January 2019 and 500 Plus Followers

I have been incredibly blessed this past year, not only in celebrating this blog which has led me to interact with some great people but for giving me another year for self growth. I let go of self doubt and the fear that had held me back from doing things that I wanted to do for so long. I took the leap of faith, found the time and begun what I did as a self care hobby now turned into my very own YouTube channel – yes, it’s very terrifying but exciting. I’ve also found a way to enjoy the design aspect of art and opened my online store with RedBubble. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I get older, is that risks are worth taking when there’s passion behind it.

IMG_7912

Also, in celebration of my 500 followers, I want to thank you all, for giving me the encouragement to continue to speak on my condition and chronic pain – Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia. And in continuing to honor that, I’ll share with you five things about me I have yet to share.

  1. My most favorite scent is lavender.
  2. Even though I live with chronic pain, I have a high tolerance for pain.
  3. I’ve had 10 surgeries.
  4. I am crafty, love all things DIY – so fun! And lastly ….
  5. My most favorite number is 5.

May you be blessed and have a heart filled with courage to accomplish things this new year and always.

A-

Shop NORDSTROM for this season's top plus-size pieces.

Advertisements

Our Top 5 Family Christmas Movies

‘Tis the season for all things Christmas, and that time has begun! Well, if we’re going to be honest, that time of year begins a little early in my household. And here I’ll share with you what’s been on repeat in my home. There’s something so special about Christmas movies, the music, the cheer, that cozy feeling you get inside that get’s you so excited for what’s ahead. We watch them on Netflix and on Amazon Prime, and if you haven’t jumped on the Roku Streaming Stick train, you must – worth the investment!

 Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You this movie was released last year and we’ve been hooked ever since!

 

The Polar Express features Tom Hanks as the conductor and is a favorite even at the children’s schools.

Home Alone 1 and 2 – Yes! Can’t go through Christmas without watching these a couple of times – OK maybe more than a couple! But, we can’t resist Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci. 

 

Peanuts: I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown is simply a classic, with Snoopy and The Peanut Gang, it’s really a must watch!

 

And finally, because we are a Disney loving family, we don’t miss watching – Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas and Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas

      

Have you seen any of these titles, I’d love to know.

A-

The Toy Shop for tots, kids and tweens is now open at NORDSTROM!

Have you seen my latest YouTube video?!

Disney: The Best Character Signing Idea

Disney: The Best Character Signing Idea

Have you ever been to Disney and met the wonderful Disney characters? The Disney character ‘Meet-and-Greet’ are amazing, they’re smiling, they’re interacting, they’re excited to see you and they’re ready and willing to take a picture with you, only before you know it, the experience is over.

When I was planning our very first family trip to the parks, I knew I wanted to have the characters signature. I also knew I didn’t want the signature book that Disney World has to offer. As someone who doesn’t like to store things away I knew the signature book would eventually make it’s way in a box and be stored somewhere. Instead, I wanted something that would be displayed on our walls for us to enjoy looking at even after our trip.

I’ve included a few of the moments we’ve captured on camera from our experiences with the characters signing our frames.

Have the Disney World characters sign on a picture frame mat!

•  Prior to our trip, I simply purchase a picture frame that includes a white mat.

•  I include a sharpie for the characters to sign with – keep it inside the zip lock bag, don’t be shy, you can tell them where to sign if there’s a gap needed to be filled.

∗ Please know, not all Disney characters will sign – simply ask the cast member that’s with the character to know if they sign, characters like Olaf from Frozen will not sign, as he hasn’t been to school and can’t read nor write, Baymax from Big Hero 6, Belle from Beauty and The Beast at Magic Kingdom will not sign, however Belle at the EPCOT park will!

•  You can do more than one Disney trip for character signatures in one mat frame – as I have done in the past. I simply choose a different sharpie color per trip and write the date of the trip on the back of the frame. The front of the frame will remind you which character signature color goes with which trip.

•  I store the mat in a zip lock bag – gallon size, and pack it inside our backpack. Florida weather can be unpredictable and to avoid getting the mat wet on a rainy day, I like to place it inside a zip lock. If you ever visit the Disney World parks bring an umbrella, rain or shine, it’ll be useful.

•  Get back from your vacation, choose your favorite picture, print it and frame! If you have kids or not, this picture frame signature idea is the best! It’ll be a great reminder of an even greater trip!

