Our Crazy Corgle – Keep Your Dog Safe With Vectra 3D Flea & Tick Control

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vectra flea & tick control for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I know you've been waiting for more pictures of Kiff, our cutie corgle (see The Unexpected Corgle and Corgle Update – He's So Cute!!)  Well, here they are:

Here's Kiff sleeping with his teddy moose.

Here he is standing proud.

And here's a picture of Kiff keeping a watchful eye on Katie's food bowl.  Isn't that considerate of him ? ūüėČ

It is very important to our family to keep both of our dogs happy and healthy.  One of the ways we do that is with flea and tick protection.

Vectra 3D is:

  • fast-acting.  It kills on contact – fleas are dead in as little as six hours.
  • broad spectrum protection.  It repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, biting and sand flies, lice and mites (excluding mange mites).
  • long lasting.  It remains effective after bathing and swimming and lasts up to one month.
  • convenient.  It offers protection for puppies as young as 7 weeks and comes with a patented super-easy applicator.

Check out this video for more information:

From now until June 30, 2013, you can enter Vectra’s Protect the love Facebook Sweepstakes for a $100 gift card to use at their next veterinarian visit. A gift card will be rewarded each week for the duration of the Sweepstakes.

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Everyone who enters the Protect the love Sweepstakes can also claim a free dose of Vectra flea & tick control  Users can print out a coupon for a free dose to redeem at a Vectra veterinarian near them. All you need to do is enter the sweepstakes, then visit FirstDoseFree.com and fill out the form.

Follow Vectra on Facebook/Twitter

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My Winter Style – Classic and Comfortable with No nonsense

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of No nonsense for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I don’t think I really had a sense of style until 8th or 9th grade.¬† It was around that time that I discovered the “preppy” look.¬† I memorized The Official Preppy Handbook and begged my parents for a “button bag” for my birthday.¬† I was all about the sweater, polo and pearls.

Now that I’m a little bit older (okay, 30 years, but who’s counting?), I still dress pretty conservatively.¬† T-shirt and jeans for casual, and a cardigan, polo and corduroys for work.¬† Around my house we’ve taken to calling my style “librarian”.¬† For an evening look, I like to glam it up a little with a lacy tank and pearls.

Now that winter’s here, I thought it would be fun to match my sweater with some nice warm tights from No nonsense.¬† No nonsense tights and leggings are so comfy and stylish – and affordable!!¬† I can pick them up while I’m out grocery shopping or picking up a prescription from the drug store.

Take a look at the outfit I put together:

My Style

What do you think?  Cute, right?

Jill Martin, co-author of the New York Times bestselling style guide I Have Nothing to Wear!, and New York correspondent for Access Hollywood is the new brand ambassador for No nonsense. She will be assisting No nonsense this fall with educating women on how to wear the brand‚Äôs new colorful and high-impact tights and leggings.¬† I’m excited to see her suggestions because while I would love to wear more color, I’m always a little nervous about “what goes with what.”¬† Check out Jill’s fun video:

You can follow No nonsense on Facebook or Twitter @benononsense.
Leave a comment and let me know: What’s your style? Do tights and leggings something you would try?

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Fun & Helpful Health Advice from Dr. Jim and Bob @BlueShieldCA

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of © Blue Shield of California for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have you ever had a mysterious ache or pain and googled your symptoms?¬† Or wondered what’s the best way to treat a cold sore?

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Blue Shield of California has a new “dynamic duo” – Dr. Jim and Bob.¬† They scour the internet every day, looking for health questions posted¬† by regular people like you and me.¬† Then they answer them in a humorous, helpful video.¬† Topics range from insomnia to hiccups and even some more embarrassing topics.

I have watched all the videos, and I thought the funniest was this one, titled, How to Get Your Bowels Back on Track.¬† If you don’t mind “potty humor”, go ahead and take a look:

All of the videos have thoughtful advice from Dr. Jim.  Three of the four members of my family have problems with insomnia and Dr. Jim and Bob have some helpful tips on how to get to sleep:

One of the things that impresses me the most about Blue Shiled of California is they are a not-for-profit company.  They offer easy access to great doctors, as well as alternative practitioners like acupuncturists and chiropractors.  Best of all, I checked out their rates and they have some really affordable plans. They are one of the health plans we are looking at once we are back on our feet.

For more information on Blue Shield’s programs, or to watch some more videos from Dr. Jim and Bob, you can check out .Dr. Jim and Bob’s Fun & Helpful Health Advice.¬† Then come back and let me know – which was your favorite video?

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Save More Money at Walgreens

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am so excited!! Walgreens opened in my neighborhood this last Friday.  In fact, it’s the first Walgreens in our city.  Every week I see all these posts from deal and coupon sites talking about all the great deals you can get at Walgreens and finally I can get them too!

Well, today I heard about Walgreens Prescription Savings Club. For just $10 a year, my whole family is covered, including my husband, both boys (any dependent under age 22 is covered) and both our dogs!! Singles can join for $5.

A membership buys your family:

  • Savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and all generic prescription medications
  • Discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies
  • Bonuses when purchasing Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services.

Now, some of you know that I have asthma and use a nebulizer.  I have always had to buy my nebulizer supplies online in order to get the best price, but now I will be able to buy them locally with the savings at Walgreens.

You can get more information by following the link above or by talking to your pharmacist.  Also, you can follow Walgreens on Facebook and/or Walgreens on Twitter to keep up-to-date with their latest news and special offers.  And between January 4 and February 29, 2012, Walgreens is donating $1 to their Well Fund Commitment Partners, who include American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Susan G. Komen Foundation, American Cancer Society, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for every “like” they get on Facebook.

