Category Archives: product reviews

The Best Book I’ve Read in 2017

It was just no contest in the Mama Kat writing prompts this week. October is evidently National Book Month. Who knew? I’ve got 2-3 books going at the same time (as usual). But my favorite book by my favorite author. . . I’ve already read it twice this year.

Joe, you had me at Martha Quinn. Yes, I know that’s well into the book, but it had the potential to go all to hell before that, and I’m a massive literary skeptic. Once you brought back a vision of my favorite MTV V-Jay I knew you wouldn’t let me down. And you didn’t.

I read Heart-Shaped Box back in 2007, but eventually forgot to keep looking for new releases. My loss! He’s always published as Joe Hill, and it was a decade before he even told his agent his full name was Joe Hill King.



For those of you who have perused my bookshelves over the years: No, I have not lost my mind (yet). It turns out all the twisted under-the-stairs, in-the-cellar creepiness of my life-long favorite author, Stephen King, was passed along to his son Joe. Luckily enough, Joe also got a gift from his mom for building deep characters of both genders and all races. His books are AMAZING, and don’t need to be read in any certain order. Just READ them!

Tips for Your First Colonoscopy

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— 1 —

Yeah, I know. Not what you really want to read. But if you are about to turn fifty or if you are younger and have a family history of colon cancer you need to be prepared for this. I wasn’t, but I got lucky. AND there were absolutely no abnormalities, so I don’t even have to think about this for another decade.

— 2 —

Know all the details about your “prep” well ahead of time. You will not be able to do anything during your bowel prep that you can’t do while having explosive diarrhea. The prep is designed to clean your colon out completely so the doctor can get a good look at all the tissue inside there. Your prep can be anywhere from twenty-four to seventy-two hours depending on your doc’s preference and your health history. If you have the seventy-two hour prep schedule yourself a day off afterwards to recover as well. Seriously.

— 3 —

At an early point during the prep you’ll be able to have clear liquids. That means you have to be able to see through it. You can have apple juice, but not orange juice. Beef broth is really good – it tastes like “real food”. And here’s something I always have in the fridge for GI bugs, really busy days, or when I know I’m just not getting enough protein: Protein Water. I’ve found it in both grocery stores and specialty stores like GNC.  Twenty grams protein and only eighty calories. It only comes in Orange and Blueberry, and it’s pricey, but it’s not like you’re going to be living off the stuff!

— 4 —

While we’re on the topic of clear liquids let’s talk about coffee. Black coffee is a clear liquid. Coffee with creamer is NOT. So wean yourself off your caffeinated drinks a few days before the big cleanse. I forgot to do this, so I got to add a big ol’ caffeine-withdrawal headache to my list of miseries on procedure day.

— 5 —

Here are some things to buy or arrange for in advance. You’re going to need your own dedicated bathroom. If your house has only one bathroom anyone else who lives there is going to have to make other arrangements. Dead serious. This is like the worst GI bug you’ve ever had TIMES TEN. You also want plenty of nice, soft toilet paper. Don’t bargain-hunt. Buy the good stuff. While you’re in that aisle get some flushable wipes for the last couple of hours of your prep, when it’s going to feel like fire is spouting from your rear end.

And I was incredibly thankful we still had a pack of adult diapers Michael had received as a gag gift at his fiftieth birthday party. (Yeah, my de-cluttering isn’t going so well.) Buy a package! I wore a pair to the hospital the day of the procedure. With yoga pants. Honey, I took visible panty line to a whole new level.

— 6 —

You will need something to distract you during the many hours it takes to drink four liters of rather nasty-tasting liquid and then have all of that spew out the other end. I read two really good books. I highly recommend them even if you’re not going to read them on the toilet! They are both light, funny, and exceptionally well-written. I’ve read books by both these authors in the past, and thankfully it looks like they both have plenty more available!

— 7 —

On colonoscopy day itself make sure you have someone with you. Odds are you’ll be too groggy to remember what the doctor tells you, and you certainly can’t drive yourself home! Make sure this nice person has a book to read, music to listen to, or games to play. Almost all hospitals have free wifi, and almost all doctors run late now and then. Good luck!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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A MANLY (minimalist) Shower Caddy

*This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and LISTERINE®. All opinions are mine alone. #BacktoBold #CollectiveBias

Most of the time being a #boymom makes everything easier. But we do miss out on some fun stuff.  Ruffles, bows, lace, and tulle when they’re little are just the start of it. Preparing for their Freshman dorm room is another big one. I’m shopping for neutral colors, essentials only (as per my son’s request). Meanwhile, #girlmoms are snapping pictures of different shades of towels, patterns of comforters, and adorable room accents to complete the theme that the roomies are texting back and forth.

They’ll probably find everything they need at Target, since after nearly sixteen years of shopping for school supplies for elementary, middle, high school, and college students I KNOW it’s the place to find what you need. So I wasn’t at all surprised to find the mouthwash he wanted there. Everyone has nasty morning breath, especially here in the Ohio Valley where we all struggle to breath through the allergens 3/4 of the year. Mornings are for LISTERINE® TOTAL CARE mouth wash. After all, I’ve already spent the equivalent of a full semester’s tuition on this child’s smile, so he’d better protect it!

Oh well, back to my small red carrier. Red is actually considered a neutral on campus since it’s one of the school colors.Here’s the basic basket:

Notice the empty space next to his HUGE flip-flops? That’s where the three add-in baskets come into play. If he has a sink in his room (which I doubt) he can just leave all the small baskets under the sink. I tucked LISTERINE® TOTAL CARE ZERO into his morning basket with his toothbrush and toothpaste.

Then he has his deodorant, leave-in conditioner, comb, and hairspray in another small basket that I bet he’ll just keep in his room. Guys don’t like to admit to actually putting a lot of effort or thought into their appearance even if they do!

He also has a bottle of LISTERINE® TOTAL CARE mouthwash in case he ate something with garlic and onions for lunch and want to be completely sure his breath is still fresh when he gets across campus for a study date. Yes, I realize I’m an overly optimistic mom.

It’s SO much better than just a quick brush and floss. He’ll get 100% coverage on teeth, between teeth, and at the gumline. Then the basket is right there again for bedtime!

Then there’s the shaving basket. Not needed every day, but needs to be handy. It also has nail clippers and a nail file. I’m pretty proud of those two little white bundles. That’s my creative and frugal contribution 😉 They are coffee filters filled with baking soda and gathered tightly with a rubber band. They are to be dropped into John’s black hi-top sneakers for odor control. I really hope he uses these!

While I was in the aisle looking at the mouthwash options two college-age girls came up, complaining about how “harsh” some mouthwashes taste. I told them I was looking for  LISTERINE® TOTAL CARE ZERO (zero alcohol) with a “Fresh Mint” flavor which I’d heard was less intense-tasting, but still just as effective. I showed them the bottle of LISTERINE® TOTAL CARE I’d just found, which lists clearly (no reading glasses needed) on the front label that when used for just sixty seconds twice a day it has SIX benefits.

It not only freshens breath and kills bad breath germs, but it also cleans the whole mouth, strengthens teeth, restores enamel, and even helps prevent cavities. Thankfully, the girls helped me find it. (The Fresh Mint flavor is in small letters on the bottom right when you’re shopping.) Seriously, what else can you do in just two minutes a day that has all those benefits? And if you really want to be productive you can review the periodic table or the cranial nerves while swishing (depending on your major).

The girls were super-sweet, and we all figured out the sales together. Target has a LOT of things on sale right now, and a LOT of $5 Target gift cards up for grabs. But you have to make sure you are buying the right items to qualify. When I left the aisle the girls were negotiating who would buy the 3 LISTERINE® mouthwashes, who would get the $5 Target gift card from that purchase, who was buying the 4 toothpastes and would get that $5 gift card. . . yeah. Plan on two trips so you can use those gift cards before they sink to the bottom of your purse and get forgotten!

BTW, the  $5 gift card offer is valid through 9/9 both online and in stores, so stock up! This is the general area (Health/Beauty) to look if you’re not a regular Target shopper. I can find things in Target easier than I can find my glasses at home!

So I guess since John is my youngest this will be my last “Back to School” shopping post. He’ll have a fridge and microwave waiting for him in his dorm room, but no roommate (yet) so I suspect his room will be the go-to place for late-night gaming on the weekends. It’s been seven years since I’ve prepped a child for their first dorm, and so much has changed! Parents of current college students: what are your best tips? I need all the help I can get – LOL!

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