Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock

The following post contains affiliate links for 3rd party products or services I feel may be helpful for readers. I may make a small commission if a purchase is made using one of these links.

Seriously, where was this product when I was carting around Peanut & Jelly Bean at Kroger's?

The Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock is the alternative way to cart your baby around without having to put the infant car seat into the shopping cart. Designed for babies who are not able to sit up on their own, this hammock snaps to the cart giving your baby a cozy cradle to rest in while you do the grocery shopping. Hammock is large enough to fit babies up to 50 lbs with the snap seat belt to keep them safely in place. It will fit on various kinds of shopping carts while leaving plenty of room underneath to put groceries. Item is available in 4 different prints.

Looking for other ideas? Check out How I Did It: Grocery Shopping with Twin Babies

The following post contains affiliate links for 3rd party products or services I feel may be helpful for readers. I may make a small commission if a purchase is made using one of these links.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Dose of Sunshine

When my girls were in public school, they enjoyed having the occasional day off. The local school district has had several snow days this winter and my girls have asked if they can have the day off as well. While I enjoy a day off like anyone, I simply refused. I figure, if the weather is crummy and we cannot drive anywhere, why bother? Get that schoolwork done during the yucky days so we can take advantage of the warmer, spring weather to come.

And here we are!

Spring is right around the corner and the weather in my area is finally starting to perk up. Actually so am I. I love when the temperature begins to rise, the green outdoors begins to grow, and the sun is out. There is nothing like a dose of sunshine to really perk up the mood.

Winter time is a difficult for many people. Some simply have the "winter blues" while others have depression like Seasonal Affective Disorder. Just going through the normal motions of life and all that is required to get through a day is tough. Throw in homeschooling and it may seem like we bit off way more than we can chew.

This is my second year homeschooling and I have experienced these winter feelings myself. From feeling overwhelmed to straight on anxiety, it is usually about this time in the year that I am questioning what on earth am I doing. The girls also have their days when they are just not into their schoolwork and it is pulling teeth to get anything productive from them during the winter season.

Often, I start questioning whether I am doing this whole homeschooling thing correctly. I can jump into a panic reconsidering all of my curriculum choices, even if they are working well or not.

Certainly, there has to be something better than what we are using?

What if they are not doing enough?

Why can I not inspire them to go beyond what is assigned each day? Can't they take the initiative?

Maybe I wasn't meant to be a homeschool mom...

After I have my winter panic attack, I have found the oddest thing happen: spring comes and everyone gets back into their groove. I see progress. I see enthusiasm. We go out and enjoy those nicer days. There is more lively initiative to finish the year out.

I am learning that homeschool is not simply doing school at home. This is truly a lifestyle. We will have good days and not-so-good days. The point is that they are learning even when we cannot see it. It just takes time to see them bloom.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Who Blazed the Wilderness Trail?

“Who blazed the Wilderness Trail?”

Sitting in my usual place at the kitchen table, I quietly sat with the textbook in hand and my head turning from one child to the other. Peanut sat chewing on the end of her pen, halfway sitting on the chair. Her mind looked like it was anywhere, but on pioneers heading to Kentucky. Jelly Bean, though focused, was putting all her efforts into drawing a picture on the back of her math worksheet. She proudly held it up one hand revealing a drawing of her holding a can of Sprite. My eyes scanned over to her other hand which held up the actual can.

“Nobody remembers? We talked about him at the beginning of the week!” My grumpiness was evident in response to the lack of participation. I was also not hiding a pounding headache very well. Maybe, I thought, if I didn’t think I was talking to just myself, I wouldn’t get a headache as often.
Jelly Bean pops up and yells out, “Johnny?” Immediately, Peanut decides to reinforce this answer with an echo of the same name.

“Don’t you remember?” As I summarized key facts about the pioneer in question, my mind began to wander. The word pioneer has been a part of my own understanding since I was a little girl. Studying early American History is typical in education. Early settlers who left the familiarity of their old home in search for new opportunities, freedoms, and prospects are the reason we even have this great country.

People who “risked it all” for a better way of life. People who had to literally start over from scratch with only the things they could handle during the move. Some arrived by large ships like the Mayflower. Others walked on foot or by horse as they traveled westward. As time went on, other modes of transportation would get people from one point to the other, but the result was always the same. These people went from point A to point B and started over.

