It’s been one year and 3 weeks since I brought my youngest baby home from the hospital, and today is a day that will forever be important to me. June 10th was not only my due date, but it is also ICP Awareness Day. A day to raise awareness for a condition that I didn’t know existed until 2015. A condition that made my pregnancy excruciatingly painful, imminently dangerous, and terrifying.
Mother’s Day is this coming weekend, and I am thrilled and honored to be partnering with Linqia and Gerber Brand to share an “It’s all worth it” moment with you! Gerber is the brand I trust most as I raise four little Gerber babies of my own – and I love that I am now able to partner with such an amazing company to share this heartfelt message on a weekend that means so much to me – as a mom.
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One of my favorite traditions with my children is celebrating their “zero” birthday in the hospital. The baby may be oblivious to the celebration – but older siblings have an incredible amount of fun with this welcome party! I got the inspiration for this from Pinterest and put my own spin on it.
While perusing Pinterest I saw an adorable pic of a newborn and a cupcake with a zero candle – and I wanted that photo! Weeks before baby was due, I went to the bakery and found the perfect cupcake, which I placed in the freezer. When I packed my hospital bag, I also had a checklist of the last minute things that would need to be grabbed, like phone chargers and my cupcake! Then I bought a zero birthday candle and used some puffy paint and glitter to dazzle it up a bit (tutorial is coming soon!). The candle went into my hospital bag. That was the end of the Pinterest idea… but not for me.Cupcakes and gifts make meeting the new baby extra special! #EveryMomDay Click To Tweet
I have also read about giving sibling gifts to the big brothers/sisters, and so I decided I would not just have a cute cupcake for a photo-op, I would have a BIRTHDAY PARTY! “The baby” brought her big sisters 3 gifts each: a movie, a game, and an activity book – all things that they could use and enjoy while visiting their new baby at the hospital, so they would not get bored! And we let each girl pick out two gifts to bring the baby, too. It took a little extra prepping, but not much! We kept the gifts in a black garbage bag in the car – so the kids would not see them, and Dad ran out to the car after baby was born and before visitors arrived, to set up for the “party!”
Celebrate Baby's Zero Birthday with older siblings! #EveryMomDay Click To Tweet
It made the day extra special for the kids. They got a new baby, and we celebrated with a party where everyone got to open presents and enjoy cake. The kids loved it, and I loved watching them enjoy it. It’s a tradition we enjoyed with baby number 4 as well – and now that we are done having children myself, I hope to share the idea with other mommy’s to be!
How did you celebrate a new baby with older siblings?
This post contains affiliate links – see full disclosures here.
I have started a new habit. I wake up 15 minutes before the rest of the house so that I can brew a cup of coffee and start my day with some “me” time. 99% of my day is spent taking care of others (my kids, clients, husband, etc.) and I have learned that before I can take care of anyone else, I need to take care of myself. Sometimes I enjoy just sitting outside and reflecting, and other times I completing a relaxing task like coloring in my adult coloring books. Either way, I always have my cup of coffee.We must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others #LuluandStir #EveryMomDay Click To Tweet
Earlier this year I was introduced to Lulu + Stir, a coffee company that focuses on empowering women and supporting small family-owned farms. As a “momtrepreneur” I have a soft spot for any business that supports local, small, and/or family-owned businesses AND empowering women.Fill your heart with what’s important, and your cup with #LuluandStir. #EveryMomDay Click To Tweet
Lulu + Stir’s 6 signature brews are Be Bold, Be Calm, Be True, Be Brilliant, Be Different, and Be Chill. All the brews are hand-roasted and shipped within 2 days of roasting to ensure you are getting the most fresh coffee available. The packaging includes fun motivational quotes and you can sign up for a “Weekly Stir” newsletter sent on Sunday mornings with an “Ask Lulu” article and other empowering content. You can place a onetime order, or set up a subscription so that you never run out of coffee.
If you are not sure which brew you’d like to try most, Lulu + Stir offers a sampler pack so you can try one pot of each of the 5 hot brews!
