Friday, October 30, 2015

A Toddler Halloween

Last year was a Halloween with a bunch of toddlers. I have to admit it was my favorite Halloween of all time. No one loves holidays like toddlers. I am very excited for this year with a preschooler! Check out our Halloween fun from last year. I am so excited for all our festivities this year.

Wishing you all a wonderfully fun and safe Halloween and Happy Samhain to our Pagan friends! May your day be filled with laughter and love!

This post was originally published on Next Generation Stay At Home Mom November 3, 2014

    I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween! I have to admit this Halloween really was the best Halloween we have had in a very long time.
          It is funny, before Halloween I saw a lot of signs for bars having adult parties and fun costumes and I felt a twinge of "oh I wish I could go to an adult party for Halloween", but I had no idea how Xavier would react to Halloween good or bad. We had been practicing, but with kids there are a lot of variables.

       Our first obstacle this year was the costumes. I like to go all out on our costumes. Mainly because I like to make them or piece them together. I think it makes it that much more fun. I actually asked what Xavier would like to be for Halloween and he said "frog". So I thought and thought and I like to do family costumes so our idea was to do Kermit the Frog, Nick would be Fozzie Bear and I would be Miss Piggy. We ended up finding Xavier's Kermit the Frog costume cheaper than I could ever make it. We then bought all the stuff to make Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear. However, when we put them all on Xavier would cry and run away from us in horror and demand we take the masks off. Truth be told I was not even able to wear the pig nose until finally on Halloween night without him freaking out in horror. Since our point was not to scare our toddler to death we scaled our outfits down immensely. Nick switched to a monkey and just wore brown clothes, ears and a tail. I switched to a pig and wore pink clothes, ears, tail and a nose. So we figured with that plan perhaps Xavier would be happier. So for the week of Halloween we were talking about being a monkey, frog and pig and trying out our costumes. He seemed better except for my pig nose.

        The day of Halloween we woke up and went to the Children's museum to paint Halloween pictures and pumpkins. Of course, we ended up staying and let Xavier wear himself out playing which then resulted in a nice long afternoon nap. Then, we woke him up to an early dinner but made of all foods he loves to eat. We figured the fuller and happier he was the longer he would last trick-o-treating.

         Finally, it was time to get ready. We all put on our basic clothes first, I put my pink pants and shirt on and put my hair in pigtails. I ended up having a scratched cornea the day of Halloween so my glasses ended up being worn. (Great a pig with glasses, my dreams of Miss Piggy out the window and now I'm not sure I look much like a pig anymore). Nick put on his brown sweater and pants and we dressed Xavier in green pants and a green shirt under his very light frog outfit. Then, we went into the "costume room" (also known as the guest room) and all put our costumes on one at a time. Xavier put his frog costume on first, followed by Nick putting on his ears and tail, then finally was my big moment. Would Xavier let me wear the pig nose? I put on the tail, then the ears, right after I put on the ears Xavier said "Mommy nose!" I laughed and put on my pig nose and Xavier gave me a big hug! We were off and ready to go. We decided to give him the old plastic pumpkin to carry as he had a bag I made him but he had a hard time carrying it and opening it, so we brought it to hold the candy when his pumpkin got heavy. We also brought our little stroller with us. Our neighborhood is only a little circle about a mile around, but little feet get tired quickly.

       We started off the night meeting with our neighbors who are our good friends and their
children and we all headed off to our first real trick-o-treating experience. Xavier insisted on walking. He loved it! He would knock and say "trick-o-treat, thank you, and Happy Halloween". We were so proud. A lot of people left bowls of candy on their door step with a sign saying "Take 1" or "Take 2". He was so good at picking out things. He even picked out a bag of M&M's from one. They are his favorite. He pretty much thought everyone gave him M&M's but he knew whatever he was getting it was going to taste good. I had no idea that trick-o-treating with toddlers takes so long for such a small area, but it took almost two hours. By the end we had pumpkins full of candy, babies being held, pulled in wagons, put on shoulders and Xavier even opted for the stroller though he would get out at the houses.

