Momma Told Me: December 2014

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Handmade Race Bib Display Gift Idea

Handmade Race Bib Display gift idea for seasoned runners or fun run enthusiasts!
Momma Told Me: It's okay to show a little pride.

I am not athletic- I wish I could fib and say I was really really ridiculously motivated and had a list of achievements and goals to rival (insert impressive athlete here,) but, alas, my fitness levels are meant more to maintain health than strive to make it better. I know, we can ALWAYS better ourselves, but these days my work schedule has me fortunate if I can simply tear away from the computer for a stretch every hour. However, the number of fit-addicts in my life is not in short supply. While I sit here feeling embarrassed to include the annual Color Run (fun run) in my portfolio of athletic accomplishments, I know someone who has been running legitimately since she was a freshman in high school. And, when I saw those treasured race bibs strung up around her office, amid haphazardly displayed medals, I knew I could make the perfect gift for her.
A handmade Race Bib Display is affordable and easy enough for the intermediate 'Do-It-Yourselfer' to accomplish with some screw in hardware, wood stain or paint, and a few days 'drying' patience. My biggest hurdle when gathering my materials was determining how large my board should be- race bibs vary in sizes with the average length hovering around 8.5", and width ranging from 5.5" to 7.5". With this in mind, I asked the friendly associate at my local hardware store to slice up my board into an even 12" x 15" hunk of wood. Most big name 'do-it-yourself' stores have a lumber yard with free cutting services for those who are a bit shy of saws and mis-cuts, like me.

Also on my materials list: rough and smooth grit sandpaper sheets, protective gloves, wood stain, 4 matching hooks (for medal display,) 2 simple hooks (for bib hanging,) stencils and acrylic paint, aerosol wood seal, and 2 matching mounting brackets.
This particular recipient happened to be a big Green Bay Packers fan, so my design choice was clear. Whether you are planning on staining or painting your wood board you will want to give each surface side a generous sand down in a well ventilated area (with paper mask and goggles or other mouth and eye protection.) I paid particular attention to the sharp edges of the board, and corners, which I carefully rounded into a more finished presentation. For the finish I used a wiping wood stain by Minwax to tint my wood a rich Hunter's Green (otherwise known as Emerald to the brand,) though several traditional wood stain finishes were also available.

I rubbed the stain into the wood with circular motions using gloves and an old scrap garage towel. The stain dried fairly fast, about 30 minutes between coats, and took 2 solid coats to reach the even, rich, color I desired.
Next came the fun part, layout and design- My local hardware store also happened to have some 2.5" letter stencils for less than $2 that paired perfectly with a team face painting logo stencil I had on hand. I sponged the words and logo onto the stained wood board and waited patiently for it to dry. Once dry, 2 coats of Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Seal from Minwax had my handmade Race Bib Display looking sleek and professional. The final step of the clear coat seal really brought the stain work on the wood to life and added an extra layer of professionalism to my finished work.
Handmade Race Bib Display gift idea for seasoned runners or fun run enthusiasts!
If you don't have a race bib on hand, for a reference point, when drilling your hardware, go with 8.5" as your width. I knew my recipient had run hundreds of races through the years and would have a wide variety of shapes and sizes in bibs. Don't fret! No matter where you space the hanging hooks your recipient will be able to use them- simply remind them to hang their bibs with safety pins (much like many runners use to affix their bibs to their race-day clothing! Hanging bibs with safety pins will allow for multiple shapes and sizes to be properly displayed on the board.

I especially like this handmade gift idea for everyone from tweens beginning their first few fun runs to seasoned racers (biking, running, and so on.) It's even a great way to get the entire family involved with upcoming events- why not make one for a central location in your own home- those medal hooks are a great place to store keys until you build your collection! I may not be finishing first in any triathlons this year, but I will be making one of these race bib displays for our house to help get me motivated to stay more active!

What Daughter Says: A handmade race bib display is the perfect gift to support friends and family with a passion for personal achievements.

Head Into The Woods This Holiday Weekend

Into The Woods Film
Momma Told Me: Stay a child, while you can be a child.

