Pay it Forward and Bless Teachers at Office Depot #TeachersChangeLives #CGC

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I have a special place in my heart for teachers! I remember my 1st grade teacher with great joy. She was very patient with me and loving when I flat tipped my markers and squeezed my glue too tightly. She taught me how to read and how to be a great friend. I am friends with her on Facebook now and she’s truly a special lady to me. My girls have had a few teachers who have gone above and beyond as well. In fact, one of my girls has a teacher currently that practically lives at the school. She has Facetimed with my daughter over Christmas break and gone out of her way to check in when things were stressful. She is constantly thinking about her students and how to help them learn and grow. She is truly a special lady. (My 3rd grader had her when she was in 1st and she still seeks her out to give her hugs!)

Brian Copes is a pre-engineering teacher at Calera High School. He pushes his students to shift their focus from themselves to others. Brian’s students make prosthetic limbs out of old car and bike parts, and even help make utility vehicles for people in Honduras. How cool is that? I want my kids to be challenged to think about others and how they can contribute and pay it forward.

#TeachersChange Lives – Thank You These students are proof. Watch the video above as students express how much their teachers mean to them.

How to Donate to the Teachers Change Lives Program

How to Register Your Classroom as a Teacher

  1. Go to Teachers Change Lives website (http://clvr.li/1emq4KF)
  2. Click on the red box that says “Register Your Classroom,” which will take you to the Adopt-A-Classroom website
  3. Follow the corresponding steps from there

Teachers spend money every year out of their own pocket, especially in underfunded areas. I know that my girls have had some quality teachers who pour unlimited amounts of time, emotional, physical and financial resources into their classrooms, and ultimately their students! This is one of the reasons that I am always happy to donate what they need when requested! Teachers are doing innovative things in the classroom and you can help them do more by donating.

Donate to the teacher highlighted in the video, or a teacher in your local community. Adopt-A-Classroom is a nonprofit organization that helps connect donors with teachers to enhance the learning environment for students. Office Depot and Adopt-A-Classroom have partnered to raise awareness about teachers, and all that they do in the lives of their students. Spoil them as they spoil your babies!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Life has really changed a lot in the past 5 years. I’ve learned a lot and grew in many areas that I never expected to grow or mature in.

These past two weeks have been life changing, yet again. Two weeks ago my mother in law and the fun, whitty Nanny to my three little princesses had a stroke…. well a few actually. Let me back up a bit… earlier this year she called to tell us that she had liver cancer…a rare kind but would do chemo and fight it. We were not ready for this news. We grudgingly accepted that she would have to go thru Chemo and the nasty side effects to get better. She’s a fighter. We did what we could to help prepare her and her home for the changes to come.

This was all great and she endured a ton of sickness and such from the chemo…and we knew to expect it…but then she had a stroke. The dr thinks it’s due to the chemo. We are heart broken. We never expected this, not in a million years.  We also didn’t expect to hear from the Oncologist that her cancer is terminal, or that she knew that it was from the start. More heart ache. Tears don’t begin to describe the mixed bag of emotions that I feel. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t tell us that it was terminal… yet as a mom, I totally get it. I would want to protect my kids as well.

The GOOD

is that God has provided what we need, when we need it. He has put people in our paths that have helped walk us thru this process… nurses in the family, friends who work for hospice and various other support that we have needed. He’s given Steve and I an ARMY of SuperMoms who have helped with our kids while we flew or drove out to St Louis. He has provided us with friends who have let us stay with them in St. Louis, and has brought our family closer together thru this tragedy.

The BAD

is that it’s not over. She will (hopefully) be released this week to a nursing home where she will get hospice care until the cancer wins. It’s beyond words to describe the pain I feel for her. She seems to know who we are but can not talk. It’s so hard to not picture her up goofing off and being silly with the girls, or talking about politics or posting silly stuff on Facebook.

The UGLY

is that there will come a day in the next few months that I will have to tell my girls that Nanny is gone. They will be heart broken, shattered. I am trying really hard to stay strong and not talk about things in front of them, but this is so consuming.

I know that this is just part of the circle of life, but it’s painful and heart wrenching. It’s been hard to watch my husband and his siblings walk thru grief together…and it’s not over yet. It is hard to watch my father in law slowly come to gripes that the woman that he has been married to for 30+ years is not going to bounce back from this.

This just all feels to fast forward, too final. The picture above is Nanny with her “grands!” I’m processing this all as I can…hang with me. Things are changing for us quickly and I know that my posts my be fewer for the next few weeks.

 

Disney Jr Give a Book, Get a Book #DisneySMMoms

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Disney Jr not old provides adorable fun loving characters that your kids fall in love with on TV, but they also are taking BIG steps to help educate kids world wide!

