Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sagging Jowls DO NOT Mean the End of Your Youth; Reverse Your Age without Surgery!
Getting old is definitely not fun, for a lot of reasons. One of the prime reasons should be sagging jowls. Creams and cover-ups can work for blemishes and dark circles, but what about the sagging bundles of skin that make locating your jawbone tougher than locating Saturn’s 9th moon.
Well, there’s not much we can do about our age. But thankfully we have a lot to do when it comes to keeping ourselves looking young for as long as we can. We agree that there are unavoidable factors like genetics and stress that contribute to sagging jowls in men and women, but there are quite a few options you can avail to get rid of them. Sagging jowls on the face may be a natural change that comes with age, but it’s definitely not pretty to look at. And if you are uncomfortable with how your jaw line looks right now, you can complete right to do something about it.
Non-surgical methods to cure sagging jowls –
While the most instant solution from almost all dermatologists and plastic surgeons is a “facelift”. But that is a surgical and “permanent” procedure that involves quite a bit of money and recovery time. Facelift is an invasive process and we completely understand if you are not up for it at the moment. Hence we are here to provide you with non-surgical methods to get rid of your sagging skin and to redefine your jaw-line once more.
Radio-frequency treatment – this is much less invasive but has its own risks. This treatment involves sending high frequency radio waves into the skin to stimulate collagen growth. This tightens the skin slowly but steadily and removes the sagginess. It might take you 8-9 months to notice any visible change, but they last for at least 4 years.
Exercising – this is the only option left if you are not keen on the other two. There are specific jaw and facial muscle exercises that help you to tighten your jowl without introducing any foreign objects into your facial skin. There are quite a few websites dedicated to jowl exercises where you can find videos accompanying the description of the workouts to help you execute them perfectly.
Here are a few exercises to keep your jowl taut and your face young, for at least next 10 more years to come –
Chin Tilt – point your chin towards the ceiling and extend your lower lip to cover your upper lip. You will feel an immediate tightening in your neck. Repeat this 20-25 times, twice a day for seeing immediate results.
The Grimace – pull your cheeks back and downward till your lower lip is fully stretched. Keep the little“I don’t know” girl meme in mind and you will know the face you are aiming for!
You should start exercising as soon as you see the skin on your jowl drooping. Getting saggy jowls back to shape can be pretty difficult and challenging, but there’s nothing patience and hard work cannot achieve.
Author Bio: Stella Gibbons is a renowned blogger and author who has published best-sellers on beauty and cosmetics. Her take on the sagging jowls on the face is both effective and unique. Check out her blog for a daily dose of anti-aging exercises and treatments to keep you young forever.

Easy Xylophone Craft

It is summer, my kids would live in the pool or perched on a swing, with possible breaks for snacks, lemonade and some screen time if given the opportunity. While I am a firm believer in the importance of play, I am a firm believer in learning year round and brushing up on the things that kids already know too.

One afternoon we were talking about instruments and toying with a few drums, triangles, and maracas when I mentioned a xylophone. My son couldn't picture what I was explaining so I decided to make a quick craft with the kids to see if it would refresh his memory without grabbing the ipad to give him a visualization.

This craft took about 4 minutes for my speedy little boy. It would have taken half of that time had I not nudged him to color the sticks completely.

You will need
6 craft sticks

As you can see I placed 2 of the craft sticks at vertical slants almost mimicking a V

I had Roo color 4 of the sticks in whatever colors he liked

Next we placed the sticks horizontally on the vertical sticks, like rungs on a ladder, securing with 2 beads of white glue per stick

By the time we had placed 3 of the 4 sticks on the frame, Roo remembered what a xylophone was. This was easy to make and the kids had fun banging on the craft stick xylophone. I enjoyed that part too because it was quieter than the real deal.

This was also a great way to discuss colors, shapes, ladders and how one might use a ladder as well as how rungs are like steps in a trickier way. I loved that so much conversation happened around one simple project, involving 6 craft sticks!

Don't miss this fun paper sandwich craft for kids!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Peanut Butter and Jam Pound Cake Parfait Inspired by Hagensborg Chocolates

 This recipe was inspired by friends at Hagensborg via samples received. 

