Saturday, December 2, 2017

Gift Guide for Men + Coupon Code for My Gift Stop

Thank you to My Gift Stop for sponsoring this post.  As always, all opinions are my own.

I can't be the only woman who is clueless on what to gift the man in her life, right?  Unless he gives me gives me a list, I am lost.  To be honest, I'm even lost with his list because he puts obscure things on them that I can't find.

Here's a gift guide for men with several options on it for the different men in your life, be it your boyfriend, husband, boss, or father.  They are all from My Gift Stop to make life easier shopping in one place. 

What is My Gift Stop?

My Gift Stop is a online shopping site with luxury goods for both men and women.  They have a great selection of watches, sunglasses, shoes, handbags, and more.

In addition to their great prices, they also donate 5 percent of each sale!  Each time you shop, you're supporting a medical relief nonprofit called Direct Relief.

Gift Guide for Men

William L. 1985 Men's Chronographs  Watch - This stately watch will look great on any man in your life.  It's definitely a statement piece for his wardrobe.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Sunglasses Sunglasses are a great gift because who can't use sunglasses?  My husband used to get cheap pairs, but I've turned him on to designer sunglasses because they work better and feel better.
Skullcandy Wireless Ear Buds He can definitely use these as he works around the farm or while mowing.

Klymit Sleeping Pad This is a must for all of the camping the guys do all year.
Zippo Lighter  These are a must for anyone who spends time outside camping or hiking because they are windproof.

Allen Edmonds Dress Shoes When a man dresses up, he needs nice shoes.  
Timberland Boots He works hard, and he plays hard.  He needs these for playing.
Ralph Lauren Cologne Okay, this just might be for me more than it is for him!
What do you think of my gift guide for men?  I included some things that he wants, things that he needs, and some nicer versions of things that he uses often.  

See something you like at My Gift Stop?  Use code INFkotibeth to save $10 off a $100 order or $20 off a $200 first order!

What you getting the man in your life this year?
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Monday, November 20, 2017

How to Increase Your Chances of Quitting Smoking

This post is intended for an audience of adults age 18 and older. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #QuitWithSupport #CollectiveBias

My husband smokes.  He has never tried to end his addiction with tobacco, but he thinks that he is ready now.  As he's getting older, he can see the effect that it's having on his health.  We have three kids, and he wants to be around to watch them grow up, get married, and start their own families someday.  

Ending the addiction to cigarettes won't be easy for him, but I'm ready to support him.  I'm a planner and researcher, so I started looking for ways to help him be successful.  He doesn't have to quit smoking alone; there are ways for him to get support.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Finding The Right Car

Sponsored post.

There are few things I hate shopping for more than a new(er) car.  I'd rather try on jeans and swimming suits than try out cars.  I should have a few years left with my beloved car, but I have no idea what kind of car I'll want to buy next.  Honestly, it's overwhelming for me.  I need to narrow it down, but where do I start?  Here's how I'll be finding the right car for me.

1.  What do you need?

To start narrowing down all of the possible vehicles, think about your needs. 

  • How many passengers will you have?
  • How far is your commute?
  • Do you have to factor in ice and snow?
  • Do you need to tow anything?
  • How much cargo space do you need?
  • Will you be using a car seat?
Ideally, you'll want to carry your entire family.  Do you often have people with you?  Then you may want an extra seat or two for grandparents or your kids' teammates.  

If you have a long commute, you may want a fuel efficient vehicle.

If you have kids in car seats, you'll need extra room. conducts car seat checks so you're prepared when you research your next car. 

2.  What's your budget?

Are you paying cash or financing?  How much of a payment can you afford?  Generally, your car payment should be 20 percent of your take home pay.  

3.  Research vehicles.

Now that you have it narrowed down to one or two types of vehicles and know your budget, start looking for vehicles in that price range. makes it easy to search by style and then narrow down your choices by manufacturer, price, gas mileage, and more.

4.  Test drive.

After you have it narrowed down to a few models, take them for a test drive to see how you like them.  If you have kids, install their car seats and have the kids climb into their seats to make sure there's enough room.  

Hopefully, you'll have found the perfect car for you!  

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It's My Thing: Fruit Shoot and Martial Arts

While most parents are at the soccer field or at the baseball field, we are at a dojo.  Even though our sport lasts all year, we do enjoy the comfort of a climate controlled building at which to watch our children in their sport.  Between our three kids, two take karate and all three take ju jitsu.  My husband and I both take tai chi, so I guess we are a martial arts family.  It's our thing.

I love having my kids in martial arts because it's great exercise.  They are also learning self-discipline and pushing themselves to do their best.  They do compete sometimes, but it's mostly a competition against themselves, and they have to push themselves to do their best to earn their next rank.  My two kids in karate have already moved up two belts and a few stripes and one belt in ju jitsu.

