Friday, April 26, 2013

3 Bizarre Hotels the Kids Would Love!

Although we haven't made plans for a trip somewhere amazing for a while, there is another way to let the wonders of the world take you and the kids away for a moment.

No, maybe you do not have the ability to pack your bags and run to a land far away, but you can sit at the computer with the kids and show them some of the most bizarre looking hotels around the world. Take an online trip with your family!

Or maybe, just maybe, you're really looking for a cool place to take your children during their vacation. Maybe this was your year to take that fabulous, unique family vacation. If that's the case, I envy you!

Anyhoo...Here are 3 of the most bizarre hotels that we could find around the world to show your children when you're all antsy to take a vacation:

1. Utter Inn - Stockholm, Sweden - We you ever imagine that this was actually a hotel?

Well, this isn't the actual hotel, because the majority of the actual Utter Inn is underwater. Yes, below this cute little red shack that reminds me of ice fishing, the guests will enjoy the following comfort:

Created by Mikael Genberg, artist and sculptor, the Utter Inn puts people who love to be on the lake for activities, like water sports, right in the middle of the lake. There's more of a comforting, homey feeling to the Inn, so don't expect the Ritz. If you choose to stay at this hotel, you will be transferred to it in a boat and your first impression will be the kitchenette and a small dining area in the red shack that is above the water. Surrounding the red shack is a small deck that guests can enjoy the views of the lake from. Underwater is where the guests will sleep, in a human sized aquarium.

Don't be alarmed when the boat driver stops the boat, drops you and your family off, and drives away only to leave you and the family members you are staying with alone. There won't be any bellhops, no receptionists, and no room service, however you can elect to order a dinner that is delivered by boat. Unfortunately, the Utter Inn does not have enough room for our humongous family - we'd have to leave most of the kids home and that's no fun! - because there are only two twins beds for sleeping arrangements.

While the Utter Inn offers a unique experience, it doesn't look all that comfortable, but you won't have to worry about noise from other guests at this hotel, because you will be the only ones.

2. The Capsule Inn - Japan

Now, if I'm going to take my family to one of the most unique and crazy hotels in the world, it would not be The Capsule Inn in Japan. I'm just sayin'...

And here's why:

For the record, this is where you sleep, in these little holes in the walls. It almost makes me think of coffins and I highly doubt I would get a good night's rest in them. Plus, there would be strangers sleeping - and snoring! - right next to you or down the hallway...not my idea of comfort!


3. Free Spirit Spheres - Vancouver Island, Canada

Of course, not everyone can make it to Sweden or Japan, so we looked around Canada and we found the Free Spirits Spheres on Vancouver Island. You will walk on the 5 acre property to a staircase that is wrapped around a tree, and then climb the stairs to your "hotel room" that looks like this:

On the inside of this strange looking cabin (or pod, as they call it) in the woods, you will find a cozy place to stay, suspended between 10 and 15 feet in the air. One is cedar, one is spruce and one is made of fiberglass.

 Inside will be a double bed, a microwave, and a refrigerator. And, even though you will be out in the woods, far away from civilization, each of the three pods also has an iPod docking station in it. Don't be surprised if the pod sways on a windy day.

Cool, huh? I hope you spend a moment sharing these cool places with your kids! And, if you actually get to visit one (or ever been in the past), I would love to hear about your experience! Happy travels!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Letting Your Child Fail... To Succeed

I always say that our job as parents is to make sure that are children are successful in life. Of course, it's up to us, as parents, to figure out exactly how to raise a child to be successful.

There's something that you might not know about parenting and successful children. And that includes letting your child fail, because failure teacher your children how to handle difficult situations on their own and also how to learn from them...

And if you think about it, the more we fail,  the more we learn techniques to help us become more successful. Right?

If you want to raise your child so that he or she has character,  strength,  and is eventually successful in their life,  LET THEM FAIL! (And then be there to help pick them back up.)