For a limited time only you can purchase the inaugural Coffee Lover’s Box! A box chock full of coffee and coffee inspired goodies, the perfect gift for the coffee lover or treat for yourself. With a full-sized bag of Lulu + Stir’s signature Be True coffee blend, an eco-friendly travel mug, a beautiful bracelet, an advance copy of a great summer read (that’s not available to anyone but you until summer) and a host of yummy treats and goodies, it’s close to $200 worth of coffee-inspired goodness for $49.95. And shipping is free.
*not all items are pictured
It may seem silly to some, but I feel like starting my day with 15 minutes of me time and a cup of my favorite Lulu + Stir coffee really sets me up for success. It makes me feel like I am ready to own the day – regardless of what life has in store for me.Things I am today: Fabulous! #LuluandStir! #EveryMomDay Click To Tweet
Lulu + Stir is a company I really believe in, and I would like to spread the Lulu love by offering a giveaway for my wonderful followers!
I received product and/or compensation in consideration for this review, all opinions are my own. Read full disclosure here. (Originally posted at Pittsford.MacaroniKid.com)
Do you have the best recipe using Eggland’s Best Eggs? Our friends at Eggland’s Best are searching for the most creative and delicious recipes from your kitchen that celebrate Eggland’s Best eggs. Does your recipe highlight the best local ingredient from your state PLUS Eggland’s Best eggs? Enter your original recipe in the “America’s Best Recipe” Contest. Each recipe must contain at least two whole Eggland’s Best eggs, and highlight an ingredient from your home state. Whether it’s a recipe using Georgia peaches or Maine lobster, Eggland’s Best is looking for America’s Best.
Representing NY State is the apple! The apple is the state fruit, and we’ve collected some amazing recipes for you here – make sure you only use NY Apples and Eggland’s Best eggs for the BEST results! I love Eggland’s Best eggs because of all the added nutritional benefits: they have less saturated fat and calories, and more Omega 3’s, Lutein and vitamins D, B, and E than other eggs. I’d like to share my nomination for America’s Best Recipe: Apple Pie Cupcakes!
My kids and I have recently gotten into the TV show Cupcake Wars (it’s on Netflix!) so I knew I wanted to make cupcakes and incorporate Apples (New York City is called the Big Apple for a reason, right?!). I found out that not only are apples the state fruit, but apple muffins are the official state muffins! Who knew? If New York were to have a state cupcake I’d be willing to bet THIS would be it!
And they are not difficult at all! You could be creative with the type of cake you use for the cupcake – but we love the butter recipe yellow cakes – they have them in store brand and name brand varieties). Check your specific box for ingredients but mine called for butter, water, and Eggland’s Best eggs. Eggland’s Best Eggs can be found in most supermarkets across the country. Click here for a store near you. Cook the cupcakes as directed. While they are cooking open a jar of apple pie filling and dice it up with a knife so that the pieces are small and you can use it to fill your cupcakes when they are ready.
I also like to make my frosting now – while the cupcakes are cooking and cooling – so it’s ready to go! You will blend the butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla until it is light and fluffy. Then add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time. The milk should be added at the very end.
After the cupcakes have cooled completely, use a knife to core out a piece of the middle – don’t go too deep or too wide – you want the cupcakes to hold together! Spoon a little pie filling into your cupcake and place the cored middle piece back on top. Then you are ready to frost the cupcakes and garnish with (optional) cinnamon and/or an apple slice. See the full recipe below!
Enter today and you could be the Grand Prize Winner and win $10,000. One winner from each state will compete for a $1,000 “Best in Region” prize, and the winners of “Best in Region” will go head-to-head to determine just who has America’s Best Recipe. For complete Contest rules, click here. Entries are being accepted from Feb 8 – April 29. Click here to enter now!
My state Primaries are coming up this week and I will exercise my right to vote, but only when my 4 children are accompanying me.
