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The Perfect Family Picture

I had such lofty ideas of getting a cutesy spring photo of my kids the other day on Easter. For once, I actually coordinated the outfits and was so over the moon that I needed to save the moment because this seriously may never happen again. I mean my oldest is almost 14 and too cool for everything. My almost 11 year old is not going to want to match her baby sister much longer. Also, do you know how hard it is to match an almost 11 year old to a 2 year old? It is almost impossible! In fact, I am pretty sure the sales clerk thought I was nuts! Okay, so maybe my desire to keep them cutesy and little is a bit much, but still I need this every once in a while! Sibling matching outfits! It’s the dream!

Well, the picture did not turn out as planned. My son just needs a pitchfork to look like that iconic farmer painting dude. And the girls…well, let’s just say that this was the best shot!

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Notice the blue tongue of my older daughter from too much candy consumption. Then there is Crankles who just keeps doing weird things with her hands. Their expressions! Oh my word. On the upside, it captures their personalities, and in the end, that is what matters. I do wonder if they would be embarrassed later if this picture would end up on the wall. Eh. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

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Fairy Garden Fun

I have what people call a brown thumb. This is problematic right now because our new house has several flower beds. I decided that since I am not really good with plants, I might do some other things in those gardens that don’t interfere with the plants that seem to grow on their own. Thank goodness they do that by themselves.

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I have been noticing Fairy Garden stuff everywhere…at Target, Home Depot, and even the dollar stores. Miss Crankles volunteered to be my partner in crime on this project, and she happily picked out pieces to start our project.

We decided that the fairies needed some houses, so we grabbed a few houses, and I am going to paint some more at ceramics class.

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To make it more interesting, I told her the fairies lived there. Then we set a fairy figure by the swing set so that he could push any fairies on the swing that may come upon our little garden.

We also thought they needed a place to sit, so we positioned a table and chairs. Then we placed another fairy there to await company.

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To finish the start of our fairy garden, we put a little bridge with a fairy to welcome others to our little fairy garden.

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The key to making this fun has been telling a story as we have been creating this garden. Miss Crankles is small, but she has a big imagination and loves being told how the fairies are going to visit the garden at night and stay in our little fairy houses and swing on our fairy swing. Adding whimsy to your life can make you feel like a kid too. Telling her the story and seeing her excitement makes me want to believe that maybe at night while I sleep, the fairies will play in the little garden we made.

What kinds of things do you do to spark imagination? I would love to hear your story in the comments below!

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Toddler Language Learning Fun

Lately, my littlest one actively tries to participate in homeschooling. Many times, I get out the Play Doh, felt books, or toddler games with her. A lot of times, I get the drawing supplies for her to use as well. However, my husband has been going through our vast collection of books and found our Polish-English toddler friendly board book dictionary. I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce her to Polish sounds.

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Through my own studies and experiences living abroad, I have had the opportunity to study four other languages other than English, Polish being one of them. I really want my children to learn at least one foreign language. Currently, my kids can say the word for “butt” in several languages, compliments of all of our exchange students. Thanks guys and gals! (I still love my exchange students, and they know my secret…which is that I curse in Polish and Serbo-Croatian in the car.) Through studies, I also know that children hear sounds in other languages that adults do not hear. It is one of the reasons why I have exposed my children to other languages at an early age. In fact, when I was in labor with Crankles, I played music by Darko Rundek. He is a Balkan singer, and I absolutely adore him.

The fun part about doing this too is that it helps me retain some of the languages I have studied over the years. Between my brain injury issues and lack of speaking, sometimes I get a bit rusty. Nonetheless, I would like to continue learning. I also want my kids to learn as well.

Board books with simple words in other languages and music from other countries is a great way to introduce your child to their first foreign language. It is also a great way to learn about the world around them. I strongly encourage it to all parents. You may even learn something too!

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The frustrations of Testing

By Delia, Contributing Writer

Sometimes I feel quite helpless as a parent.  Last night was one of those times.  My 10 year old daughter was melting down in a big way and everything I did seemed to make the situation worse.  It all started because I farted on her blanket.  Albeit not on purpose but I did not even realize that I was sitting on it.  Well I started laughing, not at her but at the situation, and she starting getting upset.  Well, things just escalated from there.

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photo by eslfuntaiwan (pixabay)

No matter what my husband and I said to her she seemed to start crying worse.  Now, these meltdowns have been going on for a little while and we have been seeing a therapist to try to help us help her.  So I try to pull out the bag of tricks that the therapist has suggested and nothing works.  She just continues to cry.

I had to insist on her going to her room to try to calm herself and she escalated more.  When she came down, she was somewhat calmer but escalated again.  She had herself so upset that everything that her father and I said just wound her right back up.  She was so upset that she could not fall asleep more than two hours later.  She finally fell asleep after 9 o’clock which is over an hour late.  I finally calmed her down by lying with her in bed with music playing.

While trying to put my little one to bed, I think I found out what part of the problem is…PSSAs.  My daughter puts entirely too much pressure on herself and does not like the testing environment.  She cried that she did not want to go to school today because she did not want to take the PSSAs.  If this continues during the rest of this week and the upcoming weeks of Math and Science PSSAs, I will definitely have to opt her out of PSSAs for next year.  She did not go through this last year but I guess there is more stress this year.