Now, this may sound like brutal parenting,  but take a look at how your children have learned over the years. Let's talk about little Sally. Little Sally started out as a newborn who didn't know how to talk or walk or do anything.  You had to do everything for her, right? Now,  because little Sally fell down a million times and  mispronounced word a million times,  she was actually failing and learning.

I know it's actually kind of a negative way of looking at things. But, it is honestly the way that things work with us humans.

Let's fast forward, a few years from now when little Sally is interested in sports or maybe a part in a school play.  What do you do if she doesn't get the part that she tried out for or make the sports team? What do you do if she makes a sports team but cannot hit,  pass,  or catch the ball to save her life?

This is where you need to let her failures teach her how to succeed.  Encourage her to try it again next time around but most importantly, we need to teach our children how to overcome their anxieties about failing. And we need to teach them that failing is okay as long as we learn from it.

But, how do we do this?

Let's look at this concept from a different perspective.

Why We Don't Want Our Kids to Fail

First of all, it's understood that it hurts us as parents when our children fail. Not necessarily because we need them to succeed or it makes us feel like failures as parents, but more so because it hurts them when they fail. And, what hurts our children hurts us.

We want them to succeed at everything, because then they will feel good about themselves.

But, setting your child up to succeed all the time by only permitting them to do what they will obviously succeed up can also be setting them up to fail. What do I mean by this? You're going to help your child select classes in school that you feel like they will get an A in, rather than choosing challenging courses that there's a chance they will fail.

Two psychologists, Dan Kindlon and Madeline Levine have studied these concepts. They wrote that people who were overprotected by their parents are more likely to experience difficulties during their teenage years and young adulthood when they were confronted with real life problems. These people are not accustomed to finding solutions to problems, because their parents always solved problems for them or kept them from facing failure, therefore they struggle with handling problems on their own.

Does this mean that we have to set up our children to fail so they can become successful?

Essentially, yes. Whenever anyone attempts to do something that they have never done, something that they are not familiar with, there is always a chance of failure. Right?

Here's what we need to remember: we will be right there beside them when they fail to teach them how to overcome the feelings that are associated with failing and we can teach them how to deal with the feelings and use the experience to learn from.

It's called...character building. And, believe it or not, failing is one of the best ways to build character, if used correctly.

As a matter of fact, a local psychologist here in Buffalo, NY, Mark Seery, led a team of psychologists here at the University of Buffalo in some research regarding these concepts. This group of researchers found that when adults have grown up without - or with very little - adversity in their lives, they ended up less confident and satisfied in their lives, as opposed to people who had been through some 'rough times' in childhood. It sounds a bit backwards from what we would expect, but these researchers suggested that overcoming obstacles “could teach effective coping skills, help engage social support networks, create a sense of mastery over past adversity, [and] foster beliefs in the ability to cope successfully in the future.”

So, although we want to protect our children from the hurts and ouchies in life, we also have to let them experience some of them. Now, I'm not saying that you should stand back and let your child suffer with bad decisions and mistakes, while pointing the finger and saying, "I told you so!"

On the contrary, although you "let" your child fail, you also are going to be there for them when they find their back against the wall or their face flat on the floor. Talk to your child, ask them what they could have done better. How would they handle the situation in the future? 

Turn every failure into a learning lesson.

Don't fear letting your child fail, because it is good for them. Let them try new things, let them experience the let downs in life. Just be there for them when they fall, help them dust their jeans off, and remind them that every failure helps them learn something new about themselves, the world that they live in, and life in general. 
Failing is okay, as long as you learn something from it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Let's Call It As It Is: It Isn't About Anti or Pro Choice! (The Kermit Gosnell Trial)

Have you heard of this monster? His name is Kermit Gosnell. And, he's on trial right now for some of the most heinous murders I've personally ever heard of.

Monster Kermit Gosnell

Chances are, you've either just heard of him recently or you have never heard of him at all. There are reasons for this, and I'm going to tell it like it is.

