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REVIEW: The Book of Kringle

I know it’s too early for some of you to start thinking about Christmas, I can even hear your cries: C’mon Claire, we haven’t even made it to Halloween yet!  Well, I’m ready! I love Christmas and everything about it. I even decided to put on my Electronic Holiday radio station on Pandora to write this.

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SNEAK PEEK: Eat Like a Gilmore

I don’t know if we’ve mentioned our Gilmore Girls fanhood on the blog…well, now’s as good a time as any. Both Mallory and I might be a little Gilmore Girls obsessed. Mallory went to the pop-up Luke’s at 5:30 AM to stand in line for free Luke’s coffee. You can sell me on just about anything tangentially related to GG. So, when I heard there was a unofficial cookbook in the works called, Eat Like a Gilmore, I followed it on Facebook and Instagram.

eat-like-a-gilmore-cover

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Simple Halloween Snakes

I just love the beginning of Fall! It’s the kick-start to a season filled with creating and baking. Although, sometimes, the crafting and creating can get a little too advanced for the small hands and limited attention span of my toddler son. Luckily, FamilyFun Magazine sent us a variety of fun crafts to do with kids and I chose one to share with you that is practically fool-proof!

slithering-stairs

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Trick-Or-Treating Safety Tips

It seems every year we learn about new scary things that put us on the verge of keeping our kids indoors 24/7 (um, those “creepy clowns,” for example). But if you’re like us, you’re also not interested in a sheltered life, especially because it would mean being trapped all day long with your beloved spawn who, on any given day, presents you a whole other set of terrors. Well, with Halloween coming up, we know it can bring up all sorts of anxieties about safety with little ones and sometimes even more so with older kids who can begin to be more independent on this day.

This week we got some very special help in this department! Krav Maga Worldwide, one of the nation’s leading self-defense organizations, has a few important safety tips for parents to keep in mind before heading out the door this Halloween:

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Talking Politics

The first presidential debate was this week, which means it’s getting harder and harder to escape the buzz of this year’s election. It probably permeates social media more than ever and the candidates are also more polarizing than ever. People feel a strong need to share opinion pieces when they agree with them, which I think mostly serves as an echo chamber for confirmation bias and will almost never convince someone with opposite viewpoints to come over to your side.

This is one of the reasons I hide many people/pages in my Facebook news feed that post rabidly about politics. It also interrupts the kind of escapism I’m looking for on Facebook. Scary Mommy has become particularly guilty of sharing these kinds of opinion pieces that I think tend to alienate half of their audience.

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Iconic Texas Names for Girls

Unfortunately none of my children will have the privilege of being born in the great state of Texas due to the transitory nature of military life. As a way to represent our Texas home, I’m working on making the middle names of our kids Texas-themed.

Boys names are easy. But when it came to finding a girl’s name that was iconically Texas, my list came up short. All searches for Texas girl names mostly come up with typical Southern names, which I still love, but I wanted something with ACTUAL Texas roots. Luckily, I have access to a large group of ladies who feel as much Texas pride as I do and shared their ideas and real-life examples of Texas names.

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 8 Delusions I Have About Having a Second Child

I’m pregnant with my second child due early next year and I’ve been convincing myself of all the reasons a second child is going to be awesome. Hey, a little bit of naivete can go a long way…

(Note: If there were a sarcastic font, the rest of this post would be written in it…)

1. I need a second child to give me something new to do

Things with my first child are easier now and they’re pretty much only going to get easier. My son is growing more independent and doesn’t need me as much. It’s time to add a little challenge to parenting!

2. Childbirth: been there, done that

I think I know what to expect from childbirth by now, so no preparation is really necessary. Consider me an expert. There’s no way giving birth could throw any curve balls this time around.

3.  My son is going to be the best, sweetest, most helpful big brother

My toddler already likes to follow me around to “help.” By the time baby comes, he’s going to be great at following instructions to help mommy and baby have an easy time. He is also already so sweet to the babies he sees every once in awhile, just imagine how great he’ll be with an infant 24/7! 😍

4. Creating a second kid is basically creating your firstborn’s BFF

I’m certain that this is the perfect age difference for siblings. They’re going to grow up with a close bond and be the best playmates for each other. They’re going to have so much in common and so I can anticipate jealousy and fighting to be at a minimum. Getting along is basically a guarantee.

5. My toddler is going to handle change in-stride

I admit there’s a lot of changes he’s going to have make in order to accommodate a new baby – potty training, new bed, staying quiet when baby is asleep, letting mom hold and feed baby, keeping his small objects and food away from baby and (since we’re moving) a completely new house. Sure, it sounds like a lot, but he’s growing up so fast and is going to love his new responsibilities and “big kid” stuff. These changes should come naturally to him, so I don’t think he’ll resist them at all.

6. A toddler’s behavior only gets better from here

My son is only growing more comfortable with boundaries and learning to behave. He’s leaving all the baby stuff and tantrums behind. We’re on the up and up!

7. A first born already taught me everything I need to know for a new baby

My firstborn has already showed me what it’s like to take care of a newborn. I can pretty much expect the exact same things from a new baby and now that I’ve learned from my mistakes, it’s going to be easier this time. I know exactly how I can expect to establish sleep routines, approach weaning, introduce solids, etc.

8. A new baby will fold seamlessly into our routines

We already have a pretty good rhythm established to our days, but there’s enough wiggle room that fitting a new baby into what we already do shouldn’t be too difficult. Really, I just need to add babywearing to everything I already do and it’ll be fine. It’ll be fun to have a new kid to join us on our adventures!

