Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Turn Off the Light! No, YOU Turn Off the Light!

I was letting my friend's dog out last night when my daughter texted me this.

This was quickly followed by a text from Mara . . .

Tell me I'm not the only one. Lie to me if you have to. These girls are planning to move into their own apartment in less than a year. Maybe I should get them a Clapper for a housewarming present. Do they still make those?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

11 Things You MUST Know Before Dating A Woman Fluent In Sarcasm

Sarcastic women aren't THAT funny. Just kidding, we totally are. (That was sarcasm.)
I've been told I'm sarcastic, but I just call it an intolerance for stupidity. Most of my friends appreciate my quick wit even if it can be snarky at times.
Now and then, I run across someone who doesn't get my humor. I had a date with a guy I'd met on an online dating site last week. We started talking and he asked, "How many kids do you have?" I responded, "I have 6. Yeah, it seemed like a good idea at the time."
The waiter stopped by to take our order and my date asked me, "Do you drink?" I answered with, "Did you not hear the part about 6 kids?" He continued to stare, solemn-faced, waiting for me to answer him. I knew right then that there was no chance of a relationship with this guy.
Not everyone can appreciate the utter brilliance of a sarcastic person. Not everyone "gets it." Not everyone can handle dating someone with a sarcastic sense of humor. Can you?
Here are 11 things you need to know before embarking on a relationship with someone whose primary mode of communication is sarcasm.

21 Struggles Only Chronically Late People Understand

I had a date last week. We were supposed to meet at a restaurant at 7 p.m. At 7 p.m., when I was still miles away from the restaurant, I texted the guy and said, "This might be a good time to mention that I'm one of those annoying, perpetually late people."
Way to make a first impression, right? The thing is, I really thought I'd be on time. In fact, I thought I'd be early.
I was late for a variety of reasons: my hair looked crazy, my kids needed to tell me a very long, involved story about hunting for Sasquatch right as I was about to walk out the door, the place we were supposed to meet at was 40 minutes away, I got lost, I got stuck behind a train, and I was also dealing with the paradoxical "extra time."
The struggle is real, people. Here are 21 struggles of perpetually late people:


Monday, June 8, 2015

That Time I Got To Do Laps With Johnny Unser In A Corvette At Cooper Tire

I had the privilege of attending the Cooper Tire Ride-n-Drive event in Texas last month and I learned so much valuable information while I was there! If you missed it, you can see my post about TIRE SAFETY HERE! It's chock-full of really great tips that will benefit anyone.

While I was there, not only did I get to test drive vehicles with different tires, but I got to do some hot laps with veteran race car driver, Johnny Unser. That was FUN! I want that job - testing Cooper tires by racing around the track! Here's a video from my laps in the Corvette Stingray with Johnny. He told me we were going about 90 mph. That may not seem all that fast, but when you're flying around corners at that speed, it's like the most awesome roller coaster ever! (Note how Johnny stays upright in his seat while I flop around like a ragdoll. Ha ha!)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

80s Movies on Netflix

I believe it’s my duty as a parent to teach my kids all they need to know to grow up to be conscientious adults and well-adjusted, contributing members of society. I also believe that education just wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t share the classic movies of the 80s with them. I mean, John Hughes defined a generation! What kind of parent would I be if I didn’t share those iconic movies with my kids? Enter Netflix! My kids and I have watched The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Adventures in Babysitting, The Goonies, The Karate Kid, and many more on Netflix. And you know what, they love those movies as much as I do! Okay, maybe they don’t love them quite as much as I do, but they do have an appreciation for them. Hmmmm, maybe they just humor me and tolerate them . . . Nah, that can’t be it. I’ve heard them quote the movies (sad and demented, but social) so I know they like them. Plus there are lessons to be learned from each movie!

Here are some of the 80s movies you can catch on Netflix right now! The only question is - which one will you share with your teens first?

Dirty Dancing – Who, when confronted with a cute boy, hasn’t completely frozen up and stuttered something ridiculous? “I carried a watermelon.”

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Girls Just Want to Have Fun – I’ve used this sentence as my go-to topic changer for as long as I can remember. I think I probably originally got it from this movie. “So! How about them Cubs? I think it's their year!”

Labyrinth – You have to kind of wonder what kind of drugs everyone was on when they made this movie. This is a good lesson for your kids. Don’t do drugs. “You remind me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. What power? The power of voodoo. Who do? You do. Do what? Remind me of the babe.”

