My DIY to Halloween in 2020

Did anyone else have a DIY approach to Halloween in 2020? This was the first time in nine years that I decided that I would “make” my kids Halloween costumes. This idea was made with A LOT of hesitation. I am not very crafty, nor do I have a great deal of time. However, I did want to make sure that they had the costumes that they wanted this year. Any guesses on what they wanted to be? I will give you a hint; it was not a popular costume representing a Disney character. Okay, ill tell you. They wanted to go as dragons. That’s right, dragons and the costumes they had, well we just didn’t like them that much.

hungarian horntail dragon at universal studios
Photo by Craig Adderley on

I asked my kiddos if they wanted any of the costumes that I found online, and they both said no. They asked if we could make our own. I thought about it as I looked into their eager eyes. I wanted to say no and have them pick one online, but when they said pllllleeeeassssseeee, I couldn’t tell them to pick a costume online. They went crazy with joy as we started to talk about all the details they wanted to have. We check out our “go-to” online shop. Perhaps you know it… <a href="http://general ""“>Amazon. We use it way too often, but I digress.

Getting the details for Halloween

We go on about our day. Eat dinner, play, shower, and so on. Then the kids go to bed, and I stay up figuring out what to get for their costumes. I finally found something that I could make work. I did find different DIY parts that I could add to make what they wanted. Do you want to know a little something about <a href="http://general ""“>Amazon? You have to be careful about the shipping tie frame. Some of the things that I needed for their costume wasn’t going to come in till October 30. Yeah, yikes indeed. We did luck out, though, and the package arrived on October 23. I had plenty of time to get it together thankfully.

In my attempt to make their costumes, I will admit that I did not DIY it entirely. I did order wings that came with a dragon face mask. I also got a bodysuit in blue for my son and purple for my daughter. I could not find anything that had dragon scales on it, so I had to make my own. We bought some of the washout hair dye for the paint, and I also used that in their hair to match the color of the scales I painted with the cardboard template that I made.

Proud moment for the DIY Halloween costumes

The costumes turned out so great. The kids loved the concept! They looked amazing and had a mommy original. They were our little dragon changelings. Now, with a busy schedule of school work and work, I was able to “make” their costumes. I am not a very crafty person, but I was so proud of the work I did. I also made sure that I told everyone that I made their costumes. Yes, I also let them think that I made all the things I ordered. Well, until I got asked how I made those things, then I had to come clean. Thanks for reading my story. Until next time.

Here’s a few links to what I purchased:

Mask and wings



Adding Puppies

We decided to add 2 puppies to our family when we moved to another state. It seemed like a great idea. The kids would have someone to bond to, help them feel a bit more secure since we didn’t have any friends here yet. It made a lot of sense, so we went to the local animal shelter. (even though we spent weeks looking online for the breeds we thought we wanted. As you noticed, I did write that we went to the shelter). We told the kids the morning of the trip to the shelter, and they were so excited! When we left in the morning so we could be the first ones there, and we were. We get out of the car and sign-in on the paper, then walk over to the dog section and find two puppies; we want to see how well we bond.

black and white short coated dogs

While we were on our way to the shelter, we explained what they should look for when they sit with the puppies.

Temperament- How they respond to you. Does the dog come to you or move away from you?

Pay close attention to its bark- Is it aggressive, or are they trying to talk with you? (Annabelle is a talker who has a lot to say. She is not aggressive).

Assessing the puppies

After we assess that, we can go in and see how well they do with us. Our kids were good with it. They tried their best not to allow their excitement to cloud their judgment. Also, keep in mind what to look for before spending time with the dogs. My son went right by the first puppy and right to the kennel next to it. Were Annabelle was. She was on her bed, head down, and didn’t show much interest in us at first.

My daughter went right to the kennel my son passed. Stood in front of a puppy who stared at her from the other side with a slight tail wag. The kids wanted to spend time with the puppies and see if we can take them home. So we go into the kennels and spend the next 90 minutes with them. It took some time for the puppies to trust us. Let’s face it; being in a shelter is scary for any animal.

The shelter was terrific; they provided us with a harness and a toy to take home. Now, these harnesses were great to have at first. Then I had to take them a few weeks later to get their shots. I took them to a clinic; the prices are less for the vaccines. I had to take two puppies and two kids. In my mind, it was going to go well. I had my kids to help me. We had been working on training at home with the puppies. I assure you that trip sent me home crying.

When we got to the clinic nice and early, there was already a line. I asked my son to hold my paperwork from the shelter and my daughter to hold my purse, and I would walk the puppies. Leaving them in the car to get a number from the technician who came by to give us a number. I got that number and went back to my car. The puppies are barking and nervous; I figured it was because of all the new things they were experiencing. That was somewhat true.

