George Observatory – Life List

Last December I took the kids to the George Observatory.

It was not what I expected but it was not a terrible experience. The observatory is located in Needville Texas inside of the Brazos Bend State Park. We have been to the park many times but never to the observatory. Since it is roughly 30 miles outside of Houston there are no lights and the roads are pretty dark out there. Not a big deal but unnerving for the kids since they started to feel nervous being away from the bright city lights. All of that went away once we got into the park. The stars were absolutely beautiful and since there were no lights, aside from trail lights, the view was unobstructed.

Once we parked we had to make our way down a trail that crossed a swamp and lots of thick trees. The park is known for its varied wildlife and of course, its main resident the alligator, so we were pretty watchful. As we got closer to the entrance the trail lights turned from white to red. We read some signs that indicated this was necessary in order to see the stars from the telescope better. So, do not turn on your flashlight to see better or you will be told to turn it off.

We bought tickets to enter the observatory and took the picture at the opening of the article. I forgot I was not supposed to use a flash. Below is the non-flash photo.

No flash

Once upstairs where the telescopes were kept we had to stand in long lines. it didn’t help that it was cold outside. Most of the volunteers were happy to be there and were helpful. The kids went in to see the telescopes but the experience was ruined by the grumpy guy helping them with the device. After that, they didn’t want to see anymore, the lines were long and it was cold so we decided to get some pizza afterward.

I do have to say that even though I didn’t look through the telescopes I had more than enough time to star gaze. The sky was so clear and I saw constellations I would not have been able to view in the city.

So, there you have it. Another life list item knocked off.

Don’t take my word for it. Take a trip out there an see it for yourself, the drive and the night sky alone are worth it.

Only Water For A Week?

On my life list, I have a goal to drink nothing but water for one week. ONE WEEK!

I tried to do this last week and did not even make it past a day. This is going to take some serious dedication and discipline.

At first, it sounded like a pretty easy thing to do but as the day wore on I just wanted something different to drink.

I have mostly eliminated sodas from my diet. In the past, I would drink three or four per day but have significantly dropped to three or four per week. Some weeks I don’t drink any at all. However, I am a huge sweet tea drinker and have coffee a few times per week.

The reason I want to try this is that I want to see how I feel after one week of drinking nothing but water. A couple of my biggest concerns are what will I do if I get bored?

Boredom and stress caused me to drink the soda that ruined my good intentions. Perhaps I can put in place a plan to have some snacks on hand to combat wanting to drink something different.

I have a big party coming up this weekend so it looks like I will push this out once more.

I will post once I have successfully completed this!

 

Hurricane Prepardness

Hurricane season is something most people who live along the coast simply dread. While living near the water is a beautiful thing, in this world it could mean that one day you may be faced with impending disaster. Last year my family learned some valuable lessons while prepping and surviving a major hurricane.

Hurricane Harvey hit with such ferocity that even seasoned hurricane veterans were shaken. It was an event none of us will soon forget.

So, what if this is your first time preparing for a Hurricane? Well, there are plenty of websites and resources you can consult for the average things you would need to ride out the storm.

The most important thing is to never procrastinate when it comes to gathering Hurricane supplies. You do not have to buy everything all at once. Buy a few things at a time and keep them stored up in a place where you will not be tempted to dip into snacks or other goodies.

The NOAA ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has some very good information on how to prepare for a hurricane.

As far as the purpose of this post, it will be focused more on the basics you will need to help you get through.

Non Food Supplies:

  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Contact information for family members – Be sure other family members know your evacuation destination if you must leave. Include your pets in your evacuation plan.
  • Essential baby supplies – These include diapers, formula, bottles, wipes, extra clothes, etc.
  • Cash – In case ATMs are down or stores do not have electricity.
  • Disposable cups, plates, utensils and paper towels.
  • Coloring books, puzzles, board games or anything to keep children busy if the electricity goes out.
  • Manual can opener
  • Medication
  • Important documents – Be sure to secure important documents by placing them in a waterproof/fireproof container.
  • Fill your car tank with gas
  • Something we learned from other examples during Harvey was that if you own a home keep an ax in your attic in case of severe flooding, so you will not be trapped and can escape to the roof while you await rescue. This is in an extreme situation.