Top Gun - "I feel the need, the need for speed!"


Footloose - You can't go wrong with a choreographed dance number.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Stand by Me


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Rules of Being a Baseball Parent

It’s baseball season once again, which means it’s the perfect time to remind everyone of the most important rules of the sport. And I’m not talking about stuff like infield flies, here. I’m not even talking about how to be supportive without trying to relive your glory days through your kids, or why you shouldn’t yell at the poor high school kid who’s umping for your son’s game — which are all good rules.

Nope, I’m talking about those truths that veteran baseball parents know. But really, most of these can apply to any sport your child plays. Pay attention, rookies! You’ll thank me later.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Tires 101 For Dummies

I had the opportunity to visit the Cooper Tire & Vehicle Testing Center (CTVTC) in Texas last week and wow, did I learn A LOT in the couple days I was there! I feel a little stupid; I feel like I should have already known these things, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there who is undereducated when it comes to tires. I attribute my ignorance to the fact that I was married for 18 years to a guy who took care of all my car maintenance. I never had to give it a second thought. Also, and I think most of us fall into this category, who thinks about tires? Really, as long as your vehicle is running, who really ponders the tires on which it sits?

This happened to my tire a few months ago. It happened on my way to work in a really bad neighborhood. Thankfully, it was only inconvenient for me; it could have been disastrous. Yes, I realize it's extreme and most people would have recognized that their tire was completely bald long before it split like this. I didn't. I never considered checking my tires. I never thought about it. When the tow truck arrived, I had them take my van to Walmart where I bought one tire to replace the flat. I'm a single mom of 6 kiddos, trying to make ends meet, and I was going for the cheapest option possible. But, as is always the case, you get what you pay for.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn much about tires and tire maintenance, and I'm excited to share that information with you because there's no reason for a flat tire (like that pictured above) to happen to anyone!

Check your tires once a month

1. You can't see when your tires are low.
At the CTVTC, folks from Cooper had me walk around a truck to inspect the tires, then they asked me which one had low pressure. "The back right. No. Yes. Wait, maybe it's the front left. Yeah. No, wait. I'm not sure.Yes, definitely the front left." They had me check all the tires with a tire pressure gauge. The back right one was low. The moral of this story is that you cannot tell if a tire is low just by looking at it. By the time you can visually see that the tire is a little flat, it's significantly low on air. That is why you should check them regularly.

2.  Those little caps don't hold in the air.
These caps don't keep the air from escaping the tire, but they do keep dirt, gravel, salt, and other debris away from the valve, preventing problems with it. You should always keep the valves covered. If you're missing some caps, pick up new ones at an auto parts store.

3.  Maintain proper inflation.
Do not go by the number printed on the tire itself; that number indicates the maximum pressure the tire can hold, not the recommended pressure for the tire/vehicle. The correct amount of inflation for your tires is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and is usually shown inside the driver's door (and also in the owner's manual.)

4.  Check your tires when they're cool. 
Wait at least 3 hours after driving to get an accurate measurement of tire pressure.

5.  Use a tire gauge to measure pressure.
Make sure the slide ruler part of the tire gauge is pushed all the way in before measuring to get an accurate reading.

6.  Do not overinflate.
More is not always better. At any given time, the surface area of the tire which is in contact with the ground is about the size of your hand. (We teased the good folks at Cooper about being hand models here!) If you put too much air in the tire, you reduce the area of the tire in contact with the pavement. Less contact - less control.

7.  Save money.
Proper tire inflation leads to better fuel consumption, saving you money. It also helps you get the most potential wear out of your tires, so they don't need to be replaced as often.

8.  Inspect tire tread while checking inflation. 
Visually check your tires for signs of nails or other embedded objects, gouges, cuts, bulges, or other irregularities. Check to make sure you still have enough tread. Traction and resistance to hydroplaning is diminished as tread wears down. An easy test is to place a penny, upside down, in one of the grooves. If part of Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're okay. If his entire head is showing, your tread is too worn and your tire needs to be replaced.

9.  Check the Wear Squares.
Cooper Tires come equipped with a number of Wear Squares on each tire. This is a super-handy, fool-proof indicator that takes the guess work out of deciding when you need to replace your tires. When your tires are brand new, you see a full square imprinted on the tire. As they wear, you see the sides of the square disappear until you're left with an "!" as a message to replace the tire.
(This video features a different tire than the one I tried out, but it has a great demonstration of the Wear Square.)

