Monday, October 24, 2016

Bag The Winter Blues With These Ten Boredom Busters!

Winter is certainly on it’s way, and it brings along a whole host of outdoor fun with it, making a snowman (cue Frozen music), catching snowflakes on your tongue, and just generally romping through the snow having a wonderful time. But then there are those days where it is just downright icky – you know, freezing rain, sleet, hale, just an all around mess. Those are the days that you and the kids are relegated to stay inside. Kids are naturally curious creatures and boredom will eventually ensue. But fret, not! Peak their natural inquisitiveness with these indoor science projects!

1. Sensory Play 

By creating a sensory play box, your little ones will have a ball sticking their hands in and playing around in it. You can easily and quickly create your very own sensory box by using items around your home! Rice, beads, and even sand! Each box is as unique as the children who will be playing in it, so get creative! There are water sensory boxes, sand, glitter, shaving cream, the sky is the limit here! Use your imagination and create a box that even you would want to play in!

2. Sweet Science

This project is one sweet deal! Teach the kids about temperature and the science behind it by tempering some chocolate in your microwave oven! Chocolate chips or chunks, or even a candy bar would work great in this instance! Check online to see if you can find some cute printables to go along with the project, and you have yourself a fun filled and educational project to do with the little ones!

3. Groovy Lava Lamps

This project is out of this world! Learning about chemical reactions can be one of the most fun and engaging areas of science for kids to learn about. Start with some vegetable oil and water and a plastic bottle. Note how the two substances don't mix very well, engage the kids and ask them what they think about that. Next, add in some food coloring of their choice, and a couple of tablets that produce fizz (Alka-Seltzer would do well in this instance), and watch the kid's faces when they realize they have just created their very own homemade lava lamp!

4. Expanding Marshmallows

Heat makes things expand, we know that. But can you guess how huge that marshmallow in the microwave is going to get? This is another great experiment to help the children learn about temperature once more. Grab a marshmallow, or if you're feeling really brave, buy a pack of jumbo marshmallows. Take one and place it on a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for one minute. Ask the children what they have observed about the marshmallow. They will be so excited when they see the marshmallow grow and grow and grow!

5. Create A 'Mind Jar'

With a little bit of glitter glue, a jar, and some food coloring, you and your tots can make this fun project! A 'Mind Jar' is a tool that can be used well after you've finished the project to help a child calm down in times of stress or tantrums. The idea behind it is that the glitter are your child's thoughts, swirling around in their mind, when they shake it up and watch it settle, then, they too will begin to settle along with the glitter in the jar.

6. Make Homemade Finger Paints

There's no doubt about it, kids love to finger-paint. It's probably the penultimate toddler activity. But instead of spending money on expensive finger paints, why not just make your own in the comfort of your very own kitchen? The kids will love helping out, knowing that they are making the paint that they will be using to create their masterpieces. Using just sugar, salt, cornstarch, water and food coloring, you've got yourself some really creative colors!

7. Fizzy Fun

If you have baking soda, vinegar and food coloring in your kitchen, this is a must-try activity, especially for toddlers! Place the vinegar in a few cups, add different food coloring to each. Fill a 9 by 12 pan with baking soda. Watch your children's eyes grow wide when they see the reaction of the vinegar being added to the baking soda and experience the sheer joy of the memories you're making with them!

8. Catch The Sun

If you have tissue paper left over from the holidays, bring it out and teach the kids how to make tissue paper sun catchers! They'll love putting them together and creating their very own piece of art and hanging it up in a window to watch the sunlight stream through them!

9. Make It Rain

“Make it rain” inside your own home! This project is wonderful for teaching about condensation and the process that water goes through to become the rain that falls from the sky! Once again, with a few items from your kitchen, like ice cubes, water, a jar, and a plate, you can perform this simple yet interesting experiment and make it “rain” in the jar.

10. Get Slimed

Kids love getting messy, and this experiment allows them to do just that in a controlled environment! Create “snow slime” by combining glue, warm water, and borax. Add a food coloring of your choice, and maybe even some essential oils to give it a fresh scent! The kids will have hours of fun with this project!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Scouts, Sunday School and Soccer

When we had our son, we knew we wanted to put him into all kinds of activities once he got older. Well, that day is here. He is now in Tiger Scouts, a soccer team, and Sunday School. We wanted to put him into these programs to give him something to do, scouts for learning discipline, soccer for physical activity and Sunday school for spiritual growth. We also wanted to do it for socialization for him. 

But now looking back, I'm realizing that I'm the one that wants to be socializing. I want to be that mom, the one who's on the PTO, runs school functions, the soccer mom, the Sunday school teacher's aide. I wanted to make "mom friends." Syrus certainly has no trouble making friends, he is a lovely little boy and everyone seems to like him wherever he goes. 

