Wrap It! Wednesday’s Gift ideas to keep Mommy Merry and Bright

Let me set the scene….

These make the entire house smell amazing. The nutmeg and cinnamon mixed with the sweet aroma of the potatoes is so comforting.

Here I stand in the kitchen preparing sweet potato stix and Crunch Krispies on a stick, yet again, this time for my daughter’s Girl Scout meeting (it is their thanksgiving feast and her birthday celebration treat) this afternoon (I think I am the one who should be earning a badge!).    Our toddler is running around the kitchen carrying a large Tigger around with her saying “moo, moo” (Not sure where she has seen an orange and black stripped cow, maybe Dr. Oz is right, there is some weird stuff in the children’s juice?) Meanwhile our preschooler is coloring in a Winnie the Pooh coloring book and repeating, “It is not Moo, It is no Moo, It is not Moo”, you get the idea), as Winnie the Pooh plays in the background (if you can’t tell we are getting very excited about our PJ party & Movie Night sponsored by Oral-B, we can’t wait!!).

I have gotten smarter; I am now spraying an ice cream scoop with PAM to form the balls more efficiently.
Had a little fun displaying them this time and I am thinking about making them again (shocking right?) and displaying them as a center piece for a future party.

Anyway, I have somehow managed to block out all the mooing, and, “it’s not mooing”,  and have put my body in auto pilot dipping the Krispies in chocolate, sprinkling with silver sprinkles, cooling, wrapping, etc. (who is kidding who, I have made these darn Crunch Krispies on a stix so many times I could do this in my sleep!).  So I freed up some space in my mommy brain to focus on my mental Christmas gift list and I thought I would share. I personally always appreciate another mother’s perspective.  So here are some gifts this mother would highly recommend and a few that are sure to make some great memories for your friends and family.

If you are looking for a gift for a child between the ages of 4-12 (says 6 but my 4 year-old had no problem with the Disney version) years look no further!  This makes for a fun family game night….

Loving this game!
My sister even joined in the fun!

Disney Hedbanz is so much fun; we went through the entire stack of cards the first time we played.  Unlike other games were I try to shorten the length deliberately I actually found myself sneaking cards back in the pile so we could play longer.

There is also the original version.

Spice up your family game night with the Hedbanz Board Game, a fun, fast-paced, and simple question game that everyone aged 6 and up can enjoy. In a group of two to six players, you’ll draw an identity card for an animal, food, or common object but with one catch–everyone but you will see the card, displayed by the headband on your forehead. The goal is to deduce who or what you are by asking the players questions before the clock runs out. Educational Gameplay for Kids
Hedbanz is not only fun, but inherently educational. Kids will flex their deductive reasoning skills with the game’s simple question-and-answer premise. By making connections and coming up with questions that will lead to answers, kids will also practice creative critical thinking skills.
(Amazon write-up)

If you are shopping for a young lady (ages 6-12) who is on the girly side I highly recommend the Pretty Pedicure Salon. My hubby and I got this for our daughter for her birthday and we had a memorable mommy & me morning the day after Thanksgiving. It was so much fun being able to pamper her.  I gave her a scoop of yogurt to enjoy while she soaked her feet and I gave her a pedicure.  I also let her select a CD to listen to, she chose Muppets: The Green Album.

Pretty heart shaped petals sprinkled in.

The pedicure set is safety tested and skin safe, these cosmetic and body products will make you feel good about yourself inside and out. Deluxe heart-themed pedicure salon kit includes an inflatable pedicure pool, towel, spa slippers, toe separator, nail buffer and file, confetti soap, three bottles of nail polish (including French white), nail art and sparkling rhinestones. After you are finished, store all your supplies in the handy spa tote. (Amazon)

A Special Mommy & Me morning

I won’t quit my day job but they turned out okay.

If you are shopping for any child this CD a perfect fit. The Muppets: The Green Album is fun for the entire family, seriously.  It is not one of those children’s CD’s that require two Advil before listening.  It is tolerable by all family members, even my hubby, and each member of our family now has a favorite song that we take turns listening to.  It is also a great incentive to get the kiddos in the car on time (“whoever gets their coat, boots, mittens, and hat on first and is seated and buckled in the car will get to select what song we will listen to” are the precise words that I uttered this morning, and it worked!).

I have a copy in the car and in the house, yes, that is how much we like this CD.

I am off to run my daughter to all her after school activities (Ever since her social life started mine has been sitting on the back-burner, I use to have a social life too!)

Stay tuned more great gift idea to come!

Momup Monday! Taking a Child to the Emergency Room

Rice Krispies mess!! I needed those!!

