As a creative and a writer, I recognize the immense importance that creativity plays in our early years and throughout our life.
But, if we stop to really ask ourselves how comfortable we are with creativity, most of us would agree that creativity is an uncomfortable process.
We think that in order to engage in creative tasks, we must prune our insecurities and deliver just the fruit.
But, it’s an oxymoron to think like that because:
“Creativity and insecurity go hand in hand.”
Don’t believe me?
Just think about it for just a second.
If I were to wave my magic wand (or A magic wand… I don’t have one, but it would be nice)… and grant you the ability to do the creative task that appeals to you THE MOST.
What creative task would you want to do?
Writing a book?
Writing a blog?
Oh I know… singing?
All of the above?
It really doesn’t matter if the creative task that you’d like to do is in the list or if I failed to include it.
The following question is much more important:
WHAT is keeping you from engaging in this art?
Think about it for a moment. Listen to your internal dialogue and then tell me what your “inner you” told your “outer you.”
What did you say:
That you don’t know if you can do that activity? That you don’t think you would be good enough?
Mmmmmm. That’s sad isn’t it?
That a teeny-tiny insidious, persistent, and annoying little thought… which is that you “don’t THINK” you can be great at something is keeping you from merely trying?
And before you start yelling at me indicating that you Have TRIED that skill, but that you suck at it… let me ask you: don’t you think it’s also sad that you let a less-than-stellar couple of outcomes keep you from trying to practice this skill to become better and better at it?
You’ve heard that “practice making perfect,” right?
And I get it… maybe no amount of practice will make every single creative project turn out perfectly.
But I’m sure that simply trying something creative, will give you some sense of:
relief from the day to day
a sense of gratification that you’re doing something other than “work, work, work” that is engaging your creative muscles
and FUN! (That awesome, little thing that we leave as the 143rd item on our to-do list that keeps being bumped down and down by waaaaay more boring tasks)
Therefore, an even more important question is:
WHO is keeping you from doing this art?
I’m sure that it’s pretty clear by now that the one preventing you from enjoying art and all the magic that it can have on your mind, body and soul is YOU.
So may I take your hand and encourage you to embrace art a little more and show you one way to do it?
Okay. Sounds good. Here we go! =)
I Totally Understand That Being A Creative Is Scary
… but trust me when I say that it’s much easier than going to a soul-sucking job, hand-washing stuck-on food or cleaning a toilet.
You wanna know a little secret to how to embrace your artistic side a little more?
Make art with your kids…. the younger they are, the better.
There are many benefits to this, but for now, suffice it to say that I recommend doing art with them becauuuuuuse… your art skills are more than likely better than theirs.
OMG! 😮 Yes, I said that! And you probably can’t believe that I did. I know it sounds rude.
BUT, if you need a little bit of confidence… well, there it is.
Hahaha. You’re probably thinking… that this art thing is gonna be a wild ride just because I shared this video, which in my opinion, has one of the most catchy songs of all time. And well, yeah, maybe art is gonna be a wild ride, but why not incorporate some music and dancing ASAP? 😉
That’s art, after all.
But Don’t Worry, You’re Not A Narcissist, Making Art Is Not All About You
A few years ago, having realized how much I wanted to create art and how hesitant I was about creating it, I asked an Australian artist who has earned millions after following a simple yet powerful impulse to create art this question:
“What is the best way to foster creativity in our children?”
“Provide them with opportunities to create art and with opportunities for them to see YOU create art.”
To be honest with you, I was expecting her to give me tactics, tips, strategies, the goods (all in plural) to boosting my child’s art ability, not mine.
But as soon as I heard her answer… it totally resonated with me.
It was SUCH a simple answer that makes so much sense.
As parents we know that the best way to influence our children is to set an example for them. This is no different.
“We resist making art, because it brings our “not-good-enoughness” out of us.” -Haydee Montemayor
And it’s sooo silly that we resist making it…because despite the fact that we avoid it because we don’t wan’t to feel insecure or inadequate about the quality of our art, if we’re honest with ourselves, we all have an innate yearning to create art.
You feel it.
I feel it.
We all do.
Want a bit of proof of that?
When you hear that we should all focus on trying to make a career doing something that we enjoy…. you’re in either one of two camps.
The one who is doing it, and living proof of this…. because you have a career that you totally enjoy.
OR, the type of person who resists this advice because you think that life is SUPPOSED to be hard…and non-creative. And that the creative things that we do in our life are just hobbies.
“Life is not supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be heart.” -Haydee Montemayor
Yes, heart. The heart should lead. Life is supposed to be love. Love is supposed to be passion.
I get it that not 100% of the time… but if we want to feel as alive as possible… we have to be less in our heads, and more in our hearts.
“Art removes the shackles of the constraints that we place on ourselves.” -Haydee Montemayor
I loved the artist’s answer and it’s one that I will never forget because it gets rid of the excuses of fostering creativity through art. And since implementing it, it has made SUCH a huge difference in my family’s life.
Next week, I will share more about how to foster art into your family’s life using the Mother Goose Curriculum that I was given for sharing my experience using it.
Now Is Your Turn
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten when it comes to art?
In a world filled with too much information and too many products, it’s difficult to choose. So, what do we do? We read reviews, such as those on Amazon and we ask for recommendations from people who are in a similar situation as us. So if you’re wondering what preschool curriculum you should choose, here are 10 reasons why you’ll love Mother Goose Time.
12 Reasons Why You’ll Love Mother Goose Time
Reason #1: You Get To Make Your Child A Priority
We have way too many things to fill our day with.
It doesn’t matter if you stretch your days horizontally and wake up earlier and go to bed later… you’ll always have more to do.
It also doesn’t matter if you stretch your days vertically and work every weekend and weekday, you still probably won’t have enough time to do all that you want to do.
So, I have a tip for you that I often have to remind myself of:
“Instead of thinking of the million different reasons why you can’t spend more time with your child, make it your #1 daily goal to actually spend time with your child.” – Haydee Montemayor
And while playing board games, watching movies and taking leisurely strolls in the park is perhaps difficult for our adult brains to think of as “constructive use” of our time and our child’s time… (because we may think that those activities are waayyyy too relaxing and waaaaayyyy too much fun), it is easier to “brainwash” yourself into doing an educational activity, because you think you’re still being productive.
