Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Educating Ourselves About Drugs and Drug Use: Parenting Through the Tween and Teen Years

This is a sponsored post on behalf of the Touch & Know home drug testing kit. 

I have a confession to make. Well, not really a confession since it’s not anything I’m ashamed of. Maybe more of an admittance with questions
attached. I have virtually no experience with illegal drugs. Or, for that matter, legal ones used in an abusive way.

I didn’t have an experimental phase in high school. I wasn’t a huge partyer in college. I didn’t really hang around with people who were into recreational or hard drugs. I heard a great phrase lately that is very apropos to this situation: I didn’t need drugs or alcohol because the circus of humanity was entertaining enough that I’ve never felt the need to be altered to enjoy myself. My dad's career in law enforcement had a little bit to do with it, but mostly I just never got the urge.


home drug testing kit equipment

As an adult, I’m glad my curiosity never got the better of me. There is addiction in our family tree. Who knows how I would have fared had I decided to do something ‘just this one time.’ On the flip side, as a parent, I kind of feel like my non-drug use has me at a bit of a disadvantage. Unless I saw them take it, I’d be hard pressed to tell if someone was ‘on’ something. I couldn’t identify a coke high versus an acid trip versus… whatever it is mushrooms do. See what I mean? I can’t even use the proper jargon! 

I don’t know what the current trends are with over the counter and prescription drugs. Is the drug du jour still Oxycontin? Are adults still taking their kids’ ADHD pills? I remember that was a story line from Desperate Housewives, but are people still doing it? I have no idea what the street names for drugs are nowadays. There’s virtually no way I’d recognize a drug by sight and don’t even get me started on social media. Did you know teens and tweens are buying and selling drugs using apps and social media? That they’re using certain hashtags on Instagram to let others know what kind of drugs will be at the party that night? Go to your Instagram and search s-i-z-z-u-r-p (without the hyphens). My search turned up a little over 33,000 results. The only reason I know about this party drug is because I was researching something else about teens and social media. 


drug testing kit for home use

Part of growing up can mean learning certain things the hard way. Right now Tyler is pretty adamant that drugs are "stupid." Will he always feel that way? Only time will tell. We're not naive. We haven't fooled ourselves into thinking Tyler will be the exception or that he won't experiment simply because we've told him not to. We know the time is coming where he'll find himself in a situation where he'll have to make a decision. We hope, when the time comes, he makes the right one. 

What has been gnawing at me lately is, what if he doesn't know he's in that type of situation? Last week I read a Time magazine article about synthetic marijuana that has me completely freaked out. These cannabinoids are  becoming increasingly available at convenience stores and gas stations. They are packaged like baseball cards and sold under the name potpourri, glass cleaner or incense. Hopefully, Tyler will never have the type of friend who would trick him into taking drugs, or tell him that something isn't harmful when it is. 

Phil and I haven't talked about setting up parameters for Tyler. So far it's been: don't do drugs. But we need to be realistic and we need to create an atmosphere where, if he does get into some sort of trouble, he feels comfortable talking to us. I'd like for him to call us from a party and ask for a ride home because he feels uncomfortable or has had too much to drink, and believe us when we say we won't get mad


home drug testing kit

On the flip side, we've already told Tyler that while he lives in our house, privacy is a privilege and not a right. The cell phone, computer and iPod he uses are monitored. When it comes to his room, so far we haven't had a reason to go through it. We trust him until he gives us a reason not to. If we were suspicious, I'd like to think we'd have no problem turning his room upside down. How do we balance allowing him a little bit privacy, keeping the lines of communication open and trying to stay on top of what may be happening under our roof? 

I'm feeling as though there's an enemy out there I can't fight because I don't know what it looks like. I can talk with Tyler about bullying, racism, peer pressure, trying to fit in and lots of other subjects because I've been there, done that. But drugs are uncharted territory. It's all so confusing, overwhelming and a little bit scary. So, finally, here are my questions: how are you parents and caregivers keeping up with the news? Where do you go to educate yourself about what tweens and teens are into? 

Last month I went to an event with fellow moms where we talked about our kids and our fears surrounding drugs and alcohol. I know that junior high has become the starting point for when kids are hearing about their friends using or their friends' older siblings. It was helpful to hear how the moms with kids Tyler's age started having these important conversations and how the moms with older kids survived! 

We also learned about a new home drug testing kit. It's specifically designed to test unknown substances. If I were to find something in Tyler's room, the Touch&Know® kit would be able to identify it as harmful or not with only five steps. I know myself and the few extra moments to reign in my emotions and wrap my head around the results, benign or not, would be much needed. 

As I said, there is addiction in our family. I know now that is the reason my parents and grandparents were so vigilant with me and my brother. They saw addiction first hand and lived with it for years. From their stories, it's not anything I want our family to go through. I have two of the kits in our medicine cabinets. I'm fully prepared to use them, but pray I never have to. 


