Friday, January 31, 2014

Snow Day Fun



  Once every three years or so coastal North Carolina gets snow. This year we got a ton of ice, covered in snow and covered in ice again. We have had three days of it and are now starting day four. Though a lot more businesses are open today schools have missed all four days this week.



    I am from up North, way up north. The snow does not bother me, though I prefer it stays up north. However, having a toddler did make it more fun to show him the snow and play it in.



     However, I was disappointed that it was ice snow. Too hard to make snowballs and snow men, but great for sledding. We sled a little in the yard on a garbage can lid. (need to invest in boogie board good for beach and snow that's what us southerners use instead). Xavier did enjoy the experience, but not as much as I was hoping. Perhaps in another three years we will get soft, fluffy snow to build with. I hope you all enjoy the photos, stay warm and have a wonderful weekend!



Don't forget to enter the raffle for a free 2-Year Membership to RedWeek.com the Timeshare rental website. You can get all the bargain vacations you want for two whole years. (A $29.99 value).
Enter The Raffle Here.





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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Stay At Home Mom Presumption In Response To Amy Glass

  

  There has been a bloggers post all over the internet entitled "I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I'm Not Sorry" and it is written by a blogger named Amy Glass. I have been asked by a few people my response to her article as she basically slams stay at home moms the most, but also anyone who would want to have kids and a husband.
     Oh, Amy Glass, where to start. First of all, I understand where you are coming from and I am sorry for you. I was once there. If you had asked me five years ago if I would be a stay at home mom, I would have said "NO WAY!" Although I always planned on kids I understood how great it was (or so I thought) to be childless and free to really be yourself and make a difference. You lived by your own rules and did your own thing. You are celebrating your life and accomplishments.
        You say in your article "Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself?" to this I respond that most of us "stay at home moms" that you are referring to have already done all that, we have been doctors, lawyers, have degrees, some of us still fit in our work while we are at home. In fact I am doing more now then ever and helping to take care of a husband and son as well. You see I used what I learned being single and alone, and brought the good things, into my marriage and my family. So I am you plus two! I am free to be myself all the time and unconditionally loved and celebrated for it. Everyday I know I at least make a difference in two people's lives if not more. Believe it or not I not only live by my own rules I make the rules of my entire household, so perhaps you are correct Amy Glass I do not believe you and "stay at home moms" are on the same equal footing, I believe we are much higher.
    Amy Glass seems to have a big problem with celebrations she seems to mention a lot that she is unable to celebrate woman who go on trips alone or get new promotions, yet we can celebrate marriages and baby showers and those are things every woman can do. First of all, who needs a reason for celebration? I celebrated a snow day the other day. Secondly, I believe all those things a woman can do. In fact I have landed a dream job three times, got many promotions, got married, had a child and did not backpack through Asia but studied in Europe for two months so I think that counts. In all those occasions I celebrated because that is what life is, an endless supply of possibilities and celebrations. It is sad, that you, Amy Glass,  are missing them all.
     She also asks in this article a question, "Why are we settling for average?" I cannot help but wonder who is settling for average? Certainly not this stay at home mom. In fact I consider my life amazing and above average. Why would I work when I can be home everyday with my family and be a teacher, chef, babysitter, writer, maid, editor, blogger, dog walker, party planner, friend, neighbor, wife and mother and living everyday with an amazingly above average life. I think average is having to work 9-5pm all day 40 hours a week, thinking you are making a difference , when really you are missing the bigger picture. My family and I don't settle for an average life and I know many other families who don't either.
   Lastly, which I think is the saddest part of her article is when she says "You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids". I feel so sorry for Amy Glass here. What people who do not have children (by choice) miss is when you have a great husband and kids they bring out the exceptional you much faster and easier then you can do on your own. In turn, you also bring out the exceptional in them, creating a family that promotes bringing love to everyone they come in contact with. That is why I am a stay at home mom, because I know time is our currency and in order to maximize my time I want to spend it with exceptional people who make me above average and able to live an amazing life.



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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sponsor Review and Giveaway: Rent A Timeshare For A Bargain Family Vacation

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
  I wrote this post while participating in a campaign by Tomoson and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced nor reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines. 




