Thursday, December 14, 2017

I love to read!!

I struggle with reading. And I don't mean that I struggle with reading the words. I'm a great reader and have been for a long time. What I mean is that I struggle with having the time to read. I keep telling myself that I'm going to read more and then I do for about a week, but then I read less and less again. I used to read right before bedtime because that was the perfect time for me to read each day. And you know what, I'm going to start doing that again!

I had a goal this year that I set through the website Goodreads, to read 20 books in 2017. Well, I met 65% of that goal with a whopping 13 out of 20 books read. I can't remember what my goal was for 2016, but I'm pretty sure that this year I was closer to my goal than 2016. And hey, I shouldn't say that I "was" closer to my goal, because the year isn't over yet!!!

There are currently 3 books that I'm reading so I'm going to work on reading at least 2 of those by the end of the month!!!

The first one is First Comes Love by Emily Giffin. It's about a pair of sisters who find themselves following very different paths 15 years after a tragedy in their family. The anniversary of that tragedy is coming up and they must not only confront the issues that divide them, but come to terms with their own choices they made. In that journey toward understanding and forgiveness, they discover that they need each other more than they knew and that love always comes first.

The next book I'm reading is Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella. She wrote the Confessions of a Shopaholic series so when I saw this book, I figured I would like it. And I was right! From what I've read so far I am definitely enjoying it!!! It is about a 28 year old who wakes up in the hospital and is in for a big surprise! She was in a car accident and lost 3 years of her memory! She went from being a 25 year old working girl to a corporate big shot with a much more glamorous life! Oh, did I mention that she is now married but she doesn't remember her wedding or even meeting him?

And the final book I've been reading is Oola for Women: How to Balance the 7 Key Areas of Life to Have Less Stress, More Purpose, and Reveal the Greatness Within You. I got introduced to this book through Young Living. Oola is that state of awesomeness you experience when your life is balanced and growing in all the key areas of health and well-being. Those 7 areas are called the 7 F's of Oola and are: fitness, finance, family, field, faith, friends, and fun. It has a quiz that you can take in the back to see where you rank in all 7 areas. I am going to see if I can find my results from when I first got the book and then take it again after reading it to see where I stand now. I highly recommend checking out this book!!

The first 2 books I borrowed the e-book versions from the library and the 3rd one I own. So I'm going to need to see which of those 2 I can borrow right now and then start reading! I've only got 18 more days left to see how close to my goal I can get!! What are some good books you've read recently or what are you reading right now?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas is coming!!!

Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here!!! Big E is 3 and a half this year so she is a lot more into Christmas this year than she's ever been!! I've been trying my hardest to start some Christmas traditions this year that we can keep going year after year. So here is a list of the traditions we have going so far:

- Our Christmas tree went up the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we all helped decorate it! My step-mom has been getting a new ornament for the kiddos every year so I decided that we would do the same and also get one for me and my hubby. This year his was a little golf caddy and mine was a Coca-Cola can!

- The kiddos got matching Christmas PJ's and we went to our local library to listen to the Polar Express!! This has been such a popular event that this year they added a 2nd night and we almost didn't get to go because we were put on a waiting list!!!


- Last night we put together a gingerbread house!! Well, I should say we decorated one because it was already put together in the box. We still had fun with it!!!


- Last night, Elsa left Big E and Little E a stack of 12 books that are individually wrapped!! We are going to unwrap one each night until Christmas Eve and read it at bedtime!!!

With there being 12 days till Christmas, we still have plenty of time left for more Christmas traditions!! We already made some Christmas cookies but I want to make some more sometime next week!! And there are a few Christmas movies that I'd like to watch as a family!! What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Leave me some comments!!! 

Our elf is back!!

Last year our Elf on the Shelf joined us for the first time!! Well, this year she is back and now she actually has a name! Last year Big E just called her "Elf". So this year I suggested she give her another name. The name she came up with was Elsa!! Here is what Elsa has been up to since she has been back...

These are only a few pictures of what our elf has been up to recently. There are 6 more but I will make another post about them later this week. What is the craziest thing your elf has done? Leave me a comment!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Don't feel guilty about these 9 things

I was reading the November issue of Parents Magazine and came across an article called "9 Parenting Hacks Not to Feel Guilty About". I thought this article was great and so true!!!

