Aug 17, 2016

The Last Two Weeks of Summer

I love summer! I always have especially since I'm a teacher and summer means time off. Is there anything better than 84 days of no work?


No there is not.

But now that I'm in the throws of the last two weeks of summer the honeymoon is over. We are over being with each other all day everyday.

The kids are bickering more.

Who us?

We are all a little tired of the pool.

The heat and humidity is keeping us inside too much.

Even electronics are getting old for the kids.

What is it about the last two weeks of summer that make parents realize that it's time to go back to school. I'm actually almost ready to go back.



Not really.

But I am ready for my kids to be in school again. We need to be on a schedule again and have more routine in our days. And the kids need to spend 7 hours away from each other so maybe the bickering can stop.

Yes the last two weeks of summer allow me to be ready for school again.

But nothing, and I do mean nothing will make me ready for homework again.

Pass the wine please.

Aug 2, 2016

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure Course in Raleigh

My husband and I want to have a family that plays together. Our goal is to have fun with our kids and spend as much time together as a family as possible. Not an easy task with three kids and both of us working full time. But it's important to us so it happens. Last weekend I got the opportunity to try the new junior course with my daughter at Go Ape in Raleigh in exchange for this review. I am very happy we went, Molly and I had a great time.

Go Ape is a tree top adventure course. It's more than just zip lining, you navigate between courses up in the trees. They recently added a junior course for children under the age of 10. The junior course starts out easy and then gets more challenging as you go through it. I cannot tell you how happy I am that we started low to the ground so Molly could get used to the equipment before she was up high. It was a great confidence builder for my daughter.

It might be the junior course, but you are still pretty high off the ground. 

My favorite part of our adventure was watching my daughter overcome her fear. She was afraid in the beginning, the height combined with the swinging steps was too much for her. With the help of both employees running the course, the three of us were able to encourage her to take the first step. And then another until she made it across the first path.

All of us cheered her first victory and then she stopped being afraid and just went for it. It made me so proud as a mom to see her step out of her comfort zone and do something that scared her. Plus my oldest who is terrified of heights wants to come back and "face her fears just like Molly." I'm planning on taking her as soon as the heat goes away, I want to capitalize on this bravery before it disappears.

By the end there was no fear! 

I was very impressed with the staff at Go Ape. I can tell that they are trained in encouraging the children to complete the course. They were so kind and patient with Molly when she got scared. They told how to position her arms and feet so she was steadier on the course. It was very helpful and appreciated. I can tell she is not the first kid to get scared on the course.

Molly said her favorite part was the rope obstacle that we crawled through and the zip line at the end. She though it felt like flying.

I highly recommend taking your family to Go Ape. We had so much fun together and watching my daughter step out of her comfort zone was fantastic. A couple of things I will do differently next time. First I didn't wear my hair in a ponytail and I had to do it there. So my hair could have looked better in the picture if I had remembered to do it at home. Just a vanity thing on my end. Wearing long shorts was definitely a good idea with the harness but I should have worn a lighter weight shirt. It was a hot day and my thick cotton shirt didn't breath at all. Lastly I want to try the adult course. My husband wants us to return in the fall for a day date.

Visit Go Ape's website for more information on their tree top course.

Jul 20, 2016

Why Aren't Moms Allowed to Have a Bad Day Anymore?

I've noticed a trend in our society; no one is allowed to have a bad day anymore.

Moms especially are not allowed to have a bad day. We see the judgment all the time over social media.

A mom snaps at her child in the store; she's a terrible mother.

A kid melts down in the store; clearly he has no disciple at home.

Two siblings are fighting; clearly they aren't being raised right. Bad, bad mommy.

And on and on the examples go.

Oh we read about compassion and some people actually have it, but generally speaking we expect mothers to be on their best behavior and near perfect at all times regardless of the circumstance.

I saw a post on Facebook that perfectly points this out. It was a video of a mother yelling at her child to stay by her side. Of course the part that the "good samaritan" left out was that the kid child ran into the street and was almost hit by a car. Yep my panic and fears would have me yelling at my kid too.

