10/17/17

HAPPINESS


Every morning I take full advantage of the drop off line at Tommy's school. 
I pull up, no makeup, coffee in hand, while a teacher comes to my car, unstraps Tommy from his car seat and walks him straight to his classroom. Amazing right? I know!
Anyway, while getting him out, a few different teachers have nonchalantly made the comment that he's always smiling, or always happy, and although nice, I never really thought anything of it. 

Well, the other morning his assistant teacher came to get him out of the car and she said to me,"You know, Tommy is the HAPPIEST boy I know!" I said,"Awe, thank you! That's a good thing right?" "Yes it is," she said. I stared at them for a moment as they walked away, and before I drove off had my own little moment of happiness.
That teacher has no idea what those words meant to me, because isn't that the secret to life? Happiness? And isn't that what we all want for our children?

As a parent you can easily get caught up in just about everything. Is my child doing well in school? Are we too strict with him? Is he coloring in the lines? Is he good enough at sports? How is his speech? Is he doing everything a normal 4 year old is doing? 
And, I see it around me all the time. The pressure that children endure.

So the point of my post, is that as parents, we all need to remember that happiness is the #1 most important thing. 
  A happy person will embrace life and achieve whatever it is they set out to do. A happy person will have healthy relationships, and treat people with kindness and respect, and most importantly a happy person will treat themselves with kindness and respect. 
I'm proud of Mike and I for what we have done as parents so far, and although I know the tides can turn at any moment, I will try my hardest to make happiness the main focus.

Have a great week and thanks for reading....

10/2/17

Kids Roadtrip Snack Box


Hi Friends!
Do you have kids? 
I found this idea on Pinterest and decided to surprise Tommy on our way to Vero Beach with his very own, custom made snack box! I found the box HERE, and set out to fill it with half salty and half sweet treats. I also tried to make it as colorful as possible because kids LOVE color! In the beginning I was going to go as healthy as possible, but scratched that idea, because what is vacation without indulging in some sugary snacks right? Tommy LOVED his box, which also can doubled as a little desk for drawing and projects in the car. And, it was a huge lifesaver at the hotel, where a simple Snickers bar is $8! Yes, you read that correctly.
As soon as we arrived in our room, we put the hotel snack tray in a cabinet and replaced it with Tommy's snack box which we all dipped into the entire trip. The box is great for adults too!
You can fill your box with anything you like. Tommy's  box included...
Trader Joe's Cheddar Rockets
Apricots
Corn Nuts
Lucky Charms (Those marshmallows were the first thing to go!)
Popcorn
Mini Oreos
Rice Crackers
Gummies
Mixed nuts
Trader Joe's PB&J Bar
Cheez-Its
Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar
Pepperidge Farm Colored Fish
Strawberry, Blueberry and Apple Fruit Bars

Here he is when he first got his box!


Have a great week everyone, and thanks for reading!

9/28/17

Vero Beach 2017


Ahhhhh, Vero Beach. The Hamptons of Florida!
Our annual vacation to Vero Beach this year had to be rescheduled twice. 
First because Hurricane Irma was coming to town, so we rebooked, only to have Hurricane Maria come shortly after. Ugh! But third time is definitely a charm, because our trip was perfect! Sure you could tell that Vero had been visited by the hurricanes, but it was still as beautiful and relaxing as ever. Now that we have Tommy we stay HERE, and although it's on the pricier side, it's well worth it. There are one, two and even 3 bedroom suites and if can manage to stay during the week instead of the weekend it will save you a few bucks. That's what we do, and we love it because it's much less crowded, which means more attention is payed to us, plus they allow dogs which is important to us as well.

I think I've mentioned in my previous Vero posts that we really don't go anywhere. Tommy is obsessed with the beach, where he made sandcastles, flew a kite, and did a bit of fishing with Mike, and Mike and I are happy to relax, order poolside cocktails, room service and enjoy the on sight restaurants. They make a great lobster roll which is always a treat for all of us (Tommy included) and we usually don't leave the hotel, but ventured out one night for a quick walk to the Ocean Grill to have a nice dinner. If you are ever in Vero, Ocean Grill is a great place to have dinner. Michael and I have been eating there since before Tommy and have always loved it. It's on the ocean, the food is fantastic, the ambiance is unbeatable, and they have the coolest little gift shop. Other than that, we valet our car when we arrive, and relax, relax, relax. 
Here are this years pics.


