Date Ideas When The Kids Fall To Sleep

Surviving Coronavirus with your significant other!

 

Since I stay home with the kids and living on one income, we don’t always have the money to go out. When the kids go to sleep my husband and I use this time to have some time together. I’d like to share some ideas we have done.

These ideas are perfect for when you don’t want to leave your children. To be honest, I get completely guilty when I leave my kids with a family member. I feel like anything we do, we can do it with the children. Plus, the whole time we are gone I talk about the kids the whole time. Not only are they the only beings I’m with all day, but I also don’t want to feel like I missed anything. This is definitely something I know I need to work on especially if I want to keep my relationship strong with my husband.

 

We try to do date night (at home) once or twice a week. We probably left both kids maybe five times EVER. lol Sometimes we don’t give the children a nap in the day (entertain your kiddos at nap with these fun learning games) so they go to sleep around 7:00. Okay, the kids are asleep now what?

 

  1. Stargaze
  2. Make a dessert together
  3. Workout together (especially if we are eating a late snack)
  4. Nighttime swimming
  5. Snuggle by the fire
  6. Give each other a massage
  7. Have a romantic dinner (add some candles and dress up)
  8. Play games together (video, board, or 20 questions)
  9. Watch a movie or binge watch Netflix ( we also like to watch funny vines on Youtube)
  10. Bathe or shower together:)

Okay, here are some of our date ideas. I hope you like them. If you guys have some ideas to share, I would love to hear them. Love ya. Mary xoxo

 

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What I Love About Melissa And Doug Toys

A little backstory for you, If you don’t know already. I worked at my mother’s childcare center growing up then helped at my older sister’s childcare center when I got older. Fifteen years I saw children play with the same Melissa and Doug toys and never have I seen any pieces break. The toys they have designed are so durable. A class of fifteen children was not able to break anything and I was impressed. When I had my first son I was set on only getting Melissa and Doug toys ONLY!

We have so many Melissa and Doug products. I love how they added little learning ideas to do with each product. Almost six years later and my son is still playing with these products along with his younger brother. My son has learned to tie his shoe with their adorable shoe tying toy.

I was so happy when they started making more Disney themed items, being a Floridian, of course, we love Disney. The boys love the little Disney theme cars and buildings. They line them up and bring the Melissa and Doug train right through with all the Disney characters on it. So cute!

Another favorite is the tools. What boy doesn’t love tools? They feel so big hammering away at my chairs, thinking they are really helping. HEHE. Definitely a must to any boys collection.

Puzzles, puzzles and more puzzles! Who doesn’t love puzzles? We have several of Melissa and Doug puzzles and love them. also good to trace with. I like the big knobs on the puzzles for when my boys were younger but they do have more challenging ones for the older children as well.

I love Melissa and Doug. My boys love Melissa and Doug and I’m so happy to see my children playing with these toys I can trust. From instruments to playing with the food they have it all and so do we:) We are Melissa and Doug’s biggest fans. They have over 2,000 products and I have seen a lot of their toys being played with from my boys and other children. Their toys are worth every cent. Let me know what you think of Melissa and Doug. Great for Christmas and birthday gifts. You can also use them in your classroom for educational uses too. Which product do you like best? Love ya Mary xoxo

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How To Make Extra Money And Save For Christmas Shopping

I know it’s only September but I’m already thinking about Christmas. I start my Christmas shopping as soon as possible. Most Americans live pay check to pay check, so it’s hard to get gifts for your loved ones. I’m going to let you in on some of my secrets. Throughout the year if I see a sale or clearance items I try to purchase it. I grew up going Black Friday shopping. I enjoyed the rush and madness to grab the last item off the shelf. Well, I use to like that! Now that I’m older I grew to love online shopping. Cyber Monday started back in 2005 but I’ve only started shopping like this for the last two years. I’ve learned some tips on the way I’d like to share with you.

