Positive choice discipline 

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I have been prepping this post for a while and now that I’ve had some quiet time, I thought I would finally finish it up!  I wanted to share a bit of how we use positive choice discipline in our home, both as a former educator and mom 😉  I am interested in hearing your thoughts too!  Please share!  OK, so in our house, if something is “not going right,” we give the boys (ALL THREE now that G is approaching age 2-gasp!) the following choices depending on the situation.  We ask if they need to take either a separation, a break, a rest or a time out.  We feel like this is a SUPER straightforward way to use choice discipline and easy for the boys’ co-parents to join in as well to be consistent.  Here are their descriptions as follows with an example for each!

1.  Take a separation- if the boys are just not meshing well, PHYSICAL separation (EX: Boys are roughhousing/wrestling and get too rough)

2.  Take a break- if the boys need a MENTAL break (EX:  one boy is taunting the other about a toy that they have and the other does not)

3. Take a rest- if over tiredness sets in (happens a lot!) and a rest is needed (EX:  After Christmas when everyone was exhausted and the whining was at an all-time high lol)

4. Take a time out- when there is a definite breaking of a rule, sometimes this is used with no choice, as in “you NEED to take a time out” (EX:  Hands or feet not kept to themselves)

So, how does it work, you ask?!  Well, as a foundation of behavior expectations in our home, we use the basics of 123 Magic with a few minor tweaks of our own to personalize with our boys.  We really like it and feel it works MOST of the time.  Now, when it does not, we resort to our “TAKE A…” choice discipline.  As you see above, based on the situation, the child is asked if they need to take a separation, a break, a rest or a time out.  It REALLY works and is SO great to have a go-t0 form of positive choice discipline that everyone is on the same page about for consistency!

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Boys will be boys, but we vow to raise respectful, responsible, kind, creative and loving HUMANS!

Holiday Time With Blended Families: The Golden Rule

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Hello hello!  I hope everyone had as fantastic a holiday as we did!  As I sit here typing, the house is eerily silent with the man sleeping in a bit and all three boys off to see their other families for the holidays.  I wanted o write a post about how we worked with blending our families for the holidays, and I still intend to, but it is with the caveat that I unfortunately can’t spill all of the details surrounding our blending of families YET (still litigation, not on my side, going on) but I will share as much as I can!

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Guys, holiday times are filled with magic, love and happiness. But, if you are in a blended family situation rooted in contention, it can be really challenging.  Divorce can be tough.  Mixing families can be tough.  BUT, it is possible to be MINDFUL about your relationships and even MORE possible to make everyone HAPPY!  It just takes a bit of respect, a bit of love, and a LOT of the Golden Rule!  This year, being our first Christmas together as our blended family but also recognizing that it is the first Christmas for the kids being away from their other families, we went into this with a plan: follow the golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated.

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And guess what? It worked (well, for those following said rule ;))!  We had a wonderful mix of blended family time and special time with just our crew.

We headed up to Williamstown, Mass with just our boys and us to visit Scott’s family right before Christmas. We stayed three nights and it was a TOTAL blast, like could NOT have been more fun and wonderful. While we were gone, I made sure to have the kids FaceTime with their other parental units and to include them in as much as possible. This is not simply giving the other parent access on the phone, but being sure to talk about the other parents in a positive and consistent manner so to foster those relationships.  This also means that if we are crafting or baking, I always give the children the option to gift something to their other parent.  That’s just the right thing to do. It felt right and…the golden rule.   In the end, while kids are lovely resilient creatures, they also know what’s up and DO/WILL know what’s up.

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Anyway, we got home, and then Friday my boys went to their dad’s for the night while scott, c and I Santa-Ed it up! It was nice to have some one-on-one time with him and I am sure the boys appreciated some QT with their Daddy!  Now, for Christmas Eve, it was an all-out party!  We made the decision that we REALLY wanted everyone who loves the boys to be there, so of course Ian was there and as always, we had a BLAST.  I feel super fortunate to have such an amazing relationship with my kids’ dad.  He is wonderful and Scott is wonderful for supporting our beyond-amicable relationship.  I am SO blessed.

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For Christmas morning, we did the first round of gifts with just the FOUR of us (Scott, Me, Chace and Zachary; G was still asleep and Mema hadn’t had her coffee yet lol).  It was nice to have a bit of time before everyone came back over!  The boys’ Dad came half hour into the opening and we then got G up (and Mema her coffee!!) and it was SOOOO great to be able to share in this together!  There was a LOT of love felt and I know the boys REALLY felt it and appreciated it.

