• Top 5 Things I am DONE Doing

    Top 5 Things

    I am done. D. O. N. E. Now don’t go judging me, I am a good mom. I promise I am. My girls are happy, healthy, well adjusted, and polite girls. They are well behaved, and patient. Basically, they rock and since they rock, then I must have done something right. Going to pat myself on the back and give credit where it is due there. But that said, I am done doing the following things. Not only am I going to be done doing them, I am not going to feel bad any more about not doing them.

    1. Baths Every Day– I have girly girly girls. There is no playing in the mud, running through the dirt, sweating while playing baseball; going on over here. They simply do not get dirty enough every day to warrant a bath every single day. Anyone with all girls know, that it is not just the bath time that is time consuming; there is also brushing out all that hair (and all of mine have long hair), then you have to blow dry it all (cause who likes sleeping with wet hair). To get all three of them bathed, blow dried and into bed it takes a good hour to ninety minutes. There is much more that I would like to be doing with them for that length of time. If they get dirty, then yes of coarse they will get a bath; but if we are bound inside cause it is 1 million degrees outside, then I think I will let the bath slide a bit.
    2. Have The Girls Finish Their Plate- This is something that so many of us grew up with. You don’t leave the table until you finish your plate. Personally I hated that, and even spent more then one night at the kitchen table because I did not want to finish my green beans. Anyone else with those types of memories? I refuse to make my kids finish their plates. As long as they take a bite (and one easy no fuss bite) of everything on their plate that is all that is required. Now they don’t get seconds of garlic bread if they have not eaten their veggies, but I don’t think that they will starve themselves by refusing to eat. And if there is something for dinner they really like, they will choose to finish everything so they get seconds. Since this has always been our policy, our girls are very adventurous eaters. Willing to try everything, because they know that if they don’t like it then that one bite is all they had to have.
    3. Always Being Patient– I try to be patient, I try to stay calm, and I try to stay positive. But lets be honest, the fourth time your kid has asked for something in a row, that you have said no to the last three times, you are going to loose it. And that is ok. It is impossible to always be the calm serene picture of pure patience. As long as you can admit (and apologize for) losing it, then all is good.
    4. Having A Clean House- In my house there are 5 people, a dog and a cat. My house is not always white glove tested clean. On any given day, there will be dust on the shutters and dishes in the sink. There are so many other ways that I want to spend my time, and items that take a far greater priority then if my floor is mopped. It is not a hazmat zone, but I am done trying to have my house always company ready. If you don’t call ahead, then expect my house to have a live in feel, not a picture perfect house.
    5. Trying To Be Perfect– What is it with moms these days. It feels like everyone is always trying to one up each other. Now, I don’t know about you, but I do know that I am not perfect. In fact I am no where near perfection. This use to really bother me, I wanted to be the perfect mom. I wanted everyone to think that I was perfect, that I had this whole mommy life thing under control. Let me let you in on a little secret, there is no perfection. No one is perfect. Once I gave up on being perfect, life got much happier.

    What about you? What are the areas that you let slide a little? Are there things that you are just done doing?

  • Top 5 Reading Apps

    reading-rainbow

    Is it just my kids, or do most kids spend a lot of time on the computer, tablet, phone? My girls spend so much time on their computers. Yes this has a great deal to do with the fact that they go to an online school, it makes most of their day online. But it feels like they are always plugged into something. My two youngest girls, love their tablets. Once they are done with school for the day, the run and grab the tablets.

    They use to play a lot of games and it got me thinking. If they are going to be spending so much on these devices, there has to be a way for them to also be learning. On the hunt I went. I picked reading (stay tuned for the best math apps too) and started to search the apps. To say there are a lot of reading apps, is not anywhere close to what I found. There are hundreds of reading apps. Now not all apps are created equal. Some are really great, some are lacking; some are free and some cost as much as $12 a month. It was crazy the variety that was out there.

