Saaaaaa-weet Saturday: Jamberry Nails

Since I’ve been on school overload the past few weeks, I’m going to deviate from Schoolhouse Saturday and talk about something sweet: Jamberry Nails. If you aren’t sure what they are or you have been dying to try them and are tired of your nails looking a mess, I’m having an online party to celebrate my birthday. Check out the link for info:

https://m.facebook.com/?_rdr#!/groups/1464567383818548?ref=m_notif&notif_t=group_activity

I will save most of the explanation for Liddy, my consultant, but basically they are vinyl nail adhesives in just about every thinkable style and design. I have been hearing about them for a while now, and with my birthday coming up, I decided to try them out. They are super cute, and I picked out 2 designs for $30 plus shipping, and it took them about a week to arrive to NC from Utah. It made my day to see them in the mail. I grabbed my hair dryer and was ready for beauty when I realized my dryer was broken. I decided to redneck it up by using my van’s heat… What can I say, I’m innovative! They were super easy, and I’m sure using a hair dryer or nail heater will be much more efficient. But it did make the car rider line fun! J swears my nails are longer but I actually filed them down. They don’t looked jacked up with half-chipped nail polish and ugly cuticles. Definitely keepers! Plus I have enough from my two sheets for 4 pedicures and 3 more manicures. Just click on the link and get ready to order! You will love them, they last a good while (average of 3 weeks for fingernails and 6 for toenails or around those numbers), and your nails won’t look like you scrape them on cement all day. I didn’t approve a pin today, but I definitely approve the website and Jamberry Nails!

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Catching Up!

I have been performing super mom duties all week. I hope those cats I rescued from the burning train caught in a tornado will make a full recovery. Oh haha I kid. I kid. They were dogs. Cats prefer airplanes.

In all seriousness, I have been busy with back to school, and my blog had to take a little backseat. Now my kids are all back to schooled and I have time to think! I also am excited to inform my readers of upcoming guest posts, one on Monday from Joanna at Motherhood and Merlot (http://motherhoodandmerlot.com) and a future linky party hosted by a great group of ladies I am very fortunate to know.

Now that I’m all caught up, I’m going to enjoy my breakfast by myself, sip some tea, and treat myself to some alone time before school lets out. I will leave you with the last back-to-school photo of my sweet girls.

 

Twinnie Tuesday: New School/Old School

“It’s the first day of school and whattaya do? You put your feet into a new pair of shoes. You brush your teeth and comb your hair and wonder how many new friends you’ll meet there. It’s the first day, it’s the first day. Will I like my teacher will my teacher like me? It’s the first day, it’s the first day. It’s the first day of school!”

For all of my school years and even my first teacher year, my mom serenaded us with the “First Day of School” song by our bedside, through closed bathroom doors, and on the phone. I wish I still had first days so she could call me up and sing it. Now I sing it to my kids. I started last year when they started the 3’s class at our church preschool, and woke my oldest, littlest up this morning with what, I hope, will be a song that she will cherish as I do.

We did some new things this morning too, the first of them being my apparently new wakeup time of 5:00 am. Not sure what that is all about. Also I made cinnamon toast (The Pioneer Woman’s recipe) and topped it with stewed canned apples (homemade by Nanny). I served them on an apple plate for the big girl. (Tomorrow I will make apple cinnamon muffins for the other two on their very own apple plates). I got the idea from the pin and site below:

Pin: DIY Apple Party Plates

Website: Spaceships and Laser Beams

I also spent extra time with the girl and helped her get ready. I painted her nails last night and brushed her hair and made sure she was picture perfect. I then snapped a few pictures. My girl looked so big and little at the same time.

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Then we drove to the school where I met my soon-to-be husband, walked in the front door, and down the same hall I walked, my mom walked, and my papa walked to the same classroom that belonged to the teacher who is the reason I teach today. Old school meets new school. Same smells, new faces. Same building, new memories.

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God bless our children this school year. Guide them and keep them. School is finally here!

After we left, I treated the other two to a morning at the park. Tomorrow we will start the first day jitters and preparation all over again times 2!

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Social Good Moms 500: Day 494

I wrote a post featured today on Social Good Moms in support of funds and assistance to the poorest and most uneducated babies, children, and mothers in the world. My post follows as well as a link to the SGM 500 site.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” ~ Matthew 25:40

 http://socialgoodmoms500.tumblr.com/post/95644379995/countdown-to-the-mdg-deadline-day-494

Social Good Moms 500
Starting on August 18, 2014, and for 500 days moms around the world will raise awareness about the importance of Millennium Development Goal 4that calls for reducing child mortality by two-thirds. We are kicking everything off in Kenya with coverage of Save the Children’s Millennium Development Goal briefing in Nairobi.

