Category: Organizing

My Night Away In Lake George

Mom Spends One Night Away Everyone Survived

Last week my friend Dianna and I got the chance to take a moms only over night trip to Lake George. It was so much fun! Dianna and I have known each other for 20-years. We’ve gone away together for spring break, made it through the heartache of boys, watched each other get married and now we get to witness each other’s journey through motherhood. We get so busy with life that it was so great to get some time to reconnect!

I want to share with you all the fun things we did, but I also want to share with you that going away by yourself is a wonderful thing. I didn’t want to leave my babies behind, but I wanted to get a break from the constant care and routine. Being a stay at home mom running the household and spending 24/7 with the kids IS my job. When my husband takes a vacation he gets to leave his work tasks behind for a week. I just wanted one day.

A one night stay not too far from home was just what I needed to recharge. I came back feeling like a more patient and replenished mom than when I left. Plus dad’s need time to connect with the kiddos too! I get the kids to myself all the time, he deserves to have them all to himself too. Now, I feel like he understands a little better why I am so stressed most of the time. If you’ve ever wanted to make a quick get away but were afraid to leave the kids with hubby- your kids will be fine! So will hubby!

After I realized how much my kids and my husband get out of this situation too, I felt more at ease taking some time for myself. I enjoyed every minute of shopping in the outlets and taking my time trying things on! No one was tugging at my shirt screaming, “mama! mama! mama!” or jumping out of a cart. I even walked through a candy store at a leisurely pace without having to drag a disappointed, tantruming child away. It was simply relaxing.

Now To The Fun Stuff

After we spent time shopping at the Lake George Outlets, we grabbed a late lunch in nearby Queensbury at the Recovery Room Sports Grill. Thankfully my friend was driving so I could enjoy a mid-afternoon cocktail. The food was really good. I discovered later that kids eat for $2.99 all day every day. We will have to remember this on our next trip back to the area.

Out in Lake George

After lunch we checked into our hotel room. Well, it was actually a motel room and a very run down one at that. We stayed at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center. We were situated in the motel area of the property instead of the main building. Our room appeared clean, but really run down. Call me crazy but, I expect when I pay money to stay someplace the towels they provide should not be threadbare. I had to search through the pile to find one that was acceptable. The rest of the property seemed well maintained and I may return for one more try because it is a great location, but only if we can get a room in the main hotel.

Once we were all checked in and got ourselves all dolled up, we took the short walk through town to the Adirondack Winery where they treated us to a premium wine tasting. We enjoyed a “slate plate” showcasing local cheese, jellies, crackers and chocolates. We enjoyed seven samples of wine, plus a dessert wine and a full sized wine slushy. I was left wondering where this cocktail has been all my life. Thankfully they sell the slushy mix in-store, along with full sizes of the other treats we sampled. The staff was so wonderfully friendly and knowledgeable about each wine and the source of each local taste. It was a really great start to our night!

Adirondack Winery

The night was still young so we decided to catch some live music and hit the dance floor. There were several places with live bands and DJs. Since it was an off season weekend, most of the places were filled with locals rather than the litany of tourists. We found some place that was fun and vibrant. Even though I was surrounded by college kids half my age, it was still nice to bust a move. Yes, I still got it!

I think a once a year getaway will be a really great way for us to reconnect as friends. We are moms now but we have a deeper history than just motherhood. It’s nice to laugh at all the crazy things we’ve done and catch up on where we are now.

Here are a few tips on planning your own moms only getaway:

We took advantage of a Groupon deal during an off season weekend. This made it affordable for us to stay.

Decide ahead of time the purpose of your stay. Are you looking for adventure? Are you looking to chill by the bar, take in a show or just spend time in the room? Making sure everyone is on the same page ensures no one leaves disappointed.

Bring hotel snacks! It doesn’t have to be fancy, or it can be really fancy. I traveled with someone once who thought sushi and wine are perfectly acceptable tailgate foods. Decide between friends who is bringing what. It could be really indulgent chocolate, or cupcakes and wine.

Take as many photos as you can. It is a lot of fun to look back on your time together.