     When most people hear the word "timeshare" they run because they know it costs a lot of money and is an investment. However, what you may be missing is a great way for you to have an inexpensive family vacation. There is a new website in town called RedWeek.com it is a timeshare website that lets you rent a timeshare! That's right RedWeek does timeshare rentals.
    Timeshare rentals typically cost  50% less then hotel rooms, especially since you are renting directly from the owner. When you rent a timeshare you can stay at a luxury resort, with big accommodations for your entire family. Many timeshare rentals even have a fully equipped kitchen and laundry for you to use while you are vacationing. What you usually could afford at a regular hotel you get the luxury with the timeshare rental. You can have two or three bedroom suites that also include maid service as well as many other great services.
     There are resorts all over the world. What is great about the website RedWeek is when you search for a timeshare it is easy to look for location or a specific resort. You can also check on special deals and for specific needs, like beach, pet friendly, kid friendly, etc. You can browse RedWeek as a guest for free or to rent and speak with the owners you can sign up for a membership for $14.95 a year! The subscription lets you use the timeshare rentals as much as you would like during that year.
     I have not been able to take a timeshare vacation through RedWeek yet, but to test this out I thoroughly researched the website and found it extremely easy to use. Plus I compared it to several hotel rates and it was much cheaper and usually with nicer rooms. The timeshares are also hotels so it was neat to see the price differences. I actually liked seeing some places that I would never have thought to visit like a place in Oregon where you can stay in a room with ceiling to floor windows and just whale watch all day long. You wake up to the sound of whales. I found it fascinating all the different places that were offered through RedWeek and how affordable they really are.
    I know ever since we started traveling with Xavier having a kitchen and laundry really comes in handy. We have stayed at many timeshares in the past and loved them and I am really excited to try out some more with RedWeek.

To find out more about RedWeek you can visit their website
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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fun At The Children's Museum


Xavier and Grayson in the artroom

    This year since Xavier is almost two (on March 25th) we have taken him back to the Children's museum a few times and he loves it! So when a good friend told me about a half off coupon on Groupon.com for a year's membership we jumped at getting it for Xavier.

Xavier loves the bike and books in the toddler tree room
        The Children's museum is a wonderful place to take young children they have so many things to do. Xavier's favorite area is the art area, plus I must admit I love it as well. You can do all the art you want and they have it already set up and you barely have to clean up. (I do to be polite though I'm not sure you even have to).

Xavier, Logan and Grayson playing outside at the Children's Museum


     This past weekend, Xavier had a play date with his two pals Grayson and Logan and the three of them had a blast at the museum. Although us mommies were tired of chasing toddlers around the museum you can clearly see how much fun they had.

Xavier and Grayson having fun on the chalkboard in the artroom


Special thanks to the pictures from Diana (Grayson's mom).


Grayson, with Logan and Xavier in the reading train upstairs

If you are interested in visiting the Children's Museum of Wilmington I highly recommend it, especially if your child is over the age of one!



Children's Museum of Wilmington
website: www.playwilmington.org

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Monday, January 27, 2014

NO!



  Oh the joys of living with a twenty two month old! Xavier has now figured out he has options and that we have to take his opinion into account. For example, he can tell us when he is hungry and we naturally get started on lunch or a snack. That has it's advantages. However, since he figured out he can ask for things and to do things. He has also figured out the opposite of yes which is NO. Only he does not say the word, he will simply shake his head, making a "mmm, mmmm" sound and if you keep trying to push him he falls to the ground kicking and screaming. (I try not to get to that point).
    The problem is always that he says NO just because he wants to not because he does not like something. He will say NO to eating even if it is his favorite food, just because he can. Then, once he finally tastes it and eats, he then will never want to get down. Same with baths, never wants to get in and then once he is in he never wants to get out.
    We are not sure what to do about this. As every parent we are not experts. However, I have found that ignoring it as best you can works the best. I still drag him kicking and screaming to the table for meals. He does not have to eat but he has to sit there. What is funny is especially if Nick is there we go about having a nice dinner and conversation and he eventually just eats and talks as well.
     Day by day, slowly, with baby steps as with everything else communication is getting through. Everyday we are able to communicate a little better then before. I try to remember patience and to treat him as an equal member of our family. Just a member that we cannot communicate as well with yet. I am pretty sure as soon as he starts talking he is going to have a lot to say!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


