United States of Motherhood: December 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hot & New MineCraft Gift for the Holidays & Beyond: The Gameband Minecraft #GameOnTheGo

This shop for the Gameband Minecraft has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameOnTheGo #CollectiveBias 

Let's talk about Gameband Minecraft, shall we?

First, I know I worry a lot about how much video games my kids play-- as most moms do.  Kids these days are so engrossed in electronics that they lose hours...sometimes days in summer if we let them. One fact that helps me is the Journal of Adolescent Research published a study recently comparing kids that played video games to those that didn't.

Did you know:

“Video game players, regardless of gender, reported higher levels of family closeness." 

YES! Yep, I will take a big heaping serving of that in our busy lives as these kids grow up too fast.

Speaking of family closeness, Minecraft is the one game that I have never felt guilty as a mother letting my kids play. It is the place that my oldest son first connected with his younger brother . They created their own land and co-existed in a plane whereas in life, they bicker and tease. Heck my eldest even bought his little brother a Minecraft T-shirt last year for Christmas.

It brings my kids together. 

It also encourages them to stretch their imagination, engineer lands, and so much more.  So I was excited to hear about a new must-have accessory, the Gameband Minecraft™, for my youngest to take his Minecraft world anywhere.Yes, you heard right: Portable Minecraft! I am not going to lie--it took me a while to find it because it is that new and that hot of a holiday ticket item, but I scored it at GameStop. They had JUST got them in. And?  Someone was SUPER excited I scored big at GameStop so he got to check out this holiday gift early.

The Gameband Minecraft™ is more than just a USB, Gameband  is truly the first-ever Minecraft wearable. It lets my son take his worlds literally with him to build, imagine, and play Minecraft anywhere, anytime.

It comes in two sizes and is splash proof too. Bonus?  It also backs up his worlds onto their secure, cloud-based server. If he were to lose it? We can contact Now Computing and order a replacement with all his data still there!

The feature my son is loving the most? Gameband Minecraft™ has PixelFurnace included which is an App that lets him make his Gameband his very own.  He can customize it with messages, images and animations that he created.

Even better, it comes with FREE stunning maps from Sethbling, Hypixel and Dragonz.

And it's a watch!! Yep, anyone with a middle school kid knows that getting them to be timely can be a struggle, but he is loving this part fashion, part tech, customizable band that shows off his geekery, his pixel designs including his name, and tells him the time of day too.

Want to see more, check out this video:

So GO get it before it's gone for the Minecraft fan in your life. Run!  There's still time to get it for Christmas.

 Gameband belongs to Now Computing and is affiliated with Minecraft. If anyone has any feedback regarding Gameband, they should reach out to Now Computing.

Eighteen Years of Marriage & BAM: This Mom is Getting Her Groove Back #TheMoodStrikes #Ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TheMoodStrikes #CollectiveBias

Yes, once upon a time, a long long time ago there lived two crazy, waaay too young Berkeley students with the freedom to be spontaneous that joined together as one...

And they lived happily ever after.

End of story. 


Okay, well...

Well, maybe not without a few bumps along the way.  Meet baby bumps numbers one, two and three. That third bump?  Over 10 lbs. Hello broken vagina!

And now those three bumps? They grew as did my marriage.

And just kept growing!!

One is in college?! One in high school! The youngest in middle school? Gulp!

 How did that young Berkeley girl become the mother of THREE teens?

My friends, I am not going to lie: Eighteen years of marriage changes one.  Changed me.  People I am forty-freaking-two.  Nothing is as smooth as it was...NOTHING.

And by nothing, let's just say everything. Life, my skin, finances, family...even intimacy.  

There.  I said it.

Intimacy is not as smooth as it used to be. But that doesn't mean give up!  Everyone wants a smoother ride especially to enhance a healthy intimate relationship in a committed marriage of eighteen years,

Enter K-Y® Liquibeads.  

Yep, I am giggling a little even typing that.  Imagine the snickering I did when I handed it over with a ton of "cover" chocolate to the stern, graying man at the Walgreen's counter. He asked me if I wanted a bag. More giggling.

Sorry, dude.  Mama's trying to get her groove back.

Another truth? I'd be lying through my teeth if I said we still romped like the bunnies who annoyed our roommates.  Half the time?  Okay the majority of the time, I am so busy with work, carpool, kids college apps and proofing essays while trying to maintain the maelstrom of our household, PASSION is the furthest from my mind.

That needs to change.

Honestly though just the act of purchasing these K-Y® Liquibeads?  AHEM!  It started to do the trick. Before even using them! No joke.

And when I finally did?

Whoa mama!  Hold the front door!! Why the #@*$ is my husband still at work!