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While at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, we were treated to some royal fun! Disney Junior stars Tim Gunn, Ariel Winter and David Arquette and a childhood favorite of mine, LeVar Burton of the award-winning Reading Rainbow app, participate in storybook readings during an announcement of Disney Junior’s “Give A Book, Get A Book,”. The goal is to donate one million books to U.S. communities in need as well as present families with free digital books from Disney Publishing Worldwide. This announcement was made by Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide and First Book Board Member, Dr. Martha Bernadett.

Go check out GiveaBookGetaBook.com, which is stacked with fun storytelling and offer interactive activities. Starting on April 21, Disney Store locations you will find two ways to Give a Book, Get a Book. For a limited time, with the purchase of any specially-marked Disney Junior book or product, receipts or packaging will include a redemption code allowing kids and families to direct the donation of a book to First Book in the region of their choice and to access a free Disney Digital Book to share as a family. And, Give a Book, Get a Book bookmarks with redemption codes will be distributed to visitors at participating public libraries and Radio Disney events throughout the summer.  Disney is looking to donate upto a MILLION books!

I love this!

Plan your Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt with @OrientalTrading

*Oriental Trading sent us some fun Glow in the Dark Easter treats for the purpose of this review. All opinions are mine and are honest.

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If your kids are older then 4 or 5, you might consider creating an Egg hunt that they will never forget! My girls are past the racing to beat 500 kids to 100 eggs kind of hunts. This is why we planned a fun Glow in the Dark Egg hunt this year!

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This is what you need to pull this off! First of all go to OrientalTrading.com and order:

Glow In The Dark Eggs (72 ct)

Glow Bracelets (50 ct)

Jumbo Bright Eggs 

Glow in the Dark Swirl Egg Balls

and various other small trinkets for the eggs.

On the day of the hunt, load the Glow in the Dark eggs with candy. Load the Jumbo Bright or Pastel Eggs with glow bracelets that you have activated! We went down to out local park with 30 of our friends and let the dads hide the eggs while we enjoyed some sweet treats.

To make things fair, we let the little ones (those 1st grade and younger) get a head start on finding the eggs. About a minute later we turned the older kids lose. It was awesome watching them search for the glow in the dark eggs. This was a fun change up from the regular egg hunts that we have done and it took longer. We had a few prize eggs with paper in them revealing bigger glow prizes (some glasses and flashy rings I had picked up!)

I’ve heard you can open glow bracelets and pour them into bubbles for glow bubbles…I haven’t tried this yet. Let me know if you have!

Check out Orientaltrading.com for all of your party fun! You will get FREE shipping on all orders of $50 or more!

I’m going to Disney Social Media Moms Conference! @DisneySMMoms

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I am BEYOND excited to have received an invite to the Disney Social Media Moms Conference at Disneyland! It didn’t take me but a few seconds to say YES!!! We have not told our kids yet as it all happened to quickly these past few days. We are actually debating on NOT telling them until we arrive. They are 5, 7, and 9 now and will love this surprise SO much! With it being only a few weeks away, we are busy planning and saving money for this unexpected trip!

What are your favorite MUST SEE or MUST DO things at Disneyland? Would you tell your kids or wait?

Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue comes out July 18th

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Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue comes out July 18th and you will not want to miss it! You can click over to the Disney Planes official site and play some fun games and enjoy some Disney Planes Activities.

Watch the trailer here:

Packing Kids Snacks for Road Trips

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We are leaving in a few minutes for our Spring Break fun…and will be in the van for the next 5 hours! To make this easier for everyone, we prepack snacks! Here is what we do. We use an old Pampers Baby Wipes Container and write each kids name on their own. Then we add the following items:

  • Paper Towel
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Water Bottle
  • GoGoSqueez
  • Pirates Booty
  • Goldfish
  • Cutie
  • and Fruit rope


The kids love having access to snacks at will and I love that it’s all in one box. They know the rule is that they must keep all of the trash IN THE BOX if they want it refilled for the way home. They also know that they can choose to eat it all quickly or go sparingly. I do not offer more snacks until we head home (and I pack the refills in another bag to make for easy refills.) This stops the “I wants” and has helped keep my kids choices healthier.

A cure for my Car Riding Blues – SOL REPUBLIC

Spring break is NEXT week! We have plans to enjoy some change in scenery and I am really excited about heading south…to warmer weather! I love getting away, but I do not handle car trips with ease. I get restless and want out. Not this tip… I’m going prepared. I am taking my SOL REPUBLIC headphones, and loading my ipad with movies! I plan to watch movies the whole way there and back. I love that I can wear my awesome noise canceling blue tooth headphones and I won’t interrupt my hubby or kids fun!  My kids have headphones and can watch the DVD player and then hubby can have the radio for his sports enjoyment! I can NOT wait!

The SOL REPUBLIC headphones comes with a nice zipper bag to store them in. They also come with a USB cord for easy charging and also have a cord to connect to multiple devices.