But even at school, there are those "mom cliques," you know what I mean? The moms that dress up to take their children to school, hanging out together, giggling like a gaggle of high school students. Me? I'm in the corner in my pajama pants and sweater. I feel like I cannot relate to other moms. I suppose that it could be the introvert in me, my mental illnesses, low self esteem or chronic illnesses. I know that my self-esteem tells me that nobody is going to like me, so why bother? 

I think the other thing that bothers me is that children are starting to ask Syrus questions about his mom. Last week they asked what I had for a job, and Syrus told them I played on the computer all day, bless his little heart. Then, just this morning, he told one of his classmates that mom can't drive, and she screams in his face that his mom is weird. The fact that a kid said it doesn't bother me, kids are going to be kids. But the repercussions Syrus may face because of me? That bothers me to the extreme.

As he gets older, what will his friends say? Will he stand up for me, or will he be embarrassed of me? He's only six years old now, and he comes up and gives me a hug and tells me I'm the best mom in the world, but I know that those days are so fleeting. I think the only real "mom friends" I have are my blogging mom friends, which are awesome. 

I talk so much about being "normal," and being a normal mom. But what is normal? I suppose what is normal for me is not normal for other people. My normal isn't your normal, kind of know what I'm getting at? Perhaps someday I will make some friends and become less introverted. Until then, I'll just enjoy my Syrus while he is still young. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Stork OTC - TTC Success Story!

I am a Stork OTC Ambassador. All opinions are my own.”

Conceiving a child is one of the most magical things that can happen to a family. Sadly, however, many couples struggle with infertility. Whether it be due to low sperm count, irregular menses, or something else, it can be a harrowing journey to become a parent, especially when you want it so very badly. But that is why there are products like Stork OTC out there on the market to help these couples conceive easier!

Take for example the story of Lauren and Nick. They had been trying to conceive a child for over two whole years. It had to be quite an experience for them to go through, not being able to conceive a child and not knowing why. They were trying so hard – so why wasn’t it happening for them?

That’s when the couple decided to start tracking Lauren’s ovulation and following that schedule. They used Stork OTC’s product and low and behold some good news finally arrived – they were pregnant, with twin girls, who both arrived at the end of 2015! They were over the moon about it! They are now a happy family of four, with two beautiful little girls to show for it, thanks to Stork OTC!

My husband and I, well, we’re having trouble conceiving. It isn’t something that I like to talk about too much, but it’s true. I want more than anything in this world to give my son a sibling, he wants one so badly. That is why we are using Stork OTC to try and increase our odds of conceiving. With Stork OTC, it gets a higher concentration of sperm into the cervix, thus increasing chances of conception and fertilization.

According to Harry Reich, MD, FACOG, FRCOG, “Three times the sperm value is quite significant for so many couples, especially with the growth of male factor infertility. Understanding the growing value of semen for successful conception, and having a technology like The Stork® OTC that can deliver more sperm to the cervix than natural intercourse, this at-home conception kit may greatly impact many couples on their path to building a family. The Stork OTC makes sense.”

Stork OTC is such a wonderful alternative to other methods like IVF, which can be incredibly expensive and draining on the family if it does not take. It is financially and emotionally draining on the family. New clinical research shows that Stork OTC Delivers 3.23x Higher Sperm Concentration to the Cervix Compared to Natural Intercourse! There’s even more good news to be told, too! As of this month, Stork OTC is now available at Walgreen’s stores, so it is quick and convenient for you to pick up!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Ghouls, Ghosts And More With Great Pretenders!

This post was sponsored by Great Pretenders, however, however all opinions are my own. 

So, all of us parents probably know by now that Halloween is a mere two weeks from today, if by nothing else than answering our children everytime they wake up in the morning asking, "IS IT HALLOWEEN YET?" But the nights are getting darker earlier, the leaves are crunching underfoot, and it is that time of year again! Time where our little ones can dress up and become someone they've always wanted to be for a day! There are many costume companies out there, trust me on this, I've had to find various different costumes for my little man. But one of my absolute favorites is Great Pretenders

You may remember my previous post about Syrus and is "Sy-Man" persona that he created with his Great Pretenders reversible superhero costume! He had so much fun pretending that he was his very own character. That alone put a huge smile on my face. It's an incredible thing to watch your child play pretend, it really is. See?

But you know what? Great Pretenders isn't just for pretend playtime. They sell a wide variety of costumes, and your child can become whatever their little heart desires, whether it be a wizard, construction worker, or princess. Syrus decided that he wanted to be a fearless knight to protect the kingdom and the princess (me)! 
Sir Syrus The Great
I think the thing that I love about most of Great Pretenders costumes is that they are made with super-high quality materials, it isn't something that is going to rip with rough play, it is going to withstand the wear-and-tear children will no doubt put on clothing and costumes. But guess what? Just like his Sy-Man outfit, his knight costume is reversible, too! Actually, a lot of their costumes are! Check it out! Now he's totally a king defending his kingdom!

