Monday, October 5, 2015

The TB Blood Test

*I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the TB Blood Test. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. 

I'm not one of those people who minds having blood drawn or getting shots. As long as I don't have to watch the needle go into my arm, I'm pretty much good. I wasn't always this way, though.

It all started when I joined the Navy and in the first few days, was injected with a whole cocktail of immunizations and blood tests that I couldn't name them then or now! Two shots I'll never forget. One, the penicillin shot, where you have to bend over and pull down your pants. They inject that sucker right into your cheek and it hurts.

The other shot was the Tuberculosis (or TB) test. This one was memorable because it's injected into your arm, leaving a raised bump. You then have two to three days to make another visit to your doctor so that they can check it and determine if you are infected or not. It's hugely inconvenient, but then, so is having tuberculosis and passing it on to other around you.

Most people don't realize just how contagious Tuberculosis is - especially the people from my generation who've not had to deal with it on a massive scale, thanks to life-saving vaccinations.

Every 21 seconds, someone, somewhere dies of Tuberculosis. This is serious stuff, people!

And so, I have faithfully gone for my check-ups and tests, as painstaking and time-consuming as it is. After all, this is the same test that my parents and their parents took. In fact, it's 110 years old. Tried and true, right?

Except that no, it's not always that accurate. False positives are not uncommon and many people (myself included) report feeling itchiness at the injection site. Diagnosis is open to interpretation, leading to even more false positives. Add to that the inconvenience of the whole ordeal, and it makes you think that someone should make a change.

Luckily, we aren't the only ones who thought so.

A new blood test has been developed, allowing for much more accurate results, less false positives, and only one visit to the doctor! They only need 3 mL for testing (less than the amount that fits in one of those little test tubes). Sounds like a winner to me!

It's easier than ever to make sure that I'm not infecting my children with a disease that could be deadly. Peace of mind allows for more time during the year to just be with my kids.

To find more information on the Tuberculosis blood test, check out the website.

Get tested, protect  your family.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mama's Got a Gun

The truth of the matter is, I feel strongly about women protecting themselves. We live in a day where 16% of women report being raped or having had an attempt made.

It's appalling. Anyone okay with those numbers must seriously be delusional.

We should not be subjected to a culture where more than 1 in 6 women not only feel unsafe, but in fact are unsafe. I'd be devastated if my daughters ever experienced the pain and anguish that accompanies such a brutal exploitation.

Rape is only one issue. The FBI reports that for 2013 (the most recent stats available), there were 1,163,146 violent crimes reported in the U.S. That's down from 2009, but it's still enough to cause concern. All too often, we hear of women being the target of malicious intentions.

The question, though, is what to do about it? Legislating an answer does not protect me and mine here and now

I take my role as a mom seriously, which to me, includes protecting my family if and when the need arises.

I'm a mama bear and I will defend my children with every last breath in my body. For that reason, I own a gun. And I carry it. And I practice with it. And I have old men look at me funny when I'm buying bullets in Walmart.

Buy you know what? My kids are worth it.

Now, many of you might wonder why I would do this. After all, aren't guns dangerous? Would you actually use it on someone? Shouldn't you keep guns away from children? The answer to all of these are, simply, "Yes."

Yes, guns can be dangerous, if not used properly and if you don't practice regularly and know what you are doing.

Yes, I would actually use it on someone if I felt my or my children's lives were in danger.

And yes, you should keep guns away from children, which I am diligent to do. I also talk to my kids about firearms. Knowledge is power and I think that only through removing the mystery and opening dialogue can we teach our children safety while also teaching them to respect firearms.

So, why do I carry a gun? I carry it because it is my responsibility to protect my family. Too often, we hear where someone has terrorized those around them or taken advantage of the weak, simply because they could. I refuse to be weak.

 Why not simply wait for the police?

While the police are a wonderful part of our society and I absolutely respect the sacrifice they make for our communities every day, they simply cannot be everywhere at all times. In my small community, often there is not an officer on patrol during the wee hours of the morning. Response time during those hours can be anywhere from 20-45 minutes.

If I have someone beating down my door to cause harm to myself or my children, then I don't have time to wait for an officer.

If someone approaches me down a dark street and tries to take one of my little girls, I don't have time to wait.

I wouldn't have time to wait if a dog was attacking my son and trying to kill him.

I'm not paranoid. I'm not looking for danger around every corner. I don't think that every person I meet is out to harm my family. All I have to do is turn on the news to hear of little girls being kidnapped and sold into slavery.

It happens. Not just in third world countries, but here. In America - the 'Land of the Free'.

If a police officer was on hand, ready and able to protect my family, I would absolutely defer to them. That's what they are there for and quite frankly, I would prefer to leave it to the professionals. While I am prepared to use it, I would be absolutely horrified if ever I had to shoot someone. I carry it as a precaution. I have never had to draw my gun to date and I truly hope to continue in that lucky streak.

