10 Creative Reasons Why The Elf Hasn’t Moved

Posted in Life, Parenting by
Fun and creative reasons Why the elf hasn't moved

Elf on the Shelf season is in full effect. I see it in Mom groups on Facebook, news feeds and Pinterest. If you’re wondering what to tell your kids when the elf hasn’t moved, I’ve got you covered. Below I have 10 creative reasons why the elf hasn’t moved.

But first, here’s some advice for you new parents dealing with this whole Elf on the Shelf thing. Make your elf’s first year as boring as possible.

All these amazing things you see on Pinterest – don’t do it. Pin away if you must but don’t use all the good ideas in his/her first year in your home. Treat this whole Elf on the Shelf thing like a marathon. If you go all out in the early years you will exert yourself. That’s why I’ve come up with some reasons/excuses you use as to why the elf hasn’t moved.

reasons why the elf didn't move

 

Let me explain where I’m coming from. This year would mark the 4 year anniversary since Michael the Elf came into our home. For the last 2 years he’s become extremely comfortable in the Shephard home. He hangs around doing nothing. Often times, he just hangs out in the same spot for 2-3 days straight. The spark is gone and the honeymoon phase is over. It’s gotten so bad that Gianna wrote him a note last year. She was very frank but offered some solid advice.

It read:

Dear Michael, 

Please do something crazy! You can sit on the toilet and poop Hershey kisses. 

Love , 

Gianna

Gianna left Michael this note last year, 3 days before Christmas. Even our little bright-eyed girl started to take notice.  His first year in our home, Michael was like the A+ student. Every night he reported to Santa and did the craziest things. He got into the bag of marshmallows and tried feeding them to the reindeer.  One time we found him in the fridge.  Did you know elves can wrap presents? Yup, Michael was a master gift wrapper.  A huge mess was always left behind, but definitely some legit wrapping skills. Michael would get in the pantry and eat all the cookies (wink). Gianna was very impressed by his shenanigans.

 


Well, last year, I started to simplify things for the Holidays. In many instances, I was trying to simmer down my inner “perfect Mom” defect. Apparently, I dialed it down too much when it came to our Elf on the Shelf.

If you’re wondering what to tell your kids when the elf hasn’t moved, I’ve got you covered.  Due to Michaels less than stellar performance I’ve had to come up with some creative reasons as to why our elf hasn’t moved.

10 Creative Reasons Why The Elf Hasn’t Moved

1. Use him as an example of what NOT to do. He’s become lazy. You see how frustrating it is for Mommy and Daddy when you don’t do what you are supposed to? I’m an awful Mother, I know. 

2. Your behavior was questionable yesterday so he wants to give you another chance before reporting to Santa

  3.  He’s sick and needed to rest. I think the baby got him sick.

  4. Freezing temps last night! The house must so cozy for him and he’s just avoiding making the cold and long voyage to the North Pole.

  5.  By the time he finished playing with the [ reindeer ], it was almost morning so he decided to stay – feel free to use whatever Christmas figure you have around the house – Snowman, Reindeer, Mickey, etc.  

6. The Elf must have fallen asleep waiting for everyone to fall asleep and didn’t wake back up.

7. They are probably up to something sneaky and trying to trick you. I bet he’ll move once you go to school.

8.  That must be the best view in the house to observe good/bad behavior.

9. Say that elf probably felt sick from eating too much junk. Then hide some candy/treats and use this as another example for limiting junk food.

10. And when you run out of reasons, act completely perplexed and ask them why they think he didn’t move.

 

 

 

I’m sure there are many other parents out there that often forget to move that friggin’ elf.  I can’t be the only one. Do you have any fun and creative   reasons why the elf hasn’t moved?

 For more of my Parenting post go here.
December 8, 2017
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Easy Halloween Slime and Eyeball Sensory Bottle

Posted in Home/DIY by
easy halloween activities for kids

These two Halloween activities are EASY and great for toddlers. When it comes to holidays and special occasions, I’m all about the crafts and art projects! Normally, we do this with friends over but life has filled our weekends up so I opted to do these on a day when my daughter stayed home sick from school. The Halloween slime was my daughters idea and the halloween sensory bottle was to keep my 2 year old away from the slime.  Plus, it’s a fun way to incorporate some learning and sensory activities.