1. Popping a pacifier back into your 7-month-old's mouth after it falls on the floor: Come on, we've all heard of the 5-second rule, right? Unless the pacifier falls into a pile of dog poo, I see no reason for needing to thoroughly clean off a pacifier after falling on the floor every single time. The article even says it's alright to pop it into your mouth real quick before putting it back in their mouth because "exposing your kids to your own oral bacteria via sucking their pacifier can help lower their risk of developing allergies." But it isn't something you want to do on a regular basis. But the bottom line here is that a little dirt isn't going to hurt your little one.

2. Letting your kids roughhouse: Unless it looks like someone is seriously going to get hurt, let them wrestle a little. According to the article, "research suggests that rough-and-tumble play in kids ages 4-11 can strengthen neural networks in the brain that control memory, attention, and impulse control, and also improve social skills."

3. Leaving your  kid(s) with a babysitter or child care while you're at work. In an ideal world, maybe more people would stay home with their kids until they are 5 years old and in Kindergarten. But for a lot of women, that may not be an option. And guess what, there is no need to feel guilty about having to have your child at a babysitter or child care center. The article says that "moms who work outside the home may be more likely to raise daughters who grow up to take on a leadership roe at work and sons who take on caregiver responsibilities." It also says that feeling guilty about being away from them during the day while you are working may make you more lax in disciplining them when you are at home and that can lead to behavioral problems as they grow up. So give yourselves a break mamas, being a working mom with young kids that aren't in school yet does not make you a bad mom and don't feel guilty about it!!

4. You serve up store-bought baby food: For Big E I made my own baby food but with Little E, I didn't even think twice about buying the already made food for him because I just didn't have the time or energy to make my own. The DIY kind of food isn't necessarily healthier than store-bought and may just cause you stress by having to make it. So just save yourself the time and stress and go buy that Gerber baby food!!

5. Skipping a nightly bath: Kids under the age of 8 don't have well-developed sweat and oil glands, so they don't perspire with the stink that we as adults do. Doing a bath every other night is fine and even healthy for kids at a young age. As long as you get them in the tub right after an explosive diaper or that spaghetti dinner they enjoyed, bathing every night is not a necessity.

6. You stop breastfeeding before the one-year mark: Yes breastmilk is great for your babies and if you can, you should breastfeed for as long as possible. But for many mothers, breastfeeding doesn't come that easily and by forcing yourself to continue when it is hard, will just add more stress that you don't need. If you have to switch to formula before your little one is a year, don't feel guilty or be too hard on yourself. As long as your baby is getting the nutrition they need and are growing, that's all that matters!!

7. You don't buy the expensive organic diapers: Alright, I know I'm all about getting toxins out of my home, but the organic diapers are not necessary. The article says that "studies show conventional diapers are safe and contain only trace amounts of chemicals." Now of course if your little one gets a rash or has some type of reaction to typical diaper brands, then by all means switch to an organic kind. But don't feel bad if you use regular diapers. There are plenty of other products out there that we can switch to in order to avoid using chemicals on our little ones.

8. You tell your kids you're not their short-order cook: You don't always have to cook up your child's favorite meal. It's ok to say no to their favorite food one night and let their tummy growl. "After a few nights of going to bed hungry, most kids will start to dig into whatever you're serving." There are plenty of nights where Big E doesn't eat a lot (if any) of what I've made for dinner. But do I feel guilty about it? Nope.

9. You allow your kids to play on a tablet at restaurants: This one I definitely do every single time we go out to eat! It just makes our experience a whole lot better going out to eat with 2 little ones. Just be sure to limit their screen-time to 1 or 2 hours a day. I've been getting better with this. The TV is either on in the morning or afternoon when I'm home with the kiddos and I'm starting to limit Big E's time spent on her tablet.

What are some other parenting things that you do without feeling guilty?? Leave me some comments and have a great rest of your Thursday! The weekend is almost here!!!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Activity time!!!

So every now and then, Big E will ask to do activities!! And the way she says "activities" is the cutest!! I have scoured Pinterest and even bought some Learning Resources from Amazon to help the kiddos with colors, numbers, patterns and more!