Whenever you shop online especially on Cyber Monday, I would highly suggest you use EBATES.  Not only will you save a percent on each order but when you first sign up you will receive $10.00. But for every person, you can have signed up under your name you will receive $25.00. Let me do a little math for you. If you sign up with the link above you will receive $10.00. You will make an online purchase. My favorite online shopping is Walmart, Groupon, and Amazon. Let’s just say you made a $100.00 order at Walmart with 10% cash back, you will get $10.00 back plus the $10.00 for just signing up. Then you have four friends or family members that sign up under you. Yeah, you just made $120.00. You get a check or money sent to your Paypal every quarter.

I also use SURVEYJUNKIE.com. It is a very slow process but you can cash out at $10.00.

Okay now, SWAGBUCKS is kind of like Ebates and Survey junkie. You can find deals for online shopping. You will receive $3.00 for every friend or family member you add. Swagbucks surveys add up much quicker than survey junkie and you can pick a gift card of your choice. Who doesn’t like gift cards for Christmas? They also I have fun activities and bonuses you can complete to maximize your points.

Now I have heard of people making thousands on ibotta but I didn’t believe it until I made my first $40 in two weeks. Click on this link and you can save with me on my team. Just by simply buying my groceries as I do every week. (Any brand items and fresh fruit and veggies.) I take a picture of my receipt and it adds money to my account. Every friend you invite you will receive $5.00. You will also get a bonus on your fifth friend you invite. When you complete certain challenges you will receive a nice extra bonus. I think the coolest thing about this app is you can join my team and we can work together to receive more rewards.

Another helpful hint to help you save money while grocery shopping, is to go to the store’s website and see if they have digital coupons you can use. If you have never done Walmart pick up check it out here. Every person you invite you will receive $10.00 off your purchase.

Also I got a new app from a friend, go ahead and click this link to start saving money on gas. By clicking on this link you will get up to .20 cents/gal. Plus if you invite your friends and family you will get $15.

This will be a nice chunk of change by Christmas. You will be able to get your loved ones awesome gifts. I hope you enjoyed, if you didn’t see a site you use, let me know. Happy saving. Love ya, Mary xoxo

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Halloween/Pumpkin Story And Activites

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love fall and pumpkin everything so I would like to share some of my ideas to do with your children at home or in a classroom.

These pumpkin accents, are amazing. Check out my post on 32 ways to use these pumpkins or any other cutouts. I will not repeat any of the 32 activities so check out this link after you read this one.

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin

  • Squared pumpkins snack. Graham cracker with orange icing
  • Squared pumpkin project. Glue orange squares on the big squared pumpkin
  • Square and cube observation
  • Pumpkin sink or float
  • Magic pumpkin seed sorting. Paint seeds different colors
  • The child will paint what shape and color pumpkin they want to make

I Like Pumpkins

  • Pumpkins on a vine. Use the front of child’s knuckles and add the green vine
  • Make pumpkin seed to eat
  • Plant pumpkin seeds
  • Paint real pumpkins
  • Tasting pumpkin pie
  • Make a Scarecrow (Dance to “There was an old lady that wasn’t afraid of anything”)

Splat the Cat and the Pumpkin-Picking Plan

  • Sizing pumpkins
  • Weighing and measuring pumpkins
  • Pin the smile on the pumpkin
  • Pumpkin magnet face
  • Pumpkin teeth (roll the dice and add the teeth in the pumpkin smile)
  • Pumpkin bowling

Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins

  • Rolling pumpkins to a partner
  • Count by twos
  • Explore inside of pumpkins
  • Pumpkin smash
  • Pumpkin pie play dough
  • Paper bag pumpkin (crumble newspaper inside small brown bags and paint the outside, adding green pipe cleaner for vines)

Corduroy’s Best Halloween Ever! (perfect for party day)

  • Decorate mini pumpkins for the classroom pumpkin patch
  • Dress up
  • Mask making using a paper plate
  • Bobbin for apples (in the home only, don’t want to spread germs)
  • Dance the monster mash
  • Toss the candy in the pumpkin bucket
  • Catch the ghost (use a white balloon add a spooky face and let the air out the kids will try to catch it)

My kids love doing these fall/Halloween activities. They have a blast, and you will too. If you have any questions let me know. Love ya, Mary xoxo

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32 Activities With Accent Die-cut Labels

Labels, accents, die-cuts, or cutouts whatever you call them, they will work for 32 amazing learning activities. Not only can you find them on Amazon but you can also find them at your dollar store. Or you can be creative and make them yourself. You can use these activities for almost every holiday or theme you are talking about.

