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Wigs for Kids Hair Donation

Have you ever wanted to make a drastic change to your hair? Like really drastic? I have, and I do it about every 2-3 years. We are actually at the 2 year mark since I cut 18 inches of my hair and made a donation to Wigs for Kids.

Before cutting my hair it was SO long. Long enough that I was sitting on it, getting it caught in things, and it took FOREVER to do anything with it. So, I decided that after my wedding that I would get it cut and donate my hair to an organization that made wigs for cancer patients. I reached out to a few friends to find the best organization to donate to, as I wanted it to go to a true non profit organization.

Before

Who to choose? Locks of Love, Wigs for Kids, or Pantene Beautiful Locks? After a lot of research on my end I chose to go with Wigs for Kids. I chose this organization because they truly donate full wigs to children. There is absolutely no cost to the recipient, which normally would have cost approx. $1,800.  They also use ALL of the hair provided to them. They do not throw hair away unless it was molded during shipment, which happens when you ship wet hair.

Donating to Wigs for Kids is a really simple process. You need at MINIMUM 12 inches of hair, and it can not be colored, treated, or dreadlocked. Check out this link to their frequently asked questions for hair donations. Once you have decided to donate, make an appointment at your local salon, or check out the salon ambassadors for the organization here. Some shops will offer free or discounted hair cuts with your donation. After your hair is cut, head over to the donation form and fill it out to receive your tracking number. If you would also like to make a financial donation with your hair make sure to fill out this donation form.

So long!

Why do I choose to donate my hair? Well, its pretty simple. Why not? I don’t need the extra hair, it doesn’t need to be thrown away and I would want someone to show me kindness like this if I ever needed it. I would want someone to help my child if god forbid he ever need to use this resource. I use this answer for a lot of things in life when people ask me such questions.  We all need to reach deep down in our hearts and have this outlook in life. We have to come together and do what we can to help each other.

After
So much shorter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week marks two years since I gave my last donation and it’s about that time to have it cut again. My hair grows super crazy fast as is almost as long as it was two years ago who I donated. I had previously let it grow a little longer because I was getting married and wanted my long hair for my wedding photos.

Feeling Beautiful

Being that I live in Florida and summers are nothing short of living in a constant sweat, its about time for a shorter do. So make sure you stay tuned to my social media pages to see my new hair do!  Let me know below if you have ever made a donation or if you plan to! I’d love to see your before and after photos!

❤️ Brittny

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Realizing that you have lost your true self.

Have you ever laid in bed at night and just felt that you had lost or were losing your self? This is something I have struggled with recently, and I am determined to find my way back to the old me. While I know that I can’t be exactly who I was a year ago, I know I can at least get back to the happy me.

It all started in January 2016,  I was still recovering from our car accident and was dealing with lots of medical issues. I wasn’t able to do anything by my self, even the simplest of task took forever. I had severe neck and back pains, as well as a full leg brace covering my knee and my ankle. While some injuries have healed, some have not and have cause a life long disability. These injuries are where a lot of my resentment come in as I am no longer able to do the things I once could.

Fast forward to March of 2016, I took my grandma to the ER after months of severe pain. She was diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. This hit me like a tun of bricks. I felt like I couldn’t breath and my world was ending. I wasn’t ready to lose her. By July, she was no longer able to care for her self and was moved to full hospice care. She was here with us, with my mother in law, my husband and I by her side until she took her last breath.

They say your world can’t end until you died. But apparently they have never experienced losing someone who means the complete world to you. If an doctor would have told me that cutting of my right arm would have saved her, I would have sawed it off my self. The morning she died my world felt like it ended. I couldn’t breath, I could barely cry. I knew she was in a better place but that wasn’t good enough for me.

Since these things have happened I have fallen into a huge rutt. I feel like I am no longer my self, that everything is different. I have lost my self, the old me. There are now all the limitations on what I can do. Somethings as simple as walking, standing, sitting, shopping, being a mom, are now difficult. So many things I want to go do, but I know that I won’t be able to walk long distance without stopping, I won’t be able spend the day shopping all at one time.

Now it’s March, 2017 and I have decided that I am done being in a rutt, I want me back. I know it won’t be the same me as before, but a better newer me. I will learn to deal with my disabilities and my limitations. I will find ways to be happy and now get down. The first plan of action is working at getting my house back in full order. I know this is going to take days if not weeks, but it will get done.

I am excited to start this new journey to find the new me. I am excited to see where this year takes us and what adventures we will embark on as a family. Fingers crossed this includes getting ready for our big move.

Have you ever lost your self, or gotten into a rutt? What helped get you out of it?  I look forward to your comments.

❤️Brittny

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Our Pregnancy Loss

In 2012, my husband(my long term boyfriend at the time) and I decided that we were ready to start a family. We had some hurtles ahead. I have several heart conditions and a cardiac pacemaker, so we wanted to check with all my doctors before moving forward with our journey.

Our first step in this process was to speak to my OBGYN. We spoke about having my Mierna birth control removed, the risk of pregnancy, any possible issues with my heart, etc. He recommended that I speak with my cardiologist before moving forward, but didn’t see any reason that we wouldn’t be able to being trying.

Our second step was to meet with a cardiologist. We also just moved back to the area, so I was meeting with a new cardiologist. Our first appointment was great, he also saw no reason for us to not begin trying. So we went ahead and scheduled to have my Mirena removed as soon as possible.

After my Mierna was removed I had a follow up with the cardiologist. He recommended that I have an Echocardiogram done just to be on the safe side, but he expected everything to come back clear as it had in the past. We scheduled the echo for as soon as possible. He never told us to wait, or not continue trying.

The day of my echocardiogram was just like any other day. I went in, the test was done, and nothing was said to me. The following day I received a call from my OBGYN’s office. They said that my doctor had some concerns and needed to follow up with me, but that it wasn’t urgent. So my appointment was made for the end of the month. I never received a call from the cardiologist, so I never even thought about there being an issue with my heart.

The day of my follow up with the OBGYN came, almost a whole month after their phone call. We had been trying to get pregnant for 2 weeks and never expected the news that was coming. Luckily my husband had taken time off that morning to attend the appointment with me. It wasn’t like any other appointment I have ever had. We were brought into a small room, and waited. From there the nurse came to get us and we met with the doctor in his private office. It was here that everything changed. The worse news of my life was coming out of his mouth and I had no idea what was happening.

My OBGYN told me that the cardiologist had some concerns and sent him a letter stating that I shouldn’t get pregnant. The cardiologist diagnosed with with Pulmonary Hypertension, a heart disease that is fatal in pregnant women. I had no idea what he was talking about, my cardiologist NEVER called me after my echo. He NEVER told me that I had this condition that would be fatal if I got pregnant. I was hearing it for the first time from a gynecologist! We were advised by the OBGYN to stop immediately from trying to get pregnant. That getting pregnant would have severe consequences. Little did we all know that as I sat in that room, on that Tuesday morning that I was already pregnant.

Three days later I was at work and I just knew. This sense came over my body and I knew I was pregnant. I got home that Friday evening at 6pm and we took a test. It was positive, I was pregnant. I lost it, I couldn’t stop crying, my soul was crushed. I called my mom hysterical, and there was nothing we could do. We had to wait until Monday morning to call the doctor and let them know. Monday came and I called first thing in the morning. They immediately scheduled a neonatal specialist to come from 3 hours away to meet with us at the hospital on Tuesday to let us know our options.

Our options was severely limited. There was no way to go through our pregnancy with both my self and the baby surviving. We immediately scheduled to have a second opinion with another cardiologist. They got us in on Friday just 3 days later. They preformed another echocardiogram, which showed that everything was ok. The first doctor misdiagnosed me, and I was completely fine! What a relief, or so I thought.

A few weeks went by and we were FINALLY settling in to being pregnant! We were having a baby! A baby that I prayed for endless hours that I would get to keep. We finally announced to our friends and family that we were pregnant! We put that little ultrasound on Facebook for all to see. But….. days later it would all change.

Sunday March 3rd, I woke up and it was still dark outside. My husband was already at work. I felt a sensation and went to the bathroom. I didn’t turn the light on, but I knew the moment I pulled my pants down something was wrong. I got up and turned on the light and I saw it. I was bleeding. Hysterical I called my husband, screaming that I needed to go to the hospital. He rushed home, luckily work was only right down the street. I called my mom while I waited, she didn’t answer so I tried my dad. He answered and all I could do was hysterically cry and yell at him that my baby was gone. He woke my mom and she was able to calm me until my husband got home.

