Functional & Fun Back To School Giveaway!


Hard to believe but some of our friends had their first day of school today!  Lucky for us, it isn’t my kids’ first day back yet, but the Chandler schools went back today.  Happy new school year to them!  My daughter starts back on August 7th and my son resumes his studies at ASU on August 17th.  Both will be sophomores, one high school 10th grader and one in college.  Time just flies!

So to kick-off the new school year season, we are doing a cool back to school fun and functional giveaway today!This cool kit has school supplies and a few fun anti-stress items thrown in the box, too!  Our winner will receive 5 folders in pretty bright colors for class/subject organization, a college ruled notebook, a fun giant over-sized pencil, a numbers necklace (this makes a nice teacher gift) and several fun classic toys from the unique and awesome A Great Life website, which offers fun and educational toys like the Speed Cube.  The Speed Cube is like the next generation of the Rubik’s Cube.  

We also want to thank the always wonderful, Teresa’s Creative Gifts for providing the over-sized real working pencil and the pretty sterling silver pewter overlay numbers necklace.  Be sure to check her online gift boutique when looking for presents this school and holiday season. She always has the good stuff!

Want to win this cool back to school box of goodies for your kid….or maybe you are a teacher and can use these supplies?  It is simple! Simply, email your name, address (so we know where to send prize) and email address to [email protected]  All entries must be received by this Thursday, July 27th by 8pm Phoenix time.  Winner will be drawn through random.org and posted on this blog Friday morning.  Good luck!

And happy back-to-school season now, soon or in September. It all gets here so fast!

Living 15 Again…There’s Something Special About 15


Here we go again.  My second born is at that age, 15 1/2 and everything is changing so quickly now.  I remember this time with my son. Getting a driver’s permit and actually enjoying  the time spent teaching him to drive (except for a few white knuckle moments) and knowing that on his 16th birthday, we would see a lot less of him.

Turning 16 with his keys to freedom, a car!

What I didn’t know is just how fast it would go from there.  Dating, first job, SATs, graduation, leaving for college!  A whirlwind.

Exciting.  Scary.  Wonderful.  Bittersweet.  All these words fit this extraordinary time in both a teenager’s life and in the parent’s life, too.

And now it’s happening again…slow down time.

Please.  Pretty please.

But time does not and the only time that time seemed to stand still was when I delivered these babies.  During the hospital stay, I checked out of the outside world, stopped listening to the ticking clock (except to time feedings) and was completely tuned in to time with my infant.  I was utterly consumed with my new little life.  I was instantly head over heels in love.

Driving, dating, SATS and all of that seemed galaxies away….hundreds of years in the future.

I am back in the passenger seat again.

But those days….yet again…my final teenage Mama ride is here again.  My girl is moving through these last few months of 15 so quickly now.

Just like that.  A magic trick.  Now you see a little baby.  Now you don’t.  Now you see a kid.  Now you don’t.

Now I see a cutie pie teenage girl before me daily.

Lunch with my girl. She drove me there. Cherished time.

Soon I won’t.  I know how fast it goes from here.

15 is pivotal.  So pivotal.  So good.  So hard.

So all of the above.

And this particular time for Mamas of almost 16-year-olds is a special and scary time.  A lot comes with that photo card that makes the kid an official legal driver.  Daily questions.

Can I go here? Can I go there?  What time is my curfew?  Can I pick up such and such?  Can I have some gas money?  Don’t worry, Mom and Dad….I know I am running late, but I won’t speed.  Can I have a later curfew than last week?

When I wrote about my son getting his license four years ago, the paragraph above wasn’t in my article. Because I hadn’t experienced those questions before.  I hadn’t yet experienced the joy and pride of watching him drive off.

And the fear.

Ugh.  Again so bittersweet.

Life gets easier for Mama when they drive.  But if you think you will now get caught up on lost sleep from all those years before….well…think again.

Now you get to worry from the comfort of your own bed when you wake up at the exact moment the clock turns to their curfew time.  And if they are late, you don’t want to text or call them while they are driving.  That is always a tough decision to figure out how long to wait before you call.

And then it is no fun punishing them for being late on a curfew.  But consequences matter.  And consequences still stand.  And now Mama has a big currency.  Taking away the car.  Hopefully when this happens they learn quickly to follow the rules of this new road to keep them safe.  And Mama sane.

But I don’t have to go there yet.  Soon, but not yet.

So yeah, there is something about 15.  It isn’t the start of the teen years with 13 or the official driving age of 16 or becoming a legal adult at 18.  15 isn’t a celebrated number, but it is a rite of passage time.  I didn’t get that the first time around when my son was 15.

