• What Moms Really Want For Mother’s Day

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    Can you believe that Mother’s Day is THIS weekend. As in just a few short days. In my head it is still March (hey at least it is another “M” month). No matter what date I think that it is, it will be Mother’s Day this weekend. We are always torn between whether we should visit my mother in law, my mother or do something for me. I think that when we have young kids in the house we have different wants for Mother’s Day. As opposed to when they leave the nest (I know my mother would love us to go over to her house, even if she has to cook dinner AND do the dishes). So this would be the for mommies with young kids still at home.

    • How about a day not wiping someone else’s butt? I don’t know about you, but that is high on my list. Not doing any diapers, or dealing with a potty training toddler, or the preschooler who has for some unknown reasons decided that she will no longer wipe her own butt and you have to do it.. again. To have a day, where your butt is the only butt that you have to worry about, would be great.
    • Speaking of that, what about getting to use the bathroom all by yourself? Personally, I don’t remember the last time I got to go pee without a girl needing something. My girls, I swear, have some weird sixth sense and the moment that I sit down they need something. Right then and there. The idea of having a moment of privacy is a distant fantasy.
    • No dishes! I think that this will resonate with most moms. (Unless you are one of the few who has a husband that does the dishes. And if that is the case, just keep it yourself) A day without dishes, a day without unloading the washing machine, a day without washing out pots and pans. With our family of five, and eating all of our meals at home, we go through a lot dishes. And I realize that I could have a day free of dishes, if I just left them in the sink. But I am talking about a day without dishes, where they also magically get done. That would be nice.
    • What about someone else cleaning the house? Coming home to a fresh clean house, when you weren’t the one that spent all day making it a fresh clean home, is wonderful. While my husband is so incredibly busy, and works harder then anyone else I know, once a year having him clean the house would be amazing. And who knows what seeing him sweeping the floors might lead to.. wink wink
    • Enough quiet time to get my morning meditation done. I am trying to meditate every morning. It really improves my day. I set my timer for five minutes (and yes only five minutes), to start my day with a clear mind. Taking deep breaths, staying calm. But I get 90 seconds into this, and I have one girl screaming upstairs. Three minutes into it, I have my preschooler poking me asking me what I am doing. Four and a half minutes into it my oldest is coming down to ask if I am done. For Mother’s Day I would like to get my whole five minutes without an interruption.
    • Car Wash– And not just a drive through, wash the outside kind of car wash. How about a car wash that includes vacuuming out the inside and wiping off the dashboard? I don’t know about you, but my family lives in my car. Even though I say no food in my car, I have crumbs everywhere. How did they get there?

    But honestly all I want is a nice quiet day, with my family. Maybe an afternoon movie, at an actual theatre. I love going to the movies. Or just a simple, “Thank you mom”. Some form of appreciation for everything that I do everyday would be nice.

    What do you want for Mother’s Day? When you boil it down, what would make it the best Mother’s Day ever for you?

  • 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

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    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?

  • WLINGUA- Wait What?

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    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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  • 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.

  • 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

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    halloween 3Found on Pinterest here

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    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 5 Undiscovered Children’s Books

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    Do your kids love to read? If they are anything like mine, they love to have YOU read to them. And let’s be honest, that gets old fast. Reading the same book over and over, night after night; makes me pull me hair out. Maybe you are a better mama, and this doesn’t bug you. You just love the snuggle quiet time with your little one, regardless of the mind numbingness (yes I totally just made up a word) of reading the Three Little Pigs, for the one hundred millionth time. Not me, I can’t handle it. So to avoid ruining this very special time, by reading the same book yet again, here is my list of:

    Top 5 Undiscovered Children’s Books!!!

    photo 1 (44)

    Book 1-
    Penguins Can’t Fly
    By: Katherine Sully 

    I love this book!! In fact, I love it so much you can check out an entire post dedicated to just this book here. It is about two little penguins over coming their own obstacles while discovering their friendship. Seriously, there is nothing not to like about this book. AND we liked it so much that, I went out and found other books by her. (Spoiler alert, they are all just as cute)

    photo 1 (45)

