Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Parent Hack: Watercolor with Toddlers

In a former life I was an aspiring artist.  I intended to attend an art school in Philadelphia and live the life a starving artist.  I have always excelled at things that require creativity and thinking within the grey area.  That is also why I write.  I feel it goes hand in hand with a right brained individual.

I did not take that path and instead went into Educaiton and Sociology, but all of tht things I have studied have belended well in the careers that I have chosen, especially the most important one: Parenting.

Since day one as a mother, I have implemented my education in all things in molding my children.  We sing, we play, we do crafts and educational acitivites that tend to lean towards a more hands-on, visual and creative interpretation.  Not all of my children learn best that way, but luckily I do have some experience in other learning styles and my husband is an excellent source for those that appose my own.  We are a testament to the theory that opposites attract.

So this was a really long introduction to a technique that I use when my toddlers want to paint.  I prefer watercolors for both asthetics and the fact that its much easier to clean up.

It is inevitable, that the cup or bowl of water that is placed by the paints will get knocked over.  Every.Single.Time.  That, or something equally messy.

I'm sure that, like me, you have at least a few medicine syringes sitting around.  Turns out they make an awesome dropper for water to go direcly into the watercolor pallets :)

The kids don't really care about colors mixing and I will rinse the brush or give them a few to choose from.

You can also paint a design in plain water for them and when they run thir paintbrush over the wet paper the color spreads.  Like this...

How do you encourage creativity in your children? Please share your tips!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Weight Loss Support Group

Losing weight after having a baby or moving past a major life event ( like marriage, adoption, moving etc...) seems to be a universal concern.   I have struggled with my weight since at least 2nd grade, mabey even earlier.  I think I have come to a place where I can appreciate that what my body has accomplished is well worth the extra pounds and stretched skin, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to attain a healthy weight and appearance.

With four pregnancies in 6 years, I gained about 50 and lost about 30 with each.  The exception to this was #4 just this year.  I only gained the recommend 25 and I lost 35.  I can attribute that to a few things:

1.  Having 3 other kids
2.  Having a full time job plus trying to run 2 other side gigs
3.  Taking Greens at least 1x/day.

I know. Youre like "Greens? Again?"  But yes.  They really are that awesome.

Sooo, I'm 10 Ibs less than when I got pregnant this last time, but still about 30 more than where I started and, really, 50 from where I'd like to be.

So what am I doing about it? 

On the good days I am sticking to my Weight Watchers Pointsplus program, writing down everything I eat and getting out for a walk with the kids.  On bad days, well...

So, here's what I'm wondering... would you be interested in a Facebook or Google group for weight loss support?  We could build a support network and get to know oneanother.  What do you think?

Please leave a comment if you are interested <3

Monday, June 22, 2015

A 2nd Birthday, Belated

It's been a little while since his birthday, but that's no reason not write about it!

I'm super behind on just about everything these days, so "Better late then never" repeats in my head quite a bit.

My Booboo turned 2!

His birthday was slightly overshadowed by his brothers birth and NICU stay. Plus, there were a few things going on in our family and weather issues so we skipped the big family party and did some little things together.

On his birthday we had dinner at home with cupcakes and presents.

Then, the following Sunday we did a repeat with my parents and brothers.  He was a happy boy despite all the changes going on around him.

One of the things I look forward to so much is to see WHO my children become.

They come out of your womb these helpless, beautiful sweethearts and before you know it they are walking and talking and becoming independent of you.

Seeing each of my kids developed personalities that are so unique even though they came from the same parents and are experiencing life similarly is so amazing!  It truly is a nod to nature in the nature vs. nurture debate.

This little boy has developed a sense of humor, charm and charisma that knocks me for a loop! And just about everyone else, too.

He has shown us an intelligence that is beyond his years since before he was talking, but now he's giving us the "what-for" in full sentences.  I'm blown away every day by what he mentally digests and what comes out of his mouth

On top of all that, he has a smile that is so mischievous and adorable.... and he is so darn kissable with those big smushy cheeks!

His laughter, smiles, hugs, kisses and cuddles bring me back from the darkest of moods.