It was all about him soon turning 16.  The countdown.

This time I am not counting down.  I am completely and 100% in the present.  I am all about 15 this time around.

15 is special.  15 is sweet.  Your 15-year-old is still with you a lot, learning how to drive and moving one big toe to the edge of the nest.  15 turns to 18 so fast that it will make your head spin.

Oh 15…you are the sweet one.  Sweet 16 for them, but 15 is sweet for the parents.  The last of that phase.  16 signals much more independence.  And it is right.  And it is good.

But I will greatly miss 15.

I am cherishing these days with my girl behind wheel WITH me BESIDE her.  So much will change this fall when she turns 16.

Here we go again and this time I have the pain of knowing how fast it goes from here.

So parents reading this piece.  My tidbits of advice.

It is a little unsettling at first, but cherish teaching them to drive.  Turn off the radio and listen to them, their driving questions and other topics that come up.  The more drive time put in, the more relaxed and experienced that teen of yours becomes.  And you, too.  Then casual conversation takes place.  They start to really talk to you at times, to open up.

Cherish that time.  Enroll them in professional driving lessons.  Then let them drive you all over town.  I do this when the pro driving teacher gives me a good report and tells me that they are freeway ready.

Cherish 15.  I know it is hard on some days.   VERY hard, I know.  I have raised both a boy and am nearing the teen years finish line with a girl.  I know it is hard on some days.  I repeat.  Very hard.  Tearfully hard.  Fights.  Hurt feelings.  Harsh words exchanged.  All normal. Hard but a part of them pulling away as they assert their independence.

To navigate the roads without you in the car. 

To navigate the roads ahead that life will take them without you right beside them most of the time.

And don’t you just want to jump in front of that moving car called life and point them in the right direction?!  I do! I do!  I do!

But 15 is the beginning of the end of being able to always do that.  15 is a big beginning for them and a beginning of really letting go for you.

Not easy.  Not for the faint of heart.

Parenthood is not for sissies.  Especially when they leave 15.

When my son proudly passed his road test with a 100% score in 2013, we celebrated.

And then he surprised me.

He asked me to please take him home so he could then drive off without me.  Ouch.  But I understood.  And I remembered doing the exact same thing to my mama in 1985.

I also remember thinking in 2013 that I had four years left before I had to go down this road again.  I had no idea that those 4 years would feel like 4 minutes.

Taylor Swift nails it with her 15 song.  It is a pivotal year.  Everyone thinks 13 or 16 or 18.  All big years.

But there is something about 15.  A time that sports a kid that is a combo of sweet, salty and spicy.  Hormones. Teenagers.  Change.  A lot for a teen to take in all at once.  A lot for the parents, too.

Deal with the salty.  Understand the spicy.  Cherish the sweet.

Communicate with your kid.  Listen to that soon-to-be 16 year old.

Oh 15…can you hang around a little longer with my girl?  Oh time, can you please slow down?

Time is telling me no again.  No way.  Not happening.  Sorry Mom.

My daughter is very thankful that I don’t have the power to slow down time!

Sigh.

I think I will go ask my daughter if she wants to take me on a drive now….me and my heart.

Bittersweet 15.

Freebie Friday Winner!


 

 

 

 

 

 

So, who is today’s Freebie Friday winner??  What did our winner win? Keep on reading!!  And remember if you are a subscriber, then you are automatically entered in our weekly drawing for great prizes that include beauty items, cookware,  jewelry and more!  Lots of cool stuff!

Now, let’s announce this week’s lucky winner….

This week’s Freebie Friday winner is:

Gail Tabb from Mesa, AZ!!!

(winner drawn through random.org)

Congrats to Gail! Gail wins a yummy snack box from the awesome vegan, gluten free and super tasty Nana Joes Granola line!  I love Nana Joe’s and I blogged about all the different ways the scrumptious granola can enhance a recipe or be a meal in the morning, too.  Great and good stuff! I am pretty impressed with the wholesome and real food ingredients.  Plus, I adore that this stuff is handmade in San Francisco! So Gail gets her own box to try Nana Joe’s for herself!  She also wins a pretty bling bracelet that is sold at Teresa’s Creative Gifts  Be sure to check out Teresa Creative Gifts on Facebook to see the many unique items and gifts that are available.   

Congrats to Gail for winning!  And thank you so much to subscribing to this blog.

We appreciate it!

And we will have more great prizes next week, so stay tuned for that and become a subscriber to be automatically entered in the weekly drawing that we do through random.org!

