Searching For A Sign

I often get so many thoughts running through my mind and maybe you can relate. These thoughts of wanting to do something else, something more, maybe learn a new language or perhaps learn a new recipe. As for me I think with the blog and the online store I have, is enough considering there are still little ones to look after. But really, there’s always that one thing, that thing that we think we should be doing, should have done or goal yet to be reached. And all you’ve been doing is waiting, waiting for something, perhaps God to come and give you a sign. Perhaps because you’re not sure, you have self doubt, you’re afraid, afraid of failure or afraid of success, but you’re afraid. So, let’s say, you do it, whatever you’ve been thinking of doing, a job change, going back to school, yes, lets just say you do it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to finally do what you’ve been thinking about doing for so long?!

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This often reminds me of those who have been stuck in a rut for so long. We become content with what we have because it’s become our safe place and it’s what we’ve known for so long. In my opinion, the number one culprit in relationships, is the argument of never having enough money, you complain there isn’t enough, but I often question, what are we doing to change that, what are we doing to get to the finances that we need to finally ‘make ends meet.’ In all honesty, probably nothing. So, if you’re a mother, a father or simply someone that’s looking to take that leap – take it! It’ll take you farther than you know.

A-

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The First Day Of School – Poem From A Teacher To A Parent

Have your little ones – or not so little ones, begun school? My little ones went back to school this week and it’s been quite the ride for my four year old. The first day, she was ecstatic, there were no words to express her excitement to finally be able to attend school with her older siblings. However, she arrived home not understanding why there were children crying in her classroom. As much as we’ve tried to calm her heart, she isn’t liking what she’s seeing. It can truly be an adjustment for some children, especially for first time students – like my daughter. As teachers have in the past told me, preschoolers will often take about a week to adjust, that’s what I’m hoping for her.

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I can understand why people would assume that since there is a tiny tribe behind me, that I am somewhat numb to many ‘firsts’ my little ones experience. But that is far from the truth. I’m experiencing firsts with each and every one of them. As much as they are siblings, as much as they may have the same features, maybe even mannerisms, they are so different. They are individuals, they even cry different – as only their own parent would know, they talk different, they even handle situations differently, some are shy and some even far more sensitive than the other. My oldest although entering the sixth grade – the dreaded middle school, she is also experiencing many ‘firsts’ and as a parent, I am experiencing it all with her.

I wanted to share with you today a poem given to me by my four year old’s preschool teacher. It served as a reminder that teachers understand the adjustment isn’t only experienced by the child, but also the parent. So, whether you have one, two or a tiny tribe like mine, every experience with our children is our first. And I have a feeling, that will never change.

‘The First Day Of School’ – From A Teacher To A Parent

I gave you a little wink and smiled

As you entered my room today

For I know how hard it is to leave

And know your child must stay. 

You’ve been with her for four years now

And have been a loving guide,

But now, alas, the time has come

To leave her at my side.

Just know that as you drive away

And tears down your cheeks may flow

I’ll love her as I would my own

And help her learn and grow.

From as a parent, I too know

How quickly the years do pass

And that own say soon it will be my turn

To take my child to class.

So please put your mind at ease

And cry those tears no more

For I will love her and take her in 

When you leave her at my door.

Love,

From A Teacher To A Parent

Have a wonderful day. I pray that your children have a phenomenal school year.

A-

Back To School Readiness Check List

Back To School Readiness Check List

This summer like the ones in years past, is going by quickly. It’s that time when I get my check list ready to hit the stores – whether that is ordering items online, ordering for in-store pick up or going to the store, the time is now. With ordering online and having chronic pain, this is a ‘pain saver’ or is it ‘life saver’ – whichever the saying, it’s good! And ordering in advance gives me time to make exchanges if needed.

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This year my older four will be going off to school. We have them going into prekindergarten 4 through sixth grade. This will be my preschoolers first time in a school setting and she’s elated! Here is a sneak peak at my “Back To School Check List” – because when you’re shopping for a mini tribe, it’s essential that you stay organized.

“Back To School Readiness Check List”

To Do At Home

• Gather new grade school supplies lists for all

• Take inventory of materials / miscellaneous things – check what for items you may have put away in your home, cross that item off the school supply list.

often times at the end of the school year, I’ll get back unused / new materials that went unused, I’ll save those items for the next school year.

 also with things like, rain jackets and sweaters, I’ll have them try it on, if they haven’t outgrown them, they’ll reuse these.

• List the children’s names with their shoe size, shirt size and shorts/bottoms size (double checking will ensure buying the correct sizes)

• The hanging closet organizer, this is our ‘school cubby’ that hangs in the children’s closets, each child will have a cubby assigned to them, each night they’ll set up their uniform / school attire for the next day – makes getting ready in the morning easy!

School Uniforms / Clothes

• 4 uniform polo shirts per child (verify school colors) – I will purchase these from Target

• 1 school patch / emblem for each polo shirt (can be purchased at the school  from PTSA)

• 1 ‘Friday’ school shirt per child (can be purchased at the school  from PTSA)

• 4 uniform shorts per child (verify school colors)

• 1 pair of pants per child (verify school colors)

• 1 sweater per child – to be ordered from Gap (Go to the sweaters that are on ‘sale,’ you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality and the price you’ll pay)

• 1 rain jacket per child (to keep inside backpack)

• 1 mini-umbrella for oldest to keep inside backpack (she likes to have an umbrella)

• 1 pair of sneakers/running shoes per child

• Undergarments for all / each child

• Pack of socks for each child

• Belt for each child – to be ordered from My Self Belts (I have been ordering them for about 5 years, the belts are EXCELLENT – especially great for my son with autism)

Backpacks + Lunchboxes, Miscellaneous

• Backpack and Lunchboxes – to be ordered from Pottery Barn Kids (Go to the backpacks that are on ‘sale,’ you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality and the price you’ll pay) If ‘last’ years backpack is still in good condition, it will be washed and reused.

