Tag - family

Creating a Relaxing Summer Morning Routine

“I’m sharing affresh® in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™ #affresh

 

If you read my previous post on Summer Schedule for the kids you’ll know we like a mix of schedule and flexibility in the summer. Some mornings we sleep in and other mornings we have to get up early for play dates or errands, but we always make time for breakfast and that includes a delicious cup of coffee for me.

 

To make things run a little more smoothly in the morning I use our daily magnets to set up how our day will look so the girls will know what to expect for the day first thing in the morning.

If we are going to a play date or the pool I’ll also get any items we will need, like snacks, water bottles, pool toys or towels ready the night before so we can just grab and go. That ensures that we’re not running around trying to find items last minute and also equals less stress for everyone.

I find for me, preparing things the night before helps us to not feel rushed eating breakfast and allows us to enjoy our mornings together.

Since I drink coffee every day I want to make sure my coffee maker is fresh and clean and honestly I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing that when I’d rather be playing board games with my girls or taking them to the park.

I love the affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner. It is a speciality cleaner designed to work specifically with coffeemakers. That means it is compatible with multi-cup and single serve brewers, cleans hard water deposits and mineral build-up, and it’s super easy to use. There’s no need to mix, measure or stir, I just drop in a tablet and let it do the work. {One of my favorite things is that my whole house doesn’t smell like vinegar after it’s done cleaning.}

 

Here’s just how simple it is:

How to use for multi-cup coffeemakers:
  1. FILL the reservoir with water to max level
  2. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir. (For coffeemakers with covered reservoirs, fill the brew pot with water and dissolve 1 tablet in the brew pot, then pour solution into water reservoir)
  3. RUN 1 brew cycle (or ‘clean’ cycle if applicable) into brew pot.
  4. DISCARD dirty water from brew pot and then fill reservoir with fresh water to max level
  5. RUN 1 brew cycle using fresh water then discard to rinse the coffeemaker.
How to use for single serve brewers:
  1. FILL the reservoir to max level. Drop 1 tablet into reservoir.
  2. RUN 2 brew cycles selecting largest cup size, discarding dirty water between brews.
  3. DISCARD remaining water from reservoir. Fill reservoir with fresh water to max level.
  4. RUN 2 additional brew cycles and then discard to rinse coffeemaker.

Or as I like to say fill, drop, fizz, bubble, brew, clean!

 

For more information about affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner, check out affresh.com

 

No matter what machine you use to brew your coffee, you can’t beat a virtually hands-off cleaning product, especially when it comes to some coffeemakers that make it tricky to clean thoroughly. So if you’re dreaming of easy summer mornings and a fresh cup of coffee, affresh® Coffeemaker Cleaner may become your favorite cleaning product.

 

 

If you have a busy summer like us affresh® cleaners provide so many quick cleaning options that will allow you to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your family. Purchase your affresh® cleaners HERE.

 

What are some things you do to help summer mornings run smoother?

 

 

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Field Trip

We received admission for the children in attendance to be able to experience and write our thought about Sea Life. The experiences and opinions in this post are that of MommyBKnowsBest.com and attendees.

 

 

Miss C’s first grade class has been studying the ocean, focusing on different ocean zones, and sea animals. Their most recent project asked them to choose something that lives in the ocean and become an expert on that animal. Children chose sand dollars, blue whales, giant squid, sea otters, and more. They were also challenged to find ways that these animals were being harmed and figure out a way to help them.

Sea Life Aquariums not only help to educate people about sea animals but they too are helping the ocean to thrive. Their motto: Breed, Rescue, Protect is exactly what they do. We felt with the current unit, going to Sea Life for a first grade field trip was the perfect fit.

 

Sea Life has a lot of great offerings for field trips for schools, pre-schools, homeschoolers and many other groups. We were able to learn that Sea Life is part of the largest seahorse breeding network in the world. At the Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina location, Catherine, our guide was incredibly helpful in tips on finding the octopus, and shared with us all about the new turtle shelter.