We are getting ready to start over.

Soon we will pack up what little possessions we have left and we will travel across the border westward. We will blaze a new trail. Leaving everyone we know and love, we will venture out into the great unknown. Not knowing a soul, we will have to make our way to creating a new home. We will have to stretch out of our comfort zones and meet people.

Certainly the early pioneers faced many challenges. Our modern day challenges will pale in comparison. Yet, I sat there wishing that I could feel just a small measure of the bravery they had when they set out on their journey.

Suddenly, Peanut blurts out, “Daniel Boone!” She begins to chatter about the cool story we had learned about him tricking Indians who were trying to attack him.

My focus shifts back to our lesson as I scan over the questions and I stop at one that perks my interest.

“Okay, what would a man need to have in order to survive in the wilderness?” I secretly was waiting for smart alec answers like Doritos, chewing gum, or the iPad.

But instead my girls surprised me.

“An ax.”

“A gun.”

“A knife.”

“Food. Things to cook with.”

I nodded my approval and replied that these were all good things for them to have. Having all of these items would make it easier to eat, stay safe, and to set up a camp. I imagine that I would want all these things, too, if it were me.

Still the idea of packing up and leaving, unaware of what dangers lurk around, as well as what would be found upon arrival still baffled me. How could anyone just do that? Their way was so hard. How did they have the faith to just…go?

Later as I was settling into my evening after a busy day, I looked at my girls playing with each other. Everyone seemed at peace. As much time as we all spend together, being together is what we like best. A hopeful reply to my earlier answer settled in my mind. Family. That is why they could go. Often times, they went together.

A home isn’t a certain building on a certain street in a certain city of a certain state. Home is where your people are at. A family makes a home.

How can I have the faith to just…go? I can because as long as I have my husband and my daughters, I will always be at home no matter where the trail takes us.

Why Do You Homeschool?

For years, I pondered the idea of homeschooling my daughters. After all, I knew several friends who were homeschooling their children and they were doing it well. When I first started talking about it with my husband, my daughters were only three years old. We still had a couple years before we really needed to worry about it, but at the time we both agreed that we didn't have what it would take to homeschool our kids.

In our minds, homeschooling families were on-the-go, active, engaged families who went on field trips every day and were involved in everything. Surely in order to be successful at homeschooling, children need to be "socialized" and in order to do that, it takes an active family that purposefully initiates contact with the outside world on a regular, daily basis.

If the kids were not going to go to school Monday through Friday where they can be "properly" socialized, it would be up to us to ensure they receive these vital life lessons. There was just one problem with this. We are not what you call social people to be begin with.

We are introverts.

So, how could we responsibly give our children a well rounded educational experience when we were not the go-getting type of parents who would willingly and joyfully sign their kids up for every sport, activity, and hobby under the sun? These parents schedule back-to-back commitments with a smile and eagerness. Not only would they do that, they would be the coach, the parent volunteer, coordinate the ice cream social, and still have time to put a five course dinner on the table.

This idea scared me.

As I considered every excuse as to why I didn't qualify for being an adequate teacher for my children, I was reminded of these truths:

1. I loved my children more than anyone else in the world.

2. I cared about my children's education and their future more than anyone else in the world.

3. I would do whatever it took to ensure they received what they needed to develop in all aspects of their life in a way that was fitting for our family.

4. What they learned was important to me and ensuring that was founded on biblical truth.

5. Letting them explore who they were and letting education come naturally was important.

When I consider the truths listed above, it reminds me why I am homeschooling my children. And it is exciting to see how my kiddos have blossomed into more confident social creatures outside of the brick and mortar school. They are learning to engage people of all ages, to be kind to those younger than they, and find humility when they are not treated kindly back by those who have embraced the age/social pecking order of the public school world.

I am also learning the balance of homeschooling my children and not getting caught up in the doing-it-all mentality. Taking care of myself is a vital part of maintaining order in the household. While I am not always perfectly in line with my energy levels as an introvert and our daily workload, I remind myself why we are doing what we are doing. All I have to do is remember, and the idea of homeschooling doesn't scare me anymore.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Twinmama Tip of the Day 11/19/12

If you can't find your cup of coffee, check the microwave. You mostly likely left it in there after you warmed it up for the seventh time.

