Cave Tools Short Pigtail Flipper Review

When it comes to turning over meat, especially bacon, a regular fork just doesn’t cut it. It not only doesn’t grip the meat, but the splatter potential is huge. No one wants grease or juice splattered in their face or on their clothing when they’re cooking.

Many times we don’t flip meat and bacon over enough times because we don’t want to deal with the mess that comes along with it. That ends in meat that is burnt or overcooked on one side. Who wants that?

So, when I had the opportunity to review CaveTools’ Short Pigtail Flipper, I was excited. We cook a lot of bacon in my house and I can’t tell you how many times the grease has splattered or popped as I went to turn it over. Not getting a good enough grip on it was the main culprit. But, when I used the Pigtail Flipper, it was much easier to get a hold of the meat and turn it quickly.

The single prong at the top is sharp enough to grab the meat while the handle makes it easy to flip over the meat quickly and easily. This results in better cooked bacon and less grease splatter. I’m happy because there’s no mess and my family is happy because they get bacon that’s cooked well!

The Pigtail Flipper can also be used to turn over steaks and meat on the grill so you don’t have the flames flaring up. Since you can use it both inside and outside, it’s a win-win and a must-have in the kitchen gadget department.

You can get your Pigtail Flipper at the Cave Tools site or on Amazon. Be sure to use the promo code Flipper15 so you can get 15% off your purchase.

Once you get your Pigtail Flipper to turn your meat, you won’t turn anywhere else!

You Know It’s the End of the School Year When…

My kids haven’t had homework in over a week, they’ve been coming home with pictures they drew at Christmas, and they seem to have a field trip or special activity every time I sneeze.

This can only mean one thing.

It’s the end of the school year.

Parents, I know you can relate.

During this time of year, the bedtimes slide a little later, the clothes get more wrinkled, and the snack supply dwindles. Who says sugar packets aren’t a healthy snack?

You also know it’s the end of the school year when you search Pinterest for a unique teacher’s gift only to come to the conclusion that your child’s teacher does desperately need another mug that says “best teacher”.

I don’t know about you, but when it gets to be this time of year, I’ve checked out of the lunch making game too. I’m sure whatever they’re serving in the cafeteria is just fine. The thought of making another ham and cheese sandwich and trying to fit everything in the lunchbox perfectly so the banana doesn’t get squished is just too much pressure to handle at this point in the school year.

I also know it’s the end of the school year because waking my kids up gets harder each day closer to the last day of school. They protest and look like “grumpy cat” every morning. But, I know once the first day of summer vacation rolls around they’ll be awake before 7 a.m., no matter how late they’ve gone to bed the night before. How annoying!

It’s also the time of year when you realize your kids will be around the entire summer…let me repeat…THE ENTIRE SUMMER. What are you going to do with them for over two months besides hearing “I’m bored” more times than you’ll ever hear those words again (at least until next summer)?

For some of us, it’s summer camp to the max, for others, your home is a 24/7 camp with endless snacks and activities.

Either way you slice it, summers aren’t all sandcastles and water balloon fights. Siblings get on each other’s nerves, kids annoy parents, parents annoy kids, all while sweating and getting sunscreen in your eyes…it’s a beautiful thing.

Although sibling battle royales have led me to threaten to send my kids to separate summer camps countless times this year, I know we’ll make it work just as we do every summer. They’ll be doing some camp things, but most of the time they’ll be at “Camp Mom” because let’s be honest…camp ain’t cheap.

They’ll be days when I’ll lock myself in my room to meet a deadline, praying my kids don’t scratch each other’s eyes out in the other room. But, then there were will great beach days with friends that will make us smile. It’s all part of the deal.

Parents, stock up on the wine and scrounge up those last few snack bags of Goldfish for the lunch box, it’s about to get real. Enjoy the remaining days of school. Embrace every night you have to tell your kids “it’s a school night” because they’ll be home before you know it!

