Personalized Pacifiers As Seen On Kendra Wilkerson Show

personalized pacifiers

Looking for a great baby shower gift or a gift for your little one?  Try these adorable personalized pacifiers.  They come in an array of colors and styles and can be found at, My Pacifier.   Kendra Wilkerson and Kourtney Kardashian have used these personalized pacifiers for their sons, Hank and Mason.  They have also been featured on Today.  
Not only are they adorable, endorsed by celebrities and their babies, but they are reasonably priced.  The Designer pacifiers, shown below, are only $5.00 and the Personalized pacifiers, above, start at 3 for $15.00.  Really not a bad price for a unique gift.  I wish I had found this site when my Xavier was small.  He actually used his pacifier for 2 years, so I would have definitely gotten my money’s worth for the price.  Zarriah never used a pacifier, she was content with her fingers.  

The site offers Orthodontic pacifiers.  You can actually see what the personalized pacifier with your child’s name will look like on the site.  They have a variety of colors and symbols to choose from.  You can choose the same color or mix it up for a little variety for the personalized pacifiers.  This site is worth a visit, the pacifiers will make a great baby gift.        

5 Benefits of Teleworking/Telecommuting Jobs

teleworking


I work outside the home, and I am a telecommuting/telework mom.  Allowing employees to telework was implemented into my agency several ago.  By trade, I am an IT Specialist Supervisor.  The ability to work from home is not an option for all employees, especially those who do phone work, but for techies that can log into systems remotely and perform their duties from home it is heaven sent.  Most employees are required to report to the office at least 3 days per week for staff meetings and to sign paper work; however, we make exceptions if we need to.  We offer toll free numbers for them to call into meetings.   

I allow my staff to work from home on days that the kids are sick, deliveries are being made, medical appointments are on the agenda or they just need peace and quiet to complete a project. I take advantage of these liberties as well.

I have several requirements for my employees:  1) No kids interrupting calls, 2) No dogs barking while we’re on the call and 3) they must be signed on to their computer and get their assigned hours in for the day.  It’s a great way to be able to work in sweats and PJs in Corporate America. There are other benefits for employers and employees who implement this concept.  Here a few:


1)  Cuts down on employee’s absences.
2)  Allows employers to cut down on the expense of having a cubicle for each employee.  They can share space according to their schedules. 
3)  Cuts down on gas and parking expense for employees. 
4)  Boosts employee morale.
5)  Reduces employee stress.

For those who are interested in returning to the workforce and still being at home several days a week, this could be the perfect option for you.  Search for companies who offer this option.  You can bring home the bacon and still be a work at home mom, at least part time.

Note:  Photo courtesy of stockvault.net

Turning Wedding Gowns Into Angel Gowns: NICU Helping Hands

preemies, NICU

I wanted to share a story with you that touched my heart in so many ways.  These beautiful gowns that you see on the left were made for babies who never make it home from the hospital.  They are made from donated wedding gowns, so the mothers can use them to send their precious babies home to be with the Lord.
As many of you know, my Zarriah was a preemie.  She entered the world at 31 weeks weighing 2lbs. 10ozs, and fought for her life for 3 months in the NICU at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital in Norfolk, VA.  I’m proud to say that she is still fighting and gets time out quite often, lol.  I must also say those were 3 of the most heart wrenching months of my life.  I will always be grateful for the nurses in the NICU for their skills and the love they show the babies and parents. I am most grateful that my Zarriah survived, but my heart still bleeds for those precious babies who do not.

A lady by the name of Lisa Grubbs, founder of Angel Gowns at NICU Helping Hands, came up with the idea of turning wedding gowns into Angel Gowns to help grieving mothers in 2013.  Her husband is a specialist for premature babies.  The gowns are provided free of charge to families and hospitals across the country.  The tears are flowing as I write this post, because I can’t imagine any loss greater than the loss of a child.  I understand the fight, and I cry for those who loss their precious baby.  I also cry for those who fought the fight and won.  I understand the confusion, the despair, the desperation, sleepless nights and the many prayers.

I also know that a mother and father would be grateful to have a picture of their angel in one of these beautiful gowns as a memory, and to be able to send them on to their Heavenly Father in one will certainly help ease the pain if only for a moment.  

