TV can be good for kids...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    The day after 9 /11 my morning ritual changed forever. Since that horrible morning, immediately upon waking up, I turn on the Today Show.  I need to know that the world has not exploded before I start my day.  Before I leave my room and go down to get breakfast and school lunches made or do anything else, I see what is going on in the world. Maybe it is my "Mama Bear" instinct kicking in, making sure there are no hunters on the prowl in my neighborhood. Maybe Matt Lauer is comforting in some weird way.  Maybe it  is something else. I don't know, but since 2001, the Today Show is always on in my room in the morning. 

    My two sons were tiny when America was under attack. The eldest was only three and my little one a little over a year old but since that time, when they have come in my room to snuggle or just hang out in Mom and Dad's big comfy bed, they have been exposed to the morning news.  Sure I've turned it off at times, but they have grown used to the ritual and have grown up getting at least a glimpse of what is going on in the world.  Over the years, they sometimes asked questions. After school shootings or tragedies like the Boston Marathon Bombing, we have frank discussions. I want to make sure that they know that, while bad things happen in the world, they can't live their lives in fear. 

      I make sure that when any stories involving  drug use, bullying, texting while driving and other issues that apply directly to teenagers, that the volume is turned way up. In fact, the mantra "anything you place on the internet never, ever goes away, so don't put anything stupid online" is repeated in this house quite often. (by me). 

       Sure, I've read and heard the studies and recommendations that kids should not watch television. I'm certain that some of you readers may judge me and think that I should have shielded my children from the horrors that the morning news headlines often describe.  However,  my 15 year old son  is starting to realize that many of his classmates have absolutely no knowledge about the world other than Sports or Entertainment.  He is in all gifted, honors and Advanced Placement classes in a very good, large public high school so his peers have high IQ's, come from economically advantaged homes and get very good grades. They are the cream of the crop so it absolutely amazes me when he tells me some of the stories from his day.

       One of the teachers asked what the UN stands for and half the class had no idea.  Another day,  she asked who the Vice-President of the United States is and barely anyone knew. One of his friends who is usually a straight A student had no idea what the electoral college is, who our state Governor was and could not locate Mexico on a map.  

     My son feels that he has knowledge of current events due to the Today Show always being on in my room and I agree. He now reads the news on his phone or computer on a daily basis (He has to leave for school before the Today Show starts!). He is on the way to becoming a good World citizen and sounds pretty intelligent when discussing current events these days. 

       The point of this post was not to brag about how amazing my kids are (They are but I'm no bragger). My point is that sheltering your kids too much, may be just as harmful as not sheltering them enough.   I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't always listen to the child rearing "experts".

A non-scientific experiment about the common cold...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

First of all, I am not getting paid or free stuff or anything for this post but I feel it is my duty to advise my readers of the results of my not-so-scientific experiment over the weekend.

My husband started sneezing on Saturday morning. We were not sure if it was a cold.  By Saturday night, he was down for the count. Sneezing, runny nose, complaining,etc etc.  He did the usual soup, over the counter meds, sleeping thing.

The rest of us resorted to avoiding him, washing hands a lot and using lysol liberally.   He was miserable Sunday and Monday too.  On Monday morning I felt it coming on.  My sister mentioned that she had used the Zicam melting lozenges and felt they had helped her.  As soon as I felt the congestion, I bolted over to the drug store and picked up a pack. 

I started dissolving one of these tablets in my mouth every three hours.  As the day progressed I rapidly developed a full blown cold. I was miserable and going through hundreds of tissues. I still kept taking the rapidmelts. Thanks to Pinterest, I made a little cold-craft …(Empty tissue box taped to new one provides a handy little garbage bin)

The next morning I woke up cold-free. I took the pills all throughout the day anyway and I am cured!!! My husband is still at the tail end of his cold

Was it the Zicam or coincidence? Who knows but if you feel a cold coming on, it may be worth a try. The box was about eight dollars and I did not take them all during this "pre-cold"

BTW, it is 48 degrees here in Miami. Where did I put my gloves that allow me to text???

