Monthly Archives: November 2017

Pregnancy Update – Week 21

21-Weeks-PregnantGood Morning!

I thought about doing vlog posts about my weekly updates with what’s going on in my life and with this pregnancy but there are several things that get in the way to where I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up. My biggest hurdle is my internet, it has horrible uploading speeds, literally will sit for 3 hours “uploading” just to tell me there’s an error and I’ve basically wasted my time, lol! So maybe I’ll dedicate specific topics for video blogging every so often. But for now this is the easiest way to get the information out fast!

Every Sunday my week updates and let me tell you the weeks are going by fast!! I feel so blessed to have this pregnancy and to experience this my son. He is just so excited to be a big brother and I just pray that this baby is as good as he was when he was a baby.

Last week, we had our anatomy scan with my doctor and everything looked great, it’s a GIRL!! We knew that weeks ago, but I waited to say anything officially because you just never know. She measured 12 oz and had really long legs, lol. My son was measuring already a pound at 20 weeks so I’m hoping this girl is a tad bit smaller than he was, lol. He was 8 lbs 10 oz at birth and grew to over 12 lbs at 1 months old, lol. Needless to say I never really had a newborn. Preparing for this baby is a little more relaxed than with my first. I save several big items like the crib, glider, high chair, car seat, pack in play, changing pads, and baby play things, but I still feel like I need so much more. There are several new things that have come out just in the last 5 years that look really cool like a video monitor (they were available but SUPER expensive and I feel like having a 2 story house now, I will have use for it) and various new devices to put the baby in. So I am excited to try new products and will more than likely review them on here! 🙂

I feel like I should be doing more for her room, but again I feel different about it this time around. Before, it was ALL new, I thought I had to get the baby’s room established and ready before he got here. Me being the planner I am got it all taken care of. Nesting phase takes a whole new meaning when you have my personality lol! Imagine a full day of a baby shower at like 30 weeks, exhausted, to come home and realize I HAD to sort and organize all the clothes we got that day. Take off all the tags and wash everything before putting it in the closet ready to go for the baby, all that evening! LOL! I must have lost my mind but I got it done, just for it to sit for 10 weeks and not be used for months, lol. So I know now that will not be happening, lol. Or at least I hope not, lol. For right now I’ll just focus on what I receive and not worry about decorating because honestly it is just a waste of time, plus I am not looking to be in any magazines any time soon, lol!

So far I am feeling a lot better, thank goodness! The first 15-16 weeks was rough! I was SO sick. Either physically lol or just queasy all day 😦 but I knew that I would be lol. I was super sick with my first so this one was no different. I managed to get through it without having to be on any medication (except for trying the vitamin b6/unisom combo for a few days) and let me tell you, it feels WONDERFUL to eat again, lol! Of at least eat for more like 5 minutes. If I managed to make a meal or got something out, I would be SO hungry, eat probably 10 bites, and then so sick and full I had to stop. Coming from a person who hates to leave food on my plate, especially restaurant food, this was super difficult for me. They say small meals every a few hours and I found that difficult as well. My body would give me about 2 seconds to get something ready to eat before I went into full-blown nausea to where I didn’t want anything anymore. So that was a fun cycle to be in. I found myself eating the same things over and over because it was the only thing I could stomach until I couldn’t stomach it anymore. I stopped drinking caffeine before I got pregnant and lasted about 10 weeks or so before I had a caffeinated soda again and honestly I feel like that helped my nausea a bit. I limit myself to one a day (either caffeinated soda or coffee) unless something is going on and I’ll have a little more but I don’t go crazy. I like plenty of non caffeinated beverages and I also try to drink lots of water. There also was a phase to where the second I woke up I had to go downstairs and make myself a bowl of cereal before doing anything, even putting my contacts in, because if I didn’t I would throw up like there was no tomorrow. I tried having a snack at my nightstand but that just would make me throw up those crackers, so for whatever reason my body could handle the cereal, lol.

