Category Archives: Journaling

And Baby Makes 3, but Baby Ain’t Free! A Baby Registry Guide

And Baby Makes 3 But Baby Ain't Free: A Baby Registry GuideAn in-depth and frequently modified guide to baby registry: what you need, where to go, best baby products we’ve tried, and even baby DIY projects!  Let’s face it, half the time people don’t bother to look at baby registries.  Until I was pregnant with my first (natural) child, I didn’t either.  The thing is, having one from birth I realized how much I needed the things I registered for and how much I did not feel like or have the time to go and get them when baby came and I hadn’t gotten around to picking those last things up.  Let me tell ya, no matter what gift I want to give someone for their little one (I love making stuff as gifts), I now at least buy some little something off the registry.  Odds are, they chose that item for a reason.   A great baby registry is essential to easing the worry of preparing for your new blessing.

Not everyone has the time or inclination to register everywhere.  It can be monotonous and when you are good and pregnant, it doesn’t take long for your feet to let you know that they are done with your nonsense!  So, here’s a little list of some great places to register and why.  I chose to cover some online as well as offline places so that those who don’t shop online still can get to a registry!

And Baby Makes 3 But Baby Ain't Free: A Baby Registry Guide

There are so many things we can register for it can be incredibly overwhelming, especially for first time Moms!  I can’t tell you how much I researched each big ticket item to make sure it was safe and educational or whatever.  I went a little crazy on those things, but nothing for the best for baby!   My favorite place I found for ratings, opinions, etc was the Parent’s Choice Awards, put together by a non-profit, every item is rated by parents using their experience with them.  Who better than other parents who have been there!

For the most part, we all tend to gift the same things for the new bundle of joy: that adorable outfit we saw and they just had to have, diapers/wipes, pacifiers, bottles, etc.  All that stuff that’s on the ‘don’t forget’ checklists that they have in every store and every website which things are all great and totally necessary, but more often than not we end up with multiples and have to return items.

Necessary Registry Items

(that are often overlooked)

And Baby Makes 3 But Baby Ain't Free: A Baby Registry GuideBurp Cloths AKA Super absorbent spit rags : spit up happens, a lot!  Nothing worse than not having a rag on hand, except maybe having a rag that doesn’t soak it up!

Nose Sucker:  NoseFrida seems to be the most loved one, newborns need their nose suctioned and you are gonna need  one of these!

And Baby Makes 3 But Baby Ain't Free: A Baby Registry GuideHumidifier:  I mean honestly, breathing is one of those top priorities!  A humidifier will help keep your little one from being congested, the better they sleep the better you do, which means the better you can meet baby’s needs and yours!  This one has a night light to project on the ceiling, helps put baby to sleep so fast!  Their little eyes can’t resist sleep watching this, my baby girl would be out in seconds watching them!

White Noise Machine: there are a ton to choose from, they fit every theme.  They will help soothe baby, going back to that ‘everyone resting’ thing.

Gel Pads: If you are going to breast feed, your breasts will be sore.  There are many great products out there that help with soothing sore breasts, get some!  You’ll be glad you did.

Batteries: I suggest rechargeable, you’ll be glad you can recharge rather than have to go to the store, not to mention how much better they are for the environment.  Plus, if you are registered for them you or your family/friends may get a discount and that’s always helpful!
And Baby Makes 3 But Baby Ain't Free: A Baby Registry GuideAnd Baby Makes 3 But Baby Ain't Free: A Baby Registry Guide

Infant Tylenol:  You’ll want to have this on hand from the start, you don’t want to have to scramble and run to the store when baby spikes a fever in the middle of the night.  You can learn more about how and when to give infant’s tylenol on their site.

Some of My Favorites

Juppy Baby Walker:Often Overlooked Baby Registry Items & Other Essentials You May Not Have Thought of no matter how young and in shape you are, bending over helping baby learn to walk can get painful!  Check out this product and save yourself some pain!  The American Society of Orthopedic Surgeons has a great article on how new parents can prevent back pain, we’ve got plenty of stress we don’t need pain distracting us from what’s important!