Once again, I did not get paid to write this post. I bought the zicam (and the Kleenex) with my own money.

R.I.P. Loehmann's...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

If you are a Jewish female like me, chances are you were raised going into the communal dressing room at a Loehmann's Store. 

Loehmann's was the place I bought my first suit for my first day working at a law firm.   Loehmann's was where I  bought a whole sweater wardrobe for my honeymoon. Loehmman's was the place that I would go to buy designer dresses for parties at discount prices while getting the honest opinions of half-naked old ladies trying on sportswear. (They never lied).

Over the years,  I spent (and saved) plenty of money there buying really good luxury shoes, handbags and clothing. It was never easy (you really had to pick through the racks) but most of the time the work paid off and great bargains were had.

Loehmann's is going out of business forever.  According to The Wall Street Journal, The store is closing its 39 U.S. stores after unsuccessfully finding a buyer. They were in business since 1921.
They cited stiff competition from big discounters like Marshall's/TJ Maxx and outlet malls. I guess there is only so much actual discount designer supply to go around. 

I won't be heading over there for their going out of business sale. I hate those kinds of sales, they always seem depressing to me. People picking through the bones of a now dead store while workers who are about to lose their jobs are supposed be friendly and helpful.

You  won't see my tears because I'll be wearing my Tory Burch Sunglasses that I snagged at Loehmann's for $34.99 (retail price $200)! 

R.I.P. Loehmann's! 

The big stink….I'd like opinions

Thursday, January 16, 2014

There is only one perfume that my husband looooves,  Thierry Mugler Angel.  It is very strong. I really don't like the smell but do put it on for date night. I don't wear it every day. It kind of gives me a headache. 

It's the only perfume that my husband recognizes and he comments to women when they are wearing it. "Is that Angel you are wearing? I love when my wife wears it" is usually the comment. My husband is a cute, nice, friendly guy. He is not creepy looking or acting. He said that he was in an elevator yesterday and he asked the only other occupant yesterday if she was wearing Angel. He thinks it is a compliment. I think it is kind of creepy.

We were debating this last night and we both decided to pose the question to my readers. Please don't be shy..

Would it creep you out if a nicely dressed man in an elevator said to you "are you wearing Angel?"if you were actually wearing said fragrance? Would you think that he was trying to pick you up? Would you be flattered ?

The types of Moms-Friends to avoid

Monday, January 13, 2014

Yesterday, I gave advice on the types of moms that you should add to your stable of friends. Now I have to warn you against the types of  Mom Friends that you don't need:

1. The fake or bragger Mom

"I never yell at my kids", "My kids are perfect", "My son has never received less than an A and has never been tutored", are things that fly out of her mouth, usually when you are complaining about something in your life. She is either lying or bragging. Both are toxic and unneeded in your life at any time.

2. The super crazy Mom

Her five year old is spotted  a mile the street on his bike at the yogurt shop begging people for money and she is getting her nails done.  She is the one that does not care if her ten year old drives around in the car of her newly licensed 16 year old neighbor.  her son is lighting stuff on fire and she does not think that it's an issue. This Mom is dangerous. 

Obviously if you see a child in danger, it is your obligation to but in as children can't protect themselves, but this mom walks a fine line. Yes, you feel bad for the kids of the crazy moms, but it is your job to protect your child and it is a good idea to keep your kids far away.

Whenever I talk to a super crazy Mom I almost feel obligated to call the authorities. I don't want to hear anything that can't be unheard. I don't want my children around these types of families. Maybe I'm overprotective but better safe than sorry is not a bad Mom-motto. Again, if you do see a child in real danger, you must butt in. It is the Mom Code.

