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Preview: Life with Coco and Gigi

Life with Coco and Gigi... and Jack-Jack too!



Life as a Mom, A Homesteader, A Blogger and A Wife.



Updated: 2018-04-10T07:55:00.945-04:00

 



Gaming with your kids?

2017-11-22T15:31:10.246-05:00

(image) As my kids are getting older their interests have changed pretty dramatically. The girls have given up on their childhood toys and are moving on to hanging with friends and doing big kid things. The boy spends more time asking to play video games than playing with action figures. While it truly makes me sad that they are growing up, there are some perks. Here's something you might not know about me - not only do I like to play video games, but I am good at them. So when Jack asks to play a video game I get to "take a break from work" and play with him. 


One of my recent clients, my buying guide, has opened my eyes to gaming projectors. I consider myself somewhat tech savvy but things seem to be advancing faster than I can keep up with. I knew about projectors for watching movies, but now you can play your favorite game on the big screen. Here's more:


my buying guide helps newbies (like me) and those in the know (not me) figure out what projector is right for their needs. 

So when you are thinking of the perfect family Christmas gift or trying to find something new for the avid gamer in your life - give this a look. 
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Keeping Your Flowers Fresh

2017-05-08T09:24:06.313-04:00

I'm sure I am not the only one who has a laundry list of jobs they filled during their high school and college years. It's actually an interesting question to ask new friends. What interesting places did you work at? For me I held down the fort at many kinds of places - waitress, bartender, dry cleaner, fast food worker, cook, nanny and floral shop. Working in a floral shop was a cool place to meet people who are at many places in their life. I worked with as many funeral clients as I did weddings. While it wasn't always fun it was a way to bring smiles to people's faces at the best and worst times in their lives. When I got to write this fun piece for a client on flowers I decided why not share. The Ultimate Guide to Long Lasting Flowers That special someone wowed you again with a beautiful bouquet of your favorite flowers. Whether it’s a dozen scarlet red roses or a simple pair of yellow blooms, you can’t help but be brightened by their arrival. The flower shop delivered them with handy instructions for how to get started. You followed the directions and put them in water - now there they sit looking beautiful! The only problem is that in just a few days they will start to wilt and your special delivery will be in the garbage bin. What if there were ways to help your flowers last longer and stay beautiful? Here are some ways to keep those beautiful buds blooming longer and even more beautiful! Flower Shop Pro Tip #1: Add Some Fizz As medical professionals are collectively cautioning us against our favorite soda pop, we are tasked with finding additional uses for the bubbly sitting idle on our shelves. One of the coolest ways to use up that extra soda stored in the pantry is to help boost your blooms with bubbles. Roses and other flowers flourish in the presence of sugar. Many floral experts have found that by using around ¼ cup of regular sugary soda in your vase water you can add days to the life of your flowers. If you are using a clear vase use clear soda and no one will know your secret bloom booster. Flower Shop Pro Tip #2: The Bartender’s Solution Another cool way that flower experts are recommending to prolong the life of your fresh roses is to add a little booze to give them some extra encouragement. North Carolina State University Horticulturalist John Dole told Scientific American, “When you add a few drops of vodka to vase water, it probably delays wilting by inhibiting a flower's production of ethylene, a ripening gas that plants emit”. Thus outlining how vodka can be used as another innovative way to lengthen the time you can enjoy your fresh cut flowers. By giving your flowers back some of the nourishment that was diminished when it was cut, you can add to their natural beauty as well. Just a few drops of vodka (or any clear spirit) to your water (along with a teaspoon of sugar) can seriously lengthen your roses life. Make sure to change out the water/vodka/sugar mix every other day.Flower Shop Pro Tip #3: Keeps Headaches Away Too Want to know how you can both cure a headache and enhance your fresh roses? Try aspirin! This oldie, but goodie has been shown to keep fresh cut flowers fresher, longer. Simply crush one aspirin tablet and add it to the water. The salicylic acid housed in the aspirin tablet will keep the water clean and free from potentially damaging bacteria. Flower Shop Pro Tip #4: All Day Hold Hairspray can do so much more than just keep fly-aways in check. It has been used to keep ladies stockings from running, remove stains and even kill bugs. Now we know that just a spritz of hair spray can keep your cut flowers looking fresher for longer. Hold the can several inches away from the blooms and spray the underside of buds and leaves. This is a great way to keep those roses looking beautiful longer. Flower Shop Pro Tip #5: Keeps Whites Whiter and Blooms Bloomier Another bacteria-busting agent that can help further your flower power is none other than household bleach. Who knew that something we all have on hand could add days to the life of our flow[...]



