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.   

Kid’s Breakfast Ideas: Animal Pancakes

kids breakfast ideas

When I saw these adorable pancake molds, I couldn’t resist.  When Xavier and Zarriah are visiting, they wake up every morning looking forward to helping Mama make their favorite pancakes and waffles.  I’ve stocked up on pancake molds.  My stash includes:  barnyard animals and dinosaurs.  They love eating this fun shaped pancakes and I can count on a Happy Plate. What is a Happy Plate?  One that makes Mawmaw happy, and ensures the kids eat a healthy meal. 


Xavier enjoys helping me mix the batter and watching me pour it into the molds.   I must admit, I enjoy eating a fun shaped pancakes too.  These adorable shapes make breakfast exciting for the kids.  Who doesn’t want to devour a rooster, pig or dinosaur for breakfast.  I need to find a few girly molds for Zarriah.  Let the search begin.  

I found the molds on e-bay.  They’re easy to use as long as you spray the molds well with PAM as well as the griddle.  I allow the molds to heat up before I pour the batter into them.  This ensures they lift from the griddle easily I’ve found that a batter bottle or ketchup/mustard bottle works well in controlling the batter when pouring it into the molds.  I found mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $2.00.  

fun foods for kids

Make sure your kids enjoy breakfast with fun pancakes.  Add a few fresh strawberries or apple slices with the pancakes, and you’re guaranteed a happy plate too.   Bon Appetit’!

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. 

Should Boys Wear Pink?




Should baby boys wear pink? Supposedly, the color pink was designated for girls and blue designated for boys so people would be able to distinguish a baby boy from a baby girl. This theory is somewhat confusing since it’s appropriate to use “neutral” colors, mint green and yellow for both a boy and girl. If these colors are
appropriate for both, how do we distinguish the gender? We ask if we’re unsure. You know the question, I’m sure you’ve asked it a hundred times too, “Is it a boy or girl”? If asking a simple question will clarify this uncertainty, why can’t we put little boys in pink and little girls in blue and eliminate the stigma?

Could it be that we have developed a phobia and we’re afraid that if we put little boys in pink we think they will end up Gay? Afterall, pink is seen as quiet, calm and feminine color. On many occasions, I’ve heard mothers of baby boys say, “I’m not putting my baby boy in pink”.  Blue is seen as strong and steadfast, but in today’s society it’s acceptable for a woman to have these characteristics, at least to a certain point. Which leads to more contradiction.

Did you know that prisons use pink to help diffuse violence. Why aren’t the prison walls painted blue if it is a manly color?  Instead they’re painting the walls pink and encouraging men to get in touch with their feminine side.  A side that we teach little boys from infancy to not have.  We all know that violent criminals need more than a pink wall for rehabilitation, but many believe that the color pink helps with this endeavor. Pink is a soft, non-threatening color. That’s what we want our violent criminals to be, soft and non-threatening.  Shouldn’t we have put them in pink at infancy if this is the goal?

Lets look at this contradiction from another perspective. It’s inappropriate for baby boys to wear pink, why men wearing shades of pastels these days?  Lavender, corral, yellow, and pink. Yes, I said pink! I’ve witnessed it in corporate America with shirts and ties, and polos for golfers. I witnessed one of my doctors the other day wearing a beautiful fuchsia tie. I wonder if an NFL linebacker would strut a fuchsia tie or pink shirt?  Yep, we found Brandon Spikes, who is a linebacker for the New England Patriots, not only in a pink tie and shirt, but in pink from head to toe.  Brandon calls it his lucky suit.    


Here’s the infamous and gorgeous Brad Pitt.  What is he doing, he’s rocking a pink suit.  Who would have thought that one of Hollywood’s finest would be photographed in a pink suit. 



Here’s a picture of my family wearing pink to honor my son-in-law’s 95 year old grandma who recently passed.  His mother requested everyone to wear pink in honor of struggle with breast cancer.  I must say, my son-in-law is wearing pink well and did so with pride.  


So what has changed? I’m crediting the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness in helping men and society as a whole become more comfortable in wearing pink and other pastel colors.  

