Family * Travel * Food

Can a Sports Watch Give You Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

A couple months ago, I started experiencing some weird sensations in the tip of my thumb. It initially occurred when I was harvesting okra from my garden. It almost felt like my finger was pricked by a splinter, and was a bit tingly. It felt like teeny tiny electric pulses concentrated in my fingertip. When I carefully examined my finger, I saw no signs of a splinter, but more of a pink spot. Then I thought to myself that perhaps it was an insect bite. I decided to watch it for a few days to see what would happen. 

Day after day, it was the same feeling. It felt like a part of a splinter was left in my finger coupled with little electric pulses. This went on for 3 weeks. By that time, it started to skip around to different spots on that same finger. I was definitely able to rule out a splinter at that point because it's not possible for it to move to another spot. I did some online research and I saw mentions of nerve problems associated with diabetes as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. I was able to rule out the diabetes part, and the carpal tunnel had me confused since my wrist seemed fine. 

After going into 7 or 8 weeks of this, the tingling sensation started to jump to a couple other fingers on the same hand. Things started getting uncomfortable at this point so I started to get desperate to get to the bottom of it. I knew I have a an upcoming appointment with my doctor, so I decided to wait out the week before I was going to see her. I did one last bit of research and wondered if a sports watch could cause CTS. After all, I do wear my sports watch during every waking hour and also to bed to track my sleep. The only time I ever really take it off is when I have to shower or enter water for any reason. There was no real evidence that this was the case, until I decided to try something. I took the watch off and within an hour, the electric sensation started to spread throughout my hand and wrist. 

I was so shocked and realized that the watch was the culprit. I saw my doctor the next day and explained what had been going on. She confirmed that it sounded like a mild case of carpal tunnel, and suggested keeping the watch off for a while. She told me if I absolutely couldn't live without it to wear it on the opposite wrist and be sure to not wear it at night. I took her advice, and I now feel 100% relief. I am no longer having any uncomfortable sensations in my fingers or wrist. 

If you wear a sports watch all the time, I highly recommend that you don't wear it as tight if you can help it. I have very tiny wrist, so in order for it to stay put, I pretty much have to wear it on the tightest slot. I left the watch off for a few days, and have started back wearing it on the opposite wrist being sure to leave a tiny gap so that this does not happen again. In the event this happens to you, I suggest taking Ibuprofen only as needed, keep your wrist elevated when you can, limit time on devices, and keep the area warm. Cold temperatures will set it off easily. It's all about resting your hand as much as possible. 

Thank you so much for stopping by today! 

3 Beginner Tips To Help You Master the Art of Horse Riding

Are you hoping to pick up horse riding as a hobby? Whether you’ve dabbled in horse riding in the past and have recently decided to get serious about it or whether you’re a total newcomer to the sport, there are several important tips that can help you learn the ropes of this unique hobby quickly. Take a look at these three tips that can help beginners quickly master the art of horse riding. 

1. Prepare With All the Necessary Accessories and Safety Gear

Before getting on a horse, it’s important to make sure you’re properly prepared with all the necessary horse jump accessories and other safety gear essentials you may require. This gear can help keep you and the horse safe in the event of an accident and is an absolute must for both beginners and those riding at a more advanced level. If you’re just now shopping for your safety gear and other basics, make sure to pick up:

  • Helmets
  • Knee pads and elbow pads
  • Sturdy riding boots
  • Riding gloves
  • A safety vest
  • Riding pants

2. Practice Getting On and Off Your Horse

Although it may sound simple, beginners may need a little practice mounting and dismounting a horse. Spend a little time just practicing this one skill before moving on to others. To successfully get on your horse, you should:

  • Start from the left side of your horse
  • Hold the reins loosely in your left hand
  • Start by putting your left foot in the stirrup and step up
  • Swing your other leg over the horse and take your seat carefully

3. Take Lessons and Practice Essential Horse Riding Skills

Lastly, you may want to consider starting off your riding days with some professional lessons to help you master the basic skills you need to know. Having a strong foundation can help set you up for quick progress. You can opt for individual or group lessons for beginners that can help you learn more about:

  • Trotting and walking
  • Trail riding
  • Standing quietly
  • Mounting and dismounting
  • Slow reversal
  • Side-passing

Learning to ride horses as a hobby can help you stay in shape, bond with these majestic animals and enjoy a time-honored tradition. If you’re a beginner, these top tips can help you master the basics of horse riding in no time. Make sure you have all the safety gear you need, practice mounting and dismounting and consider taking lessons to move from beginner to pro at a steady pace.