Thanks for reading!

9/22/17

Hurricane Prep! MY top 10

Hurricane Irma came, and she went. Well..... she is still lingering around here with power outages,  trees down, and a horrible smell from sewage back ups! Ewww. We were lucky. We lost power, but had it back within 2 days, and lots of debris, but no trees down. We DID lose our air conditioning which was challenging, but we are alive and life is going back to normal. I know that's not the case for many who lost their lives, or their homes, and with Hurricane Maria who came right behind Irma devastating Puerto Rico, I pray that they will eventually recover.

I moved to Orlando 11 years ago, and Irma was my first big Hurricane experience and she was scary. Mostly the anticipation and waiting for what seems to be your impending DOOM! 
 There was lots of prep. Water, batteries, ice, gas, and snacks, lots of snacks. Now that I've been through it, I have a better idea of what's really valuable and whats not. If I were to do it again, I would have 1 more large cooler, and as much ice as possible. When it's HOT and you have no power or AC, anything COLD becomes a luxury. Here is my own personal list of what would be the essentials in the future. 

#1 BATTERY OPERATED LANTERNS  By far, the BEST purchase I made for Hurricane Irma's arrival were LED battery operated camping lanterns. These lanterns packed a punch as far as light. One lantern lit up a whole room, and they had three different settings. One for bright, one for dim (to save battery life), and a flashing setting in case you needed to alert someone for danger. Each lantern has a hook on top for hanging, as well as a magnet to stick on a magnetic surface. I always stuck one on the side of the fridge to light up the kitchen. They come in 4 colors. Tommy got to have the red one (his favorite color) which made it fun for him. 

















#2 BATTERIES. We had plenty of batteries, but it's always good to have extra. By the way, buying batteries online is far cheaper than any store. Something I JUST found out.
#3 BACK UP PHONE BATTERIES. When the power goes out, and you are trying to track the storm, or just talk to someone, the phone is your lifeline so to speak! 
#4 SNACKS  Snacks are obviously an essential, although I was so sick of snacks after about 1 day and just wanted a real meal. I think a good list is....
~Granola bars
~Nuts
~Cheese sticks. Throw them in your cooler for a quick grab snack. 
~Dried fruit Apples and bananas. I grabbed the most unripe bananas I could find so they were plenty ripe when the time came to eat them.
~Cereal
~Canned chicken! I know getting canned tuna seemed to be all the rage, but I thought that canned tuna cans would stink in the Florida  heat. Especially when garbage pick up was at a halt. Chicken was a much better choice! Other good canned good choices are any kind of beans, corn, or fruit.
~Boxed milk I bought THESE for Tommy. They were a little pricey, but something for him to drink in the morning with a pop tart.
~Creamers I made a big pot of coffee before Irma arrived and bought little creamers because there was no way I would make it through without coffee. I'd grab a little ice from the cooler to make ice coffee in the morning. 
~Boxed juices
#5 WIPES. I know. Strange right? But when you are in hot, sticky weather, a pack of wipes is great for cleaning your hands, or other parts. You know what I mean. Thankfully we never lost water, but there are plenty of people who did, and having a few packs of wipes really will make a difference. 
#6 WATER for obvious reasons. 
#7 ICE  I cannot stress enough how valuable ice becomes!
#8 PAPER PLATES, bowls, for eating. You may not be able to wash dishes. 
#9 FANS Thankfully I have ceiling fans in most rooms of my house, but it would be nice to have a small battery operated fan if you lose power, or a corded fan if you just lose AC. Having a fan on yourself when you're trying to sleep and the AC is out is a must! 
#10 A PACKED SUITCASE with 3 days worth of clothes.

So there's my list.
I am hoping we won't have to deal with another hurricane anytime soon, but I have a feeling we will. Mother Nature seems particularly angry this year. With devastating earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding and raging fires, she is trying to tell us something. Global warming is REAL, and if we don't take care of this beautiful planet it WILL take care of itself.

Thanks for reading, and have a nice weekend.

