Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Are You Getting the Best Sleep That You Can Get?

 
This post contains affiliate links which might mean that I  could make a little extra profit at no cost to you.
I was asked to try out AuCuTee's White Noise Machine for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 


  I'm not going to lie to you, the  other night, I was super crabby. I stayed up past 3:00 AM from our game night that we were thinking would finish at 1:30 AM at the latest, but it went a little longer due to some, um, disagreements that needed to be sorted out.(Dungeons and Dragons doesn't account for a 3D world, so when we're battling on a spiral staircase, we all need to be in agreement with what can and cannot happen)

     As a mom, I know how important sleep can be to myself, my kids, and my husband. When someone is acting out, it's usually one of three things: they're hangry (hungry/angry), they aren't feeling well, or they need a nap. My biggest culprit is lack of sleep. There are some people who can operate on six hours of sleep or less. I am not one of those people. I've always gone to bed by 9:30, most nights, but as an adult with children, I've stayed up later just to have some down time that doesn't include my children, which means I have to wait until my kids are asleep.

     So, after I've finally gotten my kids to bed, it seems that I'm the most alert I've been all day, even though I was tired and falling asleep on the couch with my family about an hour before then. Since I want a little bit of time to do something that I enjoy, I'll either stay up a bit and watch some tv, scroll through my phone, or lay down and read a book. By the time I decide that I should go to sleep, my mind still keeps going and doesn't turn off. The next thing I know, it's 11:30 and I have to be up by 7:00 to get the kids up and ready for school. Anxiety starts to set in or I get an idea for something to write or realize that I forgot that I had something that I needed to do and I didn't and then it's 12:00, then 12:30. Who knows what time I actually went to sleep.

     So when I was asked to review AuCuTee's white noise machine for an honest review, I thought, "Why not?", maybe it will help.

      I was so excited and surprised when I received it. The size of it was smaller than I thought it would be so I thought that it wouldn't be very sturdy and that it would be busted within the week, but it has held up greatly despite my children's efforts of using it as a football or for dance parties.

    The packaging was very cute. It was small and simple and it conveyed what it was, nicely. On the side of the box, it depicts it's function and use in easy-to-see and read terms.
I thought that it would have been nice for it to show what the sounds were on the box and it doesn't, but it does show them online.



     Just to see how small AuCuTee's white noise machine is, I scaled it next to a pencil. It's the same length as a mechanical pencil and just a little thicker than one. It's compact and sleek design makes it appeasing to look at and small enough that it doesn't get in the way. 


     AuCuTee's white noise machine features a timer that can set for 30, 60, or 90 minutes. It has a soft light that shows you which one you've chosen, but it's not so bright that it keeps you awake. If you wish for the machine to run all night, it can do that too. It can be battery powered (included) or you can plug it in. I've found that once it's been charged, you don't need to plug it in for two to three days which is nice because then you have a free outlet to charge your phone. It also has a spot to put in head phones, but I haven't used it because my husband didn't care if it was on. 

      What I really liked about AuCuTee's white noise machine is that it offers 20 soothing sounds: lullaby 3, white noise, pink noise, gray noise, brown noise, fan, crackling fire, clock ticking, train, crickets, frogs, birds, rain, thunderstorm, stream, ocean, shush, womb, lullaby 1, and lullaby 2. 

      The first night I used it, I tried the white noise, but quickly turned it to the thunderstorm sound. I had it at a medium volume and to my surprise ( I was skeptical at first) I began to feel tired. My mind, which is always racing with thoughts, would get interrupted every time the thunder sounded and I quickly lost my train of thought. I had the timer feature on for 60 minutes and fell asleep before then. 

       The next night, I listened to lullaby 2, and the same thing happened. The following night, I listened to thunderstorm again, but didn't put the timer on. That was the best night I had slept for a while. When I woke up the next morning, the thunderstorm was still playing, so I snuggled into my blankets and kept trying to sleep. I had actually thought it was really raining, so when I came to, I was very confused because the sun was bright and shining.

