Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen Things I Am not Proud Of

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately to help me get inspired to write more frequently. One of the games bloggers like to play is something called the “Thursday Thirteen” where a blogger will list thirteen things related to a topic. I decided to write about things I am not proud of. I have had people in my life comment on the fact that I seem to have it together and they are impressed by my self-discipline. They are fooled since they see such a small part of my life. There is actually much more bedlam in my life than there is order. Now, I want to set the record straight with these 13 things. read more

Sunday Summary of Favorite Links

I would like to make this a regular feature of this blog. I am addicted to Feedly and finding great articles to read. My house would be much cleaner if I would quit reading blogs. Here are some of my favorite finds for the week.


Find books at your local library when shopping At Amazon: I love shopping at Amazon. I love books. And, with a degree in Library Science, I love my library! This is an awesome extension for Chrome. I tested this out and it works very well. It even shows you how many copies are available and allows you to place holds on the items. I added multiple libraries to my extension. read more

Welcome Back: Why I’ve Been AWOL

For the last several weeks I have been thinking about this blog. I haven’t made it a priority in my life. Heck, the last time I posted was over Mother’s Day weekend. That was eight months ago! Embarrassingly, I set all these goals for 2016 which you can read about here and here. One of those goals included blogging twice a week. Shortly after I wrote that goal, I completely quit writing this blog. I’ve even wondered whether or not I should shut this blog down, but my husband convinced me to keep it out there in the blog world in case I change my mind. He knows me too well! read more

How My Mother’s Day Went Down

The Truth about Mother's Day

First, let me make it clear that I love my children with all of my heart. I have a wonderful family and I believe that I have been blessed with my two precious daughters. So, I am not writing this to complain. I just found this entire day to be amusing as it did not turn out to be the day I hoped it would be.  And, next year, I think I would be happy  not celebrating this special day as it would save me some grief. It’s the unfulfilled expectations of this day that I find disappointing. What I wish I could do is spend the day with my own mother hanging out in a hotel room somewhere sharing a bottle of wine and apologizing for all the strange Mother’s Day celebrations we must have had when I was a child. I appreciate my mother so much more since having my own children. I just wish I lived closer to her so I could really honor this woman who sacrificed so much for me. read more

Back to Blogging

After some major stage performances for my kids and myself, I am finally back to blogging. I was hoping to get back sooner, but life got it in the way. I will resume posting tomorrow.

My Goal Progress: Or, I Set Way Too Many Goals

Goal Progress

It’s been over a month since I posted my 2016 goals. You can see that post here: My Goals for 2016. In order to keep myself motivated and to see where I stand, I thought I would try to give a monthly update on how I am doing with these goals. One thing I realized is that I set way too many goals and I will keep this in mind for next year when I repeat this process.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links are my Amazon affiliate or referral links).

Personal Goals:

1. Eat a healthy diet and cut down on the number of fast food trips we make. I am doing a fairly good job with this. While we still pick up food on an average of once per week, I had a three-week stretch in January where we ate all home-prepared meals. This required a large amount of planning on my part, but I was able to do this through the help of Emeals.  Every week I try to change our diet up a little bit by eating fewer processed foods or by eating Paleo.  My kids have eaten more vegetables this year and enjoy the clean eating and paleo plans on Emeals. This has been great especially for my youngest daughter who ate a large diet of plain noodles prior to these meal plans. While I have not eliminated the noodles completely (this is what she eats in her lunch most days), she is getting a balanced dinner most nights. What has helped tremendously is to have them each pick out a meal every week that they help prepare. This ownership in the meals has helped increase their desire to eat vegetables. My kids actually fought over who ate more than their share of brussel sprouts….true story! (This is the only vegetable they absolutely love, but I’ll gladly accept that.) read more

Rhyming Games and Activities: Playing with Rhymes

Rhyming Games and Activities: Playing with Rhymes

If you have been following along in my reading series (links contained at the bottom of this post), I mentioned introducing your children to rhyme through story books. One of the first steps to learning how to read is learning to enjoy and recognize rhymes. You can read that post about rhyming book suggestions here: Great Rhyming Books. Not only should you read rhyming books to your kids, but there are also some interactive activities you can do to teach them rhyming skills.