But newsflash, your kids don’t care about being productive. they care about spending more time with you.
So whether you decide to play, relax or teach them something… they’ll appreciate it, deep down.
Reason #2: You Get To Be In The Front Row Seat
Pretend, that your child is the driver of their life… and you’re they’re co-pilot.
When you take the time to teach them, you get to see the emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical direction your kid is taking.
You get to see projects that your kids work on, not based on what someone else taught them, but rather, you see the whole procedure of how that project came to life…. thanks to your guidance.
“Who do you want to be in your child’s life? Someone who sees snapshots of your child’s educational travel album? Or someone who takes the journey with them?” – Haydee Montemayor
By teaching them, you get to see not just what your kids make, but also how they make it.
And their thought behind that creation.
What they struggle with.
What they enjoy, the connections that they make.
And you get to see the creator himself/herself.
In sum, you get to see the brainstorming session, the rough draft, the finished product, the bloopers, and perhaps most importantly, the way in which these little weekly and daily lessons transform your child right before your eyes.
“When you’re involved in your child’s life, you get to see the brainstorm, the rough draft, the bloopers and the finished yet evolutionary masterpiece.” -Haydee Montemayor
Reason #3: You’ll Expose Your Kids To Lessons That You Wouldn’t Have Otherwise
For example, if you were teaching your children about ponds, would you ever talk about…algae?
Yeah, you might mention it… but would you ACTUALLY have the materials and the resources to spend a half-day or a full day talking about algae?
Would you talk about submerged pond plants? For half a day or a full day?
How about bog plants? (Do you even know what those are?)
Emergent pond plants?
Floating pond plants?
A water strider?
A backswimmer? (And nope, I’m not talking about a person who swims on their back).
Reason #4: This Curriculum Is Pretty Much “Open And Use”
Why do I say open?
Because when you OPEN the box, you literally have about 23 or 24 bags.
Each of the 20 weekday daily lesson that you’ll use for a given month comes in its own separate bag, in 20 Day Bags.
If it’s your first kit, you’ll get a Welcome Kit.
The Teacher Tool Kit which comes in its own bag will contain the resources.
The Circle Time Resources come in their own bag
If there are any holidays in that month, the Celebration Kit / Holiday Resources will come in their own bag, as well.
Reason #5: You’ll Have Researched-based And Multi-disciplinary Lessons That Correspond To One Theme For One Full Month
While many of us “super moms” want to think that we’re super savvy and that we could potennntially pull these types of lessons from the internet, the truth is, it’s actually much more complicated than it looks to put together a comprehensive curriculum.
It would probably take you at least one month to simply to put the resources together in this fluid, interconnected and meaningful way. I’m not kidding.
Even if it took you half that time, that would mean you would be preparing the materials for half a month…each month.
Think about it, even if you wanted to put this curriculum together, you would need to get multiple things:
The daily activities for talking about the calendar, weather and schedule in Circle Time… that related to the monthly theme
2 songs (one for the beginning of the day, the other for the end of the day) and their adapted words so that the songs that correspond to both the daily lesson AND that also tied into the monthly theme
the opening activity discussion topics
the lessons (about 3 a day, with multiple mini-lessons in each)
the learning manipulatives
the craft materials, cutouts, art inspiration pieces
The daily recommended books
the included book
the investigation lessons
The planning guide
The closing activity discussion topics
In your busy life, that’s probably already topped to the brim, do you honestly think that you could devote this amount of time to compiling all these resources and ALSO have the time to teach your kids? Nope, I didn’t think so… because I don’t have that kind of time either.
Even if you could pull that off.. would you be able to teach your kids lovingly and patiently? I’ll let you answer your own question.
Reason #6: It’s High Quality
Mother Goose Time lessons are high quality not only in terms of the quality of the materials themselves, but most importantly, they’re high-quality academically -speaking.
Simply, said, the lessons themselves are high quality.
You see, learning is simply connections.
Think of them as links.
Or links that relate to one another.
When you start digging into knowledge… you would tend to think that knowledge is like columns.
You would think that all the concepts that we know are one initial link (the first link). Then, when we come across something new in our life that’s related to that initial link, we link the new link (the second link) to that initial link (the first link) to make a connection between the two concepts.
Scientifically speaking, each concept is called, schema or schemata (plural). All the concepts that we know are schema… and when we add more pieces of information to that original schema, our understanding of the subject becomes deeper.
But, as you can imagine, well know, and have experienced… knowledge isn’t always linear.
As a matter of fact, it rarely ever is.
There aren’t perfect “rows of knowledge” or “rows of concepts” that go on forever.
“Knowledge is like a web, in which the rows of concepts connect between themselves and everything ultimately ends up being interconnected.” – Haydee Montemayor
With Mother Goose Time, you will be able to help your child make even more connections and see more patterns than they normally would in order to help them understand the world because you would have taught them the majority of the lessons yourself, so that would give you the leverage or knowledge to help them link concept links.
You could bring up one memory after the other to make this sort of connection.
For example… you could say:
Remember when you helped me cook…?
Remember when we went…?
Remember when grandma told you about…?
Remember the book we read that talked about…?
Remember the game we played that… ?
These types of questions are endless.
And the beauty about a program like Mother Goose Time, is that often, you don’t have to be the one to bring up these connections because it will be your child saying things like:
This is like…
Like Thomas the Train…
Like The Hungry Caterpillar…
Like the birds that we talked about…
Remember when you read me the book… ?
In other words, they will link lessons to lessons, lessons to the natural world, lessons to stories and lessons to their toys. It’s all good. It’s learning.
Reason #7 You’ll Better Understand The Types Of Activities That Are Adequate For Your Kids At This Age
As parents, we think we know what activities are best for our kids, but… new toys come out. New educational research is done. There are safety recalls that are done. School standards change. Development research continues to develop.
In other words, we can’t just rely on toys to educate our children. But knowing the right educational activities is hard.
You know why? Because educational activities aren’t necessarily “good” or “bad” (unless the content that you’re teaching in these educational activities is good or bad)… but I’ve found that the best activities for preschoolers are those that are well-designed… but open ended.
