Selfies By My Toddler

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As I was going through the photo album on my iPhone I came across some photos I didn’t recognize. As I looked more closely I realized my toddler had been playing with my camera. It’s normal for him to grab my phone and play one of the many apps I have installed for him. However, he apparently figured out how to access the camera which is why I came across these odd shots. It seems as if he was trying to take a picture of his leg. I’m not sure if it was because he likes his Christmas pj’s or what. Maybe it’s time to give him his own camera that works instead of my old digital camera.

What do you recommend for a two year old? Obviously it needs to be inexpensive and kid-friendly.

Why I No Longer Like The Brady Bunch

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I, like many others, grew up watching The Brady Bunch. It was a show our whole family could watch and one I later watched with my oldest two. I always viewed it as one of the few wholesome family shows my family could watch together without having to monitor it.

That has all changed now. You see, that show doesn’t even remotely resemble anything I want my children to view as being “ideal”. How is it that I ever thought of it this way? This is not a Nuclear family, but instead is a Blended one. My views of it changed drastically in 2010 after my remarriage to my now husband who was also divorced with a child.

You see, we went into this marriage with unrealistic ideals of what our family would look like. Sadly, we believed we could be like the Brady Bunch. Boy, were we WRONG?! Up until the day of our wedding we had only encountered minor obstacles. We believed if we just stuck together through it then somehow after our union things would suddenly improve.

Looking back now we understand we were sadly mistaken. The Brady Bunch had some hurdles to overcome, but they did it with such grace it didn’t seem as if it should be so hard to do ourselves. Well, the main difference between our reality and their fictional one was, there were no ex’s or extended families to contend with. Of course it wasn’t as hard for them! Mike didn’t have an ex telling the boys not to love this “other woman” or not to ever call her “Mom”. Carol didn’t have an ex telling the girls they don’t have to obey Mike. This is just a few examples of what REALLY goes on when parents remarry with ex’s still in the picture.

A few months in we found an amazing small group through our church. It was based on Ron Deal’s book “The Smart Stepfamily” and it was a God-send to us. Every week we joined others like us in a group that were able to share their stories and listen to ours. The DVD course showed us just how “normal” we really were and what our goals should look like. You see, blended families existed even in the Bible along with a lot of struggles and heartache. We had the misconception that our marriage would just magically unite everyone and we could look like other families (or what they appeared to look like). What we didn’t realize was that we DID look like other families (behind closed doors). Our situation was no different than any other blended family. We just felt that way because of shows like The Brady Bunch pushing false ideals onto us of how we should look.

It’s now been four years since our vows and we still aren’t the ideal blended family, but we are making progress. Through our small group, online support groups, counseling, books and online resources we are learning how to blend in a way that works for our family. Ours will not look like yours or theirs. We all have different circumstances, but we can be supportive of each other. I’m thankful
our church sees the importance of ministering to not only broken families, but to blended ones as well. Nuclear families have struggles too, but divorce happens and so there needs to be more well known information out there to truly show what a blended family looks like. Many couples end up divorced again because they just didn’t have the support they needed.

If you would like more information on how to better blend your family I suggest you start BEFORE the exchange of rings and vows. However, even if it has already been done it’s not too late to start now. Check out the Smart Stepfamilies website for valuable resources.

Why My Wife’s Job Is Harder Than Mine

Originally posted on bowlingwithed:

I work at a large, top-200 law firm in one of the ten most populous cities in the country. The hours can be grueling, there are constant deadlines, and the work is mentally demanding.  Any partner in my particular practice area can assign me work, which means I have more than 30 potential bosses.  At any given time, I am working on projects for three to five partners, all of whom believe that their assignment should take priority over any other work.  As a result, there have been many long days (and long nights).

Moreover, being a lawyer at a large firm is a high-stress endeavor.  Even small mistakes can have significant implications and, as a result, tensions can run high.  And of course, because excellence is expected, partners are unlikely to give much positive feedback for a job well done; instead, the reward for good work is more work.

It…

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How to Make dōTERRA Roll-On Deodorant!

Originally posted on A Better Body Within:

Feeling Fresh with doTERRA!

Feeling Fresh with doTERRA!

We just created our latest “How to Guide” on Snapguide with step-by-step instructions on how to make your own doTERRA roll-on deodorant. What fun! It’s a quick, easy instructional guide for making a safer, more economical deodorant that we hope you’ll enjoy!  Click HERE to enjoy and please be sure to “Like” :-)

So what are the advantages in using 100% pure/therapeutic grade oils? How about avoiding these potential toxins, found in many different deodorant brands:

Aluminum compounds

Found only in antiperspirants, aluminum zirconium and aluminum chlorohydrate work by blocking pores that release sweat. Aluminum, like other heavy metals, may interfere with estrogen receptors.

Propylene glycol
This ingredient functions as a penetration agent, which besides being a potential skin irritant can be more harmful when paired with other chemical additives. The ingredient—can cause irritations even in concentrations as low as 2 percent— yet manufacturers can create…

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2 Minutes…

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Today’s article will not be one that is typical for me to write about, but it is important. Late last night I was struck with the idea to write about this very real and scary problem our world faces. I hope you will take a few minutes to read and hopefully find it in your heart to take a part in helping to stop this.

Here’s what I would like for you to do: Look at your watch, a clock, pull out a kitchen timer or open the app on your phone. Now, I want you to sit in silence as you watch the seconds tick away for 2 minutes. I’ll wait…

Okay, did you do it? What’s the point of this exercise? Well, that’s how often the number two worldwide crime is committed. It isn’t just exclusive to third world countries. This crime is happening globally, including your town or one close to you without you even being aware of it. It is sex trafficking of children. Surprised? I sure was when I first learned it was happening right here within my nation’s borders. My state’s capital, Atlanta, is ranked as one of the top 14 US cities where this crime of enslavement is happening. I had no clue it was so close to home.

