4/29/15

Every Mother Should Be In THIS Book #BESTMothersDayGiftEVER #ALetterToMyMom

In a very shocking and wonderful twist of fate, I have been given the opportunity to share my greatest writing achievement (so far!) with my mother. Being that I'm still in complete shock, I've actually been sitting on this exciting news for a little over a week. I think I have been in disbelief. The honor is truly overwhelming... 

My friends, and dear readers, I have been published in the most amazing and beautiful book; 


A Letter To My Mom
Created by, Lisa Erspamer




A Letter To My Mom, is a compilation of letters that celebrates the women who have shaped the lives of so many. You would not believe the people in this book who have poured their hearts out to the women who've shaped their lives! Ready for this... I've been published next to Dr. Phil! 

I was floored as I flipped through the pages to see, Shania Twain, will.i.am, Christy Turlington, Monica Lewinsky, Kelly Osbourne, Josh Groban, ...and OMG! SARAH FERGUSON, The Duchess of York! (Holy crap! I'm published next to royalty!) My eyes filled with tears while reading Melissa Rivers' letter. So So So touching.

But nothing was more touching, and rewarding, than handing the book to my mother. We both cried together...


"I wonder if you knew back then just how much it would mean to your children now.  I wonder if you knew your unconditional love and strength would finally be noticed and appreciated." -Me


Isn't my mother beautiful?  And yes, that's me on roller skates! My mom was convinced I'd be a roller derby girl one day since I was badass on my skates... and pretty much refused to take them off, except for school and sleep.

I feel so blessed to be able to share this book with my mother. It's a major writing milestone for me, so the fact that it was met through a letter to my mom... it's amazing. My mother is the reason I started writing. She has encouraged me every step of the way. 

This Mother's Day, I cannot recommend enough writing a letter to your mom, or the woman who nurtured and shaped your life. I also can't recommend enough that you put it in this book and give it as a touching gift for Mother's Day. Because, every wonderful mother deserves to be in this book...


A Letter To My Mom, is available at major book stores, or order online from Amazon, Random House Or Indie Bound...


A few edits have been made since first publishing the letter on my blog, but if you would like to read the original letter, you can find it here.



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4/28/15

10 Tips To Help You Take Control Of Your Financial Future

Tracking Pixel *In honor of Financial Literacy month, I am partnering Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, (MassMutual) to start a conversation about Financial Literacy, and what you can do to prepare for your child's future. All opinions are my own.

 photo MM_NoRule100C43Y_K_R_NoTag.jpg

Prior to becoming a mother, I was happily living pay-check-to-paycheck. (There were a lot of cute shoes out there that needed me!) However, now that I'm a mother, saving cute shoes from department store racks, is no longer my financial focus, my child's future is. The last thing I want is for him to not be able to go to college because of a financial failure on my part.  

In lieu of a closet full of shoes, I keep a monthly family budget to track our bills and expenses, as well as our savings. Each month, I look over our budget for ways to cut corners to increase our savings, then transfer at least 5% into savings. I also have an IRA and a 529 for Ollie. 

I am so focused on my kid's future and what I can do now, to save hassle and heartache later.

I can do all of this thanks to learning a few solid tips from a finical advisor and spending a few hours each week reading up on the latest investment news. For the parents out there, who want to start planning and saving, but don't know how, I thought I would take this opportunity while working with MassMutual to share a few tips to help you find Financial Literacy... and peace! 




Without further ado, 10 Tips To Help You Take Full Advantage Of Financial Literacy Month:

1. Identify your financial goals. Why are you saving? Are you saving for multiple things? How can you start a savings plan if you don’t know what you’re tracking toward? The first step in understanding your finances is to identify your finacial goals. Once you have an understanding of your goals, you’ll be able to take the next steps to achieving them!

2. Long-term Vs Short-term goals. Before you start sweating and clamming up over the prospect of tackling the entire budget, breath and take small steps at first.  Start by identifying your short- and long-term goals. My short term are a new car and fabulous family Vacay! Long term is college and fabulous retirement home on the coast living off the grid!  Just knowing what I'm saving for, and allocating my savings accordingly takes so much pressure off! 

3. Get organized. Diving into your finances can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a good sense of your current spending! Create a simple budget tracker to map out your income, expenses and any savings efforts you currently have in place. This will help identify risks and opportunities that you can address in the future, and can be the beginning of your financial strategy.

4. Use tools to help you project your savings needs. Now that you have a budget, and know what you are saving for, find the right methods to save smart! Whether it’s calculating how much you need to save for your child’s college tuition or planning for your retirement, look for calculators online to help you. Many tools ask you to enter basic information to help you determine what you need to save and simple steps to starting a savings plan. Sometimes a little advice can be a big help too; Here are two article from MassMutual that are FABULOUS, saving for college and retirement planning.



5. Consider your most valuable asset and how it affects your future.Your home? Your business? Your ability to work? What is your most valuable asset? Have you considered your income and how it affects your well-being? Exploring disability insurance can go a long way to ensure your family is protected if you were too sick or injured to work. Watch this video to help get you started, or try out an income gap calculator to see how a disability might affect you and your family.