Why can't I get  through one cup of coffee without having to do something for somebody around here?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How I Did It: Grocery Shopping With Twin Babies

The following post contains affiliate links for 3rd party products or services I feel may be helpful for readers. I may make a small commission if a purchase is made using one of these links.

Five years ago when I brought my two little bundles home from the hospital, survival was key. My husband cooked a lot, did a lot of the grocery shopping, and if I needed something he would swing by the store after work.

One day it occurred to me that I would eventually need to leave the house by myself with the girls. I know there are some twinmamas out there that busted out of the house the first chance they got with their little two-pack, but not me. I was scared out of my mind about taking two little ones out on my own.

I finally got the courage to step out into the sunlight with Peanut and Jelly Bean when I had to go to the store and no one could help me. They were still little babies and I was still toting them around in their infant car seats. Unable to hold up their heads much less the rest of their bodies, putting them in the front part of a shopping cart wasn't going to happen.

In a frantic search for motherly twin wisdom, I searched the internet for ideas on how to do this and not look like a complete crazy woman. Here are some ideas on how to keep your twins in tow while you grocery shop:

Take your double stroller: Use your stroller to push the babies while you hold one of the small shopping baskets for small trips. For large trips, drag a shopping cart  behind you while you push the stroller. (Drag by holding from the front of the cart so you have control as the wheels swivel.) A rolling shopping tote pulled behind you like the Olympia Rolling Printed Shopper Tote is a great option for those medium sized trips to the store.

Use two carts: Put one infant car seat in each shopping cart. Please note that I didn't say to put them on the top part of the child seat section of the shopping cart. Car seats and shopping carts are not designed to work together. Put them inside the cart. Yes, this takes up a good portion of the cart. Deal with it. Baby's safety is more important. Pull on cart behind you by the front of the cart while you push the other cart.

Carry one or both babies: Utilize the help of an infant carrier like the Infantino Sash Mei Tai Carrier so you can wear one baby while you keep the other in the shopping cart. Use one cart for small trips (since the shopping cart portion is full with the other infant carrier) or drag a second cart to fill up. Rather carry both babies? The Stuff 4 Multiples TwinTrexx Twin Baby Carrier is a great way to hold both of your babies and relieve your arms.

Team up with your partner: If going solo isn't for you yet, why not split up the grocery shopping duties with your spouse or partner? Head to the store with two shopping lists, separate with your assigned baby, and agree to meet back at a certain place when finished. Shopping gets done faster and you only have one wee tot to worry about.

Go solo: Hey, who says you have to take the kids? Have your spouse or a trusted babysitter watch the little angels and enjoy a peaceful hour or two by yourself. (Take your time for crying out loud!)

However you decide to do your grocery shopping, you cannot go wrong as long as your little ones are safe and secure.

This post contains affiliate links for 3rd party products or services I feel may be helpful for readers. I may make a small commission if a purchase is made using one of these links.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Where Does the Day Go?

I am very ambitious. I can set out each morning with a list in hand ready to scratch everything off of it. I imagine that I can get a ton of work done for my job, I can entertain and stimulate the children with activities and meaningful memories that will last them a lifetime, and I can accomplish all the housework and errands that need to be done.

What? Isn't there 40 hours in a day? That's okay, I just need six more hours. That should do it.

Seriously, folks, I cannot begin to tell you where the day goes. I sit down to work in the mornings while the girls play and the baby naps. Check. When my work hours are over, I prepare lunch for everyone. Check.

Suddenly, the rest of the afternoon is a blur. I might actually black out. I am not sure.

From the hours of 1pm to 5pm, I literally think my life is like that movie, Click, starring Adam Sandler. Someone has a remote control of my life and they hit fast forward every afternoon.

By the time my husband comes home from work, there is still laundry to fold, dinner is still not ready, and that list sits with only a few scratches to show for. (Luckily he doesn't judge as he has recognized that going to work is far easier than wrangling three little girls all day.)

I need a new strategy, but I am afraid to say that I don't have time to figure one out.

Please, somebody remove the batteries from the remote!