Thursday, May 5, 2016

2 resources to eliminate FB timeline

I'm always talking about streamlining my time online and last month I cut back on Facebook once again.  I felt so overwhelmed by the various house projects that needed to get done and sometimes I need to make the conscious choice to not waste time surfing online.

I found two great tools to help me and wanted to share!  {And a side note for all you people who want to tell me to just delete Facebook.... um, no way!  I love it!  It's a great tool for keeping in touch with my far away family and friends.  I also use it to stay plugged into what's going on in my community.  I have no interest in deleting it so need to find ways, like this, to help me manage my time.}

First is for my home computer...  It's an extension I added to my tool bar called "Kill News Feed".  You literally can't see the main timeline with all your friend's activity.  And if you click "home" out of habit, a nice little message pops up!  Love it!   I use many groups and the inbox on Facebook so I'm able to hop on without distraction!  Oh and another bonus... it removes that live feed on the far right!  That thing takes me on rabbit trails all.the.time!

Click here to get: "Kill News Feed".  Here's their sample page:

I also found an amazing app that allows you to view just your groups on your iPhone!  For some reason it doesn't have high reviews but I.love.it!  It is life-changing!


Here is how it looks and description:

 


I hope other people suffering from information overload can use these tools too!

Now to just work on the people-loving "I don't want them to hate me" part of me that is having a hard time not surfing and commenting on people pictures and posts!  No app for that!

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

It Adventures Ropes Course

Instead of doing a birthday party for my 11 year old this year, I took my kids to an indoor adventure rope course with zip lines called "It", which is located inside Jordan's Furniture in New Haven, CT. 

We went with my BFF and her three girls and had a really great time!
Click here to see there website!   
There are three sections.  The big obstacle course with zip lines, 4 climbing structures called "Climb It" and "Little It" which is a series of bridges and beams for the smaller kids.  All the kids but my small 5 year old went on the "It & Zip It".  

The kids had a really good time but it wasn't without its hiccups.  My daughter is 11 and although she did well on many apparatuses, she did get scared a few times.  Here she is smiling at the beginning and lowest level: 

This is my 9 year old son cruising along without a thought!  He had no issues and enjoyed his time a lot!!  He left the girls and enjoyed his adventure alone!

I took Colin over to "Climb It" which was four structures that he got to climb once each.  I would not recommend this for small kids unless they are dare devils.  He was hooked to their bungee safety harness but it was clipped to his front and was in his way.  The green poles {photo below} were spread too far apart.  The balls had grips again spaced too far apart.  The rainbox thing was harder than it looked because strategy is involved.  The guys working there helped Colin a little but when I commented how hard it was, they said it wasn't for small kids.  Well good to know!  Had I known this, I probably would have skipped it.  The last structure was a tall pole with a platform to jump off - a bungee jump.  They switched harnesses and this one was on his back so it would have felt like a total free fall.  Colin climbed the ladder like a monkey but he wouldn't jump and the guy working went up to escort him down.  The staff was really helpful!

"Little It" was great for Colin!  He loved walking around on all the bridges and beams.  I wish they had a small zip line or something though to spice it up but he was happy.  He was allowed in this for as long as he wanted so was there awhile.  Only downfall is that parents must stay inside the fenced in area with their kids.  So I was unable to keep an eye on my other two.

But every now and again I'd catch one of my kids zipping by!  LOL!  Here is Vienna!  She loved the zip lines!

Once you pay you can stay in the course for as long as you want.  We got there between 10:30-11:00 and it got really crowded by 1pm when we left.  When Vienna was coming down, she walked along two parallel ropes and slipped.  She fell and was saved by her harness but it scared her a lot!  She was in tears and one of the workers saw her crying and escorted her out.

My friend has three kids ages 12, 10 & 8 and the 12 year old came out early because she doesn't like heights while her 8 year old was a monkey cruising all over the place without any fear.  I think this course is awesome for kids but it just depends on the child!

Here's a video of Vienna and Lance on the zip line and Colin jumping off that tower from a lower point.  Turn down your sound a little because I am cheering them on!


Despite the scare, Vienna said she would go back again.  I know we'll do it again when Colin is a bit older and we'll have to take Daddy next time too!