    Below are my top 5 apps. They had to be affordable (no $12 a month here, thank you very much), they had to have lots of books to choose from, they had to reach a broad reading range, and last but certainly most important, the girls had to want to play them without my prompting. Good criteria I think. Thoughts? Did I miss any? (These are in no order)

    raz-kidsRaz-Kids-

    This is my favorite one. The girls love it, you can pick the level that they are reading at based on the common core levels. (Yes some of you will hate it just because of that, but it really makes finding the right level and the rest of the books in that level super easy to find. Even the girls can find their own books). You can read the stories, it can read them to you, and it even has a quiz at the end of each book to make sure that not only can they read it but your kid can UNDERSTAND what they read. Plus it is totally free. The only downside is it has to be through your school, so all you homeschool mama’s call and complain about it.

     

    far fariaFar Faria

    This one is the girls favorite. It opens to a Neverland type map, and you select the location that you want to go to; Bedtime Buffs, Fairytale Falls, Mt Make Believe and a lot more. Everything is very colorful and detailed. Like Raz-Kids, you can read the story or have it read it to you. It has two versions of the app, a free app and a paid. The free app, you can read one book a day; with the paid you get unlimited.

     

    homerHomer

    We all love Homer. There is no free version, so that is a bummer. But it is only $7.99 a month, not to terribly expensive. It has a ton of activities: it can read you the story, you can read them, you can record you reading them, it has exercises that work with sounds of letters, and so much more. Baby (age 3) would spend all day on this app if you let her. She loves playing with it and listening to the engaging stories. Plus her reading ability is growing by leaps and bounds, since she spends a good deal of time with the pre-reading activities. Saying that she is doing “school”. Anything that gives a positive spin to school work is good in my book.

    reading rainbowReading Rainbow

    Was any other parent excited to have Reading Rainbow back? I know that I was. Growing up I loved this show, and I was thrilled that the app was coming out. My girls would see how great it was too. They liked it, but for the free version they were only allowed to pick 5 books. After a day, they were done with it. It is a really great start up app, that being said, it is $10 a month. With all the money that they raised, it seems like they could have offered this at a much lower price point.

    Bob BooksBob Books

    What a great app, even the free version is robust. What I like about this particular app, and what separates it from the other reading apps, it starts spelling. It has lots of activities that will say the word “CAT” and give you the letters. Then you have to put the letters in the correct order. While it is very easy, it certainly helps with letter sounds and the visual letter.

    So those are my top 5 reading apps. Do you let your kids use a tablet, phone, laptop? What apps do you like?

  • Top 5 Things To Do For New Moms

    mom and baby

    We all want to help out new moms. It is even more exciting when it is a family member, or a close friend that just had a little one of their own. And with us already being moms, we are more then eager to share our tips, our tricks, and our stories. There is something that kicks in, we truly want to help. But what is the best way to help these new moms? Here is my list of the top 5 things to do for a new mom:

    1. Don’t Give Advise– You are going to want to, lets be honest, you will want to with every fiber of your being. You have been there, you know (and understand) what she is going through. But unless she is directly asking you for a specific piece of information, then only offer advice for what she is asking. Anything else is unsolicited and annoying.
    2. Bring Food– If you are going to be going over to her house, bring food. And not in something that she will have to worry about washing and getting back to you. Remember how hard those first few weeks are? Yup, bring something that is easy to freeze and reheat, then can throw out the container.
    3. Better Yet Clean- Those first few weeks (or really those first few months) are exhausting. Trying to keep house, is very low on the list of things to do. Offer to help out. If she is uncomfterable letting you help,  and she might be. It is hard to let friends help clean the house without feeling guilty or awkward. If you can, or get a group of people together, pay to have a cleaning service come in and clean. Just the basics for her: kitchen, bathrooms and floors. While it is weird to have friends clean up, not many people feel weird about letting a service come in.
    4. Offer To Take Other Kids Out- It seems like once you have more then one, then the offers to help out get more sparse. A new mom, is a new mom whether it is a first kid or the fourth. For me the more I had, the harder it was. There is no sleeping when baby sleeps, if you are also running around after a toddler. Offer to take the older kids to a movie, for ice cream, just to the park.
    5. Offer to Babysit– I know what you are thinking, “What new mom wants to go out during those first few weeks?”. That is not what I am talking about. Offer to watch the baby while she is at home. Let your new mom friend get in a shower, take a nap, finish something; while she knows the baby is right there but being taken care of. While you are at it, unload or reload the dishwasher without being asked (or asking if it is ok).
    6. An Extra One– When you are stopping by, or saying hi, bring over the essentials. No one will ask for them, but what mom doesn’t need more paper towels, baby wipes, diapers, toilet paper. Just bring some by, any new mom will appreciate it. Heck I still tell people if I am mad at them, that bringing by eggs, milk or bread (and some times all three depending on what you did) will solve just about ANY issue.

