We are taking off some time before 2018, but don't fret, we will be back BIGGER AND BETTER than before!!! In 2018 we will be filling our blog with great and amazing advice, stories, memories, etc. AND we will also have a new and shiny Podcast for you to interact with as well! So enjoy your holidays. (Yes, I will post photos of all the trees I put up.) And I'll talk to you again in 2018!
What a time saver! Grocery pickup or delivery has been a game changer.
When my youngest was born,(and was classified as a chronicle sick baby,) and I had 2 toddlers, a preschooler, and a 1st grader on my hands too, needless to grocery shopping was a chore. Right about that time King Soopers stores (Kroger family of stores) in Colorado began delivering for $10. YES PLEASE! Now, I couldn't afford it often, but I so wished they had had that when my twins were infants. I certainly had my hands full.
Well now they have Click List (each chain is a little different.) You order online and pick them up. Someone else goes through the store for you. It's $4.95, but it saves us so much in impulse buys, and at least an hour or more a week. And because we order off of our meal plan, because with 7 people you have to have one, we don't over buy. We don't miss anything either because we weren't distracted. From the list, to the computer, pick it up at the store.
Another bonus is that if it's on sale, you see it. They tell you what you've bought in the past, so it's easy to repeat. Oh, and if they are out and have to sub it for something more expensive, they adjust the price to what you chose in the first place! You can't do that at the store by yourself.
The other day, our Echo Dot told us we could get a free trial of Amazon Fresh since we used the feature that kept our grocery list up to date. So fantastic! The subscription is $14.95 a month, and free delivery over $40. On time, an Uber driver arrives with your groceries, packed and iced. YES!
So many options to save us all time now. And as a busy mother of 5, this has been a life saver. Now, my husband, who is a full time dad uses the service. He loves the ease of picking up his groceries after dropping the kids off at school. Meal planning and prep have never been so easy!
What do you think of these services?
It's TBT and I'm going to be sharing some of my favorite childhood memories from the 80's and 90's with you all!
Do you remember the Cabbage Patch Kid craze? Oh, my! I remember wanting one. But my mother was not one to go stand in big lines for a toy, and we didn't blame her...oh, but I did want one. Well, lucky for us, her best friend LOVED to rush the door at 5am Toys R Us special days and wouldn't you know, she got my mom the dolls. Oh, what a Christmas that was! I was in 6th grade I think, and still...WOW!!! It was one of the biggest surprises ever. She said when she got them, she wrapped them and walked away until she didn't know which one was which. Mine was a red head, Sabrina Sandy was her name, and I still have her.
Years later, we bought my youngest son a "little brother." It was one of the Cabbage Patch Premies, and his name is Juan. Juan accompanied little Jack to the hospital for surgeries so many times, the nurses gave him his own arm band. Jack is 12, and Juan still resides with him.
Yeah for the Cabbage Patch Kid! Tell me about yours!
~Bernadette Marie ~
**you can find the Pinterest pin with the graphic here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/211669251219807801/**
I'm probably not the only one who wonders if there's a break in the sporting seasons. Hockey season has just started, but I'm not sure when the other season ended.
For a few of my boys, they took the summer off. Then there was the one, who hasn't been off the ice more than a week in two years. He had power skating lessons. He had hockey camp. And of course, he would want to go open skate with his friends.
He truly was an inspiration. He had some lofty goals. I found myself envious of his dedication. And when it came time for tryouts, I was envious of his go get 'em attitude.
High school junior varsity tryouts came first. This peanut is just that, a peanut. At 14 years old he can't even break 100 pounds soaking wet. That doesn't stop him trying to outdo 16 and 17-year-olds. He showed up to those high school tryouts, got cut, and was still ecstatic that he tried.
Next up, Bantam AA tryouts. Though he understood getting cut from high school try outs, this one might have stung just the littlest bit, but only for one moment. There were more tryouts to be had, and he certainly was going after them. Not one moment was lost mourning these two tryouts.
Finally, we were at Bantam A/B tryouts. He had played Bantam B last year, so she was sure this was the end of the line. But, when he didn't make the A team, his father and I felt as though we had been stabbed in the heart. It's funny, how we as parents, take everything 100 times harder than the kid. We knew he had tried his hardest. We knew he had done everything he could to better himself. So why not our kid?
I probably checked on him that night a million times. Kept asking him if he was okay. He had to be devastated. As it turns out, only his father and I were devastated.
