Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gettin' some Zzzzz help from ZzzQuil

It happened again. About a week ago my lower back went out - Oh, you want to know where & how? You don't need to know that.... It actually hasn't happened in quite a while. I have issues with my hips not lining up correctly and when it goes out my lower spine tends to twist and my left leg drops and drags and then I trip.
Anyway, after 2 chiropractor visits (the 2nd one was wonderful & then my back went out again the next morning) and a massage visit (which was wonderful as well) I was left very sore and in a lot of pain from my ribs on down through my hips. 

About a month ago I was offered and accepted a VoxxBox for ZzzQuil and since I have occasional sleepless nights I thought why not? I try not to take any kind of sleep aid but lately it seems I've been needing it more and more as new Fibro symptoms seem to be showing up. My VoxxBox came in early this week and I decided to take one of the pills after my massage so I could sleep off the worst of the pain.

Details:
1) ZzzQuil is for the relief of occasional sleeplessness, non-habit forming, it's not for cold or the flu. 
2) ZzzQuil is only for helping you to sleep & wake up refreshed.
3) You need to make sure you have a 7-8 hour period for sleeping without interruption.
4) You should be ready to sleep within 20 minutes.

My experience:
I fell asleep after I got home from the massage therapist which is normal for me. I find sleep is the best pain reliever with my Fibromyalgia Pain and often I fall asleep for several hours until my body wakes up on its own. The end result is that usually I cannot sleep until early in the morning - anywhere from 2-4 am!

I took ZzzQuil on a weekend so I didn't have to worry about waking up with the alarm. It was Saturday that I had my massage and I slept from 630 - 9:30 in the evening. (This is common with my fibro). I knew by 2 I wasn't going to go back to sleep even though I was tired so I decided to take 1 of the pills. I took it around 2:15 and finally fell asleep around 3:30. I would of probably fallen asleep around 245 but Lily the Cat decided to start yowling at something outside about then so I had to get up, turn on the air, calm her down and shut all the windows so she would quit waking up the neighborhood. (No idea what got into her - this is a new thing lately)

I woke up about 10 am on Sunday morning. Did not feel drugged or nauseous before or after sleeping which is usually the way I feel after taking some medications particularly ones that make me sleepy. I was very impressed. I was also pain free thanks to all the sleep I got after my massage as well as the massage itself. I will definitely keep ZzzQuil for those nights I cant sleep - I love that it's not habit forming and that I wasn't nauseous or dizzy when I woke up. 

Disclaimer - I received a sample of ZzzQuil to review on GivingNSharing in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to have a positive review.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

4th of July & Old Cars

Hi everyone ~ I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July Independence Day activities! Did you have a family reunion? Go on vacation? Spend a quiet day at home wishing your dog wasn't going crazy from the fireworks (or was that your neighbors dog howling at the moon?)....

I had a quiet day. My folks came down and brought me their 2007 Pontiac Vibe Wagon. My old car wasn't a good car for hauling daycare kiddos around. I'd had it for 10 years, 2 babies and 3 school kids. It was a really really tight fit. But you know, I can't really complain - it was a wonderful car for 10 years, 2 layoffs, 8 years of craft show & Usbourne Book bookfairs, 6 years of daycare living, etc...

Is anyone looking for a nice car? It's a 2004 Olds Alero - it has a bit of a rough body although it isn't terrible. A little rust, a hole in the rear bumper from my aunt backing into it (hey - she paid off the car for me with that little one lol - I'd just been laid off so I was happy), and the 2 side front windows need to be replaced. They aren't broken just don't stay up all the time..... it's been a wonderful car over the years. If you or your hubby know how to work on cars it will continue to be a wonderful car for many years to come!

This is a picture of the car - it's a darling little 2 door 2004 Olds Alero. Just got the oil changed today, got a nice vacuuming and is ready to go to it's new home. It has some power to it but if you have a responsible teen or college student who doesn't text & drive or haul lots of little teeny boppers around it would be a good car for them....

This is Connor in the picture strutting his stuff hauling soil for our gardening activity that day....

If you are interested in a great car ~ email me @ wswpub2(at)gmail(dot)com




Monday, July 4, 2016

Menu Planning?

Please note: This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. 

How many of you actively Menu Plan? I don't. With it just being me and 1 or 2 kids at the most we just eat left overs for a couple of days, sandwiches, GF or healthy chicken nuggets and soup very occasionally. I love it - but Gianna? Not so much. She drinks the broth - forget the filling.

