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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

At Home Learning With Thames & Kosmos

My school district just announced the plans for the school year and I am not sure what to expect

       I received samples of products to facilitate this post. This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases 

 It may still be summer here but that does not mean that the learning has to stop. This C lung virus pandemic has made it harder to motivate my kids to do any type of learning or schoolwork. So other than daily reading, I have pretty much given my boys a break from learning. Their last two months of online school were boring for them and I am not blaming the teachers as most of them have never done online instruction. My boys don't want me to be their teacher and I don't blame them as I have no clue how to homeschool two middle school boys. I am glad that the boys are allowing me to be their gym teacher as they join me every morning for running. The boys caught the COVID slide earlier this summer and they are still experiencing side-effects from it. Just last week the school district announced their plans for the school year and the boys and I have mixed feelings about the school year.

Online school with some at school learning 

 Next month school will begin with 5 weeks of online school. Then in the middle of September, the boys will attend school four days a week, every other week. The rest of the learning will be online. I am not really seeing the benefit of the boys attending school at all since they will only be going for 8 days a month. Why not just do all online teaching? My boys are just happy that they can go back to school. I am hoping that their teachers have used the past 4-5 months to figure out how to best teach online school so my boys will learn. I have also made a plan of how to boost their immunity so they will hopefully not catch the covid virus at school.

Board games to enrich learning

 My boys have rediscovered board games and I am glad. Playing board games not only gets them off the electronic devices but they are also getting some learning in. Shh! Don't tell my boys that they are learning as they want nothing to do with that as they are on summer break. My boys started playing card games and other non-electric games when their older brothers were here. It was great to see all my boys enjoying games like Monopoly and Risk. Now that their older brothers have gone back to school and overseas, playing games are not as fun with only 2 people.  So I was glad when I discovered some learning games that can be enjoyed with 2 players.

 The learning games from Thames & Kosmos are keeping the boys entertained while also giving their brain some memory exercises. These exciting thinking and puzzle games are making me feel better about my boys not being in school right now. I also am not feeling guilty about not doing the homeschool thing. My boys have friends who are homeschooled and I mentioned that I was going to talk to their friend's mom about what program she uses for homeschool. The boys said, "no mom, don't do that as we will be going back to school." I am glad that the boys are ok with returning to school. So check out the fun games that the boys are enjoying.


Brainwaves is a series of games developed by game designers and neuroscientists with which players can challenge their episodic memory — their recent memory of autobiographical events. These compact, card-based games are designed and scientifically proven to exercise the brain to improve memory functions. These innovative memory games place demands on three types of brain functions: fluid intelligence, working memory, and long-term memory.

 My boys received Brainwaves: The Astute Goose and Brainwaves: The Wise Whale to explore and play. These were card games that challenged their memory and they had my boys using their brain with critical thinking skills. I liked that my boys were having a friendly competition that used their brainwaves. 

 In Brainwaves: The Astute Goose, my boys had to identify a burglar hiding in a crowd. They had to remember things like what did they look like, what color were their clothes and other things to correct figure out which burglar committed the crime.

In Brainwaves: The Wise Whale, my boys had fun playing a matching game to see who could gather the most different colorful sea creatures cards. This was a fun brain-training game for the whole family.


Ubongo is a fast-paced, addictive, and easy-to-learn geometric puzzle game. Players race against the timer and against each other to solve a puzzle of interlocking shapes. The faster you solve the puzzle, the more gems you get. 

 Ubongo reminded me of the computer game Tetris but I loved that this game was offline. This was a fast-paced game that was an easy way for my boys to learn about geometry. The boys had to quickly fit the geometric puzzle shapes on their puzzle boards in the right order. The first person who solves their puzzle shouts " Ubongo!" and then the countdown is on for the other player who then have a time limit to earn some points. The fastest player wins bonus points and after eight rounds, the player with the most points wins. My boys really enjoyed playing this game as it was a portable game so they could play it on the floor. This game even challenged me with my thinking when I played with my boys.

Drop It 

This colorful, inventive family game is easy to learn but deceptively mind-boggling! One at a time, each player drops a shape into the vertical game board’s drop zone. Players earn points for the highest level that their shape reaches when it lands and extra points for touching bonus circles. But be careful: Don’t break a landing rule! The shape you dropped is not allowed to touch matching shapes or colors after it lands. If you break a landing rule, you will go away empty-handed. The winner is the player or team with the most points at the end. 

Drop It was a game of chance that involved a lot of thinking. My boys had to figure which shape to select and then the best place to drop it in the stand-up game board so the shape would hopefully land where they wanted it to go. This game also had plenty of rules that encouraged even more critical thinking. It was a mind-boggling game that made my boys think before they dropped a shape as they did not want to break any landing rules. The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game. I am glad that my boys read the rules of this game as it took me some time to learn how to win the game.

