Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #18


This week’s Thumbs Up Thursday goes out at the end of a busy, busy week for me and my daughter.  I feel like enough has happened this week to fill the whole summer!  But, we have a lot of summer left and we plan to use it well.  But, before I run out of time and energy, let’s jump right in to this week’s Thumbs Ups:

1.  Vacation Bible eXperience at our church.  

I really can’t say enough good things about the church we attend.  I like so much about it.  But, they do VBS like no other.  Their youth program was actually one of the things that really attracted me to the church in the first place.  I want my DD to have a good church experience.  I was lucky enough to grow up in a church with a strong youth program and it really brought me a lot when I was growing up.  When I felt out of touch with my classmates or changed schools or just didn’t “fit in” anywhere, I always was made to feel like I fit in at my church.  We had a fantastic youth leader who was so good at making us feel valued and loved.  And that is what I get from our church here.  The focus at VBX Jr (for the 5 and under set) was God Made Me, God Loves Me and Jesus will always be my friend.  And the days were so positive, for both my daughter and I.  I volunteered on the craft team and met some incredibly nice women, got invited to the Women Experiencing the Bible group and another small group, went to lunch with one of my daughter’s preschool friends and her Grandmother who was also volunteering at VBX and was able to witness Bean experiencing the love and joy of the program.  It was AWEsome.  I’m sad that it is over.

2.  Swim lessons.

I taught swim lessons from the time I was 16 until I was about 24 or 25.  I could easily teach my DD to swim.  But, you know what?   I love having her take swim lessons.  First, she listens to them much better than she listens to me.  Second, I get 30 minutes of time to read each evening while she is in the pool.  I’m already a 1/3 of a way through Gone Girl and I hope to finish it next week.  I could obviously find some time to read while at home probably, but this time is built in time that I have committed to reading and I love it.  In addition, she gets to play fun games with other kids in the pool.  That is difficult to provide when she is an only child and we go to the pool.  I can’t have her do swim lessons the next couple of weeks because we will have to go to my mom’s in the Bay Area for a chunk of days both weeks.  But, I’m hoping to get her in one or two more sessions before the summer is over.  The hope is that she will be a swimmer by the end of the summer (safe in the water swimmer, not competitive swimmer).

3.  Pine Sol.

I know…this one is weird.  But, I have just started using Pine Sol to deep clean my kitchen today.  I ran out of my other cleaner and I had some Pine Sol that I’ve had sitting around for a while and I decided to bust it out.  Pine Sol always seemed like my mom’s cleaner, if you know what I mean.  I need new stuff.  Better stuff.  But, then I started using it and the smell reminds me of my childhood home.  My mom used to use it to mop the floors and clean the sinks.  I love that it kills 99.9% of germs.  And, in our house, something that works on hard water is key.  And, when I went over to their website to check out some info on the cleaner, I was happy to see their support of empowering women.

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #17


This week has been a bit of a rough one.  Let’s just say I’m glad the 30th is here tomorrow (pay day), but it is soon going to all be gone once again.  So. Many. Expenses.  But, I’ll work with it…For now, let’s focus on some good stuff – my faves this week (some affiliate and referral links are included):


I have been a user of Swagbucks for a while now but I often forget how easy it is to earn a substantial amount of bucks just by investing a bit of time each day.  For those unfamiliar, Swagbucks is an online reward system (others exist like MyPoints and InboxDollars) that rewards you for doing searches, making purchases and doing other online activities from their website.  I personally like Swagbucks because I can build up “bucks” pretty quickly (for example, this morning I was able to accumulate over 50 “bucks” in less than 1/2 hour while also checking my email, bank account, etc.  I have traded in most of my bucks for gift cards, which you can get pretty reasonably (450 bucks for a $5 GC usually), which means I can earn a $5 GC each week if I am investing a little bit of time every day.  Not bad.  I think I’m going to try banking my bucks for a month to get a PayPal deposit this time (2500 bucks for a $25 deposit).  We’ll see if I can hold out if I my impatience drives me to the Amazon GC to get a faster payout.  If you haven’t tried Swagbucks, give it a shot – it can’t really hurt.  They have some fun challenges during the year and if you are a gambling sort, they have a lot of “Swagstakes” where you can win substantial prizes.  You can also play online games, etc. for bucks.  If you click on any of the links here, it goes through my referral code and I can get a few bucks for you using it as well!

Lipton Bavarian Wild Berry Tea

Bavarian Wild Berry Tea

I know I’ve already included Lipton Tea (once iced) on my Thursday Thumbs Up in the past, but I have to say that this new Wild Berry Tea combined with some traditional Lipton Tea is my new favorite.  I am also going to try to the Cinnamon Chai during the summer while my hubby is gone (he doesn’t like spicy tea)!  I like this tea because it isn’t really sugary sweet, but it does have a touch of berry flavoring and it smells really good!  It will be a great summer drink and would be even better infused with some real berries…yum!