6. Cut corners on everyday spending. Between, store specials, online coupons and crowdsourced discounts, finding ways to save has never been easier!  In fact, I refuse to pay full price for a big ticket item. Just be spending a few minutes doing pre comparison shopping and looking for online coupons I save big every month. 

7. Teach your kids early. Help your family be smart about finances, so they can build a strong future. Simple and fun activities can get them excited about saving for the future – like setting up a short-term savings plan with a personal piggy bank, (Ollie LOVES his!) and encouraging them to add to it when they have money to spare, from birthdays, allowances or loose change around the house.

8. Understand the best investment options for your child's future. So many parents don't realize, putting a few dollars away each month now, will not only send your child to the college of his dreams, but do it without any huge loans!  Imagine, a life without student loans. (Or the money he needs to get his flourishing business off the ground!)

9. Find the right people to help you. When it comes to your finances, you need a strong team to assist you with important information and decisions. Working with a financial professional will help keep you on track and informed. It can take a minute to set up an introductory meeting, but the knowledge and guidance can go a long way to helping secure your financial future. Read more about the different types of financial professionals you can work with here and connect with one in your area here.

10. Take it one day at a time!  Some months are certainly tighter than others.  If I miss a month adding to our savings, I don't beat myself up. The fact that I saved the month before is awesome! Between starting a family budget, creating savings plans for both long term and short term, takes time and understanding.  As long as you are working towards a finical goal, that's all that matters. 

To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, this month, MassMutual has created a new website full of tips, videos and budget calculators to help everyday people, like you and me, gain finical literacy and freedom! Check it out, here or the image below!





This was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of MassMutual 
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4/27/15

Savoring Those Simple Summer Moments #TheMeaningOfLife #SlowDown

Watching my sweet little baby turn into a wild toddler, and now, an all-knowing sassy little boy, I can't help but want to hit the brakes.

Hard.

I want to freeze time for just a little while.

I want to savor those sweet little puffy cheeks a little longer.
I want to savor that sweet little baby voice saying, "I love you, mommy." just a little longer.
I want to savor the feeling of holding my little guy close after a nap.

I love those sweet, simple moments SO much. The last thing I want to do is let them slip by without savoring every single second.



Something else I've realized is that those sweet moments are almost all, simple. There's no big vacation, no big toy, no big party, just a quiet, sweet moment shared between my son and I.

I love that so much.

My want to savor sweet moments is nothing new, but sometimes life gets going so fast, I forget. Thankfully, the idea was renewed within me yesterday, when to my great surprise, familiar bells and a creepy song came blaring down my street; the ice cream was coming.

The next thing I know, Ollie was shouting, THE ICE CREAM MAN IS COMING!!! 

FTD was shouting, GET THE MONEY!!!

I was shouting, WHERE'S THE CAMERA???

Picture: Total. Excited. Chaos.

That poor ice cream man had no idea what kind of mistake he made turning down our street!

But, he quickly learned...




OH!  FYI: The ice cream man is accepting major credit cards now. "Sorry, Kid, no cash," will no longer work...



While sitting on the curb, eating my favorite strawberry shortcake pop, with Ollie in my lap, I said a little prayer of thanks. The moment was pure bliss.

The air was warm. The ice cream was tasty. My son was in my lap and adorable.

#PureBliss

That moment was one of those that makes you think you've figured out the meaning of life. 

Maybe I did.

Maybe reminding myself to savor the simple moments this summer, and store them in my heart, is the meaning of life.

Enjoy the simple, sweet moments, because the sum make for a wonderful life. 

I'm so blessed to live in a country where I am free to choose my path, and enjoy simple moments on the curb with my son. The last thing I want to do is waste them.

This summer, I am going to do my best to slow down and savor the simple moments  I am going to remind FTD and my son to do the same.  And now, I'm reminding you to do the same.

Life goes by so fast. The last thing I want to do is let those precious sweet moments, that make me smile and fill my heart with joy, pass before slowing down to savor every second.









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4/26/15

Banish Bedwetting With The Chummie #Review #Chummie #BanishBedwetting

Today, I have partnered with Theos Medical Systems to start a conversation about bedwetting, and the solutions the Chummie Bedwetting System offers! All opinions are my own... and my friend's, who's son tested the Chummie Elite for me! 

Had I known potty-training was going to be such a nightmare, I would have held off until Ollie was showing actual signs of wanting to go to the potty on his own.  You know, like saying, "Hey! Mommy, I need to pee," then run off to the potty. But, nooooooo.  I had to start potty training my kid right after he turned a year-old because my MIL not only insisted FTD was potty trained by one, she send Ollie a complete Australian potty-training gift set for his birthday.  So, even though Ollie could walk, but not talk or climb on the potty without assistance, I gave potty-training my best effort.

FOR TWO YEARS! Thankfully, at three, Ollie is now at the point where he's mastered daytime potty use, however, nighttime is a different story.  <Insert a lot of really bad words> 

How do you potty-train a toddler at night?  Between him and I sleeping, how in the world am I supposed to know when he is going to pee to wake him up? It turns out, I'm not the only parent who's thought about that. The inventor of the Chummie has too...

