Sunday, August 21, 2016

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

This is my sweet boy on his first day of Kindergarten.  While I have plans to get up a post here soon about his big day, I still get a little weepy when I look at this picture and think about how I was anxiously awaiting his arrival six years ago.  Time is a real jerk, ain't it?

Lola is my clone, my mini me, and I laugh at how much she resembles myself and the things I did at her age.  She is all about making people laugh but has a sweet, sensitive side too.  The kid is 100% a Mommy's Girl and even though that means I have to put her to bed every night and wake up with her in the middle of the night, I'm really okay with that.  She's got me hooked.

I love so much about this picture, but mainly because it shows how much these two girls adore each other.  I see Lola do everything Cohen does, but I'm starting to see Remy want to do everything Lola is doing.  Considering the two are less than two years apart, I'm really hoping they become the best of friends as they grow older.


Lunchtime Fun with Simple PB&J Bites

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  
#BacktoSchoolSimple #CollectiveBias

You guys.  THIS KID IS A KINDERGARTNER.  Seriously, I feel like I was just prepping to bring him home from the hospital and embark on this journey called motherhood.  We spent the last week getting his backpack ready, picking out our back to school clothes and purchasing last minute school supplies.  Cohen also got to meet his teacher, visit his classroom and take a brief tour of his HUGE school, as he describes it.  I have to be honest, I was a weepy mess that day he walked into school.  Anytime anyone asked me how my day was going or mention the word "kindergarten" my eyes would well up and I had to start thinking happy thoughts.  But the year so far has been great for him.  His teacher is amazing and I'm really impressed with everything his school has to offer.  After his first day at school, he excitedly told me everything and anything he could remember about it.  But the one thing he continues to tell everyone and their brother about is that his school has a "huge cafetorium!"  The kid is an extremely picky eater so it seems ironic that lunchtime is one of his favorite times of the day!

Cohen has packed his lunch at school for the past four years.  His preschool didn't offer hot lunch, so I knew that it would be a rare occurrence that he would actually eat school lunch.  But honestly I'm okay with that because I like to make his lunches special just for him.  It's like my own way to let him know I'm thinking about him in the middle of the day, especially since I can't be there.  I love to have cute lunch themes with all of his favorite foods. 

Before school started up last week, I hit up Market District (our local Giant Eagle retailer) to stock up on lunch items, food for breakfast and of course afternoon snacks.  I knew I'd be able to find everything I needed to make sure I sent Cohen to school with a lunch he loved!  Market District is the one stop shop for all things Back to School.  I took my time in each aisle, quickly filling up my cart with his favorite things.  If I couldn't be with him at school, I surely was going to let him know I missed his cute little face!  Soon my cart was filled with Jif Peanut Butter and Smucker's Fruit Spread for the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich, little bags of his favorite baked Cheetos,  Goldfish crackers for everyone in the family,  mini Oreos for his sweet tooth and Giant Eagle cheese sticks for lunch and most likely after school snack too.  But I couldn't forget his favorite Capri Suns to wash it all down before heading to Gym class for the day.  I love knowing that I can find everything I need whenever I shop at Market District!

As I mentioned earlier, Cohen is a picky little eater.  So I try to pack things that I know he will eat, but I like to present them in a new way.  He isn't a huge fan of lunch meat so PB&J is our staple sandwich.  However, I wanted to try something new and see if he'd still eat it.  I mean seriously, you'd think the same meals over and over would be a little boring, right?

PB&J Bites
You Need:
--One (1) slice of bread
--Smucker's Fruit Spread
--Jif Peanut Butter
--Rolling Pin

1.  Cut off your crusts and flatten your bread with a rolling pin.  You don't want it to be too thin, but thin enough to roll into a hearty sandwich.

2.  Begin by spreading the peanut butter.  

3.  Top it off with the jelly.

4.  Then, slowly roll it up lengthwise.

5.  Take a knife and cut the roll into pieces.  You can use toothpicks to keep them together, which also makes it for fun eating!

These bites were a hit with Cohen!  I was excited too because I personally was getting bored with packing the same old sandwich everyday.  Lola, who will eat anything, loved these roll up pieces with cheese and turkey.  The bite sized pieces are perfect for little fingers and fit nicely within the lunchbox.

While sometimes I will use bags to organize Cohen's food, I also love to use muffin cups in his lunch box too.  I usually stock up when I find them on sale and I like to buy them in a bunch of different sizes.  It's an easy way to sort the food and make sure nothing touches. (I know I'm not the only one with a kid like that!)  Clean up is simple and easy too because Cohen will just throw it all away when he's done.  Plus it looks super cute.  But in the scheme of things I'm really the only one who cares about that one.

We are slowly getting back into our school routine and I'm excited to see how Cohen grows this school year.  My hope is that he will love school and get everything that he possibly can out of this experience.  While I miss him like crazy, it really has been fun watching my little buddy grow up.

Share with Me!
What are your favorite go-to foods for Back to School lunches?


