Love, Juliebug: January 2015

As some of you might remember we were faced with a difficult decision after our daughter started Kindergarten in 2013. She had just turned five a couple weeks before school started and was beyond excited to be a "big girl". We didn't really even question sending her, with the exception of asking how she could possibly be old enough already. I did wonder about her age being an issue. She seemed so young to me. Tall but young.



Less than a month into the school year I was called into the classroom for a meeting. Eek. This didn't seem normal so early in the year. But, what did I know? I was a newbie to the world of school past my own experience many years ago.

I sat down with the two Kindergarten teachers and they began telling me how sweet my girl was. They were concerned, however, about her maturity level. That she was behaving a bit younger than the other students. That her attention span was not as good. That her writing skills were not where they should be for her to do well in Kindergarten. The teachers were very kind about it all. They gave me time to think about it but they recommended we pull her from Kindergarten for the year and put her in Pre-K, which she hadn't been in before. 

My first reaction was to cry. Because obviously it was all my fault as a Mom. I had failed my daughter. I kid you not, these thoughts ran through my head. Complete baloney, mind you. I quickly moved on to frustration with the school system. She was a Kindergartner for goodness sake! They learn how to be a good student and how to begin writing in Kindergarten. Wrong! That was when I was in school. Kindergarten is the new first grade. It is. They move much more quickly now.

After working through anger and me blaming myself and let's not forget - much prayer, we decided to listen to the teachers. It wasn't easy as I've said. We questioned it frequently. And, how do you tell your child that they are no longer going to be in the grade they were so excited about? I worried about it over and over again. She was fine with it! Kids are way more resilient than you think they are. She went to Pre-K and fell head over heels in love with it. 

So, when school started this year, she started Kindergarten again. More first day of K photos. (What do I do with those adorable ones from last year?!) More nervousness about whether our decision was the right one. Bottom line: It absolutely was. I could immediately tell the difference. 

Now, halfway through the year, she is able to listen and pay attention when needed. She can work independently and write with much more ease. She actually plays with other kids instead of simply playing next to them. She is sounding out words and reading. In other words, she is flourishing.


It makes my Momma heart smile to know we made the right decision. Would I recommend this to everyone? No! Every child is different. I'm fairly sure she would have learned the things she needed to learn as the year progressed but this year, she is not struggling. She heads toward First Grade well prepared. And, I would never change that.


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**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

   


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Dear Abigail,

According to you, you are six and a half now. Actually, we aren't there quite yet. February 15th marks that important half birthday. And yes, I am clinging to this last almost month. I both love and hate you growing up. You are still my little girl in so many ways but I dare not call you my baby very often. You are quite determined that you are a big girl through and through. You are my baby though and you always will be.



You have a sweet heart my girl. It makes me smile to see your love for Jesus and others growing so big. I happened to mention the 7,000 people that were getting let go from their jobs in the oil field. I explained what that meant and you asked to pray for them at bedtime. You also recently wanted to write a letter to your preschool teacher from last year. You did it all by yourself and it melted my heart. 


Just look at all that sweetness. I love how you write phonetically. You are learning so quickly. Speaking of learning - you were reader of the month in your Kindergarten class. Books are one of your favorite "toys" and I hope that continues. Somehow you are just over 49 inches tall now. I swear you will be taller than me in the blink of an eye. That's not hard to do since I am not very tall but you are the tallest in your class. 

I am so proud to be your Mommy. Have I said I love that you still call me "Mommy" instead of Mom? Sometimes you even say Mama. The other day you made me a badge to wear that I had to take a photo of. It says "Soopr Mommy". Sigh.


I am so blessed to be your Mommy. You are worth every tear soaked pillow and hard moment I ever had in the wait for you. 

Love, 
Mommy


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National Reading Day is a day we take seriously in our house. Okay, not so much usually. Does anyone know when this day actually is? Haha. Well, it's today - January 23rd! We do love reading though and I know we're not alone in that. 