8/29/17

Winter Wellness Weapons


School has started here in Florida and that means what? 
SICK CHILDREN!
For those of you who know me, you know that in the Andrew household we try to fight things as naturally as possible. Not to say that we're against medicine, because we're not. Antibiotics and medications definitely have their place, but they are completely overused. We have become a society that is over medicated and over vaccinated! We want to cure everything with a magic pill and the drug industry is making a killing off us! 
I must say (knock on wood) that we aren't nearly as sick as many people I know. I don't run to the doctor at the first sign of a cold or sniffle, and I don't turn to prescription drugs unless they are absolutely necessary.
Every winter, we follow this immune boosting schedule that I wanted to share. 
 Here are our tried and true Winter Wellness Weapons. We have been using them for years around here, and Tommy is now following in our footsteps.
I am NOT a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I am a wife and mother who just wants the best for her family and these are products that I use and I believe in!

~Oscillococcinum This is one of my favorite things on the market! I have no idea what is in these magic little beads but they are just that, MAGIC! Take at the first sign of a cold or chill and you will beat it! I'm telling you it works! My husband swears by these. He's a singer and CAN NOT get sick! They can be pricey, but amazon has good deals on packs of 30. Go get 'em! I've already stocked my medicine cabinet with 60 doses!

~ZARBEE'S Children's cough syrup- When Tommy has a cough, this is the ONLY thing that helps him sleep. Again, it's all natural and it works! They also have a nighttime syrup which we use. Want to read the Zarbee's story? Click HERE.

~Franklin and Friends chewable Vitamin D3- When flu season begins, we take Vitamin D3 every morning. Mike and I take 5,000 IU of Naturewise Vitamin D3, and Tommy takes 800 IU of the Franklin D's. Our pediatrician doesn't believe in Flu shots and studies have proven that Vitamin D can be just as effective as the Flu vaccine. I'm sticking with Vitamin D since the few times I received the vaccine, I GOT the Flu. No thank you!

~Natures Way original Sambucus Standardized Elderberry Syrup for kids- Tommy gets 2 teaspoons of this everyday, during Flu season and another 2 teaspoons at night if he's sick. He LOVES the taste, which makes it easy! Elderberry boosts the immune system, improves heart health, and is used for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections as well as tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. Pretty amazing stuff! I'm making my own elderberry syrup  for Mike and I this year with THIS recipe.

~Standard Process Congaplex- I saved this for last, because this is a new one for us this year. I've heard incredible things about it, and thought we'd give it a shot. They make capsules for adults and also chewable tablets for children. This is something you are only supposed to take short term, when a cold has either started or you feel one coming on. It is NOT to be used for preventative measures. I hear it you take it at the first sign of a cold you will have that cold for two days max. And as many colds as kids get, I am excited and hopeful. Read the Amazon reviews, and read about Congaplex HERE.

So there you have it! 
Wishing everyone a healthy flu season! 
Thanks for reading!

8/14/17

1st Day of Pre K!


There he is! First day of Pre K! 
I am so proud of this little man and thrilled with the school we have chosen for him. He is MORE than ready for school and so excited! He's been asking all week,"Is TODAY my first day of school?"  We found out during orientation that he would be the FIRST to do "show and tell" since his last name starts with an "A," and he couldn't be more thrilled!
Most kids have been in school long before the age of 4 but we chose to keep Tommy home with us until Pre K. We made sure to keep him well socialized with playdates, music classes, art classes and gym classes, but other than that he was with us learning his letters, playing with his toys and learning instruments with his Dad.
There were times I would question if this was the right decision because people put their kids in school so early now, and as a parent you can get swept up in what everyone else is doing, but I would remind myself that this is what most families used to do!
So he's been with US, and it's not always been easy, believe me. Parenting is no joke! There were many days that I wished I could drop him off at some school and head to work, but I'm happy I didn't. I'm happy we had that time with him.
And this morning after seeing him confidently walk into his new classroom with the BIGGEST smile on his face, I KNOW we made the right decision.
I feel at  peace.


Thanks for reading! 💙

8/11/17

Weekend + LINKS

Photo VIA
What are you up to this weekend? 
Mike is in Wichita for a show, and it's Tommy's last weekend before school officially starts (eeeek) so I'm going to try to do something fun with him. Can't believe my little buddy is going to preschool, but I'm also looking forward to having a little bit of "me time."
Other than that, I'm having a good friend over Saturday night for some skinny Margaritas!
Hope you are doing something fun, and If you're in the mood to read some cool links, check these out!

+Anyone else on a CONSTANT search for a great leave in conditioner?

