Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Gift Guide for New Law Enforcement Officers: Part One

One thing that I mention a lot here on the blog but I don't actually talk a lot about is that I am married to a law enforcement officer.  Deputy Dad has been a peace officer for many years now. He started out as a correctional officer, then moved out to the road. He's been on the road for over 5 years now. This past December, he was actually promoted to Sergeant. Perhaps I need something new to call him. But I like Deputy Dad. It's fun to say.

Anyway, I'm a member of a few "support groups" on Facebook that are geared towards wives of law enforcement officers. One of the questions that was recently posted to the group as a whole was "what can I get my new officer husband as a gift?" I actually thought this was a really good question, and thought I'd collaborate with Deputy Dad and come up with a gift guide for anyone else that may be wondering what they can gift to any new officers they know.

Also, for a lot of this stuff, I would wait a few weeks before gifting.  Each department is going to be different with what they provide as far as duty gear and accessories.  For example, in the thread I was reading, many people were suggesting badge wallets, the super bright flashlights that can charge in-car, and leather ticket books.  In my husband's department, these things have all been provided to him as part of his county-issued gear.

Once we sat down and started thinking things through and typing this up, it came out even *longer* than my normal blog posts. Can you imagine?? As a result, this is going to be part one of this guide : equipment suggestions to keep in the car. Part two will be dedicated to personal equipment.

1. Some Clorox Wipes for dash board, rear seat wipe downs, pen wipe downs, cuff wipe downs...just trust me.

2. A Seatbelt Cutter and Window Breaker for your officer, or for any wrecks he may happen upon. This may be one of those things that is dependent upon department. Deputy Dad works for a Sheriff's Department that actually does not work wrecks, so his car is not equipped with supplies to assist in car accidents.

3. Dry Erase Markers are great for writing down the numerics for a call your officer is being dispatched to, or writing down information off of a BOLO on the rearview mirror. Then your LEO will become a dispatcher favorite, because he won't have to ask them to repeat all of the time. :)

4 & 5. A Portable File Box and Hanging File Folders will be helpful to stash in the trunk to keep all of the forms that your LEO has to haul around organized. Victims forms, NCIC entry forms, wreck reports, etc., etc. Even departments that have MDTs (mobile data terminals, which our county doesn't have) will still have a ton of paper they need to carry. Keeping it all organized will make life easier. I wish my husband could keep himself this organized!

6. A Seat Organizer is also great for keeping all of that paperwork corralled. They make soft-sided and hard-sided versions, but Deputy Dad prefers the soft sided version so that's what I included. It can hold their clipboard, ticket book, extra pens, sunglasses, charger, snacks, and more. These are especially helpful for those officers who are going to be working at smaller departments that do not have take home cars and have to share cars. That way all of the stuff you want to have on patrol with you is in one convenient place and you can just grab it and go!

7. The Cool Cop is a lifesaver in any climate. One end clips on to the car vent, the other hooks on to your officer's vest (S/He is wearing his/her vest, right?!) Those things are so hot and bulky, but since they're also lifesavers, I like to tell Deputy Dad he can suck it up and deal with it. The Cool Cop helps ventilate under the hot vest, especially in the hot 80+ degree weather!

Anyone else out there a police wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend/etc? Anything else you could think to recommend for a new officer care kit? I didn't recommend things like snacks and gum because those are always personal preference, too, but, what else would you add?

** I understand that everyone has their opinion on the blue line, and I respect everyone's opinion. However, I am clearly a part of the blue line family and I am clearly pro-law enforcement while being against officers that bring a bad name to the profession. That being said, any outright hateful or negative commentary about police officers will be removed without question. **
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Easy Breezy Toddler Girl Outfits for Summer

How is it June already? Summer is probably my least favorite season. I moved from Wisconsin to get away from the punishing cold of the Midwest, but South Carolina summers are no joke. You know that annoying saying, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity?" Every time someone says that, I kind of want to shoot a Nerf gun at them. But down here, it's so true. Back in Wisconsin we were by the lake, so even when it got to the high 80's we had the lake effect breezes and a fairly low humidity. Here in South Carolina, you walk outside in to high 90's, and the solid wall of humidity makes you want to spin around and step right back in the shower. However, the mild winters still make me oh-so-grateful to call this southern state home.