We went to the ER, praying the whole way that they would tell me I was wrong. They would tell me my baby was fine and the bleeding was going to stop. But that never came. They told us that the baby didn’t have a heart beat and was gone. We left numb, not knowing what to do. I couldn’t breath, my world was crashing down.

A few days later I sat in the waiting room at the hospital. The doctors getting ready to preform a D&C. The nurse came into the waiting room and called my name, numbly I stood taking two steps forward. My feet became glued to the floor and I couldn’t do anything more then stand there holding my stomach and crying. The amount of grief and loss I felt leaving that hospital was so great. I didn’t know how I was going to function.

I will also wonder about that little baby, who they would have been, if it was a boy or a girl, would they look like me or my husband? I wish more then anything I would have gotten to see my babies face at least once, to hold my baby  just once. After months of anger and depression there was a little light at the end of the tunnel. That light was Chief. Our rainbow baby.

 

 

❤️Brittny

I am 1 in 4.

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February is Heart Disease Awareness Month

February is Red Dress Month for Women, or Go Red for Women Month. It is sponsored by the American Heart Association, and helps inform women about the signs/symptoms of heart disease. Most of us know someone in our family who is affected by heart disease, or it may be you. In my family it is me, I have heart disease.

Did you know that women experience signs completely different then men when it comes it heart disease? Did you know that women will have symptoms of a heart attack that are drastically different then men? Do you know what those symptoms are? Well make sure you read our whole post, so you can find out.

My story of heart disease

Whew, who ever thinks that they are going to be diagnosed with heart disease? Definitely not me, never in a million year, especially not when I was just 20 years old. But, hey it happened and thanks to medical advancements I am here to tell you all about it.

When I was just 20 years old, I began experiencing fainting episodes. For no reason I would suddenly feel as if I were going to faint, and then I would wake up on the floor. Of course I called the doctor right away and got an appointment. They ran all the necessary blood work and everything came back clear. But, I was still experiencing these fainting episodes.  One time I was on vacation from college visiting my family, on my drive home I began to feel light headed so I pulled into a rest stop. Twenty minutes later I woke up, and had no idea where I was or what happened. I called my doctor and scheduled another appointment. Before my appointment I fainted again after getting out of the shower and fractured my wrist. This was it, I had enough.

I went to my doctor and demanded that he find out what was wrong with me. He said there was one last test he wanted to run, but expected it to come back clear as well.  The test he wanted to run was called a Tilt Table test. It was just as it sounds, I was strapped to a table and it tilted at an 80 degree angle which would induce stress that causes fainting. 15 minutes into my test I passed out, when I came to I remember hearing the nurses yelling at me but couldn’t understand what was happening.

The Diagnosis

After what seemed like the longest time of my life I finally had an answer. It was something I never expected to hear. A cardiologist came into my room and very bluntly told me that I needed a pacemaker or I was going to die. I had a 15 second pause in my heart rate during my test. I panicked, pure fear coursed through my body as she left the room and left me with her physicians assistant. My first thought was to call my daddy, he would know what to do. Any parent can tell you that getting a phone call from your hysterical child saying they need heart surgery is absolutely terrifying.

I was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope and Sick Sinus Syndrome. In simple terms my heart  slows down so much that I pass out and my hearts natural pacemaker doesn’t work properly. We had several opinions after the initial diagnosis all confirming what the first Cardiologist said. Although one doctor did agree to try medication first. Being that I was only 20 years old at the time, we went with this option. Several months later I was still having issues, symptoms, fainting and I had enough. After fainting why working, I was transported by ambulance to the hospital where I made the final decision to have the surgery to place the pacemaker.

The Recovery

The down side to having a pacemaker placed is that you lose the use of your left arm for six weeks as the scar tissue grows around the leads placed in your heart. You are prevented from lifting your arm above your head, pushing, pulling, lifting etc. Not the easiest that’s for sure.

