What’s In My Bag?!

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Answer: WAY TOO MUCH!  LOL.  I LOVE when magazines like US Weekly do this and I thought it would be fun to give you a peak into my (diaper)bag.  My Longchamp holds a LOT so part of the reasoning behind this post was to organize a bit 😉  So, without further ado, here is “what’s in my bag!”

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  1.  Diapers! (in a ziplock with Desitin and wipes)
  2. Snacks for the kids (applesauce and PB crackers)
  3. Snacks for me (Almond Butter biscuits)
  4. Crayons for both Conmigo and the boyos
  5. Donde Esta Spot? (for Conmigo)
  6. Spare socks for Philly Kids Gym; we go Mondays and Wednesdays for open gym so that G can run and jump around!  Try it! It only costs 10 bucks!
  7. Chuck E Cheese play passes 🙂
  8. Adventure Aquarium membership cards
  9. My FAVORITE wallet EVER; Louis Vuitton, bought in Paris when on a trip with the boys’ dad.  I LOOOOVE it and have yet to find something like it in the US.
  10. A good old ziplock with spare change for Conmigo. I like to have change for those paying with cash even though we accept credit cards too now!  I know, the ziplock is super classy 😉
  11. US Weekly magazine (from about 3 months ago because…ya know, free time lol)
  12. 3 Ninja Turtle gummies for dire need bribery (ALWAYS carry candy for emergencies… pro Mom tip!)
  13. Paper planner and pen!  oooooo I love a good planner
  14. My special “red bag.” This has become a bit of a joke in my household becuase I am always looking for my “red bag!”  While I don’t wear much makeup, any make up that I DO wear is in this bag, along with spare contacts, lens solution, spare glasses and any meds I might need.  FYI, I use THIS mascara and THIS lip stain (yes, it only costs $2).

Other things that did not make an appearance?

  • A wiffle ball to double as kid fun and runner foot rolling needs
  • Sanitizing hand wipes, because…duh
  • Hair ties and pins
  • Small board book of “Little Pookie” a favorite of ALL the boys
  • Travel size of THE BEST dry shampoo (NOT $2 LOL)

OK!  Your turn!  What is in YOUR bag?!

Have a Seat. Let me tell you a story.

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OH boy, guys, do I have some MAJORLY good stories for you (like those that belong only in soap operas) but not too many of them are appropriate just YET for the www, but I will give you a good one on which to marinate.

If you follow me on Social Media, or know me IRL, you know that I am a pretty staunch dissenter of the Trump “administration” (to which I typically refer to as “the REGIME). And also, if you know me, you know that I am on a constant quest to understand WHY people do what they do (both in my personal and public life).  In fact, it sometimes keeps me up at night 😉  So, ever since election night, I have asked at least daily (ok fiiiiiine, maybe hourly) “who ARE these people who voted for him!?!?”  I literally just don’t get it.  I have hundreds of friends on FB and literally less than 10 are Trump supporters.  Mind you, I recognize that birds of a feather flock together, so the idea that the majority of my friends would have similar political views as mine is not foreign or strange.  But I still question, “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!?”  I am going to tell you a story of one of “these people.”  I tell this story with the caveat that I am NOT a judgmental person, but that I truly seek to understand why people feel and do what they do!  And I am not judging this person, I am just telling a story…that sort of proves a point.

While in Florida, I was enjoying greatly the rooftop pool.  Scotty had all three boys in the water and I MIGHT have been luxuriating with a magazine for a moment on the lounge chair.  A woman approached me and began to make small talk.  She was older than me, and from Bethlehem, PA.  She started asking about me and my family and where we live.  She asked what I thought was the question “I don’t know WHY you’d live in Philadelphia” to which I casually laughed and answered “because we LOVE it there!”  And she corrected me saying, “NO I said I didn’t know WHITE people lived in Philadelphia.”  I was befuddled.  Did she really just say that?  So I asked her, “Did you just say that?!”  And she repeated herself.  I literally could not believe she would think that, let alone say it.  So I explained that yes, white people DO live in Philadelphia but that we are a very diverse and WELCOMING city.  She recanted with “Ugh there was that horrible incident a year ago at a parade where a bunch of black men beat up a military man!  Can you believe it?!” I answered, “Why yes I can believe it, but I am unwilling to relate it to the color of his skin.”  She did not seem thrilled with my response.  And certainly did not agree.

