Feb

07

Posted by : Michelle | On : February 7, 2013

I believe we have now gotten into the swing of things with homeschooling. My daughter is now 4 and learning so much this year. My 2 year old son is following along and learning as well. I thought I would share some tools that I have been using. Of course we have the usual paper, construction paper, kid safe scissors, finger paints, crayons, etc… that we use every day. However, I have found some other tools to bring in that are convenient, fun for the kids and just add something different every so often.

My favorite tool that I use all of the time is Education.com . When you create a free account, you have access to loads of worksheets and other materials. As I find a sheet that I want to use, I save it on my computer so that I can print as many times as I want and keep everything organized.

If you are interested in incorporating sign language into your program, I highly recommend Signing Time . We actually got the videos when Samantha was around 6 months old and she loved watching them and began signing on her own at around 10 or 11 months. Now she is 4 and still watches them and signs with our son Nickolas.

Dry Erase Booklets

Dry erase booklets are great for practicing writing the alphabet and numbers. Just write and wipe to reuse over and over again. Crayola has some nice booklets among other materials.

Another tool that I like is the Tag Junior and Tag readerfrom Leap Frog. We bought the Tag junior for Samantha when she was around 2 and now Nickolas is using that one. It is easier to grasp with smaller hands and teaches ABCs, Numbers, Shapes, Social skills and other various skills.  Recently we got the Tag reader for Samantha. It is smaller and more pen/pencil like. There are all kinds of subjects for this one. The one we have now is the beginning reading series. The kids love it and it’s also something fairly portable if you would like to bring it while you are out and about.

Tag Junior and Tag Reader

If you have a favorite tool/tools that you use, would love for you to  share. I’m sure that our lists will keep growing and changing as we go.

Dec

30

Posted by : Michelle | On : December 30, 2012

With this year coming to a close, I am looking forward to the New Year and all of the possibilities it will bring. This has been a great year for our family and I hope for you as well too.  The kids have grown so much this year. Samantha is now 4 years old and Nickolas is now 2 years old.  Their year has been filled with play, meeting new friends,learning and experiencing so many new things. It has been great for Chris and I to experience all of these things again through their eyes.

Chris and I will be celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve! Yes, we were married on New Year’s Eve 16 years ago. I’m really excited as we are going out to dinner in Myrtle Beach and staying the night to watch the fireworks show they are having for New Year’s Eve.

I’m not making any actual resolutions for this coming year. (However, Chris and I are going to take our health to a new level. Click here for more details). Just going to continue enjoying every moment, keep on living a healthy lifestyle and to do whatever I can to help others. I also want to Thank all of you for following my blog and all of the nice comments you have had.  Stay tuned for more in 2013.

Nov

28

Posted by : Michelle | On : November 28, 2012

I have a great new goal for the new year! Thanksgiving has come and gone, however I have gained a few extra pounds from all of the wonderful yummy food.  Add in the upcoming festivities for Christmas and the holidays, I can foresee the potential for a few more pounds.  My husband, Chris has been meaning to lose some weight for some time now, so with the new Shaklee 180 that will be launching January 1st, what a great time for us to start together.  It’s easier if you have a buddy/buddies to support you along the way, right?  We owe it to our family and ourselves to be healthy and if I am going to lose weight, I want to do it in a healthy way.  We have 2 small children that have a LOT of energy and we need to be the healthiest we can be and not help contribute to any risks of heart disease, diabetes, etc…. that all go along with increased weight. After seeing the preview, I am so excited about the upcoming launch of the Shaklee 180 plan. It is going to be the healthiest and most life changing way to lose the pounds you want and there will be nothing else like it out there. Basically, it is a simple to follow plan with lots of support along the way and it will not stop once you reach your goal weight. There is also a maintenance plan to stay at the weight and support. This is going to be a plan that fits into our life easily and that is what I am looking for. I do not need or want a complicated weight loss plan.

So, we are starting this in January. Anyone who wants to join us, let me know. It would be great for us to have a group of us together to cheer on and support each other. Just email me if you are interested or would just like to hear more.

Take care and I hope that all of you have a great holiday season. I would love to hear your stories of success/trials of weight loss in the past or the present. Also, would love to hear of your goals for the New Year!