But hey, just another bad mom right?

According to the comments from the trolls the woman deserved to be thrown in jail. First for the yelling and then later for "allowing" her child to go in the street.

The truth of the matter is simple; sometimes people just have a bad day. Kids get away in the blink of an eye. Maybe your kid had a nightmare and you didn't get enough sleep. Perhaps your kids woke up fighting and you just need to get out of the house for a change of scenery, only that didn't stop the fighting. Or maybe your kid is just grouchy today for no reason that you can see as a parent.

Parenting has softened my edges and made me far less judgmental than my premommy self. Now I understand that you can tell you kid a million times not to run away, but a loose balloon will make them bolt. I also know that children are just young humans who are still learning. They're learning everyday just like the adults.

They have bad days and so do we.

A bad day does not equal a bad mom.

Maybe next time we will remember that when the impulse to pass judgment occurs.

Jun 22, 2016

Loving the Lazy Days of Summer

By June this teacher and mommy is done. Just done. It doesn't help that dance amps up right at the end of the year with recital season and all three of my kids are in dance. By summer I just want to sleep in and relax.

Sadly for me I still have kids so I'm not exactly sleeping in, but I am sleeping later so that's a plus.  And we are doing lots of relaxing so far.

There have been many lazy days at the pool. Some with friends like this one and others with just us. I'm attempting to swim laps during adult swim to squeeze in some exercise.

The kids are still making their own lunches. Their choices are a little unusual but as long as I don't have to make it and they eat it, I'm ok with their choices.

This week the kids started VBS. Not exactly relaxing since so far I've one for my annual exam and gotten new tires. But at least I didn't have to drag the kids with me to these things. I can't imagine getting my annual with my kids there. Just no.

And in big news for the boy, his mohawk is really getting long. He gets compliments everywhere we go which makes him blush. I love it.

Keep bringing those long, lazy days of summer! Next week the kids go to sleep away camp and my husband and I are taking a vacation alone.

I can't wait!
Happy Summer Everyone.

May 31, 2016

Purex plus Clorox Giveaway

This is the truest statement of my life. I really can't figure out where all this laundry comes from, how do 3 little people go through so many clothes? It's a mystery and one that I won't figure out any time soon. Thankfully the cold days are behind us and my kids are no longer wearing layers which translates to less loads of laundry.

Summer brings less laundry, just another reason why I love summer.

Now with three young children, I have seen my share of stains. My kids aren't exactly neat and dainty. They all love playing in the mud which my yard has an abundance of after it rains.

Now some moms would flip out over their kids getting that dirty, but I get a kick out of it. I have hundreds of picture of my kids all muddy.

Or dirt.

For years I've used Purex laundry detergent and I love it. It's priced reasonably, it works great, and it's available everywhere I shop. Those are three very important aspects for me. I was a sent a sample of Purex plus Clorox to review in exchange for this blog post, all opinions are mine.

Right away I liked that the Purex plus Clorox is safe for colors. I have no time to try to use two different detergents let alone sort my clothes. It makes my mother in law shudder, but I don't separate my colors. I just throw everything in at once. And it comes out clean in case you were wondering.

I knew that this detergent would be a good stain fighter. For the majority of my kids clothes, everything came out clean. But my daughter spilled cherry icee on her yellow lace dress and that didn't come out. I even rubbed some of the Purex plus Clorox directly into the stain and waited 5 minutes before washing it. But even that old stain fighting trick didn't work. In all honesty, I tried 3 other products on hand and none of them touched that stain. So warning to all parents lace and cherry icees do not go together.

If you would like to try this stain fighting detergent for yourself, you can enter my giveaway. Three lucky readers will win a coupon to buy their own bottle of Purex plus Clorox. Enter on the rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 9, 2016

I Just Want my Kids to be Kind

It's every parent's nightmare when you learn that your child is being bullied at school. It's even worse when your child doesn't tell you for weeks.

I never thought that I would have to deal with a mean girl at this young age. I expected in in junior high, but second grade???

