Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Being checked for Lupus and other news...

Hello all! Long time no talk. So much has happened I have just not been able to keep up with the blog like I love to. Everything has been put on the back burner due to so much happening lately. So let's take a dive right in and I will give you all an update...

Let's start with the illness...
For about a year now I have been losing weight, which don't get me wrong, I have been thrilled about! I didn't think much of it because I'm a momma of 3 kiddos, I'm always busy, we moved to a place with stairs so a lot more up and down, I breastfeed, and I've just been more active than ever. Not only that but we started eating healthier (most of the time), and I eat less at meals than I used to.
Then I started getting weird rashes on my face. It usually appeared on my cheeks and bridge of my nose. I didn't think much of that either because I had been trying new facial cleansers and thought I was just having an allergic reaction. It would seem to come and go now and again so I didn't pay it much attention.
Well, the last 6 months I have been extremely tired now and again. Some days are harder than others. I again thought it was just my hectic schedule, life with 3 kids, etc. I also started experiencing extreme anxiety. Some days again are harder than others, but while I have always had a bit of anxiety it has worsened so much.
Then over the last few months I noticed a huge change in my hair. I have always had a thick head of hair. So thick that when I go to the salon to get a haircut or style they thin it out a little due to how much of it there is. That was the final straw in my symptoms. I started putting them all together.
Symptoms: weight loss, rash across cheeks and bridge of nose, off and on extreme fatigue, anxiety increase, thinning of hair.
I set up an appointment with the doctor who ran all sorts of tests. I honestly had googled my symptoms beforehand so I was going to request to be checked for a few things anyway. One being my thyroid, one being lupus, and then a few other menial issues.
When my blood work came back everything was mostly fine except for my ANA test which is what they run to check for autoimmune diseases (one being lupus). My ANA test was positive. The doctor talked with me a bit about my symptoms and said she highly suspects lupus, however, now it is just to figure out what KIND of lupus it is. So I go to a Rheumatologist in two weeks where they will again go over my symptoms and order more tests no doubt.
Thankfully I have some pictures of my rash and have been keeping track of my symptoms lately. I want to make sure I'm prepared.
Many people wonder what Lupus is. I wondered the same thing. In a short answer it is an autoimmune disease in which your body basically attacks itself. Instead of attacking the bad cells your body attacks the healthy cells. You can have flare ups which can really put you down, and then there are times the disease can go into remission and you will feel fine. People with Lupus often look very healthy on the outside, but appearances aren't everything because you can feel terrible on the inside. My mom has it so I'm not 100% clueless on it. But I was mostly clueless until I started researching it on google. The doctor gave limited information to me about it.  I will come back and update on this after my visit with the Rheumatologist, and after they get back the rest of my test results. I just wanted to keep you all up to date. I have come to terms with things though and if that IS in fact what is going on I cannot change it. I can only try to manage it. That is what I keep saying to myself to keep my stress over it down. I also joined a support group which has been so helpful with all of my questions, they have given me tips, and just been there. My husband and mom have been my rocks and they listen when I need to vent, or when I'm scared. But it's hard for them so I don't want to burden them too much. They would say I'm not of course, but I still feel like I am.

In other news...
We have reconnected with family members that we had lost touch with, and that has been very nice. We have been having more family get togethers, and just talking to each other more which has been great for everyone. We have been helping others a lot more as well which has kept us pretty busy, but it feels so great to help someone and know that you made things a little easier on them. You know that feeling? So good for the soul.

Hectic Schedules & Chores...
With everything going on lately our schedules have just been insane. We cannot seem to manage our time very well and I feel like I am doing chores or errands every second of the day, and we haven't been getting as much time just us and the kids as we need. I love spending time with other family members and it has been great having more get togethers, but every little family still needs that time of just them now and again as well.
It really comes down to poor chore/time management and trying to do too much in one day. So we are currently working on a plan of how to remedy that. I am actually going to be looking into the flylady method. Have any of you heard of it? Here is the website if you would like to check it out: www.flylady.net
I have heard a little, but am excited to learn more. Especially with zone cleaning. Now that my boys are a bit older I really think that can be helpful. They have chores currently, but most of the time they don't get them done like they need to and then I end up doing everyone's chores for them just because I want them done. Not good, I know, but it's a struggle. I'm sure all you fellow momma's out there know just what I'm talking about. Do any of you have any tips on getting your kiddos to do their chores? Or do any of you do zone cleaning? If so comment below and give me any advice, or tell me how the zone cleaning has affected your life. I would love to hear from you.