Today, my friends, I have the pleasure of sharing a product that wakes your pee-pants child up the second the first drop escapes his body! 





Chummie is FDA registered, and proven to help children stop wetting the bed, thanks to the  IntelliFlex Sensor. A.k.a "One Drop Detection Technology...



All it takes is one drop of urine to trigger Chummie alarms. Its smart IntelliFlex sensor (comes with Chummie Premium and Elite) and IntelliFlex Mat (comes with Chummie Pro) are powered with the pioneering One Drop Detection technology , which means they detect and respond to the first drop of urine. The smart technology allows Chummie to detect urine quickly and trains your child fast. What’s more, your sensor or mat will not lose sensitivity even after years of constant use!  
So, how exactly does the Chummie work? 

It depends on your Chummie...  

Chummie Premium, Elite and Pro attach to your child, or the Chummie Intelliflex Mat, which is used under the sheets.  

I was sent the Chummie Elite to review:


Chummie Elite contains a bedwetting alarm unit, IntelliFlex sensor, 10 Flexitapes (to attach the sensor to the child’s underwear), snap-on clip, 2AAA batteries, user manual, progress tracker and warranty card. (An armband can be purchased separately as an alternative to clipping the unit onto your child's clothes.)
• Perfect for deep sleepers and children
• 5 alert tone cycles avoids auditory accommodation
• Loud volume, bright LED lights and strong vibrations
• Discreet mode for camps and sleepovers

• Easy to program with one touch button
• One Drop Detection, non-corrosive, silicone sensor
• Microprocessor controlled for extra safety
• Comes in four great colors – green, blue, orange and pink


Since Chummie Elite is recommended for parents with children 4-years and older, I sent the unit to a girlfriend with a four year old to try out. While, like me, she was unsure of the whole attach the unit to child part, but she was desperate for a solution, so she gave it a go! 

The first night, she had trouble getting her son to stop playing with the chummie, so her first recommendation is to let your child play with it well before bedtime. Her next recommendation was to not only tape the chummy to your child's underwear, but mid-way up the shirt as well, or deal with a child "constantly messing with it."

Of course, she said the first two nights, her son didn't wet the bed. But the third night, Chummie woke her and her son up. I was surprised to hear her tell me that ended up being a good thing!  Of course, her son had fully wet the bed by the time he roused from his sleep, but in waking her up, she was able to deal with the situation (Changing her child and the sheets) immediately.  It turns out, this keeps you from having the pee soak into everything and a child wet climbing into your bed.  

Good. to. know.

After two weeks with the Chummie, she said the peeing didn't completely stop, and it wasn't every night, but her son was waking up more quickly when the alarm went off, and was even able to run to the bathroom to finish the job!

While she still has some bedwetting issues, she says you can definitely see how the Chummie is working, and she's going to continue using it!  

She also mentioned the age limit is correct; "children under four would play with the wire and unit non-stop!" So for younger kids, The Intelliflex Mat would be ideal. (I LOVE THIS!)  All you do is place the mat under the fitted sheet and connect it to Chummie Pro bedside alarm, with a 10 foot long cord!



Chummie Pro is a great choice for anyone (including special needs individuals) looking for an alternative to wearable wired alarms.

8 features that make Chummie Pro Bedwetting Alarm unique

• Perfect for bedwetting children, deep sleepers and adults
• Uses one drop detection, non-corrosive 21”x17” mat
• Hypoallergenic mat is easy to clean for immediate reuse
• Attaches mat to alarm with 10 foot long cord
• Offers 8 loud alert tones avoids auditory accommodation
• Offers 2 bright lights and strong vibrations
• Compact and microprocessor controlled alarm
• Available in two great colors – blue and pink












If you need to banish bedwetting, the Chummie is certainly a great option!  To order now, (To get free shipping, Use 'FTMD Free Ship' at checkout!) or learn more about the many bedwetting products and accessories available from Theos Medical, Click here! 
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4/24/15

What It Really Means To Have A Toddler...

Today, I thought I would enlighten those of you who do not have a toddler yet, to what it means to have a toddler...




Having a toddler means...

...Sticky fingers on every surface of the house, including all doorknobs and windows.

....Having pee pants laying in the middle of the hallway with a streaking toddler runny far and fast away from them.

...Stepping on at least one toy a day... or four.

...Hearing mommy four million and one times a day. Usually grouped in lots of 50.

...The backseat of your car has more unknown things growing in it than a University laboratory.

...Finding two socks that match is impossible, since the last time they were worn, one was removed in the backyard, the other in the kitchen. 

...Getting out of your house on-time with the toddler and everything you need is harder than winning the lottery, and takes about as much luck.

...You know the words to your toddler's favorite books by heart, which is a good thing since a couple of the pages are destroyed. 

...You know why your mother didn't let you have sugar or caffeinated beverages until you were away at college. 

...You are TERRIFIED of silence.

...You can set-up a train track or tea party like a BOSS.

...Not one crayon in your house has the tip or label on it.

...Your mind is blown daily by the audacity of a three foot human. (I've considered buying a wheel barrel for my toddler's balls.)