 So I am glad that the boys had some learning games to entertain themselves during the day when it was too hot to play at the park. These board games are summer fun essentials for my boys. That way mom and dad could get some work done during the day. The school thing is still stressing me out but not because of the respiratory virus but more because of all the rules that the boys will have to follow at school. The boys will have to wear face masks at school and I need to buy more of these lightweight face masks for kids. They also have to stay 6 feet apart from their friends and not share anything. So that means no giving a friend a pencil or passing a note. They can't even drink from the drinking fountain or sit next to friends at lunch. Kind of makes school stressful for both the kids and teachers.

 I think parents and teachers need some G&Juice to help us with stress. These hemp-infused sparkling beverages are not only delicious but they will help us chill out. Each can has less than 2 grams of sugar and only 20 calories. They also have 20 mg of hemp-derived CBD and the four mouth-water flavors contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The flavors of this bliss out juice are Coconut Vanilla, Ginger Peach, Strawberry Lemonade, and Blueberry Mojito. The best part is CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, which means consumers won't "get high."

 So all I can do now is take one day at a time and as I told my boys we won't worry about school just yet as we still have a couple more weeks until school starts. This school plan for online school and some in school learning will have to work for the boys. I am sure that my boys will do fine and the will learn. This too shall pass.

What is the plan for your kid's school this year?

Monday, August 3, 2020

Easy To Make Homemade Sushi Bowl Recipe

An easy way to enjoy sushi

   I received samples from VitaminSea and Jungle Straws to facilitate this post

 I love eating sushi but for the life of me, I can not make sushi. I have bought way too many products that promise me they are easy to use and make perfect sushi rolls. I have watch video after video of people making sushi but sushi making is not for me. The Oriental chefs who make rolls of sushi make it look so easy. I have failed sushi-making 101 and gave up.

A sushi bowl is easier to make

 So many years ago before Poke bowls became popular, I learned how to make a sushi bowl without a recipe. My sushi bowl creation started with my failed sushi roll ingredients that I just tossed in a bowl. Then I discovered a Poke restaurant and I learned how to make my sushi bowl even better.

A California Roll the easy way

 A sushi bowl is basically a deconstructed California Roll that is way easier to make. No more having to press the rice onto the seaweed sheets and watching it fall apart when you roll it up. A bowl of sushi takes all the flavors of a California Roll and makes things so easy. No pressing, rolling, slicing, or praying is needed. You just take the ingredients, chop them up, and mix them into something that tastes way better than sushi. The best part is the portion size. No more having to eat way too many tiny pieces of sushi.

The simple ingredients

A sushi bowl is made from ingredients that you probably have in your fridge and pantry. I like to prepare the ingredients in advance so I can quickly mix them together for a delicious lunch. The basic ingredients for this easy to make sushi bowl creation are:

Rice ~ I like brown rice as it is more nutritious but you can use white rice
Seaweed ~ I like Nori seaweed sheets but you can use any seaweed like Dulse or Wakame.
+ Avocado ~ I will use fresh avocado slices or cubes
+ Spicy mayo ~ I use chipotle mayo but you can use sriracha mayo
+ Carrots ~ My preferred is shredded carrots but I will also use chopped up baby carrots
+ Cucumber ~ chopped or thinly sliced
+ Imitation crab flakes ~ cooked shrimp or cooked fish is also tasty
+ Sesame seeds ~ black or white
+ Rice Vinegar
+ Sugar
+ Soy sauce

Fresh Seaweed

 I usually use nori seaweed sheets in my sushi bowl and just shred it into small pieces. I decided to try Whole Leaf Nori Wild Atlantic Seaweed in my sushi bowl and I was amazed at how fresh it was. This seaweed was so full of flavor and had a nice chewy texture. I also tried Dulse Flakes and this seaweed was dried and it too had a nice flavor. These were not your typical pressed salty seaweed sheets as they had no salt in them. This was 100% seaweed hand-harvest from the coast of Maine.

 Everything that VitaminSea makes comes from live ocean plants, not from seaweed that has washed up onshore. VitaminSea Seaweed’s products are tested annually for radioactivity and heavy metals, and the results are within safe levels.

Cook the rice and chop the cucumber 

 The hardest part of a sushi bowl is waiting for the rice to cook and for the cucumber to marinate. So I always keep cooked rice in my fridge so I have it for making my bowl of sushi. I will also prepare the cucumber ahead of time so it has time to soak up the delicious sauce. Making rice is easy as I use a rice cooker but you can always follow the directions on the package of rice and make it on the stove. Below is my recipe for the cucumbers if you want them to be pickled but you can also use fresh cucumber pieces.

Pickled cucumbers or cucumber salad

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a container with a lid. Place in the fridge for several hours

Layer the ingredients in a bowl

  I don't have an official recipe for my sushi bowl as I just toss the ingredients in a bowl. This dish is so simple to make and you decide how much you want of each ingredient. Start with a small bowl, one that you would use for cereal is perfect. Place about a cup of rice in the bowl and then start layering the rest of the ingredients. Any order of ingredients is fine and you can omit or even add ingredients. Other vegetables to use in a sushi bowl are sliced red peppers, chopped raw broccoli, or even cherry tomatoes.

