The Ins and Outs of Family DNA Testing

It is often said that nothing is as important as family. I sure know that I love my husband and kids, but I don’t really know much about both of our families past our grandparents.   Gone are the days when people had to depend on their older family members and family records to trace their family trees and family histories. While these traditional techniques of determining your ancestry and family trees still exist, advances in science and technology have resulted in even more accurate methods for genealogists.

DNA testing is one such genealogical tool, and its popularity is growing. I feel it would be a fun family experiment and see what we come up with. Right now we still have living parents so more opportunities to collect DNA samples.  According to MyFamilyDNATest.com, the big three DNA tests are AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and 23AndMe.com.  Depending … Continue Reading

8 Best Parenting Books For Moms

Everyone who is a parent knows that it can sometimes get overwhelming particularly when the kids are home for holidays, or when one has a child all through in the house (such as in the case of new mothers).

While asking friends and relatives for pieces of advice is an option, it is not a very desirable option for many people. Indeed, many would prefer to get views that are from a more neutral and objective point of view.

Many moms turn to the expert advice found in parenting books. The authors of these books are often parenting specialists and parents, and they often have valuable tips and advice. Far from that, these books are often a good way for moms to unwind and have a good laugh while at it. However, with so many parenting books in the market and more coming in rapidly, … Continue Reading

4 Tips On How To Live With A Bipolar Spouse

According to statistics from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), bipolar disorder affects up to 5.7 million adults in the United States every year.

On the other hand, the Mental Health Research Association estimates that at least 2 million American adults suffer from bipolar disorder every year. These figures are indicative of the fact that bipolar disorder is quite common in the United States.

There are few statistics available on relationships in which there is a bipolar spouse. However, assuming that at least half of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder are in relationships, it would mean that there are at least 1 million people in bipolar relationships or marriages.

Well, my husband and I fall into the bipolar marriage category with me as the bipolar spouse.… Continue Reading

Best Places For Easter Brunch In Austin

With this Easter fast approaching, many are already making plans for celebration. Although there are various ways to celebrate such holidays, you can always draw some fun with family, friends or other relations.

A brunch can be a perfect way to kick out the holiday before you join other activities. Typically, it is a late breakfast that has various entrees thrown in.

Most people love their brunch on weekends when there is no pressure or hurry, which is also why it is ideal for holidays.… Continue Reading

What Types Of Employee Drug Tests Are Available And Do They Work?

Employee drug testing has become the norm in some major companies across America. It is a simple solution to protecting the workforce for a drug-free environment.

Some job hunting individuals may wonder if the methods and attitudes are over-zealous, but many companies stand by their policies.

Drug use at work is a problem, and there are different solutions to uncover it. However, not all companies are tackling the issue in the most efficient manner.… Continue Reading

Prescription Drugs Entering Public Schools in America

High school is a period of changes. The phase of becoming a young adult is at the smallest hand tricky and confusing. It is a time when a child begins his path of self-discovery towards becoming a young adult.

This path has many options, possibilities, and as any other child who is curious, high schoolers are overly eager to experiment with one of these options.

Unfortunately, this sometimes means taking the wrong turn and choosing drugs.

Statistics show that after marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are becoming one of the most abused substances among teens.… Continue Reading

Great Christmas Shopping Experience in Austin

The holiday season is here with us, and just like the norm during any other holiday, people are filled with the task of getting the best gifts for those on their list.

Well, the reality is that finding the best gift can be mind-blowing given that there is so much to choose from. However, that is not the case for those that live in Austin or are visiting here.

Ranging from unique Austin gifts to excellent Christmas themed arts, there is all you need to have fun for the season and make your shopping a breeze.

You can be pretty sure that finding the right gifts for your family, spouse, friends or even coworkers won’t be bad after reading this guide.… Continue Reading

10 Things Your Child Needs To Know About Bipolar Disorder

When a family member undergoes diagnosis for bipolar disorder, it is not uncommon to find other family members keeping it a secret from the children. The truth is that sooner or later, the child will find out and will develop questions regarding the issue.

With this in mind, it is important to talk to your child about the condition and clear any issues that they may have regarding bipolar disorder. Here are ten things that your child/children need to know about bipolar disorder.… Continue Reading

Vegan Pumpkin Soup With Thai Spices

As the evenings get cooler, there’s nothing as comforting as a hot bowl of soup. Pumpkin makes a rich, creamy soup base which is complemented by touches of garlic, chili and ginger. Having a friend that loves food from Thailand I wanted to make something she would love. This Thai-inspired pumpkin soup combines fresh ingredients to create a rich, spicy flavor that will really warm you up.

