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May 16, 2015

Sharing the FUNSHINE

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareFunshine #CollectiveBias

Summer is right around the corner and for me, that means fun in the sun! Whether I'm at the beach or sitting poolside, I like to come prepared with snacks...aka ice cream and treats. I want Dylan to grow up with fond memories of summer days and summer nights so sometimes I go out of my way to spoil him (and the whole family, honestly) rotten. This means a trip to Walmart's candy aisle is in order. 

Summer snack run includes Skittles®, M&M's® Plain, Dr Pepper® Cherry, M&M's® Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches, and SNICKERS® Ice Cream Bars. I'm sharing FUNshine!

And I also want to share one of the most easiest concoctions I've ever come up with! If you're a Skittles® addict like me and you happen to also enjoy marshmallows, then this ones for you. Marshmallows ooze summer and Skittles are a year round snack for me, so it's was a marriage destined to take place. But first, here's a sweepstakes!
Share a Little Funshine Sweepstakes

Cup O' Skittles® 

What you need: Skittles®, mini-cups (microwave safe), marshmallows

Step 1: Put a marshmallow in each cup.

Step 2: Place in microwave for 2-3 seconds.

Step 3: Remove and throw some Skittles® on top. Guess what? You're done. lol 

Put a lid on it!

I made each member of my family a little snack bag using some extra goodie bags from Dylan's birthday party and loaded them each with an ice cream, a mini container of M&M's®, and the cup o' Skittles®, then threw 'em in the cooler to enjoy on our outing.

This is how me keeping things special and sharing the summer time funshine...! 

Click here to receive instant savings on M&M's®, SNICKERS® Ice Cream Bars, Dr Pepper® Cherry, Skittles®, Pedigree Dentastix®! You can also download the Blippar app from your Apple or Android store to scan your package and receive exclusive content I'd love to hear your favorite ideas for making summer FUN!

May 15, 2015

How to Survive the Terrible Twos: Mombie Mode

Sometimes I’m a mom and other times I’m a mombie. Though I have some experience in drowning out incessant noise (a skilled learned from growing up with four sisters), the mombie performance is a new and critical survival tactic for me as Dylan ventures through terrible twodom. Activating mombie mode is easy. There’s no full moon required, I need not be bitten by a fellow mombie (though being bitten by the child will trigger a transformation), and there’s no pathogen causing the non-communicative, unemotional, distant gazing mom I mutate into. The mombie culprit? Toddlers. Specifically when: 

There’s no way out. Like when I’m driving home with Mr. Sunshine in the backseat and he suddenly comes down with a loud case of Goldilocks Syndrome. The straps to his carseat are too tight, too loose, and are never ever, ever just right. Screams and whines from the backseat ensue. ZONE OUT ACTIVATED

There’s no reasoning. It’s time to eat but the food is too hot- a major offense to my wittle big boy. And instead of blowing on the dish or patiently waiting for the meal to cool, loud pangs of dissatisfaction are spewed, food is tossed on the floor, and cries for the dejected “yum yum” on the tile are made. Meal time zombie mommy. 

There’s no explanation. The child wants up, now he wants down. And in both instances, he’s pissed. The more pissed off my toddler gets, the less I’m able to understand. My husband looks to me, “What’s wrong with him?” I stare, I grunt, and I shrug my shoulders, defeated. Full blown mombie. 

Nothing works. I’ve mastered the art of diversion- practically a parenthood requisite…but it’s far from bulletproof. I only have so many tricks in my Mary Poppins bag and though I’m willing to scrape its bottom, sometimes nothing works. Like when the memory of a donut surfaces in my toddler’s mind and he wont let it go- I’m done. I don’t have any donuts kid. Does it look like Mombie cares? 

Being a mombie is me being the best mom I can be in the moment. Non-reactive, unemotional, with one single purpose driving me to keep moving forward. And if you think that’s scary, you should see the alternative- she’s a real monster. But based upon my assessment of equally distressed children I’ve witnessed in public places, I can confirm that there are many mombies amongst us. Even dad-ombies. (Only the name for them is less cute.)

May 12, 2015

Moms At Parks: Can't You See We're Friends?

I don't want to be a helicopter mom but honestly, I have no choice. My kid makes me. I recently read a blog post all about helicopter moms ruining the park experience for non-choppers, written by a fellow mother and writer. And though I never actually considered myself a helicopter parent, by her "2 kinds of park parents" definition, I definitely fit the bill, seeing as I am the mom on the gym equipment who goes to the park and plays with her kid, as opposed to partaking in my own adult play date- like her. 

Though it does sound amazing! I would LOVE to play bench warmer…but my 2 year old won't have it. I try. "Mom, get off the seat, come here! Get down!" He barks, tugging at my leg once my ass finally meets the seat. "Ugh," I internally dread. I’d much rather catch up on my separate existence for a bit, and I’d so prefer to observe his activities from afar, but no. I'm the fun mom whose participation is demanded. Why can’t my presence be enough? I’m jealous of you, benchy. 