I knew that somewhere there was a silver lining. But when was I going to find that? I kept thinking that Walt Disney got fired from the newspaper, because they said he had no talent with his drawings. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. This kid was going to make something of himself. Could I convince him of that?
The interesting part about this journey was, he wasn't discouraged. I was doing that to myself. Do you know what he cared about? He got to play hockey. Not only did he get to play hockey, he got to play a lot of hockey. He'd been playing all summer with high schoolers--the big guys. He held his own with those AA's and A's. And he was going to set out to be the best Bantam B player ever.
As parents we get so caught up in wanting everything perfect for our kids, we forget to take lessons upon ourselves. Though tryout weeks are my least favorite times of the year, I'm reminded each year of my children's resilience. Nothing will tear them down. They truly understand the meaning behind shake it off and go on.
The next morning his father and I mutually realized the silver lining. The team he had landed on was filled with amazing families we had played with for years. And just like every year, once the teams were in place, unrealized attempts through tryouts were forgotten.New goal statistics were started. New travel adventures booked. And I, the mother who thinks everyone needs to fail to grow, grew a little bit when I watched my 14 year old son move on to the next thing unscarred by normal events. Not every kid will go on to the NHL, and that's okay. Not every kid will make the highest team, and that's okay too. What matters is they can say I did my best, on to the next, and they move on to the next. We so often trip over our own ambitions, we forget that we caused ourselves to fall. I love that he reminds me every year that you can keep on going even if you don't get what you were hoping for. It doesn't mean you give up. You keep pursuing and training. Thanks for the lesson kid. I'm sure that by next year, I'll need the same reminder, and I know that you'll be pushing through it to give it to me.
What lessons do your kids teach you?
#BloggingMom #FamilyLife #BoyMom
Talk about a #FavortieThingsFriday item, this is one of my ALL TIME favorites! The Roomba vacuum! I have had one since they came out with them. I've run through a few too in the past 15 years. Right now I have two of them. One for upstairs, one for the main floor. And I will guarantee you the next time I find a good sale, there will be one for the basement too!
These Roombas are schedule-able. Every morning at 9am and 10am they start their journey through the rooms and clean until the carpet sensors say the rooms are clean, or until the battery wears down 2 hours later. Then, they tuck themselves into their base and charge.
I joke often that I don't have pets wandering around my feet. I have robots!
But this handy guy makes my house look nice all the time. To keep your carpets nice, they recommend that you vacuum them each day. **sigh** Who wants to do that? But with the Roomba you can!
Until I got the Roomba for upstairs, the carpet very rarely got a good vacuuming! In the few short weeks where I've had it circling around every morning, it has brought life back to this worn out carpet.
As you can see, the circular patterns are where the Roomba starts its journey. It senses its pattern, and this is how you get maximum cleaning done!
I've joked about putting eyes on it, or giving it a name. Truly its like a kid who likes to clean. It needs its rest to recharge. You have to dump the bin every few days. And of course, you should pick up before it eats up your cords, but unlike the kid or pet, it lives to clean for you.
I cannot recommend a Roomba vacuum enough! Everyone should have one!
What's your favorite cleaning tool?
~ Bernadette Marie ~
(These opinions are mine only. I was not gifted items or paid for my opinion.)
I knew when this summer started, it would be over much too soon. We didn't take a vacation. We went camping on our land once...once! The older they get, the more I know that will be the norm, but it wasn't as if we didn't do anything.
My eldest moved out on his own, helped with orchestra camp, and played in the community orchestra. The second oldest worked numerous jobs this summer from concessions, to warehouse work, to now throwing pizzas at an Italian restaurant. He too was in strings camp. Then he and the oldest son traveled on their own to New Jersey to visit friends, and spend the day in New York City. One of their friend's aunts is a CNN anchor! Oh, yeah, they certainly did sit behind the desk on the set! Kiddo number three, was as normal, the busiest kid! Following strings camp, he had multiple sports camps. Lacrosse, Power Skating to improve his hockey game, Hockey camp, to improve his game, and a pre-tryout camp--you guessed it--to get on the team. He went bike riding and hiked the mountain outside the front door multiple times. Thanks to big brother, he too has landed a job in the restaurant, so he too is a working boy. Lovey number four did a theater camp and performed in the Lion King. Then he interviewed to be a Playologist at the Children's Museum (and it was a real interview process), where he got the job and volunteered each week. And the baby...well...he likes to take it easy! He played in strings camp, but then he took the summer off! Seriously, he enjoyed each day as it was meant to be. An occasional bike ride and Tuesdays having lunch and fun with grandma. That was his agenda.
