Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pinion Pins Review

I love when something comes into your life at just the right time. For me the right thing at the right time was a tiny little pin and magnet. Last summer I searched high and low for the perfect light weight comforter for our bedroom and wouldn't you know I found it at my favorite store good ole target. It was perfect for the summertime. Then the super cold snowy/icy winter hit and we were not prepared. We like to keep our heat as low as we can possibly stand which means we like to bundle up at night and my beautiful light weight comforter wasn't cutting it, but I didn't want to have to buy a whole new comforter just for a few months. Thankfully I remembered I had an old down comforter tucked away in the attic and quickly threw it on our bed under my pretty cover. And that was when things went all wonky and it wasn't pretty. There was a bit of cover pulling during the night and inevitably one of us would end up shivering under the lighter blanket while the other was nice and cozy and everything ended up looking like a big ole jumbly mess.
 Then the worst thing possible happened and my pretty comforter slid off the bed onto the bedroom floor and with two large dogs there is always dog hair everywhere no matter how much I vacuum and I had had enough. I was just about to run back to Target to pick up a heavier comforter to keep us warm when I received a very interesting email asking me if I would like to try out Pinion Pins and write a review about them. After reading about them I thought they could help out with my dilemma.

A few days later my package of  Pins arrived and I immediately got to work pinning things together. I wasn't sure how the pins would actually hold together and stay on until I was unsnapping them to put them on the covers. They are like magic little magnet pins with a magic little magnet that releases them. I wish now I had held onto my old duvet cover that I got rid of because the down comforter inside was always sliding around and getting lumpy down at the bottom because these would have been perfect for holding everything in place. I strategically pinned 8 pins pinning the top cover to the down comforter underneath.

The top button part of the pin is clear so it just blends into the pattern on our comforter so you don't even see it. On the back of the pin is a little white button that slides on the pin part and magically stays in place.
  
Now here is where the magic happens. if you want to remove the pins a little magnet is included in the package. All you do is tap it on the white button on the back of your pin and it will magically release. trust me when I tell you I tried to pull the buttons off without the magnet and they do not budge!
 Now when I wake up in the mornings my bed looks a little less crazy and all I have to do is pull both covers up together and I have a pretty room again.
 Thank you Pinion Pins for saving my sanity these past few weeks! I hate that I will have to take them off because it is starting to warm up here, but they will definitely be stored in a safe place ready to be pinned again next year.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Great Pretenders Review

So you may remember when we were iced in for a month week.My girl and I played Hi Ho Cherry O so many times I wanted to flush all of those tiny cherries down the toilet, but then I knew we would have to move on to Candy Land so I poured myself another cup of coffee and dumped my bucket of cherries out for the millionth time. I don't sit still very well and sitting back and relaxing makes me nuts! I need to be up and moving until my head hits the pillow and when you are stuck at home in a teeny tiny house you end up running out of things to do and clean real quick like. This is what my house ended up looking like after day two of being trapped at home. I even got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the grout with a mixture I found on Pinterest. My floors didn't come out as sparkling white as the ones posted, but it was definitely a noticeable difference.

We were both BORED! and in desperate need of something new to do besides watching Peppe Pig episodes and water coloring old coloring books. Thankfully I was contacted by Great Pretenders a few days before icemageddon 2015 asking if we would be interested in trying out one of their Colour Costumes and we of course said yes because we love art projects and we love dressing up and what is better than an art project you can wear! The companies products and story seemed like it aligned with our family perfectly. As a preschool teacher I could relate to their search for not only fun, but educational activities. Play is such an important part of every child's day at school and at home. I can sit and talk to my class of four year olds all day long about bumble bees, but giving them cheetos and a bumble bee ring and telling them to pretend they are bumble bees flying around the room and pollinating flowers by rubbing their cheeto covered fingers on paper flowers is when the real learning occurs.Free play is not only important because it gives the child time where they can discover on their own terms, but it is also a great opportunity for them to develop social skills, sharing skills, and it creates perfect opportunities to interact with peers.

