Friday, June 22, 2018

Fly On The Wall At A Gender Reveal Party

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, five bloggers are inviting you into their homes for a peek at life behind closed doors.

     This month there has been a lot of "buzz" (see what I did there, Mr. Fly?) going around about the gender of my soon-to-be second grandchild. My daughter decided to have a "gender reveal" party, which is the latest fad among pregnant millennials. The way it works is that the expectant couple invites all of their family and friends to a party to share in the big moment of surprise when the baby's gender is revealed, usually in some fabulous sort of way. In our case, the reveal was done with two cannon-like tubes that were shot into the air. One released confetti, and the other, glittery smoke.

     At the count of three, the expectant couple shot the cannons and guess what? PINK! I'm expecting another granddaughter! And I couldn't be more thrilled because I absolutely adore the granddaughter I already have, and I think it's pretty awesome that she is getting a sister.

     The theme of the party was "Staches and Lashes," and everything was decorated in pink and blue. People who thought the reveal would prove that my daughter was carrying a boy wore fuzzy mustaches. Those who thought it was a girl, wore fake eyelashes.

     Here is the tricky part: only 1-2 people were allowed to know the gender of the baby a month ahead of time so that the contents of the cannons (the colors) could be ordered accurately. Yes, that person was me. I knew the gender, but had to keep my mouth shut the entire month. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT WAS??

     The party was wonderful---great food, good music to dance to, a fun photo booth, beautiful decorations, an exciting "reveal" moment, and a room full of all the people we love. What could be better than that? I'll let the pictures speak for themselves......

The proud Mommy and Daddy-to-be with my first granddaughter

Dad-to-be with Poppy-to-be

Party time with friends and Aunts & Uncles-to-be

Great friends and family

Auntie-to-be with Daddy-to-be

Photo Booth: Will it be a boy or a girl?

Shenanigans with an Uncle-to-be

The girls having photo booth fun

My sweet Isabella, the big sister-to-be

This Great-Uncle-to-be is not shy about wearing "lashes"---he predicted a girl!

More Aunties-to-be in the photo booth

Mommy & Daddy-to-be celebrating with friends. World Cup: GO BRASIL!!

Somebody predicted a boy and was most definitely wrong! Girls rule!


Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                  https://www.BakingInATornado. com
Menopausal Mother           
Never Ever Give Up Hope            https://batteredhope.blogspot. com
Spatulas on Parade                   https://
My Brand of Crazy                   https://sarahsbrandcrazy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Got Hot Flashes? Try Cold Therapy

     Now that summer is here in sunny south Florida, my hot flashes are doubly worse in the 90+ degree heat. Recently, I received an ice towel from Ron Bester, founding partner of koldtec, a company that manufactures wearable cooling gear.

     Folks, this product has been a lifesaver for me. I wore it to a local park last month and walked the mile long trail with the cooling gear wrapped around my neck. It kept me cool the entire time! I also had my husband use it for his outdoor landscaping job, and it saved him from a possible heat stroke. I absolutely LOVE this product and highly recommend it to women experiencing hot flashes or for anyone who is frequently outdoors in the heat.

     Here is a little info on the koldtec cooling gear:

We know hot flashes are unpredictable. So, if we can't prevent hot flashes from occurring in the first place, then let's do our best to manage the outcome. Body science dictates that dynamic hormonal shots will affect your internal thermostat. With that in mind, how do we re-regulate and restore our natural temperature?