 

 

How’s That No Yelling Thing Working Out for You?

So it’s been almost one month since I took my Lenten oath of not yelling…mainly at my kids. Forty days of keeping a perfectly calm tone and not screaming like a maniac.

I know.

What was I thinking?

Could it actually be done or would I crack under the pressure of a sassy-mouthed little girl who insists that she has nothing to wear when, in fact, I actually did all of the laundry and put it away?

So this is what I can tell you.

Has it been easy? No way!

Have I almost lost my cool? Of course!

Did I have to leave the room a few times so I wouldn’t yell? Absolutely!

Has it been worth it? Yes. Really, I’m not lying.

Although lightning wouldn’t strike me if I did let out a howl or two, or at least I hope it wouldn’t, I’ve really tried to stick true to my word. I guess it’s Catholic school guilt that’s still lingering!

I want to show my kids that when mommy says she’s going to do (or not do something in this case) she means it. I also think not yelling has benefited my blood pressure and all-around mental status!

Not yelling has meant finding new ways of problem-solving. Instead of screaming when my daughter knocks over the entire container of Nesquik on the floor that I vacuumed less than two hours ago, I simply tell her not to worry about it, but also give her the broom to sweep it up.

The yelling mommy would have lost her cool and went on a rant about how no one looks at what they’re doing and I’m not the maid, yada, yada, yada. In reality, it’s just an accidental spill that can be cleaned up in minutes. Without yelling, the mess still gets cleaned up and no one feels bad or has veins popping out of their head.

Mission accomplished.

When my daughter wants to wear a shirt to school that’s too small for her, the yelling mommy would lose it while visions of the teenage years would give me heart palpitations. The Lenten, non-yelling mommy, says what she thinks is appropriate and then dishes out a consequence in a calm voice. “If you choose to wear that, then you can’t go to the birthday party this weekend.”

Hmmm…and what do you think she chooses? I’ll take the appropriate clothes and the birthday party mommy.

Yep, that’s what I thought. After this scenario, the shirt in question mysteriously disappears, never to cause problems again.

By not resorting to yelling I’m finding other ways to get my point across without acting like a maniac. “Maniac mommy” is not a good look for me nor is it one I really want to be embedded in my daughters’ brains as part of their childhood.

The real test is going to be not yelling once Lent is over. There will be no real guilt holding me back. Hopefully, I won’t relapse, lol. I think everyone likes non-yelling mommy a lot better, myself included.

 

Winning the Technology Battle

In the age of Fortnite and endless online gaming, it’s hard not to have your kids glued to an iPad, tablet, phone or another device. That’s probably why I was hesitant to let my girls have a device of their own…well, sorta of their own.

Trust me, I’m not anti-technology, I’m just anti-screen zombie child! Nothing kills me more than to see a child addicted to a device so much so that they’d rather interact with their screen than with other kids.

But, a few months ago, I gave in and bought my kids a new iPad for Christmas. We had an iPad, but that thing was so archaic that I couldn’t load any new apps no matter what I did. After all, it was nearly ten years old, so I shouldn’t really complain. My kids would play on it as much as they could. But, when they wanted to go on programs they were using at school, the iPad would just laugh at my efforts. I let them use my computer, but I would cringe every time they did because I was always afraid they would touch something and it would self-destruct.

So, I guess I had no choice but to buy an iPad. When I told people they immediately thought I was buying two iPads because I have two kids. When I corrected them that there would be one singular iPad they would be sharing, there were plenty of laughs and “good lucks”. I scratched my head because they had been sharing the stone age iPad for as long as I could remember with virtually no problems.

With two iPads I envisioned my girls sitting on opposite ends of the couch on their iPads being anti-social zombies. That scenario did not bring me joy. I figured with one iPad they would not only be forced to share but maybe they would actually play on it together.