Essential Basic Tack For Your Horse

You've got the horse, you've got your horse-riding duds, but now you need to get your horse dressed, too! There's a lot to think about when buying tack, or horse riding gear, for your horse and many pieces to consider. We'll help break it down the basics so you can be confident in each piece you pick out. 

Getting Back on Track 

The first piece of equipment most people think of when it comes to horseback is the saddle. Saddles are generally leather and can be pricey, but shopping at discount horse suppliers can help you find a good deal. There are a number of styles from western to endurance to dressage, but a general purpose saddle will suit most recreational riders. Always check with a professional to fit your horse.

Underneath the saddle will sit your saddle pads. Saddle pads come in all sorts of options and are really your chance to try out some fashionable horse tack. They come in all sorts of colors and fabrics, though quilted cotton is quite popular as it is breathable and helps wick away moisture.

In addition to these items, you'll need a girth and stirrups. Girths wrap around your horse's belly and come in several materials such as string, nylon, synthetic, or leather. Whatever you choose, make sure its comfortably suits your horse and saddle. Stirrups hold up your feet and consist of a leather strap and an iron foothold. You should always begin with correctly-sized safety stirrups, which will have an elastic at the side. 

Get Your Head in the Game

When it comes to horse's headgear, we're not referring to braces and expanders; we're referring to bridles, reins, and bits. The bridle, buckled straps encircling the horse's head, are attached the the bit, a (generally) metal piece that sits in the horse's mouth, and the reins, all of which are used to control the horse.

For your bridle and bit, you'll want to make sure the style you choose suits your horses head size and shape. Narrower straps for smaller, more delicate horses and wider straps for larger animals. If you event, make sure to check that what you purchase will fit within the restrictions and guidelines of what is appropriate wear. Additionally, you may need a stronger bit for more strident purposes such as jumping or hacking. Reins come in a variety of materials and rubber or lined rubber can be a very good option for a good grip. 

These basics of horse's tack will get you started on outfitting your horse properly, and soon both you and your horse will be dressed to the nines and ready to run. 


4 Ways To Achieve A Healthier Lifestyle As A Family

This post is sponsored by Natrol but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Summertime is in full swing for many of us with school being out. Most parents have registered the kids for summer camps/activities, made vacation plans, or are simply doing the local staycation. Whatever your plans are, the kids will be ready for some fun!

Something we all have in common as parents is we want our families to be happy and healthy. Sometimes it's a bit of a challenge to get the kids on board for the healthy part. Today we will share some tips on how you can achieve a healthier lifestyle together as a family.

1. Play together! 

Whether you are at the beach, or the backyard, there are many opportunities to get active. Try challenging the kids to a race. It's a great way to get your heart pumping, and your entire body moving. Make a game out of collecting rocks or shells. Before you know it, you all would have walked more than you realized.

2. Hold a family meeting

Make it a priority each month to hold a family meeting with everyone present. It doesn't have to be super long or in a formal setting. Discuss your financial and personal goals, as well your health goals. Have each family member document those goals. Charts are a great idea for younger children. Make those health goals a top priority!

3. Meal plan together

Instead of listening to the kids whine about dinner, include them! Have each person choose a theme for a particular day of the week, and go from there. Whether it's Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday, everyone can state their likes or dislikes and agree on the menu collectively. Kids tend to be more interested in food when they were involved in picking out or planning the meal.

4. Hold each other accountable for making healthier choices

Make plans to hold each other accountable for drinking a certain amount of water each day, exercising, and taking daily multi-vitamins like Natrol Gummies. As a matter of fact, Natrol Multi Gummies are made with 26 fruits and veggies! Plus, they’re made with organic ingredients, are non-GMO, gelatin-free and vegetarian.

*As parents, we are pleased that Natrol Gummies are not only good for you, but they also taste great! They aren't super chewy so they don't tend to stick to your teeth. There is a formula for everyone in the family with the Women's Multi, Men's Multi, and Kid's Multi.

