10 things that happened in January

  1. Our Hawaii trip was amazing. Even though we had a hard time getting home due to a flight being cancelled and spending 12 hours in an airport with two kids.
  2. Z man has had 2 sleepovers with us. We absolutely love seeing him and I love seeing how far his parents have come.
  3. Z got to play in the snow for the first time ever and it was adorable. His parents sent me tons of videos.
  4. Bubba’s case has made no progress in Months and we keep having court rescheduled. I hate being in limbo and having no idea what is going on.
  5. I posted on my Twitter about some problem me with Bubba’s visits. He has been missing school due to visits but hopefully that will be fixed soon.
  6. We saw Diva and she is doing well. She is so happy to see us.
  7. Bubba has learned to count to 19 and write some letters. We are working on identifying letters and and writing his name still.
  8. Princess is loving homeschool. She is spending a lot of time on IXL and we have seen a lot of growth in her writing and math.
  9. I am going through some pretty exciting changes but I don’t want to to blog about it yet.
  10. I have decided to step back from blogging for a while. I will post a monthly update. Maybe eventually I will start back up again but blog only once a week.

My 10 favorite family friendly things to do on the big island of Hawaii

I love the big island. It isn’t as crowded as some other places. We stay in Waikoloa (20/30 minutes away from Kona). It is a small little resort area that has beaches, golf, shopping, and peace.

  1. A trip to the volcano. I loved this place as a kid and the kids loved it too. Princess learned a lot.
  2. Waipio Valley This is an absolutely beautiful place. You can ride horses at the bottom which is beautiful. I have also hiked down and up but I would highly recommend bringing lots of water and not doing this with small children.
  3. Akaka falls this is another beautiful place but it is a hike. We did take Bubba and Princess on this hike though and they loved it. I have heard there is also ziplining here
  4. Snorkeling- there are many places to snorkel off the beach or you can take a boat trip
  5. Kona- I love Kona. We usually have one day just walking around, going to the farmers market and eating at Bubba Gumps.
  6. Kings shops the King’s shop has a lot of good shopping as well as kid activities daily like ukulele lessons, hula lessons, and lei making. There is also another mall with more shops (called the queens shops) and a theater across the street.
  7. Luau though there are a bunch of places to go to a luau. This is by far my favorite. P.s. I have been madly in love with fire juggler since I was 12 and he was one of the regular hula dancers.
  8. Hilton Waikoloa Okay yes this is a Hotel. But this is the prettiest hotel ever. It’s beautiful to walk around and see all the art work and sculptures. It also has a boat and tram that takes you around the propriety. It’s got a lot of different animals and a public beach. Their lagoon and pools are for hotel guest only but sometimes you can purchase wristbands.
  9. Dolphin quest this is where Princess swam with the dolphin and loved it. It also happens to be st the Hilton. You get up close and personal and can kiss and hug it. I posted pictures on Instagram when I have a chance.
  10. Have fun and relax with your family!!!

10 favorite ways to celebrate New Years with kids

Over the years we have done s lot of things to celebrate New Years. I think each way is special. I believe strongly in spending New Years as a family, I think it brings good luck.

  1. Staying home and watching movies
  2. Going to a movie at the movie theater
  3. Celebrating a noon New Year’s Eve (lots of kid places have these)
  4. Staying at a hotel or going out of town (how we are spending this New Years)
  5. Celebrating a New Year’s Eve party geared towards kids. We have done them at an ice skating rink and a water park, both were awesome.
  6. Having a kids party. (Fun but exhausting)
  7. Eat a bunch of snacks and appetizers.
  8. Buy a lot of silly decorations and hats .
  9. Set off fireworks
  10. Going to bed early….my personal fav 🙂

10 Ways to help your former foster children’s parents after reunification

I miss Z terribly. But at the same time I am so excited for his parents and so proud of how hard they worked. They still send pictures and I get to see him. Though I don’t know how long that will last I appreciate the fact that right now they are making his transition home easier on all of us (especially Bubba)

