Friday Favorites- Limelight by Alcone {Giveaway}

I’ve already shared with you my favorite Summer Sun Skin Care items I use all summer long. But today I am excited to share with you some new products I’ve found through LimeLight by Alcone. I am always on the hunt for great makeup and skin care products. I have found a line that I truly love and look forward to using!

I met with my friend Tenaya who is now a Beauty Guide for LimeLight by Alcone. She treated me to a make over with skin care and make up products that are all manufactured with your health and the health of the planet in mind. I was excited to spend the day outside on her deck enjoying the beautiful day kid free, and getting some extra pampering.

Alcone Chemical Free

The first thing I tried is the Dream Clean set which is a basic starter collection. I could feel my skin immediately hydrate and it felt really clean. My skin felt smooth after using all of the products which is key for me. I loved the feel of the masque of zen. All of these products are plant based and smell amazing.

Alcone set

Next up Tenaya matched me up with a foundation color. I will say this was the most perfectly smooth foundation I have ever tried. Not only did it go on easily but it made my skin absolutely flawless- no redness, no freckles it was all covered. I am not a fan of foundations that have a strong “plastic” smell. This cream foundation had none of that. It felt light and was totally fragrance free.

Alcone foundation

I learned that this makeup line is used by Hollywood makeup artists. In fact, the family owned company has been the number one makeup supplier for generations. Adding in a plant based skin care line and removing non essential chemicals from the makeup formula is what gives this company it’s modern edge.

The Alcone product I am most in love with right now is the Make-Off make up remover cloth. It is gentle enough to use every day and will take off your make up in one swipe. With the summer heat here I’ve started carrying these little prepackaged cloths in my bag and even in my beach cooler. As soon as I am done with a day of sun with the kids I pull out one of these cloths. The rosewater is refreshing and hydrating and I can feel my hot skin start to calm. Super convenient!

Alcone MakeOff Cloth

All of the Alcone products come with a 100% happiness guarantee, so if you don’t love your products you get your money back. Oh I almost forgot to share with you the best part about the packaging! Not only is it gorgeous, but it is 100% recyclable. The color pallets and the foundation pallets all pop out of the cardboard case; all of which can be tossed into your recycle bin. Each one is small enough to carry in your purse or add to your makeup bag!

Alcone package

If you want to learn more about LimeLight by Alcone stop by Tenaya’s personal shopping site, or ask to join her exclusive PRIVATE Facebook group. You can ask any questions there and get all the details on new products and upcoming sales promos. If you are local and would like to have your own make over and foundation color match you can schedule one with Tenaya through her group.

Alcone Tenaya

* * * *  GIVEAWAY TIME * * * * *

 

Alcone giveaway

Three lucky winners are going to get a $25.00 gift certificate to shop with!! How exciting is that? If you haven’t tried Alcone products before this is your chance! Simply follow the link to Tenaya’s closed Facebook group and request to join. Then like and share the group for extra entries! You are entered for your chance to win! (Contest open now through Sunday 7/24/16. Winners announced on Monday 7/25/16).

Happy shopping!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

The Hilarious Things My Kids Say

Kids can be the most unintentionally hilarious people. They might make an observation that is 100% true, but no adult would ever say out loud. Or, they mispronounce a word that alters what they’re trying to say. Or, it could just be a word they cannot completely remember how to say, and the version that comes out is off just enough to be adorable.

kids

One of my older girls is five and doesn’t pronounce the word ‘pattern’ correctly. She pronounces it ‘patter-in.’ She is starting Kindergarten and  I should correct her, but I love that little reminder that she’s still so young and not just my grown up girl going off to school on her own.

Both of my older girls still routinely say ‘lellow’ instead of ‘yellow’ as well. I feel like it doesn’t hurt anything, and most words they’ve learned I make sure they can say correctly, but yellow and pattern I just can’t bring myself to correct. I’m sure in no time they will have grown out of mispronouncing those words and my sweet, little girls will talk to me like older girls; with no reminders of the toddlers they used to be.