Thursday morning, we shuttled them off to school. One is all grown up. One in his senior year, two in their freshman year, and one entering seventh grade. For the first time in fourteen years, I didn't have anyone to drop off at the elementary school.
I think they were all happy to be getting back into a normal routine. And the treat of the morning was their daddy was here to get them all up, take some to school, and he's off to pick them off. He's currently "retired" as I call it. But the dream was for him to get to do these things for our kiddos and now we're getting to.
I think of the first day of school like the Mondays that I love. Fresh start. A chance to make it the best year ever! It's crazy to me how they all got this old. I know my mother always said it goes fast, I just didn't know she'd be so right. I love who they are becoming! Each one is starting to find themselves, and that becomes as thrilling as a new school year. It's been interesting too to see the friendships that have bloomed between students and teachers as they grow. They have continued to mold my children's lives even as they blaze into adulthood.
So this morning, I made them all lineup in front of the same garage door, all of those who live here. We took the photo that would be shared on social media with the masses. And now the countdown will begin to winter break, spring break, and inevitably graduation and summer break. Circle of life? I suppose it is. And here I am embracing every moment of it.
How did first day of school go for you? Are you excited about the new year?
<3 Bernadette Marie <3
It's #FavoriteThingsFriday and today I want to share with you my love of Vionic shoes!
When I returned home from Star Wars Celebration in April, I was THRILLED to find two boxes of shoes sent to me from Vionic. Let me tell you, I needed them.
I had made the very conscious decision to wear a nasty, cheap pair of flip flops through Orlando for a week. I knew that I would be paying a hefty price for it too, and I did. See, even though I live in Colorado, I wear flip flops all year long. Yes, sometimes even in the snow. I was thrilled to have a pair of Vionic scandals to try.
Vionic shoes are based around Orthotic Technology, made for everyone. I tend to walk on the outside of my feet, and my shoes wear out. With my Vionics, I'm aligned and balanced correctly, even in sandals.This does more for your body than make your feel feel better. Just think of how often you compensate for aching feet. By keeping you aligned and well balanced, your entire body benefits. The Orthotic Technology is also great for plantar fasciitis too.
I also received a pair of athletic shoes. I have wider feet, however, I don't have super wide feet. The problem is that most athletic shoes are made for a narrow foot. Well, let me tell you, after four pregnancies, my feet are no longer narrow. It happens. The athletic shoes give me that fantastic support and comfort. I walk up to twenty miles a week recreationally. I needed something that would take the brunt of that, and not my legs or feet.
If you're looking for a great pair of shoes, I can't say enough about the Vionic line. (They aren't just sandals and athletic shoes either! You can look fantastic and feel great while being right in style too!)
Check them out at https://www.vionicshoes.com!
They are sassy, mouthy, entitled little brats when they are teenagers. Oh, and you just want to beat your head against the wall sometimes. And then sometimes there is that moment of clarity, and instead of beating your head against the wall, you hang it because it comes to mind that you too threw a few of these temper tantrums.
Last night, after having spent literally $1000 on new hockey gear for a kid, he had an epic meltdown that had me using words I don't usually use. But it was then that I saw in him little ole me. UG! It sickens me to think that at times I threw those unnecessary fits for my parents and there was no good reason for them. Each item he took from his bag he had a reason and story behind why he'd needed it. The other boys, who left with minimal items seemed fine. But it was as if he realized what we'd done for him and perhaps there was guilt from greed. But the gentle age of Teenager, we don't understand how to say thank you or I'm sorry. We just know that for a moment in it all we felt completely right in our thinking, even if that has since changed.
These are those moments I'm compelled to call my parents and say, "I'm sorry." I wasn't a trouble maker, I didn't break curfew or sneak out of the house. I didn't drink. I didn't party. I didn't even fail. But because I couldn't find it inside myself to accept blame or admit I was ever wrong, these tantrums emerged (sadly into adulthood).
So I watched my son throw his new items into a different bag, talk under his breath, and attempt to lock himself in his room. I took some deep breaths and I knew what was going on in his head, because as I've said, I too had more than one of those meltdowns.
