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Does it add up? (experiment)

This is a fun experiment that’s almost like a magic trick. I came upon this when we were having fun with the materials for the Sky Blue Experiment and Cutie Pie was trying to make his own little experiment.

Since this involves both water and rubbing alcohol, which look the same when in a clear container, you can easily leave your child totally confused if you don’t let them know you are using two different liquids! (I’ll leave it up to you if you’d like to be a magician or not!)

Does it add up Experiment

 

It goes without saying that this is a science experiment, so use protective clothing, cover your workspace if you deem it necessary and make sure there is an adult around! Read more

It’s OK to ask for help

Coming upstairs I could hear Sweet Pea trying to open his bedroom door. I gave the knob a turn to help and saw him with his messy bed hair stooped over trying desperately to hold onto about 15 of his lovies while also trying to scoop up another.

Words It's OK to Ask for Help

Isn’t this just like how we often try to break through whatever we’re struggling with, while still juggling everything else? Some times we just need to let someone help us.

As moms we have this false expectation that we have got to do it all. I think this is true for others in light of letting God in ~ why let Him in when we are managing? In both cases we are so caught up in getting through that we can’t see there is someone who can help.

It’s ok to ask for help, just like children do. Sometimes that’s the only way we can make it through whatever we’re dealing with or trying to accomplish. Are there things other family members can do? Are your kids actually old enough to help with a few things?

It’s not only good for us to have help, it’s good for our family to see we are not the SuperMom they think we are. It makes us a real-life example for them. It shows them we are vulnerable, real. And this makes us stronger.

So Beautiful Mom reading this, be strong and ask for help. I know it’s hard, but it’s a good hard.

A Game by Other Rules

Gramma’s visits always give us several opportunities to play games. On this occasion, Sweet Pea pulled out Fish, a cute card set with pictures of fish which you can either play Memory or Go Fish with. the Twist…Sweet Pea made up his own rules to Go Fish!

His rules included everyone getting the number of cards that matched their age (except for Gramma, because there weren’t enough cards!) Play goes from youngest to oldest and the youngest plays with all his cards showing. After a few minutes the boys decided to play according to the proper rules and they still had fun!

I know we should teach our kids to follow rules, but I think there is room for discovery and exploration if we give a little wiggle room. I love watching how things turn out when the rules are altered. Many times it results in trial and error, other times not so much. One thing that often times results is a lot of fun experiencing something new!

What would happen if we changed the rules to other games? Hmmm…give it a try and see!

(Sometimes I wish I were still young enough to make my own rules for life!)

 

Snow-covered yard

snowy yard with words Snow Brings PeaceI look out the window at a snow-covered yard. Pristine. Not a single footprint.

It’s like looking at a picture of a dessert when the wind is still.

The shadow from the tree looks like a picture.

Cold, white, smooth. Did I mention cold?

I stand and wonder when the peaceful display before me will be tarnished. When will footprints tarnish the landscape?

Walking path through the snow

It reminds me of going through a dark time. While there it seems never-ending. Still. Alone. Cold. Like the path shown  in this picture. The walls of snow are too high to waver from it. If anything more falls it will be hard to see out from the path set before me.

But dark times are not peaceful. And they are not white. They are sometimes tarnished so much we cannot see it. (I think of a past post The Father’s Path)

Sometimes we can feel alone as a mom. We feel isolated due to the cold weather and not being able to get out, or we just are not able to connect with another person even when the sun is shining. Our kids are our focus and all of our energy is poured into them with little left over for ourselves. It’s so easy to get cold.

snow-covered yard undisturbed with swing set

Think of the snow-covered yard. Hiding under the brilliant white snow an amazing work is happening. Miniscule work, but it’s happening and will result in green grass, colorful flowers and lots of life. We cannot see it looking at the still layer of snow almost protecting everything from fun and laughter.

This will happen in our lives as moms, too. We will see the fruitful result of our love pouring into our children. We will see the sun shining on our toes and theirs as well feel the oppressive cold snow lift and our smiles return.

child playing in a snowbank

For now know that you are not alone. You are growing, just as they are. You are emerging as a beautiful flower. The process is just harder to see because you are the one changing through this cold time. It’s hard to see a beautiful snow sculpture in the beginning stages, too…

Snow brings peace. It really does – eventually!

Winter break fun

Winter break is supposed to be filled with cold and fun in this part of the country (Rochester, NY area), however this break has been a little too much for us! I don’t mean to complain, I know there are a lot of others who have much more snow and have been experiencing much colder temperatures. We’ve only had temperatures hovering around zero with wind chills sometimes making it feel like -30.

We have been able to get outside once, but for the most part this winter weather is just too dangerously cold to enjoy all the snow! I’ll post more about some of the fun we had next week! (As well as tips on dressing for this weather!)

Here are some photos from our winter-y winter break for you to enjoy! Think of it as a reminder why you don’t live here, or as living vicariously for those of you who miss the snow!

Do your kids have a winter break? What have they been up to?

 

 

Coffee Filter Flowers

Coffee Filter Flowers. Simple creative fun for any day.