My husband was singing ‘Mambo #5’ the other day and the girls wanted to learn it. My oldest was trying to sing back the words and kept saying ‘everyone in the clubhouse go ride’ instead of ‘everybody in the club say come on let’s ride’ because of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. I mean, that’s adorable, and even though we corrected her a few times, I still think it’s hilarious and awesome that she’s putting Mickey’s Clubhouse in the song.

Just like my girls my son has his hilarious moments too. He has the best mispronunciation. He’s turning 3 this summer and has an amazing vocabulary, but struggles with fire truck. In fact, for a few months he couldn’t say ‘truck’ at all without it coming out as ‘f*ck’.

fire truck 1

‘Mommy! Fire F*ck!’

Now, I know it’s a bad word, and I shouldn’t encourage him to say it, but I can’t correct it. It’s hilarious! He’s already started to grow out of it and says fire engine about half the time now.  Usually he says the ‘tr’ in truck, but for those months he mispronounced it I would simply smile when were out.

Sometimes I can get too caught up in being busy and getting things done and I forget my kids are just little. They don’t have the same patience as me, or view of time, or ability to wait when they ask for something. So when my older kids say they ‘have a loose toothes’ or ‘their teeths came out’ it helps remind me that they’re not adults yet, They are still kids and I need to enjoy them now, before they totally grow up on me. I will never get these moments back.

When my son is being crazy and literally bouncing off the walls because he’s a 2 year old boy, and then he says ‘Look! A big f*ck!’ when we drive by a semi-truck, it makes me laugh when I might not have otherwise. Eventually these will just be stories that I tell about my kids when they were little, but for right now they are my everyday life. I’m going to enjoy it and if I happen to take the back road by the fire station instead of the main road to go to the grocery store, that’s just my wanting to share a laugh with my kids.

Comment below to share some of the hilarious things your kids say. 

Jennifer at Sweet DiscordJennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.

 

Update on My Norwex

I really make it a personal standard to only share with my readers products that I have used in my own home and truly enjoyed. I want to only promote items that make our lives as parents a little easier, because, well parenting is already hard enough! Whether it is self care products, home care products, fun things to entertain the kids, or a subscription box everything I share has been tried out by myself, or my guest contributors.

Several months ago I shared with you my love for Norwex products and how I can clean my home using just water. Since then I have truly enjoyed the ease of cleaning my house with zero chemicals and in less time. But I have to confess that there is one product I was deeply skeptical of and did not share in my original post. I thought it was too hokey to work. In fact I refused to use it for nearly six months.

The Nylon Mesh Dishcloth

mesh cloth

I really thought there is NO WAY this thing was going to clean all of my dishes. It feels like a jersey you’d wear in gym class. I imagined it would only make a giant mess and wouldn’t work. Until I ran out of my stash of kitchen sponges and needed to wash the dishes. I thought OK. Let’s give this thing a try. And it actually works. Like really works. Better than a sponge! I have wiped away spots on my stainless steal cookware that I would have had to scrub with a regular sponge.

Food pieces wash away completely and when finished using you lay it out flat over your clean dishes, or hang up to dry. There is no place for bacteria to grow. No hidden spots for mold spores and best of all -there is no smelly sponge to toss and pay money to buy more. My friend and Norwex Rep Rebecca shares her dish cloth is going on two years. She has not had to purchase a dish sponge in two years. That’s a savings for your wallet and the planet!

Speaking of saving the planet I am now curious about other Norwex products that will help us reduce our plastic consumption. Here is my Wish List For Savings:

We use a lot of plastic straws. We toss at least 100 straws a month into our trash. The plastic used in drinking straws is not biodegradable. It just sits in our landfill. I also spend around $25 a year on plastic straws alone. So we are switching to stainless steel straws to save the planet and money.

stainless steel straws

We buy a lot of produce at our grocery stores and farmer’s markets. We often stuff our fresh selections into a plastic bag that gets tossed in the trash. (I haven’t found another use for them). So picking up some reusable mesh produce bags will really help cut down on the amount of plastic bags we throw away. These are washable and easy to carry along with our reusable shopping bags.

produce bags

We don’t use a lot of plastic wraps in our house. I have invested in several quality sets of reusable glass and food grade plastic containers to keep plastic wraps out of our home. I really love the sandwich wrap and snack bags from Norwex! These are great for packing sandwiches and our coveted gold fish crackers for a quick picnic in the park.