I can’t tell you how frustrated I was.  By the end of it I wanted to burst into tears with her.  I had to keep my cool though so that I could help her.  If your child is going through this, know that you are not alone.  If you feel helpless in trying to calm them down, know you are not alone.  I have sought help and am praying that things start to improve soon.  

 

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Maple Holistics Dead Sea Mud Mask Review

I received this product from the company for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I admit that I do not always take good care of my skin. Sometimes, I just don’t make enough time for a good skin care routine. However, I am trying to change that which was why I was happy to try out a Dead Sea Mud Mask by Maple Holistics.

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Maple Holistics is a natural beauty products business based out of New Jersey. Their products are cruelty free and all natural. They are also all made in the USA.

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I recently tried the Dead Sea Mud Mask as I was looking for something to deep clean my face and help with some of the blemish problems I have. I am acne prone, and so I really like to find products to help with it.

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One of the first things I noticed is that it is super thick. It also smells nice. The mask contains mud from the Dead Sea, which is known for its purifying salts and minerals. It also has German Chamomile, Lavender, Green Myrtle, Clary Sage, and Biodeynes EMPP. The Biodeynes EMPP is for skin elasticity, and the German Chamomile is to help reduce stress and calm nerves. With as thick as it is, I thought I would need a lot, but a little goes a long way for this product. I did not need that much for my face.

After washing my face once I was done, I noticed my skin looked a little brighter. I have not had as many issues with blackheads since I have been using it. I use this about once a week to relax and also take care of my skin! To show you how nice my skin looks, here is a makeup free selfie taken a few minutes after I was done!

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My verdict: I like this mask a lot and have integrated this into my skincare routine. I like that it does not smell bad. It does not have harsh chemicals. It works, and I do not need to put a lot on my face to use it.

If you would like to give their products a try, they are giving free sample products! Please visit their website to request yours and feel free to tell me about your experience in the comments below!

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Wonder Crew Review

I received this product in exchange for review. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links.

Who doesn’t want to be a super hero? With Wonder Crew dolls, your child can be just that and go on super hero adventures with their Wonder Crew Doll! Today, I wanted to take some time and tell you all about these super cool dolls that Miss Crankles and I found!

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These dolls have been on Miss Crankles’ want list for a while, and if you held the doll, you would know why. These dolls are super soft. Her doll, Will, is now her favorite doll to take to bed at night because of the cuddle factor. However, that is not the only reason she loves him. He comes with a cape and mask, and there is a cape and mask for her too. She loves to play dress up, so having a doll that she can match for adventures makes him all the more fun.

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I love the concept of these dolls and wish that they would have been around when Bubby was younger. When he was little, he wanted a boy doll. Do you know how hard it was to find him one? I eventually found a Cabbage Patch Doll for him, but it took forever for me to find him. These dolls were inspired by boys and help promote that dolls are not just for girls. However, these dolls are meant for everyone and really help break down barriers that say that boys and girls can only play with certain toys.

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I also wanted to add that I really appreciate the packaging on these dolls. So many of the toys we get have hard to remove packaging, and as you can see, this is not the case here.

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The easy packaging made it easy to get him out of the box and off on an adventure with Crankles!

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Miss Crankles is totally in love with her Will doll, and we are excited to see what new dolls come from the Wonder Crew in the future. These dolls can be found at Target and Toys R Us and run about $29.99. For my readers who celebrate Easter, these would make great alternatives to candy for Easter Baskets too!

I really hope to see more of these kinds of dolls, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below!

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Pregnancy tests are just not funny

April Fool’s Day is a day of elaborate jokes and pranking. Heck, I have participated in my fair share of fairly epic pranks. However, there is one “joke” that gets pulled year after year, and it is never funny. That “joke” in question is a fake pregnancy announcement.

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Photo by Steid for Pixabay

I use “joke” loosely in the above statement because it really is no joke at all. On April Fool’s Day after I had my first miscarriage, one of my Facebook friends, posted a pregnancy test on her wall. I am sure she thought of it as a harmless prank, but it felt like a kick in the gut. Here is this chick basically saying, “Ha Ha. Psyche! I am not really pregnant. Pregnancy is soooo hilarious, you all.” All I kept feeling was how my body failed me, how I was supposed to be a few months away from having my sweet baby, and all I had was an empty womb and a still broken heart.

Women grieve differently. Some women who are struggling with infertility or suffered miscarriages can see this and not be affected. I am not one of them. My back to back losses made me feel like a failure. They ripped my heart apart. I fell apart. I had nightmares. In fact, I still have nightmares sometimes, and it has been over four years since my last loss. For many women, this “joke” acts as a trigger, a reminder of how our bodies have not given us what we wanted, a reminder of what we have lost.

I have written about my losses quite a bit, as well as my journey to my rainbow baby. I have done it because miscarriage is still a somewhat taboo subject, and many people are still insensitive about the subject. My losses spiraled me to a very dark point in my life. The feelings from my losses made me want to rip my heart out to ease the hurt inside me. So I wrote and wrote and wrote…to heal…to share…and to help others understand.

There are plenty of jokes that you can try for April Fool’s Day, but don’t be a jerk. “Jokes” like a fake pregnancy announcement can really hurt someone you love, someone who may be struggling with infertility or someone who may have miscarried. Because these are subjects that are not always shared, you may not even know about their struggles, so find something else. Don’t be insensitive. Be funny. Be creative. Don’t be a jerk on April Fool’s Day.