I've spent a large amount of my past few days thoroughly reading the 281 page grand jury report for this trial. (Thankfully, with my new Samsung Galaxy 3, I can read the pdf while I'm doing other things).

I have experienced a plethora of emotions while reading the unbelievable details behind this story. Disbelief, anger, outrage, name it, I felt it. Confusion...

Let's pretend that you haven't heard about this trial and this murderer who is facing the death penalty right now. And, I'm going to pretend that you haven't heard about him, because it was only just recently that news stories have been popping up, only AFTER decades of heinous practices that were swept under the rug by Department of State and the Health Department of Pennsylvania. Yes, swept under the rug.

Because there were numerous complaints over the years of terribly unsanitary conditions in his abortion clinic, which had an upstanding sounding name - the Women's Medical Society. However, this place was a House of Horrors type abortion clinic with unsanitary conditions that included fetal remains in jars and bags and freezers, obviously improperly stored and disposed of. Medical instruments were dirty and rusty, and were grotesquely used on patient after patient, spreading venereal diseases from one girl to the next.

But, the lack of cleanliness was just the bottom of the bucket.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was a careless money monger. It was all about the money for him. He had his staff, which consistent of absolutely NO doctors or medical assistants - well, let's just say none that went to school and received their degrees. Apparently, he had two "doctors" who wore nametags that said doctor, and acted as doctors, but didn't have the credentials. He knew this and the staff knew this, yet they all treated these "docs" as real doctors; they wrote up diagnoses, administered drugs, you name it.

And, that's not the worst. Dr. (and I use the term loosely here) Gosnell performed illegal, late term abortions.   We're talking 30 week gestational pregnancies and beyond!

But, even that's not the worst of it!

I mentioned that he was "all about the money". This is what I mean...

Basically, he would have his staff at the Women's Medical Society give the women who came in for abortions labor inducing drugs in the morning. He didn't want a bunch of loud, screaming women, so he also instructed the staff to give the women drugs to sedate them, quite often sedating them into stupors. He often didn't even come into the clinic until the evenings, when most of the abortions had already been completed.

And, you're going to have to read other news stories, or maybe the grand jury report, to find out how they "took care of" the babies that were delivered alive. (For me, it's just too gruesome to even publish on Mommy Rantings. I'm not into the whole "If it bleeds, it leads" thing.) And, the majority were born alive. So, they had to be killed. That's murder.

But, the murders that he is on the chopping block for were more than just the babies. Mothers died in his hands, too. He left fetal remains in mothers, passed STD's between them, and killed at least a couple of the women who simply went in to have an abortion performed.

Like I said in the title, this isn't about anti abortion or pro-choice. It's simply not. When it all boils down, the numerous complaints about this doctor and the Women's Medical Society were swept under the rug for another reason. I'm about to get to that in a moment.

Before I explain why I think that this man has been "getting away with murder" since 1979, I am also going to talk about the other side of his business, the actual thing that brought him to his demise. It was the prescription drug business that he was running. Apparently, people could walk in off the street and purchase a script at the Women's Medical Society without any medical reason. Kermit Gosnell left blank scripts that were already signed for anyone who walked in and paid for them. This was his cash cow, bringing in hundreds of thousands per year for him.

THIS is why authorities finally decided to close the shady business he was running down. NOT because of the complaints that arrived at the Department of State or the Health Department about women who died at the hands of this man, the unsanitary conditions, the perforated colons and uteri that had to be seen at other doctors in local area hospitals after botched procedures.

So, why was this man allowed to get away with murder for decades? 

Sadly, he ran his clinic in Philly and the majority of his clientele were black or hispanic and they were poor. Don't hate me for saying it. If his clinic was run in the beautiful, rich suburbs and most of his clientele were wealthy Caucasian women, do you think he would have gotten away with such filth since 1979? The answer is no.

