Love, Juliebug: September 2013
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InnoTab 3S Giveaway
This giveaway is hosted by Empowered Mommy and Joys Of Life
FREE blogger opportunity with paid options. OPEN to US/CAN.
Prize: Vtech InnoTab Event Dates: October 15 - November 15 Sign-ups: October 12
Get 1 Free link (Facebook or Twitter) with announcement post. ($5 waiver fee without announcement post) Additional links for $3 each Co-host for $20- Get up-to 3 free additional links and a back-link to your blog on the final giveaway post. Host pages/Comment pages $10 each
The blog who refers the most bloggers will get free co-host spot. (If you paid for co-host and wins referral prize, your payment will be refunded)
Questions? Email me: admin@empoweredmommy.com
Hosted by:  Momma Lew's Blog 
Sponsored by:  Svan

As a mom to a very busy and active toddler, going out to a restaurant can be a huge sense of tension for us.  My daughter although only two and a half, is large for her size at over 40 lbs and 40 inches.  Because of her size, she no longer fits in the traditional restaurant highchair.  While I am completely fine with her sitting in a "big girl" chair at home, in a restaurant it is hard to keep her occupied for an extended period and from not bothering other patrons.  Svan recently sent me their TotSeat to review and I was thrilled because it was something I truly needed!  There is nothing more stressful on a parent than being somewhere and not having a highchair or a working highchair.  It is always amazing to me how many "family friendly" establishments do not have safe highchairs!


The TotSeat folds up nicely into it's own little pouch, which is the perfect size for any backpack or diaper bag.  It fit perfectly onto my dining room chair, which I loved b/c I didn't have to start figuring anything out and lately my brain just does not work right to do things like that.  My daughter, who is 30 months (the very end of the recommended usage) still fit perfectly in it.


So what are the great features of the Svan TotSeat? 


  • You can use your TotSeat on any chair using the 3 different adjustable height settings. 
  • There are 2 unique options to secure the TotSeat to the chair. 
  • There are no knots or other hard to use devices to secure the TotSeat.  It fastens with a quick clip in the back. 
  • Fits children ages 8 months up to 30 months. 
  • 3-point adjustable safety harness & cummerbund is included for those chairs with open backs. 
  • Machine washable, because we all know how messy kids can be!  
  • The fabric is soft and comfortable to your child and and comes in 6 trendy patterns. 
  • Lifetime warranty!

If you are a mom-to-be this is an item you will surely use with your child, so my advice is to get it on your baby registry!  If you aren't a parent, but have friends with infants or toddlers, this would make a great holiday or birthday gift for any parent!  Baby gear can be so confusing what to buy and what you actually will use, but in my opinion this is an item that will be used over and over again!  On top of being safe and convenient, it is so much more hygienic!  I always get so grossed out by thinking about who knows what is lurking in restaurant highchairs!  

Watch the Quick Demo on how to use the TotSeat:

**GIVEAWAY**
Svan would like to give one lucky Momma Lew's reader their own TotSeat!  To enter, simply follow the steps on the Rafflecopter below.   Giveaway begins on 9/26 and will end 10/10/13 at midnight EST.  Open to US Residents, 18+ and up.  

Disclosure: Momma Lew's Blog was given a Svan TotSeat as compensation for this post.  Momma Lew's Blog is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all other Social Media outlets are not associated in any way with this giveaway. 

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FREE With Paid OPTIONS/ OPEN WW
This giveaway is hosted by Happy Home and Family
Prize: $500 Amazon Gift Card Event
Tentative Dates: October 20 – November 20
Deadline of Sign-ups: October 5
Get 1 Free link (Twitter) with announcement post. ($5 waiver fee without announcement post)
The blog who refers the most bloggers will get free co-host spot. (If you paid for co-host and wins referral prize, your payment will be refunded)
Questions? Email me: admin@happyhomeandfamily.com
SIGN UP HERE and please mention that I referred you
I did tell you I had hand, foot, and mouth disease recently, didn't I? A miserable little virus that is. Have you ever known someone with it? Most people have told me they've never known someone that has. Hello, my name is Julie. Now, you have. My five year old must have had it in a much less severe way, thank goodness.

Warning: I am sharing my story with you and that includes rashy photos of my hands and feet. They may be too yucky for you. You have now been warned. lol

It started out with an intensely high fever for me. 103.3 is where it hit at its highest point I think. Then, my fingertips were highly sensitive to touch and heat. They felt bubbled at the tips and sort of numb.
The next day I started getting these.


These little red dots. Itchy little demons. My hands and fingers itched and burned. Nothing seemed to relieve it. Then, it happened to my feet. Like this. 


