Monday, September 30, 2013

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

By now, everyone who has ever peeked at this blog knows that I think everything Disney is genius and wonderful....and it totally is! (LOL!)...
With that said, I will now write about our most recent Disney experience.... the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, which takes place every year at the Magic Kingdom. 
We attended the party with our friends Terri and Jaycie, which made the whole thing that much better!
The girls picked out their costumes; Olivia dressed up as a spider witch and Gaby went as a Ninja Turtle (her idea, I swear!).  They walked around the park all proud of their styles...it was great!
For those of you who have no clue what this celebration is about, I'll tell you a bit about it..

This is an exclusive event (separate from the daily park admission), celebrated on select nights (7pm to midnight) during the months of September and October, in which guests get to dress up in costumes, trick or treat around the park and watch special shows such as the "Boo to You Halloween Parade", fireworks and such. All rides are also open for guests to enjoy, so it's even more fun. 
We loved seeing everyone with their costumes, the decorations around the park, the music, the whole ambiance.. everything was just great!
I think this is a great event for kids with an awesome take on Halloween; the kids get to enjoy a "spooky" holiday in a not so "spooky" way; families get to enjoy all the Disney fun with shorter wait times, decorations are beautiful, characters are diverse and well.. it's just another fun and genius Disney adventure!

Here are some pics...


Happy Blogging! ;)


Lately... from a slacking blogger!

Between work, school and the kids' activities, I feel like I barely have time for myself let alone to sit down and blog about it...BUT I do love my blog and I'm committed to updating it for my girls, so here I am.. back at it...
Lately, we've been up to some fun and games as usual.. the girls are certainly enjoying their school year and all the fun (and responsibilities) that come along with it...
They've been getting ready for Halloween and enjoying all the crazy decorations in every store!


Gaby has grown up insanely fast in the last few months.. I feel like her face doesn't resemble a "little girl" anymore, and she is definitely developing a personality to back it up! 


Olivia lost her 6th tooth (yes, 6th!!!) and she has been banking it with all the "donations" from the Tooth Fairy, who has been rather generous with her... She has saved over $40 and is determined to keep every dollar in her wallet...I'm so proud of her for saving instead of spending! (yay Olivia!)


Here she is on Johnny Appleseed day, the same day she lost her 6th tooth...coincidence? Maybe.. I'm sure bitting those apples did the trick! :)


On other news.. my BFF became an American citizen last week, after 17 long years and countless visas! I was so happy to be there to witness such "historic" event! Congrats, "gringa"...you will make a great American! 


...and of course, seasonal cookie eating and fun birthday parties are still part of our routines!  How awesome is that!?  Here are some pics....


The girls at Emily's 6th birthday party @ Little Pinkies Girls Spa


...and here they are at Calixto's 5th birthday pool party!  Did I mention Gaby is on a Ninja Turtle craze now? Yes.. totally hilarious.. I love her! 


...and that's what this slacking blogger has been up to lately.. and the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party.. oh yeah... I need to blog about that too!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Raising my kids Catholic

Disclaimer: this post is not intended to offend any parent who chooses a different faith or no faith at all. It is based on personal opinions and our chosen lifestyle

"The best thing our family ever did was decide early in our kids' lives to go back to Ed and my Catholic roots. God bless our Catholic faith"- Tara Rittersdorf (mom of 4 girls)- Belding, MI

I love reading quotes like that one from my friend Tara! I love to know that so many parents are resorting to faith based lifestyles and that is why I'm writing this post!