All three kids needed some new summer clothes, so with the holiday pay that Deputy Dad and I got for Easter, I hit up Kohl's. I always prefer to shop Kohl's online because I find that I get a better selection, and then I get to take advantage of eBates. I feel like the Kohl's stores back in Wisconsin have a better selection than the stores here do, but online I get to shop the full selection anyway. Plus, I see all of these other people doing fun hauls and the only shopping I do is for the kids - so a kid clothing haul it is!

The two boys are easy to shop for. Easy can also translate to boring, though! They don't like anything overly patterned and they are fans of only a few characters. They'll basically live in athletic shorts and basic tees. I stocked up on these shorts in each color and a bunch of these tees. Dry fit material is their favorite, so I figured I couldn't go wrong. Sure enough, they loved all of their new clothes. I also picked up a few Pokemon shirts for each of them and that move alone basically won me stepmom of the year. 

My true shopping joy comes in shopping for Baby Girl. She's still young enough that she basically allows me to pick what she wears, and she still loves everything I picked. I'm a huge fan of the Jumping Beans line from Kohl's. Their matchables are so cute, and so easy to wear.   

Striped Lace Pocked Tank :: Lace Front Shorts
How cute is this striped tank? I'm a huge fan of grey, so I had to get the option with the grey lace pocket and the matching grey lace front shorts. The aqua stripes are the perfect fun pop of color!

Lace Panel Tank :: Space Dyed Shorts
This tank is a very light gauzy material and fits like a tunic - perfect for those gross, hot, humid, sticky days. The shorts have aura, purple, pink, and gold glitter hearts and triangles printed on them which is perfect for my sparkle-loving girl! I wish they made grown up clothes in material as soft as these shorts. They're amazing.

Braided Cross Back Tee : Tiered Skort
If you ask Baby Girl what her favorite colors are, she's going to tell you pink and purple. So even though I strongly dislike (read: am terrified of) fish, I had to get her this outfit. The cute little cross back detail is my favorite part. I love that it's a skort instead of a skirt, since that means Baby Girl can still run and play and enjoy herself, without having to worry about being a lady. 

Flutter Tank :: Space-Dyed Shorts
Did you know that the pineapple is a sign of hospitality? True story! And this aqua pineapple on these black and white stripes stole my heart. Baby Girl gravitated towards this outfit as one of her favorites. That being said, by the time she was done picking out all of her "favorites", she had picked out pretty much all of these outfits so who really knows? These shorts are the same ones as the p=heart-printed ones with the purple tunic, just in an aqua that perfectly matches that sweet pineapple.

Glitter Bow Tank (out of stock) :: Bike Shorts
This is another one of my favorite outfits that I ordered. (Who am I kidding? I picked all of them out - I love them all!) The hearts are puffy and glittery, and the little bow up on the left shoulder is adorable. Unfortunately, it looks like this top is no longer available. They go with a simple pair of bike shorts, which is basically all Baby Girl wore last summer. She loves them!

Print Flutter Sleeve Tank :: Slubbed Cuff Shorts
This is my absolute favorite outfit that I ordered. I don't know why! I just think it's adorable. Baby Girl has this gorgeous almost waist-length bright blond hair, and yellow is just a great color on her. I think the lemons are adorable, and the flutter sleeves are adorable, and I love the gray stripes, and I just think the entire outfit is so cute. It's so sunny and cheery and it makes me smile.

My mom got this for Baby Girl, so I don't know where she got it from, but I just had to share it for my other 80's babies out there. Doesn't it make you think of Lisa Frank?! I loved Lisa Frank back in the day. I remember having Lisa Frank school supplies and coloring books and just loving all of it! 

I basically live in plain black leggings (capris in the summer, long in the winter) and tees (short-sleeved in the summer, long-sleeved in the winter) so this shopping binge was so much fun! have you gotten any new clothes - for yourself or your kids - lately? Do you have a Kohl's near you? What do you think of it? What is your favorite department store??

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I Faced Down the Dirty Thirty + A Gift Guide

I did it, y'all. Exactly one month ago today I turned 30. Conceptually I understand that 30 isn't that old. That being said, this is the oldest I've ever been so I certainly feel a lot older! Deputy Dad and I had the kids on my birthday, and Meet the Teacher day at school happened to be the same day this year. So we spent the first half of my birthday at school meeting D's second grade teacher and J's kindergarten teacher. After that, we went to Columbia and had pizza for dinner and spent the evening chasing Pokemon around the city. It was actually a wonderful birthday, and I was thrilled to have been able to spend it with family.

Our plan was to have a birthday party for yours truly on the Saturday immediately following my birthday, which fell on a Thursday this year. I called it my "I Don't Wanna Grow Up Playset + Pool Party". However, the two boys and I both got a pretty nasty case of food poisoning from the pizza place and we ended up having to cancel the whole thing. It ended up turning into a pretty serious health issue for me, and I missed the entire next week of work. Not the most exciting way to spend a post-birthday week, but at least I got to celebrate my actual birthday!

Because of the illness, Deputy Dad and I pushed back the exchanging of my birthday gift since my paycheck was significantly reduced for the time period. Also, I've yet to decide what I want to commemorate this milestone birthday. So, I decided to compile this little gift guide with some ideas for the newly-30-year-olds out there!

one :: two :: three :: four :: five

One :: One of the things I've been really getting in to lately is improving my photography skills. Now that I finally got back around to upgrading my camera again, I want all.the.camera.things. I've been having fun tinkering around with project shots and progress shots, but I hate that I'm so reliant on natural light to get that amazing shot I want. Especially now that summer is drawing to a close and our days are getting shorter (boo! But hooray for cooler temps and hot chocolate!!) I've really wanted to start investing in some lighting options so I can actually take some decent pictures of the things I've been doing around here. Deputy Dad and I actually built the Bulk Bin Toy Storage unit from Ana White, assembled a swing set, and made a few modifications to the kitchen, but they were all post-bedtime projects so I have *no* progress pictures so show you because I'm a bad blogger! I figure I can start with these relatively inexpensive umbrella lights from Amazon and grow from there.

Two :: Basically, see above. One of my favorite photo types is the sharply defined front object with the beautifully blurred background.  Yes, I know it's called bokeh. Thanks to an introductory DSLR class I took with my mom back when I got us both Canon T3's for Christmas one year, I even know how to achieve it. Unfortunately, I am not always the steadiest of hand. Enter this handy tripod. I actually had this same one, but I think I must have left it in Wisconsin when I moved. This tripod plus a remote shutter release (probably this one) should hopefully make life a little easier.

Three :: Ahh, Apple. You make my heart flutter. When the Apple Watch was released, I thought it was the stupidest thing ever. Seriously. Could not understand people spending $300 on a tiny little phone for your wrist when you carry a $600+ slightly larger phone in your pocket. Fast forward several months, and I now work back in a call center where cell phones are banned on the call floor. With Deputy Dad's job and the kids back in school, I'm always paranoid that someone is going to need to get in touch with me for some reason, but I'll be at work and won't get the message for 3 hours. Enter the beauty of the Apple Watch. If I see Dispatch or School calling, I can simply excuse myself for a personal break, call back, and have my mind put at ease.  Or take off out of the parking lot like a bat out of hell. You know, whichever the situation may call for. Plus, rose gold. Which gives me all of the heart eyes these days, so I have to have it.

Four ::  Remember earlier how I mentioned that I'm not the steadiest of individuals? Imagine the torture that my poor phone goes through. I drop that thing on a weekly basis. At least. I should buy stock in some screen protector company, because I order at least one a month. The night I met Deputy Dad, I shattered the screen of my phone when I dropped it off of the back of a pickup truck. Face first. On to concrete. It was a rough moment. Long story short, I *always* have a screen protector and a protective case on my phone. But how cute is a customizable case from Casetify? I love that this one allows me to customize the photo and text, and it's still durable for my klutzy moments.

Five :: I've always been interested in skincare, but now that I've hit 30 I realize how important it really is. I'm "blessed" because I have oily skin, which means that I actually don't have to worry about wrinkles for awhile yet. That being said, I'm 30 and still have to deal with acne, texture, enlarged pores, and hyper pigmentation. I keep seeing try-it videos of bubble masks on YouTube, and I'm fairly intrigued by the whole idea. This one from Sephora helps with luminosity and helps eliminate impurities, which I definitely wouldn't turn down. The other thing I'm working really hard to remember is to never leave the house without putting on some sort of sun protectant. I'm really bad about that. I'll always put sunscreen on the kids and on the husband, but somehow always forget myself in the shuffle. We're a pale family over here, and I suffered multiple extreme sunburns as a kid, so my risk for skin cancer is pretty high. I'd like to make sure I'm doing everything I can to prevent that!

So, there it is.  Five ideas if you want to offer your condolences...errrrr...congratulate a friend on a big milestone birthday. 

As for me, I think I'm accepting turning 30. I still have so much left to do!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cleaning Your Car's Headlights

Have you seen that tip online that recommends cleaning your car's headlights with toothpaste?  The one that looks like this?

Or this one?

Or possibly even this one?


I mean, I think you get my point. There's a lot of pins that suggest trying this trick if you have the dreaded headlight haze. Deputy Dad and I are a three-car household. The car I think of as mine is our 2013 Kia Sorento. It's our kid hauler. It's got all sorts of fun bells and whistles, it's got 3rd row seating, plenty of room to haul three kids and three dogs, and no headlight haze to speak of. The car I think of as Deputy Dad's is his Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. This is his marked patrol car that we are lucky enough (or unlucky enough, sometimes) that he has as a take-home vehicle. I actually have a key for this car on my keychain, but only because there's a small chance he may have locked himself out of this car. On more than one occasion. Maybe. Hypothetically speaking. This car isn't that old, and doesn't have too much headlight haze. Then there's the third car. The dreaded third car.

When I went back to work, we needed to have the kid hauler left at home for whichever parent was home that day. So, I guess technically, the third car is really my car. My back-and-forth to work car. We bought it in desperation because we were in a time crunch and a budget crunch. We really didn't want to have payments and had a $2,500 budget to work with. So, we ended up with a 2002 VW Cabrio that a former co-worker of mine was selling. We talked ourselves in to it because we thought it would be a cute little fun car to tool around town in. And this car has the dreaded headlight haze (along with a whole host of other issues, but we won't focus on those right now).

Deputy Dad took on this project one day while I was inside doing dishes, so bear with me and my not-so-amazing iPhone pictures here, okay? Pretty please? Basically, you take some toothpaste and rub it on the headlight.

Then your blogger wife realizes what you're doing and runs outside to take action photos of you rubbing the headlights.  See that nasty haze on there?

Here's what the rag looked like mid-rub partway through the first headlight. These rags were just some shop rags from Home Depot that we bought in a big bulk pack when we first moved in to our house. They've been amazing. We seriously use them for pretty much everything.

This was the other headlight, post rubbing. I was pretty disappointed at this point and tempted to call this Pin a solid fail because there was still a serious haze left behind. We got distracted playing a game with the kids and came back 15-20 minutes later to a small miracle.

I know it's hard to tell the full impact because I didn't get a good before photo, but just glance back at the first photo where you can get a good look at the yellowish fog on the headlights. Don't they look so much better?! I ended up giving this a solid 7/10. Definitely not the miracle some of the pins made it look like, but a serious improvement over what it was. Some of the pins I saw later recommended adding baking soda to the toothpaste, so maybe we'll give that a try on the patrol car and see how that works.

Also, please note, our house is not a house divided. Our house is solidly in the Gamecock camp, with some strong cheering for the Big 10 Badgers as well. This plate was left on by the former owners :) GO GAMECOCKS!!!  GO BADGERS!!!

And that's how a car I hate became a car I hate a tiny little bit less. Deputy Dad just fixed the spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap, and the ignitor, so all that's left is the brake light switch and the radio and hopefully I won't hate it quite so much anymore. 

I know, I'm a diva. I'm sorry.