I started to feel semi normal again after a few weeks. It was a painful surgery as they make a pocket in your chest muscles for the pacemaker.  The fainting was getting better, we had to find the perfect settings for my pacemaker and it took a bit of time to get them perfect. But once they did, it was awesome. I was able to start living my life again with out the fear of passing out. 

Luckily for me I made a full recovery after my surgery and live a happy 9 years with my pacemaker. It wasn’t without it’s ups and downs, I had problems a few times but they were easily corrected with adjusting my pacemaker settings. The battery life varies on your pacemaker based on the frequency of use. My battery lasted 9 years, and was replaced on 1/31/2017.  Boy did I forget just how painful this surgery could be, haha. This time around I don’t have as many limitations, but I do have some. Like no lifting, keeping it clean and dry to avoid infection. The struggles I face, as taking care of my little guy, cleaning house, cooking, everyday normal tasks. But heres hoping I don’t need surgery for several more year.

Are you at risk for heart disease?

Does heart disease run in your family? Yes, no, or you don’t know? If you don’t know, then ask. It is very important to know your medical history. Do you know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack?  Well, lets find out together.

First thing first, schedule a well woman visit with your primary care doctor. Have them check your blood pressure, and Body Mass Index. Schedule blood work to find out your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and blood sugar. Speak with your doctor about any family history regarding heart disease. If you have a higher risk of heart disease, consider scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist for a check up. What can it hurt, sure there is your copay, deductible and taking time out of your day. But what if I told you that making that appointment could save your life one day. Are you willing to schedule it now? You can download and take this risk factor quiz and bring it with you to your health care check up.

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

According to the American Heart Association these are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women.

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, it is VERY important that you follow these steps.

  • Do not wait to call for help. Dial 9-1-1, make sure to follow the operator’s instructions and get to a hospital right away.
  • Do not drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital unless you have no other choice.
  • Try to stay as calm as possible and take deep, slow breaths while you wait for the emergency responders.

Always remember one thing. Heart disease does not care if you are 20 or 75, it can strike at any time. Make your self aware of the signs and symptoms to help save your life, or the life of someone you know and love.

❤️Brittny

PS. If you liked this post please share it with your friends and family so they to can learn the risk of heart disease.  Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and get noticed of our new postings.

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Are you being the best mom?

Do you feel like you ask your self this questions frequently? Are you being the best mom? What does being the best mom entail?

I personally believe that everyone is being the best mom. We are constantly fighting with each other to see who can out do who. We are in constant competition to see who’s kids can wear the nicest clothes, have the nicest shoes, who has the most friends over at a play day. Let me tell you, this is absolutely tiring! I do my best not to be this kind of person, but it is easy to fall into the trap.

Are you ready to hear it?

YOU ARE THE BEST MOM! You rock the socks off those little people in your life. They don’t care if their socks match, or if their shirt has a little stain on it. They will NEVER notice if those clothes you got them came from a second hand store. Kids won’t notice if there are 3 people at their play date, but 7 people at Johnny’s play date.

Our children are only worried about one thing. That one thing is unconditional love from their family. They care about the hugs, kisses, cuddles, laughs and memories they are making with you. It is hard for us as parents to see that this is enough for them.

So be the best mom that is right for you. Don’t mold your self to fit someone else’s stands of what the best mom is. Only we can make that choice for your self. The stress of being perfect is real, it can  really cause some serious issues in our lives. Be true to your selfs and feel the stress wash away.

Remind your self of these things

  1. I am the best mom for my family.
  2. I am not perfect and that is OK.
  3. I will not compete with my fellow moms to out do one another.
  4. I love my children unconditionally and that is all that matters.

If you have friends in your life who don’t believe in these 4 key things, then you might want to rethink your friendship. I am not saying you have to cut them out of your life completely, but maybe limit your interaction to play dates only. Being around people who only believe in outdoing each other can be very damaging to our self esteem. You don’t need that. There are tuns of other moms at the play ground who feel the same way as you. Some as just afraid to admit it, as they don’t want to be seen as “outcast” per say.

Motherhood is not perfect, I am not perfect, and my child is far from perfect. ButI am the best mom to my family and that is all they care about.

