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2018 Baby Essentials Giveaway And Baby Makes 3, but Baby Ain’t Free! A Baby Registry Guide

2018 Baby Essentials Giveaway!

2018 Baby Showers Essentials Giveaway

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

An 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

And Now for Our Giveaway!!!

Are you expecting a baby this summer? These 2018 Baby Shower Essentials are practical, natural, problem-solving and adorable! We are excited to share with you some great baby gift ideas and offer you the chance to win an amazing gift collection!

2018 Baby Showers Essentials Giveaway

The Ultimate Gift Collection – Win It!

Pacific Baby Natural Bamboo Tableware are stylish, durable and natural; perfect for your baby’s health and for our environment. They are gluten-free, dishwasher-safe and biodegradable.

bamboobies Variety Pack Washable Nursing Pads come in two varieties. The ultra-thin, light pink heart-shaped regular nursing pads are made for light leaking and are designed to be less visible through clothing. The round shaped overnight nursing pads are not only ultra-soft, but larger, thicker and super absorbent for heavy leaking and newborn nursing.

Back Buddy is an award-winning maternity and feeding support pillow which alleviates common back pain during and after pregnancy. It provides comfort and support while holding or feeding baby and encourages proper position for breastfeeding.

Curtain Critters giraffe and elephant curtain tiebacks look adorable peeking out from behind curtains while keeping them in place. Perfect for a designer nursery!

Yummi Pouch Brights reusable food pouches are convenient to take yogurt, applesauce and smoothies on the go. Just mix up a blended snack, pour it in and seal the top of the pouch. Once finished, you can easily clean these snack pouches in the dishwasher.

Pamper a new baby with a 6-piece Earth Mama Organics baby product collection of travel sized products. This luxurious set includes Organic Diaper Balm, Sweet Orange Baby Lotion, Sweet Orange Baby Wash, Calendula Baby Oil, and Organic Baby Face Nose and Cheek Balm.

Revelae Kids enclosed cozy sleepers are a great way to keep your little one warm and cozy while they snooze or rest. Cozy baby sleepers keep baby’s arms and legs inside, while giving them tangible boundaries they can feel that aid in restful sleep for baby and parents.

Buttons Diapers all-in-two cloth diapers combine adjustable waterproof diaper covers and snap-in-place absorbent diaper inserts.

GOOtensils are pre-spoons that making starting utensils so much easier. GOOtensils are flat so there’s no scooping, no balancing and no wrist rotation required. It allows a child to participate in mealtime until they can transition to a traditional spoon.

Toofeze Natural Baby Teether is soothing for baby’s irritated gums. The stainless steel quickly gets cold ANYWHERE allowing you to bring a clean, cold teether even on the go. It’s simply, the COOLEST teether ever!

The Polarn O. Pyret Eco Wind Fleece Bunting is windproof and water resistant with a double zipper & chin guard for a comfortable fit. The hood is breathable and detachable.

Alina Cosmetics Natural Moisturizing Lotion for Stretch Marks contains extracts of birch and licorice to strengthen collagen and elastin, increase the skin’s density and reduce the appearance of stretch marks in all skin types.

B & N all natural stain remover is made with Goat Milk Soap. Includes a built in 100% wool scrubber. It’s great at removing breast milk stains from baby clothes and tough cloth diaper stains.

The Yookidoo Elephant Baby Shower is a battery operated compact & portable baby shower designed for ease of use by parents and gentle comfort for babies.

More Baby Shower Basics

2018 Baby Showers Essentials Giveaway

ciao! babychair is the original go-anywhere-high chair. It’s all one piece, folds up and comes with its own carry bag. Great for travel, dining out, outdoors and grandma’s house.

The Simply for Flying Logbook is unique keepsake which will keep a record of all your child’s flying adventures & memories. It’s better than a passport! With the assistance of the Captain & Crew, each flight will be recorded and signed by the Captain. Suitable age 0+.

Enter to win these 14 Baby Shower Essentials!

Toofeze Natural Baby Teether • Yummi Pouch Brights • Back Buddy • Revelae Kids Cozy Sleeper • Buttons Diapers (3 covers/inserts) • Pacific Baby Natural Bamboo Bowls • bamboobies Variety Pack • Earth Mama Organics Baby Travel Set • Eco Wind Fleece Bunting • Goat Milk Stain Remover • Curtain Critters • Natural Moisturizing Lotion for Stretch Marks • GOOtensils • Yookidoo Elephant Baby Shower

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

#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.

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.