Coconut bowls

 I decided to use my new bowl that is made from a coconut shell. This organic coconut bowl is so cool looking and is made from reclaimed coconut shells sourced from Southern Vietnam. Usually, coconut shells are burnt once the coconut flesh is harvested but Jungle Straws instead creates the coconut shell into an eco-friendly work of art that you can eat out of. Completely handmade, the bowls are BPA free – no chemicals or pesticides are used to grow the coconuts.

Here is how I assemble my sushi bowl:

One cup of cooked rice, cooled to room temperature
One sheet of nori seaweed ~ shredded
Shredded carrots ~ about 1/4 cup
Cucumber salad ~ about 1/4 cup
Crab flakes ~ about 8-10 pieces
Avocado slices ~ I love avocado so I use a whole small avocado
Spicy mayo ~ I drizzle it all over the ingredients
Sesame seeds ~ I just sprinkle about a teaspoon
More seaweed ~ If I have other types of seaweed in the house, I like to add dulse flakes to my sushi bowl.

Enjoy the easiest way to make sushi

 See how easy it was to make sushi? You don't need any special talent to make this sushi bowl recipe and nothing is going to unroll or fall apart. Now that you know how easy it is to make a homemade sushi bowl. Now you can save money and skip the poke bowl restaurant. One bite and this may just be your new favorite meal for lunch or dinner. If you love sushi, you need to also check out how to make a Southwestern Style Sushi Burrito as this is another delicious simple way to enjoy sushi.

Make sure to Pin this on Pinterest so you can make the recipe later!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Why Moms Need OxiClean On The Go Stain Remover Pen

I am a messy mom

  Sponsored post: I received a sample or cash payment for this post.

  In my house, I think I get the award for the most stains on their clothes. Sure my kids have stains on their clothes from playing outside and from eating but I tend to get more stains on my clothes. The sad part is, I can't blame my boys for the stains on my shirt as they are past the stage of wiping their dirty hands on me. The majority of my stains come from cooking and eating.

 I get busy in the kitchen creating a new recipe like Gluten Free Chocolate Mocha Protein Brownies and halfway into the cooking project, I realize that I should have worn an apron. I have plenty of cute aprons but I always forget to put one on as I think that this time I won't make a mess of my clothes. I never learn my lesson and by the time I am done baking, my shirt usually has a stain or two on it. So I have to change my clothes and toss the shirt into the wash before that chocolate stain sets in.

 Then there are my messy eating habits. I am that person who works and eats at the same time. So my multi-tasking of drinking coffee and eating lunch at my desk again leaves me with stains on my shirt. It is not that I purposely try to spill my cold brew coffee on my shirt. My one hand on the keyboard and my other hand holding my sushi burrito tend to lead to the slice of avocado covered in chipotle mayo falling on my shirt. That is why I have a keyboard cover for my laptop. Maybe I should stop eating at my desk. Like that is going to happen. Do they even make bibs for adults?

 I am glad that I work from home so nobody sees my messy shirt. I am also glad that I discovered OxiClean™ On The Go™ Stain Remover Pen.  So I can treat my food stains on my shirt and no one has to know that I am a messy eater. I keep the convenient stain remover pen on my desk so it is handy to treat all my stains from food before the set into my clothes leaving a permanent stain. I love that the OxiClean Stain Remover Pen leaves no messy residue or scent on my shirt. I also love that Oxiclean On The Go Stain remover comes in a three-pack so I can keep one in my purse and another in my laundry room.

 The OxiClean On The Go Stain Remover Pen is so easy to use and I love that I can treat my stains without having to remove my shirt. The stain remover pen from OxiClean has a stain-fighting scrubber so I can erase away food stains like chocolate, spaghetti, coffee, and even soy sauce from my Plant-Based Chinese Dumplings. This unique stain-fighting pen even removes makeup and lipstick from clothes. So we can keep our face masks clean. I never thought that I would have to worry about my face foundation getting on a face mask.

Instant - Removes fresh stains in 2 easy steps.
Effective - Out-cleans other stain pens on tough stains and contains 2x more!
Convenient - Take it everywhere. Great for food, drink, and makeup stains!

 The OxiClean On The Go Stain Remover Pen is so easy to use that even my teen boys use it. My older son likes his white sneakers to stay clean, so I have caught him using the OxiClean pen on his shoes. I might just have to give my boys an OxiClean pen for their school supplies. That way they can take care of the food stains from lunch so I will never know that they had pizza for lunch. What is it about boys using their shirt sleeve for a napkin?

 You can find the OxiClean On The Go Stain Remover Pen in the laundry aisle at most stores. These unique stain remover pens are available in 1,3, and 6 packs. So nobody has to know that you are a messy mom.

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