    New moms are notorious for not letting people help. They often say, “I don’t need anything” or “Oh no you don’t have to”, do it any way. It is okay to be a bit pushy, just stay away from being overbearing.

    What are some of the things that you have done for a new mom? What do you wish someone would have done for you?

  • WLINGUA- Wait What?

    logo-Wlingua-fondoblanco

    WLINGUA- that is a mouthful isn’t it? It is an awesome new app, that helps you learn Spanish. And as you know, there is Spanish from Spain and Spanish from Mexico. You can pick either one to learn. With being here in the southwest, we opted for Spanish from Mexico.

    Wlingua is an app that helps learn Spanish in very easy way: it’s available for iOS as Android (and of coarse you can log in through your computer). You can download this amazing app for FREE. If you are on your mobile app click here for IOS and here for Android for the direct links.

    Learn Spanish with Wlingua! This is the online Spanish course you were looking for!! 420 lessons from a basic to an advanced level with easy explanations that will help you learn Spanish fast.

    I am loving this app. It is making learning a new language super easy and fun! Actually, my daughters have spent all day working through their lessons. They are having a mini competition to see who is not only getting it done, but getting the highest scores on the quizzes, and who is remembering the most from each lesson. It is fun to see them so excited about learning!

    The way they do the mini-quizzes at the end of the each unit is quite unique. They have you match the Spanish words to the English words. They have you listen to the words and match. Then they have you fill in the blanks. If really covers a lot of material in many different ways to make sure that you are mastering the lessons that you are going through. Plus when you sign up, you automatically get signed up for a free trial of their premium side. When you score 100% on the quizzes, you win additional time on your trial. How awesome is that?

    If you want more information click here.

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    buzzoole code

  • Everything You Have Ever Wanted To Know About……. Cleaning?

    Cleaning, it is one of the chores that we all HAVE to do. Some of us may like it more then others, some of us may be better at it then the rest of us; but we all have to do it. There is no way to get out of it. Well I guess that if you don’t mind coming home to a dirty house, then you can get out of it. But for the most part, there is no getting out of it.

    E-cloth

    For those who know me, know my lack of cleaning ability. Not that I don’t try; but I seriously have no ability when it comes to cleaning. Between schooling the girls, getting dinner on the table, laundry, working on the blog; there is just not enough time to scrub the house. Also, I don’t like keeping all those chemicals in the house. With the kids and animals, it just seems like an accident waiting to happen. So even on the rare occasion I feel like cleaning, I simply don’t have the supplies to do it.

    Basically a million excuses for not doing housework. I am kinda the master of getting out of cleaning. HOWEVER, we are getting ready to move into a new house. A beautiful, new home; that my hubby has made into my dream home. It is perfect. Everything from the layout, to the way the light comes in the breakfast room, to the real hard wood floors. It is truly a master piece; and I can’t wait to move in and spend the holidays there. Everything for me is giddy about this change. Well, there is one thing that makes me a bit hesitant: how am I going to keep this castle clean?

    Well I happened to stumble upon E-Cloth Chemical Free Cleaning. Not only did I happen to stumble across them, they were getting ready to hook up a few bloggers with a full set of their cleaning cloths. Talk about fate.

    So I started to look into chemical free cleaning. And I found two amazing facts….

    • First- It is a real thing.
    • Second- It is just as effective as traditional harsh cleaners.

