Eight and Great

Dear JSL,

Eight years ago today, you came into the world and completed our family. Watching you grow up has taken my breath away at times. I think some of this is thanks to being able to see so much of myself in you. You get sarcasm and have certainly learned to dish it out in recent months. While most people think that you are so quiet and serious, I know a super silly and spontaneous JSL is hidden inside.

 Super JSL at almost eight

Over the last year, you have grown up so much. Right before you turned seven you set a goal to learn to ride your bike without training wheels. You did this in a matter of days and were ready for a new bike soon after that. You love to ride your bike and were so excited when Daddy pulled out a bike to clean it off and ride with you. The simple things really do make you happy.

JSL Riding a Bike

Your love for the world of art and being an artist came out a lot over the last year. You beg to do art projects and ask for gifts that are related to crafting. It should be no surprise that when it was time to get your first pair of glasses, they could not be plain. No, you insisted on a blue pair because that is what an artist would wear. We also went to a local museum where your artwork was selected to be on display. You were SO proud of this accomplishment. In addition to this, you became quite the book worm this year. Out of the blue, you learned to love reading chapter books. Solo book reading opened up the world for you and you always have a book with you. Thank goodness you still like to read with me. We are reading the Harry Potter series together and it’s fun to watch your reaction to everything taking place.

My little artist and reader

It should be no surprise that you also focused in on being more of a geek. You love Star Wars, Minecraft, Doctor Who, and superheroes. While you may drive me batty walking around humming the Imperial March, it makes me smile to see you move up from the Indiana Jones tune.

My little geek in training

Thank you for sharing these special moments with me JSL. I love you with all of my heart and am so lucky to be your mother. I can’t wait to watch you finish up second grade and continue to be excited to learn, write, explore, and create as an eight year old.

Love,

Mom

Past B-day posts to JSL:

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My Commitment to Charity

As a Jamberry Independent Consultant, I love that I can use my business to help people and charities that are near and dear to my heart. In February, March, and April, I donated commission from a party to a local autism group that has helped us over the years. Of course, Jamberry also has committed to helping charities. They have done special designs over the years that are for organizations and causes. On Wednesday, they released the Nepal Relief design  and Jamberry will donate 100% of their net proceeds from the sale of it to UNICEF to support the earthquake relief effort.

 

Nepal ReliefNepal Relief Design

Of course, the original Autism Awareness design is what made me fall in love with Jamberry. That wrap retired at the end of April, but a new design was released and will once again include a donation to the Autism Society by Jamberry.

Autism Awareness 2015Jamberry Autism Awareness

I am always open to ideas to help friends and charities. Right now, a group of my friends who all had Summer 2003 babies together are working to assist one of our members. For 12 years, we have known each other and been there to support one another. Now, we will be holding her hand and drying her tears from a distance as she and her family received some life changing news recently. Lisa’s three year old daughter Paislee was diagnosed with brain cancer. We set up a TeeSpring fundraiser with shirts designed in Paislee’s favorite color that features a princess and her castle.

Prayers for Paislee

In addition to this, I am donating all commission in my Prayers for Paislee Jamberry online party to Lisa and her family. This would be a great time to order some new nail designs for the summer including the special Throwback Thursday Deigns that will keep changing each week until mid August. All of the items shown are also eligible for the Buy 3 get 1 free.

Jamberry Throwback ThursdayThrowback Thursday - May 7

More coming soon about helping another beautiful friend of mine also in the Summer 2003 Moms group. Steff was just diagnosed with stage 4 appendicineal cancer. Steff’s Army will be wearing anchor’s for her when she has an upcoming surgery and further treatments.

Steff's Army

Please feel free to message me if you have any questions or would like to talk about a fundraising idea for your charity.

It's Me

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Everything You Ever Wanted Book Review and Giveaway

I received a copy of this book as part of a campaign with Global Influence in exchange for my honest review on Tuesday Tales.

EYEWCOVER

Reading has always been part of my life. As I blogged more over the years, I knew that I wanted to focus attention on books that we read via Tuesday Tales. Parenting has shown me that a lot of my reading revolves around my kids and our family. Reading time with the boys, keeping up on what my middle school kiddo is reading, and assisting with various projects. I have to admit that I crave more ME book reading time. One of my goals in 2015 is to be a little more selfish and stay focused. Reading books that I enjoy is one of those items. While I always have a pile of books and even more waiting for me on my Kindle, I often have a hard time deciding what to read next.

About a month ago, I saw people on Facebook buzzing about a book that they were devouring. Moments later I snagged a Kindle copy of Jillian Lauren’s first memoir called Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. I could not put the book down. Any chance I had, I was reading because I wanted to know what happened next. I was truly fascinated with her life experiences and how one thing lead to another. I felt like I was sitting there with her when she left the United States to go to spend time in the harem for the Prince of Brunei. When the book ended, I was lucky enough to know that another memoir would be released soon. Thanks to this, I didn’t have to wait and wonder as long as others who read the book when it first came out. As luck would have it,  signed up to take part in this review days later.