Recently I heard of a new Freezer Planning program called Once A Month Planning. Now, I know it's not NEW NEW but this is the first time I've really looked at the program. Really I just need a couple of meals each week and I can fill in the rest of our menu with what I have on hand. I'm always looking for snack ideas, kid friendly meals and high protein foods & snacks are a huge bonus. Keep in mind I can't have any dairy or soy so cheese and yogurts are out for me. Gianna won't eat most grains at all - no bread, no noodles except spaghetti and MacsNCheese and no veggies usually. Connor? Yeah... he'll eat apples & bananas, oatmeal, meat - but no potatoes or broccoli, he will eat corn, mixed veggies and that's about it. Life is hard..... 

Once a Month Meals is a membership based Menu Planning service where you have your choice of 9 different kinds of meals like: Paleo, Traditional, Gluten Free, Vegetarian & REAL FOOD! Lol! There's even a Baby Menu! 

They just started a new planning service called: Summer Instant Pot Mini Menu - so if you like Pressure Cooking this menu will be perfect for you! You will find delicious recipes like: Instant Pot Tender Braised Short Ribs, Buffalo Chicken, Honey Pork Chops, Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken & Marinated Steak. Sounds nummy right?

So, now that you've chosen your menu - now is the time to tell the database how many people you are feeding and then you have the option to have a shopping list created for you, prep day instructions & cooking day instructions prepared, labels and more. Another bonus to their program is that if there is something you already know wont work with ultra picky husbands kids you can swap out a meal and create your own custom menu.

Once a Month Meals planning service is $16 a month - or you can purchase a whole year at a time. If you aren't sure if you want to invest in the whole year why not just start with a month and see how it goes? It's very easy to do and I'm sure you'll love the program as much as I do!

Watch to see how I do with my new menu planning adventure. I'm actually going to use it to prepare some yummy deliciousness for the freezer for this fall. Preschool homeschooling starts up this year and it will be so nice to have a few meals in the freezer that I can pull out, pop in the crock pot or the oven and just go about our day....

Please note: I am an affiliate with Once a Month Meals and receive a small amount for each membership purchased through my affiliate link. Each little bit goes a long way toward our budget and is great appreciated. All comments and thoughts above are my own.

    Sunday, July 3, 2016

    Summer 2016 ~ planning for the fall & a prayer request

    Well, how has everything been going for you? I've been very busy lately - so busy I haven't been online a lot.

    Kids out of school & yes, they're bored. Sort of....

    Between car issues, kid struggles, me being down with a 6 week migraine and G being 2 now. Enough said - hmmmm.
    We had a 2 week period with 100 temps - but the last week has been very nice. Yesterday 7/2 it was in the high 60's!! Gasp! Tomorrow 7/4 it's supposed to be in the low 80's so it should be a fairly nice day. =D

    Anyway,

    I am in the process of setting up the first 2 weeks of preschool for Gianna. We will have 2 themes each month and thanks to my friend Cheryl's wonderful website we have lots of fun things to do & my job is MUCH easier as far as planning!

        

    We will also be participating in activities at Fontenelle Forest and Hummel Park. Both have wonderful preschool programs. Fontenelle does a awesome Art Preschool Program. Centers are set up related to a weekly topic such as birds, insects, winter animals, etc.  Kids can play with playdo, paint, build with blocks, watch the birds in their birdhouses, go for a walk throughout the forest, read stories and there are also fun art projects where you create your project using parts of nature like seeds, flower pods and more.

    Hummel Park Nature Nook is a preschool program for kiddos 3-5 approximately although older kids are welcome to join in the fun too. This program is set up on Friday mornings and moms often take picnic lunches and stay after to play in the forest or with the toys in the Nature Center which will be open till about 5 pm. Gianna & Connor loved going to the Nature Center the one time we got to go last year. Bonus: it's only $1 per child.

    My other hope is that I can get her involved in the Yoga Kids activity at the community center. We'll see how that goes....

    If you homeschool or are a in home daycare share what your plans are for very young preschoolers. Gianna will be 3 in December so we are going to play it by ear. She LOVES learning - she knows her ABC's, their sounds, recognizes their shape and can answer simple questions about them. She also knows her 123's, sings all the time and loves to do crafts or as she calls it her "artworks". LOL

    Hope you all find this to be helpful.