This week is a nice change, we are off of school for Thanksgiving break. I love to be able to sleep in (by sleeping in I mean 7:30am lol but hey it’s better than 6!) and enjoy making something good for breakfast without having to rush out the door just to get somewhere on time. Yesterday, we had a great day at home, didn’t go anywhere, and started decorating for Christmas. My son LOVES Sundays because it is his day to spend with his Daddy. My husband works extremely hard for everything we have and unfortunately has to work on Saturdays, so Sundays are really our only day to be all together. We purchased a new tree for this year back in I think April, lol. Home Depot had 70% remaining trees online so we went ahead and picked one up so we had no idea what it would look like or if it would work. Well…we put it together this weekend and the plus side it’s a beautiful tree, lots of lights, nice and full, about a foot taller than our last tree, but… it was a pain to figure out! Apparently the connection on in the middle of the tree and just suppose to magically make the tree light up once connected to the base. Well, that didn’t happen, lol! It must be why it was on clearance and luckily we paid very little for it. I am just hoping it lasts a while because it is an LED tree, but I am not getting my hopes up. We ended up finding different ends to try to connect together and eventually got the right connection so the whole tree lit up but in the process really scratched up my arms. Nothing is ever easy or straight forward when we try to put something together, lol! One thing that will be interesting is it I have enough ornaments for this tree, lol. I am going to take my time and really enjoy piecing it together. I am one of those people who will look at my tree weeks later and realize one ornament needs to be over some. I just love a beautiful balanced tree.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving break! I cannot wait to see my family on Thursday!

Deal of the Day! – Smart Christmas Shopping

christmas

Christmas shopping is a task that stresses me out each and every year. But this year is by far the biggest for our family. Because of the downfall to the recent health insurance changes we have had to pay a mortgage payment each month for my family to have health insurance. And it isn’t even good health insurance. Well it is a lot better than what will happen next year because we probably will not even have it! Super great considering that I will be delivering my baby next year and need it more than any time in my entire life. C-sections are not cheap and I find that we will be shelling out a lot of money next year. Money we do not currently have.

Because of this we have taken a very VERY conservative approach to Christmas. As a family we never went crazy with presents anyway. Our son always has plenty to open and was thankful for everything he received. He has never been a child to look at material possessions as something to be a brat over, unlike some kids I’ve seen, and I am very thankful for his kind and generous heart. Usually most years he would receive a big present (that was way too expensive to purchase throughout the year) and then little presents to open.

Well this year, I have been  shopping for him in a way to maximize our budget and still have things to open. I inherited both my mother’s great love for Christmas (She would go wild with decorations and presents) and my father’s struggle with giving a child too much. He was the complete opposite when it came to Christmas, he always thought my mother went overboard but at the same time never stopped her because growing up he did not get much for Christmas and I think wanted me to have the same joy of Christmas as my mom did. Seeing both sides I can pick out the parts I want to do and at the same time not go overboard. A great thing I remember my mom doing was she would wrap every single item she bought me separately even if it went together. That way I had lots to open and enjoy. She would stay up late Christmas Eve and wrap away. I find myself doing the same thing for my son, except I wrap as I go, lol! This way it is done and all I have to do is set it up the night before.

Santa is something else we as a couple have discussed and came to some decisions. You of course can have your own opinions on this and I am by no means telling you what to do but we find the whole idea of Santa a little unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some Santa spirit. I love the idea of children realizing the magic and wonder of what Santa represents, but when it comes down to presents, I find I do not want to give the old man all the credit for giving my child presents that we have to pay for, lol. So instead we invoke the idea of Santa, take our son to see him, ask for special things, and enjoy the Christmas spirit. But when it’s time to open presents, Santa gives our son the stocking with small gifts and a few special presents. This year it will be one of the bigger (around $30-$50 item) toys and a few smaller toys to unwrap. Everything else is from Mommy and Daddy. This way when my son does come to the conclusion that Santa is just a story it won’t be (hopefully) that big of a deal.

