Drones? Will they really be safe for our families and our privacy? 

  
It was a Friday afternoon and I was sitting next to the soccer field with my toddler watching my sons team practice when I hear a noise. This noise was the sound of a fan. Kind of odd since I was sitting outside. I look up and what do I see? A drone. Kind of neat right? It was for about a minute until I looked around to see who was flying it and saw no one. A couple minutes pass and the kids playing soccer see it and start to run towards it and it then decides to move away. I then watch it as it leaves and I was shocked at how far it went until it was out of my eyesight. 

I honestly don’t know a whole lot about drones. The most I had heard was when Amazon was talking about having them deliver packages. That seemed kind of cool. But now with my first experience with one it is losing its “cool factor”. This drone had to have had a camera. Do these cameras record everything? I don’t know. 

So now as I sit back and think about the experience I really question are these really necessary? If you really think about it what if that was a pedophile watching kids from the comfort of his own home. Kind of freaky right? How long until someone equips it with some sort of microphone? I think this could really impact our safety and privacy. I wouldn’t have gone to these thoughts if I could have seen the pilot of this drone. As with all electronics I am sure these are only going to get better and have bigger ranges. 

We are such a society where a good chunk of our lives is based around some sort of electronic. Yes these toys can be fun. But how far are we really willing to go? Are drones really too far? I would like to say is that maybe the government will step in and say there will be range limits. But honestly it isn’t going to stop someone from making the changes themselves. 

So much to think about. I remember thinking video calling would be so bazaar and what do I do often? FaceTime my family. Maybe drones are something I just need to get used to. But maybe not. What do you think?

Cheers,

Amber

The epiphany of cardio

Over the years I have lost and gained I don’t know how many pounds. If I ever truly found out how much it would be a tad depressing. Ha ha. Anyways, since baby #2 I have been trying to get back in shape. This has been a long process as she is almost 20 months old and I am still about ten to fifteen pounds away from my pre-baby weight and about 45 pounds from my goal weight. As I have grown older I have started to reevaluate the goals that I set out for myself. In the last year I have been trying to work on myself in different facets of my life. Fitness has been one of them. I have had quite a few drawbacks throughout the time whether it was sickness, injury or just life. So I am coming off an illness and pretty much have to start from square one. I was doing the PiYo program and was really enjoying it. I was starting to feel really strong and was noticing my body composition changing. I made it to week five then got sick. Thinking I could pickup right where I left off I was wrong I was going to have to start at square one. Being that I was going to have to start over from the beginning I didn’t exactly have the motivation to hop right back on it.

I then let life get in the way and went without working out for a little over two weeks. Then I started to notice something. I was really feeling out of shape. Mainly in the cardio way. I had noticed with PiYo that my cardio wasn’t up to where it used to be. When I say cardio I mean like I was getting winded going up stairs. Not too bad but there was some struggle. This hadn’t happened in a long time. So I knew I had to change something. I needed to incorporate more cardio in. However, I wanted to stick with PiYo because I really enjoyed it.

I have this friend that lives far away and I try to touch base with her on a weekly basis. We usually have a good phone conversation on the weekend. This last Sunday we were talking about all of our goals. I have found her to be a good outlet because we seem to be on the same page and trying to better ourselves. So we were talking about my cardio issues and I am unsure how we got talking about running but I brought up the Couch to 5K (C25K) app. I had tried it in the past and didn’t make it but maybe three weeks or so. We then decided we should try it. We picked three days a week that we will do it and hold each other accountable to get it done those days. As of yesterday we both finished week one! Only seven more weeks to go…..

For those of you are unfamiliar with this program it is a program to basically train you to be able to go from a completely sedentary lifestyle to running a 5k in 8-9 weeks. How it does this is by having you doing the program three times a week for eight weeks. It starts and ends with a 5 minute walk and cool down. In between the walk and cool down it will have you walk and run for various times in the twenty minutes in between to build up to running solid for the twenty minutes.

So after week one I am feeling quite proud of myself. The first day I had surprised myself with how well I did and felt afterwards. I had that “runners high” and didn’t do a good enough stretch afterwards and I feel like I paid for it for the rest of the week. The second day went well I was tired because on the week days I decided to get up at 6am to get out the door before kids woke up and husband left for work so I didn’t get stuck pushing a jogging stroller. I really want to focus on my form and I don’t think I should be pushing a stroller running until I have it down. Then yesterday was day three and it was a rough one mainly because my hamstrings were so tight and I just felt like I couldn’t get a really good stride and tempo going. Now I have two days off until I start week two and I think that should help get me going for the next workout.