My final thumbs up this Thursday goes to the website Upworthy.  I read a lot of stuff on the internet.  A. Lot.  But, I have learned so much from the items posted by Upworthy over the past few months.  The items are usually videos, they are usually quite short and incredibly impactful.  I love that they cover a broad array of topics and although most of the items are educational, they are also personal and meaningful.  I can’t recommend this website enough.  I subscribe so I get an email with a list of what they call “Things that Matter” and they are easy to share on all your favorite social media.  Check it out!

So, that’s it for me today – what about you?  What’s your thumbs up going to this Thursday?

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #16 – Summer Edition


Welcome to Thumbs Up Thursday…I finished at one of my jobs for Spring semester today and only have a couple of weeks left at my other job and then its official:  “School’s out for SUMMER!”  So, I thought I would dedicate this Thumbs Up Thursday to summer.

First Thumbs Up goes to spray on sunscreen!

spray on sunscreen

And when I think about it, it is strange that I would pick this because Bean won’t let me actually spray it on her, so I have to spray it on my hand and then put it on her (which is probably safer than spraying it at her).  So, it really isn’t any different than the lotion stuff usage-wise, but for some reason I just like it a lot better.  First off, it doesn’t seem to be nearly as messy as lotion.  And second, it is nice and cool when you spray it, unlike the lotion that gets hot on sunny days in my bag.  Finally, it just seems cooler to me.  So, there ya go.

With the 90 degree weather we’ve been having for the past few days we’ve definitely busted out the sunscreen early this year!

Lipton Iced Tea Bags 


It is the simple things in life right?  These babies save me a ton of money each and every day.  We make multiple pitchers in a day usually and if we had to buy iced teas out all the time, we would go broke just drinking iced teas!

Dakaro Sangiovese Wine

2012 Dakaro Sangiovese

I tried this last night at our local wine bar, “Wine Time” and I loved it!  And it is really reasonably priced.  Definitely will be drinking it again!

There is a lot right now that I would give a thumbs down to (its been one of THOSE days), but I will hold on to the positives and leave it at that!

What would you give a thumbs up to today?

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #15 – Bare Bones Edition


Well, the bare bones edition is happening because it is 11:37 pm, so I only have 23 minutes to truly post this on Thursday.  Plus, I don’t have a lot of things to give a thumbs up to this week.  Sorry, it has been a pretty bland week.  But, here goes:

1)  The iPad –


So many reasons for this one.  First, I have a five year old and yes, I am one of THOSE parents who has let their child play on both the iPhone and iPad forever.  But, I will say that it is a lifesaver when in the car, in the hospital, in waiting rooms, etc.  It is truly magic. I realize there are other things that can do make these places better, but this one is really a showstopper.  In addition, I can house literally hundreds of books, articles, student papers, etc. on it and fit it in my purse!  That is pretty amazing as well! I am not an Apple loving person really, but the iPad has definitely made me love it.  So, thumbs up Apple!

2)  $1 Iced Teas at McDonalds –


I drink a LOT of iced tea.  I also drive a lot.  So, being able to get a good, big, unsweetened iced tea (actually brewed – the fountain drink iced tea tastes really chemically) is a big boon for me!  McDonald’s consistently has good iced tea cheap, so they are my go-to place for picking up a drink along the way.

Yeah, its 11:49 p.m. now and I’m tired.  So, I’m ending it there this week.  I’m sure there are a ton of other things I could give a thumbs up to tonight, but I will just have to be happy with the two things.  Tomorrow is Friday – three more days of Spring Break and then it is back to work for me.  So sad…

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #14 – Sick Day Edition


It is a sick day edition not because I am sick but because my daughter has pink eye…again.  No preschool with the crusty eye unfortunately, so I called off class to stay at home with her, put drops in, do the warm compresses and hopefully get rid of this crusty stuff once and for all.  Although missing class always creates some consternation, we had presentations today so I’m sure many are breathing a sigh of relief at having a few more days to prepare.  It also gives me some time to clean up, declutter, catch up on grading and class planning, etc.  Although with a bored four year old, productivity is never a given, we will do our best.  So, here is the Thursday Thumbs Up for 2/13/14:

1)  RAIN!  I am in Northern California, so rain is becoming a BIG positive as we try to avoid continuation of the worst drought in history.  We had some good rainfall last weekend.  There is rain predicted to start here any time and keep going for a few days again.  It is much needed.  I am very thankful for it and I am very thankful that I don’t have anything to do that will require me to be out in it.  All good things in my book!

