Quick Tips For Busy Families Review (Thumbs Up)

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This book - Quick Tips For Busy Families - caught my eye when I saw it on a book review list a couple months ago.  It has taken me forever to finish it - not because it isn't good, but because it's just what the title says, quick tips!  

Each chapter is short and to-the-point, but every page is also full of great ideas for ways to use teachable moments with your kids, fun stuff to do together, creative discipline ideas, and encouragement to use every opportunity to train your child in the way they should go.  I found myself not necessarily wanting to skip to the next chapter, because I wanted to remember some of the things he had just shared!  Not all of the chapters pertained to me (a lot of them included school/teacher-realted tips, which I probably won't need since we're homeschooling), but I still got a lot out of this book.

This definitely isn't a book to read once and put forever on the shelf, it's a book that could be a reference when you need a quick shot of encouragement or creativity in parenting.  I really enjoyed it!

Note: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.

How I'll (Hopefully) Help My Toddler Adjust To The New Baby



I think it's natural to moms of more than one child to worry about how their older child will handle the new addition.  I am really blessed in the so far, my kids have ha a fairly easy transition!

However, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that I'm still worried about how Clarice will handle this new baby.  I've been worried each time, so this is nothing unusual, but I'm particularly concerned for my youngest darling this time because she seems to be currently thriving in her role as the youngest.  She thinks my lap is her spot, and gets upset if even one of the older kids sits in my lap.  She likes to be carried as often as she can get away with it.  She is a ham and loves being the center of attention.

(Affiliate link below.)

These are my strategies for making the transition on Clarice as easy as it can be, but I'd love to hear more ideas if anyone has some!


1.  Talk to her about the baby as much as possible.
This is always easier when my belly gets bigger, but I will point to my stomach and say "Baby in there!"  It was surprising with my other kids how much this helped it sink in.

2. Read books about new babies.
Tommy Nelson just came out with a book called God Bless Our Baby and as soon as I saw it, I snagged it!  It's super-cute, and details all the fun and sweet things that come with a having a new baby - like making them laugh, helping with bathtime, and having a new friend.  It also has pages that talk about things like mama's growing belly, feeling kicks, and staying quiet while baby sleeps to help little kids know what to expect. I also LOVE that they have one page that includes adopted families.  I think this will be a fun book to get my younger kids excited about having a new baby around!



3. Work on being "gentle".
Lots of practice with baby dolls, stuffed animals, and people, and excessive praise when she succeeds.

4. Put the baby down sometimes for lots of snuggles after baby arrives.
I always try to be aware that  all my older kiddos need some extra attention and love after the new baby comes home, especially the child that was just ousted from the youngest position.  I will get as much snuggles in with my new munchkin as I can, but I also want to make sure to intentionally put the baby down so I can hold or play with my other kids.  They need to know they are still just as important to me, even though babies take more time in the beginning.



5. Ask the big kids for help.
My kids feel so useful and proud of themselves when they are able to help me - and a little praise goes a long way in making them feel loved and needed!  For Clarice, I'll ask her to bring me a diaper or wipes so that she can feel a part of taking care of the new baby.


What am I missing?  Were any of you worried about one of your kiddos with a new baby on the way?  How did it play out?


Note: I received a copy of "God Bless Our Baby" from the Tommy Mommy program in exchange for the review in this post.  This is my honest opinion!  Also don't miss my giveaway of this book on Instagram!  Double entries if you enter on both my accounts! @CallieNicole7 and @ThroughCloudedGlass



Exhaustion And New Maternity Pants (Already) - 10 Weeks (Baby #5)




Well, here we are, late again.  I've been officially chastised by a couple people for not posting my bump photos on time or enough, so I've got to get better!

Ten weeks brought a whole other wave of pregnancy fatigue, and this one was worse.  I'm wondering if it has something to do with my body expending energy to establish the placenta, because that happened this week!  Baby is also developing fingernails and peach-fuzz hair, which is just cute to think about.



Aside from being so tired that I burst into tears when the rude nurse told me I wasn't anemic, I've been feeling alright.  I had two days of really weird heartburn and nausea (maybe that's coming from the peach fuzz hair, as they say), but that's thankfully subsided.  I've been feeling okay since then.  Still just tired.

I officially made my first pregnancy purchase and bought some new maternity pants.  It's been almost seven years since I bought new maternity pants, and I figured I deserved something new at this point.  The styles have even changed in seven years!  I'm also kicking myself for not finding H&M's maternity pants before now, because they are amazing.  They actually fit me.  I have tried so many maternity stores over the years and countless pairs of maternity pants have been tested, but before this shopping trip I had only been able to find exactly three pairs that fit well enough to buy.  But all of that changes now!  The H&M pants should actually stay up without drooping, and without me having to wash them every time I wear them or pull them up every 10 minutes.  This is a huge victory!



