I love Fall!

Fall is here! Unlike Matt Bellassai, I love Fall! (PS. if you are at work or around small children, do not play his videos!) There are so many fun things to do with kids in the Fall.

Farms are Fun
My girls love visiting local farms. The Fall is a great time to visit too! Check out your local farm to see if they are doing a Fall Festival. Usually they will have animals to see, corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkin picking, and other activities for kids. You can make a family fun day out of a farm visit!

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Apple Picking
Yes, you can do this while on a farm visit…but there are some places that you can just go to pick fruit! Apple season is my favorite season. I love apples…they are a diverse fruit. You can make so many delicious things with apples! We are lucky enough to have apple trees on our property. The girls love to go outside and pick fresh apples off the trees and eat them. I love making apple sauce in the crock pot…the whole house smells amazing! I simply peel and core the apples, place with in the crock pot with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon. Set it on low and let it cook all night. You will wake up to the best smell…it smells like Fall!

Long Walks
There are wildlife preserves and lakes by our house and Fall is the best time to take walks on the trails. Why? No bugs. Or at least minimal bugs! We like to make it fun by using a scavenger hunt. There are a lot of good ideas on the internet but this one is great for all ages! Click here to get the free printable scavenger hunt list. 

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Fun Crafts
Click here to Check out my Pinterest board for Fall crafts. It is getting darker earlier and earlier, instead of having the kids go stir crazy until bed time have them do a craft with you! We have been working on some of our own crafts and will be posting soon!!

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What a great way to reuse all those corks!

Holidays
The best part about Fall means the Holidays are coming and it truly is my favorite time of year! I love spending time with family, eating good food, and enjoying traditions with my children!

Sure it will be too cold for sandals soon and there will be ice on my windshield in the morning…but it’s Fall. The air is crisp and the food is delish. Embrace it with me…and have a very Happy Fall!

Why I found out the gender of my baby…all 3 times!

If I could have known the gender of my babies the moment I found out I was pregnant, that would have been great!! I did all the at home “tests” to see if we could determine the gender earlier then the coveted 20 week ultra sound! I posted ultra sound pictures on various baby boards to see if anyone could figure it out via the “nub theory” or the “skull theory”. For my last daughter, we paid $50 to go to a private ultra sound place at 14 weeks to find out the gender! I know, this sounds insane…maybe it is. But I wanted to know the gender of my babies! I really do not understand the people that wait…it blows my mind!

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“Can you feel it move?” When you know the gender, you can refer to the baby by “he” or “she”. I like that better then calling the baby an “it”. A woman I work with, her granddaughter is pregnant and not finding out the gender. She keeps referring to the baby as an “it”. Every time she says “it” I remind her that it is a baby. When you know the gender, you can even call the baby by it’s name…if you have it picked out already!

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I am not a fan of yellow and green outfits…and seriously a wardrobe of ducks and frogs would drive me nuts! When you know the gender of the baby, you are showered with adorable outfits for the baby! All of my girls had tutu dresses ready to go before they were even born. No boring ducks for us!

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Picturing what the baby was going to look like was a lot of fun when I was pregnant. Knowing that each one of my babies were girls, I had visions of their sweet faces before they were born. I loved picturing braiding hair, getting dressed up for dances, and doing nails. I felt like I was able to bond with each girl before they were born because I knew they were girls.

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Decorating the nursery was so much fun because we knew we were having girls! I was able to make it gender specific and I love the way the room looks…still to this day!

I get it…not everyone wants to find out. People that don’t find out tell me that they enjoyed having the baby and being surprised. I personally feel that it is a surprise whether you find out at 5 months or 9 months. And finding out in an ultra sound room, privately just my husband and myself, was pretty special. Each time, my heart was racing and I had butterflies waiting to hear “are you ready to find out the gender?” And the best part, I didn’t have to labor through 20 hours of labor to find out!

H2-Whoa! Product Review

My girls LOVE to color. Nicki is great with markers, crayons, and colored pencils. Joey is not allowed to use markers unsupervised. And Franki eats everything…crayons, markers, you name it! So coloring in our house can be limited. But I did find this great toy that everyone can use…and it doesn’t make a mess!!!

B. Toys H2-Whoa! Color with water! The water doesn’t come out of the little crayon tube things…so no mess!!! It is also great for car rides! I love that the coloring tubes click right into the sides of the canvas…easy to clean up!! There are 2 sides too, so when one side fills up, there is no waiting for the water to dry. Just flip it over and the fun continues!

This is a great gift for lots of different age groups!
Click here to learn more about this toy!
Y
ou can get this at Target!

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I love that there is more then 1 coloring tube!!! No fighting!

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They are trying to fill the whole screen!!

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The other side. It is 2 sided!

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So easy my 20 month old can easily color!

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Happy girl!

The girls love this toy!!

Make a great salad…today!

I love salad! There is a gif circulating the internet right now of a woman that is grossed out by the salad she is eating. I was shocked by this and by how many people do not like salad. Salad needs a better reputation…it is a freedom meal! You can make a salad how ever you want. No matter your mood, you can create a salad to fit how you’re feeling.

Here are some tips to creating a delicious salad every time.

Dressing
Finding a good salad dressing, that you love, is key to a great salad.  I am super picky with dressings so I make my own. It is quick and yummy! I add a squirt of mustard, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley flakes, and a splash of water…shake it up and enjoy!