So I have been really into watching vlogs lately. It has not only really motivated me on some stuff like cleaning (I am obsessed with the clean with me, speed cleanings, power hours, etc), but it is just so nice to see other moms and families out there. I have made lots of new friends, and found a lot of favorite channels. I won't be doing vlogs personally at this time. I am considering it possibly in the future, but I am thinking of posting the occasional video now and again starting soon. The videos will be posted here as well as on youtube. Especially of grocery hauls, dollar tree hauls, clearance hauls, that kind of thing. I love watching those, and it gives me a lot of ideas on meal planning and stuff too!
I will also be switching around the look of my blog and adding a list of favorite YouTubers, and list of favorite bloggers I follow. That way if you would like to check out what I watch or read you can. :)

A new normal...
And now I'm hoping to settle in to a new normal for our family. I will be working on schedule changes, cleaning routine changes, and blog routine changes. I have missed it here, and I don't want to go so long without posting again. I want to get back to my reviews, posts, and I plan to include a lot more pictures. My new camera finally came so I'm trying to get used to it.

Until next time readers! Have a great week!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What to Pack In Your Diaper Bag When Traveling

Road travel

Spring and Summer is right around the corner, and with that comes...vacation time! Woohoo! So much time and planning goes into vacations, but when we get to the diaper bag we often find ourselves at a roadblock of what to pack. I know I do.
I'm hoping this post will help some of you parents out there pack a great diaper bag for travel!

Of course your list may vary depending on age of your children, your needs, individual baby needs, etc., but these are the things I never leave without. There are some items that stay in my diaper bag everywhere I go, and then you will see the things that come especially useful while traveling. Because let's face it while we are on a plane or in a car we can't have a big suitcase sitting right there packed to the rim with all of our needs (even if your like me and you would like to). The most we have room for is our diaper bag. So let's dive into it shall we?

  • Diapers or Pull-ups (amount varies on length of travel time so use your own judgement here)
  • A pack of Wipes (using a pack over a box will save space and you won't have to worry about the box somehow getting smashed)
  • Diaper Rash Cream
  • Two spare sippy cups or bottles. (I would say just one would be fine, but there have been plenty of instances where I have been glad to have a back-up to the back-up. Babies and toddlers like to throw stuff.)
  • A bit of coconut oil if your breastfeeding. (This is in case of dry or cracked nipples and a lactation consultant told me about this after I delivered. It is completely safe for the baby and you, has natural antibacterial and healing properties, and works wonders. I was very skeptical until I tried it. I just put some in a travel size bottle the same size you would use for shampoo. These can usually be found in a 3 pack at any dollar store, department store, or major retailer for under a few dollars.)

  • A spare outfit
  • A changing pad if your child will still fit on one.
  • An extra pair of socks
  • A small blanket (one that won't take up too much room in your bag)
  • Some baby books! We love board books and never leave without at least 2. The interactive ones that are touch and feel, lift the flap, etc are often the most entertaining.
  • A couple of little toys. For us this is a play Elmo phone, and a musical set of pretend keys).
  • A favorite stuffed animal. (Traveling can be overwhelming for your little one and they like the comfort of holding onto a favorite stuffed toy).
  • Small first aid kit (mine just has Neosporin, character bandaids, like 2 alcohol wipes, and some guaze). This is mainly for toddlers, older kids, or even yourself.
  • Disposable little trash bags for soiled diapers. They usually even carry these in little clip on tubes that just clip on the diaper bag.
  • A gallon of bigger size Ziploc bag. This takes up almost no space at all, fits in the bottom of the bag, and is great for soiled clothes or bibs.
  • Bibs if your baby is still wearing them. (Disposable ones are our favorite for travel. Simply soil and toss)
  • Disposable place mats. (These are fantastic for stopping at a restuarant).
  • Burp cloths
  • Travel infant/toddler spoons and forks if baby is eating table food. (Don't use these in the car obviously and use them supervised of course, but if you stop at a restaurant You will need these. I take at least 5 of each because my daughter is in the throwing at stage right now. That's usually enough for at least 2-3 stops.)
  • Infant fever reducer like infant Tylenol or infant ibuprofen.
  • Thermometer
  • A book for you to enjoy during any nap time for baby.
  • Your cell phone charger. I keep mine in a side zipper pocket.
  • Snacks (cheerios, goldfish, Puffs, Yogurt Melts, Applesauce or other little squeeze pouches, stuff like that)
  • A bottle of water
  • Nail clippers
  • Your wallet
  • Your keys

I usually throw in a couple extra things as well for my older kiddos too. Like an extra baggie of snacks for them too, a book for them and a travel activity pack for them, etc).