3. The Judge-y Mom

Even though it is universally known around the world (at least by cool moms) that the playground is a safe zone for moms to vent and worry aloud, this Mom did not get the memo. She has no problem telling you what you are doing wrong even if it is a passive aggressive way.  She may seem nice at first, but the more you get to know her, you realize that she is judging you. She makes you feel bad that your child still eats white bread. She gets up in your business. She'll explain while breast is best, even when you have decided to  bottle feeding. She may be the same person as the bragger/liar mom. Stay away. You'll thank me later. 

4. The Mean/Jealous Mom

She also may seem like a friend when you first meet her but you'll be sitting at a lunch with the girls and she'll say something like "Japolina's kids are at the pediatrician's office so much, I think she has Munchausen syndrome"  or "I'm so sorry that your newborn is in the NICU. You're so brave for checking out of the hospital with your baby still there. I could have never done that " or "I think it is so sweet that you let your kids wear whatever they want. My husband would kill me if little Tony ran around in superman shorts and a wiggles top outside the house." Sometimes she is jealous, sometimes she is stupid and sometimes she is just plain mean.  Parenting is too difficult to be around someone who makes you feel bad.

5. The User Mom

This one takes advantage of your goodwill.  She never reciprocates on playdates or sleepovers. She asks you to send in extra milk cartons for the school project but never steps up and helps you.  She has no problem when you drive her kid back and forth to   every practice and does not even thank you.  These types of Moms are often overwhelmed with other kids or  a career and find a good Mom to latch onto. They figure if you're going to the football field anyway, what's one more which is probably what you think but an offer to pitch in (even if it is empty gesture) would be nice. Trust me, these types of Moms will bleed you dry if you let them. I know a few of kids with Moms like this and I don't hold it against them but I keep their Mom's at arm's length.

Are there any that I have missed? 

The types of friends that you need...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

If you are a mom of kids that live under your roof, you need some specific types friends in your stable at all times.  These friends are similar to the types of friends that you had as a kid (i.e.The friend with the fun house, the friend who helps with homework, the friend you makes you laugh until you pee in your sleeping bag).  As a Mom, it really does take a village to raise a child and even if you have a great partner in crime  spouse, it helps to have back up. 

Luckily, when you are a mom, it is pretty easy to make friends as you instantly have something in common, kids! Friends often come in and out of one's life, so you should make sure that you always have these five friends in your regular life at any given point.  

1. The Mom in the same boat as you 

You may have met her while waiting in your OB's office,  at Mommy & Me class or during orientation for High School. This is the easiest friend to find and make.  You may only have one kid the same age in common but you're comrades in arms. The two of you should be able to bitch and moan about whatever is going on whether it be how to get rid of the pacifier to the best teen acne treatments ad nauseum.  It helps if her kids are in the same school as yours, but not a pre-requisite. This friend is the one who does not miss a beat when you tell her your parenting horror stories. She will swoop in to pick up your child from school at the last minute because you are having a hairdresser emergency without judgement.

2. The Mom who is one step ahead of you

This is the Mom who has a kid one or two years ahead of yours.  No more than that.  She is the one who tells you which teachers to avoid. She assure you that the biting phase in pre-school will soon pass.  She is almost in the same boat as you so she can relate to your potty training or SAT tutor woes without being so far removed as to not recall how stressful they are at the time. 

3. The Mom who knows everything 

Ask what the spelling words are and they will be texted to you in moments. Ask where to find sparkly red ballet flats, she will tell you exactly which Target to go to and what aisle they will be found in. Ask for an impressive recipe to have your husband take to the office holiday potluck lunch, she'll walk you through it step by step.   She is different from a "know it all" Mom. She is helpful, not condescending.

4. A Mom who is about a decade ahead of you

This is the most elusive type of Mom friend. She may actually be your sister, sister-in-law or a neighbor. She's survived whatever is going on in your house whether it be weaning the child of the bottle, shipping the kids off to camp or getting a kid into college. She may forget how stressful introducing new foods can be but she is proof that everything will work out.  