    PS: I won't be on as much as I used to obviously. Right now, I'm running 3 businesses, and would love to have prayer as I try to fill a spot for a new daycare child. I am down to one and really need a new family. Please pray that this new family is a great fit - all my families for the last 3 years have been christians and I can't tell you what a nice thing that is to have. Thank you!


    Sunday, March 13, 2016

    Tot School Nursery Rhymes & Fingerplays for March & April


    For the last 4-5 months Gianna (2) and I have been working on little songs each month to learn. Sometimes they are picked due to the season, sometimes she'll hear a song that she wants to learn and sometimes like this month I choose what song we are going to work on. So far we have learned the following songs (links to lyrics are in the brackets):
    Spring Mini Bulletin Board Set
    November/December: Frosty the Snowman
    January: the "Joy Joy" song (I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart!) (click here)
    February: ABCDEFG Jesus Died for You and Me! (click here)
    March & April: Various Fingerplays and Rhymes.

    One of the things I like to do especially with songs that aren't as familiar to me or maybe I don't remember the words 100% from my own childhood is post little posters on the wall so I can see the words at a glance. Carson Dellosa sent me one of the Mini Bulletin Set and I made up a cute display that I can look at it during our lunches & snacks which is when Gianna and I sit and visit while we eat. 

    In the "display" above I posted our Spring Bucket List using Blank Header so we could refer to a list of activities for Gianna (and Connor/Madison) when they are bored (or driving me nuts) and need to find something fun to do. I also used 4 of the Small Signs to write out 4 finger plays we are learning and several of the little accent pictures with nursery rhymes. It makes it MUCH easier if we can just refer to a card as we are learning these rhymes & songs and Gianna uses the pictures on each card to find a song or rhyme she wants to work on.

    I also needed a calendar display near the front door to refer to for playdates, craft shows for my Therapy Pack business as well as a place to put artwork and pictures of the kids. All of the pieces (the watering can, raindrops, umbrellas, flower pot accent piece and flower accent come from the same set and I still have more pieces although not a lot of them to use for other things. I'm thinking about making up a weather display and may use an umbrella and a raindrop for the rainy weather picture and we'll talk about rainy days as well as Sunny Days and appropriate clothes and gear we might need on those days.

    I really liked the Spring Mini Bulletin Board Set - it's very versatile and while I am using it for tot school I think you could use it to create a game using the Blank Header for Counting and Alphabet review, use the raindrops and umbrellas for calendar time or perhaps to make up a folder game to review math or phonics problems and so much more. It's only $6.99 too!

    The Fingerplays and Nursery Rhymes used in the top display are:

    1) 5 Little Green & Speckled Frogs
    2) This is my Garden
         I'll plant it with care.
         Here are the seeds
         I'll plant in there.
         The Sun Will Shine,
         The Rain will fall
         The Seeds will sprout
         and grow up tall! 
    3) Mary Mary Quite Contrary
    4) Jack N Jill (she LOVES this one)
    5) Here are the Bees Hives (and this one)
        Where are the Bees?
        Hidden away where no one sees (make a fist)
        Soon they'll come creeping 
        Out of the hives
        1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Bzzzz
        (hold fingers up as you count and then go Bzzzz!)
    6) Here is a bunny (hold up 2 fingers)
        With ears so funny
        And here's a hole in the ground. (make a hole with your other hand)
        At the first sound she hears
        She pricks up her ears  (stand fingers up tall)
        And pops right into the ground. (pop fingers into the hole)

    Disclaimer: I received a package of the Spring Mini Bulletin Board Set to review. I was not required to have a positive review only to share my honest opinion. Thanks for reading!

    Saturday, February 27, 2016

    Calphalon Classic 12" Non-Stick Everyday Pan ~ Incredible Baked Meatballs

    My girls check out the new Calphalon Classic Skillet.... 



    How many of you slog through each day dealing with a "non" stick skillet that sticks? I have had my current skillet for over 10 years and absolutely LOVED it until it decided to start sticking. It's a Circulon 12" skillet that I picked up at the outlets in Colorado right after I got laid off. I had gotten a sizeable package from a company I had worked at for several years and treated myself to a vacation and came across this wonderful skillet that was clearanced for $25. I have been a Circulon fan ever since!

    Then I started having issues and I'll be honest I've been to lazy to take it to the post office and mail it back to Circulon to see if they can do anything with it. It has a lifetime warranty so really I should just bite the bullet and take the time to do something about it.

    So, when I was offered the opportunity to try a Calphalon Classic Nonstick 12" Everyday Pan I said "Heck YES!" I definitely would love to give you my honest opinion on your pan!