Hang tight momma’s we got this together. It truly takes a village to raise our children. We might as well make it a village filled with the Best Moms, and that means all of you. Be kind, stay strong, believe in your selves.

❤️ Brittny

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Chief’s Firefighter Birthday Party

Wow! Has it really been 4 years since my little firefighter was born?! I can’t believe that the years have flown by so fast. This year he was finally old enough to really understand what it meant to have a birthday and a birthday party. This made the anticipation of both great.

Chief was born 3.5 weeks early on New Years Eve. This makes having a birthday party on his actual birthday difficult. It’s only 6 days after Christmas and everyone typically has plans on New Years Eve. For the past 3 years and this year included we did something special with him all on his own. I think this makes his actual birthday special and then he is able to have his birthday party with his friends and the rest of our family.

By the end of it we usually have about 3 celebrations for him. This year we did dinner, dessert and he got to go to the store and pick our a new toy on his actual birthday. Then on January 1st, we drove up to St. Augustine, FL to visit our friends Gary and Michelle for lunch and dessert at Burger Buckets(if you have never been, you must go!). Then on January 7th, we had his firefighter birthday party with friends and family.

Firefighter Decorations

I have never been a fan of store bought decorations. They are VERY expensive, cheap, and every child has the same thing. I want Chief’s birthday to be unique. Each year since he was born I have hand made the decorations for his party and each year the get better. I am a super crafty person, and Pinterest is my best friend.

This year we choose the firefighter theme. Chief is currently obsessed with firemen, firetrucks, his bunker gear, and everything it means to be a firefighter. This made things pretty easy because we have already began to combine his living space to reflect this.

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Using the Cricut Explore One

All of our decorations were hand made by my self, with little help from my husband. I also made the majority of the party favors for the kids.  I did all this with my Cricut Explore One machine.  It does so much, and is so great for parents with children. Not only can you use it for party decorations, but you can use it for scrapbooking, home decor, holiday decor and so much more.

I started out by cutting out flames using bright colored card stock paper. I mainly stuck with the colors orange, red, yellow and black for our decorations and favors. Along with my Cricut machine I have a monthly membership to Access, with is very reasonable at $9.99 a month and has thousand of images and fonts included! I used my access membership to search for a flame file that I liked, uploaded it to design space and sized it to what I needed. I got 3 flames per sheet of 8.5x11in paper.

Firefighter Games

We had a fun obstacle course planned for the kids to enjoy. Sadly the night before the party we were under a severe storm warning and experienced thunderstorms through out the night and early morning. This storm also brought through a cold front and it was 38 degrees outside. While the severe storms are typical for Florida the 38 degrees of wetness is not. So we modified things and stuck to indoor fun.

My husband helped make my idea of a burning building come to life. We used a roll of brick backdrop from Hobby Lobby and flame cutouts that I made with the circuit.  The kids were able to use blue bean bags that simulated water to try and put out the fire. We originally planned to use water balloons, but of course that would not have been good indoors.

Eventually the children went outside to enjoy some fun as the sun made a brief appearance. They had fun playing, riding Chief’s John Deere Gator, and playing football. They did not miss the obstacle course one bit. I think I was more upset about it then they were, haha.

At the end of the day, Chief didn’t care about the decorations, the games, the food, or the gifts. He cared only about spending time with his friends and family. I am just happy that our little boy enjoyed his day! Even if he ate 4 cupcakes, and was hyper the rest of the day.

Do you make your own decorations for birthday parties, or do you buy pre-made items? Answer below in the comments.

❤️Brittny

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Coolit Plate Review

Do you struggle with screaming kids at dinner time? I can’t eat this mommy, its too hot! Mommy, blow on my spaghetti! Mom, it’s like lava(my husband grew up saying this)! Mom, it burned my tongue! Well, it’s finally here! A product to help with this task in the quickest way possible. No more sticking it in the freezer for what seems like a life time to your 4 year old, but is really only 5 minutes who then take this time to throw a fit and roll all over the kitchen floor.

So this Christmas my sister-in- law got me a Coolit plate. I opened it and thought, how cool could this really be?(Pun intended) So I gave it a wash and plopped it in the freezer. The recommended freeze time before use is 4 hours. Not so bad considering it was late morning when I added it to the freezer. It would be ready in time for dinner.