5. A Mom who is crazier than you

Not to judge but we all know the Mom who let's her toddler stay up until 12, feeds her kids crap all of the time or worse. I'm not talking about child abusers (don't be friends with them!) but the type of Mom who ships her trunks to summer camp late or  never shows up to the school open houses.   Maybe she does not know better. Maybe she does not care. Maybe she just cannot get her act together.   She is not a "bad mommy" but just kooky. This type of Mom definitely makes you feel better when you are having Mom guilt.

 In my next blog, I'll advise you of the types of Mom friends you don't need in the meantime, what types of Mom friends should be added to my list? Please let me know as I adore comments...

Decluttering…What to do with your stuff

Thursday, January 9, 2014

    During the post holiday mental hangovers that many of us are suffering, we often decide that it is a great time to declutter (at least I do).  It is really a great time to work on cleansing our bodies and our homes. Many of us (well many of you, not me) are spending lots of time indoors due to snow so it is a great time to really think about parting with some of the crap that we don't need in our lives.

     I have a big bag of clothes that I love but don't look great on me right now. I've decided that if they don't fit by the end of the school year, they are getting donated. Other than this hair-brained scheme, here are some other ideas about where to purge your crap, I mean, precious belongings…

     My most important piece of advice, no matter how you dispose of your items, is that you get them out of your house quickly.  Leaving a box of stuff by your front door for a while may lead to you digging through it and putting stuff back in your drawers, closets and cabinets.  Purging should be a one-way street.

Here are some thoughts:

    Ebay:Yesterday I posted a few of the items from my ebay store. I've been eBaying as a business since 2000. In addition to my consignment clients, I often sell lots of my own stuff on eBay. I find that it is much easier to part with my precious crap if some cash is coming my way. I've justified selling designer goods with the promise to myself that I can buy something better with the proceeds.  eBay is a great way to part with items that have some value but is a lot of work if you are selling low value stuff.  (I'll blog soon about eBay strategies).

     Like Twice: I've also blogged about They will buy your gently used designer duds and it could not be easier.  Go on their site and look at the list of brands.  They take designer and many mall brands such as Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J.Crew and Nordstrom but don't take more common items such as those found  at Kohl's Target, etc.   Then you request a bag, they mail it to you, you fill it and throw in the mail. Shipping is on them.  A few weeks later, they send you an offer. You can accept the offer and they will pay you in store credit, via paypal or mail you a paper check. If you don't accept the offer, they mail your stuff back to you but you pay a small stipend for shipping.  I've done this several times.  The pay around $5 per item so you probably won't get rich BUT if you are not going to wear it, a few bucks is still good for no work. There is also a site called I've never used it but it may be worth checking out.

   Craigslist: I'm not a huge fan of Craig's list because I really don't like strangers coming to my house HOWEVER, watch the movie called "Craigslist Joe" (Not the craigslist killer movie). It is a documentary about a guy who leaves everything behind (his phone, his car, his money) and tries to survive off of Craigslist.  It is really entertaining.  I know a lot of people who have gotten great bargains buying stuff off of Craigslist, but not a lot of people actually making money off of it.  It's a great way to get rid of furniture or other stuff that you don't want to haul anywhere yourself and if you make a buck or two, all the better.

  Garage Sale: My homeowner's association does not allow Garage Sales so I have no personal knowledge, but my friends that have hosted them have reported that it is a lot of work for pennies and around here, the bargainers are more like beggars and are fiercely annoying.  It's a great idea to move a lot of crap at once but don't expect to get rich if you're hosting one and prepare to be almost insulted at the low ball offers.

   Consignment Stores: One of my best eBay clients is a former consignment client.  She is making so much more giving me stuff to sell on eBay (she'd tried to ebay herself but it was too much work for her). She stated that she loves that she can follow the eBay auctions of her things  (keeps me honest) and I don't require items to be perfect. Her consignment store took forever to sell things and she never knew if they were actually giving her a true number of what her things sold for.  I think consignment is amazing for old baby and kids stuff.