I absolutely believe in gun safety. 

I keep my gun where children cannot come into contact with it. I keep the safety on. I have taken classes to learn the laws and to gain my permit to carry a concealed weapon. I continue to practice using my weapon, improving both my accuracy and my familiarity with guns.

Do you or have you thought about carrying your own defensive weapon?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Life is Crazy...

So, it's been a while since I've posted for you guys and for that, I'm sorry. Life got crazy on me and I had to step away for a while and tend to other things. I really enjoyed keeping up with everyone on Facebook (follow me here to keep in touch!) and I'd like to thank everyone for their prayers.

For those of you who didn't know, my brother-in-law was in a horrible ATV accident. He and my nephew were riding it around their property when there was a malfunction, throwing both of them off. My BIL was thrown into the trunk of a tree, where he hit his head pretty hard, causing swelling and injuries to his shoulder and hand.

He was kept in the hospital for about a month. During that period, my sister was at his side, caring for him and being his advocate with the excellent doctors and nurses on staff.

What this meant for her is that her three children needed a place to go. So, they came here for a good portion of that time (they also spent a significant amount of time at my other two siblings houses).

Going from 3 children all the way to 6 was not always an easy task! Kids were everywhere. I barely had time to brush my teeth, let alone write! Regardless, I love them and they needed love. While they can be a rowdy bunch, they are also some of the sweetest kids I know.

Luckily, everyone is back home now though, so life is slowly returning to normal. While things won't be completely back to the way they were for a long time yet (he can't go back to work for almost a year!), things are settling in, which means I can go back to sharing my thoughts, opinions, and life with you all. I'm looking forward to it and I hope you are too!

Monday, July 6, 2015

5 Tips to Vacation on a Budget

School is done and kids are going to be getting bored. What does that call for but an amazing family vacation where you can relax, the kids can get out of the house and you can all take a much needed break from your regular life. Instead of spending thousands of dollars, there is a way to take a vacation while on a budget.

Choosing Your Destination

Before you decide to fly across the country, find out what great things are within a few hours of your current location. Driving is definitely cheaper than flying! Your local state park is always a great choice (and they are sometimes even free to visit!) On a recent visit to Mt. Rushmore, we found that not only was it free to visit the park, but there were several attractions nearby that were also free.

Research, Research, Research!

Now that you've chosen where you're going to go, check LivingSocial for the deals nearby. You can often find an experience that your kids won't soon forget at discounts of up to 75% or a relaxing day at the spa for yourself at a great price.

Make sure you also do a search of the local attractions and find out if they offer discounts. On a trip to Bear Mountain USA, we found that not only did we get a discount because we had a child under the age of two, but they also offered a military discount!

Ask Friends/Relatives to Care for Pets

Instead of boarding pets, consider asking a loved one that you trust to care for them while you're gone. Depending on the length of travel, this could save you hundreds of dollars! Make sure you include enough food, toys, and treats for you dog. A treat for your friends would also be much appreciated!

Consider Camping


Nothing brings the family together like a night or two under the stars, sharing a tent, roasting marshmallows and talking about your lives. Many campgrounds offer showers, bathrooms and other amenities, like wi-fi, so you'll still be able to enjoy some of the comforts of home, while saving a bundle! As an added benefit, while you might need to bring some bug spray for the mosquitos, you won't have to worry about bringing bedbugs home with you!

Plan Meals Carefully

If you don't have a plan, you can easily spend as much on meals as on the rest of your vacation combined! Instead, plan on bringing sandwiches for the road, hotdogs to roast over the fire, and check LivingSocial for the meals you plan on eating out. Instead of spending your money at a fast food joint and getting a greasy burger, you could spend the same amount at a sit-down restaurant and feel great!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

LivingSocial - Experiences + a Giveaway!

Summer is the perfect time to introduce new experiences to your children... or have a fun one yourself! LivingSocial is THE place for affordable deals this summer, whether you're looking for a couples retreat or a trip to a waterpark for the family.

The great thing about LivingSocial is that even if you don't quite know what you want to do, but know that you're ready for some fun, all you have to do is enter your location and they will find the action for you! At the tips of your fingers, you'll find exciting trips to take, beautiful hotel stays, amazing restaurants, and even fabulous entertainment all at discounts that will make your wallet happy.

The offerings will vary by location, of course, but some of the exciting offerings are:

As you can see, no matter where you are in the country, you will be able to find something unique and fun to do. The best part? New deals are always being added in your area and they are always a deal compared to what you'd find at the event.