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Now, Z and G are off with their Dad visiting their paternal grandparents and totally having a blast (YAY!!!!) and C is with his Mom for the week. I miss them SO much but it is nice to have some down time to relax and regroup with Scott and my boys are only a phone call away!  We try so hard to be respectful of each other’s feelings and I think that is truly our key to success: Gotta love the golden rule!

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My Personal Holiday Wish List

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Ahhh and finally…myself 🙂  This is the FINAL gift guide for 2016.  And while I am sad to not be curating any more lists and that this signals the holiday season coming to a close, I am thrilled to sit back and shop for myself 🙂  LOL.  I am also pretty sure that my family uses this guide to shop for me yearly so…you’re welcome 🙂  As always, thanks for the Blog Love.

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I feel PRETTY DAMN LUCKY…I’ve got everything that I need..But here are some extras 🙂

  1. The Tile- This isn’t really a WANT, but a NEED.  I feel sooooo badly because my guy is CONSTANTLY assisting me in finding my phone and keys and it kinda sucks.  Im pretty sure my brain is half the size it was prior to having kids, because I seriously loose EVERYTHING!  I have a feeling this baby will for SURE be under the tree for me this year (or maybe I should get it for this guy as it is he who will benefit the most!
  2. Beachwaver Pro Curling Iron- Ignore the price tag and you will agree that this curling iron is THE BEST CURLING IRON EVER.  See above picture: I curled a FEW pieces yesterday, SLEPT on it and it is STILL set right!img_5450
  3. Under Armour Eclipse Women’s sports bra in GREY- I have this baby in white, black and pink and am TOTALLY obsessed.  I am a recent convert and used to use the Moving Comfort Juno bra (you can find here too) but find these to be JUST as supportive and FAR more comfortable.  Both are great choices for high impact activities, I just find the material is softer and stays softer on the UA one.img_4036
  4. Barefoot Dreams Robe- I have been obsessed with this baby ever since I saw it on Oprah’s favorite things, but have never had the courage to bite the bullet for the hefty price tag.  They are on a good sale now.  I like the long version but they have a short version as well that look super cozy too!      screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-3-06-30-pm
  5. These flannel PJs- Guys, I am a self-admitted PJ hoarder; I can’t help it!  I am SUCH a sucker for PJs and basically live in them when inside the house (and sometimes outside too!  Gasp!). Target tends to be my go-t0 for pjs but when I found these flannel ones that are PRIME available!? 🙂 LOVE.screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-2-52-50-pm
  6. Bear Paw boots- OOPS!  Totally already bought myself these in Charcoal…I was SUCH an Ugg lover for SO long and was reluctant to try these but you cannot beat the price tag!  Only 50 bucks!  And, after wearing them for a while, I can tell you that they are JUST as good as Ugg and actually have a bit better support!  Believe it!
  7. Stamina In Motion Strider- I know I know, you’ve heard about this many times for me but I seriously cannot stop raving about it!  We even traveled with it this trip to Mass and I could not be more pleased with it!  Really- do yourself a favor…
  8. Spending the Holidays with People I want to Punch in the Throat (BOOK)- I know, it sounds harsh but OMG you guys!! Scott’s dad got me this book last year and I can’t bring myself to finish it because I don’t want it to be done!  It is seriously one of the funniest things I have EVER read so it NEEDED to be on the list!screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-09-39-pm
  9. My favorite candle ever- The only bad thing about this baby is how fast it burns and its steep price tag 🙂 BUT it smells like WOAH!  I need another…screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-13-10-pm
  10. Child’s Artwork frame display with storage!  Santa PLEASE!  Bring me THREE of these for each of the babies!  I LOOOOVE these- I saw them at Scott’s SIL house and KNEW I needed them- thanks, Cris! xo…Now, Santa…please 🙂

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Guys- I’m sad!  This is the end of my last list of this holiday season.  Tear 😦  But…DO tell me what Santa brought you this year!!!!

Run-cation and January Streak! 