Don’t feel guilty leaving your husband solo for a night. He is your co-parent after all. Expect that the house WILL be giant mess when you return, or that he will NOT do things exactly as you will. But everyone is going to survive!

Find out what is in the area to see and do. I found the Adirondack Winery on a Pinterest post which lead me to their website. I set up the tasting from there.

Leave a list for hubby. I left behind a list of names and numbers hubby could call for questions, or back up if necessary. This eased both of our worries. Thankfully, he didn’t need the list and he had a great time with the kids!

If going away over night seems like too much don’t feel bad. Until now I only ever dreamed about taking a night for myself. But scheduling time to connect, even over a cup of coffee, is a great way to strengthen your friendships and nurture who you are as a person, not just who you are as a mom. Whether you work outside of the home, work from home or stay home with the kids you deserve some guilt free time to yourself.

Where would you go if you had just one night away from the house and kids?

Promotional links provided in this post are for your convenience. No affiliate links are included and I do not receive financial compensation if you use them. All opinions and reviews belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

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.

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Friday Favorites- Earth Day Roundup

Happy Earth Day!

Yes, today is the day we celebrate the earth and all the fabulous wonder it brings. Hug a tree, recycle a container or go out and plant something. Here are my Top 3 favorite earth friendly (and human friendly) products I have shared so far in my Friday Favorites series!

NORWEX

Norwex

My absolute top favorite is Norwex. We use the Envirocloth every day and need only water to clean with! This has cut down my household dependence on paper towels, cleaning chemicals that wash into our water supply and I let my kids help out more often too! That saves my energy resources. 😉 I started using the crazy mesh dish cloth I thought would never work and now I am hooked! It cleans better than a sponge and food doesn’t get stuck inside. I no longer have to buy pesticide soaked sponges! That saves me money, our water supply and adds way less waste into our landfill. You can find my original post about Norwex products here.

 

RUME

MyRuMe

I still love my RuMe reusable bag! I carry this tote inside my mom purse where ever I go. It has saved me from using countless plastic bags when shopping for only a handful of items. I can skip the plastic bag at the library too when out with the kids. And I can even use it to carry home a wet pair of pants (don’t ask). It is a great size and rolls up small so I can carry in my purse. It is washable and very sturdy! You can read my original post about my favorite RuMe products here.

 

POOFY ORGANICS

Poofy Organics

Last but not least, Poofy Organics has become our bath time favorite! My girls are still using and loving the Young Wild and Free shampoo and conditioner. I am loving the organic ingredients (entire product is not organic certified) and that it is cruelty free. The products clean really well and smell wonderful! We also use the lice prevention spray in the morning before leaving for school. This also smells really good without being over powering! All products that are good to our earth from start to finish! You can read my original post about Poofy Organics here.

There ya have it! A round up of my Top 3 favorite eco-friendly products I can count on! For me being kind to our earth is necessary to leave behind a healthy world for my children and my children’s children. What earth friendly products do you love the most?

All links to giveaways are now closed. Winners have been chosen and prizes distributed. No financial compensation given for reviews all opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links contained within individual posts. 

 

 

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. 

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Picky Eaters Party of Two – My Hidden Nutrition Mac and Cheese

Hello mamas! I have shared before how difficult it is to find foods for my super picky eaters. These girls of mine simply will NOT take even one bite if they don’t want to. So, I end up wasting a lot of food. I try not to make food a struggle at our house, but I think sometimes it just is. Other times I find myself doctoring up their most favorite food on the planet: Mac and Cheese. But, hell hath no fury like a child who does not get the right shaped pasta in her mac and cheese. It MUST be shells NOT elbows. Lesson learned.

Here is how I sneak in a little extra nutrition into their favorite boxed mac and cheese. (Yes, boxed because they won’t eat my super amazing from scratch recipe).

Picky mac and cheese

Ingredients:

Favorite Box of Mac and Cheese

Nutritional Yeast

Winter squash, pureed (can also use sweet potato, cauliflower to go unnoticed)

Avocado mayo (optional)

Why avocado mayo? Well, it’s adding in some extra healthy fats which little developing brains need.