Stroller organizerBabyBeeHaven_026: whether getting back in shape is a priority or not, this will help you so much when you go out, everything being convenient is important for keeping sanity and saving time when we don’t have time to worry about little details!  Picking the right stroller can be difficult and overwhelming, Baby Center has a great video on How to Choose a Stroller
Baby First TV:
I Can Sign: Communication is one of the most important things we have, teaching your little one to sign from a young age will enable them to tell you their needs before they are able to verbalize them.  This will save them and you a ton of frustration!  You can read more about the benefits of signing for infants and children from Psych Central in this article entitled ‘Teaching Your Baby To Sign Can Benefit Both of You.’

You can also check out some adorable Chevron wet bags for damp clothes, snacks, etc from Yummi Pouch.  I reviewed them and shared my thoughts.

The Top 3 Baby Registries

Here’s the deal, the one with the best benefits I’ve found (and I looked everywhere I could think of) is Diapers.com  If there are some other great ones, please let me know in the comments.  I’d like to keep this a top 3!

Diapers.com: free shipping for everyone who orders off of your registry as well as free returns, 15% discount for you, your friends and family to use when buying things off your registry and an additional 10% code about 6 weeks before your due date, ‘ship it later’ (I LOVE this one!) allows you to have certain items on your registry that are purchased to be shipped at a set date in the future (maybe when the nursery is complete), interactive checklist (no need to hop back and forth!), register for diapers and friends and family can gift you credits that you can use to get whatever size diapers you need (no need to worry about not having enough of one size or another!), thank you manager

Amazon:  Free 90-day returns, you get a completion discount when your registry end date comes (up to 15%!), freebies such as ebooks and discounts along with some limited time offers like welcome boxes (depends on timing), you can add items from any site to the Amazon registry, and a thank you tracker to help you keep things in line.

ToysRUs/BabiesRUs: up to 10% back on purchases from your registry via e-gift card, plus if you go in store they will give you a great little gift when you register (if you register online, just go in store and tell them to pick up your gift)

Baby Freebies

We all love free stuff, parenting is expensive and the combination makes finding freebies crazy important!  Plus, getting them in the mail from time to time is always a blast!  Here is a list of freebies I’ve found and I’ll add more as I find them!

In Store Freebies:  The following stores will give you free gifts when you register: ToysRus/BabiesRUs, BuyBuy Baby, Target

Baby Gift DIY

NoBaby Registry Guide would be complete without some awesome DIY tutorials.  Or at least, I don’t think it would be!  Here are some links for my favorite ones.  I’ll come back and add more as I find them, but this is a great starter!

Diaper CakeBig Brother/Sister KitDIYDiaperCake

Big Brother/Big Sister Kit

Sock Monkey

Simple Diaper Sewing Tutorials

 

Originally posted 2016-08-19 07:59:48.

16 Reasons to Shop at Family Christian

16 Reasons To Shop at Family ChristianI have been going to fc stores for years.  One of the biggest things I love about them is that they are a not-for-profit business.  That means that everything over the cost of operation goes to charities.  There are various charities they support, listed below.  They are also a Christian store.  Whether you agree with Christianity or not, the good the company does for not only our society, but others around the world, makes a huge difference in many lives.

There are many great products both in the store and online.  This is gonna sound crazy, but my absolute favorite product that I’ve ever bought at Family Christian is a water bottle that pops open with the push of a button and locks so that it won’t pop open when you don’t want it to!  I went back for a long time trying to find them again and they didn’t have them in stock, but I’ve recently found them on their website so I ordered some extras.  Within two minutes I had the shipment guarantee and the notification that they had received my order.  The water bottles I ordered weren’t in their warehouse, so there was a little notification on the site (before I ordered) letting me know that it may take longer to receive.  I love that they had that easily seen!  They also sent me a guarantee within minutes of my order that covered a lot more than I ordered!

FCguarantee

Right now there is an awesome Summer Sale of Buy 1, Get 1 50% off on ALL books, movies, and music for the entire family both online and in store!  The sale will be going on until August 25, 2016.  Also, don’t forget to check out their clearance section.  It’s always got something and is typically fabulous!

16 Reasons to Shop at Family Christian

Since 2003:
122,249 Bibles have been donated to military members and their families

More than 400,000 copies—and counting—of Dios me Ama New Testament Bibles have been given away to children in Latin America.

120,440 Bibles were delivered to Scripture Union Ghana for high school students, a program endorsed by the former First Lady of Ghana.