Steps to staying physically and mentally strong in a workplace

2017-04-11T13:08:17.347-04:00

A great article I got to write recently. I think these issues effect almost most of us. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average American between the ages of 25 and 54 with children spend approximately 8.8 hours of each day in their office. This equates to 44 hours a week, which is almost 2,300 hours a year. With so much time spent in the workplace it is easy for it to become physically and mentally draining. Here we will look at some simple steps you can take to stay physically and mentally strong in the workplace. Best Ways to Stay Mentally Strong in the Workplace Many Americans report that the toughest part of their workday is the toll it takes on their mental state. The more time people spend “cooped up” the higher their rates of depressed mood, boredom and even depression. In order to stay mentally fit you should engage in simple steps to keep your workplace a mental health haven. Know how to tackle tough conversations using fair languageWhile television office places are usually fun, comical and free from uncomfortable exchanges, the real world is a different story. Most office workers struggle when it comes time to have tough conversations with both their superiors and their subordinates. A great way to make this part of the job easier is to have fair conversations. Find a place in the office that is calm and comfortable and have a frank conversation with your office mates. Use fair language to describe whatever needs discussing. Avoid making things personal or emotional to keep things copasetic. Know how to take feedback and deliver it to others Another important area that most offices could stand to grow is in the delivery of feedback. A recent study showed that by making feedback constructive will help boost the trust and growth of employees. Experts at Success Magazine outline that constructive and effective feedback should:1.   Create an agreed upon goal2.   Use carefully chosen words3.   Include supportive facts4.   Use a two-way dialogue5.   Don’t lump the good with the bad6.   Be empatheticUsing these tips will help employers to address important topics while leaving employees feeling positive and supported. Best Ways to Stay Physically Strong in the WorkplaceWhile supporting your mind is important, too many office workers overlook ways to keep their body strong while at work. No, you probably won’t bring your weight rack and treadmill to the office, but there are ways you can support your body in the workplace. For example, have you considered a stand-up desk? Just standing a couple of times a day instead of sitting can have marked benefits. Workplace Exercises There are many simple exercises and stretches that can be done in a small space like a cubicle. One of the series of exercises you can use are core exercises. One example would be to sit in your stationary office chair and extend your legs in front of you. Hold them for as long as you can while breathing deeply. This will help strengthen your core. You can also do a series of stretches to help keep your body from getting sore. Toe touches, arm circles and basic yoga poses are great ways to stay loose throughout the day.  Who hasn’t heard of the squat and lunge challenge. Even the smallest offices have plenty of room to challenge yourself and your office mates. One of our favorite virtual office mates, Jason L. walks us through a series of easy to follow, brief exercises and stretches that will keep you moving throughout the day. Support Your Frame While You Work One of the most important ways to support your body while in the workplace is to set up your office in the best possible way. Choose ergonomic furniture to avoid injuries from bad placement. Make sure your height adjustable desk is at the ideal height for your needs. If you spend most of your day staring at the computer you might want to consider a standing workstation or a ball chair to avoid bad posture, strain injuries and an unsupport[...]



We're getting close!