A few character signatures we’ve collected over the years have been, Mickey – although we’ve met multiple ‘Mickeys’ we now just get one of their signatures, since the same character will sign the same way, Merida from Brave, Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Pluto, Gaston from Beauty and The Beast, Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Sofia from Sofia The First, Tinker Belle, Donald Duck, Jake from Jake and The Neverland Pirates, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Snow White from Snow white and The Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Elena from Elena of Avalor, Woody from Toy Story, Buzz from Toy Story, Pocahontas, Timon from The Lion King, Tarzan and Daisy.

   Please know, the best way to guarantee having a character experience is to make reservations at a restaurant with Character Dining – they’re amazing, just be sure to book your reservation early!

Hope this has inspired you in preparation for your visit to the Disney parks.

A-

Disclosure: Mom Life With Chiari is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I will not recommend or buy anything that I do not already own and love or would not use for myself and my family. I make a small commission when you click and make a purchase on any link my website provides at NO additional cost to you. Thank you in advance for supporting companies that support me!

Fourth of July

Fourth of July

We started this Fourth of July by planning some hearty meals – had homemade tacos for lunch and will be having hot dogs and chips for dinner. Because if all my little ones eat all their food – it’s a win in my book!

A couple fun facts for you to enjoy:

Americans spent over $1 billion on fireworks in 2017

and in 2017 Americans consumed about 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July!

spencer-imbrock-426738-unsplash.jpg

I appreciate this photograph because of the Marines pictured. Thank you to all those serving and veterans, those past and present that have kept my family and I safe.

We are truly the land of the free because of the brave.

Have a lovely and safe Fourth of July!

A-

Grove Collaborative – Free 5 Piece Mrs. Meyer’s Set

A few years ago, I changed our laundry detergent and bath soaps to make them clean and clear, so that they were safer for the kids that have sensitive skin due to Eczema. So, this year my plan was to remove the chemicals and begin using toxin free and natural cleaning products. This can be intimidating, one because I don’t know anyone that has gone natural with their cleaning products and two, it needed to budget friendly. Also, don’t feel intimidated by any of it, it can all seem overwhelming – but it’s so simple! I took the first step and made the change, I changed our hand soaps, dish soaps and cleaning products using Grove Collaborative.

IMG_2430
Grove Collaborative

Grove Collaborative offers personal care products, cleaning products, laundry products that are essential oil based, they’re strong products yet natural – some products even being gluten free. Also, if you love candles, the safest are made from soy and beeswax, these reduce allergies and toxins in the home – Grove has soy. They offer brands such as Mrs. Meyer’s, Seventh Generation, Method, Natracare, Tom’s, Yes To, Dr. Brooner’s, Burt’s Bees and Acure – to name a few! If you’re interested in gluten free products be sure to read the ingredients before making your purchase. They have microfiber cloths for scrubbing and getting surfaces clean, as well as walnut sponges. Which can replace the use of paper towels when cleaning. As for laundry, I stopped using dryer sheets and fabric softener, instead replaced them with  wool dryer balls. The more wool dyer balls you have in the dryer, the less drying time. You can use 3 or even 6 at a time! Also, sprinkle some essential oils on the wool dryer balls, it’ll leave your clothes smelling great. Just replace the dryer balls when necessary – if you haven’t tried these, you must! They have a glass spray with silicon bottom where you can pour in the cleaning concentrates, just top with water and you’re all set to clean! It’s a set of three concentrates, one for tub, tile and an all purpose.

I’d say that the Mrs. Meyer’s scent in Peony is my absolute favorite, but the Lavender glass cleaner did not disappoint. The Lavender from Method is also another great scent!

My favorite products thus far are:

•  Mrs. Meyer’s Glass Cleaner (Lavender)

•  Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap (Peony)

•  Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap (Peony)

•  Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Cleaner (Peony)

•  2-pack Microfiber Cloths

•  Grove Collaborative White Tray

•  Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes (Lemongrass Citrus)

•  Method Dish Soap (Lavender)

•  Set of 3 – Grove Collaborative Dryer Balls & Lavender Essential Oil Set

•  Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle With Silicon Sleeve

If you have kids or not, and just interested in making your home as toxin free as possible using chemical free and natural products, give them a try!

How to get your FREE 5 Piece Mrs. Meyer’s Products of Your Choice:

Just click on Grove Collaborative  then on the ‘Get Started’ option, you will receive a free 5 piece set of Mrs. Meyer’s products with your purchase – in the scent of your choice! AND the link has NO expiration date – feel free to share if you’d like.

