Ting's Mom
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Monday, May 2, 2016

Annual Zoo Day

Each Spring, the early elementary students at our school take a field trip to the nearby zoo. I'm blessed to have a job that allows me to take days off for fun events such as this, so I once again made the trip with my kids and their friends.

zoo field trip

If you feel like catching up, you can read about past trips here, here, and here.

This year was uneventful! We left the school on time and made it to the entry gate with no problems. I was bummed to discover five school buses in the parking lot, but the extra influx of elementary students didn't turn out as annoying as it could have been :)

Our class was able to tour the entire zoo this year - a first time for many years - and see all the animals available. Unfortunately, many of the animals had already made their way back north for the summer, but we were still able to see several different types of animals.

zoo animals and kids

We once again attended an educational session that allowed the students up close looks to an owl, opossum, and alligator. Bug was a little scared of the animals this year and would not pet them.

A quick break and then we loaded the boat for our annual ride through the lagoon. I think this is always a favorite for the kids we take as they get to see some different animals from just walking around like regular visitors.

zoo kids

After a picnic lunch, we headed back to school. It was a beautiful day, and I had a great time getting to hang out with my kids and their friends.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mrs. Meyer's Everyday Luxury Set {FREE}

This post is brought to you by my friends at Grove Collaborative. I am proud to be both a customer and an influencer for Grove Collaborative, and excited to share with you all about the amazing products they send to my doorstep each month.

In case you have not heard, I am on a mission to create a safer and healthier home for my family. One of the first places I knew I had to make changes was in my cleaning and personal care products. After quite a bit of research, I discovered Grove Collaborative. Grove Collaborative makes shopping for environmentally safe products both fun and easy. They carry many of my new favorite brands, including Molly’s Suds, Acure Organics and Mrs. Meyer's.

Right now, they have an amazing offer they are allowing me to share with you. If you are a new customer, you are going to want to check them out and take advantage of this awesome perk. If you are already a customer, no worries – there is something here for you to!

This month, Grove Collaborative has curated the Mrs. Meyer’s Everyday Luxury Set — and you can get it for FREE.

Mrs. Meyer’s products have quickly become a favorite in our home. The basil is my absolute favorite scent, and I love mopping my floors with the everyday cleaner or washing our hands with the hand soap. I am so excited to try the basil candle and have the clean scent flowing through my home.

The kit also includes Grove Collaborative walnut scrubber sponges — how awesome are they? They are made from crushed walnuts, so they are naturally tough on messes, but gentle on your pots and pans (and the Earth).

If you are new to Grove Collaborative, you can get this set FREE + free shipping when you place your first order that totals at least $20. My friends at Grove Collaborative have hand selected the most beautiful, healthy household products and will ask you a few questions to find products you will love. It is like having a personal shopper for your home!

You can choose from more lovely cleaning supplies like Mrs. Meyer’s Multi­Surface Cleaner and Laundry Detergent — but why not treat yourself to Acure’s Aromatherapeutic Rose Argan Oil and Ultra­Hydrating Body Wash? Go on; you deserve it!

Once you have customized your order, Grove Collaborative will suggest a shipment schedule to keep you stocked up and on­budget. Then your favorite products show up at your door right when you need them.

If you are already a Grove Collaborative fan like me, there is something for you too! When you use this link, you will get a Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap free with your next order. You cannot go wrong with one of these beautiful soaps and a fresh hand towel on your bathroom counter for instant ambiance.

There are a limited number of sets available, and this offer ends Sunday, May 1, so grab yours now.

Here is how:

1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here. You will receive the Mrs. Meyer's Everyday Luxury Set for free when you sign up!

2. Answer four quick questions about your home. Grove Collaborative will use this to customize your first basket (this takes under 30 seconds!).

3. Once you have answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.

4. To receive this offer, your order needs to total at least $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box (this is the hardest part — so many great choices!).

5. Click “Finish & Pay” and place your order.

6. Come back and tell me which amazing products you ordered!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hubby's Birthday Weekend

Hubby spent several weeks trying to decide what he wanted to do for his birthday this year. Then on Thursday night he said, "Let's go camping!" So we rearranged some schedules on Friday and made it happen.

We went to the lake near our hometown, and had everything set up and ready to camp by 8:00 Friday night. We ate pizza we grabbed on the way out there, built a fire, and let the kids run off some energy.

Saturday was Hubby's birthday. The kids and I already had his gifts ready, but still needed to do cards. I gave the kids their cards and a pen and let them write in them. I had no idea Bug knew how to write his letters, and I was blown away when he started writing the letters his sister called out to him!

kids camping

Saturday afternoon Hubby hit the lake for some birthday fishing while the kids and I hung out at the camper. Ting wanted to ride her bike (Bug had a fall a few weeks ago and won't get back on his bike right now), and Bug was content to run beside her. He ran right beside her the entire 1.5-mile path throughout the campground!