The average age is girls aged 14 years old, but children as young as 9 have been robbed of their childhood. It isn’t just girls affected. As much as 40% of children taken are boys. While addressing the U.N. General Assembly in 2003, President Bush stated, “The victims of the sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life, and underground of brutality and lonely fear”.

Sex trafficking as defined by the U.S. Department of State, is the
“recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act”.
“Traffickers may target minor victims through social media websites, telephone chat-lines, after-school programs, at shopping malls and bus depots, in clubs, or through friends or acquaintances who recruit students on school campuses.” – source http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/factsheet.html. It doesn’t just happen to run-aways or those sold by their own family. There are multiple ways these criminals capture children. It is so important for us to be aware of this number one growing problem and to educate ourselves and our children.

Here’s a sad fact: Most states allow minors to be charged with prostitution crimes despite statutory state laws that are supposed to protect those under the age of 18. Most children do not even consider themselves as victims. They are abused and brainwashed so much they begin to believe it is their choice and this is all they are worth. The traffickers alienate and condition these children to be their slaves.

A study reported by a non-profit anti-trafficking organization in Washington D.C, called Polaris Project reported that “a pimp who had three young women and girls in his “stable” were each were bringing back $500 every day.” That’s over $500,000.00 each year made off of three innocent lives. Two common examples of where these children are performing these acts is in stripping and pornography. They are not just walking on streets and hopping into cars or being dropped off at motels. They are being filmed committing sexual acts to be viewed by millions of viewers who aren’t even aware they are under-aged. They are dancing and stripping among other things in strip clubs.

I’m not here to scold or judge anyone that watches porn or goes to strip clubs, but I really hope this has opened blinded eyes to see this is a reality and those young girls are NOT always legal nor is it their choice. Please help spread awareness and let’s all work to stop this awful crime against these children. It may just be that your help saves the life of a would be victim you know. For more information and to learn ways you can help please visit:
ECPAT, or End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes
A global network dedicated to eliminating the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
212-717-2530
http://www.ecpat.net

DIY Converting a Pack n Play Into a Reading Nook

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If you are a fan of Pinterest or Facebook you have more than likely seen a post or two where a Pack n Play has been converted into a little play area for the little ones that no longer sleep in it. My two year old loves climbing into his and playing, but you’d better not DARE lay him down in it! Yesterday I finally got the creative juices flowing again and decided to finally convert his into a little reading nook and napping area. He loves, loves, loves his books and I felt certain he would love his new little area.

To begin the process I used a pair of scissors to cut out the mesh on one long side. The other three sides are left intact. This part was actually the most tedious of all and my tendinitis didn’t appreciate this part. Despite the pain in my hand and elbow I pressed on in anticipation of the excitement my toddler was expressing over the changes I was making to his pack n play. After what seemed like two hours (probably only 30 minutes), I finally had all of the mesh removed. The hard part was removing the little pieces that stick out around the edges. If I knew where my seam ripper was that would have helped tremendously. “No pain, no gain”, right? ;) The next step is to find something to make an arch. It’s easiest to use whatever you have on hand. At first I used a canopy from our infants cradle, but I didn’t like the way it looked so I began hunting for something better. I remembered their octagon shaped pack n play in the basement that has a canopy top with uv protectant so off I went in search of this. In order to attach it I had to be a little creative. Thankfully my husband volunteered to do this part. He used zip ties to attach it to the frame so it would be more secure for little busy-bodies. For a little added privacy I grabbed an old king size sheet and draped it over the top to create panels on both small sides. It’s like his little on hideaway with this added feature. The last step is to stretch a pack n play crib sheet over the top. Now your little one has their own little cozy place. Toss in some blankets and pillows for added comfort and you may notice it’s a little quieter than usual (minus the sounds coming from the learning apps on the iPad).

Based on the picture above and the fact that I could NOT get him to take a nap yesterday because he was too busy playing on the iPad and reading books, I would say he’s pretty happy with his new little reading nook.

Fishing Lures and Santa Claus

What do these two have to do with each other? Well, thanks to Bass Pro Shop they can both be found in the same location through Christmas Eve. They offer and free photo with Santa with a rustic appeal, games, activities and crafts for children. This is a great deal for the entire family. Mother’s and children can do the crafts while Dad is browsing the store. They can all do the fun family activities together and hop in a photo with the kids and Santa or act goofy to get a smile on their little one’s faces. The best part about all of it is it is FREE! What better deal is there than family time, fun, Santa and all for zero dollars? This would be a fun tradition to start.

Here are some photos from our time there.

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Merry Christmas!

DIY Scented Christmas Tree Ornaments

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Last year I made these ornaments with our daughters. They were super easy and quick! That’s a good thing for me, especially last year when I also had a one year old and was pregnant with our fifth child. Fast forward to this year. We pulled these cute little ornaments out and hung them on our tree again this year. Unfortunately, their scent was gone. Well, I came across this tutorial from dōTERRA and it reminded me about my scentless ornaments and I decided to freshen their scent. So, off came the ornaments and out came a spray bottle filled with water and Peppermint oil. I switched the scent up this year.

Here’s my now two year old helping me freshen them up.

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Now it is time to smell our yummy Peppermint scented ornaments.

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Mmmm…. Perfect!

The bonus to adding Peppermint oil is it is great for stuffy noses!

If you are interested in ordering your own essential oils you can do so here.

Which scent will you choose for your DIY ornaments?

Gotta love this silly boy. ;)

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