Sandwich wrapsnack bag

If you have not yet fallen for the craze that is Norwex please feel free to use my personal shopping link to find out more and feel free to ask questions. I promise it has been worth every penny spent! We can breathe easier in our homes and know that we are saving money and our planet!

Have you tried Norwex yet?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

Friday Favorites – Bean Box And Fun With Coffee

And all the moms chant, “What do we want? COFFEE!” “When do we want it? NOW!”

I believe there are two drinks that moms use as appropriate survival tactics – Coffee and Wine. I have three main reasons why coffee is a must have in my home and here they are:

Bean box boys

Lately, I’ve been on a subscription box kick. It’s such a great way to try new things that you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to, or even know about. While doing a search of the top subscription boxes  I found Bean Box. Samples of coffee beans from roasters in Seattle straight to my door? SIGN ME UP! Seattle is synonymous with coffee so I know I’m in good hands.   

bean box coffee

My first customized Bean Box sampler arrived with four specialty roasts from four different independent coffee roasters – Kuma Coffee, Herkimer Coffee, Lighthouse, and Conduit. You can customize your box depending on your roast preference from light to dark. Each coffee you select is shipped within 48 hours of roasting so that it’s always fresh. A ampler box includes four 1. 8-ounce packages of whole bean coffee. If you are new to brewing beans like I am, this is the equivalent to approximately 16 cups of coffee. You can purchase a decent coffee bean grinder for under $20 on Amazon. I scored a Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee pot at a yard sale for just $5!  It is super convenient to throw the beans right into the coffee maker and let it do the rest with a touch of a button.

bean box table

Sharing a fresh cup of coffee is a great way to connect with others, so I asked a five of my friends to come over and sample some of this good stuff! We started with a pot of Drip Blend by Herkimer Coffee which has hints of cherry, caramelized sugar and chocolate. Not surprisingly, we went thru that pot quickly and made another. Our second round was the Guatemala Chuito by the award winning Kuma Coffee. They describe it as a bright roast with notes of brown sugar, blueberry juice and lime. Would you believe we made a third pot? Did I mention that all five of us have toddlers? We finished up with a pot of Colombia Finca Veracruz roasted by Conduit.

Each bag of coffee includes a brief description by both the roaster and Bean Box. Bean Box described it as a “bright, white grape juice, creamy cocoa and a spicy finish of nutmeg in this intense, yet friendly, roast.” My husband and I shared Lighthouse’s Roaster’s Choice  which like the others was a great bold cup of coffee.

Do you have another coffee lover in your life? They have some great options for gift giving from the Coffee of the Month to the World Coffee Tour Box. You can also purchase the 12-ounce size bags of your favorites that include espresso and decaf options.

Good-Bye plastic pods of coffee! Bean Box has made me a believer in how coffee is supposed to be!

 

FUN THINGS TO DO WITH COFFEE:

Create Personalized Coffee Mugs by purchasing white coffee mugs from the dollar store. (The cheaper mugs are more porous to accept the paint). Use Sharpie Paint markers to create your design. Let it dry for 72 hours. Put mugs in a cold oven and turn to 425 degrees. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave them in there to cool off.

bean box mugs

 DIY Exfoliating Face Scrub Mix 3 Tablespoons of new coffee grounds with 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar and add 1 Tablespoon of natural oil of your choice (olive, grape seed, coconut or almond oil). Store mixture in an air tight glass jar. Massage gently on to your face and rinse with warm water.

 


Gloria DarmaninGloria Darmanin is a three time boy mom and completely outnumbered. She works hard to spread awareness for childhood cancer, authentic inclusion for persons with disabilities and gender equality. When she isn’t hiding from the kids she is off planning her annual St. Baldrick’s event and dreaming of ways to make money for charity.

Things No One Tells You About Motherhood

Things They Don't Tell New Mothers

Once people knew I was pregnant the stories of motherhood began flying my way. I was told I was going to fall head over heels in love my baby (and I totally have). Everything that my baby does will be adorable (I somewhat agree). I was told to take all the medications that were offered at delivery time (I never got any medications as we went directly into delivery upon arriving at the hospital). How I would love the cuddles, giggles, the milestones, cute outfits, tiredness and body changes. What I was not told about was the realism of motherhood.