Happy belated birthday, Baby!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Becoming a Stay at Home Mom

Hey guys!  I am still trying to get a handle on how to get everything done with 4 kids.

I don't think I've talked about it much yet, but when I left for maternity leave in January, I was leaving with the idea that we were going to do everything possible to make it affordable for me to stay home full time.

This has been a dream of mine since I became pregnant with our Princess back in 2007 and I have tried various things on the side to bring income it without leaving home.  It is a struggle and not for the fain of heart!  I have been blogging since Dude was less than 1 year and it has always been my favorite way of expressing myself and making a little money on the side.  It's like the ultimate hobby turned "career."

It has taken me many places, both litereally and figuratively and has introduced me to countless people and ideas that I would have never encountered had I not been blogging.

I have taken on two of these opportunities along with blogging and turned them into my 3 main streams of income.  This gives us a financial buffer and is alowing me to stay home with my kids for the first time ever!

As a blogger, you kind of have to be on social media.  It may not be your thing, but at the very least you must see the value in free advertizing.  I have become somewhat addicted to social media in the last few years and I have learned a lot about how to use it to my benefit as a blogger and how it can benefit other small businesses.

You cann find me here >>>>

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I cannot help but check in on other's social media accounts and see what is going on with them, so when I see a great company suffering on that front, I offer my services.  I have taken on a couple of accounts recently that I am having so much fun with!  It really helps that I have built a relationship with the owners and my work comes from the heart.  I could not represent something that I didn't believe in.

Another opportunity that was brought to me through blogging is It Works!  I had a friend who was a distributor but we hadn't discussed it too much.  It wasn't until I was approaced by a local distrubutor about reviewing the products on my blogs that I really saw what a great product and company it was.  I am now very involved with It Works! and I feel that it fits perfectly with my lifestyle both as a mother and blogger.

I am having a great time staying home with the kids.  It has been a challenge figuring it all out with our schedules and having time to accomplish everything thing for the kids, the house and work, but I love all of it, so it's exactly what I want to be doing!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Largest Recall in History: Takata Airbag Recall

In light of he newest development in the Takata airbag recall, I wanted to be sure everyone knew how to find out if their car is included.

Go to http://www.safercar.gov/
Type you VIN number into the box on upper right corner that says "search for recall by VIN"

This will tell you about ANY recall that applies to your vehicle.

I also want everyone to understand that the parts are likely not at your local dealership yet and your service department is working on how to safely accommodate everyone affected.

I heard someone on the news say that you must call and DEMAND to have your car fixed and if that isn't possible yet, you should DEMAND a rental until your car can be examined/repaired. Again, the people at your local dealership are doing their very best to work this out for you, but rentals are in high demand and one may not be available to you yet.

Yes, the recall is scary, but airbags save lives. I've read that some people are recommending that you should disconnect the airbag system.


Not only is it illegal, but dispite the unfortunate injuries/deaths associated with the Takata airbags, airbags save thousands of lives every year.

If your car is on the list of vehicles affected by the recall, continue to follow all safety guidelines provided to you by the car manufacturer and call your dealership to find out what the plan of action will be.

For more info on the recall, I recommend this article from Consumer Reports.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Why I Became an It Works! Distributor

Hey guys, I've talked a little bit about my business with It Works!Global and I thought it would be good if I filled you in on why I became a distributor and how I came to try the products.

Like you, I had seen  people posting about It Works! on Facebook and was intrigued.  After 3 babies, my mid section needed more than a little help. But I hemmed and hawed about trying a wrap. 

Then, a good friend of mine became a distributor and it gave me the push I needed to finally act.  She had such passion for the products and great results from the wraps!  I trusted her word that these products were GOOD.  She answered all my questions and put me at ease.

I tried a full treatment (4 wraps + Defining Gel) over two weeks and I was blown away by the results.  I also tried the Greens and I felt amazing!

I was able to get my pre-baby Corderoy and dress pants up, but not buttoned and I didn't want to waste money on clothes just because of my baby pooch.

After ONE wrap I was able to button my pants and after the full treatment I was wearing them comfortably!