Hope you enjoy your free products and let me know which scents you have tried or will try!

Ana

* Some of my blog posts contain affiliate links, which means that by clicking on the item AND making a purchase I may receive a small commission at NO ADDITIONAL cost to you. I do not recommend products that I do not already own and love or would not use on myself or my family. I thank you in advance for supporting brands that support me!

Our Easter Egg Hunt Tradition

Our Easter Egg Hunt Tradition

This season of Lent – a forty day season which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, is a time for many things. It’s focusing on my relationship with God and a time when the older children will be encouraged to freely offer to give something up – often times this is a favorite stuffed animal/toy, barbie or Lego man.

In light of the joyful Resurrection of Jesus and because I have children, I celebrate the Resurrection by also preparing for our ‘Family Easter Egg Hunt’ a tradition we started about seven years ago. I will do the preparations for the Easter egg hunt before Holy Week – because I am a bit of a planner.

Also, know that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make this day extra special and memorable for the children. My kids don’t know an expensive plastic egg from the next, so it’s OK. If you decide to visit your local Dollar Store or anywhere else, trust that everything will turn out fantastic.

>  As for food, I’ll do something that won’t take too much time to do, we’ll serve the kids pancakes and assemble a type of bar toppings, with mini chocolate chips, fresh blueberries, strawberries and whip cream, chocolate milk and orange juice.

>  I will assemble the eggs, store them in shopping bags and place them in the fridge to preserve the candy – as far back in the fridge as I can! Tip – since you will be tossing the eggs on the grass – gently, at times they will open apart, to avoid this problem on Easter day, simply place a tiny piece of scotch tape on the opening edge.

>  Easter Sunday afternoon we will go to our local park – one with more greenery area as oppose to an actual playground-ish area, sit the kids facing the opposite direction of where the hunt will be and we will then spread the eggs on the grass area for them. The excitement in the children is like no other.

I have in the past went to stores like my local party store for candy or decorations and have always gone back to Target for better deals – so this year, it’s where I’ve gone back to. Tip – save your decorations and/or kids baskets for later years, it’ll save you time and money. Also, keep in mind that with Target, you can also order online and pick up in-store for free. And for this mama of 6, this is a time saver!

 

For a Home Front Window  ⁄ ⁄  Easter Window Gel Cling for $1.50

For an Indoors Banner  ⁄ ⁄   ‘Happy Easter’ Banner for $5.00 or this Easter Floral Paper Garland for $5.00

Easter Plates  ⁄ ⁄ Easter Plates 10ct for $3.00

Matching Napkins  ⁄ ⁄   Easter Napkins 20ct for $3.00 and

Easter Drinking Cups   ⁄ ⁄   Easter Drinking Cups 10ct for $2.00

Candy   ⁄ ⁄   I try to stay away from chocolates like Snickers, as one of my boys has a nut and peanut allergy. These are a few of our favorites Easter ‘Airheads’ Mini Bars for $2.69 or Starburst Easter Jelly Beans for $2.69 or Original Starburst  for $2.69 or ‘Crunch’ Chocolate Easter Nest Eggs for $3.69

Kids Easter Baskets   ⁄ ⁄   I have a few Easter baskets from years past that are still in great condition however I still manage to buy one or two new ones each year – either because we invited someone, etc. This is the Pink Easter Felt Bunny Basket for $3.00 so, definitely check their kids Easter basket inventory

Easter Eggs   ⁄ ⁄   Easter Fillable Plastic Eggs 48ct for $2.50 – I will usually count one dozen eggs per child. It seems like a lot, but the kids truly enjoy running around filling their baskets with eggs. So, if you can, count the number of children participating, family kids and/or friends before purchasing the Easter eggs. And of course, there’s no Egg Hunt without a Golden Egg. There’s this Jumbo Golden Egg for $5.00 or you can also have a Regular size Golden Egg – or two. I’ve had two Golden Eggs at a time in past years because the kids just enjoy looking for it so much. Just place an extra special something inside, say two candies instead of one or $1.00 Tip: Don’t just fill these up with candy, stop by the Target Dollar Section and place small trinkets, like small toy cars, last year I found tiny rubber chickens – can’t even tell you how fun these were!