None of their friends take martial arts, so it's kind of their thing.  They like doing something different, especially my daughter.  

They love martial arts because they are learning something that's fun for them.  They also get to see their friends during class, which is important since they are homeschooled.  I'm not going to lie.  I also love that I get to sit inside to watch them practice instead of outside in the heat, cold, or even rain.

Karate isn't an easy sport, but ju jitsu really wears them out.  They always take a drink with them.  Their gis are really thick and heavy so they don't tear, and they get hot in the dojo.

I get them Fruit Shoot® to take with them.  They love the flavor.  I love that it's in a bottle and not a pouch.  It has a resealable cap, so they can get a drink during their break and then recap it until the next break.  This also means that I'm not stuck holding their drink so it doesn't spill.  Since it doesn't have a straw, there's less spillage.  This is obviously important when your kid is wearing a white gi!

Fruit Shoot® doesn't have any artificial dyes or high fructose corn syrup either, so its a great flavored drink for kids.

Robinsons, the company that makes Fruit Shoot®, has been around for over 100 years in the U.K.  It got its start with a chemist making a soft drink and later evolved to a drink for tennis players to rehydrate.  In 2008, Robinsons came to the United States, and Fruit Shoot® was born in 2012.  Fruit Shoot ® is available in several flavors, and they just introduced the fruit punch.

Fruit Shoot® is available in select stores all over the United States.  Be sure to use the store locator to see where you can find it near you.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Autism Awareness Gift Guide

April is autism awareness month.  For my family, every month is autism awareness month.  We raise autism awareness where ever we go!  Even with so called professionals.  Being an autism mom can be overwhelming, but every time I meet another autism mom, I feel like there's an instant connection and we both breathe a little easier knowing we aren't alone.  I spent many years feeling like we were the only ones dealing with autism, so now I do my best to help other families.  I've been hosting a monthly support group for parents of children with autism to try to reach members of the community.  I also work closely with several non profit agencies in my county to get the word out about autism and what help is available.  That's why I proudly wear my autism awareness shirts and jewelry.  My car isn't decorated yet, but it's definitely on my to do list!  Here are some au-some autism awareness items for April and every month.

Autism Awareness T-shirt Captain Autism T-shirt - Male XL - Royal Blue

Mens Official: autism awareness 2017 shirt- accept-understand-Lv 2XL Black

Awkward Styles Womens Love Puzzles Autism Awareness Graphic T shirt Tops Autistic Support Blue L

Womens Someone With Autism Has Taught Me Love Needs No Words Shirt Medium Royal Blue

Mens Autism Shirt in Shape of Heart made from Puzzle Pieces Tee XL Navy

Mens Autism Owl Tshirt Autism Awareness make up words Medium Royal Blue

Womens Love Autism Love Shirt Autism Awareness T-Shirt Gift Large Royal Blue

10 Autism Awareness Wristbands - Colorful Puzzle Pieces Silicone Bracelets

Autism Awareness Bracelet - Autism Jewelry, Adjustable Autism Bracelet- Hope Charm Bracelet- Puzzle Piece Bracelet- Perfect Gift!!!

Until All the Pieces Fit™ Autism Awareness Ribbon Bracelet

Silvertone Iced Out Puzzle Piece Pendant with an 15 Inch Snake Chain Necklace

PinMarts Autism Awarness Multi Color Puzzle Piece Enamel Lapel Pin 1"H x 34"W

Red Lion Puzzle Autism Awareness Socks White Multi - Medium

NI284 Autism Awareness Puzzle Piece Car Decal Sticker | Premium Quality Vinyl Sticker | 5-Inches X 5-Inches

Red Autism Awareness Flat Breakaway Lanyard With Swivel Hook by Specialist ID, Sold Individually

Autism Awareness Heart Puzzle Car Window Vinyl Decal Sticker 4" Wide Color: White

Graphics and More Blank Autism Awareness Puzzle Piece Pattern License Plate Frame

BreezeArt Autism Awareness Garden Flag 31354

Womens Autism Awareness Elephant T Shirt Small Royal Blue

Womens Give A Hoot Autism Awareness Shirt Owl Autism Shirt Medium Navy
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Best Beauty and the Beast Toys for Kids and Adults

Can I just say how excited I am for the new Beauty and the Beast movie?  The original Disney classic was one of my favorite movies growing up, and it's hands down my favorite Disney movie.  My daughter and I are so excited to see the movie when it comes out next month.   I've seen some clips, and they just keep the excitement building.

