What do you like to do you in your free time?

This question has been a hard one for me to answer for years, mostly because I don’t feel like I have a lot of free time. I’m in mom mode almost 24/7 and kids are constantly interrupting me. I used to have a lot of things that kept me occupied during my “free” time. I played the piano, played the guitar, wrote music, went hiking, created art, edited videos, and much more… just for fun. Now I find that my free time includes cleaning or staring blankly at a screen.  I think a lot of moms feel like this, you give yourself over completely to motherhood and you seem to lose yourself. While I don’t completely agree that I’ve lost myself to motherhood, because I feel like motherhood has changed who I am and I think my old self is far too small for my new life as mom. However, I do feel that as a mother I need to have a strong sense of self in order to be the best mom I can be. This is often found through self-care, the one area that I find myself neglecting. I’m getting better about making time to care for myself but it’s still only maintenance. I’m learning that self care goes beyond taking a shower, going shopping alone, working out, or getting a pedicure every so often. Self care is about making time for things that bring me life. It’s about creating “free time” to have a hobby.

For many years now I’ve been playing with photography. It’s an intimidating and expensive hobby but it’s something that brings me peace and joy. I enjoy capturing moments and my role as mother has only intensified my desire to capture so many moments. There have been time when motherhood was so overwhelming the only self care I could manage was a shower every few days but the newborn phases are gone and now I can carve out a little time for me. I just recently pulled out my dusty old camera and have decided to start photographing moments. My craft may not be perfected but for me photography isn’t about the end result, it’s about slowing down and stepping back to observe and embrace life around me. It’s a form of self care for me. As a mother, as a wife and as a human I think find free time to have a hobby is so important.

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Family Thanksgiving 2016

We spent Thanksgiving with some of my extended family this year. We played games, ate too much food and gave thanks for so many things. I took a lot of picture so of course I’m not in any of them. I really need to teach someone else how to use my camera.

Abel in suspenders!

Abel in suspenders!

My uncle carves the turkey.

My Uncle Zack carves the turkey.

Joe and my Uncle Keith talk Big Green Eggs.

Joe and my Uncle Keith talk Big Green Eggs.

My cousin and his beautiful fiance.

My cousin and his beautiful fiance.

Noah and Simon love my cousin Nikki.

Noah and Simon love my cousin Nikki.

 

Abel and Boogie playing

Abel and Boogie playing

My Cousin Alexa showing her Dad something on the internet.

My Cousin Alexa showing her Dad something on the internet.

Noah enjoys the acorn treats we made.

Noah enjoys the acorn treats we made.

The boys decorate turkey crafts.

The boys decorate turkey crafts.

Noah showing Grandma his colorful turkey.

Noah showing Grandma his colorful turkey.

Great Grandma Lois admires the turkey crafts.

Great Grandma Lois admires the turkey crafts.

Simon working hard on his turkey.

Simon working hard on his turkey.

Abel enjoys the orange icing.

Abel enjoys the orange icing.

Aunt Laney telling everyone a story.

Aunt Laney telling everyone a story.

 

Let’s See Where the Day Takes Us

The other day I took the 3 oldest boys to Pullen Park for a last minute afternoon adventure. Because Joe works from home we have ability to sneak away while Abel takes his afternoon nap. It’s actually very ideal because the boys get really loud and rambunctious in the afternoons.

I love a good plan but I also like spontaneity especially when we can just go along with out any major time constrains. I hate living chained to the clock and calendar. Obviously we have responsibilities but every once in awhile a day or even part of a day is wide open and I love heading out and seeing where the day takes us. On this particular day the boys chose to ride the carousel and walk around the pond/lake. I was pretty surprised by their decisions especially since they are very fond of the train and giant playground. But they are curious creatures and I don’t think they’d ever walked around the pond and we’re always up for a good adventure. We were also the only ones to ride the carousel which was pretty exciting.

I love family outings that allow the kids to indulge their curiosity and gives them the freedom to make decisions about how we will spend our time.

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Nintendo 3DS XL Fun for the Whole Family

We are a Nintendo exclusive family. We own every Nintendo home gaming device ever released as well as most of the portable gaming devices. Over the past few months we’ve been playing with out new 3DS LX, the newest portable gaming device from Nintendo.

