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8 Kids Activities for World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day is today November 13th and with bullying, at an all-time high, I thought I would post activities for our kids to help them recognize World Kindness Day.  I personally find a day to remind ourselves to be kind of silly. Shouldn’t we be kind to one another every day? But maybe there is some necessity to the day with all of the divisiveness and hatred out there these days, especially on social media.  So here are 8 quick and easy (the SCMom Way) kindness activities to help kids recognize World Kindness Day…

Blessing Bags

If you are “thrifty” like me you keep all of those tiny bottles of bathroom goodies when you travel. And they quickly accumulate under your sink, well Blessing Bags are the answer.  Once a year I have my kiddos go thru and bundle bags of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, razors, the bathroom basics.  Then we add a snack and water and a couple of bucks to each bag and we drop off to homeless people.  I prefer to drop the bags off with my kids than take to a shelter because I like my kids to speak and meet people.  It helps them to realize that the homeless are people too and we are no different than they are.  And before anyone fires off hate mail, no I do not do this alone nor I do not put my kids in any danger. This is a great life experience for your nuggets.

8 Kids Activities for World Kindness Day
Putting together our Blessing Bags

Volunteer

Teach your kids to give back to the community at a young age.  Instill this valuable lesson early on and it will be a habit that they will carry on into their adult lives.  Some volunteer ideas for kids can be done at a local library by restacking books on a Saturday for a few hours, cleaning cages at a local animal rescue or serving food at a homeless shelter.  8 Kids Activities for World Kindness Day

Give Thanks

This is a quick, easy and free way for your little to show gratitude, especially useful nearing Thanksgiving.  Have your kiddo create a handmade thank you card for a service person in the military, a fireman/woman/ person on the police force, or anyone that serves our community.  When they are done with their creation take them to present it to the recipient!

8 Kids Activities for World Kindness Day

 

Sibling Rivalry

If your house is anything like mine there is constant bickering with the kiddos…” mom she lost my shirt,” …”mom, he’s in my room”…” mom, she killed my fish!” (true story) So to quell that for about five minutes have your kiddos write the lunch box notes the night before unbeknownst to all the others.  The next day at lunch they will all get little surprise notes from each other in their lunch boxes!  FYI a word of advice though, you might want to supervise the note writing just in case you catch one of the authors in a particularly bad mood writing hate notes (another true story.)

“An Apple a Day!”

We all know we wouldn’t trade a day in the life of the teachers who deal with our kids every day.  So why wait for Christmas or Teacher Appreciation Day to show them the love? Shower them with appreciation old school with a granny smith and a cute handwritten thank you note by your kiddo “counting the ways” they love their class.  It will make their day of dealing with kids eating buggars and sassing so worth it! 8 Kids Activities for World Kindness Day

 

Piggy Bank Challenge

This one is a hard one for the littles, but is a good lesson.  Decide on a portion of their piggy bank to donate to a local charity.   I also suggest taking them to donate it themselves to make the lesson more tangible to them.  If they do not have a piggy bank or rather an allowance maybe think about donating that week’s allowance and doing the same, donating to a charity of their choice and taking them with you to “make the drop.”

Make Housecalls

I’m guilty of this myself, underestimating the loneliness of my single older relatives and not going to visit enough.  I know this juju will come back around to me someday, unfortunately.  Grab your kiddo and go visit the senior in your life, if you don’t have one then stop by a senior center with your favorite nail polish to paint a senior’s nails or easy card game like Uno and spend some time there.  They will welcome your visit and enjoy the conversation.  (PS Check with the senior center first regarding visits) 8 Kids Activities for World Kindness Day

Color Kindness

Here is a Free coloring page I put together for you to print out and have your kiddo color and give to whomever their little heart’s desire for World Kindness Day or any other day of the year!! FREE Downloadable #worldkindnessday Coloring page

Do you have any cool kindness activities for kids? I’d love to hear about them in comments, shoot me your thoughts!