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Friday, January 24, 2014

The Soundtrack of Our Day



  I think it is neat how people can now put up soundtracks to their life. You can make a mix of songs that you love and have loved throughout your life at all different times. You can have good, bad, happy, sad, energetic and relaxing memories just by listening to your soundtrack. It a great way to motivate you to go to the gym, work out, clean, relax, drive, etc. This got me thinking of the sound track of my life and well, that is too large. I was a theater, music and creative writing major there is no way I have time to do a sound track to my life. However, I thought maybe for a day. Though I do not know how to upload music on a blog I thought this would make you laugh and hopefully start your weekend off right.

7:30 AM- Wake up to the sound of yesterday's Sesame St. That's right yesterday's Sesame St. it is loved so much in this house we watch it twice once at 7am which is the episode from the day before then later on.
8:00AM- Watch Xavier and Baby Melissa while my wonderful husband makes breakfast.
9:00AM- By now we have finished breakfast, Baby Melissa goes for her morning nap in the swing while Xavier watches more of his shows, which I now hear Umi Zoomi (both episodes), a new Sesame St. at 10:00AM and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
11:30AM- is a big change in music because Xavier goes down for a two to three hour nap and Baby Melissa is awake and wants to play. The best way to combat this issue is with piano music I have found. I play it in the living room surround sound. This way Xavier hears it and it is still soothing to sleep to and if Baby Melissa hears it she is relaxed and happy to keep playing.
2:00PM- Around this time Xavier gets up and has lunch. Since everyone is awake now I play Xavier's Yo Gabba Gabba radio which is a mix of fun upbeat kid songs that he loves to dance to. Baby Melissa is getting into the groove now also.
4:00PM- So I claim this as mommy's hour. Usually Baby Melissa goes home and Xavier is content to quietly play for a little while by himself while I usually watch Ellen or get some work done.
5:00PM- If we are near a television at this hour it must be on Nick Jr. Xavier has to watch Peppa Pig! He loves it and it is the only thing he sits for. He will sit for a whole half hour to watch it sometimes more. It is usually the soundtrack to me cooking dinner.
6:00PM- I turn off the music and television for dinner. I try to keep the conversation going even if it is just babble between a toddler and myself.
7:00PM- This varies on mood it is a mixture of Dora the Explorer, Modern Family or Yo Gabba Gabba radio
8:00PM- the sound of waves washing up against the shore (no we do not live in a beach house yet) it is Xavier's Cloud B Sleep Sheep. He has slept with that since he was four days old and we have never had a problem with him falling asleep since he has been using it. It is never leaving. Sometimes when I go to bed I sneak in his room to turn on the waves so I can hear them over the monitor and fall asleep to them as well!

I hope this made you laugh and that you all have a fun and safe weekend!



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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Friends






  A while ago I mentioned that I regularly take Xavier on play dates. I also have two close friends who both have sons, they are all close in age. Xavier is almost 22 months, one is almost 20 months and the other is almost around 17 months. We have been getting them together since Xavier was eight months old. It has been a year now and finally, they recognize each other. They get excited to see each other and they are bonding. We hope this friendship will last them a lifetime but for however long it lasts it sure does make them happy and helps mom and dad make new friends too.  Enjoy some pictures of toddlers finally figuring out the meaning of friends!

Special thanks to my good friend Diana for taking these great pics and preserving these memories for us!












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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: V Tech Little Apps Tablet





  After our very quick, crazy and long trip to Connecticut I had to thank one individual for giving Xavier a certain Christmas present, because it made our car trip so much easier!
        My wonderful sister-in-law, Marianne gave Xavier a V Tech Little Apps Tablet for Christmas. Xavier played with it on and off. Honestly, I did not mess with it much nor did Nick. We kind of assumed it may be a little advanced for him. However, when I was packing some toys for the car ride and trip to Connecticut ( Read posts: Funerals and Celebrations and Catch Up) I saw it and figured it would fit well in the toy bag and he may like it like he enjoys his magna doodle (Read Road Trip With A Toddler).