The soup is surprisingly filling as a dinner meal and is also deceptively simple to prepare. No fussing around or wasted time cooling it so that you can put it through a blender: all you’ll need is your trusty potato masher! With just 15 minutes in preparation, you can put it all together and then put your feet up with a magazine and enjoy the rich Thai aromas while it cooks.

Note: this soup has a very spicy … Continue Reading

Review Of The Best Family Restaurants In Austin

The only criteria I ever followed while choosing to dine out in a restaurant is the food quality – everything was secondary. However, of late I’m in a fix as some of the restaurants with real good food did not have enough space for my little ones to run around.

This might sound a little crazy to many of you but the truth is that when you have a family, their comfort takes precedence, even when it is such a small affair as eating in a restaurant.… Continue Reading

The Truth Behind Drug Addiction

It is quite surprising to learn that a lot of people consider drug addiction to be a social problem. Drug addiction is not a social issue, but rather, it is a personal problem, an individual problem. It can cause grave long-term consequences.

Problems with relationships, employment, and law, mental and physical state are situations that are all going to come at once. Simply willing to change one’s behavior is not going to solve this problem. There is a lot more to it, than what we think it is.

Addiction, be it drugs, or for that matter, anything else like food, or a particular behavior, is quite a disease. We call it a disease because it impacts the brain. For that reason, just by will power, you might not be able to stop it right away. With a bit of discipline and help from the right … Continue Reading

The Best In Austin Downtown Shopping

Congress Avenue is often referred to as the Mainstreet of Texas. It Austin downstream Congress Avenuehas long been my haven for retail therapy, and I would recommend going there to anyone in the Austin area who is looking for a pleasant day of window shopping with or without the kids.

One of the things that I like about it so much is that there is something for everyone. While strolling around the avenue between Lady Bird Lake and the Capitol, you’ll pass through one of the National Register Historic Districts to see museums, restaurants, theaters, and of course, places to SHOP!

So let’s talk for a minute about these stores. Austin downtown shopping has it all, so you can feel safe that whatever your personal style is, you’ll find plenty of stores that cater to your taste.… Continue Reading

Figuring Out Low-Carb High Fat Eating!

Changing your diet and losing weight can be a tricky process that requires some significant changes and patience. It is easy for dietitians and experts to tell us to eat a better diet and exercise more, but there are so many different ideas on what a healthy diet for weight loss really is that we end up confusing ourselves with latest tricks and fads and arguing over the best advice to take.

I am not switching diets for weight loss per say, although I could stand to lose a few pounds, I feel better when I eat this way.  Rather than look at the new quick fix solutions, try something that has a deeper long-term impact –  which for me is low carb eating.

Instead of torturing yourself by limiting calories and focusing on the amount of fat that is digested, you can actually deal … Continue Reading

What Me And My Friends Thought Of Austin City Limits

Plenty of people have a wonderful experience at Austin City Limits Music Festival – whether that means taking in an eclectic mix of sets across the weekend or soaking up up every sweaty, intoxicating molecule of the atmosphere – but it is important to remember that every experience of ACL is unique. There are good points and bad points and always plenty of stories to tell. The 2014 festival was no different and each member of this mismatched ensemble of friends has their own perspective on the event.… Continue Reading

National Margarita Day Is Coming – February 22, 2016!

This winter has been miserable. Christmas and New Year were wonderful but since then it has been a month of cold weather, violent storms and no sign of the warmth of spring. I had been feeling pretty fed up with it all until I remembered that a great day is coming up on February 22nd. There were only two occasions when a Margarita was seen as an acceptable drink for this mom of two – when the four of us are sunning ourselves on our summer vacations down in Cancun and on Cinco De Mayo. That was until my friends and I heard about National Margarita Day.

Celebrate in a festive style by experimenting  with fun Mexican recipes, use a Margarita machine,  and don’t forget the decor.

Mexican appetizer

Chips salsa and white queso dip.