In 2014 and 2015:
14,208 military audio Bibles were donated through Faith Comes by Hearing.

Since 2003:
Approximately 445 adoptions have taken place through funds donated to Lifesong for Orphans, Bethany Christian Services and Show Hope.

$199,000 in donations have been given to God’s Littlest Angels (GLA) in Haiti to support orphans

In 2012: Title DVD Commercial Co-Venture raised $103K to help build an orphanage in Haiti, Little Drummer Boy Commercial Co-Venture raised $38K for GLA.

In 2011 2011 Like Dandelion Dust promotion raised $16K for GLA

195 adoptions have been funded through their own nonprofit ministry

The past two winters, our employees raised enough funds to provide firewood for every Navajo widow in Pine Dale, New Mexico

More than 100 participants joined together to do quality life improvements at St. John’s Home and Wedgewood in the Grand Rapids area.

1,350 children have been fed each year through nutrition feeding programs

More than 6,000 pairs of shoes donated to orphans and widows by Payless Shoes’ employees during our mission trips and also shipped to other various international locations

In 2015:
70,000 Barnabas Bears were donated to ministries in the U.S. and around the world

$5,400 was raised for storm clean-up in South Carolina and donated to Convoy of Hope. Approximately 12,248 lives were touched by this support.

And there are tons more that I didn’t include!  Check them out!

disclosure

Originally posted 2016-08-18 19:32:08.

#Watchitude: 10 Ways Time Management Can Lead Children to Success

10 Ways Time Management Can Lead Children to Success & a Review by My Crafty Zoo

Time management is a very important skill to have.  Being successful in life is quite difficult for those who are always late or miss appointments.  I’m pleased to introduce you to Watchitude so we can get those Monkeys on the road to success!

Watchitude is a company that sells slap watches with a twist.  They are designed by, well, anyone!  Since the designs can be submitted by anyone, there are some really special one of a kind bands!  They have a huge variety of different designs that I honestly haven’t seen anywhere else.  You can get watches with some really cool designs such as animals, sports, foods (I have a love hate feeling for the pepperoni pizza watch), nature, and so much more.  I had the privilege of getting the #145 Lightening watch, which was designed by Chris S from Texas!   The slap watch band is plastic and, of course, slaps right in place.  For those of us (especially the kiddos) who hate getting ready in the morning, that certainly helps with the getting ready time!  The watch face is printed rather large, making it easy for kids to learn to tell time and for everyone to tell the time with a quick glance!  They are the perfect gift for any kid!

Want Your Design on Watchitude?WatchitudeArm

Yes, you read that right!  You can get your design made by going to Watchitude and uploading your photos.  You can upload one for the watch band and another for the watch face.  Then you share your design and get votes via your special link.  Designs with the most votes will be put into production and if yours is one of them, you’ll get your design for free with your name on the back for design credit!  How cool is that!?!10 Ways Time Management Can Lead Children to Success Featuring Watchitude

  1. It prepares them for the future. When school starts, they’ll need to be up on time and in class on time.  When they get older, they’ll need to be on time for work and meetings for the rest of their lives.  Good habits start early.
  2. It can help with patience, which cuts down on whining and other bad behaviors. We’ve all experienced the ‘is it time for *insert whatever here* yet?’ times and those moments where we tell them that we’ll be doing something in ten minutes.  Problem is, until we teach them they have no concept of ten minutes so they keep asking.  So, as a great solution, we can get a clock and show them that when the minute hand hits here then it will be time.  Just make sure that when that time hits, you are on it so they’ll get it quickly!
  3. It helps them learn their numbers faster as they become familiar with the numbers in a functional way while learning to tell time.
  4. They are able to more easily able to learn skip counting when the time comes as they’ve already been doing it!
  5. According to parents.com, children start being taught problems with elapsed time by third grade. Why not help them have a strong grasp on the concept long before the challenge starts!
  6. Many of the self-help books and articles on how to be successful emphasize the importance of time, being on time, time management, etc. Perhaps learning to tell time and be good about being on time early will help our babies succeed!
  7. They’ll learn that everything has a place and a time. It ensures they know what is expected of them and they learn how to manage their time properly. A dear friend, who contributed this benefit, pointed out that her children have a schedule and they are able to make decisions regarding activities, responsibilities, etc that are reasonable to their schedule.  Having watched her children and their interactions, I have to give her props because even her 7 year old was reasonable with these types of things!
  8. Studies show that routine and schedules gives children a sense of security and structure. This leads to confidence which will reflect in all areas of their life.
  9. Children on set schedules tend to be less grumpy as they know what is expected of them and what they need to do so there is no attitude (most of the time, haha)
  10. Having a schedule helps make it known that no one person’s life is more important so they learn to be more selflessness by thinking and considering other’s schedules and commitments when they want to do something.

disclosure

Originally posted 2016-08-16 00:27:04.