Once I had my daughter I was not ready for what was about to happen. The true experience of motherhood was nothing like what I had been told. I do not want you, my awesome blog reader, to go blindly into motherhood without knowing the untold stories of motherhood.

Tiredness. Yes, I have experienced it in the past and I was told about tiredness. I would gladly take tiredness. However, since the beginning of my pregnancy I have been EXHAUSTED! My body went through 9 months of growing a baby while on bedrest. You would think I would have gotten a lot of sleep. My husband naively asked why I was so tired all the time. My response was you grow a human for 9 months, have it ripped from inside you and as your body is trying to heal you become a 24 hour vending machine. Walking away…grumble, grumble, ask my why I’m tired…grumble, grumble…

Childbirth is not as painful as the horror stories you hear.  I had my daughter without medication. Before it sounds like I am bragging, let me say she was a fast delivery where there was no time for mediation. The worse part was the “ring of fire” as her head pushed out. This is coming from a woman who has multiple health issues and takes numerous pain control medications.

The Heartburn never goes away! My heartburn was so bad that I had to see a specialist who scheduled me for surgery to remove my gall bladder. I had excruciating heartburn that caused me to double over in pain. The only way I got the slightest relief was by having to make myself throw up. This was horrible in itself. I was told that gallstones were a common issue for women after childbirth. Even after having my gallbladder removed I am still on prescribed medications for the heartburn.

Stretch marks everywhere. I have stretch marks on places I never thought possible. My toes and feet swelled three times their size during weeks 36-38 and then swelled more after giving birth. It hurt to walk for weeks. I now have stretch marks on my toes and feet. I also have stretch marks on the back of my neck, armpits, butt, hips, and arms, stomach….EVERYWHERE!

Time alone ceases to exist. You no longer have time to read that book you just got into. You now read The Very Hungry caterpillar a bajillion times. No more quiet refreshing showers, now you have to find ways to drag in some baby contraption to hold the child and toys to keep her happy while you quickly shower before she screams uncontrollably. (P.s. keep the shower door ajar so she can see you for a longer shower). Gone are the days of peeing in peace (have you read my Mommy Potty Chaos Post?). Ironically as I write this I am in the dentist’s waiting room using my “alone time” to finish this post.

Overwhelmed is the new normal. I used to juggle a million things very successfully. Now I can’t seem to get through one morning without losing my composure. I was once told I come off as unfazed…where is that person now? Balancing household bills and squeezing out money for baby needs, housework that never is caught up, friends are put on the back burner, finding time to buy groceries. Now the baby needs more attention, other child needs attention, your needs don’t count. Don’t forget the husband needs attention and by the way your legs would embarrass Chewbacca, a fact that my husband let me know by buying hair remover cream “so it can work while you do other things.”

I was never told these things could become part of my daily routine! I think that as our babies grow the sting of the events we deal with are covered with fluffy cute loveable moments. We forget the pregnancy struggles and how hard it was to walk, breathe, and function. We forget the “ring of fire” during birth. As sleep patterns form we forget the length of exhaustion. We also forget those unimaginable monster mommy moments we dealt with.

I do promise that when a naïve young woman asks what motherhood is like, I will share the horrid untold stories of motherhood. I will not sugar coat a thing. It will either make her stronger in knowledge of what is to come or make her think twice about becoming a mother.

Ooh, yeah the dentist is calling. I wonder if I ask nicely they will sedate me so that I can also get some sleep while I am here?

deb editDebra is a first time mom to her beautiful rainbow baby Skyler, a wife, a blogger and an ordained minister. She enjoys crafting and creating educational fun for her step sons and decorating her home. Find Debra at Crossing New Bridges on Facebook and on Twitter.

Friday Favorites – My Summer Life Hacks

5 Life Hacksfor Balance

The kids an I are in full camp mom mode and ready for our summer adventures. No school and no sports means the kids and I are spending a lot more time together. While I love the extra time (most days) having them home all day does cause a few hiccups in my daily routine. It isn’t easy shopping with kids in tow and having them home all day means I’m cleaning up all day.