In other words, what we’re gauging, is at the pre-school level is each child’s abilities, as well as their potential.
So their abilities and potential aren’t necessarily “good” or “bad.”
“Kids are like seeds. You have to nurture them, but you gotta give them space to grow.” – Haydee Montemayor
They are unique and will blossom in their own time.
Reason #8: You’ll See Your Kids Enjoy Mother Goose Time Like Crazy!
And it’s one thing to read about your kids potentially enjoying Mother Goose Time,.. and it’s a whole other thing to see them really experience and enjoy those activities.
You know that as parents we’re totally susceptible to the joy of our children.
And just to give you a little bit of perspective… imagine how you would have felt as a kid learning about the world in a fun, crafty and super-engaging way. That’s how Mother Goose Time is.
Reason #9: You Can Get In Touch With Your Own Creativity
So now that you have started to imagine how fun it would have been to learn in this way form potentially the comfort of your own home, and from your parents who would have made the time for you, let me just let you know that even if you’re saying internally…
“Yeah, right, my parents wouldn’t have done this for me/ been able to do this for me/ or made the time to teach me this way.” … forget your parents.
Now, that YOU’RE a parent, you can not only parent your child like this….
BUT… there is a big BUT right here…. you can also participate in these activities.
It will not only be beneficial for you, but it will be beneficial for your child (I’ll talk more about this in my next post).
But suffice it to say, you’ll have fun by getting in touch with your creativity.
Reason #10 You Can Learn A Thing Or Two
If you’re a TRUE, sincere learner, you KNOW that this is just a given.
You don’t know it all. You weren’t taught it all. You weren’t exposed to it all.
So learning about bog plants or emergent pond plants… along with your child is perfectly acceptable.
There’s no shame whatsoever. Remember, stay humble. Most importantly, express true wonder and curiosity about the things that you and your child are learning, and you’ll turboboost your child’s capacity to wonder about the world… for life.
Reason #11 You’ll Have The Satisfaction Of Teaching Your Children
This is one of those reasons that can’t be said enough.
YOU, mom, YOU dad, are MORE capable than teaching your child their shapes, the colors, the numbers and their ABC’s.
Is that clear?
And while the amount of items you get with the Mother Goose Time curriculum is A LOT. And maybe a little bit overwhelming if you’ve never taught before, please know that the lessons are explained SO well..and the curriculum is so user friendly that you really can’t mess it up.
And just so you know, the Family Newsletter will provide you with parent-friendly ideas to start making connections between the concepts that you’ll teach your child and their day-to-day life.
“Any lesson, big or small… delivered as often as possible, to your children, will boost their joy for learning and your joy for teaching. ” – Haydee Montemayor
YOU ARE your child’s 1st teacher.
And while it might be tempting to wait for some distant future to get here for someone else to teach your children all they need to know (a.k.a. a school teacher)… let me tell you this, in the most loving way possible… NO TEACHER… like NONE, will ever be with your child for most of their life…. to teach them everything that they “have to” know. Zero.
YOU were chosen to be with your child from day 1.
And while there is a special place in the world for teachers, who by the way deserve WAYYYYY much more praise than they get, remember that your child is YOUR diamond.
You don’t ask a person to take care of your diamonds for you for most of the year, for most years and years, do you?
(Unless maybe you have one of those safe boxes at a bank).
My point is, your child, your diamond, is YOUR treasure. Love and Treasure them.
(That’s the whole point about this blog… to remind you and to remind me, those and that which is truly worthy of us loving and treasuring them).
Reason #12 You’ll Make Memories With Your Children
Again, I can just sigh thinking about this reason.
“Memories are the imaginary, yet very real photos in our hearts, minds and souls in which we are accompanied and we accompany the people who we love and the people who love us.” – Haydee Montemayor
And speaking of, crafts, these lessons, aside from having an educational value, have a memory-keeping value.
These lessons provide:
great photo-taking opportunities
and even creating a portfolio, scrapbook or file of what their best, most meaningful activities are at this point in their lives.
You will one day be able to look back and see how your children wrote their name, their last name, colored, did art, cut paper and drew.
These precious moments of learning are happening in front of our eyes, and if we don’t stop to pay attention and record them, they will slip us by and we won’t remember them.
It really doesn’t matter how good of a memory you have or how much you love your children… you will forget things, so be able to preserve the things along these learning journey that you think you and your child will cherish in a few years.
To Wrap Up
Hopefully, you feel encouraged by these 12 reasons to engage in your child’s learning.
Find high quality lessons, a homeschool curriculum of your choice or use Mother Goose Time to teach your kids.
The most important resources are you and your child.
If you’re worried about teaching your child educational lessons the wrong way, don’t be.
In the case of Mother Goose Time, there is greater flexibility in these lessons than you would initially think because the curriculum isn’t mandated by a school institution or school district.
You are simply teaching your child based on the materials provided and your knowledge of the child themselves, which is a great plus.
To give you some encouragement and to let you know that “You’ve Got This” perhaps the one thing that you should keep in mind with the Mother Goose Time Curriculum (or any other pre-school curriculum) is that its slogan, which you’ll be reminded of every time you open the box says it all…. “Helping You Grow Lifelong Learners.”
And isn’t that what life is really about? Helping, growing and learning for a lifetime?
And I even would dare to say that the best way that we can show our children how to be lifelong learners is by being lifelong learners ourselves… and for them being able to be on that learning journey with us. After all, it’s a two-way street. 😃 We benefit from their company and they benefit from ours.
Now It’s Your Turn
Have you used Mother Goose Time? If so, as a grown-up, what is it that you love most about it?
If you haven’t yet tried it, which of the reasons mentioned above makes you the most excited in trying it? Or better yet, to simply using whatever resources you can to teach your child?
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you buy the item using the link, you’ll allow me to earn a small commission for the same price that you would pay by going to that site directly. THANK YOU in advance for your support!
In the hustle and bustle of the Holidays, it’s always nice coming across gift ideas for both the ladies and gentlemen in your life because they save time AND they tend to be pretty cool gifts…. that most likely, at some point, you’ll want yourself.
Take a look at this gender neutral holiday gift guide.
For The Techie You Love And Treasure
Other than love and health, at the top of practically everyone’s Christmas list are Apple products. So let’s start with those gift recommendations, which this year happen to have a great line of products.