The material is so soft and so durable that you really cannot go wrong with these! Syrus has quite a few different Halloween events coming up soon like Trunk or Treat, a Halloween Spooktacular, School Parade, and of course, Halloween itself! He has an abundance of costumes to choose from, to say the least. 

He's all mixy and matchy here. He is a knight. A Jedi Knight! 
One other thing that I have to talk about when it comes to Great Pretenders is their color costumes. What do I mean by that? Well, they actually sell costumes that your little ones can costumize to become their very own. I'm not kidding! They offer up costumes that children can color in to make it their very own costume creation! Check it out below! 

Needless to say, Syrus is going to have a BLAST this Halloween, thanks to Great Pretenders! Whether he chooses to be a king or a knight, we'll just have to wait it out and see! Either way, I'm still totally the princess! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mysterious Ways

I know first hand, as many of you do, that losing a loved one can be the most heart-wrenching, emotionally draining experience that you will ever have in your life. I've lost two special people in my life, my father, Michael, and my step-father, Daniel. I only had 12 years with my dad, I wished I had had more. We had nine with Dan. He was there to teach me to drive, let us use his Jimmy, watch me get married and to have a child. But what happens when something tragic and sudden happens, like a car accident?

Way back in 2010, when I was a wee little 20 year-old lass, my then-fiancee, now husband and I had a paper route, in order to try to make ends meet, make some extra money, pay for the wedding, you know, typical stuff like that. It was not a fun job, nor do I recommend it to anyone unless you like driving groggy-eyed down dark roads where creepy clowns can be hiding. But, I digress. I always used to go with him.

One particularly February morning, Jeremy and I got into an argument about something. It was snowing. I should have told him to stay home, but I was stubborn (you know those pregnancy hormones), and I told him, if nothing else, just go pick up the papers and we'll assemble them at the house. He decided to be stubborn and start the route in the blinding snow. About an hour later, I got a phone call from him. 

"You'll never guess what happened." So, jokingly, I asked what. And in his morbid spirit, he said "I wrecked the Jimmy." I screamed. Loudly. My first thought was he okay? He must be if he's calling me. I was still scared to death. It turns out that the Jimmy hit some wet leaves going around a curve that goes up, flipped over and landed upside down. Somehow, in some way, Jeremy made it out alive. Everyone from his dad, who is a master mechanic, to the tow truck driver said he should have died that morning. Nevermind the passenger's side. I, along with being pregnant with Syrus would've sustained near fatal injuries, if not death. 

Actual photo of blobby Syrus

When my parents brought me to the scene of the accident, my mom had to hold me up, as I almost fell to my knees when I saw the condition of the car. I didn't care about that. I cared about my fiancee. So we rushed to the hospital. To my surprise, he's sitting up in bed, just lounging, hanging out like nothing went wrong. He came out of it with a couple of bruises, and if I can remember correctly a fractured elbow, but don't quote me on that one. 

To this day, we still know what would have happened had I went with him. Syrus nor I would never be here, I wouldn't be writing this post right now. I'm not a religious person, by any means, but in some small way, I like to believe that my dad was watching over Jeremy that morning when the car flipped over. Needless to say, since then, we dread winter and do not drive in snow unless it is a critical emergency. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Finding My "Ah" With Sunbeam!

Disclosure: Post sponsored by Sunbeam Products, Inc. but all opinions are my own. 

As many of you may know, I suffer from severe chronic pain. I'm talking days where I cannot even get out of bed without my joints being stiff and me wanting to cry. And trust me, I have tried pretty much everything when it comes to pain relief. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, even heavy duty painkillers. But they just don't work on my joints, nor do they work on my endometriosis pain. However, I have found one thing that does work, and rather well I might add.

Heat Therapy. Yes, heat has helped me immensely. I prefer Sunbeam's  products as they are absolutely incredible. But heat is so helpful in taking my pain away in a matter of minutes, and that is pretty quick if you ask me, rather than waiting forty-five minutes to wait for medicine to work. Sunbeam's heating pads are amazing, and I can't tell you how much I adore my Sunbeam® Heat Therapy! It is better than any other heating pad that I have ever owned in my life. I mean, just look at that plush!

It is legitimately so so soft. Not rough. Unlike other heating pads, this one will not slip out of it's covering. It's nice and cozy in there. I use it all the time on my tummy when it is hurting, and it will take the pain right away from there. But the neat part? It has six settings, and it heats up, I'm not kidding you, in 30 seconds. Can you believe that?! It's like a warm hug! I love that heat is such a better option to relieve muscle pain and soreness and it's effective too.