What I am saying is beyond lubrication, it's also a mindset for which your husband will be ever grateful. 

Let's be real: Sometimes we dry up a wee bit and that's normal, but it can be a tad of a mood killer. Straight up? K-Y® Liquibeads are inserted once every few days so that when the mood strikes, your body is ready to go without needing messy lubricants. 

Nope, nobody wants to be the one that raises their hand in a heated moment and says, "Ummm, nope this just isn't doing it for me."  

Especially when it's not him, it's your body. 

 That is what is so reassuring about K-Y®.  It ensures that when the mood strikes, you're ready, and your body is willing. Imagine that.  Freedom to be spontaneous back again.

So let's get down to the steps:

Get thee to a Walgreens, Walmart or Target. I found mine in my trusty neighborhood Walgreen's family planning section. Yep! While you are there, you might want to grab some wine and chocolates on the way out. Why? Well a girl can never have too much wine or chocolate, right?

1. With clean hands, open your package and remove applicators, beads, and instructions.

2. Remove one applicator and pull plunger back

3, Pull back paper from one bead and remove it from package.

4. Place bead firmly in applicator.

5. Gently insert applicator in your vagina as you would a tampon and depress the plunger. Heck yes, I used a older bruised banana. Still just as sweet just like me! Heh!

6. Toss applicator and bam!  You are good for a couple of days.

So are you ready to take the plunge?  Coupon.com has $1 off right now. Just  be sure if you are  pregnant or nursing that you consult your doctor first before using. That's it!

Let's get ready for when the mood strikes!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

5 Minutes (or Less) EASY Snowman Microwave Meringues Recipe: Decorating & Ho-Ho-Ho-ing STAT Guaranteed!

Remember when the kids were younger and it was all fa-la-la decorating, school holiday concerts and baking for days? Yeah as we get busier and tired, we don't check all those boxes anymore. No time!

My friends? I admit to a little holiday burn out. Okay a lot. Tree still naked! No lights on house. 1/10th Christmas list bought...and cards unlikely. However my husband and kiddos came up with a crazy fast way to decorate cookies that I need to share with y'all ASAP!

Fast & Super Easy Microwave Snowman Meringues


2-1/2 cups + 1 tbsp Powdered Sugar
1 egg white
Paper towels

2 -3 tbsp powdered sugar

Seriously that is it! Two ingredients plus sprinkles!

Put powdered sugar in bowl.  Add one whisked egg white into well of sugar.  Slowly incorporate. Knead with clean hands until ball forms.  Roll into marble-size balls.  Place paper towel on a large dinner plate. Put a ball in each corner of paper towel. Microwave on high between 1 minute and 1 minute 30 seconds.  You'll know when they are done because they will get puffed up and will be firm on top. Pull off paper towel. Every couple plates of meringues, change out paper towel.

Place three on a plate to decorate.

Mix 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar.  Add a couple drops of water at a time until it mixes into a glaze. Delicately brush meringues with glaze so that sprinkles stick and then start decorating! You can also brush glaze to glue snowballs together.

Push too hard and the cookie crumbles.  No worries.  Eat it quickly and get another.  This recipe makes a crazy amount of mostly air meringues, so plenty more where that came from without hardly any guilt. Heh!

Makes approximately 25-30 meringues depending on size

Eating "Mess Ups"

As for those decorations.  Get creative people.  Use the sprinkles you have on hand.  Seriously! The point is to make this fast and easy.  If you want to know what we used:

Sparkle: Wilton's White Cake Sparkles and Dean &; Jacobs White Sparkling Sparkles
 For Eyebrows leftover Valentine sprinkles.Yep those are kissy lips as eyebrows
For nose, that my friends is an orange lion from xCell Zoo Accents line

Now get "baking," my friends.  No excuses not to make these holiday cookies! Let me know how yours turned out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Trying to Keep Up With the Jones at Christmas: Give Up, Drink Up & Call #HeySwansons @Swansons

Filed under did you know:

In the first week, a Christmas tree will need as much as a quart of water per day-- or more if air inside the home is much drier than outside via Swansons Nursery.

More importantly? Did you know a mommy will require at least a quart of wine in the same time period?


Add spiked eggnog to quota too...especially if the dog suddenly thinks glass ornaments are delicious treats.‪#‎TotallyScientific‬ ‪#‎TrueStory‬

What's that you say? 
My kids are teenagers? 

This pic above is 10 years old?!

Ummm now adding some whiskey at the feeling of utter defeat at watching everyone else's tree go up on Facebook while I've had a perfectly gorgeous BARE 12+ foot Noble Fir in my living room begging to be decorated for over a week! 

Soon I promise...