                        Two Words---Cold Therapy
WWeeWe know hot flashes are unpredictable. So, if we can't prevent hot flashes from occurring in the first place, then let's We our best to manage the outcome. Body science dictates that dynamic hormonal shifts will affect your internal thermostat. With that in mind, how do we re-regulate and restore our natural temperature?Two 
Did you know that by cooling certain pulse points of the body you are able to decrease the core temperature of the entire body? Numerous pulse points are located throughout the body; the most significant being in your neck. Pulse points are specific areas where you can actually feel the pulse of your blood due to the beat of your heart. Because blood runs so closely to the skin in these specific areas, cooling the pulse points also allows for blood to be cooled as it passes, creating an overall refreshed feeling. And since the brain represents the most sensitive tissue to changes in core temperature, the close proximity of the neck makes it the optimal place to receive a cold sensation. The best part is: cold therapy is all natural. If you’ve done your research, you’ll soon realize that no magic pill exists to eliminate hot flashes. Most people will always opt for a simple and organic approach to wellness when given the choice. You’re simply helping your body do what it’s naturally designed to do!
When Water is Not Enough – You Need Ice

Regular tap water can run as low as 60 degrees on average; certainly refreshing to drink, but not enough to challenge a serious hot flash. Your body needs an instant and long-lasting chill that only ice can achieve.
The koldtec ice towel packs 6 ounces of engineered ice that naturally conforms to the shape of your neck. And it delivers 5X the cooling power - dramatically outperforming any other traditional cooling towel.
What you’ll love the most – it’s eco-friendly, reusable and all natural. Just pop it back in the freezer when you are done. And use the insulated travel tube to make sure you’re ready for that unannounced hot flash – anywhere, anytime!

If you're interested in koldtec products, please go to the following link:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Winning The Dad Lottery: Happy Father's Day!

     With Father's Day approaching, I've spent this past week thinking about my husband and how blessed I am to have him. Many of you may not know this, but I met Mac on a blind date in 1982, and although it wasn't love at first sight, all it took that night was one kiss in the parking lot and I knew he was THE ONE. Call it chemistry, call it destiny; either way, I knew I'd found my soulmate.

I was recovering from an abusive relationship at the time, and the last thing I needed was another man in my life, but Mac was different. His compassion, honor, quick wit and loyalty convinced me that he was a keeper, and here we are, 34 years later with four adult children, one feisty granddaughter and....SURPRISE! Another grand baby on the way!

     Our children won the dad lottery when the powers that be decided that we would have four kids. The role of father is one Mac embraced wholeheartedly from the very beginning, spending every spare moment he had with his family: Wiffle Ball games in the backyard, shave cream fights on the lawn, helping to coach our son's little league team, attending every one of our daughters' marathon-
length dance recitals, and pushing the kids in a cart around the grocery store while they each picked out their favorite treat.

He played "monster" for hours whenever the kids asked, chasing them around in the dark with their friends no matter how tired he was after work. He volunteered in their school classrooms, attended overnight field trips with them, and served on the PTA board. He taught them how to Rollerblade and ride a bike (and eventually taught them how to drive). He played basketball and hockey in the driveway every Sunday with all the neighborhood kids, helped our kids build their science projects, study for their exams, and was always available for cuddling on the couch whenever they felt sick.

Mac also taught them to love unconditionally and to never, EVER, take the unique closeness that we share in our family for granted. Our kids know that their dad always has their backs, and that they can count on him to feel safe.

The list goes on and on, and there aren't enough words to describe how appreciative I am that he is the father of our four, amazing children.

Amazing because of him.

Happy Father's Day Mac, and to all the hard working fathers out there celebrating this special day of recognition. You deserve the best!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This past week I was featured on Motherhood Collective.  You can read about my funny experience with head lice here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Is Menopause Driving You Crazy?

     I don't know about you, but menopause is making me a little bit crazy these days. Maybe it's the hot flashes. Maybe it's the constant fatigue and forgetfulness. Either way, I am always searching for a solution to lessen the symptoms.

     Today on the blog I have a special guest who has discovered something that works to make menopause more bearable and she is here to share it with all of us. Please welcome Mary Sisson from Hot Shots to Meno Mama's site with lots of comment love!

                                  Is Menopause Driving You Crazy?

