Archive for Raising Children

19 Dec 2015

How to Make Time Stop

1 Comment Kids, Opinion, Parenting, Raising Children, Uncategorized

She’s T E N. A glorious number. Double digits. She has her whole life ahead of her. But where did the past ten years go?! 

  
So let’s get this straight. Essentially the theory goes that the faster you go the slower time moves. 

Truth be told…There is no real way to make time stand still or slow down. 

But I can tell you how to make it stop… for a moment… In your mind. As if time was frozen. So that the memory will last forever.

I took a trip across America about 13 years ago. Every morning I would run in a different city every morning. Every morning I would wake up and run. In NYC. In Montana. In Venice Beach. In Seattle. In Washington D.C. I would stop every day and close my eyes and take a picture not knowing if I’d ever return to these places. The moments stand still in my mind. OF THAT MOMENT. Not on a phone. Only in my mind. Kind of like the “core memories” that are described in the Disney Pixar movie “Inside Out.” 

I’ve locked them into my “long term memory” and pull them out when I want to dream about the places I’ve been to or would love to see again. Just like I’ve done with the billion moments I’ve been blessed to witness with my kids. 

  

   
   
I don’t know that time will ever stop or what the universe has in store for us as we live here on Earth not knowing our destiny, but I’m cramming my brain with moment and memories that I never want to forget.

Time moves at the speed of light and I’m not sure I want to miss a moment. So I’m going to do the opposite. I can’t move faster than the speed of light to stop time, so I’m slowing down. Waaaaaaaay down. 

Life moves too fast. Stop. Breathe. Soak in the moment. Enjoy it. Remember it. 

The past 10 years were amazing with this one and the billion moments I have in my mind of her and our life. I’m looking forward to the next hundred billion moments I get with this one and the others. I’m sure I’ll have enough space, right?! 

Happy 10th Birthday Mia! 

16 Dec 2015

Ways to Raise Caring Kids: Giving Back During the Holiday Season

No Comments Adventures, Florida, Holidays, Kids, Parenting, Raising Children, Studio 10 TV Segment, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized

You might not think your children understand the “true meaning” of the holidays, but it is never to early to start teaching your kids gratitiude and compassion towards others, especially during this time of year. 

  
With Santa on their mind and toys swimming through their head, often times it is good to take a step back and think about how you can give to others. Take some time to give back as a family or brighten someone’s day and take advantage of all the teachable moments along the way too.

 Shelby and I had the opportunity to be on Studio 10 TV in Tampa to talk about how we give back and ways kids can help make spirits bright during the holidays for others! Trust me, the kids will love it!

If you missed the segment here’s a link and what you might have missed!

Giving Back With Kids on Studio 10 TV 

  
Together as a Family

Activity: Shop Together & Donate Toys or Food

Tampa Connection: Metropolitan Ministries

  

 
As always, modeling the behavior you want your children to demonstrate is a wonderful way to teach your kids about kindness and compassion. We donate our gently used toys and clothes throughout the year and have the kids actively participate. The holidays are also a perfect time to go on a family outing to a store and shop together with others in mind. Adopt a family or donate a meal you’ll be enjoying. You’d be surprised how involved the kids will become in choosing toys or food for others. Talking about what you are doing will always lead to more questions and many teachable moments.

 

Teachable Moments

Activity: Operation Christmas Child

Locations: Anywhere

Kids love to pick out gifts and give them to others. We’ve used Operation Christmas Child to talk about others far away that might not have what we have here in America. We participate and even track our box to see what country it will be going to and then we learn about their country too. Last year, Operation Christmas Child delivered over 10 million boxes in over 100 countries.

 

Parent Challenge: Set aside money for them to help choose a charity that would make them feel good about giving.

 

 

The Power of One

Activity: Start a Drive

As a Girl Scout Leader, we have realized that the power of one combined with that of the power of others, amazing things can happen. Encourage your child to start a drive that might benefit a group they might be passionate about in your community! With so many non-profits to choose from in the community, I bet they didn’t know there are so many ways to help others!

 

Remember the Intangibles

Activity: Brighten Someone’s Day

Nursing Homes, Neighbors, Family & Friends

  

 
Time is a most precious gift to give. Weather you spend it baking, making a card or just sharing a smile, kids should always remember that it is the thought that counts. Brighten someone’s day by baking some cookies and delivering the package to your neighbors. Go visit relatives that you might not see often. Plan to sign carols at a nursing home. Stay a while and talk to the residents. Make a simple gift to give them. The thoughtfulness of the act will speak volumes to someone else. Smile!

  

 Teaching Thankfulness

Activity: Thank You Cards

Your child might be fortunate enough to receive gifts from many familiy members and friends! Teach gratitude by making thank you notes fun! Go around the table at meal time to share what everyone is thankful for. As the kids grow older, it is the hope that instilling compassion, kindness and gratitude that they will remember and continue to pass it forward in life. Giving doesn’t have to be confined to the holidays, there are plenty of ways to give year round too.