     Anyone who has kids, knows how long it takes to put your kids to bed. They are always getting up to get something to drink, or they suddenly have to go to the bathroom, or they tell you they need another goodnight hug and kiss even though you've already tucked them in, helped them say their prayers, and hugged and kissed them fifty times, that night.


     My boys both share a room together so when it's time for bed, our four year old wants to stay up and play and since my oldest has ADHD and is still only eight years old, bed time has been the biggest struggle. Almost every single night, my youngest falls asleep downstairs either on the couch or sitting with me because we know that my oldest won't go to sleep if his brother is in there so we don't let him go to bed in his own bed. 

     I was very curious. My kids kept asking me if they can try the machine, so I let them try it. The first night, I let my oldest wear my Fitbit to track his sleep. He has a busy mind like I do, so even though we put him to bed at 7:30, sometimes he doesn't actually fall asleep until 10:30. The night that he tried AuCuTee's white noise machine, he fell asleep only 30 minutes in. 

      As if this all wasn't new, we tried something even more different than we normally do and we let my youngest go to bed at the same time with my oldest. My youngest likes to sleep with the lights off, while my oldest likes them on. I was able to convince my oldest to let us turn the lights off IF we tried the crackling fire sound. They have glow in the dark stars on their ceiling so I convinced him it would be like camping. He agreed and we turned the lights off. My youngest, who is always trying to play and climb up to my oldest's bed (bunk beds), laid down quietly to look at the stars and listen to the crackling fire. 

      That was the easiest time I have ever had putting my kids to sleep. Both boys fell asleep right away and to top it off, my youngest didn't wake up once that night. So you better bet that this machine has made a huge difference and has made its home in the boys room to get them to sleep. 

Since my youngest likes to flip through the sounds, my oldest has made
his pillow the resting place for AuCuTee's white noise machine. 



                                                                          

  "Well what about your daughter?" you ask. Well, she wanted her own white noise machine, too. She sleeps in her own room so she wasn't able to listen to our only noise machine if it was in the boy's. After having such success getting the boys to sleep, I was very hesitant to take it away from them. So I asked her if she would be ok listening to something on my phone. She agreed.

        For that night, I downloaded a free white noise app. To her dismay, it didn't have any lullabies that she liked, and decided to listen to birds chirp. It was a temporary fix, but it didn't have any sounds that she was in love with and the phone volume kept readjusting itself and it also kept getting interrupted by all of my phone notifications. After speaking with my husband, we agreed to buy her her own white noise machine. She was SOOOOO excited! I was too, because after she fell asleep and I reclaimed my phone, I couldn't turn the birds off of my phone without deleting the app and it was a HUGE battery drainer.

      So, would I recommend the AuCuTee sound machine? Yes, I would. Because of it's size and design, it's not imposing. I really like to read so my night stand is usually covered in books. AuCuTee's white noise machine is smaller than most of my books and it's lightweight makes it easy to stack and not take up too much space. The noises aren't annoying and it's volume can be adjusted. While my kids like to have it turned up loud, I like to keep it at a quieter background noise. My kids have slept better with it and so have I.

                                                               

Monday, September 17, 2018

What Happened When I Tried to Walk 10,000 Steps for a Week

 

   Last week, I told you that I was going to step up on my fitness and start walking at least 10,000 steps a day. Let me tell you, when you're not used to it, it isn't easy. This is what happened.

Day 1

      I started walking my kids to school. It's only a couple of blocks away and I usually walk them to and from school, but because school just started and none of us were used to getting ready for school, we were always close to running late so I had been driving them to school. I had decided that enough was enough and we walked anyways, just barely getting them there in time. Who would have thought that it could take us almost 10 minutes or more to walk just a few short blocks?

      Well, if I was going to walk them to school, we were going to walk home as well. A trip to and from school usually gets me about 2,000 steps so if I do it twice, I get in 4,000.

       So how did I get the next 6,000? Well, I decided that laundry can't be all that bad and took more breaks from blogging and social networking and did some chores, which gave me about 1000 steps at least.