    I was blown away. So with the right cloth, I can get a clean house with just the use of hot water. Mind blown. Looking at their line, they have a specialized cloth for every area of your home; from the kitchen, to the bathroom, from the floors to the fans. Each cloth is designed a little different to accomplish the task at hand. For example, the one for your stove top has a bit of scrubby guys to really remove any baked on food; while the dusting cloth is much more soft. I love that the all over kitchen cleaner, has a scrubby corner; cause I don’t know about your kitchen, but it seems like mine always has some sort of jelly sticky mess on it. They even have cloth’s designed for glass and other shiny surfaces.

    There are no chemicals to keep in the house, all you need is water AND they are all machine washable. No need to buy a new one every week. Sign me up!!! What about you guys? Do you do chemical free cleaning? Are you ready to through out all those toxic chemicals that you normally clean with?

    Well, I am hosting Christmas this year. So be sure to check back in to see how I was able (and how quickly and easily) to get my house all cleaned up for the holidays!

    This post contains product that I received at no cost in exchange for this post. It did not influence my opinions of the product or my review. All my thoughts are completely mine. 

  • The “Perfect” Parent

    Perfect Parent

    WOW!! After reading it, was my reaction. For a little background, I am a researcher. I love reading and researching and basically devouring every book on any given topic. Sometimes I read really great ideas and sometimes I put it down knowing it is not for me; but I do read it all. My hubby thinks it is ridiculous, but hey it is who I am.

    So knowing that, when we became parents (not just the first time, but every time we did) I read every parenting book out there. Everything from infancy, to toddlers, to potty training, to sibling rivalry, to types of parenting styles, basically if it had anything to do with being a parent I have read it. And even though, I no long have a baby in the house I continue to read them.

    Why you ask? I mean I have been a parent now for almost half my life, my girls are doing well, many people ask me about my “secret” for being a “perfect” parent. Why spend the time (and money) to continue to read about what others are doing?

    Because kids are ever growing and changing. My kids come at me from different angles all the time, they might need me to come back at them in a new/different way. It is an easy way to find out new ideas to help, if you are having trouble getting through a “phase”. And it is nice to know that my issues are not solely MY issues. Because of this I was so excited to receive an advanced copy of The ”Perfect” Parent.

    This book is by far one of the best that I have read. I love her down to Earth tone. She is so easily relatable and her advice is simple to implement. She breaks her book into 5 different tools:

    1. Honorable Parenting
    2. Approachable Parenting
    3. Sensible Parenting
    4. Reasonable and Responsible Parenting
    5. Enjoyable and Memorable Parenting
    6. Then as a bonus she includes “The Perfect Parent Toolbox” which is a quick reference guide of her book

    I can see, after reading this, that I focus a lot of my parenting at the Enjoyable Parenting. While this is not a bad thing, it leaves things a little unbalanced. Things can’t be enjoyable all the time. And it helped showed me how to be a bit more sensible. This is one book that I will go back to and refer to often as my children challenge me, or as I feel that I am going back to old habits of being unbalanced.

    How about all of you guys? Do you read parenting books, or just go by gut feelings? Would this be a book that you would choose to read? Let me know your thoughts.

    If you are wanting more information please click: The ”Perfect” Parent.

  • Thankful Tree

    First I want to say a big Thank You to Kat from Confessions of the Perfect Mom for giving me an opportunity to guest post on her beautiful blog.  One of the things that I have loved most about starting my own blog is “meeting” such an amazing community of bloggers.  Thank you Kat.  Working with you has been such a pleasure.  If anyone would like to come and visit my blog, Just Only Home, you are more than welcome to stop by.  Let me know that you found me on Confessions of the Perfect Mom!

    ThankfulTree1

    The Thankful Tree

    This season leading up to Thanksgiving is one of my favorites. If there is anything I’d like to be, it is thankful, and I love the idea of expressing our gratitude in a way that is visual and beautiful.  Something that the children can wake to in the morning and add to before bed each night.

    We made our first Thankful Tree this year, and I think it turned out well.  I hope that each year it will be a family tradition. The idea is for each person in the house to write one thing they are thankful for on a leaf each day until Thanksgiving weekend.