A few weeks ago, I partnered with my friends, The Chocolate Princesses at Hagensborg Chocolates to bring you a really sweet giveaway! We loved hearing all of the ways that you guys are making the world a sweeter place. It was truly inspiring!

Last week was rough for my husband. Mr. Sweet Silly Sara was wrapping up the year at his job as a school librarian and he had not been getting enough sleep. We were busy every night of the week and despite his long week and his weariness, he was on a baseball field, volunteering to help coach a team of 3-6 year old kids.  I  was inspired by Hagensborg Chocolate truffle pigs in peanut butter and jam flavor to make a sweet dessert that would bring a smile to my husband's face.

This is such an easy recipe. I normally would have baked a sponge cake to use, but as I mentioned we had several weeknight games! With that in mind, I had picked up a sponge cake to serve with berries one evening. The berries were consumed but the cake was stashed in a cabinet and forgotten about for a few days.

I put the cake to good use and created a 5-minute recipe that anyone can make and will love!

Peanut Butter and Jam Pound Cake Parfait Inspired by Hagensborg Chocolates


4- 2 inch slices of pound cake, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons of raspberry jam
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 tablespoon of cold water
4 Hagensborg Truffle Pigs in Peanut Butter and Jam flavor
Chocolate sauce for garnish


In a small bowl mix the jam and the water together
In a small saucepan melt the peanut butter over low heat, stirring often until it reaches a smooth liquid state
Place several cubes of cake into a parfait cup
Add a spoon full of jam to the top of the cake cubes
Add another layer of cake cubes
Add a spoonful of melted peanut butter to the top of the cake cubes
Drizzle Chocolate Sauce, jam and peanut butter over the top layer
Garnish with a Hagensborg Chocolate
Repeat until the ingredients are gone in additional parfait cups

My husband suggested that whipped cream would be excellent on top of this Peanut Butter and Jam Sponge Cake Parfait! 

How do you like to serve sponge cake? Do you ever garnish it with something fantastic like chocolate? Hagensborg offers so many fantastic flavors. We are hog wild for their Truffle Pigs. It was nearly impossible to pick a favorite. My son loved the milk chocolate and dark chocolate ones. My daughter was all about the Peanut Butter and Jam. My husband liked Caramel and Peanut Butter... Me. I just couldn't decide. I was impressed by each flavor. Look guys, lets be honest. I am a gourmet kind of girl. Hagensborg is the way to go when you want to indulge in something delicious and cute. My tastebuds thanked me after we tried this brand, and yours will too.

You might also enjoy this Chocolate Fondue recipe.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Feed Me Fine Motor Activity

I have always encouraged fine motor play in my children. Not only is it important for their development, but there are so many ways to offer an invitation to fine motor play!

A well-meaning friend purchased tennis balls for my senior dogs. Bless her heart, but my pooches are too old to do much fetching. As much as we love the dogs, truth be told, they are hounds and have always been prone to take it easy; to sleep in bed only waking for food, water, and a walk. As I type, both are snoozing on pillows at my feet. No fetch will be played willingly by these dogs!

My kids were delighted. Balls! In the house?! YAY!!

I acted fast. With a moment of my time and some very basic supplies, my kids were distracted from the idea of throwing balls and were enthralled with the idea of feeding the ball.

To make a feed me ball you will need

A tennis ball
A utility knife
2 peel and stick eyes or a black magic marker to draw eyes
A few pom poms or cotton balls

The first step is the trickiest. Use caution while using the utility knife to cut a slit in the tennis ball, this will become the mouth.

Next affix or draw the eyes. We went with what we had on hand and used small stick on eyes. The kids and I agreed that really big eyes would be lots of fun!

After the eyes have been added you can offer the pom poms or cotton balls along with the ball.

Play combined with fine motor skill development is ideal for kids of a variety of ages. Both of my kids have fun feeding things to the ball over the years. From cotton balls to barbie doll shoes. The fine motor aspects remain, but we have added in simple math, counting, and color sorting to the ways we use the feed me ball.