You see, Dads are usually thought to be the fun parent. Dads are the wild, the rough, the eternal children. But in my family, I'm that fool. And it's all fun and games until you're being dragged off the bench by a two year old following a full-day of work at the office because your son wants to put sand down your shirt. 

But so you know, bench warming momma, I'm not watching your kid. At all. You don’t have to worry about me judging you because I couldn't careless about your child testing her boundaries. If she falls, that's on you girlfriend. I let my kid fall all the time without acknowledging it. Okay that's not true, I usually laugh before pointing out the obvious, “Did you fall?” HAHAHAAHAH! 

It must be nice to sit around at the park, shooting the shit with other moms like yourself, while I run up and down participating in tot activities. But before you judge me for my involvement, just know that the only way I can get through said activities is to get into them. So yeah, I have fun. And yes, you'll see me acting like a 2 year old, roaring down slides and coaxing my son to "just come!" across the bridge. But you need not worry about my involvement hindering my kid’s social skills. He’s got skills, trust me. He's in preschool from 8 am-3:30 pm 5 days a week. He even has a steady girlfriend that he kisses goodbye each day (what up Annabelle)! So when we are at the park together, he wants to play with his mom. He thinks I'm fun. And you know who else thinks I'm fun? YOUR KID. 

Your kid starts out watching us, curiously feeling me out and deciding whether I'm a threat, a freak, or just an oversized kid.* She slowly inches near us and before I know it, I’m playing with your kid, too. The only reason I keep looking up to eye for her parent is because I don’t want you to think I’m some sick predator hitting your kid up. 

So let’s do each other a favor and show a little more acceptance. I’m not trying to ruin your park experience by playing amongst the children, and I’m certainly not judging your position on the bench. I’m actually envious of your mini-break, lord knows we all need one. So don’t judge me, either. For whatever reason, kids think I’m fun and they won’t get off my back until I’m on it, pretending to fall down. Entertaining your kid wasn't part of the plan but it certainty kept them out of your hair, didn't it? So you’re welcome. You and I are actually better friends than you think. So save me a spot? 

*I’m all three.

May 4, 2015

Modern Survival Tools - Mom Edition

He refused to get off the ground. My toddler was kicking, screaming, and publicly broadcasting that somehow, by not taking him directly to the park after work, I was abusing him. We were twenty-feet away from the front door but actually entering the house was looking more like an insurmountable quest that would take up to a week. I felt my neighbors’ eyes on me but refused to look up. I didn't have the patience to be judged and I certainly didn't have the patience to be a hero today, I was tapped out of problem solving. 

So I picked my two-year old up, thrashing body and all, put on my best Zen face and remained stoic through the hair pulling and limb wielding tantrum, unlocked the door, entered the house, and immediately put the kid in his room and shut the door before heading into my own space for two separate but much needed timeouts. And then I asked myself, “What if I’m not cut out for motherhood?” 

My threshold for shitty behavior had surpassed the cap and any confidence in my ability to rear a child had been deflated. The super mom I wanted and thought I would end up being was up in smoke. FINE. I accepted it. And honestly? What a relief. In that moment I lost both the cape and the pressure of being supermom. 

And I’m not the only parent that has locked themselves in a room and wondered how other moms and dads do it, questioning whether they’re even cut out for this parenting gig. I know this because two women wrote a book on it! And not just a book, but a survival guide for all of us appropriately titled: Lose the Cape. It’s my new favorite reference for realistic parenting and is truly a survival guide for the modern parent. From new mom problems like “To Boob or Not To Boob,” to strains associated with “The Spouse Factor, Lose the Cape is packed with valuable advice, comedic relief and legit issues parents deal with, fully equip with the tips and tools needed to tackle them. 

Though I wish this book existed back when I was pregnant, now that it has been written and is available on Amazon (literally just released April 26!), it’s my official baby shower gift for expecting parents and my go-to gift for struggling-to-be-it-all parents that are just like me (and you). And with mother’s day approaching, it is the absolute PERFECT gift to bestow on your fellow mom. If you really want to do yourself or your fellow parent a favor, help them Lose The Cape

It's worth mentioning that I didn't get compensated in any way to say any of this. But if you want to know more about the authors of the book, visit their blogs: Alexa Bigwarfe  and Kerry Rivera

April 29, 2015

Things That Scare Me: Getting Personal Calls at Work

“Do you want a call from an Erin Davis? She said it’s regarding a personal and confidential matter.”
Huh? I was confused. Why would I get a call regarding a personal matter at work, and what was personal and confidential, anyway? Could it be Dylan’s school? Oh god. 
“Yeah, I’ll take it.” I nervously told the receptionist. The line clicked and the call was transferred. 
"Hi, this is Rebecca.”
Erin wasted no time demanding confirmation of my identity, which I had no intention of providing. 
Hold on. What exactly is this regarding?” I pressed suspiciously. 
“I’m calling about an outstanding debt.” 
“Okay. But why are you calling me at work? Actually, I don’t care. Never call me on this number again. I’m at work and have no time to talk but if you’d like, call me at noon on my cell phone.” Yes, I know. I’m the sweetest. 

Erin agreed and at noon, she called again. 