Natrol gummies are a great way to get those extra daily vitamins and minerals you might be lacking from you diet. If you're shopping and stop by the supplement aisle, just look for the purple top. We hope you and your family have a safe, happy, and healthy summer!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.
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Cooking For Performance: Fueling Your Teen Athlete

There are parents out there who have to feed teen athletes that need to perform. The right diet can help take your teen’s athletic performance to the next level. A small improvement can be the difference between your teen being recruited by colleges or ending their athletic career in high school. A great diet cannot make up for hard work in the gym, and on the practice field. Diet can only set your teen up for success as your performance is directly correlated to your overall diet. The following are tips that will help you cook for your teen to perform to the best of their ability.
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Let Them Define Their Goals

A diet that works for one type of athlete might be too high or low in calories and other nutrients. Wrestlers might be trying to drop weight in a healthy manner, while a football player wants to gain weight without losing foot speed. Goals can change from season to season so make sure that you are up to date with what your athlete wants to accomplish. This can be done as a family as accountability when it comes to diet, and is important especially if your teen wants to become an elite athlete. If you have more than one athlete, then you are going to be doing much more cooking. As a parent, you need to set your children up for success.

Do Some Research

Far too many people do not know how to eat for performance, and they usually just eat to survive. The right ratios of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates differ from sport to sport. Do not try out a fad diet on your young athlete, but rather feed them natural foods and avoid overly processed options. The internet is full of dietary programs for people trying to accomplish a variety of goals. If you do not trust internet experts it can be wise to go make an appointment with a nutritionist. This professional can help you by letting you know what to cook, and can even give you options that will make meal prepping quite easy.
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Use Healthy Alternatives To Cook With

Coconut oil’s uses and benefits are immense with the oil being great for the skin and hair. This is also a great alternative to cooking rather than using vegetable or canola oil. Many people think that it will impact the taste to the point of being bad tasting, but this could not be further from the truth. Other ingredients you can swap out is grain pasta. You can opt for a "riced" cauliflower instead. Small tweaks to certain recipes can make the diet of the entire family much healthier without sacrificing good tasting food. A general rule of thumb is to avoid processed foods, and have a diet full of fruits as well as vegetables. Lean proteins like chicken, bison, fish, and some cuts of red meat can help maximize protein without consuming high levels of fat.

Fuel your teen athlete appropriately and watch them reach their full athletic potential! Sometimes all your diet needs is a few tweaks to take your game to the next level.
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Tips And Tricks For Horseback Riding

Horse riding is a pleasant activity for many, although it can be tricky until you get used to it. That is why we have decided to share this guest article with a few tips that should make things a lot easier for you, or at least give you some basic guidelines. If you are a beginner when it comes to horseback riding, then this article will definitely prove to be helpful. Let’s get started.

Photo by Sarah Bedu on Unsplash
A bit of theory
If you want to educate yourself about this topic, you should know that horseback riding has existed for thousands of years, and the first time it happened was around 3500 BCE. Even after cars were invented, horse riding continued to exist as a hobby.

There are two horseback riding styles: Western and English. The difference between these two is the fact that they use different equipment. As a consequence of that, the rider has a different posture and it will interact with the horse in a different way.

Western saddles are larger and more comfortable and that is because they were originally used by cowboys for their long rides. This means that they are more stable and the seat is a deep one. On the other hand, English riding comes with a smaller equipment. While it might be less comfortable, it also creates a closer contact between the horse and the rider.

Plan ahead
Once you have decided you are going to try horse riding, you should look for the right stable. You can find out which are the best stables by taking a look at It is important to find a reputable stable, and that is because you want to practice in a safe environment that has trained instructors.

After you find the right place, you should prepare your clothing. You must wear long pants so that you can protect them against the saddle. Close-toed shoes are also a must, otherwise your feet might slip out. Make sure that clothes are simple enough and they won’t cause any accidents. For example, a scarf might get tangled up in your equipment and this is something that you want to avoid.
Photo by Gert Boers on Unsplash
Getting along with your horse
It is important to create a bond between you and your horse. You should try spending some time with it before you begin riding. When you approach it for the first time make sure that you don’t move too fast. You should also try approaching them from one side.