Interestingly enough, I had been chatting with a super nice Orthodox Jewish young mother.  As we were sitting, this woman swam up to us again, repeating her rhetoric about white people living in Philadelphia and asking the modestly-dressed Jewish woman if “she thinks that she stands out, because she sure does!”  The ignorance level was rising quickly.  She told us of a woman in the hotel lobby that was wearing a hijab. I had actually had a conversation with this woman earlier in the day in which I attempted to apologize on behalf of “our president” for the mistreatment of Muslims.   The woman in the pool continued to tell us, and I quote: “I told that woman that SHE is in AMERICA and that SHE does not need to wear that THING.”  Oh boy.  Here we go.  I kindly explained that wearing a Hijab is HER choice and that she wears it out of respect for both her husband and her religion and that most husbands and wives, regardless of religion, make certain agreements in their marital contracts.  But then, it was time.  I calmly asked her, “Are you by any chance a Trump supporter?”  I wasn’t trying to pigeon hole but I felt I was certainly getting an answer to my aforementioned question of “who voted for HIM?!”  I think that what I was really trying to understand was the level of ignorance it would take to make such a decision and I think I was finally getting there…

She, of course, took the opportunity to rave and revere The Donald and ALL of the ways that he will and is already (in her words) “Making America Great Again.”  OK, good.  You are entitled to your opinion.  But the next thing that happened BLEW. MY. MIND.

Because it was the day that Betsy DeVos was to be confirmed, I asked, “Well, what do you think about Betsy DeVos and the fact that I sit here as a mom of three who holds a masters degree in ED policy from the University of Pennsylvania and am more qualified than her?” (insert humble brag).  Lady LEGIT said “Who is Betsy DeVos?!” I could NOT believe my ears.  THESE are the people.  You don’t GET to have an opinion about who is best suited to run our country and serve in its highest office, unless you have a CLUE about what is ACTUALLY going on.  In this case, you would need to know who Besty DeVos is.

So, that is the end of my story.  I support anyone who has an opinion that they can support with FACTS.  REAL facts.  Not just ones of the alternative nature. PERIOD.

THE. END.

Valentine’s Day 2017

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“I’ve got everything that I need right in front of me.”  Name THAT movie.  No truer words. Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL day filled with much much love and gratitude.  I am just so thankful and blessed and wanted to share some fun moments from our day.  I was so excited and lucky to be able to spend some quality time with my favorite people including my guy, my kids’ dad and the boyos!  Valenting with littles is just so fun and we had all three of them yesterday.  My favorite big guy and I also had some suuuper special private moments that I will NEVER forget (details to come) and shared an AMAZING dinner from Ela!  Ela is one of our favorite special places.  In fact, we went straight to Ela after becoming engaged!

This Valentines Day, we wanted to stay IN, so Ela had the PERFECT shtick for us; a take home meal for two!  It was four courses, included a bottle of bubbly (which I promptly gave to a bestie bc #nondrinkerproblems) and only cost $100! It. Was. Everything. Fabulous. We (obviously) went with one of each.

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So, When we initially brought it home, we thought it would be a typical take home meal but boy were we wrong!  All of the meals came with individual baggies that were to be dropped in a pot of boiling water for certain amounts of time.  I will admit.  I was beyond skeptical.

BUT BOY was I wrong!  It turned out delicious, tasted FRESH from the restaurant and we were BEYOND happy with it!  The directions were clear and easy…

And the results beyond tasty!

