Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 1 September 2014

Baby toys – The Necessities

There are so. many. options. for things to purchase for your baby.  So many ideas on what is appropriate and necessary for baby to play with.  So the question is….what do you REALLY need for baby?

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Microsoft Image

During the first year of the Wingmans life, we did buy him some toys.  He had a couple stuffed animals, a couple toys that had the big rings for babies just learning to grip, some books, etc.  He had an exersaucer and when he was 10 months old I won a wooden block set in an online giveaway.  A friend gave us this fun dinosaur toy hand-me-down that has different slots to put some balls, which then bounce down stairs, swing a pendulum, or roll down a slide.  It’s pretty fun and I am very thankful it was gifted to us, because it sells for $80 brand new!

But his favorite toys were not toys at all.  His favorite toys have been…

  • Water.  He loves to touch and splash in water, whether it’s in the kiddie pool, the bath, or a bowl I fill for him.
  • Water bottles.  He loves to crinkle them and shake the water around.
  • A spatula.  I don’t know why this is so fascinating, but he loves it.
  • A shaker.  A friend got a small clear medicine bottle, filled it maybe a quarter of the way with beads, and glued the lid shut.  Wingman loves it!!!
  • An envelope.  You know those envelopes that come with the clear window to see the address through?  Wingman had so much fun with this, crinkling it and turning it.  It doesn’t even need the clear, crinkly window….he likes to play in general with the mail.  We often give him the junk mail to play with.
  • Anything outdoors.  He loves grass, wood chips, rocks, etc.  Just be careful of course with what goes in the mouth.
  • Tissue boxes.  If we let him, he would pull tissues out all day.  This only happened once though. ;)  I have plans to make him a tugging box like this one.
  • A bottle brush and nipple brush.  He loves the textures on it.

It really is true that sometimes the best toys aren’t even toys.  Personally, I think that not only does it save money, but it can develop the child’s imagination and cognitive skills better than a lot of marketed toys.  I have been really surprised to see how so many non-toys hold his interest a lot more than some of the developmental toys we have bought him.

Of course there have been manufactured toys that have helped him in reaching milestones or working on hand-eye coordination.  This stacking train, for instance, and this Sit-to-Stand Walker.  So I definitely give manufactured toys their place, too!

What did or do your babies play with?

-Bonnie

 

 

Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 28 August 2014

5 Things to Do This Weekend that Do Not Require Excessive Planning

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The weekend is coming up and there are so many options of what to do!!  Here are 5 things to do this weekend that do not require excessive planning (or money!).

1. Go on a drive.  My amazing husband and I have spent many an afternoon just driving and exploring new areas.  Not only is it fun to see new places (or revisit old ones), it is great time to talk together as a couple or family or to just sit in silence and enjoy the time together.

2. Have an in-home movie night.  Plan ahead and get a movie from Netflix or pick one up from Redbox.  Make pizza or pop popcorn.

3. Host a game night.  Invite your friends or neighbors over for some games.  Or play games with just your family  Our game night favorites have been Clue, Apples to Apples, and Catch Phrase.

4. Water fun!  Go to the local pool if you don’t have your own, buy an easy set-up pool for your yard, or turn on the sprinklers!

5. Read a book out loud.  I have fond memories growing up of both of my parents reading out loud to us as a family.  My incredible husband and I just finished reading through the Harry Potter series.  It’s a lot of fun and builds great memories!

-Bonnie

Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 25 August 2014

Spouse Deployment Survival Kit

One of my most re-pinned Pins is this one.  It’s about how to make a survival kit to give to a friend whose spouse is deployed.  When I went back to look at it today, I discovered the original link is dead, as the owner made the blog private.  But Google yielded some other great results.

I am just loving this idea!!  Deployments are looming up closer and closer for us and, knowing myself and my tendencies, I have a feeling it is going to be a battle for me to fight for joy and not give in to a full-time pity party.  I know deployments are hard on all spouses and families, and I think this is a great idea.  I have great plans to make these for a couple of my friends when their husbands deploy for the first time.