You might also enjoy these 7 Ways to Entertain a 3 Year Old.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Incorporating Romantic Silhouettes into Your Everyday Style

Incorporating Romantic Silhouettes into Your Everyday Style
If you’re a hopeless romantic like me, there’s no doubt that you enjoy wearing romantic apparel that shows off your love for frills, lace, ruffles, and more. After all, it’s the little details that make clothing look romantic, and by incorporating feminine style into your everyday look, you’ll no doubt create a charming staple that you will adore.
The good news is that there are modern and trendy fashion websites that know what type of clothing you're after and with a little bit of shopping, you can revamp your wardrobe and discover a few new outfits that'll make you feel both comfortable and beautiful.
It's time for you to embrace your hopeless romantic side and become a woman who will look fabulous in chic clothing that will only increase your obsession in fashion. Here are just a few outfit ideas for the hopeless romantic:
Lace Shorts (with or without leggings)
Have you seen the lace shorts that consistently been trendy during summer and beyond? Whether you live in a cooler climate where you pair leggings underneath the lace shorts, or you’re able to wear shorts without leggings, finding a pair of lace shorts will compliment the romantic in you.
Find a pair that’s made of cotton and that comes with romantic trim at the hemline. The shorts will certainly add to your romantic style and will also offer a perfect amount of elegance to your stunning outfit. Continue to create other everyday staples with a comfy tee and a pearl necklace to create the perfect summertime outfit that’s dreamy and decadent.
Embellished Ruffle Tops
If you desire to have just a touch of romance without going over the top, find an attractive tee-shirt with small ruffles and shiny elements on the front of it. For example, designer and actress Lauren Conrad often offers romantic ruffled shirts that look fabulous paired with a basic pair of fashionable jeans or even a skirt!
If you like to keep your look simple yet feminine, incorporating a top with ruffles is the perfect way to do it. Wear the top to your job during the work week or on the weekend and make this look work for you on a day to day basis.
Incorporate Lacey Bralettes
Romantic clothing doesn’t have only to show on the outside; it can be underneath your clothing as well. Wear a romantic cotton bralette that has the perfect amount of lace and you’ll feel well put together and comfy simultaneously. The lace detailing will no doubt add to your feminine style, and it will also work nicely with a simple cut out tee or even a dress that has the perfect amount of ruffles. Enjoy searching for a lovely dress with ruffles and wear a lace bralette underneath to complete the perfect styling.
So as you can see, romance doesn’t only apply to a significant other. It can happen in your wardrobe too! Finding romantic clothing that fits your personality only makes life more beautiful.

If you’re unsure how to add in lovely apparel that offers the right amount of lace, ruffles, and more, start shopping and incorporating romantic silhouettes into your everyday style. Or if you’re a business owner, continue to look for those perfect silhouettes to add to your storefront. Pretty soon you’ll have the perfect romantic staples that everyone will adore!
Monday, July 25, 2016

A Stroll At The Kingwood Center

As a family, we love to visit The Kingwood Center in Mansfield several times a year. My husband and I love the flowers and plants. The kids love the statues and we all love the exercise! It is easy to spend an hour strolling the paths with the kids.

The Kingwood was one of the first places Adam and I visited when we moved to Mansfield, pre-kids. Over the years we moved, but we make a point to visit The Kingwood several times a year with the kids, not only for the experience but also to revisit our roots in a way.

The Kingwood Center is a 47 acre estate that is open to the public. The grounds are compromised of gardens that are breathtaking. Kingwood Center Gardens develops and displays exemplary gardens on the former estate of Charles Kelley King for the pleasure and education of its constituents.  While admission is free there is a parking charge. It is minimal and helps to support the operation of this amazing place in Ohio.

If you visit, plan to stop by the greenhouses. It is easy to get swept away in the fun of the outdoor experience, but the greenhouse offers many gems including a fantastic banana tree. We seem to make a purchase of a plant on each visit.

This is a great place to snap some awesome photos of your family. The flowers are awesome in the spring and summer, in the fall the leaves add a lot to the experience.