Mama’s to do List:

  • Laundry (praying clothes dry in time for school)
  • Morning Drop off
  • Doctor’s Appointment for our Toddler
  • Purchase Christmas tree lights (planned on decorating the tree last night but we had a few stands of lights out, kiddos were terribly disappointed)
  • Get prescription for our Toddler
  • Clean up box of Rice Krisipies that were spilt in the Family Room by our Toddler two minutes before leaving this morning!
  • Lunch
  • Quiet time
  • Momup! Thank you God, it has been a crazy weekend (and morning) and it is nice to sit
  • Pickup from School
  • Looks like I will be off to the store to purchase a new box of Rice Krispies Cereal and Crunch bars (hubby and kiddos got into the Crunch bars I sat aside for my daughter’s Girl Scout b-day treat).  That reminds me, they are also having their thanksgiving party, I need to grabs some sweet potatoes to make sweet potato sticks, the Thanksgiving festivities aren’t over yet.

Momup! Topic: Taking a Child to the Emergency Room

When I was a child I would go with my mom to the emergency room whenever a family member was hurt or ill and it never affected me.  We would sit and wait to hear what the doctor had to say and I saw it as an opportunity to watch television and each junk food.  My how things change when it is your baby at the Emergency room.

I can remember our first trip to the emergency room like it was yesterday.  It was three years ago and our family was getting ready to go to the apple orchard to pick apples and enjoy the fall festivities. We were about ten minutes from leaving the house when my son, who was 15 months at the time, started to shake the gate at the bottom of our stairs.  Since we have wrought iron handrails we have to put the gate on the second step from the floor so that it latches properly.  So there he was on the second step shaking the gate like it was a Piñata and if he kept shaking it maybe candy would fall out. Well, something definitely fell but it wasn’t candy.  The gate gave and he fell backwards, the gate went with him, and he landed on the wooden rocking horse which should have been anywhere but there.  I came running over to him as soon as I heard the thud and the loud cry that followed.  As I got closer I realized there was blood.  My heart started racing, I did my best to maintain my composure.  I called up to my husband and said it looks bad.  We grabbed our daughter and headed to the emergency room.  As soon as we walked into the room and the nurse started asking 20 questions I could feel my body physically starting to become ill.  I thought I was going to faint, what was wrong with me?

A day later he was back to himself which kept mommy on her toes.

He ended up receiving two staples in his head and it healed nicely and he has since decided he can fly and his attempt resulted in super glue on the other side of the head, boys!?!   What really concerned me was the way I reacted once in the Emergency room.  I was so disappointed in myself; I am usually cool as a cucumber under pressure and hardly, if ever panic, what was my deal? I chalked it up to nerves; it was the first time one of my children has been in the hospital (excluding birth).  I thought for sure, if something like this happens again I am going to be the levelheaded mom, I will be able to mentally and physically stand whatever circumstance may come my way. NOT!!!

Minutes before the incident she is wearing a Brutus buckeye hat.

After hosting our daughter’s birthday gatherings and party and hosting our first Thanksgiving we were looking forward to a relaxing Saturday. We went over to my Aunt and Uncle’s to watch the Ohio State vs. Michigan game (when you live this close to the state-line it can get ugly, but it is also a lot of fun).  So, we were at the party, our toddler was having fun visiting and then we decided we should sit down to eat. She ate a bowl full of fruit and within seconds she started to shake, her lips turned blue, her temperature rose, and she became extremely lethargic. As I held her I had the mommy instinct that something was not right. Thankfully there were nurses there and they agreed. So my husband and I took off for the ER without a second thought.  Once there I became the babbling idiot again. The receptionist asked me my daughter date of birth and I gave her my daughter due date; which was wrong, she was late.  I gave her my name, and not my daughters, I had a hard time focusing. Thankfully my hubby got back from parking the car and had a clear mind and fixed everything I stated.  Then it was off to the little room where we waited to see the doctor.  Once I sat down in that little room I instantly had physical reactions.  I was hot, I felt faint, and I thought I was going to throw-up. I remember telling myself to get it together; this was not happening again, I needed to be there for my baby. But nothing worked; I had to go outside for some fresh air.  I thanked God for my husband who was able to be the rock in this situation.

I still cannot figure out what my deal is when it comes to my own children and the ER.  Is it because the bond a mother has with her child is so strong? Is that why I become a babbling idiot and physically ill?  How on earth did Mary manage? I myself tried giving all my worries to God but in this particular case it was not working.

Have you ever experienced a similar situation? How did you handle it? Were you the cool as a cumber mom or did you fall to pieces?

Our First Thanksgiving…..Gobble Gobble, Gube, and Gratitude

T’was the day before Thanksgiving and all through our house the children could be heard, it was as if we told them we were off to see the infamous mouse!  Truth be told, mom and dad were pretty excited as well and slightly nervous, we were going to be cooking our first gobble gobble, I mean turkey.

My little helper busy tearing bread for the stuffing/dressing

As tradition would have the family started off in the kitchen.  I prepared the stuffing with my little helper while my hubby peeled the potatoes.  Then they were off to pick up our daughter from school and purchase a Roaster, light bulbs, and cream for the coffee (those random but necessary last-minute purchases).  While he was gone I continued with preparing the stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrot and parsnip ginger puree, and slicing the sweet potatoes into sticks (the kiddos love sweet potato stick and they are a healthier option than the casserole).