    Book 2-
    Lucky Bamboo
    By: Katherine Sully

    Here is another AMAZING book by Katherine Sully. It is about Little Panda (Yes I have a thing about black and white animals. Once I find a really great one on zebras, you bet there will be a post in it too. Suggestions are needed.) being told not to eat the lucky bamboo. He can’t help himself, and has just a small nibble to see how it tastes. The story is about how he makes up for this wrong doing. 

    photo 3 (23)

    Book 3-
    Bobby Knows Best
    By: One guess….. Katherine Sully

    Last one by this author, then I promise to get some other authors a chance. All of the other bunnies have scary stories to tell about run ins with the fox. Bobby wants a story to tell of his own. So he sets out on a fox hunt. This is probably the shortest of the books, good for those nights you are just ready for the kids to go down. But it is a cute story, that my girls love.

    photo 3 (22)

    Book 4-
    Little Bear Won’t Sleep
    By: Christine Swift

    This is one of my girls favorites. Little Bear decides that he doesn’t want to go to bed. Mother bear, being the amazing mother that she is, agrees to let him stay up all night. They for a walk through the woods, meeting all kinds of new animals and making all kinds of new friends. It is a cute story on the different types of nocturnal animals, and why they are up at night but not during the day.

    photo 2 (45)

    Last But Certainly Not Least
    Book 5-
    Mr Wrinkles
    By: Robert Pearce

    I have not yet read this one to my little princesses, maybe tonight. Mr Wrinkles is the oldest, wisest elephant in Africa. He knows everyone, and just about everything. One day on his way to the waterhole, he gets stuck. Oh No! But he doesn’t panic, soon all the animals in Africa are there to help him. But how are they going to unstick a huge elephant?

    How about you; are you a mama that can read your loving child whatever they want even if you have read it every day for months or do you need to switch it up? What are your favorite children’s books? 

  • What is Perfection??

    perfection 1

    What is perfection and how do you obtain it? What does perfection mean to you? When you close your eyes and think about the perfect life, what do you see? How can you be the perfect mom?

    Well I think that a perfect mom, you are expected to be creative, crafty, able to solve all problems, run the girl scout troop, be up at all hours of the night with the kids yet still wake up before the kids to have that great breakfast on the table to start their day all bright eyed and bushy tailed. That you can turn chicken, ketchup, and milk into a fabulous 3 course healthy meal. Not only running all the kids actives but make all the healthy snacks; from scratch. That you are always the picture perfect ideal of strength and compassion, with a happy face making sure that everything will always turn out ok. All while looking beautiful and put together at any given moment.

    To the outside world my family (and I) seem to obtain all of the above. Our friends (more like acquaintances, since our loved ones know the truth) joke about how perfect we are. “Look at the perfect mom, making the rest of us look bad again.” Seems to a favorite. And while this makes me smile to the person saying this, I am inwardly cringing. If only they knew the truth.

    perfection 2

    So if, I have all those things, if my life looks perfect, then why do I always feel like such a failure all the time. (Perfect example, I hit publish instead of save half way through this post and had to delete it, and remake it lol. Ooops. Sorry to everyone that got an email with this post only to have it NOT actually exist)

    I have really been trying to be “perfect mom” and “perfect wife”, but am failing miserably. It seems like I can get my stuff together on one side but then the other side is slacking, then I get the other side back up to a reasonable level but the side that I was doing so well on starts to fall. I picture myself with my hands stretched out, plates on each and all the “job responsibilities” on each. Like I think, most moms feel at some point.

    So where did these bars come from? Do they come from TV, from magazines, from ourselves? Or are we just comparing ourselves to the public face we see of others? That our view is so skewed that we can’t possibly live up to our own standards? The answer is I don’t know.

    All I know is how I feel and one day I am determined not to feel like a failure. One day I will have it all together.

    perfection 3

  • Sleeping Naked.. How Do They Know??

    pooh sleeping

    How do my girls know when I am sleeping in the buff? I swear they have slept through the night (even baby) for the last 18 months. They go to bed between 8:00-8:30, I don’t go to bed until midnight or so. They have several hours of getting into a deep sleep, they have no conscious awareness that I am still up, or getting into bed. But without fail, the few nights that I feel like sleeping naked, they wake up come 3am.

    How the F** do they know???

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