Definitely a thought for you all for next VDay! What a fabulous idea, right!?  All in all I would say it was a pretty fantastic day and could be summed up as such…

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Tweetheart at Nest!

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Hello hello!  Happy Valentines day!  It sure is a good one for us!  I wanted to share a bit wit you about our fabulous time at Nest’s Tweetheart this past Sunday as well as some exciting up and coming happenings there!  As you know, we are a HUGE fan of Nest and I am always happy to promote and answer any questions!  You know how to reach me 🙂

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Top 3 favorites:

  1. Candy bar. Duh 😉img_8762
  2. Valentine Makingimg_8730
  3. Photo Boothfullsizerender_1
  4. Cookie and Krispie decorating!img_8761

The boys LOVED playing and mingling with the other kiddos (and lovely Nest staff).  So, here is what is new and up-and-coming at Nest!

Excellent new classes are being launched!  Here are three that look amazing to me!

World Music (Puddlejumpers Edition!) 18mo -3 yr
Wednesday 9:15- 10:00
It’s a big world out there and there’s so much to explore! Come listen, giggle, learn, and sing with NEST’s new Puddlejumper World Music Class! We’ll be exploring the globe as we travel to India, Greece, China, and more to discover how children make music and art all over the world. Incorporating creative movement, art, and music, this class will allow your busy little person to become a world traveler without all the plane crying and jet lag. Each class will feature a different and unique instrument, live music performance from one of our worldly NEST instructors, passport stamp, and art project all from the country of day! Join us for this exciting new class where the world comes alive here at NEST!  Taught by Mr. Ali!
Art SPLAT! 2yr – 3.5 yr
Wednesday 9:30 -10:15 / Sat 11:30 -12:15
Perfectly designed for our littlest artists, Art Splat is a program that encourages expression and keeps things moving! Work in open art centers, share books about great artists, and work together to create your own emulated masterpieces! Art Splat! is a fast paced, engaging toddler class that will leave you smiling and leave us to the clean up! Please note, while we are always happy to see our friends who drop in to our class, to ensure we have a dedicated set of materials and an open seat on roster, we suggest you sign up for the entire session!
NEST Dancers 3.5 – 6yr
Wednesday 4:15 – 5:15
 
Take your toe-tapping fun to the next level with our triple threat NEST Dancers class! Focusing on the FUNdamentals of ballet, modern, and hip hop, this class will help your child improve their coordination, self-expression, and best of all, self confidence! Please note! This is a progressive and cumulative program-meaning your Nestling will be working towards a Big Kid’s recital at the end of Spring 2. Demos of this class will only be available for the first four weeks in order to keep our little dancers on task!
Another SUPER cool new thing at Nest is their Make-N-Take Workshop!  Located directly on the first floor, this part- exploration, part-art studio would be super fun for any little!  Zachary and I were able to make a super cool bracelet and other projects include a terrarium and wind catcher!  Try it!
As always; if you have any questions, please reach out!  Thanks!
All opinions expressed in this post are my own. I was not compensated for this post save for my Nest membership.  

 

 

Photo Dump/ Sentence Per Picture

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Hellooooo long lost blog friends! I am so sorry to be so MIA!  Life has been buuuuusy.  In all of the best of ways, of course 😉 Anyway, I always love when fellow bloggers do these photo dump/sentence per picture posts, so I thought now would be a perfect time to try it as we have a bit of catching up to do!  Here we go!

Me and my boys on the way back from Florida (we do a post soon, synopsis is: awesome trip, way less awesome travel lol).

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One of my favorite pictures from the trip, they just look so genuinely happy (we sure do miss this little guy when he is gone).

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Brilliant centerpiece.

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He is rolling out my sore hips/butt and I am SO lucky.

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This guy (besos).

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OOTD

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Legos on their journey (from previous centerpiece) to his room.

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SO like his mama (the pretzels).

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Snow day fun, although we wish there were a tad more snow LOL!

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We have a date, ladies and gentlemen!!