Check your equipment
Before you start riding you should make sure that your equipment is placed into place. Your saddle should be stable enough and you should make sure that it won’t slide while you are riding the horse. The bridle straps should also be tight.

Getting on the horse proves to be the biggest challenge for most beginners. For amateurs there are mounting blocks that will help you get on the horse with no problems. They look like a small set of stairs and all you have to do it to climb that block and get on the horse.

We hope these tips will help you if you are considering taking horseback riding lessons in the near future. Have a great week! 
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Homeschool Updates

We are a couple months into our second year of school from home and so far, everything is going smoothly. Third grade is certainly very different from second grade. The work load has been a lot more and it can been very tiring some days. I find myself telling William to go take a break while I do the same. I am lucky to have a child who almost never complains and is easy to work with. We have a flexible routine that has been working well for us. 

I make certain every couple weeks to ask William how he is doing and if he misses going to traditional school. He always responds with how much he loves home school and never wants to return to public school. This makes me happy to know that he is genuinely happy and feeling like this was a good choice for him. 

One of his new favorite things to do is to go outside and read while he watches the birds and dogs play. Hey, anything that encourages him to read works for me! As a matter of fact, his reading has improved tremendously and we are working on being more animated when reading out loud. He still has his stubborn boy moments, but he understands that he has no choice with getting his work done. He takes pride in checking off assignments as he completes them, and loves tracking his grades.

A lot has changed for me as a homemaker. A huge chunk of my day is dedicated to William's schooling, so keeping a super neat and tidy home just isn't a priority like it used to be. I try to get things done throughout the day, but don't beat myself up if I don't get to it all. I make time for myself each day just to do whatever I want, whether it's watching my favorite show on HGTV or taking a nap. I have learned the importance of self-care and refuse to allow myself to feel guilty about it. Do I have bad days where I feel like I'm failing? YES. Yes, I do. Thankfully those aren't too often.

William continues to go to his karate classes and swimming. It's funny how much more social he is since doing school from home. He is not shy at all and will chat with anyone who will listen. We still get a lot of people when we are out and about during school hours ask him why he's not in school. He proudly tells them, "I'm home-schooled!". Of course, some people are still very shocked by that and tell me I must be a "saint". I simply laugh it off and realize I too thought the same of parents who home-schooled their kids.

Right about now I am SO happy that I'm not on Facebook trying to push school fundraisers on any of my friends. Yep, don't miss any of that! Overall, we are very happy with school and plan to continue all the way to high school. If you have ever considered homeschooling your child, I suggest you try it out to see if it works for your family. You definitely won't know unless you try. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

4 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your Child a Youth Baseball Bat

If you want to help your child hone their baseball skills and make a real go at America’s favorite sport, it’s essential to outfit them with the materials they need to develop into a better baseball player. Your child’s bat could be an integral component to their success on the baseball diamond, so before purchasing a youth baseball bat, keep these tips in mind.

1. Bat Legality

Yes, you can inadvertently buy your child an illegal bat, which will find them not up to bat and you out of a ton of cash. Make sure you look for a bat that’s legal for play in your league. It may need to have the stamp of an official supplier logo, as this indicates the bat is made of the right material, and fits the approved length, barrel size, and knob specifications. Little League rules require baseball bats be no longer than 22 inches, while Junior League wood bats must measure shorter than 34 inches. There are detailed rules depending on the league your child’s involved in, and often a simple Google search will give you the parameters to work with, but it’s always a good idea to check. An easy question volleyed at your coach or league before purchasing will make sure you buy a legal bat.

2. Wooden Versus Metal

There are many facets to consider when deciding between a wooden and metal bat for your child. You’ll find numerous articles and opinions expressing the strengths of one or the other, but the decision comes down to weighing the pros and cons of each and choosing the material that will help your child excel. Metal bats tend to be the most popular, regardless of league. They are definitively easier to swing, weigh less, don’t break, and can provide more power. However, if honing your child’s skills is your aim, metal bats may not be the way to go. They can mask poor technique and will make it harder for your child to improve his or her hitting technique.

Many parents elect to have their child train with a wooden bat, because it has been purported to help develop better swinging practices and techniques. While heavier, wooden bats offer better balance, and will help your child better understand the ways to make powerful contact with the ball. Using a wooden bat will require your child to learn and practice the fundamental swinging patterns that make for a successful hit. If you do elect to grab a wooden bat, you’ll need to decide between the types of wood. Ash tends to be the most popular option, but you’ll find a bevy of options.