Base
Start with a good base! I buy a huge tub of the organic spring mix every week. To keep it fresh I put a paper towel on the bottom of the container and the top.

Cheese
Cheese is my favorite part of salad! I love either goat cheese or feta cheese in my salad! Make sure to have your favorite cheese on hand!

Color
The more colors you have in a salad, the more delicious and healthy it will be!! Try some diced red peppers and carrots! I shave my carrots with a peeler…I don’t like chunks of carrots in my salad.

Construction
The best tip I ever learned about making salads was to add lemon juice to the lettuce before anything else! So I mix my lettuce with a squirt of lemon juice and then I toss it with my dressing….after it is all tossed with dressing, then I add my veggies and cheese!!

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Shaved carrots, red peppers, almonds, and goat cheese!

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Avocado and goat cheese

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Strawberries, chicken cutlets pieces, rice, and feta

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Shaved carrots, red peppers, tomatoes, and goat cheese!

Tips on How to Survive the Stomach Bug

3 years ago we all got the Noro Virus and it was awful! It was the first time Nicki and Jo had gotten a stomach bug….and we were no where near prepared! I had no idea how to handle little kids and a stomach bug. It would have been bad if they had just gotten it, but we all had it! I am a huge proponent of learning lessons from situations, no matter if they are good or bad situations. And boy did I learn a lot!

Know What You Are Dealing With
Understanding what a stomach virus is and how it works helps to make surviving it go smoother. Here are some facts about stomach bugs. The fecal matter and vomit are contagious. Stomach bugs are not contagious until the virus comes out of the hosts body. Keep in mind that it only takes a microscopic amount to get a person sick. This is why clean up is so important.

Symptoms
Stomach bugs are crafty viruses. There are no clear cut symptoms per say, but here are some things that we pay attention to in order to prepare. No appetite and no bowel movements. Once the virus has entered the body, it quickly converts any food that is in the host’s digestive system into more virus. This makes the host not hungry and not able to go to the bathroom. We do the ice cream/cookie test with the kids when they say they aren’t hungry. If they haven’t been themselves, haven’t gone poop, and don’t want to eat we ask them if they want ice cream or a cookie. If they say “no”, chances are they have a stomach bug. That’s when we start preparing…getting the “puke bucket” ready! Keep in mind, sometimes there are no warning signs!!

Cleaning Products
Anyone that knows me, knows that my cleaning closet is filled with organic cleaners derived from natural plant products. Well let me tell you, the stomach virus laughs at these! These products are great for daily cleaning…and the ones that kill bacteria are great to use in the kitchen, but they are still no match for a stomach bug! Having the correct cleaning products on hand is key! On the top shelf of the cleaning closet sits my army of chemical wonders waiting patiently in their plastic bottles ready to go at the first sign of vomit! What do I use? Lysol with peroxide. Peroxide is great for killing the stomach bug and it won’t stain.

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Clean Correctly
Several people have told me that a stomach bug will go around their house a few times. This does not have to happen! When cleaning an area that has been infected follow these steps. 1. Control the area. Make sure no one walks in, walks by, or touches anything near the area. 2. Get all of the fecal matter or vomit cleaned up first. Do this as carefully as possible. Use paper towels and put everything in a double bagged plastic bag. 3. Once everything has been cleaned up, spray the entire area (and then some) with the Lysol spray and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. This will insure it kills the virus. 4. Once the 10 minutes is up, spray again and wipe with paper towels. Discard paper towels. 5. Wash your hands after cleaning the mess. Or even take a shower! Anyone that comes in contact with the virus takes a shower in our house. Not a bath, a shower! You want to make sure you wash the virus away!

Sonnes 7
I found out about this product when Joey was about 1 and was having horrible stomach issues. It is a life saver! If some one in the house starts to show signs of the stomach bug, we all take Sonnes 7. Look into Sonnes 7 and see if it a fit for you and your family.

Sonne’s Detoxificant Liquid Hydrated Bentonite Clay is a natural and powerful detoxicant derived from bentonite, a mineral-rich volcanic clay.

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Laundry
Make sure to wash blankets, sheets, towels, clothes, and anything that you suspect has vomit or fecal matter on it! I usually run the rinse cycle first. To make sure all the “stuff” is off. Then I run the wash cycle. Our washer has a place to add bleach…and I always add bleach to the cycle. After the clothes are clean, do not shake them out before putting them in the dryer. The virus could still be on them and you don’t want to spread it.

Hydrate!!!!!
This is so important. The number one reason for hospitalization for a stomach virus is dehydration. We found a great product at Target for hydrating! It’s called B.R.A.T Feel Better Drink. It tastes really good and helps to hydrate. There are other options available. Check with your doctor or pharmacist.

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Lysol Bomb
If a room has been exposed to the virus…someone threw up or had diarrhea in that room, I Lysol bomb the room after cleaning it. I spray all the surface areas with Lysol Disinfect Spray, open the windows, and shut the door. I am not a fan of the smell of Lysol but it’s better then spreading the virus!!!

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Best of luck surviving the stomach virus season!! Hang in there and know it won’t last forever…you will get through it! You may even get some funny stories to tell down the road. They may not seem funny now, but some day you will look back and laugh….hopefully!!!