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 Married to a Bodybuilder

I wasn’t always married to a bodybuilder,  it just kind of happened. He fell in love with a hobby and a lifestyle developed. Now once or twice a year I share him with a gym, trainers, more trainers, and a world that I will never quite understand.

To be fair, he does come to me every time he wants to compete to discuss whether we can handle another physique competition, specifically our marriage.  After this last competition,  I told him I would divorce him if he did another show.   That was my visceral reaction after enduring another emotional roller coaster ride of competition season.  Was I serious?. At the time yes.  Now nine months since the last one,  nope.  He is eating like a human again and his horns have been filed back down.   So we will stay married and our marriage will survive to see another year. 

This article is not meant to be taken this the wrong way.  I am so very proud of my husband and the amount of discipline and dedication it takes to get your body down to 3% body fat.  My elbow fat doesn’t even get that low.  I’m at a cool 35% right now and I’m pretty content if I can reach into my closet and my “skinny jeans”  fit.  The purpose of this post is to shed some light of what the other half of the equation- the spouses go thru when married to an ultra-disciplined, boiled chicken eating, 3% fat kind of person.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Grocery Game

Expect to Purchase HUGE, as in astronomical amounts of chicken breast, tuna, spinach, and eggs for your spouse’s diet.  People will look at you sideways at the store when you throw 5 bags of chicken and frozen spinach in your cart.  Thank the lord self-checkout is now a thing. Shake n’bake will cease to exist along with any other “normal” way to prepare chicken. Now the only way you can prepare chicken is to boil and dry grill until it’s depleted of all flavor and deliciousness.  PS. Salt also becomes a bad word in your house, deserving of the death glare at times.

Married to a Bodybuilder

Seeing your Spouse in a New Light

Unfortunately, at some point, you WILL walk in on your spouse ( husband in my case)  shaving parts of his body you didn’t know needed shaving.  And yes, he will ask you to “get that spot he missed.”  You will walk away feeling conflicted and questioning if you will ever be able to look at your husband with the same longing ever again.  In addition, you will also wonder if you’re going to end up being one of those women whose husband had a lifestyle choice change halfway thru their marriage.

Posing- When you walk into your closet and find your hubby in a banana hammock doing his best Vogue impression and smiling like a serial killer.  Please resist the urge to laugh.  Trust me…lesson learned

Mood Swings

Your competitor will be the biggest a**hole in the world then turn on a dime.  They will have moments where they realize they have been devils and kiss the ground you walk on, just to flip again ten minutes later.  The moods will eventually have you questioning your own sanity.  When you ask what’s wrong, expect the usual growl of “FINE!”  The moodiness really isn’t their fault, Their bodies are basically eating themselves for fuel.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

The spouse will basically live at the gym,  which is OK at this point because as we discussed earlier, we really don’t want them around at this point anymore anyway.  Which leads me to my next subject SEX.  Their Testosterone levels are on overdrive, either because of supplementation or other reasons.  Therefore in addition to being moody little buggars, they are moody, hungry and randy.  You can either go with the flow and enjoy the ride (pun intended) or fight the good fight for the six months leading up to the big show.

Invest in Dark Linens

I so lovingly named my husband  George Hamilton (see pic)  By the time they get to show, they will eventually give “Tanning Mom” a run for her money! Invest in a pair of dark sheets, you’ll thank me later.  After the show and after all of the tanning applications, it takes days to wash off! 

Married to a Bodybuilder

Is it Worth it?

YES…despite all of the above reasons, it is worth it.  When it is all said and done and your spouse is on stage happily beaming with their overly white teeth you know it was all worth it.  Crying tears of joy and pride because that is your overly tanned lovey up there and they will be eating cheeseburgers and donuts with you shortly.

Update

Married to a Bodybuilder
He’s Number 90..

It is now September 30th, 2018 and my hubby is now training again for the Arnold 2019 in Ohio.  Just this week I bought my first haul of spinach, eggs, and chicken…Such is the life of the wife of a bodybuilder!  I will once again, be in the audience in March cheering him on!

