How many Distracting Drivers do you See Daily? #DecideToDrive #CleverGirls

Distracted driving is a real concern these days with the brunt of society living in a fast paced lifestyle. People want to get from Point A to Point B in record time, but life happens in between. I have seen people putting their makeup on at a stop light and people looking up in their mirrors while driving to place lipstick on. The things we do in our vehicles while driving is not only a possible distraction for their own safety but it’s a distraction for drivers who bear witness to such things as; looking down instead of at the road, turning your head backwards to maybe speak to a child, doing your makeup in the drivers seat while driving, and so on and so forth. There are many things people have done that can be considered distracting to both the driver and other drivers on the road. I know that when I see a person doing something that clearly shows the driver doesn’t have both eyes on the road or their hands on the wheel, it distracts me from my driving. It takes me a moment to realize what I had just witnessed, it’s so mind boggling to me what people do behind the wheel.

Distracted Driving Campaign

“Image courtesy of pakorn /”.

I think we may all have been guilty of distracted driving from time to time without realizing it and this can cause crashes.  The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Auto Alliance want to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving. My advice to those who find themselves getting distracted while driving is to pull over as soon as possible. It’s that simple. I have been known to pull off the side of the road many times, it is usually because my son’s are screaming at each other in the back seat. If something is going on with my children that requires my attention or is distracting to the safety of my driving, I pull over. No questions asked. I tend to the kids, let them know their distracting Mama’s driving and I don’t move again until they are calm and acknowledge they will cease the distracting behavior.

Here’s a couple Tidbits of Information regarding Distracted Driving:

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the nearly 33,000 roadway fatalities in 2012, there were 3,328 fatalities and approximately 421,000 injuries in distracted driving-related crashes.
  • Orthopaedic surgeons—the specialists who put bones and limbs back together after road crashes and traumas—along with our partners, the automakers, would rather help all drivers “decide to drive” each time they get in the car and to keep bones and limbs intact.

The “Decide to Drive” program aims to empower drivers and passengers to speak up about distracted driving, continue the conversation at home, work and play, and reduce distracted behaviors behind the wheel. As parents, we already have enough to discuss with our children and educate them about, please add the topic of distracted driving. Lead by example. My example is that I usually have my cell phone on vibrate while driving to ensure it doesn’t distract my eyes from the road nor hands from the wheel. I also have used voice operated hands-free devices in years past for cell phones, in case of an emergency phone call during driving. Most phone calls and text messages can wait until you stop driving, if not? Pull over. 

As a proactive Mom and one who leads by example, I have kept dialogue open between my three children regarding safe driving practices, sure they may only be 11, 7 and 5, but one is never too young to soak up information! If I lead be example and keep the conversation going, they will be more educated on ways to not be a distracting driver when they reach driving age.

As part of this Decide to Drive Campaign, I am sharing with you a fun slogan contest called Decide to Drive Catchphrase Contest. This contest will run from May 30, 2014 – June 13, 2014.  Head over to the Decide to Drive Catchphrase Contest page for more details and to enter your choice of slogan to bring awareness to distracted driving! You could win one of two $500 runner-up prizes or the $1,000 grand prize! I cannot wait to see what the new slogan will be.

Connect with American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on FacebookAuto Alliance on Facebook and “Decide to Drive” on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news, statistics and information to help you raise more awareness of distracted driving.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

The Mailbox Discussion

Remember when I told you all a while back that the state plow took out my post and mailbox? Oh yeah I won’t even get into the fact that come warmer weather I have to pay to replace the mail box that was taken out by a state plow driver who doesn’t know the definition of lift your plow, I am not joking they have slammed so much into my car by speeding by with their plow down and smashing dirt (no snow) up on my car.

I know that I shouldn’t let some other driver get to me but when I drive down the road and see many of my neighbors mailboxes smashed too I have to begin to wonder why we, the home owners, have to pay to replace something the state plow guy destroyed? Last year I had to simply replace the actual mailbox and it was like a $10 item so I didn’t complain, but this year having to find a way to replace the mail boxes post is going to be a project.