 

 

Throughout our visit we were able to enjoy talks where we learned in-depth about sea animals living at Sea Life. We even got to see the manta ray and other fish and sharks being fed by a trained Aquarist while Kathy talked to us about methods of feeding and what breeds were in the tank.

 

 

Sea Life offers great group rates, educational workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours whether you’re learning about the ocean and sea life or just looking for a great field trip where kids will learn AND have fun at the same time. Check out their website to find more information on group tickets, field trips, and more: www.SeaLife.com

 

 

Exploring Love Languages – Words of Affirmation

 

“Words can build you up,
Words can break you down,
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out.”

 

These are some of the lyrics of the song Words by Hawk Nelson. This has been true since the beginning of the spoken word, even as children we proclaimed in a sing-songy voice “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. We sang this not because it was true, but as a chant to ward off the pain that some harsh words can bring.

Though everyone is impacted in some way by words, there are some of us that give words great value. This means that discouraging or hurtful words feel even more sharp, and words of praise and encouragement mean the world to us. If it isn’t obvious by the way I’m describing this Love Language, Words of Affirmation is the number one way I feel loved.

 

 

Welcome to another installment of the Exploring Love Languages series on MommyB Knows Best. If you still haven’t read the  or taken your 5 Love Languages test (or test your family/friends) I strongly encourage you to check it out Exploring Love Languages and How to Show Them post.

If you know your love language(s) that will help you understand how you most like to be loved and also be a good determining factor in how you typically show love. Showing love to others is great no matter what way you choose to show it but in some instances love is received best using the love language of those we pour our love into. If we really care, I believe it’s important to get to know not only their personality but their love language as well.

Let’s dive into yet another love language and learn together. Each love language is so unique and I’d love your help, if you fit in the current category or know some great ways to show love using this love language won’t you please leave a comment with some advice?

 

To someone who doesn’t share this Love Language here are some ways to express love to people who value Words of Affirmation:

Use high value words

The words love, grateful, appreciate, proud, special, needed, best are some great words to focus on when speaking with someone who likes Words of Affirmation. Can you think of any others?

Compliment them

Pick something you really like about that person and tell them, it may not come easy to compliment, but will mean the world to them. Also, the more personal and specific you can get the better. Try to compliment them in an area that you know they work especially hard in. For example, if they volunteer a lot it’s likely that’s something they love and will be honored that you think enough to mention it.

Write it down

Words of Affirmation don’t have to be spoken words, they can also be written, whether it’s in a card, text, or a short note these words will be appreciated.

Reader Megan H says, “Words is not my love language but I speak words very well as words is one of my husbands love languages and also my daughters. Simple text each day to say you love them or are thinking of them are great. Also lovers of words like cards and simple notes too.”

As with all Love Languages there are several ways to show love in the way a specific person feels it. These are just a few ways to get you started. Do you have any advice on how to love (or how not to love) a person whose love language is Words of Affirmation?? Share in the comments below and if this is your love language be sure to share this post with others.

Exploring Love Languages – Quality Time

Welcome to another installment of the Exploring Love Languages series on MommyB Knows Best. If you still haven’t read the first post or taken your 5 Love Languages test (or test your family/friends) I strongly encourage you to check it out Exploring Love Languages and How to Show Them post.

If you know your love language(s) that will help you understand how you most like to be loved and also be a good determining factor in how you typically show love. Showing love to others is great no matter what way you choose to show it but in some instances love is received best using the love language of those we pour our love into. If we really care, I believe it’s important to get to know not only their personality but their love language as well.

Join me as we dive into another love language and learn together. Each love language is so unique and I’d love your help, if you fit in the current category or know some great ways to show love using this love language won’t you please leave a comment with some advice?

 

Let’s get started with The 5 Love Languages – Quality Time

 

Quality time is often hard to come by, especially if you consider having to split that time with spouses/significant others, children, friends, extended family. Bit by bit there seems to not be enough time in the day, however if your love language is quality time it’s important to create opportunities to feed this love language.

I personally enjoy quality time though it’s not one of my top love languages, however there are several people near and dear to my heart who hold quality time above other love languages. Here are some tips for getting quality time with those you love. Please feel free to add your ideas in the comment box below as well.