As you might know we have been talking about the wonderful family movie 'The Book of Life' lately. It tells the story of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, as he embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears and realize what is most important - family and loved ones. Fox Home Entertainment Insiders, in cooperation with Pinhole Press, recently sent us a box full of 'The Book of Life' goodies to celebrate National Reading Day. Yay! In the box were many fun surprises including a $45 Gift Certificate from Pinhole Press to make a professionally printed book to tell our child's own story. Take a look at some more of the materials included in our box.







National Reading Day is an annual event which celebrates and encourages reading by younger children and is celebrated in thousands of schools around the United States. We used our supplies to make beautiful pictures and coloring pages celebrating family traditions, roots, and the importance of honoring our family's past to embrace our future. 'The Book of Life' encourages young readers to continue reading and learning in the new year!

Do you want to see more fun photos? Here you go!









Doesn't it look like we had fun? There is nothing like being creative! Do you celebrate reading in your home? 


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Dare I say everyone loves a deal? Some more than others I'm sure. I'm one of those that loves finding a deal on something so I was extremely pleased when those deal a day sites started popping up on the internet. There are so many of them now and there's something for almost everyone. Here is a list I created of 15 Awesome Daily Deal Sites, not in any particular order. You're bound to find ONE you love! Oh, and I feel the need to say, I am not responsible for the amount of money you might spend. Haha.

1. Steals.com 

Get boutique-quality baby clothes, baby shoes & baby products 40-80% off. New deals every 12 hours.

2. Woot

Daily deals site featuring discounts on tablets, laptops, speakers, headphones, home theater equipment, and much more.

3. Peachy Cheap

For all of the penny-pincher, frugal, thrifty, or just plain PeachyCheap scrapbookers out there, this site is for you!

4. Jane

Handmade and Boutique deals at up to 80% off delivered right to your inbox every day!

5. Daily Steals

The official daily deals site. Fresh new deals every 24hrs. Free & fast shipping plus easy returns.

6. Laalo

Laalo is a deal of the day site that offers daily deals on the best tech brands.
.

7. Crafty Steals

A scrapbook and paper craft deal of the day website that features one new discounted product every day. The daily Crafty Steal is always 40-90% off retail.

8. Groupon

At Groupon, you can browse and shop daily deals for the best stuff to do, eat, see and buy, all featured right in your backyard!

9. Living Social


LivingSocial features deals on the best things to do in your city, including restaurants and travel, and great gift ideas for friends and family, all with discounts.


10. Amazon Gold Box

Shop Amazon's Gold Box for our Deal of the Day, Lightning Deals, and Best Deals, featuring hand-picked deals with low prices on top products updated daily.

11. Yugster

Yugster.com has the best daily deals on the net. A new one day sale is post every morning.

12. 1 Sale.com

It has flash sales offering something new every day, with limited time sales bringing an adding layer of excitement.

14. Steep and Cheap

Shop the current steal for deep discounts (up to 80% off) on big brands in outdoor gear & apparel like The North Face, Patagonia, & Arc'teryx.

15. Price Plunge

They have plunging prices, unique products, and quick shipping. They even have been known to have superior customer service.

Sometimes I wonder how recipes get named. There are some really odd ones out there including this one. I mean, Shipwreck. It isn't exactly an appetizing name. Actually, it's a recipe that my mom made for me as a kid. Don't you just love recipes that call out a happy memory from your childhood? This one sure does for me. This meal screams comfort food. So, without further ado, here is the recipe.

5 potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 - 1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
salt & pepper to taste
1 can tomato soup (+1/4 can water)
2 cans of pork & beans
Approx. 1 pat of butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a greased 9x13 baking dish place a layer each of sliced, raw potatoes, onions, raw ground beef, and beans. Layer again. Combine the water and tomato soup. Pour over ingredients. Add salt, pepper, and put 5-6 dabs of butter in random spots on the top. (I also like to add salt and pepper after the meat layer so it can get throughout the dish.) 
Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours. I bake it until the potatoes are tender 
And the meat looks cooled through. 
Enjoy! 