We are loving the new features of the 3DS XL. The 3D viewing takes games to a whole new level. The six included AR Cards bring game play right into your world. Plus, you can take 3D pictures and even record your own 3D videos. I really like that I can adjust the 3D feature or even completely disable it when needed. Sometimes it’s a cool feature but other times I like a classic game play, like when I’m playing MarioKart. The touch screen is actually a NFC (Near-Field Communication) which make the 3DS XL compatible with amiibo figures.  The Nintendo 3DS goes beyond just gaming, when connected to Wifi, you can stream movies and shows via Netflix, Hulu and more on the 3DS.

IMG_7198 Nintendo3DS

I feel like a kid again every time I play the Nintendo 3DS. I find that playing games can be very relaxing and after I’ve had a particularly stressful day it helps me to focus all of my attention in one place where I can just enjoy myself. I think my favorite game is MarioKart 7. When Joe and I were dating we used to play MarioKart so I have fond memories of racing around the Mushroom Kingdom and facing off with some of my favorite characters. My kids really love playing MarioKart 7 and they are way better than I am, in fact they love replaying the levels to beat my scores.

My husband has a 2DS so I’m able to play games on both systems which is great because we don’t have to repurchase games that we’ve been collecting for several years. However, you don’t have to purchase a lot of games to have fun on the 3DS as it comes standard with a built-in software that includes Miiverse, Mimaker, Nintenod eshop, Internet browser, 2 included games, 3DS Sound and more.

Buy the New Nintendo 3DS XL for $199.99

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

The Importance of Art

Photo Nov 09, 11 08 39 AM When we think about school we typically think of the core subjects of reading and math but we often over look the arts. The arts are deemed a luxury education yet art is an essential building block of childhood development. There are numerous benefits to arts being an essential part of a child’s education, everything from motor skills, problem solving, language development and cultural awareness.

I’m not a particularly gifted artist but I do have an appreciate for all of the arts and I hope my boys learn to appreciate the beauty this world has to offer. In the same way that I’m teaching my boys to observe and study nature (God’s art) I am also encouraging them to study man-made art. Painting, sculptures, music, plays, dance, literature, etc… there are so ways to expose children to the wonderfully creative world that we are a part of. I also want to encourage my children to participate and explore their creativity. Art has a way of allowing us to explore and express our emotions in ways that word can’t.

art

School on a Sunday

This past Sunday we took a family field trip to the NC Zoo. When you are a homeschool family everyone day is an opportunity for learning and school. Because we have a zoo membership we get to take our time exploring the zoo. We don’t feel pressured to see everything or even stay all day.

The slower paced allowed the boys to explore and learn on their own. They devoured as much information as possible. They sat intently and watch educational videos, read as many signs as possible and paused to really watch the animals. One of the zoo employees even comment that they were the most studious boys he’d seen all year.

I think we all enjoy our time at the zoo because we have the luxury of taking our time to really enjoy the experience.

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Keeping a watchful eye with a baby monitor

We have three of our boys sharing a room. They love it but sometimes it can get a little rowdy. We keep an eye on them with the help of a baby video monitor. We have on camera set up in the baby’s room and one in the room with the big boys. We can switch back and forth between the two rooms to make sure everyone is doing well throughout the night.

With the aid of our baby monitor we can see if the boys need our help when they get up in the middle of the night. If we hear a crash we can investigate the sound without interrupting everyone while they sleep. Most of the time it’s just someone tossing and turning in their bed. But occasionally we’ve found a child that needs help finding the bathroom or is having a hard time going to sleep. I feel so much more comfortable with the boys sharing a room knowing that we have a baby monitor.

I can keep an eye on 1 sleeping child while I’m busy with the others.

best baby monitors

Diapers.com has some of the best baby monitors on the market today.  We have a monitor that has a two-way intercom. This feature is especially useful while trying to keep an active toddler in bed. We mounted our cameras to the wall opposite the boys beds to keep the wiring secure and to give us the best view of the room.

There are many different types of baby monitors so if you need help deciding on which monitor to buy check out this article: How to Choose the Best Baby Monitor.

baby monitor

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Giveaway ends on November 6, 2016. 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 giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate

Picking Pumpkins

Every year we go to the NC Farmer’s Market to pick out our Halloween pumpkins.

This past Saturday we took the boys to pick out the pumpkins and to shop for some fall produce. We had a blast and the boys loved looking at all the pumpkins and gourds. We also got to mix and match different types of apples to try at home.

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