 

Nov

04

Posted by : Michelle | On : November 4, 2012

Fall has arrived! We have had a few days lately where it was cool enough to wear a jacket. The leaves are just starting to change color a little here, pumpkin patches have popped up everywhere and the Christmas decorations are out in full force already.

Nickolas feeding the chickens.

1st Pony ride

Woaa!!!

I’m not ready to leave yet mom.

We recently visited a small farm in the area called Old McFaye’s Farm. As soon as we got out of our car, the kids spotted 2 sheep and immediately ran up to them. Nickolas loved feeding the chickens and I think he would have stayed there all day feeding them if he could have.   They both enjoyed their first pony ride. They even got a second ride before we left. We also went on a hayride before our picnic lunch. Definitely a place to visit again.

We also finally got our family photo with all 4 of us in it. Chris was a professional photographer and I used to enjoy us getting out and shooting photos. We haven’t had the cameras out in a while, but I think they turned out quite nice. I have suggested that we make it a point to take the cameras out at least once a month and do that again.

Just celebrated Samantha’s 4th birthday. She is such a sweet and loving person and I am so proud of her. We had a small party for her and she was not at all concerned of what gifts she was going to receive. She only talks of who was there and the fun she had with them. Actually as I am writing this, I remember this was the case last year as well.

Speaking of Fall, the cold and flu season has arrived. Some nasty viruses have already made their rounds around here and the area. Reminds me that we really really really need to stock up on Nutriferon, DR and vitamin c asap.

I am also thinking of our neighbors in the northeast and hoping that you are safe after the storm last week. Shaklee Cares is providing disaster relief to those in need. If you would like to learn how you can help, email me for more info.

I’m looking forward to celebrating later this month, Nickolas’ birthday. I am in disbelief that he will be 2! Until next time, I hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy the fall!

Sep

18

Posted by : Michelle | On : September 18, 2012

Found these great sheets that are great practice by tracing letters, then writing on their own.

The fall season has arrived and many children have started the school year.  My daughter and I have started our home school this year as well. We were really homeschooling before, but now we are trying a little more of a schedule since she will be 4 next month. So far it is going well and I’m sure as time goes by we will have to adjust and find what works best for us. Our 22 month old son even sits in a bit and is beginning to say the ABCs and recognize the letters. Here are a few things I have found helpful for us so far.

1. Have a list of what you would like to cover as a guide, however remember you can be flexible. Attention spans are not very long at this age, so if they get bored with what they are doing, it’s ok to switch to something else. You can always go back to the other later if you wish. Keep your goals of what you want to cover realistic for your child. This may take a little while working with them to figure what that is for each child.

2. Find a time when your child is more alert, focused and eager to learn. For us, that is in the morning after breakfast.

3. Ensure that your child is getting optimal nutrition. For us, this makes things go much smoother. Samantha is eager to learn and more focused (as much as can be expected for a 3 year old :-) ). Once, we were off of our regular nutrition routine and well lets just say we will not let that happen again. If you would like to know Samantha’s nutrition routine, click here.

4. On a nice day, have class outside. You can incorporate nature and the outdoors into your lessons for the day. Do a butterfly/bird count. Identify plants, birds, insect, etc… Let them draw or paint something as they are being inspired by the great outdoors.

5. Take a field trip to some place relating to what they are learning that week to enhance the learning experience. Both you and your child/children are sure to learn something new.

6. Have fun. You will have these memories of spending time with your child. I am serious about making sure my children have the best education possible, however I also want them to have fun learning so that they will continue to want to learn for the rest of their lives.

These are just a few things I have found helpful so far and I am looking forward to continuing this journey with my children.

Aug

28

Posted by : Michelle | On : August 28, 2012

I just wanted to send an update that I am now on Pinterest. I resisted for so long because I really was not sure I would find it useful. Recently, I sat down to take a look and see what all the buzz was about.  As I was browsing all of the beautiful pins, I began thinking of all the places I want to visit someday,  ideas for the kids, house, thoughts,etc….Kind of like browsing through magazines and cutting out the photos for ideas. Then I realized this would be a great place to organize my thoughts and things I want to do in a visual way. Well, now I have a few pins (photos) on there to start with.  I’ll be adding a Pinterest button soon to my blog, but for now here is the link:

My Pinterest Board

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Jul

21

Posted by : Michelle | On : July 21, 2012

I’m often asked how Chris and I found our way into the health and nutrition field, especially since it is a totally different world from the technical world that we were both part of. So I thought it would be nice to write about who we are, how Chris and I began our path to better health and why we choose this as our business.

