Will we homeschool next year?

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Everyday has become a challenge. Homeschool is not what I hoped or expected it to be this year. I feel like I’m constantly wrangling cats when it’s time to get the boys to sit down and do their school work. I also feel a bit like a hostage negotiator, as I’m always trying to get the boys to participate in any activity we have lined up. It’s exhausting. There are days where we have a lot of fun and I really enjoy the opportunity I have to homeschool the boys but those are becoming fewer and fewer.

When we started on this homeschool journey I told Joe that we would take it one year at a time and one kid and a time. We are in a position where we have the luxury of choosing to homeschool or not and I want to do want is best for out whole family, that includes myself. I’ve found that this school year I have been greatly neglecting myself. From the time I get out of bed (7am) until the kids are in bed (9pm) I’m non-stop go. I’m not in a healthy place physically, emotionally or physically because I can barely catch my breath on a daily basis. (It’s also why I haven blogged much lately. Blogging is an outlet for me and something I typically make time for because it helps me organize my thoughts but I haven’t been able to make time for it lately.) I realize I can’t sustain a lifestyle like this and I also realize that some of my stress is only temporary, like having a busy toddler around the house. But instead of killing myself to do it all I’m looking into what changes I can make. We will most likely be adjusting what we do with the boys for school next year, although I’m not 100% sure what those changes are yet. But until then I’m trying to get through the end of this school year without loosing my mind. I’m extremely thankful that Joe works from home, although we probably see him less because he’s always on conference calls in his office, it still frees me up to get stuff done during Abel’s nap time. I’m also focusing on the parts of school that really work for us like field trips and outdoor learning.

I know that whatever we decide to do for school next year the boys will be fine. Kid are great at adapting and as their mom I planned to be heavily involved in whatever form of education we utilize.

Scotties Facial Tissues Welcomes The Homeless Into Permanent Housing

I love that Scotties Facial Tissues is such a large supporter of organizations like The Pine Street Inn which provides shelter for the homeless.

Pictured above (L-R) Lyndia Downie, President & Executive Director, Pine Street Inn Maria Suarez, Tenant John Robertson, Director of Marketing, Scotties Facial Tissues Pamela Ricci, Brand Manager, Scotties

Pictured above (L-R)
Lyndia Downie, President & Executive Director, Pine Street Inn
Maria Suarez, Tenant
John Robertson, Director of Marketing, Scotties Facial Tissues
Pamela Ricci, Brand Manager, Scotties

January was a great month for 100 homeless people in Boston who are now living in permanent supportive housing thanks to the generosity of The Pine Street Inn. The Pine Street Inn is the largest resource for the homeless in the state of Massachusetts. They provide emergency shelters for the homeless, have street teams, they offer job placement programs as well as many other resources.

In a partnership with Scotties Facial Tissues, the new residents were welcomed into their new homes with comfort care packs. In an effort to kick off 2017 with a worthy cause, Scotties provided each of the 100 residents with a queen-sized fleece blanket, warm slipper socks, a mug with hot cocoa and marshmallows, and of course boxes of  soft Scotties tissues! These small gifts of comfort can be just what may be needed to turn a house into a home. For so many homeless people, who have not had a room of their own for a long time, this acted as one small step in their journey to a better life for themselves.

Maria, who has lived in her beautiful home for the last three months was previously homeless.  She has made her home her own by beautifully decorating it in the style of her native home, Columbia.  She is eager to put the Scotties blanket to use this winter!

This post has been sponsored by Scotties Facial Tissues. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Preparing for Wild Weather and Runny Noses #SickJustGotReal

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As I’m writing this I have the windows opened and we just returned from an afternoon at the park as it is currently 78 degrees outside. Yet, only a few days ago it was only 9 degrees outside and the ground was covered with ice and snow. This is the weather we get in North Carolina. This is also how my kids end up with colds so frequently during the “winter”.