It wasn't long before I was asking about becoming a distributor.  I was constantly talking to friends about my experiences with the products and the company and I thought "I'm always praising this company and products, why aren't I selling them, too?"

So here I am.  I work a full time job that I would love to replace so that I can be home with my children.  I can put my word behind these products because I don't have to "sell" or "push" anything.  The wraps, supplements and skin care are botanically based, are all natural and THEY WORK.  All I have to do is share this company with people and they are automatically drawn to it.

After ONE wrap I was able to button my pants and after the full treatment I was wearing them comfortably!

It wasn't long before I was asking about becoming a distributor.  I was constantly talking to friends about my experiences and I thought "I'm always praising this company and products, why aren't I selling them, too?"

I can put my word behind these products because I don't have to "sell" or "push" anything.  The wraps, supplements and skin care are botanically based, are all natural and THEY WORK.  All I have to do is share this company with people and they are automatically drawn to it.  

I personally use the Wraps, Defining Gel, Confianza, Greens, Fat Fighters, Thermofit, Preventage, Repairage and Stretch Mark Cream on a regular basis.  I also love our multivitimin, It's Vital and the Lip & Eye Cream.

I want to open this post up to questions and comments. Please feel free to ask questions about the products and the company. I would be happy to address anything on your mind :)

You can visit my website:


And Instagram:


Friday, April 10, 2015

15 Things I Have Learned From Parenting

To be clear.
These are things I have learned and I thought I’d put these thoughts down to share.  I am not telling you I think I know it all or that we should all parent the same way.  This is just what I have realized over the last 7 years.  It may change.  It may not.  

  1. Every faze ends.  Really.  One day you realize that the meltdowns over how a sock is to be worn have stopped and you don’t know how, but you are thankful.  “This too shall pass”
  2. Sometimes it does take a village.  75% of the time, they just need you.  But sometimes it’s OK to let the village help.
  3. Accept help when it is offered (hard for me, too).
  4. Your children are all individuals and need one on one time with you.  This does not mean, however, that you need to spend an entire day bending to every whim.  It means that you should use those few moments in the car at the bus stop to have a conversation or be sure to tuck them each in with a kiss and a hug and I love you’s and little prayers and snuggles.  They all need it to know you are willing to do it, even if they don’t really want you to actually do it, lol.
  5. Kids will not eat everything you make, but they can try it.  If they still don’t like it, whatever.  Just try to make their daily nutrition balanced.  And then there are times when it won’t be, and they will live.  
  6. You can make it all even.  I try and try and try to make everything even and balanced, but somehow, its still “not fair!” Grrr.  
  7. Kids are brutally honest sometimes.  It might sting a little, but they aren’t trying to hurt you.  Do not take anything out of their beautiful little mouths to heart unless it’s adorable and sweet and you want it to be the truth <3
  8. The laundry will never end.  There is literally no point in time when everything is clean.
  9. Kids make messes.  They can clean some of them themselves.  Others will need your attention.  Sometimes it’s ok to leave a mess sit.
  10. Every parent in history has felt overwhelmed at some point.  It is an overwhelming job!  I read another blog where the women said she gets through the moments when she is frozen with indecision by telling herself “just do the next thing.”  It’s really helpful.  Yes, there are likely many things that need to done, but you can only do one or two immediately.  Just evaluate, list in order of importance, and then do the next thing.  
  11. Nothing stays the same.  
  12. They are not little for long.  Cherish it!
  13. You will never know everything and it’s ok.
  14. Take or leave advice as you see fit.  Nothing is really one size fits all.
  15. You can get a lot done in Survival Mode.  Maybe you didn’t shower today or the kids are still in their PJ’s, but the laundry is running, the blog posts are written and the bills are paid.  It’s a pretty good day :)  

My list could go on and on.  I have been writing this in my head for about a week and I keep coming up with new lessons I’ve learned.  Parenting teaches you so much.  Kids teach you so much.  

What lessons have you learned?  Please share!