For more Simply Complicated Mom Click HERE…

 

 

13 Creative Ways to Save Money on Homecoming!

Homecoming season is upon us, and it seems like every time I turn around I’m being told something needs to be purchased, rented or ordered for “Hoco” as it’s referred to now.  Homecoming these days can easily skyrocket into the hundred’s of dollars if you let it. I know this after experiencing the money drain twice  now, once with a son and one with my daughter.  After learning some valuable lessons, I have come up with 13 creative but  cool ways to save some money on homecoming!

How To Save Money on Homecoming

Save on Hair and Make-up

Glam Expenses can pile up! Here are a few ways to save some money on those hefty charges

  1. DIY your hair and make-up, by hosting your own in home Spa Day.  Last year I hosted 6 goofing and giggling girls who had a blast getting ready together.  They did each other’s hair and make-up and spent the entire afternoon together making memories.   Be “extra” and head to your local Marshalls or Tjmaxx and find some luxury face masks for all of the girls to indulge in for pennies on the dollar!
  2. Make-up- Video Tutorials!  Teen girls these days spend vast amounts of time watching these things.  I at times have found myself mesmerized by these time-lapsed addictive clips.  Just go onto youtube or pinterest and search homecoming or prom make-up and find a look you like and voila, easy peasy!  EXTRA HINT- Invest in some false eyelashes, like Ardell (my personal favorite) they will immediately glam up any look in seconds.
I found these on sale for $1 Reg $5.99!

 

Clothing-Look Smashing without Breaking the Bank

Here are three ways to look amazing on your special night without having to eat bologna sandwiches for a month!

  1. Scour the internet for dress for deals ( no-brainer)   This year I found not one but TWO dresses for my daughter online at Dillards in their clearance department.  Beware though there is a “no returns” policy on final clearance, but the deal was too good to pass up.  We now have her homecoming and her graduation dress both for $75 shipped.  They would have normally been over $300!
  2. If you don’t feel like taking the plunge or know that you’re daughter will never have the occasion to wear a formal dress again, try renting a dress.  There are several options out there for you. “Rent the Runway” is just one of the many online shops to do so.  (Honest Engine disclaimer-I have never ordered from Rent the Runway so I cannot speak for their quality)
  3. Be Thrifty!– Upscale Thrift Stores,  both Brick and Mortar and Online such as Uptown Cheapskate and Poshmark are great resources for formal dresses.

Say Cheese

Take your own Photos- You don’t have to be Annie Leibovitz or have a fancy camera to take good pics these days.  Many of today’s newer phones have just as many mp’s (megapixels) as the professional cameras.  Here are three tips for taking great tips of your teen!

  1. The Great Outdoors- Go outside and avoid shadows.  Overcast lighting is ideal, but Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor.  When outdoors always have the sun behind the photographer.
  2. If you have a newer phone, put that baby in portrait mode, tap to put the focus on the subjects face, and ALWAYS use the flash even if you think you don’t need it. That will help fill the shadows, that you don’t see now, but will show up later in the pics.
  3. Have an assistant help you to tell jokes, distract the subjects. Anything that will make the photos look natural, candid and not posed.  The photos that are of your kiddos goosing and giggling are infinitely better than those where your kiddos is posed and bent into ridiculously unnatural stances. P.S Use Burst to catch every second, you will find gems in that camera roll, I promise! 

For the Guys

Those Tux’s can get expensive, I know my son’s tux rental price tag was ridiculous. He’s still recovering from the embarrassing situation when I almost spit out my drink when the store employee informed me of the forthcoming tux rental total.  But, when I was there I saw teen after teen come in with a voucher for $$$ off their tux. I inquired a little too late,  lesson learned.  Here are the deets on this awesome money saving program from The Mens Wearhouse, so you can save;

Get Crafty!

