Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Teacher gifts


Can you believe the last day of school is FAST approaching? I swear we blinked and I now have a 3rd grader and a first grader. I have heard for the last 9 years how I will wake up one day to an empty house with grown up children. You shrug your shoulders and laugh as we all know what it is like to have a screaming 2 year old thrashing on the floor. And if you don't, I am sure you have seen it! You think that day will never happen. OR it's eons away.

WOW.

I mean. For real. I have an almost 9 year old and she is turning into a lady. From getting her ears pierced to finding her own place in this world I am so proud of who and what she is becoming. But you know what? It takes a village and someone who plays a HUGE role in her development is our teachers.

I have aspirations of homeschooling. In fact I am downright envious of those that do. But as I joked with some of my friends, I'm not booksmart "I'm pretty". Not in a narcissistic way but in a "this art major would be in over her head" sorta way! I start out the year ready and excited to "teach" my children through their homework. I scratch my head in confusion and think HOW in the heck do they do it? It takes a special person to become a teacher. The patience of a saint I tell ya! We are not alone in our village...we have some pretty amazing people that shape, mold and grow our children for hours on end. I am so appreciative and thankful for them!


I have a whole lotta friends that are teachers. I wanted to know FROM them...what THEY like to get for teacher gifts. I mean, I love my Pinterest ideas...I mean I am VERY proud of the fact I get to add my little token of cleverness to the crafty pins out there. But, let's face it. They can only receive SO many crayon crafted pictures or pencil wrapped jars.

From the dudes {I told them we REALLY needed some guy ideas!}:
  • Wine <---- DO NOT have your underage student bring this in! We have to adult and bring it ourselves!!
  • Homemade cookies <---- such an easy idea, yet completely understated! As my friend said, "It's not like bringing in a box of chocolates. It's thoughtful! Especially if they made them." This friend is a sucker for homemade sweets! Think brownies or homemade candy?!
  • Beer <---- do you have a cool growler place nearby? Gift card OR buy the growler and attach the gift card to it (this way the student can bring it in!)
  • Stationary items like nice pens. <---- this one SHOCKED me!
  • Nice picture frames to be able to put pictures of their family in.
  • Gift cards to restaurants or for a round of golf!
How about if your teacher is also a coach? Well here are some great ideas from the men folk!
  • A new whistle. Not a cheap one but a nice whistle is always appreciative.
  • Nike or Under Armour shorts (the kind that wiks moisture)
  • Nice hats, to keep the sun off of their faces
  • Basketball coaches appreciate nice new clipboards (who'da thunk!)
  • Sunscreen <--- I literally laughed!

For the ladies here are some ideas:
  • Cute wooden signs {like Classroom rules, etc}
  • Handwritten notes, from the heart. <---- her words were "Knowing that a parent or a child took the time to sit down and tell me how I made a difference in their child's life or learning career - you can't put a price on that!"
  • Gift cards are always nice <--- Starbucks, restaurants, Target
  • Summer Necessities <--- especially perfect if your teacher loves to camp, has children or maybe has a trip planned. You could do a smores kit. All the fixin's and then some! Get creative!
DON'T FORGET your Principal's. The crosswalk ladies (and gents!) that smile at you everyday and makes sure your children do not get flattened by oncoming traffic. The custodian who goes out of her way to make your child feel special. The ladies that answer the phone in the office everyday. Gifts don't need to be HUGE or elaborate...but enough to know they are loved. YOU are thankful and they have not gone unnoticed!

I had a keychain made for my daughter's teacher, we gave it to her today {thank you Ruby Girl Design!!}! Her and I both almost cried! It had her name engraved on it and everything. My son's teacher we got her a necklace from the same Etsy shop and we are so grateful for their love and devotion. Tomorrow I will bring cupcakes from a local bakery...attached will be a note that says "Thank you for the sweet memories you helped me make this year." We will give them to our room assistants, the front office, our custodian, crosswalk ladies and of course our teachers.

NOW...who is excited for Summer?! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

#FreeToBe...flying by the seat of our pants


Guess what.
No, for real. Are you listening?
Hellooooo...
It's ALMOST SUMMER!!!

The countdown is on in our house...the boy has 3 days left and the big has 3 1/2 days left and then we are FREE! #FreeToBe...doing whatever the heckle-in jeckle-in we want! Other than laundry (um, family of 6 the washer and dryer are ALWAYS on!) (Thank you all free clear for sponsoring this post!)


While everyone else is making their "Summer to do" lists...we are not. We have a few beach trips planned as always. But other than that, we want to be lazy. Spend more time in the sprinklers. Build a playhouse for the kids out back and plant more flowers and veggies. I want the kids to drink from the garden hose. Sleep in and then snuggle. Read as many books as humanly possible and laugh hysterically.