    ThankfulTree4

    We were inspired by Life’s Hidden Treasures and her idea for a Thankful Tree.  We weren’t sure how we wanted to go about it, though.  We pondered making a paper version for the wall, or finding branches outside and setting them in a base.  We decided our tree needed wooden branches so we tromped around the yard a bit finding some branches that came down in our last mini blizzard.  We just needed a few small branches to fit in my tall vase.  Then we filled in with small pebbles to add weight.

    My teen gals helped me cut out all different colors of fall leaves and the little ones helped to color in the side of the leaves we will not be writing on.  It was my favorite part of the whole evening and we accompanied it with Glazed Honey Rolls and Pumpkin Butter.  I love the moments I can spend with them creating memories and this was what I wrote about on my own personal first thankful leaf.

    ThankfulTree2

    We then cut some pieces of string to tie on and used a hole punch on the leaves.  Now they are ready to go each night when it is time to add our daily gratitude.

    ThankfulTree3

    Now every day each family member can write down something that they are thankful for and attach it to the tree.  I am looking forward to watching the leaves grow while the trees outside remain bare!  I hope that this helps my family really appreciate the significance of what we are celebrating in our own lives

    I think our Thanksgiving tree is perfect.

  • Looking to Trim Some Calories AND Give Back?


    How it Works

     

    Are you looking to trim some calories, without sacrificing your favorite foods? Are you looking for easy ways to give back this season? Then this app has your name all over it.

    While I don’t obsess over my calories/weight/what I am eating. I do like to eat healthy, and this time of year there are so many sweets, that if I can save a few calories for an extra cookie later, I will take it. But I am certainly not going to diet, or count every calorie. So when Food Tweeks talked to me about this app, I was pretty excited.

    First, this is a free app. And who doesn’t like a free app? You just have to download it, and set up an account. And off you go.

    Once you get all set up, it is so simple to use. You click the search button at the bottom left corner, then type in the food that you are wanting. It will then search, and pull up all kinds of little “Tweeks” you can do. This way you still get to eat your favorite foods, without sacrificing taste; all while saving a few calories.

    IMG_4376

     

    Then it keeps tracks of your progress. So since I have started to using is, I have pulled 240 calories out of my diet. (We won’t mention that I have ate more then that in my children’s Halloween candy that is sitting around the house. But sshhh that is just between us) Which is nice to know, so after a few days, you would have “Tweeked” enough to have a small reward.

    But the best part of this app, is that for every calorie you cut out of your diet, all those calories that you have tweeked, get out into your bag. Once you get 600 calories in your bag, then they donate a bag of food to someone who needs it. Our family tries to help others as much as we can, and this gives us a way to incorporate into our daily lives. My daughters love asking me to tweek my meals, so the calories can go to others. It is helping them feel like they are giving back AND keeping me accountable for making healthy choices with my food.

    If you want more information go their website and check it out.  Click Here

  • The 10 Best Halloween Activities For Little Ones

    I LOVE halloween. To me it is the perfect time for being a girl. We get to dress up, play in makeup, get our hair all done; so ok sometimes we don’t go as princesses and do the whole glam thing. But it is still the only time we, as adults, get to play dress up, leave the house, and have it be socially acceptable. How fun is that?

    And while I love it, my girls get even more excited. We may start halloween stuff as soon as it is October. Maybe not full on rocking the costume and trick or treating on October 1st. But in small ways; maybe a few coloring sheets here and there, a halloween themed bingo round for our site words, maybe a Halloween themed craft here and there. Now I am not actually admitting that we are one of those families that get into the holiday well before we should. Just wanting to share our favorite activities:

    Halloween Collage

     

    These are in no particular order. Click the picture to go straight to the blog that has them, or the link below to go to the Pinterest link. Both are super easy so pick what is easiest for you.

    halloween 10Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 9Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 8Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 7Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 6Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 5Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 3Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 2Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 1Found on Pinterest here

    halloween 4Found on Pinterest here

    These are some of our favorite activities this season. Most of them are pretty easy and very inexpensive to do; and I bet that you have most of the supplies already on hand. What are your favorite activities? Let me know, as we are excited to add some new crafts to our rotation.