Jillian Lauren

Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir picks up with Jillian Lauren’s life story. She has moved to California and is transitioning her life after the Brunei harem and drug addiction. While going to cosmetology school, she meets her rock star husband. After time, they decide to start a family. Many readers will connect with Lauren’s struggle with infertility and decision to adopt a child. Through her own powerful words, we go with Jillian and Scott to Ethiopia where they adopt their son.

Jillian Lauren and her family

Jillian’s journey home with Tariku was the beginning of her second act. We get to see how her role as mother helps her to get some closure on events from childhood. There were tears in my eyes as I read about losing her friend to drugs while fighting for her son and his special needs.

Once again, a truly remarkable book by Jillian Lauren. She has a way with words that hooks the audience in so we connect. Jillian does not hold back and sugar coat things, she tells us how she felt in the heat of the moment. As the mother of a child with special needs, I applaud being open and honest especially with your feelings that vary from day to day. Living in the moment can be difficult, but sharing it with everyone else is another story. I applaud Jillian for sharing, caring, and helping others in the process of writing her beautiful memoir.

Giveaway Time!

Would you like to win your own copy of Everything You Ever Wanted? One random person that answers the following question will receive a copy of the book.

What is a book that you have you read recently? Let me know the name of the book and briefly what you thought of it. It is Tuesday Tales and it’s fun to share our love for reading.

This giveaway ends on Friday, May 15 at 11:50 PM ET. Only open to US residents that are 18 and older.

It's Me

Disclosure: As noted above, I received this book to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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Taking Payments With Your Smartphone and Square

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

Have you ever been at an event where you want to buy something, but you have no cash? This often happens to me. On the flip side, I have also been the business owner that did not have an easy way to take credit card payments.

Taking Payments With Your Smart Phone

For a while, I used PayPal to invoice people, but that can be time consuming and sometimes it takes a while to process. As I started going to live events with Jamberry products, I needed something quicker and easier to process credit card sales. While at Puzzles Bakery, I was reminded of the Square Reader. At this amazing business, they use iPads with the Square Stand as their cash register and Square for processing credit payments. When we had lunch there, I used my card, signed with my finger on their tablet, and received an email receipt moments later.

Square Used at Puzzles Bakery and Cafe

I knew that I needed to get a Square card reader to use for my business. I went online and signed up for an account. It was quick and easy. Once I requested the free reader, I went back to the website to personalize my account. From here, I  grabbed my Android device to install the Square Register app.

While I did not have my card reader right away, I was still able to set things up. The interactive nature of the Square website and app are impressive. I was able to put items into my store for quick and easy check out. In addition to this, I could set up the look and feel of receipts that customers would receive.Yes, I could even have specific designs noted in my sales for Autism related events. Even without the reader, you can take credit card payments. There is just a slightly larger percentage taken out for this.

Setting Up the Square App

Once my Square reader arrived, it was time to test it out with a credit card. It was easy to use thanks to a great tutorial that prompts you with what to do next. (1) Put in the amount of the transaction. (2) Confirm the amount and press charge. (3) Select credit card and enter the card number or swipe it through the reader. (4) Have the customer sign on your smartphone.

.Using the Square Register App

After signing, you press continue and it will let you know if the charge has been successful. A short time after this, the customer will a receipt via email.

Receipt from Square Purchase

 

So far my experience has been great with the Square and I hope to report back again after more use. I love how portable it is so I can take it to vendor event, home parties, or business meetings. The only stumbling block I had was my OtterBox made it a bit more tricky to push the Square reader into my phone

The Square Reader

Have you every used a Square reader to make a purchase or take a payment? I would love to know how it helped your shopping experience.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Droid Turbo to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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NYS Parents Have Spoken

Today is the final day of the NYS Math test in grades 3-8. Last week, my oldest son, along with at least 190,000 other students across New York refused the ELA tests. Final numbers are not in throughout the state and may not officially be in for some time. Thanks to dedicated parents, we are collecting our own data. This data is way more than a test score. Yes, this data from district after district across New York State tells a story.

Kids Are More Than a Test Score

The story is one of civil disobedience from families that are fed up. We are not refusing the tests because of a union issue with the teachers. Nor are we babying our children because the tests are too hard.

Opt Out of Testing Shirts

No, we are standing up to protect our children. We are refusing the tests to be heard after years of being ignored by the New York State Department of Education and countless politicians like our dear governor (note the extreme sarcasm). Our children deserve a well rounded education like we had years ago. They should be able to learn, be creative, and not be used as guinea pigs for high-stakes testing companies and politicians that want to privatize public schools.

More Than a Test Score Shirt

While the numbers keep going up, we will not back down. We are in this fight for our children. They are more than a test score and thanks to the NYS Allies for Public Education, our demands are clear.

April 2015 Demands from NYSAPE

The official press release from NYSAPE may be seen on their website. Did your children refuse their NYS tests the last two weeks? I would love to hear how it went for them and if this was their first time opting out.

It's Me

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