 Working in partnership with Save the Children we are spreading the word about MDG 4 for the next 500 days with one goal in mind: that we can achieve the MDGs and bring lasting change to the world’s poorest.    

Countdown to the MDG Deadline – Day 494
Lauren Suggs
twintestedpinapproved.wordpress.com

Vividly, I remember the smell of filth and dirty diapers as I walked into the small orphanage in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I was all of 14 years old and had lived a life of privilege. I held a tiny baby who had just arrived and had yet to be named. In my mind, I named him Josiah. I couldn’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want him. I was told that life in the orphanage was better than the one of extreme poverty he would face with his birth mother. One year later, I stood on the streets of Tijuana shopping at a market when I was approached by a little girl. She was impossibly cute and I asked if I could take her picture. She quickly responded, a mere child of 4 or 5, “one quarter for picture.” I stood silent as she increased her price to “one dollar for picture.” I handed over the dollar, snapped my picture, and quickly bought up a bracelet and necklace I’ve never worn but are still in my jewelry box from little “Rosa.”

I don’t know if Josiah or Rosa survived childhood. I don’t know if they lived to be successes or criminals or prostitutes. I don’t know if they are dead or alive. And I never will. Unfortunately their fate is the norm in areas where poverty captures and doesn’t let go. Sickness, disease, poor nutrition, early mortality, and no education are the ropes that bind these people trapping them in a life beyond saving at times.

In 2000, our world leaders saw the tragedy unfolding in country after country around the world and decided it had to stop. They created goals- or the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)–”including commitments to cut poverty by half, get every child into school, and dramatically reduce child and maternal deaths by 2015.”

Here are the facts from the UN’s website: MDG4 and from our partners at Save the Children. I want to highlight a few from Save the Children:
•Each day an estimated 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die from largely preventable causes.
•More than 1 million babies die on their first and only day of life across the world, and 2.9 million in their first month.
•The newborn crisis is much bigger than we may think, with a staggering 1.2 million stillbirths occurring during childbirth.
•More than half of these maternal and under-fives deaths take place in locations beset by a high risk of conflict and/or natural disasters.
•40 million women give birth without any skilled help – that’s more than 100,000 women every day.
•Even more dramatically, 2 million women a year are entirely alone when giving birth.
•Investing in mothers works. Maternal deaths and child mortality in the most challenging countries of the world are being dramatically cut when efforts are made to improve services for mothers and children.
•Preventable: We can stop this. Many of these deaths are preventable if the mother-to-be had a trained midwife to help them give birth safely
•Equality: Newborn mortality rates can only be reduced through fairer distribution of essential health services and through universal healthcare access; this means making these more available to the poorest and most marginalised families, as well as to communities living in rural areas.

In 2014, moms shouldn’t have to worry about sending a child to bed hungry or walking miles for clean water. Children shouldn’t have to choose working on the streets to beg for money over going to school and getting an education. Babies shouldn’t have to die from things like malaria or chronic diarrhea. We live in a society with so much. Why are there people out there still living without the basic needs. Every child should have a safe and happy life. We shouldn’t stand for anything less than a world where every child is fed, healthy, and educated.

We have 494 days until the MDG4 deadline. Spread the word. Tell our leaders to make these goals a priority. The benefits are great and much better than spreading hate. Use the hashtags: #MDGmomentum #commit2deliver when you post. We are in the midst of sending our children back to school. Let’s send ALL children back to school.

Schoolhouse Saturdays, Back to School Week: A MoM’s Guide to B2S

To start off this post, a little humor from Scary Mommy: Back to School Video.

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Today is the end of Back to School week here on Twin Tested, Pin Approved, and I’m not reviewing a pin, but giving a little of my own advice in a Mom of Multiples B2S Guide for teachers, students, parents, and fellow MoMs. Believe it or not, twins are not so special. According to statistics, twins account (since 2010) for every 1 in 30 births in the U.S. I’m sure the number is higher now. They’re really not that rare. I say this because twins, or mine at least, still are gawked at like a circus act or celebrity, particularly when we are in WalMart. Now while I appreciate the questions and attention my girls get, I am OVERLOADED sometimes. No one who believes me is welcome to spend a shopping trip by my side. You will quickly notice the amount of questions, often persistent and intruding, that we get. I think that this is only going to increase once the girls begin preschool and become “the twins” of their class. Now I’m guilty of “grouping” them as “the girls” but I rarely if EVER refer to them as “the twins.” So before school starts, I want to use my preferences, experiences, and knowledge of twins but more importantly of B & L to write a little guide for those who have multiples, will teach them, be in class with them, or have a child/student in class with them.