Once home the kiddos helped my hubby clean out the fireplace, bring in some wood, and make a fire. Then the kiddo’s made name placing for our guests, tidied their rooms, and then the excitement slowly turned into annoying each other.  It was time to introduce technology to our thanksgiving preparations. They each took turns playing on sproutonline.com and using the iPhone app, Gube.

Gube is an iPhone app that provides parents with a catalog of pre-screened, moderated, and safe yet fun YouTube videos for toddlers through grade-school age. Kids can search for and add videos to their favorites list, or browse the wide selection and find new favorites. For the younger tots, videos can be set to repeat, or a list of videos can be looped.

The app is really handy when your child needs some discreet entertainment while you finish a task, like a thanksgiving feast, or simply run an errand. Also perfect for car rides and finishing a meal out. Many of the videos are educational songs, and some of them are just fun and even enjoyable for parents too! Parents- It’s on sale for just $0.99 through Tuesday, November 29th. Find Gube in the app store, or like them on Facebook to keep up on the latest deals and even post your favorite videos you’d like to see in Gube.

app store: www.gubeapp.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/gubeforkids

Thank-gube-ness for technology! I was able to finish setting the table while they played games, sang songs, and watched videos.  Then it was off to bed, and while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads mine was a whirlwind of Thanksgiving turkey cooking conundrums.

Thanksgiving Day

I awoke to my daughter repeating, “mom, mom, mom, I’m hungry….mom, mom, mom I am hungry”.  While the cat lay on my head poking my cheek with her paw and the dog continually nudged my arm.  Who needs an alarm clock; obviously, it was six o’clock, on the nose.  When the baby adds her cry to the mix it is 6:30am and when my son does his moaning walking to the bathroom it is 6:45am.

So I rolled out of bed, made coffee, fed all the living things in my home, changed the baby, and procrastinated.  I was still a little nervous about the turkey. Why? I had no idea.  I finally Momuped! I got the turkey out and stared at it for a few minutes actually thinking about the life it lead, all-be-it-short, but a life no less.  I quietly thanked it for giving its life, not exactly its choice, but still I appreciated the sacrifice and I said a quick prayer.  Then it was on with the show!

Our turkey….I think my hands were shaking while I took the picture in anticipation.

After consulting many of my mommy friends and my own mom we collated all the suggestions and advice and decided to prepare our turkey by infusing  thyme into butter and rubbing it under the skin directly onto the meat, we place thyme and orange slices into the turkey and cooked it in a Roasting pan upside-down. We were going for taste, not presentation.  I am happy to announce that everyone’s advice, recommendations, and prayers paid off, the turkey tasted amazing and we received so many compliments.  Thank you to all who contributed to our turkey preparations.

The yellow tablecloth is from Ireland; my family went this past summer and purchased it at a flea market, I like to think it has its own history to add to our table.

Our First Thanksgiving in our home, and possibly our last, was beautiful.  Our house is on the market so it seemed rather appropriate that after living here for nearly 8 years that we host Thanksgiving at least once in our first house together.  Thanksgiving was so wonderful that it almost had contemplating not moving.  Granted we never registered for fine China so our table was not perfectly set but it was genuine, it contained a few family heirlooms, and dishes passed down to my hubby and I when we were first married (you know the ones you hope to misplace but I am glad we did not).  The table told a story of us, of each of our family’s history, our first thanksgiving together as husband and wife, and our present family of five with Sippy cups, cutouts of little hands shaped like turkeys, and two adorable kiddos with headdresses.  Yes, it was genuine.

This was a wedding gift.
The kiddos picked out the Turkey placemat last year.
The Hurricanes on the table were my husband’s grandmothers thus, the kiddo’s great-grandmothers.

The atmosphere was a symphony for the senses.  A Steve Tyrell’s CD played in the background, we had a warm and beautiful fire in the fireplace, the aromas coming from the kitchen were mouth-watering, and the food was a rainbow of colors that delighted the palette.

One of my favorite dishes and it is so simple, Brussels sprouts and grapes tossed in olive oil and roasted, yum!

Our first Thanksgiving has come and gone and I realize we can never have another “first” again but I am grateful for the memories.  There was never a mommy meltdown, I relinquished the control (it was difficult but I did it) I think I came to realized the true value of the day, while the food is important, it is not the main reason for the gathering, it truly is about the people. If the turkey had not turned out or the dog had gotten to the stuffing first it would not have mattered, we would have made do. We can substitute a main dish or a side dish but we can not substitute the people.

My mom’s yummy cupcakes!

I am Thankful for the people in my life.  I am thankful for…..my family, my children, my sister, brother, mother, father, hubby, in-laws, and their health, my health, for the fact that my hubby has his job and that we our fortunate enough to live in the same city as our parents so that our children can have a relationship with their grandparents.  I am thankful for….my grandfather, my many uncles (my mother has six brothers) and aunts and pray that their health continues.  I am thankful for…my cousins and the fact that technology (facebook) allows us to stay in touch.  I am thankful for…the wonderful friends God has put in my life, and the support system they provide.  I am thankful for….you.  Thank you for taking a moment out of your hectic schedule to see what is going on in this mommy’s on the go life here in Holy Toledo and thank you for contributing your thoughts, suggestions, and advice, it means a lot to me.