One of my favorite items of ALL time… like ALL TIME … is Apple TV. It’s SUCH a great product and it keeps on getting better and better. And every release there has been has been totally worth it. Especially the newest release in which the remote allows you to swipe and easily find what you’ve been craving to watch.
Every TV in your home needs an AppleTV.
Man! If nobody gets me another AppleTV (which they probably won’t since we already have two)… I’m going to upgrade to the new one for my birthday. Why? It’s the kind of gift you just want to give yourself.
I watch very little TV, but when I do, I like it to be efficient. Think of it this way, the new Apple TVs that come out are like new versions of the iPhone. You don’t HAVE to get the latest one as soon at it’s released, but it’s eventually a good idea to upgrade.
But, it’s possible that you have someone in your life that wants an Apple Smart Watch. More power to them. But either choice is useful for keeping track of your health and increasing your productivity.
How do I say this? This scanner… which is one of the neatest, most durable and most highly rated AND loved scanners on the market is one of those things that isn’t sexy… as a gift (unless you totally geek out on technology)… but man, it’s SUCH a Godsent.
If you know of someone who has lots of paper, someone who has lots of photos, someone who has lots of clippings, someone who is in transition to largely reducing their paper records… this is just the thing! It’s useful for the entrepreneur in your life, the professional in your life, the memory keeper in your life or you, if you would like to get a grip on your paper situation once and for all.
Look, if you have stacks upon stacks of photos that you were thinking about manually scanning… listen to me… this is the ScanSnap. Why? Because it scans in a snap… one after the other. You put the file of photos in the machine (no matter what their size is)… and swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.
It’s an ideal gift for a family your love or your family, if you love them. 😉
It’s one of those things that will make you wonder how you lived without it.
If this is not one of the coolest tech gadgets, I really don’t know what is. Like, really! Look at this thing!!! It’s genius, it’s sleek, it’s affordable and it’s bound to be a super crowd pleaser. Not only for the recipient, but for their family as well. 😃
Here are just some of the features:
It protects against over-heating
It works with iOS and Android phones and tablets… so no issues there. 🙂
It’s an anti-scratch cradle
Comes in crowd-pleasing colors
Recognizes the connected devices and delivers the safest and most efficient charge.
If you know of a sophisticated, intelligent person who LOVES to read, this E-reader is precisely what they would appreciate and tell you merci for.
While, yes, it’s true that there are many less expensive Kindles on Amazon, this one, my friend is ergonomic. It has a bezel that makes it a joy to read. The controls are easily accessible on the right hand side (or if you’re a leftie and prefer to read your book with your left hand, you can have your controls be on the left-hand side. Genius!). It’s super light… in fact it’s the thinnest and lightest Kindle ever. This makes it easy to take anywhere. AND you can read without ever having to recharge your phone for months.
It’s lighter than a paperback.
It reads like a book, so you don’t have to deal with glare while reading out in broad daylight. AND you can adjust the light to comfortably read in the dark.
It’s easy to export notes as a simple file or as a PDF to your email.
It doesn’t distract you with the web, social media, email or text messages.
You can build your vocabulary by reading a definition that populates on a word you don’t know and quizzing yourself on these words later.
You can connect to the Goodreads Community and share, well, your good reads. 😃
You can borrow books from your public library. Isn’t that great? It was one of my favorite new discoveries last year.
You can buy a Wi-Fi version or a Wi-Fi + 3 G version.
You can email yourself personal documents to read them on here.
This Kindle holds thousands of books… it’s your personal library in the palm of your hand.
The purpose of this Kindle isn’t to spend more time browsing the internet. It’s to read. It has great parental controls, so this could be a good gift for a pre-teen or teen.
If money is not an issue for you… you might want to gift a classic… that looks like a classic. It’s probably the most elegant Smart TV you’ve seen for a while. IT’s bezel looks like a frame… and it even has a stand that makes it seem like you have a fancy piece of art in your home. And since it’s smart, it has apps, a full web-browser, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. I love the juxtaposition of modern and artsy. Investment? $1,500 at www.samsung.com Even if you don’t buy it, you gotta check it out.
Ever since I attended World Domination Summit (WDS) last year, I have been obsessed with my ChicoBag! Like obsessed! It’s so light… so versatile… that I was over the moon happy when I discovered that my Boppy Travel Pillow fits perfectly in here. I use this ChicoBag practically every time my family and I have an outing.
And if you give this to someone, they will most likely be super happy to have a light bag that they can toss their odds and ends in when they go out or even when they travel. It’s SUCH a cool gift. And I’m telling you this from experience… given that this was my favorite swag item I received at WDS. (Shout out to the organizer, the amazing Chris Guillebeau).
The Chico Bag is eco-friendly since it can make you think twice about using plastic bags for a small shopping trip AND the ChicoBag is made out of recycled plastic bottles. Isn’t that cool?
It comes in its own plastic pouch to be at the ready when you need it. And you will. So get one for you and one for your gift recipient.
Do you know of someone who sometimes gets a bit of paranoia on the plane when they want to sleep for a few minutes but fear their glasses, phone and passport may fall or may get stolen or left behind? Well they have to fear no more because this memory foam neck pillow has pockets (both zippered and open) that will allow them to store their valuables and literally keep them close to their heart. They can also use this on roadtrips. And if they want to get really comfy in movie theaters… they can wear that there as well.
Do you travel with your phone chargers and wired earbuds? Or do you like having them in your purse to juice up while you’re out and about… here are the travel cord rolls. They’re $20.00 and you could get an additional 20% off with code ORPAH at broukandco.com
Now that we’re on the travel theme… imagine your gift recipient not going over their suitcase weight limit. OR having a charging station built-into their suitcase? You know, like to charge their phone, their iPad and stuff. I think that just this last feature is enough to protect the beegeezus out of this suitcase. They will probably want the A22 carry-on size, just so that nobody touches it or messes with it. The A22 Carry is $295.00. The A28 Check (the check-in size) is $395.00 and the Carry-on and check-in set are $595.00 www.raden.com
As someone who has gifted luggage to my loved ones before, you can rest assured that for the traveler, gifting them luggage is so appreciated. AND, they will be sure to remember you no matter where they go.