Honestly, I found out Santa was my parents when I was about 4 years old. Yes, 4. lol. I noticed that the same Christmas wrapping paper that were used for my gifts from Santa was hanging out in the basement. My mom played it off like Santa left the paper there so my Mom could use next year….ok… lol. Then a little while later I found the wrappers (that she left in the basement too) that were from my little presents I received in my stocking. Yes, I had an investigative mind at a young age and figured it out. When I told my mom, she did not lie to me, but told me not to say anything because I had cousins who still believed. I understood and did not say anything but still enjoyed the magic of Christmas. Now, I hope my son does believe for a very long time. We finally got him to sit with Santa last year and tell him what he wanted, which was SO awesome because he was terrified for years, lol. But when he comes to us and ask we will be honest because like I said, Santa is not what Christmas is about. Christmas is about the birth of Christ and the magic that Christmas brings to not only families around the globe but it brings families together in a way that only Christmas can. You can also say that about any religious practice that you partake in.

Now to the deals!

So far I have been slowly buying things for my son so that I am not scrambling the week before to get everything I want. We went out to a few stores last night (yes a Friday but hello, it’s over a month until Christmas) and it was CRAZY! It honestly felt like it was after Thanksgiving with the amount of stuff people were buying. So I decided if I want to buy, I will when my son is at school, during the morning working hours, lol. Here are some tips for shopping and maximize your budget:

  • Do not shop mainstream department stores UNLESS they are offering some awesome sales and/or coupons, etc. Never pay full price for something unless it is a hot ticket item that you know you will not find again. I have been receiving emails from Toys’R’Us and Target telling me about their one day sales and coupons. Target will put a new toy item every single day on their Cartwheel at 50% off, so if you can wait until you find something then. Be careful to watch out when the offers will expire, so you do not miss out.
  • Try shopping at stores like Ollie’s, Big Lots, TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and 5 & Below for small gifts and things that might be older to today’s market of toys. My son is in LOVE with Tsum Tsums. They are tiny little pot belly Disney characters and honestly they are SO cute. I secretly want them so of course I get them, LOL! If you look at the mainstream stores now, most of the original Tsum Tsum toys are out of style. They have made so many that now there’s Marvel ones and things my son does not really care for so I had to look at other places to get them. A great store for me was Ollies. It’s a closeout discounted store that has great toys, books, and art activities for kids (also SO much more at great prices). Well I ended up finding him a Tsum Tsum hardback book,  a PJ mask book, a box full of Tsum Tsum activities (and a big collector guide that he is going to freak out about – yes my child is SO into booklets that show all the characters of things, lol), a group of stackable Tsum Tsums – all for $10! The book alone would have been $10 at a regular bookstore.
  • Make sure to utilize your coupons! I am super excited because my neighbor and I are going to get together to start couponing! Now, we are not going to go crazy, but this way we can put our coupons together and get deals without having a hoarding stock of supplies, lol. My major need is getting diapers and wipes at the best possible price. Well, I received some good coupons from Kohl’s this week. I had a $5 off coupon (any purchase), a $10 off $25 or more, and a 20% off total purchase coupon. A great thing bout Kohl’s is you can stack these coupons together, so my goal was to find something around $25-$30 and get the best return for my coupons. The only catch was I could only use the $10 off coupon yesterday. So we grabbed dinner out last night (since I live far away from any Kohl’s or Target, or really any good main stream store, lol) and on the way home I stopped inside. Not knowing what to buy, I figured I would try to get something for our son for Christmas.I found Tsum Tsum toys, YAY! The original mini ones! I was super excited, the only problem they were like $6.50 a piece, ugh. Normally at like Target they are $4.95, but these were the original ones – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Dumbo! I also found another stackable pack for $3.99 which isn’t bad for those as well. So my total came out to about $30 (before tax) and with all my discounts, I ended getting everything for a little over $12 – technically around $2.50 for each item. Score! The only place I have really found that carries the originals is the Disney store online, but I would have to pay for shipping (because I wouldn’t buy $75 worth) and it would end up being even more so this way I don’t have to worry. They do have them on Target.com as well and I have a RedCard so I wouldn’t pay shipping but they are still $5 a piece.
  • Create a shopping list on your phone so when you are out you can check off what you buy. The biggest struggle people can have is forgetting what they buy and end up buying way too much by the time Christmas rolls around. I keep an ongoing list of what I would like to get, if I find it check it off, and then keep a running total so that if I reach the max of our budget for Christmas, then no more spending. This way we are still within our means.
  • This year we’ve decided that handmade gifts are the way to go. We want to stress to everyone that we do not need any gifts this year (or any year for that matter) and to really just enjoy spending time together. A good friend of mine stressed in her invitations to her daughter’s birthday – to not bring a present, that our presence was the greatest present of all. Which I thought was not only cute but very considerate. Because I know my son will like to give something to his family members, we are making presents this year. This not only is affordable but also gives my son the chance to contribute and feel a part of the gift giving. We also have a week off for Thanksgiving, and a whole week off before Christmas so this will give us something to do. Of course I’ll blog on my art activities and share it with you guys! Handmade presents are not only more from the heart but will fill your small children with pride that they made this for you! If you’ve ever had a child give you something that they made you – you know what I am talking about.

Something that I want to unofficially do is an activity that has been passed around Pinterest for a while. Giving a child for Christmas – Something they want, Something they need, Something to wear, and Something to read. We will be doing this as our family gift. Especially with the arrival of another child, we cannot go over board and want to make sure everything is as equal as it can be within siblings. So for our son this year it will be – the play set race thing he wants, something he needs is a little tricky because he really needs shoes, LOL, so I look for if I can find shoes $20 and below – I refuse to pay more than that because his foot grows so fast, if I can find him some cheap big headphones he will be super excited (5 & Below is a great place for that), something to wear will be underwear, LOL and maybe a fun shirt, and to read will be the Tsum Tsum book and any other books I find. I know the point is to purchase one item for each category but when I am very conscience of our budget I find you can buy a little more for the same price you would spend on something you would pay the full price for.

So sorry for the rambling of this post. I woke up this morning with a lot of thoughts and wanted to write them down before I forgot, lol. I realize that I am not the greatest writer, I write as I talk and sometimes can be a little confusing. I will try to be better, but in the mean time that you so much for taking time of our your day to read this post, especially if you got this far down! I have been feeling very emotional lately with everything going on and I feel better writing my thoughts and ideas down because at least I am sharing it with someone. If you have any other good tips for shopping smart this Christmas, please leave a comment I would love to hear them! Have a wonderful weekend! *Much love*

Art Lesson – Painting With Food!

I am going to try to focus on writing down my art lessons that I create with my wonderful pre-school students! All of my lessons are focused around creating awesome art experiences with children ages 2-6. I am a big advocate for expression art – where the child creates the art work regardless of “what it looks like.” I love some all look the same art crafts, but that’s just what they are – crafts. Children strive to create things just on their own terms which means every single art piece is different.

This particular lesson was a great success last year! In honor of Thanksgiving coming up and this preschool has what they call a “Green Grocer” come to school to teach about good food choices and they get to go shopping in their own little grocery store, it’s very cute, we are going to experience painting with different food items. I use carrots, celery, and potatoes.

Here’s what you need:

  • Any paper (that goes with paint colors) I have to have enough for over 75 kids each week! I decided to use a hard stock white.
  • Paint – orange, green, & brown
  • Old carrots, celery, and potatoes (cut in half long enough to use as paint brushes)
  • Containers to put paint in
  • Plastic sheets to cover tables
  • Covering for under the tables
  • Art shirts
  • Container with soap and water to wash hands, towels to dry
  • Separate container to put used vegetables – wash after each class

This of course can be done with 1 child or 100 just plan accordingly. Each food item is cut in half to give a nice base for them to paint with or use a stamp. I had to plan accordingly because I teach 6 different classes and my biggest is 18 so I needed to make sure I had 18 pieces of each food item. If you are doing this at home, it’s super easy just save old leftover veggies that you would normally just throw out. If you want to get real adventurous, peppers work great, cucumbers, broccoli, corn on the cob, etc. let you imagination go crazy!

Here is the instruction for each class:

Every time the students have art class, I ask them to sit on the floor next to the tables. I already have all the tables set up ready for the first task. This way all the students can get into the classroom and there isn’t a large rush to the tables. Plus this gives them a task that as the year goes on they will know what to do and sit down before the activity. I talk to them for a minute, explain what we are doing for the day, and give them certain rules as to how the class will go. During this time, like today, we also put on art shirts. Art shirts can be any old over large t-shirt you might have. They are always washed after each art day ready to go for the next time we paint. Here are this lessons instructions:

  1. We will focus on one color at a time with a couple different pieces of food.
  2. First, we will start with orange paint (carrots) and see how this will paint or stamp on their paper. Instruct the students (or child) to try to hold the carrot like you would a pencil or paintbrush. Dip the carrot into the orange paint like you would a paintbrush and either stamp or “brush” the carrot across your paper. This is fun because you can see if the carrot will make a certain shape or just a blob on the paper.
  3. Then we will work with green paint (celery). Do the same instruction as carrots. Because having so many students at one time doing the same task, we really work on our listening and patience skills. The kids did a great job dumping their used carrots into the bucket and waiting on me to pass out the paint and new painting instrument. Being pregnant and having major back pains, this was nice because it was a constant movement and set up, lol.
  4.  Then finally with brown paint (potatoes). Some of the kids really enjoyed this one. The potato acts like a stamp and put a large circle on their paper. Some, like my son, ended up swirling it all over the paper and causing the whole thing to turn brown, lol. But he enjoyed it the whole time so it didn’t matter how it turned out. Again with expression art, being able to see each student’s mind as they create their own individual art work is something that brings me great joy! I love my job!
  5. Why I decided to create each color/vegetable separately was because last year, I sort of did a rotation with the colors an if a child started out with brown paint there was really no hope for the other two colors. This way by separating the colors not only helped some of their papers but also helped not to  change the color in the paint dishes. I found myself having to wash out the orange dishes and filling it with new paint throughout the day, this way I only washed once! Even though I had to wash 24 containers 😦 LOL!

Here is some of the kids in action, they had so much fun!

paintingwithfood1

I love this art activity because it not only gave the students a different experience painting with something that some probably have never tried, but also gives them another direction on painting their artwork. My main focus for art class is to expose the children that you just do not have to paint with paintbrushes, that you can explore all sorts of materials to paint with. I hope you enjoy the art lessons I provide and experience these same experiences with your own children!

Here is some pictures of their finished art work:

paintingwithfood3

paintingwithfood4

Taking on a New Journey

Hello everyone!

So sorry it’s been taking me forever to post content on here! I’ve just been struggling to keep up with every day life that I find I slack on the personal things I want to do. Days seem to go by so fast that it is already time to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas! I have so much that I want to write and blog about but taking the time just for me, I find I would rather just catch up on all the T.V. shows I watch instead of doing anything remotely productive. But times are changing and new things are happening so I feel like I  need to be documenting more and sharing the experiences we are going through!