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Parent Shopping Hack

I'm assuming that if you are reading this blog, you likely have children or may be heading that direction. Something that I never considered before having baby #2 is how you are supposed to go grocery shopping  with a baby and toddler. Unless you wear your baby in a carrier, the cart is full of kids!

I'm all for wearing baby, but many times they are asleep when I get that the store and I don't want to wake them by taking them out of the seat. Or its super hot out and I sweat 90% of the day in the dead of winter. Or ( and this is the biggest reason) I'm not comfortable with being put in a situation where baby is on me and I have to wrangle a toddler. Bending over and sometimes having to move very quickly leaves the baby too vulnerable for my liking.

Enter my cart/basket combo.

One day at the store I walked by the stack of baskets and thought that if I could fit that underneath the cart, it would add some needed storage.  As luck would have it, it works at some stores. I feel like it's even been a consideration at our local wegmans.

Now, some stores are not as easy (looking at you Target) so I came up with another idea.

Those little hooks that you can buy to hang things from your stroller can be hung from the handle of the cart to support the handle of the basket (Munchkin Stroller Hook).

This is a bit more combersom, but it is way better than the alternarives.

I'm sure you are familiar with the carts with benches, buggies and also, the dreaded "customer in training" carts? Nope, nope and nope.

The big carts with benches and cars on the front are like 18 wheelers and I get dirty looks and comments from people with my regular cart plus kids taking too long or taking up too much space. 

Also, the cars are germ factories. My kids were never sick until just after I let my oldest ride in one for the first time...after sanitizing. Guess what? Strep.

Side rant: 

Where else besides home and work are you going to find people with families? The grocery store, buying food for said families. Doesn't it stand to reason that you are going to encounter parents and children in the store? People need to stop acting like we don't belong there. Again, dirty looks and comments. And my kids are pretty well behaved. End side rant...

So, if you are tired of trying to fit your stuff in around children and carseats, this may be helpful to you. 

If I'm way behind on this, I apologize. Please don't burst my bubble. I feel like a genius everytime I do it ;)

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Friday, March 6, 2015

A Sense of the Resurecction-30% off!

A Sense of the Resurrection: an Easter Experience for Families contains 12 fun, hands-on, easy, meaningful activities to help your kids come face to face with the Easter story.

Last year I introduced you to A Sense of the Resurrection, written by Amanda White.  I love the idea of sharing the Easter story with my children in a way that they can understand.  It can be a tough story to explain to young ones and I don't mind that someone has done the hard work for me ;)

Lent has begun already, but there is stil time to enjoy the activities provided by Amanda so that your children can focus on the season as it was intended, not just thinking about Easter Bunnies and Egg hunts.

Right now, you can get 30% off your order!!! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Peanut's Birth Story

It’s been a crazy few weeks, but I am finally back and ready to tell the story of our Peanut's arrival.

As I told you before, I was scheduled for induction on Wednesday, January 21st due to my high blood pressure. I was terribly nervous this time.  I don’t really know why exactly, but I was literally shaking all morning waiting to go to the hospital.  When I called in to find out my time, I was told to be there at 8:30 for registration and to decide how to move forward with the induction.
Things officially got started around 10 am that morning with my water being broken and then progressed to IV fluids and a Pitocin drip to intensify my contractions.  It was slow going at first, but it picked up by the afternoon and I was ready for an epidural (judge all you want - it’s heaven at that point) at 3pm.  

Things were pretty peaceful from then on and the only pain I had was in my back and neck from straining during my contractions.  I tend to hold my tension there and it manifests pretty intensely during labor, no matter how much I fight it.  Bt 6pm I was nearly ready to push and it was a flurry of activity getting the doctor in the room and setting up.
By the time we were ready to push, I didn’t have to.  My body did everything for me and I our little peanut was born without one push. I was offered a mirror to watch the birth, which I have always refused out of fear, but this being our last baby, I didn’t want to miss any experience.  I said yes and I am so happy that I did.  I have a wonderful memory of seeing my baby’s birth from a totally different perspective.  And if I hadn’t seen him come out of me I might be convinced that he isn’t one of mine.  I also might not have believed that the umbilical cord could be wrapped around a baby's neck 4 times and intertwined with his entire body without somehow being noticed on one of the bagillion ultrasounds I had leading up to delivery...

