Convenient Shopping

Five kids, full-time business, family commitments and only 24 hours in a day! Every year, usually around the holiday shopping seasons, the news talks about all these statistics of brick and mortar stores versus online shopping. I don’t have an aversion to going to a store and walking the aisles. I actually enjoy grocery trips sometimes. However with the amount of things I have to do some days and the fact that I like to sleep at night I LOVE online shopping. I buy all kinds of things online. Clothes, food, games, toys, house items, electronics. Basically anything to be honest. I would say 95% of my online purchases come from Yes, I am an affiliate member and do get a percent of sales driven from my site but I was a buyer on their site WAY before I started this blog or affiliate marketing. Amazon is everywhere these days and for good reason. Their AMAZON PRIME account gives me free shipping and handling on almost all my purchases and I get it in two days. So unless I have an oh crap moment where I forgot about a birthday party or school event being held that day I am able to order something on a Tuesday and have it by Thursday afternoon delivered to my door. Who wouldn’t want that. There are other online stores I buy from too but with my prime account, Amazon is my most frequented.

Another great perk of a prime account is there special deals for members only. You can buy items at a discount, get access to movies, shows, music, games including a twitch account, ebooks, audio books and more for free or reduced prices. I could rave for hours on all the things I’ve purchased and tools I utilize from Amazon but check it out for yourself with a free trial.

Click on the image below for an exclusive 30-day free trial of prime. Prime Day is July 16th and you will get amazing deals. It is well worth your time to give all these features a try!


Video Games for Pre-Teens and Teens

With three kids into the teens we have a lot of gaming going on in my house. Playstation 4, Xbox One, iPhones, iPads. Electronics are big in our house. My daughter is the lucky one with her own Xbox in her room. The twins have to share Playstation with their little brother but we manage to make taking turns work. The great thing about electronics and my children love for them is they work great as incentive tools. The remotes can be put away and when the kids earn gaming time they can be doled out like candy to a baby. Its a great reward for them to slip their headphones on and enter a world part from the chaos of screaming toddlers. These are some of their current favorites and the best investment pieces for an amazing gaming experience. Teens don’t ask for a lot of stuff for holidays but if we invest in quality items they will last many years.

The set up: You gotta get a good set up for the true experience. Once they really find a game that they love you could even look into live streaming on Twitch or YouTube and they can earn their own spending cash if they build enough viewers.

This is probably THE NUMBER ONE game right now across all consoles. Fortnite is a multiple player survival game and this digital code gives you access to it all. Battle Royal and Save the World mode are two games in one. Save the World mode lets you and up to three friends save the world after an apocalyptic event. You can also earn what’s called v-bucks to spend on upgrades and new features in both modes.

This is my daughters ultimate game. She loves becoming submerged in the intricate puzzle of battle and winning the war. The graphics are fantastic and with the headphones on she can really feel like she’s on the ground fighting the fight. This is her favorite game to live stream.

Another game that my daughter streams is Black Ops 3 is the current version but 4 comes out October 2018. In this Call of Duty the setting is more futuristic. You get to choose from three different game plays including campaign, multiplayer, and zombie.Pre-order and beta version play is available now for BO4.

The twins play this on and offline but really enjoy being online with their friends and creating their battle strategies. With three modes of play there is always a new battle around the next turn.

These are the headphones the whole family uses. Well worth the investment with wireless connection and easy charging. Especially great for games like those above that have quiet sounds like footsteps.

For PS

For Xbox

These remotes are fun additions to the basic ones that come with a new console. It helps to have different remotes when playing multiplayer to easily tell them apart after a snack break. Plus they just look really cool. Controllers are available in many colors for both platforms.

For Playstation

For Xbox

Video Gaming Starts Young These Days

My three older boys share a playstation and at times I feel like I’m in a war zone when they start fighting over who’s turn it is or who had it longer. Its great when I can find a game they all like to play and even better when I can find one they can play together. Sometimes they will even shock me and sit and watch the other one play and…. take turns. It’s a true miracle when there is no yelling, no fighting, and no tattling for more than 15 minutes.