Putting Spice Into Your Marriage *even w kids!*

Putting Spice Into Your Marriage *even w kids!*Mothers of young children are often pulled into several directions as once…and something has to give.  All too often, ladies, this is our marriage…


As the first of a three-part series, let’s look at putting the spice back into your marriage.  Remember, in relationships, it should be God first, your husband second, and your children third.  


Now, I’m no marriage expert.   Heavens, no!  We’ve had our moments, just like anyone else, but I’ve been reminded of this triangle several times in the past, particularly when we hit a rocky patch.

On a typical day, I wear the hats for wife, mother, teacher, taxi driver, cook, maid, nurse, entertainer, writer, athlete, and probably another twenty or thirty that I can’t think of at the moment.  Switching gears between the ‘smaller’ jobs is fairly easy, but switching from teacher to mom to wife can be very difficult.  Have you ever wiped something off your husband’s face?  Yeah…you forgot to change your hat there.

Putting Spice Into Your Marriage *even w kids!*

A few tips for putting that wife hat back on…

  • Listen to him.  Ask him how his day was – and don’t just hear the words and nod your head, but take what he is saying seriously.  Then, show him some gratitude for working to support the family.
  • Talk to him.  Do you need help?  Tell him.  Do you need a break?  Tell your husband.  Communicate with him.  He can’t read your mind.  Well, mine can’t.  If you have one that can….please….have him teach a course or something….
  • Compromise with him.  When you argue (notice I said ‘when,’ not ‘if’), make use of the phrase “I’m trying to compromise with you, meet me halfway?”  Typically, women are better communicators than men.  Just break it down for him.  Show him you’re not being pig-headed.
  • Forgive him.  After a few years of marriage, you know each other’s hot buttons and you’re bound to push them.  Sometimes on purpose!  But you have to have the stamina to weather the storms.  Remember : for better or worse.  Sometimes we push that “worse” to the limit, but we have to learn to forgive and be forgiven.  (And sometimes we just need to grow up and quit acting like kids.)  With this comes the steadfast knowledge that nothing and no one can harm your marriage.  
  • Appreciate him.  Look past his faults and admire all the great things about him.  Oh honey, I know he’ll piss you off good sometimes, and there’s nothing wrong with letting him know.  But don’t harp on it.  And leave the drama inside.  There’s enough drama on reality television already; no one needs to see your’s.  To the rest of the world, you should always be looking up to your husband, rather than down upon him.  No matter how mad you might be at that moment.
  • Ask one more thing from him.  Let him know what you need help with, but do it in a fun and flirty manner.  Stroke his ego, encourage him, and watch the magic happen!  We’ll kick it up from G-rated to PG-rated next time, as we talk more about chore-play…
Go.  Talk to your hubby.  Ignore the kids for five minutes..they’ll be ok.
Part III : Getting XXX-y!
 
Yvie is a homeschooling mother of two active boys.  You can find her at Facebook, on the Gypsy Road, or at Educents (where she puts Lego-themed activities!).

Originally posted 2016-05-11 07:36:44.

Road-Schooling

Road-schooling :  a form of homeschooling that involves traveling, allowing the places and experiences to drive learning  (compatible with, but not the same as, Unschooling)

My husband’s job requires full-time travel, but at the detriment of our family unit.  At least, it used to be that way.  Three years ago, we pulled the kids from school and hit the road with him!  What a nerve-wracking decision!  
Until then, our children had no bond with Daddy.  He was a stranger that occasionally showed up and “changed the rules.”  (Hey – Momma can only pick so many battles alone!)  Also, we were struggling with the public schools – in particular, our special needs child was severely falling behind, and we saw no light at the end of the tunnel.  Going on the road with him offered a change, and put both of those variables directly into our hands.
 