As if being a woman wasn’t tough enough! - When we reach the stage in our lives where we look forward to sailing into a life without periods, cramps, bloating and all the wonderful misery that goes along with all of that….SURPRISE! Here comes menopause. Yes. Yet another phase of womanhood that can turn your hourglass figure into that of a pineapple, your skin tone goes from peachy and tight to something that looks like it was a skin graft off of a tyrannosaurus rex, you get 5-alarm hot flashes with no good looking firemen standing by to put out the flames and when the fire burns out - you are suddenly freezing in cold wet clothes or pajamas, you suffer from periodic moments of CRS (can’t remember stuff), and you get mood swings that have you going from happy as a clam to being capable of biting the heads off of small animals in the blink of an eye. Sound familiar? It’s miserable and that’s putting it lightly.
There is finally a product out there that can provide relief - safely and without side effects. Really. It’s not a pill full of chemicals. It’s not a placebo designed to trick your brain into feeling relief. It’s actually a mix of some of mother nature’s best ingredients that, when mixed together, create honest-to-goodness relief from bloating, weight gain, hot sweats, freeze outs, poor skin tone, and mood swings. It’s about time! After all, mother nature had a hand in this whole menopause business. The least she can do is provide something to take the misery out of it. 
If you want to put your menopause on hold, it's time to try Hot Shots! Use code Firsttime10 for $10 off your first order at

                                   About The Author: Mary Sisson

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Mary Sisson. Jack of all trades - master of some. What’s that mean? It means I’ve performed in a few “rodeos” during my life. Not the kind with good looking cowboys riding amazing horses and bucking broncos. More like the kind of life experiences that help make me who I am.
I grew up on a farm in Schoenersville, Pennsylvania (that’s Pennsylvania Dutch country). Graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York as a chef. I Lived at the Jersey shore and in north Jersey and there, developed some thick skin. (Jersey is no joke you know….) I Worked as a cake decorator, nursery school teacher, elementary school secretary, meeting and event planner, banquet waitress, caterer, payroll specialist and my most recent gig….a benefits specialist. How’s that for all over the board? Yes, it’s pretty diverse but it’s given me plenty of experiences and I’m grateful for that. It actually gives me so much to draw upon when I write. 
And then there’s the whole lifetime achievements and memories that go along with being a Mom, Grandma, Wife, Step Mom, Aunt, Sister and Daughter. Those job titles go hand in handwith kids, grandkids, a husband, step kids, nieces & nephews, brothers and sisters and a mother, mother in law and father in law. A whole cast of characters that provide endless entertainment and fodder for thought. 

I love to write. Am I the next New York Times Best Selling Author? Who knows? Doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m doing something that I like to do and hopefully setting the stage to help readers to stop and think and remember. The icing on the cake (….that’s chef talk) is putting a smile on someone’s face.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Motherhood Before The Internet And Social Media

     Since becoming an empty nester, I now have plenty of time to socialize with friends, write my memoir, or snag an hour for yoga. I no longer have to worry about planning trips around my children's school schedules or fret over what to feed a family of six. EVERYTHING in life is easier.

     But it wasn't always this way. My life was once chaotic and stressful, although I must admit, I loved staying busy. It gave me a sense of purpose. Now that the kids have moved out, my priorities have changed, and sometimes it feels weird not to have a strict schedule to follow.

     I look at young mothers today and wonder how they do it all while remaining tethered to the internet. I try to imagine what my life would have been like raising four kids if I'd had a computer in my home and a cell phone in my pocket.

     Distracted. That's what I would have been.

     My children were born between 1987 and 1995. I was a stay-at-home mom, and yes, sometimes it got pretty lonely being cooped up in a small house with four children under the age of eight. If I wanted social interaction, I had to drag my little beastlings to the gym where there was free daycare and I could do an aerobic workout for an hour with my friends. If that wasn't possible, there were always the Mommy & Me classes that were so popular in the late 80's. I made quite a few mom friends through the program, and we kept in touch by meeting at the park with our kids or hosting lunchtime playdates.

     If I wanted to stay connected by phone, it took a bit of planning. Our house had a landline with a long, curly cord in our living room. Whenever the kids were occupied watching a VHS tape (it was either that or the PBS channel---our options were extremely limited), I would set up their snacks, quickly pull the corded phone into the next room for a little privacy, and chat for approximately 30 minutes---or until the video ended.

