Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BTS Craft - Pencil Holder

Preparations for back to school are in full swing. Here in Atlanta we are in our third week of school but I am still doing everything I can to ensure my son has a spectacular year. One of the things that I do with him is supervise his homework. And on a daily basis I am frustrated because without fail my son is unable to locate a pencil.  Or the pencil needs to be sharpened and he is unable to locate the sharpener. I have reminded him to keep a pencil in his binder to no avail. Rather than raise my blood pressure, I decided to take things into my own hands with a simple craft that will alleviate all of my frustration. I made a pencil holder. It is big enough to hold multiple pencils, pens and even a sharpener! I think it is cute too!

The pencil holder is made from a coffee can, pencils and some glue. The type of glue you use is up to you but in this instance I decided to use super glue. I am sure that a glue gun will work too but until I was home gluing it did not occur to me to try it. I had great results with the Loctite super glue and at a price point of $1.97 for two tubes. After completing this craft I still have enough left for other household needs.

If you are a coffee drinker this craft is right up your alley because you are likely to have cans of ground coffee that you can use. If not, you can follow my lead and purchase a small container, transfer the grounds to a ziplock bag and freeze. Use it at will or give it to a friend who is a coffee drinker.  For my project I used Great Value Coffee $2.98.

Finally I used pencils, lots and lots of pencils! I chose Dixon 20 ct for $.97 a box. I ended up using 2 full boxes and about 4 or 5 from the third box. I put the rest of the pencils in my new pencil holder for safe keeping! I also added some Pilot erasable pens and a pencil sharpener. My son will never be without a writing tool again!

What you need:
1 coffee can
45-50 pencils

Remove coffee from can and peel label if you like (The can ends up completely covered so you can probably skip this step.}
Glue pencils to can, eraser pointing up all around until the can is totally covered.
Enjoy your new pencil/pen holder! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Best Face Forward for Back to School with AcneFree System

Although it was long ago, I was once a teenager. One of the most important things as I prepared for going back to school was ensuring that I put my best face forward. Although I don’t have a teen, I’m sure that teenagers still want to look their best and Walmart has a few products that can help them. It is funny for me because as a teen I rarely had any concerns about my skin. My face was mostly clear with very occasional breakouts. As an adult, my skin changed and since my twenties I’ve been dealing with adult acne. I have years when my skin is glowing and blemish free but there are periods when my face breaks out and I truly do look like a teen.

I’ve written about my adult acne several times and utilized various products both over the counter and from my dermatologist when it gets really bad. In December I started a prescription treatment for my acne and by this summer it was under control. In conversation with my dermatologist I learned that until I have six months of blemish free skin, I still have to remain vigilant. Now instead of multiple blemishes, I will usually have one or two when my hormones are raging at during that time of the month. Walmart has a solution that has been working for me, AcneFree 24 Hour Clearing System.

I started using it a couple of weeks ago when I had one active blemish. This three part system has an oil free cleanser, renewing toner and repair lotion. Each are numbered so that you know the order in which to use them. 

I like using a system because I know that simply cleansing my skin is not enough to keep acne at bay. The AcneFree system is used twice daily and the active ingredient is advance micro-benzyl peroxide that is comparative to Proactiv but at a price point of $13.97 it is much more affordable!

I’ve had good results with AcneFree, I had one blemish when I started but no subsequent acne blemishes since. I think this product works well and for me is a wonderful alternative to the pricey prescription medication that I was using when my acne was at its worst. If your teen has acne like I do, I think this is a great alternative to ProActive.  

If you or your child wears contact lenses, another product you might be interested in are the SoftLens Daily Disposables. I’m not a contact lens wearing so I am unable to speak to the comfort but these are some advantages of using them:

•No daily cleaning, storage, or care required; wear them for a day, then, throw them away
•Simple packaging makes it easy to pack contact lenses in your travel bag, gym bag, or your purse
•High Definition™ Optics help reduce blur, halos, and glare across a full range of conditions
•Slow release packaging solution delivers outstanding all-day comfort  

If you or your teen want to put your best face forward this school year try out these products and let me know if you like them!

Handwritten notes with Pilot Frixon Erasable Pens #wmtmoms

One of my favorite memories from when I was in school are my pens. I was constantly on the search for the “perfect pen” and was totally enamored with erasable pens. Although my days of schooling were long ago, I still am a fan of erasable pens. Walmart asked me to try the Pilot Frixon clicker pens and of course I immediately said yes! You see, my erasable pens from yesteryear were also by Pilot but they’ve come a long way.  The Pilot ball Frixon pens are gel and are available in a variety of colors and options. You can purchase the 3 pack with the basic colors - red, black and blue or the 7 pack with additional colors: purple, sky blue, green and a cherry color.

Although we are now in the digital age and e-mail, instant messaging and texting have become the norm, I still enjoy taking a pen to paper for some tasks. I’ve used the Pilot Frixon for handwritten letters. 
Yes, I do still think there is a certain beauty in utilizing snail mail and sending a note from the heart. I also like to use the pens for writing in my planner, although I’m not as organized as I would like to be, I find I do best when I write down my tasks and I love erasing them from my to do list when I’ve completed them.