It has location tracking, 4 silent spinner wheels, water-proof zippers and an integrated TSA lock.
The colors on these luggage pieces are just yummy! And the shine on them? Sleek.
Water-Proof Phone Bags
These little gadgets protect your phone from sand, water, and snow when you travel. But they can also protect your phone from grime, cooking ingredients or regular wear and tear on any given day. Plus, they provide a hands-free way to have your phone by you.
In my last post, I recommended some gender-neutral cases. Here they are again in case you missed them:
This is a universal waterproof case that holds your phone, ID, credit cards and keys and protects them from getting damaged (or lost) in water, snow, dirt, water sports or a chill-out day at the beach. It’s made of a transparent, environment friendly and non-toxic food-grade PVC screen. Wow! That was a mouthful. And in the unlikely event that you drop your case into water… guess what? This bag floats. Isn’t that something?!
Since the film on this pouch is both thin and clear, you can use your phone like you normally would AND you can take photos and videos. And… I know what you’re probably NOT even thinking about since you’re so focused on what this little pouch can already do for you, and that is… that with this pouch…. guess what? You can take photos underwater.
Now isn’t THAT something?
What phones can enjoy such protection… those that are up to 6 inches.
This waterproof case can accommodate smartphones up to 6 inches… measured diagonally. This life-saver has a cutesy little lock to keep water, dirt, dust and sand out. With this neck strap, you’ll be sure to have your device close to your heart and safe and sound. It’s waterproof up to 100 feet. And, don’t worry, you can still maintain full touchscreen functionality, even while you’re protecting it. AND since it’s clear plastic in front of and behind your phone you can take pictures, as well. And you can carry money and credit cards. You have several fun colors to choose from.
If you have a movie lover in your life (and who doesn’t?), a popcorn machine might just be the perfect gift. ORRR how about a Netflix lover? Yep, we all have one of those in our life (or (cough, cough) maybe it’s us).
They can pop their popcorn not in the microwave or even your stovetop, but with air. Yep, you heard that right, AIR!
They can then add as much or as little butter or oil as they’d like and season it to their taste. But then again, if you manage to make something delicious without oil, why add the oil. But if you musttttt add oil… I highly recommend coconut oil. YUM! It’s divine!
You know how there’s many more salt types than you ever knew existed?
Well, the same thing happens to be the case for popcorn. There are many varieties that come in all sorts of colors.
You can gift someone in your life the opportunity to try 3 colors… purple, blue and red of this gourmet popcorn.
You can buy this gift on it’s own or accompany it with one of the popcorn makers above. It’s perfect for the person who loves watching movies at home or sneaking in some popcorn from homes to the movie theaters.
If you have an ice-cream lover in your life… I’m sure they’ll want scoops larger than what a melon-baller would do. So this extra-large Jenaluca Ice Cream Scoop may be just what they were needing for their craving.
And you may be thinking… would an ice-cream scoop make a nice Christmas gift? Well, if it’s this nice of an ice-cream scoop, the answer is yes. They come nicely packaged in a gift box. And these ice-cream sets actually have hundreds of 5 star reviews.
I get it, ice cream is great. But the best thing you can do with great icecream is to actually enjoy it. Every. Last. Drop. Of. It. So, what better than to encourage your loved ones to do the same with these ice-cream spoons designed to scrape the very last drop of ice-cream. They’re divine, aren’t they?
For The Person Who WantsTo Be In The Kitchen Or Has To Be In The Kitchen That You Love And Treasure
Also for the health nut in your life, you can gift them this food scale that is able to determine the nutritional value of what you’re about to eat. It works with an app that helps you track your food consumption and meals. You can get it for $60.00 with an additional 20% off with code OPRAH at www.kitcheniq.com . Or you can just get it on Amazon with your Prime Shipping, hopefully.
If you have a suspicion that anybody that you know will want to keep a tight grip on eating healthy throughout the year, not just on January 2nd… then this sorbet maker will probably be for them. You’ll be surprised how satisfying banana all of a sudden becomes as it transforms into soft-serve-like dessert… just by being its sweet and cream self.
This year I’ve made a couple of variations of coconut icecream… and have made banana sorbet… and let me tell you.. ice-cream can lose much of it’s glamour once you have the peace of mind of eating something delicious and nutritious.
www.yonanas.com It’s $130.00 but with code Oprah it’s yours for $89.00 or you can buy on Amazon at regular price. Why would you buy it at regular price? Because, it’s out of stock on its site and you have to get on the waiting list to get it.
This might just be the last citrus/lemon press that your loved one ever needs.
And for those of you who have citrus press shame like I do… because those mighty lemons tend to erode the paint of less luxurious manual presses…. this might be coming to a kitchen near you, if you make the choice to upgrade.
One gift that isn’t by any means luxurious, but just super handy… both literally and figuratively is the Chef Remi Jar Opener. Why? Because it allows young ones, old ones and anybody in-between to open jars and bottles more effortlessly. At the time of writing, almost 1,000 people have given this simple, but helpful tool a 4 1/2 star rating.
Perhaps you’ll decide not to give this to anyone for fear that they think you’re cheap. Although you could add it to a couple of boxes of pasta, pasta sauce, pasta season, but it in a basket and call it a complete gift.
But what you have to make a mental note for sure on, is if you’re tired of losing or tearing those wimpy jar opener grips… then you can bring a teeny-tiny bit of peace into your life by gifting one of these for yourself.
You won’t get mad that you can’t open the darn jar, that nobody’s around to help you, that you can’t find the wimpy jar opener grip, that it’s tearing and that you’re not as strong as you should be. It’s a win-win-win for your self-concept, your sanity and your marriage. Less grunting, more enjoying.
Oh! And did I mention these lovely save-your-life jar openers have a lifetime guarantee? Well, guess what? They DO! Bye-bye to the wimpy good-for-almost-nothing jar opener grips.
They’re dishwasher safe.
And, perhaps their best feature is that they provide 10x more leverage. What product have you bought recently or ever that provides this much leverage? Not many, I’m sure.
So what seemed like a cheap jar opener, all of a sudden is much more than that.