I hope you had a safe and Happy Thanksgiving with Family and Friends.

God bless,


Tuesday’s Treasure: Enchanted Princess and Knight Birthday Party

For our daughter’s birthday she decided that she would like to have a Princess and Knight theme.  So we set out for the party invitation supplies and began planning an Enchanted Party.  We purchased all the invitation supplies at Hobby Lobby, came home, printed off the essential information, and she helped cut and paste the invitations. It was fun sitting down, just the two of us; the younger kiddos went to bed early.

The day before her party she helped by cleaning her room, putting toys away in the family room, and decorated (the timing  worked out nicely because she is working on earning a Girl Scout badge that requires these tasks). The day of her party she was up at 6am and ecstatic, there was no containing her enthusiasm, which was expected but can wear on mommy after the 50th time of asking, “Is it time for the party yet?”

It was finally time for guest to arrive.  As the Knights and Princess entered the Royal Castle she greeted them and requested that they partake in the activities set up in the kitchen.  There was jewelry for the Princesses to decorate and masks for the Knights. Once everyone arrived and had a few minutes to decorate their activity we began the first game.

The first game was Princess and the Frog.  The princess stood in the middle with a blindfold on and a Hershey’s kiss in her hand.  Each child was given a card with an animal picture on it and one card had an image of a frog.  Once all the children had their cards they were then instructed to make their animal’s sound.  So the princess had to listen carefully, through the mooing, neighing, barking, meowing, clucking, baaing, oinking, and quaking to hear the ribbit of the frog.  Once the princess heard the ribbit she needed to walk carefully over to the person and place the Hershey’s kiss in their hand, thus kissing the frog.

After the game the kiddos had a snack and we sang happy birthday.  For the snack we made heart-shaped PB & J, Rice Krispies Star shaped wands, graham crackers with strawberry cream cheese and strawberries, Crescent rolls with strawberries and preserves, and the crème de la crème , Chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting, silver sprinkles, and magical wands.

I was surprised how long the children lingered at the table, at past birthday parties eating was a five-minute or less process, but, they are getting older. They actually talked and hanged out at the table. While they fished eating I explained that Cinderella has lost her glass slipper and would appreciate their help locating it and as a reward she would have a treat for each child once it was located.

So they began Cinderella’s Slipper search.

Clue 1- It’s a clue that you want, a clue you expect, so look by the steps that lead to the deck.

Clue 2-You’ll have a clue to keep and hold, if you go to the place where food is kept cold.

Clue 3- Now quick as a wink, look by the kitchen sink.

Clue 4- As fast as you can, there’s no time to slouch. You’ll find your next clue by the living room couch.

Clue 5- A clue, a clue, now where can one be? I think there’s one hidden near the TV.

Once they entered the family room, where our television is, they located the slipper as well as their goody bags. Each Princess received a magical pink Princess wand and tiara, stickers, chap sticks, and candy.  The Knights received a Knight helmet, sword, stickers, chap sticks, and candy.

Then she opened her gifts and after gifts we took a few photographs of the kiddos all dressed as Princesses and Knights.  It was such a fun party and it seemed like all the children had a wonderful time, but most importantly, my Princesses had a blast.

Our toddler had a blast!

When her last guest went home she came up to me, gave me a great big hug, and thanked me for the bestest party.  My heart melted.

Special thanks to all the moms online, in playgroup, and my life who have shared their advice and suggestions for birthday parties (especially my mom, the queen of birthday parties) To Betty Crocker for making those cake mixes from a box.  To Rice Krispies for making those treats so darn versatile, I love them!  To my sister for helping with the food, watch the kiddos, clean-up, and giving up her Saturday afternoon to help her family, you are amazing Cambra. Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to thank God for making us parents and allowing us to celebrate the joy that our daughter brings into our lives.

Momup! Monday: The Miraculous Moment you become a Mom

Mama’s to do list:

  • Laundry
  • Birthday Breakfast (as a tradition in our family we only have donuts on birthdays), daddy gets up early to get the donuts (even on a Monday morning) and we all have breakfast together as a family.
  • Morning drop off
  • Drop off donations at the Animal Shelter (those darn kitten and puppies are so cute, it is so tempting to take one home). We did not take any home but we did pray that each one would find a warm and loving family to call their own.
  • Get stuff at the grocery store for thanksgiving
  • Stop at Hobby Lobby to get a birthday gift for our daughter
  • Clean house before parents come for a birthday celebration (it will be her third)
  • Momup!
  • Parent/Teacher conference (had to reschedule, mommy confession, I totally missed the original conference, I wrote it on the wrong date)

It was six years ago today that my first child was born.  My husband and I wanted to be surprised so we did not find out the sex when we went to the ultrasound appointment. We asked for gender neutral items at the baby shower and it was a good thing we did because our second child was a boy, so we had practically everything for those first few months, like baby clothes, blankets, sheets, etc.