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Thankfully my medicine cabinet is stocked and ready with all of the children’s cold medicines we might need during this crazy North Carolina winter.

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Ease those aches and pains, while reducing a child’s fever fast with Children’s Advil®, a great solution for kids as young as 2 and up to 11. Children’s Advil® comes in several great-tasting flavors, including: Sugar-free Dye-free Berry, Bubble Gum, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape flavors. There’s also Infants’ Advil® White Grape, which provides unsurpassed fever relief (among OTC pain relievers) with a syringe for easy dosing for children 6-23 months. For your child’s cough, trust Children’s Robitussin® Extended-Release 12 Hour Cough Relief to control and relieve symptoms all-day or all- night. Available in grape or orange flavor, for children ages 4 and up. Please note, certain Children’s Robitussin® products are only suitable for children ages 6 and up. Children’s Dimetapp® Multi-Symptom Cold Relief Dye-Free eases your child’s stuffy and runny nose, while quieting a bothersome cough. All in a great-tasting grape flavor that’s dye-free, for children 6 and up.

Kids get sick so learn how to be prepared by visiting Sick Just Got Real to learn more about solutions to tackle sick days like a champ.

CONTEST

America's Greatest School Nurse Contest

No matter how prepared we are kids get sick sometimes when we aren’t around which is why Pfizer is hosting America’s Greatest School Nurse Contest.

Does your school nurse go above and beyond in educating and comforting their students? You can nominate your school nurse to win a prize valued at $500 and will be entered to win the grand prize: the title of America’s Greatest School nurse and a trip for a getaway from school sickness.

For more information and to read the full contest rules and submit a nomination, visit AmericasGreatestSchoolNurse.com. Nominations will be accepted from January 9 to February 23.

GIVEAWAY
One lucky reader will win a $25 Visa gift card and additional Pfizer Pediatric products [(1) Children’s Advil® Suspension, Grape, (1) Children’s Robitussin ® Extended-Release 12 Hour Cough Relief, (1) Children’s Dimetapp® Multi-Symptom Cold Relief Dye-Free]. Use Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway Ends 1/31/17.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on January 31, 2017. The winner to be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. See giveaway rules for more information.

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Hope for a New Year

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2016 had it’s ups and downs for sure but overall it wasn’t a horrible year for our family. There were a lot of hard things we endured but we also got to celebrate a lot too. I’m not much of a goal setter when it comes to the new year but I do like to look back at my year and see what I’d like to improve or change. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and constantly struggle with the same things and we aren’t even aware of it. So, I like to look at the areas of my life that are hard and think about ways I can change so they become less of a burden.

Each new year brings a new hope that things in our life may improve but we must adjust our actions if we want things to change. Hope is what drives us to make changes. We have hope because we know that we were designed for better things.

My prayer for this year is that when circumstances get tough and life seem overwhelming that we have hope. Hope that we are called to something bigger than just today. Hope that our circumstances do not dictate our attitude and actions. Hope that our hard work will lead us toward a life that is full, not perfect but fulfilled.

So as I look back at 2016 I reflect upon the good times that brought me so much joy. But I also look at the hard things that taught me how to look past my circumstances and to find the joy, find the hope.

Last Minute Stocking Suffer Idea for Gamers

My boys love all things Nintendo. Santa will be bringing them a few new games come Christmas morning including a few surprises in their stocking in their stockings.

If you’re looking for some awesome stocking stuffer ideas for your gamer try a Nintendo DS Game like Mario Party Star Rush or Amiibo figures.

Mario Party Star Rush

We love Mario Party so Mario Party Star Rush is a huge hit because it’s a game everyone can play. Players roll the dice, roam the board, and recruit fan-favorite allies to help earn stars and coins in frantic minigames. But unlike the previous Mario Parties there’s no waiting for your turn, all players participate simultaneously working to take down bosses on each game board. What’s really cool is that your friends don’t have to own the game to play with you, they just need their own DS. There is a guest download available on the Nintendo eShop that allows you to play with up to 3 friends.