With A2 sound engines you will get clear, detailed, deep bass sound with powerful digital amplifiers. The Track Air comes with Dual-Mic Crystaltalk technology which allows you to have clear phone calls anytime, anywhere. They have built in volume and track controls. Tracks AIR features an unmatched wireless range that ensures clear and precise sound up to 150 feet away, nearly five times more than other wireless headphones. The battery life is awesome too… upto 15 hours!

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The SOL REPUBLIC Track Air headphones come with a 1 year warranty.

You can purchase them at BestBuy for $199.99. They are currently offering FREE Shipping on these as well.

SOL REPUBLIC is a global consumer electronics company dedicated to enhancing people’s lives through style, sound and technology. Comprised of music fanatics, SOL REPUBLIC develops its products from the ground up to look, sound and feel unlike anything else in the market. For more information, visit www.SOLREPUBLIC.com

Follow SOL REPUBLIC on Facebook and Twitter for more info!

We Will Rock You hits Dallas Summer Musicals March 4-16th

Gather up some girl friends and buy your tickets to see We Will Rock You at the Dallas Summer Musicals March 4-16 at Music Hall at Fair Park. This is not a family show…it’s recommended for ages 9 and up. I have a feeling that this will feel like an awesome CONCERT! I am taking a few girlfriends and going next week! Girls Night out!

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From London’s West End, the worldwide smash hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton comes to the Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park for a limited engagement! WE WILL ROCK YOU features the greatest hits of the legendary British rock group, Queen. Now in its 11th year in London and seen by a staggering 15 million people worldwide, this hilarious, multi-award-winning and record-breaking phenomenon boasts a fantastic score of killer Queen tunes that you just can’t resist singing along to, such as Another One Bites The Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, We Are The Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody and of course, We Will Rock You!

For more information, click here.

 

I’m a good mom, I promise I am…

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This post has been brewing in me for a few years now…well about 8 years actually since my oldest turns 9 next month.

Every time I go to the store with kids in tow I have a mission. My biggest mission is to get what is on my list (barring I remembered to actually take the list) and get OUT of the store with the SAME three kids I took in.

As if getting parked, then walking across the parking lot with my butterfly chasers isn’t enough…then there is finding a cart…without a squeaky wheel and wiping it down. I used to have to wipe it FULLY down (true story) because my middle child has low iron and would lick the cart. (I didn’t know that kids who were low iron like the metallic taste in their mouth…but my dr told me that was the case.) It could have been her sensory integration disorder as well… none the less…

So once we have the cart, it’s a chore getting all three kids to put a hand on the cart, instead of trying to ride on it. I used to be that “cool mom” who let their kids ride on the end of the cart…until my oldest did it and tipped the whole cart almost clean over. Then it’s off to accomplish my mission…grab what I went in for and get OUT of there. I am very strategic and try hard NOT to go near the toy isles as I know that will only ignite the “I wants” and ultimately melt downs. I’ve never been a mom who rewards their child with a treat at the end of the shopping trip as a thank you for good behavior. I have tried hard to help my children understand that they do NOT stir the Solstad ship, rather I do! So they know the expectations going into the store.

Well, we move rather quickly…until one of the three has to “go potty right now.” That’s when things get stressful…real stressful. Now we have to find the bathroom…in turbo speed because we don’t want to leave a trail… Side note: it’s normally in the COMPLETE opposite side of the store. Then of course you have to abandon your cart full of items to take them…after all you want to make sure they put the paper down before they sit or that they wash hands…and then don’t touch the door handle on the way out. (Okay, I am OCD about that…maybe you aren’t!)

So back to shopping…I make my way to the front of the store and am very excited to see NO WAIT! Oh wait, I just realized I forgot to pick up milk…or eggs…or some other daily consumed item. Back through the store we trek to grab that one last item. Now of course we get back to the front of the store and there is a LONG line. 30 registers and only 1 open. 5 people with carts FULL in front of us. This is a recipe for disaster! Complete disaster!

Now we are standing still…which is asking for the kids to pick on each other…and there is stuff, lots of stuff hanging at eye level of the kids. They can’t resist. It’s like having a cup of milk and 4 Oreos in front of you and being asked to look but not touch. They just can’t do it. It’s in their blood…they CAN NOT RESIST! So you are now trying to take the extra items out of your cart while looking like you are cool, calm and collected. They gang up on you and beg for a piece of candy. You know that giving them sugar will only fuel the madness.

Tip: Do NOT try to do self checkout while toting kids. They want to help and will scan things a few extra times for you, or they will take them out of the bags setting off the scales and alerting the attendant to come help. Takes twice as long…trust me, I know!

Why do stores do that to moms? I take it OH SO PERSONALLY! We see the finish line and it’s not a short sprint at the point…it’s a marathon of emotions. Forgot watching the prices as items are scanned to ensure accuracy, and forget your coupons…it’s all you can do to not drop in the floor and cry at that point! To get that long white slip of paper and not forget your bags or your kids is your goal at that point. I’ve been there…and I try to not take them…it’s a HOT mess EVERY time!

I’m a good mom, I promise…