No time either, Seattle friends? Cheers! ((clink)

Did you know #‎HeySwansons‬ will pick a tree on your specs for a PERFECT tree and even deliver it to your home and set it up? Timesaver...and the only reason I at least have a NAKED tree in my living room.  Heh!

Happy Holiday, my friends.  Keep on keeping on!  We've got this!

Disclosure: I was provided one of the most lovely trees I have ever seen to review.  As always all opinions are my own and I only review products and services I like and would use.  Now anybody know of a cheap decorator to throw the ornaments on this tree? Stay tuned!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cool Christmas Gifts for Boys & Giveaway: Getting Our Daisy On with a #DIY Shooting Target Range & Free Printable Holiday Targets

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser #ItsADaisy. All opinions are mine alone. #ad

Put the game controller down.  Put. It. Down.  

Okay, my friends. Sigh.  Anyone else tired of Cool Christmas Gifts for Boys preteen and teen boys gifts always being electronic or some kind of video game?  Don't get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with electronics, however as a parent we also want gifts that encourage kids to be hands on, learning new skills and creative. So it was with glee that I decided this family was going to get  our Daisy on.

As most of you know, my husband and I are former U.S. Army officers with a strong love of target shooting  My husband growing up had plenty of opportunity to target shoot in JROTC and in the Boy Scouts, but this California girl? Not so much. I was an adult the first time I went target shooting with a .22.  A few months later, I joined the the military and they they threw some seriously intimidating firepower in my lap.  

My friends? I LOvED it.  I ended up qualifying sharpshooter. 

My husband, of course, though with all his experience was an expert. Show off! 

Fast forward to being parents, we want to pass on that love of hitting that target to our kiddos.  We have gone to the range as a family.  However  it is sooo expensive. Ammunition, paper targets, and range memberships add up.

My husband checking out Bass Pro Shop air rifles

Enter Daisy.  Their economical line of BB guns are perfect to set up safe, at home place to work on accuracy, skills, and really establish safety rules cheaply with printable targets in our own backyard. 

You can also find and even try out Daisy air Rifles in Bass Pro Shop's Santa's Wonderland

My non-negotiable rules: 

No squirrels, birds, critters or siblings will EVER be targets! Heh! Call me Snow White!

So off we went to Bass Pro Shop in Tacoma yesterday!  Woot! Hello holiday fun! Their Santa's Wonderland was in full swing. Free Santa pics anyone?  Soft Gun Arcade to try out Daisy products on? Trains? Moving reindeer?  Craft tables?  So much fun!

Free Santa pics?  Do you think I could wrangle my three teens on to Santa's lap?  Sigh...

We mulled over choices and decided to go with the Model 880 Powerline Air Rifle with Scope Kit for Li'l Man which came with shooting glasses, a tin of 500 pellets, and a tin of 750 BBs.  He was very very excited to get one of his Christmas gifts a bit early. Within minutes the box was torn open and while Beau set up the rifle, the kid voraciously read the manual. In the same few minutes, I set up our DIY target range and made printable targets.

Now for the DIY Tutorial: 

Set Up Your Own Indoor/Outdoor BB Gun Target Range with Homemade Backstop & BB Trap

Items Needed

  • Large box
  • Thin, flexible wire or wooden dowels
  • Craft batting, old clothes, or crumpled newspaper
  • Tape (scotch tape if using wire or duct tape for dowels)
  • Printer and paper to print targets
  • 2 piece of carpet approx. size of box opening
  • Optional: spray paint, stickers and markers to decorate your box

1. Grab a large box based on the accuracy of your child.  The less skilled the the shooter, the larger the box. 

I like to upcycle and repurpose, so I used a Styrofoam cooler a brand sent me in the mail. If it has a lid you will have  a bonus bb catching tray.

I hated the idea of throwing it away in a landfill and now I don't have to with my  fantastic little target range for the kids!

2. Measure the inside of your box and cut a piece of carpet to size to fit snugly into the back of the box.  

3. Fill your box with some voluminous, soft material.  I had a ton of craft batting left over from my classroom days, so I used what I had.  

You could also fill it with crumpled newspaper, old rags, or even torn clothing that aren't gently used enough to donate. This is just a precaution to prevent ricochets.  

Depending on how much you pump your Daisy 880 (or other bb, pellet, or airsoft guns), you make not even penetrate this, however, it's also better to be safe than sorry!

3. Make some holes at the top corner across the front of the box at three inches in depth into the box. This will be where your second piece of carpet hangs.

4. Cut second piece of carpet.  This time cut it 1/2-1 inch less in width and height that the inside of the box.  Weave a piece of thin wire on box and leave 3-4 inches on either side.  Put wires with carpet attached through each side of the box. Securely tape excess wire with tape. Check to make sure this piece of carpet swings freely.