2017-03-06T13:55:39.458-05:00

We decided about eight months ago that our little family needs to take a break. So we decided to make some smart money choices and save enough for a trip to Disney World. It didn't leave us much time to save for this big trip but we did it! We went for some of the big upgrades and I am so glad we did.

Forty days and counting!!!!!

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Free Disney Tickers(image)



Our Favorite Sensory Diet Ingredients

2017-01-30T15:30:47.825-05:00

Around age 2 both girls were diagnosed with Sensory Processing Dysfunction. Abby has always been a sensory seeker of the highest proportion. We always thought that as time went on it might be reduced, but that has not been the case. On the other hand, Grace tended to be more of a sensory avoider. As she has gotten older she does MUCH better with texture and even crazes it to some degree. What has always astonished me is how much better both girls function when we pay attention to their sensory diet needs. I thought I would put together a list of some of the items that are must haves on our sensory diet list. The Gymnic Movin' Sit Inflatable Seat: This little powerhouse has been sat upon by almost every hynie in the house. I must admit on particularly hyper days even I can be found swaying to and from to keep my attention level up. Abby get a lot of input from the dimples, but Grace and I enjoy the ability to move while you sit. Costs just over $30 so a great buy.  frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=kriste0d-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B0042SUPW4&asins=B0042SUPW4&linkId=b87e98d35c14a54f2a958524a3fe6a9b&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff" style="height: 240px; width: 120px;">     Z-Vibe: Although the Z vibe finally died in our house after 6 years of use, it is a great tool for kids whose sensory needs involve the mouth. For us, that was both girls. Abby used to stuff her mouth and her OT suggested that we use this to give her input before she ate. It did a great job at minimizing stuffing and creating feeding awareness. Grace avoided certain textures so we tried this before she ate things she usually avoided. It helped us get her to eat yogurt and smoothies, but she still won't eat anything with lumps like oatmeal.  frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=kriste0d-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B00FWE9EEC&asins=B00FWE9EEC&linkId=de5f2e40d3fab2aa9cf84c0b26e7aeef&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff" style="height: 240px; width: 120px;">     Chewy Necklaces: At nine years old I still often find Abby wearing one of her many chewy necklaces. They beat the heck out of fingernails or sleeves for kids who look for input by chewing.   frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=kriste0d-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B00IIEK68Q&asins=B00IIEK68Q&linkId=3d9cd054dec64e4d9cdd6aae6789ad8d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff" style="height: 240px; width: 120px;">    Chewy Tubes: In that same vain we have an entire bin (I kid you not, a bin) of various chewy tubes that have been collected over the years. Abby's absolute favorite are the P's and Q's, probably because I can attach them to a necklace.  They are inexperience and can be thrown in the dishwasher to keep clean.  frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source[...]



Grace the Athlete Versus Grace the Girl

2017-01-18T14:31:37.562-05:00

Grace is athletic. To people who follow me on Instagram or Facebook you probably are well aware of that. You are also probably very aware that I am a very proud sports Mom. In our town sports are everything. I don't think this is something unique to us, but I don't really know. There are a lot of politics and it often impacts our young athletes. While sports can be a huge asset and character builder in kids, in a town like ours there is an underside.

Grace made the travel basketball squad this year. It is a team of just ten girls who are deemed good enough to compete at this level. It was a HUGE honor for her. She started off the season strong and earned a spot as a starter. Another HUGE honor. She has not had good coaching in basketball so her inexperience showed to some degree on the court. This led to her being unfairly benched. It was ugly and unfair. It killed her self-esteem for a few weeks. After a tricky round of conversations with her coach things are on the upswing.

What all of this brought about for me was the power that sports can have in the lives of kids who view themselves as athletes. I coach more than one sport in our town and I see my job as a coach to first build the kids up and second to teach them a sport. Unfortunately not all of our coaches see it this way. Too often I am watching the goals look more like first, win and second, make sure the status quo of politics is in order. It's sometimes tough to watch.