Many parents struggle when scrambling to make the decision of how to raise their children, what to teach them, what not to teach them; many ask themselves, should we teach them "faith"?  should we tell them to believe in God?. It is not uncommon for non-religious parents to seek out some sort of religious organization after they have children, precisely because they struggle with the lack of doctrine when teaching little kids.  I know, I know, this doesn't happen to every parent, but believe me..it happens to many!
We all want to be the best we can be and we want to make sure our children grow up to be good, well adjusted adults. 
Some of us have our own religious beliefs and some just call themselves "spiritual" or plain "atheists"; the truth is, we all believe in SOMETHING!
And it is SO important for kids to believe in SOMETHING too.  I have been a CCD teacher (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) for almost 18 years and I have seen so many children get excited about God; I have seen them learn about the Bible and ask questions about Catholicism and any particular religious doctrine.  It is fascinating to see how these kids crave knowledge and especially how they long to have faith in something. 
We have chosen to raise our kids Catholic; we are lucky to be able to send them to a wonderful Catholic school and we are also lucky to witness the effect that faith has on them.  It is such a complex concept yet so basic for kids to grasp (believe it or not).  It's so rewarding to know that the lifestyle we have chosen for our kids is well taken by them. 
So, as a fellow mom, I'm not here to tell you what you should or should not teach your kids; I'm simply stating that teaching your children about FAITH and helping them believe in some superior power will have such amazing impact on their lives.

Today, I encourage all parents to help their kids BELIEVE, and HOPE, and HELP, and LOVE...so that we can all make this world a much better place! 

Happy praying! ;)



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering 9/11 and what to say to young children about it....

12 years have passed since that awful 9/11; a day the world will never forget.
The terrible memories are still fresh on everyone's mind and the sadness still clouds our thinking as we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we learned about the events.
This year has been especially challenging for me since it is the first time my kids have questioned me about it.  Olivia came home asking "mommy, what happened on 9/11?"; she said her teacher had mentioned an "attack" and she wanted a more detailed explanation about the events.
I feel like I shouldn't lie to her; she has a right to know what happened and I know she will hear about it at some point.  But I also feel like I should do justice to history and to her dignity as a child, so I don't necessarily think that the "raw" story should be told to her just yet.
I gave her (and Gaby) a brief explanation regarding the events and they demanded I showed them a video; Olivia suggested that I should "google" it, so I did.  After struggling to find the mildest video version of what happened on that dreaded day, I showed her some footage and that seemed to satisfy her curiosity.  It was hard to see her little face reacting to such horrific images, but it was also satisfying to see how well she took it, all things considered.
So, because I know today many parents are facing the same challenges I am as they try to find child-like explanations about 9/11, I took to the internet to do some research and this is what I found. I will post the most useful articles, blogs posts and journals so that parents out there can provide their children with the outmost support as they try to learn about history.

* Explaining 9/11. http://mom.me/parenting/3888-explaining-911/
* Resources and Tips for explaining 9/11 to kids. http://blogs.familyeducation.com/blogs/erin-d/resources-and-tips-explaining-911-kids
* What happened on 9/11? http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3756477
* How to talk to your kids about 9/11 and other traumatic events. http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/160927/how_to_talk_to_your

I encourage all parents to speak clearly to their children and to always be prepared for difficult conversations; we owe it to our kids to be the best parents we can be and to provide them with ongoing support and provocative answers to their provocative questions!

"Send Cheer to Teachers"


It would be fair to say that all of us have at least one teacher that has impacted our life in one way or another. It would also be fair to say that most of the work teachers do goes unnoticed and is definitely under appreciated; my sister is a kindergarten teacher and she makes sure to tell me every day often how HARD it is to do what she does. She also, of course, tells me how rewarding her job is and how much she loves each and every one of her students. 
So, to help say thank you to the 6.2 million teachers in the US, Cheerios is launching its "Send Cheer to Teachers" program as a simple way to show your appreciation to your favorite childhood teacher or your child's current teacher. 
As a blogger, I am happy to help promote this program and share this wonderful initiative with all of my readers and visitors.  I believe it is great to be able to "cheer" teachers all over the country and send words of appreciation to all those wonderful people who work tirelessly to help educate our children. 