Traveling with kids on an airplane

Now for airplane travel some of these items may not be allowed. It's important to check with your preferred airline on their rules. Here is an interesting article about carry on bags though that may be helpful if you choose to go the flying route.

There may be some of you out there that are already panicking because maybe you have never had to pack a diaper bag before or packing for a trip just intimidates you. Don't be alarmed, we have all been there! Here is a handy how-to.

Now let's talk about types of diaper bags. We currently use a backpack styled diaper bag for travel because my husband carries it a lot and he prefers the backpack style.
Travel diaper bag

 I do have to say it is a lot more easier to manage in some cases. It also frees up the extra space under our stroller for anything we purchase like souvenirs, items from shopping, etc.

Any style can work, it just depends on what you pack, who will be doing most of the carrying of your diaper bag, your preferences, etc. Like I said everyone's needs and likes differ. Just don't go too crazy. Make sure your zippers aren't bursting or anything. It's important to pick a diaper bag with a lot of compartments and space. But not something so big you are going to struggle carrying it. Make sure you find your match. I have been guilty of those things myself time and again. :)

Once you find your right fit for a travel diaper bag make sure you have a handy checklist of items you want to pack. Make your list and check it twice! That way you have less to worry about, and will feel more certain you packed everything you wanted to pack.

Is there anything you must have for your travel diaper bag? And feel free to comment down below with any tips you would like to add to this list. We would be happy to hear them.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Nakturnal. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Marked In Ink

::Product Description::
Megan Massacre, one of the most popular tattoo artists and reality TV stars with starring roles in TLC's NY Ink and America's Worst Tattoos, brings her wildly popular art style to a coloring book.

Tattoo artist Megan Massacre invites adult coloring book fans into her whimsical world of sugar skulls, sailing ships, mermaids, owls, and more. Now you can add your own bold, vibrant colors to her signature edgy and artistic tattoo designs--and tear each perforated page out for display!

::My Thoughts::
This is a fantastic adult coloring book. The images are very well drawn, very interesting, and definitely creative.
The pages are also perforated so you can easily tear them out of the book. This comes in handy especially when you want to color with marker. The pages are one sided so I highly suggest when using marker that you rip the page out first. Some of the markers I tried bled through despite the fact that the paper seems to be of very good quality. Each page is nice and thick.
Just be careful because you want to make sure you have the opportunity to color every page without having to worry about colors bleeding through. This will vary depending on if you are heavy handed or not so just make a note.
I absolutely love this coloring book! I of course love adult coloring books in general because they help relax me. It is a great way to de-stress at the end of a hard day or week. It's also another great way to get creative with your imagination.
I am so enthralled with this particular book because of the different art that is throughout. It has a variety of pictures to choose from. I also find it so fascinating that these are actual tattoos and you can color them however you wish. Megan Massacre the artist was actually on the TV show NY Ink. This is her first adult coloring book, and I definitely hope to see more from her!
Some of the pictures are an easy color in while some are more intricate and take more attention to detail. You can use a variety of tools to create the colors and effects you want. Gel pens, crayons, markers, ink joy pens, colored pencils (my go to choice), or a combination of a few different tools which gives a really cool effect.
I definitely recommend this coloring book if you love to color. You won't be disappointed.

I rate this book 5 stars.
Check out this book on Amazon

::Product Details::
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; Clr Csm edition (August 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399578773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399578779
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a blogging for books member in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday 11/21/2016

Hello all! How is everyone? I apologize for my very long absence. As you all probably know I have been active on some of my social media just not all. We have had a lot of changes in the previous months, and a lot has kept me very busy. We moved, the kids have been more active in school, school has been more demanding than usual, and the hubby's work schedule has been quite a mix. So I finally feel like I have the chance to breathe again! Sometimes we just have to unplug for awhile to get our bearings, get back in touch with ourselves and family, and just refresh.
I do want to start my first blog post back with a Happy Homemaker Monday. This is Thanksgiving week and while I will be trying to play catch up I will also be very busy this week. As I'm sure you all will. I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving! If you would like to join in Happy Homemaker Monday go on over to Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and link up your post on Sandra's linky.

Photo Credit: Sandra @ familycorner.blogspot.com

::As I look outside my window::
It is sunny but cold. There are leaves on the ground, one of the kids chair's looks like it has blown off the patio so I will have to get that right after this post.

::Right now I am::
Sitting on the couch typing up this post real quick before I get started on my evening duties.