My son is only 7 and he primarily utilizes pencils for his school work. But I know how much I enjoy the gliding of a pen on paper and I’ve allowed him to use the Pilot Frixon erasable pens for some of his homework. He enjoys having the option of using a pen that erases. I let him use them primarily for writing cursive - I’m so happy his school is still teaching it! Did you know that many schools are no longer teaching cursive? I know computers have a place but handwriting is important too!

I am loving the Pilot Frixon gel erasable pens, give them a try yourself or add them to your Back to School shopping list for your child. You won’t be disappointed!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Healthy Morning Routine #wmtmoms

My son and I live a healthy and active lifestyle. Although he is only 7, my son has watched my entire progression from an inactive, obese 202 pound woman to a healthy fit mom weighing between 150-158 pounds. My overall initial weight loss was 52 pounds and I’ve maintained a healthy weight for the last 4 years. Although he doesn’t remember me at my heaviest, even at 2 he was my biggest cheerleader encouraging me to exercise and even joining in! Now he is an avid swimmer and absolutely loves running. My commitment to living healthy has rubbed off on him and he is set for life.

Walmart asked me to share some of my healthy morning routine with you and I am more than happy to oblige. We start our days off with a healthy breakfast. He absolutely loves turkey bacon so I give him Applegate Farms Natural uncured bacon. He also likes Nature Valley bars and I round it off with a Chobani Champions tube. I like to hit all the food groups! I on the other hand am content with a protein shake. I admit I am often rushing in the morning getting his breakfast and lunch together while supervising him as he prepares for school. Most mornings I simply have a protein shake and I am a long time fan of Six Star Protein Shakes ($5.98 for 4pk).

Six Star Protein shakes have 20 grams of protein, 170 calories and only 3 grams of sugar! If I have time I will add some frozen fruit and one of my favorites is Dole’s Tropical Medley with strawberries, papaya and pineapple.

I put one protein shake and a cup of the medley in my blender, blend for 1 minute or so and my breakfast is ready! When I don’t have time to pull out the blender, I simply grab a shake for breakfast on the go.

Vitamins are also a part of our morning routine. We are both big fans of gummies, I give him Disney branded multi-vitamins and fiber. At only $4.97 each I think they are a great inexpensive option. I take Spring Valley B-Complex ($3.98) and VitaFusion Women’s Multi-vitamin ($6.97). I’ve written about my vitamins before and they are a mainstay in my medicine cabinet.

The final part of my morning routine is getting my exercise on! I’ve found that when I get my exercise done in the early part of the day I am full of energy. I drop my son off at school fully dressed and ready for my morning workout - no excuses!

The new Avia activewear line at Walmart is functional, visually appealing and affordable. I am rocking a small pink Women’s performance singlet knit tank ($7.87) and medium performance capri pants ($14.86). All ready for a run, strength training or if I’m feeling really inspired....both!
As you can see, our mornings are truly reflective of our healthy lifestyle and I’m sure you can easily and affordably incorporate some of my ideas into your own morning routine.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Promise Kept

Over the past few weeks on facebook I’ve seen several of my friends participating in the 7 days of gratitude. On a daily basis they post 3 things they are grateful for and invite friends to do the same. This week I was invited to chime in. It is a perfect for me because each morning I can reflect on things large and small that I am grateful for and today I am grateful because of the efforts JOHNSON’s Baby has made to meet the needs of parents everywhere by changing the formulation of several of their products at the bequest of consumers.

Beyond the reformulation, I am extraordinarily moved by their video “Our Safety Promise” which I’ve posted above.   In the video it discusses their commitment to our children and really their commitment to us. And beyond the new formulas, to physically signify this commitment the employees, family and friends created 1000 Japanese origami cranes representing “A hope granted and a promise fulfilled.”  Simply beautiful!

When I look at the physical beauty of the cranes and the sentiments written on each one by its creator, I can’t help but think of my son. My son who truly was a hope granted. I know that every birth is a miracle but before my son was conceived there were questions about my fertility. My greatest hope was not only would I be able to have a baby but that he would arrive happy and healthy. There were no guarantees because my pregnancy was not an easy one with multiple visits to the hospital and weekly sighs of relief when he stayed in my womb and didn’t make a premature appearance.

My hope was fulfilled when he was born at 38 weeks. Of course it was love at first sight and in that moment I vowed to give my all to ensure that he will be loved beyond measure and live a happy and fulfilled life.  I continue to maintain that promise to him. My efforts may not always be appreciated, he is still a young boy and has no idea about the sacrifices made for him but I know that one day he will look back on it all and recognize that he means the world to me and I have and will do everything in my power to fulfill my promises to him.

I’d like to believe that the makers of JOHNSON’s baby feel that same love for their children and by making products that are safe for our children keep that love in mind. JOHNSON’S baby I applaud your efforts to keep your promise to us!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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