 

Give someone total attention

For a person with quality time as their love language they want your full attention, now that doesn’t mean you have to stare them straight in the eye for hours on end, however it does mean that you make frequent eye contact, be a good listener, and show them you are enjoying time with them.

Do something they love

Sometimes we need to step outside our own interests and hobbies and plan quality time based on what the one you love likes to do. If you’re not sure, do some detective work, check out their Pinterest board, listen to what they talk most about, ask their friends/family. It’s especially thoughtful when that person realizes all you did to find out what they love.

Make an effort

Whether your loved one lives close by or is long distance it’s important to make an effort to spend time with them. While quality time can be a little easier if the person lives close enough to physically be together, this may not always be the case. If you are however miles apart, this means taking occasional trips to visit, making time to talk on the phone to catch up, and with the ease of technology video chatting.

Ok friends, tell me, what are your thoughts? Do you have any advice on how to love (or how not to love) a person whose love language is Quality Time?? Share in the comments below and if you feel loved with quality time be sure to share this post with others!

 

Exploring Love Languages and How to Show Them

I love exploring personalities and learning more about myself, my family, and friends and why we are the way we are. I feel like getting to know others is so valuable in understanding them, and so important for building relationships. One of my favorite tools is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

This tool helps you figure out how you and others love to be loved. If you ask me that’s pretty valuable. If you think so too, {I hope if you don’t you’ll think about why it might be a good idea to “step into someone else’s shoes”}, then I encourage you to check out The 5 Love Languages, there is a great website, books, and online resources available.

If you’d like to take the online test, head to The 5 Love Languages Website click “Learn Your Love Language” then select “Myself” or “My child” depending on whose love language you are trying to figure out.

*Note that the site starts quizzes at ages 5, which is in my opinion an appropriate age to start figuring out your child’s love language, if you are trying before this age you may have some difficulty answering the questions, but it won’t hurt to try, just know as they get older you want to retest as some answers may be swayed by maturity and not having certain life experiences.

The five Love Languages, in no specific order are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. It’s said to be true that more often than not we love others the way we like to be loved. So if you highly value physical touch for example then you are more likely to give others hugs and kisses when you want to show them love and similarly with other love languages.

 

 

On my blog I’ll be starting a series exploring ways you can show love to others using their love languages, because we know it’s easy to love the way we like to be shown love. Hopefully you’ll gain some insight into other love languages and have some easy ways to show love.

 

Puppy Love Actually – The Dog Who Saved Me

It seems like DaddyB and I went back and forth on whether or not to add a puppy to our family but once we decided we started looking into hypoallergenic breeds. We had our hearts set on a mini cockapoo and started looking online for breeders to ensure that our puppy would be 100% the breed listed because I have horrible allergies and asthma.

In starting our research, and little did we know that our new puppy would come at the perfect timing. In looking at breeds we tried to figure out which breed looked best in glasses and a hipster scarf and ended up choosing a mini schnauzer.

All kidding aside, we saw some great characteristics in the breed and found a great breeder not too far from where we lived. While we were on the waitlist we saw some adorable puppies for adoption through the breeder but we knew we wanted a salt and pepper girl {the most common, gray/white} version. We figured we would wait until April so we had the Summer to focus on the puppy, but God had other plans.

Less than a week after my mom unexpectedly passed away, we received an email that the breeder had 7 puppies and only one was a salt and pepper girl. We were filled with joy which was few and far between and knew she was destined to be our puppy.

Preparing for a puppy definitely kept us busy during a time that could have been even sadder. Though we never realized how much work a puppy is {and let me tell you, it’s a LOT}, I know in my heart that our puppy has really helped me through missing my mom. She’s sweet when I’m in tears and when I need a break from life she always wants to lay down on or next to me and cuddle. And while our entire family loves her {most days}, I think I was the one who needed her and she couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

Meet our sweet, feisty, cuddly, puppy Gracie Mae:

gracie-mae

 

We couldn’t love her more.

mommyb-gracie-collage

Tips for Younger Children with Eyeglasses

Last year Lil’ C mentioned she was having a hard time seeing things in her Kindergarten classroom. Little did I know there were several signs that I brushed off that were pointing to her needing glasses. After a visit to the eye doctor, I realized that Lil’ C’s headaches probably weren’t related to allergies but most likely from eye strain.