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As you might remember we had a white Christmas. It literally did not stop snowing that day. So, we decided to go sledding down the water retention basins near our house. It was a momentous occasion. Our six year old's first time sledding. Ever. 
One might ask how it's possible that a six year old has never been sledding. May I remind you that the first half of her life was spent in Arizona? I have no excuse for the second half. No excuse at all. Just that mommy was probably too scared to take her and too cold to want to. Bad, I know.
Dare I say the fun we had on that day more than made up for it? There were so many smiles and giggles from all of us. Here is the proof.

Yes, even the dog went down the hill for a turn. Just one and he was done. And, for the record, it wasn't my idea. But I'm sure you guessed that, right? You will never believe this but even I went down the hill. It may have been the first time since I was twelve but it was a blast. Then, this happened. Look at the sweet aww moment. 


This first time down together went well. A little too well, I might add. It made me sort of cocky. Invincible? Maybe a teeny bit. One of the following trips down with this girl went more like this - slide, turn, tumble, thump, tumble, thump, ow. I think I leaned somehow and we were sort of catapulted off the sled. I rolled over my own child. OVER her. Okay, so nobody was actually hurt. Thank God for the snow! Otherwise, we might not have fared so well. Did I tell you that when we got down to the bottom the first time this sweet girl had the nerve to HIT me with snowballs? Turkey.

All in all, it was a great day though I could have done without the daredevil stunt woman sort of thing I had going on. It was worth it for all the happy memories made that day. And it was a reminder to me as well.




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I'm going to reveal something personal about myself. Like nothing else I share is personal but whatever. I have an addiction. My addiction is to Netflix. You heard me right. I am fairly certain I'm not the only one who does this but never the less I almost feel like I am. 

Netflix = marathon show watching sessions

Once I discover a new (old) show that I adore I tend to watch every possible episode in the shortest amount of time possible. I don't know why. It's addictive. It's like the sugar of the entertainment world. I can't give it up. Well, I could I suppose since I gave up real sugar but I don't wanna. 

I'll take this revelation a step further. When I discovered Gossip Girl I think I watched the whole series from start to finish in a couple months total. Don't ask me how I did this. I did not neglect my child at all but housework may have slipped. Ahem. Don't ask my husband about housework in general. Mmkay? Thanks. I'm always trying to improve in that area. 

Another show I've marathon watched is Pretty Little Liars though I am not up to date on that one yet. It has slowed down because the show gets rather intense for me and stresses me out. I know that's sad considering it's a teen sort of show but that's how I am with "scary" things. 

Do you watch shows in marathon style? What show are you loving right now?

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I don't even begin to understand how we are already eleven days into 2015. I feel like I'm going to blink and it will be this time next year. How does time go so quickly sometimes and so slowly others? As the mom of a young child, you might know what I mean. Sometimes it feels like one day can last forever especially when your tiny one has colic. Ugh. And yet, you turn around and your newborn is rolling over. Then turning one. How do these long days turn into fast years? 

Our newborn daughter is six. Well, six and a half according to her. We are halfway through her Kindergarten year. Most of the time I think I'm in denial of that. She is changing so quickly from her jack o' lantern smile that is filling in already, to her height - just over 49 inches already. One day she freaks out about me attempting to change her earrings and then yesterday she was completely ready for me to do it. 

It seems like once I adjust to being a mom of a certain stage or age, she changes. That is life I guess. Not comfortable for those of us who want things to stay the same. Being part of Celebrate Recovery, which is for more than just substance abuse by the way, has shown me how much I want control in my life. It leaks out into every facet of my life. Parenting. Marriage. Friendship. Even my eating. 

But, this control is an illusion as most of you well know. Time passes and things change. One day all this noise and chaos will calm down. My house will emptier and quieter. And, I will miss the chaos I wished away so flippantly. She will not be my little six year old girl, so sweet and sassy, forever. I must enjoy it while it's here.

Time flies being a mom. Make memories that last.


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And, just like that Christmas vacation is over! Where did the time go? Sometimes it seemed to fly by and other days I was longing for her to be back in school. Boy, that child can get cranky. I'm not complaining because I adore her but everyone needs a break from emotional outbursts from time to time. I know I'm not the only one.