         Afterwards we let him pick out some M&M's to eat and some Cheetos and it was off to bed. It was amazing watching all the children trick-o-treat together. Our neighborhood looked like it was being taken over by little ghosts and goblins everywhere. We would run into friends and neighbors in the street. Yards were set up as spooky places to visit. People were dressed up and ready to give out candy, toys, and treats of all kinds. It really reminded us of that old fashioned Halloween that everyone talks about but does not really happen. Well, this really happened.

        By nine o'clock Xavier was passed out asleep. Nick and I started a bonfire outside and had some good friends over. We all had so much fun under the moon and stars, drinking hot apple cider and laughing about the evening's festivities. It was an amazing Halloween that could not have gone better.
          It is moments like those that are so magical that make me love having my family and being able to do and experience new things with each other. It was so much better than just partying at a bar. Instead we had an amazing Halloween full of fun, laughter, community, friendship and most of all love! I hope yours was just as wonderful!

#Halloween, #Costumes, #TheMuppets, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #Samhain

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Garden Gnome Halloween

I hope you are all having a fun Halloween week and end of the month. This is a republish of our Halloween that we celebrated with Xavier when he was eighteen months old. The garden gnomes were super easy and comfortable to wear. We got a lot of compliments on them. Enjoy!

Originally Published on Next Generation Stay At Home Mom on November 1, 2013. 

 This Halloween/Samhain was much better then last year's. Xavier liked wearing his costume, in fact he wore it almost all night until bedtime. He did not quite grasp the trick or treat thing, so we only went to a couple of our friends' homes in our neighborhood. We ended up sitting in our front yard (We were garden gnomes after all) and handing out candy. Xavier really enjoyed seeing all the other kids dressed up.

    We ended the evening with some good friends that we live very close too. It was the perfect evening to remember to live in the present. We were thankful that our ancestors were closer tonight, and were able to bring to us messages that may have been much needed, but we are forever reminded that life is precious and you are to make each moment count.

      Here are some of the pictures from our festivities! You can also check out Xavier's First Halloween, Bread of The Dead Recipe or Infant Trick or Treating. I hope you all had a wonderful, fun and safe Halloween/Samhain.

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #Halloween, #costumes, #samhain

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sponsored: Travel With Little Route

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign 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 neither influenced, nor reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.

Sponsored: Travel With Little Route
Written By Renee Arbia

When you first come home from the hospital with your baby you need to make sure your car seat is installed correctly. Most of us can barely let our newborn out of our sight, so we end up sitting in the back seat with them, or we end up getting a baby car mirror. As extended rear facing becomes more popular with children as old as four facing backward in their car seats, a baby car mirror is almost becoming an essential part of the traveling package.

Little Route has gone above and beyond in their baby car mirror by providing a backseat mirror that is a cinch to install and pivots 360 degrees on a base pedestal. There is no assembly required when installing the Little Route Baby Car Mirror. You simply, tighten the straps and clip them around the headrest. You can put the straps vertical, crisscrossed or in a “t” formation. The mirror can rotate easily on a base that is attached to it for a full rear view. It is great for the driver or the passenger.

The Little Route Baby Car Mirror is made from high quality materials and has shatterproof glass. Your baby will always be safe from glass breakage with Little Route. We were very impressed with the quality of the Little Route Baby Car Mirror. It is much stronger than most mirrors, yet much easier to adjust. It was simple to put on the headrest and adjust. It is a big sized mirror that you can clearly see from the front seat.

Having peace of mind while you are driving is critical when you are driving your little ones around. Make sure you have a safe, sturdy baby car mirror so that you can always keep a watch on them and them on you. Little Route Baby Car Mirror makes sure you can always see your little one down all the routes you drive.

