Browse Month: November 2016

Cards – using my stash

Since I am no longer scrapbooking with paper (see this post), I use my scrapbooking stash for other projects. I love to make cards mostly. I find some die cuts, stickers, ribbons & other embellishments, pair them with some patterned paper and cardstock & have a nice little selection of cards.

Birthday Cards from my stash -
Birthday Cards from my stash –


Harry Potter themed cards from my stash -
Harry Potter themed cards from my stash –

Gift Ideas for Pre-teen boys

preteen-boys-giftsPre-teen boys can be hard to shop for presents. They are at the end of the toy stage but not ready for young adult gifts. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite gift ideas that are under $25.



Wireless Speakers

Wireless Speakers

A great option for kids with cell phones or ipod/mp3 player. There’s all kinds of cool speakers that hook up easily to most devices – waterproof for the shower, keychain sized and ones that have lights or water that dance to the beat.



Virtual Reality Headset for smartphones

Virtual Reality Headset

One of the hottest new items out there right now! Granted, the under $25 price tag may not get you the best quality, but the reviews are pretty good for this model. It’s definitely worth a try.




Legos & Building Sets

How can you go wrong with a building set?? There are so many options out there! The pre-teen may like to try something more challenging like building a roller coaster or a race car alongside the Lego City, Star Wars or Minecraft sets they know & love.  Here are a few options under or
around $25.   K’nex Roller Coaster  Lego Star Wars    Lego Minecraft  Lego Creator  Lego Technic




How about a Microscope set  with some premade slides and blank slides for checking out stuff up close.  Or go for something disgusting like this  Disgusting Science Kit

My boys loved this and the Dr. Dreadful gross science set. I couldn’t find the Dr. Dreadful – they probably don’t make it anymore, but it was crazy!


One year, my boys got each other goofy pranks. What fun they had with the classic whoopie cushion on unsuspecting folks! The store Five Below had a whole section of  Pranks.

This was also the year my boys became more interested in card tricks & magic tricks.We had a Cris Angel set that was pretty advanced and didn’t get around to several of the illusions. This Magic Kit  looks like a good starter kit. 







You probably already know some great Nerf products. There are tons to choose from in a decent price range.  These are 2 new ones I found recently that I thought would be good additions to the Nerf arsenal we have in our basement  – Nerf Target Set   and   Nerf Star Wars Chewbacca



What extra hour of sleep?

What extra hour of sleep?
What extra hour of sleep?

Stress Relief for Caregivers

bird in tree


Social workers, health care workers, parents, teachers, adult children caring for elderly parents…some of the many types of caregivers. You may even fill multiple roles, like me, a mom who works in social services. One thing remains the same, we all experience an overload of stress from time to time.

You know that feeling – maybe you get headaches, become irritable, cry easily, feel tense or aches in your neck & back. It’s a response that is felt emotionally & physically.  It drains you & leaves you vulnerable. How do you keep giving to others when you have nothing left?

Like the flight attendants tell you – you need to put on your oxygen mask before helping others with theirs.   Sometimes it might feel “selfish” to take care of your needs, say no to a request or invite, keep the appointment for yourself, but truly, it’s not.  Regular self-care helps you fill up your tank.

Lately, I’ve been feeling stressed & wanted to consciously experiment with a variety of suggestions for stress relief. I wanted to get in touch with what works best for me and figure out what really isn’t serving me.


  • Create something – This is, by far, my favorite stress reliever. Sometimes I go to my craft room to make cards or scrapbook some happy memories. Last weekend, I painted a pumpkin with my daughter. When I let creativity take over & focus on the project at hand, I stop thinking about the things that are stressing me. If you don’t think you’re crafty, try drawing, coloring or putting together a puzzle.


  • Breathe – Another way to calm your mind and body is to just be still & focus on your breathing.  Concentrate on the air going in & out. You can imagine positive energy coming in and send out the negative.


  • Talk – Often, you need to get it out of your head to process & get feedback or a different perspective. Talk with your partner, a trusted friend, moms in a mother’s group. I’ve even talked to my dog (come on, I know you have, too).  It doesn’t always have to be a serious heart-to-heart either. Laughter is powerful medicine!                             In the professional setting, supervision is key. I have had the pleasure of working with some excellent supervisors who have helped me work through issues as a counselor so I could leave work at work. I’ve also had some supervisors who have been less than supportive & I’ve seen other counselors struggling with a lack of supervision. This surely contributes to feelings of burnout.

Dogs are great for stress management

  • Pets – If you have a dog or a cat, you know the power of petting your furry friend. Spending some time petting &  playing with my pups goes a long way in helping me destress after a long day.


  • Write – It doesn’t have to be a fancy journal, just get your thoughts out onto paper & feel free to leave them there. You can challenge your negative thoughts, write a letter you’ll never send to someone or just let those thoughts free flow out of you.


  • Food & Water – I am guilty of stress-eating. I have learned I seek out carbs & sugar (no surprises there!) to help me deal with negative emotions. It’s not effective. This is one of the main reasons I started experimenting with different methods of handling stress. I was doing pretty well on a low carb diet, and then tested my limits. I felt pretty crappy with the high carbs again, so I’m back on the wagon.   And I know you’ve heard all about drinking plenty of water – it’s all true!!


  • Get active – Ok, I have to admit that I’m still working on this one. I know that there are so many benefits to regular physcial activity, just haven’t made this a habit yet. I can go as far as saying that I like to stretch each day – it does help me feel more relaxed & releases the tension I am carrying, quite literally, in my neck & back. Some other forms of activity for me includes walking the dogs, cleaning and dancing. I can frequently be found dancing & singing in the car.


  • Adequate rest – you need to rest to recharge. Once in awhile, try going to bed earlier than usual. Lately, I’ve been recording some shows I like that are on later in the evening so I can watch them at an earlier time later in the week.  Turn off those electronics at least an hour before bed. Do you like to read before bed? Some nights, I fall asleep before I finish the page.

What else would you add to the list of stress management techniques? What do you find to be most effective? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.