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Fake on Facebook

Some people get annoyed by people who are "fake" on Facebook.  They think they're bragging and share their pictures to make their lives look better than they are.  Well guess what?  I'm one of them!  haha!  Well kinda...  I'm not doing it to make my life look better {trust me, I am VERY aware of how it is far from perfect} but that is a natural consequence of sharing the highlights of my life online.  Every now and again I might post a "reality shot" but they are limited intentionally.

When my days are hard, it's usually because I'm annoyed by someone.  I'm not going to publicly humiliate them by dragging my baggage into "town square".  I share some of my struggles here on my blog for those who take the time to read them and if you know me in real life, I am straight-forward and don't like to sugar coat things.  Life is tough!  However, who I am online is just a little piece of who I am all the time... just the tip of the Mary iceberg.

I love this illustration below.  I think it was designed with a business in mind but it applies to this situation well.  The success or those "fake photos" is just what is showing.  Under it all, there is still all that tough life stuff like failures, sacrifices, uncooperative children, illness, potty accidents, disappointment, messy houses, arguments with spouses, grey hair, sibling rivalry, wrinkles, extra weight, complaining kids, etc.
Source 
Behind every ONE good photo of my kids is about 10 of them scowling or not looking or even elbowing one another.  Ha!

When I share pictures, they are often the best moments of my kids because they are getting more self-conscious and I want to be considerate of their feelings.  I also am selective with photos of me.  Ya I use filters and airbrush my skin to make it look smooth. If people are going to be staring at my face, it's going to be nice.  Or silly!  I can do silly.  But I'm getting older and definitely more critical of the wrinkles and fading; besides I like artsy photos.  Don't judge me!  haha!

A couple of my recent Facebook profile pictures.

I know there is a lot of talk about being authentic.  I'd like to think that I am pretty honest and leave myself vulnerable here on my blog.  I think we need to share our struggles a little bit because it's how we identify with one other.  Perfection isn't attractive and quite a turn off isn't it?  It brings out our worst insecurities!  Remember...


It's a fine balance isn't it?  For both the poster and the reader.  People use social media for different reasons.  I hope this post will give more credibility to people like me who post to be an encouragement and not to air dirty laundry.  I don't think we are fake by being selective.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Buckling down on bad behavior {with free printable}

Parenting is a tough gig!  You teach them to share and be kind and although it's something we've attempted to instill into our kids from the beginning, their selfish ways rear their ugly head far too often.  Now that my kids are older {11, 9 & 6 as of next month}, their interests are different and they no longer play together the way they used to.  Someone seems to feel left out and the teasing and rivalry is at a high.  Tattling, complaining, teasing, and threatening are pretty much daily occurances around here.

"So and so isn't letting me play."
"I'm better than you at xyz."
"If you don't do blah blah, I'm never going to play with you again."

I vented to my husband and said we need an action plan.  I've been mentally exhausted and felt like we needed to regroup.  I thought SPECIFICALLY about what I want to hone in on for each child.

  • I have a hitter or two.
  • I have an impulsive one who inflicts pain on others.
  • I have a retaliator - who gives it back hard!
  • I have a provoker who likes to tease and argue.

Na na na na na
It's not the way I want to live.  And it's not the way I've raised them so far.  I've raised them to be kind, love one another and use their words to communicate...  To walk away when frustrated or come to me for help.
But here we are needing the reminder of what is expected of them, and the consequences if they break those rules.
After looking online for ideas of an appropriate behavior chart, I ended up accumulating ideas and made this in Word:
I'll share!  Download free here.
You can click to enlarge but it has:
An amazing day! - I want to acknowledge good behavior too!
Good Morning - Where the magnets will start each day.
Warning - just my verbal reminder
Time Out - # of minutes as their age
Lose electronics for rest of day - music, ipods, tv and computer, which matter more now that they are older!
Write out rules 10 times - I have a list of three specific things that each child is to work on.
Go to bed early - Clearly if they are acting up, they just need to be away from the others and go bed.

I printed it, taped it to my fridge and am using little alphabet magnets with their initials to move accordingly.  Their letter will move one row each time I need to address their behavior. {Glad I purposely chose names with different first letters for my kids!  But you could use ABC if you have duplicates!}

Hopefully it will curb some of the ugly going on in my house.  And it will help me keep my sanity since I have a goal and plan on how to react.
Raising kids ain't for the faint of heart that's fer shizzle!!

And with that... I have a question for parents out there.  How do you unwind or destress from this phase of parenting?  I need some new ideas!

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