::Thinking and pondering::
About how life can be so very hectic and demanding. We get so caught up in all the demands plus the day to day that before we know it the days have passed, our children are getting older, we are getting older, and we are stuck wondering where in the world the time went. I have felt there a little lately. As I said the last few months have been a tad crazy. I'm determined to slow down no matter what and just enjoy more than I have been.

::On my bedside table::
Nothing at the moment but some adult coloring books. All of my books are still packed up waiting to be unpacked.

::On my TV::
Jane the Virgin
Gilmore Girls

::Playing on the radio::
Not playing the radio at the moment.

::On the menu for this week::
Monday- Grilled Cheese, Broccoli, and Fried Apples
Tuesday- Spaghetti & Cheesy Toast
Wednesday- Oven Baked Chicken, Salad, and Apple Slices
Thursday- Thanksgiving Dinner (I will not be making the entire meal this year for Thanksgiving. We are only making a few things and we will be going to my mom's to enjoy this year's Thanksgiving with family. I will list the things I will be making first, followed by the other things we will have on the menu. We have a lot of people coming this year so it will be a big dinner and others are bringing some stuff as well.
What I'm making: Ham, green bean casserole, oreo truffles, deviled eggs, BBQ Smokies, stuffing.
What else we will be having which others are bringing and my mom is making most of it: Oven Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, veggie, cheese and cracker tray, fruit salad, Pecan Pie, and Pumpkin Pie. 
There will also be an assortment of homemade candies. My mom makes candy and cookies every holiday and packs up little goody bags for everyone to take with them when they leave. It's something that I'm going to start doing when we host and let the kids help. We usually always have made cookies to give others, but I haven't done the candy except maybe once or twice.
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Family movie night we will be having a Goonie Themed Movie Night and ordering pizza, having Lay's Potato Chips, Pepsi, Baby Ruth's, etc. Definitely not the healthiest meal, but a lot of fun for the kids.
Sunday- Homemade Cheeseburgers and Fries

::On my to do list::
At this point in the day I have mostly done everything. I am joining in with this post very late in the day. I am about to help the kids with their homework, and do the lunch dishes left in the sink (our dishwasher is on the fritz and so I have had to hand-wash everything and we can't get it fixed until the week after thanksgiving. Speaking of hand-washing dishes does anyone out there still hand wash their dishes? If so do you prefer sponges or dish cloths? I'm just curious I have used both before, but so many say that dish cloths are a lot better and more sanitary.  I need to start dinner, and re-organize a few things in the living room to get ready for the Christmas Tree. I'm hoping to get that up the day after Thanksgiving.

::What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting, or creating::
I have been coloring with colored pencils in my adult coloring books. I find it VERY relaxing and therapeutic. I also need to sew my son a cape for his Grover Stuffed Animal. 

::My simple pleasure::
Playing board games with my family.

::Lesson learned this past week::
Age doesn't measure maturity.

::Looking around the house::
The kids have strewn their backpacks wherever so I need to have them put them in their place. They are revved up this week in anticipation of the holiday. :)

::Prayer list::
Some family and friends that are going through a tough time right now. Especially this time of year. As much as we all look forward to the holidays remember there are a lot of people out there that find this time of year a real struggle. Especially when it comes to finances. I know we have been there ourselves and could very well be there again at any given time. Regardless of the reason just think of all those out there that could be having a tough time and pray for them.

::Bible Verse / Devotional::

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Heart Most Certain

::From the back of the book::
While Lydia King's reasons for joining the Teaville Moral Society might be suspect to some members, her heart is in the right place. Because of her father's debts and her mother's persistent illness, her best chance at a secure future and curing her mother is to impress the politician courting her. Her first task--to ask the town's wealthiest man to donate--seems simple enough . . . until he refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas Lowe wants to help others, but prefers to keep his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, but Nicholas still intends to do things his own way. Neither predicts what they'll learn about true charity or foresee the complications their actions will bring to the town, forcing Lydia to decide where her beliefs and heart truly align.

::My Thoughts::
Typically it takes me a few chapters into a book to become really immersed, but this book had me from start to finish! I was captivated! It is very well written, the characters are very well put together, and the writing style will sweep you away.
This isn't your typical written historical romance fiction book. It holds so much information, and really a great look at how some people are, good and bad. Thought provoking doesn't even begin to describe this book.
At first I was so annoyed by Lydia. I know her background isn't great, but her way of thinking and going about things got on my nerves. It didn't last throughout the whole story thankfully, and without giving too much away I will leave it at that.
It isn't just a great read, but rather a book that will make you think. Particularly about judging others without knowing them, about love, compassion, charity, beliefs, etc.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this book. It's like a roller coaster ride if I must be honest. Definitely not in a bad way because I can't sing enough praises for this book. I definitely recommend this if you like historical fiction novels, especially Christian ones. I do have to say it has some sensitive topics, and some characters that young readers shouldn't be introduced to. There are prostitutes in this book, but it does talk about how sometimes women back then had little option.
Despite prostitutes being in this book it is a clean romance novel so no worries there if you don't like to read more in depth on that topic.
This is book one in this series, and I cannot wait to read book two. There are some secondary characters that I would love to learn more about as well.
If you would like to check it out, just click here.