...You do more laundry and dishes in a week than you did in six months pre-child. 

...You've been roundhouse kicked out of your own bed by a "sleeping" toddler.

...NOTHING grosses you out anymore. Nothing.

...You know every character on every Sprout TV show, and have spent hours pondering if Nina really does the sand art on the Goodnight show.

...You've learned the hard way not to cut a toddler's food without explicit instructions first. 

...Everyday you have to face the fact that you gave birth to a little evil genius that always manages to stay a step ahead of you, both literally and figuratively.  


Do you have a toddler? What does it mean to you?
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Jewelry Is A Bacteria Breeding Ground. AquaSonic Wave Will Save You! #MOMSREADTHIS #Review

*I've partnered with AquaSonic Wave to start a conversation about poop fingers and mashed potato earrings. Sound familiar?  All opinions are my own...

A short story
by
April McCormick

A Mother And Her Jewelry 

I love jewelry. 
Then, my wedding ring got pooped on.
I stopped wearing rings.

Then my earrings got mashed sweet potatoes smashed into them.
I stopped wearing earrings.

Then my baby turned into a toddler.
Scared, I still only wear my wedding ring at home.


The End.

Oh, it was the worst thing! I changed a super diaper blowout, washed and scrubbed my hands and still could smell poop.  It was driving me crazy. Then I saw it jammed in the stone setting of my wedding ring.

Oh. My. VOMIT.

Then there were the (many) times I would pick up a very messy Ollie from his highchair, and have sweet potatoes or avocado smashed into my earrings while he'd try to rip them out.

Once the blowouts ceased to exist, last month when Ollie became fully potty trained, I started wearing my jewelry more regularly. 

But, I still can't help but freak-out about keeping everything clean. The amount of crap, crud and scary bacteria that gets stuck, and grows, in the tiny cracks and crevasses of jewelry, are deadly! 

So, when the opportunity presented itself to test out the AquaSonic Wave Jewelry cleaner, I was all for it. The little contraption looked GENIUS!




The AquaSonic Wave, is a jewelry cleaner you pop, full of your jewelry, in the dishwasher! Yes, the dishwasher. So you can stick all kinds of jewelry in at once, toss AquaSonic wave in with the dinner dishes, and boom, ALL of your jewelry is clean!


Of course, I started thinking of all kinds of small pieces and parts of Ollie's toys and drinking cup lids that I want jam in the AquaSonic Wave too. 

Here is a video of a home demonstration:





Pretty cool, right? The mesh outer cover keeps even the smallest of gems from escaping. Plus, the steal mesh also keeps the jewelry safe while in the wash cycle. You can even run a sanitizing cycle!

FTD's father was a jeweler, so I immediately asked him what he thought, and if I should worry about my silver or stones. He took one look, and loved it! He said it was super safe and a great idea. So in went all of my jewelry, I added the provided Antibacterial Hydro cleaning gel into the specified ridge, then threw the AquaSonicWave, FULL of earrings, rings and bracelets, on to the top rack of my dishwasher... 

I was floored by how clean and nice everything looked. I will never soak then scrub ring by ring again!

NO MORE POOP FINGER!

If you too have poop finger, or smashed potato earring issues, and want an AquaSonic Wave, you can order it now with a $9.50 discount, use MD950 at checkout, click here!  (Oh! And take advantage of the 1-year supply of anti-bacterial gel for only $12.95 because that will in time go up to $25.00!)
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The 5 Stages Of A Toddler Tantrum

With my now three year old toddler constantly fighting for his independence, I have become well versed in toddler meltdowns. Over time, I have begun to see a pattern in the different stages of tantrums emerge; Stages that I've recently realized are very similar to the five stages of grief.


1. Denial- Toddler tantrums most always start with denial of some form. For me, the denial is him ignoring me, or staring at me with a look of shock and disbelief that I won't let him have his way, or just the good ol' go-to "NO!" flying out of his mouth while running away from me, my kid has denial down like a pro.
2. Anger- Once the denial stage is over, which usually happens when I finally catch him, ANGER sets in. This is the stage where a verbal assault is paired with launching toys across the room. When necessary, a dead drop to the ground is followed by flailing arms and legs to convey just how pissed off he is. 
3. Bargaining- I can always tell things will get interesting when we get to the bargaining stage. He can get very creative at this stage. He thinks if he gives me options, then he can gain control of the situation. It usually plays out like this: Toddler: Fine! If I do XYZ, can I have a popsicle?" Me: No! This exchange will go on for a few minutes, until he realizes that I'm not giving in... though, sometimes I do give in to win a clean plate of veggies or a much overdue nap.
4. Depression- Depression is the most annoying of the stages. Depression ushers in the fake tears and moments of feeling like the worst parent. My son can pull off real tears and a super sad cry when he focuses his evil energy on it. Luckily, this stage usually ends when I finally give him my best, REALLY? Are you kidding me right now?, look.
5. Acceptance- This stage is the most vindictive. Once my toddler realizes that he's not going to get his way, he fakes acceptance just to throw me off his trail for his next evil genius plan...the one he was concocting when he knew he was going to lose the battle. 