As soon as my kids wake up they want a project to do. They will either pull out all of their toys or crayons and paper and set to work. It’s great to have kids who can so easily entertain themselves, but they are still working on the cleaning it all up part. I have learned to let somethings go, but I still find myself tidying up behind them. And if I want to get any kind of work done, I have to turn a blind eye to the mess they are making while I am in my office.

Between cleaning up the messes, making snacks/meals, schlepping us to the park, the library and playing outside; there is the laundry, the grocery shopping and writing a few blog posts each week. I also have a mile long summer project list of things like painting the deck, cleaning out the garage and creating a dramatic command center before school starts (ha, ha OK that’s not really going to happen).

That sure is a lot for one person to manage in a day. So, here are a few ways I am hacking my way through summer:

  1. Get a Cleaning Lady. I know everyone thinks this is a luxury they can’t afford. It isn’t something I can afford regularly either, but during the summer months I hire a little extra help to balance life out. I pay a local mom who is looking to make extra cash to stay home with her child. Not only am I supporting another mom, but she isn’t charging as much as a cleaning company. I also only have her come to my house every two weeks for a bigger cleaning. Narrow down what you need the most help with (for me it’s the bathrooms and the floors) and ask for a quote on only those areas.
  2. Outsource Your Shopping. My biggest time (and sanity) saver is ordering my groceries online. In the past I have had them delivered directly to my house. Now I use a curbside service where someone else spends the time pulling the groceries and bagging them up and then they bring them to my car. I don’t have to get two kids out of the car to shop!
  3. Do The Laundry Every Day. I know this sounds like a lot of work. Between the wet towels and bathing suits, the 10 outfit changes per day I find summer brings more laundry. I toss a load of laundry in the wash at dinner time and then in the dryer after dinner. Then I fold heaping piles of laundry while sitting in front of the TV at night. I don’t even put it away until morning. Actually I make everyone put away their own laundry away in the morning.
  4. Give The Kids A Bath. I know it can be hard to give kids a bath every day, and there are some nights, especially if we’ve been home all day, where we skip bath. Make their bath time the last activity of the day. Give them fun things in the tub to play with like glow sticks, grow capsules, shaving cream tub paints, or colored ice cubes. Set them up with a dinosaur wash, or a car wash and let their imaginations take over. Giving my kids extra time to play in the tub gives me extra time to do other things. Like sit down.
  5. Give Yourself A Break. If you are home with kids all day, or maybe you work a 9-5 and the evenings are packed with a bustle of family life, it’s OK to take a break. Enjoy some time to relax. Even if that means leaving the dishes in the sink while you sit outside with your beverage in hand soaking in the evening sunlight. Be sure to take some time with friends, or take a walk alone. I personally like to take the kids to the gym with me (childcare is free) so I can watch my grown up TV shows and they can play. It’s a nice break in the day.

There ya have it, my five go-to favorite summer life hacks. I can’t get everything done in a day without relying on these five things!

What other tips do you have?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

The Type of Friend You Become After Having Kids

I've Become The Friend That . . .

I love being a mom. I love being a friend. At times, it’s tough doing both, especially when you are raising toddlers. They are loud, unpredictable, clumsy & messy. It’s amazing how much motherhood changes you, especially concerning the dynamic you have with your friends. Here’s what I noticed about the friend I’ve become after having kids:

 

I’M NOW THE FRIEND THAT:

Texts more than talks. I remember when I had an infant that slept the majority of the day. I still called my long distance friends and talked for hours. Then as she got older, it became more difficult when my daughter started to get into things. Now that my daughters are 4 & 2, it seems as if they have radar on me. If mommy is on the phone, that must be the time to squeal, fight and scream. Communicating is so much easier texting than talking.

 

Yells mid-conversation. This goes back to the previous point. If my friend is lucky enough to have more than a 5 minute conversation with me, she’s bound to hear me yell mid-conversation. At one point, I can hear the uncomfortable silence in my single friend’s voice, and in the next few minutes, she’s asking me if I need to go. Even though I tell her the wailing she’s hearing is unreasonable, the conversation usually ends. A few minutes later, my child is happy and no signs of discomfort arise. My friends with kids either laugh or tell me they just did the same thing 10 minutes ago.