  • Number or letter sand tracing
  • Sensory number or letter search
  • Lacing
  • Clothespin numbers
  • Puzzles
  • Rhyming match
  • Shape or emotion memory game
  • Puppets (5 Little pumpkins sitting on a gate)
  • Counting out numbers
  • Decorate them or use to for decoration around your room
  • File folder games
  • Less than or greater than
  • Adding or subtracting
  • Patterns
  • Magnet word families
  • Who came to class
  • Magnet stories or songs

(Two little leaves hanging on a tree. One name HIGH and one name LOW. Fly up HIGH, fly down LOW. Come back HIGH, come back LOW.)

  • Opposite matching
  • Uppercase and lowercase matching
  • Ordering numbers or find the missing number
  • Chart sight word stories
  • Tic-tac-toe

  • Alphabetical order (Matching)

  • Building or finding names
  • Hide and seek around the room
  • Stencils
  • Measuring with them
  • Money counting
  • Worm in the apple letter matching
  • Graphing
  • Calendar numbering
  • Sight word match

Let me know which one of the 32 activities you liked best. Is there something you haven’t thought of? Please help me by sharing in on Pinterest. Love ya, Mary xoxox

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How To Become The Best Babysitter

 

Ah! You want to know how to be the best babysitter? That is awesome, the first step to being the best babysitter is doing your research. Now that you are here I can give you some of my secrets to babysitting.

 

I started babysitting at the age of 12 (my mom was in the house). Once I started driving I would babysit almost every weekend. If you would like to take this seriously, you should try to find a first aid and CPR class. Some weekends I could make up to $200. I worked at a daycare growing up so I had those classes and that’s where I got all my babysitting jobs.

Make sure before you sit for a family, they already know what you charge. You can avoid the awkward moment at the end of your job. Make sure you know exactly what they want you to do. (baths, dinner, homework, don’t go outside, if they have animals you need to take care of, or if you need a ride home.) You want to make sure you have good communication with the parents.

 

Number one rule of babysitting. Give your FULL attention to the children the whole time no matter the age. My favorite age to watch was 3-5 but I had fun with all ages.

 

If it’s the first time you are watching for a family bring your own bag of stuff.

  • Crayons and coloring book
  • Play dough and cutters
  • Paper and paints
  • Puzzles
  • Books
  • Bring snacks and food for yourself (don’t assume they will feed you)

Make sure you know the rules of their house. The children will test you even though they know the rules. You and the parents have to have the same rules. (you can still be the “fun babysitter” with rules too.) Make sure you know all the phone numbers and emergency contacts. Also, know if anyone has allergies. Print emergency list for parents to fill out and keep it in a binder. When you’re watching for new families you will have their emergency contact list. You want to show the parents you are well organized.

Get FREE printable >>HERE<<

When I walked in the door I always pretended something new. (I was walking into a castle or I was going on a bear hunt). If you let the kids get into character with you right away, when it’s time for the parents to leave the kids will be excited and ready to play.

 

Always make sure you are prepared. Know exactly what you are going to do or else there might be arguments with siblings. Remember you are getting paid to work, this is your job. I usually don’t have the TV on unless it’s right before bedtime to calm them down, if they are sick or if we have planned a new movie to watch with snacks. Keep them busy and play games and have fun. In the end, they will tell their parents they had lots of fun and they will call you again.

 

If the children are sleeping while you are watching them. Then you may do your homework, get on your phone, or watch TV. ABSOLUTELY nothing inappropriate, If the parents walk in or the children wake up you don’t want anything that will make them uncomfortable. 