                                                  

The Coolest Product out there

The Coolit, is a 2″x8″ dish that holds about a cup of food, and cools food in approximately one minute. This product is made by two loving parents, who have two littles of their own and have experience with dinner time melt downs. 

WOW! Can I say that I am AMAZED at how COOL this product is! Seriously! The first meal I used it for was Spaghetti. I figured it would cool quickly, and be ready for the table in seconds. Chief had been all over me in the kitchen wanting to know when his noodles would be done because he was starving. No mention of the fact he ate a snack 15 minutes before I started cooking. 

After many uses I decided to try it the other night when I made beef stew in our Instant Pressure Cooker. I took the soup straight from the pot practically still boiling and placed it in the bowl. Within the first minute the broth was cool enough to eat, but the meat and veggies were still fairly hot. I Poured the broth into a bowl and chopped up the veggies and meat a tad smaller and they cooled within the second minute. Afterwards though the bowl was not cool enough to cool another meal.

I have noticed that with some meals such as pastas, meats, and veggies, that you can get at least two servings out of one Coolit plate, but when used with the hot soup I was only able to get one serving. If you have more then 2 little kids, or plan to use it frequently on soups I would recommend you get more then one Coolit plate.

   

Directions for Coolit

The Coolit is seriously easy to use. There are 4 steps to the Coolit process.

  1. Wash Coolit before first use and place in the freeze for at least 4 hours before use.
  2. Place hot foods on frozen Coolit(cut larger pieces into smaller chunks)
  3. Stir for approximately 1 minute or until cool.
  4. Test food to make sure it is at a good temperature, and transfer to plate.

Seriously, that’s it! Time for dinner!

Overall, I really recommend this product. I wish I had know about it sooner, it would have helped with meal time as we usually had to place Chief’s dinner in the freezer for 5 minutes before it was cool enough to eat.

If you would like to order this product or find more information about this product, you can find it here. This review is my own personal opinion and I was not provided anything as compensation to write this review.

❤️Brittny

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New Year, New Adventures

Have you decided what your new years resolution will be? This year I have decided that I am not going to make a resolution. I tend to just break it within a few weeks anyways. So, I have decided to do something else. This year we are working towards more adventures, lots of family fun, and new journeys.

First thing of the New Year

We are starting off this year right! With Chief’s birthday on New Years Eve, it makes it a bit tough to celebrate officially. We always schedule his birthday for the first weekend in January, giving his friends time to return from Christmas vacations and any other holiday celebrations.

We are planning a firefighter themed birthday celebration, since Chief LOVES anything firefighter related. I am super excited that I am able to hand make almost all of his birthday decorations this year. It really helps save on the cost of party decorations. Here is a little sneak peak at what we have finished so far.  I am super excited to see it all come together.

 

 

 

 

 

Saving for our Adventure

Wow! It’s finally January and we are just 4 short months away from taking our big adventure to Michigan. We are so excited to go up and visit the town that we will possibly be moving to. This is going to be one of the biggest decision of our lives and we are not taking it lightly.

I have done an EXTREME amount of research into the area, town, medical facilities, jobs, etc. So far everything I have found points to this area being the perfect place for our family. It is a small town in Northern Michigan, we will be able to have a little hobby farm, hopefully a little veggie garden and lots of land! The land is the best part! Being on 10 acres, with so much beautiful wildlife around will lead to many many adventures with Chief.

Now, if only we can catch a break and finally be able to stop pulling from our savings. At the beginning of December my transmission blew in my car and will cost $3,500.00 to fix it! At this point we are looking at just giving up and getting a newer car, as mine is already 14 years old.

Family Adventures

This is my favorite part! 2016, was a VERY tough year on our family. With the loss of my grandma, the loss of my husbands grandfather, losing my job, medical issues, family issues, and so much more. I am looking to make a HUGE change with 2017! I want to make this year a very memorable year for Chief in a good way.

It is my goal that we take at least 1 adventure each month. 12 adventures this year, 12 amazing family memories, 12 happy times. I don’t know yet what our first adventure will be, but I know it will be a good one. Maybe we will take a day trip to one of our state parks. Chief loves to run around in the woods and have fun. At least once this year I want to plan a family camping event, weather we go someone local, or somewhere further away, I want Chief to have the opportunity to camp the way I use to as a young child.