If you have gardener in your family or someone who is very eco-conscious (aka a tree-hugger, which by the way, there is nothing wrong with) then this gift might just be the thing that they didn’t know they needed or wanted till they saw it. And if they’re a foodie to top it all, then they’ll just adore the quirky compost bin.
Despite the fact that it looks small, this been can hold eggshells from a dozen eggs. That’s neat… literally! (And nope, I didn’t know that eggshells could be recycled, either).
Do you Have a Health nut in your family? Or do you want to try out your green thumb? You can buy organic grow kits for $17-$19 on the site www.urban-agriculture.net or for a few more dollars on Amazon, and you get organic seeds, organic soil and a container made of 100% recycled tea bags. And you can cultivate cilantro, cucumber, tomato, lettuce or rosemary.
You can grow these kits indoors. Year round. 😮 I know.
So, essentially, you don’t need a garden to cultivate these items. Just a little TCL.
For The Person Who Has It All That You Love And Treasure
The holidays are in large part about thinking about who the people we appreciate in our life are and delighting them with our thoughtfulness.
It’s about the big things and it’s about the little things. Speaking of little things… do you know who the straw lover in your life is?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you did, because THEN, you could surprise them with their very own set of glass straws. Yep, glass…. as in that breakable thing.
But, instead of worrying about the straws breaking focus on two important things:
1) That they’re eco-friendly… because you’re not using straws and disposing of them.
2) That they’re allow you to consume using less plastic…. given that you know that plastic can leak chemicals into your body.
If you really want to impress the straw lover in your life focus on what they love to drink using straws. Is it water? Or is it smoothies? Or is it boba tea? (If you haven’t had boba tea Google it in your area and check it out… it’s a thing to check off your to-do list).
And, does the straw-lover in your life like their straws straight or slightly bent?
I’m telling you, shopping for straws is a feat in and of itself! But the reason this is useful information to know is because they sell different types of straws that are shaped and are wide or slim enough for these purposes. For example, if you’re just drinking water, a straw with a regular diameter opening would be just fine. But if they want to drink tapioca pearls out of them, then a larger diameter would be better.
Oh… and if you can’t figure out who loves straws yet…. guess what? This gift is a gift for the people in your life who have everything. Because think about it… what are the odds that they’ll have glass straws? Not high.
AND you could even gift a couple or a family these straws because you can find that they can be color-coded.
There’s something about words, or even individual letters that makes things more personal. You’re probably so used to seeing initials on everything from signs, to mugs, to towels, that you’ve forgotten that customizing something and putting it on display is one of the greatest delights you can have… and it’s one of the most thoughtful gift you can give.
This lightbox is battery operated and it includes letters and emojis. You can put this in the kids’ bedroom or in the dining room announcing what’s for dinner (as if you had time to prepare dinner and put up a sign, right 😃 )?
For The Person You Love and Treasure Who Likes To Have A Little Bit of Fun
For the game lover in your life, you COULD get a traditional game right off any shelf. OR you could get:
(This email contains affiliate links. Purchasing these holiday gift recommendations using these links will support this me and this site without costing you anything extra. Thank you for your support.)
This Christmas is a Christmas in which that special lady in your life needs a little more love and care than usual.
It was a tough year.
She’s tough. She’s amazing.
She deserves the best.
She deserves your love, your recognition and honor.
But let me warn you. Perhaps your lady prefers that you spend quality time with her in addition to giving her a gift. Or that you say or write a beautiful message to go along with it. Or that you do something nice for her like giving her a much needed break. Or that you hug her, kiss her and squeeze her more throughout this holiday season.
If you’re reading these suggestions and have nooooo idea what your lady would like the most…. because after all, you gotta focus on what SHE would like to receive, not on what you would like to receive, check out The 5 Love Languages.
Why? Because gift-giving is a language. And you have to make sure that you communicate thoughtfulness, consideration and a genuine interest in trying to please the other person.
I start by saying this because, think about it, the lines for returning items don’t get gigantically long starting December 25th because people have been truly tuning into what we want, but rather, because they haven’t. And truth be told, maybe neither have we.
So having said this, here are some ideas that can most likely brighten her day… not only on Christmas Day, but throughout the year.
We ladies love our technology. We really do! Some of us may say we’re not tech inclined, but as you’ll see, these gifts prove otherwise.
I’m not a Summer girl AT ALL. It’s my least favorite season of the year.
So to me, it’s VERY important that I focus on the enjoyable things of Summer or keep busy so that Summer seems more bearable and goes by faster.
So without further delay, here are my Summer 2016 Favorites.
In Spring, I started a 90-day fitness program and I finished it toward the end of July. It’s called Fé Fitwhich you can read about in this blog post I wrote.
In that post, I give you a rundown of what I like about Fé Fit, what I don’t like and everything in between.
But as you can probably conclude, the reason that I’m mentioning this workout in this Summer Favorites blog is because I really liked it. And it truly did help me improve my health.
If you’re a mom, wanting to improve your fitness, I may just have saved you hours looking for a fitness program that caters to your needs and limited time.
America’s Got Talent
One of my favorite things about summer, which I have been able to enjoy for several years now, is America’s Got Talent (AGT). In case you don’t know about it, it’s a show on NBC that allows people of many different talents to compete for one million dollars.
Honestly, some talents are really dumb and others are really spectacular. My favorite? The unexpected and the mesmerizing.
I enjoy all sorts of unique talents that AGT highlights …from the singers, to the mentalists. to the magic acts.
Don’t worry if you don’t have cable. You can catch the episodes online on YouTube, which you can play on your TV with one of my favorite TV gadgets of all time (I’ll tell you more about that in a second).
This year my top favorites are:
The Clairvoyants a mind-reading, food-tasting, color-predicting married couple that’s pretty much unlike anything you’ve seen before . You gotta see them for yourself.
An NFL player that does magic, John Dorenbos. Look into his childhood. I love when people are great not because they had a perfect childhood but in spite of having a reallyyyyy imperfect one.
Steven Brundage that works with the Rubik’s cube . (Fun fact: I liked playing with the Rubik’s cube when I was a kid. But trust me, I was not as good as this guy is. No way!)
Linkin’ Bridge, a group of African American friends who sing beautifully!
Brian Justin Crum, the male soloist who sings with lots of passion.