I’m always amazed at other’s creativity and their thoughtfulness of others.  I’m hoping that my daughter will donate her wedding gown, as she too understands the fight.  The organization is able to make approximately 12 “Angel Gowns” from one wedding dress, and all work is done by volunteers.  They are shipped across the country to hospitals for families who request them.  
I will continue to pray for families who are fighting the fight.  May each and every one be blessed in their despair or victory.    


Note:  Photo courtesy of NICU Helping Hands.  

You Call This A Prom Dress



It’s getting close to prom.  Going shopping for a prom gown/dress was always big deal in house.  My daughter and I would set aside a day and go from shop to shop to looking for that special dress and accessories.  We would muster enough strength afterwards to have dinner at a favorite restaurant and have a little girl talk. Those were special times for us.  It was an opportunity for us to bond, which is important in the teenage years, and share the latest gossip.

I still check out the latest fashion for girls since my granddaughter is a little fashionista now.  Yep at 2. She likes to pick out her own clothes and shoes, and I have so much fun looking for a bargain and shopping for her. I ran across an article promoting the latest styles in Prom dresses and I almost fell off my chair.  It’s a wonderful time in a young lady’s life when she’s asked to the Prom or makes plans to go with her friends.  She will always have the memory of shopping for her dress and all the festivities that occur on Prom night.  

Now I don’t have a problem with showing a little skin, but this dress is ridiculous.  I find it hard to believe that some designer thought it was appropriate for a teenage girl to walk into a school dance half naked.  In my opinion, this is something that you would see a celebrity wear on the red carpet, not someone’s teenage daughter.  I often wonder what goes through people’s mind.
 at times.
 

  



This one left me speechless too.  Has everyone forgotten what it’s like to be a teen?  This is just as ridiculous as the one above, but for a different reason.  Would this dress not make a teen look like they’re 50 or 60. Why does tulip keep going through my head, lol?  This would be appropriate for the bride who is fearful that her bridesmaids may look better than her on her wedding day, so she picks out a hideous dress for them to ensure they don’t upstage her.  

Short Strapless Sweetheart Prom Dress

I was happy to see one that was half-decent in the bunch.  At least it’s appropriate for a teen.  It covers her, but allows her to give off a little shoulder.  The colors are fun and the accessories minimal but catchy.  


When I shopped with my daughter I always told her that she could be sexy and beautiful without revealing her blessings to the world.  Today’s teens believe less is more, but in the wrong context. I think it’s important that we teach our daughters to respect themselves during this stage in their life.  They must learn that if they respect themselves young men will respect them as well.  I think it’s important for them to know that the boys may focus on the young lady who walks in wearing number 1, but he will never take her home to mommy.  Oh no, mommy will be able to read her from a mile away and will eventually read her the riot act.    

If you have a teen heading to the prom be sure to set aside a day and make it special.  They will always remember spending the day with you as well as Prom night itself.  Years later, my daughter still talks about our mother/daughter outings.

Photos courtesy of  www.promgirl.com, www.jjshouse.com and www.jovani.com. 

My 2014 Vegetable Garden Plan

home vegetable gardens


Spring is here and I’m making plans for my 2014 vegetable garden.  This is a picture of a few of my sunflowers from last year’s garden.  It was quite productive.  
I’m planning to put more flowers into my garden and cut back on the peppers this year since I have a nice supply stored.  My pepper focus will be belles this year for vegetable trays and the freezer.  

I started my seeds this week and have several that have germinated already.  I use my laundry room to start my seeds since they don’t need light to germinate.  I like to grow everything from seed, because it’s cheaper than purchasing plants from a garden center and because it gives me a jump start on the growing season.  Direct sowing everything can be quite challenging.

I purchase my peat pots on clearance each year from Big Lots or the Dollar Store and save them for the next season.  Each pot is filled with a seed starting mix, I use Miracle Gro, watered from the bottom by placing them in a tray filled with water, and covering them with Saran Wrap, which helps keep the pot moist and assists with germination.  Once the seeds have germinated, I immediately move them under this grow light to keep them warm and assist with growth.  My grow light is 4 foot long, so I’m able to get quite a few pots under it, and I raise the light as they get taller.