       When the hubby got home, I took the dogs for a walk. Since our husky goes nuts on walks, I like to walk them separately. I got about 1500 from walking her. When I walked our German shepherd mix, I decided to jog with him about every other block. I was surprised that I was practically dragging him from time to time- I guess we're both a little out of shape. I went on a longer walk with him so I got about 2,500.

       To finish off the day, I just walked in place while watching tv.

Day 2

       I began the day the same as I did with the kids. I got about 4000 from walking them to and from school. My son had his curriculum night that night, so we walked there and back home and got another 2,000 steps. While we were there and waiting, I walked around the gymnasium and probably got an extra 500. On our way home, I raced my son only to find out that he's faster than I am.... what a humbling moment. I actually irritated my tail bone from that race and probably from the night before. I had taken a tumble down the stairs a two winters ago and it hasn't fully healed.

I marched in place to reach 10,000 steps.

Day 3

I walked the kids to and from the school. I started to use our wagon again, so as well as getting about 4000 steps in from walking, I'm also getting a full body workout in my muscles from pulling the wagon.

Walking is getting more difficult to do. My bones and muscles all ache from running and jostling them around. 30 no longer feels like 20.

I went to the store and got about another 1000 steps in as well as doing more chores so add in another 1000.

I marched in place to get to 10,000 steps. This really sucked because the muscles in my left foot are tight, but I do it anyways.

Day 4

Looks exactly like day 2. My daughter had her curriculum night and so did my youngest. I had to go to two different schools. I walked to the first one and drove to the second, but I had to park a couple of blocks away because there was nowhere to park. I marched to get the last 10,000 steps.

My capris are loose and keep falling down. That's a good sign.

Day 5

This day started with promise, but I didn't finish strong. I had gone upstairs to march in place, but took a break because my feet and tailbone were hurting and actually fell asleep sitting up while watching Grey's anatomy. I woke up when my husband came into the room, but getting my 10000 steps wasn't going to happen.

Day 6

I've had some rest and it's the weekend. My daughter and I went shopping with my mother-in-law. If you ever want to get a lot of steps in without it feeling like work, this is the way to do it. After shopping, unsuccessfully, for a tea party dress, we met my husband and the boys at Goodwill and bought our kids their costumes which cost us half of what we would pay for new ones and these looked brand new. I got about 8,000 steps in.

After we got the costumes, my husband and I parted ways. He went with the kids over to Grandma's and I went home to pick up and prepare for our game night. I remember checking my Fitbit and was SOOOO close to 10,000 steps, I didn't march in place. Unfortunately I only got to 9,700 steps by midnight. If the clock didn't restart then, I would have had more than 10,000 because game night didn't get over until 2:30 and I was still up and walking around cleaning up the kitchen and putting snacks away.

Day 7

I did normal household chores things. Probably got about 1000 from that. Then we met my in-laws at McDonalds to let our cranky kids run around without destroying my house. We went to their house after that and I got up and walked in place for a while. (They are used to me doing this anyways because I get restless legs).

By the time it was time to get home, the kids were tired and cranky, so I had to dance off my crankiness that resulted while I cooked dinner, (I threw an actual tantrum when I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner and he said he didn't care. I even stomped my feet- how embarrassing) and got about 3,000 steps. Dancing helped me blow off my steam and I was better until my kids started throwing clean socks around the house. I sat down with them and told them that I needed their help to pick them up and they listened. My anxiety had just started to calm down after that. I went upstairs to to apologize to the hubby for my random tantrum (I blame it on the 5 hours of sleep the night before) and to tell him that we had left over Chinese that I ordered from the night before when my youngest came in with a pillowcase full of clean socks and dumped them all over my bed.

I was done...  and there was no way I was going to walk more. I ate my left over dinner and watched reruns of The Office then went to bed. I ended up with 8,000 steps.

What Did I Learn From This?


  • Exercising now, isn't the same as it was 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. 
  • I'm out of shape, but I already knew that. 
  • It was easier to start then it was to finish, but I tried to push through. 
  • Exercising really does give you energy, but it also wears you out.
  • I need a bigger bath tub so I can soak comfortably.
This is what I used to track my steps: It's simple, but it gets the job done.