Now, don't get me wrong. He did cater to some suburban white women, only on Sundays, and he and his wife were the only ones that did those procedures. And, I'm sure he took really good care of these women, or at least paid very special attention to these abortions. These were the ones that he took seriously.

It was all about the money. No client was too young...and no baby was too far along in the pregnancy.

I can just see the anti abortion and the pro choice groups using this trial as an example why their opinions are right. But, I can mostly see anti abortionists shouting out about this, talking about how all abortion clinics should be shut down because these crimes never would have happened if abortion was illegal. And I say, "No way!" I believe these crimes still would have occurred and they also would have been overlooked even if it was illegal, because the man was getting away with all kinds of illegal stuff anyways, behind the front of the Women's Medical Society.

Not the Women's Abortion Clinic. And, when the facts all boiled down, regardless of the illegal nature of his business, Kermit Gosnell got away with murder until his illegal prescription business, not the deaths of women or babies, was discovered.

Wake up call, America! It's not about pro choice or anti abortion! It's about money. It's about sweeping heinous crimes under the carpet for decades because...why? It's about state agencies turning their backs on the women they should have been protecting from this monster! It's about the babies that were born alive and killed heartlessly without a second thought about their life!

Let's call it like it is.

Friday, April 12, 2013

EdenFantasys Lelo Flickering Touch Massage Oil - Review

If there's anything in the world that I love almost as much as my children, it's a massage from my husband. (If you're not getting them, you're not buying the right products!)

I bet the chances are that you'll get one with my favorite massage oils from EdenFantasys. I've had the opportunity to try out some of the best massage oils in the past few years while working with EdenFantasys, and I've used every single one of them as an excuse to get a massage. (Of course, if having the product in hand and asking nicely doesn't work, I recommend giving the massage first...give and you might receive.)

This time, I got to check out Lelo Flickering Touch Massage Oil, the Fresh Lily & Musk one.

For me, it's the scent, the consistency, how it glides, and how it feels on my skin. Lelo Flickering Touch Massage Oil passed most of my tests with flying colors. The consistency and glide factor are perfect, much like most of my other favorite massage oils in the EdenFantasys shop. On the skin, it stays slick enough for a long lasting massage, but doesn't leave your skin greasy. It actually moisturizes very well.

The scent, a light flowers in the meadow kind of smell that comes from the fresh lily mixed with a light musk, didn't impress me much. I love, love, LOVE this massage oil that smells like bananas and another one that has a cinnamon spice smell - that's what I like to smell when I'm getting those melt-your-body-down-to-a-gel-form massages that my husband so amazingly delivers. :) But, this lily and musk didn't really hit the spot for me.

I will say that, in all fairness to a product that is perfect in every other way, I ran the smell past my husband and he seemed to like it, because it was light and flowery, almost a powdery light scent, in his opinion. He's the one that said it smelled like lightly scented flowers in the meadow, maybe with a little fresh air.

With a price tag of $38.99 for a 4 oz. bottle, you would think that it was made with gold! Right? Funny thing is, the packaging boasts "exquisite oils with 24-Karat gold flakes to lend an eye-catching shimmer". We first used Lelo at night, so it was difficult to see the shimmer, even with the help of lighting from my hubby's iPhone.

But, in the morning, I tried it out again. And, sure enough, there were teeny tiny gold flakes in the oil. This was actually one of the characteristics that changed my mind about the Lelo Flickering Touch Massage Oil, the 24-karat gold flakes. That makes a product worth its weight in gold! There isn't an obvious shimmer on the skin once it's rubbed in unless you use a whole lot of the product, but between the gold flakes and the way that this oil it made to absorb into the skin without leaving a greasy doesn't leave you desiring much more.

My most favorite thing about the massage oils that I have reviewed from EdenFantasys is the fact that most are made with only natural ingredients (at least the ones that are on my "favorites" list are). That's what I want on my skin! So, yes, the bottles are a bit on the expensive side, but it's not like you're paying for a bunch of liquid from who knows where. For example, the Lelo Flickering Touch oil is made of apricot kernel oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, perfume, and gold powder (mica, iron oxide, gold).