Sweet pea loves playing with water and color, so we used some medicine droppers and water with food coloring added and had some fun just playing. We got to combine colors, experiment with how we used the medicine droppers, so much to explore!

Then we made our flowers! This isn’t something I came up with, rather a quick search on Pinterest for simple coffee filter flowers will bring many results for how to manipulate the coffee filters into pretty flowers with chenille stems.

This is such an easy craft. But something about scrunching up the centers of these coffee filters when they are dry and wrapping them with a chenille stem to resemble flowers always melts the heart!

Have a wonderful time sharing love to those around you with pretty flowers!

 

Morning Routine – time to change it?

Last week we looked briefly at daily rhythms, daily routines, and weekly rhythms and saw they can really help ourselves and our families. Today is just a little reminder to take inventory of one little space in your day, if you haven’t already!

What does your morning routine look like?

Getting yourself ready should be part of your morning routine! Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean everyone else is ready to walk out the door for the bus and you are walking out in your pjs…unless you want to, of course! Read more

Daily Rhythm for Kids

In the years I had two boys at home with me and a hubby at work all day I developed a few routines that I continue today. Not out of obsessive habit, but rather because they work for me, for my family. I stumbled upon them quite innocently enough and thought maybe some of you might want to hear about them, maybe they might work for you. I’ll be sharing a few this week, but I tend to group them into what I call my weekly and daily rhythms rather than calling them routines. It is great to build routines/rhythms, for more than just yourself! Keep reading to find out why!

 

Affiliate links imageAre you trying to figure out your daily rhythm? If you’ve got little ones at home, it might be helpful to discover your child’s daily rhythm as well!

When my Cutie Pie was a little tiny baby I had a difficult time discerning whether he was hungry, tired, or overstimulated. I know this is something a lot of parents can tell naturally, but I just couldn’t. When he was just a couple of months old a friend gave me the best book, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. It was just what we needed!

Rhythms for Kids http://momistheonlygirl.comDiscovering my baby’s daily rhythm

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Daily Rhythm and Meal Planning

Meal Planning as part of a daily rhythm at http://momistheonlygirl.comIt is so important to include meal planning in your daily rhythm. When you review your two weeks on the daily time tracker I provided yesterday, you will undoubtedly notice you spend time preparing meals regularly! Why not make this part of your day by planning for it?

There are so many meal planning resources on the internet that I won’t try to add to them with explanations or printables of my own. Instead I will share some of the sites for you to click to and explore which might work for you along with a few tips to meal planning.

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Build Routines – Daily Rhythms

In the years I had two boys at home with me and a hubby at work all day I developed a few routines that I continue today. Not out of obsessive habit, but rather because they work for me, for my family. I stumbled upon them quite innocently enough and thought maybe some of you might want to hear about them, maybe they might work for you. I’ll be sharing a few this week, but I tend to group them into what I call my weekly and daily rhythms rather than calling them routines. It is great to build routines/rhythms, for more than just yourself! Keep reading to find out why!

 

Grocery store trip

Seemed like clockwork hubby would run out of milk on a Sunday night, so it became habit to go grocery shopping on Monday mornings. Did you know hardly anyone is in the grocery store I use on a Monday morning at 9? Seriously. The. Best. Time I found to cart two (possibly unhappy) boys through a grocery store! (And I could use the excuse that it was ‘still morning’ when they asked for candy. It’s a rule in our home – no candy before lunch is eaten.) This became part of my Monday Daily Rhythm.

I found it so helpful to take the time to review my week for several weeks in a row to see if there were routine things I was doing without realizing it. There were!

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Daily Rhythm

Do you have a routine to your day? Some sort of routine that you follow so your kids know what to do and what to expect everyday? I like to call it our daily rhythm.routines and rhythm at http://momistheonlygirl.com

My Cutie Pie has always been a creature of routine. Now that he’s in school the routine has changed but it’s still there. I like to think of it more as a rhythm, because it’s just the pace we go through the day. It is not necessarily a routine, because sometimes we do switch things around.

Why a Daily rhythm?

 

My boys seems less on edge when they have this basic idea of what is going to happen throughout the day. Now that they are both in school it is pretty simple, but when they were with me all the time, or at least most of the time, they did better having an idea of what to expect. On weekends our daily rhythm helps so much to keep our boys ‘in the know’ and therefore much less anxious. Read more

Paper Hearts for Valentine’s Day

Paper Hearts Valentines at http://momistheonlygirl.comWe all know Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I’m sharing a very simple paper heart craft from my childhood today! I think we called these Magic Hearts when I was little.

All you’ll need is a sheet of both red and white construction paper, scissors, a paint brush, and vinegar.

Paper heart Valentines at http://momistheonlygirl.comFirst, cut out your red paper hearts. Great scissor fine motor practice!

Next, using your paintbrush and vinegar, wet down your white construction paper. The wetter, the better! (Of course, we all know kids like to use a lot, but no puddles or it will take a long time to dry!) I know for some kiddos with dry hands the vinegar might sting. You can certainly do this with water, but the resulting color will be faint.