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Helping your Little Deal with Emotions

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Hi everyone!  A bit more serious post today 🙂  But I wanted to share a bit of my personal/professional experience and opinion on how to help your young child deal with emotions.  As you might know, I taught elementary school for a decade and studied childhood education and policy.  But more importantly, I am a mom and I have done a TON of research on how to help our children have a healthy emotional mind.  I feel that emotional development is JUST as important as physical and educational development, and I feel that this begins at home.  I strongly feel that providing your child with an environment in which they are WELCOME to emote, to feel, to process and to be who they need to be lays the groundwork for a healthy emotional mind.  It is THE best gift you can give them.  Don’t just take my word for it; here is an article about the importance of emotional intelligence in children.

Why we Need to Teach Kids Emotional Intelligence (Psychology Weekly)

(from article) Too often, we tend to think of our kids as less sophisticated and incapable of processing or understanding the emotional complexities of their world. We think we’re protecting them by not bringing up the trickier, less pleasant subjects. But I can tell you firsthand that kids absorb a tremendous amount. Pretty much as soon as they’re verbal, children can be taught to identify and communicate their feelings. In a trusted environment where emotions are talked about openly, most kids will speak freely about their feelings and are quick to have empathy for their peers.

Here are some ways to help promote and foster emotional development in our three boys:

  1.  Scrambled Feelings Feelings Eggs and book ($15.75)- We got these eggs a few years ago when our older boys were just over 2.  We felt it was a really concrete and fun way to explore emotions with the boys at such a young age.  The book is fabulous and the eggs are great models of some basic emotions that your little might be feeling.  screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-2-56-21-pm
  2. Feelings poster (assorted, based on your individual preference)– We like to hang this in a place that is kid-friendly, like the play space as it can be used quite often.  I think that giving children examples of emotions and allowing them to point to the one that they are feeling at any given time. Children do VERY well with visual examples so this is a great tool.
  3. Talk about positive feelings as well as negative- So, I was noticing that I was focusing on the expression and feeling of “negative emotions” like sadness, nervousness, etc because I was worried that these emotions were more difficult to express and process than positive ones.  But I feel like it is important to highlight positive emotions as well, especially because I think we overuse “happy” with our kids 😉
  4. Moodsters Feeling Flashlight and Storybook ($14.89)- We LOVE this super cool storybook with accompanying flashlight that is a great teaching tool for emotions and feelings.  The product description purports to “give children a basic vocabulary of feelings and promote simple strategies that help kids handle everyday challenges.”  And it sure does!  I think Scott actually picked this out for Z a year or so ago and we have used it extensively in our quest to provide for a healthy emotional environment in our home. screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-2-57-36-pm
  5. Progressive Muscle Relaxation- There are MANY ways to do this and I am NOT an expert in this, so I feel uncomfortable directing readers to a specific site or technique, but “Google it” if you are interested!
  6. Feelings by Aliki– OMG you guys!  What a throwback to my childhood!  An oldie but goodie, I just recalled how great this book was for helping children to label feelings.  I just ordered another copy.  Can’t wait to read it to the boys.  TIP WHEN READING BOOKS LIKE THESE…screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-6-20-28-pm
  7. Refer to storybook or TV characters when discussing feelings.  It helps to relate how a character was feeling or to ask a child to surmise how he or she was feeling.
  8. Feelings Flashcards ($12.06)- I have not used these yet but they seem super cool and go along with the poster idea.
  9. Feeling ball ($10.25)- I love this and it isn’t expensive, but you could make one on your own using a Dollar Store beach ball and sharpie…as you pass it around, a child will describe the emotion their thumb lands on and give an example of a time they felt that way (or that a character in a book might have felt).screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-8-51-22-am
  10. The UnGame- So, this is actually a throwback from Scott’s childhood and I cannot wait to get my hands on this game to play with our boys!  Scott describes fond memories of this game, teaching lessons while still being a ton of fun!