  1. Let them know their child’s schedule/likes and dislikes/etc. It will help the child transition and the parents will most likely be thankful. Zs parents asked me for all that information.
  2. Send their child with as much as you can. I’m not saying you should spend a lot of money or anything. However, when I knew Z was most likely going home I spent his stipend on clothes the next two sizes up and toys he will be ready for in a couple months.
  3. Let them know they can contact you with any questions. And don’t judge them for the questions they ask lol.
  4. Let them know that you consider them family and will support them. A lot of families part of the foster care don’t have the support they need. Offer to be that support.
  5. Offer to babysit. It will give them a break and you get baby cuddles.
  6. Invite them to family events. Zs parents came to our family Christmas. We all got to get see Z and his parents felt a sense of community.
  7. Continue to meet up with them in the community. If you don’t feel comfortable inviting them to your home, meet other ways.
  8. Be a mentor to them when it comes to parenting. Though I am not an expert on parenting at all. I have noticed that Zs parents ask me a lot of parenting questions and instead of judging them for not knowing, I support them.
  9. Help them find community resources. Sometimes there are resources out there that they don’t know about yet.
  10. Pray for them all

10 lazy things for your elf on the shelf to do

Things your elf on the shelf can do that don’t require you to clean up

  1. Have them read a book
  2. Literally just sit them on a shelf
  3. Have them bring a note from Santa with a good deed your child should do
  4. Have them bring a small gift
  5. Have them sliding down the banister
  6. Have them sleeping in a doll bed
  7. Have them making your child’s lunch (I saw this on Facebook and thought it was genius)
  8. Sit them on top of a fan or chandelier
  9. Put them in your stockings (possibly with a little treat)
  10. Have them write on your whiteboard. (A lot less messy than a mirror)

10 weeknight family dinners

Working full time and being a single mom sometimes it is hard to find dinner ideas that are easy, not junk food, and that my kids will eat. Here are some tried and true recipes.

  1. Crock pot chicken and stuffing
  2. Crock pot broccoli Alfredo chicken
  3. Slow cooker chicken fajitas
  4. Slow cooker chicken and veggies
  5. Slow cooker garlic parm chicken
  6. Chicken and veggies sheet pan
  7. One pot vegetable pastas
  8. Steak and potatoes in a stick (or really any kabob recipe)
  9. Easy stuffed peppers
  10. Breakfast bacon and egg grilled cheese (or any form of grilled cheese)

10 Ways to Teach Young Kids to be Thankful

Bubba is at the age where he understands more about the Holidays. We have been working hard this month on teaching him to be Thankful for things.

  1. Teach them to say thank you. This is the first step to teaching children to be thankful. We are even working with Z on saying thank you in sign language.
  2. Thank them. Show them that you are thankful for them and what they do for the family.
  3. Model being thankful. I say things like I am thankful for Bubba, baby Z, hot chocolate, etc.
  4. Talk about what you are thankful during dinner. This helps me model it but it allows him to practice and he even says funny things like hamburgers and hotdogs.
  5. Prayer. Praying to God and thanking him for what we are thankful for is a great way to model being thankful.
  6. Go on a nature walk. Teach kids to be thankful for what is in nature.
  7. Have them do something for their siblings. And teach them not to expect anything in return.
  8. Have them pack up some toys to give to kids in need. This helps clean out your house for Christmas as well.
  9. Make food in a food kitchen. If your children are old enough.
  10. Have them do chores (and thank them for it instead of pay them). This might seem like a weird one but it shows kids to appreciate all the work that is done in the house.

10 ways I save time

After Thursday’s post I got thinking and I realized that there are a lot of little things I do to help my self save time and maybe get some extra time to myself or extra sleep. Here are 10 ways I save time.