By the way, why is it I feel the need to defend myself when I'm getting a tad overwhelmed by being a mom? I know why actually. It's because I wanted to be a mom for so long so I inaccurately assume I should never struggle with it. Guess what? All moms deal with it. There's a reason they came up with the phrase "the struggle is real", it so is!

I hate getting out of my routine though mainly because it takes forever to get back into it. So, getting her to school on time was tricky. We had to go back to the house because somehow I forgot she should be wearing boots today. There's a bunch of snow on the ground and the playground is covered. Yeah, they are outside for recess unless it is below zero with wind chill. I also forgot her mittens. 

Hm. Well, it IS a Monday after all. How is YOUR Monday going so far?  

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Fox Home Entertainment Insiders is providing me with a copy of this on Blu-ray combo pack.


CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR WITH THE ULTIMATE FAMILY ADVENTURE

Bring home the magic and excitement with “The Book of Life”
on Blu-ray and DVD January 27

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Dec 9th, 2014) – Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment invites you and your family to join Manola, Maria and Chuy as they embark on a magical journey that takes them on an adventure of a lifetime in THE BOOK OF LIFE available on Blu-ray3D, Blu-ray and DVD January 27. Written and directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez and produced by Guillermo del Toro, the characters venture to the Land of the Remembered and embrace the rich culture and family history brought to life by the all-star voice cast of Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Ron Perlman, Kate del Castillo, Christina Applegate and Ice Cube.

THE BOOK OF LIFE is a breathtaking animated comedy with a dazzling visual style unlike anything you’ve seen before. Torn between the expectations of his family and the desires of his heart, a young man named Manolo sets off on an epic quest that spans three spectacular worlds in order to reunite with his one true love and defend his village. Not your ordinary fairy tale, THE BOOK OF LIFE is a wondrous fantasy-adventure filled with magic, music and fun!

THE BOOK OF LIFE Blu-ray brings culture and comedy into your home with unforgettable special features for parents and kids alike. Continue the fun with an all-new bonus short “The Adventures of Chuy”, highlighting the film’s lovable scene-stealing pet pig. Additionally, relive the musical hits from the film with the “Music Machine” featuring Latin-inspired versions of popular songs by Mumford & Sons, Radiohead, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart and more!

We've been given some fun printables to share with you! Just click below to download and print them from the comfort of your home. Have fun! 



AND, for one reader, we have a special treat! Fox Home Entertainment Insiders and Love, Juliebug are teaming up to give one reader their very own copy of The Book of Life on Blu-ray combo pack (which by the way, means you get the Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy all in one!) The giveaway runs from 1/3/15 - 1/10/15. 

The winner has been chosen! Check HERE to see if you won!


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This time of year is sort of magical, I think. Christmas happens and then a whole New Year comes along. A fresh slate. A new chance to start again with no mistakes. That's why resolutions are so popular for the New Year right? People throw out there the things they hope to do differently. But honestly, if you are just throwing wishes up in the air you never know where they will land. 

The word resolution gets thrown around a lot this time of year. Not so much the other 11 months. It's true meaning has gotten muddled. People seem to use it interchangeably with the word try. In reality it means: the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc. or a resolve; a decision or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something. 

There is something much more determined about a resolution. Something more than a wish. I don't make resolutions and that probably says more about my fear of failure than anything else. It's just that I don't want to make flippant goals that I know I won't follow through with. 

I'm not anti-resolutions. I think they are great in theory. It is always a good idea to take a look at your life and decide you need to make changes. But, why does it need to start (and likely stop) in January? 

I joined a gym this year like many people will choose to do this month. I made a conscious decision to make a new habit. My gym will likely be much busier soon and that's great! I just wish that those people would stick it out past when the resolution fades. 

Whatever it is you decide to change this year...pursue it with your whole heart. Dedicate yourself to it the whole year through. Don't let it be another guilt-ridden, unfulfilled wish in the air when 2016 starts rolling in.

You're worth it.
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