Witchy Halloween Slime

If you’ve banished all slime for your home like I have, you can just go on to the sensory bottle activity. Trust me, I understand. At first I allowed slime in the home, then only in the garage, then only outside. Eventually, I banned slime altogether because it always made it’s way inside the house and my daughters version of “cleaning up” didn’t mesh with mine.  She was home sick on this particular day and I knew making this Halloween slime would magically make her feel a little better.

Slime Supplies needed:

  • 1/2 cup of Elmer’s White Glue
  • Acrylic pant (we used purple to make it “witchy”)
  • 2 tbs shaving cream
  • 1/4 cup Water – add on more as needed
  • Tide Detergent – start with 1 tablespoon; not all detergents work well for slime
  • Medium size bowl
  • Note: this is also the order in which you prepare the slime.

Other Optional Supplies:

  • Add-ins: googly eyes, glitter, spiders
  • Vinegar* this is optional, but not really. Vinegar is your saving grace to get slime out of clothes, carpet, etc.

 

Halloween Slime For Kids

 

Directions:

  1. Add 1/2 cup of Elmer’s white school glue and 2 tablespoons of shaving cream into bowl. Mix well and add acrylic paint. I don’t like to use food coloring because it tends to stain. Optional: You can add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil after mixing in the acrylic paint.
  2.  Slowly add a 1/4 cup of water. Then add your detergent (or contact solution) about 1 Tablespoon at a time and mix.
  3. Keep adding a little more detergent and mixing until your slime begins forming into a ball-like form. You’ll notice this is when it starts to turn into slime and becomes less sticky. It will begin coming off the sides of your container and sticking together. This is Gianna’s favorite part!

Halloween Sensory Bottle (With Creepy Googly Eyes)

 

Halloween Sensory Activities

 

  • Water  bottle (I picked Gatorade because of their large mouths and orange caps)
  • Vegetable or Baby oil (you can also use corn syrup)
  • Red food coloring
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Water
  • Electrical tape

Halloween add-in options:

  • Googly eyes
  • Orange glitter
  • Spider rings
  • Eye ball bouncy balls
  • Halloween confetti
  • Beads 

Directions:

  1.  Fill up your bottle a little more than halfway with warm water. I went ahead and added the glitter at this time.
  2.  Then add 1 drop of red food coloring and 3 drops yellow food coloring. Put the lid back and shake until your water turns orange.
  3. Next, add your oil until you reach the neck of the bottle.
  4. Once the liquids are combined, add your creepy googly eyes and anything else you have on-hand that would make this fun for the little ones. Trace has a love/hate relationship with spiders, so I added a few of those to the bottle.

Sensory Learning Ideas:

Sensory play is a hands on way to expose little ones to the world around them and allow their curious brains to make  connections with everyday things. Math: You can ask your little one to count how many spiders they see. Language: Since Trace is starting to form sentences, I asked him to describe what he sees in the bottle. This is also good for receptive language where you ask questions and they respond.  Colors: This helps them learn and identify colors.

Hope you try some of these!  Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Halloween Slime Easy

 

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October 25, 2017
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Bridging the Gap – My Lovely Life and More

Posted in Blogging, Inspiration by
Bridging the gap campaign

Blurring the Lines and Bridging the Gap

It’s been said that when the soul is ready, the universe delivers to us manifestations in the form of insights, coincidence, or moments. If we listen and be still in the moment, we make a decision that often time leads us to opportunities, growth, and most importantly, new friendships.

Today, 200 influencers are taking part in an unprecedented campaign that unites the Millennial and Midlife demographics. This Bridging the Gap campaign exist to dispel societal boundaries that exist between women and form authentic relationships.  Influencers from each demographic are paired up to learn from each other through sharing life experiences, stories, and wisdom. This form of Reciprocal Mentorship, is at the heart of the campaign, all in the spirit of support and unity.

Meet My Bridging the Gap Partner, Terri Cordova-Hewitt

Terri and I met while preparing for a marketing event where  I was the event organizer and Terri’s company was the presenter. Our conversations quickly went from event logistics to the delicate balance between motherhood and business owners. She’s a seasoned entrepreneur and I was in the infant stages of my social media marketing business.  Similarly, Terri had just created, My Lovely Life and More while, I had been blogging for a couple of years. Together, we instantly gained knowledge and encouragement from each other’s journey.