Note: I forgot to take off the plastic on the mirror before taking the picture. The mirror is crystal clear.

You can get the Little Route Baby Car Mirror for the little ones in your life from Amazon!

#Sponsored, #BabyCarMirror, #Amazon, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog

Friday, October 23, 2015

Remembering Xavier's First Halloween and Samhain

As I am here preparing for Xavier's fourth Halloween I remember his first Halloween and Samhain. It was such a fun day and we have had memorable holidays ever since. This is the first year he picked out his own costume. Well, since we found them at the goodwill I allowed him to get two. We will see what he picks to wear. If you have a baby in your home this year you will probably especially appreciate this post I did just after Xavier's First Halloween and Samhain.

Last night was an extremely eventful evening. It was a very exciting night as it was Xavier's first Halloween and Samhain. We had been planning all month things such as, what to do , and how to make sure it was a special day for all of us. Nick and I love Halloween so we wanted to make sure Xavier had fun and really learned to love it. We are a pagan family and Halloween night is also our Samhain, which is a  type of new year, and day of the dead celebration. We wanted to make sure everything was extra special for our first year as a new family.

When Nick came home from work we ate dinner and got into our costumes together. Then, we did our Samhain celebration. We had set up an ancestor altar the night before and decorated it with things from the season such as; pumpkins, gourds, candles, leaves and trinkets from our loved ones who have passed on such as; pictures, jewelry, cards, etc. Next we read about the meaning of Samhain, lit all the candles, and learned about the wheel of the year. Then, we remembered and thanked all our ancestors and loved ones who have passed on for all the things we have learned and gotten from them.

Even though it is a big religious holiday for us, we still like to celebrate the fun of Halloween like everyone else. However, we decided against trick or treating for a few reasons, it was cold (for us in the south), Xavier was cranky, and really I do not see much point when he is only 7 months old. So we just took him to our friends' houses in the neighborhood and showed him off then we finished with a quiet evening at home handing out candy to trick o treaters.

I ended up having Xavier be a chicken for Halloween. We did not want to spend much on his costume this year, as he was not really trick or treating much. So, my theater degree and years of costuming experience finally came in handy. I was proud to have made Xavier's first Halloween costume and it was entirely free. I just made the cone on his hat and sewed some feet to his socks. The rest we had. Nick and I decided to be chicken farmers and we visited our local goodwill store for most of the outfit.

All in all it was a wonderful evening followed by a beautiful full moon. It is always fun celebrating holidays with Xavier and starting new traditions.

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #Halloween, #Samhain, #PaganFamily

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bring Cardinal Health Home

Bring Cardinal Health Home
Written By Renee Arbia

Cardinal Health sent this product to try, and donated to a charity of my choice.

During the child bearing years for many women we end up going through a lot of health hurdles and are in need of a lot of medical products, not just for ourselves, but for our spouses, children and even sometimes parents or other family members. We may get minor surgeries, have babies, recover from an illness or have a bad injury. We are running around taking care of everyone except ourselves. Or perhaps we are caring for someone who requires attentive details to their medical needs.  

Cardinal Health knows how busy our lives are and how important it is to be able to heal comfortably at home. Cardinal Health makes medical products and services that are used at many major hospitals and institutions throughout the United States. They now are introducing a line of at-home products to promote comfort and independence while healing.

Between minor surgeries, having a baby and taking care of our elderly parents, there are many times that after spending endless hours at a hospital, we would get discharged only to then be handed a list of things we have to get for medical care. You then have to try to get to the right drugstore that has the right item you need. Cardinal Health Quality At-Home Products make the transition from hospital to home recovery a smoother and more successful one. Cardinal Health combined professional quality products with the ease of at-home use and offers a full line of products for consumers, including, Advanced Wound Care, First Aid, Personal Care and Home Healthcare Products. These products are very beneficial in the healing process. Proper post-hospital care is important to avoid re-admission.