Always have fun, Make sure the children are laughing and having a good time. Let them know you are having fun too. Make sure you always clean up your mess you made with the children. Also, let the parents know what you did. Parents like hearing what they did while they were gone.

 

If the child misbehaved. First, tell the parent the fun you had with them. Then tell them what they did wrong and how you dealt with it. Make sure you say something good or funny they did at the end. Always leave on a positive note. Maybe tell them what you have planned for next time you come. If you want ideas on what I did while I babysat, let me know. Have fun! Love ya, Mary xoxo

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Tips To Help Lose Weight And Keep It Off

 

I have lost 55 LBS. read my blog how I did it here

When losing weight you will go through a plateau. Don’t stress! Here are some ways that helped me get over that little hump.

 

  • Don’t eat anything starchy after 3 P.M.

My dinners usually consist of chicken salads, chicken and mixed veggies, zucchini noodles and chicken, or eggs and turkey bacon I usually have some berries or an apple for dinner.

 

  • Stay Active

When my kids are playing outside I try to use this time to be active with them or do some squats and lunges. When the kids are in the pool I try to do some pool exercises. (they like to try the moves too) When they are sleeping I try to do a quick 20-25 min. HIIT workout.

 

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Every morning I get 4 oz. of apple juice add 2-3 TBSP of ACV and pinch of cinnamon mix and chug. haha (It’s really not that bad, I’m used to it now)

 

  • Eat Extra Protein

Eating extra protein helps me feel full longer. I eat it for every meal.

 

  • Eat Small Meals

When I say meals this doesn’t mean 2-3 slices of pizza. Try to eat as healthy as possible. Apple and peanut butter, gluten-free crackers with hummus, or raw fruits and veggies.

 

  • Try Eating lots of Veggies

Try to have a veggie at every meal. I was never good at eating my vegetables but I grew into loving them. Check out my blog here on how I get my kids to eat veggies. 

 

  • Counting Calories

Okay, I’m the one that likes to guess how much I’m eating and the calories I just ate. Once I count every calorie that goes in my mouth I see my weight drop again. This is why I usually eat the same things all the time. I use MyFitnessPal App.

 

  • No Eating Out

We have not been eating out since I became a SAHM but it has helped me lose the weight.

 

  • Eliminate Dairy

I noticed once I gave up dairy I quickly dropped 10 pounds. I do not miss it at all. There are some great alternatives out there. I went completely overboard on the dairy for sure. Taking dairy out of my diet also helped with my eczema on my arms. My dermatologist told me to get rid of dairy years ago and I laughed in his face and told him I could never give it up. Now I could never go back. I don’t get constipated anymore or feel bloated.

 

  • No Soda

I have been pretty good with this. It’s been probably 8 years since I’ve had soda and I don’t miss it. Plus it always made me gassy. Don’t ask me about my sweet tea, that is my weakness. (But I only have one cup a day, a BIG cup)

 

  • You are not on a diet

Most importantly, don’t tell yourself you are on a diet. These things will come easily to you with practice. I remember when I would be on a “diet” and I would eat that one piece of pizza I would say ” Well my diet is over” and eat the whole pizza. You can eat what you want. Follow my simple steps and your life will be amazing. Hope you enjoyed. Love ya, Mary xoxo

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Bradly’s NICU Stay

 

To catch up check out Bradly’s birth story click here

I finally get out of recovery and into a room. Instantly I’m ready to see my baby. I have not been able to hold him in my arms and I wanted to breastfeed him. Instead, they tell me I need I rest. WHAT! Rest, I have been waiting to hold my baby for 9 months (10 months). How can I possibly sleep? My husband and mom saw the baby but he had to stay in the NICU and I still couldn’t feel my legs and I still had a catheter in.

Finally, about eight hours of me asking so many times, they got me a wheelchair and I was so excited to go see him. My husband put him in my arms and we instantly connected. I right away started to nurse him. I was so nervous about nursing him because everything else failed in my birth plan, I did NOT want anything else to go wrong. The nurses of the NIC unit got me a lactation nurse to help me and she was phenomenal. They helped me hold him in different positions. The biggest thing they kept telling me was to feed him whenever he wanted to eat. Check out my breastfeeding tips here.

Later that evening Bradly’s Dr. came in said they wanted to do a meningitis test. Which included the baby getting an epidural well, putting a needle in his spine to remove fluid. I wasn’t very happy to hear this considering I just went through that pain three times and knew how bad it was going to hurt him. My husband and I were completely nervous about this because we just didn’t know what to expect. After hours of waiting, they told us the test was negative but they wanted to keep him for ten days to take an antibiotic through an IV. I was so disappointed. I was ready to go home.

I couldn’t eat and I asked my doctor if I could stay another day. If you didn’t read Bradly’s birth story, we live one hour away from the hospital. So I was looking for hotels that were close to the hospital. I was able to get a hotel that was about ten mins away. My family helped us pay for the hotel, let’s face it who has extra money when they just had a baby. I tried to stay at the hospital but they told me that I wasn’t allowed. 

When we were getting into the hotel I forgot that I needed to take medication since I just had a C-section. I forgot to fill my prescription and we couldn’t find a 24-hour pharmacy. I was in excruciating pain. Seriously felt like my stomach was falling off. All I could do was take some extra strength Motrin.

I was not giving up on breastfeeding even though I was thrown an obstacle. I would nurse the baby then rush to the hotel to get about two hours of sleep to rush back to nurse him again. The nurses help me put him on a three-hour schedule even though that wasn’t my plan. I really didn’t have a choice at this point. We did this over and over and I wasn’t eating and the nurses were getting worried about me. My feet were so swollen. They said they would put me in a side room with a recliner chair and maybe I could get some more sleep. My husband went to our house to check on our dogs and get more clothes while I stayed there for the night. I didn’t sleep better there because I just wanted to stare at him all night.

The sixth day we were at hospital/hotel my mother told me my grandma was in the ER by my house. (she was battling cancer) We tried to transport her to the hospital I was at but she wasn’t stable enough. I told the NIC unit nurses what was going on and that I had to drive and see her but to call me if they needed me.

I drove to see her and I gowned up from head to toe so I wouldn’t pick up any germs and spread it to the baby. I went into the room and I was trying to stay so positive and show her pictures of Bradly. I felt like I didn’t want to get close to her just in case she had something that would spread to the baby. (Any other time I would be laying next to her, we were inseparable.) She grabbed my hand (all she could see was my eyes) and said, “why do you look at me like it’s the last time you will see me?” It was very hard for me to say anything with a knot in my throat. I just squeezed her hand and kissed her head. My phone then started to ring. I couldn’t get to it because I was all gowned up. She was telling us that Bradly was beautiful and we were going to be amazing parents. Then my husband’s phone started to ring and all I could think of was the baby. I ran out of the room to answer the phone.

Bradly’s doctor’s voice came over the phone and my heart sunk. I was frantically trying to say something. “Is he okay?” The doctor said he was fine but the nurses had informed him that I was traveling back and forth to nurse him every three hours and that they were worried about my health more than the babies now. He said that he wanted us to stay in the family room (this is for mothers that stay a night so they can learn how to use different machines a baby might be on.) Nobody was staying there and they wanted us to stay there free of charge. I couldn’t say anything. I was so emotional.

We headed back to see Bradly after we got a change of clothes and went to our new room. We were finally able to bond as a family. I was able to eat a little better and sleep a little better. The nurses were all amazing and tried to make it as comfortable as possible. My family was able to come to visit the baby. I was able to give him a bath and he weighed 9 Lbs already. We were doing great and we were ready to go home a get some real sleep.

The day before we were going home. My husband went home to check on our house and the animals. My mom and sister came to visit me and the baby. My mom’s phone rang and it was a nurse for my grandma and they said come quick. I called my husband to go see her right away but by the time he got to her, it was too late.