Paper heart Valentines at http://momistheonlygirl.com Then, press your paper hearts onto the wet paper and rub them down. Follow this by painting the hearts with vinegar. Again, the wetter, the better! (If you are using water, you’ll want to make sure both the heart and paper are saturated and reapply water several times before letting everything dry.)

Set them aside to dry.

Paper Heart Valentines at http://momistheonlygirl.com
Once dried, gently lift the hearts and you’ll see the color transferred to the white construction paper. If the color is not as dark as desired, simply repeat the process!

This paper is great with just an “I love you!” note written inside the heart, or use the paper and the hearts to make a card!

I think you can tell this project isn’t about the process or a glamorous finished product. Its a great activity to keep little ones busy using their hands! As always, adult supervision is an awesome idea!

Bonus: use the leftover vinegar for some bubbly projects like these: Inflating Balloon Experiment, or Exploding Paint Experiment.

 

Dreams are Real

Mom’s Monday Post! Mondays I post specifically to encourage moms. It’s encouragement for whatever stage you are in right now, because it is focusing on you, not your little (or not so little) ones. Take a few minutes to yourself and ponder today’s post.

 

Several months ago now, I watched a few videos provided by the SuperMom Summit. The one main theme that kept repeating (to me, at least) was that we need to give ourselves time to dream so we can work towards our dreams.
Dreams are Real at http://momistheonlygirl.com
We need to value ourselves. We each have unique gifts and talents, but if we don’t value ourselves enough to take time to nurture our gifts and talents then we won’t have time to dream. Dreams are real!

Such huge ideas for us as moms, right? Our focus is always on taking care of others.

One video featured Nicole Carpenter from MOMentity, where moms are encouraged to ‘dream in motion’. Keep your dream alive now so when your kids are grown you aren’t thinking ‘What about me?’ Some days I sit thinking about what I want to be now that my kids are in school and I think that’s where I find myself ~ having let my dream go and not knowing what to do now.

If we don’t set our own goals or have our own dreams we’re not being an example for our kids in this area. This thought took me back a bit. Do our kids really see this area of our lives as an example for them? But then I remember the times my boys ask me why I ‘work’ all the time doing chores and realize they do see me always putting others first, but not investing in my own dreams.

Nicole says if you’ve let your dream grow stagnant, try making your dream real again ~ start by doing something for yourself to show yourself you are valued. This could be as simple as wearing lip gloss just for yourself. Then, think about your childhood dreams, your professional dreams, new dreams you are having for your future, hobby- related dreams and write them all down. Step back and assess what you can work towards right away and what you will need to work towards long-term. At that point you can think more realistically how to reach those dreams. What steps can you take to move in that direction? (Get it, you’ll be dreaming in motion!)

Now, I know not every mom is the same. Some have regular nights out with their friends, or take classes at the sewing store, or whatever. However, some moms continually invest in others and don’t realize they are depleting themselves.

It’s not an all or nothing for either of these scenarios that make us great moms. Its simply realizing that unless we take at least a little better care for ourselves, we won’t be able to give our best to others and our dreams will become figments of our imaginations.

Next week I hope to spend several days posting about routines…and how they can help us find time to dream!

Remember, dreams are real. What is your dream?

Shy Blue science experiment

Affiliate links imageWith the bitterly cold weather we’ve been doing a few more things inside. (Read – experiments!)

Science Experiment at http://momistheonlygirl.com

I’m sharing a fun one today. It’s called Shy Blue and requires only a few materials which you most likely have in your home. (We’ve done this experiment before. I took pictures this most recent time, but only the one with green food coloring came out. The one below is from last year when I prepped another post, but never published it.) Read more

Jax – a snow day treat

Have you ever made Jax? Oh, it is delicious and only takes a fresh snowfall and some maple syrup to make. Well, I guess a bowl, a spoon, and someone to eat it! I thought after all of the snow falling in the northeast some may be looking for a snow day treat!

Snow and Maple Syrup Jax at http://momistheonlygirl.com

Jax is something my dad used to ‘make’ for us when I was a kid. I have no real idea where the name came from, he just always called it that! It’s a great memory!

After a fresh snowfall, when the snow is clean and white, scoop some into a bowl. Pour maple syrup (real or fake, but real is delicious!) over the snow. The syrup will get just a little gooey – and that is the tasty part! Sit back and enjoy!

Jax is a simple, fun, snow day treat for your sense of taste!

Valentine’s Day Sun Catchers

A very simple, fun craft involving hearts, a little scissor work and creative coloring/drawing is on tap today. It’s a bright, sunny day here, and these Valentine’s Day Sun Catchers are the perfect thing to catch the sun as it streams in the windows!

Valentine's Day Sun Catchers http://momistheonlygirl.com

You’ll only need a few items:

Paper

Vegetable oil (any kind)

A cotton ball (or use a paper towel)

Crayons/markers

Hole punch

Wax paper

Simply draw a heart (or any other shape) on the paper and get creative with coloring it. Cut it out, making sure to hole punch where you’ll hang it from.

http://momistheonlygirl.com Sun Catchers

Lay out some paper towels over wax paper and place your creation on the towels. Place some oil in a small bowl on your prepared surface close to your project.