Make your own Homecoming Mum!~Get the scissors and glue gun out and get crafty to save some money!  Here in Texas the mum game can get a little insane “Go big or go home,” being the anthem heard around campus’. So it’s no surprise that mums can go into the hundred of dollar range.  But all you have to do is google “homecoming mum diy” or check out pinterest HERE and you will hit the jackpot of mum instructional videos.

Another great resource for mums and do good at the same time is to purchase your mum at your school.  Our high school’s Parent Teacher Association makes and sells them.  The mum’s are a fraction of what you would pay at a mum retailer and proceeds go towards making your school a better learning environment, It’s a win-win!

Get a Lyft

Why stress out over the driving situation, and why spend the extra bucks on a limo or a party bus, when you can easily get a lyft?  Which btw, Party busses are now banned at some schools, for obvious reasons. A lyft is a safe alternative to your teen having to navigate a tenuous night as it is.  This is one less decision, they have to make.  And one less thing you have to stress out about.  You know that your teen not depending on another teen for a ride, or having to drive home after possibly having a drink (let’s keep it real folks.)

Chowing Down on the Cheap

Three different options for saving money on grub for homecoming are;

  1. Use your local savings program such as Groupon, or an Entertainment Book (tons of Restaurant Options)  to find dining deals near you.
  2. Host a “Fancy Potluck” dinner- if your teen is going with a group of other teens. Have each parent be responsible for a dish and pull out your best china.  The kids will love it, and how hard is it really to throw together a Ceasar salad or Buy Roasted Chicken’s from Sam’s Club and toss them on a serving tray (no one needs to know- think smarter not harder)
  3. Parents are usually the one’s in charge of making the reservations, at least in our group another mom and I have, so make them early.  When they have happy hour specials and take advantage of them.

No matter how much money you do or don’t end up spending at homecoming, remember your kiddos only get to do this a couple of times in their lives.  This stage in their life is fleeting, and pretty soon their lives will be encumbered with adult responsibilities, bills and other not fun stuff.  Try not to penny pinch the fun out of it 😉

Click here for more Money Saving Tips

 

 

 

Play-doh Deal Today up to 55% Off

Do your kiddos love Play-doh as much as my little one?  Well today Play-doh is one of the Daily Deals on Amazon, so grab some for your little, or future birthday gift, or maybe get some early holiday shopping done!

Here are a couple of the deals I found! There are so many more HERE

The Play-doh Magical Kitchen 54% off

Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer 51% off

 

For more daily deals click HERE…

FREE Fire Alarms and Inspector Steve

It all began weeks ago, I had been watching the local news when they had announced that our fire department was offering free fire alarms.  They had me at “free.”  I immediately dialed the number and left a message.  After about a week of playing phone tag (because yes I am one of those people who never answers their phone) we nailed down a FREE fire inspection for my home and installation of fire alarms.

How to score FREE Fire Alarms!
#epfd

 

Fast forward to my appointment with Fire Inspector Steve showing up at my home.  He quickly and so politely educated my ignorance to my homes weak spots and where we should place the fire alarm(s).

 

Fire Factoid #1–  Fire Alarms should be at the entrance to every bedroom! …Yikes, I had no idea!

Fire Factoid #2 – Keeping bedroom doors closed at night keeps a fire out of the bedrooms for 15-20 minutes which can save lives!… Guess what we now close our doors

 

 

How to score FREE Fire Alarms!e
#epfd

 

Inspector Steve ended up installing THREE FREE fire alarms yesterday, pointing out all of my homes fire risks and educating me about fire safety and escape routes.

I asked Inspector Steve how this program came about and if It was local or national.  He informed me that the National Red Cross funds this program.  In El Paso, you can call 311 for information.

In other parts of the country, you can call your local Fire Department or your Local Red Cross to find out if it is available in your neck of the woods. I did some research for you and in most states this program is available.  You just might have to do some digging.   I posted the Red Cross search engine for you below to get you started.

Don’t wait, until it’s too late!
Call Inspector Steve in EP at 311
or find your local Red Cross HERE…
Get your FREE fire alarms and inspection scheduled today!