Summer is for picking daisies and braiding hair. Picking berries and making jam. Dirty feet and scraped up knees. Greasy children and sunkissed skin. I want my kids to be in the moment. I want to make memories and bottle up their youth. Less time apart and more time together. Forget Summer camps, let's go camping.

I can't wait for day trips and bike rides. Water fountains and swimsuits. Jumping in the car and booking a hotel room on a whim just to explore and have more fun (No really...I just booked a hotel room tonight for this week! The excitement is REAL!!)


I am so excited that I found all free clear mighty pacs. For real, these tiny pouches pack a punch. Making MY life that much easier! I am all about simplicity. The fact I can toss it in and let it go knowing that not only are my clothes getting clean, but I don't have to be as paranoid about the grass stains!


Our allergies have been crazy nuts so far and I am happy to say I am using an allergist recommended detergent! Can I get a "what what"! all free clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for sensitive skin. It's tough on stains yet gentle enough for the whole family. Plus, it's safe for use in standard and HE machines. It rinses clean and has a gentle, hypoallergenic formula. Powerful Clean. Gentle on Skin.

all free clear is also 100% hypoallergenic.

The NEW OXI mighty pacs give you extra strength cleaning power for 30% less than Tide Free & Gentle pods.  Each little mighty pac is full of the concentrated cleaning power of OXI with the gentleness of free clear, providing a powerful clean that’s safe for the whole family.

OH but guess what?! You can go HERE for a $1 off coupon! Yep! You heard me correct! Hurry! Go get em' tiger! What are YOUR plans this Summer?






Sunday, June 7, 2015

Behind the scenes - Mom life



All the things I never knew were possible before I became a mom, and the list is ever growing.

Toilet paper: Is never on the roll. I usually find a round tube of cardboard instead. Rarely is there soft, plush white squares for my use. Yes, I have a stand that I fill multiple times a week with fresh rolls. Doesn't seem to matter if it is in my own bathroom or any other bathroom in our home. Toilet paper is rarely at the ready for mom.

Toilets: Are rarely flushed. I could offer my babes a dollar for every flush, and the bribery still wouldn't work. So if you need a potty break and you are at my home...I cannot guarantee the toilets are flushed or that you will have toilet paper.


Target: Yes, I am a lover of the bullseye! WHO isn't?! But if I have 1 or more children in tow, let's face it. I will be stuck inside the snowglobe of trance for at least the next 2 hours. Give or take. This is if I have 8 or more items on my list. Typically I need help as I LEAVE as my filled cart has now turned into 2 filled carts. HOW does this happen? We will never know. NOW, if I go by myself I could be there 2 hours but it is because I am sipping coffee and texting with friends! Never because of the shopping list itself.

Getting ready: Now, even if I am up an hour "before" the kids (seriously I swear there is a beacon on them that JOLTS them awake the minute I am up!) my 10 minutes shower and 10 minute routine to get ready turns into over an hour. "Mom, can you get my toothbrush." walk out. "Mom, can you get the toothpaste, I dropped it behind the toilet." :: SHUDDER :: You turn the hairdryer on. Look up and have 8 sets of eyes staring at you. "Mom, I'm hungry." "Mom, I can't find _____" mom mom mom. This is true even when daddy is home.

Going potty alone: Yes, no longer is it "I need to go to the bathroom" or "I need to pee" It is now "potty". I cannot tell you the last time I went to the bathroom by myself. I could lock the door and stealthily escape into the silence of the cool bathroom...only to find the cat jump out from behind the bathroom curtain and take the place of the children. Oh, and don't forget the fact I will have no toilet paper. Ever.

What's yours is theirs: You want xyz...be prepared to share. Cause it will never be JUST yours!


The thing I never realized before becoming a mom...the joy these babes would bring to my life. The sleepless nights of worry only because my heart loves these little ones so.

The amount of faith I had to have in a higher calling. Knowing I cannot do this alone.

I have never laughed so hard in my life. I have never smiled so much and I could never even begin to imagine my life without the most precious people that call me mom.

One of my biggest pet peeves, are the comments I get on a daily basis. "WOW...4? You have your hands full." I make a point of laughing and then smiling and saying "Nope, I have my heart full."


I didn't expect to see my heart from the outside. No one ever told me that I would stare at there faces for hours on end and I would count the angel kisses that lay upon their noses, memorizing every single detail from lashes to fleck of color in their eyes. God, thank you. Thank you for entrusting me with the most precious gifts possible.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sending an #UltraHug to some very important girls...


Once upon a time...