While I was glad we went to see the eye doctor I wish I would have figured out that C’s eyes were bothering her sooner. Regardless, we found out that her eyes only need a little bit of help as her eye muscles are still developing. The ophthalmologist said this is a pretty common issue with children in this age group.

mommyb-glassesusa

Isn’t she cute?!?!

Since I’ve never needed glasses I wasn’t sure how to properly clean them or wear them. Luckily we’ve learned some great tips on eyeglass care for children that will help C take care of her glasses.

 

“If they’re not on your face they’re in your case.” This was a rhyme that C was taught to ensure that her glasses go in a safe place when she’s not wearing her glasses.

These days having glasses is “cool” and everyone wants a chance to wear them, unfortunately it’s also an opportunity for your child’s glasses get broken. Role play with your child scenarios where they learn to be comfortable saying, “no” to their friends when it comes to trying on glasses.

Purchase at least 2 pairs of glasses in case one is broken or misplaced. Of course buying glasses can get pricey so I suggest finding the frame shape for your child and checking out discount glasses websites like the ones we found at GlassesUSA.com. Aside from having a pair that she can use in case one is damaged, we also found that it’s nice for her to have a pair in her bedroom for nighttime reading and downstairs for school work since she’s not required to wear her glasses 24/7.

Have your eye doctor, or another adult show your child the correct way to remove their glasses. Often times Lil’ C will pull her glasses off with one hand causing her glasses to need adjusting and even going as far as bending the screws in her glasses {oops}. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, but teaching your child is the best way to help their glasses last.

Purchase the protection plan. Trust me, it’s well worth it. See tip #4, C needed a new pair of glasses after bending one of her screws and scratching up her lenses a little, luckily we only had to pay a small copay for a replacement pair.

 

We received a

Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill Open in Concord North Carolina – #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post and giveaway. Any opinions expressed are my own, honest thoughts.

 

If you are a local to the Charlotte/Concord North Carolina area you may have noticed the construction right outside of Concord Mills mall. Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® are pleased to announce that they are both open for business.

 

Bloomin Brands Grand Opening of Outback & Bonefish Grill at Concord Mills Mall on 11/7/16 by Carolina Portrait Designs

Bloomin Brands Grand Opening of Outback & Bonefish Grill at Concord Mills Mall on 11/7/16 by Carolina Portrait Designs

 

Tony Reynolds, Managing Partner, Bonefish Grill says,“We look forward to serving the Concord community at the bustling Concord Mills Mall.” “Our hospitality goes far beyond our restaurant’s front doors and into the neighborhoods we serve and we’re thrilled to invite everyone to come in to sip and savor the winter season.”

 

While Concord Mills has a number of great restaurants already these two additions will give an added variety and provide more sit down restaurants for the whole family. Personally, I love the Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® brands and as a person with food allergies can attest to the professionalism that these restaurants go to to ensure each guest matters.

 

bloomin-onion1

 


{Check out my post on Dining at Bonefish Grill with a Shellfish Allergy}


On that note, I strongly encourage you to consider these two restaurants as the holidays approach. Not only are they convenient for shoppers, but also provide a great meal when cooking is the last thing on your “to-do” list.

Outback Steakhouse ® is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday – Saturday. Bonefish Grill ® is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 11 a.m. Friday – Saturday and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Oh, and if you want to buy me a stocking stuffer I hear Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® have gift certificates for purchase.