And now I feel silly for writing such a long paragraph about maternity pants, but it's exciting stuff right now.  Especially since a lot of my pants are already getting uncomfortably tight, and I'm just not sure I'm up for the double-rubber band thing this time.  I regrettably got rid of my Belly Band before I found out I was pregnant.



On to more about the baby!

Everyone always wants to know if I think this baby is a boy or girl, and I have to say, I don't know.  Clarice's pregnancy completely threw any confidence I had in guessing the gender of my own babies because my symptoms were all over the place, and I found out that my previous confidence was ill-conceived anyway.  I went back and read all my early pregnancy posts with the other kids, and I was remembering several details all wrong!  I couldn't believe my memory was so bad.  This is why I need blogging, so I can remind myself of my life when it all starts to slip away.

So I read and compared, and there have been exactly zero patterns for boys/girls in my pregnancy history, at least that I have been able to detect (links below in case you want to check out the other kids at 10 weeks).  Then I was trying to figure out if the whole Shettles timing theory was right or wrong for me so far (that theory has only been 50% accurate for me - so in other words, not accurate at all), and I read a study that apparently throws that whole idea out the window anyway!  So the bottom line is, I have not the slightest inkling.  I think I have two friends who have guessed correctly consistently on the gender of my babies, so we'll see if they maintain their perfect record!

Gwen At 10 Weeks (Belly Photo Here)

(Affiliate links below.)

Dress: Jane.com (similar here)
Shoes: Just Fab


A Birthday Letter To My Three Year Old


Dear Clyde,

Last week you turned three years old.  It's the right of every mother on her child's birthday to say, "I can't believe you're that old already!", so I'm saying it again - how have three years passed since you were born?  I still remember screaming and pushing and opening my eyes to see you held up in front of me, your little red face scrunched up in a cry.  They gave you to me and you snuggled into my chest and stopped crying.  You've been my sweet snuggler ever since.

Sometimes you'll crawl on the couch with me now.  And sometimes I might be frustrated with you because you've been crying over something, and I don't know why - but you look at me and say "Mama, I want a hug."  And in those little moments you make me slow down, and cuddle you, and treasure your sweet smallness. These days when just a hug will solve all your woes.



You are my little conversationalist, with a million questions, and a million ideas of how things work.  You are a shockingly good communicator for just turning three.  We moved you up to the middle seat in the van this year, and the moment we did, you started talking my ear off.  Now you had my attention; now I was close enough in the van to hear everything you said.  And I love it, I love having you close and hearing all your thoughts.  Your sister is asking to move up, and you are asking to move back with your brother...and though I know it will be just as much a joy to hear all of her thoughts, I'm going to miss you too, way back there in the van.



Everyday you seem to find a way to make me stop and appreciate your stage, our stage.  I can be having the worst day ever, and you'll pipe up and say "You're the best mama ever!"  "You look pretty, Mama." or "I love you so much!"  And suddenly it's impossible not to see what a precious time this is, and to be grateful for every second.  You help these years to not just pass in a blur, my sweet boy.  And I will be forever grateful to God for making you mine.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Clyde!

Love,

Mama


How To Have Easter Fun When You're Apparently Not Anemic



What a full week we've had!  Last week we not only had our first ultrasound, but we also had Clyde's 3rd birthday, and then Easter of course! I was also so excessively exhausted and actually physically weak one day I called my doctor to find out if I had anemia.  Wouldn't it be nice if that was my only issue?  Hello iron supplement, problem solved!  

But I apparently am not anemic.  However, that's not stopping me from eating foods that are iron-rich, just in case I have low iron stores or something.  Which is entirely possible, because right before I got pregnant I was craving ice - and isn't craving non-food items a sign of iron deficiency?  I think so.  Maybe I should have told that to the condescending nurse from my doctor's office (I may or may not have cried when I got off the phone with her).  Thankfully iron-rich food is what I'm craving anyway.  Give me all the dark leafy greens, eggs, and hamburgers.

Lots Of Easter Fun

Since I was so exhausted most of last week, I tried a new strategy and woke up with the sun and the kids just long enough to pour bowls of cereal and turn on Clifford The Big Red Dog.  Then back to bed I went.  I'm happy to report it worked beautifully, and I got another hour and a half of sleep.  Yes, that also means my kids got an hour and half of TV first thing in the morning, but you do what you've got to do.  This gave me enough energy to actually do the Easter activities I had been hoping to do all week, instead of spending another day miserably tired on the couch!