 

Bridging-the-gap-campaign

 

Entrepreneur and blogger are just two title’s Terri strongly wears. She’s also a Wife, to her husband Scott and a Mother to three children, ages 7, 11 and 23. This entrepreneur Mom and Wife is a first generation American. Her parents are immigrants from Peru and Cuba. Terri is an avid runner, loves finding serenity while boating with her family and has an extremely close relationship with her 5 siblings.

She describes her style as monochromatic and classic fringed with edgy vibes.  She loves fashion but it also has to work with her busy lifestyle. “Getting dressed should never feel like a chore”, she says. She’ll rock some heels and a trendy jump suit one day, then throw her hair up in a bun while wearing her Adidas Superstars the next.  Terri loves to find the latest fashion trends while shopping at boutique stores around Tampa. You’ll find this love for fashion and boutique finds on her blog, My lovely Life and More.

 

 

However, her blog wasn’t always about fashion and lifestyle. It started as a way for her to document her journey after having a baby in her early 40’s. For years she heard the gasps and surprised looks from others when they found out she had a baby in her early 40’s while her oldest was 23 years old.  She felt a need to encourage and let other women know – IT IS OK. Her youngest, Mila is now 7 and Terri, now 50 still smirks and silently chuckles when a comment is made about her and Scott’s choice to have a child in her 40’s.

What many of them don’t know is that before her youngest Mila was born, Terri and Scott lost a baby.  Ava Rose was delivered on December 2 2008. Terri’s third baby lost her life while still in Terri’s womb. The family dedicated a memorial plaque for little Ava and her siblings often talk about their guardian angel, Ava Rose, in heaven.

The Stories and Experiences That Bond

Terri and I quickly learned that aside from our hispanic heritage and entrepreneurial spirit, we are similar in more ways than we are different. Not only that but our paths crossed years ago prior to us meeting. While I was interning at Moffitt Cancer Center, Terri was working there as the Marketing Communications Specialist. Fate would have it that years later, we both found ourselves back at Moffitt for despairing reasons that were out of our control.

Four years ago, I received a life-changing diagnosis. A month after my 31st birthday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy, a double-mastectomy and radiation.  As I shared this with my Bridging the Gap partner, I learned that her Mother was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years before my diagnosis and received care at the same hospital under some of the same oncologists I did. 

You see, this is what this campaign is all about. Terri and I aren’t bound by our age, rather we are united by our experiences. In many ways I feel Terri is a kindred spirit. At the time that our paths crossed, we both were in the midst of a new beginning. I guess the universe was listening to the quiet call inside us both.  I can honestly say that Terri is a role model, mentor and friend. She exudes strength, perseverance, beauty and a gracious heart.  I promise you fall in love with your genuine personality and amazing fashion and style. One story that I love is how she describes, Starting Over in my 40’s.

 

Bridging-the-gap-campaigh

 

I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this unprecedented campaign and movement to blur boundaries and put an end to stereotypes. With influencers from 20 to 88, including women with Downs Syndrome to top Sports Illustrated Supermodels, this campaign is designed to be inclusive as we believe #WeareStrongerTogetherI would like to thank and commend all the women participating in The Bridging the Gap Campaign! I especially thank Catherine McCormick, the visionary behind it all.

I encourage you to go vist The Bridging the Gap Campaign and read the stories of other inspiring influecers!

October 17, 2017
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Why I Had “The Talk” With My Daughter Before I Was Ready

Posted in Family, Parenting by
THE TALK WTIH DAUGHTER

I had the talk with my daughter and I wasn’t ready.  She was watching a video on a popular family You Tube channel called 8 Passengers. At first I was mad, until I saw the video myself.

I never thought I would have such an adverse reaction when it came time to having, The Talk with my daughter. Most of time I over share, over comment and overly insert my unsolicited opinion. For the most part, I’ve always been comfortable talking about uncomfortable topics, sometimes to a fault, so when my daughter asked me when I was going to give her The Talk (that’s exactly how she put it), I was completely taken back and uncomfortable with what I was feeling and thinking.

It’s way too soon, I thought! She just turned 8 in February (fyi- it’s October). Seriously, how did she know about this already? She never really questioned what Tampons or any other feminine products were, or even how babies are made.  I asked her where she heard about it and her answer shocked me.

“From 8 Passengers on YouTube”, she said.