Take your cotton ball, dip it in the oil, and generously spread the oil over the top of your creation. Turn your project over and spread the oil over this side as well. You’ll know when you have enough on when it appears sort of translucent.

Sun Catchers http://momistheonlygirl.comPlace a fresh paper towel over one side and pat it dry. Repeat on the other side. Of course, your creation won’t be completely dry. At this point set it aside on clean paper towels for a few hours to dry some more.

Once it is dry, lace a pretty yarn, ribbon or even rope through the holes and hang it in front of a sunny window!

http://momistheonlygirl.com Sun Catchers

You are not limited to crayons and markers, nor is this craft limited to Valentine’s Day. The small sun catchers on the lower right is made with colored tissue paper glued onto white paper. Have fun with it! (Of course, the bright sunshine went away when I took the picture!)

It goes without saying that this could be a messy project that should be done with adult supervision. Working on the coordination skill of cutting with scissors and working with an oily substance can be messy and dangerous. That said, it is a great activity for fine motor skills – coordination through coloring, cutting, pincer grasp for holding the cotton ball; science of working with colors. You could even make several hearts and number them turning it into a counting game!

If you take a few moments and prepare your work surface, clean up will go much more quickly and smoothly. I have a friend who pulls out a cheap shower curtain, covers her table, and then places an old tablecloth over that when doing projects like this.

(This idea was gleaned from a young lady teaching my kids’ Sunday School class.)

 

 

Ice ornaments

I don’t know about where you are, but in my area it is sooooo cold! Cold enough for people to be doing those experiments you hear about every winter like throwing boiling water outdoors and it turning into snow.

It’s also a dreary time. Everything seems grayish white unless there is fresh snow in the air or it is bright and sunny, but too cold to go outside. Today is, thankfully, one of the sunny days, however, it is below zero!

Ice at http://momistheonlygirl.com

It seems like the perfect day to share a fun, easy little activity we do when it gets this cold. Ice ornaments! (Adult supervision is a good idea!)

Ice ornaments at http://momistheonlygirl.com

First, get out some tins, cupcake tins, empty yogurt containers, anything you’d like to use as a mold for your ornaments. (Any size will do as long as it isn’t too big to fit flat in your freezer and hang by a string/rope from something!) Outside one house a couple of years ago I saw large ice wreaths with cranberries inside, made from an angel cake mold. It was beautifully big!

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Be Intentional about Playtime

Last week I invited you to join me in making our lives a little more positive, being more prepared for each day. More ‘intentional’ if you will. This is the first post in this series which I will bring to you every Monday for several weeks.

Paula at Beauty through Imperfection posted last year that she schedules playtime in her planner. She is a visual person and in her post says she likes to see tangible results (like after washing the dishes or doing the laundry). There is no start or stop to play. No measurement. She stresses its so important and shows love to her kids in a way that only playtime can, and that’s why for her personality she schedules it in her day.

When my boys were small I went through a phase where I would see everything around me, see them content playing and decide to do “chores” rather than read or pull out the play dough with them or even just sit with them while they played. After a few days my oldest, then 3, said ‘Mommy, you don’t play anymore.’ Major guilt trip and then I tried to be more intentional about being with them.

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The New Beginning

Starting the New Year like a New Beginning

In past years I printed out the little forms for everyone to fill out on New Year’s Day and this year was no different. (I used these cute forms from Thirty Handmade Days this year!) For myself, I focus on trying to figure out if I actually accomplished anything the previous year (other than keeping myself, Hubby and the boys alive for another year!) to give myself a little value. Having my boys fill them out is a great way to capture their thoughts and in the future we can look back and see a big picture of how they grew.

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{on being} A Better Mom

It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about.  What’s hard is figuring out what you are willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about. – Shauna Niequist

I saw this quote on The Better Mom and think it is so true. I also remember reading on a friend’s facebook status something to the effect of being so caught up in what she wants her Christmas to look like that she isn’t enjoying any of the preparation. She doesn’t want to give anything up to make her holiday what she wants.

A Better Mom http://momistheonlygirl.com

I’m in the midst of a transition. With Sweet Pea off to Kindergarten this year I find myself wondering what I want to be when I grow up. My previous profession is all but gone (I was a medical transcriptionist who finds her work has been given to computers, and before that the person at the ad agency who made sure the product made it through all the steps and was released on time – a job integrated into another position.) I’m literally free to be whoever I want to be professionally. But I’m finding it is hard to decide what I want my life to be about – outside of being a wife and mommy.

I’m finding it hard mostly because I’m not willing to give up being at home, being the caregiver, launderer, cleaner, finder-of-lost-things, even while they are at work and school. At least not yet. And I’m not ready to give up all the family time that being a stay-at-home-wife-to-a-school-teacher brings with it in the summertime.

As moms, I know we all feel this way to a degree. I also know some have made the transition to working and love it, others wish for their lives they could be home waiting for their child to get off the bus and their husband to walk in the door.

I’m deciding today to do my best to think of Shauna’s idea in a more positive way for myself as I make this transition and attempt to ‘grow up’. Not that this statement is negative. I just want to think about it without the words ‘hard’ and ‘give up’. Would you like to as well?