Voting has always been a topic I feel strongly on. It is the way in which our nation allows every eligible citizen the ability to influence government decision making. From the time my first child was born, I always tote them along with me because I believe it is important for them to see me participate in the voting process and learn about it first hand. We talk about it throughout the experience: why we vote… why it’s important. It is my job to shape these children into model citizens, and I personally place a high value on the importance of exercising your right to vote. I don’t value the local elections less than the Presidency, however my children are very familiar with the President and so this year should be a very educational year.Bring your kids with you to #vote - teach them how important it is! #Election2016 Click To Tweet
I want my children to learn about the voting process beginning with the importance of educating themselves about the candidates objectively. Even at a young age, I enjoy listening to who they would choose to vote for, and the explanation as to why they made the choice that they did. I want them to watch some of the debates and campaigns – but I want that to happen without having to worry about the participants acting like toddlers fighting over a green sippy cup, and I don’t want to worry that “The Hunger Games” may erupt at anytime.
There has always been mudslinging – and I have always wished that the candidates and the media would place more focus on what makes them the best candidate without putting other candidates down. When you interview for a job you arrive prepared to discuss your accomplishments, not to trash talk the other prospective candidates. I understand the need for debates – however there should be a higher focus placed on positive self-promotion than discussing your opponent negatively.
This year though – things are different. There is violence, fear, and ugliness unlike campaigns I remember in my lifetime. Issues aside & candidates aside… I am finding it difficult to expose my children to to the Presidential Campaign this year. Considering how interested my 8 year old is in current events, this truly is a shame.Make the Presidential elections more family-friendly! #Election2016 Click To Tweet
I asked my 8 year old about the qualities she would find favorable and unfavorable in a presidential candidate and these were her answers:
I can not say with certainty that she would be able to apply her current standard to ANY of the current candidates, and I believe many Americans feel the same way about the candidates this year. We should not be voting for the lesser of the evils (something I have heard frequently). We should be nominating the best of the best.
It all makes me wonder: How can we raise our children to be the kindness in the world when our nations (potential) leaders are so cruel? How many children, at one point or another, aspire to be the President of the United States when they grow up? I can remember walking through the hallways of my middle school, thinking how neat it would be to be the first woman President. (Back then, I thought it would have happened by the time I was old enough, lol) My kids think the President is “so cool.” And as the leader of our nation, the President should be a strong and capable leader, which should not include instigating violence, name-calling, assigning blame, and putting others down.
We are quick to demand zero-tolerance policies towards bullies in school – yet our election processes reward bullies with Presidential nominations. I have not heard any of the candidates asking citizens to calm down or act rationally. The politicians just keep adding fuel to the fires. It’s a contradiction that my child will not understand, and to be honest, I don’t know how to explain it to her.Bullying: Why the double standard?! #Election2016 Click To Tweet
My husband reviewed a portion of this post and mentioned that it was reading very “Anti-Trump” and believe me, it is NOT meant to be. While most of the media coverage does seem to focus on concerns within the Trump campaign, this is by no means an issue unique to Trump, Trump-protesters, or any specific political party. I am not trying to start a political debate – because my concerns and questions are on a much deeper level.
The stereotypes we accept as “normal” for politicians are shameful – especially considering the extent to which our children idolize those in elected office, especially the President. The leader of our nation should reflect the core values of a model citizen, while fulfilling the numerous responsibilities expected of that role. Obviously, the President is human, so perfection is not to be expected – but we should be able to expect professionalism.
I wish that there was a way to improve the election process to optimize the candidates’ positive strengths, while placing less of an emphasis on making competitors look bad. We should not expect less from the Presidential candidates than we would expect from a job interview, and we should have no reason to classify the election process as anything but “Family-Friendly.”
I am not sure what the answer is… but this years Presidential Election leaves me uneasy about the path which we are on (as a nation). I will be voting on Tuesday – with my kids – and spending some time thinking about how to approach this topic with my children to get us through the next 8 months.
What do YOU think? How do you handle involving your children with the election?
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I don’t consider myself “old” yet. Maybe that is silly – maybe no one realizes how old they really are?! I remember back when pagers were the thing. I had a big ol’ white pager that was handed down from my mom. My friends and I would page phone numbers as well as “codes” (143 = I love you). At that time my mom also had a car phone that was stored in (what can only be described as) a suitcase in the trunk of her car. Over the next 20 ish years cell phones got smaller – then bigger – styles changing to suit the changing demand. One trend that was clear is that everyone was making the move to mobile phones. Now a days, most people I talk to don’t have a landline anymore, relying on their cell for everything from phone calls and texting to social media and web-surfing.