This was not the worst of it. Taking photos was, not surprisingly, low on my list. My mouth and throat had some. I was also one of the "lucky" ones to have them all over my scalp. All over. More itchiness and pain.
Within four to five days the rash was beginning to fade a bit. Why? My awesome friend Mandy brought something by the house for me. It was olive oil mixed with tea tree and thieves oils. I began using it quickly and I know it helped. It started helping with the itch and new spots overnight.

My finger tips began feeling numb and sort of had this hard bubbled feeling to them. I can't quite explain it. They started peeling which relieved those feelings but didn't look so great.  Well, that just got worse.






The amount layers of skin that was peeling off at once was insane. It was thick and the skin underneath was still quite red and sensitive. My skin now (almost a month later) is still peeling though not as bad as the above photo. I got a bunch of little white blister like spots that all peeled. 

Recently, I noticed my daughter's nail had cracked and lifted width wise. She said it doesn't hurt. My nails have started showing some strange characteristics as well. Apparently, we got a very bad strain of HFMD which can lead to these issues. I think I might lose at least one nail but we will see. Below are pictures of my hands right now. 



I am so glad to be nearing the end of this illness. It was so miserable. I'll just say it. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I'm so thankful that Abby didn't get these really bad aspects of it. She had the fever, a couple of red bumps, a little peeling, and now the nail issue. 

**Update: It is April 2014 and I am nearly at the end of my experience with this. Thankfully. I ended up having about 6 fingernails grow out from the cuticle with no nail behind it and a new one under it. So odd. They are back to normal now. My feet peeled as bad as my hands did and I had a few toenails do the same as my fingernails. One is still not quite done growing out. I've heard Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is worse for adults and I would agree.**

Have you ever met someone who has gone through this?
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Why is it that we, as moms, compare ourselves to others so frequently? It's easy to do because we know we're not perfect. We see other moms on their best days and compare it to our worst days. We start to put other moms on a pedestal. We are the harshest judges of ourselves. It makes me wonder - why can't we forgive ourselves for our mistakes like we forgive others?

We need to learn that we are doing the best we can. We need to learn pray for our kids and ourselves. We need to learn that so many things we beat ourselves up over have no long term value. Seriously when your child is 21 they will not be scarred over you forgetting, or choosing not, to brush their teeth one night. They will not be scarred if you have a bad day and lose your cool. It is not the end of the world if your house is not perfect or if toys are strewn all over the house. And for goodness sake children have meltdowns in the grocery store all the time.

Those perfect moms with perfectly behaved children are not real. They are doing their best just like you are. You likely caught them at one of their really good moments. Keep in mind that there are times other mom's likely look at you and say "Why can't I do this mommy thing as well as her?"

Keep your chin up and know that you were given your children for a reason. You are the best mom they could have. Know you're not alone. Trust that God has your back and let Him take control.
Remember how I was talking about all that party planning for the fun Indoor Adventure Party coming featuring The Croods? Well, now I have a fun video for you full of a bunch of Croodaceous Moments!
  
 

Wasn't that funny? It has been a while since we saw this movie and I cannot wait to see it again!
Don't forget to enter to win a Blu-ray Deluxe Edition of The Croods at my post HERE. I'm also asking for party planning input on my Twitter and Facebook pages. 

So, please help a girl out!

Growing Up Online Giveaway! Win The Lorax On Blu-Ray!

 
Win The Lorax On Blu-Ray
Online safety for our children is serious business. Parents need to make sure children understand the dangers and what to do if approached. Growing up online is a program to help parents get this information. You can read the complete article on Simply Sherryl.
If you remember, I mentioned the infamous meeting with the Kindergarten teachers awhile back. They suggested we pull Abby from Kindergarten and put her into Pre-K. The reasons included maturity and not being prepared for the volume of writing work. It was heartbreaking to hear and immediately my mind went to questioning myself and what I did wrong. I think it's a common feeling for someone in this situation. The truth is that Abby is only just barely five and has had no experience in a real school setting.

Well, after much prayer and thought, we did decide to pull Abby out of Kindergarten. As always we wonder "Are we doing the right thing?" but it's the best decision we know to make right now. We are putting her in a local Pre-K program on M-W-F mornings. So, hopefully next fall she will be in a better place for Kindergarten. Now, I wonder...what do I do with all the cute "first day of Kindergarten" photos I took?!


I've mentioned several times that I am a Fox Home Entertainment Insider. What does that mean exactly? Well, I am working with them to bring you reviews and giveaways on awesome new entertainment material! Would you like a sneak peek at what I am currently working with them on? I thought you might.


The Croods is being released Blu-ray Deluxe Edition & DVD on October 1st and is being released TODAY September 17th on Digital HD. Did you get a chance to see it in the theater? Well, you have a chance to win it on Blu-ray at the end of this post as well as a cute little plush toy. Surprise! 