How to score FREE Fire Alarms!

 

Click HERE for more money saving Tips…

How to Survive a Custody Battle

Most likely when you enter into a custody battle you have one thing on your mind…winning,  as did I when I went thru my divorce.  But winning isn’t everything. A custody battle is one of the most stressful live events you can endure, similar to that of a death of a loved one.  At times during my custody battle I wasn’t sure I could survive the stress. I eventually agreed to joint custody of my children because of the stress it was putting on my kids.  I made some mistakes along the way and I often see other parents unknowingly doing the same.

Understand while you read this I am in no way advocating one way or another joint or primary custody.  Especially in cases with abuse or extenuating circumstances. You do what is right for you and your situation.  Most importantly do what is right for your children who will live with this arrangement and the fallout from this divorce/battle for years.  If done sensibly and with the best interests of the children you can survive a custody battle with your spirit and your kids intact and successfully co-parent. I am here to give you a few tips to get you thru a custody battle as peacefully as possible.Surviving a Custody Battle~Tips to get you thru a Custody Battle

  •  Be humble- Realize your child’s love towards the other parent is priority over your disdain for that person. Don’t ever disparage the other parent in front of the children.  It will only distance the child from you in the long run.  In some states legally this is called Parental Alienation and can be used in obtaining custody.  It also will cause irrevocable psychological damage to the child. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  • Do not engage- If a soon to be ex-spouse is in the “redzone” (fighting, intolerable, engaging is unhealthy behavior) document it and hand it over to the attorney.  Do not participate in this behavior it only incites it.
  • Be your best self- Rally for your children.  This is when they need you the most.  You are feeling beat up right now and emotionally low so if that means taking more time for yourself or practicing self-care to be a better parent, do it. Do whatever it takes to give your kids the extra support.
  • Step Away from Social Media- I recently had to  watch couple friends of mine go thru a custody battle in which they both posted daily tirades about each others lack of parenting skills with colorful vocabulary.  The entire time wondering if they we’re not aware that once it’s out there IT’S OUT THERE FOREVER.  Their 9 year old will eventually  see all of that slander.  Don’t do it, just don’t. This behavior will backfire and you will regret it.
  • Ignore Outside Influence- You will receive good advice and bad advice.  You will have bitter friends that have an ax to grind for some reason and will try to influence you, step away from toxicity.  You want people around you that encourage you to be strong, be your best self and be happy. Also realize you will lose some friends.  Some friends go with you, some with the other spouse.  It’s just the way it is, whomever is supposed to be in your life is in your life.
  • Keep clear communication- During the separation it is always wise to document everything especially If you and your ex-spouse are in the “redzone” meaning you cannot communicate without fighting.  Find another way to communicate.  Whether that be texting, email or thru your attorney.  But keep it clear, concise and free of emotion. Always keep the kids aware of where they are going to be ahead of time, kids need consistency.  I created a calendar for myself, grandparents, ex and kids.  Every month I sent one out for everyone that was involved.  The calendar helped immensely and kept confusion and stress to a minimum.
  • Do not play the “Tin Can Phone Game”- Never use the children to communicate with the other partner.  It stresses out the kids, burdens them and exposes them to things they just don’t need to be a part of, especially finances.
  • Be effective productive loving Co-parents- Your children are learning by example. Do not undermine each other “just because.”  If a child is in distress or acting out present a united front, don’t disagree for the sake of disagreeing.   Realize the child’s best interest in the situation.  This is especially important at school functions, activities etc.  It always saddened me when my ex and I were in the redzone and our families would sit apart at their programs.  I would see their little faces bob from family to family, and after the programs the kids would have to “work the room” it seemed like. While saying all of their goodbyes.

Of course no two custody battles are the same.  These are  tips to help with avoiding as much conflict as possible. I went thru a horribly messy divorce and custody battle. While made good decisions and bad, I learned some things along the way.  I hope these few things help other people going thru the same battle.

 

 

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