We colored eggs...





We did a (late) review and celebration of palm Sunday (I think this is the way to go, because I got five palm branches on clearance for a $1)...





And we made Resurrection rolls, to remind us of the empty tomb, because Jesus rose from the dead! Yes, I added pink frosting.  There were probably flowers on the outside of the garden tomb, right?





As for Easter Sunday, we went to a sunrise service at a local Christian camp, and then off to my mom's for Easter dinner and egg hunt!  It was a lovely Resurrection Day!  Much better than last year, when we spilled a gallon of paint and nearly ruined the carpet.

Sidenote: Easter with kids is like, 100% more fun.  The fun may come at the expense of actual reflection time, but I snuck some in where I could, and you do have to naturally reflect a bit to explain what Easter is really about to children.

What Am I Reading Lately?

I finally finished all the fiction books that were in my obligatory review stack, and I've decided I'm done with the book reviews for a couple months (after I finish the two non-fiction titles I have left -  insert sigh).  I need time to read what I really want to read.  I just get so tempted by the brand-new free books dangling in front of my face, but I'm shutting my eyes now and saying, "no!"

I'm trying really hard to finish a young adult read this month to participate in Collaboreads, but it's not going so well.  I feel like I'm running gout of time, and I'm not totally sure if my book choice counts as "young adult".  I went with "On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness" by Andrew Peterson (affiliate), first book in the Wingfeather saga.  I'm only a little way in, but I am so enjoying it!  It reminds me a lot of Narnia so far, and it's funny.  I read a couple chapters to Derek in the car, and he was laughing out loud. Also, it's written by Andrew Peterson, who is a Christian singer/songwriter a couple of you recommended to me when I asked for new music a couple months ago!  I didn't even realize that until after I picked it up!

What is the best young adult book that you've ever read?  And I'm taking Hunger Games and Divergent series out of the running, for variety sake.

Old School Blogger Shoutout

As previously mentioned, I have been a complete blog slacker between trying to finish my outrageous to-review book list before vacation next month, and feeling kind of gross if I stare at a screen for too long (pregnancy-related).  I won't totally let this section go, but I don't have anything new for you this week!  I will attempt to get caught up on my blog reading soon.

What I'm Drinking:  Orange juice.  I cut back on the decaf coffee because I couldn't decide if it was helping or hurting my excessive exhaustion.  What is your favorite tea blend for iced tea in the summer months?  I'm planning ahead!

Popped? At 8 Weeks?


One of these weeks I'll actually post a pregnancy update on time!  Let's pretend I'm still 8 weeks.

All of baby's joints are now functioning, including wrists and ankles - isn't that amazing?  Little moving wrists and ankles, and baby is less than an inch long.  Lots of major organs developing this week too.

I am still feeling a little queasy here and there, but I've started to get my appetite back a little more.  Less aversions, more cravings.  I also started allowing myself decaf coffee.  Derek convinced me that a small cup of decaf coffee wasn't going to contain enough caffeine to hurt the baby...and academically I knew he was right, but I still felt a little guilty drinking it.  I drank coffee through my pregnancy with Clarice, but I always have to get over that freak-out-about-everything phase in the first trimester.

Still so, so tired.  I can't decide if I'm truly more tired this time around, or if I'm just more tired because the kids are up at the crack of dawn every morning.  I usually end up going upstairs and putting them back in bed 2-3 times every morning, just so I can try to sleep until 7:00 AM.  I also had a few horrible nights of sleep lately, where I wake up in the middle of the night worried about some obscure problem and can't go back to sleep.  It's the worst.  Thankfully I seem to be over that brief phase and have been sleeping relatively well again.  I have some days where I have all the energy in the world (I amazed myself with how much I got done late last week), and some days where I can barely manage to get off the couch to fix the kids lunch.

I feel kind of sheepish showing these pictures, because I think I look like I've already "popped".  Do people "pop" at 8 weeks? Does that happen? My belly is so round all of a sudden!  I feel like that's kind of early.  Maybe this is a fifth baby thing?  Or maybe I just ate too much that day.  I don't know.  We'll see how the 10 week pictures look.







We ended up having to move our ultrasound appointment from April 6th to April 10th because Derek's cousin passed away and the funeral was on April 6th.  So on the 10th we headed in to see our little baby!  Everything looked great, Baby was measuring four days ahead, and the heartrate was 165 bpm!



The cutest part was that baby was moving all over the place - the little arms and legs were moving around like crazy, like an adorable little gummy bear!  She showed us a view of the legs, and Baby was kicking one leg at a time, like he/she was swimming.  I could almost see tiny little toes!  We also got to see the baby on 3D, and it was the cutest.  Little feet crossed at the ankles, hands in front of face, and the cutest little ear sticking out on the side of his/her head!