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My Weight Loss Journey – Part 1

I weighed 112 pounds on the day Art and I were married in 1988, which is a bit on the low side for my height. I really wasn’t watching what I ate, but I was riding my bike every day, walking when I could, and never ate much for dinner anyway. Also, I had essentially stopped eating for the 3 days prior to the wedding, so within a month afterwards I was back up to my normal 120.

I have never been a gym rat and was pretty agoraphobic the first few years of our marriage.  I pretty much gave up on exercise during that time, although I would occasionally go to the gym with Art to play racquetball.  Over the next few years my weight went up to 135.

After the births of my boys I stabilized around 140 and was quite happy at that weight for another 7 years, taking regular walks with Art and occasionally attempting the gym.  I knew I had gained weight, but I still liked how I looked in clothes and was so busy running after two little boys that it never occurred to me I was out of shape.

In October 2001 Art was recalled to active duty in the Air Force.¬† Fortunately, he was never sent into a combat area, but he was gone from home more frequently than before.¬† I turned to comfort food more than ever.¬† Cheetos, Cheez-its, Velveeta shells and cheese, popcorn with lots of butter, tortilla chips with queso dip and Nestle’ King Size Triple Chocolate cones were my favorite.¬† One one of Art’s overseas trips I gained 10 pounds in 2 weeks.¬† By 2003 I was up to 155 pounds.

Art & I on Alaska cruise 2004

I decided it was time to get serious about losing weight¬† However, I still didn’t see the benefit of exercise.¬† I was still walking one or two days a week with Art and doing crunches whenever I felt guilty (not that often) but that was about it.¬† Family Circle magazine published an insert based on their Eat What You Love and Lose diet and I decided to try it.¬† I learned some new recipes and some easy ways to track calories and lost 2o pounds.¬† Back to 135!! I was ecstatic.

That fall I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  Not just high Рridiculously high.  How could that be when I was at a healthy body weight?  I had no family history of heart disease.  I started on two different kinds of blood pressure medicine. It never occurred to me that lack of exercise might be part of the problem.

In June 2005, Art and I opened our golf shop.¬† I was so busy running back and forth and up and down the stairs and moving boxes, not to mention doing the books and manning the cash register during busy times, while still homeschooling Bud, that I was pretty much able to eat whatever I wanted.¬† I was so stressed I went right back to my comfort foods.¬† I didn’t gain any weight, but I certainly wasn’t healthy.¬† As business and life stabilized the weight slowly started to creep back up.

Christmas 2007 brought a brand new treadmill and soon after that I discovered Sparkpeople.  For a few months I used the website to track my exercise, learned some new strength training exercises and some more new recipes.  For the first time since high school I attempted pushups!!  In May of 2008 when I had a partial  hysterectomy I was very glad for all the exercising I had done. I was back to work in a week with one of the fastest recovery times the doctor had ever seen. By July it was too hot to exercise indoors or out (no air conditioning, except in the bedroom) so I gradually fell out of the habit.

To be continued on Friday, January 13…

Why Did You Homeschool? Part 2

So, if you read my blog from Tuesday, you know why we homeschooled our oldest son, Boo.¬† Bud is 3 years younger, and the reasons why we homeschooled him are as different as Bud is different from Boo.¬† After all, I can’t preach the benefits of an individualized education and then force Bud to follow the exact same educational path as his brother, right?

Well, Bud just sort of segued into kindergarten.  He was only 3 when Boo started homeschooling, and so it was just natural for him to start learning along with his brother.  Over the years we discovered many differences in their learning styles.  Boo is a natural mimic.  He memorizes easily Рhas a near photographic memory.  Bud has more common sense.  He gets concepts intuitively, if he can apply them to a relevant situation.  Boo is more of an abstract thinker.

One of the biggest questions we have been asked ever since we began homeschooling is “Aren’t you worried about socialization?”¬†¬†¬† Dictionary.com defines socialization as “a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity¬†and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social ¬†skills appropriate to his or her social ¬†position.”¬† How is that learned in a classroom full of children your own age who don’t know anymore about social skills and behavior than you do?¬† What people really mean when they ask about “socialization” is “do they have any friends?”¬† Well, in Bud’s case that has never been a problem.¬† Kids are drawn to him like a magnet.¬† He was always the kingpin of our neighborhood and none of his friends ever cared what school he attended.

Bud has always been a very busy child.¬† Some have called him our “wild child.”¬† I have been asked why he wasn’t in a classroom¬† where a teacher could keep him¬† “under control.” We preferred to raise him ourselves and channel his energy into taekwondo and flag football and dodgeball and basketball and tennis shoe hockey and swim lessons and whatever else we could think of that he might enjoy.

Bud homeschooled through the 6th grade, completing 5th and 6th grade in one year so he could attend middle school in the same grade as the majority of his friends.  Bud really enjoyed middle school, but some health problems, along with bullying issues (see When Older Kids are Bullied) made him decide he wanted to come back home for school after 9th grade.  We did more research, as I doubted my abilities to teach high school science, and a friend pointed us in the direction of K12.com and California Virtual Academy.  In this program, Bud attends all his classes online, sometimes in real time; sometimes by listening to a recorded lesson.  He has excelled in this environment, never earning less than a 3.5 GPA, and is set to graduate high school this June.  He is planning on attending community college in the fall, studying horticulture and business.

We are so proud of both our sons and the fine young people they are becoming.  The experiences we all gained through homeschool have been invaluable.  My hope is that every parent can discover and have access to the educational program that is the best fit for their child.