We love to know if you would allow your little boy or grandson to wear pink?  Would you be comfortable if your husband or significant other wore pink?  Please leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.


  

J C Penney Portrait Review

J C Penney Portraits

I’ve been wanting to have photos taken for years.  Since I don’t photograph well I was always reluctant.  When I was offered an opportunity to have photos taken at J C Penney Portraits, I accepted the offer.  It was the perfect opportunity for me to have business and casual photos taken.  We take the kids to J C Penney Portraits for many of their photo sessions and we’ve always been pleased, so I believed that I had a chance at getting at least 1 good picture.  I ended up with so many, I had a difficult time selecting my package.  


Booking the session was easy.  I went on-line and selected a date and time that fit into my schedule and received an email confirmation.  As the date got closer, I received a call from the studio to confirm the date.  Additionally, we discussed the type of photos that I wanted to take and any props that I wanted to include.  I wanted a dressy photo to use for business and one that was more casual to give to my family.  

When I arrived at the studio, I was greeted by the receptionist who was quite professional.  She helped me select the backgrounds that she believed would work best with the color of the clothing that I would be wearing.  She was right, I love them.  The photographer had a great sense of humor, and helped to make me feel at ease.  She didn’t rush through the session and gave me an opportunity to have input on poses and the result of each shot.  
From there the receptionist helped me select my package, which was fun.  It turned out to be a positive experience and I love, love, love the photos.  


J C Penney Portraits would like to offer you an opportunity to experience a photo session at their studio too.  The offer includes:


  • – 1 free traditional 8×10 ($10 value) and 1 free sitting fee ($9
    value).
  •   – Plus get 23
    portraits of your favorite pose for $7.99 or 3.99 traditional sheets (reg $10)
    plus 20% off portrait collections.
  •   – Valid till
    3/31/14

For more information, check out their exclusive offer by clicking on the link.  I was quite impressed with the photos they had on display in the studio, they were stunning.  After seeing them, I plan to have a portrait taken with my children this summer.    


J C Penney Portraits offers several packages that will fit into many budgets, which is great since most people have a tight reins on their finances.  Book your session today, it’s a great time to make memories with a spring portrait.      
  
Note:  I was compensated by J C Penney Portraits with a gift certificate for this review; however, the assessment of the studio session is my opinion alone.  



Product Review: Minted Wall Artwork

  


I love beautiful artwork.  I fell in love with this piece of artwork called Blessing II.  It was a limited addition painting by John Holyfield, who lived in West Virginia.  West Virginia just happens to be the state that I was born and raised in. His story touched my heart and so did this painting.  John Holyfield was orphaned as a child and raised by his grandparents in small town, Clarksburg, WV. He is now a renowned artist who is known for his southern flare in his paintings.  A limited edition copy of Blessing II found a home in my breakfast room.

I was contacted by a company, Minted, to review their artwork.  I jumped at the chance, since I’m always in the market for a unique piece.  I found their selection unique.  Most of the pieces have a modern flare, which I normally wouldn’t select.      


I did find several pieces of art that I liked.  I recently remodeled my office and used a Paris theme. Although I like more colorful prints, there was one entitled Rooftops of Paris that caught my eye. It would fit perfectly in my office.  



Minted offers a large selection of prints for nurseries, children, limited edition and typography in various sizes.  They also offer framing for an additional price.  I loved that the artists are from around the world.  


I found an adorable Nursery Rhyme print that would be great for a mom who’s doing the baby’s nursery in this theme.  One of my favorite rhymes was the Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe.  Is this not adorable. 


I did Pin a few prints being offered in the Photo art challenge on the site, which ended up being my favorite category.  I fell in love with the City Photo art piece below.  You can add 14 different photos to the display, it’s adorable.  I’m seriously considering this piece for my grandchildren’s photos to display in my foyer. Head over to Minted and see what catches your eye.  The Photo category alone is worth the trip.   


  
Note:  I have been compensated for this review with a gift certificate; however, my assessment of the site is my own.  