 
I wanted Mckinley to choose the cape she wanted so I let her check out the boy and the girl sections for the Colour Capes. She ended up going with the Butterfly Fairy Wings, but the Spider Superhero was a strong contender. Our packaged arrived and we got to work coloring all of the fun details.


Give this girl art supplies and sparkly jewels and she is happy!


 







I am also a believer in letting children be creative on their own terms. I like to not only let my babies have freedom when it comes to play, but also when it comes to making art. I wanted Mckinley to pick what she colored, where she colored, and what colors she used. I feel like children are always being told what to do in most aspects of their lives so why not give them a little freedom to create as they wish to create. Why not give them a little independence to choose and create for themselves.









We both loved how easy the markers colored on the pretty shiny fabric of the cape. The markers are washable and anything that got on our hands because it remains a little wet after coloring washed right off with barely any scrubbing. We also loved all of the colors provided and how well they stood out on the white background.



We had an absolute blast coloring our Butterfly Fairy Wings and this project truly saved this mamma's sanity! Thank You Great Pretenders for allowing us to work with you and for providing us days of endless entertainment.


We were provided our Butterfly Fairy Wings Cape by Great Pretenders to Review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Time Management or How I Fake Looking Like I Kind Of Have It Together

Since I am stuck at home once again due to this damn winter weather I figured I would share how I make it look like I can keep it together like a normal person! It has taken me a while to get to this place and I am by no means a super organized person and I probably never will be, but I definitely know how to fake it like a pro! So to waste some time on this snow/ice day I figured I would share how an unorganized person can pretend to have it all together!


Night Before Work/School Prep
 Before I had a child I was a roll with the punches type of gal when it came to getting ready for the day, but now that I have a replica of myself to care for and keep alive I needed to figure out a system to make me not want to pull my hair out every morning. I started this system when I returned back to work after having Mckinley and it just stuck and has made my life so much easier. This is my routine almost every single night and let me tell you I fully regret the nights I don't get everything done and it is so worth it to take the little bit of time to pre plan and lay out everything. It only takes 10-15 minutes to get everything set and ready to go and saves me time and sanity in the mornings. Brent and I also have a nice morning routine down pat. Depending on the day I typically get the girl dressed and fed, but if I am running behind (days I don't get everything ready the night before) Brent will throw on the girl's uniform I already have set out or will go grab something if it isn't already out. I do hair, Brent brushes teeth, and I pack everything in the car and we are off. It never fails I always forget something like my second cup of coffee I really need to make it through the day with 22 four year olds and I keep a deodorant at school just in case

  1. My clothes set out. Undergarments, socks, shoes, outfit, jewelery, everything I will place on my body the next day.
  2. Mckinley's clothes set out. Undergarments, uniform, socks/tights, shoes, etc.
  3. Mckinley's Milk cup filled and in fridge 
  4. My Coffee set and ready to go
  5. My breakfast pre prepped on the weekend (Frititta with eggs, spinach, homemade sausage or chopped canadian bacon) and homemade sweet potato hash browns.
  6. My lunch packed in the fridge.
  7. Mckinley's lunch packed in the fridge.
  8. Mckinley's book bag packed with snack unless it needs to be refrigerated
  9. I always keep Mckinley's dance bag packed in my car until class on Thursday when I shove it in her back pack because if I don't then it will get left at home.
  10. My school bag packed.
It is so worth spending the few minutes it takes to do these 10 things rather than running around like a mad woman every morning. The rare occasions I don't get everything set up and ready to go I immediately regret my decision the next morning from the moment I wake up to the time I start prepping everything that that evening.

Meal Prepping 

 Another momsanity technique I utilize is meal planning and prepping. About 2 years ago I was diagnosed with food allergies and then last year I was undiagnosed with food allergies. This has caused a lot of confusion and trial and error when it comes to cooking and eating. To make my lifer easier and healthier I adopted a 90/10 unprocessed lifestyle. That means I make almost every single thing I put in my mouth. Every now and then I will gamble and we eat out or I will have a gluten free fish stick especially during Lent when I have spent an entire day cooking freezer meals and am too tired to make anything else. I typically do all of my meal prepping and planning on Sunday. Each wee I make a frititta that I will eat on all week and I throw together 3-5 meals I can freeze and then cook later in the over or crock pot. I am lucky that I have a friend who I swap freezer meals with so at any given time I have 6-10 meals prepped and ready to go in my freezer. Every now and then I will go ahead and put together 2-3 lunches for Mckinley that I can just grab and throw in her lunch box.