Here’s my list of seed starts for 2014.  I only plant vegetables that I will eat, can or freeze:


Fruit:



2 Sugar Baby Watermelons
1 Yellow Watermelon
2 Hales Cantaloupe

Misc.

2 Crookneck Squash
2 Zucchini


Tomatoes:



1 Mortgage Lifter 
1 Paul Robeson
1 Tiffen Mennonite
1 Oxheart
1 Early Girl
1 Delicious
1 Cherokee Purple
1 Red Brandywine
1 Sweet 100

Herbs:


2 Spicy Globe Basil
2 Genovese Basil
1 Oregano
2 Dill (Use to make dill and spicy hot pickles)
2 Cilantro (Use to make salsa)


Peppers:


1 White Belle
1 Golden Wonder
1 Mixed (It will be a surprise)
1 Jalapeno

I will be direct sowing the following:

Greens:



Blue Lake Greenbeans (Pole)
Jade Greenbeans (Bush)
Butter Crunch Lettuce
Noble Spinach

Cucumbers:


Boston Pickling
Marketmore
Lemon

Salt and Pepper

Garlic  (Already growing)
Red Onions

Carrots

Not sure I will get 100% germination, but I’m hoping for at least 80%.  I currently have 1 1/2 flats on the heating pads to germinate and about 6 starts that have already sprouted under the grow lights.  I’m hoping to have the 1/2 flat germinated by next week.  Stay tuned.  










Breakfast Recipe: Sausage, Biscuit and Gravy Bake

breakfast casseroles



This dish is so delicious we eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It’s hearty and great for week-ends when you just want to relax, have guests, or you just want to enjoy each other and reheat for lunch.  If you have kids, they love it too.  It’s a great recipe to use for a brunch or office breakfast. The best thing about the dish is it’s easy to make.  Here’s what you need:


Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork or turkey sausage  ( I used hot Italian for this one)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 refrigerated jumbo biscuits
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until crumbly and no longer pink; remove from skillet, and drain. Melt butter in skillet; whisk in flour. Whisk constantly 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly; cook 2 minutes. Stir in sausage. Grease an 11- x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray; place dish on a baking sheet. Split biscuits in half lengthwise; place 8 halves in baking dish. Top with half of sausage mixture and 1/4 cup chopped green onions. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until golden.


Serve with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit.  Yummy!

Lets Play In The Snow

kids snow activities

Snow in Virginia Beach is a rarity, but occasionally they do get a few inches.  A few inches basically shuts the city down, and the kids get to enjoy a snow day.  This is Zarriah’s first snow, and she is enjoying herself.  She helped her daddy clean off the car, made snow angels and just basically enjoyed that cold, white stuff. 


She has grown so much since she entered this world at 2lbs. 10ozs.  She is thriving and living life.  Miss Personality is quite different from her brother, she’s sassy, has a mind of her own and doesn’t take any mess from anybody.  Time out has been implemented on many occasions.   I’ve always worried about her growth and development since she was a preemie, but I worry no more.  She has developed at an acceptable rate, eats everything and mostly importantly she’s a happy baby.

Xavier and Zarriah stopped for a photo op.  It’s rare that we can get a picture of Zarriah smiling. She hates getting her picture taken and doesn’t have a problem letting it be known.  She has become more receptive of the idea, and we’ve manage to get a few good shots in.  I love this picture of her and her brother in their parkas.  I think this will be one of my favorite pictures of them.  

Although they will have to make up their snow days, the kids had a great time.  Zarriah is helping her dad clean off the car here.  I think more snow ended up on her than on the ground, but they had a great time.  

I live about 5 hours west of my grandchildren, and we got bombarded with snow almost weekly in my area.  I’m thankful that we only received inches rather than feet, but I am so ready for spring. Hopefully, this is the last snow of the season.  How do you spend your snow days?

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom’s Book Give Away

Chicken Soup Books
This book give away is perfect for the multitasking mom.  If you’re a mother, you learn to do multiple things, handle the kids, the household, the husband, your career and the list goes on . Chicken Soup for the Soul:  The Multitasking Mom’s Guide is scheduled to be released March 18. As a Soup-er Blogger for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Blog Network, I wanted to give my readers an opportunity to win a copy of this book.  We all need a little inspiration at times, especially when you’re raising children, running a home, managing your career and figuring out what’s for dinner.  What better way to look for inspiration than in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.   