Let’s decide to think more in terms of what we as moms can provide through this process of thinking what we want our lives to be about.       Love for others.             Feeling for those who are can’t be there.          Bettering ourselves to provide in the future for family.          Listening and spending time with others now, when we might not have that time in a little while.

Listening to our hearts. Seeking out our talents and skills. Embracing our desires to care for others.

Possibly through this process we will also begin to see more clearly what we do really care about and invest our lives in that while we are able.

Christmas Traditions

It seems like every family celebrates Christmas in some way in their home, whether atheist, Jewish, African or Christ followers. Each involves traditions of some sort. (I'm not going to go into semantics here.)

In our home, we try to celebrate Jesus' birth and our love for each other. We incorporate going to church and giving gifts to loved ones, decorating a Christmas tree with items representing us and our memories. In other homes there may be no gifts, no tree, or no going to church. There may be no celebrating Christmas with a focal point being Jesus' birth.

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Homemade Ornaments

Every year we try a craft for Christmas. Last year we made stars and some other ornaments that we gave as gifts. The stars are so simple to make and work on coordination skills and process thinking – some sneaky learning!

Materials:

  • liquid glue (we found it to work best adhering the sticks together, but try glue sticks on the surface of the craft sticks for the glitter!) You can also use glitter glue for decorating!
  • glitter or other decorative items
  • craft sticks – your choice of size

First, lay out some paper on your craft surface, maybe have a paper plate nearby for catching glitter.

Next, lay out your sticks in a star shape. You’ll get to sit back for a minute watching your kiddos think through how to lay them out overlapping to make the shape. It’s a bit tricky, so its fun to watch the thought process and coordination skills! When it’s achieved, grab some more sticks and make another, this time being prepared with glue to adhere the sticks together, using the first star as a model. Letting these dry as you make more and enjoy a snack is advised because the liquid glue take a while to set up.

Third, take your glue in whatever form and apply it to the craft sticks in whatever pattern you’d like. It’s fun to try different color sticks or even use markers and create a pattern on the sticks before (or instead of) applying lots of glitter!

We found it easiest to have several plates nearby to catch the glitter as it was applied, to save on glitter (one plate per glitter type) and to help eliminate some of the mess. Of course, if you use glitter glue then you can skip this step!

The boys are already asking what we are going to make this year!

Are you making anything with your child for Christmas?

OKSocial resource

I’m slowly changing the focus of what I’m sharing in this little corner of the blogosphere. I thought along the way I should share some of the resources I’m finding helpful in this transition. One resource that has helped me a lot has been oksocial.com.

Kristy is a photographer, social media strategist and real food transition coach, but also is in charge of oksocialmedia. I initially downloaded her “Be a Better Blogger: 9 Secrets to Blogging Success” e-book, which started an e-mail dialog. She is one of those who actually want to help bloggers learn and improve, and she was so helpful in me finding some direction for this little blog of mine!

Check out oksocial.com and get this book!
Check out oksocial.com and get this book!

You can sneak a peek at oksocial’s blog, submit a question (they really do address them!), download the (very helpful) book Be a Better Blogger, 9 Secrets to Blogging Success by signing up for their mailing list and receiving lots of useful tips and information regularly, or just click on through to her food blog!

I was so impressed that a real person e-mailed me back when I downloaded the “Be a Better Blogger” book and took a serious interest in what help I was looking for by perusing the book. I trust you will find oksocial to be a valuable resource in your blogging adventure, too!

Thank you, Kristy, for all of your help and support!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. Not just because family gathers together, or that there's pumpkin pie and lots of other good food.

I love Thanksgiving also because it's totally acceptable for everyone to express (almost) freely what they are thankful for and not be judged.

Doesn't it seem there is so much bad in this world right now? But at this time of year everyone still (hopefully) manages to think of something they are thankful for without (hopefully) feeling like they are being judged for it.

That said, I'm wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving. May you find peace and hope in your hearts today, and something to be thankful for.

 

Getting the new Mom is the Only Girl running

(This post contains affiliate links. Which means if you purchase the product by following the link provided, you will not be paying more in order for me to be compensated by the company represented.)

So what do you think of the new Mom is the Only Girl? Is it easier to read? Does it make you feel a little more relaxed and able to breathe with the white space? I’m trying to make this a nice place for you, so please shoot me a note and tell me what you think!

In rebranding and migrating from one platform to another, I’ve been doing a lot of searching for help on-line. One of the biggest helps to me was Blogelina. I even took a course from there!

Let me tell you what resources I utilized, maybe Blogelina will be a site that will help you, too.
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Welcome to the new Mom is the Only Girl

Hi there! Are you with me in my new home?

It took me a little longer to move than I ever imagined, but all the boxes are unpacked now, although not everything has found its proper home yet. I haven’t decided what colors to paint it, although my logo tends toward the purple, with a little pink and blue thrown in for good measure.

I’m excited about what my new neighborhood may bring with it. Maybe new friends? An item or two to give to neighbors? Maybe I’ll start a little shop out back where you can all stop and browse? We shall see in time!