Fast forward almost three months and my strategy seems to be working. They’ve learned to share the iPad and what happens when they don’t…I take it away until I feel like giving it back. The joys of motherhood! There are plenty of days when they would just veg out with it all day if I let them. I can see why so many parents give their kids devices for hours on end. It keeps them quiet and out of your hair. While that’s great and all, too much screen time isn’t doing anything positive for anyone. That’s why I set limits and will even put a timer on in case I lose track of time. The quietness can do that to a person. When the timer goes off, the iPad takes a nap and they move on to another activity that doesn’t involve a screen.

While it’s not always unicorns and rainbows in shared iPad land, it is a place where I can win the technology battle…at least for now.

 

40 Years of Lessons Learned

When you reach a certain point in your life and you do some simple math, you realize that you’ve already lived a good portion of your life. While some people may think that’s a morbid and depressing way to look at things, I actually find it inspiring and think of it as one of those teachable moments in life. It’s one of those moments that makes you to look at things from a different perspective.

Now that I’ve reached a milestone birthday and have done some living, I’ve come to a few conclusions…

If I wake up each morning and am healthy, I’m better off than a lot of people out there. I know of so many people, younger and older than myself, who can’t say that when they wake up. They deal with chronic and life-threatening conditions each day. To not have to deal with that is a blessing within itself.

I’d rather have my children screaming and jumping because there are so many sick kids in the world who can’t enjoy being a kid. When you’re a kid you don’t think you can ever get seriously sick, but when you’re an adult you know of so many kids who have health problems they should never have to deal with. As much as my head may throb because my kids are so noisy, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s not the quantity of friends, but the quality. As a teenager, and even years after, I always thought having a lot of friends was so important. But why? Did it make me feel better about myself? Maybe. But, as I get older, I realize that having a few close friends I can count on using one hand is far better than a number that I need all my fingers and toes to count.

It’s okay to say no to people. I’ve always been a people pleaser, saying yes to just about everything and everyone. The truth is, as I get older, I don’t have the time or mindset to keep saying yes. Sometimes the best weekends are those where I can just stay home with my family and shut out the entire world. It’s that peace that’s priceless and worth saying no to invitations.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Too many times I’ve just nodded and smiled, accepting whatever was told to me even when I questioned it on the inside. Fast forward a decade or so and I’m not afraid to speak up. This goes for just about anything! If I don’t like it, I’ll tell you. If I have a far-fetched idea, I’m not afraid to mention it because you just never know what can happen. The same goes for asking for things. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

The time is now, don’t wait. When you have kids you begin to realize just how fast time goes. This realization brings you to a point where you don’t want to wait to do things. It may sound morbid, but you just never know what tomorrow will bring. Why wait?

Know your worth & don’t be afraid of it. When I ventured out into the world of freelance writing, it was all new to me. I wasn’t sure what to charge, what to look for, etc. Over time, I’ve gotten to know what I want to write about, what my worth is and to not be afraid to ask for what I think I deserve. Sometimes that’s gone well, other times it hasn’t. But, in the end, it’s all been alright and a learning experience, if nothing else.

Let it go and “Let Jesus take the wheel”. Just like the song goes, sometimes you have to let things go and let someone higher than yourself figure things out. No matter how hard you plan or try to get things to work in your favor, sometimes you just can’t make it work. When you have the mentality to just let things go, they tend to play out in a way that works, even if it’s not how you envisioned it.

Enjoy life. I admit, I am a worrier. I worry about things that already happened, things that are happening, things that may happen, things that will never happen, etc. I’ve finally realized that all of that worrying is useless. While it’s not always easy, I’m trying to live more in the present and enjoy each day because tomorrow is not guaranteed, as much as we may think it is.

There you have it, my 40 years of lessons learned…and counting. What are some life lessons you’ve learned over the years? I’d love to know!

 

 

App-sessed! How did our mothers ever survive?