 Does your toddler follow The 5 Stages Of Toddler Toddler Tantrums too?
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Ever Wonder How Kids Interact When Adults Aren't Looking? #KidCam #Wondershare

April 15th doesn't only signify tax day in my house, it's also FTD's Birthday! So this year I decided to get him the best gift ever. One that would double as a "family gift." I got him a GoPro.  Yes, I spent the money... and actually managed to not throw-up at checkout!

Of course, being the IT Engineer that he is, he freaked out that I spent the money on the real thing, and not a "knockoff".

Ungrateful Bastard!

Though, we are talking the difference between $100-300!  So yeah, if you are considering a GoPro, do the research on the comparable products out there. Especially, on Amazon. I justified the cost because that thing is a family gift. We can capture the best moments, and holy crap, the quality is just OUTSTANDING!

In the two weeks that we have had it, FTD has had the best time with it. And so has Ollie! So, for a Friday Fun Day special treat, I want to share our first family video made with FTD's new toy!

Last weekend we were kindly invited to a super fun party to celebrate Thunder Over Louisville--The largest fireworks display in the North America. Needless to say, we took video the entire time! Like six hours of footage! Whether it was strapped to Ollie's head, FTD's head or another child's head, the footage was too funny!

Just wait until you see the incredible quality too!

**A special thanks goes to Wondershare for giving FTD a copy of the insanely easy to use, Wondershare Video Editor. Hands down, it's the very best online video editing software we have ever used. FTD was blown away by the effects and the ease of use. The things FTD was able to do in THREE MINUTES of editing were fantastic.

I hope you enjoy a glimpse into our crazy life...

               


SEE!  The quality is AMAZING! I am so happy we now have something with better quality than our phones to record special family moments.  While, yes, the money set us back... and I wish I would have bought a knockoff... Having it is so super cool. Expect plenty more of these videos to come!

Howdy N00bs! FTD here! YES...it's true. you CAN literally make a HD video within 3 minutes full with special effects, animations and a pumping soundtrack!  

Wondershare have realised that there is a huge market of novice users who simply don't WANT to sit down and learn how to splice video, setup timelines and meticulously go frame by frame editing stuff. They just want a quality video to whack onto the Youtube or the bloody facebooks!

SO they split the software into an EASY and ADVANCED mode. Select 'easy', choose the video files that you want to add, lay down some music  and a theme AND YOU'RE DONE! 

After the video is processed you can select from a HUGE range of output formats and resolutions up to FULL 1080P HD.  They even simplify the upload process so you can upload directly to facebook, youtube or Vimeo directly from the editor! EASY! 

The advanced mode is PACKED with outstanding features but includes detailed video help files too. You can start with the basics and learn to do amazing things over time - even green screen! 

Contrary to what April says above, I didn't use even a TENTH of the features, templates, animations and plug-ins to do this video - there are THOUSANDS of options.

SO...if you're looking for an awesome little piece of Video-editing software that runs on MAC or PC that's packed with features and easy to use...YOU'VE FOUND IT! Check it out here!

How does your family record special or exciting moments?
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4/23/15

Homemade Popsicle Heaven How-To #Homemade #DIY

Last summer, when my toddler, then two, started wanting to take popsicles down two at a time, I quickly realized I needed to take control of the situation.  Within three days of his new obsession, his poop was green and the sugar overload from the store bought popsicles were making him a crazy person.

Hello, RED FLAG!

After reading the ingredients and finding there was NOTHING healthy in the cheap-o popsicles, I went to the store to find "healthy" popsicles.

It turns out, they don't exist.

Every single popsicle had at least one or two fillers/preservatives that I had no interest pumping into my kid. 

Knowing that cutting out popsicles was going to be impossible, I turned to the Internet and Googled, "Homemade Popsicles." I was blown away by how many recipes for healthy homemade popsicles were available. From two ingredient popsicles, to boozy "pop-tails", to chocolate covered goodness.

It took less than five minutes to realize, not only was I going to start making my own popsicles, I was going to enjoy doing it!


For those of you just entering into the world of homemade popsicles, do I have good news for you, most all of the best kid-friendly popsicles are made with ingredients you already have in your kitchen! If you have yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit and juice you have AWESOME popsicles waiting to be made.

Probably one of my favorite things about making my own popsicles is being able to use the fruit that is about to go "bad" and needs to be used. In the past, I would throw it in the yard for the animals. Now, I throw it in the blender with juice or yogurt! 

NEVER throw away another banana or berry again!

Of course, to make your own popsicles, you need molds. Which, I think is 95% of the battle, because once you have the molds, you will become a popsicle champion! So where to get them?

ANYWHERE.

Your local grocery, drugstore, kid's store or boutique, and kitchen stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and William-Sonoma.  I got one of our molds on super clearance from Pottery Barn Kids.

They come in every shape and size too!



Pretty much, the next store you walk into, look for popsicle molds. And if you don't find them, opt for small Dixie cups and craft popsicle sticks. 


OK, now that we have all of the Why and the Where to buy covered, here's a little 'How-to' to motivate you: 



All you do is throw the ingredients into the blender, and blend until smooth. Then pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Blend. Pour. Freeze. Eat.