• PE water bottles – to be ordered Contigo water bottle

• Labels for PE water bottles – to be ordered from Inch Bug

• School agenda / homework agenda (can be purchased at the school  from PTSA)

Kids Hair

• Girls hair bows (I’ll purchase bows according to the school colors)

• Black elastics – for pony tails

Clear small elastics  – for tying ends of braids

• Detangling spray

• Tresemme hairspray – to use on both the boys and girls

• Mennen Cologne – for kids

School Supplies

• Gather new grade school supplies lists for all and log in the school website to be sure it’s the latest supply list – as the teachers will often update them even during the summer.

• I try to buy things like crayons and pencils in bulk from Amazon Prime – things like this are always needed throughout the year, things like folders, paper, etc. from Target

If you’d like to know all that’s inside my ‘kids hair bin’ organizer you can find that here and for a detailed post on what I use in my home for school purposes you can find that here.

Hope you have a great back to school shopping experience!

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Photo: Sharon McCutcheon

Amazon + Target – 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 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!

End of School Year Teacher + Classmates Gifts

End of School Year Teacher + Classmates Gifts

As another school year comes to a close – this week to be exact, one thing we like to do is think of our teachers and classmates. The children spend so much time with these amazing beings we are so fortunate to call teachers that it’s nice to give them a little something in form of a gift. Also, their classmates, the children that have sat with them for hours and days on end, sat in class with them while they felt at times sick, sad, happy, they laughed and learned together. They comforted each other the very first days of school and now all have the hard task of saying goodbye. So, here are a  few things I put together for my little one’s teachers and classmates. I like to give thoughtful yet useful gifts – an easy DIY and not to mention affordable!

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Here’s what I found at my local craft store, it was all affordable and I was able to use online coupons before check out.

For the teachers: I used ‘Thank you’ cards to write a message for each one – you can find packs of 8 in most craft stores, I got a large pack of gift bags, gift tag stickers, mugs with the teachers initial, I also alternated with some teachers receiving a pack of pencils or a pack of rose gold paper clips and lastly a few Lindt Lindor chocolates I got at the grocery store. I placed everything in the gift bag with tissue paper – and again, these items were on clearance and I was able to use an online coupon at checkout.

For the students: I like to give all my children’s classmates the same thing – it helps keep me sane! I separate it all and label with each of the classrooms so that in the morning there is no confusion and each can take their own things to school. So, I initially couldn’t find the ‘giant’ sized Pixy Stix anywhere and with not enough time to order online, my last attempt paid off. I checked online at my local party store and they had the ‘giant’ sized Pixy Stix – not only did they have the quantity I needed but they had store pick-up available. Once I had that, I used copy paper to print ‘labels’ for each Stix however you can also use card stock. I printed sets according to each one of the kids class count, they read “Have a sweet Summer! Your Friend (name).” I was able to fit six ‘labels’ in one sheet of copy paper, using a paper trimmer I cut all to size – you can cut multiple sheets at a time and with an X-Acto Knife  created two horizontal slits and then placed the Pixy Stix straw through. And we were done!

Happy Monday!

A-

Upside Down French Braid Updo for ‘Prom’otional Dance

It’s close to the end of the school year and ironically, it’s as busy as the beginning of the school year. We have end of the year field trips, dances, class parties, award ceremonies and graduations. It’s all so bitter sweet but so lovely to enjoy along side the children.

This past Friday was my daughter’s 5th grade dance, they called it ‘prom’otional,’ as they didn’t want it to be confused with a prom like dance. I personally thought it was a clever idea, so sweet and the children had a phenomenal time.

So, my daughter has long hair as you can remember from here and her request for the dance was to keep the hair in a ponytail. I decided on the upside down French braid and on top, to place it in a braided bun. As if my life wasn’t busy enough, right?! I looked quickly at online tutorials the night before and woke up a little earlier than usual to try to get the hair do right – as this was my first attempt at this style. So, with my caddy filled with my essentials for doing hair, here’s our end result …

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  1. Pick up the hair half way and tie. Tip: where you end the half way pony tail is where your top bun will be/end – so the higher the half pony tail is, the higher the bun will be and vise versa, the lower you do the half way pony tail, the lower the bun will be/sit. I personally love a good high bun! Then set that hair aside by clipping it or tying it out of the way. Tip: To keep the style smooth and sleek, alternate with spraying the hair with water and using hairspray just a couple times before tying it.
  2. Have her put her head on her knees or place a pillow so she’s more comfortable. Taking the section of her hair that’s not tied and starting with the low back neck area hair, wet and brush the hair smooth and begin your French braid or if you prefer, you can do a Dutch braid – keep it as loose or tight as you’d like, I kept it a little tight.
  3. Continue the French braid, brush through the strands before including them in the braid to keep the hair smooth. Once you’ve reached the other pony tail, grab both pony tails and tie them together with a hair tie.
  4. With the hair that was left on the pony tail, spray with water and then do a simple braid and tie at the end with an elastic.
  5. Now just wrap the braid in a bun, tie it with a hair tie and pin the end with bobby pins, lastly spray some hairspray to keep fly aways in place.
  6. If you’d like, finish the style with a hair bow and there you have an ‘upside down French braid with a braided bun.’

Have a great weekend!

A-

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.

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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.

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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)

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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!

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Backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids
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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

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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

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