Thursday, April 10, 2014

Keeping Your Relationship Healthy After Kids...

As a mom, you understand how rewarding having children and a family can be. From their first steps to their first day of school, your goal as a parent is to be there for them as they grow and develop. However, in your quest to be the best mom you can be, your personal life takes a back seat. Your marriage may suffer, too, because you no longer have the intimate time you once had with your mate. As your worries shift from yourself and your partner to your children, your marriage isn't your focus or priority anymore and may become neglected.

You're not failing your kids if you put your marriage first, however. Marriages need just as much nurturing as our children do. According to "When you put your marriage on the back burner, your kids can sense the lack of closeness between you." Therefore, you must make time for you and your spouse because it will create a number of positive outcomes, including the improvement of your marriage and enrichment of your ability to show your children how to develop positive relationship skills.

You probably recognized the change in your marriage once you entered parenthood. Your children obviously began to take precedence over personal hobbies and professional endeavors, while your partner faded into the background. You've given up just about everything in your life—from your bed to your time, not much in your life is solely yours when you have young children. This is particularly true when it comes to your relationship.

According to a recent Net Mums survey, almost 80 percent of women report a reduction in the amount of sex they've had since having children. Most of the surveyed mothers claimed to make love with their significant others about once a week. Obviously, you and your mate can no longer spend those intimate moments you once enjoyed together prior to having little ones. However, it's important that you work to maintain a healthy balance between your children and your relationship.

Communication is vital to any relationship, but romantic relationships in particular must have a strong line of communication. As Buzzle suggests, maintaining open communication with your spouse brings you closer together as a couple and helps you resolve issues quicker and more effectively. If you're frustrated with the lack of intimacy in your relationship, don't be afraid to voice this to your partner. At the same time, figure out ways to better your communication. Whether it's five minutes to connect in the morning/before bed or spending an hour hashing out the details of your day, you must make a point to touch base with your mate at least once a day.

Remember to use this time to discuss topics other than your children and family. Instead, focus on your life together as a couple or personal issues. Talk about the mundane details of your day or your new dreams and goals—just be sure to have this open dialogue with your partner each and every day. This will make your bond as a couple stronger and can even re-spark some of the desires that may have waned after you started growing your family.

Sex is essential to any romantic relationship, and you and your partner need intimacy for your relationship to thrive. According to Women's Health Magazine, lack of sex is a common marriage problem that could lead to unfulfilled desires being perceived as rejection. To combat a sexual rut or prolonged sexual dry spell, schedule it into your routine. Figure out a time when both you and your mate are free, and take a break for some sexual intimacy.

Whether you go for a quick love session or a full-on sex fest, make time to show your partner some physical loving. Not only could this boost your relationship and add some passion to your marriage, it could also intensify your libido. Also, keep in mind that there are other ways to show you partner affection besides the actual act of having sex. Small, tender acts of affection—a simple caress of the cheek or holding hands—can signal emotional connectedness and higher levels of empathy, as Adam & Eve details here. This can in turn create a more affable environment for sexual interaction.

In addition to enhancing the romance between the sheets, you must also pay attention to the emotional intimacy you share with your mate. Explore the passion you have for your significant other outside of the bedroom. Start by incorporating activities like date night. In a 2012 study conducted by the National Marriage Project, date nights are a valuable way for couples to spend some time to themselves and can heighten marital happiness. You don't have to go to great lengths to be successful, either.

A simple dinner and movie does wonders, or, if you'd like to switch things up, try a new activity like taking a couple's cooking class or going on a whiskey distillery tour. Even if you can't go anywhere, you and your partner should still enjoy a relaxing evening alone at least once a month. Send the kids to your parents, prepare a meal together, and have a romantic date at home. By integrating date night in your relationship, the two of you will have some much needed time to focus on each other and your relationship.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Family Fun Out at the Races...