I am partly writing this as a catharsis opportunity for myself, but also because I am sure there are a million Grace's out there who see themselves as athletes. A large part of their identity, and therefore self-esteem is tied into her sports. It's nothing something we taught or even encouraged, it's just her. So, now we as parents are tasked to give her the opportunity she needs to succeed in sports so she can develop a positive self-view. Those of us who were given athletically gifted kids to foster this in them. It's part of their development. And even more importantly, those of us who coach must remember that we are training not just athletes, but developing children.



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Change in the wind

2016-08-11T15:07:14.216-04:00

Throughout the summer I have had the opportunity to do a little introspective searching. I have worked less which has led me to think more. I've had time to think about what I want out of life, what is my next step, there do I see my forties taking me. Most importantly, what path do I want to forge down next?

I'm not really sure if it's something like an early mid-life crisis or just restlessness but I don't think I have ever craved change the way I do right now. I have gone through most of my adult life applying the motto "change is overrated." If things stay the same then they really can't be all that bad. Change equated to me as something I had to overcome and deal with. I saw even the slightest adjustments to my routine as a tiny bit of terror.  

Life the shift of winds I couldn't feel more different. Out of nowhere, like being hit by a truck, the same old, same old suddenly seems stifling. Going about the daily routine, which has always been something that sustained me, feels like suffocation. The most odd part of this new feeling is that it doesn't feel like a bad thing. It isn't the case of being sick of my kids or my marriage or my life. It's quite the opposite. This new feeling strikes me more like growth and revolution. It feels like a new outlook that allows for adventure and new things.

I'm not really sure how and why this strange shift is occuring but it feels like progress I didn't know I needed. I just hope that positive change is on the horizon waiting for me to grab it. New opportunities, new scenery, newness. I guess it's never too late to change the way you see your life.

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My Shiny New Website

2016-08-11T15:08:47.760-04:00


For anyone interested in hiring a very talented web developer, you can see the latest work of my very talented husband on my new website. There are some definiely perks to marrying someone so web savvy. 



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Parenting in a world of tragedy

2016-06-20T00:00:00.171-04:00


One of the biggest challenges I face as a mother in 2016 is the level of chaos and terror that I cannot protect my children from. When the kids see a news story of a devastating earthquake, tornado or hurricane I can say with a fair amount of confidence, "don't worry kids, we live in New Jersey and these things just don't happen here."It's possible but when I tell them this it is the reality. What do I tell them when people blow up buildings full of innocent people are shoot entire night clubs full of people doing absolutely nothing wrong. 

It is a challenge we all face collectively. We can't shield them from it because they are going to hear on the bus or the playground. In a class full of 20 kids you better believe that half have already heard it. So, how do you explain these atrocities to an eight year old? I don't have a solid answer to this question so I have a few guiding principles. 1. Only answer what they ask. 2. Be honest and direct, shielding them from the truth will bite you in the end. 3. Allow them to be scared and upset and help them understand that although the world is scary it is our job to live our lives every single day. 

I'd like to think it was easier to parent 50 years ago when war was something a million miles away. I'd like to think that in the past kids were better off not being bombarded with stories of death and hate. Unfortunately that doesn't help the moms and dads of today. It's our jobs to ban together and help make our own part of the world a little safer. 
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They're listening

2016-06-03T16:17:46.326-04:00

(image) Jack has always been a big fan of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, in fact I am fairly certain he is considered an honorary member. Part of the reason I am a fan of the Disney Channel is not the constant bombardment of the Disney brand (which I do love) is that they try to use the old fashioned PSA to encourage kids to do good.

One of their promotions is something called "The Power of Doing Good." It is a segment where they highlight a child who is doing something proactive in their community to help people, the environment, animals, or another cause. A nice idea, right?

