Game Changer: Jena™ Monitor by Levana for the Sleep Resistant Child

Quiet time.

Nap time.

Just stay in your room for 45 minutes so I can have some silence time.

A few months ago Sam and I considered purchasing a video monitor for Bella’s room. I’ve written on here and Babble before about Bella’s sleeping habits. She’s a good sleeper – when she gets to sleep. There are nights when we can still hear her bouncing around and playing in there at 10pm, and we’ve put her to bed at 8.

When the Jena™  monitor by Levana came in the mail, I was really curious to see if it would make a difference. I’m able to see and hear her in the room, and also talk to her through the monitor.

Levena Jena Monitor-5

Which presented all kinds of fun for us.

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5 Ideas for Military Spouse Appreciation Day {and an iPad Mini Giveaway!}

5 Ideas for Military Spouse Appreciation Day {and an iPad Mini Giveaway!}

As a military spouse with a husband who’s been in war, I know that my job is not nearly as difficult as his is. Even now, Sam is in the desert for 5-6 weeks living in tents and eating out of packages (MRE’s) while I’m at home.

However, it warms my heart to know that other people think of us spouses as well. I remember getting a gift basket when Sam was in Iraq filled with treats and cards. It made me feel a little less lonely and isolated, as can happen so often when our other half is gone.

I forgotten all about Military Spouse Appreciation day until AT&T reached out to ask if I’d be willing to write on it (and host the giveaway below!). I know many of us aren’t sure what a military spouse might want/need either on this day or a time of deployment/hardship, so I’m giving you 5 ideas for Military Spouse Appreciation Day based on my own experience and other spouses I’ve met through the years.

  1. Post a “thinking of you!” on their Facebook wall. It’s simple but meaningful – and if you’re up to it, throw in one of those Starbucks or Barnes and Noble cards that Facebook offers.
  2. Offer to watch the kids for the afternoon. In a time when most parents without their spouse home don’t get a break, it’s great to have those few hours to get things done or simply lay on the couch and revel in the silence.
  3. Ask how you can pray for their family and spouse. It means so much to know friends are praying for my husband and family’s well being when we are all apart.
  4. Head to lunch. Some times getting out of the house is a welcome break in the monotony of the days when no one comes home in the evening to change up the routine.
  5. Help sort and pack. Many times after the spouse returns home, the family is scheduled to leave soon after. Having some of the basic stuff done and house cleaned is a tremendous help.

Don’t forget that many men are military spouses too! Often their wives leave for extended periods of time and they’re home holding down the fort as well.

Now for the giveaway! Ready to win an AT&T gift basket with an iPad Mini? They are the best of both worlds – like a bigger iPhone and a not so clunky iPad.

Easy entry with Rafflecopter and open worldwide! Additional rules and conditions are below the entries.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When He’s Gone

When He's Gone

Sam left at 2:30 this morning, waking me up with a kiss and a hug. He’s off to the field for 5-6 weeks, and one weekend he’ll be able to come home.

It’s not so much the timespan anymore of him being gone. 6 weeks is long but it’s not 18 months. He’s not in harm’s way. We’ll actually get to talk this time, unlike the last two trips when he’s had no internet/cell service at all.

What I miss the most is his presence. Right now, I kind of cling to anything that makes me happy. Which is probably why I can’t lose weight but that’s another story… I love having our evenings together, to set the table before he comes home and have dinner ready. I look forward to our weekends with each other. He’s such a good daddy, it makes our life so lovely to know he wants to be with us as much as we do him.

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Themed Lunches for Kids at Home with Fruit Shoot

As a homeschooling family, Bella and I don’t have the chance to pack a lunch too often. Maybe for the zoo or museum, but often those are just grab and go in the rush of the morning. I remember school lunches fondly when I was little – napkin notes, special sandwiches – so once in a while it’s fun to recreate that at home for her.

Since she is completely obsessed with all things dinosaur, I thought I’d make her a dino lunch with a new berry Fruit Shoot:

Fruit Shoot -5

It was a hit.

Fruit Shoot -3

These are fun moments we get to have, sometimes in the middle of long days. I want her to look back on our days together fondly, and some of my best childhood memories are small, short little moments that someone went out of their way to create for me.

Fruit Shoot -4

I don’t do this every day, but it didn’t take too long. The baby dinos played on cheese, the sandwiches were cut with her dino shapes, the egg is hardboiled and on a bed of green onions (which no, she in no way wanted to eat). Triceratops took a look into yogurt that looked like mud with cinnamon and wheat germ.

Fruit Shoot was a treat for her. Fruit Shoot also features an innovative no-spill cap (no more juice stains in the car!) making it easy for kids to be independent and on the go. These vibrant fun colored bottles come in tasty flavors of Orange, Apple, Berry Burst, and Strawberry/Raspberry.

Fruit Shoot -2

The cookie is a peanut butter/banana/oat recie from SkinnyTaste. We turned them into little volcanoes.

If you have a bit of extra time one day, (distract the kids with the new free Angry Birds game that comes on each Fruit Shoot) make a meal a little different once in a while. It’s so fun to watch their faces as they see something besides the same old boring lunch (guilty here of that).

Fruit Shoot -1

Find more ideas for lunches at home and on the go on Fruit Shoot’s Facebook page, and enter for a chance to win a trip to the Kennedy Space Center!

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With purchase of Fruitshoot, there is the option for a free download of an Angry Birds game, perfect for parents to play with their kids. Download the Angry Birds game and enter the code on the back of your Fruitshoot bottle to play!

Fruit Shoot sponsored this post, but the ideas and opinions are my own. 

Upcoming

This next month promises to be one that’s interesting.

Sam will leave tomorrow for 5 weeks, coming home once for a weekend. It’s part of training that most soldiers have to do each year, he’s missed the majority of them because each time it happens we’ve been in the middle of a crisis. I miss him terribly but after a couple of days Bella and I settle into our own routine. We keep busy that days go quickly.

I have some fun stuff coming up on the blog. I try to be careful how much I “promote” vs write on here, but days go by without me wanting to write a word. So I don’t. I try not to force myself into writing just because I should or I don’t want to do back to back giveaways.

Babble’s internal site has been down for 2 weeks so it’s been an unexpected break –  but also left me with writer’s block. I find that the more I write, the easier it is to. The less I do, the more stuck I seem to become.

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