Monday, January 14, 2013

Digital Scrapbooking: MyMemories

I know I love to scrapbook. I do both digital scrapbooking and paper scrapbooking. Both provide me things that I like to do - being crafty and saving time!

I have tried several different software programs for digital scrapbooking and card making. My favorite is the MyMemories Suite. I can make so many different things with this program. I did our Christmas cards from it,  my daughter's modeling collages, scrapbooking pages, cards, and more. It's so easy to use and so inexpensive!

MyMemories was kind enough to provide me with a discount code for my reader's to use to get the program as well. It gets $10 off the actual software and an additional $10 for materials. The program comes with some free stuff, which I used for a long time until I was ready to start buying. Then I realized they had specials and free downloads year round from their site! I had been missing out for so long on that deal, so even if you are unsure about putting too much money into it, you always have the options of the free things available. Templates, papers, designs, seriously so much that I couldn't even tell all. It's just too much, and I am sure I haven't even been through all of them! But if you do decide you like it and you decide to invest more into it, it is so inexpensive compared to other softwares I have tried. The quality is great. I have printed several things from it. I did all of A's one year in a small book. I have done most of our travels with it as well. The quality of the printed versions are extremely nice.

The software is $39.97 at full price. Seriously, you can not beat that. $10 off, and you just got yourself a $29.97 digital scrapbooking software that is easy to use, fun, and great quality.

I will do another post showing some of the things I have created! For sure! :)

The exclusive code is: STMMMS70177

Feel free to copy and paste the code into the block provided to avoid from any typos!

**Right now they are having a get a FREE Photobook with the purchase of the software! SCORE!

Monday, January 7, 2013


I have been thinking about starting my career here soon. I know that being 36 weeks pregnant and not knowing how my life will change in the next few weeks is not the "perfect" time to make that decision. However, I feel like I am getting to the point to where I need to start looking into our futures as a family so I can help provide for our children when they are older. Retirement, college funds, first cars, and they only get more expensive the older they get.

Mr. Man and I have been discussing it for a while. I have to admit that I am very excited to start my career; however, I really, really, really enjoy staying home with my children. It's a hard decision, especially when there is no financial burden or any thing else to give more guidance.

A little background information is that I have been unemployed since March of 2008. I quit my job as an Eyewear Specialist to prepare for our overseas move that summer. When I arrived in England, I refused to work at the commissary, BX, and CDC. And I really wanted to start my degree program. I started my degree program and doubled up on classes so I could finish by the time we left England. The thought was when we went back to the states, I would be prepared to find a job and start my career. While being in England, we decided we loved being overseas. We wanted to stay longer, and that is what we were granted. My thoughts at the time on my career was that most people don't start their careers until their late 20s and since I was so young, I still had time. I do feel this way, and I will explain more.. this is where the selfish comes in.

Living in Italy does not provide very many professional opportunities for spouses and their careers. You are not allowed to have home businesses. Italian laws. I started up the business of making hair bows, children's clothing, and crocheting. However, that took a huge dip when we moved. I still do it for returning customers, but no more advertising and no more selling for a profit. I also started selling Barefoot Books while in England. I absolutely adore their books and found that A did, too. It was a great opportunity, but again - no advertising and no using the post office to mail off things or receive them.

When we got here, I didn't care about any of that. I was perfectly happy with the simple fact that I was going to be granted my dream - continuing to be a stay at home mom. Little did I know that I would start feeling like I was getting old and time was ticking away. Mr. Man is in support of whatever I choose, and that I am thankful. It gives me more options, less stress, and the freedom to make sure I am happy with whatever I choose to do.

While searching for these opportunities and thinking about my options, I came across the idea of distance learning. Being an instructor for an online university. I knew I wanted to continue my education if I wasn't going to work. That was a given. But I was having a hard time deciding if I should get my Master's in Elementary Education or continue with other Bachelor programs for other accreditions with focuses for teaching. After all, I am qualified for middle school as well. Most schools require that you have a qualified focus when you are hired since middle school teachers teach a specific subject. Thinking about this worried me some because I wanted to concentrate on things that I already had a huge lead way in  - like art, physical education, and special education.

While I was in England and completing my degree, I had an eye opener to these areas in both elementary and middle school. They are starting to phase out. Schools are moving away from PE, recess, art, and other areas. Their focus is on the core curriculum. After thinking about this, I realized that it may not be worth it in the long run since teachers are required to include those areas in their classroom anyway.

But then there was the thought of, "I really just want to stay home with my babies." That is where Distance Learning came in to play. I wanted to get my Master's and getting my Master's in Elementary Education would only give me the opportunity to progress in the school system - principal, supervisors, etc. But in order to do that, you have to have experience in the lower positions - like teaching. Well, duh. Makes sense. But who says that I want to be a supervisor, principal, or superintendent. Well, put all this together and VOILA! Master's in Adult Education and Training! DUH! Why didn't I think of this before?!