If your in the market for a gaming system check out both these systems. Playstation 4 or Xbox One. I feel its more of a personal preference for which one is best. They both have a huge selections of games and many of them can be played by a wide age range. The youngest one that plays is six. If your wondering about the thousands of games out there that you can trust your young one to play and not grow up too fast these are some that I love and keep my son busy for hours (if I let him). Click on the image to view more info.

Lego makes a bunch of games based of of popular movies and they all are basically the same idea. Complete the missions and beat the bad guys. Sometimes you can play as the bad guy too so its fun to change it up sometimes.

This game includes a pad that connects to the console and you put figures on. We started with this Star Wars bundle pack. Each figure activates a character in the game. My son told me that when I am a millionaire I need to buy him every character. I told him I will get right on that….

Here are some of the additional characters that are available. There are way too many to list them all:

Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire Bundle

MARVEL’S Black Panther



Mickey Mouse

We started with this Batman Lego Dimensions starter pack then you can get story packs to add a whole new world to the game like this Ghostbusters one.

Then they have add ons similar to the Disney Infinity game above. These let you add more characters and stories to your game. Check out some of these below.

Ghostbusters level pack

Fantastic Beast Story Pack

Harry Potter team pack

E.T. fun pack

My twins play this game more than their brother but even he can get into it and its not too challenging to just run around for fun. The twins really focus on the missions and completing all the tasks. IT is rated T for teens but I let my younger play too. This game does require an online account and can not be played offline.

We bought this with our newest PS console as a bundle. It is also rated T for teen but if your ok with the Star Wars movies then there is nothing worse in this game. You can also play online with other players. They don’t play it as often as others but when they do its like they can’t stop until they complete a mission.

Getting fit again with TRX

Having been pregnant 5 times I’ve had a lot of years where I have slacked not done anything when it comes to fitness. Excuses about not enough time, needing to be with the baby, it being too cold or too hot, just about anything you’ve used as an excuse I’m sure I have too.

I am determined to make this the time I commit to fitness full time for the rest of my life. I am not one of those people who work out every day or eat a super strict diet with no carbs, no sugar, no fat, or whatever other diets are out there. I (mostly) eat a rounded diet with carbs, fruits, veggies, protein, and fats. I indulge in ice cream and cookies, chocolate is a passion of mine. I enjoy the things I enjoy but I now work hard 3-4 times a week to burn those calories and fat, build muscle, and increase my cardio strength. The simplest, most versatile first tool I began with was the TRX trainer. This thing is amazing. We bought a wall anchor to attach it to the garage wall where we have our home gym area so in nice weather I work out in the fresh air. When the summer gets to be a sweltering sticky mess or in the winter when I can’t feel my finger tips if I’m outside more than two minutes I can bring the TRX inside and hook it over a door. This one piece of equipment lets you work every major body part using your own body weight so you don’t have to have exercise balls, dumbbells, bands, weight vests, box steps…. just you and the TRX.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t invest in those things if you want to add more muscle and expand your cardio but this is a good starting point. I will talk more about other equipment at a later time. For now just get yourself out there and make it happen. Whatever your goal you just have to start. Its simple and hard all at the same time. It took me months of nagging from my husband and internal dialogue with myself before I finally got into my routine. I now sneak in a workout during nap time or while dinner is baking or more wonderful is when hubby helps me out with some extra pointers and motivation while the kids play nearby.

Cleaning from the Stomach Bug

*Disclaimer: I share graphic details in this post. Hope you don’t have a weak stomach.

So if you all have kids I’m sure you’ve experienced the joy of sharing germs. If you don’t yet have kids read this and be prepared. It sounds bad, and it is, but if your ready for it you can get through it as painlessly as possible. While I was pregnant with the surrogate my son who was two at the time came down with a stomach virus. He first vomited on a Monday night. Over and over again. My husband and I took turns cleaning him and his bed up all night long. Tuesday was a day of resting and diarrhea. Wednesday he was mostly just tired and recovering. Wednesday night both my husband and I started getting sick from both ends. At some point I traveled downstairs to see if the couch would be more comfortable for me (at 39 weeks pregnant mind you). It wasn’t but it did allow me to use the bathroom without having to share with John. Halfway through the night I called my OB office because I couldn’t tell if my cramps were from the virus or from labor. He told me to try to wait it out since I had a regularly scheduled check up the next day. We called my in-laws at 6 AM and asked if they could come help with the kids since we were both so sick. Ended up nixing that plan at 8 AM. Instead I left the kids at home with hubby and had the in-laws drive me to the OB. I showed up 4 hours early for my appointment but that goodness I did. I was 3 cm dilated and taken over the the hospital. Once all the blood work, exams, and IV placements were done I was ready to have a baby. The up side of being in labor with the stomach virus? The IV fluids and nausea meds let me recover so much faster. The downside is when you get discharge you go home to a house where your husband and four kids are still sick.