The second conversation went something like this: “I’m calling about an outstanding Wells Fargo bank account you had from 2010. You owe $926 but we’re willing to settle today for $555 in an effort to avoid escalating this to litigation where you will incur legal fees and further interest.” 
I was confused. No bells were ringing. 
“I’m sorry but I don’t even remember having a Wells Fargo account. Can you give me more information?” 
Erin proceeded to explain that Wells Fargo bought out Wachovia and Chase bank, then hit me with, “You’re scheduled to be served with a subpoena on Friday.” It was Wednesday. 
“How can I be served with a subpoena? Shouldn't I be served with a summons and complaint first? I work at a law firm so if you need to take me to Court then do your thing. But right now, in this moment, I’m telling you that until I look into this, I’m not giving you any money.” 
“I can probably get approval to hold off on legal proceedings until 8am tomorrow if you’d like.” Erin offered. 
“Okay great.” 

Though I may sound like a ball buster, I was actually very nervous. Could it be true? Could I have an outstanding debt that I’m unaware of? The girl called me at work! I quickly looked up my credit report and found no mention of Wells Fargo. Still, the threat of going to court was scary. If the debt turned out to be real, there’s no way the Court would rule in my favor. I’d be a debtor and debtors are punished, their wages garnished, judgments entered against them, sheriffs looking to serve paperwork on ‘em, and not to mention the instant inflation of attorneys’ fees tacked onto the debt once papers are officially filed. I’d be screwed. So paying the piper and avoid the stress seemed like the best option. But something didn't feel right about Erin and my intuition was going haywire. 

When Erin called the next day, I had no plan. 

“We want to resolve this matter with you but we need you to make a payment TODAY.” She emphasized. 
“Here’s the thing, you’re not on my credit report, I haven’t found any information about this alleged account, you aren't giving me the account number, so I’m done. I've decided I’m not going to pay you. Do what you have to do and don’t call me back.” 
“So you’re refusing to pay?” 
“I’m not refusing to pay, I’m telling you I can’t pay for something you can’t produce legitimacy of.”
“Didn't you get my email with the account information I sent yesterday?” Uhm….no. “I’ll resend it and call you back in a couple of hours.” YES!!! An email with something to reference! How did I miss it?

I anxiously waited for her email while fumbling with the possibility of a sheriff stopping at my office to serve me with paperwork in front of everyone. Or in the alternative, forking over $555 bucks that I didn't really have. But alas, Erin’s email came through with an attached letter that appeared pretty legit. It was written on letterhead that indicated the company was headquartered in New York, contained my personal information, and made reference to a case number. It was everything I needed to legitimize her claims. Only instead, I discovered that I was the potential victim of a sophisticated scam artist. Debunked! I couldn’t wait to let Erin know the curtain was up. That bitch almost had me.  

So I replied to her email: 


I looked into this and I am confident that you are part of a debt scam. This debt is not on my credit report, you are not listed as a collector on my credit report, there are hundreds of people online indicating that you are scammers, and you're not listed in New York's business entity database. 

If you are certain that you are not a scammer, I encourage you to send me the account number associated with the alleged debt, as well as any offer to resolve the alleged debt via USPS to the physical address you have on file. 

Otherwise, do not contact me again. Either way, I will be reporting you to the FTC. 

BAM! I felt liberated but still, they almost had me. They literally ALMOST had me. What if I didn't know a subpoena had nothing to do with initiating a legal action? What if I didn't know to look up their business on New York’s entity database? I could've easily been suckered into giving my card info to some loser over the phone who would've done god knows what with it. Normally I’m not so foolish but SHE CALLED ME AT WORK. How the heck did they know my work number? 

But now I know better. And I want you to know better too. So if you ever get caught up in a similar phone call, here’s how to debunk their claims: 
  • Check your credit report. All debts and corresponding collectors are listed. If it’s not there, it’s probably not legitimate. 
  • Ask what state the collection company is conducting business in. Once you know that, you can run a search on that state’s business entity directory. Any legitimate business will be registered as “Active.” If no results show up, that business doesn't exist (or it’s operating illegally). 
  • If you’re super paranoid or the scammer is super smart and using a legit business as a front, google the phone number their calling from. My scammers called from “unknown” but the letterhead had a number on it which revealed a plethora of online reports indicating the number on the letterhead was associated with group of scammy scammers. 
  • Google the company name for any info you can get. Do they have a website? Are they listed on the Better Business Bureau? 
  • Don’t let their threats scare you into paying them. Any offers made telephonically should also be put in writing and sent to you via regular mail. Offers that are emailed don’t hold the same authenticity as mailed correspondence. If they won’t mail something to you, red flag. If they don’t have a website, red flag. If they cant give you an account number, red flag. 

Erin has followed my instructions and hasn't contacted me since my email to her. And though I’m relieved to know I’m not going to be taken to court this week, I wish I would've held out a bit longer, played along, and taken more steps to get her exposed. But hey!!! At least I won’t pee in my pants the next time someone calls me regarding a “personal and confidential matter.” Losers!

The seemingly legit letter. Redacted and comments added.