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Touch&Know® Facts and Resources:

The Touch&Know® test will enable you to positively identify the presence of Crack/Cocaine and the general presence of Brown Heroin and/or 18 other illegal or controlled drugs, including: White Heroin, Methamphetamine, Amphetamine (powder), Ecstacy/MDMA, Methadone, Ketamine, PCP, PMA, DMT, MDPV, Mephedrone, PMMA, mCCP, MPA, Buphedron, MDPBP, Cathinone, MethCathinone, Methylone, and Marijuana/Hashish. It can also test for designer drugs like bath salts.




Only a VERY small amount of substance is needed to perform the test. The results are immediate. You do not need urine or hair samples with the Touch&Know®. Sold exclusively at Walgreens.

Connect with Touch&Know® on social media:

Touch&Know® blog
twitter.com/touchnknow 
Facebook.com/TouchandKnow
YouTube.com/touchandknow
Google+/touchknowhomedrugtestkit
Pinterest.com/touchandknow/

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Touch&Know®. Opinions and experiences are my own. Photos and video courtesy of Black Falcon.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Budget Friendly Snacks for Your Young Athlete | Save Money Shopping at Grocery Outlet {Giveaway}

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Grocery Outlet


Grocery Outlet budget friendly snacks for athletes

If you have school-aged kids, you already know keeping the pantry stocked with healthier snacks is a challenge. Call me biased, but I think sports parents have it even tougher. If your kid plays, be it on a rec league or travel, you know where I'm coming from. Take, for instance, the following scenario:

6:30am Wake up in time to eat breakfast before getting on the road for the hour-long drive to the tournament.

8:00am Arrive in time for team warm ups, hear "Mom, I'm still hungry," and throw a snack at your child.

9:30am Game is over. Hear "Mom, I'm starving! I will DIE if I don't eat something right this second! DIE I tell you!" Throw a snack at your child while standing with other team parents, using your phones to Google nearby breakfast restaurants.

11:00am Google local parks to kill two hours before you have to be back in time for the afternoon game.

11:30am Hear, "Mom, do we have anything to eat in the car? I'm thirsty."

12:30pm Pile into the car to head back for the afternoon game. Ask, "are you hungry? you should eat now if you are."

1:00pm Spot your child from across the arena. He is standing in the doorway to the locker room frantically waving at you with one hand, and pointing to his mouth, pantomiming eating with the other. Throw a snack at your child.

2:30pm Second game is over. Start loading the car. Hear, "Mom, I'm hungry." Throw a snack at your child.

3:00pm Use your phone to check traffic. It sucks. Steel yourself for two-and-a-half hour drive home.

4:30pm Traffic worse than what was on Google Maps. Curse silently because you know what is coming.

4:45pm Hear, "Mom, are we stopping anywhere for dinner?" Throw last of the snacks at your child. Hope to Heaven traffic breaks up and you make it home soon.

Am I right? 

Between packing lunches and sports weekends, snack foods have started taking up a bigger portion of my budget. There haven't been too many breakthroughs in terms of the variety of portable, healthier, non-perishables. My choices seem to be cheap and bad for you, or healthy and expensive. Organics? Hardly ever an option. 

I wasn't sure about taking my local Grocery Outlet up on their snack food challenge. I'm not used to shopping without coupons and couldn't see how I'd be able to save money without them. Plus, I thought the store would be filled with brands I'd never heard of. I was wrong on both counts.


Grocery Outlet sells heathy organic snacks

Since I've been paying attention to prices for so long, I have a good sense of when an item is priced well and when (even on 'sale') it is not. This knowledge came in handy while I was shopping. I picked up 26 items* and paid $29.34. 

When I took my receipt to Vons to compare, the savings were very clear. I found six items that were identical to the ones I purchased at Grocery Outlet. If I had purchased the same things in the same quantities from Vons, I would have spent $26.85 for only 10 items. 

Vons versus Grocrey Outlet budget friendly snacks for athletes

That's a significant difference. Again, since snacks go so quickly in our house, they're something I keep an eye on because they can quickly take over my grocery budget. Now, will I see these same items the next time I go to Grocery Outlet? Maybe. Maybe not. But I'm fine with that. I'd rather a slightly rotating inventory with low prices than the same things over and over. Overall, I'm happy with my first experience and can say with certainty I will go back again.

Luckily, Grocery Outlet would like to extend the challenge to you, too. If you live near one of their stores, enter below to win a $25 gift card. You may not be able to see the Rafflecopter widget on mobile devices.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*There should be two more items in the photo: one more Yopa (I got hungry) and a 59oz bottle of Tropicana Orange Tangerine. 


This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Mel, A Dramatic Mommy is not responsible for prizes lost in the mail or incorrect physical or email addresses. Giveaway is open to residents of the United States, age 18+. Giveaway will close at 11:59PM ET on 4/14/14. Two (2) winners will be selected. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 48 hours. Winner(s) must respond to me via email within 24 hours or an alternate will be chosen. If you have any additional questions, contact Melanie at ADramaticMommy{@}gmail.com.