HOW TO ENTER NEXT WEEK’S FREEBIE FRIDAY…

If you are not a subscriber, subscribe now at www.managedmoms.com.  Simply subscribe to the website by filling out the area in the right-hand column that says “subscribe to managedmoms.com.”  Being a subscriber means that you simply get a notification email each time we run a recipe, article, beauty tip, coupon and more.  We don’t share your email address with anyone and you are automatically entered in the weekly Freebie Friday drawing for your chance to win a cool prizes.  Join our free managedmoms.com email subscriber list to stay up to date on healthy family friendly recipes, beauty news, travel tips, parenting talk and more.

 

 

A huge thank you to Nana Joe’s Granola and to Teresa’s Creative Gifts for providing such nice prizes for our winner today! 

 

Nana Joes Granola Perfect For My Fab 50s Lifestyle Change!


Manic:  Me thinking about turning 50 next month! 

Managed:  With this milestone birthday on the horizon, I have decided to try to mostly eat plant based foods.  I am not going 100% vegan, but I am striving for 85% to be realistic with my lifestyle.  Plus, eating this way helps our bodies, earth’s animals and the environment as stated in this interesting Medical News Today article.  My thriving and healthy 72-years-young mother also eats mostly vegan and this lifestyle has served her well.

My mom with my girl at my daughter’s Wizard of Oz performance last month. Told you my Mama looks good!

I am certainly not criticizing meat eaters as I do occasionally enjoy a meat meal as well…which is why I am striving for a 85% change. Plus I will still have dairy from time to time as a decadent chocolate malt or coffee ice cream cone are a must have at least once during the hot summer!  Call me fickle, but partially vegan is my goal for now.

Great example of my plan…mostly plant based lunch…but with wild salmon.

I started the gradual dietary switch one week ago and I already feel a positive difference!  I was having bad allergies, left leg and ankle pain and sinus issues.  Not to mention bloating and a sluggish feeling after eating some foods.  I do believe in everything in moderation and after reading countless accounts of folks who went vegan, and marveling at their improved health, vitality and energy, I have decided, at almost 50, to give this mostly vegan lifestyle a try.  I am loving it so far and just in time for me, I discovered the awesome vegan, gluten free and super tasty Nana Joes Granola line!  Who says you can’t have treats on a healthy eating plan?  With Nana Joes delish granola, a little good sweetness can be added to breakfast, snacks and more.  Love this stuff! Check out my tasty breakfast vegan makeover today that I made in 10 seconds…so yummy!I replaced cow’s milk with almond milk (I truly taste no difference) and those sugary processed cereals with the Nana Joes Trifecta Blend Granola, which only has 5 grams of sugar (per half the packaged serving, so I used the one bag for two separate meals). This combo filled me up and I felt energetic and satisfied.  I am pretty impressed with the wholesome and real food ingredients.  Plus, I adore that this stuff is handmade in San Francisco (my hubs and I honeymooned in the City by the Bay 🙂 )

They also have granola bars, too. I am a fan!  My personal favorite is the Swell Bar with Coconut, Almond and Cocoa Nib.

Gonna have this snack tomorrow when I take a reading and snack break. Readers…another fab 50 accessory!

I highly recommend Nana Joes for your healthy gluten free and vegan go to breakfast, snack, smoothie ingredient, dessert topping and more.  I love how her versatile this stuff is, not to mention super delicious, too!

Have any of you gone vegan or semi like me? Share your experience in the comments section and I am wishing all of you good food, vibrant health and joy!  Those are my goals as I dive into the fabulous 50s next month!

 

A big thank you for the Nana Joes samples so I could test it out!  My opinion about how much I love this granola line is 100% my very own. 

Teen Driver-To-Be? Institute for Drivers Safety A Must


Do you have a teen driver-to-be?  I do.  Again.  Already.  It is my second time around to teach one of my babies how to drive as child #2 edges even closer to the edge of the nest.  There is my girl behind the wheel.  Here we go again and boy, she can’t wait to go, that is for sure. So, as we did before with my son, we hired the first-rate, highly recommended Institute For Drivers Safety to take my girl on driving lesson drives.  She had her first one today and we are just as impressed as we were four years ago with this organization.  AND THE BIG GREAT NEWS….and a big bonus…now the institute offers the actual driver’s license test again so the pesky DMV can be avoided for the road test!  I’ll drive to that!