 

Finishes eating before everyone else. I’ve noticed that I’m the first one done when my girlfriends and I go out to eat. Even though I’m out without the kids, I’m eating like I’m running a marathon race because that’s what I’m used to at home. If I want to finish a meal without interruption, it’s got to happen fast. It’s hard to get out of the habit.

 

Always has a sanitizing item in their purse. Kids are unpredictable. So are their messes. I’m the mom that has something to sanitize with in my purse either in the form of a Boogie wipe, regular wipe, hand sanitizer or sanitizing hand wipe. I’ve started keeping these items in my purse even when the kids aren’t with me. It comes in handy when I’ve spilled some coffee or bits of lunch on myself.

 

Shops online. Before kids, I loved to browse for hours in the mall. I tried everything on, and took back what I changed my mind about once I got home. Now when my friends ask where I’ve purchased something, more than likely I’ve purchased it online. Don’t get me wrong, I love a shopping trip, but shopping with kids limits the amount of time I have to try things on. I also have to keep them still and semi quiet in the dressing room, so it’s much easier to just buy online.

 

Can’t take a group picture because my phone is full of pictures of my kids. No matter how many pictures I download or delete I just can’t get enough of my kids; their messy faces, pouts, smiles, nakedness and beauty.

 

The nice thing about true friends is that they stick around no matter how you evolve as a mom. They understand that motherhood makes you a little absent-minded at times, but they charge it to your head and not your heart. They also realize that it doesn’t change the quality of your friendship, perhaps just the quantity of time you spend together.

What have you noticed about the friend you’ve become after having kids? 

Diedre Jason photoDiedre Anthony is a full time school counselor, mother and wife.  In her blog Are Those Your Kids? , she focuses on her experiences of raising her biracial girls in an interracial marriage.  Her posts are filled with helpful tips about raising children, diversity, curly hair as well as entertaining stories, and anecdotes.  Several of her posts have been published by the Huffington Post .

Friday Favorites – Favorite Activities This Week!

School is officially out for summer and we are just humming away at play time. We are only at day 5 but so far my kids wake up ready to play. Whether it is outside on the swings, or dressing up in our toy room they are eager to get their day started. We are also working on keeping our skills current during the summer months. I don’t want to make anything formal and make it feel like school is still in session, so I have found a few fun activities that we just incorporate into our daily routine.

FREE PRINTABLES

We are absolutely loving this free Goldfish cracker alphabet printable from Totschooling.net! The last few mornings I have left the letters stacked up next to a bowl full of the kids favorite snack crackers just inviting them to play. They get really excited to line up the crackers on the letters and they move the letters around to create words, or practice spelling their names. This is also really great for toddlers just learning letter recognition. Sit them at the table to enjoy while you tidy up, finish a phone call or just relax for a minute.

gold fish crackers

ART SUPPLIES

A few months ago we made our own water color paints in ice cube trays. I forgot all about them until this morning when my kids pulled them out. I wondered why things were suddenly very quiet… too quiet. They made their way into the art bin and pulled out the paints and paper, filled up their little cups with water and started painting. I find that making art supplies accessible for my creative kids makes it easier for them to grab when inspiration hits.

IMG_20160315_160934152

WATER PLAY

It hasn’t been terribly hot since our vacation started, but my kids don’t really care. The just want to run through the sprinklers or fill up the water table. I recently introduced them to the beauty of water balloons on their last day of school. They were so excited to finally give them a try. I previously banned water balloons from our yard, but now they are old enough to pick up all the pieces.

sprinkler-926779_640

BOOKS ON CD

My kids absolutely love music and stories. I purchased a bunch of half priced Barefoot books from a friend going out of business. I put them aside to bring out through the year. Each day my kids grab a new book and pop in a CD. They listen to it as back ground while coloring, or read along with the book. It keeps them busy and gives me a whole lot of quiet.