A little about us

Chris and I both grew up in southeastern NC. Chris has been a professional Photographer, System Administrator and started the first Internet service provider company in the Wilmington area. I was very active in karate, was an accounts receivable clerk, was a computer tech and then worked at Chris’ Internet company as a receptionist/technical support and then later as a domain administrator. We first met at a  wedding for 2 mutual friends that I knew from karate and Chris knew from college. He actually sat beside me during the rehearsal dinner. About a year later we met again and started dating. We fell in love and  married on New Years Eve. I can’t believe this December it will be 16 years that I have been with my best friend and soul mate. In between working, we spent some time traveling and taking photographs. Chris was a professional photographer and I have always had an interest, so we had a great time seeing some new places and getting some great wildlife shots. We took a road trip from NC to Iowa with stops in Asheville, Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountains and a few other parks along the way. Brings back memories of a hike we took in the mountains and really underestimated the difficulty of the hike and the amount of time it took and carried way too much gear and not enough water. Long story short, we were rescued by the German Air Force :-) . Maybe a great story for another post. I don’t think we would have made it out of there before dark if it were not for them. Another fun trip we took was to a bird photo safari in Florida. We fell in love with the area and even moved and lived there for a few years. We learned a lot about the environment and how everything in an environment depends on one another, even if it is something seemingly small, has an important role. We were part of a photography club while there, where Chris later became the president. We also joined the Collier County Audubon and were volunteers at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It was a great learning experience and made us appreciate the world around us so much more.

As much as we loved Florida, it became time to figure out where we wanted to move to. Chris was working as a system administrator for one of the largest real estate companies in the area. The economy started to take a downfall in that market and they were laying off.  We wanted to have children and really wanted them to grow up around family, so we decided to move back home to NC. Just a couple of months later, we were happy to learn that we were going to have our first child. Samantha is now an active, smart, entertaining and loving 3 1/2 years old. About 18 months later, we received the joyous news once more that we were going to have a second child. Nickolas is now 20 months and is also smart, sweet, active and enjoying toddler-hood.  Now Chris and I are enjoying being parents and all the great experiences it has brought to our lives and we couldn’t be happier.

Now for how our journey to better health began…..

It all started when Chris was having issues with his heart. His heart rhythm was all over the place.  Once we even had to go to the emergency room. Tests were run but never found out exactly why it was happening.  The problem continued and eventually it was happening constantly. On top of that, he had asthma and was never much into exercising. Also, I would like to note that we were in our 30′s, so to have these problems so early on was discouraging to say the least. We both had multiple allergies and were taking medications and allergy shots. I also had blood sugar swings beginning in my teens, that would often times drop pretty low . I was very active working out in karate and it was becoming more and more difficult to get through workouts without having a blood sugar drop. The fix at the time was to go have something like a candy bar or something sugary, which we know really isn’t a good idea for this problem unless you have no other choice. Something really needed to be done to improve our health.

We were in a business referral group to represent our audio and home theater business. That’s where we met and were invited by a couple who were Shaklee distributors to help them with the audio for a conference they were holding. We were happy to help and a free weekend at a beach resort sounded great :-)

As we were there working with the audio equipment, we were also listening to the speakers. During that weekend conference, we learned of the science and safety standards that goes into each product. That really made an impression on me.

When we got back home, we thought we would try the basic vitamins. After all, if we did not like them for any reason whatsoever, we would get our money back. I always knew it was a good idea to take vitamins, but really did not think it was something you would notice. However,within a week we were already feeling more energy. Then after that our allergy symptoms were gone, my blood sugar issues were resolving and very unexpectedly, Chris’ heart issues disappeared. Later, Chris’ asthma symptoms went away and he hasn’t had to have an inhaler ever since. We have lots of other great stories and other great new products that have happened since. Recently, we missed our normal monthly order and decided to wait until the next month to order. Well, slowly after a couple of weeks, our health issues from years before started to return. Not as bad as it once was, but was there. Chris started having the heart issues again, had a couple of asthma attacks, and we all seemed to catch every bug that was out there. When we got our nutrition back on track, the issues disappeared again. Never want to run out of our supplements again. I guess that was a good test for us that they really do work (not that we needed any convincing though). I am not certain that Chris would be here today if it were not for these supplements. I have the energy I need to keep up with 2 very energetic little ones. I’m also happy that we are able to provide our children with the best and safest nutrition available.