10.  Compare your tires.
Compare the Wear Squares and/or the tread on all 4 tires to determine if they're wearing evenly. Uneven wear may indicate a problem with alignment that needs to be corrected.

I hope you have found this information as helpful as I did. Stay tuned for Tires 102 for Dummies coming this week, as there was much too much information to condense into one blog post.

Cooper Tire paid for my trip to learn about their tires. The opinions expressed here are entirely mine.

Legally Blonde on Netflix

Now on Netflix: Legally Blonde! I love Reese Witherspoon and I enjoy this movie, but I think it's especially cool because I met the writer, Kiwi Smith a few years ago when I was in Hollywood for the Glamour Reel Moments movie premiere. 

Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is Miss Popularity. She's the president of her sorority, dates Warner, the cutest guy on campus, and is loved by all. When her boyfriend leaves to go to Harvard and dumps her because she's too "blonde" to be accepted by his blue blood family, Elle is determined to win him back. She works to be accepted into Harvard law school, then proves to Warner, and more importantly, to herself, that she's more than just some blonde.

Me and Kiwi Smith at Chateau Marmont in Hollywood after the Glamour Reel Moments premiere.
I love movies that demonstrate a girl can be pretty, feminine, sweet and kind to everyone she meets, and still kick a little butt in the intelligence department! I enjoy watching these with my teens girls. It's important to me to teach them to believe in themselves.

What's your favorite Girl Power movie?


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

12 Photos I Guarantee No Other Parent Has on Their Phone

I was looking through the pictures on my phone the other day when I came to the conclusion that my kids are nuts. I think all parents probably feel this way at some point. (At least that’s the theory I’m going with here.) But my kids specifically? I just don’t know what goes through their heads sometimes.

What could possibly possess a 20-year-old to suction half a dozen rubber duckies to his face? And why would a 9-year-old voluntarily get into the (thankfully clean) Guinea pig’s cage? These are questions that plague me on a daily basis. See for yourself.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Standardized Tests Sucked the Love of Learning Out of My Child

You may or may not have seen this viral video of 9-year-old Sydney Smooth schooling her school board on the hypocrisy of standardized testing. As the parent of a 9-year-old daughter who is currently feeling the pressure of the FSA (Florida’s standardized test), I applaud her for speaking up to school administrators. I have a somewhat unique perspective in that I’m the parent of six kids, several of whom will be taking the FSAs this year, and I’m employed in a middle school in Florida.

As a parent, I can say with certainty that the standardized testing in Florida has sucked the love of learning right out of my daughter. As an educator, I can say that teachers aren’t any happier about this than parents are.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mako Mermaids, an H2O Adventure on Netflix

A guest post by Lexi Meehan on Mako Mermaids, an H2O Adventure now on Netflix (and she's well-qualified since she's my kid who wants to be a mermaid when she grows up!)

At first when I heard of Mako Mermaids, an H2O Adventure, I thought it was just a copy of the original H2O, but it turned out to be different, and pretty cool. I say it’s the best. I especially liked the second episode because when they were walking because they looked so funny!

Mako Mermaids, an H2O Adventure is a show all girls will like. It’s about three girls who have to protect the Moon Pool in order to be part of a pod (a pod is a group of mermaids), but a guy named Zach falls into the Moon Pool. Zach turns into a mermaid and gets powers. While he’s telling his friend about this, the three mermaids: Sirena, played by Amy Ruffle, Lyla, played by Lucy Fry, and Nixie, played by Ivy Latimer overhear him and find out. The mermaids try taking away his powers and his mermaid abilities, but . . .  (I would ruin the surprise if I told you! Watch Mako Mermaids, an H2O Adventure on Netflix for yourselves to see what happens!)

Friday, April 17, 2015

I Can't Stop Thinking About the Woman I Turned Away

One night last week, a knock sounded at my front door. My kids jumped up to answer it and I followed behind, wondering who could possibly be at my door at 8:00 on such a rainy night. I looked out over my kids’ heads to see a strange woman standing there, holding a plastic shopping bag and soaked to the core.

She said she lived across the street and started mumbling something about having to watch kittens. She asked me if I knew where some place named “Pages” was. I couldn’t figure out if the woman had been drinking or if she was just unwell, but something didn’t seem quite right.

I don’t know my neighbors across the street well, but I knew I’d never seen this woman before. I tried to clarify, “You live across the street?” She said she did. Disbelieving, I asked again, “You live right across the street there?” I pointed to the house. She insisted that she did indeed live there.


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