When I was little, I identified with Belle because she always had a book in her hand and she's independent.  She's also a brunette like I am.  Back then, there weren't nearly as many fun Beauty and the Beast toys for me to play with.  My daughter is so lucky because there are so many fun toys now.  We spent a good half an hour just looking at the new toys at the store the other day.  Of course, she wants them all!  Here are my top 20 picks for Beauty and the Beast toys for kids and adults.  I included some cute tops and jewelry for the moms too, but there's nothing stopping us from playing with the other toys with our daughters!

Beauty and the Beast Toys

Beauty and the Beast Toys 

Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

Disney Beauty & The Beast Live Action Enchanted Rose Jewelry Box Toy

Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition - BD+DVD+DIGITAL HD [Blu-ray]

Beauty and the Beast Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Art of Coloring: Beauty and the Beast: 100 Images to Inspire Creativity

Funko POP Disney: Beauty & The Beast-Winter Beast Action Figure

Disney Beauty And The Beast Adult Bootie House Slippers with Classic Fairy Tale Image L

Disneys Beauty and The Beast Silvertone Metal Charm Bracelet

Funko POP Disney: Beauty & The Beast Yellow Gown Belle Toy Figure

Loungefly Disney Beauty And The Beast Tattoo All Over Print Zip Around Wallet

Beauty and the Beast: Belles Library: A collection of literary quotes and inspirational musings Disney Beauty and the Beast

Rose in Glass Dome Bronze Vintage Locket Wish Photo Pendant Necklace Beauty and Beast Childhood Dream Princess Disney,best Gift

Disney Beauty & The Beast Live Action Enchanted Tea Set Playset

Beauty and the Beast Disney Beauty and the Beast Little Golden Book

Beauty and the Beast Stained Glass Womens Graphic Scoop Neck

Disney Beauty and the Beast Singing Tea Set

Melissa & Doug Disney Belle Magnetic Dress-Up Wooden Doll Pretend Play Set 30+ pcs


Disney Collection Beauty and the Beast Figurine Playset

Disney Animators Collection Belle Micro Play Set

Fisher-Price Little People Disney Princess Belle & Friends

Disney Beauty and The Beast Live Action Baby Belle Doll
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Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Guide to Borax and How to Use It

Borax is one of those products that I always have on hand because it has so many uses.  Borax is also known as sodium tetraborate.  It's white, soft crystals and dissolves easily in water, making it easy to use for cleaning.

I use a cup of it in my homemade laundry detergent, and I use it for cleaning.  I add a few tablespoons to my mop bucket to clean and deodorize my floors when I mop.  Whether you're new to using Borax or have been using it, I found some great recipes for you to try.  I haven't tried the dishwashing tabs, but I want to soon.  I use Borax to clean my dishwasher because it does such a great job!

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Monday, December 26, 2016

DIY Cat Scratcher or Bed

Neither of my cats are declawed.  While they will scratch sometimes, it hasn't been an issue on our furniture.  Chloe, my son's cat, does like to scratch more than Carly does.  Our homeschool room is in the basement, and Chloe likes to hang out down there with the kids during the day.  I made her this DIY cat scratcher so she has something to scratch on and sleep on while she's downstairs.  Even though it's not soft and padded, she doesn't seem to mind it.

diy cat scratcher or bed

DIY Cat Scratcher

We inherited a large--I'm talking 5 feet long and 3 feet high--roll of corrugated cardboard.  I used it for shipping when I sell on eBay or Etsy, but I don't think I will use it up in my lifetime.  I used that for this scratcher bed, and it worked perfectly!  You could also use strips of cardboard from shipping boxes.

None of my cats are declawed, so they like to use cat scratchers to scratch their claws on.  I made this one big enough for them to lay on, and sometimes they use it as a bed instead of a toy.  

To make a cat scratcher, you'll need:
  • 4" strips of cardboard (I used corrugated cardboard)
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Yardstick
  • Glue gun

I marked off 4" inch lines and used the ruler and marker to make long cut lines on the cardboard.  I cut about 8 strips that were about 4 feet long.  

Then just start rolling.  I used hot glue to keep the cardboard from unraveling.  I didn't glue the entire thing; I just spread some glue every 8-10 inches to give it a little support.  

When you finish with one strip of cardboard, glue the next one to the roll and keep going.  And going.  And going.  When it's the size that you want it to be, just glue the end in place and hold securely until the glue sets up.  

Your strips of cardboard will never be perfectly straight, so just keep one side as straight as you can while you're rolling it.  The other side will be bumpy, but it will rest on the floor okay.  

I painted stripes in purple paint because I have to paint everything, and Chloe likes purple. 