How it works:
* Locate a specially marked Cheerios cereal box in your grocery store now through mid-October, 2013.
* Cut out the postcard found on the front of the box
* On the back-side of the postcard, write a message of appreciation or a simple "thank you"
* Share Cheer with your favorite teacher

Teachers spend on average $398 of their own money on supplies and resources, and 92% of teachers use their own money to provide supplies for their students, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association.  Cheerios, together with the Box Tops for Education program, is offering parents a way to help alleviate this burden with a Send Cheer to Teachers sweepstakes. 
Now through July 17th, 2014, parents can enter for a chance to win one of five prize packages for their child's school, with a grand prize worth $10,000. 
For more information, please visit www.btfe.com/sendcheer

So let's join this initiative and "cheer" our favorite teachers!
Thanks you, Cheerios for thinking of all these awesome educators!!

Disclaimer: General Mills has provided this blogger with product samples and/or coupons. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

A lesson on "giving"

Don't you just love it when your kids teach you lessons??  I know I do (no, really, I do!), especially when those lessons entail some sort of moral message that somehow reassures me that as a mother I'm doing SOMETHING right...
So, here's the background to this.. Olivia is growing up to be somewhat of a "frugal" individual; she's definitely a "saver".. every time she comes around any amount of money (whether it's a penny or a dollar), she just puts it away... On the first day of school she had an activity where she had to fill in the blank: "If I had a million dollars I would ______", her response?  "Save it all"... I must admit her answer made me giggle a little bit, but it also made me proud.. I wonder if she really gets what a MILLION DOLLARS mean..

Yesterday we were playing Bingo at my mom's house... to make it a little more exciting, each player would have to "bet" a 25 cents per round.  My mom would put in Olivia's quarter and if she happened to win, they would split the earnings.  Olivia won once and she got a whooping $1.25, which meant A LOT of quarters (a lot for her, anyways).  She proudly grabbed her money and put it in her little pocket.  She said to me with a huge smile on her face "more money for my savings".. and I said "hooray!"....
After the family gathering we went to the 7pm mass, where  to my surprise, my little lady decided to put all of her quarters in the collection basket.  Without any hesitation she pulled the 5 quarters out her pocket and just dropped them in the basket... I looked at her and said quietly "I thought you were going to save that?"...and she smiled and said "I'm sure the church needs it more than I do"...and just like that, she showed me how detached she really was from her possession and how willing she was to give all she had.
It was so amazing to see how proud she was but also how natural giving felt to her... when we walked out of the church, I said "I'm so proud of you for donating all your money" and her response was "mommy, it's not a big deal... money comes, money goes"... Is she really 6 years old?  Sometimes I can't believe that such a little mind can think so big!
My daughter gave me the biggest lesson on giving... she taught me that no possession is little enough or big enough... she taught me that giving comes from the heart...and most importantly she taught me how pure her soul is and how sensitive to the needs of others a child can really be....
...and that's reason #195408024547 why I ADORE this kid!
Thank you, Olivia.... for making me a better mother with everything you do! :)
Thank you, God for blessing me with such a generous and loving child!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day weekend

We had such an amazing Labor Day weekend with lots of fun activities and wonderful friends!
On Friday we left to Tennessee for a special event at Iggy's alma mater.  We spent the weekend in Johnson City, TN surrounded by Iggy's old team mates and other friends, celebrating his coach's retirement and dedication of the school's tennis facilities. 
It was so awesome to see Iggy reminiscing about his college years and meeting up with old buddies; it was even more awesome to see the girls walking around campus and hearing stories about daddy's college fun!


Here are the girls playing at the school's bookstore and having fun with all memorabilia!


On Sunday, we drove to Pigeon Forge and went to Wonderworks, where I met up with my wonderful cyber friend Tamara and all of her family. I have "known" Tamara for almost seven years since we met through the WTE website when we were pregnant with Olivia and David.  This was the first time meeting in person so of course it was very special. 
It's always awesome to see the online chemistry translating into real life chemistry.  It was such a blessing to meet this wonderful family and I certainly hope we don't have to wait 7 years to meet again!
Thank you Tamara and family for such a wonderful time! :)  The kids had a blast!!!


...and one last picture from our visit to ETSU... go Bucs! :)