Given our experiences, we would now recommend road-schooling to all families.
There are a few caveats, however.  If I had to tell myself a few pointers three years ago…

  • Know the requirements.  Check with Homeschool Legal Defense Association to make sure that you are completing all homeschool requirements for your home state…where you pay taxes.
  •  Plan ahead.  Find the brochures, and learn about the area you’ll be visiting. Check for museums, events, festivals, factory tours, and anything relevant to that specific location.  Check our unit page – maybe we’ve already been there!
  • Keep records.  One day, you’re going to be accountable for that education; you’ll want to show that they learned something from all those field trips.  This is one of the reasons that we started our blog – it allows us to document where we’ve gone and what we’ve seen.  It also allows us to connect with families in our current location, which is very nice!
  • Don’t get a boxed curriculum.  These are great in the traditional homeschool, but take up so much space in the car.  We use (or create) materials to accompany what we’re studying.  I’ll usually share these in a unit study on the blog page.  See the record-keeping in action?  Also, invest in some tried & true handy gadgets for schooling on the road.
  • Relax.  We school through the summer, on the weekends, at midnight…pretty much whenever we want.  We get more than the required days in, and that’s fine.  We have a lot of field trip days, too.  Want to know which style helps the kids learn and retain the most?  Life experiences, of course!
  • Stay the Course.  There are days when we are sick of each other and want space; there are days when we’re sick of being on the road and want to be home; and there are days when we’re just plain sick.  But seeing the children experience this great country from sea to shining sea, having them enjoy the learning process, and watching them find and follow new passions is worth it all. 

Yvie is a roadschooling mother of two active boys.  When she’s not travelling, she creates Lego printables, plays her hand at Facebook algorithm roulette, and blogs about schooling, cooking, and life on the Gypsy Road!

Gypsy Road : Our homeschooling travels – complete with unit studies, lots of freebies, and reviews. Come join us!

Originally posted 2016-04-27 06:45:02.

RoadSchooling in Charleston: 10 Destinations to Visit for Home-School & Vacations!

Charleston, SC is such a beautiful location! Check out this list of educational places to visit, whether you live there or are visiting! Great opportunities for home-school learning!

10 Destinations for Home-school and Learning in Charleston SC

Charleston SC is such a beautiful place full of historical places and wonderful food! If you’ve never tried Carolina BBQ, I highly recommend it. It’s very different than what we have in my part of the world (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas) but it’s definitely worth trying!

We thought we’d bring you some wonderful places to learn from and visit. Especially if you home-school! And if you are planning to move there, definitely check out Charleston SC Real Estate! They have some beautiful condos for sale in Charleston SC!

RoadSchooling in Charleston: Home-School Destinations for all ages!

  1. Above Calhoun Tours: This one is a little different, but I think it brings so much educational value and there is so much one can learn! I’ve listed a few that I’m looking forward to from their sites. Each one is a different learning experience!

  • The Charleston History Tour: “Booms and panics, merchants and mechanics, southern railroads and mosquito fleets are revealed in the stories of the men and women in this diverse neighborhood. A good general history tour of the Upper Peninsula across the 19th Century.

  • The Women’s Tour: “This tour focuses on the white, free persons of color and black women that lived in the nearby area. It primarily covers the lives of women in the upper part of Charleston. This dynamic and diverse neighborhood provides the opportunity to change the perspective on Charleston history in many ways.

  • Craftsmen, Laborers and Industry Tour: “Factories and the lives of laborers lie within this area surrounded by grand houses built along the Cooper River. This is life between the tracks, merchants and mechanics, black craftsmen and German shopkeepers.”

    1. Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art: Located at the College of Charleston, the Halsey Institute brings visitors innovative and adventurous art from around the world.

    2. Hunley Submarine: The Hunley is a combat submarine that mysteriously disappeared in 1864. Scientists are working to restore and remove sediment. You can take an interactive tour (individually or with a guide) and visit the Hunley Lab, interactive exhibits and activities! Even my curiosity is peaked! I can’t wait to visit!

    3. Middleton Place: This location is full of history, beautiful gardens, and even working stables! Definitely worth checking out! Learn parts of the histories of those enslaved here as well as that of the immigrants who founded the plantation and an economic empire. I love this description from their website: “When we stand on the same land as generations of the enslaved and the free, take in its exquisite beauty and its inherent brutality, we understand that the stories of Middleton Place are American stories. Black stories. White stories. Essential, life-changing human stories.