Ok, I love a good organizational tool just as much as the next OCD mom, but I feel like every component of my children’s lives is connected to an app. I’ve had to become “app-sessed” if I want to know the latest information about their activities so I show up at practice when I’m supposed to and deliver orange slices to the soccer team on the right weekend. There are apps for each classroom, an app for the soccer team, and a group chat for scouts. I’m sure I’m missing one, but just know there are multiple groups with lots of people in them.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the fact that these apps allow me to connect with the people I need to, but it does get me wondering…how did our mothers ever survive? Forget about there not being apps 30 years ago, there weren’t even cell phones! Yet, I still got to where I needed to be at the right time and the soccer team had their orange slices on the right weekend. It was pure magic!

I remember my mom being part of a  “telephone tree” when information for school or an activity had to get out. The idea of a phone blast was not even a thought! My mom would actually pick up the phone to call someone to relay a message. I know…the horror.

Nine times out of ten they even picked up the phone since there was no caller ID. They couldn’t just let it go to voicemail to avoid having a conversation (not that anyone would ever do that these days). She actually gave up five minutes of her day to have a live conversation with another human being. Imagine!

There were no group texts to send out and get information. She didn’t have to worry about being part of a group text where everyone needed to text back the entire group to say that they not only got the message but to also say thank you five minutes later! I now turn off notifications because I don’t need twelve people saying “thank-you” at midnight. Yes, that’s happened and I’m sure many of you can relate.

Sure, I could choose to not download the apps and not join the groups. Then what? I wouldn’t know what’s going on in my children’s classrooms, I would overlap with someone else’s “orange slice weekend” and my kids would miss practice or worse, we would show up on the wrong day.

Call me crazy, but I would love to go back to the days of “telephone trees”. Granted, I may not answer the phone all the time, but one solid, informational phone call versus 20 text message sure sounds good about now. It was a much simpler time back then and things still got done and we all survived without our apps. Our “app-less” mothers still got it done, and probably better than we are today.

Is anyone else feeling “app-sessed” these days or is it just me?

 

 

The Most Important Back to School Lesson

Parents, it’s that time. Perhaps it’s the one you’ve been waiting for since the middle of June.

It’s back to school time!

Cue the applause!

When it comes to back to school preps, there are so many things to do. From clothes shopping to making sure you get the right school supplies not to mention the back to school haircut, this time of year can become exhausting.

Amid all of the running around, you’re probably instilling some reminders and some new rules too. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
  • Don’t be too chatty in class.
  • Try to actually eat your lunch at lunch so you’re not starving when you get home.
  • Pay attention in class.
  • Raise your hand and ask questions.

These are all things I’ve been telling my little ones. But none of those is the most important lesson of all.

The most important back to school lesson that I’m trying to instill in my girls is to be kind. 

I tell them while you don’t need to be BFFs with everyone, you do need to be kind to everyone.

What does that mean?

It means greeting everyone with a simple hello or good morning.

It means not taking part in any name calling or bullying; in fact, if you witness any of that behavior you need to tell an adult so that it can stop.

It means not laughing at someone when they trip or give the wrong answer in class.

It means offering a helping hand whenever you can.

It means asking another student to sit with you at lunch when you notice they’re always sitting alone.

It means not saying anything if you have nothing nice to say.

It means treating other people as you want to be treated.

Basically, it means just being a good little human.

While all of this sounds pretty easy, ask any child if it is and if many kids do it and they’ll tell you that’s not the case…not even close.

Kids can be downright mean to one another for no reason.

They name call, bully, and can be rude.

Why?

I truly believe that no child is born that way; rude, mean, and with no regard for others. I wholeheartedly believe it starts with what they’re learning at home or not learning for that matter.

Is there anyone there who is telling them not to make fun of the other kids or to always say good morning?

I think in more and more cases the answer is no.

Sometimes parents are so busy with their own lives or making sure their kids are competing academically that they forget about the basic need to be kind. In some cases, there are some parents who may not even find that important.