The rest of our day was spent reading, napping, and playing in the campgrounds. Hubby grilled steaks and chicken wings for dinner, and we enjoyed a picnic dinner under the trees.

camping with family

Sunday morning we browsed the campgrounds some more and took our time just sitting around relaxing. But it was eventually time to head home and back to the real world of grocery shopping, school lunches, and piles of dirty laundry.

camping weekend

But we had a great weekend. I feel we are so fortunate to have a camper and a campground near our home so we can make quick weekend getaways.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Night, Night. Sleep Tight.

Today I'm linking up with Mommy Monday to talk bedtime routines. Truth is I've meant to blog about our bedtime routine for a long time and just haven't gotten around to it, so I'm glad to finally have a reason.

Since the day we brought Ting home from the hospital, our life has been all about routines. We figured out pretty quickly that kids thrive on routines, so we ran with it. Of course, as the kids get older, the routines are getting less structured, but they are still there.

Bedtime at our house is one of the routines I work hard to maintain. Because of our school and work commutes, my kids have to get up earlier than most, so it is important they get to bed and get their sleep. Of course, there is the ideal situation, and there is reality, but most of the time we stick to the planned routine.

bedtime routines
Both kids are put to bed in their own beds each night, sometimes they don't stay there!

On school nights, our routine begins right after dinner. Bug gets the first shower, with Hubby's help, while I clean up the kitchen from dinner. As soon as he is finished, Ting gets in the shower. On the nights she washes hair, I help her, but mostly she is on her own. After showers is teeth brushing and into their jammies.

Depending on what time it is, the kids can either play or have parent time, or they head straight to bed. I rotate which kid I put to bed first, but the routine is the same. I cross the day off their calendar, tuck them in, I say prayers, they say prayers, and then we tell each other good-night - complete with hugs and kisses.

For Bug, bedtime is also medication and oils time. He gets nose spray, and I rub him down with Lavender essential oil.

All of this happens with the intention of the kids being in bed by 7:30 pm. Most nights, we make it!

After kid bedtime, Hubby watches TV while I either read or blog. Hubby goes to bed around 10:00, and I try to get to bed by midnight.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Party Like a Bug

To celebrate Bug turning four earlier this week, we partied hard last weekend.

We started Saturday with a party for all his friends and our extended family. I decided to go easy this year, and we simply reserved a pavilion at the park and let the kids run wild. Most of Bug's friends were able to come, as was most of our family.

Because Bug is allergic to most things birthday related, I baked a Rice Krispie "cake" for him. It turned out pretty good and was a popular treat. We also had a Spiderman pinata filled with candy for the treat bags. It was a perfect day.

rice krispie cake

birthday boy open presents

blowing out candles

pinata time

On Monday (Bug's actual birthday) we had a small family party at our house. My parents came over to celebrate with us. I cooked Bug's favorite - White Chicken Chili - and we had cookies with icing on them.

boy birthday cookie

boy excited

kid recliner

All in all, I'm calling Bug's fourth birthday a fun success. I'm looking forward to the coming year and watching my baby boy grown up.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Around The World

Saturday was our annual ladies' banquet at church. I always look forward to this fun day and enjoy getting to participate with all the ladies in our church.

ladies missions meeting

This year the theme was Around the World. Attendees were encouraged to wear the dress from around the world. Since we had a busy day ahead, we went as Arkansans, ha! We started with a meal and games in the fellowship hall, then moved to hear our guest speaker for the day. She gave a wonderful message about being a missionary in your daily life. Something I need to do better.

The banquet also kicked off the upcoming missions conference at our church. Missions is a huge deal in our church, and we (the church) support many missionaries on a monthly basis. After experiencing the banquet, and then the Sunday message from our pastor, I feel the need to "get to know" our missionaries our church supports. I will never be on the mission field myself, but my prayers can go a long way in helping their cause.

I am committed to learning what I can for each missionary family in our church. Joining their mailing list, and making a point to pray for them each and every day.

What are you doing to support missions?

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Five on 5: April

Happy April 5th! Who is ready for a few things on my mind this month?

five on 5

I started drinking Apple Cider Vinegar. I've read for years all the benefits and decided just to go for it. I dilute 2 tbsp into 8 oz of water and drink it twice a day. At first, the taste was brutal, but now it doesn't bother me and I can down it with no problems. I do feel like I have more energy, and I've gone a whole month without a migraine!

I've started packing my lunch for work (saving tons of money) and taking advantage of our walking track during my lunch break. I can get down my salad and still get in about 20 minutes on the track each day. Walking has made me feel so much better!

I found a new app I'm in LOVE with. It's called Screen Time, and it is perfect for parents with kids with devices. I set both kids up with their individual devices. I can allot a certain amount of screen time each day, and after that, the tablet quits working. I set up "tasks" to earn more screen time each day (my kids can earn up to 30 minutes by doing their chores), and can also set the tablet not to work when the kids are supposed to be asleep. For older kids, you can even set to restrict certain apps during school hours. So far it has been perfect for our family.

I'm not telling all my kids' business here on the blog, but I need to brag a little. There are fewer diapers in my trash these days and more laundry in my undergarments cycle. Yippee!!!

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the book blog. I have been on a streak of books I didn't care for too much. Two of them I didn't even finish. BUT, I am enjoying the one I'm on right now so maybe the tide is turning.

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