After doing some research, I found that this Master's Degree would give me the flexibility to teach online for a university and also give me the accreditation to do any wellness and fitness programs for adults. Umm, hello.... Not sure if I ever blogged about this, but I have been going back and forth about getting certified to be a personal trainer or nutritionist or wellness coordinator. This fits ALL categories  plus provides the opportunities for me to work from home and stay with my babies.

The next step was to see what is required for online teaching - the qualifications. One (and the hardest one for me) is two years in a professional work environment. With that said, I have to get a job and work for two years in order to even be considered to teach online. Well, back to finding a job and what to do.

I started searching for job availability. My problem is that I am very picky. I want something that will enhance my experience and knowledge in my chosen career path. Not something to just get me by. The only things available to me are right now and open through the summer is 1- teacher's aid, 2- child development center leader, and 3- substitute teaching.

Obviously my first choice would be the teacher's aid because I would be allowed to be in the classroom and assist a teacher without all the extras of actually being the teacher. Good way to get my foot in the door. The next two options I see as equal. The CDC position would be great. It requires my degree. The pay isn't the best, but it would be another great opportunity to getting my foot in the door. My two degrees are in Child Development and Elementary Education. However, I would work year round. That would suck. As far as substituting goes, I love the idea. It would be great. However, it's not permanent - salary - nothing is guaranteed. But I would have summers off. So now what?

Here is where I am stuck. If I do go to work, it will be once Baby E is 6 months old, so at the end of summer. The next is I really don't want to work year round. Selfish? I really want to be able to continue our travels and enjoy being overseas while we can. But I also would rather something more guaranteed. Sigh. What to do? Decisions, decisions.

Any advice, tips, recommendations, thoughts?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Recipe: Peach Tea Mix

Two things that have really brought me to drink tea. Pregnancy and living in England. Since it was always chilly in England, I always wanted a hot drink. I got tired of drinking hot cocoa all the time (which I also have a mix recipe for), so I decided to indulge in their tea drinking. My favorite brand was Twinnings. 

Now that I am in Italy, tea isn't as big of a deal. And none are as good as the Twinnings. That is when I started looking for alternatives. Peach tea is one of my favorite flavored teas, so I began my journey. I did a lot of research and I tried to find alternative routes to substitute for things I couldn't get or feared, and this is what I have came up with. 

Peach Tea Mix

2 large Peach flavored jello
1/2 cup instant tea
1/2 cup Tang
1/2 cup sweetened lemonade mix
1 cup sugar

Mix and store in air tight container. 
Use 2 or 3 teaspoons per cup of hot water. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

35 Weeks Pregnant with Baby C2

First off, I hope everyone had a great holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. May this new year brings you  love, peace, health, wealth & happiness for you all!

Now to the original thought of this post. 

I am 35 weeks pregnant now. Nothing really exciting going on or has changed since my last post. A has become more affectionate to me and the belly, which I find absolutely adorable. When you ask her if she is going to be a big sister, she lights up and says yes then squeals a big Yayyyy! and claps her hands. She just started doing that, and I thought Mr. Man may have taught her that, but when I showed him he was just as surprised as me. It's very cute. I'm determined to get it on video. 

As far as the back pain, hip pain, and crotch pain that I talked about in my last post - it is still there. I'm sure it will be there until I deliver. I hear after your first you feel things more intensely, so I don't think there is much I can do to make changes for it to not happen. But stretching, repositioning, and so on really helps. It's not unbearable by any means, but I would just rather it not happen - especially when dealing with a 20 month old and trying to manage a house. I have to remind myself to take breaks and relax because the Braxton Hicks Contractions will start getting to me. 

I am having a harder time staying on my feet for long periods of time. This is another thing that I really don't remember experiencing this severely with A. The only time I remember having to sit down from being on my feet too long was when Mr. Man painted my belly for Halloween.  I was only about 15-16 weeks then, though. Right now, it's literally exhausting to just stand and sometimes to just sit. I think it is because this baby is so much lower than A was. 

As far as labor and delivery goes, I have had a few questions about my plans/goals, what I will do differently, and so on. So I thought I would go ahead and share. I don't really have a "plan" per say. And I definitely don't have a written or typed out plan for my doctor. I didn't with A, and I don't regret it so I figured I would take the same route this go around. With A, I went in with an open mind. I knew I wanted it to be as natural as possible, but I also knew that there were circumstances that could arise that I may  not be able to control. I personally feel like this is the best way to go for me. My goal is to make it to 39 weeks. I will not induce unless medically necessary. If I go until 40+ weeks, I will also be happy. I really don't want to deliver before 38 weeks. Other than that, I think it is fairly simple. Just to deliver and have a happy, healthy baby. If I need an epidural, I am not afraid to get one again. If I can go without it, then I definitely will. C-section will be uncontrollable, so no true opinion on that. 

Here is a 34 week picture of A kissing on her baby sister!