Why nutritional yeast? The nutritional yeast is rich with B-vitamins which my kids may not get enough of because of their limited food choices. Helps sneak in a little extra fiber and minerals too.

Why veggie puree? The hidden veggies gives an extra boost of fiber and vitamins.

Here’s how I make it.

Boil macaroni according to package directions.

picky mac and cheese 2

While the pasta is draining, I put in the amount of butter specified on the package and get it melting.

picky mac and cheese 3

Once it is melted I add in the veggie puree and mayo. Once it is all mixed I add in the cheese packet and the nutritional yeast (which I have been able to convince my kids it is a “cheese booster”) and milk. Once all of that is mixed well I add the pasta back into the pot and stir.

picky mac and cheese 4

My kids will eat the entire box together. Some nights this is all they will eat despite me serving their favorite veggies and fish sticks, or chicken nuggets along side of it. Having all that extra stuff mixed inside the mac and cheese is like a little nutritional insurance policy. I don’t worry about what they aren’t eating because I know what little they are eating is still packed with good stuff.

picky mac and cheese 5

I have to admit, some of these ingredients do not seem appetizing on their own. I thought nutritional yeast just sounded so gross until I actually tried it for myself. Also, who puts mayo in their mac and cheese, right? But, none of these ingredients are even detectable when masked behind the cheese. It also helps to NEVER let your kids see what you add into the sauce! Afterall, the secret is in the sauce. 😉

If you have a picky eater making you jump through a lot of hoops to get them to eat, hang in there! Despite my kids desire to subsist on macaroni and cheese alone, they are thriving and hovering in that 80th percentile.

Got a sure fire, tried and true way to get your picky eater to eat their veggies? Please share in the comments below!

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!

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Spring Cleaning (Not A Guide)

Spring Cleaning

Phwew! Spring break is over and the kids are back at school FOR SIX HOURS TODAY!! We survived!                I survived!!! Now, to update you on our week!

Last year for spring break we took an amazing road trip to Mystic CT (<—click it) to see the aquarium and a few fun little museums. This year (are ya ready for this?) we stayed home to spring clean our house! I know…that crazy Whatever family! It’s all about balance right? Amazing fun doesn’t come without the price of cleaning up a mess. Don’t worry; this isn’t another blog about how to clean your house, or what schedule you should follow to spring clean in 30 minutes or less. This is a blog about survival.

Although I do love me a good clean house to live in, having me tell you how I clean my house really doesn’t matter. You know how to clean a house right? Even if you clean your house in a different order than I do mine you’re not doing it wrong. It may set you at ease to read this next confession of mine; I haven’t cleaned my home in five years. OK that’s a little misleading. I have cleaned my house, but I haven’t been able to clean my house for FIVE. YEARS. All the sticky parts were cleaned up and the most trafficked areas maintained, but cleaning any deeper just did not happen.

When you have two little kids always stuck to you like Velcro, and zero extra help you do what you can to survive. Even if that means stacking things high on top of the fridge, or into as many distant corners as possible to keep them from destroying things. That’s what you do. Survival. Survival can get dirty. I didn’t even take pictures to share with you because, well things were dirty. We cleaned behind furniture and found things we thought we lost years ago. Did you know spiders can create webs that connect your furniture TO the wall? Yep. Found a lot of those too.

We washed curtains, shampooed carpets, washed windows and here’s my favorite part: we threw things away!! If you’ve read my posts before you know I am an avid “chucker.” I love to throw out duplicate items, small random toys that have no meaning and riding my closet of tiny clothes I’ll no longer squeeze my mom bod into. I admit I felt a sharp pang in my heart when my five year olds fit into my old concert t-shirts. I’d be lucky if I could get even one of those shirts over my thigh now. *sigh*

We moved furniture to new locations and organized kitchen cabinets. So much work. But, so happy it’s all done. I am having a lot of emotions about the girls starting Kindergarten and I feel like settling things in our closets and cupboards will help me feel like I have some amount of control over this new season of parenthood (and maybe breathe a little better without the inch of dust on my walls). In some weird way it makes me feel more prepared. I feel like we are closing a chapter on their early childhood. All the baby stuff. All the toddler games. It’s all gone. We are no longer spending hours piled under tents and learning our ABC’s. My kids know their ABC’s.

