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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Tween and Teenage Years #StreamTeam

Nothing certainly has slowed down since 2017 started and finding some time to connect with the kids and Netflix has been a little more challenging between a working teenager, basketball pep band, cheer, jazz band rehearsals, lacrosse, homework, and even the regular evening routine.

Being a parent of older kids is way more challenging than the little ones. I've been saying for years that I'd take a thousand toddlers over teenagers.  The conversations are more challenging--subjects that aren't always easy. It's difficult sending them off in different scenarios -- in a car with other teenagers or off to overnight camps. Discussing digital responsibility and the permanence of things like that are definitely not part of what I envisioned when I became a mom. Gone are the days of being able to know my weekends are full of all my kids snuggled up watching a movie with us. Now we have to check work schedules and social calendars.  We do still make sure that we connect however, even if it is "just" watching tv together.

I definitely love a classic feel good show or movie and I've totally passed that on to Lily for sure. She is empathetic and feels deeply when watching tv, listening to music, or interacting with people.

We were all looking forward a show this month that would pique the interest of the older kids when we learned that Netflix was doing an original of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

The older two, no problem -- I knew they'd easily find humor in it and Neil Patrick Harris absolutely didn't disappoint.  We're only two episodes in so far and that's only due to our family schedule! I was very cautious about Lily watching because she is so empathetic and even the premise of the show with the parents could have been enough to impact her emotionally.  We watched the first episode together and talked a lot through it with many reminders that it's pretend and just a show.  She likes it and wants to watch more, but doesn't love it like the rest of us. That doesn't surprise me at all. She's teetering between wanting a little more than "baby shows" as she calls them and still being very young.

We have always been very conservative with our kids regarding tv and movies.  People we know have let their younger kids watch The Walking Dead and we're still pretty guarded about our oldest! Even though in the last couple years or so, we've started to give him more space regarding movies and shows, we still have conversations about what he's watching and why he likes it or why he wants to watch it.  Of course, he just says we're babying him.  There's plenty of time to be exposed to enough difficult stuff in the world, there's no reason to invite it into our home through the television.

You know when you blink your eyes and they go from 1 to 17...

Once again, thank goodness for Netflix! We can always find something for everyone!

5 -x-7 -Resolutions-Pad

Count Olaf’s Dreadful Picks.

Only the most handsome, talented, brilliant man of all time could come up with a list this fantastic. Add these titles to your Netflix watch list or risk the most dreadful January yet.
“Witness the greatest act-OR of all time, obviously.”
“Any show where cats are eaten must be a good thing.”
“The Galra Empire is almost as dreadful as I am… almost.”
“A jungle where everyone fends for themselves or dies. Sounds like a great place for the kids to visit.”
“How treacherous must the alien world be to want to leave Earth. I must visit.”
“I thought those Baudelaires were pesky twerps, but they don't hold a candle to Degrassi: Next Class.”
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.

America's Greatest School Nurse

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my 100% own.

When kids get sick it's rough on everyone in the house. Unfortunately kids don't always have the convenience of getting sick at home.  When they're at school, the school nurse is there to help! My family is lucky enough to stay pretty healthy for the most part although when Lily went to kindergarten last year, she was hit with everything it seemed. Thankfully her school nurse was kind and helpful from smaller incidents like a bathroom accident all the way to a really sick girl who ended up with pneumonia. 

Elementary school nurses are some of my favorite people on the planet!  I still remember my school nurse from elementary school fondly. Her name was Kitty.  She was a huge part of our community and impacted so many of my childhood friends and peers. She was the "mom" we needed at school as kids and I'm grateful it was her.  I vividly remember going into her office in first grade crying because I was sick and it was my 7th birthday.  My mom was bringing cupcakes to school for my class to celebrate. Instead she had to pick me up to take me home. Nurse Kitty sat and held me as I cried while we waited for my mom. It was extremely impactful how caring she was about something pretty devastating to me at age 7. 

Don't think that middle school and high school nurses have it any easier! They are dealing with a lot of different ailments, hormones, medications, and the like that probably makes their jobs sometimes more challenging. School nurses have a tough gig that's for sure! 

Pfizer has decided that it was time to recognize these hardworking men and women and are having: 

*       Does your school nurse go above and beyond in educating and comforting their students? We want to hear about them! Nominations will be accepted nationwide from anyone who would like to honor their exemplary school nurse.

*       One nurse from each state plus Washington D.C. will win a prize valued at $500 and will be entered to win the grand prize: the title of America's Greatest School nurse and a trip for a getaway from school sickness.

*       For more information and to read the full contest rules and submit a nomination, visit 
Nominations will be accepted from January 9 to February 23

*       Voting will be open from April 3 to April 16  and the winners will be announced in early May.

Even with great school nurses around, kids get sick no matter how much we try to prevent it. When sick gets real, the pediatric brand of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare are there with 3 helpful tools: 
                   Children's Advil® to help with aches and pains or reducing a fever fast, Children's Robitussin® to help with cough relief and control, and Children's Dimetapp® Multi Symptom Cold Relief helps to ease stuffy and runny noses as well as a bothersome cough.

My sweet little 6 year old's class has recently been plagued by a stomach virus, a bad cough, lice, and a fever over the last few weeks. We've managed to avoid it all...until now.

Sick really did just get real in our house recently.

She finally succumbed to the cough and fever. Thankfully we have successfully avoided the other. 😷 Thankfully we had Children's Advil® and Children's Robitussin® on hand for just these reasons! We've kept her fever under control and her feeling better with Children's Advil®  and she's been able to sleep because of Children's Robitussin® Extended-Release 12 Hour Cough Relief. 
*Children's Advil® comes in several great-tasting flavors, including: Sugar-free Dye-free Berry, Bubble Gum, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape flavors. There's also Infants' Advil® White Grape, which provides unsurpassed fever relief (among OTC pain relievers) with a syringe for easy dosing for children 6-23 months.

*Children's Robitussin® Extended-Release 12 Hour Cough Relief to control and relieve symptoms all-day or all- night. Available in grape or orange flavor, for children ages 4 and up. Please note, certain Children's Robitussin® products are only suitable for children ages 6 and up.

For more information please visit Sick Just Got Real or on Facebook Sick Just Got Real