Here are some ideas for things to include in this spouse deployment survival kit…

  • Stationery and stamps
  • Chocolate
  • Journal
  • Pens
  • Encouraging book
  • Scripture verses

And because I am not the most clever person, I direct you to these awesome posts.  Great ideas for including things like marbles (for when you’ve lost yours), a sucker (because it’s ok to admit sometimes that deployments suck), tea (for the late nights when it’s hard to fall asleep) etc.  Check out the posts here, here, and here (this one even has a free printable!).

What kind of survival kits have you made?  What did you include?

-Bonnie

Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 21 August 2014

From Pinterest to Real Life

I attempted doing my own nails again.  And, as usual, it didn’t really turn out quite like Pinterest. ;)  But I had fun and I do like the result!

I used this as my main inspiration.  This is the polish I used.  While the stickers that came with this set are a major fail, I love to use the polish because the brushes are very fine-tipped.

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Then I just did free style on my nails…

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-Bonnie

Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 18 August 2014

Guest Post: True meaning of a SAHM

Today I have a guest post from my sister, Melinda.  She is an
amazing Mom of two.  I appreciate her sharing this and I

am sure many of us can relate.  I hope you are encouraged!

 

As I held my six-week-old son, I found myself frustrated. I was stuck holding a fussy baby while there was so much else I needed to do. Rather than holding him, I could have been busy reading, writing, working on business related projects, cleaning, or enjoying time to myself. Who knew how long I’d have to hold and rock this baby until he fell asleep? Who knew how long I would be distracted from other tasks while I comforted this little one?

In the first weeks of my son’s life, I found myself thinking similar thoughts countless times. Motherhood was distracting me from my real job. It kept me from working, and I would get stressed that I wouldn’t make business deadlines. Laundry piled up, and I felt like I would never be on top of it again. The apartment was in complete disarray. There was so much that I needed to take care of, but my son kept me from doing it.

Then one day when he was six-weeks-old, I caught myself as these rushed thoughts ran through my head.

He was my real job.

The laundry, the cleaning, the work—it could all wait. I am a stay-at-home mother, not a stay-at-home housecleaner or stay-at-home launderer. My primary job is to care for my children, and in this particular case, my primary job was to hold my son until he relaxed and fell asleep.

I find it so easy to get distracted. I want to be able to do it all. I want the laundry clean, folded and put away. I want the apartment spic and span. I want time to focus on me. But all those desires are distracting. My child needs me. He is the job I have chosen. He is the one that I must choose on a daily basis to dedicate my time to.

He is my real job.

When I think of motherhood as my primary job, my primary focus, I want to slow down. I want to enjoy the cuddles with a six-week-old baby, knowing that he won’t be this little for long. Yes, the laundry piles up, and the apartment could use some attention. But the laundry will always be waiting.

My son needs me.

Linking up to Titus 2sday

and

Joy Dare Blog
Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 14 August 2014

Blog Changes

So you might have noticed some changes around here…namely a few name changes.  My wonderful husband will now be known as The Pilot and our sweet son as The Wingman.

There are 3 reasons for this.

First….The Pilot is about to embark on some new training that is required for most military.  It is a very intense program that prepares them for deployments and the worst case scenario of getting shot down or otherwise captured.  For this training it is recommended to go into incognito mode on the internet so that the trainers can’t find their personal information to potentially use against them.

Second…military safety in general.  Maybe I’m paranoid, but I also can’t get that voice out of my head that is screaming Op Sec over and over.  Typically, that mostly refers to not posting specific dates or places, particularly as relating to deployments.  But I have followed military spouse blogs for years and time and time again they have posted about security on their blogs.  Many of them have opted out of using real names as well.

Third…internet safety in general.  Again, I could just be paranoid.  The chances of our family being followed or of someone stealing our identities through our blog is slim.  But there are the horror stories of that happening.

I debated whether or not changing the names would really matter that much or make much of a difference.  Perhaps sometime in the future I will go back to using their names.  But for now we are utilizing these (adorable) pseudonyms. :)

-Bonnie

Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 11 August 2014

101 in 1001

I have seen these goal lists many times but I finally decided to make one of my own.  I always think of things that I would love to do “someday”…or there are things on my mental to do list that just never get done.  So here is a written list that I am putting on our blog for accountability.  I am excited to check things off!  I will keep this list as a tab at the top of our blog and will cross off items as I complete them.  If I blog about a specific item, I will also add the link to that post.