Family fun out at the races
It’s always great to have something different planned for the weekend, and if you can do something that gets the whole family outside in the fresh air, then so much the better. Unless you’re into horse racing, you might not have considered a day out at a local racecourse as a possibility, but in fact, it’s a great option for a fun day out.
Not only do you get to see some horse racing up close and personal, but if you pick a Family Fun Day there will usually be lots of other entertainment for the kids too. It depends on the size of the course, but sometimes you’ll find there are things like bouncy castles and face painting to keep the kids amused in between the race times.
You could always decide to have a flutter on the races while you’re there using a site like Betfair which offers mobile betting app so that you can make your decisions while you’re out and about. On Betfair, you can even bet in-running if you think you’ve spotted the winner halfway through a race.
Of course, there are some big events in the horse racing calendar that will attract huge crowds to the major race courses. Examples include the Grand National in Aintree, Liverpool, in the UK in April, the Kentucky Derby in May in the States and the Melbourne Cup in Australia in November. If you have young kids, you’re probably best avoiding major events like these as the crowds might be a bit much for the little ones, but you could always watch the big races on TV.

To get your family in the mood for a day at the races, why not watch the Grand National on Saturday 5 April. You certainly won’t be alone – an estimated 600 million people will watch the race live on TV and many of them will be backing Teaforthree, the current favourite on Betfair and other betting sites at a price of around 10/1.
*This is a contributed post.*

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Preschool at Home: Reading Resources (Sight Words)

I have often found that when people know how to do something, like sewing or doing hair, they are often not interested in teaching other people how to do it. Some may not even be willing to share how they learned. That's so funny to me. It's like they don't want anyone else to learn how to do something they're good at. They may even tell you that they'll be more than happy to teach you or share the info but they never follow through on that…

Well. As I have said before, I am a girl's girl. If I know something and I think it can help you I am going to share it. If I see that something has worked for my daughter or son I will be more than happy to share that with you. Why not? Sharing is caring and at some point I know I'll need someone to care for me and mine.

Today I am going to share some of the resources I have found online to make introducing Savannah to reading a breeze. We first started off by learning letters and their phonetic sounds and then we moved to sight words. I am not a teacher or educator of any sort. I am fumbling my way through teaching my daughter. I try different things until I find what works. So please consider all of that when you are reading these preschool posts. I'm just sharing our journey and I am not trying to come off as an expert at all.

Teaching Sav the sight words extremely boosted her confidence in reading. She even sounds out words a lot better too. We still have a long way to go but I think we're off to a great start. My little lady should be reading by her birthday and that was my goal for 2014. With that said, here are all 220 of the non-noun sight words sub-divided into five levels.

I like making my own flashcards. Since Savannah already knows many of these I'll be making cards for the words we still need to work on. If you visit this site you can download bingo cards to go along with the sight words. That's another fun way to help them learn. You may also remember that we like playing "musical words" or "word hop". I lay all the cards out on the floor and I have Savannah hop to the word I call out or I play music, she walks around, when he music stops she has to pick a word and tell me what it is. Very fun!

Did you find this helpful? I'll continue to share stuff as we find what works for us. Feel free to share and pin!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Preschool at Home: Kindergarten Preparation

Now that we've gotten into a better schedule centered around learning I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of everything I wanted to teach Savannah before she starts school next year. This is my last school year having her at home and I want to make sure she is prepared for her first day of school.

This list is based off what Sav already knows and what she still has to learn. I'm pretty sure there are some things that I may have forgotten so I'll do an updated list and share it if I need to. I am still really loving the Preschool Prep Company's literacy tools. She's on their level 3 sight word reading books now. As we go through each book she gets better at sounding out words. It's been so neat watching her become a little reader.

I really need to do a lot better about teaching her numbers and math. I am a word person and I naturally gravitate towards books and writing. I plan to start alternating our lessons. One day we'll do Reading/Writing and the next day we'll do Counting/Math. That's my plan between now and next August when she starts school.

What do you think of this list? Anything I missed? Feel free to pin and share if you'd like!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Preschool at Home: Establishing a Routine for Learning

Whew. Hello. I feel like I have been neglecting the blog a lot lately. A while ago I talked about simplifying our schedule by taking a couple weeks to quiet my life and regroup. That's where I've been the past couple weeks. Quieting our routine so that I can get a good understanding of what can stay and what can go.