I love that first ultrasound.  It makes the whole thing more real.  I can't wait to meet our little one in a few months and see who this sweet baby is!

Five Tips For Keeping A Clean Car With Kids


Don’t you sometimes wish as a mom that you could just keep your car clean?  What is it about carting around kids that gets the car so messy?  And if you are like me, it’s hard to find the time (or motivation) to do a full wash and wax, getting out the bucket and hose and big vacuum for a deep clean of the car. 

However, ever since we got our new car in December, I’ve been determined to keep it looking spiffy.





Isn’t it pretty?  This, my friends, is the newest vehicle I have ever owned.

Derek always teases me about my inability to keep a car clean with the kids, but I am happy to report that I have been doing a pretty good job with our new van!  I’ve come up with a few tips for keeping a car clean, on the inside and out, even as a busy mom with four (soon to be five) kids to drive around.

Don’t leave unnecessary items in the car.

This should be obvious, but if you are a mom of young kids you probably know that they tend to sneak toys, sippy cups, and books into the car without your noticing.  I like to do a quick sweep of the car every time we get home.  It’s much easier to bring in a few things each time than it is to let it go and have to haul out a trash bag to empty out the car later!

Minimize food eaten in the car (or be picky about the kinds of foods).

Some people don’t let their kids eat in the car, which is probably the only surefire way to avoid crumbs.  We are not those people.  We live in a rural area, so we spend a lot of time in our car, and my kids are hungry all the time (I don’t think my children are the only ones).  So instead of restricting all food consumption when in the vehicle, I just try to be aware of what kinds of foods I let them eat.  Small crackers (like goldfish) cause less mess than big crackers that you have to bite into to eat (graham).  Sandwiches and chicken nuggets are pretty clean-car-friendly.  Above all we avoid sticky substances and condiments in the car, because those will get ground into the carpet and take a lot more effort to clean.

Buy a handheld vacuum.

I used to drag our big floor vacuum out to the car each time I wanted to clean it - no wonder it happened so rarely!  My grandma gave us a handheld vacuum last year, and it has changed my car-cleaning life.  As I mentioned above, I don’t restrict all eating in the car, so there are often a fair amount of crumbs on the floor.  The handheld vacuum lets me do a quick cleaning job when the crumbs just get to be too much, and it works really well.

Keep a trash bag handy on the go.

Somehow we end up having a pile of trash in our car every time we go somewhere.  I’ve learned to keep a trash bag tucked into the back of the seats, so when we produce trash from food wrappers, etc, I can just gather them all up right there and through them away in the nearest trash can.  It’s less for me to do when I come home, and makes it nicer to ride around in the car all afternoon when there is no visible trash.

Find easy and convenient cleaning supplies for the outside of your car.

One thing I’ve realized is that the inside of a car can look great, but if the outside of the car looks like you’ve been four-wheeling it doesn’t really matter what the inside looks like.  I’m married to a man who really appreciates a well-washed car, and his appreciation has rubbed off on me.  However…we just don’t usually have that much time for a full bucket-and-sponge wash.  I was thrilled when I found out that the car can still look clean on the outside without all that effort.

I had used Armor All wipes previously for the interior of my car, and loved how convenient they were.  I was excited when I saw that Armor All had created wipes and tire sponges that bring that same convenience to cleaning the exterior of our cars.

The Armor All Ultra Shine Wash Wipes are pre-moistened and treated so all you need to remove grime is the wipes!  Then the Ultra Shine Wax Wipes can be used to add a protective layer once you get all the dirt off.  The Ultra Shine Tire And Trim Shine Sponges are especially convenient and are really the icing on the cake to make your car look freshly washed, without having to go through all the hassle of a bucket and hose!  











The bonus is that these wipes are perfect for handing to your kids as well - then they can be involved in keeping the car cleaned too!  And yes, I cleaned the car in my dress!  This was by car the easiest, least messy way that I've ever cleaned the outside of the car.

These wipes are so easy to use and the 3-step system covers every area of the exterior of your car.  I found all three products at Walmart in the automotive section, and I really recommend trying all three!  I even have a coupon for you - $2 off an one of the Armor All Ultra Shine Wipes line, while supplies last!  

I am so happy to have these on hand so I can quickly give the car some extra shine when it needs it.  Derek won’t be able to tease me anymore about how dirty the car gets, because these wipes will let me keep it cleaner with so much less effort!

How do you keep your car clean, especially with young kids?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Armor All, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #LessTimeMoreShine http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV




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