Thursday, September 13, 2018

An Easy Way to Help Your Child Learn to Read



   If you recall, I've mentioned a few times that my oldest child has ADHD. He's completely brilliant and his teachers are always asking me how he knows so many things and have often joked that my son could have taught one of the lessons they had discussed that day. When you have ADHD, even though it may be difficult to focus on some tasks- especially those you don't like, you can focus a great deal on something that you do like and it's something that the child or adult is going to retain pretty much forever.

(Funny example of remembering something forever: When my son was three, his cousin who had just turned three a month later, had a birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese. After the big giant mouse came out to sing and dance to "Happy Birthday" with us, we all stopped to take pictures. My son had accidentally got knocked over by the mouse and then when the mouse tried to help him back up, he got bumped in the eye by Chuck-e's nose. From this day, my son still remembers it and will tell us whenever we drive by, "You can never trust a mouse". So maybe he remembers that because it was a little traumatic, but hey, he still remembers it and he had just turned three.)

     Unfortunately for us, learning to read was not one of his favorite things to do. I had tried to sit down with him with books that he liked and he wouldn't even try. Usually the whole 20-30 minutes of reading was him screaming and saying no. 

      So what did I do? I went to Pinterest and I tried to find some fun games and learning activities to try. I had even made up my own board game with Velcro pieces, but it was too complicated and time consuming for his age to sit down and learn and no one else wanted to play.


      So I had to find something that worked and when I did, it was amazing! Have you ever heard of a Word Wall? I hadn't, but it looked like something easy to do so I tried it.



      This one has been well used and needs an update. Today I thought I would show you how to make this, how to use this, and tell you why it works.

Why Does This Board Work?

      According to what my son's teacher said at curriculum night, studies have shown that repetition is one of the best ways to learn. Practice makes perfect. Have you ever taken the same route to work and back home every day? What happens? There have been times when I get somewhere and I barely remember the trip there because I've driven it so much that my mind and body drives for me. It's called going on auto-pilot. That's why, when you change up that habit, you sometimes miss a turn you were supposed to turn on because you're used to going somewhere else.

When this is applied to learning, your child will see the word, they'll say the word, and then forget the word.... unless you show them again and again and again. One day, or maybe just a few minutes later, that word is remembered. Then you mix up the order and see if they still remember it. For more details and better explanations, you can see what Reading Bright Star has to say about this.

How to Use This Board?

     Here is a video on how to use it. You'll have to excuse my breathing, allergens are high in this area and I didn't realize how stuffy I sounded when I was making this video.


For those who can't watch the video:
1. Put all of the cards in slot one.
2. Have your child read it. If they can, put that card in slot two. If they can't put it into slot 1. Do it again tomorrow.
3. Start with slot 2. If your child can read that word, move it to slot 3. If they can't, you can do one of two things. You can keep it in slot two to try tomorrow, or you can move it back a slot. Do it again tomorrow.
4. Now we have some cards in slot three. Start with that slot. If they can read it, put the card into slot 4. If they can't, you can decide to do one of three things. You can put that card back into slot three and they can try tomorrow, you can move it back a slot, or you can have your child start that card all over again.
5. The goal is to have your child read that word from slot 1 to slot 7. I recommend putting a missed word either in the slot before or start right back at slot 1 so they have to read it correctly 7 days in order to have it completely memorized. If they don't know it on day 3, but know it on day 4, they still had a day they missed it. It's up to you.

How to Put It Together:

What you need: 

1. Poster Board- I used a black one because I like how it looks with the neon colors. My poster board is also thick and kind of foam like so it is more sturdy.


This was, unfortunately the best looking board at Walmart. I was sad that it had
some dents and scrapes on it, but most of it can be covered up. 
2. Markers
3. Glue
4 . 4 3/4''x 6 1/2'' envelopes. They don't have to be that exact size, but make sure they are more square then the regular letter size envelopes because it will be hard to fit the index cards in, otherwise.
5. Index cards

Instructions: 

Step 1. Title

     The first thing you're going to want to do is decide what you want the title of your board to be and then write it.