Last week we finally had some nice, warm weather and sadly Jack and I were cooped up in the house, me working and him watching the tube and playing. I took out the dog to soak up five minutes of sunshine and when I came back in I found Jack rummaging through his toy bin. I asked what he was doing, to which he responded simply, "looking for my grabber for the power of doing good." I was a little puzzled what he meant when it hit me that one of the segments was of a little boy collecting garbage on the beach with his grabber and throwing it away. I smiled, helped him find his grabber and off we went.



So for ten minutes, in the middle of the day, my four-year-old helped in the power of doing good. Such an amazing reminder that although they're listening every time a curse passes our lips, we glance at our phones while driving or gossip about a neighbor... they're also listening to the good in the world. Sometimes I am frightened by what is blaring from the television, what comes out of the mouths of my children's friends and what messages are bombarding my kids. I can't control it, I can't stop it, I'm not even sure that I can balance it out. Then something like a simple PSA reaching a four year old in the middle of the day reminds me that there is *some* good and kind things influencing my kids. That might be enough to help me win the balancing act and raise kids who are kind and caring. Amen to that!









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Spring Sports Lament

2016-05-27T14:52:10.018-04:00

The end of winter and beginning of Spring proved to be a wet, chilly and downright depressing couple of months. March and April surprised us with days in the 80's and we all thought the groundhog finally had it right. But alas, definitely not the case. Our Spring track season began, and this year with a notable difference. Brian is now the person in charge of the program.



One hundred and eighty six kids, a boat load of parents and siblings and a wide range of opinions and egos to match. There were definite growing pains and many sleepless nights. There have been battles and differences of opinions, but thankfully cool heads have prevailed. The thing we were not able to overcome was out tete a tete with Mother Nature. She cancelled practices, got us wet, forced us to move meets (which is a big undertaking at the last minute). I think she got a great deal of satisfaction out of creating a "baptism by fire" experience for us.

So now it's 90 degrees, after sweatshirt weather last week. We should be used to this in New Jersey but every year we all cry out the same tune of "where did our spring go?" The program as a whole has swung from "track is hard in the rain" to "track is harder in the heat." Personally I'll take heat over rain but then again clapping and cheering is largely unaffected by weather.

So our regular season winds down and the girls have started training for AAU qualifiers. Abby jumped 9'7" last night. Grace is stuck around a 7 minute mile but she'll get her time down. She is throwing the turbo javelin about 34 feet. Not too shabby.

I'll be glad, just as long as it's not raining.(image)



Volunteering

2016-06-14T17:41:16.360-04:00

Over the course of my adult life I have almost always been involved in volunteer work. My parents had us begin volunteering in middle school as helpers for the Special Olympics. Early on I discovered the immense benefits of helping others. Since middle school I have been a school volunteer, room parent, teacher at my church and most recently helping fulfill the responsibility of running our local track program (with Brian). There are weeks that it feels like too much; my job, being a mom and wife, a catechist and the track responsibilities. What has occurred to me lately is that there is a small group of people in the world who are the doers. The ones who put in those extra time to help fill a need or run a program or teach a room full of eager children. It is the same faces I see over and over and over again when you ask for extra help. They’re quiet about it. They don’t brag about all the time they spend helping where no one says thank you and no one even notices. They just fill the need because they know someone has to and they feel like it is their responsibility. I am lucky that my parents taught be the value of helping. I don’t need thanks or notice, I simply love putting my time and effort to good work. But remember that when you see the person who volunteers to teach, coach, organize or help, a thank you might just fill their spirit. [...]