We’ve actually  watched this channel together many times. One thing Gianna and I like to do is watch DIY’s and family channels on YouTube. This family has six kids and share many of the ups and downs families often face. I love watching them, however I’ve never seen the video she was talking about.

You hear it often in parenting circles and fellow mom friends, “If you don’t talk to your child about ____, they will learn it from YouTube”.

Pssh! Not me, not my kid!

To be honest, I don’t remember how I responded. It was at night and I probably blamed it on her little brother who had to be put to bed.

 

The Talk with daughter

This is one of the moments I went back to when I realized it was time for me to accept she is growing up.

My Feelings Towards 8 Passenger Mom

I’ve got to be honest with you, 8 Passenger Mom, I was a little angry with you. Why would you put that on You Tube!?  That is a private discussion between a Mother and Daughter. Plus, having this discussion with my daughter seemed like a few years out. Now, because she watched your video,  I’m being forced to have it with her before I was ready.

Did you catch that? Before I was ready. This whole discomfort with me having this discussion had nothing to do with my daughter. I never thought about her curious little mind or innocence of wanting more knowledge. Whether I liked it or not, she was ready and it was time.

Back to me being angry at 8 Passenger Mom. The second I dropped my daughter off at school the next morning, I searched for the YouTube video on their channel. It was pretty easy to find and I couldn’t believe how many views it had – 1.2 Million!  About a minute and half into the video, she talks about what prompted the discussion. It was because her daughter started asking questions. Then, as she went on to say how old her daughter was, my anger dissolved into love and compassion. While fighting back tears, she said her daughters age.  She is eight.  The same age as my daughter. At that moment all my negative feelings disappeared. As she cried, I cried with her. I knew EXACTLY what she was feeling and why. As mothers with daughters, we all know this time is coming. Unlike solid foods, potty training or even the first day of Kindergarten, THIS moment when we have this talk with our little girls, hurts. I’m not talking like a hurt that stings for only one second. It’s deep and it lingers. I still feel it even after 2 weeks of having the talk. I’ve already cried three times writing this post. It’s the hardest reminder that they are growing up.

How Our “Talk” Went

Like the Mom on 8 Passengers, I’m not going to go into details on this. The same day that I watched the video, she asked me about it again while at my parents house. My Mom took her out to lunch and it came up again. My Mom told Gianna the story when she first told me. She told me a period was something at the end of the sentence. Like Gianna, I knew it was more than a dot.

I surrendered to the idea that this had to go down – today. When we got back to the house I told my husband what was going on so he can keep our  wild 2-year old monkey entertained.  Confession: I poured myself a glass of wine and went into her bedroom.

She could feel my hesitation and I told her that the reason it wasn’t easy for me, had nothing to do with the topic. This was just another sign that my baby girl was getting older. I let her sort of guide the discussion by her questions and I made sure to answer them all. We talked about puberty, emotional and physical changes, pimples and pads.

Apparently some of her friends already had the discussion, so naturally it spurred her curiosity. Just when I thought our talk was over she asked how babies were made and a gift from God was not the answer she was looking for. I told her that married couples love each other and have this thing called, sex. Not surprising, she knew of the word but not its meaning. I kept it really simply and light. As she gets older, I’ll be able to explain more but for now, our talk answered all her questions and eased her curious little mind.

Whew. This was tough to write.

If I was denying that it was time to have the talk with my daughter, I know other Moms out there are saying the exact same thing. The time will be different for us all, but some things to consider when deciding if it’s time for you are – older siblings, older close friends or family members, how much exposure they have to movies, You Tube, etc. I’m sure there are more, but this is our experience.

Thank You, 8 passenger Mom for being so transparent, vulnerable and honest about your experience. I feel you and thank you for making me feel like I wasn’t alone. Sorry I ever judged your decision for making that video. Here I am writing about it and it feels sooooo good to get this out and share my story and personal struggle. Keep making videos and I’ll keep writing.

 

Love,

Jessica

October 8, 2017
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The Day Before Hurricane Irma – What it Was Like and Moments I Want to Remeber

Posted in Life by
day-before-hurricane-irma

The last two days before Hurricane Irma hits are emotional and tiring. But before whatever aftermath she leaves behind, there are some moments that I want to remember. I think some lessons and perhaps some regrets. This post will be random and I will probably jump from one moment to another. So try to keep up.