But before we get to that, I wanted to share some fun news. They have given me the opportunity to host a Croods Indoor Adventure Party in my home (well, a friend's home actually). We will be viewing the movie, eating yummy food, and doing fun activities. Did I mention all the kiddos I've invited will get super cool Adventure themed fun packs?! So now I am planning the fun.
This might be the best part! 

My friend and I went to our local Walmart to look around. Here are some of the fun things we found. So we started thinking about using lots of bright color and animal print items to give that adventurous vibe. 

Super cute safari animal print balloons.

Solid brightly colored table supplies.

I will be making a cake or cupcakes and we found adorable things to use like these animal print baking cups. I also found out the Walmart bakery sells the kits they use to decorate their cakes and guess what? They have a Croods kit! 

Adorable cupcake cups.

Sugar paper for a cake or cupcakes!


I figure this felt and washi tape could come in handy for decor in some way. Maybe on the banner I hope to make? I'll keep you posted!



We love this piece of slate and we thought we could use chalk to write something clever on it. We then talked about food and decided on some kid favorites like pizza and juice boxes. Isn't the planning of a party super fun? I'll share post party pics to show you how much fun we had!

And now, onto the giveaway! This is open from 9/17/13 (today) to 9/30/13 at 11:59 pm. 

Congratulations to Madonna for being selected as the winner! Please respond to my email or message me at lovejuliebug@gmail.com including your mailing information within 48 hours to claim your prize.








As a mom we want to be everything for our kids. We want to make no mistakes. We want to be strong. The problem? We aren't perfect. So, the only thing we can do is to do the best we can. I pray through my decisions and ask God to take care of her. To be the perfect one in her life.

Recently, we have had to contemplate a big decision. I had a meeting with both of the Kindergarten teachers on Friday and after telling me why, they suggested we pull her from K and put her in a half day Pre-school program. Their concerns were not based on intelligence but rather on maturity. It was a sort of punch to the heart and I admit I was that parent who cried in their child's classroom. The thing that bothers me most? This was my gut feeling before she started school and I ignored it because I was told she is so smart by everyone and that she'd be fine.

Trust your instincts. 

Don't think someone else knows your child better than you do. It's not true. When you get a feeling about something, don't just dismiss it. Now, like I said, we haven't made a decision yet. I'm not going to be flippant about this. It will be a tough decision either way. I just wish I had listened to myself before. We wouldn't be in this situation now if I did.

Check out my post about our decision HERE.

Mommy Mondays



Back to School Tips for Modern Parents

Available on Blu-ray & DVD September 24

In Season 4, we watched as Haley went off to college and Lily had her first day of Kindergarten. These are two big steps that are often very hard for parents to handle. Here is some advice for all of those modern parents out there who are going through these transitional stages with their families.

The laughs – and the awards – just keep on coming for the #1-rated “Modern Family,” winner of three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series! With Jay and Gloria’s baby on the way and Haley going off to college, the entire Pritchett/Dunphy clan faces some major surprises as they bicker and bond over house-flipping headaches, unwanted play dates, and everything from hot-tempered hormones to in utero karaoke. Featuring a stellar array of guest stars including Matthew Broderick, Shelley Long and Elizabeth Banks, Season Four takes a heartfelt and laugh-out-lough hilarious look at what it means to be a “Modern Family.”

Set Guidelines

Before you send off your precious son or daughter to fend for their selves in college, make sure you clearly discuss guidelines. Remind them that even though you are not there to set specific rules, they are still responsible for their actions. Claire and Phil certainly know what it’s like when your daughter calls you one night because they’ve been caught doing illegal things by the police.


Prepare Your Little One



Kindergarten is a huge step for your little one! Make sure they are prepared for their big day by giving them a basic educational foundation and teaching them to play well with others. When Lily heads off to kindergarten and gets in a tousle on her first day, Cam and Mitchell are put in a very awkward situation. No parent wants to be in the same situation!

Communication is Key



Set up specific times to continue growing as a family. There is a fine line between suffocating your college kid and staying informed about what’s going on in their life. Many families will select a certain time, for instance Sunday afternoons, to have family phone calls and catch up on the week’s happenings, even if they have talked throughout the week. Just because your son or daughter has moved out, it does not mean that your relationship has to suffer! In fact, sometimes parent-child relationships grow once the kid has left for college.
Distract Yourself


Plan a fun activity for yourself right after dropping your son of in his college dorm room or leaving your daughter for the first day of kindergarten. Have a distraction for yourself so that you don’t find yourself at home looking through photo albums and wondering “how did the time go by so quickly?” These steps are exciting, but certainly emotional and you don’t want to wallow in your sorrows.