odysseus

PRACTICING SCISSOR SKILLS

My kids have terrible scissor skills. I don’t want to add more work to our day, but they need to practice a little through the summer. We are making collages by cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing to a page. Sounds super simple, but it really helps work those fine motor skills. We like to warm up by squishing some play dough first. The only down side to this project is we had a Scotch tape shortage by day 3 because we ran out of glue sticks by day 1.

magazines

PRACTICING WRITING SKILLS

My kids also need to practice their hand writing skills. I dread this because I usually get frustrated. My girls have ZERO focus on writing. No matter how little they need to write, or how fun the project is one of us ends up in tears. Thankfully, a fellow mom and occupational therapist gave me some great tips to keep my kids focused. She suggested using a yoga ball so the kids can wiggle while they work and offering crunchy snacks while they work. I’ve also gathered up some local pals to exchange letters with this summer. Hopefully all of that will be motivation enough for them to keep practicing.

love-1261887_640

These are our favorite things so far! We plan to enjoy so much more during our summer break. Ten days from now it could all fall apart, but for now I am really enjoying keeping busy with the kids!

What are your summer plans?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

Closing our Eyes to Sandy Hook

Turning Our Backs on Sandy Hook

This week I am taking a break from sharing my favorite things to share with you my thoughts on gun violence. I don’t even have enough words to put together to express my feelings over the tragic loss of lives in Orlando. It has taken me this long to find the words you are about to read. I have been a weeping mess of sadness trying to make sense of my own feelings about this. My heart is aching while my kids are at school and I am a hugging machine when they are home. I have no idea what I should be doing to make things different. Then I saw this:

 

Stacey Wehrman Feeley

June 15 at 8:10pm

“I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to. However, the moment she told me what she was doing I broke down. She was practicing for a lock-down drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.

Politicians – take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?”

 ‪#‎dosomething ‪#‎prayfororlando ‪#‎wecandobetterMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Photo credit: Stacey Wherman Feely. Her daughter drilling active shooter drills at home.

This photo was taken by Stacey Wherman Feeley, mother of this beautiful 3-year old girl and it is going viral. As it should! This is what we need to see every single day- the conditions in which we are forcing our children to grow up in. What Can I DO to help? This is the question every single person living and breathing in America should be asking right now. Every teacher. Every parent. Every nurse, doctor and lawyer. WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE A CHANGE? HOW CAN WE KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE AT SCHOOL?

I may be the Whatever Mom learning to keep my cool and let things go, but this is something that gets me really hot under the collar. The gun issue sickens me. Instead of tightening up safety measures we are teaching our vulnerable children to:

Hide.

Live in fear.

To think about staying alive during the school day.

Parents are on pins and needles leaving their kids at school, at day camp and dropping them off at the mall just hoping today isn’t the day someone decides they have the right to use a military grade weapon to kill and maim innocent people- of which could be their child.

My heart has been in pieces since Sandy Hook just thinking and worrying about my kids. And your kids. For the last few years I have listened to my friends talk about the active shooter drills in their kids’ schools. Their kids are coming home with anxiety about going to school and getting killed.

In the picture above a 3-year old is poised on top of the toilet practicing her balance and keeping quiet. THIS IS HOW WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE SAFE? How can we expect a child not yet developmentally capable of sitting still and keeping their emotions under control to fend for their own lives like this? They aren’t going to stay quiet long enough for a gunman to think, “Well, no one in there” and walk away.

Teaching our children to behave like sitting ducks just waiting to be plucked is teaching them to tolerate and accept violence as just a part of everyday life. Doesn’t that sound broken to anyone else? Doesn’t that sound like we have failed our children in some way? “Gee kids we’d really like schools to be a safe place for you to go to every day, but it just doesn’t look like it’s happening any time soon. And to the kid being abused at home and already living in fear every day we sure wish we could give you a secure place to let down your guard and find some solace in your day. Unfortunately none of us can agree on what that looks like. So for now just hang tight in the bathroom stalls and try not to make any noticeable sounds with your wiggly bodies and your loud personalities. We’ll just hope for the best.”

