Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Bullet Journal

     I've heard a lot about bullet journaling. A few years ago I just stumbled across a video on youtube with a tour and how-to through a man's bullet journal. I thought it was amazing and gave it a go, but it wasn't personal to me and didn't work more than 2 or 3 days. I didn't realize at the time that that's the magic of bullet journaling. It can be what YOU need it to be. Personalize it how YOU need it.
     Fast forward 3 years and 2 of my co-workers have bullet journals and use them everyday. They told me to check out the official website for bullet journaling, The video on this website helped me realize that, yes, this can be personalized and modified however YOU need it to be, so I decided to give it another try.
     I wondered if there was a way to make a digital bullet journal. The best thing I could find, was an app I would have to pay for or a simple calendar, so I got my graph composition book and started filling it out with my Year At A Glance, Collections, and Weekly and Daily To-Dos. I liked being able to add my, "I voted early" sticker into it as a little memento. I loved the personalization of the physical item in my journal. I also figured out how to make this type of journal work for me... to a point. Soon I realized that I would definitely need more of a pre-made calendar or planner... or I HAD to make my bullet journal digital. Since the bullet journal had actually boosted my productivity tenfold for the first few days I used it, I didn't want to give it up.
     By the biggest stroke of luck, I figured out a way. I found an app on my new computer called, OneNote. I started playing around with it and immediately knew I could make a digital bullet journal with it. SINCE it is digital, it has some advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is that I won't be able to tape my "I voted early" sticker or any other small physical mementos into it. Of course I can just take a picture and add it in which is ALMOST just as good, right? There are more advantages, however, than there are disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages is in-fact, photos. I can take pictures of anything at any time with my cell phone and add it to my bullet journal in a snap.

     There are still some things I am trying to figure out to make this bullet journal my one-stop shop, but the biggest reason I left the physical journal is because I am a busy mom with A LOT of appointments. There was no way for me to write-in all of my appointments without having a full calendar in front of me, so unfortunately my bullet journal holds EVERYTHING except my appointments which go into my google calendar.
     This is just what works for me. I do hope to figure out a way to incorporate my appointment calendar into the OneNote bullet journal. My productivity has increased tenfold since using a bullet journal, physical or digital. I highly recommend, if you are looking for a better way to get organized, that you check out bullet journaling as one of your options.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Spinach Salad

     After trying buffalo wings at Pizza Hut for the first time not long ago, I've fallen in love with the buffalo flavor, but my wallet wouldn't allow me to buy wings everyday, nor would my body appreciate it, so I had to get a little creative.
     I've really been trying to make healthier choices lately, so since I cannot eat lettuce, I often find myself eating different variations of spinach salad. Today I thought I'd mix it up with some buffalo chicken. It's amazing. I cannot remember where I got the recipe for this buffalo, but THANK YOU to whoever it was that posted the recipe. It is a little too hot, so I'm coating the throat with a warm jello drink. I really wished I had some cherry tomatoes and cucumber, but nope. Oh well!

     My son says he wants to be a chef when he grows up. Not a day goes by that he doesn't prepare me some pretend food. This reminds me of when I was a kid and getting my plate at a Ryan's restaurant. I always decorated my plate or at least made it stylish I goes you could say. A random man spoke to me when he saw my plate and said, "That's a pretty plate. I bet you'll be a chef." ... or at least something along those lines. Nonetheless, the memory has stuck with me. Between that man and my son, I've been inspired to care more about the presentation of my food.
     When I have a pretty plate, I know it may seem silly, but really, my mood is instantly better. It feels like a tiny reward. I put in that extra step of effort to make it nice and I am happy with it.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Make Some Memories: Lunch at School