No Blender? Mash and mix the crap out of what every your using. Pour mixture into molds, freeze and eat! It's REALLY that simple.

Tip: To make those fancy layers, pour one or two layers in at a time then freeze. Repeat.

VoilàYou're a popsicle pro.

My personal favorite go-to popsicle flavors, using ingredients (always) in my kitchen are:



  • Frozen tropical fruit and Kiefer strawberry yogurt (Packed with Probiotics!)-I ALWAYS have both, so it's my go-to
  • Strawberry and Cantaloupe- so easy and so good.
  • Orange juice and yogurt; Think Dreamsicle.  SO YUM!
  • Coconut cream or coconut water and mango is mind blowing good.
  • Peanut butter, bananas and yogurt-Ollie Fave
  • Sweet tea and peaches-My fave!
  • Speaking of tea- a boozy favorite is Long Island Ice Tea pop-tails
  • Bananas and Nutella-So wrong, it's so right 
  • Root Beer and low-fat vanilla ice cream--Root Beer Float goodness!
  • Snickers and ice-cream make an awesome summer backyard party dessert! (make heaps with Dixie cups)

To see step-by-step recipes for each of my favorites and recipes for quite a few more, including boozy Pop-tails; Check out my Homemade Popsicle Heaven Pinterest Board, Here!

What's your favorite homemade popsicle?

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Why Are Women's Issues So Taboo? #TabooTalk #Apex #Giveaway #Review

*InControl Medical has allowed me to talk freely about their APEX Pelvic Floor Muscles strengthening device. Thank you InControl for being REALLY good sports about my humor and for partnering with me to start the conversation. All opinions are my own.

It absolutely drives me mad that so many women's issues are so taboo to talk about! A man can talk about his sex life, farts, ass, boogers, bodily fluids and just about anything else in mixed company. No Problem.

HOWEVER!

If a woman mentions she is on her period, has cramps,  or pissed herself while coughing or laughing, she's completely breached the TMI threshold a million fold.

WHAT IS THAT?!

We ALL have the same issues! Sure, some have taken the medical high road to a menstruation-free and temporary urinary incontinence-free life, but the fact remains, at one time in EVERY woman's life, she deals with the same annoying issues. Issues men know nothing about. How could they, woman don't even feel comfortable talking about these things to other women!



I'm here to tell you, I have spent the last three days annoyed that I feel like crap. I'm achy, crampy and at any moment, could snap. I can't write a good post or article to save my life. All I want to do is lay in bed, eat chocolate and sweethearts and play games on my phone, or read books. And sleep. Definitely, sleep.

I don't want to make dinner. I don't want to deal with bath time.

In fact, I don't want to deal with sh!t.

I want to sit on the couch and have a big period pity party.

But no. I have to suck it up and suffer quietly. I have to act like nothing is wrong and perform like a BOSS.

Because that's what women do.

We bust ass, get the job done, and crawl into bed at night, worn ass out.

Never to tell a soul...

Of course, sometimes we don't want to tell. I know the first time I almost peed on myself, thanks to pregnancy TRASHING my pelvic floor muscles.

I'd heard how pregnancy and natural childbirth can leave a woman with weak pelvic floor muscles. Those weak muscles lead to leaking.

LOTS OF FREAKING LEAKING!



Leaking that lets loose when you laugh, cough, sneeze, exercise, lift something heavy.

Bottom Line: Crap Pelvic floor muscles lead to pee.

But since I had a c-section, I thought I was free of that fear.

Wrong.

Did you know that childbirth is the number one reason a woman’s pelvic floor is weakened? The pelvic floor is a group of muscles at the base of the torso and responsible for supporting the internal organs. When the pelvic floor becomes stretched or weakened, a woman may experience bladder leakage when coughing, laughing, sneezing or exercising.

It's crap.

Actually, it's not crap, and thank God for that! Can you imagine if we crapped ourselves every time we laughed? Somehow, peeing on myself seems like an OK thing now.

It's sad we keep all of these things in, because I bet if we could talk more freely about what ails us, we would be happier, and sharing the best tips and tricks ever!

For example: Recently, InControl Medical reached out about reviewing their APEX device that helps relieve stress urinary incontinence (SUI) by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. I thought, YES!  I need to talk about this.

How have I never heard of something doctors have been prescribing for years to help women overcome SUI that has just recently been approved by the FDA for sale "over the counter" or basically no doctor needed to get it?

I'll tell you why... You all, when I watched the video for it, I nearly died! I blushed, laughed out loud, then called FTD in to see what this company was asking me to review.

All I could think was, NO. FREAKING. WAY!  (While laughing my ass off)

Here, you have to watch this!



Can you imagine how in the world this company is going to market it to the general public?

OMG!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

The only thing that's more taboo then talking about periods and peeing on yourself, is playing with yourself!

HAHAHAHAHA!

This thing is Awesome!  I'll take two!

HAHAHAHAHA!

OK, I'm terrible. This is a real medical device helping women with real problems. Damn societies taboos!