Faith

2016-06-15T16:58:44.299-04:00

I am a former lapsed catholic.For a long time I found my inner voice constantly telling me that I did not need any formal church or building or affiliation to be a believer. I have always felt that in the wind or a sunset is where I truly saw God. It felt like being required to have my butt in a pew every single Sunday was an imposition on my life. Now don't worry, you are NOT about to read a preachy post about going to church. Where you spend your Sundays is your business. This is just about my own journey.In my teen years I bounced from church to church. I tried the baptist church (which was fun) and evangelical. I tried several non-denominational Christian churches and they only ever felt like home for a short time. When we got married we chose a highly educated reverend who would marry us in a general Christian ceremony.When we had the girls the idea of baptism struck me from time to time but why baptize them in a church that wasn't "our church." This is when the search began again. We looked around but nothing seemed to suit us as a family. The thought occurred to me to try on my old religion and see if it still fit. Slowly, over a matter of months it started to sink in. My non-catholic husband even started to feel at home in the tradition of the catholic church.As an aside I will say that being a catholic in this day isn't always easy. There were horrific actions by member of my faith that should have been punished to the furthest extend of the law, rather than ignored. There are parts of my faith that I quietly disagree with. Then there are the looks you get when you say you can't attend a get together until after 6 on a Saturday because you have to go to mass. That's the moment when you get the "can't you just skip it look."So it became obvious we needed to move on this whole "becoming a catholic family thing." Brian began to attend religious formation (RCIA) classes and I initiated the process of having a catholic wedding ceremony to make us official and a baptism for the girls. Within just a year we were married by the church (no we do not celebrate two anniversaries) and had our daughters baptized on the same day!My catholic faith is something that I need to stay grounded in this crazy world. I teach, volunteer and organize at my church because when I am there I don't feel the crunch of regular life. Time moves slower when I working directly for God. The light shines brighter there. So if we can't make it to a party or a get together until 6:15 on a Saturday night just know that it is for a good reason.[...]



Trim Healthy Mama

2016-06-14T17:46:44.197-04:00


From the time I started the process of infertility treatments I watched the number on the scale climb slowly higher and higher. It is an unfortunate side effect of both the PCOS and Insulin resistance but also the medications that are sometimes used to get and stay pregnant. It was a price I was willing to pay to be a Mom. 

Now that my "baby" is four years old I think the time for blaming the "baby weight" has long passed. I have tried no carbs (lost 30 pounds and gained it back), weight watchers, atkins, sugar busters and nothing worked long term. Everything seemed to work in the short term but rarely anything lasting. 

I recently heard about a very different kind of eating plan called Trim Healthy Mama. No food group is excluded completely and people all around me were achieving great success. So I have decided to try it! I am reading the book and it is simple enough at first. As you read on the complexities of the plan become obvious. That being said, it also seems incredibly sensible and logical. It is a thorough book, although it might require a few chapters be reread a couple times. 

As I work through it I will try to update on my progress. Here goes nothing!
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Fun Run Sponsor's

2015-11-11T11:25:12.363-05:00

A Message From Abby and Grace:Hello Friends and Family,Abby and Grace will be participating in a cool program called the Rice Owl Fun Run. They’re  raising money for their school and learning about fitness, leadership and character. On November 18, 2015, they will run 30 to 35 laps around the Fun Run Speedway to help our school. Would you please be one of their sponsors? They can't wait to run with all of their classmates. Even just ten cents a lap would help! They'll tell you how many laps they ran after the Fun Run! Thanks for sponsoring them!Thanks!!Kristen, Abby and GraceClick here for Grace’s Page: https://funrun.com/a/s/4LqBX6eH Click here for Abby’s Page: https://funrun.com/a/s/C6bWWViw [...]



Preschool Drop Out

2015-10-12T09:47:17.295-04:00

Unfortunately Jack's run at 3-year-old preschool was a bust. After about three weeks of screaming, crying, hitting himself in the head (that's what his teachers told us he did when he got mad) and being completely a mess we decided he was too young. It certainly didn't help that we were not in love with how the school handled his lack of adjustment. There was a lot of shooshing and telling him he was upsetting the class. They were pretty cold and that made matter worse.

So, now he is back at home with me. I am taking him to classes at the Y twice a week and we will try school again (at a different school) in January or next year. It's sad that his experience was so poor.  It was a disappointing experience all around. Hopefully our next attempt will be a smashing success.