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Garlic Romano Penne with Stella Black Pepper Romano

We will be hosting more Christmas parties this year, and I don't want to serve turkey and ham at each one.  I came up with this Garlic Romano Penne recipe for easy entertaining.  You can serve it alone or add shrimp, chicken, or even sausage.  After you read the recipe, be sure to enter to win a trip to Napa Valley sponsored by Stella Cheese!

Garlic Romano Penne Recipe 

This dish is very simple, but it's full of flavor.  I use Stella Black Pepper Romano because it has a salty, sharp flavor in the aged cheese and the peppercorns lend spice to the dish.

I will usually make a cheese board for our holiday parties, and I use Stella cheeses.  I think with a simple recipe like this penne or with a cheese board, you need to use ingredients that have a lot of flavor on their own.  With just two or three flavors of Stella cheese, crackers, olives, and some grapes, you can have a flavorful cheese board that's quite easy to put together.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Stella Black Pepper Romano
  • 1 pound penne, cooked
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and cook until brown, about 30 seconds.  Smash the garlic with a wooden spoon to release the flavor.
  2. Add parsley and stir well.
  3. Pour garlic, parsley, and olive oil mixture over cooked pasta.
  4. Top with grated Stella Black Pepper Romano

If you want to serve wine with your Garlic Romano Penne or a cheese board with romano cheese, I suggest a chardonnay or zinfandel.  Romano also pairs well with brandy or scotch.

Win a Trip to Napa Valley

Be sure to enter Stella Cheese's awesome sweepstakes!  They are offering a $5,000 trip to Napa Valley, CA, wine country to a lucky winner!  

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Top 50 STEM Toys for Christmas 2016

Caleb, my 10-year-old, loves anything science or math.  He will spend hours with his Snap Circuits building their designs and creating his own.  He loves few things more than dumping his bin of LEGO bricks and having free play.  My daughter, on the other hand, has to be coaxed in to doing anything STEM related.  Once she starts playing though, she will have fun and start experimenting.  These toys look like so much fun, both my son and my daughter will love them.  If you need Christmas ideas, these 50 STEM toys will be a big hit.
stem toys christmas 2016
Magna-Tiles 12148 Clear Colors 48 pc DX set Toy

Snap Circuits SC-300 Electronics Discovery Kit

ClickBlock X-Bar Magnetic Building Toy School House Set, 28 Piece

Thames & Kosmos Wind Power 2.0

ClickBlock X-Bar Magnetic Building Toy School House Set, 28 Piece

Geode Explorer Science Kit - Crack Open 7 Amazing Rocks and Find Crystals!

4M Magnet Science Kit

Math Dice Tournament Kit

KNEX Education - Intro to Simple Machines: Levers and Pulleys Set - 178 Pieces - For Grades 3-5 - Construction Education Toy

Robot Turtles Game

Geode Explorer Science Kit - Crack Open 7 Amazing Rocks and Find Crystals!

Gravity Maze

Thames and Kosmos Rocket Science Kit

Laser Maze Logic Game

Mega Shark Tooth Science - Collect 5 Real Shark Teeth with NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Melissa & Doug Classic Wooden Abacus

SmartLab Toys ReCon 6.0 Programmable Rover

My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope - MFL-06

littleBits Electronics Premium Kit


Melissa & Doug Human Anatomy 100 pc Floor Puzzle

Uncle Milton - National Geographic - 3-in-1 Expedition Magnifier

4M Kitchen Science Kit

Snap Circuits Lights Electronics Discovery Kit


Zometool Basic Creator Kit

Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion

TINKERTOY 30 Model Super Building Set - 200 Pieces - For Ages 3+ Preschool Educational Toy

Ravensburger Science X Magnetic Magic Activity Kit

MudWatt - Grow your own living fuel cell - Classic STEM Kit

fischertechnik Dynamic - Fun with Physics

4M Math Magic Puzzles and Games

Ozobot 2.0 Bit, the Educational Toy Robot that Teaches STEM and Coding, Titanium Black

Educational Insights Nancy Bs Science Club Way To Grow Hydroponics Kit & Gardening Diary

Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set

Be Amazing Toys Big Bag Of Science +70 Activities

OgoSport OgoBild Animate It Studio Kit with Webcam

Trends UK Haynes Build Your Own V8 Engine

4M Weather Station Kit

Thames & Kosmos Master Detective Toolkit

Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit

National Geographic Break Open 10 Geodes and Explore Crystals Science Kit

Thames & Kosmos Electricity and Magnetism

Thames and Kosmos Classic Science Archaeology: Pyramid

Puzzlets Starter Pack with Free Programming Game: Cork the Volcano

Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot Robot Wonder Pack

Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set

Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards Only Kit

Professional Rock Tumbler by NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Improved Quality Sept. 2016

Sick Science Fast Physics Kit
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