To get you started having fun this summer, LivingSocial is reaching out to offer a giveaway for one lucky winner. They will get $50 in Deal Bucks, to spend on anything on LivingSocial, whether it be tickets to a concert, a day at the spa, or attending dance classes. If you're in the mood to learn something new or take a much needed break, enter the giveaway on the form below.

*I received compensation for this post. Regardless, I only promote products/services that I myself use and/or would use.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Little Leader Method to Getting Children to Eat Vegetables

*Today's Guest Post comes from Jennifer at

My name is Jennifer and I have a new blog at

And I have a confession to make: I love vegetables. I even loved them when I was a kid.

While I know it's pretty common for kids to be fussy about them, I was never like that at all.

Unfortunately, my son didn't follow in my footsteps. He was a very picky eater, and I was convinced it was probably something I did wrong. We did go to McDonalds, and he loved his McNuggets, but getting him to eat veggies was an entirely different story.

He would just refuse to do it. Completely.

All hope wasn't lost, though. We did eventually get him to open up to eating new fruits and veggies, and while he isn't exactly the veggie-devouring machine his mama is, I'm always impressed with how brave he is about eating new things. Especially compared to how he used to be.

So, how did I do it?

I used what I now like to call the Little Leader Method.

Basically, I got him to help me make the meal, from start to finish. He was in charge, meaning he made the decisions. And it really helped!

First things first, I let him pick out the veggies.

Since he was young, he couldn't have just walked through the grocery store and picked something out. So, instead I picked out a few different things, like carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and potatoes. Then I let him pick which one he preferred from the bunch.

It turned out that the zucchini was the most appealing, so that's what we got!

If you start off like this, I believe even young children can make the connection between buying the veggies in the store and them winding up on their plate later.

It removes a lot of the fear and mystery behind the new and strange foods!

Next, I let him pick the recipe. What I think works best is to look online, especially on Pinterest. I find Pinterest to be the absolute best place to find new recipes!

Best of all, they always include high-quality, awesome and tasty pictures of the final dish. What I did was pick out which ones I liked, and then let my son pick from them.

That's all you really have to do. It's an important step, because they feel like they're important and making the decisions along the way.

All you have to do is head over to Pinterest and do a search for the veggie you have. For example, if you have a cauliflower, just look for “cauliflower recipes” and you'll instantly get a whole bunch of great recipes.

Then, just let your child pick one of them!

Finally, I let him prepare the meal. I think this is the most important part, because even a young child can make the direct connection between the preparation and what they eat at the end.

Since my son was young, I had him help wash the veggies and tear up lettuce leaves for a salad. That's something any young child can do.

But if your child is older, they can be more involved, and even do things like help cut up veggies or meats.

All that's important is that they do something to help, so they feel important and like they're in charge. It is called the Little Leader Method, remember!

I really believe that if you let them help as much as possible, it makes a big difference in how willing they are to eat the meal at the end. There's no more mystery: they know where the veggies came from, they know how they were used, and they helped with washing and preparing the meal.

Remember to have patience and understanding, and things will be much easier. I know you can help your son or daugther overcome their picky eating habits!

*Jennifer is a stay-at-home-mom, blogger, and full-time kid wrangler. She blogs at on a variety of topics, all aiming to making your life as a mom easier. Stop by and say hello!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

BGCA’s Third Annual Cyber Safe Futures Event

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Club of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Internet safety is becoming a thing in my home. With children who've been exposed to the internet since they were wee ones, they are well aware that it holds many interesting games, jokes, videos, and things to learn.  What they aren't fully aware of yet, is that it also holds many dangers.

My oldest child is only ten, so I was shocked when, several months ago, I caught him getting up in the night to go on my computer without supervision - something he admitted to doing several times previously. It really shook me, but I realized that I just didn't have all the information to give him that he needed to know about how to be safe online.

That's where the Boys & Girls Club of America Cyber Safe has been a real help. It helps to bridge the gap between parents and kids and answers a lot of questions that we all have regarding cyber safety. Teens these days are more internet savvy than most parents and as such are the best resource when it comes to learning how to detect internet risks.

My favorite part of the site has to be where parents can ask expert teens questions about how to talk to their own kids, their thoughts on internet safety, and even what they should be on the lookout for with their kids. They give tips that most parents like me don't know. For example, did you know that a kid has to be 13 to use Facebook or Snapchat? I didn't and I know I've seen children younger than that on Facebook!

Not only is there a ton of information for both parents and teens (or pre-teens!) to learn, but BGCA is offering 3 iPad mini's and $500 to the BGCA of choice to lucky winner's who submit questions to their panel of teenage experts.

If you have questions about how to make your teens more safe online and want to imbue them with knowledge of how to protect themselves, take the quiz, ask some questions and get a conversation going! Be sure to follow BGCA on Facebook and Twitter for more tips and advice!