That’s why I arm my girls with the cold hard fact that some kids can be mean so that they’re not surprised when they encounter them. They already know it’s true because they’ve experienced kids being cruel as young as six years old. They’ve been on the receiving end and know how horrible it feels. That’s even more of a reason to be kind.

Being kind is one of those things that doesn’t take much effort but can mean the world to someone without you even knowing it.

As you get your kids ready for school and see them off on the first day, don’t forget the most important back to school lesson…be kind. It will go a long way in school and in life.

 

 

 

Review: How Jenzy Makes Shoe Shopping Easier

Let’s face it, shopping for shoes for your kids can be downright painful. From finding shoes that fit to ones they actually like, it’s more like an Olympic sport than a fun afternoon out!

When you use one of those funky shoe measuring devices in the shoe store, you may often wonder if you’re even doing it right. Sure it seems like you’re measuring right, but then you go to put a pair of shoes in that size on your child’s foot and it doesn’t fit.

But, didn’t you just measure it?

By now your child has starting moaning and groaning and you’re just about ready to leave the shoe store without any shoes.

This little scenario has happened to me more than I like to admit. That’s why I was excited to try out the new Jenzy app.

What’s Jenzy?

Jenzy is a new app that will help size your child’s foot right at home. Once it gets the size, it will then recommend several shoes in that size. The shoes that are recommended are all well-made, high-quality shoes so you won’t be getting a pair of shoes that are bad for your child’s feet.

There are no funky measuring tools, no dragging your kids from store to store to find the right shoe in the right size. Just size, shop, and wait for the shoes to ship and arrive at your door.

I used the app to measure my daughter’s foot. I simply followed the instructions on the app that required me to snap a photo and use a credit card to help measure her foot. A few minutes later and with a few adjustments, the Jenzy app told me my daughter’s shoe size and then recommended several shoes in her size.

It was amazing that the app sized it perfectly to her current shoe size. Now, it was time to shop. We simply browsed through the choices until she found a pair that she liked, which really didn’t take long. With a few clicks, the shoes were ordered and were soon on their way.

Once the shoes arrived, she tried them on and they fit perfectly. She actually liked them too and said they were comfortable! Score for mom!  We now had a new pair of shoes, sized perfectly without any arguments or drama. When was the last time this happened? Oh yeah, never!

The Jenzy app took the stress and aggravation out of shoe shopping with my kids. You can’t put a price tag on that! I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Jenzy app again, especially when it comes to back to school shoe shopping! Anything that makes my life easier and avoids child drama means a good day all-around.

*I was compensated with a pair of shoes to complete this review. All opinions are my own. 

 

You Know It’s the End of the School Year When…

If you’re a mom you don’t need to look at the calendar to know it’s the end of the school year. There are many signs, some obvious, others more subtle, to let you know your children are about to be home for the next two months or more. In case you didn’t realize, that’s 56 days, perhaps more depending on when your kids are getting out and when they go back.

That’s a lot of trips to the liquor store!

Take a look at these signs and how to deal with them to survive this crazy time of year.

Your child tells you his shirt is too short when he raises his hand in class. If your child says this you can simply tell him to just stop raising his hand. It’s an easy fix.

Your child tells you her pants are getting too short. There’s a simple answer to this one too. They’re not too short. They’re actually these really cool new type of pants that get shorter as it gets warmer so you can wear them as capris.

Your child tells you there are no more potato chips to take to school with his sandwich. Show him where the potatoes are and tell him to improvise. Wait, I still have to make sandwiches??

Your child brings home tests and papers from October. It’s unclear whether they were in their desk for this long or if the teacher just got around to giving them back now. Either way you no longer need a table cloth for your kitchen table because it is now covered with dittos and tests. Somehow you need to get rid of these when your child is not looking because you’re expected to keep every piece of paper they ever put their name on. #impossible

Oh look, another field trip permission slip is shoved in front of your face. So basically kids are not doing any more school work these last two weeks, is that right? Great.