What you will find here for certain is: Read more

Did you say changes?

Nothing to do with this post, but aren’t my trick-or-treaters cute?!

Yes! I did say changes!

I’ve been working hard (and long) on making those changes behind the scenes, but have run into some major snafus, including now not being able to access my www.momistheonlygirl.com domain! Let me tell ya! Technology!

Anyway, since things aren’t seeming to work out as I had planned, I’ve tried my best to return everything to the original www.momistheonlygirl.blogspot.com settings. Please make note of that if you’d like to keep up to date with my posts and are following along via e-mail (but hopefully you’ll still get updates from me!)

That said, if I am not able to work through all of this I’ll still be making some changes around here and following through with my plan (to offer my basic planner and a few other goodies I’ve been working on).

If I disappear again for a few days (or weeks) know that I’m just trying to get focused and bring you more content targeting moms in the pre-school and early elementary school stage as well as fun activities for you and your kiddos to enjoy together!

Exciting Changes Underway

Just a quick post to let you all know I’m working on those changes I mentioned a few weeks ago!

Right now to transfer to WordPress is taking place. I will be leaving Mom is the Only Girl up on blogspot, trying to point everything to WordPress, but it might be a little hairy since I’m doing it all on my own. (Money’s tight, y’all…I know you can all relate!)

So please make sure to check back in a week or so…hopefully the update will appear seamless to you and you’ll start receiving posts and updates again without a glitch!

If you’re really wanting to read or look for ideas before the switch, please check out my blogspot link!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month ~ My Experience

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Show Your Support-Grab A Badge!

I sit here in the sitting room of the Breast Cancer Center waiting for my name to be called for my mammogram. I’m watching anxious feet rise and fall as ladies are sitting, their legs crossed, waiting for their names to be called or for their mammogram results. I’m noticing there are very few that look my age.

This is a much different than the first time I shared my mammogram experience with you.
It’s odd, the feeling in this room today. There’s a group of ladies chatting busily in the corner. From the conversation I think they are old friends and come as a group every year. There are pages of magazines flipping, ladies sipping non-caffienated tea. Ladies coming and going, some to the massage therapist while they wait, others going with the nurse. Relaxing piano music playing from speakers above, HGTV on the big screen, fish swimming around the huge fish tank in the middle of the room. A very casual, relaxing atmosphere, although those feet are still rising and falling and there’s a bit of anxiety in the air.


After a short wait and recognition of my surroundings, my name is called by a nice young nurse and I’m escorted to a small, dimly-lit room filled with machines. I set my things down and do as I’m gently directed.

There’s nothing embarrassing about removing my arm from the dressing gown and allowing the nurse to place my breasts exactly how she needs to. There is pressure, but no pain. I hold my breath as she instructs, the machine whirs and the process repeats.

I have dense breasts, so today they are taking 3D images. That’s why the movable part of the machine also moves for two of the pictures, but the plate I’m placed on stays still (and I try to stay extremely still, as directed.)

Five minutes later I’m back in my chair in the waiting room, patiently waiting for the results. This facility has doctors on staff who review the images immediately. I’m sure that’s a relief to some who are worried.

My name is called again and this time I’m escorted to a small room off the waiting area. I’m handed a sheet of information that describes the type of breast tissue I have as well as the mammogram results. No suspicious lumps or spots were found on any of the images.

I change, take a look at the jewelry for sale in the lobby and leave. Whispering a prayer of thanks.
I notice the helicopter flying low overhead, the chill of fall in the air, the lady headed to her car next to mine, and I think…what would I have done if I weren’t given good news today.

I know some experiences are not the same as mine. In every case I am thankful technology exists that can detect breast cancer.

So grab a friend if you’re not sure about going alone, and make that appointment. Do your self breast exam in the shower (alone). It’s so much better to find it early…

 Did you see my friend, Lisa on the Dr. Oz show? An amazingly encouraging lady!

Lisa has Breast Cancer

Fighting Breast Cancer http://www.momistheonlygirl.comA friend of mine is fighting breast cancer. She
is currently undergoing chemotherapy. I want to introduce you to her via my
blog so you can put a face to breast cancer. (Watch Dr. Oz on Tuesday, October 21st, to hear her voice! Read ‘Why she e-mailed’ below!)
Lisa’s exact diagnosis was invasive ductal carcinoma stage 2a.
This means that it still had not spread to the lymph nodes. Her particular
cancer is estrogen and progesterone receptive and “HER2 NEU”
positive. She was told that this is a double-edged sword in a sense that it is
more aggressive due to the her2 neu factor, but that there is a specific,
relatively new medicine (a monoclonal antibody), called Herceptin that
addresses this fact.

This is just the kind of cancer Lisa has. There are lots of different
kinds of breast cancer and specific ways to
treat each one.

I asked Lisa about her course of treatment:

I just finished round 5 of
my 6 rounds of chemo and then I will do radiation for 5-6 weeks on a daily
basis. I will also continue to receive the Herceptin drug every three weeks for
a year. Luckily, it does not make me feel lousy, so once the radiation is over
with I hope to get my life back to some semblance of normal! 🙂

Breast cancer can be scary, but finding it early is so important to fighting
and surviving. I’m so glad my friend Lisa found it early!