This spring cleaning was about tucking away the memories of our lives at home the last five years. It was about me carefully and lovingly packaging those moments up neat. I packed away all evidence of our preschool years now preserved in a box on a shelf. We can visit those days again, but we won’t have those moments to live again. I’ll miss being at the park at 10:15 a.m. on a Tuesday soaking up the sun while listening to my kids gleeful screeches. I’ll miss watching them in the backyard lost in a daydream while swinging higher and higher.

As I blew off the dust that collected during the last five years of survival, I began to look forward to surviving the next five years. Bullies. Heartache. Bus rides. Science. Learning. Navigating friendships. Understanding more about the world. This spring cleaning was a way of holding on and letting go at the same time. It is so hard to let go of those “little” years, but I have to let them go to make room for what’s to come in the next five years.

I know I’ll never have everything perfectly crossed off of my list. I’ll never accomplish all the things I want to with my kids as time passes by too quickly. But, I’m doing my best to hold onto who they are today, before leaving those little people in our past. Now that our house is clean I feel like we each have a fresh place to start this next leg of our journey. Join me five years from now when I “deep clean” our house once again. *wink*

Got a great been there done that survival tip for the Kindergarten year? Please share it below! You can also share it on my Facebook Page or Twitter!

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!

 

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Friday Favorites: Money Saving Apps That Earn You Extra Cash

MoneySaving Apps

This week we upgraded my dumb “smart” phone to a much better option! My last phone really was the dumbest smart phone ever! If I tried to download an app (or use any app) the phone would freeze. I would have to turn it off and restart it every time. I couldn’t upload any of my pics any where and it would just shut off randomly. I know… first world problems. But, it can be frustrating when you are trying to use your phone for business and an all inclusive scheduling tool.

Now that I have a fully functional phone I am finding more apps that save me time and money! Who doesn’t love that? During those early years of paying for formula and diapers for two babies I spent a lot of my time clipping and organizing coupons. Now, I just don’t have the time. So apps like Target’s Cartwheel and Ibotta are super easy to use and much quicker than clipping and sorting coupons!

I feel like I’ve come late to the party because just about everyone already knows about these apps. But, if you are as late to the party as me, let me share my favorites!

 

ibotta app

The Ibotta app allows me to unlock savings deals on grocery items, apparel, electronics, specialty gifts, pet supplies, arts and crafts and more. I simply unlock a coupon to get cash back on that item instead of the amount deducted up front like a coupon. Once the cash amount reaches $20 you can cash it out and transfer to a Paypal account to spend any way you want. Who doesn’t want EXTRA cash?!

walmart savings app

I am not a fan of shopping at my local Walmart. Mostly because it is swamped no matter what time of day I go. There’s never an easy place to park and the lines are always so long it’s never just a quick stop for me. But, a lot of my friends are using the Walmart Savings Catcher app when they shop. It automatically searches your purchased items and compares the prices at other local stores. If an item is cheaper at another store Walmart refunds the difference! Another way to make EXTRA cash! (I have not used this one yet).

cartwheel app

The Target Cartwheel app is super easy to use and you can stack your savings! If you have a coupon for an item already AND there is a cartwheel coupon you can use BOTH! I purchased bathing suits for my kids Easter baskets this week. As I was standing in line I remembered I could use the app! I’m glad I did because there was a coupon in there for 15% off kids bathing suits AND additional coupons for the candy items I purchased too. I didn’t pay full price for anything! You don’t get cash back with this app, but saving up front is a great way to keep cash IN your pocket! The best part is no coupon clipping and it stores your digital coupons in your dashboard to access at the cash register!

Often these kinds of apps offer a chance to earn extra cash by sharing with your friends. So, the first time they use the app you are rewarded with $5-$10 in your account to spend any way you want. Between earning cash and saving cash you are getting paid to shop!