I am proud that I was able to complete the first week but I am more proud my reasoning behind starting the program. I started the program to get my cardio back up, to get back some energy as opposed to the typical reasoning of losing weight. Yes, I feel like I can lose weight with doing this but it’s a first of me doing it to help me in a form that isn’t shown on the scale. For me this is a huge accomplishment. It’s a new way of thinking. I am who I am and only I can better myself. I don’t want to just better myself for vanity purposes but I want to be healthy and strong. Along with this growing I have been doing I had recently upped my goal weight. To a weight I think I would be healthy at and it be feasible for me to reach it. I can do this. I got this and just have to remember there are obstacles that will get in my way and just know there are ways around them. Sometimes it is amazing as you get older how much your thoughts and priorities change. I honestly can’t wait to see what my future brings.

Cheers,

Amber

Pom Pom Pinterest toddler activity review. 

So many of us are going to good ole Pinterest for activities to do with our toddlers. Or to entertain them so you can load a dishwasher without them under your feet or trying to climb into the dishwasher. 

I came across this activity on Pinterest. It was a cheap dollar tree project. But a container that has a removable top and some Pom poms. Just put a hole in the top and let child push the Pom poms through. This is a great activity to build hand eye coordination. 

   
 
Once I had everything put together it was time to test it out. I did this with my 19 month old and it seemed to go over great. 

  
This entertained her for about 20 minutes of just filling the container then she wanted to empty the container and refill it without the lid which lasted about another 20 minutes. So 40 minutes is pretty impressive right? Well it was short lived. 

With something like this I thought it would be good to keep it separate from her other toys and just bring it out during quiet time so there was some excitement over it. Well there is excitement for it. However, it’s just that she wants to dump it out. I don’t remember what age this was geared to and I can see lots of potential for it however it isn’t the huge distraction. But as of now it is going to be put away for awhile and maybe brought out this winter. I will have to see if it keeps more interest or start making different projects with it. Such as grouping the Pom poms by color and so on.

My other suggestion with this is that I bought two packs of Pom poms from dollar tree and they were something like 45 count ones. I could have easily gotten away with just one pack. Also if you want to work on learning colors with them I would suggest to stick to the ones that are primary colors.  

I know every kid is different so you may have more success with this then we did. It never hurts to try! 

Cheers,

Amber

Crock pot dinner from last night. Yum!

Well, it is soccer season and with any sport season in our house I rely on my crock pot to make dinner because you never know if the son is going to be hungry before or after practice or both. I also don’t want to rely on throwing in a frozen pizza or just eating crap. One thing I am lucky is that I do not live by fast food so we really don’t ever have it. The closest thing to fast food we get is usually jimmy johns and I guess it could be worst.

One thing you will learn is that I LOVE the crock pot. It astonishes me when I hear people don’t ever use one or even own one! I just don’t understand it. I find it an easy way to make a healthy meal. Don’t get me wrong you can for sure make some unhealthy stuff too. Haha.

So tonight I am making a peppercorn and garlic pork tenderloin with potatoes, carrots and onions. Oh so simple but so delish.


This is everything I used. Unfortunately, there aren’t measurements on the seasonings because I usually just wing it and season kind of heavy. This is how I prepared dinner.

  1. Peel and cube about 5-6 baby red potatoes and place in bottom of greased crock pot.
  2. Dice onions and place in crock pot.
  3. Put carrots in crock pot  (as many as you would like. I just dump maybe 20 in)
  4. Season lightly with Lawrys seasoning salt.
  5. Add black pepper to taste.
  6. Then add Mrs Dash garlic herb seasoning heavy.  (this stuff is awesome)
  7. Drizzle your choice of olive oil on top. I used a Mediterranean garlic olive oil.
  8. Place tenderloin (I had purchased a pre-seasoned tenderloin so if yours is plain you may want to season or marinade before cooking) on top and cook until loin reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. I used a crock pot that has a meat probe and automatically puts pot to warm once the temp is reached. This was about four hours on low.    

Well dinner was a success. There were no leftovers and the toddler devoured a good quarter of the loin herself. I actually think she ate more meat then me. The husband even complimented dinner which is rare. Haha.