Sadly my daughter didn't tell me about her bully until said bully told the other kids in the class not to be friends with my daughter. Once the other (not all but many) started being mean to her, Isabella finally told me what was going on.

My heart sank. My sweet girl the target of a mean girl was just too much to take. I know that my kid won't be friends with everyone she meets, but this goes way beyond just not being friends.

I went to the school immediately and to the mom of this girl.

Which leads me to the point of my post.

The mother didn't care. Flat out told me that she wasn't going to make her daughter stop. That her daughter didn't like my daughter and that was it.

Excuse me?

Do our kids need to be friends? No.

Do our kids need to be kind? I think so.

I'm still shocked by this mother's reaction a week later. Especially after learning that Isabella isn't her first target of the year. She's done this to 2 other girls, just this year!

I know you don't truly know how you would handle a situation until you're in it, but I do know that I will never allow my children to be unkind. They don't have to friend every kid in the class, but they are required to be kind.

The older I get the more I want to surround myself with people who are kind. My circle of friends might be small but I know that they have my back. I know they will help out when I need it, and I will help them in return. I don't care how much money they make, or how clean their house is, or their dress size. Are they nice? That's the number one criteria for me.

I'm sure my children will feel the same way one day, but for now they are too young to understand. They just want to fit in, belong, and be liked.

I want that for them too.

But I cannot make it happen.

The only thing I can do is teach them to be kind to everyone. I pray that my children will act with kindness even when it's not expected or deserved.

I don't care for that mom or her daughter. I don't want to be friends. But today when that mom needed help getting supplies into the classroom, I gave her the help she needed. I was kind, even though I didn't want to be.

I don't regret my decision to help and I pray that my daughter will be a better person than I was today. One that doesn't mentally call her a witch with a b the entire time we walked into the school.

Baby steps friends. I am still a little bitter.

May 3, 2016

Grilled Brisket Pizza

My favorite way to cook is to make a bug cut of meat on the weekend and live off the leftovers all week long. I love making pulled pork on the weekend and then making pulled pork tacos and pulled pork pizza during the week. It just makes my life easier as a working mom.

I love brisket! I'm Texas born and raised so it's practically mandatory to love brisket. The best part of brisket is that it's a huge cut of meat and the possibilities for leftovers are endless. Tacos, um yeah I'm from Texas! Enchiladas, do I need to say I'm from Texas again? Salads, yeah I'm from Texas but I'm still a girl.

Grilled Brisket Pizza???? Oh heck yes! Sign me up, this is a pizza that you're pizza wishes he could grow up to be like. The smoky flavor from the grill combined with the spicy BBQ sauce makes this the perfect brisket leftover recipe! I promise you will not regret making this pizza.

1 pizza dough - I buy it, feel free to make it
Country Bob's Apple Chipotle All Purpose Sauce is my favorite, use your favorite
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped brisket
1 medium sized red onion cut into thin strips
1 green or red bell pepper cut into thin strips
4 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your grill on med heat.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and cook onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. These are going to cook down as you caramelize them.
3. Add bell pepper stripes to the pan and cook until soft.
4. Roll your pizza dough and spread a thin layer of olive oil on one side. Carefully put the oil side down on the grill and cook for 4-6 minutes. Watch the dough carefully as grill temperatures vary.
5. Remove dough from the grill and spread a thin layer of olive oil on the side you didn't cook.
6. Spread about 1/2 cup of apple chipotle sauce over the cooked side of the pizza dough. You want a thin layer but you may need more sauce depending on your crust size/preference.

7. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the pizza. 
8. Add the caramelized onions, bell peppers over the cheese. 

9. Take about a tablespoon of chopped brisket and drop it onto the pizza. Strategically place the dollops of brisket around the pizza.
10. Grab that bottle of Apple Chipotle sauce and drizzle some over the top of the pizza. I didn't measure, I just drizzled it until it looked good to me. This is a preference thing on how much sauce you use.
11. Return your pizza to the grill and cook another 4-6 minutes.
12. Serve and enjoy!

I hope you like the pizza! My family scarfed it down and begged me to make it again the next night.

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