Your child wants to wear a poop emoji shirt to school and you don’t even flinch. As long as it’s the rainbow poop emoji and not the original it’s all good. The original would be bad.

A birthday invitation for a classmate’s party in August comes home in June. You don’t even know this child. Your child “thinks” it’s the kid who sits in front of her. She’s not even sure! Did I mention the party is not until August?

Your child doesn’t want to get up for school and you don’t drag them out of bed. They won’t even notice if he’s late. Are they even taking attendance any more?

Your child’s book bag has a hole in it and he wants a new one for the last two weeks of school. No. Simply, no.

Third grade math has stumped your child and you are of no help, none whatsoever. Go in the bathroom and just Google the answer. She’ll never know and you won’t have to admit you can’t do third grade math. Five months ago you would have sat and down and tried to get the answer and explain it, but not now.

Your child wants to wear a wrinkled shirt to school. You let it slide. You have no interest in ironing. Your child could care less and at this point you’re right there with him.

End of the year activities are consuming you. Forget about keeping up with the Kardashians. You can’t keep up with the Kindergarteners.

Let’s do one more year-end fundraiser. Let’s not and say we did. #overit

Let’s face it, as much as the kids are going to get on your nerves over the summer, we’re all ready for a vacation from school and all the craziness that goes along with it. So when your kids are fighting over which Barbie gets the glitter dress, remember, it could be worse. You could be doing fractions and multiplication tables every night and making lunches…wait you will be in another 56 days! Happy summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Ride ‘n Remind” to Prevent Tragic Car Deaths

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

As a parent, we all know how hectic life can get. When you have a baby you’re constantly on the go and in mommy mode 24/7.

Despite how attentive you are, there are times when life gets the best of us.

I remember trying to get out of the house with a baby. Who knew someone so small could need so much stuff and take so much time to get ready? The process can make your head go in a tailspin! I remember forgetting my keys and diaper bag so many times only to have to take the baby back inside to grab them!

Whether you’re distracted or in a rush, you sometimes do or forget things you never dreamed you would.

For some parents, that means forgetting that your child is in the backseat. It may sound crazy, but it happens all too often. You may say it would never happen to you, but that’s what so many other parents have echoed, only to find themselves in a dangerous situation.

Each year, an average of 37 children die from being left in hot cars or accidentally locking themselves in. Some parents tragically forgot their children were in the backseat. That can especially be true if a baby or toddler falls asleep.

I always questioned how that could happen, but after becoming a parent I understand. I can also see how parents look for any little help they can get to avoid these situations. No one wants to become a statistic.

The only way to really make sure you don’t forget your child is in the backseat is to have a reminder you can hear loud and clear. For me, that’s my kids. They’re old enough now to let me know if I ever forgot them in the backseat. But, for parents of babies and small children you still need that reminder because your kids may not be that vocal.

That’s why there’s Ride ‘n Remind. I honestly wish this product was around when my kids were babies. I don’t think I would ever worry that I would forget they were in the car with this system in place.

Ride ‘n Remind is great because it sends an extremely loud signal you and the whole neighborhood can hear so that you don’t forget your child is in the car. Every time you turn off your car, a chime goes off to remind you to check the back seat.

In order to shut off the chime, you need to press a button that is conveniently located near the rear door (installed as part of the system). If you ignore the chime, within less than 40 seconds your car horn will activate sending a very loud SOS signal.

Sure, it will wake-up your baby if he’s sleeping but that’s far better than leaving him in the car.

Even if you don’t hear this sound (which is highly unlikely), anyone in the vicinity will hear it and pay attention to your vehicle and any child that may still be inside.

You can also use Ride ‘n Remind if you have fur babies in the car. The goal is to make sure everyone and everything that needs to be out of the car is not ever forgotten.

With Ride ‘n Remind, the sad statistic of children who die because they’re left in cars can hopefully be erased once and for all.

To learn more about Ride ‘n Remind, check out the website!