Why we chose this as a business….

First of all to find a business like this is rare. Shaklee meets all the criteria needed for me to consider it the perfect company. Fads are never followed to push products out. Safety, quality and scientific proof come first. I never have to worry if a product is safe and will work. I think it’s important that my customers are using the same products that my family and I use every day.

I love the fact that I am in the business of helping others. It’s the best feeling to hear that someone feels better and is becoming more healthy or maybe that they have found the perfect business for them as well.

Shaklee is a stable company that has been around for over 50 years so its not a company that is here today and gone tomorrow.

We have met so many amazing and supportive people in Shaklee. Every one is happy to help each other without asking for anything in return. It is definitely the most fun work I have ever done.

It is also a business that is compatible with our every day family life. I don’t have to choose between having to go to work at an office and being with my children. In fact a lot of my work is done with either Samantha or Nickolas in my lap. My work fits into our daily life

Chris with Samantha and Nickolas vacation last year

There are probably many more reasons that I am unable to think of right now, but I’ll end with this one. Samantha and Nickolas. This is a business that we can build and then someday leave it to our children if they wish to continue it. They will also learn about how to stay healthy and be proactive about their health as well as how you can run a business and be able to help others at the same time.

That about sums it up. I had fun writing this as it brought back many memories. The good times, the not so good times,however I tend to focus on the good times. Life is too short not to and when I think about the big picture and where we are today, with focus and the intent to do good along the way, you will always end up where you want to be.

Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed :-)

 

Jul

17

Posted by : Michelle | On : July 17, 2012

First of all, I should point out that I am not the greatest cook in the world, but I do have a few things that I cook that the family really like, are healthy and are pretty simple to cook. So I thought I would share with you. With this recipe, you can adapt it to suit your taste. You can use any vegetables that you like or have on hand.  The kids love it and my husband (who does not like many vegetables) even likes it.

1 small clove of garlic (chopped finely)
1/2 medium onion (diced)
5 small mushrooms (sliced)
1/3 cup carrots (diced)
1/3 cup spinach (chopped)
6 grape tomatoes (halfed or quartered)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese (finely grated)
1/4 cup sour cream
Oregano (pinch)
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 tbs of olive oil
1/2 Lemon
2 cups Pasta (I use spiral)

Cook pasta according to directions

Heat olive oil in separate pan and saute garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrots until onions are translucent

Drain and stir in cooked pasta, tomatoes, parmesan, sour cream, spinach, salt and pepper and oregano. Save a little of the pasta water.

Add about a 1/4 cup (or more if needed) of the remaining cooked pasta water. Add the juice from 1/2 Lemon, being careful to not get any seeds in there. Stir. Cook for another 3 minutes while stirring occasionally. Should be slightly creamy.

Serve with a salad or any other sides you wish.

Serves 4

Jul

10

Posted by : Michelle | On : July 10, 2012

Our daughter Samantha loved to go look at the fish at Walmart. Chris said “Hey, why don’t we get a small tank with a few fish?” I really liked the idea of having a small fish tank and that it would be a good learning experience for the kids, however I really did not need to add any more major projects to my continually growing list. So as long as I didn’t have to take care of it, it was just fine with me :-) . We found a small 3 1/2 gallon tank and about 5 little glo fish. These fish glow when under blue/black light.

We brought everything home and Chris set everything up and it looked great. That night it was fun to watch those little fish with their glowing neon colors zipping around.

imageShortly after, sadly some of those fish were not zipping around anymore. Chris was determined to figure out what he needed to do to make this a success and keep it going for the kids. The research began, trial and error, more research, more trial and error and more research. I was beginning to think that a hobby that was supposed to be relaxing was becoming not so much for Chris. It turns out that all of the work paid off and the fish are thriving along with the aquatic plants. There has even been offspring. The funny part of this though is the filter that Chris got for this little tank is bigger than the tank itself. The main part of it sits outside of the tank instead of inside. It must be the cleanest fish tank around.