Games   ⁄ ⁄   Since the children always want to spend more time at the park, I take games. I have the potato sack game + an egg and spoon game – I found these at Target Sack Race Lawn Game and the Wooden Egg + Spoon Game they’re so fun and the kids can’t get enough of these!

I have enjoyed sharing our family Easter Egg Hunt tradition with you and hope you have gathered some fun ideas for the start of your very own family Easter tradition with your kids. Because it’s never too late to start something new! Happy (early) Easter.

-Ana

 

Photo: Annie Spratt

Items Worth Having + Repurchasing For School + Home

I have these items in my home all year-round, if it’s lost or needs to be replaced, I definitely will – because, they’re just that good!

School Related Items

⇒ Clothing Labels: I use Mabel’s Labels either on the shirt tag or on the shirt it self. I put them on their uniforms, sweaters and rain jackets, just in case these items are left in school – or daycare, this will ensure I get the items back. These Avery No-Iron Kids Clothing Labels, Washer & Dryer Safe, Writable Fabric Labels, 45 Assorted Shapes & Sizes (40700) work too!

⇒ Closet Uniform Cubby: I use this Household Essentials 311342 Hanging Closet Organizer | 3 Pocket Shelves | Natural Canvas as uniform cubbies for the kids. These get filled every night with everything each child needs to wear for the next morning, it includes school tops, bottoms, their Myself Belts, shoes, socks, etc. If they have to wear say a red shirt or their Friday school shirt, it will all be prepared accordingly.

2018-03-02 21.56.51
School Uniform Cubby

⇒ Belt “Kids Can Fasten Themselves”: This one for the boys Myself Belts- Easy Belt with One Handed Closure for Little Boys Navy/Black Webbing and for my daughter Myself Belts the Belt Kids Can Fasten Themselves! Pink Sparkle (Medium) My boys will fasten the belt themselves and have no trouble using the school restroom. The key to the Myself Belts, they fasten with Velcro NOT a tricky metal buckle. My boys have always gone to the restroom by themselves at school since Pre-K 3 by using these belts. I buy them each new school year. * These belts are also great for children and adults with disabilities

⇒ Laundry Sharpie Markers: You can also use these for the kids school uniforms or daycare clothes Sharpie Rub-a Dub Laundry Markers Black, 2pk they will keep the name from fading when washed.

⇒ Water Bottles: This is a three pack Contigo Kids Autospout Gizmo Water Bottles, 14oz (Cherry Blossom, Persian Green, & Lavender) and this is a single Contigo AUTOSEAL Gizmo Sip Kids Water Bottle, 14oz, Sapphire water bottles for school. We use these Prepworks by Progressive Icy Bottle Stick Trays – Set of 3 ice stick trays to keep their water cold. I use the Inch Bug Labels for the water bottles and sippy cups – no need to remove to wash. You choose the color and personalization. I personalize the to read “Please Return to (our last name)” I purchase the 3D Orbit Labels, 4 pack, two colors per label. The times my kids have forgotten their cups in the classroom or during PE, they’ve been returned to them.

2018-03-02 16.54.20
Contigo Gizmo water bottles, Munchkin sippy cup with Inch Bug labels

 Desktop Computer: I have HP Pavilion 24-b010 23.8″ All-In-One Desktop (AMD A9-9410, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Windows 10 Home) and it works great for our family needs –  basic use and the children’s daily school work. Also because the computer is in the living room – so I can monitor what they’re doing, they wear Headphones, Sound Intone I65 Foldable Headphone with Microphone and Volume Control, Wired Headset for iphone, Android Smartphones and Tablets (Black/gold) to keep my sanity help them listen to the assignment and concentrate. I have this HP DeskJet 2544 Compact All-in-One Wireless Printer with Mobile Printing (D3A79A) which uses these HP 61 Black Ink Cartridge (CH561WN), HP 61 Tri-Color Ink Cartirdge (CH562WN), 2 Ink Cartridges (CR259FN)

2017-06-09 11.09.58
Pictured HP desktop, HP printer + Sound Intone headphones

* Note teachers encourage parents to purchase the good ole’ fashioned desk top with a mouse – “non touchscreen” computer. Why you ask, because there are kids that will arrive to school, sit in front of a computer and will begin swiping the screen with their finger as if the screen were a touchscreen – not knowing how to use a mouse. The desktops are still in most our kids school libraries and inside their classrooms. The school budgets do not call to keep their technology up-to-date year after year.  While our children are technology savvy and know how to use touchscreens from using the iPhones and iPads, at school the teacher will have a desktop computer with keyboard and mouse for them to use.