There was a world that was safe. A world that children could live and laugh freely. Without a care in the world. A world that mommies were mommies and daddies were daddies. Living, loving and making memories that would be passed on from generation to generation. Huggies is helping this cause. They have asked us to nominate a cause that is true to our heart. One that is making us think outside the box and one that they can brighten and help. Monetarily. Because of Huggies I get to send an #UltraHug

Thank you Huggies for your kindness and in sponsoring this post. You inspired me to try Huggies Snug and Dry Ultra Diapers and you are letting us have a voice for others.


This post is a hard one to write. Only because my heart and mind cannot stop thinking about the young girls who NEED to win. A non-profit that is selflessly rescuing and rehabilitating the lives of young girls. Some as young as 11 years old.

You have no idea where I am going with this do you? When I look at my children, I see innocence. I see promise. I see a future. Sadly some look at their daughters in a different way. And then they sell them to people who do very bad things to them. Unimaginable and heartless things. And this is where I stop to catch my breath as the tears fall onto the keyboard.

I am nominating New Day for Children. New Day doesn't give up on the hurting. The girls that come to them do not age out, instead they are a part of the family. They are there for the heartless act of human trafficking that is going on HERE in the USA. An estimated 300,000 girls are held for trafficking. The average age...13. My dearest friend went to the undisclosed location and spent time with some of the girls. She heard stories that left her reeling. Her emotions are raw and although she is a mama herself, she has turned into an advocate for the young women she has met. And you know what? She is opening the eyes and hearts of those around her. I am one of those people.


Want to know more about the #UltraHug Selfie Contest?

From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

How to Enter the #UltraHug Selfie Contest

• First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug
• In your same post, make sure to include a text nomination (approximately 100 – 120 characters) including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.

I have grown to love these diapers. Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers offer long-lasting leakage protection you can count on, so you can focus on all of your baby’s daily adventures. The range of sizes fit babies from newborn to 35 lbs. Only Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers have a new, unique quilted liner to lock away wetness better.. They have a conforming, gap-free fit to keep your active baby dry throughout the day The trusted Leak Lock® System has quick-absorbing layers for up to 12 hours of protection!

For real y'all...no more leakage!!

NOW do me a favor, go upload some selfies and get your nominations in. While you are at it please check out New Day for Children and spread the word so we can fix this epidemic happening right here on our streets.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Loads of love - #FreeToBe one busy mama


Thank you to all free clear for sponsoring this post and inspiring me to try all free clear!

Wouldn't life be so much easier if it were all in black and white? I mean, what's a little fading. A bit of shmoots or discoloration, if it were simply black and white.

Oh, y'all.

As a family of 6 my day starts and ends with laundry. I am overflowing with bits {lots} and bits {lots more} of laundry. I simply cannot wrap my brain around how we produce SO MUCH in the way of dirty clothes? I continually keep up with laundry every other day. Yet it explodes to the size of Mt. Rushmore. Yes, you even see the faces of our 4 fathers if you look close enough. I counted one day...9 loads of laundry. Oh. But I wasn't done!!


My world is full of color and I have loads of love. For real. Wanna come over and fold some towels?? I will pay you in quarters. Good, done deal then! I need a simple go to solution for my loads of plenty. 6 people = 6 different skin types. One with eczema, one with sensitivity and well...the rest of us! In waltzes all free clear like a knight riding in on a studly white horse!

all free clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for sensitive skin. It's tough on stains yet gentle enough for the whole family. Plus, it's safe for use in standard and HE machines. It rinses clean and has a gentle, hypoallergenic formula. Powerful Clean. Gentle on Skin.

all free clear is also 100% hypoallergenic. UM, helloooo. I need this in my life!

NEW From the #1 Detergent Brand Recommended by Dermatologists Allergists and Pediatricians comes all® free clear liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets. Use together to make fabrics cleaner, softer, and more comfortable against your family’s sensitive skin. 100% free of dyes and perfumes. Gentle on skin. Safe for all washing machines. Find it in your fabric conditioner aisle! <---- could it get any more rad?!



Other detergents don’t measure up to all free clear.

all® free clear detergent (liquid and mighty pacs), fabric softener and dryer sheets have received the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance™. Products with the NEA Seal of Acceptance™ are those that avoid certain chemicals, dyes, perfumes and residues that are known to be unsuitable for use by persons with eczema or a sensitive skin condition.  all free clear has only 9 ingredients, that’s less than half the ingredients of Tide Free & Gentle!!

I love the simplicity. The fact that it is fighting stains (did I tell you I have 4 kids?!) at the same time as washing my most precious' delicates. I feel like it is a win win for me! My children are free to be...FREE! I can let them spill ice cream on their shirts and no longer stress if it will come out. Run around the farm wearing only their socks while they chase the chickens. My kids are able to stay little and I can forget about the small stuff like cleaning my laundry!


A few tips I have learned along the way of this thing we so lovingly call motherhood:
  • Wash 1 load a day.
  • Dry 1 load a day.
  • Fold 1 load a day
  • Put away 1 load a day.
For real, when I continually keep up with this regimen...my life doesn't pile up. Instead of jumping into the clothing piles my kids will go out and jump in the leaves!! I mean. We would NEVER I am lying through my teeth do such a thing! You can learn more, get money saving coupons, fun tips and even learn about sweepstakes by following all free clear on facebook! Now go out, and get messy! I dare you!

 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Because THEY make a difference...


Teachers are one of the most influential people in our children's lives. The right ones will help your children to bloom into something amazing. We have been very blessed over the years. In fact, 3 of my 4 have all had the SAME teachers in preschool. They go to a private Christian school and I LOVE it! When they tell my child that they love them, they actually mean it! They have watched 2 of my babes grow from the moment my belly started to show. This has been incredibly special. We love them and we are thankful for them!



I had NO idea what I wanted to do this year for the teachers, until. We were playing around in Michael's! We were grabbing random art supplies here and there...took them home and we were SO happy with what we put together! I LOVE letting my babes get involved! I think it makes it 10x sweeter!


{not pictured - coffee gift cards} We found these amazing signs at Kohl's and I bought all that was left!! When Valentines is over I always stock up on the Dove hearts as I think they are so sweet and a great touch to almost any gift. Fill a mason jar with hearts perhaps?! Give a jar of luuuuurve!

The earrings are from my shop and will be relisted soon! I have a ton in the works to post so check back! I also enlisted the help of my best gillie! She wrote out the names of the teachers in her beautimus handwriting! She has an amazing Etsy shop as well!


I added basket filled to each berry basket (found at Michael's!) and then my baby filled the inside with all of our goodies (earrings, candles, coffee cards and chocolates!). Be sure you stick a glue dot to the back of the doily before attaching to the berry basket. The large clip helped to hold the fun twine in place as well as the tag (also found at Michael's in one of the seasonal sections.)


Simple, yet made a very big impression! There was lots of oooooh's and aaaaaah's and I had a few messages asking where I found xy or z! Don't forget to seal the deal by including a hug! Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bring her in, for an #UltraHug


A huge thank you to Huggies for sponsoring today's post and inspiring me to try the NEW Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra diapers! Can I just say...sometimes you just need a hug! An #UltraHug selfie, perhaps! Whenever I get a chance to work with Huggies I am ALL over it! For real, they are such an amazing company. Quality products, amazing customer service and they care about the community. OH but wait...it get's better!!

Not only do they care about the quality of their products (take the Huggies Ultra diapers for instance) we are trying them out in a size 5 (size larger than normal)...and I did this for completely selfish reasons. You see...they claim to be "snug fit". Being the pessimist I was like. We will SEE about that! Also, they are super thin and my babe...well. She soaks through diapers like you wouldn't believe!


UM, these dipes are FAB-U-LOUS!! For real!! And they are adorably flush up to her skin!! AND!! They work!! These Huggies Snug and Dry Ultra Diapers offer long-lasting leakage protection you can count on, so you can focus on all of your baby’s daily adventures. The range of sizes fit babies from newborn to 35 lbs. Only Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers have a new, unique quilted liner to lock away wetness better.

They have a conforming, gap-free fit to keep your active baby dry throughout the day The trusted Leak Lock® System has quick-absorbing layers for up to 12 hours of protection.


Liv's favorite part of course was that her favorite characters are on them! She proudly pointed out Mickey! Mommy's favorite part? No matter how what we are doing whether it's playing in the park or planting flowers in our garden, my babe will be comfortable and happy.


I am grateful that we are able to afford diapers for my baby's bum. That we don't worry when we are down to the last few diapers. My heart hurts when I think of the mama's out there that are struggling. That are not only worrying if they can pay their rent but also if they can afford diapers, clothing and food. Huggies strives to spread love wherever they go. They are diving into our communities and asking for YOU (and me) to nominate a community project that can benefit from a $2000 grant. This can be anything from a local park, playground or even animal reserve! WHO do YOU believe could benefit from winning a grant?

For me, I chose NW Children's Outreach. Northwest Children's Outreach is a faith-based, non profit organization helping families in the Portland area and surrounding communities. They do this because they don't like seeing children, by no fault of their own going without everyday necessities that you or I are accustomed to on a daily basis.


Imagining a child, just like my own going without socks, jackets, toothpaste or even diapers is mind boggling. My family has had the honor of volunteering packing bags that will be going out to a child. Their favorite part of course...bagging up the diapers! Not even kidding!


Now I want to know who YOU will nominate! It's easy and here's how:

From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

How to Enter the #UltraHug Selfie Contest

• First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug
• In your same post, make sure to include a text nomination (approximately 100 – 120 characters) including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.

Can we say AMAZING!!

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