So this isn’t a true recipe but just showing you how easy it is to throw a quick and rather healthy meal together in the crock pot. So simple and a clean recipe if you are into that thing. I used to be so nervous when buying meat basically just wondering what I was going to do with a certain cut of meat. Ever since I found the crock pot it makes everything so much easier. Take the meat and throw it on a bed of veggies and cook. I like to put something underneath just so the meat isn’t sitting right on the bottom of the crock pot just in case it were to burn. Plus with my crock pot I like to use the meat probe and it won’t reach all the way to the bottom of the pot.

  
Dinner went so fast after a late soccer practice that I almost forgot to take a picture. So here is one from dinner and it was rather sad cause I didn’t have much of the food left to show. But nonetheless it was delicious. Husband approved. Kid approved and even Toddler approved. What more could you ask for?

Happy Crocking,

Amber

Youth athletics aren’t what they used to be…..

I don’t know about all of you but I grew up in the 80’s and apparently since then athletics have taken a huge turn. I remember just being signed up for various activities to have fun. There was absolutely no pressure. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case these days. 

My son started playing baseball when he was five. That was probably the last and only no pressure year. It only gets more intense from there on out. So sad if you ask me. This is just my experience so you may be lucky and yours will be different. I hope so for your child’s sake. 

Just a little background on the insanity of the world of 6-8 year old baseball we went through. ….

The next two years were my sons last years in baseball. He had moved up to the pinto level and his first year in pinto you could see the favoritism already started. You had coaches wanting to make their kids the stars even if they didn’t have the talent. Practices were based around the stars and everyone else was left behind. Don’t get me wrong my son was not going to be in the major leagues by any means. But it would have been nice to see him get the chance to have the attention to learn the skills to become a better player. Yes I know these coaches are volunteers and they only have so much time. So I was out in the yard every day practicing with him. But even with that it wasn’t enough because the coaches had their favorites picked out and unless you were a “favorite” you were sitting on the bench or in the outfield except for the bare minimum required infield time was called for. I didn’t see the ugliness of this until their first “playoff game”. Sounds cute right? Not so much. Well, at this level they play six innings. I had noticed my son had sat out the second and fourth inning and I thought this was odd. So I probably did a “no-no” but I approached his coach and asked “did my son do something wrong because he is sitting out again?” His reply “well, it’s the playoffs” at this point I am in some sort of disbelief and I am just like “so?” And he says again “it’s the playoffs…..” Then I kindly remind him that “these kIds are only 6-8 year olds”. Of course this was done out of earshot of the kids but it left me quite disgusted. He played for another year but there was no real excitement over it. 

That fall he decided he was going to try soccer. We got his signed up through the park district with some friends and it was short lived due to an injury. But he learned a valuable life lesson in my oppinion. He still attended all the games as a lesson of teamwork. Something kids have forgotten or never learned the skill of. He had a kid actually ask him why he was at the game cause he quit the team. Mama bear kind of stepped in and said he didn’t quit the team but he is unable to at due to an injury. I then politely told the player that he was there to support his team and cheer them on. The kid was surprised which is sad but we need to get rid of the competition and start teaching what a team truly means. 

Now back to the premise of this post. Yes I realize I got off topic a tad. But nowadays kids are getting in their little cliques earlier then ever. I am seeing it with fourth graders you already see the baseball kids in their own group and football kids in their own also. I am constantly hearing about parents signing up their elementary school kids to certain teams so they can play their sport in high school. I fell victim to this sort of thinking when my son decided to switch sports to soccer. It was almost where you question if your child is starting too late? Will they be able to keep up? This is an insane way to think! When did it change? I remember trying out for volleyball in middle school and never playing it before except in gym class and not being nervous. There was no pressure.  It’s just ludicrous how athletics have changed. 

I think us as parents need to change this way of thinking. It’s probably harder then it sounds. Just take the time and listen to what your kids honestly want to play. I tell my son I don’t care what it is but I want him involved in some sort of sport every year mainly to keep him moving. Plus I like the social aspect of it too. Kids getting together and it not based around some sort of electronic. It probably would help doing your research on what type of team you are signing them up for. A park district team will be more then likely less intense as opposed to a private league. 

Well I am going to end my rant and hopefully there is something you can take away from my families experience. 

Now onto the fall soccer season!

 
Cheers,

Amber 

Super Simple Cinnamon Banana Bread or Muffins

I LOVE banana bread. So does my son. He finally admitted to me awhile back the only reason that he requests bananas from the store is because he won’t eat them so I have to make banana bread. I just hate the idea of throwing the produce out when I could make something with them. However, I do make it less now cause my toddler loves her fruit and I am running out to the store quite often to replenish. But today is a different day. We had bananas to use up. So I figured I would share my delicious banana bread recipe. This also makes a great muffin recipe. 