I remember my husband and I had spicy chicken wings around 10pm the night before she was born.  At 1pm those wings kicked in because I was experiencing the worst heart burn ever, contractions, and my water broke.  Being first time parents we rushed to the hospital, you know, like the movies.  I didn’t want to have my baby in the car!

Yes, I thought pregnancy was a license to eat. I gained a whopping 70 pounds (shhh). I only gained 45 pounds with my second pregnancy and a mere 35 with my third.

So we got to the hospital and I was only dilated to two centimeters.  So they had me walk the halls, and walk the halls, and keep walking the halls.  Then they checked me and I was at two centimeters.  I remember being so nervous, this wasn’t what was supposed to happen, I was supposed to be making progress. In the movies I would have already had my baby by now and been back to a size 2, come on!

They hooked me up with pitocin and WOW did things get real, REAL INTENSE! Those contractions were so intense I found myself praying to God that it was my last.  I so desperately wanted to go natural with my birth and have no drugs but the intensity of the contraction was exhausting and the darn nurse kept coming in and increasing the amount of pitocin I was being given.  The nurse suggested that I take something so that I had enough energy to push when the time came.  CRAP! I thought, I totally forgot about the pushing part, I totally understood why they called it labor. So I went for the epidural and I suddenly felt like a failure, here I was trying to provide the healthiest pregnancy and birth for our child and I had fail, my first task as a mother and I had failed.  So I was given the epidural which felt like a relaxing massage compared to the intense contractions for that darn pitocin.  For the next five hours I gave myself a hard time, I kept thinking, I just drugged my child, my poor baby, now my baby will never get into Harvard because I got the epidural that is going to impede that Harvard gene, what have I done! Then the nurse interrupted and said it was time to push.  Well, that has to be something I can do right.

So I started pushing and nothing.  They moved my body in weird positions trying to get the baby to rotate. All the while I was still feeling guilty about the epidural, and wondering if the epidural already took its effect on the baby and maybe that was why it wasn’t moving.  Then they had me push again, but nothing.  Panic really set in, and I prayed again.  I asked God to forgive me for the epidural and please, please help me, give me the strength; I did not want a cesarean.  Just then the baby started to budge.  An hour and a half into pushing and another problem presented itself, the baby’s heart rate was dropping.  NO! I thought, NO! We have not come this far baby to have somthing happen to you now.  Again, I prayed to God to do whatever he had to so that our baby would be born.  After vomiting a few more times, having the cord carefully removed from her neck, (it was around it twice), and two straight hours of pushing our beautiful baby was born sunny side up, the baby never did rotate.  Then the doctor said the words my husband and I had been waiting for the past nine months, “it’s a……GIRL.

18 hours of labor, and the baby was 7lbs 3oz 21inches long
First time Mommy amazed at the beautiful blessing that is her baby girl.

I had a baby girl.  As soon as I gazed into her beautiful eyes I could feel the presence of the Holy spirit.  I had just experienced a miracle. I was now a mother.  It was at that moment, while there were a handful of people in the room engaging in various activities that everything stood still, as if it was just the two of us, her and me lying on the hospital bed.  I exclaimed to her that I was sorry for the whole birthing process but I am not sure if it is truly a breeze for anyone, the good thing is we forget, that is how there are so many people on this planet.  I also confessed that while I thought I had the perfect birthing plan that it turned out God and her had a different plan and I will come to peace with that one day (I am still working on it). I also shared with her that this motherhood thing is new, I may make a few mistakes along the way, but if it is anything as remotely amazing as the last two minutes I will be the most blessed mommy on this planet.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl and thank you for making me a Mommy

Please share your first moments as a new mom, from the serious, to the humor.

Sacrifices can be Blessings in Disguise

It occurred to me this morning, while I was changing my toddler into her second outfit in ten minutes and cleaning up the sticky cereal mess (honey nut Cheerios and milk are not as forgiving as the regular Cheerios when it comes to spills, those sucker are sticky) that in a previous time, B.C. (before children) I was a professional.  I have a Master’s degree that I worked hard for and I do have many intellectual thoughts, seriously.  I realize I call food “yummy”, using the restroom, “going potty”, and grated parmesan cheese, “shaky cheese”, but somewhere in my toddler, preschooler, kindergartener consumed mind there is a mature intellectual, honestly.

There is a professional in there somewhere, honest.

There are moments in my day when I do find myself resenting the fact that I am home with the children making PB & J sandwiches, doing laundry, scrubbing crayon off my beautiful hardwood floors, poop off the pack-n-play, and putting a Power Ranger costume on my preschooler for the 10th time.  While my hubby gets to take a shower in the morning and only worry about himself, then its off to work, and he will likely eat lunch at a restaurant where someone else prepared the food, serves the food, asks how his day is going, gets him whatever he needs, and even cleans up the mess.  Then he is off to the next customer via his clean vehicle where he only has to buckle in himself and can listen to whatever he wants not having to worry about little impressionable ears.  Meanwhile I have the Muppets track memorized (and I still tear-up each time I hear Songs about Rainbows, darn frog getting me all choked up). This is when I need to take a moment to reflect and remember that the grass is not always greener, just different.

