Thursday, July 27, 2017

On the Move: Tips & Tricks for Moving with Kids!

This post is brought to you by Northwood Realty Services and The Motherhood. All opinions and thoughts shared here are my own. 

Who loves moving?! NOT me. Moving is easily one of the most stressful times in my life. I've experienced cross-country moves more times than I care to count. Even "in town" moves can be stressful. Add kids into the mix and that's a whole new level of stress! Last month, an amazing group of mom bloggers and some local realtors with Northwood Realty got together to brainstorm how to make moving with kids less stressful!

As I sat with fellow moms in different stages of life, sharing moving tips and experiences and having knowledgeable folks from Northwood guide us and answer questions, I realized that for as many times as I have moved, I was surrounded by people with SUCH great ideas to help when the time comes again!

The last time I moved, was 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Violet, my youngest. Funny enough, I have actually moved every. time. I've been pregnant --with Andrew, the first time I was pregnant in 1999, and again when pregnant with Lily in 2010 too.  There's something to be said for not having to carry boxes or furniture, I guess.

That meant I worked really hard to have everything ready to be moved! The most difficult thing for me during a move is packing things while still living in the house with kids. I always try to ensure things are organized on both ends of the move-- leaving the old house and arriving in the new.

Families on the Move: Tips for Minimizing the Stress of Moving 

What I try to focus on aside from getting in and settled is ensuring my kids feel part of the process, connected, and comfortable.  As a blended family, some of my kids are in transition a lot and we're sensitive to the process of moving as a complete family.

  • Pack in smaller and medium boxes.  While it may seem ideal to load everything into a big box, trying to carry those oversized boxes isn't always easy! Plus, you can have the kids help carry the smaller boxes --especially their own belongings which can help ease some transition worry they may be experiencing.

  • Color code your boxes with duct tape. This helps identify boxes quickly.  This works even for little ones who aren't yet readers and they can help guide where things belong in the new house: "My boxes have pink tape!" 

  • Declutter BEFORE you move! Go through your belongings and have a yard sale, sell on Craigslist, donate.  Your kids can be involved in this process too.

  • Set up kids' rooms first.  Ensure they feel comfortable in the new house surrounded by their own belongings.

  • Have a first night tradition!  We get pizza and eat together on paper plates--simple and memorable each time!

What are some tips and tricks that have helped you in your moving process with kids? 

Are you buying or selling a home in the Pittsburgh area?  Northwood Realty Services, which is one of the region's largest real estate service providers, can help!  Northwood Realty Services has 39 offices in 30 counties in Western PA and Eastern Ohio. They can help you with each step of the buying and selling process to help make things less stressful for you! 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Girl Power #StreamTeam

I grew up in a house with my mom and dad and two brothers. I was raised believing that I could do anything to which I set my mind.  There were never limitations put on me because I was a girl.  In fact, when I was in first grade I approached a boy at the playground and excitedly said, "Vance, I'm on your baseball team!"  I remember him saying, "No you're not, girls don't play baseball."  This was 1980 and girls playing baseball was not the norm. I was one of two girls who did play baseball that year.

As a mom of both girls AND a boy, I feel an immeasurable responsibility to raise these children into capable, kind, honest, loving people.  We live without gender stereotypes in our house just as I did growing up. All six of us pitch in to our household.  My husband and I believe in all hands on deck and each member contributing to our family regardless of gender.

We have one very girly girl -- who loves dresses, hairbows and all things sparkly. She equally loves the solar system, playing in the dirt, and fishing.  Our youngest has a much more rough and tumble personality and prefers to wear pants over dresses who loves riding her scooter, playing in the dirt, and singing.  Our newly teen girl loves Harry Potter books, playing her flute, doing well in school, and hanging out with her friends.  All of them different, but all of them confident and thriving.

March 8 --International Women's Day was recognized across the world. We didn't do anything specific to celebrate, but the little girls wore their new favorite PowerPuff Girls shirt and said they had girl power as I snapped their photo.

I spent International Women's Day doing my job of being a wife and a mom. Kids up and off to school, the teenager to work, making supper, the first grader to dance class, then I went to a parent meeting for band, and a PSAT review.  There's a lot of "every day" in it, but it is my most important work.

We definitely celebrate strong women in our house, in our family, and in our world.  It is my greatest hope that my girls grow up believing anything choose to do is a possibility for them!

We love being able to find strong girls in the shows we watch on Netflix too! 
Netflix has some female characters that both boys and girls can rally behind. Violet on A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eleven on Stranger Things, Tip on Home, Lorelei on Gilmore Girls just to name a few!

What strong female characters are you watching and loving?

My kids current favorites on Netflix :





We are LOVE LOVE LOVING the all new Julie's Greenroom with the amazingly talented icon Julie Andrews!  My little girls are so excited to see the ins and outs of theater and the characters are fun!  Stay tuned for some more from us about this show and in the meantime....check it out!!

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam I was provided subscription to Netflix and also exclusive insights or other products. All opinions are my 100% my own and I was already a proud Netflix subscriber prior to this opportunity. Please see my full disclosure.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I Cheated on My Husband #StreamTeam

My husband and I like to watch lots of different types of shows. He likes a lot of epic, historical or documentary-like shows where I like a lot of crime drama, teeny-bopper, or feel-good type of shows. We seek to find something to watch together often and I love when we land on a show that we both love.  The only problem?  Our schedules don't always match up to continue and man am I ever a binge watcher.  If I have time for tv, I love to watch to finish!  Netflix always has something we can agree on!

Our latest together show is Santa Clarita Diet! I had no idea what to expect with this show, but we both like Timothy Oliphant and Drew Barrymore, so instead of reading about it, we just decided to watch it.  It was REALLY funny and more than I expected, so I'm glad we did.  The only problem?? I ended up cheating on my husband....

and kept watching this show ahead of him!

What can I say? I was hooked and didn't want to stop! And I even have my own smoothie cup!

There's one other show that we watched together and both can't wait for the next season that I cheated on him with: Stranger Things.    That was ok, though---I just rewatched and pretended I hadn't seen them! :)

On those days where I have simply JUST.HAD.ENOUGH. and the kids are FINALLY in bed and I can't wait to dive into my bed with Netflix and my late night snack of ice cream, I turn off the monitor in the little girls room, lock my door, and pretend I don't hear the 87 times my 3 year old gets out of bed to go to the bathroom/needs a drink/just wants one more kiss/has slept enough/can't fall asleep/needs to find a stuffed animal or whatever else she tries to finagle.  So I guess I cheat on mom-ing sometimes too.   Most recently I did use this one to watch a few more episodes of A Series of Unfortunate Events even after Lily had gone to bed!

Sometimes on days when I'm totally over it, I grab the iPad and plug in my headphones and just watch a few episodes of my latest binge while I'm in the same room as the kids if I'm not able to escape to a bath or my bedroom. I've just started Shameless.... why didn't I watch this earlier??? Of course, my husband has been trying to get me to watch it for years.

Some days I just need a break. A break from kids. A break from people. A break from the have-tos like laundry and cooking.  Thankfully, Netflix lets me cheat a little bit and I don't feel one bit guilty!

What are your Cheat Worthy shows on Netflix?  Here's some Netflix's favorites!
From left to right: Stranger ThingsGilmore Girls: A Year in the LifeA Series of Unfortunate EventsOne Day at a TimeUltimate Beastmaster

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam I was provided subscription to Netflix and also exclusive insights or other products. All opinions are my 100% my own and I was already a proud Netflix subscriber prior to this opportunity. Please see my full disclosure.