  • Top 10 Uses of Tea Tree Oil

    tea tree oil

    Tea Tree Oil has been one of those products that I hear so much about; how amazing it is, that you can use it for just about anything, that it is good for you, and so on. But to be totally honest, it completely intimidates me. How can one product be an answer to everything? Well let me tell you, it can.

    I received a bottle of 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil from Apothecary Extracts, to help me over come this intimidation. Along with the bottle, I got an e-book with recipes for 53 everyday uses of Tea Tree Oil. I was completely overwhelmed, there are a ton of uses for this product. Things that I have never ever thought to use this for, there are recipes for. After taking a much needed breath, and literally walked away from all the information, I was able to get it in my head that this was an amazing product.

    Here were my Top 10 Uses For Tea Tree Oil:

    • Skin Care-
      1. Facial Toner-
        • What You Need
          • 1/4 Cup of Witch Hazel
          • 7 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • 3 Drops of Jasmine Oil
          • 1 Cup of Room Temperature Green Tea
        • To Use-
          • Steep tea until cooled to room temperature, mix in Witch Hazel and oils. Shake well and store in sealable jar. Apply small amount to cotton ball and apply to clean face.
      2. Sweet Banana Scrub-
        • What You Need-
          • 1 Over Ripe Banana
          • 1/3 Cup Stone Ground Oats
          • 1/4 tsp. Tea Tree Oil
        • To Use-
          • Mash banana until no longer lumpy. Add in oats and oil, mix well. Apply to body, scrub with a circular motion and rinse off.
      3. Silky Smooth Lip Scrub-
        • What You Need-
          • Superfine Sugar
          • 5 Drops of Olive Oil
          • 9 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • 2 Drops of Peppermint Oil
        • To Use-
          • Mix all together until a paste forms. Apply to lips with fingers in a circular motion, then rinse off.
    • Hair Care-
      1. Cradle Cap Treatment-
        • What You Need-
          • 5 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • 1/2 Cup Almond Oil
          • Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
        • To Use-
          • Mix oil together and rub onto scalp
          • Use shampoo and wash out the oil
      2. Detangling Tea Tree Conditioner
        • What You Need-
          • 10 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
          • I Cup Distilled Water
        • To Use-
          • Mix all together and spray onto clean damp hair.
    • First Aid Uses- 
      1. Soothing Autumn Balm-
        • What You Need
          • 2 Ounces of Beeswax
          • 2 Cups of Avocado Oil
          • 10 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • 10 Drops of Geranium Oil
        • To use-
          • Melt Avocado oil and beeswax in a double boiler. Remove from heat and mix in oils before storing in a clean jar.
      2. Soak for Sore Muscles
        • What You Need-
          • 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • Epson Salt
          • Bath of hot water
        • To Use-
          • Mix all into a tub of water and soak for as long as you want
    • Aromatherapy Uses-
      1. Bye Bye Anxiety Bath-
        • What You Need-
          • 7 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • 7 Drops of Bergamot Oil
          • 6 Drops of Sandalwood Oil
          • 2 Ounce of Jojoba Oil
        • To Use-
          • Store in dark jar, and pour about 1/4 ounce in running water when you need to relax.
      2. Sleepy Time Diffuser-
        • What You Need-
          • 10 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • 5 Drops of Bergamot Oil
          • 10 Drops of Chamomile Oil
          • 8 Thin Bamboo Rods
          • 1 Cup of Water
        • To Use-
          • Pour water and oil into jar, let bamboo rods soak for 10-15 minutes
      3. TGIF Diffuser
        • What You Need-
          • 10 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
          • 5 Drops of Geranium Oil
          • 3 Drops of Frankincense Oil
          • 2 Drops of Orange Oil
        • To Use-
          • Mix all oils together and place a few drops of mixture in the bowl of a diffuser with one tablespoon of water. Light candle and let burn until there is no more scent being expelled.

    So these are my Top 10 Uses. Did I miss any? What are your favorite uses for Tea Tree Oil?

    Want more information then be sure to check out here.

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