More work to do

I got the puppies out of the car and quickly realize that they needed a lot more training. They pulled a lot on the leash, tried to run off, barked at other dogs and people. The kids were more interested in getting across the street, not staying with the puppies and me. I had so many people looking at me like I was a mess I was.

I looked like I was one clown short of a circus that day. At one point, Annabelle ran off, and I tried to grab the leash, but it just slipped right through my hand, leaving me with a burn that later blistered. She runs up to a lady and her dog barking. Annabelle now scared because the other dog walks over to her. Annabelle was unsure what to do, and that allowed us to grab her leash. While we were chasing after Annabelle, Comet was wiggling out of her leash. Scarlett saw this, and I was able to grab her just as she got out of it so I could prevent her from running off.

Finally, we go inside the clinic, and that was another hot mess. Annabelle had calmed down and stopped trying to run off. Comet was at a 10! Trying over and over to get out of her harness. Finally I had to sit over her. Put her between my legs so I could have more control over her quick reactions.

The clinic

The lady in front of us asked about the puppies, and I thought she would let me have a piece of her mind, but she told me that she worked for a shelter before, and some of her behaviors are pretty common. I thought for sure that she was just trying to make me feel better, but she shared a few stories and even gave me some tips to help keep her calm. It somewhat worked at the clinic, but it was just something that I would never want to do again. The kids kept informing me that they were hungry and how hot it was in the clinic. We were there for about 30 hours.

A long time but our 4 legged family members needed their shots. Even inside, Comet was trying to get out of her harness. We finally got up to the desk. Got the shots. Waited a few minutes before we could go. Then tried to run out of the office, past the long line of other dogs and cats that were barely 2 feet away on the other hallway wall.

hospitable woman at reception of antique hotel

Comet and Annabelle

We get outside, narrowly escaping the incident inside when Comet and Annabelle try to run off outside. Both tried to wiggle out of their leashes, and I had so much trouble keeping them with me. We finally get to the car, and I load up the kids. My daughter closes the door just before I was about to get the puppies in (I guess out of habit). Then she quickly realizes that the puppies needed to come in and opens the door. The puppies carelessly barrel into my car. The door hits the truck next to us. The vehicle owner was in the car, waiting for their turn to go in. Yep, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, she asks me for my information, and yes, there was a bump to the door but no dents or even missing paint.

I lost it, my hand hurt, and I had to now deal with this. I couldn’t stop the tiers from pouring out of my eyes. My kids were upset and trying to apologize; the owner was patiently waiting for me to get it together and get her the information. Once I get out and hand her the information, she tells me it’s okay; we have all had those days; take a deep breath. There was more to the conversation. In that moment I was just so shocked at the day I had that processing it all was a blur. I get home and yes, still crying. My husband, who is working from home at the moment saw me crying and tried his best to make sure I was okay while working.

Proper accessories

He asks, “What happened?” the only thing I could say was, “these puppies were so bad!” and I started to cry even more as I was explaining our outing. At that point my mind shifted, and I told him that I was going to get a better harness. I wanted to make sure I control them while they learned to be around other people and animals. He said, okay, let’s figure out the best one to get.

I went on Amazon and found ones that went from their chest to their hips; they were about 90 dollars. Josh asked me to rethink that since they were still puppies, and I know that at that moment I was just to upset; I wanted something that seemed like they couldn’t just wiggle out. He was right though, and I found ones that were not as beefy but did offer more control. So I placed the order, and we have been using them since they arrived. Let me just tell you; they have been amazing. The puppies respond well with them on, and it is more comfortable for both the puppies and me.

When our puppies wear their harness, they even calm down more. It’s almost like one of those weighted blankets for them. It might not be necessary for every puppy or dog, but it was a game-changer for us. I would love to know if anyone else has used this harness for their 4-legged family members and found it helpful. Thanks for reading my story. Until next time, don’t forget to love on your puppy… or other fury baby.

Physically fit

Before I had kids, I used to work out all the time. I was active and physically fit. I would do an hour and a half of cardio every day. On top of that, I was swimming 3 times a week and running around with my friends. I had so much muscle and felt good—the best shape of my life. Then I gained the happy 15. That’s right; being in a fantastic relationship that I was pure bliss and judgment-free was the best feeling.

I traded the Norditrac and weights for snuggle time on the couch and binge-watching a show on Netflix ALL weekend. A few year’s roles by, and along comes our first child—a true blessing. When I was pregnant with her, I gained 42 pounds, but I didn’t care!