It was definitely a very hard ten days for us. Completely draining. I had dropped 25 Lbs in the tens days. Once we got home the baby slept 6 hours straight. That was probably the hardest ten days of my life. Let me know what you think of my story. What was your experience like when giving birth? Love ya, Mary xoxo

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Bradly Joseph’s Birth Story

Sweet baby Bradly was due on Oct. 5th. I delivered him on Oct. 18th. 8Lbs 11Oz.

 

 

I had a birth plan that completely went the opposite of what happened. I was that mother that had to buy everything brand new for her baby. The nursery was ready, and I had my hospital bags packed. (probably a month before my due date) I had a basket of treats ready for my nurses. I was ready to see my little man. He had another plan…

I was planned to go in on the 19th and get induced. Which caused me to completely stressing out. I wanted to have the baby naturally without any medication. I heard that contractions hurt worse when you were induced. The night before I was going to be induced I woke up about 2 A.M. and was feeling very uncomfortable. I got up and watched T.V. and drank some water.

I stayed up and called my mom about 6 A.M. The contractions were about five minutes apart. Note, my hospital is one hour away. I woke up my husband and told him it was time. Guess what he tells me? I’m not ready, I need a shower! Thirty minutes later, I go upstairs and he is now clipping his NAILS!! WHAT! I’m having contractions and freaking out. Finally, we are on our way to the hospital and the contractions are getting closer and stronger.

I get checked into the hospital and all hooked up. The Dr. on call checked to see if I was dilated, which I was only 2 CM. My mucus plug had fallen out the night before but my water had not broken. The doctor on call tells me that she needs to break my water or I have to go home. Remind you we lived one hour away. I was supposed to meet my Dr. there at 5 P.M. to get induced. The contractions were getting stronger, so I told them to break my water. At about 11 A.M. they broke my water. The nurse said there is meconium. Which means the baby had his first bowel movement. Once your water is broken, they make you stay in bed.

At this point, my back is starting to hurt so bad. I can not get comfortable and the contractions are getting stronger and closer. I’m ready to see my baby but I’m still not dilating. The back labor I was experiencing was unbearable and I had to get an epidural. This happened about 4 P.M. I was feeling a little better. (To this day, every time I say epidural my back hurts, FYI)

By 10 P.M. I was in horrible pain. I was vomiting. I was only 5 and a half CM and my epidural had fallen out. (I didn’t even want to have one in the first place.) They had to redo the epidural and he missed. So by the time I was pricked the third time. I was miserable.

I remember feeling so cold to the point of shivering, I could not control it. They gave me heated blankets so I could warm-up. The nurse kept coming in to check my temperature, said it was fine.

About 1 A.M. my mom was with me and had a strong maternal instinct and got my Dr. to check on me. She personally took my temperature and realized my temperature had gone up to 102 degrees. I still had not dilated any more. Then my heart rate had dropped and the baby’s heart rate went up. I could see the look on my husband’s face and I knew things were getting serious. I couldn’t take it in because I was completely exhausted and weak.

While my husband was getting suited up everyone was running around and they hooked me up to all machines. I was completely out of it. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My husband came in next to me and grabbed my hand. I remember dozing on and off and he kept talking to me so I wouldn’t miss anything. Then he said do you hear him? I remember saying “Who?” It then registered, I was hearing my baby’s first cry. I was looking for him just wanting to hold him. They had him wrapped up and I got to just say I love you and kiss him.

 

Then, they rushed him away to the NICU. (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) I told my husband to go with the baby. I heard the baby’s cry fade and I just laid there with tears in my eyes.

My husband came back and said he didn’t know which room they took the baby. My husband came to the recovery room with me. The baby’s Dr. came in and told me his vital signs were back to normal, but he did have a fever. Check out the next part of our adventure when Bradly stayed in the NICU for ten days. Love ya, Mary xoxo

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                                        There is no charge to you by clicking on the links.

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