Speaking of gift certificates and giving, I’d love to give away a $50 gift certificate to your choice of either restaurant:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unsettled

As we draw near to closing out 2016 and I reflect on my life this year I can say without any uncertainty that this year has been the year I’ve most felt Unsettled.

unsettled

 

I know the reasons I’m unsettled, my mom {who I was very close with, talked to sometimes several times a day} suddenly passed away in February. That, I’m sure is the biggest reason I’m unsettled. When someone you have such a strong bond with and someone you’re used to being a part of your daily life is all of a sudden not there it makes a huge impact. It feels as if something is not quite right. I look at pictures and phone messages and there’s a hole. It’s just not right for her not to be here. Though I have peace that I will someday be reunited with her in the Kingdom of God, I miss her. I know there will be times when I can flip through photo albums and talk about her remembering the funny and sweet moments, I see glimpses of that now. But at this moment in time, I’m just not there yet.

One thing that has been a blessing through losing my mom is that my brother and sister and I have grown closer. Death can do funny things to family, it can tear you apart or bring you closer and we are the ones that have control over that, we choose to move forward or look behind us. My only option is to move forward, I don’t have it in me to spend time on anything other than that. Life is fleeting.

I know that life is so precious, and not guaranteed to us. I hate that I have friends and even my own husband who have lost their parents before me and will lose their parents after me; spouses, children, family members and close friends. Mourning isn’t easy and the closer you are to that person, at least for me, the more I feel broken.

So, I turn to God when I don’t have words to pray, but He knows my heart. I spend time with friends who understand because they’ve “been there” or care enough to “be there”. I enjoy my family, taking in the moments knowing full well that the days we have been given are gifts. I linger outside while walking the dog, closing my eyes and feeling the wind blow on my face, thankful that I have breath.

I never used to be afraid to die because I have hope that I will live forever in God’s Kingdom. Now, I guess it’s not fear as much as not wanting to leave people behind, I know what it feels like to be left behind. Yet instead of dwelling on what could be in the future I do try to live in the now.

I’m not quite there yet to be honest, I’m broken, unsettled, filling up holes with the One I know who can repair my heart and soul. If I didn’t have my faith I’m not sure how I would make it through. If I didn’t have my family I’m not sure how I would make it through. If I didn’t have my friends I’m not sure how I would make it through.

As milestones and firsts pass sometimes I’m not sure how I make it through, but I know that I do and will continue to and this feeling of being unsettled probably won’t completely leave me, but I think that’s okay. I try to remind myself it would be more unnatural not to miss my mom than the feelings I have now.

So day-by-day I turn to the things that help me settle. I pray that if you are feeling unsettled that you too can find your peace, in faith, family, friends, nature.

An Introduction to Something New – Highly Sensitive Person

If you’ve never heard of Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) you may think I’m just talking about people who cry at commercials or don’t know how to take a joke, well believe it or not being a HSP isn’t about that.

According to Dr. Elaine Aron, the authority on HSP, at least 15-20% of animal species including humans are highly sensitive. In her book The Highly Sensitive Person, she takes a researched, in-depth look at highly sensitive people.

Just as no two people are alike, no two highly sensitive people are alike.

 

This quick test taken from The Highly Sensitive Person website:


Is this you?

Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

To take the self-test or read more about HSP check out: hsperson.com


 

**Before I continue about what my experiences have been please note I am continually learning more about HSP through Dr. Aron, online groups, and daily life. I am certainly not a medical professional or an expert on HSP.

 

highly-sensitive-person

 

 

I stumbled upon HSP while looking for some tips that would help one of our daughters with some mild anxiety, little did I know, this discovery would make the past several years so much clearer as a parent and help me understand myself as well.

On my blog and social media channels I’ll be sharing my experiences with HSP both as an individual who is highly sensitive and as a mom raising two highly sensitive children. I hope that you will join me and share your own experiences as well.

 

Whether it’s someone you love who is highly sensitive or you yourself are highly sensitive or even if you’re just trying to understand others in this world, I encourage you to check out the many resources available, here are a few of my favorites:

 

Any Highly Sensitive Person books, specifically for parents – The Highly Sensitive Child

Sensitive and Extraordinary Kids

Happy Sensitive Kids

and also search Highly Sensitive groups on Facebook as well.

 

How about you? Are you familiar with HSP? Are you or someone you know an HSP???