On a five star scale, I would give the Lelo Flickering Touch Massage Oil in Fresh Lily and Musk scent a 4 1/2 stars, and the loss of half a star is only because I'm still trying to get used to the scent. I would categorize it in the high-end category for massage oils. 

Have you tried any good massage oils lately? Which ones are your favorites?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bonding Over Beauty - Book Review

Things have changed since we were teenagers. That's no surprise, because every generation of moms and daughters experiences the same thing - change. Somehow, as moms of tween and teen girls, we have to figure out how to finagle past these changes and create lasting bonds so that our girls trust us and come to us, rather than their friends, for girl-talk and advice.

That's where Bonding Over Beauty by Erika Katz comes in. And, she doesn't just give moms a list of different activities that they can do with their daughters to bond with them, she has every sensitive topic and evrey beauty question covered in her book. From hair washing and trimming to shaving, dilapidating, waxing and tweezing to talking about menstrual cycles and that scary 3-letter S-word. These are just a few of the topics that Erika Katz has covered in her over 200 page book.

Additionally, you will find intricate details that help the not-so-beauty-inclined moms better understand how to do pedicures, make-up, hair, and skincare and help their daughters learn how to handle beauty issues in the most appropriate ways.

Then, of course, as promised, Erika Katz has included hundreds of beauty and other activities that we can use to create a lasting bond with our daughters. One example is to treat your daughter to an at-home spa experience.

What I also liked about Bonding Over Beauty were the pages with charts or definition boxes. They break up the reading and are great additions to the book. For example, one page has "Need To Know" definitions of the following words: Aromatherapy, Aromatic essence, Absolute essence, Aromatic oil, Diffuser, Spritz bottles, Wicker baskets. Another page has a chart with the headings "Not Great" and "Ideal". In the "Not Great" column, there are examples of food and drinks that are...well, not great for you and your daughter's skin, such as soda, juice drinks, chocolate milk, sports drinks. Then, in the "Ideal" column, seltzer, water, fresh juices, whole milk, rice milk, and almond milk are listed as the ideal alternatives for healthy skin.

You can tell that a lot of thought was put into this book over a long period of time. The thing that I like the most about Bonding Over Beauty is that although it is written in a voice that is addressing you, the mom, it's not written in a way that makes you feel like you can't sit down and share it with your daughter.

Although things have changed since we were tweens and teens, there are things that never change, like our daughters' needs for mom-daughter bonding time and age-old beauty routines that will never be outdated, as long as moms and daughters exist. Bonding Over Beauty reminds us of the many different ways we can build and accentuate that bond that lasts a lifetime between mom and daughter.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Potty Mouth Mommies

Our kids learn a lot from us, and that includes mimicking our choice of "naughty bad words". You might be a stand-up parent, attend every school function, and you might even be President of the PTA, but we're betting that you've used one of the words on our naughty non-no bad word list here at least once in front of your children!

We're not even talking about curse words, swear words, or whatever you might call the worst of the worst bad words that you can use. We're talking about regular potty words that you may even find in the dictionary that carry negative connotations that we don't want our children running around saying.

Of course, you already know that if mom has a potty mouth, kids are going to be more inclined to let them slip out of their mouths, too. Along with our list of (non swear-word) naughty no-no words, we will give you some pointers to help you steer your children away from saying these words, both in the immediate moment and in the future.

Naughty bad words (and phrases) that should cost you and your kids 25 cents:

1) God/Jesus/Jesus Christ - These words, unless the children are talking about what they heard in church, learned in religion class, or heard when they were watching Joel Olsteen on the television, should be off limits, not used in vain. We all know better! Even if you're an athiest or part-time Christian, hearing one of these sacred words coming out of a child's mouth should be like scratching nails down a chalkboard. "Gosh", "golly", "goodness" are all perfect substitutes that you can use and encourage your children to use.