Finally from the above article…

When you teach kids emotional intelligence, how to recognize their feelings, understand where they come from and learn how to deal with them, you teach them the most essential skills for their success in life. Research has shown that emotional intelligence or EQ “predicts over 54% of the variation in success (relationships, effectiveness, health, quality of life).” Additional data concludes that “young people with high EQ earn higher grades, stay in school, and make healthier choices.”

Anyway, those are just a few suggestions that I myself have been mulling over when navigating the very tough but important job of foster emotional health in our children.  Please feel free to share your own suggestions!

Friday Favorites (on Monday)!

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I know.  It is Monday. But with everything going on this weekend (need I remind you all?) I just couldn’t bring myself to post this as I cried big crocodile tears. But today?  Today is a new day…

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SO, here are my Friday Favorites!  I am super excited to start this series as I see other bloggers participating and have seen some really cool stuff!

  1.  Lil Davinci Art Frames- OMG you guys! I saw these at my future SIL’s house and KNEW I had to have them!  My lovely mom got me three for the holidays, one for each of the boys, and I LOOOOOVE them.  These frames not only display artwork in a snap, BUT they also hold additional art work!  They are amazing!  I am sure you are like me, as a mom, unwilling to throw ANY art away that your child created, and so these frames take care of all of that!  I cannot say enough good things about them!  screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-3-16-23-pm
  2. Nashville on CMT- ummmm need I say more?  Hmmm ya know what? Add to that Quantico and Scandal, and of course Bachelor and you have my weekly TV round up right there!Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 3.31.37 PM.png
  3. My Voluspa Candle- My love scored another one of these for the holiday for me so I was STOKED to crack it open last night!  Although the price tag is a bit hefty IMHO, the smell is like none else and resonates throughout the house (hmmm is resonate the correct word when dealing with smell? lol). Anyway, do yourself a favor…screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-13-10-pm
  4. My RollerLash Mascara- I feel like I’ve sung the praises of this mascara on the blog before, but it deserves another shout out. I don’t really wear a lot of makeup, but typically you will find me (when outside the house) with a hint of mascara and some highly chapped lips that make it look like I’ve done something super unnatural to them (which I promise you, this needle-phobe did NOT and WILL not). This is THE best mascara that I have found thus far and I LOVE it.  It lengthens and curls a bit too!
  5. Victoria’s Secret Clearance PJS- Yea, so I might have bought just a few pairs… img_7884
  6. My new Jacket from Bloomies Outlet!  Again, another MAJOR steal, this cocoon-style jacket zips ALL the way down to my ankles and would have made a FABULOUS “recess-duty” coat, but instead I am enjoying it as my SAHM wear-everywhere jacket.  If you know me, you know I am ALWAYS cold.  This jacket is a dream!  It was originally $350, a Mark by Mark Jacobs style but I got is for less than $50!  BOOM!fullsizerender_1
  7. Adventure Aquarium with the Fam!- We went last Monday for Mema’s birthday (my mom, the boys’ grandma) on MLK holiday and it was super fun! Unfortunately, we were missing two from our clan as C was with his mom and my guy was away on business :/ BUT it was super fun!  Next time we will all go!
  8. Swim Lessons with this guy- I think I’ve mentioned it?  But it is sooo fun to go with him every other week and, and boy, is he improving!  C really is a good swimmer!  I LOVE being in the water with him; he asks me to come, and it makes him more comfortable.  We both really look forward to it!img_7850
  9. My HUE denim leggings- OK. So, I saw these in the aforementioned Bloomingdale’s outlet and really wanted them but they did not have my size, so to Amazon I went!  I LOOOVE them. THey are soft, stretchy, have pockets and elastic waistband with button.  Win-win-win all around.  I goofed and haven’t taken any pics of myself in them .  Sorry!

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    Um, let it be known that I do NOT wear mine with heels, rather oversized sweaters and booties. 

  10. Just doing anything with these guys.  ❤  I know.  Cheesy but true…