IT'S NOT A VIBRATOR IS A MEDICAL DEVICE! HAHAHAHA!



All joking aside, even though APEX must work like a freaking charm since doctors have prescribed it for years, and the FDA has even given it their seal of approval, no way is THAT going to be easily marketed main stream!

Hell, I'm not even sure COSMO magazine has the balls to publish an article on it. Can you imagine..."Add lubricant...insert the device into the... Pump it up real good... then turn it on and increase the stimulation..."

I personally don't mind if women talk about their period, pee slips or any other issue. Most likely, I share the issue and love to know I am not alone.

I get that we live in a "man's world" and admitting to a week in the $h!ts with Aunt Flo will show weakness. I get that admitting to peeing on yourself some how adds an age and medical issue to you that is hard to admit to. I get that admitting that you are exhausted at the end of the day and throwing in the towel before it's time, will put you in jeopardy of losing your Wonder Woman cape.

But maybe, the next time you are dealing with an issue you will open up to a friend, and see if it doesn't somehow make you both feel better. Or when your girlfriend comes to you feeling crampy and mindless, you give her and hug and say, Damn that Aunt Flo! She can be such a bitch!

Maybe, just maybe, if we support each other, talking about what ails us won't be so taboo. We can share our tips for cramps, and turn each other on to super Vibra.... er... pelvic floor muscle straightening devices that keep the pee in!

What do you think? Do you like that it's taboo to talk, or do you wish women could admit to their women's woes more freely?

In honor of getting the conversation started, and to show that they are great sports, InControl Medical is giving ONE lucky reader an APEX device! Sign up for your chance to win the device below.

And for everyone else, $35 off the cost of the device plus free shipping. Use MBAM15 at checkout. To buy now, click here!


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How I Learned To Stop Mom Shaming Myself

Since the day I found out I was pregnant I started second guessing my abilities to be a good parent. I bought book after book on best parenting practices. I asked a ridiculous amount of questions of been-there-done-that parents, and followed them around studying their every move.  
I was determined to be the best damn mother. 

The only thing I learned from hours of reading was that every author, parent, doctor and specialist contradicted the other. My mom following mission taught me that EVERY child is different from the next, so if something worked for one kid, it may not on the next.

Once I became a parent, it didn't take long to realize that parenting was going to be one hell of a journey, strangers judge, Moms shame, and somewhere in the middle, you figure it out.


When FTD and I brought Ollie home from the hospital we were not only clueless new parents, but terrified. The first few days home, FTD and took turns staring at our newborn while he slept, to make sure he kept breathing.

Slowly, but surely, we got the hang of being first time parents. Of course, we still trolled the Internet looking for vindication of our parenting ideas and methods.

We needed some sort of virtual ass tap letting us know that we were good parents. 

I eventually learned that my driving need to be vindicated for being an awesome parent was directly related to my overflowing love for my son. I felt, in some deranged way, that being the perfect parent was directly correlated with how much I loved my son. I have never in my life known a love like I have for my son. He is my world, and I want the world to know that.

Surely, winning 'Parent of the Year', would prove that! 

Wrong.

I don't need to prove my love!  I don't need to be the perfect parent to prove to the world I love my son.

I love my son. Full Stop.

Not being the perfect parent doesn't change that. 

Three years into parenting, I am so far from perfect, but dammit, I've got it down. Once I removed the unnecessary pressure to be the perfect mom, I started enjoying being a mom. I accepted my failures as learning lessons. I learned to take it one day at a time and forgive myself when I fell short on patience.

I've learned to have faith in myself and my abilities as a parent, and above all, follow my heart and trust my instincts.

I've learned to put my dreams of being the perfect parent aside, and just take it one day at a time. Some days, I have outstanding parenting days. Some days, are filled with fails. But in the end, it's the sum of all the days that matter.

Now that I have stopped setting myself up for parenting failure with lofty goals of perfection, life is easier. Parenting is more fun.

Parenting is super hard, so why make it harder on myself? Why set unattainable goals?  Why add so much unnecessary pressure? I've finally learned that, Perfection should not be a word in my vocabulary. 

The key is to enjoy the parenting ride and not mom shame myself. I have to accept the fails, learn from mistakes, trust myself and let the sum of the days add up to the beauty that is being a parent. 
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4/22/15

Is Your Toddler A YouTuber? #HISHE

I have partnered with HISHE Kids for this post. The story and opinions are mine. (As if?!)



I'm just going to come out and say it; YouTube is a nearly daily occurrence in my house. My Toddler thinks he would cease to exist if I didn't let him watch his favorite Play-Doh Kinder Surprise Egg videos. It's ridiculous. Over and over, he will watch the same things come out of the same eggs, and yet, be mesmerized like it's the first time.

I thought this was only my child, until a recent playdate, when both our children wanted to watch the egg video.

"WHAT?! Your kid is obsessed too?"

Talk about mind blown when my friend tells me how she has to make the eggs for her son. But, first, he supplies her with the things to put in the egg! Then she rolls out the Play-doh and gets to work.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Besides the fact that she''s in the running for both 'Mom of The Year' and 'Sucker of the Year', she made me feel so much better knowing it wasn't only my kid.

