Feb 12, 2018

Baltic Amber Necklaces | Do they really work?

When people see that my 6-month-old daughter has a necklace on I get asked questions. What is that? Do they work? Are they safe? All of these questions I have asked myself before deciding to purchase one. I thought this would a great topic to write on and help to answer these questions for you.

First of all, I am in no way an expert on this. I'm just simply a mom who uses Baltic Amber necklaces. In fact, this is my second time using one. Before Raegan, I had one for Haddy. I love them and have noticed a difference in using them with both of my girls. I wish I would have known about these with my other three kids!

What is a Baltic Amber necklace?
A Baltic Amber necklace is often worn by babies to help naturally cut the pain of teething.It is thought that when the necklace is worn by a baby the warmth of their skin releases tiny amounts of oil onto their skin that is then absorbed into their bloodstream. That is my not so scientific explanation on how it works. Of course, you can do a fast Google search and find all kinds of articles better explaining how Baltic Amber necklaces work and what they are.

Do they work?
For us, yes they work. When Haddy wore hers we didn't even realize she was teething till her teeth had already poked up through her gums. She didn't show any signs of teething. She was not crabby, didn't drool, and didn't have a fever. I was completely sold after that.
With Raegan, her amount of drool has cut down significantly since wearing it. Raegan doesn't have any teeth coming in, but when she does we will see how it works for her. I will even come back and update this post. (Typically our children don't start to get teeth until closer to 12 months)

Are they safe?
Yes and no, it all depends on the parent. If you do decide to purchase a Baltic Amber necklace for your baby, you should follow these guidelines.

1. Never leave your baby unattended while wearing it, especially if you notice them reaching for it and trying to chew on it. With my girls, they didn't even pay attention to the necklace. I doubt they even realized it was there.

2. Remove the necklace during naps and bedtime. I usually just wrap the necklace around their ankle and zip up their pajamas so they can't get to the necklace. If your baby won't leave it alone, I would just take it off.

As with anything, use common sense. These necklaces can be used safely and you should follow the directions that the company/business you purchase from recommends.

How do I know if I am buying a real Baltic Amber necklace?
You can do a few things with this. If you know someone who has used a Baltic Amber necklace with their child, ask them where they purchased it from.
I like to buy from Etsy, but there are all kinds of other places to buy from. I did find a great website with a lot of information on Baltic Amber. This website also sells a number of Baltic Amber jewelry. You can find their website here.

Jan 23, 2018

Funny Things Parents Say To Their Kids

Have you ever said something to your child that made you shake your head? Have you said something that made you think that this is something you never thought you would have to say to another human being? I have done this so many times, especially when it comes to my son.

I asked parents what were some funny things they have said to their children and I got some great responses. I want to share them with you for a good laugh. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

Don't lick snow off the handrail.

Don't lick your popsicle drips off the gas station floor.

Stop licking your sister!

What are you doing behind that tree?! Pull your pants up and get over here now! No, you cannot pee on the tree, you’re a girl for crying out loud!

The IRS does not kill people with *axes*! They require us to pay *TAXES*!

Stop touching your butt!

Don't sit on your baby sister's head.

Is everyone wearing underwear? 

I'll pay you to take a nap.

No, you can't drink toilet water.

No, you cant eat soup with a toilet seat around your neck.
Is that chocolate or poop? Actually, I really don’t want to know.
Don't pick your brother's nose and eat it.
Quit putting money in your undies.
Don't pee on a random car in Walmart parking lot.

This was a fun post to write up. I had so many people messaging and commenting on all sorts of funny things they have had to say.
What are some funny things you have said to your kids?

Jan 7, 2018

Getting Rid Of Junk

The holidays have long passed but we are still on a homeschool break. I think as moms we don't ever get a break for the holidays. We are busy baking, cooking, wrapping, cleaning, and preparing for all the events that will take place. And once it's all over, we have a mess of things to do.

I don't know about you but my to-do list is long after the holidays. Decorations need to be taken down, new toys need to find a place, and I always try to hit up those 50% off sales after Christmas. After that is all finished, it's time to think about the new year. This is when I go on my cleaning and purging frenzy.

Even though this week has been busy with me getting all these things done, it feels good. I have gotten rid of so many unneeded and unwanted things. My house feels renewed, refresh, and clean.

Speaking of getting rid of things we don't need, how is your heart this new year? I'm not talking about your physical heart but your spiritual heart. Is your heart full of junk? Maybe you have some resentment cluttering up the cabinets, unforgiveness hidden in the back of your closet, anger lurking in the basement, or sadness taking up space under your bed.

Just as we clean out our home, we need to the same with our hearts. Carrying around junk makes it hard to keep things neat and tidy. It also makes it difficult to find room for new things like joy, love, and peace.

We need to take an inventory of what we have going on in our hearts and do some purging. It's a lot of work but once it's done you feel refreshed. So I challenge you to take your heart and all it's junk to the Lord in prayer. Ask him to help you work through the things you might have pushed into the junk drawer through the year. Chances are when you're done, your heart will feel renewed, refresh, and clean.

Jan 5, 2018

Large Family Grocery Shopping

One of the top questions I get asked is how I shop for our family. Many people are shocked when I tell them we feed our family of 7 on $400 a month. I don't use coupons and I stick to two stores, Wal-Mart and a day old bread store.

It's taken me a few years to figure all of this out. I tried couponing, driving to other stores for sales, using apps, and paying attention to flyers. None of those worked for me. I just need to get to the store and get out without having to mess with coupons or apps.

Here is how I do it.