+For my potato chip fans, apparently THESE are the best. Gonna grab a bag this weekend!

+Summer always puts me in a salad mood!

+I'd love this A-frame to take me away from this florida heat!

+Into documentaries like me? Check out these 21 from the 21st century.

+Just bought this halter bikini in navy and I can't wait to wear it.

+Check out these cheap decorating ideas for small spaces.

Thanks for reading!

8/7/17

WISCONSIN 2017


Hi Friends! How are you enjoying this HOT summer? Florida is certainly hot, but we escaped for a nice week to Wisconsin with the most PERFECT weather to visit family and relax. I don't know if you've ever been to Wisconsin, but it's so beautiful and green! Top that off with LOTS of cousins for Tommy to play with and lots of green grass for Murphy to potty train on. 
We had some nice dinners, and a few great days at the pool. Here are a few pics from our trip. Enjoy and have a great week!


T's cousin Brooke makes these COOL arrowhead necklaces and colorful beaded bracelets! Message me if you want one!


The kids loved Murphy. Here he is patiently riding in a baby carriage!


Snuggling with Grandma.
Thanks for reading! 

6/26/17

Murphy Bear Andrew


Introducing...... Murphy Bear Andrew! 
I mean, is this a stuffed animal, or is this our dog?! 
Murphy came to us quite unexpectedly really. I had been missing Jake so much, that I would scan rescue sights nonstop looking for my next dog, but just couldn't seem to find what I was looking for.
For starters, I need a small dog because I don't believe in kenneling dogs, so I travel with mine, but when I would find a small pup that I was interested in, I would then read that they would not adopt to a family with a child under 8 or 10. I mean really? And they actually come to your home to check. Now, I think the rescues are amazing, and like I said I was totally willing to rescue but having a small child kept me from doing so. 
I kept looking and kept looking but couldn't seem to find MY dog, so one night I prayed to Jake. I said that I wanted him to send me a dog when it was time. I told him it didn't matter how but I would know if a dog appeared it would mean HE sent it to me.
Fast forward to now. 

About a week ago I saw that I had a text from my beautiful friend Kristi, and couldn't believe my eyes. There in the text was a picture of the cutest little face I'd ever seen! It was Murphy and her text read,"Are you interested in this dog?" She had found him and already having two dogs her husband said no to a third dog!
The important part of this story is that Kristi didn't know I was actively looking for a dog!  I could NOT believe it! I said yes, yes, yes I want him! 


She sent me the sellers number and I sent a text letting her know I wanted him, and she sent a text back saying that unfortunately she had been speaking with another family who had JUST committed to him. I thought, okay not meant to be. I told her I understood but to let me know if anything fell through. Not much later she texted back saying I could have him because she just didn't have a good feeling about the family. So the rest is history!

Now, truthfully, Mike was less than enthused about having a new dog, but I think he's adjusted.


And Tommy seems to like him too!


I mean how could you not love that face?!


He has a TON of energy that's for sure, but he's already a smart boy with his house training and he's only 9 weeks old. It's been a while since I've had a puppy, so I'm a bit exhausted, but he is well worth it!


Thank you to my friend Kristi, and of course my buddy Jake for making this happen.
I truly believe Murphy is meant to be, and although he will NEVER replace Jake, I have a feeling he's going to be the perfect new addition to our family!
Thanks for reading.

6/8/17

BUILT-INS


I know you can't believe it, 2 posts within 3 days! 
We have officially been in our new house 1 year, and although I haven't done a house tour post (we still have so much to do), I couldn't resist showing off our new built-ins that Michael custom built.

This room was used as an office by the precious owner, that we decided to turn into a library. We have so many books and I really feel that there is nothing like built in book cases. The room is rectangular, so Michael took the far back wall and worked his magic and I LOVE how they turned out. I wish these pictures could capture the quality of his workmanship, but you'll just have to take my word for it. We joke that these bookcases are so strong they're like a bunker and if anything happens, the bookcase will protect us. It's that strong!


Michael building the frame.
 I feel SO LUCKY to have a husband that can do all these things!


And the finished product!
That Earmes recliner is the perfect spot to curl up and read a good book!
The picture hanging above the chair will eventually become a long window.  Like I said, we have big plans for this house and although I know it can't all happen in a day, I will eventually have lots of cool "before and afters" to share, so stay tuned!


Thanks for reading!