So…here are 101 goals to be completed in 1001 days!

Start date: June 16, 2014
End date: April 26, 2017

Food and Cooking:

1. Don’t eat out for a month.

2. Make a bone broth.

3. Make homemade taquitos.

4. Find 20 new side dishes to incorporate in family meals.

 

Health:

5. Work out at least 3 times a week for 2 months

6. Do a juice cleanse.

7. Participate in a mud or color run.

8. Find recipes for, make, and use at least 3 natural cleaners.

9. Drink 8 bottles of water a day for a week straight.

10. Do 30 push-ups and sit-ups a day for two weeks straight.

11. Run a mile in less than ten minutes without stopping.

12.   Run twice a week for a month straight.

13. Do a sugar cleanse.

14. Complete the 30 Day Shred.

15. Do a detox bath.

 

Reading:

16. Participate in a reading challenge.

17. Read at least 3 marriage books.

18. Read 10 ebooks.

19. Read 2 books by Dickens.

20. Read 5 fiction books I already own.  (They can’t overlap with books for another item on my list.)

21. Read 5 nonfiction books I already own.  (They can’t overlap with books for another item on my list.)

22. Join or start a book club.

23. Read 2 biographies.

 

Blog:

24. Host a blog link-up.

25. Run a blog series.

26. Blog about at least 40 of the items on my list and how I achieved them.

27. Get 40,000 hits on my blog.

28. Comment on at least two blogs every day for a month.

29. Write a guest post for another blog.

30.  Have 3 guest posts on our blog.

 

Spiritual:

31. Spend time studying a different book of the Bible each month for 4 months.

32. Memorize one book of the Bible.

33. Go through Jonathan Edwards resolutions.

34. Go through a 30 day challenge (prayer challenge or husband encouragement challenge) and invite others to join for accountability.

35. Memorize 5 uplifting songs.

36. Listen to 10 online sermons.

37. Donate money to 5 organizations that are working for God.

 

Relationship:

38. Buy or make the Pilot a gift for no reason.

39. Go to a couples massage.

40. Go geo-caching

41. Go to a drive-in movie.

42. Take a dance class with the Pilot.

43. Surprise the Pilot with a “big” date.

44. Go on a picnic.

45. {Personal}

46. {Personal}

47. Go on a progressive dinner date.

48.  Movie theater marathon.  (2+ moves in a row)

49. Leave notes for the Pilot all around the house for him to find.

50. Have a board game date night.

 

Parenting:

51. Get involved in a play group for the Wingman.

52. Do 30 intentional activities with the Wingman.

53. Go to the zoo.

54. Read 2 parenting books.

55. Buy him a just because gift.

56. Go on 10 Mommy/Son dates.

57. Make a busy bag.

58. Find 5 new healthy snacks for the Wingman.

 

Personal:

59. Find 10 new hairstyles to try.

60. Get a makeup lesson.

61. Buy myself flowers just because.

62. Wear makeup for a week straight.

63. Begin process of becoming a certified prenatal fitness instructor.

64. Become CPR certified again.

65. Get a massage.

66.  Pick two of my clothing ideas off of Pinterest to incorporate into my real wardrobe.

 

To Learn:

67. Learn some self defense skills.

68. Learn 3 new piano pieces.

69. Learn basic sewing skills.

70. Brush up on US geography.

71. Brush up on world geography.

72. Learn to French braid.

73. Brush up on the alphabet in sign language.

74. Learn basic First Aid.

75. Learn to fold a fitted sheet.

 

For Others:

76. Write 10 letters to friends just because.

77. Send a care package to a friend just because.

78. Find ways to bless 5 strangers.  (Such as giving a server a 100% tip, paying for someone else’s drive thru order, etc)

79. Send 2 packages to Any Soldier.

80. Surprise a friend with flowers.

81. Send 5 notes of gratefulness to people who have blessed my life.

82. Bake cookies for the Pilot to take in to work.

83. Help fund an adoption.

84. Babysit someone else’s kids so they can go on a date.

 