Everyone should have family adventures. I challenge you to have at least 1 family adventure a month. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, or outlandish. It can be done locally, with minimal funds, as long as you are doing something fun together. Make sure to leave a comment, let me know what your adventure was and how it went. The only thing I as is that you do something outdoors, get away from the electronics and have fun!

Have fun, be adventurous, get outdoors, and be a family!

❤️Brittny

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Dollar Tree Wonders!

Have you heard about Dollar Tree? Have you ever been inside? I highly recommend you take a trip there as soon as possible.

 

Dollar Tree Snacks

Let’s talk about snacks. Every mom knows that kids go through snacks like they do underwear. They seem to go even faster right after you buy them and the novelty of new snacks is there.

Every week I head over to the Dollar Tree with a $10 budget for snacks. Every Dollar Tree varies on the items they have, and they also vary by week. But I am guaranteed to find good name brand stuff every time. The best part, it’s all a buck! That’s right, $1! No funny business.

Our favorite snacks are veggie straws, chocolate animal crackers, goldfish, cheese puffs, pretzels, and much more. We have even gotten lucky on occasion and found applesauce pouches! I try and buy the largest bags possible, and then I get snack size baggies and separate it all out. I have a snack bin in my pantry that is accessible to my 3 year old and he can pick and choose own his own.

Dollar Tree Dry Goods

Who would have thought that Dollar Tree has a dry grocery and frozen section?! It is AMAZING! Again, name brand items at bargain prices. Of course you still have store brand items, but they are just as good.

Canned Veggies, Canned Soup, Canned Fruit, Tuna, and much more. You can’t forget the pastas, pasta sauces, condiments, sodas and juices. I always take advantage of these items when I find them. These are all house hold staples that everyone has in their pantry, and it’s great to stock up.  During our most recent Hurricane, I was even able to stock up on non perishable items at a low price, and a very small budget.

Now, always make sure to check your local sale prices as some times you can get an even better deal at your local grocery store. But in most cases you get a better deal at the Dollar Tree.

Dollar Tree Frozen Foods

This section is hit or miss. You can find great things, and not so great things. Its also the area you have to watch the prices on, because its possible that they could cost more. Chief loves Red Barron Pizza Minis. I can purchase them in the grocery store for $3.79 for a box of 8 mini pizza’s, Chief usually only eats 3 of them. At Dollar Tree I can get 1 package of 3 for $1 and get 9 for $3.

This section seems to be the most random, but you can find some really good things here. My favorite find has been the Cinnabon pull apart. These make great snacks for moms after a long stressful day, and cook in 45 seconds!

Dollar Tree School Supplies

Every homeschooling parent knows just how expensive supplies can be. this burden is completely on us, as we are the educators in our classroom. This gives me an appreciation for them as they are only given a small list of supplies and they have to close the gap.

Dollar Tree is where its at when it comes to homeschool supplies on a budget. Paper, pencils, pens, dry erase markers, flash cards, arts and crafts materials, the works. At the beginning of the school year they even carry workbooks for all grade levels. I have found that these are a great supplement to our curriculum, or great to use when traveling.

If you have a younger child, they have great classroom decorations. Our classroom take a more Montessori approach and I don’t use the items. But they would work for a pre-k, or kindergarten student.

Holiday Dollar Finds

Are you looking to decorate for the holidays on a budget? Head over to Dollar Tree to find the latest holiday offerings. We were able to score some awesome Halloween, and Christmas decorations so far this year. This really helped when Chief wanted to decorate, but we had a very minimal budget.

 

Over all, Dollar Tree has TUNS to offer! The biggest plus, EVERYTHING is truly $1! Happy Shopping!

 

❤️Brittny

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Is Your Car Seat Installed Properly?

A topic that is very near and dear to my heart is car seat safety. Even before I had Chief, I was always the crazy person who was obsessed with car seats. This got even worse when I got pregnant with Chief. I did extensive research to find the perfect seat for our new little squish. I did extensive research to make sure I knew how to properly install his car seat and how to place him properly in the seat.