01 Dec 2015

Tuesdays With Abby: Everything is Beautiful

No Comments Dining Out, Holidays, Raising Children, Sponsored, Tampa Restaurants

I’m launching a new series:

Tuesdays With Abby:A lesson in life from my baby. We’ve been going to Bob Evans every Tuesday morning for about a month and it just dawned on me that’s it’s now our “thing.”

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“Mommy! It’s Tuesday! I so excited!”
“Why are you so excited, Abby?”
“Because we get to go to swim lessons then beck-fast! I lub Tuesdays!”

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Tuesdays. They have become our day. Our day to relax a little. Sneak away from everyone. Sit for a moment and enjoy a home cooked meal. 
For me, I get to watch. Watch her play. Enjoy her her company. Listen to her life wisdom at the ripe age of 3. I don’t get to do this enough with a full house and life swirling around me like a tornado. It’s enlightening to watch your littlest one grow. As a parent, I know time is short. I will blink and she’ll be another year older. Wishing she could stay little forever, I’m cherishing the days I have left with my last baby.

  

She’s now 3 and growing more every day. Tuesdays is our day. A special day with her. We drop off the big kids. Then we swim first. Then we head to breakfast at Bob Evans. 

“Mommy! It is Christmas and everything is beautiful!”

Yes, Abby. Thank you for reminding me to stop and look around at the beautiful holiday decorations. She’s been so excited each time we see a Christmas tree and lights. We’ve been so busy with the holiday hustle that we forget to slow down. The life we see each day is beautiful. Take a second to remember that. 

Each breakfast seems to holds a new lesson that she imparts to me unknowingly. While we try to teach our children about life, our children end up teaching us what life is all about. 
More to come on Tuesdays with Abby!

Thank you Bob Evans for sponsoring this post! We love visiting Bob Evans for breakfast. Good food is a symbol of love. Bob Evans’ delicious breakfast blend options and delicious farm fresh breakfast items are a treat for us when we want to spend that extra time enjoying those who we are with. 

 
{Photo Courtesy of BobEvans.com}

Sipping a cup of Signature Harvest Roast with hazelnut creamer and enjoying a delicious bowl of oatmeal and chatting with Abby is the best way to spend my Tuesdays.

13 Oct 2015

Building Girls’ Up: #NoLikesNeeded

No Comments Everyday, Raising Children, Raising Girls

I have fallen in love. In love with a campaign that speaks so loudly to me as a Mother, that I want to shout it from the roof tops to anyone who will listen.

These are my two oldest girls. And they are being raised in a much different society than I grew up in.

  

It’s obvious, I enjoy social media and have been a fan of it since the beginning, hopping on when platforms when they first started, joining in online conversations, engaging in a whole new world that has lead me to meet many friends that I now call dear friends and sisters. But I often think how different my life might have been if “it” was around when I was younger. When I was in high school. When I was in college. Dating. Learning how to grow up. How the mean girls at school might have really hurt me with their words online, in front of a whole new audience (the world) instead of just at school. Or how terrible it would have been to have not been “liked” or as popular or as perfect as some of my other friends.

How could social media changed me?

I am not sure how it could have impacted me. Silly comments on a photo I thought was pretty. Seeing everyone at a party I wasn’t invited to. Not getting enough “likes” when I was hoping to have a bunch. Someone not being my “friend” who I thought was my friend. Feeling left out because I wasn’t there to be “in” the picture. The list can go on.

I have been struggling with the fact that my daughter is beginning to come of age where she is/ might be ready for the phone or ipod. To text. To view. To browse. To look at what everyone else is doing. (Just like I do…) To hop on a social network. I’m pushing it off as long as possible. I feel fortunate to know my daughters’ friends’ parents and we all share similar values and parenting styles. I personally don’t think she is ready. Ready for the heartbreak that is social media. I don’t want her to value being “liked” by a picture that wasn’t perfect.

I feel like I have so much work to do and I’m not sure where to start. I am raising three daughters in a world full of possibilities and promise. I want them to know and learn so much from me, and I don’t want social media to be a form of validation for them. But first there is education. Alot of education and growing up before we even get there.

Teaching Girls the POWER of Themselves

Education will be to teach our girls about being who they are, unique, different, tall, short, smart, funny, beautiful and so many more things. I just did a Girl Scout lesson on the POWER OF THEMSELVES. We are currently working on the Junior Agent of Change Journey and we did a collage of all the power words that they identified themselves with. Creative. Thinker. Leader. Quiet. Strong. Brave. Confident. Artistic. Imaginative. Considerate. We will be writing in our “Power Logs” every time we meet about how we use our super powers. Their stories were awesome! It was great to have them write it out. See in in color. Know that everything there is true and to have other say, “Yes! So true!”

The Dove Self-Esteem Project

Following along with the Dove Self-Esteem project has also made me realize that much more will need to be added to this lesson to incorporate educating the girls on this new element that is social media and how it can play into their lives. We need to change with the times so our girls are better equipped to know what matters and what REALLY matters.