Hospitality:

85.  Have a new friend/couple over for dinner each month for 6 months.

86. Host 10 game nights.

87. Host a mystery dinner party.

88. Host a block party.

 

Odds and Ends

89. Buy a brand new copy of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex to give to someone on Paperbackswap.

90. Complete 5 Pinterest projects.

91. Explore 10 new-to-me local businesses or stores in my town.

92. Get a sign that lists the bases we have been to.

93. Post an encouraging song on Facebook every weekend for a month.

94. Don’t ask the Pilot to help me for 3 days.  (I can do things, I’m just lazy sometimes)

95. Take a technology break for one week.

96. Spend 30 minutes writing every day for 30 days.

97. Complete wedding scrapbook.

98. Complete a crochet project.

99. Complete a cross stitch project.

100. Try Birchbox

101. Make 2 snapfish photo books.

-Bonnie

 

 

Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 7 August 2014

Disney Planes Birthday Party

Birthday parties these days can get crazy expensive.  What with it being the Wingman’s first birthday, I wanted to do something special, but didn’t want to go overboard.  For one thing, he wouldn’t remember it anyway.  For another thing….funds are not unlimited here. :)

I am pretty pleased with the results!

Since I am not a very crafty/artistic person, pretty much all of my ideas came from Pinterest.

Based off of this post, we created a runway on one of the tables.  The Pilot did a great job creating it with a plain black plastic tablecloth from The Dollar Tree and some masking tape.

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Inside the basket I put some party favors.  Walmart had a package of 36 favors for $10….score!  The disc shooter was the favorite, but the mini frisbee got some use too.

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For $12 we got a kiddie pool from Walmart.  This was quite the hit!  Our little Wingman loves the water and he had so much fun splashing away.  A friend loaned us their water table as well.  Birthday Express (which has 6% cash back on ebates) had a Planes balloon bouquet for $12.  It came with six cloud balloons, and four mylar baloons.  There were two Dusty Crophopper mylar baloons and two red star mylar baloons.

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This is one of my personal favorites.  I found this on Pinterest and sent it to my Mom.

“Do you think we can pull this off for the party?”

“Sure, we can!  It will either turn out great or be an entry on Pinterest Fails.”

I am so pleased with how it turned out!  My Mom and Grandmommy did an excellent job!

For additional snacks, we got peanuts and individual snack pouches of pretzels, which were supposed to be reminiscent of airline snacks.  I wanted to somehow incorporate Cheerios, since those are the Wingman’s favorite thing to eat.  He adored these little frozen banana snacks!

Since cakes can be quite expensive, we ended up getting a sheet cake from the local grocery store as well as a single serve slice of cake for the Wingman, which we decorated ourselves.

While it wasn’t an elaborate party, it was lots of fun planning the details.  And the Wingman had a blast.  I can’t believe he has already had his first birthday!!

-Bonnie

Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 4 August 2014

Book Review: Murder at the Mikado

Murder at the Mikado is not my typical genre….but for some reason it grabbed my interest when I read the synopsis.  I was only a few chapters in when I added the other books in the series to my Amazon wish list!

Julianna Deering writes in a style much reminiscent of Agatha Christie.  I loved the style and the language.  The mystery is gripping and draws the reader in.  At various parts, I didn’t want to stop reading because I was so curious about what would happen next.

A few chapters seemed slow but the story always picked back up again.

I definitely enjoyed this book.  It is an easy read, but very engaging.  I will definitely be interested in reading other Drew Farthering mysteries!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

Posted by: lifewithyou1222 | 4 August 2014

Society, Beauty, and the Myth of the Real Woman

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Microsoft Image

 

I have a beef with society’s concept of beauty.

I know that many people do and many people before me have blogged about it.

My take I feel is probably going to be somewhat unique.  And it might rub people the wrong way.  Bear with me.