I am certainly over the fact that they took down my mailbox, but reality is my mail now gets soaked because the post is crooked, only sitting in the snow bank, not hanging on by a thing.  My tax papers even were soaked and I had to place them on the counter to warm up, that was fun! So where do you shop for mailboxes or mailbox posts? I need to know, because this Spring you will find me out there fixing my mailbox post unless I can get my sweet Daddy to come over and fix it up for his sweet daughter!

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Do You Tweet?


Image via Wikipedia

Are you on Twitter? Here are my feelings on Twitter; it’s addictive after a while but confusing at first. I became a tweeple back in December 2008 and boy was I confused, after signing up and setting up my profile and information I hardly did anything there. I couldn’t figure out how to use Twitter, and I couldn’t figure out what the point was behind “what are you doing?” in 140 characters or less.

I tell you it’s hard for a social queen like myself to talk in under 140 characters, but I do it and have since December. I have a following of over 8900, but it’s the interactions not the number that counts most. I have met so many wonderful people through Twitter, virtual assistant clients, friends, other bloggers, business people who I get to learn so much from and many new relationships have been formed.

I love using Twitter from my Blackberry, that’s the best and once I started using my blackberry I tested to applications UberTwitter and TwitterBerry. I must admit I do enjoy both of them. I am a HUGE video blogger and enjoy vlogging when I get a chance so UberTwitter made it easy for me to vlog from the road while TwitterBerry had the look and feel for my web browser Twitter version (a look I am used to working with).

There are many ways to make money through Twitter as well, but I wouldn’t personally be one to do sponsored tweets all day long as you will lose your following, thus losing the potential for income and true relations. I use two programs to earn money from Twitter and with less than 3 sponsored tweets here and there I have been able to make some decent money in a couple months time from those services. I would highly recommend TweetROI and Sponsored Tweets as those are two top paying ones for me without coming off too “spammy”.

I have been able to find many advantages to being on Twitter and if you are willing to just simply answer one question, What are you Doing?, in 140 characters or less through out the day … well then maybe you too can find advantages from being on Twitter.  By the way if you are on Twitter please remember to follow me @brandyellen

Make it a Happy Day!

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Never a Dull Moment

Will ALL of you please look at the camera?!

Will ALL of you please look at the camera?!

There truly is never a dull moment in my household.  I have gone from being a single full time working Mom of ONE over four years ago to a married work at home mom of THREE. I am often found wondering why we wanted to have our two boys so close together, but then I realize WHY we choose to have children so close together and early on in our marriage; to be able to pursue our long time passion of working together in our own computer business.

My oldest is nearly 7, my middle child is 3 and my youngest is 1.  We are what’s considered a blended family, basically there is a little of mine and ours combined into one happy family! I share custody of my only daughter with her father and have since she was four months old.

With two in diapers and one drama queen there truly is never a dull moment. If one child isn’t hitting the other for something silly, then it’s screaming and yelling because apparently we can only use our inside voices outside. I mean, really? Who ever heard of kids who are loud as a train station in the house but quiet as a clear night sky outside of the house?!

Today we visited my Gram for Grandparent’s day, she lives about forty minutes away.  My husband and I took our suburban since the Saab would clearly be too small for three little ones on a forty minute drive. The suburban would allow all three munchkins the chance to breath, have space and enjoy the ride … how wrong we were!

The ride to my Gram’s home wasn’t all that bad. Ki talked our ears off, played with her baby brother and AJ took a much needed nap. It was the ride home we had hoped to have a robot driven suburban so that we could follow behind in our nice quiet Saab. Both AJ and Ki had a coffee cup full of water, both were buckled into their child restraint seats (a booster for Ki and Britax car seat for AJ), and each were in their own area of the suburban not next to each other but in front of each other. AJ had the third row seat to himself and Ki was in the second row seat next to her baby brother.