My Secret Is Out! #Underwareness

UntitledSitting here watching my husband with our adorable gift from God, this amazing creation He formed, I have a secret.  Something I just haven’t worked up the nerve to tell my husband.  I don’t like keeping secrets from him, but honestly I’m a little embarrassed about this one.  We’ve been married 8 years now and he has seen me at my very worst and my absolute best, he has helped me when I was ill, prayed for me, fought with and for me.  Yet, despite all of that, I just can’t bring myself to talk to him about it.

Well, I suppose if he takes the time to read my site, he’ll know now.  If not, then I’ve just told the world and still not told him.  Wanna know?  Here goes…..  Biggest thing affecting me since the birth of my beautiful baby girl: bladder leakage.  It’s insane!  No one warned me that it would stay AFTER my little bundle of joy arrived.  Guess that’s one secret kept on the low down, even in these times of fabulous search engines, immeasurable research sources and every person you run into while pregnant with their post pregnancy horror stories.  How does that even happen?  I don’t know, I don’t care to know, I just know, the secret is out at this Zoo!

I’m 31 years old, not yet middle aged or old at all so in my mind, bladder leakage should be something to look for somewhere toward middle age or even further.  But no.  It’s not. It’s here and, according to my doctor at least, it won’t be going away.  As it turns out, more women in their 20’s have bladder leakage than those in their 80’s (though I do wonder how exactly that statistic was determined and how they managed to NOT have the issue).  Here’s the deal, bladder leakage is not that abnormal at all it affects one in three women!

The Depend brand started a campaign two years ago to break the stigma with Underwareness, a social movement and charitable cause!  They are trying to get people to show their support for women with bladder leakage through the vast awesomeness that is social media.  They will donate $1 for every photo and/or video shared in 2016 to help fund charities that advance the research and education of bladder leakage. Just set it to public and tag #Underwareness.  I, for one, would love for it to not be a stigma.  Instead let’s focus on overcoming it and not making women like myself and perhaps you not feel humiliated anymore!  In addition, you can visit visit www.Underwareness.com to support the cause and request free samples of Depend Silhouette Active Fit. Maybe this will be the answer to our issue

 Check them out and get a free sample today!

 

Originally posted 2015-06-16 17:26:59.

A NICU Journey #PrayForLittleMiss

#PrayForLittleMiss
#PrayForLittleMiss

For a little over four months now, our baby has been in the NICU. It’s the hardest journey I’ve ever been on. Every day is a constant roller coaster, and frankly I am not a fan of roller coasters in the first place. Constantly my emotions go up and down. Pain is an ever present pressing feeling in my heart. People tell me I’m strong, that they admire me for the strength I have. I don’t think they fully understand and I’m thankful most can’t as I’d rather no one have to go through this journey.
What I am sustaining with is not anything near strength. It’s the strongest love I have ever felt. It’s helplessness. It’s a circle of handing it to God then taking it back, only to be reminded I can’t handle it and hand it over again. In these four months I have prayed, cried, pushed away, begged and thanked God for every up and down we’ve had. I know He has her in His ever loving hands and deep down I know He is going to take better care of her than I ever could as He heals her. My pain doesn’t subside. My heart aches for her, for me and for my family. Always.
One day, the story of our journey with Little Miss will be used as a tool to show God’s mercy and love even in times saturated with darkness and storms. He has been merciful and loving, He has strategically placed amazing people around me that lift me up and help me each day. He has strengthened our marriage and has shown us the depths of love, marriage and parenthood. I am thankful for these things. Thankful He has cleared out some of the ‘trash’ in our lives, thankful He has taken this time to help form the people we need to be in Him.
I am also tired. Not just physically but emotionally. My spirit cries out to Him daily. Each day I pray with my daughter, I want her to know how to pray and that He is always there. Especially since our natural tendency is to doubt and run from Him. I pray she will be healed, that she will be a living testimony to His glory. At the end of the day, it’s about Him. Even though the mommy in me wants it to be about my beautiful baby, wants her healed in MY time, on MY terms.
I’m learning though, to submit to God. To understand that I don’t need to understand. Yeah, wrap your mind around that. An incredibly wise woman recently told me that in the moments where I feel like He isn’t hearing my prayers or I’m too broken to pray that I need to remember that many others are praying and even if I doubt He hears me, He hears them. I hope you’ll pray for Little Miss with me.

You can find pictures and such using the hashtag #PrayForLittleMiss  I appreciate your comments and support.  May God Bless you and Keep you.

Originally posted 2015-04-27 20:22:51.

You’ll Be Paying for a Shrine to Abortion

15.059"W 9.714"HThe following is a copy of the email I received.  This topic is truly close to my heart, so much so that I decided to share it with you.  Every person can make a difference.  Take a few seconds and call if you agree. By the way, the picture is of a baby at 24 weeks, which is when one can have a late term abortion.  I made it small to shield little ones, you can click on it to enlarge.  The call is worth it.