I haven't hit the theaters too hard these past few months with my partners in crime, aka my movie dates (Sabrina and Savannah) having moved to Texas. Truth be told, I was also holding out for those coveted holiday releases; it's sort of a tradition to visit the theater Christmas weekend and explore the blockbuster event of the year. This year heading into the holiday, I was a bit skeptical of what I might be watching. With The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part I already on old rotation from Thanksgiving, and a thirst for something over-the-top-cinematic, Into The Woods was a natural candidate. Luckily, there just so happened to be a screening in Austin last week while I was visiting the family for the holidays.
Into The Woods Film
If you know nothing of the name, the trailers for Into The Woods may elude you to the true focus of music as an element in this film. While I suspect the raving reviews and nomination boasting television spots will soon set things straight, the initial teasers were quite mild in their representation of the film as a musical. That is to say, if you were to buy a ticket, unfamiliar with the theatrical production of the same name, you would have quite a shock as the opening song trails off into yet another melodic section. But fear not- whilst the uninitiated may cringe initially at the first few rhymes, it's nearly impossible not to be won over by the all-star cast and vivid storytelling. From wardrobe to set and cinematography, the film feels like a living storybook,

And it should, after all, Into the Woods is an imagined retelling of the intertwined fates of some of the most beloved fairytales. From Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bag Wolf to Rapunzel and Cinderella, each of these characters find themselves 'in the woods' learning a valuable lesson. And speaking of lessons- you'll find the original themes of each story prominent throughout, but the ultimate message seems to be 'Be Careful What You Wish For.' And, as cliche as that sounds, as the character's actions spiral downward into one greater tale, it's easy to see how we, as viewers are asked to reflect on the inventory of our own lives, and how we prioritize the goals within them.
Into The Woods Film
But what of the actual film? Is it a success? As a beloved theatrical production on the big screen it is an overwhelming triumph- as a movie, it is sure to not be everyone's cup of tea, but infectious and  nearly impossible to escape should the skeptics sit it out. In the end, the number of characters really are quite small, which allows for them to be properly composed and brought to life on their own, before colliding in the greater tale towards the end. You should expect each and every scene to have a song, which not only tells the story, but has brilliant anecdotes on the human condition peppered in. This is, without a doubt, a comedy just as much as it is a musical.  And the all-star cast that lined up to star in it are so perfect for their roles you'll immediately forget any history of them outside their costume.
Into The Woods Film
As only a theatrical production could, Into The Woods plays with the viewers emotions vacillating from riotous laughter to intense introspection with contrasting scenes such as Chris Pine (Cinderella's Prince) and Billy Magnussen (The Other Prince) belting out 'Agony' alongside Witch Meryl Streep's hauntingly emotional rendition of 'Stay A Child.' It was quite odd indeed to still feel the warm tears of laughter, yes I caught myself clutching my side during the Princes number, as a more poignant and emotional scene unfolded just moments later. As a viewer I was indeed along for the ride from one scene to the next.
Fans of the original 'Into The Woods' theatrical production will surely find enjoyment in this big screen re-imagining, but I fear there are a few theatrical elements that were just a touch too over the top. Some of the Witch's more dramatic scenes could have gone a few seconds shorter for me, while the creepy, almost unnerving, clips with Johnny Depp seemed to work my nerves. Ironically, some of the more absurd moments (Slow Motion Prince and Cinderella In The Tar, Princes On Waterfall) worked quite ingeniously as standout scenes. In all, the film is perfect for families, but perhaps in message a movement easier to follow for kids a little older (7+), while adults will appreciate some of the more cheeky dialogue and music.

Should you see this film? Yes. Be sure to catch it in theaters, and even with a group- everyone is sure to have their thoughts on favorite scenes and theatrical interpretations to discuss after. But be warned, you WILL be singing the songs for days- I've already downloaded the soundtrack on iTunes, and I plan on visiting it in theaters again soon! And my other partners in crime? Mother Savannah admitted she couldn't get the film out of her head and placed it up there with Malificent, while 12 year-old Sabrina called it an 'odd film' that was a 'lot of fun' and 'worth seeing again.'  Into The Woods opened Christmas Day and is playing at theaters nationwide, for more information visit the official website.