Cardinal Health offers Perineal Cold Packs for new moms. Millions of new moms experience a postpartum period for up to six to eight weeks after giving birth and are very swollen and sore. Cardinal Health Perineal Packs are made of a soft material and provide comfortable, effective pain relief with an absorbent pad, and safe, controlled cold therapy. They come in a 2-pack and are a wonderful combination of an absorbent pad and cold pack, which would ease any new moms recovery.

Finding the right health supplies should never be an issue. When you need health products Cardinal Health is always there, at the hospital with you, and now, your Cardinal Health products will be waiting for you when you are healing at home.

For more product information and indications for use, visit

Check out Cardinal Health on their Social Networks

#ad, #BringTheCaringHome, #IC, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #newmom, #postpartum

Monday, October 19, 2015

Guest Post: Decorating For Halloween

It is getting closer and closer to Halloween. If you have not decorated your house yet, or if you are in need of a little help. Here is a great guest post from Aleksander McMenamin who is a freelance writer with a great eye for Halloween decorations. Check out some of his great ideas, and turn your House into a Halloween house your family will never forget!

Decorating For Halloween
Written By Aleksander McMenamin

Halloween is just around the corner, and if you haven’t already, it's time to decorate your house for the season. Below are some ideas that you can employ to make your house the spookiest (or cutest!) one on the street.

Don’t be afraid to use pumpkins
Pumpkins scream Halloween. There are many things you can do with pumpkins, that are either cute or creepy. You can line your walk with jack o'lanterns carved by you and your kids, place jack o’lanterns on the porch, or put cute little uncarved pumpkins in your windowsills. You can even hollow them out and turn them into planters and place flowers inside the pumpkins. Carve welcoming statements like “Happy Halloween” or “Trick-or-Treat” on your pumpkins instead of faces for a cute alternative. If you’d like to go for the creepy look, opt for scary carvings with your jack o’lanterns. Stack the pumpkins, with a creepy face on top, and give them arms for a zombie-pumpkin. As they begin to decompose, they will look even more terrifying. If you don’t like the idea of rotting pumpkins on your doorstep, you can purchase reusable faux pumpkins from any Halloween store.

Get creative with spider-webs
You can buy bags of cobwebs from Halloween stores and place them around your home: front porches and garage doors are great places to start. You can purchase a giant spider-web from Etsy or Halloween stores, or make your own out of yarn or a black garland. Make the webs more spooky by lining them with spiders; you can purchase small bags by the gross to toss into the cobwebs. You can also purchase giant spiders and hang them all along the front of your house. Just be sure to safely use your ladder when you hang decorations around the outside of your home. Check out this blog for ladder safety tips.

Throw in a dash of bat
Just like any good potion, your yard needs a dash of bat-wing. The bat has been a symbol of Halloween for many years, with some folklore stating that bats could communicate with the dead. Many believed that vampires and witches could turn into bats, strengthening the association with this frightening holiday. Traditional Halloween celebrations included large bonfires that attracted lots of insects, also attracting bats, thus the association of bats and Halloween. Cut out black bats out of felt or black paper and attach them to the side of your house. If you’d like, you can hang them from the overhang of your home with fishing wire or string.

Don’t forget your doormat
You say a lot about your home’s personality based on your doormat. There are hundreds of scary or cute Halloween-themed doormats that you can place at the front of your home. Find one that suits you: whether it is a spiderweb, bloody footprints, or a coir“beware” or “trick-or-treat” mat. Don’t forget to decorate the staircase and ground leading up to your door as well. Use sticky paw prints to make it look like a large animal visited your home, or create a trail of bloody, dragging footprints to make it look like a dying zombie came to trick-or-treat.

Greet guests with life-size haunts
While your guests wait for you to answer the door, have a life-sized ghoul stare them down. You can purchase a life-size skeleton to do the trick, or you can make a ghost out of chicken wire. If you have the technical skill, make your door greeter respond to motion, terrifying your guests. Create cheesecloth ghosts to hang precariously from your roof. Give them creepy faces and skeleton hands to add to the effect.