Here are Lisa’s words: 

I am not sure if it’s due to having lost an Aunt
to this cursed disease or maybe that I tend to be a bit of a hypochondriac, but
I have always been afraid of getting breast cancer. Really afraid. So afraid in
fact, that I never wanted to get mammograms or do breast self exams for fear of
“finding something.” How’s that for flawed logic?!!  

Well, regardless, here I am. My worst nightmare
came true. And now that I have crossed over “to the other side,” I
can tell you without any hesitation that the fear of getting breast cancer was
FAR, FAR worse than actually facing it head on after finding it early. Sure,
half of 2014 has not been a picnic by any stretch, but knowing that this was
caught early (by me, doing a rare breast self exam on a whim) puts the fear of
this disease in a whole different light.  

The thing that I honestly did not know going into
all of this, was that most women do survive this! Especially if it is caught
early.
 

 I did not know that. It took from the time of my
diagnosis in May, until meeting with my current oncologist in July, to receive
that message. And in my opinion that little known fact is not broadcast loudly
enough. Had I known that, I would have checked my breasts far more frequently.
I would have checked them monthly like recommended so that I would have
recognized any changes in them right away. 

The more familiar you are with the feel of your
breasts now (even if they always feel sort of lumpy), the better you will be
able to recognize if a change in them does appear.
 And just for the record I found this on my own five
months after having a clear mammogram…. 

I got lucky. Really lucky. Had someone told me
that getting breast cancer would make me feel lucky, I would have thought they
were nuts. But the luck came with early detection from that lone breast exam
literally done on a whim. Ok, ’nuff said…now ladies go on out and check
your breasts!

Why she e-mailed:

Lisa was e-mailing about her exciting week when she shared
this. I wanted to take the time to share it with you, not because I thought it
was interesting, but because she has become such a proponent for breast cancer
awareness. And so you can put a face to this disease.
Her exciting week included a whirlwind trip to NYC to be on the
Dr. Oz show with Joan Lunden! Ms. Lunden is a huge advocate for
breast cancer awareness after being diagnosed herself, and went onto this show
to encourage others fighting this disease. She has been a huge encouragement to
Lisa, and Lisa finally got to meet her and tell her in person!
Tune in to watch Dr. Oz on Tuesday (that’s tomorrow!) October 21st
to put a face to my incredible, strong, beautiful (even beautifully bald!
Seriously she is!) friend Lisa. She is a fighter, and definitely fights like a
girl! And then make sure to check your breasts!

Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story {Repost}

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A few years ago I shared my mom’s breast cancer story. She’s now a 9 year survivor. She still attends local survivor support group meetings and walks in the Relay for Life. She is living a ‘normal’ life again, but is forever changed from her experience. I thought I’d repost the initial interview from 2011 today.



How old were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?

I was 64 years old when I was diagnosed, and am a 6 year survivor! (She’s now a 9 year survivor!)

Is there a history of breast cancer in our family?

There is a history of breast cancer in our family included my Aunt Ethel, who was my mother’s sister.

How did you discover you had this disease?

I had a regular yearly appointment with my gynecologist, which included a mammogram and they found a small lump. I was then referred to one of our local surgeons.

What happened next, to determine what procedure you would have? What did this involve?

Follow up with the surgeon resulted in having a biopsy and what seemed a really long wait before getting the results. My sister-in-law accompanied me to that appointment and when the Dr. told me it was cancerous I was in disbelief at first. I was glad I had someone with me to hear that bad news. The only good part was that it was smaller than expected and could be taken care of.

http://www.momistheonlygirl.com Breast Cancer Survivor

What were your first thoughts? What did you do, who did you tell?

All I thought of at the time was what my husband had to go through with his gastro cancer and I did not want to have to go through the same thing. I cried a lot. When one hears that diagnosis, you think the worst. I knew I had to tell my children, which was the worst thing to do, not knowing the outcome of anything. So I just had to tell them and hoped they would pray for me.  Of course, they did, especially my youngest daughter and her husband, they were terrific.

There are many possible procedures for breast cancer removal. What did they recommend, and do you know why they recommended it?

My surgeon discussed my prognosis and the procedure that would be performed. He recommended a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy because the site was smaller than expected. My surgery was done 2 months after the initial diagnosis, with 10 lymph nodes removed for biopsy (which were negative). Surgery was performed on March 9th 2004 and I was released from hospital March 11th, with drain tubes intact, meaning they were still attached to my body. I had to care for that area as well as the surgery site during the first part of my recovery. I received radiation, rather than chemo, for 36 weeks. Even during and after the radiation treatments I had an accumulation of fluid at the surgery site that had to be aspirated in the office. That was a little scary, having just gone through everything to have another lump appear, but thankfully it was just fluid.

What support did you have throughout this ordeal and what support do you continue to have, if any?