I love this picture. The family went to the circus and daddy was silly, a sense of humor is a must if you plan on raising children

We decided before we purchased our first home that it was important that I stay home once we have children.  So we purchased a home based upon my husband’s income only.  We didn’t even have children yet and we were already making sacrifices for them.  Well, that sacrifice was truly a blessing in disguise. I am now home with the children, we get to play together, visit local treasures such as the library for story time, the Art Museum for Family Center activities, the parks for outdoor adventures, and these are our blessings.  And I am so thankful to my husband for being the bread-winner of our brood and for making the sacrifices that he does everyday so that I can share in these amazing activities with the children.

Our son was scared of Big Bird so daddy got in the pic too! Too cute!

I think as stay-at-home moms (SAHM) we forget that our husbands are also sacrificing.  From the instant we start a family moms tend to have the upper hand so to speak.  A mother’s special bond with their children almost begins the instant we find out we are pregnant, while dads don’t get to experience the new life until the baby is born.  Mothers who nurse also get to have that extra dose of feel good hormones and bonding with the baby that again, dad misses out on.  Then, as a SAHM we get to experience the firsts while dad is often at work.  The first word, rolling over, crawling, step, poop in the potty (I was so excited when my eldest pooped in her potty I took a picture, right then and there, and emailed it to my husband), etc.  For the big milestones it is nice when mommy can be kind and compassionate enough to keep her mouth shut and allow dad to witness the milestone later in the day but all-in-all we have first row seats to all our children’s lives.  Moms are the ones who get to hear all about the children’s days while it is still fresh in their little minds.  Moms get to be the one everyone runs to with questions (okay, this might be stretching it, but you get the idea). SAHM get to go to all the activities that take place during the day, we get to see the Christmas programs, the Halloween parades, the classroom parties, and so much more.  Granted dad tries so hard to get there (God love my hubby, he tried to make both of our children’s Halloween parades only to miss each by mere minutes).

Our son up on Daddy’s shoulders (there is a book about that) at the apple orchard.

So maybe I don’t wear designer clothes (or clean clothes without stains, shhh, that’s our secret), half my underwear is torn because the dryer eats them (I try to avoid skirts and dresses fearing my underwear will fall down) all five of us have to share one bathroom, my husband can be seated at our kitchen table and remove food from the fridge and oven simultaneously, I have to shovel may way to the car in the winter (single car driveway and garage), I have to delete items in order to make my computer work, and I am the hostess, waitress, chef, and bus boy, I am blessed. I am blessed.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband and father for my children.

So, make sure you take time out over this Thanksgiving Holiday to acknowledge, appreciate, and thank your spouse for the many sacrifices they make for the good of the family.  Remember most sacrifices are blessing in disguise.

Tuesday’s Treasures: Christmas Cards Past and Present

Christmas pictures, just hearing the words make me cringe.  B.C. (Before Children), I would always admire the Christmas cards we would get in the mail of our family and friends’ adorable children.  Even once, or twice, I caught myself daydreaming about my future children’s Christmas pictures and how adorable and perfect they would appear. I would take them to some fancy photography studio and get extraordinary pictures, with them in a sleigh, or on a horse, or something grandiose.

Fast-forward to A.D. (After the delusions) and I realize that those fancy photography studios are extremely expensive.  So much so that it almost boils down to a Christmas photograph of the children, or Christmas with gifts under the tree.  No surprise, my husband and I decided the children would find more joy in the gifts than a picture of themselves.  So, we decided that with our savvy, my savvy skills, we would save the money and take the Christmas Photographs ourselves.

Well the first year was a breeze.  All we had was our little one month old to photo and she was still in that new-born phase where they sleep all day.  She was the perfect little model.

Following year she is one and refuses to sit still for one minute.  Thus, every picture I took was a blur since she kept moving.  So, I went where no mommy like to admit to going, bribery. I told her if she sits still she will get some crackers and it worked, all-be-it for a minute, but it worked. And in that minute I just kept clicking that button as fast as it would let me.  Out of 50 takes 1 was solid.

The next year we added to our brood.  We had a two-year old and a six month old.  The baby was perfect but again, the two-year old did not want to sit still.  Thus more bribery, that year was M & M.

The next year was more of the same, except the bribery kept increase. What was once just a couple of crackers had turned into cupcakes.

The following year a trip to Chuck E. Cheese was promised for the cute little smile ( how can we top that? A trip to Disney? That is one expensive photo).

But no more. No more will mommy be clearing her entire day in hopes of bribing her way to a semi-decent Christmas photo. The bribery stops this year (almost, I did bring some fruit chew snacks to reward good behavior after the pictures were taken).

This year Shuttery sponsored a Family Picture Day for our Playgroup.  We had one of our talented moms photograph everyone’s families.  We met at the Art Museum around 10am and by 6pm that evening our family’s Christmas card was ordered.  Thanks to
the help of our skilled photographer the pictures were exceptional.  The process was so easy; our photographer mom added a professional’s touches to the photos and then uploaded them to shutterfly.  Once they were uploaded she notified us, we looked through the amazing collections of photos she took, selected our favorite, perused the variety of Christmas card options Shutterfly offers, made our selection, and ordered our cards, and it was that easy.  We also saved a bundle.  The competitors’ usually only allow customers to enter one promotional code but shutterfly accepted all the codes.  We save 40% on the cards, got free shipping, and since Shutterfly sponsored the event each family received a $10 off coupon. This was a breeze compared to the past five years of whining, screaming crying (and that’s just me), and bribing.

This is the start of a beautiful family tradition.  Thanks you Allie and Shutterfly for making Christmas photos stress free.

I am off to get started on my photography books through shutterfly, they make great Christmas presents for family and friends. http://www.shutterfly.com/store/index.jsp

Momup! Monday…Mommy’s Thanksgiving Meltdown

I am making my first Thanksgiving meal this year for my immediate family and my in-laws, and I am so nervous.  Of course there are the typical, run of the mill Thanksgiving concerns that consume my mind such as; will the turkey be cooked all the way?  Will the side dishes meet our guests’ expectations? Will we have enough seats?  Where should we keep the dog and cat so that they do not get a head start on thanksgiving? Will the house be cleaned in time?  Will my husband actually help?  He said he would help, but what does that mean? Does that mean he will take out the trash and disappear for a few hours, or suddenly have to run an important errand?…  What about the kiddos?…. What kind of activities can I plan to occupy them while I prepare the meal? But my biggest conern and fear is of a mommy meltdowns, all-be-it short-lived, but still, a meltdown no less.

I have such fond memories of Thanksgiving as a child.  I remember waking up Thanksgiving morning to the amazing aromas lingering from the kitchen.  My sister, brother, and I would help out in the kitchen doing age appropriate tasks, we would help set the table, and tidy the house while the Thanksgiving parade played in the background. Thanksgivings when I was a child brought about so many fond memories but there is one moment, every thanksgiving, which would inevitably show its face, the minor mommy meltdown.

The mommy meltdown usually showed its face two hours before guest arrived.  As a mom myself, I have such an appreciation for all the hard work my mother would do to make Thanksgiving such an amazing event for our family and friends (my mother is definitely the more the merrier type, so it wasn’t, and isn’t, unusual to have at least 40 people for thanksgiving). She would stay up late the night before preparing the tables, chair, tablecloths, napkins, food, and outfits for her children, vacuuming, sweeping, etc. She would get up early Thanksgiving morning and continue where she left off, not showering, or getting herself ready, until the last-minute. Inevitably one of us, my sister, brother, father, or I, would make a snarky remark that would usually trigger the mommy meltdown. Similar to the following clip.

So, my biggest fear isn’t burning the turkey, or if the potatoes have lumps, it is the mommy meltdown, and when it will show its snide face. I plan on taking all precautions by planning every last detail ahead of time, but life happens. Sometimes our expectations become to grandiose.

Have you ever experienced a Mommy Thanksgiving meltdown, where the mom hosting Thanksgiving just takes on too much? Are you a mom that has taken on too much? Perhaps you are a mom who has figured out the balance, please, share your secrets!

Frivolous Friday…love, good intentions, and Betty Crocker

Last night I had a tough time falling asleep; my mind was all over the place.  The last thing I remember thinking about was our 30 days of gratitude and whether the purpose was truly being understood by the children?

In a blink it was morning. Due to my lack of sleep the night before my brain was running on automatic mode and started on the usual Friday routine.  The problem was, today was not a usual Friday. The kiddos were home from school due to parent teacher conferences. Thankfully I did not drop off any children at school.  Truth be told, that has always been a fear of mine that I would mindlessly drop off the wrong child at the wrong place, or visa versa. Thankfully after referencing my planner and enjoying a cup of coffee the plans for the day all came back to me.

Two weeks prior I had made arrangements with a friend to watch her son while she ran errands.  I had totally forgotten and did nothing last night to prepare for today. I glanced up from my coffee cup at the shambles of random stuff spread throughout the house, wowzers! What a mess, that clutter called for a laundry basket brigade.  Now, this is my best kept secret, well, not for long. When there are way too many random toys, puzzle parts and pieces, garments, and nonsense scattered around the house I grab a laundry basket and throw everything in the basket. Place that basket in a room that is off-limits and address it after guests have left. Voila, clean house!

Just as I placed the basket in my closet the door bell rang.  The kiddos started off playing with toys, which lasted for all of twenty minutes, and then they started inquiring about a snack.  Snacks!  Again, when I am functioning with a full deck I usually have snacks made the day before and I am totally prepared.  This time was not one of those time but I got by with a little help from my friend Betty, Betty Crocker that is.  Chocolate chip cookies pouch to the rescue! I would like to say, thank you Betty Crocker for allowing moms to maintain their crazy buys schedules and still be cool in the eyes of their children. The kiddos loved the cookies and they had no idea I did not get the mixer out and add all the necessary ingredients, love, good intentions, and Betty Crocker is all you need.

Thank you Betty, I couldn’t do it without you.

With the snack out-of-the-way I thought I was out of the woods….not so fast.  With chocolate all over her face, my daughter asked if we could do a craft.  A Craft!?! Sure I exclaimed as I started googling craft ideas. I came across a cool website, http://www.makinglearningfun.com/. On the site I found templates for Pilgrims and Native American.  I printed off the templates and let the kiddos raid the craft drawers. While working on their craft my son became impatient and his friend helped him with his pilgrims.  With that my daughter exclaimed that their friend was expressing a gratitude attitude, it was priceless. They are listening and comprehending the purpose of the 30 days of gratitude. That made this moms day.

They so enjoyed this unplanned craft
I love the eyes and pink clothes; they each added their own unique touches to their stick people.

Thankful Thursday…..Rice Krispies treats, the treats that keep on giving

Thankful Thursday…..

I initially introduced the 30 days of gratitude to my family in hopes of teaching my children the importance of appreciation through simple acts of kindness each day. However, what was meant to be something minute has evolved into so much more.  The acts of kindness have fostered quality time with loved ones, comforting conversations with friends and acquaintances, and magnificent memories.

Rice Krispies Treats, the treats that keep on giving….

Monday afternoon I found myself pressed for time, as usual.  So I threw the kiddos pajamas, diapers, cups, box of Rice Krispies, bag of marshmallows, stick of butter, wooden sticks, bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, sprinkles, wax paper, and my book for book club into a laundry basket. I  put this kiddos in the car, picked up my daughter from school and headed to my mother’s.  We have dinner at my mom’s on Mondays; it has slowly become a tradition in our family, which works out great to because I have book club every other Monday.  So, we got to my moms and I started making Rice Krispies for my preschoolers snack box and the bake sale the next day to raise money for Special Olympics.  I formed them into balls and placed them on wooden sticks, way easy.  Then my mom got home from work and she started helping me melt the chocolate while we enjoyed conversation about our day.  We had the perfect consistency and started dipping the treats in the chocolate at which point the kiddos wanted to get involved too, so each took turns sprinkling the sprinkles on the freshly dipped Rice Krispies treat. Half way through we realized we were not going to have enough chocolate for all the treats.  Just then, as if on queue, my father came home from work and made a b-line for their leftover Halloween candy.  BINGO! My father and mother began unwrapping Nestle crunch bars like it was their job while I stirred the chocolate and the kiddos stood by with sprinkles in hand.  It had become a family affair, no longer was it just a task to check off, it had transformed into a family memory.

After book club my father helped me wrap the dozens of Rice Krispies Treats and we placed the necessary amount in my preschooler’s snack box and the rest were ready for the bake sale the next day.

The next day we dropped off the snack box, along with my preschool, at school.  When we picked him up the teacher said the Rice Krispies Treats on a stick were a hit. Thanks goodness, I was a little concerned since we invented the last batch via Halloween Candy.  I was also a little concerned that the teacher might be upset with our choice of snack given that it was picture day (looking back, it was a bad choice on my part but he was so excited to take in somthing on a stick).

Rice Krispies treats on a stick dipped in Nestle Crunch Bars, delicious!!

After I picked him up from school we were off to vote.  He had some leftover Rice Krispies Treats on a stick and asked if he could give them to people inside.  I thought it was such a kind gesture.  So we headed inside to vote and he passed out Rice Krispies Treats on a stick to the individuals volunteering.  Our neighbor happened to be volunteering at the time and my son made certain he received two.

After we voted it was time to drop off the initial Rice Krispies Treats on a stick for the bake sale to support the Special Olympics. We dropped off our Treats, the kiddos each picked out another baked-good, and we donated to the cause.  I am not sure who purchased the Rice Krispies Treats that we had made the Monday night at my moms but I do know that those Treats brought about much happiness and illustrated our gratitude towards our family, friends, and neighbors.

Recipe for Nestle Crunch Rice Krispies treats on a stick

  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 4 cups Love
  • 6 Cups Rice Krispies Cereal
  • ½ cup gratitude
  • Package of wooden sticks
  • 1 tablespoon of panic (when you realize you are running out of chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup relief (when you realize there is Halloween candy, Nestle crunch to the rescue!)
  • 1 bag of fun sized Nestle crunch bars


In a large sauce pan melt butter and add marshmallows. Stir constantly till both have melted, remove from heat, and add Rice Krispies.  Spray measuring cup and/or spoon with cooking spray and divide into portion sizes.  Spray hands with cooking spray and form the portions into balls.  Place wooden stick into the ball and let cool for 15 minutes. While the Krispies treats are cooling you can begin to melt the Crunch bars.   You will want to use a double boiler so that the chocolate doesn’t burn.  Once the bars are melted grab a treat, holding it by the stick, and quickly dip it in the chocolate and then sit it on wax paper or foil to cool.
Please note: if you leave the treat in the chocolate to long it will melt the marshmallows again.  To expedite the process you can place them in the refrigerator for a little while till the chocolate cools.