     Long distance friendships were even harder to maintain. The calling fees were too expensive, so most of my relationships existed through handwritten letters. I recall writing 30 page letters to some of my best friends and waiting eagerly by the mailbox for their response two weeks later. Snail mail was the only way to stay connected, but it made us appreciate the time and effort it took to write a handwritten letter. It proved to the writer and the recipient that they mattered.

     If cell phones had been around back then, I know I would have been preoccupied texting my friends and sharing silly videos on Instagram, because I'm the type of person who is easily sucked into social media. God bless the mothers today who aren't, but as for me, I know I'd be curled up on the sofa far too long with my phone, scrolling through photos and Facebook updates while my kids played nearby.

     A night out to dinner with the kids in tow was also never an easy feat. They became bored after the first ten minutes, got antsy waiting for their food, and were always in a hurry to get back home once they'd finished eating. It was up to my husband and me to keep them occupied at the table. We told funny stories, drew in their coloring books, or played tic-tac-toe on the paper placemats....anything to keep them busy. As much as I enjoyed those times, there was always the stress of eating quickly (hello, heartburn) and praying that no one would have a meltdown in the restaurant.

     I'm pretty sure that if iPads and cellphones existed when my children were young, I would have been sorely tempted to use them to keep my kids entertained while my husband and I enjoyed a glass of wine before dinner.

     The same goes for vacations, which were even more of a challenge. We once drove from south Florida to Missouri for spring vacation, and the 24 hour drive was interminable. Staring out the car window at a flat landscape with the occasional appearance of a cow was not great entertainment for a five-year-old. The best we could do was arm our kids with headphones and storybook tapes for their cassette players. When that became tiring for them, my husband and I popped children's sing-a-long tapes into the car's stereo and sang goofy songs with them until our eyes glazed over. The only thing that saved us from losing our sanity during that road trip was when the kids finally became drowsy and fell asleep---but even then we had to whisper, and we couldn't play the radio too loud for fear of waking them. Let's just say that by the time that trip was over, children's songs like Raffi's "Baby Beluga" were a constant ear worm that took months to get rid of.

     If we'd had access to games on cellphones and tablets for our kids, our road trips would have been ten times less stressful. And I wouldn't have been stuck for weeks with kid songs in my head.

     How is all of this different from what mothers are experiencing today? I'm not going to say that they have it better or worse---every generation has its own challenges. Social media is a great way for moms to stay connected to the outside world, and to seek advice or find like-minded parents who are struggling with similar childrearing issues. There are tons of online mommy groups and pediatric websites that make searching for answers literally just a click away. We never had this luxury; sometimes it took hours to get through to a doctor in the middle of the night and numerous trips to the emergency room just to get medication for a simple infection, since most pharmacies closed by 10:00 p.m.

     Honestly, back in the 80's and 90's, I would have enjoyed staying in constant contact with my friends via emails, texts and social media, but I would NOT have liked living my life under a public microscope where everyone would have been free to judge my parenting skills. There's very little privacy nowadays, but a whole lot of criticism floating around, and as a young mother, I cannot imagine living with that burden while trying to raise my kids. From disciplinary tactics to eating organic or non-organic foods, everyone has an opinion, and no parent is immune from being judged on their decisions.

     I'm also extremely grateful that cellphone photos and videos did not exist when I was a young. Once that stuff is out in the internet, you can never erase it. No one needs to see that photo taken eons ago on my friend's Kodak camera of me being carried out of a party after I'd had one too many vodka tonics. Nope. That evidence from my partying days was burned, and my kids will one day be thankful for being spared from seeing it.

     Now that I'm an empty nester, I have all the time in the world to indulge in my social media connections. I love the freedom of it, but given half the chance, I wouldn't trade it for the internet-free time that I spent with my children while they were growing up....Baby Beluga and all.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This week you can catch me on Pickle Fork with The Three Stages Of A High School Reunion and on Reality Moms with 9 Reasons I Love Having Adult Children.


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