I am hooked on using these apps to save and make money. Now, I am curious what other must have apps are out there! Which ones are your favorites?

PLEASE share in the comments below!

 

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!

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It’s OK To Let Some Things Go

OK to let some things go

Oh boy does life get overwhelming sometimes! I have a lot on my plate as a mom working from home. I have writing deadlines, I have advertiser deadlines and conference calls to make all while making sure my little sweeties are all comfy at home. This can be really hard to manage on top of everything else the household demands of me. You know- the laundry, the dishes and the broken handle on the fridge, and pretty much everything else.

A few weeks ago I decided there is no reason to take all of this on myself. I know I am the one home most of the day, but there are four able bodied humans living here! We should all be pitching in to maintain our home. I’m also very lucky that my kids like to help out. It isn’t without grumbling some days because no one here is perfect. But, they do help out.

The last few weeks I have delegated much of my evening/after dinner routine to the hubby and kids. I hand off a chore to each of them while I do the dishes and clean up the kitchen. The girls are five now and can easily wipe down the table and chairs, or sweep up under the table while hubby takes out the trash. Once all of that is complete we move on to toy pick up.

I do not own the Strawberry Shortcake doll house, nor do I own an entire collection of Care Bears. So, why am I the only one putting them away? Now, after dinner we all work as a team to put away the toys and mess we’ve made during the day. My kids even help me get their school bags ready for the morning and lay out their own outfits for school. This is great prep for Kindergarten in the fall! (They don’t know it yet, but that’s when they’ll start packing their own lunches too).

The kids have started taking care of their own laundry. They carry their own hampers to the washer, put their clothes in and start it up. (Obviously, I add in the detergent). I put it in the dryer and fold it then they put it away. I know they won’t enjoy this chore for very long, but I am taking full advantage of their enthusiasm now.

When either kid complains (because every kid complains) we remind them we are a family and a team. We pitch in to help. We do not pay them for chores. But, their eagerness to pitch in does count! We take into consideration how helpful they are and how much they are growing into their responsibilities and we reward them with a trip to Build-a-Bear, or a surprise trip to their favorite ice cream store.

We aren’t using any chore charts. I simply hand off a task when I need help. Also, I’m not looking for perfection in their efforts. I just want things to feel livable. If all the clutter and crumbs are put away I really do feel better, and it truly makes for fewer items on my to-do list.

I’m not sharing this for any accolades or to impress anyone. Because really there are times I let the crumbs and clutter pile up because I can’t make it all work. I am sharing to let you know it’s OK to hand off items on that to-do list to your family members. We often feel like we have to do it ourselves because no one else can match our standards. Well, to that I say change your standards. Maybe you feel like your kids are too young to help, and to that I say they have to learn some time! If you are like me and find there aren’t enough hours in the day and you feel like you are always behind, give out tasks to your kids, or spouse. Start small and then add on. Even toddlers can help by wiping a table with a cloth or sponge or clear their own place at the table.

As much as I miss my little babies being babies, I am actually excited about this new phase. We can now work together as a family to get things done quicker. This makes less work for each of us. On the days this all works right (again we’re not perfect) we get extra time to snuggle and sit on the couch together and talk about our day. That to me is worth it!

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 ParentandMasshole 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!

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Friday Favorites- RuMe

Friday Favorites (2)

Have you heard of RuMe products yet? Maybe you see their ads all over Facebook and wonder if they are worth the purchase? Well, I have two of their products and I am in love! RuMe stands for Reuse Me. These gorgeous Eco-friendly products exemplify sustainability with a focus on self expression. RuMe offers a wide selection of colorful patterns and customization.

Here are the products I am using in my mom bag:

The Baggie All

Organize everything in your bag!
Organize everything in your bag!

This little baggie has 3 zippered pockets and replaces TWO of the bags I used to keep my items separated. I can carry my make-up, coupons, medicines and pen and paper all in one bag. This saves me from rummaging through stuff in my giant mom bag. I just pull out the Baggie All and open the one pocket I need to access!

The Medium Tote

Lightweight and versatile.
Lightweight and versatile.