On a more positive note, someone if officially COMPLETELY out of diapers!!! Hooray. NO. MORE. DIAPERS!!

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School 2015

2015-09-17T09:41:38.392-04:00

The summer drew to a close and it was time for school, yet again. The biggest difference this year is that all three of my children were getting ready on the first day of school. The girls were pleasantly ready to go back to school. And Jack-Jack was pure excitement. The first day came and went and for the girls it was anti-climactic. I guess by third grade you have the hang of things.The girls are in the same class again this year. Partly because they are very autonomous at school and partly because they are both still in the inclusion class.Jack did great on his first day. No tears, not sadness just smiles and happiness. That certainly made my transition easier. I went to Trader Joe's BY MYSELF!  Unfortunately that was just the calm before the storm. When I picked him up on day two I was informed that he screamed (not cried, screamed) for two hours. I was a little surprised but had hoped it would be a steady process. Day three was a little better with some crying on and off but definitely improvement.That brings us to today. Day four. He woke up and immediately cried about going. He cried all morning. He cried on the way there and the walk in. He walked into his classroom and started to sob. In those moments, what the heck are we to do. He is there for fun and learning. He's just three. But if I walk out with him that isn't a great message to send. So here I sit, with a pit in my gut and a close eye on the clock. Please God, let him have settled in.[...]



Is it too late for Easter Pictures?

2015-08-12T15:29:00.700-04:00

I definitely think three or four months is the perfect amount of time in which to pull pictures off of your camera. 




They sure do clean up nice!






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Summer Musings

2015-08-10T15:24:00.311-04:00

It has been an up and down kind of summer thus far. We have had some high highs, and some very low lows.We were fortunate to have two vacations this year.One at our local beach... and one in North Carolina with my in-laws.We have spent lots of time at the pool and playing outside.We've really been lucky and had nice hot weather in NJ.We've run a 5-k ......and gone for long hikes. We have one more month of summer vacation here in NJ and we plan to get the most out of it![...]



Wisdom

2015-08-07T15:24:01.001-04:00


Sadly we lost a member of our family this summer. Wisdom was taken from us too soon. We don't really have all the answers as to what happened but he took ill and even after a diagnosis of Lymes Disease, he took a significant turn for the worse and went into organ system failure. I cannot express the sadness we all felt, and still feel. It's still hard to think about.

He came and went so fast. 
 We miss him. 

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Super Simple Granola

2015-05-18T11:53:20.422-04:00

When Abby was formally diagnosed as allergic to tree nuts, our ability to buy store made granola become much more difficult. She loves granola in her soy-yogurt so we have been working on a recipe that will work for her needs. I was using a recipe from the Pioneer Woman that I liked but I decided to play around on my own and I have to say this recipe was a HIT! Abby and I sat and ate it by the handful. Best of all, it was SO SIMPLE!Basic Granola Ingredients         3 cups rolled oats          4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon         1/4 teaspoon salt         1/3 cup honey         1/4 cup coconut oil         2 teaspoon vanilla extract         1/2 cup raisins, craisins or dry fruit         1/2 cup chopped nuts or seedsInstructions:1.   Pre-heat the oven to 300°F.2.   Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. 3.   In a separate microwavable bowl, combine the honey, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine. Microwave for approximately 30 seconds. Let cool for about a minute and then pour over the oat mixture, mixing well until the oats are evenly coated. 4.   Spread the mixture in a rimmed baking sheet that is well coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, stir and continue baking until the granola is very light golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Make sure to mix the oats at the edges to the middle so they do not burn. 5.   Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool the granola about 20 minutes. You can give it a mix every five minutes or so as it will harden as it sits. 6.   Once cool, add whatever fruit, nuts or seeds you desire and toss to combine. 7.   Store granola in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks, if it lasts that long![...]



May's Gluten Free Goodies

2015-05-13T09:30:00.063-04:00


Another month, another great box of gluten free stuff to try. This months box was filled with many things we have never tried, which I love. 