Be sure to bring quarters to buy a few handfuls of food for the ducks! If you pay attention you may see the peacocks. They were nesting on eggs on our last month so we really hope to make it back this summer to see babies!

Do you have a favorite public garden? I would love to hear about it!

The Anatomy of a Great Family Home

We all want to live somewhere that’s perfect for both our children and us. But finding the right home can be hard. It’s difficult to find a place that meets everybody’s needs. Here’s what makes a great family home.

It’s Near Schools

For many young families, any new home has to be close to a great school. Getting a home that;s in the right catchment area is essential for the education of your children. Make sure that you visit schools before you move into your new home to find out whether they are any good. And ask people in the local area which schools they’d recommend. House prices tend to be higher where the schools are better. So be prepared to pay a little extra to get into the catchment area of the best schools.

It’s Big Enough For Play

Family homes should be precisely that: for families. And that means finding a space that’s suitable for every member of your tribe. Adults want formal areas with sensible and practical features. And kids want somewhere that’s big enough for play. Find a place with a space or spaces for kids to get on and play or do their hobbies. And make sure you can accommodate any dogs or cats in a backyard.

It’s Designed For You

Every family has their own individual style and taste. That’s why so many parents are now choosing to create their own houses. Red Ink's house and land packages, for example, allow you to choose and build specific home designs. That’s a good idea when you think about all the different ways your family uses your home. Some people will want space outdoors to play. And others might want an area to work or somewhere to store their instruments. A customised home, therefore, is far better able to meet your needs than one that is generic.

It Feels Like Home

All of us know what we mean when we say a home “feels like home.” And it’s an important consideration when choosing a new house. Granted, it’s going to be tough to create that feeling straight away. After all, you haven’t lived in your new home yet. But you’ll certainly get a sense of what does not constitute a great home. You’re looking for somewhere that feels cosy and is set up for family life. You’ll soon get an idea of the types of places you could call home and those you couldn't. It’s often a shot in the dark when it comes to finding a great home. But sometimes you just have to go with your instincts and take a chance. But don’t despair. There are rare times when you’ll discover a new place and it will genuinely feel like you always lived there. And that’s when you know you’ve found your perfect new pad.

It Can Be Improved

As time goes by, your family will grow. And so will its needs. That’s why a great home is one that can be improved. You might want to build a new extension for guests, for example.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hand Print Fish Puppets

One of my favorite things about being a mom is to watch the pleasure my kids get from simple items. Last spring my husband cut out a photo of Colonel Sanders and glued it to a craft stick. He casually laid the Colonel on the table for the kids to discover at breakfast. They went wild over this! 

Last night after the kids were tucked into bed, inspiration hit me and I got busy crafting up something fun for them.  I hoped that the idea would inspire them to want to get crafty with me after seeing how fun these little puppets could be!

These are so easy to make. This is maybe a 3 minute project that will bring hours of entertainment. While entertainment is important, there are subtle and vital things happening when your kids engage in imaginative play. 

Benefits of Pretend Play
Pretend play allows the expression of both positive and negative feelings, and the modulation of affect, the ability to integrate emotion with cognition (Jent, Niec, & Baker, 2011; Seja, & Russ, 1999; Slade and Wolf, 1999).  Pretend play, fosters language development, thinking skills, and helps to develop emotional and social skills in children ages 2 thru 7. The creativity unleashed thru dramatic play has long-term benefits too. From problem-solving thru imaginary situations to the ability to express feelings.

Isn't it incredible to think that so many things can come from playing with a handmade puppet!?  Well, let's get to it and make one so the play time can begin!

Supplies needed

handprint cut out on colorful paper
small paper triangle
small paper heart
white school glue
a googly eye
craft stick


To begin, trace a hand and cut it out on colorful paper. 

I applied a little glue to affix the eye.

I also cut out a small triangle from another colorful paper and an oddly shaped heart for lips.

I applied a small amount of glue in the middle of the handprint for the small triangle.

I applied a small dot of glue for the heart paper for lips.

Next, add a little glue on the top of the craft stick and affixed it to the back of the handprint, in the middle of the handprint.

Allow the glue to dry and you have a fun fish puppet.