Little did I know (or any of us know), what this little tank would start. Somewhere along the way Chris started talking about saltwater fish. Well, now we have a saltwater tank. It is really beautiful and to my surprise was actually easier to get going than the little freshwater tank. Maybe he should have started with that one, but then again he would not have learned as much and gained all of this knowledge of aquariums and fish. The fish are beautiful and I am amazed that these fish have distinct personalities. We have a pair of clown fish, a yellow tang, a blue hippo, flame angel, star fish, snails, and beautiful corals. The Hawk fish will perch on a rock or whatever and look at you. The name is fitting. The diamond goby so diligently sifts though the sand and builds little mountains all over the place. Just don’t get in the way or he will bury whatever is there. He does this all day tirelessly. Don’t you love how I call it a he. I really have no idea if it’s a boy or girl.

Reef Tank

The corals have intrigued me as much as the fish. There are so many types of corals. It is really hard for me to think of them as animals but they are. Some of them move around and even change shape. They even eat food.

imageThe kids love the fish as well and this will be a good way to teach them about marine life. I guess we all have learned a little something, and to think, it all started with a little tank and a few small fish.

May

30

Posted by : Michelle | On : May 30, 2012

Samantha painting mug for Mother's Day

I wake up this morning to see that it is raining heavily due to tropical depression Beryl and decide it is a good morning for a blog post. Well, it’s been another busy couple of months. We celebrated Easter, Chris’  Birthday, Mom’s Birthday, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Last month, the Mom’s group I belong to  had an outing to a place called Paint-N-Play.  I thought Samantha would really enjoy painting her own pottery so we went. Samantha painted a travel mug for me for Mother’s Day and I painted a coffee mug for my mother. Not only did Samantha have a great time, so did I . Samantha was so focused on her painting and I think it is the most beautiful cup ever. I am enjoying drinking my morning or afternoon cinch tea.  It was really nice to spend time with Samantha and was so relaxing to just paint the pottery and then have something to bring back home to keep and use.  So, at the beginning of May was my Mom’s birthday.  Since we had so much fun, I thought maybe she would enjoy it too and brought her. Mom made a great sugar bowl to match the décor and colors of her kitchen.  I should have taken a picture of that one.  I am even thinking of collecting a set of dishes, bowls, cups, etc… that we have the kids, myself or Chris paint and use those as our dinnerware.

My mug from Samantha for Mother's Day

Coffee mug for my Mom on Mother's Day

Salad plates Samantha and I made

Nickolas is 18 months now and very busy. He is a great climber and does it a lot :-) . I usually get a scare at least once a day as he is perfecting his skills. He has really done well with the sign language.  Some of you may remember my early posts of Samantha learning sign language using the Baby Signing Times videos and how she got to meet Rachael at a Signing Time Concert at Wrightsville Beach a couple of months before Nickolas was born. She has kept up with most of her signs and loves to help teach Nickolas.  His favorite word and snack right now is Apple and says it very well and clear verbally.

At 3, Samantha has begun her homeschool preschool and I have begun my adventure in the world of ABCs, counting, finger-painting, water color, arts and crafts, and beginning phonics. Samantha is now working on counting to 20. She has known how to count to 10 for a long while.  She learned her ABCs when she was 2 as well, so now she is working on writing them as well as writing numbers.  She really learned her ABCs by watching the Signing Time videos on the letters. So, while she was learning how to sign them, she also learned to say them and recognize them at the same time. One resource that I have been using is www.education.com. They have a load of worksheets and activities to print and use and it is all free. I have been looking at the www.ABCmouse.com and it looks very interesting. You have to pay for that one, but it looks like it may be a good learning resource. If anyone has experience with that one let me know or any other resource you have found useful for homeschoolers. Nickolas has been enjoying participating in the homeschool sessions as well. When Samantha and I sit down, Nickolas takes his seat too and wants his materials like big sister has. So, I have been teaching him too. Just the other day I drew shapes on his paper and named what they were (Circle, Triangle and Square). The next day, he picked up one of his blocks shaped like a triangle and was saying “Triangle”.  When you think they are not really paying attention, they surprise you :-) .

Dad performing

Dad and guitar

This past weekend for Memorial Weekend, my Dad was playing with his music group and other groups that were there for the Memorial Day Event at Holden Beach. It was a really nice day, windy, very windy though. He sings and plays the guitar and is really good. We had a great time being there.

Well, as I think we will be inside today with the weather like it is, I will now get together materials for Samantha’s school and activities. Then back to my Shaklee Business for a little bit. Talk to you later everyone.

Chris and Nickolas on Memorial Day

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