::Product Description::
  • Series: Teaville Moral Society
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764217518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764217517

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My Little Prayers

::From the back of this book::
The bestselling My Little® series, with more than 2 million copies sold, is a compact collection of books that will have a big impact on the hearts of your children. My Little Prayers will help you introduce your children to prayer.
My Little Prayers teaches children both classic and modern prayers surrounding subjects such as mealtimes, bedtime, playtime, time with God, and others as well as prayer for times when children are fearful, happy, or sad. New illustrations in the same perfect format for the small hands of your toddlers and preschoolers make My Little Prayers a wonderful gift for a variety of occasions, and it is just the right size to tuck into a birthday gift bag or Easter basket.
Children will learn a big lesson from this little book: that we can talk to God any time we want and that He always listens.

::My Thoughts::
This is such an adorable children's book. This has great prayers for everything, and they are easy to remember and repeat. The book is small enough for your child's hands to hold easily, and it makes it the perfect little gift as well. This can be great wrapped, in a gift bag, in a stocking, an Easter basket, etc. I love the illustrations in this book! The pictures are so well done, and colorful. This is sure to capture your children's attention, and a great guide for them to learn many prayers. There are so many great prayers packed into this little book. There are prayers for feelings whether your little one is feeling scared, happy, sad, etc. There are also prayers for mealtimes, bedtime, playtime, God time, etc. It just goes to show you can pray and talk to God whenever you want. I definitely recommend this book for your little ones. All three of my children love it. Prayer is big in our house, and even my oldest son who is almost nine likes to read the prayers, and has learned quite a few of them. My five year old is often reading through the prayers, and my one year old loves it to be read to her as well. I can't rave about this book enough. It is fantastic!

Find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

::Product Details::
  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Reissue edition (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718040198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718040192

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How Do I Love Thee? A devotional journal for wives

::Book Description::
Happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of chance as it is a matter of choice. Choosing to be happy means choosing to think on things that are good and noble and right and lovely and pure—including your spouse’s most positive, admirable, and endearing qualities. Our marriages can’t help but benefit when we discipline ourselves to do this. That’s the purpose of this journal in a nutshell. Whether you’re writing, drawing, pasting, or coloring in it, each page, prompt, and verse is designed to help you recall and record the things you love most about your husband, to reflect on your most cherished memories, and to recognize God’s hand at work in your relationship. I pray you will be richly blessed as you meditate on God’s Word and allow it to shape your life and marriage.

::My Thoughts::
This is a really beautiful journal, and I haven't seen anything quite like it before. I have seen them to write memories for your children, but never for wives which is very important. This book is especially for wives to write down things about their marriage, and husband. There are helpful prompts, passages, and it's a great way to get you to take a look at the important parts of your marriage. There are places to tape/glue pictures, or draw them, and you can just make the pages how you want. The clip art is adorable and classy with plenty of pages you can color yourself. I find writing in this journal to be very therapeutic. There are a lot of meaningful bible verses and passages contained within as well.
This would be the perfect gift for a new bride, or even any married woman. It is literally for the whole journey of marriage start to finish. It starts out at the beginnings, talks about God's plan, goes through romance, children, and it's just something to keep throughout all your years.
What a great keepsake to have when your older to be able to reflect on your marriage. And how awesome for your children to look at this one day, and pass it on through generations. I don't know about everyone else, but I would have loved to have a book like this from my grandma or even great-grandma or before her!
This is a Christian book, and really shows how to love your spouse deeper in all way. It's a great way to keep you on track with scriptures, and faith as well. Sometimes life can get so busy and we are human we get swept right up in it not realizing what we are neglecting. It's the little things we don't always catch.
All in all this is a fantastic journal and I can't recommend it enough. It really got me thinking, looking back on me and hubby's journey from start to now, and thinking of the future. 
If you would like to check it out for yourself and add this amazing journal to your home just click HERE.

::Product Description::
  • Diary: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Prescott Publishing (August 24, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938945158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938945151

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a BookCrash member in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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