Car seat facts

Did you know that 4 out of 5 car seats are installed incorrectly? Do you know if your’s is installed correctly? Did you read your manual before installing your seat?

Here are a few major tips you should go out and check with your car seat now.

  • Is your seat installed correctly? Is there less then 1inch of movement at the base of the seatbelt path.
    • To determine this, take your non dominate hand and firmly grasp the base of your seat at the seatbelt path and shake. If there is more then 1 inch movement then your seat is installed incorrectly. Make sure to tighten the latch straps, or the seatbelt and retest until there is 1 inch or less in movement.
    • If your seat is forward facing you MUST make sure that your tether strap is installed and used.
  • Is your child harnessed correctly?
    • If your child is rear facing then their straps MUST be AT or BELOW their shoulders.
    • If your child is forward facing then their straps MUST be AT or ABOVE their shoulders.
    • Chest clips MUST be at arm pit level.
    • Harness straps MUST pass the pinch test. Here is a link to the pinch test method. I personally recommend you do this every time you buckle in your child.
Strap Placement
Chest Clip Placement
Chest Clip Placement
Pinch Test
Pinch Test
  • Did you know that your car seat expires? Every car seat has an expiration date, it can be found stamped into the plastic of your seat, as well as on the manufacture sticker.
    • Car seats expire anywhere between 4 years-12 years. Each manufacture will vary.
    • Infant bucket seats tend to have a shorter life spans then convertible, or combination seats.
    • Car seats expire due to the break down of materials over time. Here is a great article from Car Seats for the Littles.
  • Did you now that you should replace your car seat after a crash?  Even minor crashes require car seats to be replaced. Here is a link regarding replacements from each manufacture.

Incorrect Car Seat Use

Are you using your seat incorrectly? Here are the most common mistakes made while using a car seat.

  • The seat is outgrown. Each seat has its own specifications as to when the seat is outgrown. Make sure to read your manual to make sure you are still able to use your current seat.
  • Not using the tether strap while forward facing.
  • Using a booster seat to early or not at all.
  • Improper clothing. Did you know that wearing bulky clothing in a car seat can affect the way the seat performs in a crash? (See Image Below)
  • Forward facing to early. It is highly recommended that you not forward face until your child is 2 years or has outgrown the rear facing limits of their seat.
  • Using a seat that has been recalled, expired, or previously been in a crash.

Using the Correct Seat

Are you using the correct seat for your child? Most parents are stumped when it comes to  when to change car seats. Your best way of know this is to read your manual and go by the guidelines provided. Don’t switch out seats until your child has fully outgrown the previous one.

For example, when using a convertible seat wait until the child outgrows the rear facing guidelines before turning forward facing. Same goes for forward facing to booster. Wait until the child has reached the maximum height and weight before transferring to a booster.

To find more information about what seat you should choose for your child check out Car Seats for the Littles. They are a fantastic organization regarding car seat safety.

Why this is important?

I can’t stress the importance of car seat safety enough. Some may say that I am a little crazy about it, and they would be correct 100%. But I have my rights to be. My son was in not one, but two very serious car crashes that could have been fatal. Every single nagging moment I have spent telling people about car seat safety, correcting their install, showing them how to properly install or helping with harness placement makes it all worth it.

The night of mine and Chief’s crash last December, I remember being scared out of my mind. The one peace of mind that I had was knowing that I had checked his strap placement and I knew his seat was installed correctly. The firemen were outstanding and were so kind even though I was yelling at them like they didn’t know how to do their job. They all commented on how Chief would have been much worse off had he not been in a seat, been in a incorrect seat, or had a bad install. They had seen it before.

When we reached the emergency room the doctors and nurses all commented on how they expected him to be worse off, but wasn’t because they heard he was installed correctly and could see he was buckled in properly. He had not yet been removed from his car seat. Now, I don’t say this like it prevented him from being injured at all. Because that isn’t the case. Chief still sustained a skull fracture from the force of the impact, but was otherwise ok. He still suffers from some emotional issues and still talks about the crash as if it were yesterday, but I am forever grateful I was able to leave that hospital with my baby.

So if you only do one thing after you read this article, please make sure that you check your car seat install and the harness placement on your little ones.

 

❤️Brittny