    I can honestly say that I did (and am) thoroughly enjoying my new skillet. It's big enough to cook 3-4 smallish hamburgers, a 1/2 recipe of delicious Italian meatballs (recipe below), 6 scrambled eggs and I'm sure quite a bit more. We don't cook a lot of fancy foods and my fibro doesn't give me the energy (or want to) to make fancy french dishes anymore (Chicken with 30 cloves of garlic being one of my faves!)....

    Pro's:
    1) I love the roominess of this pan. It's deep enough to make a nice "stir fry" or pasta dish without worrying about going over the edge (unless my 8 year old gets too into his cooking).
    2) I LOVE how easy it is to wipe clean. So far I haven't had any issues with sticking or burning. Granted I've only made a few items with it so far - I do have several recipes in my "too make" file though. This one will likely be coming soon.)
    3) It can be used in the oven up to 450 - I like the handles. You do need to use hotpads with the handles obviously but I really like how the weight seems more evenly distributed somehow and not as awkward as my old Circulon pan is. It just seems much easier to carry when it's full of food and needs to be pushed into the oven.

    Cons:
    1) The lid doesn't have a steam release so if you need to release steam you will need to cock the lid a bit. The lid also doesn't fit down into a groove & can be nudged or knocked off the rim of the pan easily especially when moving it to the oven.
    2) The handles do get hot but I use hot pads regularly so it really doesn't bother me all that much. It's just common sense to use pads anyway.

    One of our families favorite meals is Meatballs. It seems like whatever I make whether it's actually meatballs or chopped hamburger in a casserole everyone calls them meatballs especially 2 year old Gianna. Sorry, I don't seem to have any pictures on FB or my phone. Meatballs are meatballs though.

    Incredible Italian Meatballs
    1# hamburger (could also use hamburger/pork mixture)
    2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    1 cup breadcrumbs (I use the Italian seasoned one - hence the Italian in the name)
    1 small onion, minced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp oregano
    1 tsp salt
    fresh ground pepper to taste
    1/4 cup fresh basil, minced

    I use the following ingredients to change it up some & directions:
    1) breadcrumbs - I use the Italian seasoned bread crumbs
    2) onion - I use the frozen chopped ones or the 'Mirepoix' blend from Baker's. I like this way to add extra veggies. =D
    3) I mix it all together and fry them up in the skillet. I don't really cook them all the way through just brown them nicely.
    4) Pour a can of Contadina Pizza Sauce in a 8x8 baking pan or if cooking all the meatballs use a 9x13 baking pan and use a large (about 16oz?) can of Pizza sauce or use a whole jar of Spaghetti Sauce (I use the HyVee Chunky Garden Spaghetti Sauce for even MORE veggies in my kids).
    5) Make golf-ball sized meatballs (or larger if you want)
    6) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with extra sauce and breadsticks or garlic bread. YUM!

    You can find the Calphalon Classic Everyday Pan in stores like JcPenny, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Williams-Sonoma. Online you can find it for $39.99 here.

    I'd love to hear which pan is your favorite - just share it in the comment section below.

    Disclaimer: I received this pan for free in exchange for my honest opinion. I really enjoyed using this pan and though perhaps my readers would as well.

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    Teacher Aids by Carson Dellosa: Interactive Notebooks Science

    Interactive Notebooks: Science Resource Book
    When you were a child did you learn better with rote memory work - or hands on interactive learning? I've always been a visual learn myself and would of loved working on Interactive Notebooks in Science & Natural History classes especially. I've always enjoyed books that incorporate flaps, wheels, charts, and other hands on methods for learning. The opportunity to "make it myself" would of been a huge plus too!

    Today I wanted to share another book from the Interactive Notebooks series from Carson Dellosa. I've used their books for years both as a nanny and a daycare provider & I like how complete their books are and yet I can still tweak many of the activities to meet a variety of ages.

    by Carson Dellosa Publishing
    ISBN: 9781483831206
    $9.99 (paperback) (ebook)

    Details (from the website):
    1) Kids learn about 5 senses, plants, animals, physical properties, motion, day & night & more!
    2) Notebooks are personalized to fit kids' learning needs by creating fun, colorful pages for each top. Kids learn organization, color coding, summarizing & other skills.
    3) Kids will refer back to and "read" their books over and over again which encourages review and constant learning.
    4) Each book focuses on grade-specific math, language arts or science. Books are for grades K-8.
    5) Each book is aligned to Common Core & meet current state standards. 
    6) Each book contains 96 pages of lesson plans, printables and more.