I went with "Learning is fun" I chose the colors because it was fun. I used chalk markers because they show up very well with the black background. Since my son will learn cursive this year, I wrote it out in cursive. (I almost forgot how!)

Step 2: Numbers

     Write numbers on your envelopes. These will represent the day of the week. I have five envelopes here, but I ended up doing seven days. 

Write the numbers on the side where the slit is. See how I can put my hand inside the envelope? I would have used a black marker or sharpie, but my sharpies are missing.... I should be afraid, very afraid. 

Step 3: Glue

Glue your numbered envelopes to the board. It doesn't matter how they are glued as long as they are in order. I went with straight lines, but you can make them into waves or a circle or however you want to glue them. JUST KEEP THEM IN ORDER. 



Step 4: Index Cards

     This is the most important thing for this word wall. To have a word wall, you need words. For my last word wall, I bought some neon colored index cards and color coded them for my kids. My daughter was just learning her alphabet so she had orange and pink cards with the letters written out on them and my son got the green and yellow with his sight words listed on them. You can do whatever you'd like. If your school doesn't send home sight words for your child, there are different pin boards that will list some. Another thing that I didn't know about before I made the board was that I could buy sight word cards. 


      It does take time to write out the sight words, but I like the extra color and it also makes it more versatile for me. Once my kids learn all their words, I can always write down bigger words for them to learn. Start with age appropriate words and then work your way up. 

      Since my son is learning cursive, this year, I'm going to make him some letters and word in cursive to help him practice. 


You're done! 

      Don't forget to watch the video, above to learn how to use the word wall. It's really easy to do and this has been the BEST tool that I've used for my son. I hope that this will work for you as well!

What learning tools have you used for your children? Is this something that you think you'd enjoy using? Stay tuned for some learning material in learning to help your child multiply and divide in an upcoming post!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I Want to Get Back In Shape - A Fitness Plan That's Sure to Work?


     How did I let myself get this way? When I look in the mirror, I don't think that I look that bad, but my pictures tell me a different story. My scale says the same thing and my clothes protest a little whenever I get dressed.

I'm the tanned one on the left. 
   

      Does this story feel similar to you? I used to be in very good shape. I was a very outgoing, competitive, hyper child. I would always participate in P.E. and whenever we did races or some sort of game for church activities, I tried to always win. If I weighed more than I was supposed to, it never showed because I was strong and toned.

We dressed up for Halloween at our Fall Retreat. I'm in the middle. 
   


 Somewhere in time, I stopped moving so much. I calmed down. I really didn't eat any different, because, well, ice cream. I know how to diet because I've dieted my whole life. My mom has done every diet and so my sisters and I did every diet with her. (within normalcy for a teenager- no diet pills or extreme food loss.) My biggest problem has been inactivity.

      Did you know that when you have a low metabolism, your body temperature is lower than the average? My body temperature stays around 95 or 96 degrees. I've told my doctor that, so she did a thyroid test on me. It came back normal. I have no other health issues that cause me to be heavier, so it comes down to inactivity. There are all sorts of websites you can check out regarding this. Just type in, "Why is my body temperature low" and first you'll see, "Are you outside in the winter with no coat?" and then you'll see something about low metabolism.

     Do you know what helps raise metabolism? Exercise. Movement. Muscles. In the very first article I found when I typed in, "How to raise your metabolism", they give 10 different ways to increase it. This is what it says:


Here are 10 easy ways to increase your metabolism.
  1. Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal...
  2. Drink More Cold Water. ...
  3. Do a High-Intensity Workout. ...
  4. Lift Heavy Things. ...
  5. Stand up More. ...
  6. Drink Green Tea or Oolong Tea. ...
  7. Eat Spicy Foods. ...
  8. Get a Good Night's Sleep....
  9. Drink Coffee...
  10. Replace Cooking Fats With Coconut Oil...
If you read the article that's highlighted above, it will give you more explanation to why these work. In case you want to see more proof- although, who's to say that it's really proof if found on the Internet? I found this article from the Men's Journal, but many of the points are similar from the first list I showed you.