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Hi hi hi!  I am coming at you from the absolutely beautiful Williamstown, Massachusetts; The hometown of my love and we so look forward to our voyages up here several times a year.  In fact, I usually really look forward to my runs here as the views are fabulous, the hills are beasts but the journeys are so satisfying.  This time though, it is tooooo cold. Those of you who know me well know that I am not a good cold-weather person at all. I especially do not like to be running and freezing my patootie off. I don’t feel like it puts me in “beast mode” but rather “hate my life mode. “And I always promised myself that if I did not enjoy running I would not do it.  So, I decided that my body could use a little reset and a little vacation from running, hence my three day run-cation while we are here!  I have not taken off three days from running since before I had Gabriel (the most being 2 consecutive days) and I think my body could definitely use it especially because…I’m streaking in January!   Every year I like to do a month-long streak. In the past years I have done it through December. This year, I’m going to start the new year off right and do a January streak. The rules are simple: run every day. If it’s a mile, great if it is six, even more fabulous! But the point is, streak run every day. I’m so stoked for this run-cation it is timing itself so well to gear me up for my streak month.  Now, while I’m here in mass, i’ll be using my peddler for about an hour daily to keep my legs loose and toned. My sweetie didn’t even give me side Eye when putting it in the car 🙂 and, I have to be honest, peddling among the Berkshires is kind of fabulous!  Anyway, just let me know if you’ll be joining me on my streak! Happy run-cation and Happy running!

Traditions of Togetherness

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I sit typing this cozy on the couch, wrapped in my robe, in front of the beautiful lit tree and the decked halls, and I cannot help but feel incredibly warm and blessed.  Our family has been through a lot and I could not be prouder with how we have ALL dealt with such changes.  We have all come out on the other side changed but incredibly blessed to have each OTHER.  I am SO thankful for my babies, their Daddy, my bonus baby and his Daddy and ALL of our extended family and friends.  Life is good.  Anyway, holiday seasons always mean a lot to me, and this year because of the aforementioned, they mean even more.  We are so excited to have developed our own traditions of togetherness for the holidays and I wanted to share some of my favorites! (Warning: photo heavy post ahead!)img_6268

  1. New Hope Ivy Railroad Polar Express– If you follow me on social media, you know that I absolutely LOVED this experience.  Like more than I could ever have imagined.  The experience was a well-oiled MAGICAL machine and kept getting better.  It really does deserve its own post, but for now, here are some pictorial highlights 🙂  It was truly beyond. As you can see they were pretty excited to get there… Well except maybe G who had no idea what was going on at first!

    The Santa was on POINT and was super nice, even obliging my request for multiple pictures as the boys’ eyes were just in some 🙂

  2. Getting our tree and putting it up!  I was QUITE impressed with the man of the house and his tree stand/lights ability!  And it was so nice to have everyone there!  We had all three boyos, 2 Daddies and me!
  3. Personal Ornaments- We thought it would be super fun to get each child their own ornament catered to their liking and guess what ?! It was SUCH a hit!
  4. Ice Skating At Winter Fest!  We did this without C 😦 unfortunately (he was with his other parent), but it is a-ok bc he informed me that he reaaaally doesn’t like ice skating.  True Story.  Anyway, if you haven’t checked out Winterfest in Philly, do it now!  It is fabulous.
  5. Advent Calendars!  We bought these babies in the beginning of November and waited with baited breath to give the boys their individual ones on December first and it has brought SOOOO much holiday fun.  I would do these again in a heartbeat!  And I love how we got each boy their own personalized ones; Z= Lego Christmas, C= Lego Star Wars and G= Thomas Trains.  Suffice it to say, they were pretty thrilled.
  6. Cookie Making!  I am being general with this one because we truly have decorated/made every single cookie you could imagine!  Ugly sweaters, gingerbread houses, reindeers, etc!

     

  7. John Denver’s Christmas with the Muppets.  Need I say more?!img_5866
  8. Dressing alike.  DUH! (And of course reading books)

    OK!  Well I hope you enjoyed our traditions of togetherness!  Please share your own!

 

 

15 Hanukkah and Stocking Stuffer Gifts for under $15!

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Phew!  Just when I FINALLY finished out Christmas shopping…this multi-religion family gets hit with Hanukkah! So, as you all know I love doing, I have put together my favorite Hanukkah (small gift) and stocking stuffer gift guide!  And the best part!? Everything is less than $15 and can suit ages 18m-5y!  Look, we have 3 boys, so price point is key!  Enjoy and as always?!  Thanks for the blog love! Oh, and you guys know it is all Prime-able, because would you expect any different 🙂 #selfadmittedprimeaddict

