flipping the switch on the hair follicle’s growth stage from an active to a resting phase. Once the follicle enters this resting phase prematurely, it stays there for about three months, after which time a large amount of hair will be shed. When you experience an overall shedding of hair, you must cast back a few months to find the trigger. Rest assured that in most women, this hair will grow back.

Adult Acne

Acne isn’t just for hormonally crazed teenagers. Many adults can’t seem to outgrow it because of stress hormones. What makes it worse is that tense people often can’t leave pimples alone. Squeezing, poking and picking at them becomes an almost obsessive way to release tension, but it also makes breakouts worse, exacerbating the inflammatory response, and you’re left feeling a bit more stressed. So no picking.

Hormonal Mood Swings

There is a lot of interaction between hormone physiology and mood that works both ways. Our mood can impact our physiology, and our physiology can influence the balance of our hormones. If stress can sit at the top of a cascade of events that lead to undesirable hormonal changes in the body (like those that trigger insomnia, insatiable hunger and weight gain, and collagen breakdown), then what we want to do is find ways to gain the upper hand on our stress level and ensure that we keep all those hormones in check.

According to Dr. Hafeez, “The good news is that we can get to the root cause of our stress and manage it. When you notice changes in your facial appearance take inventory of what is going on in your life and what may be stressing you out. Simple things like sitting quietly for 10 minutes focusing on breathing, writing in a journal, exercising or taking a walk outside, reading, baking, painting, listening to music and reaching for an activity that takes focus off the stress is helpful. If you find yourself reverting back to the stressful issue consider therapy. Clearly there is a connection between how we look and how we feel and think.”

About the author:

Dr. Hafeez provides neuropsychological educational and developmental evaluations in her practice.  She also works with children and adults who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert and expert witness by providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts.

 

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Do you have a teen driver? If so, you need to check out the Drive Safe Challenge website

 

Passing a driver’s license test is a milestone for any teen driver. But, while teenagers gain a new-found sense of independence when they’re issued their license, parents are often left feeling a mix of excitement and anxiety.

The worry isn’t unfounded – teen drivers are the most inexperienced drivers on the road and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the leading cause of death for teens is motor vehicle accidents. So, how can parents help keep their young drivers safe on the road? The best answer is education. Fortunately for parents, Mercury Insurance has created the Drive Safe Challenge website, a comprehensive resource designed to aid parents in teaching teens collision avoidance techniques and safe driving practices. The site also includes statistics, driving tips, a driving contract and more.

Many states require teens to have a minimum number of supervised driving hours and to complete a driver’s education course before they’re eligible for a license. New York, for example, requires teen drivers to finish a minimum of 24 classroom hours and 24 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.

Currently, all 50 states have a graduated driver’s license program limiting driving privileges for teens. Most include a learning stage, an intermediate stage that limits unsupervised driving in high risk situations like driving late at night, and a full privilege stage. These restrictions have a positive effect: states with stricter guidelines for young drivers have seen a reduction in crash rates as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Parents can work to reinforce the good driving practices taught through formal driver’s education by spending more time in the family vehicle with their teen. Providing guidance while teens are behind the wheel and leading by example are important aspects of driver education. The more driving practice your teen driver receives, the better. Visit the Drive Safe Challenge website to learn more about how you can help keep your teen driver safe on the road.

*This is a sponsored post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do no necessarily reflect my own. 

 

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