The juggler, Viktor Kee, who is amazing and may have you enjoying jugglers for once.
The family of 3 made up a mom (who was once a teen mom), a daughter and a step dad who sing beautifully in a band called Edgar.
Laura Bretan, a teenage opera singer that sings so passionately you can feel the music in your bones!
Aside from the acts themselves, what I really enjoy about AGT are stories of loss, triumph, comeback and glory are soooo inspirational.
And since the Olympics are currently on, you have a couple of weeks to catch up on the episodes which have aired already.
Married At First Sight
In my Spring Favorites I mentioned that this show was one of my favorites. Guess what? It recently started up again.
It’ll be the first time I get to watch it along with everybody else instead of binge watching it.
What I love about the episodes that I’ve seen so far that only include a brief part of the honeymoons is that the couples, although not perfect, have a good chance to work out if they put in the effort.
They’re quite normal people, from the looks of it. But unfortunately, a couple of them have had an absent father figure, and that is quite hard on most people.
But we’ll see. Literally!
One of THE best gifts my husband has ever given me has been an Apple TV.
Well, actually, it is one of the best things i gifted my myself and family. Because I bought one of the 1st Apple TV versions that came out. Then, my husband gifted me a 2nd Apple TV for my office TV.
What I love about Apple TV is that you can watch whatever you want, whenever you want. As long as you have access to the shows you want to see, you can watch them.
My favorite and most used Apple TV app is YouTube.
I watch everything from my favorite YouTubers, to fun clips from Ellen or the Jimmy Fallon show.
And this Summer in particular, the Apple TV was great since it allowed me to watch the political convention I wanted to watch. And it has allowed me to catch little glimpses here and there from the Olympics. LIVE!
How can you watch live, you’re probably asking?
You search for a popular topic. And then see if there is a “Live Now” phrase underneath its title.
Not all topics will be live, of course. Actually, most of them wont. But if you don’t have cable, and you wanna watch the debates coming up live, for instance, you probably can.
I’m not a fan of sitting on the couch and watching TV for hours non-stop, so I’m of the belief that a device like Apple TV can save you time by allowing you to watch what you want to watch sooner.
Although you do have to be careful because Apple TV supports Netflix… and you cannnn binge on Netflix or some other shows, topics or YouTubers.
But then again, there are less commercials.
So, like with everything, you have to be responsible with how much you use this product.
Even my Treasurables… the quotations which I share on my blog posts and on social media are stored there.
I store my keywords for my posts and my hashtags for social media on Evernote as well.
If it matters… it’s there.
I then assign it to one of the notebooks that I have created and presto! I then know and have the peace of mind that the likelihood of finding any note I store on Evernote has gone up.
I have had to write ideas on random napkins, pieces of paper and a post-it notes, but I’ve learned the hard-way that it’s worth taking the extra second or two to open up the app, type the note there and then store it where I can later find it..
Trader Joe’s Spa Natural Facial Cleansing Pads with Tea Tree Oil
As strange as it may seem, many times, I tend to like things before they become popular.
I’ve been using tea tree oil products (also known as Melaleuca oil) since before I got married. And I’ve been married for more than eleven years.
Why? Because I learned back then that I would someday have a house, a husband and children and I wanted to expose them and myself to as few chemicals as I could.
So when shampoos, facial products and essential oil reselling ladies are highlighting the benefits of Melaleuca oil, it doesn’t surprise me.
On the contrary, I think, “what took them so long to jump on the bandwagon?” 😉
Anyway, i found some tea tree oil wipes at Trader Joe’s and they’re a real treat. They work the best when you’ve washed your face very well, (like with a spin brush) and then you simply wipe your face with one of these wipes.
If you have oily skin, or combination skin, they’ll help reduce the oiliness of your skin. And you can use them any time of day as long as you don’t mind if your make-up is slightly “adjusted.”
But what would you rather have? A little less make-up in a certain area, or oil on your T-zone or all over your face? Yep, I thought so.
These Trader Joe’s Spa Natural Facial Cleansing Pads With Tea Tree Oil do smell like tea tree oil (so you at least have to be tolerant of, or hopefully like the smell in order to enjoy them).
They feel like a sip of tea for your face. They’re refreshing. Aromatic and relaxing.
On the downside, they tend to dry up more quickly than I would like. So use them every day. Or really make sure you have sealed them well after each use. Don’t be like those people (trust me, I’ve been one of those), who save the best things for “some day” when you feel worthy of them. Because you’re worthy of many things each and every day.
I know I’ve mentioned them before, but Leonie Dawson’s “Diaries”which most of us would refer to planners, are excellent. I’ve been using mine to jot down my blog projects.
And it’s very interesting to see what steps I’m taking to move my blog forward.
And since it’s only that listed on there I can clearly see on which days I’m being more productive. And you know what? I have started working on things for my blog that I had literally been putting off for years.
So if you’re in the market for a planner in general or for a planner to get really honest with yourself as to how much time you’re putting into something, on what days, and what you’re actually doing, then I recommend these.
Any planner can work, but these are pretty to look at, sturdy, and have lots of little rectangles that you can hopefully fill with useful things for making that dream of yours come true. 🙂
Food is one of those things that you use multiple times a day….and as such, it’s difficult to pick only one thing to be “THE favorite” item for summer. So I’m not going to even try to narrow it down. Instead I’ll tell you my favorites for each month.
Limited Edition Creamy Caramel Cake Blue Bunny Cake Ice Cream
WOAH! May I just say that this was probably the best food item I discovered this summer?
Amazingly, I only bought it once. Dang it, I don’t know if I’ll be able to buy it again this summer, or next summer, but I think that the memories of having had this ice cream will last a lifetime.
I do hope, though it’s still available so that you can try it.
Can we just stop for one second to savor the name of this frozen treat? Limited Edition Creeaaaammmy Caramellllll Cake. It’s as good as it sounds.
So what’s it like?
White, soft, and good.
And as if that weren’t enough, there are pieces of goodness….. cake. These perfect bite-sizes of cake are cold but soft. They melt in your mouth and dazzle your taste buds.
They really do!
It’s crazy to me that this flavor might not be around forever, but if that’s the case, I have a plan B (which is not as great as having this ice cream, but we gotta relive the best times in our life once in a while).
