While Mommy is Away…

To help the boys stay busy and not think about me being away for almost 2 weeks, I put together daily gifts for them to open. With the exception of the McDonald’s gift card, everything cost less than $15. I got all of the items from the Dollar store (except the Hershey’s kisses..they were the free item of the week from Kroger). It was such a small gesture, but the boys LOVED it, and it only took a few minutes to put together. On each day after school, they got to open an envelope containing a small gift along with a note attached. They looked forward to it, and it was an incentive for good behavior.



*Unfortunately, I don’t remember exactly what I wrote on the notes but it was along the lines of the following.

Monday – Note: “Mommy flew away in an airplane today. I will be back in 11 days, but I’ve left a special surprise for you each day.”

Item: glow in the dark airplanes


Tuesday – Note: “Are you guys as excited about Christmas as I am? Let’s see what Christmas items you can create.”

Item: playdoh & Christmas themed cutters


Wednesday – Note: “Here are two fun puzzles featuring your favorite characters. Put them together and send me a picture.”

Item: 2 puzzles – paw patrol (Jayden Baby) & Disney Cars (Shad Bod)

Thursday – Note: “Are you minions taking care of each other? Here’s something to help.”

Item: Minions bandages

Friday – Note: “Tonight is movie night! I hope you enjoy your pizza and snacks. Here is an extra special treat.”

Item: snack for movie night (milk duds)

Saturday – Note: “Have you been good this week? You deserve a reward. Go to Dollar Tree and pick our two new toys.”

Item: wallet & money ($3)

Sunday – “How about another reward? Get lunch & have some fun at the play place!”

Item: $25 McDonald’s gift card

Monday – Note: “Do you know what I miss most? Your hugs and kisses! I hope you are saving them for me.”

Item: Hershey’s kisses 

Tuesday – “Paw Patrol to the rescue!” Will my pups make me a card?”

Item: paw patrol stickers to use with construction paper

Wednesday – Note: “There are only 2 more days until I get home. Have a party to celebrate.”

Item: balloons

Thursday – Note: “Mommy will be home tomorrow, and I can’t wait to hear about all the fun things you’ve done. Will you make me a list or draw a picture?”

Item: Disney journal

Friday – Note: “I am coming home today! I have missed you boys so much. Will you be my dinner dates tonight? Please say ‘yes.'”

Item: ring pops

I even got to help RaShad with his homework!


I also made their lunches for school and freezer meals for dinner. Amazon Prime Now is AMAZING! I didn’t have enough EasyLunchBoxes so I placed a quick order using the Amazon Prime Now app, and a new set was delivered within about an hour and half! For everything else, I placed it Ziploc bags to be frozen and thawed when needed…and I added a few more freezer meals to the collection, just in case 🙂



2 Weeks, No Checked Bag!

I am always nervous of lost luggage and mishandling so when I found out I had to take a two week trip to South Dakota, my goal was to pack everything I needed using ONLY a carry on. I managed to not check a bag….and still pack a crap ton of stuff. I will say I could have done without a lot of the items I packed because most didn’t get used.

Here’s what I took:

1 -21″ spinner containing:

  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 peacoat
  • 6 pairs of underwear (& bras)
  • 4 sets of PJs (no, I didn’t need 4)
  • 4 sweaters (very thick)
  • 2 blouses (1 long & 1 short)
  • 2 skirts
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 2 pairs of tights
  • First aid kit
  • 5 necklaces, 1 pair of earrings, 1 bracelet
  • Brush
  • Slipper socks

Liquid Bag

  • Shampoo
  • 2 bottles of conditioner
  • 2 bottles of lotion
  • liquid foundation
  • disinfectant spray
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Tide to go pen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Deodorant
  • Wet ones
  • Emergen-C
  • Theraflu
  • Argan oil

Cosmetic Bag

  • Lip gloss
  • Makeup brush travel kit
  • 3 tubes of lipstick
  • 2 eye shadow palettes
  • Eyebrow archer razor
  • 2 tubes of mascara
  • Blush
  • Eyeliner pot & brush

Personal item (laptop bag/purse)

  • Laptop & charger
  • Picture of my sweet angels
  • Snacks (4 granola bars, 5 packages of peanut butter crackers, 2 bags of M&Ms) –didn’t use ANY
  • Wallet
  • Eye mask
  • Cell phone & Charger
  • Headphones
  • Kindle & Charging cable
  • Naked eye shadow palette
  • Small bag w/ facial wipes, lip balm, stamps (idk why…), lip stick, pens, pony tail holders, Bobby pins

*Most of these items were travel sized samples that I have collected. I keep them in a woven basket in the guest bathroom.

I also put together a wardrobe capsule to make sure I packed as few as possible and still had enough outfits to last.

Packing to come home was more challenging, especially with the 30+ bottles of shampoo, conditioner & lotion I smuggled on the plane. I wore my largest items on the plane to go to South Dakota (boots, heavy coat), BUT wearing those items to Houston wouldn’t work because of the temp changes so I held my jacket on the plane and used it as a blanket (it wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin in my suitcase). That worked perfectly because it was cool on the plane. When we landed, I just placed it back in my suitcase.

Minus getting stuck at the airport for 8 hours with my connecting flight being delayed 3 times, then canceled, then delayed again AND arriving in the midst of a snow storm, the trip was well. I only had to purchase a hat….could have used gloves also 🙂


Why Caillou is Banned in my House

I firmly believe in limiting all electronic devices. My kids have a maximum of 1 hour per day. They can split this between their iPad or television. Homework on the computer doesn’t count, and there is absolutely no electronics after 6PM. 
This evening, the kids chose to watch Caillou (we don’t have cable btw–just Hulu). After about 15 minutes of Caillou, I turned it off. I had had enough! I don’t think Caillou is appropriate for my children. What I observed is a badly behaved, whiny, spoiled kid. That’s not the behavior I want to encourage by allowing my kids to watch it. 

In this particular episode, Caillou’s mother was trying to put his little sister, Rosie to sleep and asked Caillou, who was banging on a drum, to keep quiet. She asked him three different times 😱. He spotted a photo of a cookie then decides he is hungry and wants cookies. Caillou goes into the kitchen and climbs in a chair and knocks a few shelves of items on the floor to create a huge mess. Next, he sits on the floor amongst the mess to “make cookies. ” When Caillou’s mother comes into the kitchen and sees the mess, she did not punish him. Instead, they cleaned it up. Where’s the talk? At what point do you communicate to your child that what he did was wrong? Ugh! That is very annoying. The worst part is after they finished cleaning, they made cookies!! Really?? So let’s recap the lesson: disobey your parents and you will get your way. I don’t want Caillou to negatively affect my son’s logic. In fact, when Caillou stood on top of the chair, RaShad screamed, “No, no! Wait for mommy.” I’m glad he knows better. Caillou is banned. We will stick with Team Umizoomi.