Today we got out the mini muffins! She sorted them by color, counted them, and even got some fine-motor skill practice in. With Little E being older now and being in the "monkey-see-monkey-do" stage, there's no way that I can do these learning activities with Big E, without Little E wanting to be all over our business!! So to keep him happy, I gave him a few muffins to play with.

Here is how Big E was playing with them:


And here is how Little E decided to play with them:


He would throw them on the floor and then go under the table to pick them up. He did this probably 4 or 5 times.

Big E also did some tracing from a tracing book I got at Five Below. We haven't done too much work with a pencil but I thought she did pretty good!

It's so exciting that she is starting to do more things! She knows her ABC's and can identify her letters. Now the next part we are going to work on is either the sounds they make or being able to write them. She has some apps on her tablet that work with both so I just need to be sure she is playing those games when she is on her tablet. She also does a pretty good job counting from 1-10 but she can't recognize the numbers yet so we need to do more practice with that as well.

I know I've said in a lot of previous posts that I was going to do a lot of learning activities with Big E. I haven't been able to keep up with that and do them as much as I would like but I'm trying. I've been working about 3-4 days a week so I don't have as much time to do activities with her as I would like. But going forward, I'm going to do my best to squeeze in some educational time with her whenever I can!! And Pinterest will continue to be my source of inspiration!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Where are my friends?

In a recent post I said something about being at the point in my life where I need to focus a little more on family than friends. Well, I'm kind of taking that back. That's not to say that I'm focusing more on my friends than my family, but more like I'm  going to work on balancing the 2. Recently I've been feeling that ever since I went back to substitute teaching 3-4 days a week, I haven't seen many of my friends. We stopped having as many playdates as we used to and we haven't gone to any in a while. It's kind of like I went to being around 2 kids a day to being around 25-30 a day! Being at home with 2 kids and teaching a classroom full of 25-30 kids both have their challenges. And one main thing that the 2 have in common is that there (for the most part) are no other adults involved.

So what I'm trying to say is that I miss the adult interaction that I've come to get used to by seeing a mommy friend at least once a week before I started working again. I think it is so important for every mom out there to have mommy friends that they can lean on and talk to when needed. But recently I feel like I haven't had the support like I used to. Yes I have some friends that I chat with through text and messenger, but it's been a little bit since I've been able to be face-to-face with another adult that isn't my husband or my mom.

And yes I know, we are 26 days away from Christmas and everyone is super busy. But recently I've had 2 different things set up with a friend and both times the plans got cancelled. It just seems like that's the story of my life. All my life, especially in high school and right after, I would make plans to hangout with someone and then most of the time something would come up and it would get cancelled. But then there was a time in my life where I would make plans with people and we would actually get to follow through with those plans so I got so excited that my plans were actually happening. But recently it's been back at the point where plans get cancelled. Or plans don't even get made but me and the other person just keep saying we are going to make plans and then never do.

Again, I think every mom, especially stay-at-home moms and part-time working moms, need to be able to talk to another adult (outside of their family) in person at least once a week. I'm not asking for someone to spend the whole day with me. Just a few hours or so or even 30 minutes will do! I have a few friends that I talk to through facebook or text every few days and I'm very thankful I have them. But I also wish I could have that one "person" that I can go to for anything because right now I don't feel like I have someone like that.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Time to clean up!

One room in the house that we struggle with keeping clean is the playroom!! Big E is 3 and a half now so she definitely understands what it means to clean up. Now Little E on the other hand, he still just tries to take toys out as soon as you go to put them away. Occasionally he will put toys away when he sees us put them away, but that's very rare.

So since we had a hard time putting all the toys away in the playroom, I decided to go through them and get rid of the ones that weren't played with. There were a lot of tiny toys that we just didn't need. Here is the before and after of one section of the playroom.


The other big area of the room that has a lot of toys in it is the stuffed animals bin. My amazing husband built the kids a little stuffed animal zoo type thing and it is great!!! But the kiddos have way to many stuffed animals. I've tried before to get rid of some but there's just so many that have sentimental value so I can't get rid of them. But I went through them yet again and got rid of a full trash bag of them!


It doesn't look like that much of a change, but at least I got rid of some of them. Here is another before and after of the playroom. I am very pleased with how it looks and am definitely going to make sure that Big E and Little E clean up after each time they are done playing in it.