After you’ve bought the new Mario Party Star Rush for Nintendo 3DS you’ll want to pick up a few Amiibo figures. Amiibo are figures that can be use with the Nintendo Wii U GamePad or New Nintendo 3DS series. Amiibos allow you to add special characters to games, unlock bonuses, or help level up existing characters. In Mario Party Star Rush specifically, you can use one of 7 new amiibo to immediately team up with Mushroom Kingdom allies.

A Few of your favorite Amiibo figures for Mario Party Star Rush are Boo, Wario, Donkey Kong and Daisy.

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I foresee our family playing a lot Mario Party Star Rush this holiday season.

Nintendo of America provided me with a New Nintendo 3DS XL system and games for review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

How to Choose the Best Baby Carrier

Over the past 9 years I’ve used a lot of different baby gear and I’ve found that one of my must-have items is a great baby carrier. It’s simple, you need to get stuff done but babies demand being held. And while snuggling a sweet little baby 24/7 sounds awesome it isn’t practical. Baby carriers allow you to keep your baby close and feeling secure while freeing up your hands and allowing you to be mobile all the while.

Baby Carrier Back 2

There are many different kinds of baby carriers and the choices can be overwhelming so let me give you a brief run down on the various types of baby carriers.

  1. Wraps – Long piece of cloth that is wrapped around both the baby and user.
  2. Ring Slings – Long piece of cloth sewn on rings
  3. Pouch Slings – Sized pieces of fabric sewn together to create a pouch.
  4. Mei Tai – Waist band and shoulder straps sewn to a rectangular piece for fabric, belt and shoulder straps are tied.
  5. Buckle Carriers – Structured carriers that often have adjustable padded straps and buckles.

You can read more in detail about the types of carriers at Baby Wearing International. Of course there are also a variety of hybrid carriers as well.

So now that you know a little bit about carriers lets’ talk pros and cons.

Baby Carrier Wrap

I have found that I prefer different types of carriers for the different ages of my children and for different uses. I prefer a ring sling, pouch sling or wrap when my babies are newborns. They keep the baby close to my body and offer support for the baby’s head (when worn correctly). However, wrap slings do come with a learning curve and do require a bit of practice when tying different positions. Ring slings can put a lot of stress on one specific shoulder. And pouch slings are NOT one-size-fits all so you and your spouse will most likely not be able to share.

I prefer structured carriers or mei tais for older babies and toddlers. They are quicker and easier to operate and often provide greater comfort for the user. Most structured (buckle) carriers and mei tais can be worn on both the front and back. (I highly recommend getting a versatile carrier.) They are also typically adjustable to the size of the user, meaning both you and your partner can wear it. Structured carriers can get expensive and they often aren’t ideal for smaller infants and newborns.

You can read more about the pros and cons of different types of baby carriers on Parent dot Guide.

Baby Carrier Front

Ultimately I don’t think there is one superior carrier over another but you need to find out what works best for you and your baby. Examine your lifestyle and weigh out the pros and cons of the different types of carriers. And then once you’ve decided on the type of carrier then you have to compare brands to determine what fits your budget and which features you prefer. It can seem overwhelming but I think purchasing the carrier that works best for you will insure successful baby wearing. There are numerous benefits of babywearing and I’ve found that my babies are generally happier when they are being worn.

This post is a partnership with Nakturnal.

Keep Holiday Traditions Simple

I always have these grand ideas of baking sugar cookies from scratch with the boys and decorating them with icing and fun candies. But then reality sets in and I remember that I have to help all of the boys with their cookie decorations and none of them are particularly helpful in the kitchen, especially not Abel. Abel loves to pull out all of the pots and pans and any other cabinet he can reach in the lower cabinets. So instead of baking sugar cookies from scratch a bought a cookie decorating kit and let the boys enjoy the fun part of Christmas cookies.

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