How would you feel about your daughter or granddaughter taking a school field trip to Washington, D.C., excited to learn about American history, and only being sold “role models” like Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger…promiscuity promoter Gloria Steinem…and “free love” advocate Victoria Woodhull?

The proposed National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) will glorify abortion and fuel the radical feminist movement for decades to come. How do I know this? The NWHM board is overwhelmingly filled with people who are pro-abortion and leftist in their ideology. See a detailed report by our friends at Concerned Women for America (CWA) here.

Even more, the proposed museum’s website references Margaret Sanger nine times and Victoria Woodhull over 20, while referencing Phyllis Schlafly only once and not mentioning Beverly LaHaye at all. It also highlights Sandra Fluke, while ignoring Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Taxpayers, like you, will eventually foot the bill for this national shrine to abortion. While the NWHM claims that it will be privately funded, its true intentions are to follow in the footsteps of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian. These museums respectively received over $50 million and $30 million from American taxpayers.

Please stand with 1MM before it’s too late. We can put a stop to this, but we need you to act now and call House Leadership. Tell them to oppose H.R. 863 until safeguards are added to ensure that this museum will not be paid for with federal funds nor be filled with Left-wing propaganda.

Please call:

• Speaker John Boehner – 202-225-6205
• Leader Eric Cantor – 202-225-2815
• Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers – 202-225-2006

We must not allow the Left’s agenda to become our legacy. 1MM and CWA is leading the charge to preserve the faith-filled legacy of America’s women in the National Women’s History Museum – but we need your help.

To honor women is a wonderful idea – but we cannot allow the radical Left to create a distorted lens through which future generations of girls will come to see the role of American women.

Please, make at least one phone call today!

Sincerely,

Monica Cole, Director
OneMillionMoms.com

Originally posted 2014-05-06 21:37:57.

Stay Safe Online 6 Tips That Will Help You

Stay safe online! It’s essential in this age of technology.  The Me Too movement began in 2008 to promote awareness regarding both sexual harassment and sexual assault.  It is known across the world in different translations and brought attention to their prevalence in the workplace.

Stay Safe Online

I feel like it is also bringing awareness in other areas and encouraging and empowering victims to speak out rather than hide in the shame they feel. This is long overdue.  As a victim myself, I didn’t speak out because of shame and that was difficult to overcome.

While it’s too late for me to do anything about, I can certainly take steps to make sure it never happens again, and so can you.  Since it’s so prevalent, I’ve done a lot about online dating lately as there are so many free dating sites and it has become so common.

What I would like to address this go round is harassment and online abuse.  I suppose I should have posted about them before I posted about dating safety, but it really didn’t occur to me.  So, here are some tips to help you deal with those unfortunate occurrences.

Stay Safe Online 6 Tips That Will Help You

 6 Tips That Will Help You Stay Safe Online

  1. Don’t be afraid to block someone! You are valuable, you do not deserve and should not tolerate person’s being mean to you.  Block them. The sooner the better!  Especially trolls! Trolls are those people who only have negative things to say and can get pretty mean on posts and such.
  2. Contact Admin. Every site has admin, If you are being harassed, threatened or abused online and blocking isn’t working, contact admin and report them.  I suggest keeping the profile links or screenshots to pass on, this will help admin be able to find them and keep them off their servers.
  3. Call the Police: If at any point the person seems to have found you or is making threats of physical harm, contact your local police. Even if there isn’t anything they can do immediately, they can put it on file and add extra patrols in your neighborhood.
  4. Never, ever put anything revealing on your profile or in photos. Remove the GEO data from photos before posting them.  Also try not to post a lot of photos from the same location (like your favorite hangout) and don’t put specifics.  Rather than saying “I love Fatty Patty’s in City X” on social media, perhaps put “I love the Fatty Patty’s Chain!”  If it’s not a chain, I’d just say a general comment about pubs or whatever.
  5. Leave out or minimize location information in posts/profiles. For example, rather than posting the city you live in, perhaps post the region instead. Predators will take the time to go through all of your posts and find other accounts in order to narrow down where you live.
  6. Speak Out! Don’t be afraid to speak out when you feel harassed, threatened or, especially, are harmed in any way.  No matter who it is.

Remember the importance of this topic.  Today it is harder than ever to stay safe online with so much technology so easily available. You are a valuable asset,  Stay Safe Online!

Other Posts that you may enjoy:

Dating Safety: 5 Tips to Protect Yourself on Every Date!

Tips to Create the Perfect Profile Picture