1) Teach them that they are twins

Now this sounds stupid and a completely absurd way to start the guide, but the most important way to help your twins, or those you interact with, is to let them know that they are twins. This is mainly because now that they are in school, they will be the ones to answer the questions now that Mommy isn’t by their side to give everyone the rundown of their genetic makeup. So tell them they are twins. Let them know that it’s ok to answer questions. One may choose to say they are the oldest twin or that they are X years old. The older they get, the more questions they will have to answer: Are you best friends? Can you feel each other’s pain? Do you have a secret twin language? These are questions I cannot and will not answer because I am not them. One question I hope they will never have to answer though is “which one of you is the bad twin?” I mean seriously people?!?

2) Teach them that they are NOT just twins

They have to share so much: Parents, bedrooms (often), toys, clothes, classrooms on occasions, time, laps. Do not make them share an identity. Learn their names. Find out how they are different. It’s ok if you have a favorite or if your child is friends with one more than the other. They have a desire to be different. One likes pink, the other purple. One is loud, the other more reserved. But they both are their own person and cannot be expected to be “the twins” all of the time. They may cling to each other, but don’t mistake that for the want to be one person. They are unique and individuals and want to be treated as such.

3) Not all things are created equal

Not only are they individuals in personality and style but also in learning. This is a hard one for MoMs to swallow. No one wants one to lag behind. We want two individual children, but we want two equally gifted, talented, intelligent children. It was difficult to hear the doctor suggest that L should begin speech. It kills me to know that school may be harder for her than B. I’m sure she will catch up and be fine, but I want them to succeed. However, giving your children/students impossible expectations or having a mindset that because they are twins, they will learn at the same rate or in the same way is not benefitting the children. The important thing is to nurture and help both of them no matter what. If one is doing her best as an A+ student, and the other is doing her best making B’s or C’s, it will be ok. A student or child is more likely to achieve success no matter what their learning abilities if they are given support and a loving foundation. I’m serious. Don’t mistake this for just a feel good talk from some yuppie mommy of twins who thinks she is better and doesn’t spank or say no. Trust me, my kids get a firm pop when they need it and are told no plenty of times. Seriously make sure you listen to this point. If you punish a C student because they couldn’t get an A that they were never capable of making, then they will most likely withdraw into resentment of the parent and school. I see this day in and day out in the GED classroom. Love your children, support them, help them, and know that NO child learns the same way as the next ESPECIALLY if they are twins.

4) Individualism=Individual Time

My girls love when they get to go to the store or run errands solo with Mommy or Daddy. They feel special because they don’t have to share. Unfortunately, this year they will not get to be in different classes. Now before you throw some twin statistic at me about same vs separate classrooms, I do not know the answers to that debate. No one does because every situation is different. If my twins do better in different classrooms, great. If they do better together, also great. But this year they are together because there is only one classroom for Pre-K. This does not mean that they have to share this time. Feel free to single out one without the other. Life isn’t fair, and they know that one doesn’t always get to do what the other is doing. So please give them individual time, attention, and jobs to do. Let them help in different ways and contribute to the classrooms as two different people. Do not always stick them side by side at group time or in learning groups or centers. Being apart will do them some good. They are together 24-7 and always have been. They will not miss each other for long if they are separated, trust me. It does them some good. While they are learning to be individuals, help them find their way by giving them individual time.

5) Know that they are Special!

I said earlier that twins aren’t so special. But my girls, my daughters, my best friends, my giggle partners, my ballerinas, my lovey snuggle bugs, my readers, my Braves fans, my football girls, my taste testers, my crafting partners, my inspirations, my heart and soul, MY TWINS, B and L are so very special. I know every mark on their body and love every speckled freckle on their nose. I raised them solo for a long time before finding my main squeeze who stepped in to be their Daddy, and our bond cannot be broken. I know they are frustrating and sometimes mean. I will be the first to step up to bat for the teacher if they are disrespectful and not following the rules. I listen to their ramblings and fits. But they are mine, and I am giving them to you for 6 hours and 15 minutes each day. Love them. Take care of them for me. And treat them well. They are my world. And while you are at it treat every kid in the class the same way, because they mean just as much to someone too.

I hope this guide helps y’all this school year. Most of these things apply to twins, but can apply to every child. They are little only for a blink of an eye. I hope that everyone has a blessed and safe school year.

Football Friday/Foodie Friday: HS Team and Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Football is back! I love the smell of the grass broken up by cleats on the field, the scent of hotdogs and Gatorade, the roar of a crowd and beat of the percussion section, the shine of the lights reflecting off of helmets, and most of all the voice of my dad yelling on the sidelines at his boys on defense. Don’t get me wrong, I wear my red and gold and cheer my Niners on, but there’s nothing like being at a high school football game. As a coach’s kid, I was privileged to the inner workings of a team. As a side note, moms and dads give the coaches a break. You can barely get your teenage boy to get out of bed in the morning. They have to direct them on a football field where the atmosphere is tense and the pressure is high. Before you bad-mouth the man/woman volunteering his time (because he ain’t making much money believe that) to help your child, think at least of his children sitting in earshot. I’ve heard my share of trashing coaches, even my dad. Get to know the coach, or maybe what the heck you’re talking about, before you scream obscenities his way. Stepping down off of soapbox.