⇒ Backpack and Lunch Box: I get the kids school backpacks and lunch boxes from Pottery Barn Kids, the personalisation is optional – be sure to check their sale selections as well, it’s great!

2016-08-22 07.22.58
Backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids
IMG_1218
Pottery Barn Kids Lunch boxes. The Skip Hop Unicorn Toddler Backpack – although cute it will not work for school because it meassures 12” inches and the standard folder measures 16″ – folder will not fit.

*Pictured is the children’s gold painted play kitchen – a DIY project, Melissa & Doug Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Pretend Play Kitchen Set for Kids (8 pcs) and the children’s lap desk.

Kitchen Items

We use the Arrow Plastic Sip-A-Bowl 22 oz, Assorted Colors – Pack of 4 bowls with built in straw for our kids, they’re great for cereal and ice cream. These Gerber Graduates Kiddy Cutlery Forks in Neutral Colors, 3-count utensils for our baby and toddlers.

Baby Items

⇒ Stroller Fans: Diono Stroller Fan, Bright, for baby, they have a fan cover, that keeps the baby from wanting to touch the blade.

⇒ Door Stopper: I’ve prevented my toddlers from slamming doors, potential door locking and finger pinching with Adecco LLC Creative & Thicken Children Safety Door Stoppers Finger Pinch Guard, Animal Cushiony Foam Door Stops to Prevent Baby’s Fingers from Being Caught in the Door, 9 Packs place them up high on the bedroom doors.

⇒ On-The-Go Potty Liners: Diaper bag must-have my kids use Kalencom Potette Plus On the Go Potty Liner Re-Fills 10-PackBetty Dain Anchors Away Waterproof Shampoo Cape for Kids in public restrooms.

⇒ Cape For Cutting Kids Hair At Home: I trim my two older girls bangs – no, I’m not a licensed hairdresser, but it comes with the mom role. A good tip would be to trim the hair dry! The cape I use is no longer available but this one is just as nice Betty Dain Kiddie Shampoo Cape 271V It’s a great way to keep the hair trimmings out of their clothes. Although the hair sheers or scissors I have are also no longer sold, these will work the same EYX Formula Stainless Steel 6.5 Inch Precision Scissor with New Handle Design ,Barber Hairdresser’s Shears For Easy Hairstlying and Trimming In the Home

2018-02-26 20.16.17
Betty Dain cape

⇒ Hanging Hamper Bag: This Household Essentials 148 Hanging Cotton Canvas Laundry Hamper Bag | White is a great spacer saver, I hang it on Spectrum Over-The-Door Single Hook Vinyl Coated White 4-3/4″ X 7/16″ X 4″ – Pack of 2 or in the closet for the babies clothes.

Car

⇒ Dual Car Charger: You can charge two phones at once with Anker 24W Dual USB Car Charger, PowerDrive 2 for iPhone X / 8 / 7 / 6s / Plus, iPad Pro / Air 2 / mini, Galaxy S7 / S6 / Edge / Plus, Note 5 / 4, LG, Nexus, HTC and More

⇒ Phone Mount Holder: This Car Mount Holder, Universal Windshield Long Arm Car Phone Holder with Easy Touch for iPhone 7/6S/6 Plus/5S/5, Samsung Galaxy S6 S5, Nexus 5X/6P, LG, HTC and All Smartphones 3.5″-6″ has definitely been helpful for road trips and it’s a safer way to use Google Maps.

⇒ iPad Seat Holder: If you don’t have a DVD player in your car this Okra 360 Degree Adjustable Rotating Headrest Car Seat Mount Holder For iPad, Samsung Galaxy,Motorola Xoom, And all Tablets Up To -10.1″ will hold your iPad or Tablet.

⇒ Storage Basket Organizer:  These Kekow File Storage Basket Organizer for Office Supplies, 3-Pack, 13.27″ x 9.84″ x 3.43″ are so helpful! I’m guilty of every now and then allowing the kids to eat in the car. However, with these storage baskets “eating in the car” is easy to do, each child get’s a basket with their food and violà! The baskets permanently remain in the car unless they get used, then we take them out to wash. As for the daunting never-ending trash, we keep a roll of these  2.6 Gallon Small Trash Bags, blue 100 Counts (blue)in the  glove compartment.

Have a great weekend!

-Ana

 Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial