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Thankful For Our Armed Forced and How We Support Them Throughout the Year

Thankful For Our Armed Forces

This is not my typical Mom Monday post but more of a combination Mom Monday and Thankful Thursday combination post. Why am I doing this type of post today? It is Memorial Day which means we honor our veteran soldier and every soldier is the son or daughter of a Mom.

In our family, we are thankful for all that the soldiers have done to protect our rights and freedom that we enjoy everyday. I have many friends that went into the service after high school or after 9/11. I am grateful for the time and service they have committed to every single person in this country. 8cad8f35e8c3b88dbced403f30505fc4

As a way of giving back to the soldiers and to teach my children to support others, we joined Soldier’s Angels. Soldier’s Angels is an organization that supports our troops, veterans and their families. A few years ago, I was looking at ways to teach Danyella the importance of volunteering plus incorporate other skills, like letter writing, into her homeschooling. After doing a lot of Googling and research for organizations that write letters to soldier, I found Soldier’s Angels. This was exactly what I was looking for plus more.

Soldier’s Angels not only supports our troops through letter writing but many other ways. The way Soldier’s Angels works is there are different teams set up that a person can join. The different teams help different aspects of our soldiers and their families such as the Deployed Angel Team, the Letter Writing Team, Angel Bakers, Chaplain Support Team, Ladies of Liberty Team (exclusively for female deployed soldiers), Operation Top Knot (virtual baby showers for soldier families), Adopt A Family (holiday support), Sewing and Craft Support Team, Cards Plus Team (holiday and birthday cards), Living Legends (for families of fallen soldiers), and the Special Operations Team (for special forces soldiers). Plus there are programs for veterans and Wounded Soldiers. There really is so many ways to support our troops through this organization.

Along with volunteer opportunities through the teams, there are local ways to help plus donations of money are accepted. In addition, there are many different drives throughout the year, like a blanket drive for soldiers and vets in the hospital. There is even a special beer that when sold 100% off the profit is donated back to Soldier’s Angels for our soldiers. The beer is called Homefront IPA and you can click here to find out more.

To our SoldiersPast, Present and FutureThank You and God Bless You

One of the teams we have joined is the Deployed Angel Team which sends letters and gift packages to our deployed soldiers. We have adopted different soldiers from different services through the years. Sometimes we get letters back from our soldiers and sometimes we don’t because of how busy or the location the soldier is in. We love coming up with different themed packages every month to send our soldier.

The other main group we belong to is the Letter Writing Team which has been a great thing for Danyella to work on her letter writing skills and handwriting while support our troops. This is fun because we will have the system randomly choose our soldier so we have gotten all the different services and recently received our first female. We always include our address and my email so if the soldier chooses, they can write us back. We have received cards, letters and emails from different soldiers which always gets us excited. Something crafty and unique is that we take pages from adult coloring books to make into envelopes with washi tape so they can use the picture to brighten their day.

We have been part of the Operation Top Knots team which is really fun when I make things for other people’s babies. Danyella loves to shop for little gifts for the siblings. Plus the Cards Plus team is a fun way to send cards to others and sometimes we will get cardstock and make the cards.

We would love to join all of the teams but there isn’t enough time or money in our budget to do them all. We support as much as we can and have taken breaks from supporting when life has been a roller coaster for us. Then we let our team leader know that we are ready to rejoin and we are good to go.

If you are looking to support our troops in little or big ways this is a great organization to help with that. If you are looking for support for a soldier or soldier’s family you know they always accept soldiers with open arms. For $1 a month which helps keep the organization running, you can help our soldiers while they keep us free and safe. I hope that you consider helping our troops today. Our troops spend their time and put their lives on the line for our comforts and freedom so cherish those soldiers and what you have in your life. f88ed0df7d85767390146686dfdc6764

Click the photo or any of the links to go to the Soldier’s Angels website and find out more for yourself or a soldier you care about.

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When Your Child Loses Their Passion For Something They Love

oatmeal cookies (1)Does you child have something that they love to do more than anything else in the world? Playing a sport? Creating art? Reading books? Participating in an activity like boy/girl scouts? Have you ever experienced your child lose their passion for this activity?

This past week, I have experienced Danyella telling me that she doesn’t know if she wants to dance anymore. What the What?? This must be someone else’s child because my child would NEVER say this about dance but she did.

Here is some background story about why this is so unbelievable to me….

Since Danyella was little she LOVED to dance. In order to get her to start walking, I put on Happy Feet and this child danced before she could walk but the movie encouraged her to walk/waddle around the house. As she got older, she experimented trying different things like gymnastics, soccer and girl scouts. She liked them (ok not soccer, she ran the other way) but nothing gave her a spark to wake up and want to do it everyday.

A little over 3 years ago that all changed. She asked to take a Musical Theatre class at a local dance studio so I signed her up for that and a Jazz class. Danyella loved her classes and she was naturally good at dancing. We added a ballet class to her line up and she couldn’t be more in her element. Just a year after dancing, Danyella made the studio’s first ever Mini Elite competition team. She takes 7 classes a week plus competition team or the special recital team’s rehearsals. On Saturdays she dances for 11 hours with breaks throughout the day. This is when my kid is in her element. She is a great dancer and quick to pick up choreography.

Now after 3 years, she lost the spark she had because of a couple of girls in 2 of her classes. She still loves to dance but now she only wants to dance in her room. She dreads going to her first 2 classes on Saturday mornings because it feels like torture to deal with these girls. The nail in the coffin is that next year she only has one option for ballet and it forces her to be in the same class with the same girls with the same teacher that doesn’t seem to care to control the class. She doesn’t want to go at all next year.

When my child is unhappy then I am unhappy!

What to do what to do? Danyella doesn’t want me to say anything to anyone for fear that this girl will hear that her mom opened her mouth and will retaliate against her. Well, she should know better because I will open my mouth. I don’t want to see Danyella avoid doing the thing she loves because a few girls have ruined this year for her. I will advocate for my child because when she dances, she has a magical spark about her and twinkle in her eye. You know that she doesn’t have to dance but she choices to display a beautiful form of art for everyone to enjoy.

Yes, I could be the parent to take the easy way out and let her just quit. What does letting her quit teach her? How will she feel in 10 or 20 years that she gave up on her dream to be a professional dancer? I want her to push to be the best person she can be and for her that means being a dancer. Dance has given her friends that she can relate to and enjoy spending hours upon hours with. Dance has given her a discipline that she didn’t have before. Dance has given her a passion about something in her life, something to look forward to doing every single day.

Not only has Danyella given her heart and soul to dancing, but so has the rest of our family. Evie has become the team mascot for the Mini Elite team and dance studio. The teachers love to get the chance to hold Evie and dance with her. The other moms have become a second mom to both girls. I have formed friendships that will last a lifetime. The studio has become our second family and I don’t want to give up our second family without a fight to help Danyella get to a place where she is comfortable for next year’s classes and that she will participate in all of her recital classes this year.

Moral of this story: Don’t let your kids just quit when they have a passion for something. There are negative people in the world that will always try to extinguish your flame but when they do just relight it and burn them with it. Ok not literally burn them but you get what I mean…. make them realize they can’t force you or your child out of what they love. Fight for your kids dreams and passions!

There will always be Negative people trying to extinguish your flame. Reignite that flame and show them No One can extinguish your passion!

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Just Another Mother’s Day or Is Everyday Mother’s Day?

As I scrolled through Facebook and Instagram yesterday, it was filled with tributes to specific moms and grandmoms, quotes about moms and motherhood and photos of special celebrations and gifts.

For my Mother’s Day, I spent a special lunch with my Mom, Danyella and Evie. Our original plan was to go to a special restuarant my mom and I have been dying to go eat fish and chips but sadly they never answered their phone to let us know what their hours were going to be or if we need reservations. Sorry but super bad business practice for a place to eat! Since it was going to be raining all weekend, outdoor plans like going to the greenhouses and gardening centers were out. As was, going to our favorite outdoor shopping center.

Instead, we decided to go to Ruby Tuesdays since we all like the salad bar and the food is decent. We each had a good meal and our bellies were so full. It was time to walk off some of those calories we inhaled by shopping at Home Goods and Marshalls. We love shopping there for their good prices and the home decor is always so cute. We always find the cutest clothes for the girls.

Since the puppy ate one of Evie’s sandals, she got a new pair of sandals and an outfit to match. Dany picked out a couple of rompers… her new fashion must have. We looked at shorts but holy cow they were way to short to put on my 11 year old daughter! (This will be a future blog post!!) My mom found really cool HUGE glass jars that she is converting into planters. (This is where I get my gardening love from) I looked at cast iron pans but was not a fan of the ones they had so I found one at Walmart that I can’t wait to start using.

The girls gave my Mom the footprint vase that Evie and I made a while back for one of the Mother’s Day Teach Me Tuesday posts. If you want to see how to make your own this is the post: Baby Prints DIY Mason Jar Vase  Danyella was in the process of making me a card but I told her to make it for Nanny and we will include that with her gift. My original idea was to make her a salt dough thumbprint necklace but time got away from me. Plus, one day I will save the money to buy her the Ancestry DNA test that she has been begging us to get her for every holiday for the past year.

My gift this year was the love from my kids. I am blessed to have Evie in our family and all the smiles, giggles and stinky diapers she gives me everyday. I have watched Danyella go from my little girl to a graceful, crazy dancing tween. Aidan is my only boy who gave me the biggest scare with being born a preemie and spending so much time in the NICU to a football star. Kaeleigh was the first to make me a Mommy and though we have lost that special bond, she will always have that special place in my heart. She will be 18 this year and has become a beautiful young woman. I saw her prom pictures yesterday and cried at how beautiful and grown up she is now.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have adored a gift from the kids or my husband this year but that was not in the plans from the universe. I appreciate the pan that my mom gave me because it will continue to enhance my cooking skills and new passion. I loved the moments I spent with the girls. I could have used some more sleep and maybe someone else to cook dinner which maybe one day soon my husband will cook for me (hint hint).

So back to the point of this post, the day I had was like other days that I have had because my mom and I like to eat lunch out and then go shopping. I usually spend my days with the girls and cook dinner then stay up way to late to catch up on business stuff or blog stuff. It might not have been a huge, over the top celebration but I got to spend the day like I do everyday… with the people that love me living my life as a mom. I wouldn’t change my everyday is Mother’s Day for anything in the world.

How did you spend your Mother’s Day?

Everyday that we spend special moments with our children is Mother's Day

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A Letter To My Friends From an Infant’s Mom

Letter to My Friends

To All of My Friends,

Thank you for the support you have given me before I had this precious little baby that makes my whole world go round. Some of you are moms and some of you are not which means some of you understand what I am going through right now. My day, everyday, consists of taking care of this little person that relies solely on me to take care of their needs. This means lots of feedings, diaper changes and snuggles throughout the day and very little sleep.

I am sorry for not returning your calls or texts. I do see them and intend of getting back to you but I am usually in the throes of a baby related activity that I forget. When I remember again, it’s usually when I am awake for the 4am feeding which is not ideal to text someone to have a conversation. Then days go by and I remember again but feel guilty that I forgot so I don’t text or call you back because I have become a bad friend. I know many of you have given up on waiting for that text back and I am sorry. I am sorry that I have become a bad friend.

I see your fun times on Instagram and Facebook and wish I could be out having fun with you. My fun times are seeing my baby smile and giggle, to see their first roll over, being there for their first steps and when they speak their first word. My bottles are now filled with special booby juice instead of special grape juice. So when you have a drink, please have an extra one for me!

I don’t know when I can return to being a good friend again but I hope that when I am ready, you are willing to be my friend again. I look forward to have fun friend times again but right now my friend times are taken over with baby times. For those of you that are not mom’s yet, I will be there to support you when you are in the throes of Mommyhood. For my friends that are already mommies, I can’t wait to have playdates in the future.

I know that I am not a good friend right now but I am being the best Mommy that I can be. I am raising a precious child that will shape this world into a good world for all people. One day we will go out and have that glass of wine that I am dying for girly filled talking but until then enjoy your life and fun times.

Love,

Your Friend that is the Mommy to an Infant

To My Friends, I am sorry I am a bad friend but one day the baby will let me come out and play again.

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Why I don’t let my kids play on my phone

Why My Kids Don't Play on my Phone

I am not one of those moms that hands my phone over to my kids and let them play games or watch videos on YouTube. I am sure other moms will disagree with this post but this is my personal feelings on letting kids have free reign over my phone…

Imagine having the police show up at your door and you have no idea why. You open the door and the police tell you that they need to check the house to be sure everything is ok. You ask them why. They explain that there was a 911 call that was located at this address. I go and grab Danyella, who was almost 2 years old, and realize that she is the one who called 911 when I allowed her to play with my phone. That was the last time she touched my phone!

There is more reasoning behind my phone ban from my kids besides Danyella accidentally calling the police. I never wanted my kids to grow up thinking they had the right to touch an electronic that cost as much a rent payment. I have enough problems with breaking my own electronics (just ask my brother who had to replace the hard drive in my laptop because I broke it during the move a month ago!) so I don’t need the kids touching it and break something that we don’t have the spare money to replace. Especially when the cost of electronics just increases every year and now to replace my Iphone 7 plus would cost me a $1000 to replace/upgrade to the Iphone X.

Another reason, is that I run my blog and business mainly from my phone. I can’t tell you how many of my blog posts have been written and published from my phone. All of this is possible with the different apps like wordpress, canva and others that help my business and blog running smoothly. Yes, typing is easier on my laptop but when my time is spent outside of the house then my phone is a must. This means kids not touching and breaking my phone is a super must!

Last reason is that they are kids and for generations before these kids were born, kids survived without electronics on the go to play with and keep them occupied. What happened to packing toys, coloring books and snacks to keep kids occupied? This is what I did for Danyella and what I will do for Evie when we are out and about. Even now, I have 2 play mats for Evie which one is kept in the car so I can take it into the dance studio for her to play on. Yes, I have more to pack and take with me but it is keeping her entertained and I will continue to do this until she is old enough for her electronic device.

Danyella has survived for nearly her whole childhood without touching my phone since that day she called 911. This past Christmas, Danyella was given an iPod to take with her in public which she can use as a phone to communicate with my phone since it’s an iPhone, if she is on wifi. She can play games and play on her music apps which I keep a close eye on. If she abuses her privilege of having the iPod then its take away and she has to find other ways, like reading a book to keep herself occupied.

I know that many parents see the convenience of letting kids play on their phones which pulling up their favorite video to keep them quiet and still is easy. On the other hand, teaching my children to respect electronics and how things are a privilege vs a right is a strong value in a world where everyone’s lives revolve around a cellphone and/or other electronics. Let the kids be kids and play with toys and books not your phone. Let Kids be Kids . Let Them Explore, Play and Learn

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No Giggles For Mama

Total jealous Mom moment right now! Baby Evie is now 12 weeks old and about a week and a half ago she started the giggles! It’s the cutest thing ever!

One night I was getting Evie ready for her bath, I reached down to pick her up and she giggled for just a few seconds. A baby’s giggles are the sweet little noise you can ever hear. Since that first time, I’ve tried my hardest to get her to giggle for me…. nope not a single giggle for Mama!

Thursday nights are one of Doug’s night off every week so it’s Daddy/daughter bonding night. He was playing with her and I hear it… the sweet little giggle I was longing to hear. She giggled over and over for Daddy!

Since that night, Doug has come home from work and if Evie has been awake then he has gotten giggles. Not just one little giggle but lots of giggles. Giggles like when you just can’t hold back and want to cry your laughing so hard kinda giggles!!

Yes, I should be happy that she has this bond with her Daddy but I can’t help to be jealous. With Danyella, I was her only parent so I got all the firsts, all the smiles, all the kisses, all the hugs and all the giggles. So I am not used to sharing all these special moments with another parent. This is all an adjustment for me as a mother.

I’m not a bad mother for being jealous that my husband swoops in and gets those special moments with the baby. I am human. I am the parent that is home with her all day and cares for her all day so I want those moments to be shared with me. I know one day I’ll get more giggles and one day I’ll get jealous that someone else shared special moments with my children.

Have you had jealous parent moments?

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Tween Rules and Reward System

Tween REward System

After last week’s meltdown and subsequent cancellation of Danyella’s New York City birthday trip, I wanted to find a way to encourage her to behave and do her chores without the attitude and mouth running. Off to Pinterest I went….

I searched and searched, using different search terms and had a hard time finding anything that really worked for us. Some of the links were for teachers to get kids and teens to listen in class. Some of the links were for kids that were younger and didn’t quite fit Danyella.

I was looking to set up Rules and a Reward system for Danyella that would reward her with points to earn special things. At the same time, if she didn’t complete a task then she wouldn’t earn the points and if she misbehaved points could be taken away. After hours of searching, I went to google drive and created my own system.

First were the rules: One would think these were basic rules but to Danyella, I was running her life by asking her to abide by these rules! After nearly a week, she has broken some of these rules and has definitely fought these rules every chance she can.

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Next were the Rewards: At first she didn’t care about any rewards. If you look, she started to cross out New York because she was never going to New York ever again if I wasn’t going to take her the day we had originally planned. Eventually she came to terms with her rewards. She even began to calculate how many days it would take for her to earn the trip back if she did all of her chores everyday without attitude points taken away. How I structured her rewards were at levels, so that she had little things to look forward to as she re-earned her New York City trip. One of our favorite things is to go get Italian Ice from Rita’s so that is first on her list to earn.

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Last were the check off lists: There are 2 lists for Danyella. Since Danyella is homeschooled, I wanted her to start to take responsibility of her own schoolwork. I made her a checklist of what she needed to accomplish everyday and she earns 10 points for completing them all. The other list is her chores list. This list has different chores for different points like cleaning her rabbits cage is 1 point. I gave her some additional points for helping me label the body products and helping me cook dinner (I should use her cooking show obsession to my advantage lol).

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After a week, she is more focused on getting what she needs done though there has been times where she has fought me on completing her tasks (especially schoolwork which is another post to come). It has been nice to see her get excited to help me cook dinner or bake cupcakes. I will keep you all updated on how the system works as the weeks pass.

A question for my readers with older kids: How do you reward your children for good behavior or punish for bad behavior?

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3 Things Being a Crazy Sport Fan Mom Taught My Kids

3 Things being a crazy sports mom taught my kids

I absolutely need to start this post off with FLY EAGLES FLY ON THE ROAD TO VICTORY, E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!

Yes, I am one of those crazy, die-hard fans for my Philadelphia sports teams. Since I was a little girl my parents had me rooting for sports games and car races. Being one of these loyal to the end fans has shaped how I have raised my children whether they noticed it or not.

1. Having Passion in Your Life: Having a passion for something in your life whether it’s the love of a sports team, movies, music, art or something else, teaches a person to have an almost out of control love of something in their life. Having that love for something in their life shapes a person to become who they are and stay true to that person.

People that know me, know that I have a passion for my Philadelphia sports teams which has taught my children to have passion for the things they love. Danyella has an huge passion for dance which she lives, eats and breathes dance everyday. This passion, even of her bad days, helps to keep her focused on her goals for what she wants to do in her life which is dance.

passion

2. Being a Loyal Person: Loving a sports team teaches a person to be loyal to something in their life. This loyalty doesn’t just last for a season but for a lifetime. Take my Eagles, year after year everyone bashed the team for never winning a Super Bowl. Well this year, my Eagles proved everyone wrong but I continued to bleed green after every win and loss over the years.

Being loyal to a team or other people is an important trait to teach a child. Danyella has learned to be loyal to her friends through the good and bad times. Yes, as tweens girls will fight and have disagreements but the loyalty to their friendship will persevere because that is what is important to them. With Danyella’s dance team, they stay loyal to each other week after week, competition after competition. They build each other up and stay loyal to their team and their goal of improving their dancing week after week.

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3. Believing in the Good in the Universe: Whether you believe in a higher being or not, everyone should believe in the good that the Universe delivers to the world. The sports players that work hard week after week, year after year, waiting for the elusive win continue to believe in the good being delivered to them. This continued belief is what pushes them a little hard and what keeps them working towards their goals.

For Danyella, teaching her to believe in the good of the universe came out recently when she had an audition for the exclusive Showstoppers dance troupe at her studio. In the troupe, there is jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical and tap that the dancers can audition to make. Last year she auditioned and did not make it. This year, she was trying again and was believing in the good of the universe that she would make just one of the teams.  Not only did she make jazz but she made tap as well! She was shocked and looked at the email over and over again. It was her belief in the good of the Universe that gave her the confidence to have a great audition to make both teams!

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Now I will say this, Danyella does not have the same passion for professional sports teams that I did have at her age but she does have a passion for music and dance. This passion all stemmed from things that I have taught her from my love of sports. She knows that Sundays is football or racing but she loves the commercials during the Super Bowl. Danyella also know don’t get in Mama’s way when she is cheering on her teams! And yes, I am trying to make Baby Evie into an Eagles fan before her Daddy can make her into a Cowgirls fan!

Though many women don’t love sports and may not agree with my take on this post, having an undying love and passion for professional sports teams has many healthy benefits for our children. Teaching our children to have passion, loyalty and a belief of the good in the world are all positive traits that will shape them into well-rounded adults that have fun in their lives.

 

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DIY Postpartum Padsicle

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Being a DIY mom about to give birth, I knew I had to make myself Padsicles before Evelynne blessed our world. I am sure some of you are wondering…. what is a Padsicle and why do I need them after I give birth?

A Padsicle is a pad with aloe, witch hazel and lavender essential oil on pad and then kept in the freezer. The Padsicle is a must have after a vaginal birth because it helps to soothe the “ring of fire” or the burning sensation from stretching, possibly tearing your vagina after a vaginal birth. As tiny as these babies look after birth, while a mom is trying to push one out…. it hurts and burns for days, sometimes weeks after the birth! The Padsicle is a great way to soothe the pain and sit a little more comfortable after birth.

Step 1: Gather your supplies- Aloe Vera Gel, Witch Hazel, Lavender Essential Oil and Pads (I prefer long ones with wings for after birth)

Step 1

Step 2: Open the pad up but do NOT throw out any part of the wrapper

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Step 3: Squirt Aloe Vera on the pad. Does not need to be very much.

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Step 4: Carefully add a few drops of witch hazel on the Pad. A squirt/spray bottle would work better than my attempt at carefully pouring the bottle.

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Step 5: Add a couple of drops of Lavender Oil on the pad.

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Step 6: Rewrap the pad and place 8 in a large ziploc bag. Place the bag in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

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The Padsicles were great for my post partum healing and I hope these will help other women after they give birth so please share this post with a pregnant woman you know.

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Mom to a Tween Girl

Mom to a Tween Girl

Anyone that is mom to a tween sees their cute, adorable little girl with a touch (or bucket full) of attitude and sass that leaves you wondering… where did this child come from because this isn’t my sweet little girl. For the longest time, I thought it was just mine that acted like this but once the dance moms and I started our weekly chats, I learned that nearly all tween girls are like this and I am not alone!

My daughter will go from a sweet smile to tears to growing devil horns in about 5 seconds flat. You ask her to do something and it is met with an attitude like no other. I mean I thought this is what we dealt with when they became teens??

When you ask them to do their chores or anything at all to help…. wear body armour because dart will come spitting out of their mouth as they tell you “soon”, “in a minute” or “fine”. At the same time, she wants time to cuddle and be with her mom. It’s such a fine line when it comes to this tween age! 

Right now our biggest struggle has been technology or in her eyes “lack of technology”. She wants a phone and has been asking for one for the past 2 years but we are set that she doesn’t get one until she can show us responsibility aka keep her room clean and do her chores without a temper tantrum for more then a day! 

Raising a girl isn’t easy but a tween girl in this day and age just seems to be gettting so hard at least emotionally and mentally for this mom. Those rare “I love you” or “thank you” moments make enduring the attitude, slamming door and tears all worth it. Anyone else raising an emotional tween girl?

 

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