  1.  Having groceries delivered. Though it usually is an extra charge the last thing I want to do when I’m exhausted and stressed is take two kids to the store.
  2.  Getting my house cleaned. We keep our house pretty clean but once a month someone comes in and deep cleans my house. It saves me so much time. Though cleaning services are expensive you can try trading with a friend, they clean your hous and you babysit or mow their lawn or sow thing. I hate deep cleaning and would rather do anything else.
  3. Setting out clothes. After I do laundry on Saturday I set out everyone’s clothes for the week. I even check the weather to make sure we dress appropriate. This saves us so much time in the morning and I get 5 extra minutes of sleep.
  4. Making my lunches for the week on Sunday. I put every thing together in the fridge and just put it in my lunch box every morning.
  5.  Cooking in a crock pot. When I get home from a long day of work and something isn’t already prepared for dinner I will end up just ordering something. However, if something delicious and healthy is waiting for me in the crock pot I will save money and calories.
  6. Shower at night. I have said this before but if I didn’t shower at night I would be one crabby person in the morning.
  7. Have an automatic start in my car. Not only does this save time because I don’t have to take a trip out to the car but it’s probably safer then keeping my keys in my car.
  8. Amazon prime. I’m absolutely in love with amazon 🙂
  9. Not wearing make up. Okay I honestly do this because I have super sensitive skin and I haven’t found a single type of make up that doesn’t make me look like a giant red tomato after wearing it all day.
  10. Not sweating the small stuff. When I’m really stressed. Like this week. I just work on making sure I get everything done that needs to get done and don’t worry about the little things. Like the fact one of our toilets is broken.

10 ways to take time for yourself

I always feel like I never take enough time for myself. Here are some things I love to do to relax. 

  1. Go to a movie alone. I always thought this was weird but when I have some time to myself (like once a year) I sneak out and watch a movie by myself or go to dinner by myself.
  2. Paint your nails. I don’t know about you but when I’m stressed the last thing I think about his my nails (right now they are super long and I should probably take care of that). Once I have my nails all painted I feel so much better. 
  3. Drive somewhere with a pretty view. I have even done this when my kids are asleep in the car. It is calming and relaxing. Sometimes you need peace and quiet.
  4. Watch an old movie. I have no idea how many times I have watched Greece and Dirty Dancing.
  5. Have a dance party. Not only is dancing relaxing but it can also be a family activity
  6. Get a babysitter just to have time for yourself. Sometimes I get a babysitter so I can just be alone for an hour. It’s not often and I sometimes feel guilty about it, but I definitely need it. 
  7. Work out. Though I don’t go to the gym enough it is a great way to relax and do something healthy. They have child care so that’s a big bonus.
  8. Take a really long shower. Okay sometimes the only alone time you can get is in the shower.
  9. Blog. I love blogging because it fixes me time to sit down and write things. I don’t care if no one reads it. I can get my adult thoughts out. 
  10. Cry in your car alone. When you are having a bad day like I’m having today just crying alone is refreshing. 

10 ways parenting made me an A-hole recently 

I realized recently sometimes I am inadvertently an a-hole because either I am tired, distracted or simply because I am a parent.

  1. When I had to cut someone off because  I realized I had to turn the other way to go to Home Depot.
  2. When I asked the lady at the McDonald’s drive thru to repeat herself 4 times because both my kids were crying.
  3. When I held up traffic for about 30 seconds in the same drive thru line so that I could help the crying kids. 
  4. When I held up the Walgreens line because I had approximately a million questions about my child’s prescription.
  5. Anytime I have ever used WIC especially when I am trying to use multiple coupons at once. 
  6. Anytime I have tried to use a clothing voucher
  7. When my kid cried while in the doctor waiting room because he was bored and wanted to crawl and I wouldn’t let him. 
  8. When I missed two meetings at work because I was home with a sick kid.
  9. When I didn’t have time to breakdown all my boxes before putting them in the recycle bin (sorry neighbors)
  10. When I forgot to send Bubba’s library books back.

So everyone I pissed off I am really sorry.