It’s Saturday night and yesterday is a blur. I think I tried to work, but that was unsuccessful. Maybe I went shopping. Or was that on Thursday? Eventually, I got my act together and started to do laundry since we would most likely be without power for a while. I had a glass a wine.

The Day Before Hurricane Irma

Saturday started really early. Like 12am early. We awoke to our phone alarm going off telling us that we are now under a Hurricane Warning. That means she is for sure coming up our way. My best friend texted me around 1 something in the morning and the texts messages from my other girl friends commenced around 7am. The most beautiful coast in the United States (in my opinion) was getting hit with a major category 4 hurricane. The biggest this area has ever seen. The west coast of Florida is not only beautiful, its peaceful. My favorite place is sitting on the beach watching the sunset. How can something so beautiful be so scary.

The text messages between my girlfriends and I ranged from, how paranoid (and rightfully so ) our husbands were acting to how many bottles of wine we bought at the store. We vented and shared our anxieties. I’m so thankful to have these girls in my life.

My sister, Gianna and I left the house around 8am to make one last trip to Publix. We needed more ice so we were on the hunt for that. Thank you Walgreens and Racetrack for still having ice. As expected shelves were empty, but thankfully we did all our main shopping a few days earlier. As we pulled back into our driveway, we saw my husband boarding up our windows. He had his tool belt on which made my daughter laugh.

Daddy looks like Bob the Builder! It was pretty funny and cute at the same time. He was outside prepping our house ALL DAY. I think he sat down for like 15 minutes because our 2-year-old was yelling and crying for his Daddy. Trace joined his Dad outside and helped with the preparations.

Since my parents live across the street, I went over there and helped move some stuff inside. My sister and Mom did most of it already. My Dad was sitting in his recliner totally relaxed. Three years ago my Dad would’ve been prepping just as hard as Justin. He’s some pretty major health issues and it has affected him both mentally and physically. I started second guessing our decision to stay. My Dad uses a walker and even a wheelchair at times. We decided the day before that my parents would come to our house during the storm.

Nothing is going to happen, he says. Three years ago he would’ve been a nervous nelly and driving everyone crazy. Maybe he would’ve even made the decision to leave. Dear God I hope we made the right decision.

I see people on Facebook judge and making comments about the choice of staying or leaving. I feel so sorry for those who say something negative or snarky about either decision. I’m sorry your small mind will only allow you to see through a small lens.  

As we were prepping the house you can hear a number of skill saws going. Wood was being cut and nails were being drilled. We can already feel the wind. Neighbors driving by stopped and checked-in. Family from out-of-state called and texted us. Some where wondering why we didn’t leave. My cousin in Orlando offered her home. Funny because on Friday the hurricane was headed her way, so I offered our home. The track shifted over our direction over night so her house was now looking like a better option.

I just have to say that even if I had a one bedroom apartment, I would open up my home to all my family. Especially, with a storm as nasty as this.   I’m really touched that she offered.

I feel nauseous as I’m writing this. We skipped lunch and had overcooked shrimped for dinner. 

I said this was going to be a random rant. 

Our 2 year-old was a handful today. I probably only played with him for 30 or 45 minutes because I was “too busy” prepping things. He was driving me crazy with his hitting and throwing fits. Ugh. I feel awful and wish I had slowed down today. Tomorrow, he will get all my attention. Well, at least half. Gianna needs her Momma too.

I’ve gathered all important documents and put them in a big Ziploc, which is in a bigger plastic envelope, which is in our suitcase. The suitcase has some clothes, shoes, toiletries, medicines. Trace has his own little bag packed. There’s a big black bin that will hold valuables, pictures and maybe some more clothes. All this in case of an emergency. Thanks Mel, for the packing advice.

We have a safe room, lanterns, flashlights and enough water and food for at least 2 weeks. I just want my 8-year old to feel safe. We prayed hard tonight. I can tell she’s a little apprehensive. She too will get all my attention tomorrow.

Throughout the day I kept thinking about our law enforcement, nurses, first responders, the drivers delivering gas and the guys at Publix restocking the bread. THANK YOU. 

Children are sleeping, patio furniture is in the kids playroom, phones are charging, our dog Mia is acting strange and Daddy and I are still up. It’s time to go to bed.

Be kind everyone. Take care of each other. It’s 1am and tomorrow is going to be a long day.

 

 

September 10, 2017
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