Check out for an interesting scientific breakdown of the history behind the woods used for baseball bats and send your child onto the diamond with in-depth knowledge of just how their new wooden bat is designed to help them hit that elusive homerun.

3. The Importance of Practice Before Purchase

Before deciding between the two mediums, give your child plenty of practice with each. Head to the batting cages a few times a week and each time have them work with a metal bat or wooden bat each time. If it gets too pricey, use Groupon. They often have discounted batting cage prices depending on your area and you can pay half of what you might have—your child will definitely thank you for all the extra practice time, and you’ll be able to make a more informed decision when it comes to your bat.

4. When It Comes to Pricing

If you want to find the best price on a baseball bat, you’ll need to head online instead of to your local sport’s store. There’s simply no beating e-commerce prices, but that’s not to say you should head straight to Amazon. Use a website that has a plethora of baseball bats for sale from a variety of companies to make sure you can find the right fit for your child. Using a site dedicated to baseball bats will help you filter out the different options and make it easier for your child to offer their input.

The type of bat your child practices with can greatly affect their game. Their bat is their indispensable tool; it affects swing velocity, the contact they make, dictates how far and where the ball will travel, and their ability to make a sprint for first base after a successful hit. It’s important to put the time and monetary investment into finding the perfect youth baseball bat for your child.


A Blue Belt For William

Our little guy has been doing karate for a while now and recently tested for his blue belt. Not only was there a new belt, but he moved up to an all black uniform as well. This has been so exciting for William and he has worked very hard to get to where he is. He is home schooled now and we have a whole fitness routine set up for each day of the week. Doing push-ups, jumping jacks, and a variety of strengthening exercises have helped improve his karate skills tremendously. 

One very special thing about his karate instructor is that Mr. Mike also taught his big sisters, all the way to their black belts. Karate has been such a good sport for William and he has gotten to love it. Right now he goes once a week, but we plan to start him 3-5 times a week as soon as his classes are done for the school year. And speaking of school year, he is averaging a 97% overall. His favorite subjects are Math, Social Studies and Science. It's good seeing him love school and learning. He is the happiest kid!

William and his karate instructor, Mr. Mike Genova of Genova Family Karate.

Keeping Your Kids Healthy With Sports

What better way to bring up well-rounded young individuals than with sports? Engaging your kids in sports gives them the opportunity to try out their skills and talents and discover new things about themselves. These days, with all the competition parents face when ensuring the health and well being of their little ones, it’s essential to find a fun-filled activity for our kids to let them enjoy the perks of being fit not only when they're young.

No matter what activity your children are involved in, they’re bound to experience tons of benefits that will ensure they grow up to be happy, healthy, and well-rounded individuals.

Physical Activity

Sports provide children with necessary physical activity to stay fit. With combinations like video games and fast food, our kids are on the highway to poor health and might suffer the consequences later on. Engaging them early in sports gives them the upper hand they need to fight off the unhealthy lifestyle which is caused by most food and recreational choices today.


It’s important to teach our kids early the value of making friends and teamwork. This gives them a much better idea as to how to act around other people, also enhancing their ability to interact with those who are different and to embrace and accept diversity as a common thing in today’s society.


Kids learn more about themselves with sports, which helps build self-esteem. Being an essential part of a team – whether they’re out on the field scoring points, or on the benches supporting his or her teammates all the way, children learn their worth as a member of a team and thus learn the value of being themselves.

Coupon Convenience – Saving Up On Spending With Coupons

Some parents may worry that sports are bound to come with a lot of expensive classes, gear and accessories you might simply not be able to afford. Sometimes you can just wait for the season-ender sales to come rolling around the corner, but it’s not always practical, and purchasing things at full price may not be the choice you want to make. One of the best ways to save money these days even when the season’s just beginning is with coupons. There are lots of neat places to find budget-saving clippings – in magazines, newspapers and, most conveniently, on the Internet.