Peanut was born at 6:55pm on January 21st, 2015
7 Ibs, 1.3oz
19 inches long

He was a full inch shorter and more than a pound lighter than any of my other children!  I can’t believe how small he is even now, 4 weeks later!

This is where I rave about the new procedures and Maternity Pavilion at the Chester County Hospital.  The labor and delivery was so peaceful and since my last baby, they have instituted a full hour of skin to skin for mommy and baby before they do anything at all.  No drops, no weighing, nothing happens until skin to skin is over.  

If you are unfamiliar with skin to skin, its when the baby lays directly on the mother”s chest, skin to skin.  It helps sooth baby as well as regulate body temperature.
Peanut latched and nursed like a champ and things seemed perfect.
I was taken to my room by a team of nurses (not just one or two) who made a huge deal of my experience and birth story and made sure that I was very comfortable and fed in my brand new room.  It was beautiful.  The bathroom with the waterfall shower was better than what I have at home and I enjoyed it immensely.

I guess because he was so much smaller and I didn’t have to push, I actually felt as though I had not just had a baby.  The next day it was almost disturbing.  I was concerned that I was not feeling like a truck had run me over (don’t be jealous.  I’m usually a blubbering basket case that can hardly walk for weeks).

The hospital staff was super efficient in getting all his tests done and completely non invasive with my care.  I was really impressed when they actually had me ready to go at discharge time that Friday morning-even before my husband could get there pick us up.

My older kids were staying with Grandma for the weekend, so it was just Me, Daddy, Peanut and Booboo.  We thought that the time was good for us to let the our youngest adjust before having all four together.  

Then some weird stuff began to happen.  I noticed that Peanut was having what looked like little convulsions. They were somewhat concerning because of the length of time they would go on for, but he seemed fine otherwise. Babies can do some weird looking stuff because of their immature nervous systems, so I figured that’s what it was.  

When I took him this first doctors appointment on Monday, I was told he looked great.  I thought I would just mention the convulsions to see what they could be and I was shocked when they immediately got a Neurologist on the phone to describe the episodes.  I was told that we needed to go directly to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to have him evaluated for possible seizures!

We were admitted for 3 days.  During that time he brain was monitored for unusual activity and he was recorded to catch any episodes he may have.  While there, he had multiple episodes that each seemed more disturbing that the last and we were terrified of what we would learn.  We also found out that despite his great form and latch, he was not getting anywhere near enough fluid from breastfeeding.

I was instructed to begin pumping and bottle feeding as well as nursing and supplementing with formula until his weight was up and my supply was steady.  In the mean time, they put Peanut on IV fluids.  In 20 minutes, he was like a different baby.

Where his skin had seemed baggy and thin, he plumped up and filled out.  Where he had been lethargic or  fussy when awake, he seemed pleasant and content.  His color went from yellowish to pink.  The poor thing had been dehydrated all along.  Once the fluids were in, he stopped having the episodes and we heard from Neurology that there was no abnormal brain activity at all.  The episodes he was having can only be attributed to his dehydration.

We were released from CHOP in the late afternoon on Wednesday, January 28th.  The team of doctors and nurses that we worked with were amazing and I am grateful to be close to such a phenomenal hospital.  I just don’t ever want to go back ;)

We were very fortunate that there was a quick and easy fix to the problem, I only wish it would have been obvious at first.  We avoided many invasive tests, but I still would have loved for him not to have gone through the whole experience.  I look back on the whole thing and wonder what I could have done differently or think on what I should have noticed earlier, but it’s done and over with now.  

Thankfully, he is eating like a champ now.  I pump and nurse for more than half of his feedings and then the rest I fill in with formula.  It’s what we have done for all of our kid, actually, but for different reasons.  He looks really good now and we are so relieved for the scary stuff to be over.

We look forward to seeing how this little guy changes and who he becomes.  I feel like we are only really seeing Booboo’s personality really shine just these last few months and I can’t wait to see the same with Peanut!