2) Hate - "Hate" is a strong word. It takes some deep seeded anger and emotion to hate someone or something. Honestly, it's best that we don't let ourselves get to the point that we "hate" someone or something. It's better to "strongly dislike" someone or something. Or "really not like" it. There's enough hate in this world without our kids learning to hate, too.

3) Freakin' or Fricken' - We parents know that these words are actually replacements for the well-known f-bomb. But, it's become cute to use them, and our teenagers and tweens have caught onto these bad word replacements, too. It's not too cute, though, when a little two year old says, "Freakin'" or "Fricken'", though, especially in context. Well, maybe it's kinda cute the first time, know what we mean!

4) Shut Up - Where do they hear these things? Anyways, there are a lot of ways to get your point across with words and "Shut up" is one of the meanest ways of saying what you are trying to say. Sure, you might mean "Shut up!", but wouldn't it be nicer and more adult-like if you raised your voice and said, "Quiet the noise level!" or "I mean it! Quiet down!" or "This is my last warning! Lower the volume!" Certainly, our vocabulary is expanded past two word instructions and demands.

5) Stupid or Dumb - These are words with a purpose...and the purpose is to be hurtful or negative. There's enough negativity in this world, and kids running around saying, "You're stupid" or "Your brother is dumb" doesn't make this negativity any better. Here, it is helpful to talk about feelings and let your child talk about their feelings, because these words are usually used when a child is upset. Instead of "This game is stupid (or dumb)!", it's usually "This game is really upsetting me, because I have to keep starting over!"

6) Fart - In my house, the little kids think that the f-word is "fart" (the older kids know the true f-word, but I have never heard them say it.) Fart isn't a nice word. It's just not. For us moms, just saying the word "fart" is simply not ladylike now, is it? And, it's not nice for our kids to say it, either. Nobody really wants to hear a kid say, "I farted". Nor do they want to hear: "Mom! You just farted!". Point made.

7) What the...??? (Pronounced "What thuh?") - Hearing this incomplete question really bothers me, because what it really means is "What the hell?!?", the bad word phrase substitution of "What in the world?". I mean, what's wrong with that? Why did we have to change it to another place? What in the world was fine as is.

8) What. - This "bad word" pretty much feel into this category because it is so disrespectful. No matter which way this word is used, "What." "What?" "What!" "Whuht?", it never never carries an air of respect. Here's an example. (I won't mention names). One of my dear children will respond with, "What????" when you confront him about something. This, in other words, means, "What the hell do you mean?" or "Why the hell are you accusing me?" Then, there are the times when someone wasn't paying attention to your conversation, they say, "What?" instead of, "Oh, I missed that. Could you repeat it?". Or, someone says something surprising, and the other person respnds, "What!", rather than "Really?". Or, how about you call your child's name and they respond, "What?"! None of it, I repeat, none of it sounds respectful. Whatever happened to, "Yes, Ma'am" or even "Yes, Mom"?

9) Crap - What exactly does a child need to yse the word "crap" for? As in "I took a crap" or "This music is crap."? Either way, the connotation of this word goes right back to the S-word, and that's not okay. Crap is an unecessary word. It's just not nice no matter how it's used. Whatever happened to poop, doo-doo, or even the proper bowel movement? There's no reason to use "crap" as a word.

10) Fat/Ugly (and other negative adjective words) - You know where they picked it up, don't pretend you don't know. Somewhere along the line, you called someone "fat" or "ugly" or even the meaner combination of the two words, "fugly". Anyways, I probably don't even have to go into any explanations or reasoning on this one. Fat and ugly are mean-hearted words. They don't have anything nice that comes along with them. They should be banned, along with all of the other mean and nasty adjectives that hurt people's feelings.

What words are on the naughty list in your house?

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