What Daughter Says: Recall what it was like to discover your favorite fairytale characters all over again, with Into The Woods.

Almost Wordless Wednesday: It's Christmastime

The holidays are a time for family- thankfully, my family has always been defined by me, rather than a silly tree of ancestors. I may have been an only child, but I have worked hard to grow my personal collection of extraordinary individuals so that every branch is blossoming with love. It sounds silly, but I collect people, and once I've collected you, you are a part of my 'family' forever, through thick and thin, just as much as any blood or piece of paper.
With one of my key branches having relocated from SoCal to Texas this past Fall, my heart has been aching to see Sabrina, her mother, and family. For 6 weeks I kept a secret that I would be arriving in town for Savannah's (Sabrina's mother) birthday, and it truly paid off when I was nearly tackled at the front door upon arrival. Not only has the past week been a much needed vacation for me, it's hard to argue the days we shared didn't define the holidays themselves. So many priceless moments shared!
I captured some of the family's moments on film for their own photo albums, and family who could not be present. I found it especially adorable how young Noah spent so much time trying to find 'the perfect' place for each ornament on the tree. Even more so hilarious, the cluster of his 4 candy canes directly behind him, which would indicate otherwise. I assure you every placement was agonized over!
Princess in training, stepsister Kiara, was more than willing to ham for the camera, and especially enamored by her new baby brother, Nathan. Nathan, however, was simply glad to be mesmerized by the festive music and glowing lights.
It's not often the entire family gets to spend a holiday together, so this truly is a joyful holiday, and one of the benefits of the family moving to Texas. I couldn't be happier to see the new family together for such a big occasion, mom, dad, new baby brother, and step sister/brother. The love in this family warms my heart, and I will surely miss them every day until the next we are together.
Sophie, on the other hand, was less than thrilled about the increase in small hands reaching or her, and the fact that she, clearly, was no longer the star of the event. Don't worry, she'll get her revenge in that tree when all the humans are sleeping...From our family to yours, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.

Creating A Charlie Brown Christmas Interview + Giveaway 12/27

I am a Charlie Brown Christmas Ambassador and may have received one or more featured items below, in exchange for my participation in group interviews and activities. All opinions remain original and copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2014.
A Charlie Brown Christmas 50 Years
Momma Told Me: Traditions build memories that transcend time.

Good grief! Another holiday is here this week!

Sometimes I feel like holidays exist purely to mark the passing of time; a time stamp, if you will, of another milestone screaming by on this crazy journey we call life. It feels like just yesterday I was curled in my grandmother's lap, clutching my Woodstock security blanket and nodding off to a Charlie Brown Christmas between sips of warm chocolate milk. Charlie Brown (and friends) have been a part of family memories and traditions as far back as my own parent's childhoods, and it wouldn't be a holiday season without them. Of course, the beloved characters have also worked themselves into our everyday lives as well- I have quite the collection of Snoopy accessories, including one of my favorites, a doghouse piggy bank I stash away quarters and loose change in for a rainy day out.
It's hard to imagine a time when the Peanuts Gang wasn't a part of our family, in my toy chest, in the attic, there still sit several Snoopy dolls from the year I was born (I won't share that year!) It's even harder to imagine the holiday special my family has been raised on, A Charlie Brown Christmas is now celebrating it's 50th year, having been first released on National television in 1965. Initially met with resistance by CBS, regarding the controversial animated presentation of biblical verses, the special was immediately dubbed something that should 'run every year!' by it's first critic, a Time magazine columnist. I had a chance this month to sit in on an interview with the show's producer, Lee Mendelson and get an inside look at how the special initially came together.
A Charlie Brown Christmas 50 Years
Interview With Lee Mendelson, December 5, 2014

How Did The Special Come About?

To my amazement, When I called Sebastopol, California Charles Schulz’s name was in the phone book; and I called him and told him I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to do [a film] on Charlie Brown.

And [Schulz] said: “Thanks for the call, but I’m not interested in animation.”