Food Supplies for at least three days:

  • Shelf stable milk such as Soy, Coconut or Almond
  • Canned or boxed foods such as soups, tuna, salmon, chicken, green beans, beans, corn, noodle soups, etc. Though vegetables taste better heated it is still good to have them in case power goes out.
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Snacks such as cookies, chips, popcorn, salsa, brownies, rice cakes, etc. These foods can help the family deal with anxiety and provide some comfort.
  • Granola bars, trail mix or nuts
  • Fruits that do not need refrigeration
  • Bread
  • Coconut water
  • Protein powder for a boost
  • Pet Food
  • 2 Gallons of water per person

There you have it! These are just a few suggestions if you are at a loss for how to prepare.

If you have lived through a hurricane what are some things you use to get ready?

Momma Self Care

Whether we homeschool or not, taking care of a family is challenging! It can be extra challenging when both mom and dad work.

As mothers, we can get so caught up in caring for our family’s needs, that we forget about our own or push them off till “later”.

I have spoken with some of my friends and acquaintances and many times I hear the same thing.

“I want to make sure my family is taken care of and if that means sacrificing my “me” time then that is the way it is going to be.”

Sure, there are times when as moms we may need to push some of our wind down time off due to circumstances we cannot control. But do we make a regular habit of it?

No matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom you must take care of yourself. And do not feel bad about it!

Here are some things I have learned that help me to take better care of myself:

Take A Nap

Now, you might feel like this may make you seem lazy. Not true! There is a lot of research out there that shows napping, even for 20 minutes, can help you to feel alert and rested. If you nap longer than that you may wake up feeling groggy and that is counterproductive. Kids of all ages can benefit from nap time. To get the kids to nap when they were younger I would tell them just to rest in their beds with their eyes closed. It usually worked and as we developed a good routine. When I was working I would nap in my car. Yes, I really did that and set my phone alarm. It helped me tremendously.

Be Creative

Pinterest has some great ideas for hobbies. Create a board and pin all sorts of fun things you would like to attempt and actually do them! Whether you like sewing, painting, crochet, makeup, gardening or anything else get to it. My favorite things are to crochet and experiment with different makeup looks. Some people think you must have an artist’s mind to get creative and that is not true. Take a minute to see what inspires you. You will be surprised what you come up with.

Enjoy Some Fresh Air

Step outside and take a few deep breaths. Getting some sunshine on your face and breathing fresh air can be incredibly renewing. We can get so caught up in the day to day activities that we can forget to enjoy nature. It’s free, beautiful and invigorating.

Time Alone

Whether you like to walk the aisles of your favorite store or go find a quiet area to sit in a bookstore, find some time to just chill out. There are so many things you can do to spend time alone. When I was working I would come home, kiss my kids and tell them I needed my wind down time. I would shower change into my comfy clothes and sit quietly while listening to soft relaxing music. The total time I spent was 20 minutes. I found that after my time I was ready to handle the needs of my family. When you are a stay at home mom it can be harder to draw that line but you have to be creative and just do it. For relaxing music,  here is one of the videos I listen to.

Keep In Touch With Friends

This does not include social media. I repeat, this does not include social media. While social media has its uses, it can put limits on real-life relationships. Many times we can assume that since we talk to our friends over the net we really do not need to see them in person. But do you really feel refreshed after checking your social media accounts a 1,000 times per day? There is nothing like meeting a friend for coffee, lunch, margaritas or at a park for a quick walk. Just make sure not to neglect face time.

Healthy Food Choices

Cut down on sugar and junk food. I know lots of people who eat foods that are bad for them simply because they are stressed or bored. Try reaching for healthier foods that give natural energy. Look into probiotics, vitamins and other supplements that will help you stay healthy and in great shape to keep up with the demands of the family. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this website.

Excercise

Boy oh boy. Just saying the “E” word is tiring.  You do not have to go to a gym. There is no shortage of free videos that feature Yoga, Pilates, Cardio or anything else you think of on the internet. Make time in the morning or early afternoon to get in about 15 minutes of movement. Do enough to get your blood pumping and those arteries flexing. Start with a stretch, then movement, then a cool down. Make it a habit and you will even see improvements in your mood. Check out this video for a 15-minute exercise you can do at home.