Things I know for a fact. Next week when he puts on that gear, he will say thank you. When the moment has passed, and the world is back in order and school has started, he will apologize for that melt down. As adults the world spins around us at a maddening pace, and we assume our moods are justified by it. We can say, "I went to work, I drove in traffic, I paid that horrible bill," and think that our mood is justified. What we forget is that for a teenager, it's spinning at a maddening pace too. How could we possibly have forgotten? They're taking on a lot now too. With school less than a week away, there is stress and nerves going on inside of those kids. Many teenagers are starting new schools too. What a scary time. And again...oh how easily we forget.
Once in a while it's good to remember, even if you have to call your parents and apologize for your behavior 30 years ago. They'll still appreciate it.
Do you remember any of your epic teenage meltdowns? Were they worth it?
~Bernadette Marie ~
Each Monday, grab your cereal bowl and join JediShua and shazbazzar as they reminisce about the past while exploring the future of some of their favorite science fiction and fantasy properties of their youth. Listen in to discussions about the movies, music, games, and comics of the 70s and 80s as they share the days of their youth with their own kids in a positive, family-friendly atmosphere.
If you're a TechnoRetro Dad, the child of one, or just fondly remember the sci-fi/fantasy properties of the 70s and 80s, then this podcast is for you!
Considering that I was born early in the 70's I often forget my young childhood was based in 70's culture. However, when these two reminisce on food, movies, and toys, it takes me right back there. And then, they start their journey into 80's pop culture, you just want to put on some extra socks, pull up your collar, and jump into your time machine.
This entertaining duo will have you singing songs from your past, remembering those toys you begged Santa for, and they LOVE their cereal! Yep! I didn't even know there were that many different kinds of cereal out there. Shazbazzar likes his in a chilled bowl, and my husband tried this! It WILL keep your cereal crisper and the milk colder...I'm telling ya! Let's not forget that they open each show with a series of jokes that have my kids rolling with laughter.
The best part about the podcast is you can listen with your kids in the car. Seriously, this is a BIG plus for me.This past week they had on Super Friend Tony Soehner, which IS my kiddo. I can't tell you how much fun it was to listen to him talk about Ready Player One, eat cereal with JediShua, and talk about his own book coming out. He loves the retro too, and identifies with all things 70's and 80's. (We did something right.)
Check out their website at: https://www.retrozap.com/technoretro-dads/ for a full listing of their podcasts. You can find their podcast on iTunes and follow them on Facebook!
**Thank you to JediShua for sending me graphics to use, and for allowing me to use their podcast bio.***
This weekend marked a pivotal moment in our family. Son #1 moved out. He didn't just move to college to live in a dorm. No, he moved into his own house and has a full time job, just like a grown up!
I'm more proud of this kid than ever, but it sure did send a shockwave through our home. I was surprised to find that I wasn't sad to see him move out. It was time. He was ready. Of course, when he moved out, that left his basement "suite" up for grabs to son #2. Then son #2's room was snatched up by son #5. It was then I might have gotten a bit misty eyed.
Boys who were babies just a moment ago are moving out, moving around, moving on. This is the first year we don't have an elementary schooler. (We were in elementary school for 14 years.) With all of them doing their own thing with jobs, activities, and having their own electronic devices, we just don't see them much now.
The house, which once might have not seemed big enough to get away from each other, now has 2 empty bedrooms, a common area, and basement that no one uses. At what time are we simply going to get lost in our own house?
This year we visit schools for son #2. In another blink of an eye, he'll be moving out too. If we make the nest fit the family will it not be so devastating when the last bird flies away? I wonder.
But this was part of the deal when we had kids, right? You do everything to prepare them for the day they permanently walk out the front door. Perhaps there should be something that prepares the parents. We are skilled in the art of going with the flow. We've been doing it since the moment we brought home that first baby with no idea what to do with him. We shall adjust when we no longer know what to do with ourselves.
How are you preparing, or how did you cope with the empty nest?
~Bernadette Marie ~
Bernadette Marie is the mother of 5 sons (12,14,14,17,19), a bestselling author, publisher, speaker, event planner, blogger, CEO of 2 companies, and a 2nd degree blackbelt. Often asked how she manages a family of seven, she offers up her advice on home, school, travel, and so much more. Her philosophy is that parenthood is never perfect, but the bumps along the way are what make the best memories.