I will definitely be following the #NoLikesNeeded campaign in hopes to help my girls know that they should feel free to be themselves. I hope to integrate their resources when we dive more into this journey with my Girl Scout girls, and more in my everyday life as I build up my own daughters in everything they do.

I hope you will share and think about talking with the girls in your life too. #NoLikesNeeded Follow along with me too as I walk through this journey. I’d love to learn about what you are doing too!

06 Oct 2015

Tampa Mama on Studio 10 TV: Organizing the Back to School Chaos

1 Comment Everyday, Parenting, Raising Children, Studio 10 TV Segment

  
I am excited to announce that I will be on Studio 10 TV (WTSP CBS Channel 10 in Tampa Bay) with a new segment talking kids, Tampa, travel, parenting and everything in between! I can’t wait to get started creating the content that I know inside and out for the viewers of Tampa Bay!

My first segment was on how to stay organized now that the kids are back in school! Here are the tips I talked about!

Organizing the Night Before: 



RULE #1: LOOK AT THE CALENDAR
1. Uniforms/ What to wear- To be picked out and laid out… down to the earrings and shoes!
2. Lunch Prep- Easy things to pack the night before: water bottles filled with water, dry snacks portioned, cold snacks ready to be put in the lunch box in the morning.
3. Nightly back pack check- papers, homework, folder extras, money, ponchos should all be ready to go in the backpack. Ready to go by the front door.
4. Get a good night sleep!!!

Organizing the AM:



One rule: NO KIDS TV SHOWS! News only! I use the BrightHouse app to watch TV in my viewing area.

1. Have lunches ready to be finished.
2. Breakfast ready to go! Think cut up fruit (done the night before), smoothies, pre-made muffins…
3. Bathroom Supplies in one spot…for last minute touch ups… Ponytail holders, deodorant, hair spray, bug spray, sun screen…)

Organizing the After School Chaos:



1. After school snack prep (can be done the night before!) We love having healthy snacks like GoGo squeeZ or pre-cut carrots and grapes ready to be grabbed from the fridge! I also use plastic to go restaurant ramikins!
2. Homework Supplies organization.
3. Each Child has their own file-labeled. “A place for everything and everything in its place!”
4. Important papers, field trip forms.
5. Check your homework checklist! I make them on the computer and then have them on a clip board! Super easy to get kids to remember what they have to do each night when they get home.
6. Ready to go activities for the little one: playdough, markers, stamp pads…
7. A crockpot full of dinner so dinner is done! My motto is “fix it and forget it!”
8. What to do with all the art projects… ArtKive!

Stay tuned forore from the Tampa Mama on Studio 10 TV!

29 Jul 2015

Five Reasons I Love Being Around Three-Year-Olds

No Comments Adventures, CAH, Lifestyle, Parenting, Raising Children, Today Parents Blog Posts

This post was first published on the TODAY Parenting Team Community Blog.

“You must have more patience than I do!”

“I don’t know how you do it.”

“You must have your hands full.”
Read more

01 Jul 2015

Travel Hacks: 4 Things I Never Travel Without

No Comments Adventures, Family Travel, Kids, Lifestyle, Parenting, Raising Children

I travel with 4 kids all the time. I have been on the road on vacation for about 3 years now. My little one is still little and there are a few things I have learned to never leave the house without. I know there are more but these are a few of the items that my travel list every trip.

1. A bottle and a bottle brush

 If you are traveling with babies, it will be easy to clean a bottle only if you have the right tools!
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29 May 2015

First Day of School vs. Last Day of School: A Collection of Photos of How Far We Have Come

2 Comments Adventures, Kids, Lifestyle, Parenting, Raising Children

It’s the end. We are crossing the finish line of the school year and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty. It is definitely not pretty when you finish any kind of marathon you have worked so hard for. You are tired. You are a wreck and you honestly, look like a train wreck. But you finished and that’s all that matters. We are almost there (maybe some crossed the line this week) but I wanted to recap how far we have come (or actually how far we have fallen) from that first day of school.

First day of school be like:
First Day of  School 2014
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16 Apr 2015

A Vision of Hope: The CARES Foundation Gala

No Comments Adventures, CAH, Personal, Raising Children

I’m actually living my dream. Right now. I’m in a state of euphoria that seems somewhat surreal because all my wishes came true and are happening before my eyes. The ones I prayed and prayed and prayed for that I wished so hard on every star and promised God the world if he would make them come true.

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I get to see my son play baseball. I get to watch my daughters in a recital. My children excel in school. They are kind. They are happy. They aren’t sick. I get to put my children to bed each night in their own bed. They are healthy happy and living a normal life. THIS is the life I dreamed of that I wasn’t sure would be a reality.
Read more

06 Apr 2015

Easter With My People

No Comments Adventures, Lifestyle, Monday Motto, Raising Children, Uncategorized

Monday Motto: Keep it real.

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A simple day. Just us. No fuss. Just family time. We cooked together. We laughed. One of the best holidays.

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