What Did the Kids Think?

The craft was well received with Harper, who took both of the fish puppets that I made and dashed off to play with them before her brother could see them. I chalked that up as a success.

Once Roo got a peek at the fish puppets he said, "Mom can you trace my hand?" That was all it took and the construction paper came out for handprint tracing.  After lunch today we are going to make a few of these together for an afternoon of crafting and puppet play!

Puppet play is a lot of fun for kids, but there is something almost magical about creating a puppet of your own design and bringing it to life via imaginative play. This project required the most simple of supplies and it can be completed in a matter of moments. There is no reason not to give it a shot with your kids! The benefits of simple projects like this that create an invitation to play are abundant, the mess from such a project is minimal and you likely already have these items on hand, or you could improvise with any paper or cardboard, tape and a straw if not!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

4 Things you did not know about debt consolidation

4 Things you did not know about debt consolidation
If there is one thing that you cannot run away from is debts. In as much as many people fear getting into debts that may be the only way you can improve yourself, say like in the case of a business. If you have a business and you need to improve it, you will need capital to make it happen and the only way to get it may be through getting a loan.
Sometimes you will find yourself getting into debt without knowing. Sometimes it may be that you are in a tricky situation and you need some financial assistance. In such a case, you will think loans. In the event that you find yourself in a situation where you are in multiple debts, getting a debt consolidation plan will be of great benefit to you.
Debt consolidation can be defined as combining the several debts that you may have and paying them off as one. Unlike in the case where you may have to write up to 10 different checks every end of the month, with a debt consolidation plan you will only need to write one check. This is much easier compared to any other form of debt clearance if you ask me. It is debt consolidation made easy.
Many people will call this robbing Peter to pay Paul, but it is not the case exactly. You need to look at the many advantages that you will get once you get such a plan. What most of you may not know is that debt consolidation is all about making your life easier. Apart from helping you to clear your loans in good time, having a debt consolidation plan will:
Help you clear your debts before taking up another
If you are the kind of person who is in the habit of taking one loan after the other even without paying off the first, a debt consolidation plan will be of great help to you. You will come across some plans that will not allow you to take up another loan before you finish paying off current creditors. This is good practice if you ask me.
Reduce your stress
Think of it as focusing on only one master. With a debt consolidation plan, you can easily focus on one account. Work with only one account, unlike in the case where you would have to pay attention to nearly 7 different accounts. Think of the confusion that would come along with that.
Protect your financial history
This will have a major influence in the future in case you will need to get another loan from say a bank. Most of them will look at your credit history.
Reduce the payments per month
It can be so much stress if you will have to keep account of every check you write at the end of the month. A debt consolidation plan will reduce your payments per month by ensuring you pay to only one account. Save yourself the trouble.

Diana Stevens is a 29 year old who works with a company dealing with debt consolidation. She says the best way to manage your debts is by debt consolidation made easy. She is a wife and a mother of one as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

House Guest Solutions

I think I probably hit my breaking point hosting Thanksgiving last year. We had a million overnight guests (ok, maybe it was closer to five), and we don’t live in a mansion, so there just weren’t enough guest beds to go around. So I did something I swore I’d never do: I asked my nephew if he wouldn’t mind sleeping on the couch.


Well, never again. Because I just happened to discover the OoRoo folding ottoman bed — and I am done putting overnight guests on the air mattress! We live in a small house, and space is at a premium (I’m one of those moms who spends waaaaay too much time on Pinterest browsing through space-saving hacks). Before I came across the OoRoo, hosting overnight guests used to mean putting people on air mattresses, that old futon, or worse: the couch.

The OoRoo, on the other hand, packs all the comfort of a traditional mattress into a lightweight, foldable guest bed that doubles as an ottoman when not in use! (you can get the ottoman cover in any of six delightful colors I’m a big fan of the lime canvas one myself).

I’m already brainstorming ways I can use one of these portable beds for family travel, camping, kids’ sleepovers, you get the idea. Fact is, I’m tired of feeling like you have to sacrifice style or comfort when it comes to affordable guest bedding. And like I said, I am done putting guests up on the air mattress.