I  carry the medium every day tote with me as a back up bag and reusable shopping bag. It is super easy to carry because it is light weight, it rolls up and is secured by a Velcro strap. It doesn’t take up much room at all! I use it in place of the plastic store bags and it saves me on our trips to the library, or when my kids spill something on their clothes and I need an extra bag to carry those wet things home.

Here are some other items you might like:

The Baby Travel Play

This adorable play mat is machine washable, has a quilted bottom and comes in two adorable prints.! It’s perfect for play dates in any location. It’s light weight and folds to fit in it’s own small tote.

 

Personalized Mini Totes

These are perfect for your little one to carry their own books home from the library, toys for a play date, swim gear, or gymnastics/dance outfits, or carry their own snacks. The square sides make this bag extra roomy and it holds up to 50 lbs. It is machine washable and water resistant too! You can customize the color and personalize with your child’s name.

 

I highly recommend RuMe bags for the quality, durability and ease of use. All RuMe products are machine washable, water resistant, affordable, functional and beautiful! These are the most efficient and easy to care for reusable bags I have! RuMe offers so much more than just totes and baggies! Check out MyRuMe.com for personalized gifts like glass coasters, cutting boards, wine charms, home and office items and more!

The Whatever Mom received no financial compensation for this review. RuMe products were provided for free with cost of shipping. The opinions expressed in this post belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

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On The Twelfth Day of Service Give a Merry Makeover

10

It’s the twelfth and final day of my service series! I hope you have enjoyed all the fun ways my kids and I give back during the holidays. Now there is nothing saying you have to do all twelve service projects or any projects at all. You can pick one that is the easiest and most affordable for you! Or, you can schedule it for another part of the year that is more manageable for you.

Being a stay at home mom for five years now means we’ve had to survive on one income. There were a couple of tight years when my husband had to work two jobs.  He delivered newspapers in the early, dark mornings on his way to his regular 9-5 job. He never had a morning off and he worked every holiday. It did not matter that there was a drop of 26 inches of snow overnight people STILL demanded their $1.00 newspaper be delivered directly to their door. I don’t know how my husband kept that job for two years. But, when providing for a family you do whatever it takes.

This gave me a much deeper perspective and appreciation for people in service positions. From the person who delivers the newspaper, the mail carrier to the people who take away your garbage- we NEED them! Their jobs are valuable because they make our lives convenient and comfortable. For this I think they deserve some recognition and some gratitude. So, today we decorated our mail box!

 

Give your mailbox a Merry Makeover

Without fail through sleet, through snow and rain our mail arrives! I would not want to walk miles in the rain to deliver a flyer, or worse bills that brings stress to many families. HOWEVER, they do get to bring me some cheer at Christmas! They fill my box each day in December with cards from family and friends. So to that I say THANK YOU!! During Christmas week we will leave a small gift outside for our mail man- a pair of gloves, a lotto ticket and a gift card for coffee. All fun things he can put in his pocket and take along with him.

Your kids will love decorating the mail box with pretty bows and wrapping paper. Help them make a thank you card, or sign to attach to the box. Have them help you wrap each small gift and let them leave it in the mailbox for your carrier to find! This is a great way to teach kids that no job is insignificant.

Thank you for sharing the last 12 days with me! I appreciate ALL OF YOU reading along and taking the time to share your comments. You have brightened my days and I enjoy sharing the Christmas spirit with you!! I’ll see you all again next week when I return to my regularly scheduled Wednesday post and Friday Favorites!

Related posts:

On The First Day Of Service Host A Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host A Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make A Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

On The Sixth Day of Service Rise Together

On The Seventh Day of Service Make A Furry Friend

On The Eighth Day of Service Express Your Gratitude

On The Ninth Day of Service Share Your Spirit

On The Tenth Day of Service Give the Gift of Your Best Self

On The Eleventh Day of Service Give A Stranger Warmth

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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On The Eighth Day of Service Express Your Gratitude

12 Days of Service

I’ll never forget the Christmas my brother in-law Joe was serving in Iraq. The entire holiday season felt off because we were all so worried about his safety on the other side of the world. We built care packages for him and included items for him to share with the members of his unit. We wanted to be sure if anyone was missing letters and packages from home there was enough for Joe to share. Thankfully, he was only gone for the one Christmas and returned home safely shortly after.