Meal Plan

I start off by planning all our dinners. For our family dinner is the most expensive meal. I can easily plan breakfast and lunch, more on that later. I first figure out how many dinners I need to plan for. So for January, I will need 31 dinners. I grab a notebook and number the lines 1 to 31. I automatically give myself 4 "free" days as I like to call them. These are times we will eat leftovers or go out to dinner. After I do that I finish planning for the rest of the days. I add in my lunches and breakfasts by writing out all the things we will eat. Example: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, leftover dinner, etc. And for breakfast I know we eat oatmeal, eggs, toast, Cheerios, pancakes, yogurt, etc.

Grocery List

After I have my meal plan I go through the list and count up what I need to buy meat wise. I write all of that into my list and try to buy in bulk, if I can. I can later separate and freeze meat when I get home. Once I have all my dinner, lunch, and breakfast grocery list made out I add in snacks. 

Grocery Shopping

I shop at Wal-Mart for almost all of our food. I compare the prices and ingredients and try to make the best choice. After doing this for so many shopping trips you learn what brands to buy for your family. I will also buy things in bulk, like pancake mix. This way I can make up a bunch of pancakes and freeze them. I stick to my list the best I can. For bread, I shop at a local day old bread store. We buy 15 to 20 loafs of bread and freeze them in our deep freezer.

Home Cooking

Throughout the month I will check off the things I have made for my family. I try to plan out what I will make for dinner a week at a time so I stay on track. Of course, through the month we might need milk or other odds and ends we run out of. But the majority of my shopping is done on one day for that month.

Keep Your Lists

Keep your lists. For the following months, I look back at the previous month and plan out that month. I take a few meals out and add in new ones. I take the previous grocery list and work off that for what I need to get for the upcoming month. This saves me so much time.  

What you end up spending on your family on groceries will depend on what you buy and where you live. For our family, I choose to make simple meals and limit the number of processed foods we buy. Because of where we live fresh produce is hard to come by for decent prices, especially in the winter.

I hope you find this helpful. Just remember that what works for my family might not work for yours. It takes time to figure it all out and have a plan in place that works well for you and your family.

What are your tips and tricks for grocery shopping?

Dec 31, 2017

Ditching The New Year Resolutions

It's that time of year when everyone is making new resolutions or even goals. There's nothing wrong with this but for me, these just don't work. I have so many things I want to work on and improve that it would take me an entire day to write it all out and set up plans to get there. Who has time for that? (especially with five kids in the house, six if you count my husband)

So, I say ditch the new year resolutions and try something new. Something easier, something that just might work better for you. I came across this idea a few years ago while scrolling through Facebook. I fell in love with it and decided that this is what I will be doing from now on. I still make goals and resolutions but I focus on this one thing.

Get on with it already, right? Well, that one thing is, a word. That's it, just one word to sum up what I would like the following year to be. This year that word for me is, intentional. Last year it was compassion, and the year before that was love.

This is how I come up with my word. I start to think about all the things I want to carry out in the following year. I can usually see a common theme going on. For example, this year I want to get serious about my health, I want to raise my kids better, get into God's word more, and the list goes on. The one word I kept thinking about in all of this was, intentional. I need to be intentional with my health, my kids, and my faith.

Focusing in on a word has been more achievable than trying to remember 1,000 different things I want to do in 2018. I just love this idea and plan to continue doing this throughout the years.

So, if you could pick one word for 2018, what would it be? Below I have some words to help you come up with your word for the year. I hope this helps!


What is your 2018 word?

Dec 30, 2017

Best Baby Teether

As a mother of 5, there is one thing I am sure of, a teething baby is no fun!
Thankfully Raegan is not totally teething yet, but she loves to chew. While out Christmas shopping with my two oldest daughters, one of them came across this teether and gifted it to the baby.

This Nuby baby teether fits perfectly into her mouth. The teether has nice ridges to help massage those sore gums and comes in the cutest little container.

Do you have a favorite baby teether?

Dec 17, 2017

The Explorer Express | Christmas Light Viewing Fun

When I was a little girl I loved going to look at Christmas lights. All four of us kids would pile in the van all excited. My Dad would buy us all Happy Meals and we would head out to find the best lights. My Mom would play Christmas music and everyone would "oooh and aaah" over highly decorated houses.

Naturally, when I became a mother, I wanted to share this experience with my own children. Usually, we just hope in the vehicle and drive around. This year though, I wanted to make it extra special and start a new tradition.

I have watched some families on social media do something like this and call it the Minivan Express. Well, we don't drive a Minivan, we have a Ford Explorer. So, we decided to call it the Explorer Express! (It has a very nice ring to it)

The first thing I did was go and make tickets. I used Avery and it was very simple since they already have a ticket template. You can also Google "minivan express" and you will find printable tickets. You can also use canva like I did here.
Next I made a special treat to take along with us. This is very easy to make and so yummy. All you need is
  • popcorn.
  • white chocolate chips
  • m&ms
  • pretzles
  • Christmas sprinkles

You can find the full recipe here from Love Grows Wild.

Later that night I had the kids get into their pj's. We gave them each a ticket and explained what we would be doing. My husband was in the car already yelling out the window "tickets, tickets please!" The kids handed him their tickets and he yelled out "all aboard" as he honked the horn. The kids thought it was so funny. We turned on Christmas music and all sang songs as loud as we could. We made a stop midway through our adventure to get some hot chocolate. My husband turned on the hot chocolate song from the Polar Express and we all sang along to it. We all had such a great time together and can't wait to do it again in the years to come.

Do you do anything special when your family goes to look at Christmas lights?
You can see more pictures of our adventure over on my Instagram. Come follow me, and thanks for reading!

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