  1. Bingo Dabbers ($14.95, 12-count)-  I wax poetic about these babies constantly, so I will save you if you are a long time reader, but, do yourself and your kids a favor and get these.
  2. Melissa and Doug Suspend Family Game ($10.99)-  Fine.  You figured me out.  I want to play this game myself…screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-2-03-09-pm
  3. Model Magic (from $5)- My kids LOVE play dough, but when their teacher and babysitter turned them on to Model Magic, they found a new love!  Some of these kits come with tools to use with the model magic. It is different than play dough and MUCH neater 😉  Ya’ll know I love that.
  4. UNO! (from $5)- Guys, this might admittedly be my pick too 🙂
  5. Melissa and Doug Slice and Sort Wooden Eggs ($7.99)-  My boys love any “cutting toy” and it really does help with both gross and fine motor skills.  I love the color matching added fun and learning within this toy too. screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-2-15-44-pm
  6. Alex Spa Chalk Hair Spa ($10.59)- So, this package has a girl on it, which bothers me on several levels, the most being that my boys would LOVE to play with these.  It is super reasonable and comes with chalk hair pens, metallic beads and elastics!screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-2-16-18-pm
  7. Munchkin Bath Fun Bubble Blower ($10.18)- OK so this was on my gift guide last year and the kids received it. They LOOOOVED it and still do!  We even take it out of the bath area for outdoor bubble fun.  And who doesn’t love a machine who blows the bubbles for you!? And such a great price!screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-2-28-59-pm
  8. Melissa and Doug Activity pad (from less than $5)– There are soooo many good ones of these so the link will take you to a bunch, but two of my favorites are the scissors skill one and the 3-pack on the go water books focusing on numbers shapes and letters.screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-2-32-37-pm
  9. Crayola Melt N Mold Factory ($14.95)–  I’ve been eyeing this gift for quite some time and and super excited about it.  I LOVE showing kids how things are made.  Our kids use crayons so often and now they can mold their own with this adorable reasonable Crayola set!
  10. Disney Scuf Slippers (From &7.95)- I love getting the boys new slippers each year and you cannot beat the price of these!  I image the spidey ones will make an appearance in someone’s stocking this year… screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-2-42-37-pm
  11. 3 Great Books about Feelings (from $4.66)- We do a lot of work around feelings in our house with the kids.  I always feel like having books to support these concepts is a great thing.  Aside from the first one I linked to, I love “Mad Isn’t Bad” and “William Wobbly and the Very Bad Day.” 
  12. Melissa and Doug Magnet Set (from $7.99)-  I LOVE THIS SET (Mickey) that we have and so do the boys!  I hide them in a drawer in the kitchen so that if I am cooking and need something for the kids to do, I take them out and they play with them on the fridge. There are a bunch of super cute options at a very reasonable price point.  screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-2-51-08-pm
  13. Alex Toys Rub a Tub Shave in the tub kit ($12.95)-  My kids love this so much that I believe we are on our third set!  Need I say more!?
  14. Melissa and Doug Bead Bouquet Deluxe wooden bead set ($10.25)-  Guys, I am that mom who dissolves in tears when Zach gives me something he made for me in school.  I know.  Sap. I especially love the jewlery he makes for me and he sure loves creating it!  I love this set!screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-2-55-39-pm
  15. Small holiday Lego set-  OK, you know any gift guide from our house would not be complete without a Lego set!  Here is an adorable reindeer one I got Z for his stocking as well as a building brick menorah set!screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-3-01-05-pm

Okie dokie!  I hope you enjoyed!! I sure did 🙂  A always, please add your own!

 

 

Oh ma gerd. Make this meal now. 

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Y’all, I love a good pasta peas and ham dish. Simple, satisfying and hearty especially for winter.  So, last night when I went to put together our “signature dish” (the man looooves this meal too) I was dismayed to see that our frozen peas had gone missing. By the way, I still can’t find them. Gabriel?!? (He loves hiding things… favorite hiding Place is for sure the pull-out spice rack). Anyway, I scoured the fridge until I found something green that would suffice as a good substitution. And boy did I knock it out of the park! It took this homey dish to a delicacy level! 


Here is what you’ll need:

Pasta (I like the fresh refrigerated type as it takes a dish to another level)


Bunch of kale or collard greens, destemmed and chopped

Minced garlic 

Ham steak chopped or package diced ham 

Your favorite alfredo sauce 


1.  Ok. So, while your water is boiling for the pasta, heat some oil and garlic in a high sided pan. Add the greens and stir until fragrant and wilted, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Then add a half a cup or so of water and continue to let wilt. Season with salt and pepper.  Set the greens aside. 


2.  While pasta cooks, Add the ham to the now empties high-sided pan and stir a bit. Add the jar of sauce and stir until combined. 


3. Add pasta little by little, continuing to stir. 

4.  Put about 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water into the empty sauce jar. Shake to get al reminants out. Add to pan. 

5.  Stir and allow to heat through, about 3 minutes. 

6. After plating dish, add the greens to the top. 

7.  Enjoy! 

You’re welcome!  😉