    4. Coastal Expeditions: With guided tours, rentals and boat charters experience and see beautiful Cape Romain NWR and Bull Island. What better way to study Marine life?

    5. Sandlapper Water Tours: They will take you to explore Morris Island and you can go shelling with their naturalist. Learn first hand about their marine life! I love the hands on learning they offer! Science? Check!

      Charleston South Carolina Homeschool & Tourist Destinations

    6. Fort Sumter Tours: One of the most sought out tours is of Fort Sumter! They will take you back in time by boat to experience where the Civil War began.

    7. South Carolina Aquarium: I have a love for aquariums and this one is certainly one I’m excited about! They have over 5000 animals and you can touch sharks, rays as well as see the state’s only Sea Turtle Hospital! I’m crazy about Sea Turtles so this one is super awesome for me!  Be sure and check out their website for additional home-school resources!Sea Turtle Recovery at South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston! Great Home-school Adventure!

    8. Carolina Queen Riverboat: This one may be a little more for entertainment than education, but if you’ve never been on a Riverboat I highly suggest it! It’s an awesome experience! It is definitely a good starting point to dive into learning about paddle boats, how they work and what they were used for! There, fun learning even for grownups!

    9. Haunted Jail Tours: Okay, I know you are thinking this is not educational. But slow down, stay with me! Touring the old city jail (with appropriate aged persons) can be a great way to teach home-school lessons about the judicial system, psychological points and even behavioral psychology! With a fun edge, it can be a good break from brain overload that a savvy parent can use later to teach lessons!

I hope that these have been a great source for you and would love to hear about your travel experiences to Charleston or even how you use destinations in your home school adventures!

INFOGRAPHIC: Spring Break – By The Numbers

Click to Enlarge
Are you going anywhere for spring break? Maybe you’re taking the kids to DisneyWorld or visiting mom and dad or treating yourself to a fun getaway. Check out this cool infographic from Swagbucks on what 19,000 Americans are planning for their Spring travel. Let us know what you’re up to this spring in the comments. and sign up for Swagbucks to get paid for making your voice heard in surveys like these and getting Cash Back while you shop online for all your travel essentials! 

Originally posted 2016-03-19 06:37:52.

Bling: Free Movie

Bling

The superhero adventure BLING has something for the whole family! Action! Comedy! Romance! Robots! Big Robots! Monkey Robots! Evil Robots! (did we mention robots?)  For a limited time, you can download Bling for free on Google Play.

Full of silly slapstick comedy that fills little ones with giggles, Bling is an adorable animated cartoon full of love, laughter and adventure.  At times, it will even have you feeling bad for the villain, but don’t worry that passes quickly. LOL.

Lowly theme park mechanic Sam dreams about his childhood sweetheart Sue. With the

misguided belief that only a bling ring can win the girl of his dreams, Sam plans the most

perfect night to propose to his one true love. But when super-villain Oscar shows up with

an evil scheme involving a ring of his own, Sam’s plans are thrown into utter disarray.

After mistaking each other’s rings for their own, Sam teams up with his robot

superheroes to track down his engagement ring and save the city… learning that it’s not

about the size of the bling, but the size of your heart.

If you don’t have a google account, don’t worry.  You can easily set up a gmail account and you’ll be ready to go.  No need for iphone users to miss out!

Click here for Your Free Copy of Bling on Google Play

blingprize

 

disclosure

 

Originally posted 2016-03-16 12:59:22.

10 Smart Strategies to Overcome Depression

10 Smart Strategies to Help Overcome DepressionSadness and depression can completely overtake your life. Whether it is due to a life tragedy or something else, depression can bring one to their knees. Life is hard and some things just can’t be understood, those tend to be the worst in my experience. While I can’t guarantee that the tips below will eliminate depression, I can say that they might just help bring moments of that aren’t as bad and if you are depressed, you know that those are coveted moments.
In moments of great sadness, personally, motivation is also a butt kicker. Staying or even becoming motivated can be quite the challenge. I’m learning and will be for the rest of my life how to force motivation. Sometimes, when the stars or whatever aligns just right, what was once something to be forced becomes ‘just something you do’ and, perhaps, it will become a habit. No guarantees.
Also, I have to point out that I am not a counselor, therapist or trained professional. This is written based on my own experience, what has helped some for me. I’m not telling you to forgo treatment or medication. Actually, I highly suggest getting help. I’m blessed to have a family of professionals to turn to, who don’t hesitate to send me, themselves, or anyone else to get help.