OoRoo also makes a great pet bed and the portable OoRoo Beach Mat that would be perfect for camping.

Oh, heads up: all OoRoo orders are shipped FREE right to your door for FREE (within the continental US).

Monday, July 18, 2016

Shop With Your Heart

This conversation was sponsored and inspired by the ASPCA, but the chit chat and opinions are my own.

I have two things to share with you today. First, there is something to said about buying cruelty free products. When I purchase local, as an example, I know that my family is eating the highest quality meat and dairy. Farmers tend to take a lot of pride in their livestock and produce and they play a vital role in our economy.

Second If you purchase meat, eggs or dairy, you have more power than you know. By buying welfare-certified animal products, or more plant-based products, you send a strong message to food companies that you care about the treatment of farm animals.

Today, let me invite you to make the pledge to be a more welfare-conscious shopper with the ASPCA. Everyone who signs the pledge also gains access to an exclusive Shop With Your Heart Grocery List, including welfare-certified and widely available plant-based brands.

Improving the lives of farm animals is not only the humane thing to do, but it is the smart move for the quality of the foods you feed your family. If we demand that our food is produced in healthier and humane ways it will be healthier food.

Saturday #320

On Saturday #320 it was hot and humid. As it is summer and every day kind of feels like Saturday, we didn't have many plans for the day. My husband suggested we take the kids to the Splash Pad that has just opened in our town.

We did 90 minutes of water play. The kids were happy and exhausted. I got a bit of a sunburn due to poor sunscreen application on my part. We made our way home for snacks, with the intention of getting out and about for more activity later in the day.

As we arrived home and snacks had been handed out, the kids melted on the sofa and watched television. Ideas of things to do were tossed around, but in the end, ice cream sounded like the only real plan worth making and keeping.
Harper says cheese with the ever present binky in her mouth.

Saturdays are not overly thrilling around here in the summer, but that is only because we are on summer break, as a family for 3 months. In the summer months we reserve weekends for more downtime as the crowds are always lighter at activities during the week. Maybe I should include a weekly recap during the summer months of 940 Saturdays?

During the week we went to story time, played at a park, went shopping, and went swimming a few times.

I hope that on this Saturday in the life of your kids that you made a lot of fun memories. If this is the first time you are reading 940 Saturdays on Sweet Silly Sara, the idea is that you have only 940 Saturdays from birth until your child leaves for college. I started this series for my son Rolf many years ago and have tried to keep up with it so that both my son and my daughter can look back on these entries someday and have a history of how we spent time as a family.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mushroom Hunting with Sweet Silly Sara

I have an interest that you might not know about; I am especially fond of mushrooms! Photographing wild mushrooms is one of my hobbies that I rarely talk about. It is one of those things that I do for the sheer pleasure it brings me to find a mushroom growing somewhere and to capture it, as it is at that moment in time. I have toyed with the idea of turning my collection of photos into a book, but in the meantime, I am going to share a few with you.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my life and one of my interests.

I spotted this beauty on a walk in the woods with my son.

This specimen was discovered growing in a yard on a walk downtown. 

Jackpot!! Look at all of these babies!

These ones were  discovered on a walk in my neighborhood.

Not the best photo, but for some reason I am drawn to it.

On a fall walk one morning, I took a side street I had never walked. I walked upon hundreds of these beauties. I loved the way the mushrooms resembled buttercups. This was a fantastic reward for exploring!

A few days later I returned for more photos, I found the mushrooms were in a state of decay, but they were still an impressive sight. 

I ran across these guys in a random field.

I do not, at this time, attempt to identify the mushrooms. I simply enjoy their beauty and appreciate the mystery of the fungus. 

My interest in mushrooms began about 12 years ago. My then boyfriend, now husband and I took a walk around a lake after an especially rainy couple of days. We saw a large mushroom with lovely purple hues to it. I snapped my first mushroom photo at that moment and have been intrigued by them since. 

I often joke with people that according to my photo collection all I ever do is eat, visit parks with my kids and take photos of mushrooms. There are that many mushroom pics on my phone!

Thanks for stopping by for a glimpse into my life!