Today’s culture is definitely putting a lot of pressure on women, teens, and tweens to look a certain way in order to be beautiful.  In order to be beautiful, you must be a certain height, have a certain bust size, and be thin.  I find this shameful.  Our daughters, and even ourselves, should not feel that kind of pressure.  Makeup, hair dye, cosmetic surgeries, eating disorders…..personally I think all of those are far too common.

But….that being said, I have a beef with society’s response to that push.  There is a vast movement of people (rightly) attempting to counteract the stereotypes and negativity.  Their campaigns run something like this, “Real women have curves.”  “Real women aren’t a size 0.”

My beef is two-fold.

First off is the use of “real women.”  In their attempt to not shame the average woman, they instead are shaming the real women who are thin.  There are real women who have skinny waists.  There are real women who have fast metabolisms.  There are real women who have small busts but their curves are no less gorgeous or sexy.

To use the term “real women” implies that the women who fit those labels are fake women.  False women.  I have seen so many blog posts or comments on social media in response to these fake women.  Accusations galore of eating disorders or photoshop or plastic surgeries.  Don’t get me wrong…eating disorders are a very serious reality for many people.  I do not at all mean to downplay that.  And I do recognize that a lot of these “perfect women” in the news are photoshopped or have had surgeries to achieve their “perfect bodies.”  But not all.

I have been ruminating on all of this for years.  I have always been thin.  I have been accused of having an eating disorder.  I have memories that are both awkward and painful because of what people have said (either directly to me or what people have said online to “my kind”).  I have had to overcome a lot of things in my personal life to accept that I am a real woman.  I have had to overcome a lot of feelings of shame about myself.  Some of it I am still working on.

God creates real women of all shapes and sizes.  So my first beef with society is that they limit real women to anyone greater than a size 6.

And now for my second beef with society.  And here I tread lightly, knowing this could be taken the wrong way.  Please know that I am not trying to be offensive.

I find it concerning that we have this big ban on saying anything about (whispers) overweight people.  I understand that bullying is a real and, unfortunately, not uncommon problem.  I understand that society is trying to correct the horrible trend of bullying.  But the answer is not to swing the opposite direction and jump on anyone who says anything about anyone being overweight.

There are some celebrities today that are plus size.  They receive a lot of accolades for accepting themselves the way they are and being a role model for the younger generations.  In some ways I totally agree.  I do not think that anyone should try to change themselves just to fit in with society.  It is hard to be different from the so-called perfect body size.  So I do applaud these celebrities.

But my question is this.  Is that really the kind of role model we want?  Do we really want to just unconditionally accept others or ourselves as overweight?

Again, in a way, yes.  Yes, we want our daughters to see people who are not bending to what culture says is hot.  We want role models who are women who aren’t afraid to embrace their talents because they aren’t what culture says is beautiful.

But, and again I tread lightly here…..being overweight is a problem.  Being overweight can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, sleep apnea, liver and kidney disease, and pregnancy problems.

It’s ironic that in our culture it’s ok to call a thin woman anorexic (because they aren’t real women, remember?)  but if someone is overweight or even dangerously close…the polite thing to do is say nothing.

To be fair, I know that there are many things other than over-eating that can cause a person to be overweight.  Sometimes medications for other health problems can cause someone to gain weight.  Some people just have big bone structure.  So I definitely would not want to narrow the discussion down to just diet.

But at the same time….to be honest, the polite thing to do is not to just keep silent.  Being overweight can have serious consequences.  So can being underweight.  Being underweight, having anorexia, over-eating and obesity all can be life threatening.  Why are we so worried about offending people that we would rather watch them slowly fade away or die of a heart attack than to just lovingly communicate?

I am not advocating that we just approach people and confront them about their weight.  That would be rude and highly offensive.

My suggestion is that rather than society talking about “real women” or what not….we should be talking about health.  The goal for every person should be health, not a specific number on the scale.  What is healthy for one woman may not be healthy for another woman.  Being underweight is not healthy.  Being overweight is not healthy.  What I think that all women (and men. and kids.) should be working toward is overall health.  Eating healthy.  Exercising.  Following good sleep patterns.

This post hits the nail on the head.  The goal is not to be skinny.  The goal is not to be large.  The goal is to be healthy.

-Bonnie

 

 

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