During his time on active duty I helped host a collection drive and assembled shoe boxes of supplies to send to our soldiers. Since then I have remembered to send letters and cards at Christmas. This year, I have found a great organization that makes it really easy for parents and kids to give back to members of the military: Operation Gratitude.

OPGA_poster_army

There are several ways you can share your support through Operation Gratitude. One of the easiest and least expensive ways is to assemble a care kit. This small kit of personal care items is included in care packages shipped to 150,000+ deployed Troops, Recruits, Veterans and Wounded Warriors. These kits are a valued contribution to the packages. Most requested items include: Lip Balm, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Roll-on Deodorant, Razors, Individual packets of moist towelettes, Hand/Foot Warmers, Foot powder (travel size).

You and your kids can shop for and fill one bag, or invite friends to donate items and have a stuffing party. Fill a gallon sized Zip Lock bag, or a clear toiletry travel kit with your care items. (All of which can be found at your local dollar store). Be sure to include a personal letter, or card for the recipient.

write a letter

If you are unable to assemble kits because of the cost, or maybe you just have really little ones and it’s hard to get everyone out of the house, write a letter! Your words of encouragement and gratitude will go a long way. Yes, even the scribbles and stickers from a small child will help brighten someone’s day!

Sharing in this simple activity is a great reminder for children how important it is to lend our support and say thank you to our military. It helps instill gratitude for those who are serving to keep us safe.

Related posts:

One The First Day of Service Host a Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host a Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make a Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

On The Sixth Day of Service Rise Together

On the Seventh Day of Service Make a Furry Friend

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

 

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On The Sixth Day of Service Rise Together

12 Days of Service

As we are counting down the days until we wake up on Christmas morning surrounded by our families, there are thousands of children in our foster care system just hoping for a family for Christmas. Currently there are around a half of a million children in foster homes in America; many of them waiting to be adopted by a forever family to call their own.

This statistic is pretty heart breaking. But, to hear that foster kids are handed two trash bags upon entering foster care tugs pretty hard at my heart strings too. They move from home to home with their belongings in plastic bags meant to carry garbage.

Kids in foster care get two trash bags to carry their belongings.
Kids in foster care get two trash bags to carry their belongings.

My friend Rachel adopted her beautiful little girl from foster care. At her celebration party Rachel and her family collected comfort items to donate to our local foster kids. They decorated canvas bags and filled them with teddy bears, toys and hygiene items. They donated the bags to the local foster care division at the Department of Social Services.

How can you help? Contact your local Department of Social Services to ask for a list of needed items and arrange for a drop off date. Ask your friends and family for bags and the needed items. Host a get together to decorate the bags and fill them. Kids of any age can help stuff items into a bag and help bring comfort to these vulnerable kids.

The GIVEBACK BOX can assist 10 children in your local community with Care Packages this holiday season.
The GIVEBACK BOX can assist 10 children in your local community with Care Packages this holiday season.

Not sure you have the time to get out and gather up the items yourself? Together We Rise makes it even easier! Make one online donation of $50 to sponsor a sweet case and you’re done! Sweet cases are duffle bags filled with comfort items and hygiene items and it gives children in foster care a more dignified way to move to a new home. You can sponsor one case, or call upon your friends and family to split the cost of a Give Back Box!

For a $250 donation ($25 per person times 10 contributors) you can purchase a kit filled with all the items you need to stuff 10 sweet cases. Host a get together in your home, or round up co-workers at the office to decorate and stuff the bags. Then, deliver to your local foster care agency. Shipping is FREE on the first 20 bags. LAST SHIPPING DATE IS DECEMBER 14TH via FEDEX.

Whichever way you choose to give back it will have a great impact on a child going through a difficult transition. This is a great way to help instill compassion in your young children, and it gives them greater perspective that some kids just need a family.

Watch this clip to learn more about sweet cases:

 

 

Related posts:

One The First Day of Service Host a Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host a Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make a Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

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