This is what I recommend to help deal with any virus that comes your way at any time of your life.

First always have the essentials on hand. Don’t wait to get them when you have already succumbed to the germs. Beat them to it. Here’s what I recommend.

Force of Nature: I didn’t have this with my stomach bug catastrophe but I use it daily now. Especially since I have daycare kids in my house everyday its a great, natural way to keep things clean and prevent germs from spreading. One initial investment then you only need to get the refill capsules.

Lysol Disinfecting wipes: I keep these on hand to wipe doorknobs, chairs, and other hard large surfaces.

Lysol Wide Spray: If you don’t want to use Force of Nature or fell you need something different for certain things than Lysol wide spray is the way to go. I like wide spray the best because it lets me sweep the whole space quickly. I prefer the ‘fresh beginnings’ scent but they have a lot to choose from.

Bounty Paper Towels: I have tried a lot of paper towel brands. This is my personal favorite for cleaning hands, faces, counters, floor spills, bathrooms. Use this to soak up small spills, spit ups, and oops.

Microfiber Cloths: These are great because they are inexpensive but reusable. I can throw them in the wash and reuse many times. If they happen to be really gross or start to look flat and less absorbent I don’t feel bad throwing them away. Keep a stack in the laundry room or linen closet for carpet cleanups. Also great for the garage and car.

All Free & Clear Detergent: With eczema a problem for a couple of my family members I like this detergent. We’ve been using it for years and have had no irritations. Keep a good stock of detergent for all the bedsheets, pillows, and plush toys.

Second thing you need to remember is that unless you have a teenage daughter that holds up in her room 90% of the time and is only out to eat at weird hours of the night then EVERYONE is going to get sick. Ok, so one of you may get lucky and miss it but its better to assume the worst.

That being said prepare for step three. Decontaminate everything 10 times. All those things I told you to keep on hand, your gonna use them, a lot. Repeatedly. Also if you get a really ridiculous insane bug that is like the plague then you might want to consider replacing pillows or other fluffy items that may become, shall we say, soiled during the germfest. Otherwise you just need to wash all the washable items on a hot cycle. This includes pillows, blankets, stuffed animals that cuddle with the kids all night, even soft toys that might not get cleaned well with just a spray of Lysol.

After your house is all better give it a few days just to make sure there isn’t a relapse before risking spread to others. Good luck and happy cleaning.

Gestational Carrier

There is a lot of misconceptions about gestational carriers and surrogacy. I’m not going to get into all the specifics but there are a lot of sites or information if you want to know more. These are two good books to start for you and your children.

The Very Kind Koala: A Surrogacy Story for Children

How to Become a Surrogate Mother: A Guide to Becoming a Surrogate and What You Should Know About Surrogate Motherhood

Let me tell you about my specific experience.

After having my twins in 2005 I was in nursing school and would always joke with a friend of mine about carrying her baby for her. She wasn’t sold on the idea of being pregnant but did feel like she wanted kids. Fast forward years later to 2012 and I had my next baby in my arms. I started to think back to those conversations I had with my friend and began talking to my husband about being a surrogate. I started researching what was really involved and I learned the difference between being a  carrier and being a surrogate. Egg donation seemed hard for me because I would then have someone out there who was genetically my offspring but that I would not be the mother of. Being a carrier meant I would just grow someone else baby. For some this would be the harder choice. For me it was simple and clinical. I was the oven growing the bun. I think being a nurse helped me to compartmentalize everything. Don’t get me wrong. I had an attachment to the baby I ultimately carried and to the family I was helping to grow. It was like being an aunt though. Its like when someone your close to is pregnant and you want to rub their belly because you care about the mom and baby. I had the pregnant belly but felt like the friend rubbing the bump.

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