Just in case it’s not available… do what I did with a carrot cake my mom gifted my husband and I for our anniversary… cut up pieces of cake (or tear them up, who cares?), and mix them into some vanilla ice cream. Let the cake pieces soak up a bit of the ice cream and cool a little.
This Plan B ice cream won’t be the same… BUT it’s pretty divine, as well. 🙂
Friendly’s Coconut Ice Cream
The fact that I have two ice cream flavors on here is probably making you think that I’m addicted to ice cream or something.
But nooooo. I’m not.
I hardly every buy it.
Why? Because I don’t want to be tempted to eat it. (I know that sounds like I am addicted, but I do this with lots of things that are good, but not necessarily good for you).
Anyway, this Friendly’s Coconut Ice cream is something else, I’m telling ya.
It’s soft, and it has probably one of my best favorite flavors overall… coconut! If you LOVE coconut, you’ll love this ice cream.
The texture, the flavor, the intensity… is perfect. 5 stars. The fluffiness? 10 stars. #fluffiesticecreamever
Golden Honeydew Melon
It might seem like I forced myself to come up with something healthy to share with you as part of my summer food favorites.
But, honestly, I tried some golden honeydew melons that were TRULY THE most delicious melons I’ve ever tried.
Regular melons or regular honeydew melons are alright, but I’m telling you, these golden honeydew melons that I had in June were soooo good that they became like dessert.
My toddler and I ate several of them throughout the month. And we made melon drinks with them (just by blending them). They were so perfectly sweet that they required no sweetener. And they needed very little water because they were very juicy.
Try them. You’ll be able to understand how good I was trying to tell you that they were.
You may be a little late in the game like I was, or you may have been an early adopter of a trend that’s going on right now of drinking Boba Tea, otherwise known as bubble tea.
Boba are large tapioca pearls that are like fruit jellies.
You know those tumblers/go-to glasses with wide straws that you can buy to serve yourself a smoothie on the go?
Well, when you get a Boba tea, you are served with one of those straws so that the marble-sized bobas, or fruit jellies, can come through.
If you’re like me, and like eating round things like chia seeds, Israeli couscous, you’ll enjoy Boba Tea.
Plus, the flavors you can pick from are good.
Guess which one I tried first? The coconut milk boba tea.
It was good. Is it the best thing out there? Noooo, but it’s a cool thing to try.
The best part, is that it’s unique and quite refreshing… for the hot summer months.
Where do you find one? Google Boba Tea and you should find a number of places in your area that sell them. Use a site like Yelp or Foursquare to find the best one.
Bonne Maman Natural Wild Blueberry Preserves From Thrive Market (I like the Wild part in the title)
I have told you and have been wanting to share more about Thrive Market, a membership site that allows you to save up to 50% on healthy food items that is shipped to your door.
This summer, I placed a couple of orders. And on the second one, I ordered blueberry preserves and strawberry preserves.
They do unfortunately have a little bit of sugar, but boy oh boy are they good.
You know what the blueberry preserves taste like?
Like you were walking through some lavender fields in France and you stumbled upon a little home where the owner was making some preserves with freshly picked blueberries.
Usually, I go for the strawberry jam/preserves… but I gotta say, that I preferred the blueberry one in this case.
Green beans From Trader Joe’s
Weird story. You may remember that I hate New Year’s Eve. Well, the day that it started becoming more tolerable was the first year I decided to boycott the New Year festivities while my family went out and I stayed home and cooked myself some green beans.
Ever since then, I fell in love with green beans and I would seek them out at Chinese buffets and would make my own fresh.
When I saw that Trader Joe’s carried them several years ago, I decided to try them.
So guess what? When my toddler was trying the more “solid” solid foods, green beans were one of his favorites.
I love this variety because I just heat up some coconut oil, then add these green beans, a little pepper and sea salt or Himalayan Pink Salt and voila! They turn out delish!
And they’re pretty filling and so emotionally and physically satisfying that sometimes, my toddler and I have made them our full meal.
Now It’s Your Turn
What product that I mentioned intrigued you the most?
Last week, I completed the Fé Fit 90 day workout program that I started in April.
I’m not saying this to brag because trust me, everybody could care less that I completed it.
I’m sharing my journey with you becauuuuuse I believe that any day is a good day to start or continue exercising. For you. For your wellbeing. Not for some event in which you need to “show off” your body.
Most importantly, exercise isn’t meant to be a punishment for all the times you didn’t exercise or didn’t eat well the whole year. Exercise isn’t a genie either. It’s not going to instantly and magically grant you a bibiddibobiddiboom vavavoom bikini body.
Our bodies are not Play Doh and we can’t just roll our bodies back and forth under pressure and get longer and leaner.
Exercise is meant to take you closer to your emotional heath goals and your physical health goals. They go hand-in-hand.
Fé Fit is a workout created by and geared toward moms. As their slogan says, “Created by women, for women.” They also say, it’s “Created by moms. For moms.” And it’s not just for new moms, but for moms of all ages that want to get in better shape.
And before you feel excluded because you’re not a mom… don’t worry about it!! It helps all ladies.
It targets ladies’ problem areas. You know…. the booty, the flab, the bulge.
Instead of bulking you up, Fé Fit workouts tone you.
I see the world as a treasure hunt. I LOVE finding treasures. I like finding things that make me feel like I’ve come across the holy grail of whatever the item is.
For example, if I’m buying myself an eyeshadow palette, I want to make sure that it’s the best eyeshadow palette for me. Not the most expensive one, but the one that I’ll love the most based on a trusty recommendation, my prior experience with the product or on hours of research (and yes, I spend hours of research trying to find the best version of even the simplest item).
Bottom line, I want quality. A pleasurable experience before I buy something, while buying, while receiving it and most importantly in my daily life. It’s not that I think that things should be the bulk of our happiness, but they do influence our quality of life.
So today, I’ll be sharing the treasures I enjoyed using in April in an effort to not keep them a secret and allow you to see if they will be your treasures, too.
They are workbooks that have changed the lives, business and dream-acquiring potential of more than 120,000 women for 7 years now. The idea to create these New Years resolution workbooks came to Leonie when she was pregnant in 2009. And what an idea it was because they have been best-sellers and game-changers every year.