Ingredients

3-4 ripe/overripe bananas

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I do add more because I love the cinnamon taste)

1 egg

1/4 cup (half stick) melted butter

Cinnamon/Sugar to top loaf

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  • Smash bananas with fork or hand mixer. 
  • Melt butter. 
  • Add dry ingredients to bananas and mix. 
  • Add butter and egg and mix. 
  • Once mixed thoroughly set aside.
  • Grease bread pan or muffin pan. 
  • Add mixture to pan of choice. 

  

  • Top loaf of muffins with Cinnamon/Sugar mix to your liking. 

  

  • For a loaf of bread you will cook for one hour. Check with toothpick to make sure it cooked thoroughly. For muffins cook for 20 minutes and check with toothpick.
  • Let stand in pan for five minutes then remove from pan and place on cooling rack.

   
 
Best served warm with butter. 

****pictured is a double batch****

Enjoy!

Amber

Cook times may differ. 

Good morning world!

  
Good morning! I am just sitting out here on the front porch after a pretty intense workout while my son is out playing before the bus comes. It’s pretty humid already and it is only going to get worst throughout the day. I guess I have to get out while I can. I will say it is quite relaxing just sitting here listening to the sounds of nature. Now I am starting to hear the kids coming down to the stop. I better see my son off and get my hugs before the bus comes. 🙂

Cheers,

Amber

The electronics debacle and kids. 

Is it just me or does anyone else see a family out to eat or shopping through a store and the children’s heads are buried into some sort of electronic device and you just cringe? When did it become such a burden to take your family out to eat or go shopping without the use of electronics? I am not saying I am a super mom or anything but several generations before us managed to do these normal tasks without having to have something entertain the children. Even worst is when I see someone hand their phone to their toddler! Really? The toddler years are where you start to shape your child and how you are going to parent. So when did this become socially acceptable? Or has it even become acceptable? Maybe it is just overlooked? If it is overlooked, then why do you think that is? 

So as you know I have a toddler (19 month old) and a 9yo son. I am sure you are like the 9yo probably is on the electronics all the time. Or that I am a crazy strict mom. When other parents hear my rules they do think I am strict but I am often commended on how I approach it. I will admit that in the summer I do let a little more game play. But if it is nice out then he is expected to get out and play with friends. 

Before I get to far I guess I should just share my electronics rules. During the school year there is no electronics during the school week and it is limited on the weekends. Pretty much if he is home and not doing something with friends and asks during the toddlers nap then that is fine. Or if he has a sleepover he is allowed to play in the evening for a little while. However, if it is a rainy or very cold day where he can’t play outside I do allow more game play. Personally I believe video games are for crappy weather. Now these rules are for the use of games like the Xbox, Wii U or 3ds. Now he does have a hand me down iPad from grandpa that in order to play that he has to earn minutes. I use the app chore monster where he can check off chores he has done daily to earn time on the iPad. The iPad though only leaves the house on long road trips when we go to visit family out of state. 

With this approach I guess this is where you will make your judgement or decide if this approach is right for your family. However, I do ask you to think about it next time you are out with your family whether it is shopping or out to dinner. Do you really need to be attached to your device? Or the kids their devices. 

Remember, you as the parent are the one that makes the rules. Sometimes it would be so much easier to give in and just let them do whatever. But how will that help them in the long run? No one or game is always going to be there to entertain them constantly. They need to learn to play on their own using their imagination. Getting outdoors and playing. Just think of the games you played as kids. If you told your kids the games you thought of with friends would they look at you crazy? I know my son did and that was when changes had to be made. 

Now I better put my electronic down and play with my kids. 

Cheers

Amber 

Mourning the naptime

Mothers of babies are always told take a nap when the baby naps which you may do. Then you may find it is your time to get things done around the house or just relax and binge on some Netflix. But what happens when the baby doesn’t nap anymore? We have had days where naps are short but no nap hasn’t really happened until today. Is this the day that we start with no naps? At nineteen months I sure hope not. But I cannot help but mourn the nap time. As a stay at home mom it really is the only time I can relax and get some “me time”. Selfish, it may sound like it but if we don’t put ourselves first no one else is. 

When did your littles stop napping? I honestly cannot remember when my son stopped taking naps. I want to say he was still taking naps at daycare up to five but wasn’t taking naps at home except in the car. I am just taking today as a snafu and hope for a nap tomorrow. 

Well I am off to bed. 

Goodnight,

Amber