Hopefully we can avoid scenery like this from CBS Sacramento (actually is in NV, but we're on our way to this in some of our lake areas)
Hopefully we can avoid scenery like this from CBS Sacramento (actually is in NV, but we’re on our way to this in some of our lake areas)

2.  Ranch Dressing.  For some reason I have not had Ranch Dressing in the house for a while.  My husband doesn’t eat it and I just never had a clear reason to buy it.  But, I recently bought a bottle for a recipe that called for it and I have rediscovered my love of ranch!  It is a very versatile dip.  It can be used to flavor bland dishes or sauces.  It is just awesome.

Ranch Dressing

3) My final Thumbs Up for this Thursday is Bath and Body Works 3 Wick Candles.  I love these candles.  I love candles in general, but often I find two things that frustrate me with them.  First, they don’t smell as good when burning as they do when you smell them in the store.  Second, they burn so quickly that I use them up in the first few days of owning them.  The 3 Wick Candles solve both of these frustrations.  They smell FANTASTIC and the whole house smells good when I burn them.  You don’t have to be sitting next to one to appreciate them.  And they burn for a long, long, long time.  I often have them burning for hours on end and they still last for weeks.  These are definitely my go-to candles now.  Others may be cheaper, but the trade off in smell and time burnt is worth it AND if you can catch them during one of their big sales they are CHEAP to boot!  If you haven’t tried them and you like candles, you really should do yourself a favor and try them!  They have a ton of scents to choose from, so just about any one should be able to find something they like.  I know there are those who just don’t like burning candles and I can respect that, but if you aren’t one of those people, check these out!

3 wick candles

So, there you have it.  My three items for Thumbs Up Thursday.  What are you lovin’ today?

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #13


Well, it has been a rough week, so the Thumbs Up is a little tough this week.  But, here are the things I am most thankful for this week:


This stuff was like magic for my daughter’s flu.  She came down with it fast and furious and tested positive for both strains in the pede’s office.  We started her on it immediately that night and she seems to be totally recovered only 48 hours later.  She still has three more days of the Tamiflu, but with her immune suppressing meds, this is impressive!  Thank goodness.  She was quite miserable for that first day of it.

Zofran 8 mg

And, on a medical roll, I also give a thumbs up to Zofran.  My daughter can not handle dehydration with the meds she takes and her heart condition, so this is some great stuff that is much needed when she gets stomach sick.  She threw up twice before we got the stuff and never after we got the stuff.  She felt sick again a couple of times but we got the Zofran on board and she never threw up again.  That is something to be very thankful.

That is all I can get out this week.  Between the flu, viewing every call from my mom or sister as being the one that will tell me my Dad is gone (still hasn’t happened, but it is imminent), my mom’s need for an emergency blood transfusion and finding out that she has life-threatening internal bleeding that will need to be treated with radiation five days a week for two to five weeks and the start of the semester being only days away and me with only one syllabus out of four complete at this point…none of it is thumbs up worthy.  So, I will focus on the great meds that have allowed us to escape the flu disaster that could have been and move on to dealing with all this other stuff.

Hope your week is better than mine.

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #12 – Children’s Books Edition

I’m excited about my daughter asking me to start reading her Nancy Drew books last night, so I thought I would make this a Children’s Book edition of the Thursday Thumbs Up.  I loved, loved, loved Nancy Drew books as a child.  I remember seeking them out at the library, trying to read every single one of them.  If one that I had not read was not available, I would re-read one or I would read a Hardy Boys book, but those paled in comparison to Nancy Drew.  I wanted to BE Nancy Drew.  Smart, well-dressed, pretty, popular, well-traveled, AND she drove a convertible.  So, I started collecting the series for my daughter.  I only have about a third of them currently as I wanted older ones (the new ones kind of ruin the vintage feel of Nancy Drew), so I get them at thrift stores, used book stores and the like.  And suddenly, out of the blue, she asked me to start reading her one!  I am hoping that she will love them as much as I do and as I read them, I see why I loved them so as a child.  So, my first Thumbs Up today goes to Nancy Drew books!

This is the one we started reading.
This is the one we started reading.

These are some of my other Children’s Books favorites that I will recognize with a thumbs up!

Anything by Eric Carle
Anything by Eric Carle
Discovered this one through a Scholastic video
Discovered this one through a Scholastic video
Found this one by chance at the library - love the Wood's writing!
Found this one by chance at the library – love the Wood’s writing!

Those are just a few of my favorites.  I’m sure there will be many, many more as time goes on and I read with my daughter.  But, I am happy that she is asking me to read Nancy Drew to her!

What are some of your favorite children’s books?