      It was amazing the second I gave it to Xavier while he was in his car seat his face lit up and he played and played with it for hours and hours without complaint. In fact when we got out for stops as soon as you put him back in his car seat you had to hand him his V Tech Little Apps Tablet. I sat next to him the whole ten hours or so down and back up and watched him laugh, giggle, and learn just by playing with it and I know it made him feel so much better for having to be stuck in the car.



    If you have not heard or seen the V Tech Little Apps Tablet it is a small play tablet for kids ages 2-5. It has an A-Z keyboard with large buttons, a fun Bear character mode slider, piano keyboard, large arrow buttons for easy controls and it comes in black or pink. It teaches your child letters, letter order, numbers, counting, puzzles, words and more and it also features four special interactive activities with the Bear, including music play, a calendar activity, a pretend camera game and a fun question and answer chat feature. There are sound effects, but there is a volume control and automatic shut off. I do not find the sounds annoying they are faint in my opinion compared to most toddler toys.



    Since we have been home from our trip Xavier still has his tablet. He does not play with it for very long but it is always something he manages to play with for a little while everyday. That means it's a favorite in my opinion. Plus, you cannot beat the quality and price of this item compared to most children's play tablets.

You can purchase the V Tech Little Apps Tablet for $14.97 through Amazon.




Disclosure
   No products,compensation or services were given to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC guidelines.



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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MLK At The Aquarium



 Yesterday Nick was able to take off of work and I did not have to watch Baby Melissa so we took the day and had a fun family day at the aquarium. The aquarium was free due to the holiday.
      This is Xavier's third time at the aquarium. Even though his favorite part is the slide at the playground of the aquarium, he did finally enjoy looking at the fish tanks and all the different fish. It was neat to see his reactions and see how long he would stay at some exhibits and how short he would stay at others. I am always amazed at how children know not to waste a second of their day doing something they do not want to do.
    If you live around coastal North Carolina or are visiting down this way be sure to take a trip to The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher they have a wonderful aquarium that is fun for  all ages! Check out some of my other posts on it, Xavier Goes To The Aquarium and Trick or Treating Under The Sea!






Find out more at their
Website : www.ncaquariums.com

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

Mailing address & Street Address:
900 Loggerhead Road
Kure Beach, NC 28449
Toll Free: 800-832-3474 ext. 2
Fax: 910-458-6812
E-mail: ffmail@ncaquariums.com



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Monday, January 20, 2014

Catch Up




Xavier and his Papa (my father)


 Even us stay at home mom's have to play catch up on everything. I apologize for not writing much last week, but we had a crazy, quick and wonderful visit to Connecticut.  Despite the circumstances (read: Funerals and Celebrations) we had a wonderful time.  We ended up driving up with my sister in her car since ours is too tiny for long trips. It ended up being about a twelve hour trip. Faster when we did not get lost like we did on the way up. Plus, it was much easier driving back since we got expert route advice from my Aunt Debbie.
     We left Saturday night from our house and drove the hour to my sister's house, packed up her car and left very early at six in the morning Sunday. We made it to Connecticut around five just in time for dinner. It was wonderful to be greeted by such love.  When you are driving such long hours to go to a funeral you never know what you are going to walk in to when you get there.
         Although my grandfather's death was sad, I do not think anyone would think it was tragic. As he passed away a wonderful man in his nineties full of love for him and around him. So I guess I should not have been surprised that we were greeted by loving arms of my Aunt and cousins whom I had not seen in about five to ten years (depending on the relative).
        It was weird for me to go back to Connecticut. Unlike my sister who is a little older then I am I do not remember much of it. I only lived there until I was eight years old. I do not remember much about the town or city itself or the houses. I was surprised at the very different standards of living from the North and the South. My father lives in the north but he lives in a small country town (Read; The Coolest Small Town). It was very different to see a city up north compared to the cities down south.  The houses were much older but had some beautiful rich details. I loved the beautiful crown molding, the heavy archways and dark real wood floors. The pretty twisted staircase leading up to the claw foot tub and pedestal sink.