National Margarita Day sounds a little bit like one of … Continue Reading

Fried Quinoa With Stir-Fry Mixed Vegetables Recipe

In the dark and cold winter months, a warm and hearty dinner is a real treat! One of my favorites is quinoa fried “rice.” It’s a healthy spin on your favorite Chinese takeout, ready in less time than it takes to get Chinese food delivery! It’s a real crowd-pleaser (even my non-vegan friends love it!), and it would be perfect for Chinese New Year celebrations  or just as a Friday-night staple. Once you try it, you will probably prefer it over your go-to Chinese takeout restaurant; it’s that good!… Continue Reading

Oktoberfest In Hill Country

There are countless reasons why I love Oktoberfest. I can’t get enough of the sweet music from polka bands not to mention the delicious sausages. For this reason each year I attend Fredericksburg Oktoberfest celebration for a taste of real fun. Among the festivals I have attended, I consider Fredericksburg Oktoberfest one of the best. There were many people but this did not hinder fun in any way. Pedestrian trails allowed easy movement of people, dance areas were very spacious and the sound was high quality for all the people to hear.

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Prescription Drug Abuse Continues To Explode In America

Sound The Alarm

drugged culture prescription drug abuse in the USA

The invasion has begun!

Prescription drugs and their manufacturers have occupied America. They invaded my home, too.

Over the past 100 years, prescription drug addiction has grown from a non-issue to a sleeping pill joke on sitcoms to an insidious and serious health issue that doesn’t seem to have an end.

Abuse of drugs like Xanax, Adderall and Oxycontin has grown much faster than the population overall, and continues to accelerate.

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Happy Birthday, Little Monster

Time has gone by so quickly.

perseverance

My Little Monster, Alex Whitman, is 5 years old today.

She sure makes things exciting. She is active, loves to jump and do her “stunts” that scare others. She is curious about how things work and enjoys science, art, math and building activities. She has an excellent memory – I pulled out my iPad and gave it to her so she could play a game and she remembered exactly how, without hesitation – even though she hasn’t seen the iPad in over 4 months.

I remember her birth – the one she almost didn’t survive.

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Four Horrible New Drugs Hit Our Schools

Recently in our neighborhood, two 9th graders were hospitalized for a bad reaction to Spice, otherwise known as K2 or synthetic marijuana.  They were hallucinating, fighting and throwing things in one of their parent’s garages.

One of them babysat my kids when she was 12, so this news came as a shock (to say the least)!

After being in the dumps for many months (and not blogging), this news kind of snapped me out of my funk. My kids are getting older now, so I’m beginning to worry about such things.

About a week ago, I started researching synthetic marijuana and some of the other “new drugs” that are used by teens in the US and locally.

What I learned was shocking. Most of these truly nasty, addictive drugs have been abused by teens for as long as a decade, yet many still aren’t listed … Continue Reading

5 Things Moms Need

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As a mom, it can be tough to balance work, cooking, house cleaning, my relationship with my husband, keeping in touch with friends and raising the kids. Now try to do that while not losing your temper, keeping a soft tone of voice at all times and not feeling like ripping your head out. Yeah, it’s tough if not impossible. I have been every type of mom: The poor, single mom who worked two jobs just to support her autistic child. Then years later I remarried and became the stay-at-home married mom who was learning how to cook and clean. And finally, with my third child, I became the work-at-home mom who was trying to balance everything along with adding in multiple therapies for a preschooler who has a sensory processing disorder, auditory processing disorder as well as possible autism, just like her oldest

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Deal Of The Week: Walgreens Sandals For $2.99

I’m a really frugal person and don’t really spend money unless I need something. I used to have these super comfy black ballet-type shoes that I wore with all of my skirts, which was perfect because they stretched. But after wearing them for 3 years, they completely fell apart. I have wide feet and finding sandals that fit isn’t easy.

Luckily, I found these sandals at Walgreens right near my house – for only $2.99!

walgreens sandalsContinue Reading

Review: Mr. Gatti’s In Fredericksburg, Texas

We recently went to Mr. Gatti’s in Fredericksburg, Texas since pizza is Little Monster’s second favorite food (her absolute favorite is cheese.)
I had never been to Mr. Gatti’s before and wasn’t sure what to expect. The last time I even thought about it was when we went shopping for Christmas gifts last year, and drove by one.
Here in Kerrville we used to have one, but I had heard awful things about it. I heard the Kerrville location was dirty, had a major roach problem and that the pizza was barely edible. The Mr. Gatti’s here closed their doors quite awhile ago. So, as you can imagine, I was nervous about visiting the restaurant, even though it was in a different location. Was Mr. Gatti’s just a horrible place to eat no matter the location or did it just depend on the management? I’m … Continue Reading
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