Only Children Syndromes: Fact or Fiction

This is my beautiful daughter who grow up an only child.  When I was raising her, I heard many women say that they would never have one child because they wouldn’t want them growing up alone or only children are spoiled and misbehaved.   My daughter turned out just fine.  She had playmates, she listened and she followed rules.  Now I must admit, I spoiled her rotten and I enjoyed every second of it.  Yes, she had more
than most children because she was an only child, but that’s not my problem.  I told parents who were bold enough to make comments that maybe they should have stopped at one too.  


She find herself a target by other kids at school at times.  When we got to the bottom of the harassment, we found that the child or children where envious of  her clothes, other possessions, and accomplishments.  She was called Little Princess by some of her classmates and if you can believe it by some adults.  Those with siblings seemed to be the ones who were green with envy.  I’m not saying that all children who had siblings were a problem, but I am saying that the children she had issues with had siblings.   Funny, she was suppose to be the one who ended up with problems.   

During that time, I often wondered why people believed that only children would be unhappy, selfish, spoiled, lonely and maladjusted.  The Only Children that I knew did not fall into any of these categories.  I’ve also wondered how America explained the behavior of children who misbehaved and who had siblings.  Most importantly, when our children end up with drug and alcohol problems or behind bars, does it really matter that they were Only Children, the Baby, the Middle Child or the Older Brother or Sister?

I did some research on Only Children and I’m happy to say that this article in  Psychology Today discusses some issues that parents encounter raising only children, however, the majority of only children turn out to be happy, well-adjusted adults.  It has also been proven that children with siblings often have self-esteem problems because they grow up thinking their siblings were favored or they were neglected because mom and dad had to divide their time, attention and money.  Oh lets not forget the middle child syndrome and the arguments and hatred spewed between siblings.  Psychologist have found that it can take a lifetime to work out problems created because children grew up believing they were treated unfairly by their parents or siblings.  In some situations they don’t speak for years if ever again over childhood issues that were never resolved.  

My daughter has stated that there were times she wished she had a sibling, but for the most part she was content with her upbringing.  She had my undivided attention, everything she needed, and the majority of the time she got everything she wanted.  By the age of 21, she had traveled to places that most people won’t see in a their lifetime.  I had no behavior problems with her growing up.  She did not hit, spit or bit other children nor did she disrespect any adults.  She excelled in school and had plenty of cousins and friends to play with.  To this day, she’s very sociable and respectful.    

For mothers who only have 1 child, don’t allow the myths of the “Only Child Syndrome” make you feel guilty about your decision. Personally, I believe people should have as many children as they want and can afford.  None of us know how our children are going to turn out.  Whether we have 1 child or 10, we just do the best that we can raising them.  I survived motherhood one day at a time, and it is still my motto.  


Do you have 1 child?  Did you grow up an only child?  I would love to hear your take on this issue.  Please leave us a comment. 

Self Improvement Tips: 10 Steps To A Better You

self improvement


I gave up on making New Year Resolutions years ago.  I decided to reach my goals by taking small steps rather than making big plans and than fail.  The first steps that I decided to take was making myself better as a whole.  I believed that I needed to start on the inside rather than focus on losing weight, exercising a hour a day etc.  I believe that being healthy is important, but I wanted to ensure that I was healthy on the inside before I moved to the outside. 


I spent the last year working on who I was as a person.  I must say for the most part I have been successful in achieving a better me.  Here are the 10 Steps that I took one at a time:  

  1. Surround yourself with positive people.
  2. Learn to say no and not feel guilty.
  3. Respect yourself and others will too.
  4. Embrace your flaws, we all have them.
  5. Know that obstacles are temporary and you  have the ability to remove them.
  6. Reach for your dreams whatever they may be.
  7. Nourish your soul by reading daily affirmations.
  8. Understand “Me Time” and take it.  
  9. Write down your goals and work toward them one at a time.
  10. Know that success takes time.  
I have found that I feel better emotionally and physically.  As a result of me feeling better physically I have been able to incorporate more exercise into my week.  This step has taken me one step closer to reaching my weight loss goal.  

I believe that we must first be fit on the inside before we tackle the outside.  They go hand and hand.  What are some of your goals for 2014 and how are you working to achieve them?

Note:  photo courtesy of stockvault.net