The Multitasking Mom’s Guide has 101 stories by busy moms.  The book is filled with words of wisdom, lessons learned, funny moments and juggling success.  When you feel that you can’t go on or don’t know how you can do another thing, reach for this book and get a little inspiration.  I challenge you to read a story each day, meditate on the story and learn the lesson.  As a mother, grandmother, leader, manager, and mentor, I will be using this book to inspire me on my journey.  

Mother 2 Mother is giving away 3 copies of the Multitasking Mom’s Book Guide to 3 of our lucky readers.  We want you to be inspired too.   Here’s how you can win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest will end April 27, 2014 at mid-night.  The contest is open to US and Canada residents 18 or older. The winner will be notified by email and selected by Rafflecopter.   Invalid email addresses will be disqualified and another winner drawn.  The book will be sent directly to the winner from the sponsor, you will be contacted by email. 
Note:  I am a member of the Soup-er Blogger Network; however, my opinion of the Chicken Soup products are my own.   

10 Benefits of Preschool

benefits of preschool



Did you place your child in preschool or do you plan to?  Have you thought about the benefits?  I believe in early childhood education, and as a result Xavier went to preschool for 3 years before he started kindergarten.  It was money well spent, he learned skills that I believe are important for creating a strong foundation for entering kindergarten and beyond.



What he learned:  


  1. Social skills
  2. Field trips with classmates on a school bus
  3. Group participation
  4. Learning to do homework
  5. Making friends outside of family
  6. Playing well with others
  7. Daily naps without a fight or protest 
  8. Eating meals in a cafeteria style setting  
  9. Enhanced athletic skills
  10. Following directions from teachers

He’s 2 in the picture above; he’s 5 in the picture below.  How time flies.  Last year we sent him to the local recreational center for the summer so we could focus on his athletic skills.  He enjoyed his summer.  He took swimming lessons, learned basic football and basketball skills, and made new friends.

preschool activities

Research has shown that early childhood development is essential for our children.  It builds a strong foundation for success in later years and I believe it.  We have seen a payoff for both preschool and time spent at the recreational center for Xavier.  He’s reading, doing times table, writing sentences and excelling in sports.  He received an award for outstanding performance in football, and his team has made it to the championship in basketball this year.  Go Tarheels!  


early childhood development



Xavier benefited so much from preschool, we put Zarriah in as well.  She’s 2 here and loves school so much she looks forward to going every day.  Sometimes she goes on the week-end, lol.  She said her friends are there and she loves her teacher, Miss Sheila.  Look at this face, it’s 8:00 am in the morning.  She’s heading out to enjoy the day at school.  She knows her ABC’s, she can count to 10 and is learning to play well with others.  She understands Time Out and loves to read.  She has learned basic manners, excuse me, thank you and please.  When she’s ready for a nap, she says “Gaga I’m ready for bed.”  Amazing.  


We love the fact that she too will have already grasped going to school and doing homework.  She will understand the group setting concept when she enters kindergarten and her social skills will be developed.  I believe in investing in children, and there are just some things you can’t teach your at home.  Your thoughts on Preschool?

Kids Breakfast Ideas: Oatmeal Funny Face

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat breakfast?  Did I just ask that question.  Getting kids to eat any meal can be difficult at times.  I’ve been in search of fun and kid friendly recipes that can help us make meals enjoyable for our little ones and will be starting a series of posts with fun meal ideas. 


Oatmeal is big in my household, especially in the winter.  It’s hearty and warm on cold, rainy days and the kids love it.  I came across this little guy and immediately tossed him into the kids recipe box.  He’s adorable and has earned a spot on the breakfast table in the Gales household minus the squiggly lines.

It’s simple and the ingredients are healthy.  I think my 5 year old would enjoy decorating his bowl of oatmeal.  You will need the following ingredients:    

Oatmeal ( I use Maple Quaker Oats)
Sliced strawberries (eyes, nose, ears, mouth)
Raisins (eyes, hair)
Walnuts (eyebrows)

This recipe is from the book  Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts by Bill & Claire Wurtzel and can be purchased from Amazon.