The 17 Best Ways to Fire up Your Metabolism

1. Pump iron
2. Move around more
3. Eat a variety of whole foods
4. Don’t go too low in calories or carbs
5. Use cheat meals strategically
6. Make sure you're not starving yourself
7. Do the right kind of cardio
8. Load up on water
9. Maintain lean muscle mass
10. Utilize HIIT training
11. Eat protein, especially at breakfast
12. Consider supplements
13. Eat, then sweat
14. Eat frequently
15. Consider drinking coffee
16. Spice things up
17. Get quality sleep
There's obviously more to these points, so please, click the link above to read through all of them. I know that when they say to eat more, they really mean to eat about six smaller calorie meals a day. I've done one diet that it seemed like most of my town had been doing. The idea is to eat one small 100 or 200 calorie meal in the morning. Three hours later, eat a 400 calorie meal, then alternate. The diet would change based on your height, weight, build, and gender because regardless of what the world is saying today, there is still a HUGE difference between men and women's anatomy so things are a little different.

      One of the easiest diets that I've ever done has been the macro diet. If you want to figure out how figure out your macros, I wrote a blog post all about it, but one of the bloggers from the support group I'm in talks about all of the time! I'm going to do a shout out here. If you're interested, visit her page at https://patienceconsistency.com/ . She has different recipes that are macro friendly and delicious listed out and she can help you go farther than I can. The only reason why I didn't stick with this one is because I vacationed and just sort of stopped doing it, but I will restart again, someday. If you want a life style change where you can eat pretty much anything, this is a good one for you.

     So what does all of this have to do with me? I'm not a fitness or diet writer, I write about mom things and what is going on with me. I've noticed that my attention isn't what it should be. I've also noticed that I'm not as strong as I was before. My eight and four year old are getting harder to wrestle with when we play so I know that I'm getting weaker. I need to get back into shape so that one day, my kids won't discover my weakness and tie me to the chair and run the house like they're the boss. I want to be able to play with them without getting tired out or losing interest.

My husband took some pictures of me and the kids 
for mother's day and I hated every single one of them. 
I tried my hardest to hide behind them,but that didn't
 cover up my arms or my double chin. 
      My  daughter, who is only six, is really starting to notice body image. She asked me one day if she was going to get fat. Then the next day, she asked me if I used to be small like her. That is a HUGE eye opener. I want to be able to model to her that with hard work and dedication, she doesn't have to worry about getting overweight. We can't keep telling ourselves that it's ok if someone is heavier, because it's not. There are so many people with health problems related to obesity and it CAN negatively affect your family. If I take any pictures with my kids, I want it with just our faces. Anything below the neck reminds me of how big I've gotten. I don't feel bad about myself and don't have pity parties, I've just accepted my weight as who I am, but that's where I'm wrong.

       It's time for me to take action, again. I made that promise to myself last year, but this year is different. This year, I have you. Accountability is so important when it comes to maintaining a healthy body and more importantly when trying to start up a healthier life style. Can you help me with that? It's out in the open now, I can't not do what I said I will do without looking stupid.

      This is my plan: For now, I'm going to try walking at least 10,000 steps a day and add a little bit of strength training. Nothing too drastic because if I start out with too much to do, I'm going to get burned out quickly. I'm not going to post about my results every day, but I will make a quick update at the end of the week to tell you how I'm doing. This is the year that I get back on track-even if the year is already more than half over.

     So what do you say? Will you help keep me accountable? Would anyone else like to join in?


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Guys.... I Want a Castle


     This isn't a typical family blog post, today, more like fancy thinking. Living in a castle has always been something I wanted to do as long as I can remember. Even in the movie Tangled, by Disney, Flynn Rider says, "Guys, I want a castle" and I totally relate. I have always loved reading the different renditions of King Arthur and his knights, and one of my favorite movies is Ever After which is a different take on the story of Cinderella. Castles, beautiful dresses; I just love it all.

      One of my great-aunt's is touring Italy, right now and she visited a castle. I'm super jealous!

I took this picture from her Facebook page..... My inner child is squealing with delight.