Visit such websites as and keep an eye out for Kohl's coupons that will help you buy everything you need at a budget price. And by using coupons you can save up not only on sports equipment but also countless other products - from home and kitchen ware and supplies, to food and beverages to stock up your fridge. You can even save up on your gas spending as well, if you find the right discount codes at the right places. Remember, living in trying times like these calls for smart decisions to keep a household up and running. Keep an eye out for coupons that are specifically aimed at any products you might like to buy for your family and keep that savings account alive by cutting out a few cash outs here and there.


Dress Your Kid Like An NFL Pro For Halloween

My son is so excited for one of his most favorite days of the year, Halloween. He loves getting dressed up as his favorite character each year. Now that he's older, he has really gotten into football. William was in for a big surprise when he opened up a box with a Halloween costume of his favorite NFL team, the Carolina Panthers. I really should have recorded a video of his reaction. He screamed with excitement and almost cried!

This Franklin Sports Official NFL Kid’s Costume came with a helmet (not intended to play the actual sport), jersey, pants, chin strap and iron-on numbers. William is 7, so I went with a size medium. Although the costume is slightly big on him, it still looks great. Isn't he adorable?

I love that we were able to add the number 1 on the back of the jersey, just like his favorite player, Cam Newton. I think William will want to wear this costume every time the Panthers play. Actually, I'm lying. He wants to wear it EVERY DAY. This is what makes it so good that it's slightly big, because he can wear it for a long time. I think I will order the youth shoulder pads to complete the look since they are only $9.99.

Franklin Sports Official NFL Kid’s Costume sets are offered in multiple sizes, which accommodate most kids ages 4-9. You can choose from 32 NFL teams to outfit every little football fan in your house! They retail for $49.99 and you can purchase them here. These costumes are not only great for Halloween, but also make a great gift for the holidays for your favorite little football enthusiast.

Be sure to follow Franklin Sports on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates.

I received a product sample in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own as always. 

Epson LabelWorks Iron-on Kit can help your kids find their stuff with ease #ad

School and the Fall sports season is in full swing all over the country. One issue that I think every parent can relate to is missing jackets, shirts and sometimes even sport's jerseys. It happens. Kids often times put their belongings down for a moment and their busy mind forgets about it. I have visited the lost and found pile numerous times over the last 14 years and I can't stand it! I finally have something to help ease getting items back with no hassle. Epson LabelWorks Iron-on Label Kit is here to save my sanity.

 This kit conveniently holds everything you need.
The actual label-making unit is small and lightweight, and can be used anywhere. As a matter of fact, it's so portable that I have taken it in the after school car pick-up line to use it. It is very user-friendly and requires no major skills to learn.

Key Features:

  • Everything you need to create personalized iron-on labels — includeds a LabelWorks LW-300 printer, 2 iron-on tape cartridges and an application guide.
  • Amazing variety — 14 fonts, 10 styles, 300+ built-in symbols, over 75 frames and more
  • Less waste — smaller lead margin compared to other brands, for up to 60% less lead margin waste
  • Large built-in memory — store up to 30 self-created label designs
  • Prints up to two lines of text — more space for you to add specialty frames or symbols to enhance your design
  • Easy to apply — automatically printed with a split back for easy and fast peeling
  • Whisper quiet — prints labels without distracting those around you
  • Iron-on labels — durable, machine-washable iron-on labels can be applied to almost any fabric in just seconds
  • Carrying case included — stores the LW-300 printer, two cartridges, six AAA-sized batteries (not included) and optional AC Adapter (not included)
My thoughts about the Epson LabelWorks Iron-on Label Kit: 
  • It is SO easy to use! As long as you know how to press buttons, you can use this. 
  • I like the selection of fonts and icons to make personalization better. This is great if your kid is involved in sports or different activities/clubs. 
  • It is super quiet and I love the cutting feature. You have minimal waste which means more labels. 
  • I think this would be great for sports' teams since their jerseys or tees are all the same. You can even include an email address if the item has been found, so it can be returned. That's the beauty of being able to personalize 100%.  

  •  Ironing the label on is so simple and it really holds up to washing. 

  • If you have multiple children who sometimes have the same color garments, this is a great way for them to find which one belongs to them. It also lessons any stress or arguments :) 
Overall, I really recommend this nifty little machine. It's very useful and practical. It's great for parents, business owners or teachers. The unit retails for $69.99 and can be purchased online at the Epson store. I think it's a great gift idea for the upcoming holiday season. Be sure to connect with Epson on Facebook and Twitter for product updates and promotions. 