Show You Care




No matter what age your child is, make sure you are sharing in their excitement! Whether you have a kindergartener bringing home a painting or a college student signing up for campus activities, ask them questions about their life and listen to their answers. Celebrate with them when they ace an exam or learn to count to 20.

My daughter recently started Kindergarten, as you know, and these tips are so handy! Thanks to Fox Home Entertainment Insiders program I have a Blu-ray of Modern Family: Season 4 for one lucky reader! The giveaway runs from today (9/13) to 9/23/13. Good luck!

Carolyn C. has been selected as the winner of this contest. Congrats! Please check your email including spam box. Email me at lovejuliebug@gmail.com if you haven't received an email from me. If I don't hear from you within 48 hours I will draw another winner.



Raining Cats and Dogs
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It has been raining cats and dogs lately. The last four days we have only had a few moments of dryness. This made me realize how fun winter will be with a Kindergartner. They send them out for recess in these elements. So, I had to run out and find a rain jacket. We still don't have rain boots because for some reason they are impossible to find here. And then in just over a week I will be trying to find a good jacket and snow pants at our local Once Upon a Child. There is no need, in my opinion, to run out and spend $75 on stuff that she will outgrow in one season.

On the other hand, it has gotten beautifully Fall like here. I LOVE the temps. Today was 58. I think I am adjusting to life in Wyoming. Although, just in case, check with me in January to see how I'm doing with freezing temps and snow. We'll see then just how adjusted I am.

Abby is enjoying Kindergarten, for sure. She comes home bursting at the seams full of new info and fun things to tell me. I love it. Still miss her during the day but I'll get over it...I hope. Her favorite thing is recess. Of course. She also loves whatever special she has that day. So, today will be PE and Music. It really seems that in her third week of school she has started changing so much already. Look at this sweet pic of her. Doesn't she look like she's straight from the 80's?








 It's been a while since I really posted and I'm going to do the typical blogger apology. "I'm so sorry it's been a while since I posted. I've been so busy with my life offline." But, to be honest, I really think those sort of statements are cheesy. We all have lives. We go through phases of busyness and prioritizing what we consider important. I do miss reading blogs though. Like crazy. I feel like I've lost touch with so many of you. And that is what really bothers me.

So, what have I been up to since I last checked in? Trying to get a grip on the fact that we have a Kindergartner. She's really in school all day (8:30-3:30) all week. What do I do with myself now that she is not in my hair? Ahem, and I mean that in the best way possible because I miss it.

Five things I've been doing to occupy my time.

1) Cleaning. Who the heck knew I would enjoy doing this to keep busy? Not me, that's for sure.

2) Shopping. Window or other wise. It's amazing to browse. I mean, seriously. I had forgotten what it was like to be able to stop and look at something for more than 5 seconds. Especially in a book store. Hehe.

3) Reading. Currently I am reading Anne of Green Gables. No, I have never read it before. I have a long reading list ahead of me and I like it.

4) Visiting with friends. Although, that is sort of odd now without Abby with me. Post about that coming soon.

5) Listening to music/watching movies. Grown up stuff! I watched Mean Girls the other day. In the MIDDLE of the day! Crazy stuff I tell ya.

This may not sound like fun to you but it is good for keeping busy. And since MOPS started back up yesterday, that will add to my list. As well as volunteering in her class, which will be starting soon. I hope she does well with me volunteering in her room.

What do you do when your kids are in school? 



Fall Autumn tabletop decor
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Fall fall fall @Emily Ferbey
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Fall/Autumn
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Fall
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Fall :)
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Super cute FREE Printable Banner Letters!  You can print any letter in the alphabet!
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Ha! I love these Kooky Craft Stick Scarecrows.They're such cute, simple fall crafts for kids!
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Recently, I was given the chance to try out a new product by Pampered Chef , thanks to the awesome Erin H. It is the fun Fruit and Cheese Cutter set. It comes with four different shapes - square, triangle, heart and flower. I use it to make my daughter's food interesting. She's a good eater but I figure it can never hurt to pump up the fun! I also love that it is dishwasher safe. It makes cleaning the parts so much easier.


I mean, just look at this fun breakfast of flower eggs and little toast squares. Adorable stuff. She giggled at the cute shapes. I have also used this for her lunches now that she is in Kindergarten. She likes the surprise of the shapes in the middle of her day.

And, thanks to Erin, I am giving away one of these sets to a lucky reader. 
Enter below for your chance to win!
The giveaway will run from today to 9/10.

Congratulations on Mary Beth E. for being selected as our winner! Please check your email and respond within 48 hours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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