Let’s Beat Depression!

1. Make a list of goals. Whatever they are, big or small. Then break it down. For each goal, right down steps you have to achieve to get there. If you are depressed it can be an even bigger challenge just to take that first step. I get that, trust me I know that feeling. You don’t have to conquer everything in a day, a week or even a year but you do have to do something. Even if that simply means that you got out of bed today. I have those days sometimes. While a bigger list is nice, have that breakdown that you can check off each day. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, don’t focus on the 20, focus on getting a little exercise or eating a little better today (or even just for the meal you are about to have). Eventually those little choices will get you closer and closer to your ultimate goal. Get the picture?
2. Find something that you have some accountability for and get involved. I sort of got roped into volunteering for a series of Saturdays over two months. While many days I think I’ll find my way out of it, I know that I won’t because at the end of the day I gave my word and someone is depending on me to do what I said I’d do. So, when those Saturdays come, I’ll suck it up and go. Typically it turns out that I feel better simply forgetting out and doing it.
3. Host a dinner ‘party’ or go out. Having others around who are happy and having good conversation can go a long way to lift your mood. Plus, it helps keep your mind off of the ‘pit of despair’ thoughts
4. We all have those moments when we finally feel like we can do something, that one day that isn’t as bad as it had been previously. Take advantage. Make plans with someone to do something in the future, perhaps that day you won’t feel like it but the obligation will get you moving and odds are your mood will lift. There is a decent chance that you may end up looking forward to it and having something good to look forward to helps.
5. Get busy. When you are down and depressed, thoughts tend to circle the drain. Nothing good will come from it. Force yourself to get up and do something. Clean, cook, re-organize your closet, anything productive. I tend to carry around my tablet playing videos just to make sure that my thoughts don’t get too deep within my sadness. I’m always distracted by the activity but if I have a tough moment, the videos help keep me from my rabbit hole of thoughts.
6. Avoid triggers. If you are heart broken, you should probably keep yourself away from songs that are gonna remind you of your heartache. If you have to hear something, in the car for example, perhaps try a book on tape (also known to you young people as audio books haha) or make yourself a playlist of songs that are ONLY uplifting. Talk radio typically works too.
7. Eat better. There are foods that are known to lift moods. Things high in vitamins are typically good. I have a friend that swears fruit smoothies for breakfast help them to have better moods. Experiment, you’ll find what works for you.
8. Know that it is okay to feel sad. What is not okay is choosing to roll around in your sadness. Allow yourself to cry if you need to cry, just don’t allow yourself to cry all day.
9. Talk to someone. With the internet no person who is at all plugged in has an excuse for being unable to find someone who understands and has gotten through what we are going through. There are people with similar issues who have overcome, they are out there and many are willing to share or help others with it.
10. Journal. This one I have to give credit to a very outspoken counselor that I know. She is always nagging me about it, so I’m throwing it in for you. (and if she is reading this, I use the word nagging with all the love possible). She suggests writing down three things you have to be happy about. She also suggested that if something is bothering you, you should write it out. If nothing else, you have it out of your system.

How do you get through your sadness?  I would love any tips you feel comfortable sharing.  I also have posts about lowering stress, coping, and child loss that may interest you or, my hope is, find you some comfort.

Originally posted 2016-03-11 05:56:17.

Have You Considered Adoption?

AdoptionAdoption has touched my life in so many ways.  I had the privilege of taking guardianship of a fun and silly young lady you may know as ‘Monkey’ some years back and she made our lives absolutely crazy in the best way possible (except those few days, but then she was a teenager haha).  I have also had the honor of knowing several adults who have adopted some fabulous kids.  They all have ‘gotcha’ days each year to celebrate the unification of their new families.  The one thing they all have in common is an incredible love and some amazingly fabulous families!  I love hearing their stories and even more being blessed to know them.  I can’t begin to tell you how great these kids are! I also have the blessing of a very loving and great woman in my life who was adopted.  Adoption touches so many lives!  If you have any, I would absolutely love to hear your stories of adoption!
November is National Adoption Month and I’m reaching out on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids, and the Ad Council to ask for your help in spreading the word about a new PSA campaign that encourages prospective parents to adopt older youth from foster care.

