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Mother’s Day Craft Idea

Here is a craft so easy even Dad can handle it!
I Love You This Much Card!
1. Trace your child's hand, then cut out two copies. My paper was double sided so I made sure that when the thumbs match up - the yellow side would be inside, and the blue side would be outside.
2. Cut out a strip of paper and fold it accordion style. Use letter rub-ons or stickers to add the words "I Love You" on the outside, and "This Much" on the strip of paper. 
3. Glue the ends of your accordion strip on the insides of the hands and your card is done.


Outfits Not Just Clothes ...
Dressing Do’s & Don’ts
By bernadette Ulsamer

There are so many style guides out there directing people on how to dress. And, of course I’m a firm believer in outfit etiquette, i.e. wearing what is appropriate for the occasion, whether that occasion is a special event or just a normal day on the job, one should be outfitted accordingly. However, I’m not against experimenting and having fun with fashion, but there are a few do’s and don’ts that I not only find handy, but are applicable across the board. So, whether you’re off to a gala, or just trying to look put together for a day of errands, here are a few commonsense do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
  Do: Find Chic Flats. There are a lot of comfortable shoes out there, and more and more fashionable choices can be found in the flats section. So, be sure to take the time and invest in a great pair of flat shoes that not only keep your feet comfortable, but also are stylish enough to wear with dressier looks.
  Don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in. If you are unable to get to where you’re going in the shoes you’re wearing, then you’re wearing the wrong shoes. Don’t immobilize yourself for the sake of a cute pump. If stilettoes have you teetering about, then put them away and go get your cute loafers and get on with your day!
  Do: Try Different Silhouettes. It’s never a bad idea to try something new in dressing, that’s the whole reason behind trends! I’m not suggesting each year you need to sport the latest fashions, but if something outside-of-your-comfort-zone catches your eye, why not give it a whirl? And by “give it a whirl” I mean try it on in the dressing room.  Or, if you prefer try it on in the comfort of your own home with items you already know work for you. If it fits your body, lifestyle, and budget then add it to your closet.
  Don’t wear ill-fitting clothes. Yes, go ahead and experiment with a new silhouette, but if it doesn’t fit then send it packing. Recently, I ordered a sack dress with a fun print that wasn’t in my usual style wheelhouse. Upon arrival, the dress was oddly uncomfortable, cutting in the underarm and very difficult to get off. Weirdly enough it “looked” just fine, but the dress felt like it was working against me more than for me, so it ended up being returned.
  Do: Rule of Three. This “rule” is a simple outfit strategy. You start with a top and a bottom, i.e. 1 and 2, then add a third piece, like a sweater, jacket, or vest. Number 3 can also be an accessory like a belt, scarf, or statement bag. The goal is to have that third item finish your look and give it some polish. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can add a fourth or fifth piece. But…
  Don’t go overboard with the add-ons. As the great Coco Chanel advised, before you leave the house take something off. Jewelry can be tricky, as you find yourself sporting rings, necklaces, earrings, a watch, and bracelets. It can really add up, so unless you’re intentionally piling on the bangles and pendants as part of an overall look, be careful not to weigh down your ensemble by over-accessorizing.
  Do: Spend Money on Quality over Quantity. Especially when it comes to the basics like black trousers, wear-with-everything jeans, and a white button-up shirt. Investing in these types of pieces will save you in the long run, as they’ll last for years. I’m so glad I spent a bit more on a Ralph Lauren button-down several years ago, it’s still crisp and has really held up over, at least a hundred wears.
  Don’t overlook the bargain bin. It’s okay to grab some fun, fast-fashion bargain items to mix up your style. These purchases can be anything from a fun graphic T-shirt, to a wear-it-a-few-times shift dress that’ll be good at work for the summer.  The thing to remember is that these types of buys are temporary additions to your closet, not investment pieces for your long-term style. Of course, I do have a few fun tops from Forever 21 purchased years ago that are still holding up, so you never know!
  Do: Have a Stylish Uniform. Some days it’s hard to figure out what to wear. Having a “uniform” at the ready can save time and take the pressure off trying to put a look together. My go-to work outfit is a pair of cropped trousers, a printed blouse, and a blazer. You can go with a general idea for your uniform, or a look with specific pieces, like a LDB or your favorite sweater.
  Don’t let yourself get in a style rut. Having a uniform is great, but wearing the same thing all the time can get boring. The weekends are a great time to experiment with your clothing as you don’t have that morning rush of getting everyone out the door. Plus, the dress code over the weekend is always more relaxed, so if you’re feeling a bit humdrum during the week, bust out something fun, like a jumpsuit, or embellished top for the weekend!
  Do: Purge Pieces You Haven’t Worn in Years. The dress that’s 2-sizes too small (or big) in the back of your closet? Throw it out! Or, really donate it. Same for those faded fast-fashion shirts that haven’t been worn in the past two years. And definitely get rid of everything with stains, unrepairable rips, or straight-up holes. It’s never a good idea to hang on to items you can’t use that are taking up space in your home.
  But don’t get rid of your keepsakes. Sure, that faded concert tee may not be in your regular outfit rotation, but it’s a memory that’s worth holding on to. Same goes for anything customized with your name or initials. I still have my math-a-thon T-shirt from elementary school that has my name on it, that’s a keeper for sure!
  And finally, don’t stress about what you’re wearing. Do use your commonsense and don’t forget to keep things appropriate.