5. Add a crossbeam of either a length of wire or a wooden dowel about 1 inches in depth. I used wire because, again it was what I had on hand. Reinforce the crossbeam with tape. You can add a second wire add the bottom of the box as well to hold the target firmly in place if you box is much larger than the printable target. This will be where you attach your printed target.

6. If you  are using a box or cooler with lid, you can attach the lid as a tray to collect your bbs and pellets that roll off and are not captured in the batting.

7. Optional: Spray paint, color or decorate your box!

8. Attach a target! I've provided some great free holiday shooting targets printables below.  

Yes ZOMBIES have taken over Christmas!  Print out a zombie Santa, zombie abominable snowman, zombie Frosty, zombie Cornelius, zombie misfit elf, zombie penguin and much more!  

8. Testing!! Never skip this step!! Add paper to the outside back of the cooler and have an adult test it with a fully pumped Daisy air rifle.

If there are no holes in the test paper, you are good to go.  All bbs and pellets have been captured.

9.  Finally safety first!! Always have an skilled adult test your range every time you shoot!! Always use eye protection!!  

Always keep your rifle pointed up and down range when you go to check your target!! 

Adult supervision is always a good idea!!

Suddenly you have a fun and inexpensive, portable range to use outdoor when the weather is good or in the garage/basement when it's wet and chilly. For less accurate shooters, always consider a safe background.  We chose a corner of our garage with a steel door behind it...just in case!

Then the competition began! All three kiddos and their parents got in the act.  Not going to lie.  I might be doing some more target shooting with Li'l Man's Daisy 880 while he is at school.  Waay too fun!

Newbies?  Not sure how to start out? A good place to start is with Daisy:

Daisy educates roughly one million of America’s youth a year through their Ten Lesson Shooting Curriculum about BB gun use and safety (found here). Daisy’s educational curriculum has been around since 1948. Daisy educates through its partnership with leading conservation and youth training organizations such as National Wild Turkey's JAKES Take Aim, 4-H National Shooting Sports, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Royal Rangers, Youth Shooting Sports Alliance, Civilian Marksmanship, NRA, JROTC units, scouting, fish and game as well as church and private camps.

Daisy has also engaged the masses with portable, inflatable BB gun ranges that can be found at major outdoor sporting goods retailers and leading conservation organizations. The majority of those who attend the an outdoor or store event and shoot at the ranges are first-time shooters.

Want to win for your family? Win $2000 worth of Bass Pro gift card with four winners receiving a $500 gift card each.

Daisy BB Sweepstakes - $2,000 in Bass Pro Shop Gift Cards

Winners must be 18+ and giftcards will arrive after Christmas.

I AM GROOT!! Guardians of the Galaxy Geeks Unite #OwnTheGalaxy #CollectiveBias #Ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OwnTheGalaxy #CollectiveBias

Guess what time it is people!


Now that I've got that out of the way. Heh!  Guess who my favorite guardian from Guardians of the Galaxy is?

Yep, Monsieur Groooooooot!

And guess what tomorrow is?

Guardians of the Galaxy comes out on Blue-Ray tomorrow, Tuesday December 9th! Perfect timing for some GOTG fun right so we can #OWNTHEGALAXY tonight and then buy the DVD tomorrow.  It will have an exclusive Character O-sleeve,  music zinepack and a sixty-four page magazine with cast and crew interviews, exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and trivia PLUS a custom “cassette” laptop decal!  All that and a bag of chips!  You know your GOTG geek is turned on! Our family's GOTG and Marvel geekery certainly was!

So we meandered down to our local Walmart to get our Groot on...

... and Walmart did not disappoint.  So many toys you could pair with the movie.

What to choose? Umm a Disney Infinity Groot of course!!

And right now until December 13th, when you buy one of these Disney Infinity 2.0 figures, you will get a $5 Walmart gift card instantly from the cashier.

We are a  Marvel fan family and we will celebrate tonight!  Woot! Our whole family has seen the movie...multiple times!  We are HUGE fans and were playing the soundtrack all week-end. .Even the college kid is getting in the works!

Groot cake anyone! I mean why not!  I thought this was a great idea for birthdays too for anyone who knows Groot is the best.  With it's plastic platform, it's perfect as a cake topper that you can then use with as a Disney Infinity figure with power disc.  Double win! Make it a Christmas tree ornament and it also works as ornament and gift!

So I leave you with this advice:  Go get the movie and some fun toys for your kiddos for Christmas and remember these wise words....


Happy Grooty Holidays!! 

So how do you fan family and Marvel geeks get your fun on?  Will you have your own GOTG family movie night? Come on! All the cool kids are doing it! Heh!

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