School 
There is one more place I fake it till I make it and that is work. I have learned during my 13 years teaching that if you are going to contain a room of 4 year olds you must always be prepared and if you are not prepared you better have an arsenal of songs you can pull out at any given time or a funny story telling voice. Basically I need to have everything done and ready to go for the next week by Friday of the previous week. That means I need to have 4 crafts with all of their pieces and 5 activities for our table work, plus activities for our prayer center and abc center, and journal activities, etc. I start on Monday by pulling out my lesson from the previous year going over what did and didn't work and then I go on a search on Pinterest and the internet for new crafts and activities to take the place of the trashed ones. Once I have all of my ideas I write up my lesson, hand draw everything I want to make because I am too cheap to buy anything, I create new games, and record sheets, adn anything and everything else my students may need. Then I have to make copies of everything and thankfully Our amazing front office helps in that area. Then I have to get everything organized and together for the following week. I have a specific file holder for my lessons we are completing that week that are organized by my Monday-Friday crafts and then our afternoon work is organized in their own baskets with every accessory they may need. When I am done putting everything together fpr the following week you would think I would sit down and relax, but why not keep going and start working on the next week. So I start the viscous cycle all over again. Pull out old lesson, find new activities, create and draw new activities, make copies, organize everything, etc. It is a lot of work, but it is so worth it. I learned my lesson last week by only being planned for 1 week out and then we had an ice storm and only had school 1 day last week. That meant I had 1 day to get the next week's lesson completely done. I thankfully got it done plus most of the week after that so I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day, but it is always worth it to be exhausted that one day and not every single day!I do all of this while trying to direct a classroom of 22 four year olds. Thankfully I get a 30 min. planning period and my babies nap from 1-2ish. 


If I can pretend to keep it together everyday than anyone can do it! Last, but not least if you can't keep it together hide it in a cute box

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ice Ice Baby

Mommy's Log: Icemageddon  Day 2


It has only been three days since the ice fell, but it feels more like a month! We have crafted, we have played Hi-HO Cherry-0, and put together every puzzle we own, we have sledded, I have worked out for an hour each day, and  cleaned everything I could possibly clean. I can't take it anymore! I already know I am not cut out to be at home all day long because I am home for 2 months during the summer and 2 months is long enough for me! Some people may think I am nuts, but I will actually be working 2 days a week this summer at a summer camp that Mckinley will also go to. It will be good for both of us plus I will make some money to pay the girl's tuition so win win.

 



 Brent came home from work really early on Monday and we busted out the sled my parents had dropped off the day before. We didn't stay out too long because it was so dang cold, but we definitely had fun while we were out there.












 





 



Brent didn't get to stay home with us on Ice Day 2 and we had to dig his car out of the ice with hot water and a tiny Louisville slugger so he could actually go in to work.





 I still can't believe we don't have school tomorrow and we will definitely be wandering out to grab some groceries and possibly spend a few hours meandering around Target with a coffee and some popcorn. Hopefully the forecast for Friday isn't as nasty as this last storm and we won't spend our entire weekend trapped inside.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Going To The Zoo Zoo Zoo

Anytime the temperature gets above freezing  my body craves the outdoors and thankfully the girl loves being outside as much as I do.We are lucky (some may not enjoy it as much as I do) that where we live we have pretty mild winters with a few warm weather days sprinkled here and there. We are also very lucky to have an amazing park, botanic garden, and zoo in close proximity to where we live and we have yearly passes to several of these attractions and we take advantage of them as much as we can. This weekend we were blessed with a beautiful day and we didn't waste a second of that 60 degree weather and hit up the zoo.