The theme for National Adoption Month is, “We Never Outgrow the Need for Family.” That’s because older children and youth still have many big milestones in their life they need a family for.

There are 415,000 children in the U.S. foster care system and 108,000 are waiting to be adopted. AdoptUSKids’ maintains a national photo listing service for children waiting to be adopted. Since the project launched in 2002, more than 25,000 children who were once photo listed on adoptuskids.org have been adopted and nearly 38,000 families have registered to adopt through the website.  Nevertheless, older youth are disproportionately represented – approximately 41 percent of children and youth photo listed on adoptuskids.org are between 15 and 18 years old, but only 17 percent of those adopted have been in this age group

Older youth and teens have lower adoption rates than younger children, and they often wait longer to be adopted. But no matter their age, all kids need a supportive, loving home and the teenage years are a critical period for growth. The new TV PSAs, which were created for the campaign pro-bono, portray a dad giving advice to his teenage daughter after her first breakup, and a mom giving her son a haircut at home. The humorous, lighthearted scenarios aim to overcome fears adoptive parents may have regarding their own imperfections. The PSAs end with the tagline, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent,” reassuring prospective parents that even if they are not ‘perfect’, they have the ability to provide the stability and security that older youth in foster care need and deserve.

The PSAs direct audiences to visit adoptuskids.org or to call 1-888-200-4005 (English) or 1-877-236-7831 (Spanish) to receive the latest information about the foster care system and the adoption process.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Use #NAM15 and #perfectparent to share your experience or the new PSAs on social media.
  • Spread the word! Let us know if you know a blogger who might have a place in their hearts for the Adoption from Foster Care campaign.

For more information about adoption, or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child from foster care, please visit www.adoptuskids.org or visit the campaign’s communities on Facebook and Twitter.
Why Older Youth?

  • All of us – and that includes older youth in foster care who are waiting to be adopted – need and want families throughout life to support us and to share important life events. Learning to drive a car, applying for higher education, and birthday and holiday celebrations are just a few examples of the times in life we need and want to share with family.
  • Older youth are overrepresented in the foster care population, as they generally wait longer to be adopted, and have lower overall adoption rates.
  • On adoptuskids.org, roughly 41 percent of the children and youth actively photolisted are between the ages of 15 and 18 years old. About 58 percent are male. (Most recent stats as of May 31, 2015)
  • Families who adopt older youth, are providing them with the support and stability of a family during a critical period of normal adolescent concerns and additional self-identity issues.

Some of the Misperceptions about Adoption from Foster Care:

  • Adoption is expensive.  Unlike the private adoption of an infant or adopting internationally, there are virtually no costs associated with adoption from the US child welfare system. In addition, the vast majority of youth adopted from foster care are also eligible for monthly adoption assistance up to the level of the foster care rate.
  • You have to be married. You do not have to be married to adopt in most states. Many children have been very successfully adopted by single parents. Single-parent families accounted for 29 percent of all adoptions from foster care in 2014 (AFCARS).
  • You have to have a college degree. Having a high school diploma or college education is not required. What is important is that you are stable, flexible, and compassionate, and that you have a good sense of humor. Most importantly, you must have the support and commitment to raise a child and to be there for him throughout his life.
  • You have to own a home and each child has to have their own room. You can rent your home or live in an apartment or a mobile home so long as your living situation is a stable one.
  • You have to be of child-bearing age to adopt. Experienced parents and empty nesters are encouraged to adopt. In most instances, you’re eligible to adopt regardless of age, income, marital status or sexual orientation.
  • You can only adopt a child who is the same race and ethnicity as you. Federal law prohibits the delay or denial of an adoptive placement based on the race or ethnicity of a child in U.S. foster care and the prospective parent or parents who are seeking to adopt them. The only exception to this law is the adoption of Native American children where special considerations apply.
  • You can’t adopt if you’re in the military. Military families stationed overseas and within the U.S. are eligible to adopt children from the U.S. foster care system.

Originally posted 2015-11-25 21:47:09.