According to the chart located at Reading Rockets, the next step for building phonemic awareness skills is for kids to recognize rhymes and be able to play “odd word out” type games. An example of an “odd word out” game would be to ask which of these words do not belong? cat, boy, hat, mat. read more

How to Keep your Toothbrush from Getting Nasty

Recently, I was contacted by Intellident to see if I would try out their Toothbrush Shield.  Intellident  is a company founded by Susan Klinsport. In 2008, Klinsport developed this product as a way to help protect the oral health of her own family.  Many years of testing and collaborating went into the production of this product.  Prior to receiving a package of toothbrush shields, I had often wondered about the nasty germs which may land on my children’s toothbrushes. I have heard various things about toilet germs spraying onto the toothbrushes…..Ewwww!  And, the back of the Intellident Toothbrush Shield’s box makes that same claim. Intellident states that flushing the toilet can contaminate objects within a 6-foot radius. This fact is a great reason to protect your toothbrush.

Reasons to Use Intellident Toothbrush Shields

There are various methods of how one should store a toothbrush. My husband and I have a toothbrush holder which keeps our toothbrushes upright (and exposes our brushes to the “elements”). Even though they are exposed, this seems to work well for us and we have not had issues with illnesses.  The standard upright toothbrush holder doesn’t work for my kids. They used to use this, but the toothbrushes would only end up on the sink countertop sitting in puddles of water from when they washed their hands. They have started storing them in the medicine cabinet which is much better than the countertop, but I still feel like they end up in a pile of filth which accumulates throughout the week. I looked up toothbrush storing recommendations from the American Dental Association.  You can read the recommendations at the following link: ADA’s recommendations.The ADA states that toothbrushes should be stored upright and that they should not be covered. Covering toothbrushes creates a humid environment and makes the toothbrushes more susceptible to bacteria growth. The ADA also lists many other recommendations which are worth reading at the above link.   Intellident Shield The Intellident Toothbrush Shield covers your toothbrush. However, it is different from the plastic travel covers you often see. On the Intellident site, you can read that “plastic caps and covers retain moisture and constrict air flow making them a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.”  The Toothbrush Shield is made from a “breathable” mesh cotton material. Intellident toothbrush shieldThe packaging states that the shield “blocks microbes as it wicks moisture away from brush bristles.” It has been tested to be 99.9% effective barrier against airborne and surface bacteria. If you are going to cover your toothbrush, this could be the way to go because the air circulation isn’t as much of an issue. Plus, you are instructed to replace the shield every 7 days. For maximum protection, Intellident recommends changing it every 3-4 days. For our family, changing them once a week is preferable because we can schedule it on the same day each week, making this task easier to remember. Each package contains 10 disposable shields. Each shield is individually packaged in a peelable paper cover which is a little difficult to open. There is  an opening for your toothbrush. Intellident Toothbrush ShieldMy youngest daughter needs help getting the toothbrush into the slot the first time it is used, but she can do it independently after that. Both of the girls like the shields and I like knowing that their toothbrushes aren’t sitting right on top of germs. I also like that my oldest daughter can throw the toothbrush into her ballet bag and the shield sits on her brush securely. I’m not as worried about her storing her toothbrush in her ballet bag. The only negative I can see for these covers is that you have to be vigilant about changing them. Intellident also sent me a mouthguard shield which I didn’t use since we don’t have a need for that. You can read more about that and the Intellident Company on their website The toothbrush shields run $2.99 on both and at the time this writing. sells them for $2.47 at the time of this writing and I am able to order these for free pickup at my local Walmart. The toothbrush shields are an item I would recommend especially if your kids are on the messy side. *Disclaimer: I received this product for review purposes only. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.

