Category Archives: family life

Preparing for Spring {Giveaway}

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

It snowed on Sunday but last week it was in the mid 70’s and the flowers had started to bloom. The snow washed away the pollen that was collecting on my back deck. North Carolina weather is crazy so you always have to be prepared .

I started to pull out the boys shorts and tee shirts last week but I kept the snow pants within reach. We bought new outdoor toys and summer shoes last week but alas this week we are bundled up in our winter wear by the fire.





I try to be a prepared mom by being prepared for whatever hits, be it a heat wave or cold front. It seems like we are just getting over our winter colds and then our allergies start to flare up. I keep Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Allergy in my medicine cabinet when spring arrives just in case. In a great tasting grape flavor, Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Allergy has congestion-fighting power to relieve stuffy and runny noses, while providing relief for itchy and watery eyes, for children ages 6 and up.


*It is important to remember to always read and keep the cartons for complete warnings and dosing information on Pfizer Pediatric products and to use as directed.

I’m ready for all of the lovely spring weather but I’m ready for the sneezing and runny noses that accompany the pollen explosion that happens each spring in my yard. But we’re prepared this year… so bring on spring.

One lucky reader will win and Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Allergy. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway Ends 3/26/2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on March 26, 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.

Meal Planning & Chalk Markers {Giveaway}

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Every week I write out a meal plan for our family of 6. Joe bought me this cute chalkboard menu from Target a while back but the chalk that came with it kind of sucks. But I didn’t even realize there was another other until I heard about Chalkola. Chalkola Chalk Markers are make writing our my weekly meal plan so much easier. There are 2 different size markers for writing on chalkboards, whiteboards, glass, or plastic.

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The smaller makers are great for teachers, moms, artists. I have started using them on my white board for our homeschool work. I love that they come in a variety of fun, vibrant colors (including metallic) and are easy to wash away.

The kids use the Jumbo markers for creating art pieces. (Note: These marker work best on non-porous surfaces. The reason being that Porus surfaces have small holes which can absorb the liquid chalk ink and sometimes it gets difficult to completely erase them.)

I can’t wait to share what fun creations we make with our colorful selection of Chalk Pens from Chalkola.

Give them a try!
Discount Code: Save 15% off all Chalkola Products – Use Code: 15OFFSTR

One lucky reader will win a set of Chalkola Markers. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway Ends 3/24/17.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends on March 24, 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 Chalkola. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Brothers Fight and Brothers Love

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I hate when my boys fight. It drives me insane to hear them bicker with each other and boss each other around and whine about each other. But sibling rivalry and bickering is very common, in fact I think it’s sort of healthy. My children fighting can actually be a really good thing, surprising right? I want my children to know that they have a safe place where they can work out their emotions and learn how best to communicate with others when they have conflict. I’m there to mediate and guide them toward restoration. And what’s even more surprising is how much I learn about myself and my failures to communicate effectively. I often catch myself saying passive aggressive or belittling things to my own children when their constant bickering has gotten on my last nerve. In those moments it’s glaring transparent that the same behaviors I see in my children they learned from me and boy does that hurt.

I’m working on becoming better at conflict resolution not only for my own self but for the sake of my children. I want them to be compassionate and forgiving people therefore as a family we are working toward becoming more compassionate and forgiving. It’s a hard thing for me to work on especially because I am frequently overwhelmed by my daily life and I let my emotions get the best of me. I snap at my children because I’m distracted or just plain exhausted and it’s not an excuse but those are the times that I see what’s really buried down deep in my heart. I pray and ask for forgiveness but I’m really working on choosing to invest more in myself and my children when it comes to working on our relationships.

However, as much of the yucky habits my kids pick up from me there are moments when I see so much good. Habits they are picking up from following mine and Joe’s example. I love to see them help each other out. They are very giving boys, always wanting to make sure each of their brothers gets the same things they do. They hug each other and say “I love you” to each other. They pray with each other at night and pray for each other when one isn’t present. They as for forgiveness when they know they’ve wronged another.

So maybe these brother fight fiercely with each other but they also love fiercely and I guess I’m OK with that.

Saturday Adventures: Joyner Park – Wake Forest, NC

This week’s Saturday Adventure took us to Wake Forest which is a town just north of Raleigh.

Joyner Park has a variety of different features that you can enjoy. When we visited it was a lovely 75 degrees and a bit windy. We saw many people flying kites in the open fields, walking their dogs, riding bikes or just enjoying a picnic. There are several historic building on the property and a beautiful pecan grove. A small pond and many different trails to walk. The boys like riding their scooters along all of the different paths around the outdoor amphitheater. I’m sure when spring arrives the gardens will be in bloom.

The park was very well maintained and had clean restrooms that were very accessible.

We will be returning to Joyner Park again soon.

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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.

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.

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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