Planet Mom
The Cardboard Box: A Primal Refuge
by Melinda Wentzel

Some days I just want to crawl inside a cardboard box fort and hide from the rest of the world – like I did when I was nine or ten. Prince and David Bowie are dead. Harper Lee and Alan Rickman, too. Also disturbing, at least on some level: Donald Trump is running for president and McDonald’s chocolate chip frappés are officially extinct. These are desperate times and they call for desperate measures—like curling up in the fetal position within the comfort and safety of a cardboard-walled fortress, effectively separated and insulated from the madness outside that might otherwise devour us. At least that’s what I feel compelled to do when times get tough—revisit the glorious cocoon of my youth.
  Back then, the only thing that came close to the impressive nature of a fort crafted from a discarded cardboard box was a fort whose roof was built with an embarrassment of blankets—a sprawling haven that encompassed an entire room, incorporating clothespins, stacks of books, heavy ashtrays and every available piece of furniture that would further the effort—that of making it somehow more expansive, inspired largely by a Manifest Destiny of sorts. But I digress.
  I remember the birth of many a cardboard refuge as if it were yesterday. Once in a great while, there would be a sizeable purchase in our household, like a new refrigerator, washer or dryer. Naturally, this produced as a side benefit a most enormous box—a gift from the gods to my brother and me. Somehow said box made its way down the narrow staircase and into the middle of our basement rec room. Like maniacal hunters we circled the beast—scrutinizing every inch of its carcass, celebrating our good fortune and anticipating the ritualistic carving that would soon take place.
  This, of course, meant that our mother would allow us to use steak knives to transform the aforementioned box into a masterpiece, making us drunk with joy while effectively violating one of the prime tenets of parenthood—the one involving sharp objects and underdeveloped motor skills. Inherently she understood that using a table knife was decidedly futile, and that scissors were pretty much worthless as a tool for such an undertaking. So we’d hack and saw through the cardboard with glee, inch-by-inch, completely unsupervised—the ever-present element of danger adding exponentially to our collective delight.
  Not surprisingly, we were fatigued by the enormity of the task yet thrilled to be making progress toward our shared vision. Never mind that blisters formed on our fingers, cardboard dust particles filled the air and jagged scraps littered the floor. It was a small price to pay in the name of creating something larger than ourselves. There in the musty cellar, whiling away the hours, we carved windows of every shape and size, escape hatches and skylights galore, doors that would actually swing open and shut and at least one rectangular slot for assorted mail and other important deliveries—like Mister Salty pretzel sticks and wads of Monopoly money. Also essential, a pathetic-looking doorbell we sketched with a big, fat Magic Marker.
  Adding to the nest-like quality of our creation, we sometimes hauled blankets and pillows inside or fashioned curtains out of dishcloths we swiped from the kitchen. Likewise, a slew of books and LOOK Magazines would find their way to the interior, dropping to the floor one by one, having been shoved through the mail slot in rapid succession.
  Indeed, our fort was a beautiful thing and there was as much joy in constructing it as there was in playing with it—especially when pets were coaxed within. Much like the mountain of dirt in our backyard—the one that occupied my brother and me for the better part of our summers, inundated with more plastic Army men and Matchbox cars than we could reliably count—our cardboard box forts were semi-permanent fixtures that would live in our memories forever.
  Looking back, I can’t imagine surviving childhood without either.
  Planet Mom: It’s where I live, tempted to resurrect the cardboard box fort of my youth. Visit me there at www.melindawentzel.com and www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom.

The Bookworm Sez
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

“A Burglar’s Guide to the City” by Geoff Manaugh
c.2016, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
$16.00 / $26.00 Canada
296 pages

The back door was unlocked when you got home last night.
  It was locked when you left the house; you remember checking it. And though you’re trying not to panic, things have been slightly moved and it’s very, very unsettling… so don’t read “A Burglar’s Guide to the City” by Geoff Manaugh.
  It’ll just make you feel worse.
  The house under construction down the street is going to be a nice one; plenty of big windows, fancy landscaping. You’ve noticed many expensive details.
  Burglars have noticed, too. And they “understand architecture,” says Manaugh, “better than the rest of us.”
They know that sliding doors are easy to remove and that a C-note spent at a hardware store can get them inside pretty much any building. They know that doors and windows aren’t the only way into your house.
  But, says Manaugh, it’s not just that burglars steal things, “it’s how they move that’s so consistently interesting.” They’ll cut through walls, hide in suitcases or appliances, sleuth out floor plans, wiggle through doggy-doors or up garbage chutes, down chimneys or sewers, and sneak through roofs. They’re patient: they’ll study a building until they find a way in. They’ll study your habits and your schedule.   They’ll wait until they know your building better than you do.
Call the police? Sure, they’ve got equipment that can see in the dark and through walls. They know how to set traps. But as quickly as they devise ways to thwart criminals, criminals try to be one step ahead.
  Buy a security system?  Sure, but alarms will only slow a burglar down. Ultimately, when it comes to burglary, “…you just might not be able to do much about it.”
  Oh, my. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book more fascinating or more dang creepy than “A Burglar’s Guide to the City.”
  But here’s the surprise: this isn’t a true crime book.
  Sure, there are crimes described here. Author Geoff Manaugh discusses burglary throughout history and he writes of boneheaded, bungling burglars. Those great stories mostly serve to highlight the reason for this book, though, which is that the buildings in which we live and work have an influence on the way burglars operate. Cities, Manaugh says, are almost built with thieves in mind; in fact, he offers a challenge: look closely at any random building you’ve driven past many times. How would you get inside?  
  Try it. You’ll be shocked.
  And yet – don’t think that this is a book of instruction. Manaugh cautions that, even if you’re genius at breaking-and-entering, officials are usually smarter. He also goes on to explain how homeowners can lessen the chances of a burglary, why B&E guys aren’t interested in your expensive door locks, and why you should smile pretty when entering a casino.
  This book had me stuck to my sofa. It’s lively, informative, oh-so-fun to read, and a must-have for anyone with real-estate. If that sounds like your kinda book, then “A Burglar’s Guide to the City” will be a steal.

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