Y’all. I’ve got this down. If you need me, I’ll just be writing a book based on my expert opinion on parenting while my two kids nap simultaneously!

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MLM Overload

Note: I have started writing this piece a handful of times and every time I think about posting it, someone inevitably approaches me about “joining their team” or “having a party” and I worry they’ll think I wrote it in response to our conversation. I promise, this is not about any one person. This is more about the overwhelming presence of MLM’s in my life.

When I was just out of high school, the very first lesson I learned about looking at job listings is that if they make promises that seem too good to be true, it probably is. That and a legitimate job offer will never make you pay for something upfront.

Vector Marketing (or Cutco). That was my first encounter with a Multi-level Marketing (MLM) business. They sent me a letter after my high school graduation promising an income around $15/hr and vague things like, “working one-on-one with people, building your own team, etc.” Luckily the internet existed so I could look up what exactly the company was before I could find out more at an “interview.” Knives. It was selling knives–a sales job. Well, why didn’t you just say so!?! Yeah, I had no interest in that AT ALL. It’s not like I’m passionate about knives. Plus, recruiting others, meant selling them a promise that had yet to be fulfilled for me. Oh, not to mention, that you needed to begin by buying your very own “demo set” of knives for $200!!!

Fast forward 3-4 years to when I began freelancing in events and social media. The nature of my work and the city I lived in led me to lots of networking opportunities. I was happily exchanging business cards with a freelance copywriter, when she invited me to a bar for a presentation with some people in her “business network” who had “really helped her grow her business.” No other info. I was, naively, picturing a tight-knit group of savvy marketing entrepreneurs who give client referrals to each other and who might spend time together getting advice and support on their businesses.

I’ll never forget arriving there early to talk with my new business pal. When I asked for a little more info about what we’d be doing. She just gushed about how much money these people make, “Oh, and the people on top?” She said, “They’re millionaires!” People on top? I wondered. She continued to boast about their success yet continued to leave out any specifics about how these people make their money. Dread set in. I should’ve made an excuse to leave right then and there, but I didn’t want to be impolite.

What followed was an hour-long presentation about communication bundles (internet, cable, phone) and how to sell them in order to help us, as entrepreneurs, fund our passions/endeavors. It was, quite literally, the biggest waste of time in my life. I had actual work that I could’ve been doing.

So, why am I sharing all this now? Well, I find myself in a very conflicted position. As a SAHM and military spouse, I am now inundated with MLM business pitches, invites, groups, etc. on an almost daily basis. I know a handful of people in just about every category of these network marketing businesses (make-up, skincare, housewares, essential oils, workout/nutrition supplements, etc). Now, more frequently than ever, I find myself in that uncomfortable dreaded position of wanting to escape, but also not wanting to be impolite. So here are a few of my personal procedures when I get approached:

  1. I WILL accept invites to “like” a consultant’s business page
  2. If I am invited to a Facebook group for a consultant I  hit “MUTE NOTIFICATIONS” and then I regularly purge my inactive group memberships (If I didn’t regularly leave groups I’m inactive in, I’d still be a part of about 50 that are just MLM related)
  3. I WILL attend “online parties” of new businesses I’m not familiar with just to see and understand what they’re about.
  4. I WILL NOT attend a party for a business more than once if it has already disinterested me.
  5. I WILL turn down any personal invitation to try out a product or “challenge group” if it’s not something I’m actively seeking out.
  6. If I see promotions for MLM businesses pop up several times in my feed, I mute whomever is posting them.

I know some people DO find great success or fulfillment from these types of businesses, which is great for them, but they’re usually the exception, not the rule. Just look up “[business name] income disclosure” and you’ll likely find a little asterisk that essentially says that high income is usually only typical for about 1-10% of their salespeople. Somewhere near this footnote you’ll probably also notice some sort of illustration of their recruiting structure, which may or may not resemble a dismantled pyramid.

frank-in-the-coil
“It’s not a pyramid scheme, it’s a reverse funnel system!” – Dee, Always Sunny In Philadelphia 

Still, I can’t help but think of the people like me who tend to feel like they’re getting suckered into opportunities like this; people who might join and start losing money or people who are at a loss with how to get out of the business especially when it’s become intrinsic to part of their social circle. Worst of all, I think about all of the incorrect claims about health and science that are made when peddling some of these products. Remember, almost none of these “consultants” are formally educated in science, nutrition, fitness or the medical field (you can read some snarky commentary in this vein about a couple of popular MLM’s from one of my favorite fitness writers here and here).

I don’t know. Perhaps I should’ve just left this subject alone. I’m not the only one up to my eyeballs in offers and invites though. I do welcome anyone to offer up your thoughts in the comments. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a rebuttal to this post up next week. Until then, I continue to keep MLM’s at arm’s-length.

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**GIVEAWAY** DIY Soy Candle Kit

I’m not sure where I fall in terms of level of craftiness, but it’s definitely far below Martha Stewart and somewhere slightly above Casual Pinterest User. With enough motivation, I can usually throw together a decent craft. Candle-making, however, has always seemed like something far from my reach–daunting even.

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Claire’s Favorite Things: Internet Edition

There’s a lot I absolutely hate about the internet, but there are several things I really dig. No, it won’t be like Oprah’s Favorite Things, but here’s my favorite internet memes of one of her episodes:

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via GIPHY

And here’s the rest: