Planning for the School Year

When August arrives, we not only rush out to buy school supplies but we have to get Fall Ready. We have to think about leaving behind all the leisure flip flops of summer, the carefree days, and get ready to be back to serious. Besides school supplies our kids need new clothes, new sneakers, lunchboxes, and sometimes a new backpack. So we browse the online sales, run to the stores to compare prices and start writing lists of what we need. Well, with the cost of gas and the wanting to enjoy every last minute by the pool or at the beach, go to Amazon for your back to reality needs.

Backpacks/Laptop Carriers

The laptop backpack professional owns 17+ independent pockets for large storage and organization for small items with 3 spacious main compartments as well as many hidden pockets which can accommodate lots of stuffs like college supplies, travel accessories, clothes, stationery, school books. Side pockets hold your umbrella, water bottle, small accessories and more. Check this one out at Amazon using the following link:

Or go for a simpler (and less expensive one), try the Tzowla backpack which has one separate laptop compartment that can hold any laptop up to 15.6 inch. It also has one spacious compartment for storing any item like daily necessities, tech related items, accessories, toiletries and many more. The front compartment comprises of many pockets, key hook to store your item in an organized manner and easier to find. Check it out via the following Amazon link:

Comfortable Footwear

Going back to school (and work) means getting more comfortable shoes and putting away the sandals til next year. We need to look closely at our needs. Will you just be walking with your new sneakers? Or will you use them to hike, travel and just get through the shorter days of fall.

Do you want to try Converse sneakers instead? They come in 16 different colors and are always fashionable and comfortable. High top canvas sneakers are made with canvas material, contrasting stitching on upper and tirpe vulcanized rubber sole. They are durable with washable canvas and also two sliver eyelets at the side ,keep comfy and breathable the whole day. Check them out via this Amazon link:

You can never go wrong with Skechers. For both men and women, they offer comfort, durability and sole protection. Check out the link for Women’s Skechers and Men’s Skechers at Amazon during back to school savings month.

Skechers come in a variety of colors.

Bring Your Lunch to School or Work

With more and more people eating healthy and saving money, we are always looking for interesting and affordable ways to bring our lunch to school or work. Do we need to have the type of lunchbox which keeps things cold or do you have access to a refrigerator during the day? It’s time to start off fall on the right foot by making healthy lunches and thinking ahead.

There is the practical Bento box with many compartments. Leakproof and food separated the MISS BIG bento box keeps meals and snacks fresh and mess-free during carrying– The lunch box kids includes four kid-friendly latches that are easy for small hands to open and close. Upgraded for kids lunch box portion control and special diet by keeping food separated. It’s also a bento box adult lunch box.The 3 compartment bento lunch box for kids perfectly keeps your lunch delicious too.This bento lunch box for kids is also cute and practical for children. Check it out with the Amazon link below:

Besides all the “character” lunch boxes for children, there is one that is practical for all ages. The Inside the Insulate Lunch Tote Bags With Thermal insulation Could meet 100% leakproof. You could use it as fish tank if you need. Don’t worry the liquid spoiled in the bags and difficult to clean again. These insulated lunch bags inside is easy to clean and dry. Machine washable as well, it will last a very long time. Check it out via Amazon link below:

We have only listed a few choices for back to school and reality savings. Clothes are very personal. I have used the new Amazon try before you buy, because I often change my mind after buying something. And I always enjoy using my Kohl’s coupon I receive when I return Amazon items there.

Savings is very important during these recession times. So check out the deals I mentioned and happy shopping.

Next time, we will look at Fall decorations.Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. In the meantime, enjoy every last moment of the summer.

A Perfect Cooler Adds to Summer Fun !

The best part about summer is all the fun activities we wait to share with our family and friends. Now that the weather is warmer, weekends seem to fly by as we can’t fit everything in to make it a summer of fun. Many of us are still trying to make up for lost time. So whether you are going to the beach, the lake, the pool, hiking or just having a picnic or barbecue with loved ones, you want to be prepared with the right cooler.

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Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels Xtreme Wheeled Cooler

This cooler is wheeled and ideal for camping trips, tailgating parties, and picnics. It has a telescoping handle and heavy-duty wheels for easy, reliable transport across almost any terrain. A 50-quart capacity holds up to 84 cans. It has an insulated lid and walls provide 5 full days of ice retention at temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The cup holders are molded into the lid for easy access to beverages. Perfect for long day outside and even a camping trip. Reasonably priced at $64.99 through this Amazon link.

Check out this cooler with link below.

Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler with Cool Riser Technology

At $99.99 , this heavy duty blow-molded construction with reinforced base for increased strength and protection is extremely durable yet lightweight with proven 4-5 day ice retention. UV inhibitors protect the cooler against sun damage for extended life. Rust-resistant, stainless-steel hinge rods and hardware provide extended performance and rubberized T-grip latches keep lid secure. MaxCold body with 20% thicker foam and insulated lid provide advanced cooling performance and up to 4-day ice retention. Cool Riser Technology molded base elevates the cooler away from hot surfaces and improves cooling performance. Reasonably priced, through this Amazon link:

Double Deck Insulated Cooler Backpack

A more affordable cooler that is perfect for hiking, the Lower backpacks with cooler compartment can hold 30 Cans drinks, beers, tall beverages, fruits, ice pack. And Upper half has enough space for dry & warm items, such as meals, snacks, and so on. Longer insulation effect with confidence, the thickness of the lining insulation foam is increased from 5mm to 8mm. Enhanced seamless lining stitching technology & high quality heat-sealed support 100% leak proof and also make sure the amazing 12 hours long-term insulation effect. The insulated backpack is made of heavy duty nylon, so you do not need to worry about rip, tear or scratch, it is easy to clean as well. Lightweight foam insulation liner brings ZERO stress to your every outdoor sport, no trained, crushed, stuffy. This cooler insulated is sturdy and comfortable. One main insulated leak proof storage compartments for cold drinks and 1 upper storage for warm lunch together, 2 large front zipper pockets can hold utensils and little plates, 2 plus large mesh side pockets which are perfect for 4 bottles of wine. 1 beer opener and 1 anti-theft back pocket for cell phone. Not only an excellent backpack with insulated compartments, but also a perfect lightweight gear as a backpack coolers, lunch backpack, travel cooler, beach cooler, fishing backpack cooler in hunting, trail, cycling, overnight stay, and other outdoor activities for both men and women. Get it for only $36.99 with this Amazon link:

CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag: Insulated Leakproof 50 Can Soft Sided Portable Cooler Bag for Lunch, Grocery Shopping, Camping and Road Trips, Heather Grey/Black

This large capacity SnapBasket Tahoe Coolers can hold up to 50 cans of your favorite drinks plus ice; perfect for use at the beach, while camping or to load up full of snacks for youth sports games outdoors. Versatile totes can be packed up for a daytime picnic and are small enough to place in the trunk of your SUV as an ice chest on road trips; collapsed down, the cooler can fit in your suitcase for vacation. Recommended to use with Clever Ice. It’s the perfect size for food delivery services and a great solution to haul groceries from the store or farmer’s market to your kitchen at home; comfortable handle and duffel bag handles make toting heavy loads easy. Grab this versatile cooler through the following Amazon link for $44.99.

Coleman Portable Hard Cooler, 9 Quart

You can also choose a less expensive, sturdy Coleman cooler for $19.99. It offers ice retention with TempLock insulation keeps drinks ice cold. It is portable with a large-grip handles which makes it easy to carry with one hand. A quick-clean top with smooth surface wipes down easily. It can hold up to 4 cans with 4 pounds of ice. Check it out with the Amazon link below:

So before you plan your next summer event, be sure to have the perfect cooler to help in celebrating. Enjoy every minute of the summer. We have looked forward to it for nine months.

Let me know your cooler preference…..

Let’s Get Back to Traveling This Summer

Many of us are frustrated with increased gas prices, affecting our travel plans, but we can use our research skills to plan a fun vacation within our spending limits. Some of us are still not comfortable traveling internationally, so think of all the places you want to visit in your own country.

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I made a list of places in the United States that I have not visited and I was a bit shocked at how many places I have not seen. For example, I always wanted to see the Grand Canyon and I always wanted to experience Nashville.

Step 1: Write down all the places on your bucket list.

It’s okay if your bucket list is long, because you will get to different hopes at different times in your life. So don’t say you can’t do it all, because you can. And don’t forget you can pique your interest in a place by an online visit or reading about people’s experiences there. Sometimes doing this is just enough to satisfy your curiosity.
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Get it via Amazon link here 

Step 2: Make a plan for this summer

Think about what is doable this summer based on your budget, vacation time and reality of your circumstances. Worst case scenario, you can go to a location, stay there and take short day trips. Do you want to be near a beach or lake? Do you want shopping? Do you want history? These are all important questions to answer as you plan your trip this summer.

Step 3: Plan to travel light

If you are planning a short weekend jaunt than plan accordingly. Look in your closet or garage and see what kind of luggage type items you have. Do you need just a backpack, an overnight bag or a big luggage if your plan is for a long trip? Will you have access to washing/laundry facilities? The answers to these questions will help you pack smart and small. Most of us will pack 15 outfits for an 8 day trip to give ourselves some variety to choose from. So if you are going away for 8 days pack 10 outfits so you feel like you have this option. There are so many adorable travel accessories to choose from.

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Get it via Amazon link here

Step 4: Have fun

Have fun on your vacation whether it’s two days or ten. Some of us only get to go on one vacation a year so enjoy every single minute. Take in the sites, take pictures and enjoy your time away from the stress of everyday life. Get a drink, go for an expensive meal that you wouldn’t do at home, and pamper yourself.

I would love to hear about your vacation plans for the summer……

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Shortness of Life

Life has become more and more precious each day. Yesterday I was thinking about this month’s blog post, and I realized that we often go through life meaning to do certain things and never do, because life in general gets in the way. That though hit hone this morning when I heard about my friend Annie’s passing.

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Since I moved we did lose touch and then, of course, Covid came and it was even harder to reconnect. Annie survived cancer three times and has been in remission for over 15 years. Well, cancer is funny that way and decided to creep back in when it feels like it. This is the second friend I have lost in one week to this awful disease that took my father almost 30 years ago. How can it be that almost 30 years later, people are still dying an awful death. It is becoming a commonality to hear about someone dying at such a young age. An age where we are “empty nesters” with grandchildren and still have some hopes to enjoy the magical years with traveling, friends and some fun times. What is really in the stars for us?

We always reflect on our busyness when we lose someone we love and we promise to be better. Why is life so complex these days that we can’t live up to these promises?! What can we do to make this easier to endure?

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Probably nothing. Death is hard for those it leaves behind. Too many people have lost loved ones especially these past two years. I feel that we are all struggling the same journey. And it is not our age that seems to be the standout point in this. People of all ages are losing battles with disease, depression and the cycle of life. It makes me so deeply sad and optimistic at the same time. Sad because I have lost so many that were a part of my life, my journey and my heart. Optimistic because these type of days make me optimistic about fulfilling the joys I hope to experience in my life before it goes away.

So hug your friend, call your mother, and let go of the small stuff. In the end, it is not important. What is important is the love you feel for others in this brief journey we call life. Give someone an extra hug, text a friend you haven’t heard from, and smile as you go through your day. Remember sometimes people don’t reach out to you because life is complicated for them. Being the first to reach out is sometimes the best answer.

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Let’s enjoy this ride they call life while we can!

Cooking During Inflation

Please note that this article contains Amazon affiliate links

I’m sure I am not the only one who has been frustrated, and often comes home with high anxiety, every single time I go food shopping. The prices in stores right now are so outrageous we actually shop and talk to ourselves in disbelief. I was once the person who made a list and bought was on my list. Sometimes I compared prices but mostly I would shop and be on my way.

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That’s different now. I read the flyers that I once discarded and am always complaining in disbelief. Instead of just going to my usual supermarket, I now shop online at various outlets like Walmart and Boxed and search for the deals. I almost prefer it that way. You can sit in the comfort of your own home and compare prices instead of shopping in disbelief with missing aisles of items, the prices on the items they have and then, to top it off, the horrible customer service. So now I have to pack my bags or pay for a bag if I left my bags at home. Paying for a bag does not guarantee someone packing it for you. So I get home from shopping exhausted and angry. Not a good way to feel.

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I have tried making different meals around the things I buy. I now do not throw out leftovers. If it can’t be used for another meal, I will freeze it. Pinterest has been so helpful in finding recipes with leftovers. In fact yesterday I made a delicious lamb stew with our leftover Easter lamb. I remember my mother (who grew up in the depression) saying “Waste not, want not” and now I understand where she was coming from. When it is more affordable to have steak at a restaurant offering a special, we have to take a closer look at our world.

Yes, I am tired of everyone blaming this on Covid or the war. They have definitely affected our lives but now people have to choose driving to work over having a decent meal for their family. When will that end. Every week you hear about different shortages and often I worry about others. For example, the shortage this week is on baby formula. Well, what do new mothers do without formula?! And it goes on and on.

Get via Amazon link provided here
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We pay over $6 for a loaf of bread and now we scan the bread aisles and often try new breads that are perhaps not as healthy as our first choice. So are we compromising our health to afford food. It was common knowledge that many overweight people are low income who frequent dollar menus at fast food restaurants to feed their family. Now everyone (except the millionaires) contemplates every meal, every shopping adventure and every day of missing something else in the store.

Some ideas I have for leftovers;

. Make a stew with leftover meat and veggies. Add some spice, some celery and broth and you have another whole meal.

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. Freeze leftover portions in ziplocks to use next time you make that dish and add it to it. I do that with tomato sauce, extra meat I can throw in a sauce and even leftover Italian bread to make into garlic bread.

. Use your air fryer to make healthier food choices with leftovers or even vegetables that need to be cooked right away. I have cooked them and frozen for future meals before veggies rot.

. Buy family packs of meat when on sale and divide into dinner sizes and freeze. Use food organizers in your fridge and freezer so you get the most out of your food purchases.

. Have potluck dinners with friends. Assign each person a part of the dinner. Rotate this so the same person doesn’t get stuck with the main course. It’s affordable and always a fun time!

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We all hope that these inflationary times will go away soon. Hopefully it will make us grateful for what we have and to make the most of what we have. We have had to learn to be less excessive in spending and really think hard about whether or not we need something.

So go on Pinterest to find some new recipes, come up with alternatives to expensive meals and most of all, have fun. Plan some summer fun with friends and share in the cost and prep, so everyone has fun and feels comfortable with spending. We have to be more cognizant of others that are “counting pennies” lately especially those with long commutes.

To better days ahead which we will appreciate even more.

Share some ways you are cooking or shopping differently to get through this inflation crisis…..

As the World Turns

That sounds like an old soap opera that my grandmother used to watch! And now everyday seems like the world is changing, and it seems to be unsettling.

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I was watching a show the other day that depicted New Years Eve 2019, with people showing such hope for the new decade and the year 2020. Little did we know that as that ball dropped, society would never be the same.

So in March 2020, the world shut down because of Covid-19. People started remote work, ordering all their food and supplies to be delivered, and even schools were completely online. The trains were empty, the highways were silent and we just entered a new dimension of life.

Since then we have gone through stimulus checks from the government and people not wanting to go back to work. Lack of employees to provide us service seems to be an everyday occurrence. What happened to all of us? What happened to people striving for dreams and to achieve career goals? Now people just want to get by, pay their bills and enjoy life. Well, I think we should have been enjoying our families prior to the shutdown but we just needed a push to spend more time at home. Now “home is where the heart is” rings true to all of us. I am sure I am not the only one who looks forward to going back home whenever I am out doing something.

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We get through vaccines and boosters, Delta and Omicron variants (and another strain on the way) to only be hit with horrible inflation. Lack of plastic makes cars and other products unobtainable and all of a sudden, detergents can cost you $25. Gas prices are out of control that people are rethinking going back to the office, resigning themselves to carpooling, and cutting back on some necessities just to drive to work. When will it end?!

Russia is at war with Ukraine and we are holding our breath fearing for a World War III outbreak. People are dying in Ukraine, their country is being destroyed and the world is now terrified again. When will this end?

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I often think of my children, in their 30s, who have seen life so differently than I did growing up. First with the World Trade Center attacks in 2001 and continuing on to all these disasters, one after another. And I have not mentioned fires, tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes that continue to harm all in their path. I am frightened for my children and my grandchildren. Has this world of technology led to life without simple pleasures like jump rope, hide and seek, and just “hanging out with friends”. I truly feel sad for them. Each day I start praying for all of our children and the world we are creating, one day at a time.

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I know you are ready to say, enough of this doom, let’s think of positive things. Well, here it is. In light of all the tragedy that has engulfed our lives since 2020, let us start to appreciate the smaller things in life (which are really the big things after all). The hugs and kisses, seeing our families and friends together, enjoying a walk in the park or on the beach, and just taking a deep breath to inhale the beauty around us, is so important in this everyday scheme of life. Yes, we are terrified we will get a strain of Covid or be in a World War, but in the meantime, love harder, give willingly and enjoy the simplicities of life.

Please share your stories of how the past two years has changed you. I would love to hear them……

When Will It Stop

The past two years have been very unpredictable. It started with a shutdown of society due to Covid-19 almost two years ago (March 15, 2020 – my birthday lol). Since then people have become more content to stay home, jobs have become remote (and some will continue to be remote) and the whole essence of our lives is different.

We never thought twice about going shopping, to a movie, a concert or a big family party. Now we need to know if people are vaccinated, how many people will be there and so on.

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And to top it off, we have a new world of shopping, inflation and availability of products. Last year, I went to ten dealerships to lease a car. Some just told me there weren’t any. I eventually found my car but continue to hear stories from friends who cannot find a car or who have to wait months for one.

Then, the ultimate screwing is the inflation going on right now. Who gives a company the right to almost double the cost of their products? With the high unemployment rates we are looking at more people going hungry. I was never a conservative shopper but find myself coming home from food shopping in an angry mood. Recently retired and on a fixed income, I cannot justify spending the prices they are asking for. Not only food but laundry detergent, hair care products, and the list goes on and on. I pray that this will end soon.

Yes, people are benefitting from the crazy real estate market but what about everyone else? What about families on a budget, trying to make ends meet and fee their families? Will they be reduced to buying less healthy products for their families because of the crazy inflated prices we are seeing.

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This cannot continue. Our leaders gave people stimulus money and then basically took double and triple back. What kind of a society do we live in? A society that is run by people who don’t care about the people living in this society. Well, it will cause the people in this society to not respect their government, people who run it and this will cause many unsettling problems.

I am thankful that the pandemic is calming down and less people are dying. I am grateful that people are able to work from home and be with their families. But I am not grateful for the people running our lives and making it difficult to do even the simple things like buy food, household supplies and even enjoy life. Gas prices are through the roof so even an Uber has tripled in cost. Will it ever end?

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Please share your thoughts on what’s happening now and how it affecting people you love. God bless us all!

What is Perfect?

We go through life wanting everything to be perfect. The perfect dinner, the perfect date, the perfect birthday, the perfect holiday…. when does it end?

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Now that we started a New Year, and especially with all that has happened over the last two years, we should alter our perception of perfect. Yes, we enjoy planning the perfect holiday meal or decorations. We want to make sure we get the perfect gift. But at the end of the day, it is more important to be with people we love and share the special occasion. So, if the walls are freshly painted and you don’t have enough on your Christmas tree, don’t worry. Sit back and enjoy the beautiful memories with those you love. Hopefully you have created lingering memories this Christmas season that will stay with you for a long while.

Often, we strive toward being perfect to compensate for a sense of inadequacy. People who want to be perfect usually have an exaggerated sense of their own shortcomings. They typically received messages earlier in life that they weren’t good enough. So, they decided that only by being perfect would they be beyond reproach.

Not being perfect can be exciting because it means that you have space to change, learn and live life with the wind in your hair, as they say. Or the thrill of your heart beating just a little faster. Sometimes imperfection can become the perfect place to be because it gives you choices. How can we strive to accept the imperfections as the “perfect” way to be?

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Attaining perfection is definitely hard work. And while we are trying to get there, we often don’t enjoy the simple joys of everyday life. I think it has to do with the fact that being wrong and failing is frowned upon in large parts of our society today. It causes us tons of problems. It’s often the case that we want others to be perfect. The waiter is not allowed to forget an order, a software developer should not have bugs in their software from the get go, the creative team has to come up with a new idea every day.

There are a lot of people that put a lot of pressure on others to not make mistakes so we feel that we need to live up to that. Failure is not accepted and perceived as weak. Flaws are frowned upon. Making mistakes is human though and we need to allow ourselves and others to not be perfect. Learning and making mistakes are inseparable. That doesn’t mean we have to go the other way and accept subpar services and goods either though. It’s all about getting better, not about becoming perfect.

I often find myself caught up in making everything right. I get frustrated if I don’t have everything done in a day, And I often stay up at night thinking of all the things I didn’t do or what I need to do again, but better. Even when picking out a gift for someone, we often don’t realize that people are happy to be thought of and if you buy a gift that is something that person loves to do or associates with, it will be a much better gift than just buying the most expensive gift.

Lately, I have been watching Hallmark Christmas movies and I always love the perfect villages, the tree lightings and the way everything turns out “perfect” at the end. Well, we know that this is not real life. Instead, we need to look further into these movies, and notice the little traditions and feelings of caring and sharing that come through most of all.

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So next time you think you are not perfect, remember that you are not. None of us are. But when you genuinely try your very best to be kind, sincere and loving, you have in fact reached a perfection that is the best kind of all. So yes, we make mistakes, but at the end of the day when our families and friends know how genuine we are, they see us for the true “imperfections” we are.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share on your social media or share with a friend who you think may enjoy it. Also, feel free to comment below on your feelings about “being perfect”………

Let’s Wake Up

Does anyone remember how different our lives were before March 2020 when the world locked down because of Covid-19?!

I am trying hard to remember….. Unfortunately, it gets harder every day. We are bombarded with constant news about vaccines, vaccine updates and boosters and just overall news of doom if we don’t follow the government’s orders.

And now they are talking about another toilet paper shortage? A shortage of toys for Christmas? And the list continues…..

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The government is handing out money left and right (not to me unfortunately). Where is it being printed?! I was watching an episode of Riverdale the other night and they were printing new money to save their town. Well, how are we going to save our country. We have had a new president that in 10 short months has destroyed the essence of our wonderful country.

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Will we ever get it back? Or do we continue to live in fear that if we don’t follow directions the government issues that we will be left impoverished?! I don’t know about you but I am getting a bit nervous.

The news is repetitive. It continues to provoke people to become robots of a new society that wants to control our every move. We no longer celebrate our history because all of a sudden everyone is insulted….

Wake up people and lets get our country back. Land of the free and home of the brave. Let’s feel proud of our history (even if it was not always a good one) and move on from here. We cannot erase our personal history so what makes you so sure that you can erase America’s history. And why? Isn’t studying a history a way for us to look at our mistakes and move forward in a more positive light? Well, if we stop teaching what is and always will be our American history, then we cease to exist.

Wake up people!

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