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I was not compensated for this post. I was provided with a gift card to facilitate my shopping. Opinions are my own. Grocery cart image courtesy of Grant Cochrane and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, November 10, 2013

12 Free Meal Offers for Veterans Day 2013

On Monday Monday, November 11 we celebrate Veterans Day. It's a chance for us to recognize and thank our nation's men and women in uniform and their families for their service, commitment and dedication to our country. As a military spouse, I appreciate when a business or company provides a 'no strings* attached' offer that Phil can take advantage of. One of his co-workers is Army and they have a good time planning their lunch breaks each year. Below are just a few of the offers available tomorrow. 


Veterans Day freebie meals

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" ~ Woodrow Wilson


2013 Veterans Day Freebies

Applebees
California Pizza Kitchen
Chili's Bar and Grill
Denny's 
Einstein Brothers Bagels
Famous Dave's 
Krispy Kreme
Olive Garden
On the Border
Outback Steakhouse
Red Robin
TGI Fridays

Bonus: free haircuts at SportsClips

*Always check with your local chain to ensure they are participating and to ask about possible restrictions and exclusions like alcohol and gratuities. For more Veterans Day freebie offers visit Veterans Advantage and Restaurant News and Military Spouse Magazine

Image from freedigitalphotos.net and Flexico, Inc. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

What's Your Excuse? My Thoughts on the Word Bully

I don't usually write reactionary posts, but I felt this needed to be said. It's not my intention to make anyone mad. But it is my intention to (hopefully) make people think. If you have no idea who Maria Kang is or what the drama is about, read up first or this might not make sense. 

I opened my Facebook this morning and apparently I'm supposed to be upset over the photo fitness enthusiast Maria Kang posted of herself, her abs and her children on her Facebook page (more than a year ago). Well, I'm not upset but I am disappointed. People are outraged. How dare she put up a picture like that! Kang has been labeled a bully and frankly I don't think that's fair. 

Folks, it seems some of us, myself included, need to put the Internet on pause, go make a good cup of coffee and take some deep breaths. Maria Kang is not stretch mark shaming. She's not trying to make you feel bad about yourself. She's certainly not a bully. I feel what's happening here is her photo has poked the bear. Or, more specifically, the 'What's Your Excuse?' tagline used on the photo has. 

Am I carrying around extra weight? Definitely. Do I have body image issues? Yep. Do I wish I were living a more active lifestyle? For sure. Are any of those Maria's fault? Not in the least. When I look at the photo and read the tagline, it doesn't make me mad. Good for her for working so hard at something that is obviously important to her. Whatever jealousy, insecurity or anything else that makes me feel 'less than' when I look at her picture is all on me. They're part of my issues. In fact, she's right. My personal answer to her tagline question is, I don't have any excuses. I have several reasons, but no excuses. 

I feel that people (okay, women) are letting their insecurity, maybe a little guilt at not being more fit, maybe even a little anger at how often we feel we're not able to put ourselves first determine what filters they're looking at Maria's photo through. I would bet money that everyone who has a problem with the caption reads it as 'what's YOUR excuse?' and the 'your' has been assigned a snarky tone. I read it as as straight question, with no emphasis at all. It's all about perspective.

I also wonder how many people who are upset over the photo also have Words of Wisdom Pinterest Boards filled with quotes like 'no one is in charge of your happiness but you;' 'the control center of your life is your attitude' or the biggie 'no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.' 

National Anti Bullying Month

If you're one who has had a visceral reaction to this situation, ask yourself: has Maria harmed you in any way? Threatened you? Do you feel there is an imbalance of power? Are you intimidated by her? Physically harmed? I could go on but I think you get my point. Please stop referring to Maria as bully. It dilutes the word and diminishes the experiences people, particularly children, are having with actual bullying. 

"It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school everyday due to the fear of attack or intimidation by other students - 2 out of 3 teens are verbally or physically harassed every year. - 58% of teens have had hurtful things said to them online and over 40% say it’s happened more than once."

Our children are in crisis. They're experiencing depression, missing school and attempting and committing suicide because they're being bullied. This is not okay! I think the word bully is being used more and more as a catchall phrase and it's doing more harm than good. I think there's a fine line between someone being mean and being a bully.  

It seems that, as a society, we've gotten so sensitive that negative statements, any type of confrontation, thought or idea that makes us uncomfortable or forces us to confront our own demons (like Maria's photo) puts us on the defensive and is automatically getting labeled as bullying behavior. I think that's wrong. There's a fine line between bullying and being a jerk, but in my mind there's a line nonetheless.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Take a moment to reflect on the word bully and what it means to you. Think about how you're using the word and in what situation. What terminology and phrasing have you used when talking with your children about bullying? Bullying is serious. We need to treat it seriously. Please don't use the word so casually. Our children are counting on us and we can't afford to have the word lose its true meaning. 

For information on bullying visit Pacer.org, Stomp Out Bullying.org, National Education Association.org and StopBullying.gov. Quoted statistics from Do Something.org. Image via freedigitalphotos.net and David Castillo Dominici.

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