I had spiritual and moral support from my immediate family, children, brother and sister-in-law.  My sister-in-law happily accompanied me to my follow-up appointments.  She was a God-send because she acted as a second set of ears for me. The oncology nurse practitioner was one of two that coordinated a cancer support group in my area and encouraged me to attend the meetings. As part of that group we started out in one small room and soon had to move to a bigger facility and eventually, an even larger one! Anyone can attend the meetings, survivors and caregivers, current patients-anyone interested in getting information about cancer.  All types of cancers are covered, not just breast cancer. We even have some gentlemen that attend. An “I Can Cope” event is held each October with guest speakers that touch on all phases of cancer treatments, programs available, financial concerns, as well as other programs and events in the area.
I would encourage anyone to search out a support group to attend if only to just listen to others.  Besides being able to get more up to date information, you end up with some very good friends.  It is a plus to be able to actually get out with others, especially others that know what each of us have been, or are going through.
My mom is a fighter, and through this has discovered the amount of fight she has in her. I’m happy we moved back to NYS in time for me to be there for her, even though I wasn’t there as much as I wanted to be. I’m very proud of who my mom has become as a result of all of this hardship. 
I wanted to re-post this interview because I believe hearing positive stories about the outcomes of this fight is important, plants a seed that the fight is worth it, even though it may be difficult. I hope and pray a cure can be found for breast cancer and all cancers, but also believe knowledge is so important. 

Please arm yourself with knowledge and support if this is something you ever have to go through personally or are affected by it in some way, and remember it’s worth the fight!

The Buffalo Zoo Day Trip

The Buffalo Zoo is only about an hour away, but it’s taken us until this summer to take a day trip there with the boys. It was such a great day! The weather was perfect and it was just the activity to keep Sweet Pea engaged, but not participating in the activities he was restricted from after his concussion.

Since this was our first visit to this zoo, I thought I give a little review in case you are in the area and want to know what it is like before going with your kiddos. This is a relatively small zoo, but there was still a lot of walking involved! (And if you are planning to eat lunch in the surrounding park, like we did, the entrance by the parking lot is the closest – and at the time was the only one open! We walked the entire way around the outside of the zoo looking for the entrance!)

Day trip to Buffalo Zoo http://www.momistheonlygirl.com

At the time we visited, the main gate was undergoing a little construction. It made it a little confusing to enter, but once in we loved it! Buffalo Zoo has different animals than the Seneca Park Zoo, which we most frequently visit. For one, we got to see a gorilla! That alone was pretty cool for us, but hiding in the corner was a baby gorilla! Talk about endearing!

My boys were mesmerized, watching the way the gorilla was eating, using all of his fingers, hunched over. Every once in a while he would give us what my hubby calls ‘the hairy eyeball’, as if to say “I know you are watching, and you’d better watch it!”
Buffalo Zoo http://www.momistheonlygirl.com
The M&T Rainforest Falls building was amazing! It’s like walking into a rainforest, complete with birds flying and perched overhead, crocodiles in the lazy river below your feet. The little monkeys were adorable and looked like they wanted us to take them home! The color of the birds was so incredible, and climbing the stairs to the overlook we were as high as them in the trees. 
Getting this close to the animals is great, however, with there being no glass in between us and the animals it means some zoo-goers got to experience the bird waste, which, I was told, was very hot! The on-looker said it was a good thing she wasn’t looking up when it happened! (Just to warn you, not to gross you out! I had never even given that possibility a thought!)
Buffalo Zoo http://www.momistheonlygirl.com
Giraffes were the real reason we headed to The Buffalo Zoo. ‘Our’ zoo doesn’t have any, and at the time Sweet Pea was totally in to giraffes. These are amazing creatures, with their long legs and necks…we hung around their building a bit, hoping to see them eat, but the boys got restless. Seeing them was definitely a highlight for all of us!
Buffalo Zoo http://www.momistheonlygirl.com
Poor Sweet Pea was a little tired after a full day of walking, reading about the animals and drawing them. (Oh, yeah, did I mention both boys brought their journals so they could draw pictures of the animals they saw in their own habitats? Totally cool from this mom’s perspective!) This was only a couple of days after he suffered his concussion, but was a good option for someone who wasn’t supposed to run and jump.
In this respect, I should tell you about the Dinosaur Dig area – which Cutie Pie was extremely excited about! Kids can enter a small, covered area that is filled with small pebbles, pick an area and, using tools provided, dig for fossils (which were really cement and attached to the ground.) Cutie Pie especially loved this, not because he loves dinosaurs, but also because they were fossils he hadn’t felt before. 
We’ve been to a few places that have this type of interactive play area, and they all seem to let you uncover different sets of fossils. This area of the zoo took us the longest, because both boys enjoyed it so much! It was perfect as it allowed all of us to engage in an activity that allowed us to sit!
This trip to the Buffalo Zoo was a really great day for us as a family. There were a couple of things that could have made our trip better – if the entrance was better marked, and if we came with a few dollar bills as there was a ‘train’ ride and a carousel ride. Of course, on a hot day all the animals smelled, but that’s normal!
If you plan a trip, go ahead and use their website. It’s pretty accurate, and we found it very helpful!
Do you have any tips to make a family trip to the zoo even more fun?