The Institute had previously offered this, but the state took the option away…but they have brought it back again.  Just in time for my girl to get her license in a few short months.  Yay!  And if you look below at the comments made about this article, Kimberly Bodine’s comment is right on when she says, “My daughter used them also and it was worth every penny and the pressure of not having to take the driving test at DMV was great for her anxiety.”  I am so excited that my daughter can take her test with the Institute for Driver’s Safety in a few months instead of having to endure the long wait at the DMV!

Today my daughter went with instructor, Joe Navarro and he was terrific.

There she goes on her first drive lesson with the pros!

He had her drive him on four freeways and in downtown Phoenix, too.  When they came back home after the 3-hour drive, he met with us and gave us a report on how she did and which areas she needs to work on to get her ready for the big day that she takes the road test for her license.  This is helpful to all of us and is smart!  Plus I feel more confident having her drive me to further distances now that she is taking these professional lessons.  She does the driving and the professionals do the teaching!  So read on to see how the Institute for Drivers Safety works, who goes behind the wheel with your kid and how to sign up.  More links and information are below in the article.  This is the one I wrote about my son and all is still current…

Oh and one cool item that is not in the article below is that my son scored 100% on the driver license road test (and that was at the DMV at that time) and he credits that to Institute for Drivers Safety.  Yep, this organization is a must for teen drivers.  Here is the scoop from the last time we did it in 2013…

Manic:  My mind as I realize that in 2 1/2 weeks my first born will get his driver’s license and drive off, without me next to him, for the first time.  Yay and yikes all in one!

Managed:  Enrolling him in a local top notch driving school has improved his driving skills and lowered my stress level. Many of you have asked me to share the driving school information, so read on to find out how to enroll and how it works. Yesterday our boy earned this Behind the Wheel Certificate of Graduation certificate that I have pictured, along with his driving report cards…. drivingWe are very happy to receive this completion certificate, not only as peace of mind that a professional driving teacher agrees that our boy is ready to drive by himself, but this nice piece of paper will also give us an insurance discount (as will his straight A report card), so we are celebrating that bonus.

The Institute for Drivers Safety is a terrific organization that I highly recommend.  The instructors are all trained police officers and all have had car control, collision avoidance, and accident scene reporting training at the police academy.

From start to finish, the process was easy and very beneficial.  To enroll your child (make sure they have their state issued drivers permit first), simply call 480-921-8834 or visit The Institute for Drivers Safety to schedule a drive.  You can also purchase a package of three drives and classroom instruction.  Call for different pricing information.  I paid $175 for his first driving lesson that we did back in May (right after he got his permit and before I let him drive me on any freeways) and we just paid $175 again for his last lesson that took place yesterday.

For that price, you get a qualified instructor who comes to your home (or even to your child’s high school) to pick them up. They leave in an instructional car that has a brake pedal on the instructor’s side (a perk that we parents don’t get when we are doing the teaching).  Your kid does the driving the entire three hours.  I especially like that the teacher had our son drive him through the airport, down different freeways, one way streets in downtown Phoenix and they did some parallel parking practice, too.

When they return, we parents are given a report card, which is pictured above.  It is quite thorough and it really gives the teenager some areas of improvement to consider.  I don’t know about your kid, but when a teacher or coach reinforces a lesson, sometimes it means more than if we say it to our child.  It packs a positive punch into their selective memory bank.  It does take a village and I like the support!

When our son returned home yesterday (and it was nice that the Institute for Drivers Safety was available on a Sunday morning from 7:30am to 10:30am), the instructor told us, and him, that he graded strictly because that is what the DMV instructor will do when the big day arrives.  With that, he told us that he believes that our teen is ready to take the road on his own (that is reassuring to us), but he shared with us that several areas need improvement.  More attention needs to be paid to always using his turn signals and he actually didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Really?!  And with the driver instructor with him?!  That is why they are called teenagers and not young adults!  The teacher also told us that our kiddo handles the car well and has good driving skills.  So with that, we’ve got two weeks left to hone his skills with us in attendance in the vehicle.

After that, we give him our blessing, say our prayers and let him loose behind the wheel, with rules of course.  Please son, do not text and drive!  He will have a curfew to follow and he will check in with us on arrival and before departures.  We will follow the law and limit his passenger load.  If he abuses his newfound privilege, he will be riding the schoolbus, we told him.  He didn’t like that idea!  So as we enter yet another parenting chapter, that is both thrilling and terrifying, I can tell you that hiring The Institute for Drivers Safety was worth the money and peace of mind that we have done all that we can to prepare our teen boy to take the wheel.at_the_wheel

But first, he has to endure 2 1/2 more weeks of his annoying parents back seat driving. Here we go!