Once I got cleared to resume physical activity, I decided to get back into working out. I wanted to lose the “baby weight.” I did try yoga with my sister and discovered that I didn’t feel that either. So then I tried Pilates, and it was good, but I missed doing intense cardio. Well, I decided that I was just going to dive into cardio. I thought it would be just as awesome now as it was then. I was very wrong in my assumption! As a first time mom, I didn’t have the time to do cardio for 90 minutes. There was laundry, pumping (that, by the way, was one of my biggest struggles. I was literally pumping every 45 minutes on top of latching to build up my milk supply, and I still never had enough to feed my baby with only breast milk), cooking, shopping, and playtime. I would say sleep, but as many of you know, sleep is never a factor

Some weight loss

I did lose some of the weight, probably close to 20 pounds before I got pregnant again. Another blessing, we couldn’t have been happier. Now defiantly at this time, trying to get into working out was so far from my mind. I was running on fumes. I honestly think that my son hated sleep. He would only sleep for a few hours at a time and never sleep more than 45 minutes for his naps, but that’s another story. I just went through the motions of life. I even started to think that all the running around I did in the house would be enough. You know, the cleaning, mess pickups, playtime with the kids, cooking, cleaning (yes, I said that twice on purpose). That was my work out and that was going to be enough to get the “baby weight” off. At least that’s how I felt. I never sat down. It felt like there was always something to do. Let me tell you that’s not entirely true. I did lose some weight. Enough to get back to my “before” baby weight…..absolutely not.

Challenge for me

Staying motivated has been a big challenge for me. I have been trying to find the time to get back into shape, and I keep seeing commercials for the Bowflex Tread climber. That seems like something that I would be able to do in 30 minutes. Now that the kids are a bit older and can do more things for themselves, it seems more doable to get physically fit.

I loved the days I could find the time to work out. I was in the necessary headspace and felt adequately motivated. Every time I started to stretch and warm up my muscles and clear my head, it wouldn’t take long before all I could think about is all the things I have to do around the house. All the things I have to do for my children before bed, all the things I have to do for my business, all the things I have to get to make sure that my house functions correctly and we have all that we need in it… just to name a few things. So before I can get 10 minutes into stretching, I am already anxious about getting all that done and need to call it quits to get as much as I can accomplish before 11 p.m. hits.

Setting goals

Since the kids are older, they have wanted to work out and try different exercise styles. It has been so much fun. They don’t work out for an extended period. For now, that’s okay. Some of their favorite things are kid yoga (they usually do that one independently).

they love to stretch, they are not big runners like I was. They do like it when we work out as a family. It has helped with staying motivated to workout. They don’t always want to work out when I do, and there are times I don’t want to work out when they do. It’s rather comical when I think about it.

man and woman in red tank top and black shorts doing yoga

One thing that we have done off and on as a family is a pushup contest. That has been something that we all enjoy. The kids and I are determined to beat Josh at our pushup contest. I think we stand a chance to combine our total pushups and use that total against his total. Seriously, the 3 of us against him wouldn’t beat his count. Perhaps once we make this a more day-to-day contest, and get more physically fit, we will get him, but until then, the push is real.

Becoming physically active and fit this coming year is our family’s big goal. Not in the sense that we want to watch what we eat to lose weight. We want to make it our goal to get out and be more active. Having a sedentary life right now is almost unavoidable, with unique situations that have raised. Still, if we make changes to get more active by going to the park in the morning with the dogs or walking the property several times to get maybe a half-mile to a mile of walk time in, that would be a great start.

I would like to share some information with you from the CDC for a good source of recommendations:

#physicallyfit #family #motivation #love


Navigating new water.

I want to applaud all the parents out there who had to take on a new challenge this year. 2020 came with so many factors that changed a lot for all of us. The biggest pat on the back that I would like to offer would be to those who dove into helping their children navigate through their school work. I have been homeschooling my children for almost six years now. I know that it comes with many ups and downs and challenges that made me stop and reevaluate how my children learn.

The navigating that parents, grandparents, teachers, and children all went through is quite remarkable! Schools are do not operate with an online curriculum. I am not talking about homeschool curriculums. The schools that children attend to learn by a teacher in a school district paid for by the State. Public, Charter, Private, or other.  I saw many of my friends and family jump in and work extraordinarily hard to add this onto their already overloaded plates. You gave them an invaluable lesson that will hopefully give them perspective when dealing with a challenge that seems impossible.  

What are they learning?