    DONATE: My youngest son did a huge toy clean out last summer and really did not want to give his toys to Goodwill as he did not see the big picture that the selling of his stuff would help people. He wanted to give his stuff to actual kids. This was harder than you think, especially given the fact that my local Goodwill has not only a huge manned trailer a mile from my house that you can drive up and drop off, as well as a drive thru drop off two miles away.   I called around and the local foster care places only wanted new stuff! We ended up giving the neighborhood kids a bunch of books and stuff but my laziness and my desire to get the stuff out of my house before the kid changed his mind about getting rid of the precious crap made me throw it in the back of my car and take it to Goodwill.

              CHARITIES: Many places seem like a charity but actually are for-profit companies that use the cause's name to get the donations but actually donate a very small percentage of sales from their profit making stores.  You still get a tax deduction and many of these companies pick up at your house. If you are concerned about  whether you are really doing charity, google before you donate. 
Some "legit" charities that will appreciate your donations are:

             Suited for success :  a great program to donate your career items to women who will actually use them for job interviews
            Prom dress charities: where you donate formal dresses to and they pass  them onto girls who can't afford to buy them themselves.  

            Schools: I always donate school uniforms to my 
            school. They give the new ones to poor kids and keep 
            the used ones for the kids who have accidents, etc.  
            Teachers love unused school supplies and the librarian 
            of my local k-8 hugs me whenever I drop off a box of 
           our old books

            Hospitals: Supposedly they like donations of books 
            and magazines but call first 

            Homeless Shelters: They love those little soaps and 
            shampoos that you must take home with you from
            hotels but never actually will use at home.  My local 
            shelter will send you a bag to fill and you send it back 
            to them with toiletries. They every send a personal 
            thank you note back! I'm sure that they would love 
            donations of coats, blankets and pillows too. Once 
            again, call first. 

            Habitat for Humanity: They will come and pick up 
             your old cabinets, hardware, during your home 
             renovations and love donations of any construction
             supplies that you did not use.

            Churches, Missions:   My Synogogue only collects
            clothes if there is a special case (like Superstorm 
            Sandy) but many local places would welcome your old
            clothing and will pass it on to families in need. I'm
            going to work on finding a local place that wants my 
            old stuff and will actually give it to people who will 
            wear/use it. (any suggestions from my Miami peeps?)

My family is big on passing old stuff around but lately we all seem to be in the purging mode and don't want each others crap precious belongings.   What do you do with your old stuff? Any suggestions to add to this list? 

I went to the Movies (American Hustle Review)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Before I had kids, I would see every single movie that was out.  Now I am very, very picky. I just don't have hours of my life to waste seeing bad movies.

I was so happy that I went to see American Hustle this week.

American Hustle is loosely based on the Abscam Scandal  of the 70's but the movie is really about characters played by the unrecognizable Bradley Cooper (with a perm), Christian Bale (fat and bald), Jeremy Renner (with a toupee) and fabulous Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence rocking over-the top  70's hair and wardrobe.

The writing and acting is great. I was throughly entertained for all 138 minutes.

I'd highly recommend it. It is funny and serious and smart. If you liked Argo, you'll love it.

It's the little things...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    On the afternoon of New Year's Eve, we headed out to lunch at a mall that we never really go to because it is kind of far away.   After lunch I spotted a photo booth and the four of us piled inside.   
    I am the shortest one in my family and I am 5'8.  It was the best 5 bucks that I spent in 2013 as I laughed so hard that I cried. Each of the four photos are hysterical as our  adult sized faces did not fit in the frame so bits and pieces of eyes, noses and mouths are present.
     My eldest teen said "Please don't ever make me do that again".   I think it is our new family New Year's tradition.   
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