 Lot's of yummy, crunch salty snacks. We loved the pita chips and they were delicious with hummus.
The Bare Belly Sunscreen was awesome. That went straight into my track bag. I cannot wait to try the sauce goddess sample. 

 I LOVE Luna Bars, although I do have to say that the peppermint ones are not their strongest offering, in my humble opinion. 



Now this one was not included in my box, but did you know these lovelies are gluten free???


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Pictures and things

2015-05-11T09:24:09.629-04:00

I sometimes gather my thoughts and come up with what I think will be a brilliant blog post. Then I sit down to write and after writing all day professionally, I come up short with my personal writing. It isn't that I don't have lots to tell, it's just that my brain is out of words. In the last month or so the kiddo's have been up to so much.A certain boy turned 3. The girls received their first holy communion.Track has been going very well. Abby is kicking RS's butt and taking names. She ran a 400 meter race and came in 4th out of 12! Grace has had Personal Records in all of her 3 favorite events (1500, 800 and 400) and is headed to the Championship meet and maybe even the Junior Olympics.Life for Brian and I has been hectic. Brian is taking over the role of the commissioner of track for next season. It is a surprisingly time consuming role. It's so great to be able to give back in such a big way but as he takes over he is gone a lot more for meetings and things. I am working like crazy, both writing and teaching. Plus the responsibilities of home and gardening and being Mom to three crazy kids. I know I am going to miss this all some day but I just hope I am rested enough to remember it. :D [...]



Gluten Free Goodies!

2015-04-23T12:50:09.625-04:00

We had the privilege of trying a number of new Gluten Free, Vegan and/or Health Smart products thanks to our friends at the Gluten Free Media Group. Most of you know that we have restricted diet due to food allergies (egg, milk, tree nut and agave) and we try to limit gluten. What many people do not know is that the amount of gluten in things we eat every day, like bread and pasta, is as much as 200% higher now than when I was a child. Meaning it is being put into foods. Just something to think about!Our lovely box of goodies was full of great items we have never tried (with the exception of Skinny Pop, which we love and IS VEGAN... EVEN THE CHEESE FLAVOR!!!)These supplements have been awesome as we struggle through an awful NJ spring allergy season. They also taste fantastic! I am now in love with these pumpkin seeds. I like to keep things like this in my van and purse. These are a new must!And, how the heck can you go wrong with chocolate!This was a new category for us. It is a sauce to add to asian inspired dishes. I have been trying to master a few dishes in this category so I can't wait to get testing!I LOVED THIS BAR! I limit my carbs because I am insulin resistant and with only 4 net grams of carbs these are awesome. I haven't seen them in stores but amazon had them.We have tried many different sunbutters but these are tops! And the little pouch is ideal for track meets or games. Who thought a quinoa cookie could be good? It was!!!Love, love, love, love, love!Everything in our box this month was a hit. I suggest if you can get yours hands on some, go try them!!![...]



Togetherness

2015-03-30T11:20:03.455-04:00

When I found out I was having multiples (was triplets to begin with) I wondered how much children would get along when they got older. Would they be the inseparable kind of twins? Would they get along better than most kids? Would they drive each other nuts because they were together so much? 


 Then they were born and I realized that they were siblings, not just twins. Sure they fight sometimes, but probably less than most siblings. We chocked that up to the fact that they were twins. But we always put an emphasis on the importance of your siblings. When no one else in the world is there for you, a sister always can be.


 Then when we knew another baby was on the way I started to worry. How could this new person fit into the world of twins? Would this baby always be the third wheel? Would he/she ever be able to fit in?


Then he was here. And they loved him. And although there are moments when he is the third wheel, he fits in their world better than I could have imagined. I love watching they bond and grow and love each other. He misses them terrible when they are gone at school. They hug him so tight when they get home. They're quite a trio these three. 

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