[Before I hung up] I asked him, “...did you happen to see the Willie Mays documentary last month on NBC?” [When he answered in the affirmative] I said, “We did that show...” There was a long pause, I’ll remember that pause for my whole life, then he said, “Well if Willie Mays can trust you with his life I guess I can trust you with mine.” And that’s how we got together. So Willie Mays is responsible for A Charlie Brown Christmas.

So we did the documentary… and we needed some music.

[Vince Guaraldi] was a Charlie Brown fan. He had no money, I had no money. We agreed to a speculation to have him do the music for the documentary [and] about two days later he called… that’s the first time I ever heard Linus and Lucy, which became our theme.”
A Charlie Brown Christmas 50 Years- Lee Mendelson
We understand you wrote "Christmastime Is Here," how did that come about?

[The show] was too slow and I couldn't put my finger on it and I said to Bill, “You know that opening melody when they’re skating is beautiful maybe we could get some songwriters to quickly put some words together and record it… everybody was busy. I don’t know what possessed me, but I took out an envelope.. and I literally wrote the words on that envelope in about ten minutes. It never changed, it was like writing a poem. We got some kids together and they sang it.

Last week we heard that that album passed 50 million in sales in 50 years.

Why did you go with children for voice actors? Afterall, this was rather unheard of at the time, wasn’t it?

That was going to be a big gamble because up to that time adults had done kids voices.

What was the initial reaction by CBS to this special?

We took it to CBS and they didn’t like it. The executives thought it was too slow, they didn’t like the kid’s voices, they said “What is jazz doing on a Christmas show?”

They said, “It’s scheduled, but [we’re] afraid this’ll be one and out.”
A Charlie Brown Christmas 50 Years
Why do you suppose, 50 years later, it's still such a big hit?

It’s become a generational thing. I think, first of all, it has all the great philosophy of Charles Schulz. The truths, the philosophy, and the Midwest background he had has been so enduring, and continues on to this day.

Certain writers are timeless, he’s timeless.

[Second], there’s an innocence in A Charlie Brown Christmas. There are truths in [it] that are as good today as they were then.

What does the special mean to you?

I hear every year that this is the one time that families get together and can enjoy something together. I think Tom Hanks said on one of the interview shows that Christmas doesn’t start until A Charlie Brown Christmas comes on.

It’s become such a big tradition over the years, and to be able to bring families together every year, that’s the biggest thrill.

And it allowed us to go on to do every kind of show. We did Charlie Brown shows on cancer, on war, on Arbor Day. The networks never told us what shows to do. We had a creative freedom that was staggering. and to have another 5-6 year contract with ABC, who gets 5-6 years? Nobody, except Charlie Brown.
A Charlie Brown Christmas 50 Years
As you can see, even Charlie Brown and the gang have been met with challenges through the years, but a loyal fan base of millions can't be denied- It's simply not Christmas without A Charlie Brown Christmas! We've already watched the beloved holiday special multiple times through the past few weeks, and I know we will on Christmas again. It's wonderful to have such a timeless message to connect with the young and old!

What Daughter Says: While the kids may laugh at the 'old school' animation, the messages and characters still resonate with our family today.

One Momma Told Me reader will win A Charlie Brown Christmas Hallmark Keepsake Statue.

A Holiday Surprise Story- Unlimit Your Holidays With Walmart Family Mobile

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidaysAreCalling #CollectiveBias
The #HolidaysAreCalling with the lowest priced unlimited plans and Rollback Smartphones thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. #ad
Momma Told Me: Just pick up the phone.