GoodNites, Sleep Tight: How We Tackled Nightmares

Sunday, August 14, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RestEasySolutions #CollectiveBias

Summer was so good to us.  We had an abundance of sunshine filled days, warm weather and just absolute fun together.  My favorite part of each day was when we would all wake up and decide where we would go or what we would do for that day.  The daily goal was to wear these kiddos out.  If they went to bed tired with dirty feet and heavy eyes, it was a win for this mom.  But unfortunately sleeping hard means one thing - we don't wake up for potty breaks.  We actually SLEEP THROUGH them so there was lots of extra laundry and middle of the night sheet changes for this tired mama.  Cohen's been potty trained for years, but I recently learned that your child's bladder doesn't wake their brain up in the middle of the night.  This problem happens a lot more than one would think!  Actually, 1 in 6 kids ages 4-12 will wet the bed at least once a week after being potty trained.  But in the scheme of things, I really didn't need to be getting up with anymore kids in the middle of the night because Remy was enough for the moment.  I turned to GoodNites, the #1 Night Time Protection brand to help this tired mama get at least a few more moments of uninterrupted sleep.

I had been wracking my brain on how to deal with this problem for the time being.  The problem stemmed from a few things but I knew that the culprit was late night thirst quenches.  I mean the kid plays hard so there was no way I was going to deny him a drink.  Usually we limit drinks past 7:00 pm to avoid this problem altogether.  But again, I wasn't going to dehydrate my child nor keep him from burning off steam on the daily.  Cohen also had been waking up in the middle of the night with nightmares and then would ask for a drink, which doesn't help our situation much either.  However the bedding and clothing changes in the middle of the night were a struggle.  Cohen is a big Kindergartener now and wearing baby diapers are out of the question.  Plus I would never do that to him at this age.

On a recent diaper run to Walmart I decided to check out the different options that GoodNites offered for our situation.  As a busy mom, I love how Walmart offers the best variety of solutions and value for bed wetting management, including a $2 coupon (while supplies last-so keep checking back for it!)  Immediately I was drawn the to GoodNites Bedtime Pants which are made for both boys and girls ages 4 and older with outstanding protection for any sleeping position.  These pants look and feel like real underwear and help them maintain a sense of privacy and self-esteem even in an uncomfortable situation like this one.  The GoodNites Bedtime Pants are more absorbent than leading training pants with five layer protection, offer new zoned protection where boys and girls need it and move like underwear.  I also grabbed some GoodNites TruFit Underwear because these too look and feel just like real underwear yet use a disposable insert to help provide the ultimate nighttime protection.  Plus I loved that they were machine washable so I could throw them into the wash and reuse them again if needed.

I also decided that I needed to tackle these nightmares to see if this would help solve a bit our nighttime issues too.  Cohen has always been a concrete kind of learner - like he needs to physically be able to see or do something in order to learn from it.   I had the simple solution of making a Monster Spray that I would keep by his bed.  Therefore if he woke up and was scared he could spray it before calling one of us to his room or before he came running down to ours.

Monster Spray

You Need:
--One (1) spray bottle
--Lavender Essential Oil
--Optional - Decorations for Bottle

How to Make It:

1.  I began by creating and laminating a label for my bottle.  (I'm a teacher.  Of course I have a personal laminator.)  Here's the printable you can use for yourself!
Monster Spray Label 

2.  Fill the bottle with water and add 5-10 drops of lavender into it, depending on the size of your bottle.  I used lavender because of the calming effect and the gentle scent.

3.  Add your label and decorations.

4.  Show your kiddo how to use and spray those monsters away!

Cohen and I talked about how we can use our Monster Spray to get rid of anything we may be scared of at the time.  I told him he had to use the spray first before running to our room.  Our agreement was that if he was still scared even after he used our Monster Spray he could come down and get me.  After about a week of giving Cohen his Monster Spray the middle of the night wake-ups really decreased.  Not only was it great that I didn't have to get out of bed with him, but he also wasn't asking for water which has really helped with the middle of the night accidents.  Now if only there was a spray I could use when I wanted my kids to nap at the same time...

I'm sad that summer break is over for us, but I know this upcoming school year will be full of just as much fun!  The best part of my job is that I get to spend these extended breaks with my kiddos, creating these memories we will remember for a lifetime.  And now that we have tricks to tackle these nighttime problems, we are ready for the new school year!

Share with Me!
How do you manage nightmares with your kiddos?



*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

This guy got to spend an entire week with Dad before heading off to Kindergarten.  It made my transition back to work so much easier (more on that later) but I still missed this face every morning like you wouldn't believe.  Even though the week was filled with colds, fevers and doctor appointments, I don't think he cared much because he had his best buddy by his side.

The week was hard for sweet Lola as she is quite the Mama's Girl.  But she quickly allowed Dad to attempt to do her hair (I actually am quite impressed with his skills) and had no problems scamming all the snacks she wanted, as you can see from the chocolate marks on her chest.  Oh my brown eyed girl...

And we've got some hair!  Within the last few weeks, Remy has sprouted the cutest little chicken feather mohawk on her head.  I found this bow I used to clip into Lola's nonexistent mane the first two years of her life and decided to see how long it would take for Remy to figure out it was there.  We got through dinner.  That is #winning for sure!


July Photo Dump

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Well, considering August is almost over I wanted to upload my pictures before the end of the month.  My phone also decided to just completely stop working last month so I decided I needed to be better about backing up my phone.

Here are my favs from last month:

This one learned a few new tricks this month.  And now my life has gotten a bit busier.

 Girlfriend has the pose thing down.

We ended our summer with a round of putt-putt, an adventure to Touch-a-Truck and an evening of fun at the splash pad.

And Cohen decided to shoot out his third loose tooth with a Nerf gun.  (PS It works.)

We also spent a lot of time playing outside at the beginning of the month when it was a bit cooler!

Lunch dates with dad, the sweetest piece of watermelon and a girls night to see a sneak peek of Bad Moms. 

Snapchat filters.  One word.  Amazing.

Alright August, time to bring it!