     I know that it is probably impractical to live in a castle. I mean, the amount of money that goes in to keeping it up is probably more than anyone who isn't rich can keep up with and it's just the five of us and our two dogs, but think of all the guests that we can accommodate. Slumber parties will be epic. Ok, so it might cost a lot to cool and heat the place, but maybe we'll each have our own fire place. Everyone can have their own wing. ("What's in the west wing?" Belle "It's FORBIDDEN!" Beast- Beauty and the Beast) I'd imagine that hide and seek would be much more fun and I, for one, would be super excited to find hidden rooms and such.

      I'm also pretty specific about the look of my castle. For some reason, I don't like the pointy round ones like this.

      Yes, it's beautiful and the country side is gorgeous, but I like the more square kind. I suppose they feel more historical to me and I think the rounded ones remind me more of cathedrals then castles. 




     Ok, so this last one has is a little rounded with points, but it's so pretty with the ivy growing up on it and it's more simple. 

      I guess, instead of living in a castle, I could settle for visiting one. I hear that Scotland, Ireland, and other countries across the big ocean have them... (I know they do). I think a friend told me that I could stay the night in one in Ireland. That could be REALLY fun!

     And if I can't manage to have a castle, I might be very happy to settle for nice little estate like the one that Mr. Bingly had in Pride and Prejudice


But I'll also settle for something like the Bennet's place too. The history and the setting and all the intricate details is all very picturesque and romantic, and I think that's what I really want.

      I think that Disney might have ruined me by giving me such high expectations. What do you think? Could you live in a castle?


Thursday, September 6, 2018

When Should I Send My Child to School and When Should I Keep Them Home?


       It's that time of year again. The kids are back in school and germs spread quickly. With the rise in allergens and the drop in temperatures and the rainy season, it can be difficult to tell when your kid should go to school or if they are exaggerating. 

       My kids have only been in school for one full week and Tuesday morning, the first morning back since the three day weekend, my daughter saw that her little brother might get to stay home, so she's convinced herself that she is sick, too. She was most convincing- not!

   
      Unfortunately, for her, I determined that what she has was an allergy reaction to outside and gave her a little bit of her medicine. She wasn't very happy with me, but I explained to her that we don't stay home from school for the sniffles, cough, sneezing, or yawning. I wish that we could keep our kids home when that happens, but schools are under so much pressure to keep attendance up that there are only a few things that they want you to stay home for.

     So where do you find these magical guides to staying home? Does your school have a handbook? Ours does and it has guidelines for us to follow.

Here is the list that they (the school) provided for excused absences.


  1. Illness
  2. Hospitalizations
  3. Counselor, dean or other office appointments
  4. School related activities in which the student is a participant,
  5. History of chronic health problems for which proper documentation has been filed
  6. Death in the family or family emergencies....
And so on and so forth, but in the little lines below the reasons it states- 

Schools may require parents/guardians to present medical documentation of physical or emotional conditions causing a student's absence of thee or more days, a continuing pattern of absences, or a reasonable suspicion about the validity of a medical or physical condition exists. 
    What is a parent supposed to do about that? A parent should be able to determine whether or not their child should be in school and as a parent, I shouldn't have to take my child to the doctor for a cold in order to get something written down to show my child's school that they are sick. I mean, who's in charge, here? Them or US? I know that this tends to be a BIG reason why some parents home school their children.

     But, I'm off topic and I don't really want to spur an emotional debate over this... or maybe I do... Controversy does bring traffic....

     Any who, so this is what I recommend. Talk to your school. Get your face recognized and advocate for your kids if you get into a conundrum with the school, but until that happens, this is what other sites recommend you do for your kids when they don't feel well. 

This is what Web MD says:


Ask Yourself 3 Things
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you answer a few key questions.
1. Does your child have a fever? Fevers of 101 F or more are generally a sign of illness, so children should stay home from school. 
2. Is your child well enough to participate in class? If she seems too run down to get much out of her lessons, keep her home. 
 3. Does she have an illness like the flu or pinkeye? If you think she might, don't let her go back to school until you know he's not contagious anymore.
 Other sites like this one for Kids Health says to keep your kids home for:

  • Diarrhea
  • Strep Throat
  • Chicken Pox or other communal diseases and illnesses
  • Fever
  • Lice, Scabies, and Ringworm
  • and of course vomiting 
      I'd also like to add lost limbs, excessive bleeding, and medical emergencies like allergic reactions. In those cases, go to the emergency room and don't worry about the school.