A friend recently posted this on his Facebook page:
Have you ever monitored how often you are on your phone? I noticed that on average I am using some sort of social media app upwards of 3+ hours a day, 7 days a week. In one year that’s 45.5 days straight of being on my phone. 45.5 days a year that I don’t notice my kids, I forget about responsibilities and use excuses when I can’t “find the time” to get something done. Social media isn’t free if it costs you the only thing we can never get more of… Time. I’m restricting myself to less than 1 hour a day going forward. (Dave S. – Rochester, NY)
The calculations are shocking, and I am willing to bet that they are not unusual for most people these days.
Here is the part that seems to shock everyone – my household does not have a cell phone (or a landline, actually). It has been 2 years since we closed our contracts. At first, I felt naked and lost. Like a baby forced to give up the pacifier that comforts her when she’s sad, and occupies her when she’s bored. Many people tell me the reasons why they could never give up their cells – and honestly, if you don’t want to unplug then don’t – but many of the reasons I hear make me smile, because those things all apply to me too – and I thought them all before we unplugged. I have 4 children, children with special needs, in school, multiple service providers, job contacts, babysitters, family, friends… we survived without cell phones when I was a kid and we survive just fine without them today.
Without my cell phone, I am forced to be more present and “in the moment” with my children, friends, family, and people in general. I feel like I am able to be more of the mom that I want to be when I don’t get wrapped up in social media while I am out and about. I don’t check my phone at the playground, the waiting room at dance class, or in the line at the grocery store. Instead I watch my kids play if I am not pushing them on the swings. I chat with other moms/people in the waiting room, playgrounds, or lines. I flip through an occasional magazine. I have plenty of time to be social on the phone/online when I am home – during nap times and bed times and when I designate “work” time (still a balance for sure)!
So what do we do?
I have an app (Talkatone) installed on our iPad and the deactivated iPhone that provides me with voice and texting capabilities using wifi at little to no cost. With the deactivated iPhone, it will still work to call 911 so I typically keep it charged and with me in case of an emergency, and I will occasionally use it for the camera while I am out and about. I simply tell people that my phone is not a traditional cell phone and that it can only be used with wifi, so it’s more like a landline but I can make calls at locations with free wifi as well if needed – and so many places have free wifi these days from the grocery store to doctors offices and restaurants. Even though I have access to the apps anywhere there is wifi, eliminating the phone/data plans 2 years ago changed the way I rely on the phone and I find I rarely reach for it.
We save a bunch of money this way. Our internet bill is about $40/month and if I need to purchase minutes to make outbound calls (the Talkatone app provides 60 mins free a month) it’s only .99/60 mins. We also use the FaceTime on the iPad to further reduce the need for using the phone app. When we had cell phones through one of the leading national companies, we were paying upwards of $140/month on our cell phones alone – plus we had separate wifi charges as well – and the rates are only rising.
Getting rid of cell phones has saved us money, and gave us time to be present with the people in our lives and really enjoy the little moments. As strange as it sounds these days, my household does not have a cell phone – nor, do we want one.
How do you feel about your cell usage?
I do not think I have enough Mom Hacks to make this a weekly post – but I have one THIS week! Now, this may be old news to some of you – but you have to understand that this solved a big issues we have been dealing with for a while now – the kids push on the screen of our patio door and it causes the screen to detach from the frame leaving gaps for bugs to get in.
If your kids are as completely terrified of bugs as mine are (heck, I am too!), then you know how serious this can be.
Often times it means we can not leave our sliding door open to enjoy the breeze. Or, dad has to remove the door and use our handy dandy screen repair tool to repair the screen. Now this tool is amazing and the best home repair purchase we’ve made recently – we had no idea how easy it is to repair a screen! BONUS: It looks a lot better than duck tape!
But even though its an easy fix – no one wants to repair the same project every. single. day.
My mom hack? One of the inexpensive and adjustable wooden baby gates! It easily fits right into the door frame and keeps the baby and the little ones away from the screen. Even though my big kids COULD just reach over it and still touch the screen – they don’t! Just giving them that additional boundary 3 inches from the screen keeps them away from it.
It’s such a simple fix – I am just bummed we did not think of it sooner!