I don’t know about you, but I am mad. I am mad at our flawed system. I am mad at people who think mass murder is a justifiable act. I am mad there isn’t enough help for folks living with mental illness. I am mad at the people pointing fingers and blaming. And I am mad at myself. Sandy Hook happened four years ago and I have done nothing to be a part of the change I want for my kids. There have been how many more shootings since then? Sure, I signed a few petitions online and completed a few acts of random kindness to celebrate the lives of the kids who were murdered. How long can we close our eyes on what we learned from Sandy Hook? Another senseless shooting happens and I’m suddenly awake to how broken our system is. But what have I DONE to make change happen for MY OWN CHILDREN? Nothing. Until now.

Now, with a fire in my belly, I am calling every single representative, tweeting and a sharing on Facebook. I am texting #DisarmHate and hash tagging #wecandobetter like my fingers are on fire and the keys are going to put them out. I am educating myself on ways to close the loopholes in our gun laws. I am answering every call to action. I can’t stop until something changes for the better. It isn’t enough to teach our 3-year old children to suck it up and deal with the way the world is today. There has to be more.

Let it begin with me and you. Share this post. Sign up to follow your senators who are fighting for change. Follow groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and answer their calls to action. Please help me find a way to keep guns out of the hands of folks who just want to use them to hurt our children.

For more information on what you can do to combat gun violence in America read Senator Chris Murphy’s words here.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

What’s In Your Mouth?

Things in Kids Mouths

I’m constantly amazed at what my children put in their mouths. And their ears. And their nose.  My 2 year old daughter likes to put her big sisters Shopkins in her mouth. Granted some of them look like ice cream people, but really. And she keeps doing it. It’s not like they’re flavored. Why?

When my older two were little they would chew on their cribs. Not just a little.  In some parts they went through the varnish and down to the wood. I remember one time I went in and one of them had brown flecks of wood stain all over her mouth.

I don’t understand what makes kids want to do this, other than when they’re teething. It can’t taste good. It’s not like they’re hungry when they’re doing it.

The same girl who tried eating her crib also fed her brother raw pork fat once. I had trimmed a roast but hadn’t put the fat directly into the garbage, so it was on the cutting board. Apparently my son told his sister he was hungry, and being the resourceful 5 year old she is, she grabbed him some food. When I saw him and asked what he was eating, he said meat. GAG.

IMG_2790

A stray raisin that I missed when I swept the floor is fair game if I can’t snatch it out of their hand. My son actually asked if what he was holding was an old raisin, and when I said I think so, he popped it in his mouth. I have to tell at least one child per day to take something out of their mouth. Food, toys, rocks; really the possibilities are endless.

One of my older girls also went through a phase of chewing on her hair. I wouldn’t have cared really, except the section she chewed on would get all matted and if she had just finished eating her hair would get extra gross.

However, the all-time winner in this game of what-terrible-thing-can-I-put-in-my-mouth is my son, who decided he was going to eat our Christmas lights. Christmas lights you say? Yes, glass Christmas lights.

Some good friends of ours have Christmas lights on their patio for when they sit out at night, and I liked the idea so much I wanted to recreate it at our house. So I got some of our old Christmas lights and hooks to hang them up. Unfortunately, two strands didn’t completely light up, and they sat outside on a table waiting for me to come back and fix them.

Along comes my son. He’s playing with his twin sister nicely in the backyard, but I happen to glance outside and it looks like he has something in his mouth. Now, I can’t tell you why my brain went to the lights, but somehow I just KNEW what this crazy kid of mine had done. Sure enough, I ran outside and asked him to open his mouth. He ran away from me like all good kids who are trouble do. I get him and tell him to spit it out. Out comes 2 pieces of glass and then he hands me the chomped on light bulb. Whyyyyyyyy?

Luckily, he wasn’t hurt and somehow it didn’t cut his mouth, but I’m constantly wondering how humans have survived so long with the amount of potentially dangerous things they do to themselves as children.

Hopefully things will start calming down, but I have a feeling my Shopkin chewing daughter will follow in the footsteps of the hair chewing daughter. Plus it seems my son is a human goat, so it might be a long while yet.

Is there something I can even do for all this chewing? A friend of mine told me about necklaces that I could get that are specifically made for kids that like to chew on stuff, so those might be an option. Has anyone ever heard of something like that or tried it?

Jennifer at Sweet DiscordJennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.