My Goals for 2016

My 2016: changing my life one day at a time
For my first post of the year, I thought it would be fitting to do a goal post. I have always loosely set goals in the past. As a result, I often didn’t feel like I accomplished much during the year.  This year I wanted to hold myself more accountable by displaying all my goals  for the internet world to see. I will probably regret this a year from now, but I’m going to give it a go. *Disclaimer: Some of my links direct you to my affiliate links for Amazon. There is a chance of me earning a commission on some of these products.

Personal GoalsPersonal goals

1. Eat a healthy diet and cut down on the number of fast food trips we make. Last year, we didn’t eat the healthiest and bought many convenience foods. I will plan ahead this year so we eat many more meals at home. 2. Exercise daily. Get at least 10,000 steps per day and do at least 3 other workouts per week. I just got a new Fitbit Charge HR like this one. I love this Fitbit because it measures my heart rate as well as tracks my steps. 3. Lose 10 pounds. Over the last year, I have put on weight. Being just a little over 5 feet, a weight gain like that is rather noticeable.  Part of the weight gain is related to my age.  Being in my 40s, I can no longer eat the way I used to and I need to realize my metabolism is not what it once was. The other reason for my weight gain is due to a lot of unhealthy choices through grief eating. I spent a good portion of my time grieving the death of my mother-in-law by eating. Most of the time, I didn’t even realize I was eating. I’d pass by the pantry and find comfort in a few granola bars. Granola bars, no matter how healthy,  can definitely pack on the pounds if eaten in large quantities. 4. Drink more water. I drink a lot of coffee, but I don’t drink enough water. At most, I drink 24 oz. per day. I would like to drink at least the recommended 64 oz. 5. Read 52 books this year. I joined the Goodreads challenge. If you have a Goodreads account, you can become my friend here to see what  I’m reading. I am going to try an A to Z challenge where I read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet and then a book from an author starting with each letter of the alphabet. So far, I have read Animal Farm and am now reading The Book Thief. I found the idea for this challenge on Read 52 books in 52 weeks. 6. Reach out to family and friends more. We are so consumed with  life’s mundane details that we don’t take enough time to savor moments with family and friends. 7. Grow spiritually. We go to church each week, but I know that is not enough to fulfill my spiritual needs. I would like to find a good devotional so that I can address this need on a daily basis. 8. Crochet or make one thing per week. Crochet goalsI would like to fill my Etsy store with a lot more items. Right now, I am going to take an Etsy break until I have more inventory. I don’t know how to fit this in my schedule, but I want to figure this out by the end of the year. 9. Finish at least 2 Udemy courses or Skillshare courses per month. I enjoy taking online classes and have learned so much from them. I want to continue to learn a variety of skills during 2016. 10. Participate in the fatmumslim photo challenge and improve my photography this year. I love taking pictures and I want to learn more about photography. If you want to join in this challenge, you can find it at Photo a Day at I like her challenges because they cause me to take the time to be mindful about the process of taking a photo. I’ve noticed it also is allowing me to find moments throughout the day I might not have paid attention to before. You can follow my Instagram account here: Learned Mom’s Instagram account.

Family Goals

11. Spend more focused time with my kids. I get so distracted by everything that needs to get done at home that I feel like I’m not always giving my kids my full attention. I want to spend more time one on one with my children this year. I would like to set up a one-on-one monthly date with both of my children. 12. Encourage our family to do more for other people. We are extremely busy, as most families are, and it seems like we don’t spend enough time doing charitable work or enough time doing things for other people. I would like to get into a habit of performing one family act of kindness each goals   13. Go on a date with my husband at least once a month. I can’t think of the last time my husband and I went on a date. We spend a lot of quality time together at home, but we don’t ever go anywhere together without the kids. I want to make date time more of a priority. I found some great winter date ideas at this webpage:  Club 31 Women. 14. Spend more time reading aloud to my kids. Right now we are reading

Anne of Green Gables read more