Being a mom with a chronic illness has proven to be a challenge for me at times, but ever since I met my new best friend/heating pad, I am able to be up and around and do more with my son. When it is time to relax, I curl up with my heating pad and just let my thoughts drift. It's really a wonderful feeling! It's XL, perfect for covering my whole belly, or across my shoulders. It's something that I would highly recommend to anyone and everyone! Sunbeam® heating pads come with a 5 year limited warranty, so you don't have to worry! Thinking about purchasing your own? Use the code CMOON to get 20% off your purchase right here! So #FindYourAhh today!

Check out this video to learn more!

Now it's YOUR turn to WIN a Sunbeam® Heat Therapy Product! Just enter using the widget below!

Unitarian Universalism: What Is It?

Ever since becoming a teenager, I felt that I had strayed from the path of faith, God, and the like. I was baptized as a catholic because my dad was a catholic. As I grew and my dad got sicker and my grandmother visted more and more often, I was often the one to be dragged along unwillingly, but obediently to church to confess my "sins." What sins could a nine year-old possibly have? "I stole a cookie before dinner." BAM. 10 Hail Mary's for you. But hey, at least I got to drink the wine. However, I digress. 

So naturally, after my father had past, and my grandmother and aunts and uncles stopped speaking to us, we slowly pulled away from the catholic faith. That is when I decided that I really had no idea what I believe. I felt I was an atheist, meaning that I believe in nothing, no God or deity, goddess, etc. I believe in doing good for the sake of it. Not for some reward of heaven after idea. Get what I'm kind of saying here?

The Search

Let's fast forward a few years when I met my husband. He, too was an atheist. But still searching for spiritual meaning in his life, where I was not. But still, I did feel something missing. I can't even really explain it to this day. But we began researching different religions. We even tried visiting different churches and the like. But nothing seemed to fulfill what we were looking for. But then something happened on the computer one day. We stumbled upon something called Unitarian Universalism. I know, I know, looong name, amazing results! Sorry, couldn't resist, for you Jerseyans! 

We did extensive research into this religion. I mean extensive. We got books, read online articles and more, before we even decided that it was time to try out our local UU church, which, fun fact, it used to be used as a KKK building, yay, history! Now it is a place of love, hope, faith and friendship. 

Trying It Out

We first began going when Dan (my mother's boyfriend who we were very close to, just like a dad to us), and my mom wanted to go with us. So we thought, why not? It isn't going to hurt to give it a try like every other church we tried. Well, long story short here, we loved it. Mom, who is kind of old school, was a little indifferent to it, but that was okay. We had finally found a spiritual home amongst others who thought like us. On our first day there, a lady in front of us asked us our religion, I said I was an atheist, and she said "me too!" I knew I'd fit in right where I was that day. 

Naturally, after Dan had succumbed to his esophageal cancer in July 2015. we stopped going for quite a while. I couldn't bring myself to go because he would go with us too. But soon enough, Jeremy thought that maybe being around a congregation of others may help me, so we went back. But his absence was felt the day we became members. 

But What Is Unitarian Universalism?

In our church, it is a liberal religion with an ongoing search for our own truth and meaning, whatever that may be. The defining belief, according to Wikipedia is that religion is a matter of "experience," and only that person may choose to decide what to believe. We have a whole different array of congregation members, from Christians, to Atheists and more. But anyway, here are some of the tenets, or rather the seven principles and purposes of Unitarian Universalism:

- To affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
- Justice, equity and compassion in all human relations.
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. 
- A free and responsible church for truth and meaning. 
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. 


Our Fellowship!

It is. I absolutely adore it. Since becoming official members of the church last April, I do my best to make it to every single service, less my health decides otherwise. They even have wonderful potlucks, like yesterday, where I made unstuffed cabbage soup, and for a $5 donation, you can eat a hearty meal of soup and sandwiches! Long story short here, I love my Unitarian Universalist community, they have helped me grow spiritually, learn to love more, volunteer more, and so much else. 

What Abut The Kids?

Even their R.E. (Religious Education) classes are top notch. They teach about every religion. This year, they are focusing on the Bible, but merely as a historical book. Do you know how much I love that? I want Syrus to grow up and choose what he wants, but right now with Unitarian Universalism, he can learn about all the religions. Their R.E. classes do so much for the kids. They do so many amazing crafts, Syrus even brought home a beautiful wooden ornament he painted last year. They even throw Halloween and Christmas parties and have one of the awesome members of the congregation dress up as Santa and hand out little treats to the kids. Syrus has even made friends from church, which just warms my heart so much. 

In a nutshell, I believe that I have truly found my spiritual home. I may not believe in any deity but I do believe in the seven principles. I've taken them to heart, too. Even if I do not like someone, I understand that they have an inherent worth and dignity. And the web that interconnects us all? I truly believe that we are all weaved together in some form or another. I'll drop some links below if you would like to check it out! 

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