Then, I started asking other moms if their child was YouTuber too. It turns out, THEY ALL ARE!

It's not just my kid, or your kid, it's all of them!

One by one, they are showing each other the magical world of YouTube, where you can watch ANYTHING!

<Insert fireworks and dancing unicorns in toddler's heads>

Of course, this love for YouTube was not born from kids watching mindless shows, it started because we let them watch nursery rhymes, and educational clips. I know, I created the beast, but at least I can still tame him with YouTube parental controls and streaming specific educational channels. And thankfuly, since my kid is three, pretty much anything on YouTube is exciting to him.

For those of you just embarking on your child's love for YouTube, because, trust me, it will happen--Even if it's at a playdates house, YouTube is coming to a tablet or phone near you--Thankfully, to help soften the blow, YouTube has a kids channel, aptly named, YouTube Kids. (There's a YouTube Kids App that is most definitely worth downloading!) The channel shows only hand-selected content that is safe, entertaining and educational. Everything that we as parents need to not feel guilty about letting our kids watch YouTube in exchange for a few minutes of calm. (You can set it to Autoplay if you need more like ten minutes of calm.)

Once you have a handle on YouTube Kids, you start to realize there are all kinds of channels. (Just like on TV) This way, you can really hone in on what you want your child to watch. I prefer channels that have a great mix of fun and educational content for kids. Ollie gets bored of the same nursery rhymes or shape shows. 

A great example of a channel with a fabulous mix of fun, engaging and super educational shows is, HISHE kids

Interjection: Most likely, if you watch YoutTube at all, you have seen a HISHE--How It Should Have Ended-video (The HISHE channel has 4.6-Million Subscribers!). Tina Alexander (Co-writer/Creator) and Daniel Baxter (Artist/Animator), have won so many awards for a multitude of videos, and have been featured on every single Radio and TV show you can imagine. Recently, you may remember their Parody 'Frozen How It Should Ave Ended'. That video went mega-viral with over 30-million views and counting!


Ok, sorry, I digress, back to YouTube channels and why they may be the better choice if you're looking for specific content and why HISHE Kids is a pretty cool option.


Since, we are all visual people, here's a video that explains the channel and how the content is super fun and educational; especially for our toddlers!

          

The extra nice thing about HISHE kids it that they keep the content fresh with weekly show additions. There are four different shows that are regularly rotated: Fixed Fairy Tales, Munchkin Music, Kids Bits and How To Draw. (Can you tell the Co-writer and creator has children and knows EXACTLY what they need to stay engaged... and coming back for more.)

Watch the shows and some funny parodies on HISHE Kids Channel HERE.

For social media updates, check out Facebook and Twitter


How do you and your child watch YouTube? DO you have favorite channels?



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WARNING! Potty Training: There's A Sick Twist At The End... #EpicFail

I love being a parent. It's the most amazing and insane experience in the world. Of course, it didn't take long (4.3 seconds)  to realize being a mother was going to be scary, incredibly hard and beyond rewarding. It also didn't take long to learn that wishing for milestones was dumbassery.

I couldn't wait for my baby to learn to crawl, so when he finally did it, I cheered and clapped... and then lost him!  In seconds, he would disappear around a corner or under a table. It turned out, crawling brought new challenges.

Then, bored with crawling, I wished for walking.  #epicfail

Walking brought on falls, bumps, and eventually running, which proved to suckballs. The kid can out run me.

Talking.  OMG!  I couldn't wait to hear his voice. #Fail

Then, one day, the word NO! popped out causing me to immediately regret my wish for talking.

So, now, here we are at potty training...

Hell yeah, I wished for it. Surely, there could not be any downsides to being out of diapers!  #Wrong #fail

My friends, having a newly potty trained toddler is SO FREAKING GROSS!



Having a newly potty trained toddler really means:
  • If my child is lazy, slow, preoccupied or just can't-be-bothered, he will go where he stands.  
  • My toddler is OBSESSED with the bathroom and toilet. He's desperate to play in it like it's a pool. 
  • Learning to, "pee like a bog boy standing up," is the equivalent of turning a pee filled fire hose on without holding it. 
  • I have to clean the bathroom at least once a day. Needless to say, I'm now buying disinfecting wipes by the PALLET.
  •  The butt wiping doesn't stop with diapers, in fact, sometimes it's messier.  Especially when he tries to do it on his own first.
  • I spend more time in the bathroom then any other room of my house. If I'm not wiping ass I'm cleaning it up or trying to keep my toddler out of it.
  • He's obsessed with potty language and humor. The other day he sang an entire song comprised of ONLY the words Poop, pee and butt. (This also may just be a boy thing since FTD still does the same thing.)

It's ridiculous the amount of time my kid spends obsessed with hanging out in the bathroom. If he's not trying to pee in the potty, he's trying to play in it. For the past two days I have been laughing about the sick twist potty training pulled out. I was so sure it would all be OK once he was trained.  Oh how freaking wrong I was.

So, what words of wisdom do I have for those following in my footsteps?  Start stocking up on disinfecting wipes, because those little fingers are going to manhandle the potty.



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