    My thoughts:
    I recently received the Interactive Notebooks Science book for Kindergartners and have had fun looking through it. I don't know about you but I am SOOOO ready for Spring to be here and to be honest I'm ready to jump the gun a bit and drag out my plants, seeds, pots and soil and have some fun with the little kids. How about you?

    The Interactive Notebooks Science book is a 96 page teacher's guide that includes printables, how to's, covers Life Science, Physical Science & Earth and Space Science and I think with 2 year old Gianna instead of doing a whole notebook we would take it in small chunks and use the printables & ideas for learning about the 5 Senses, Plants, Animal Habitats and maybe Space. I'd take an activity for the Stars & Animals and make it tie into some of her favorite songs like Old MacDonald & Twinkle Twinke Little Star as well as He Has the Whole World In His Hands. She could easily do one page activities during her Tot School Time.

    You can purchase this book on Carson Dellosa's website here or you can also find it on Amazon here for the same price. If you purchase it on Amazon I receive a small commission which helps me provide fun Tot School Activities & toys for Gianna & it's greatly appreciated!

    I have reviewed other Carson Dellosa items. Click the image below to read those reviews as well:


    Interactive Notebooks: Language Arts Resource BookCommon Core Assessment Record Book

    Disclaimer: I received this book from Carson Dellosa in exchange for my honest review. No money exchanged hands and I was not required to have a positive review. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing!

    Sunday, January 24, 2016

    Pet Grooming Tools ~ e-cloth Review & Giveaway










    e-cloth Product Review:
    My Lily has a medium length coat and I think one of the things I hate the most about having an indoor pet is the hair. Its all over! I try to keep it cleaned up but it seems like its on everything. Recently I was at Hancock Fabrics and they have a display of products from a company called e-cloth which creates cleaning products for your home, car & electronics. Anyway they have a couple items that can be used for a dog or cat - long or short haired. I wasn't to sure how Lily would like it but when e-cloth offered a set to try on Lily I said "Sure!"

    I received two items that you wear on your hand like a mitt - each is double sided with a different texture on each side. Lily always starts out by acting like she doesnt want to be brushed but by the time Ive brushed her all over and then flipped the mitt over to the softest side she is practically purring!

    The Grooming Mitt is a grey set and has a very stiff fabric on one side to remove dirt, dust and all that loose fur that our Furbabies leave all over the house. Flip it over and you finish the grooming session with a soothing massage. The brown set is the Cleaning Mitt and it has a slightly different purpose. Its great for removing mud & dried dirt from your pets coat. If your dog loves to roll in the mud he will love this set and so will you! Each of the mitts has a lighter & darker side - you start with the lighter side to clean and end with the darker side for a soothing massage.Your pet will love it - my Lily did!

    Pros: Easy to use. With the dual sided mitts I felt like I got more than one tool to use on Lily for one low price. Lily's interest was positive she didn't fight me when I used the rough sides on her even when I used it on her tail or belly and by the end of the session she is usually very relaxed and quite content. Both mitts can be used on wet or dry fur & are guaranteed for 300 washes. That's a LOT of washes!

    Cons: I have smaller hands and I personally would of liked a softer more fitted mitt to put my hand into. The interior is a bit rough and feels like a burlap to me. With my fibro my hands are very sensitive to textures and it just seemed rough to me. Its an easy fix for me tho Ill just wear a glove when I use it.The mitt is a bit large and squared off at the top so it doesnt have the greatest fit for smaller hands. For its purpose and the short amount of time its worn to complete this task these are small issues to me.

    Learn More: You can learn more about ecloth on their website, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram and/or YouTube. They have many other wonderful cleaning products that you can use in your home, office, car or with pets.

    Giveaway:
    e-cloth has kindly offered to host a giveaway for my readers - 1 lucky person & their pet will receive one of the Grooming Mitt's and also a Cleaning Mitt. They can be used on both cats and dogs so this giveaway will fit most households (unless you have a hairless cat maybe).

    This giveaway will run January 24 - 31, ending at 10 pm. All entrants MUST provide their complete mailing address, phone # & email in the giveaway tools gadget or a new winner will be drawn. This is mandatory. Your information will only be used for the purpose of delivering your prize if you win and not for any other reason.

    Disclaimer: I received product in exchange for my honest review of ecloth's pet care line. I like to share products that are family friendly and that I feel will be helpful to my readers. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing.

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