Tell stories with tombstones
Turn your yard into a graveyard by placing tombstones around the grass. You can purchase tombstones at the store, or make them out of foam and spray paint. Be clever and put silly or scary epitaphs and names on each one like “D.M. Bones”, “Izzy Dead”, “Here lies the last child to Trick-or-treat here”, “I’ll be back”, or “You’re next.” Have skeleton arms breaking out of the ground near the tombstones for an extra haunting effect.

Employ your window
You have a lot of fun real estate in your front-facing windows. You can create silhouette scenes with shapes cut out from black paper depicting cats, bats, spooky parties, etc. You can also buy window clings that are either traditional Halloween symbols, or mad scientist-esque decor like bloody body parts. Optionally, you can use 3-dimensional props in your window to create scary scenes or wish visitors a Happy Halloween. For example, you could put a creepy doll in the window that you found at a thrift store to spook guests.

Aleksander McMenamin enjoys wandering the great outdoors and thinking about the ailments that bring ill upon society. A typical day in his life may include learning a dead language, teaching unfortunate children to paint their feelings on canvas, or wiping the sweat from his brow as he finishes work in an immaculate garden. Currently, Aleksandre enjoys writing on a variety of topics for various sites around the interwebs.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sponsored: AYL Soundfit Portable Bluetooth Speaker

 I wrote this post while participating in a campaign 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 neither influenced, nor reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.

Sponsored: AYL Soundfit Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Written By Renee Arbia

 It is not very often as a mom that I get to write about electronics. I actually love electronics and know quite a plethora of knowledge about them. They are a hard subject to keep up with, without owning every new electronic that exists. My husband and I really wanted to get a very durable, water proof Bluetooth speaker. We love to spend days at the beach, park or outside in the yard and listen to music. With Bluetooth streaming, it is easy to get a speaker, but not one that can withstand the weather, terrain and a preschooler.

We were really excited to be able to test out the new AYLSoundfit Bluetooth Speaker. The AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker is a speaker that is built tough to be carried with you wherever your adventures may take you. Your typical portable Bluetooth speaker has a 3-watt audio drive, but the new AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker features a 5-watt audio drive for stronger bass, and a higher quality sound, making it much more powerful. 

We took the AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker to the beach, park, yard, garage, car among other places. It was many times, in the hands of a preschooler and all around in general thrown around in between seats, backpacks and boxes. The AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker is perfect for traveling, cycling, climbing, camping, hiking, running, boating and fishing. It is easy to hook a tripod onto it or put it onto a bike, and it also has a wrist strap to hang from a tree. The AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker is waterproof level IPX5 protected, which is against low pressure water stream from any angle. It is not submersible, but should withstand a drop in water if followed by immediately letting the speaker dry out completely before using. It is recommended for showers, boats and use by the pool. While testing it never got wet enough that we had a problem at all it is definitely water resistant and a little more. 

The next important thing about a portable Bluetooth speaker is a good battery. At 80% volume the AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker can provide up to 12 hours of endless music. It recharges with a simple micro USB cable in three hours. It is extremely easy and fast to pair the AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker with any Bluetooth technology. You can even pair more than one. You can use the AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker while being away from your Bluetooth device, up to 33 feet. We actually were able to do it through the wall of our house though it was right outside not far away. Most of the time we have our phones plugged in and walk around with the speaker. You can even answer your phone through the AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker.

We could not find anything wrong with the AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker. In fact we highly recommend it. It makes a great gift for anyone, including you. It is extremely reasonably priced, sounds incredible, has a great battery life, and is durable to survive any adventure your family can bring it along on. You can grab your AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker in Green, Orange or Blue from Amazon.

#Sponsored, #AYLSoundFitWaterproofBluetoothSpeaker, #electronics, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog #Amazon


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