Image Courtesy malingering on Flickr

Image Courtesy malingering on Flickr

Let the fighting begin. As we drove towards our home setting off on a forty minute drive, AJ decided that sissy wanted to have a nice back massage on the way home which would be completed by him kicking the back of sissy’s seat. Ki decided that she wasn’t in need of this lovely back massage and she told AJ he better stop it. AJ responded with “bad sissy … me want you go away … that my seat”. I must admit this was so funny coming out of a three year old’s mouth, even Ki giggled. I kept telling Ki to ignore her brother and so she did. Well AJ realized his tactics were no longer working … in comes the water cups I told you they brought with them. Oh yeah … right down the back of Ki’s shirt went most of the water AJ had in his cup. She was livid! Miss Drama Queen (DQ for short) starting crying and refused to sit back because now the water was all down her back and she couldn’t get comfortable.

After making hubs pull over to the side of the road I got out and took AJ’s cup from him and told Ki to try to sit back, it’s only water and now there will be no more to dump on her. I placed my butt back in my front passenger seat position, buckled up, and listened to my near 7 year old and 3 year old fight all the way home about the siliest of things while Baby K sat snoozing in his Britax car seat.

After we got home the giggling, bickering and the competition of who was going to get our box of mac n cheese out continued as I walked in the door and uttered the sentence … “never a dull moment in this household, is there?”

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Creating Happiness In Yourself

I am not going to write a Fitness Friday post today, however, feel free to visit the Wii Mommies to read up on the latest Fitness Friday posts, because they are awesome!

Today I would prefer to write about creating happiness in yourself, because that is where you can start your personal success story. I have always been one to feel that true success means you are a well rounded individual who can smile often and look to the positive of any situation. In order to get to the point of being truly happy, you must be able to love yourself first. I know this is easy to say and to prove that I am not just talking out of my butt (pardon the saying) I am going to share with you my journey to love myself.

It all started when I was a teenager who got all caught up in the curiosity of relationships and thinking that love meant a boy wanted you (you know what I mean).  In all reality I truly felt that when a boy (or as I grew older, a man) gave me attention that I was loved. WRONG. I am uncertain where I learned to think such behavior was acceptable and how I thought a boys attention was true love, but I thought that way for a long time.

I wasn’t ever truly happy with myself. Although I had a beautiful face, figure and attitude there was something missing; the true love you should have within yourself FOR YOURSELF. Although if you looked at me I seemed happy, confident after all I had great jobs from a bank teller to an administrative assistant and made decent money. I smiled and held my head up in the air with pride. Looks CAN be deceiving, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

One day things changed; I found out I was going to have a baby girl. This baby girl was the becoming of a new me. No longer would I be the lost individual I once was, no longer would I pretend to love myself nor would I allow a man to come into my life just because I thought his attention was true love. I was going down a road never traveled by me before. I was heading in a direction that eventually led to this blog, Happily Blended.

I have lived in the same town for my whole life, nearly 28 years and I will say that changing who you are will not be accepted by everyone, most will still see you as the person you once were and no matter how many times you smile, tell them to have a nice day or attempt to lend a helping hand, opinions will not be changed. The good news is that as long as YOU know who YOU are and you continue to do good, those in you past will no longer matter. Once a person falls in love with themselves the rest of the world doesn’t even affect your happiness. This is not to say you will be constantly happy, but when you find happiness in who you are there is no way negative opinions will consume your thoughts. Negative opinions will soon come into your mind and be released out of your mind in less than one minute.

How can you find the strength to be YOU and be happy with who you are? That’s the hard part! I can’t tell you what is special and unique about you because I don’t know you, but I can tell you that everyone has a special quality inside them that makes them unique, that allows them to stand out in the crowd. You may be a very blunt person, a sociable person, a person trusted with a secret, whatever quality inside you that makes you special is what you need to focus on. Once you have found your special trait you can simply focus on that whenever any negative comes into your life.

From now on you will be able to shrug off that negative word, sentence or look with a nice smile and a “have a nice day”. Here’s hoping you can find happiness in yourself today so that tomorrow you can battle anything!


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