Yesterday would have been my mother’s 60th birthday. Yesterday hit me pretty hard. Normally birthdays come and go and over the years I have gotten better about them but I suppose it is because she would have been turning 60, I found myself pretty depressed all day. It was sort of the same way I felt a few years ago when I turned 30. I struggled greatly for months because it was such an important time for my life and my parents were here yet again to share it with. I have missed out on so much when it comes to them, I honestly do not know how to function sometimes. People might think I come across distant or uninvolved but it is really because I can barely hold it together alone and sometimes I just need time for myself to process everything. I truly am an introvert and social situations no matter how small usually scare the living day lights out of me. Holidays are especially rough but if I do not put on a show and please everyone, I tend to get blamed for whatever is going on.

One thing that has kept me going and made life so much more complete is my beautiful son. He amazes me every single day, with either his kindness or how smart he is getting. He still has his little struggles just like any preschool child, but to watch him grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually, has just been a pure joy. Looking at him, I know 150% that he was sent down from heaven by my parents. I see them every single day through his eyes. He’s obsessed with my monthly calendar that I have on my counter. He not only knows the months and days but how they correlate to present time. He knows what we are doing weeks in advance and I have learned that if we aren’t doing something (say I put it on the calendar to remind myself of something) to not write it down because it apparently is law, lol. Well something I always do is write my parent’s birthdays down. Not because I will forget, but to still show that those days are important. Well even though my son never will meet my parents, he knows his Grandpa Andy and Grandma Karen from pictures and stories I tell him. Well before my dad’s birthday he saw on the calendar that I wrote “Daddy’s Birthday” and he goes, “Mommy! Grandpa Andy’s birthday!” and it filled me with so much joy. Well this month was no different, I had other things listed on the day because I have other family members born on the same day as my mom, so he got a little confused. I told him that it was Grandma Karen’s birthday. He was excited and for days leading up to it he would announce that Grandma Karen’s birthday was on Friday. Well, it kinda back fired because he expected a party, gifts, and to see her. We woke up yesterday morning and he goes “Where’s Grandma Karen’s present?” I had to remind him that we physically can not see Grandma Karen because she’s in heaven. He got a little sad because it still is a little difficult explaining death and what we think an afterlife is to a small child but just seeing his love fills my sometimes empty heart.

Another blessing that I feel like my parents have given us as a family is our next journey. We are currently expecting our second child! I am almost 19 weeks! We know what the gender will be but are waiting to announce it until I go for my 20 week anatomy scan to get confirmation because you never know! But family and friends know and we are very very excited to bring a sibling to our son because that is all he’s wanted for a few years now. He is super excited to be a big brother and we are excited and slightly nervous to be starting over again. Not only worried about the financial strain that we are already under will just be getting worse, but also the physically recovery that I will have to go through. Not having much help when our son was born, makes me nervous to what it will be adding a newborn and a child together. But I have put my faith in God, and he will show me the path I need to take and guide me through my journey. I am currently working on trying to save where I can, stretching what I do, and hopefully we can get through this time before I can fully go back to work.

My future plan is get back into the school system for insurance and can maintain my children’s schedules. My dream would be to work in the library because I am great with technology (when I worked as a paraprofessional, I would be called to several classrooms to “fix” their T.V’s lol), I LOVE books especially children’s books, and I just love the library atmosphere. Unfortunately everyone feels that way and librarian jobs within a school especially an elementary schools are like the Holy Grail of school jobs, lol. Sigh, maybe one day. Even if it is just working in the cafeteria to returning to the paraprofessional life, I would just be happy with a secure job where I can still be a part of my children’s lives. I do have my degree, and would just need a few steps to become a teacher but honesty I don’t feel like that’s the path I want to take. Being a teacher now a days is extremely difficult and that’s just not what I see myself doing. I want the freedom of when I leave for the day, my job is done and I can return to being a mom. That’s the most important job I will ever have in my life, and that will above anything be my #1.

Sorry for the longer post, I had a lot to get out this morning apparently, lol! I’ve got to get ready because I am taking my son to a fall festival at his school. I hope to be able to post more soon and really try to take out time during my day to make some more blog posts. I’ve got lots to blog about! Stay with me 🙂