I am willing to bet that you learned so much about how your child learns—the subjects they thrive in and those they have very little to no interest in at this time. As a homeschooler, I know I am always surprised at the interests they have one week and how that changes based on the information they want to know. If I really stop and think about it, though, I should not be all that surprised. We as adults do that very same thing.

If you’re like me, there are many things you learn, and pretty quickly too. Taking on the responsibility to ensure that your child has a proper education can be a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There are times is seems overwhelming and scary; perhaps you are not sure what to do. Then there are those days where you get up and rise to the challenge! You feel like superman or superwoman for the fantastic day you had teaching your little one because they breezed through it. Not only did they get the lesson, but they had fun doing it.  I will let you in on a little secrete, whether you are new to teaching because you are now distance learning, new to homeschooling, or have been homeschooling for some time, we All have those range of days.  

We all have questioned wheater or not we are giving our kids enough time to learn their material, how much time do they spend learning a day one on one, what to include in their subjects, do I have to come up with the material for the to learn and if so where do I start? There are quite a few resources out there that can help you get started. Just be mindful. You can easily get overwhelmed. There is so much to know, and it can be a big deal taking on the responsibility of teaching your kids.

We all know or have come to know that there are different learning styles, hearing, seeing, and visual. I used to think my kids learned one way, so I do all the school supplies that I thought would work for them. They loved it…at first. Then about halfway into the curriculum, they decided (by they, I really mean me) that this was not the style in which they learned.  So, I had to get a different curriculum so that they wanted to learn the material.

Once I did that, I got to see how well they navigated and absorbed the knowledge they were learning once I got them the proper set up to thrive in their learning style. This was a big game changer! They went from frustrated and board to, “Hey mom, check this out!” One of my favorite questions they ask me is, “Did you know?” Then they provide me with all the information they have learned and want to share. I absolutely love it.

Just remember to start slow and even though you may not feel like it, you really are doing an amazing job!

I am going to give you two links that you may find helpful when starting:

<a href="http://Gift 1 Year of ABCmouse for 49% for Only $59.95!“>ABC Mouse

<a href="http://PRICE DROPS ON HUNDREDS OF ITEMS – NOW ON SALE! Plus Free Shipping On ORDERS $33+ Using Code: BTSFREE At Checkout! Hurry Sale Ends 12/31/20!“>Discount School Supplies

Navigating Family Life Blog

Parent perspective.

As a parent, I can appreciate the challenges my parents went through. As a child, I had no idea that they had no idea what they were doing. One of the most significant disadvantages that they had was a lack of shared experiences.

Today we can go online, type into a search engine, or query somewhere, or even on social media, and ask, “Has anyone has this happen?” or “has anyone tried?” And the list goes on. You will get so many replies from family, friends, and even people you do not personally know. Some of those unknown people may have great advice or insight and live halfway around the world. It is remarkable where and how we get our information today.

Our parents had close friends and family to asks if they tried a product or tips on parenting, health, and books they read. The staggering limitations they had on product information blows my mind. I could not imagine choosing something that no one in my circle (or social media circle) couldn’t give me some insight into because they never heard of it or never tried it.

Our parents had to. To this day, my mom states, “We did the best with what we had.” That statement often makes me realize how fortunate I am and my children are because of the resources we have available to us today. At any time, day or night 7 days a week, I can go online and find out the best natural laundry detergent. I can go online and see which children’s book has the best reviews for readers who are just starting to learn how to read.

I can even find information on the weather 10 days ahead of time without watching the news. I can even get the weather in another part of the world to plan for a trip. It will not just be warm or cold this time of the year. It will tell me, cloudy, possible rain, temp range, air quality, pollen rating, humidity, and so on. Our parents did not have that simple convenience that we use every day today. Crazy, right?!

Different winging method: It’s interesting to see what they “winged,” and I realize what I am “winging” isn’t that different. The only real big difference is how we acquired that information. Perhaps this is why my parent’s generation is much closer within their circle. They formed a bond on a different level than I have with many of my circles. Not to say that I don’t have close friends or bonds, but it’s defiantly is different than what my parents have.

I know for myself, I want to try to make sure that I have all the information I possibly can before I get something or try something new, especially for my family. I am big into researching things. Yes, sometimes that can be a problem, but it does bring me a kind of comfort that I am sure my parents didn’t have until after seeing how well something worked.

Perhaps the big take-a-way here is making do with what you have. I am pretty confident that my kids are going to have this very same “Ah-ha” moment. Although, they will have much better technology (such as the way evolution).

#learning #information #azfamilylife #reading #family #juniorzoovet #watchthemgrow #books #cute #nature #followme