I received a unit for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own as always. 


Extra Crispy Chicken Wings from your oven (Recipe)

With football and basketball season in full force, we reach for our game food favorites. One thing that we must have for the Superbowl or NBA Finals is chicken wings. We love them cooked almost any way, but absolutely can't resist a crispy fried wing. The problem is, I do not like to fry. I fry *maybe* three times a year. I just don't like the house, our furniture or my hair smelling like fried food. I have been baking wings in the oven for years and finally found a way to make them so crisp, you would think they were deep-fried. The secret is Dijon mustard. 
I take my washed and dried chicken wings and season them with my favorite spices and seasonings, except for salt. I add a couple tablespoons of Dijon mustard (this is why I don't add salt) and toss the wings to coat evenly. I spray non-stick cooking spray on a broiler pan/drip pan and lay my wings out in an even layer. I put them in my preheated oven on 375 and use the convection setting. I let them get very brown and crisp. It takes about 35 minutes. If you don't have a convection oven, you may need to flip wings over once for even browning. The end result is perfectly crispy chicken wings. My family enjoys them and I like the fact that I can cook a lot of them at one time. Enjoy!

Smooth Fitness Treadmill Update #SmoothBlogger #spon

I am participating in a campaign as a Smooth Fitness Ambassador and will be reviewing a treadmill from Smooth Fitness in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts/opinions expressed are always my own.

It has been about 4 months now since my Smooth Fitness 5.65 treadmill entered my life. I have to say that things have changed a lot. I haven't felt as good as I have been in a very long time. I almost feel like I time traveled backwards and a 26 year old resides inside of me. Having the convenience of a state-of-the-art piece of exercise equipment inside my home has been my ticket to better overall health and well-being.
Before becoming a Smooth Fitness Ambassador, I never made exercise a priority. It was always such a hassle to arrange the time, find a place and even the motivation to dedicate to fitness. My treadmill has helped me to stop making excuses and start making myself better. Each night I make my plans for the next day. I actually look forward to starting my day off with a brisk jog. I am in no way one of those moms that run 4-6 miles a day. I don't think I can handle that much and realize that it is okay. I set simple goals for myself and make them more challenging each week. Some mornings I may only do a mile or a mile and a half as well as some stretching and light weights. My goal is to feel better and have more energy. I have to say. I have certainly reached that goal! If I miss a workout for 2 days, I will know it and feel badly about it. Exercise has become a habit for me! 
If you are considering purchasing a treadmill for your home, I highly suggest any of the ones that Smooth Fitness offers. It is a great investment and on to this day, I snicker as I pass by the health club we were paying big money for in the past. Of course, you can't beat being able to "ugly sweat" in the privacy of your own home, no matter the weather! I know our treadmill will get used and abused this summer since the girls will be out of school.

Be sure to check out Smooth Fitness on the web, Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their line of treadmills and elliptical machines. I want to extend a huge thank you to Smooth Fitness for having me as a brand ambassador. My family loves the machine and we look forward to staying healthy and fit for life!
Shelly, Mom Files


Vollyeball, elections and cupcakes

I have to apologize for my lack of personal posts. My life has been consumed with obligations but most importantly, my family. The girls just finished up their volleyball season which allows me to have a little more free time. It was bittersweet for both girls. They did not win very many games but did play exceptionally well compared to the previous years. Chardie is an emotional wreck because her high school volleyball years are officially behind her. She wanted it all to be over, yet she will miss it. Brie had a hard time losing so many of their games but felt great winning the last game against their old coach. It was such a sweet victory for them. I have to say that Brie played amazingly all season long. She has so much talent and it was so cool seeing the two girls play together.

It is crazy that they girls are 16 and 18 now. Brie has outgrown all of us in height and is so mature. My baby girl has grown up and the next stop will be driving. She has not been very enthusiastic about driving like most teens would be, but she is ready now. It feels weird to say that I am mother to an adult child. The good thing is Chardie was in no rush to turn 18 and says she doesn't see what the big deal is. She will be voting in the election next month and is excited to do so. I still can't get over that! Speaking of election, I can't wait for it to be over! I know everyone has their views and opinions but social media makes you want to throw up with it in your face 24/7. I won't lie, I have had to unfollow and unfriend some people that got way too out of hand. Regardless of which way it goes there will continue to be unhappy people. I do have to say that this is the funniest thing I have seen all week!
I'm so sorry, I couldn't help myself!

Another thing that happened recently that has nothing to do with anything is I purchased some new kitchen gadgets. I have been baking and cooking since before I was a teenager and have never owned cake decoration supplies or cupcake transporters. How on earth do you have children in school for over a decade and not have anything to carry your cupcakes in? I have baked hundreds of cupcakes over the years and can't remember how I was sending them to school. I also have been wondering why I have never had icing bags with the piping tips. I am now officially obsessed with making pretty cupcakes. I do need to play around with the different tips to learn how to make more designs. I made this gorgeous cupcakes recently to sell at the girls' Dig Pink volleyball game to raise money for breast cancer.
They were white cake with homemade cream cheese frosting that I tinted to make pink. Pretty, huh? Speaking of baking, I am so excited about all the baking that will be going on in my kitchen over the course of the next few months. I have already made a wish list of some things I want to have to make my baking experiences better. Can't wait!

What's going on with you?
Shelly, Mom Files

A priceless moment in a girl's life

This past Friday, our daughter Chardonnay was crowned the 2012 Richland Northeast High School Homecoming Queen. It was such an exciting night for our family and certainly will be treasured forever! Check out the super short video clip (start at 9:54). There were lots of tears and smiles!

Waiting to be called down to get in place to walk out onto the field at half-time. 

Patiently waiting with her Papo. He looks like security! 

The introduction of the girls that were running for Homecoming Queen and their dad/escort. 

The crowning. She was in tears! Even her little sister cried.  

Me and my girl! 
Shelly, Mom Files

Keep track of all things Olympics 2012

For those of you following the Olympics this year, I wanted to share these great widgets with you. It is a great tool to help you keep track of what events are going at and what is coming up as well as news, videos and medals. You can share them via your social sites if you please. I know I especially love the first one so I can know when my favorite events are coming up! Enjoy :)


Shelly, Mom Files

On-the-Go with D.O. Field Day

**Contest Closed** 
Winner is Lala! Congratulations!!

Hey guys! You might recall a post I wrote a few weeks back introducing you to David Oliver. If you are not familiar with who he is, you can check out the post here.

I wanted to let you all know that Coke is teaming up with the U.S. Olympic Hurdler David Oliver, to bring a deserving school a field day to celebrate togetherness and physical activity. Parents and students will be brought together with fun events such as an egg toss to sack races—with David cheering you on every step of the way! How cool is that? Can you imagine how crazy all the kids, parents and school staff would go?! Take a peek at the short video clip here.

There is an amazing Sweepstakes promotion being featured on the My Coke Rewards site where you can enter your MCR points to gain entries for your school to get the fun Field Day with David Oliver.  Schools will receive 1 Sweepstakes entry for every 3 Points. The Points used to enter the School into the Sweepstakes will be donated to the School's account. Non-registered Schools that receive entries but fail to register for the program before the conclusion of the Promotion Period will not be eligible to win a prize in this Sweepstakes. To enter on behalf of a School, during the Promotion Period (ends 8/21) and follow the links and instructions to log in to your My Coke Rewards Account, if you already have one. If you are not yet a My Coke Rewards member, follow the onscreen directions to become one. Then, follow the links and instructions to enter the School of your choice into the David Oliver Sweepstakes. It is very easy to sign up and even easier to donate points. I had about 85 points in my account and donated them all to my kids' school. 

Guess what? My Coke Rewards would like to fly out one very lucky Momfiles reader and a guest to go attend the field day event at the winning school {valued at approximately $2000}! This means you get to experience the field day with David and the kids, and do an in-person interview! Are you all excited? I know I am! 

To enter (Mandatory) answer the question in the Rafflecopter widget. Once you do that, you can unlock additional entry methods. a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on August 12, 2012. Please follow all rules or your entries will be disqualified. Be sure to leave an email address in the event you win, I need a way to contact you. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be awarded to an alternate winner. Momfiles in not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

Disclosure: I am receiving compensation for promoting this Sweepstakes. All opinions are always 100% mine. 

Shelly, Mom Files
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