     One of the best things about Head Start is that they love having parent involvement in the classroom. Parents are encouraged to volunteer, read books, have lunch, build crafts and more to participate in the classroom.
     I usually have lunch with my mom on Thursdays, but I skipped out on her this Thursday and spent the hour with MY baby. He was thrilled to see me in his classroom. It was just me and him and his peers and teachers. No brother. It was a special time for me to focus on him.
     After we all washed our hands and sat down at our tables, we had some unusual chicken, mustard tacos with a side of grapes. Most of the kids gobbled up the sliced grapes. No one seemed to favor the unique tacos. They were a little spicy to be honest.
     After we all ate and cleaned up our plates and tables, we had carpet time. I participated in this before going back to work. I sat in T's spot and let him sit in my lap. We read a book about different balls and sports. The teacher was inquisitive with the children. She allowed them to share what they knew about the sports that were mentioned in the book.
     After we read our story, it was nap time. I had to go back to work, but I got a nice little cuddle from my special, little-big man. It is a memory I will hold and I hope he will remember this special time too.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Three Ways To 'Date' on a Budget (with small children)

     After having our second son, one of the worst struggles my husband and I came across was ever getting to spend quality time together. Our second son has Erb's Palsy which meant we were in a heap of debt from medical bills and more which meant we had (and have) very little to spend for a babysitter, much less on an actual date. While these tips may not necessarily give you the perfect opportunity to get freaky in the bedroom, they will definitely support the idea of spending much needed quality time with your partner.

#1 Barter Babysitting Services
     I have a friend who I barter babysitting services with. My husband and I will watch her kids occasionally so she can go out with the girls and take a break or even just get some work done that otherwise would take 10x longer with the kids around, you know? She returns the favor for us. This works well because we really enjoy each others' kids. If you do this, obviously, make sure it is with someone you know well and trust and that your kids get along fine as well. I wouldn't do this with a chronic cancellor who would do this to only their advantage.

#2 Family Activities
     I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now. You asked for date ideas, not family activities, but honestly, a quality time family activity is so much better than everyone doing something different, isn't it? Go for a walk together. Play and explore at the park. Color. Build a fort. Play hide-and-seek. Older kids can play a board game. Little ones can play peek-a-boo, tickle, etc...

#3 Chores
     Alright, now your eyes are REALLY rolling, aren't they? Seriously though, put a movie on for the kids and cook dinner together. Wash the dishes together. Fold clothes together (and do NOT say a word about how he's -or she's- folding a shirt the wrong way.) Even grocery shopping with the kids could apply here. During this time, you can converse and learn about each other. Discuss how your day went. Talk about your worries and your dreams.
     A friend of mine sent a picture to me one day of her and her husband cooking together and said to me, "The couple that cooks together... Eats good and gets fat together!?!?" I thought it was just about the cutest picture and caption I'd ever seen in my life!

     So in closing, it may not be a candle-lit dinner, movies, and a bed of roses with your legs shaking at the end of the night, but here's to hoping this will give you some ideas on how to incorporate some quality time with your partner into those busy mommy and daddy days when it seems impossible.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

One Year Old!

Our baby is a baby no more! 
Colsen's ONE!

     Naturally, Justin and I thought Nemo was too perfect for a theme seeing as he has a "lucky fin."
    His adorable little ensemble was hand-made by a fellow local mama, owner of Princess Amelia's Boutique, Courtney Romanello.
    We love Brandy McPherson's Photography and she's photographed him every three months since he was a newborn. We adore this relationship and we are so thankful for all the priceless moments she captures for us.

     We chose not to have a birthday party because they are simply over-rated, but we did do the birthday pictures and we took he and his brother to Jump Zone with Grandma and Papa for a fun-filled day. We ate Taco Bell and went to Wal-mart to get Colsen a gift from the grandparents. They wanted to get him something he needed, so they got him some yogurt melts and a Nuby cup. < Hopefully we'll get a review up on that soon. ;)

     NOW, the question you're all waiting to be answered:
     How's his arm?
     As you can see in the pictures, he doesn't use his left arm as much as he uses his right arm. He does not have full range of motion back in his left arm and we don't suspect he ever will... Not now that he is a year old and he doesn't already have it. This is a threshold. We do suspect that what range of motion he DOES have will continue to improve until he is about 5 years old. Of course he will always be learning new ways to adapt. Check out his left foot getting into the cake in the bottom picture. He is already putting shoes on his left foot. He uses his left foot a lot and I think he will probably implement his left foot to help him adapt where his arm falls short, HOWEVER, he really is doing well with his left arm. He has a nice grasp. He is able to move his wrist well. He reaches forward a lot by raising his arm straight upward almost 90 degrees (almost parallel to the floor with a shrugged shoulder). He also has really nice elbow extension. He just, unfortunately, cannot flex (or bend) his elbow against gravity or lift his arm away from his body to the side (as if to do a jumping jack).

      To be honest, this mommy is excited to move forward. I'm relieved to stop hoping for something that may or may not happen. I'm happy to know where are journey is heading. I now know that my job is to help my baby adapt.

This is what I need from you:
  • Please accept him for who he is. I have been hearing, "Miracles happen." To me, it means, you aren't accepting him as he is and that I shouldn't either. It hurts. Please stop saying this. I know it's well-meaning, but it doesn't help. 
  • Follow us! Here and through our Facebook group by clicking here. This way you can stay informed and ask us about his well-being instead of about his arm when you see us in public. ;)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Men, Take Notes!

     One night when I came home from a work-out with my best friend, I walked in to a dream. My husband was holding the baby, laundry was washing, he was cooking dinner, the tables was set, and one of our songs was playing on the computer. "See You Tonight" by Scotty McCreery.
     I couldn't believe was I was seeing. How was he pulling this off in just the hour I had been gone working out after a he'd worked all day?! What's this I hear? Another one of our songs?! Have I died and gone to heaven? Is this for real? I asked him what playlist was playing and he told me he made the playlist! How romantic! I mean, how much more romantic can you get!? Superman's got nothin' on him! ;) Take notes, men! Guess who got some! haha! The whole evening was amazing. It was totally random. It was not a special day. It was just a random act of love and I love listening to this playlist on days when I'm feeling down or on days that I'm feeling really frustrated.

     Thank you, Justin. <3 :-="" br="" i="" love="" you="">

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Spaghetti and MEATBALLS

     As a child I always wanted to eat spaghetti and meatballs. It's always what you saw on TV after all! Meatballs are just so much more fun than regular scrambled up bits of meat floating around in the sauce. My son, Trace, is no different. Several times he has requested for us to have spaghetti and meatballs and we never have. I never did have them when I was growing up. ...except maybe from a chef-boy-r-dee can. I really missed not having those meatballs with my spaghetti a single time and knew I had to do this for my son.
     Last night was the night! We finally did it! Mama put the seasonings in, mixed it up, rolled 'em out, baked 'em, and topped his plate of spaghetti with three perfectly placed meatballs ready for him when he got off the bus. Next time, I hope we can squish and squeeze the meat together. I loved seeing his excitement!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cleaning Playlist

     I LOVE music. I not too particular about my music, but I do love something with a nice beat. My favorite music sources are Spotify and YouTube. I have playlists for different moods, occasions, etc...
One subject I've stumped on as far as a playlist has been something that would motivate and energize the atmosphere for tidying up. I tried work out playlists and music, but I really just wanted to start dancing and exercising. lol 
     Well, today, I found the one! The perfect cleaning playlist! I heard a clip of a girly upbeat version of the Black Eyed Peas' Where is the Love on a make-up tutorial. < I can't find it or I'd link. I LOVED it so much I had to see if I could find it on YouTube. I found it! Black Eyed Peas - Where Is The Love (Cl√©ment Bcx Ft. Ellena Soule Remix I saw this playlist beginning with this song, scanned a few of the songs, listened to a couple and realized this is the perfect clean-up playlist! Enjoy!

     I have no idea how to figure out who put this playlist together, but to whoever you are, THANK YOU!!