Get Dressed Everyday

If you’re a working momma then this is not optional. You throw on your clothes and slap some chapstick on and run out of the door. Try setting out your outfit the night before and mapping out which makeup look you will go for and have all the tools set out. Have everything you need ready so you can get dressed without the rush. If you’re a stay at home momma, do the same. Have your clothes laid out and plan the time you need to properly groom. A lot of women are afraid of makeup because they think they will apply it wrong and end up looking like a clown. Today there are so many different types of makeup and natural products that you can easily learn how to apply them. Stay at home mommas might think there is no use for makeup but it really helps lift your mood. Here is a 5-minute makeup look for moms that you can watch.

I hope these tips were helpful for you. If you already take time for yourself share some things you do in the comments.

 

Cold And Flu Season

Well, it’s that time of year again folks. Cold and Flu season is in full swing and boy oh boy is it ugly.  I found some information on the most recent Flu statistics you can read here on the CDC’s website.

We have been fortunate over the past few years to escape the flu’s cold hand. (See what I did there 😉 ) My husband caught the Flu over 10 years ago and it was him who brought it home from work this time.

As soon as he came home with the chills and sweats I immediately went out and bought disinfectant wipes, spray, and bleach.

I managed to keep my husband comfortable and warm during the worst part of his four-day illness.

“Do not touch or talk to daddy right now!” I emphatically told the kids.

Right then he was our little outbreak monkey and needed to be quarantined!

After a few days, my oldest started to feel sick. Every mom knows that when the kids get sick, well mom ends up getting sick. That is exactly what happened, 3…2…1 boom, down for the count. I went down for two solid days and needed another two days to fully recuperate.

Here are some things we did to keep the sickness from spreading as much as possible:

  • Zicam – We all took this the moment my husband got sick. I credit it will helping shorten mine and my daughter’s symptoms.
  • Vitamin C – I take this every day as a supplement but I bought orange juice for the kiddos and pineapples for the husband to munch on.
  • Kefir – I drink one cup of Kefir every day. I believe this really helped me to kick the flu faster. Read about the benefits of Kefir here.
  • Essential Oils – A mix of Eucalyptus and Lemon in a diffuser helped keep the bedroom air clean.
  • Fresh Air – Every day I opened the windows for a few minutes to air out the house.
  • Soups – Warm broths and soups were the way to go.
  • Sanitizing – Disinfectant wipes, sprays, hand washing and linen washing went a long way. We also replaced our toothbrushes when everyone felt better.
  • Sleep – Plenty of rest and mini naps really helped us to heal.
  • Hydration – This should be number one on the list. Staying hydrated is so important. Keep bottled water or sports drinks by the bed for easy access.

Our symptoms we not bad enough to make a trip to the doctor. Children are the most sensitive to viral infections but they are remarkably resilient. So, this goes without saying, if you feel a trip to the doctor is in order then, by all means, make the trip. Thankfully the other two kids did not get sick. I say three out of five is not all that bad 🙂

What are some things you do to ease Flu symptoms? Share below!

 

Indoor Camping

The kids and I planned an Autumn Fun List back in October. One of the ideas we decided to include was indoor camping. Indoor camping became a tradition of ours about three years ago. It included setting up a tent, making S’mores and binge-watching movies into the wee hours of the morning.

This year we decided to let out friends and family in on our tradition and it was so much fun.

 

2017-12-10 (3)

We normally set up the tent for the kids’ to sleep in on the night of the party. Since we had a lot of people over we needed the space so we just used it as a prop.

 

 

2017-12-10 (2)

I designed and printed out these arrows on cardstock and taped them to a broomstick because I didn’t have a pole. The broom brush was behind the tent. No one knew hahaha!

 

2017-12-10 (1)

Inside of the campfire, there were flameless candles flickering. You can’t see them from the photo but I promise they looked so cool with the light off. 

 

2017-12-10

This little sign was a hit. It definitely made everyone chuckle. The kids chose their favorite bear friends to play the part. 

 

2017-12-10 (9)

We used sterno cans to make the S’mores. Be sure to use Ethanol Gel cans because it is food safe. 

 

2017-12-10 (8)

The kiddos all enjoying their snack creations!

 

 

2017-12-10 (7)

Campfire cookies

 

2017-12-10 (6)

The twigs more cool to look at than to eat. None of the kids wanted pretzels and I couldn’t eat them all by myself lol

 

2017-12-10 (5)

Needless to say, the Cheeto Puffs were devoured. 

 

2017-12-10 (4)

My nephew, who is three, did not want to touch these. He really thought they were bear poop and stayed far away!

 

 

 

 

So, there you have it! A successful Indoor Camping Party!