Oct 24, 2016

Visit MinuteClinic for Fall Allergy Relief

It's finally beginning to feel like fall here in North Carolina. Last weekend I opened my windows just to have our first fire of the season. I love it when the temperature begins to cool down. I'm not one of those weird people who love winter, but I do love the cool down of fall. One thing I hate about fall is my allergies, which are worse this time of year than in the spring. Thankfully there are several things I can do to fight my allergies, I teamed up with MinuteClinic to write about fall allergies. All opinions are mine.

Sometimes it's hard to distinguish a cold from allergies. If you have a fever, it's not allergies. If you're coughing it's most likely a cold as well since very rarely is a bough a symptom of allergies. A cold lasts 7-10 days so if you don't feel better after 10 days it's probably allergies.

I didn't realize I developed allergies as an adult until I saw a healthcare provider. I just thought my first year teaching was making me sicker than usual. Turns out all the colds I thought I was catching was actually just allergies. Now I know when my allergies are going to bother me. The fall is the worst for me and my misery begins mid-October. Over the years I have learned a few things that help me get through allergy season.

The best way to treat allergies is to avoid the allergen. Sadly for me this means spending more time indoors and not opening the windows to let the air in. While I love the feeling of having all the windows in my house open in the fall, I know it lets the allergens in my house so I don't do it very often. 

Fall is also the time of year when we start snuggling under blankets that have been stored away all summer. Wash your blankets before using them to get rid of dust mites, a common allergen. Clean and change air filters every three months to reduce the amount of dirt, debris, and allergens that you come in contact with everyday.

Since I know my allergies are going to start bothering me in mid-October, I start taking allergy medicine at the beginning of October. If I wait for my symptoms to occur before I start taking medicine I feel awful. Allergy symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Nasal saline, decongestants and over the counter or prescription antihistamines may help relieve symptoms as well. At MinuteClinic, their nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate. If you’re diagnosed with allergies, medication may help relieve your symptoms. 

A great option for getting help from a healthcare provider is going to MinuteClinic located in select CVS Pharmacy. There you can see a nurse practitioner at a convenient time. MinuteClinic is open 7 days a week and they have evening hours too. It's a walk in clinic so no appointment necessary. Find a MinuteClinic near you: http://bit.ly/1tizodF. While you're there, pick up a J&J coupon book and save up to $40 on brands you can trust. 

Oct 13, 2016

Learning Disability and a Huge Win

Last May my son's teacher came to my classroom to talk to me. That is never a good sign. She let me know that it was my choice but she was recommending him for summer school. My heart sank. I did not want to hear that.

Now he wasn't in danger of repeating Kindergarten, but she was afraid that without summer school he would struggle in first grade. My husband and I decided to send him mostly because he's a twin. Down the road if he ever needed to repeat a grade it would be devastating. Plus it was only 13 days long so it wouldn't kill him summer.

Best Decision!

Seriously the best decision.

One of his good friends was in the class so he had fun. Lunch was included and buying lunch at school was the highlight of his day. And not to mention the fact that his reading level went up. At the end of Kindergarten he was a D, and on the second week of first grade he was an E.

And he wasn't there for reading, he was there for writing. His learning disability causes him to have problems writing. But the reading level was a huge win. He struggled all year in reading until the fourth quarter so seeing his reading level go up over the summer was great.

Yes we went to the library every week and they also wrote in a summer journal everyday, but I know summer school made a huge impact. He had an amazing summer school teacher who knows how to push kids. She told me that she saw a night and day difference in Mark between the first few days of school and the last few days of school in his work habits.

Mommy gets books too and sometimes has a cute little creeper. 

Oh how he struggled with work habits in Kindergarten. Being able to work independently in first grade is very important.

This new reading level is a huge win for Mark. He struggled so much in the beginning of Kindergarten and now he's on target right where he should be in first grade. Any special needs parent will tell you that this is the moment they long for. When the progress report only shows good news.

I'm so proud of this little guy!

Oct 10, 2016

12 Year Anniversary

Last Sunday my husband and I celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary.

We look like babies

I cannot believe it's been 12 years. In some ways it feels like yesterday, but mostly it fells much longer than that. Especially when you think about all we've been through together both good and bad.

Personally I don't think any anniversary is more important than another. It would be nice if we could take a trip every year to celebrate, but that just isn't possible. We did get a night away which was great.

What is it about waking up and not having to be parents that really recharges you?

Oh yeah, the sleep. Now I remember.

So Happy Anniversary to my husband. Here's to 12 more years.

No longer looking like babies 12 years later

Sep 8, 2016

Pizza Party with Gluten Free Freshetta

I don't know about you but by Friday night I am done. My energy is gone and the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. Which makes Friday night the perfect night for a family pizza party night, And yes, it still counts as a party if we have a pizza party every Friday night. I received a Freshetta pizza kit as a Smiley360 blogger in exchange for this review, all opinions are mine and no further compensation was provided.

I teach special ed preschool and I'm a mom to three young kids. By the end of the week I am fried. I don't want to cook dinner and worry about what I can make that everyone will like. Which is why Friday is pizza and movie night in my house.

Camping out in front of the movie is a fun treat!

There is nothing like snuggling up with my family and watching a movie at the end of the week. We always make pizza for dinner. It's easy, no one has to order or answer the door when you make pizza. We just pop two pizzas in the oven and eat in front of the TV. It's really the perfect way to end a work week with my family. There's almost nothing to clean up, good bonding time, and everyone can relax. What else could you want on a Friday night?

A few years ago my twins were diagnosed with Vitiligo and they went gluten free as part of their treatment. Let me tell you, going gluten free is a hard transition. It's not impossible but it is tough. Especially for kids who love things like pizza, pasta, and bread. If there's a gluten free product most likely we have tried it.

Of course not all gluten free products are made equal, especially when it comes to pizza. We've tried every gluten free pizza on the market and the Freshetta pizza got rave reviews from all 5 of us. Like all gluten free pizza it's a thin crust. Unlike many gluten free pizza's it does not taste like a cracker. The crust is thin and very crispy but it has a more breadlike texture than a cracker texture. This is very important for my twins.

As a mom I liked that the pizza wasn't greasy when it came out of the oven. There is nothing worse than pulling a pizza out of the oven and seeing tons of grease. I took this picture straight from the oven, no blotting needed.

My kids said they liked that it didn't taste gluten free. Which means that they are used to gluten free products being inferior and this one wasn't. Trust me that is high praise coming from my picky kids. My husband and I really liked it too. Our oldest liked the pizza but didn't like the crust. That was the only complaint that the pizza got from the five of us.

So now you know, you don't have to give up flavor to get a great gluten free pizza. Freshetta Gluten Free pizza is available at your local Wal-Mart. Pick one up today for your pizza party. You can follow Freshetta on Facebook and Instagram for more updates on their products, savings. and more information.

I received these products for free from Smily360 in exchange for my honest review. You can join Smily360 at www.smiley360.com. 

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.

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