The weather here has been beautiful. Hello Spring. We've been hanging out at the playground a lot. Once the triple digits hit in a couple months it'll be hard to get out to play so I'm trying to let Savannah soak up sun while she can...

It has been really great enjoying them. Taking the time to worry less and play more has been a huge sense of relief for me. It also gave me the time to determine exactly what I want our schedule to be going forward. It's hard to revise your schedule/routine when you're always doing something or going somewhere. While all of her activities were on Spring Break last week I took that opportunity to really figure out what's going to work best for us.

I discovered a lot. Mainly that we were not getting nearly as much playtime in as I thought. Don't get me wrong we were going to play dates, classes and dance but my little family wasn't getting much play time together. We were playing with everyone else but each other, LOL!

As Savannah approaches the age of four and BabyM turns one I want us to settle into what I think is going to be the routine that works for us. It's a 50/50 learn and play routine. The best of both worlds. In the mornings we'll do all of our learning and development. When the baby goes down for his nap Sav and I normally eat lunch. Once he's up, we'll play together until it's time to make dinner. We can go to a playground or play some of her board games. Whatever she wants.

handwriting practice. she's getting better. we've got to work on that backwards N though.

During my little hiatus I also figured out exactly what our learning goals are going to be. I know what I want to teach them. I'll share my goals for learning in a different post. So far our new schedule has been working out really well. I still have some fine tuning to do with grocery shopping and housework. It's a work in progress but at least I can say we are progressing.

Have you changed your family schedule lately? Have any plans to?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Married & Dating: A Lasagna Dinner

Yay! So today is the first month for the Married & Dating link up! This is a link up that celebrates the courtship that exists in marriage. As women, we're busy with kids and work and sometimes it's hard to make time to keep the dating relationship alive with our husbands.

For us, it's hard to get a traditional date night. We don't have a sitter unless family comes to visit so many of our dates are done as a family or right here at home. My husband and I really try to make the most out of our time after our kids go to sleep. That's why I am a stickler for that seven thirty bedtime…

Today was no different. I mentioned before that I love creating my husband's favorite meals for him. So this weekend I wanted to do lasagna with a twist. We started off dinner with a salad. (If you look really close you can see Sav on her tricycle.)

For the lasagna I tried something new. I might share the "recipe" in a different post if anyone wants it. This was a Chicken and Shrimp Pesto pasta with Mushrooms and Zucchini. It was banging. My husband loved it. For dessert we had brownie fudge chocolate chip cookies courtesy of Pillsbury. They were so good and we devoted them before I could take a pic. 

After our tummies were nice and full we snuggled up on the couch to catch up on our DVR. I had previously recorded Silver Linings Playbook. Ever since I saw it get so much acclaim during the awards season last year I wanted to see it. Just in case it wasn't good we had Argo as a back up. 
I feel like someone's DVR says a lot about them, LOL! Check out our mix of kid friendly and adult only shows up there. Banshee is such a good show...
And here is my look from today on our way home from church. My husband likes the all natural look. It was super windy so I wore a hat to church with my LBD. Once we were home I changed into a more relaxed outfit.

During the week things are so busy that we don't get to have a lot of quality time together so I really cherish our time together on the weekends. This is what I call a home date or couch date. Can't wait to link up with everyone again next month! We'll be doing this on the third Monday of every month.

What do you think about the lasagna I made? Would you like the "recipe"?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Coming Soon: Married & Dating - A New Series

Every third Monday of the month (March 17th) I'll be sharing a date night that my husband and I have recently had. This is a series that I'll be hosting along with Baby Teems, Drea from So She Writes by Miss Dre and Carissa from The Green Eyed Lady blog.

We are asking other bloggers to join us and share how they date while married. Celebrating the courtship in marriage isn't something you see often. We hope that this new series will encourage married couples to keep the sparks in their relationships flying.

The Chic Stay at Home Mom
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