 When you're a child the world is your oyster and the holidays are your playground. You study and toil learning your ABCs, your multiplication tables, piano chords, vocabulary and more; all for those few days a year when the entire family comes together among great food and piles of gifts. But how do you stay connected with your family the other 360+ days a year? Thankfully this is not an issue the modern tween/teen has to tackle. With the internet and Unlimited Talk Text and Data/Web mobile phone service it's easier than ever for families to stay connected, no matter the distance. And now we officially are a Walmart Family Mobile family!
The #HolidaysAreCalling with the lowest priced unlimited plans and Rollback Smartphones thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. #ad

Growing up my relatives were spread across the country. I only ever saw them once or twice a year, if that, and I was only really encouraged to form bonds with my grandparents. My father's parents, in particular, made a regular effort to connect through the miles. I remember when our family got their first 'long distance' phone plan my grandparents would call us every Saturday afternoon at 2 PM on the dot. Long before Skype, we'd create our own interactive family time with 'quiz' questions they had emailed the week prior. I'd earn a quarter for every 'quiz' question I'd answer correctly covering everything from mathematics to geography. It was one way we bridged the miles with phones and communication.
The #HolidaysAreCalling with the lowest priced unlimited plans and Rollback Smartphones thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. #ad

 Recently Sabrina (12), and her family, had to relocate to Texas through their association with the military. As many of you know my relation with Sabrina is much more like an older sister than aunt, and the distance these past few months for her and her mother have been tough. Of course Sabrina, who has proven herself responsible with a standard flip phone, has been quick to note that all of her friends 'back home' have smartphones to keep in touch on. She has been asking for one for Christmas but her parents have been skeptical about the cost of a smartphone handset device and potential data/overcharges.
The #HolidaysAreCalling with the lowest priced unlimited plans and Rollback Smartphones thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. #ad

 Thankfully, as the 'cool aunt' I knew all about Walmart Family Mobile and was ready to chime in with the amazing $34.88/month plan for Unlimited Talk, Text, & Web ( with just $29.88 for the second line) bundled with 5GB of 3G Data. I was also quick to note that this is a Talk and Text only plan, should they decided Sabrina can't handle all of the Smartphone responsibilities quite yet, for just $24.98 a month. With prices like that it was easy to get them on board, but they were even more impressed to learn that Walmart also had great smartphone handsets at amazingly competitive prices. Handsets like the Nokia Lumia 635 on rollback from $129.88, now $99.88, or the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit on rollback from $99.88, now $79.88.
The #HolidaysAreCalling with the lowest priced unlimited plans and Rollback Smartphones thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. #ad

 What Sabrina, and her mother, didn't know when I was offering to gift my niece with a brand new smartphone and Walmart Family Mobile service, for the holidays, is that I already had plane tickets to arrive in Texas this very week. Instantly a plan was forming as I picked up the Walmart Family Mobile LG Optimus L90 Smartphone (just $119 on rollback from $149.88) and an activation kit at my local Walmart. Though I've been quite rushed preparing for my secret vacation, and juggling a holiday workload, I easily set up the new smartphone in just minutes online through the Walmart Family Mobile Website.
The #HolidaysAreCalling with the lowest priced unlimited plans and Rollback Smartphones thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. #ad

 Next I was sure to load the phone with a few of my favorite photos of Sabrina and I, and her family; customizing backgrounds, and adding the phone numbers for her closest family and friends. There were a few Parental Controls the Optimus L90 easily walked me through to limit internet access to WiFi only, and track all incoming and outgoing messages and calls. After that it was time to make sure the phone was charged and ready to go on a journey. I brought the new L90 Smartphone with me on the trip to the airport, at the Starbucks stand, and on the plane, all the way to touch down and that first Texas highway overpass, snapping photos along the way.
The #HolidaysAreCalling with the lowest priced unlimited plans and Rollback Smartphones thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. #ad

 Thankfully my flight arrived with plenty of time to get home before Sabrina, so we easily placed the phone back in it's box and prepared for her parents to present it to her when she arrived home from school. I'd used all my 'journey' photos to chronicle the trip and build a special photo album in her new Optimus L90. Like a typical tween, she immediately began exploring the phone and discovered the album of photos I'd created especially for her; the last of which of me standing in her room! When she ran upstairs to look for me, I escaped from the laundry room downstairs to record her reaction- it was priceless!
The #HolidaysAreCalling with the lowest priced unlimited plans and Rollback Smartphones thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. #ad

While I have to get offline for a much needed 'girls day' with my two favorite women, I should note that the phone has not left her side, and I've already received a myriad of emojis and selfies from my favorite niece. The holidays are much happier knowing that, when I arrive home on the 22nd, I won't be too far to connect with Sabrina from home! The Walmart Family Mobile service is $34.88/month for Unlimited Talk, Text, & Web ($29.88 for the second line) and includes 5GB of 3G Data. Holiday shoppers can also take advantage of a $40 Walmart Gift Card promotion with the purchase of the Samsung Galaxy Avant, 12/14-12/27. Who in your life do you wish you could connect with more this time of year?

What Daughter Says: Eliminate all excuses and connect with loved ones this holiday thanks to affordable low priced unlimited plans and rollback prices at Walmart.

The Freedom To Be Spontaneous And Other Relationship Secrets

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TheMoodStrikes #CollectiveBias
Be ready when #TheMoodStrikes with these 5 Simple Tips For A Healthy Relationship. #ad
Momma Told Me: Relationships are work.

If you've been with Momma Told Me since the beginning (yes, way back in the dark days of over saturated pixelated photos) you may recall this blog's URL was originally "Momma Said Days Like These" yadda yadda Blogger dot com. And back in those days, on my first marriage, it very clearly resonated with where I was in my life. Relationships take work ya'll. In between the unexpected bills, the ups and downs of physical health, natural disasters, an just plain rude ex girlfriends (too personal?) you have to find time to put in the hours. But there's good news, its the kinda job you should always love- yes, fun at work. Relationships, whether they're professional, family, or friends all require nurturing and attention. And romantic relationships, which are ultimately hoped to be life long are no exceptions to the rule. So I've compiled a few of my Top 5 Relationship Secrets for a healthy relationship- no need to take notes, I've even added Pin-Photos!
Momma Told Me: The Freedom To Be Spontaneous And Other Relationship Secrets with The Elephant In The Room Communication Tool. Remove the elephant from the box when you or your partner have something to talk about and practice good communication, listening and taking turns talking with the elephant in hand! #TheMoodStrikes #ad
Communication- It goes without saying (get it?) that communicating with your significant other is the most important task at hand on any given day. Whether this is through a simple gestures, such as making them a cup of coffee before work, or relaying the schedule for the day ahead in physical conversation. Communicating your shared needs, goals and individual feelings are key to great communication. But what if you can't always tackle those more touchy subjects? Have you ever had one of those days where both of you go to bed, one wondering why the other hasn't said a word all evening, the other silently brooding on the far edge of your bed?

That's precisely where The Elephant In The Room comes in. It's not my original idea, but it's a concept that is easily adapted to fit many relationships and has truly worked wonders in mine. The process is simple. 1. Buy a stuffed elephant and an acrylic case (you may even have one laying around from when collecting Beanie Babies was cool in the 90s.) 2. Place the elephant, in the case, in a prominent location in your home. 3. When one of you has something they're generally steamed/confused/worried about, remove the elephant from the case. This will give your partner a clear idea that something is bothering you. 4. When your partner is ready to focus on and discuss the problem with you they should take the elephant and approach you to open a safe grounds for communication. Thus 'the elephant in the room' has now been addressed.
Spend some time pampering yourself every week to help ensure you're ready when #TheMoodStrikes. #ad
Keeping Up Appearances- Studies indicate one of the primary reasons for disconnect in a romantic relationship is one or more of the party's perceived lack of attraction. There's always that one woman at the grocery store looking as though she just stepped off a Cosmo magazine with her two perfectly quiet kids dressed head to toe in L.L. Bean; how can you compare? It's no secret you look your sexiest when you feel your sexiest, but it is a secret how on Earth 'those women' manage to keep up with all the coloring, plucking, and shaving while running a household full time with a job.

If you're like me, and can't afford  a house full of help, and shiatsu massages twice a week, your secret is just this simple; do something. Anything, really, just pick one or two things a week to do for yourself. Can't afford an hour bath by candlelight? Take a 20 minute soak with some aromatherapy oils. Using the excuse "It's Winter" to explain away those scratchy legs? Buy yourself a brand new, nice, razor and indulge in 10 minutes of relaxing shave time. That short time spent on you each week can do wonders for your confidence and mood in your relationship!
Keep your relationship healthy and active- plan low stress date nights that take the pressure off and help you be ready when #TheMoodStrikes. #ad
Now that you've worked on communication and spent some time taking care of yourself, it's time to find time to connect with your partner. Sure the two of you see each other every evening, and there's the week night sitcoms you chuckle together over after the kids have gone to bed- but when was the last time you spent some time reconnecting outside the home? Making time, or the budget, for a date doesn't have to be overwhelming. Staying active and engaged is crucial to a healthy relationship.

Take as much stress out of 'date night' as possible by going low key. Make sure both parties understand that connecting, one-on-one, for any period of time, doing anything, is preferred over any extravagant meals or fancy clothes. For example, resolve to eat fast food (we like to go with kids meals and have a little fun, but Subway or other fast serve value options work just as well,) and wear 'civilian' clothes while the two of you go to a second run movie or visit the local boardwalk/arcade. Just because you have kids doesn't mean you can't enjoy acting like one now and then!
Keep your relationship healthy and active wit this free Daily Love Reminder printable. Put a little something sweet and one of these notes in each of the tabs on a daily pill case and gie ti to your partner so they hae a reminder of your love every day of the week! Be ready when #TheMoodStrikes with more of our relationship tips! #ad
Never Stop Reminding Them How You Feel- This is another one of those things we get 'lazy' on as our relationship progresses. Whether you're in the 6 months slump, or heading towards 10 years of wedded bliss; it's easy to lose track of all that bliss and the singing birds when the real world works its way into your relationship. Always be sure to stop and take the time to remind your partner how much you care, and how much you appreciate them. Just a few moments a day, even repeating something they may already know, let them know that you not only appreciate them and love them, but that you think about it every day. Try filling a simple pill case with a little something sweet and a daily note for them to enjoy every morning, or at the end of a long day. I've included an exclusive Daily Love Reminder printable (my first one ever!) to help you out. Check it out at the bottom of this post!
Be ready when #TheMoodStrikes with K-Y Liquibeads from Walmart, Walgreens, or Target. These easy to use personal lubricant beads provide natural freedom to be spontaneous for up to 24 hours! #ad
Be ready for anything- even when your body isn't as willing as your heart. It's not something women discuss often; certainly not women my age. However, I certainly know that life can get in the way of an active and healthy relationship when it comes to connecting with your partner one-on-one. I, personally, take a myriad of medications that seem to jumble my physical cues with my emotional ones, and I am seldom prepared to join the race when the starting gun fires. It's a personal issue that causes me quite a bit of frustration and missed connections within my relationship.

Thankfully, I discovered K-Y® Liquibeads for couples; an advanced moisturizer that acts and feels as organic as my own. They are easy to use and only require 30 minutes advanced placement (via a comfortable applicator similar to a tampon) and can provide intimate moisture for over a day, so your body is always as willing as you when the timing is right. Best of all this revolutionary aid for couples is sold at a number of common retailers, such as Walgreens, Target, and Walmart, near the contraceptives or behind the pharmacy counter, and you can print a special $1 off coupon to try it for yourself.

Let's face it, relationships will always be a lot of work, but the putting the time in doesn't have to feel like a chore with these simple tips for a healthier and more spontaneous relationship!

What Daughter Says: Reclaim your relationship and make it the best job you've ever had!
Curious to learn more about how to be ready when #TheMoodStrikes with K-Y® Liquibeads? Check out our fun video below!
A video posted by Jenna Marie's (@mommatoldme) on

Click here for the free Daily Love Reminder PDF Printable

The Ultimate Holiday Wish List With Best Buy #HintingSeason

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
Momma Told Me: I lost your father to the store!

Shopping for everyone can be a pain. I refuse to set foot in the mall after December 1st, and I try to have all my gift buying done before Thanksgiving. Thankfully, most of my family members can agree on entertainment and tech as gifts. Whether it's a karaoke machine for Sabrina (12), a new home theater system for my grandfather, the hottest video game for my brother in law, or that new tablet for Momma, Best Buy has an extensive hands on showroom and sales floor to explore it all. Think I'm pulling your leg? One store can't possibly make everyone happy? That's not what my father said when I presented him with his holiday gift; a brand new Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 with Geek Squad protection and extended warranty through Best Buy. That's one gift I receive thanks for non-stop.
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
But he's not the only one who will be enjoying the hottest tech, thanks to the elves in blue and Santa's secret. Okay, so Best Buy's price matching isn't exactly a secret- but it's just one more way I know I'm getting a great value when I choose to shop there for all my holiday needs. And, remember that interactive sales floor? That's exactly where we found an extensive selection of the hottest XBOX ONE games and accessories, complete with a demo station.

What is Xbox One?

Xbox One was built by gamers, for gamers. With the best exclusive titles (Halo, Sunset Overdrive), the biggest blockbusters (Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty) the hottest sports franchises (Madden 15, FIFA 15, NBA 2K15) and top family titles (Fantasia: Music Evolved, Just Dance 15, Skylanders) Xbox One takes gaming to a whole new level.

In addition to being a great gaming console, Xbox one connects consumers unlike any other device.  Xbox One enables access to the latest TV shows and movies through your favorite apps.  With Xbox One all of your media is at your fingertips when you want it. Gift this to one individual and watch the entire family enjoy it throughout the year! If you're anything like us, your gaming center is THE hub of your house!
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
Of course, sometimes, Santa can't always hear all of our wish list requests- so it's important that you identify a few special treats to fill your own stocking with as well. I have an older (2000s) car that seems like it's the last without built in GPS. Right now I use my smartphone on a vent clip mount, and it can be very distracting and unreliable when calls and texts try to peek through my map navigation. So I've had my eye on a brand new GPS like one of the several Garmin and TomTom units sold at Best Buy. The hottest units this year feature bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling, traffic and weather updates as well as  Lane assist, Lifetime traffic and map updates, Voice Recognition Technology, and more.

I've been particularly eying the TomTom Go 50s with:

  • Lifetime TomTom Traffic: Drive with TomTom Traffic for the lifetime of your device
  • Lifetime Maps (US, Canada, Mexico): Always drive with the latest map
  • 3D Maps. See buildings and landmarks in stunning 3D
  • 5" touchscreen with advanced lane guidance
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
Naturally Best Buy has thousands of Blu-Rays, CDs, Video Games and more; but you may have a hard time picking out something so specific for the techie in your life. No fear, wireless audio is super hot this year and Best Buy has the latest from JBL Audio including;

JBL Charge 2- Between the twin passive radiators for deep bass, the massive 6000mAh battery and the hands-free conference speakerphone the key benefit is the Bluetooth Social Mode which allows up to three different users to take their turns to play their own playlists on a single speaker.

JBL Flip 2- Aside from the dual performance-tuned JBL drivers and a built-in bass port, the key benefit of the JBL Flip 2 is the SoundClear echo and noise cancellation combined with the state-of the art microphone system to pick up calls on the speaker.

JBL Reflect Earbud headphones-  Sweat proof ergonomic design.  With a 5 hour rechargeable battery and a reach of about 40 feet, the JBL Reflect BT’s key benefit is the design of the ergonomic eartips along with the built-in magnets which keep your buds on standby without loose cables.

But, personally, I'm crushing on the JBL Pulse speaker which emits hundreds of multi-colored light patterns in a visual display that is as unique as the audio streaming from it. There truly is a JBL speaker for everyone at Best Buy!
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
Of course, if you can't quite decide who will love what most, you can always give the gift of choice with a Best Buy Gift Card and know there's something perfect to discover down every aisle. I know I hope to find one in my stocking this year- the only problem? I can never decide what I want most! Thank goodness for Valentine's Day and my birthday! We love shopping at Best Buy all year round, but especially this time of year when I can get so many people crossed off my list in just one place.  What electronics or entertainment finds are on your holiday wish list this year?

What Daughter Says: Leave the men at home, get all of your shopping done in one place with Best Buy's amazing entertainment and tech selection.