     In a perfect world, we'd like to be able to keep our kids home from school the moment they exhibit any sort of illness... ok, maybe you're like me and think, "Rubs some dirt in it" because well, not everyone can afford to take time off of work  or what they're doing (although, I do stay home, but to be fair, I do a lot of work on my computer) to take care of our kids who can still function so you send them to school. We all would especially like it if that one parent kept their kids cold germs at home so we didn't get them in our home, but realistically, we aren't all going to be completely germ free unless we live in a bubble, but even then, it's impossible to be completely germ free.

      So, in conclusion, if you follow the guidelines above, you'll know when to keep you kids home and when to send them to school. These guidelines also can be used for going to work. I hope this list has helped you and if you found it helpful, share with all your parent friends!


Monday, September 3, 2018

Family Reunion

 

      If you have noticed that I haven't worked on my blog for a few days (Facebook has), you'd be right. I got the chance to hang out at my parent's house, this weekend for our family reunion. This has been a tradition for as long as I can remember. Some of my cousins were my very first friends and I love them all dearly, even if we have drifted apart.




     Every year, we meet at the same place at the same time for Labor Day. If things were to ever change up and we had to go to a different pavilion, I'm sure most of us would all show up here anyways and make whoever got to rent it out first, move over because this is our spot. (They already took our baseball diamond.)

      Things have changed so much since I was a child. For one thing, that blue cover wasn't there and all our food was always laid out on the picnic tables where everyone is huddled at on the left. Someone finally said, "We've grown so much, there's no room for us if we put our food here. Let's pop a tent thing and have our food go here." 

      Another thing that has changed is the park area. When I was younger, the park area here was a fitness park. My cousins and I would climb the fitness bars and if you could get to the top one, you were pretty cool. 
      They were kind of like this except I want to believe that the shorter bar was a little shorter and the sides were wooden and half of the attempt to get up there was also to try to get up without getting two inch splinters.

       They have removed the bars several years ago and replaced them with an actual park.

       It's that yellow thing way back there. This is something that I would have enjoyed when I was younger, but my cousins and I occupied ourselves with paddle boating, canoeing, or playing baseball, if we weren't trying so hard to climb those bars or looking for tadpole in the man made pond. 

My Great Aunt paddle boating with her daughter and nieces (aka- my cousins)


     One thing that hasn't changed throughout the year is the food!!! I loved seeing my cousins and all of my aunts and uncles, but I also loved the desserts and awesome food that everyone would bring. I think my kids liked the same thing. 






     My oldest kept cracking me up because he kept taking his plate back to the buffet to grab more... He's so much my mini-me in so many ways. If you notice, there is hardly anything NOT a dessert on their plates. I rationalized that we were going to my grandma's (on the other side) afterwards and they could eat something there. 

      We had a great time and I was able to get a selfie with my baby girl. 

Got to travel with #MyTravelingSpider


     And I even got to bum around with my my youngest sister's b/f while she was on tour with her band Thistle and Lace to Iowa and then next, Oregon! 

Hubby trying out Virtual Reality Game

One of the games he tried. 

     I even got to hang out with my grandma and grandpa and played Uno. I forgot to take pictures. (Shame one me) All that was missing was my other sister and her wonderful family, but she just started a new nursing rotation (She's a traveling nurse- I'm super proud of her) and they weren't able to make it. (Give the kids hugs and kisses from Aunt Brittany!)


      If you have family and you don't have a reunion, you're missing out! Even if you see some of them all of the time, it's a great excuse to come together, hang out, tell stories, and eat yummy potluck food

Are You Getting the Best Sleep That You Can Get?

  This post contains affiliate links which might mean that I  could make a little extra profit at no cost to you. I was asked to try out ...

Follow