Xavier in his great grandfather's highchair


        Most of those details I am describing I saw in my cousin, Jennifer's house. We felt nothing but love and good times there while I enjoyed the up north architecture.This was the first time I had ever visited Jennifer in her house. She had bought it about five years ago,  a few months after my mom had passed away. We were all sitting around talking and it was said that my mom lived somewhere on the street that Jennifer's house is on. No one knew which house it was but everyone thought it was neat that she lived where my mom once did. Then, when my dad and his brother came to visit Jennifer's house (also both seeing it for the first time) they realized it was the exact house that my mom lived in with her parents for only a couple years, but they were an important few years.
            It turns out my mom lived in Jennifer's house when she first met my dad. He dropped her off there when they first met, he picked her up for their first date in that house and he proposed to her when she lived in that house. Once we all found that out it was amazing how much love ended up being poured out for the rest of the weekend. We all learned a lot about each other and what has been going on in our lives and we laughed a lot about the past and the fun times we had.

Xavier playing with his cousins in the pantry of the house my mom once lived in.


      At one point towards the end of our visit I was making a plate and I said to my Aunt "This feels just like old times except I am an adult and I have a little one now" and she just laughed and smiled as I know she felt the same. What is amazing to me is that we are already starting the tradition of visiting each other and making sure that our children have fun playing together.
       Even though our trip was very quick and I am now exhausted from it. I had so much fun and it felt great to be with my family and give them laughter and love at a time when they needed it the most. Xavier did fantastic this trip. He seems to be getting better and better in the car. I hope this means he lets us take some more trips just next time for fun purposes only!

Xavier sitting in his great grandfather's rocking chair


I hope you all have a great week!


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Monday, January 13, 2014

Funerals and Celebrations

   
Xavier meeting his great grandma with Nick and I

     We got some upsetting news that my grandfather passed away the other day. We decided to pack up and take a road trip up to Connecticut to visit with my family (most of them live there) and to see my grandmother.
      Although we are all very sad that my grandfather, affectionately known to us grandchildren as Pop Pop, it is wonderful to see all our family and for Xavier to meet his cousins and experience new things.
       I do think that if you have to go to a funeral I am glad to go to my grandfather's. He passed in his nineties, married to the love of his life for many, many years. He had a beautiful family, job and home. He had four children, eight grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. I hope that someday I am lucky enough to pass away with so much love in my life.
     Through grief for loved ones who pass we have to remember to celebrate the life they had. So many times we get stuck on the "how they died, or how they were sick" instead we should celebrate how spectacularly wonderful a person's lifetime was, not just the last half which is usually the shortest.
     I know I will always remember my Pop pop as an amazing man and grandpa. I loved his enthusiasm for music, dance, and chocolate. I hope I can live up to his legacy as well as he did.

Rest In Peace Pop pop we love you and thanks for being the best grandpa a girl could ask for.

Due to our trip and spending time with family I will not be posting as much this week. I hope you all have a great week!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Soup


Xavier likes to dip or sink his grilled cheese into the soup



 If you have been following the blog all week you know I did a post Review and Giveaway: The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook, and highlighted one of the recipes from it Artichoke, Spinach, and Red Pepper Grilled Cheese by making it and posting it yesterday. Since I have been inspired by grilled cheese all week I decided to make some soup. The book had a great roasted tomato soup recipe, but I was all out of roasted tomatoes so I tried making a Roasted Red Pepper Soup instead which ended up delicious and would go perfectly with your Artichoke, Spinach, and Red Pepper Grilled Cheese sandwich. Xavier loved the Roasted Red Pepper soup and so did Nick plus it is one of the easier types of soups to make. I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful weekend!




Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Serves 2

Ingredients
3 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 jars (about 21 ounces) Roasted Red Peppers
1 cup Chicken Broth or Vegetable (for vegetarian)
1 cup of whole milk
1 tablespoon Parsley

Directions
Pour the jars and juice of the roasted red peppers in a blender and blend until smooth or to your desired soup consistency (we like to leave a little bit of pepper chunks). Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the peppers, parsley and broth and let simmer and reduce for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir in the milk and let the soup boil for a couple of minutes and serves. Goes good with grilled cheese!


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