Now back to the show! As you can tell, my dad passed on his love of the game to his girls and J is passing on the love of the game to B & L. I love hearing them cheer and yell ”Go Bulldogs! Go Niners!” Not so much when they yell “Go Cowboys!”, yuck. Or last year when J bandwagoned to Florida St. for the National Championship game and L kept yelling “Go Cinnamon Rolls!”

 

Tonight, we went to see my High School football team play. We sat with friends and family and cheered, laughed, reminisced, ate skittles, melted (I don’t sweat), and watched the boys of Friday night. It was the best!

A friend of ours went with us and came over for supper beforehand. I made one of J’s favorite pin recipe experiments, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas. The recipe from the pin and site, Food Family & Finds, is below:

 Pin: Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Website: Food Family & Finds

Y’all, Y’ALL. These are uh-mazing. Everything good about Mexican: the flavor, the spice, the creaminess, and everything good about comfort food: the heartiness, the warmth, the melted gooey goodness. All of these things are in this dish. J like really loves it. And it makes enough for him to eat and actually get full which, my friends, is a feat of great proportions. I paired the enchiladas with a quick salsa made with canned corn, black beans (both of those drained), and diced tomatoes (not drained). It felt like our own little tailgate and the end to a perfect last Friday off with the girls! Of course combined with the shopping we did earlier! This pin is hold on… He’s at the 30, the 20, the 10… TOUCHDOWN ENCHILAAAAADAS! Enjoy your family, friends, food, and football! I definitely see football and food combining on Fridays often so stay tuned for tailgating and fan favorites this season.

The Clean/Dirty Thursday, Back to School Week: Ruler Wreath

Whoo it’s been a week. Even though I teach year round, we started a new semester and had some changes. Top that off with J’s new job and car issues. Friday has never looked so good!

Tomorrow will be my last Friday having the girls here with me all day. Next Friday, I will be taking them both to school for their first day together. No turning back now. At least I will have the time to really expand my culinary techniques for Foodie Friday (psshh haha yeah right). Or maybe binge coffee drinking with my cousin. My guess is binge coffee drinking. Anyways on to today’s pin!

Technically I made the ruler wreath last year but it’s such a cute idea, I decided to feature it today. Plus I didn’t have a pretty white door to hang it on. Somehow it didn’t look as good on my ugly brown door. So here for your viewing pleasure, I give you the Ruler Wreath.

Pin: Back to School Ruler Wreath

Website: Create. Craft. Love

 This wreath was so easy. All you need are basic wooden rulers and some hot glue. My wreath isn’t quite like the one on the site but close enough! I think it is really cute and goes great with my windchimes. The thing that I like most about the wreath is it shows support for the school year. It’s almost as if to say “I commit this house to the best school year ever! As for me and my house, we will do our homework!” Ok maybe that was a little much. Maybe it’s just a cute wreath haha. The pin measures up nicely (ba-dup chhhh) and is approved. I hope you all are ready for the school year. It’s almost here!

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Mansday Wednesday/Wordless Wednesday: Honey Sugar Pie Sweetie Lovey Time

Ok I’m not really gross and all lovey dovey like my title. I’m pretty practical and insensitive sometimes. I’ve always had the problem where I give the face like I act like I don’t care. I do care. Really. I just have a hard way of being sensitive sometimes. I think it comes from being an oldest child. J got promoted last week, and just like any new job, he’s been working hard and feeling the growing pains. I have also been working hard trying to keep up the new blog and get things rolling with Back to School. Needless to say, we’ve neglected each other this week. Friday we will share a day off and I am really looking forward to that. But tonight, I decided to take off my blogging/mommy/blogging mommy hat and put on my fiancee hat. We went out to eat and I didn’t try a pin. Sometimes, you just have to. I will continue Pinteresting and posting tomorrow!

And my Wordless Wednesday in honor of Mansday Wednesday:

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Twinnie Tuesday, Back to School Week: B2S Books and Teacher Gift Printable Card

 

As you can see, we are super excited about school. I was telling J, you can never get the first days of preschool or kindergarten back. It is so very important to make these days as exciting as possible. Of course there could possibly be crying, screaming, clinging to the legs. And the kids may be a little nervous too. The things that I have done and will do leading up to the first days of school are all to help ease the transition for our littles. And for me too I suppose. The teacher part of me places so much emphasis on their education. And the mother part of me wants to cuddle them until they leave for college. By preparing them and being active in their school, I feel like the teacher and mommy parts can find common ground. Someone remind me of my enthusiasm when I am about to lose my mind after agreeing to volunteer on some committee or team in a few months.

For the past few nights we have been “reading our way” to the first day of school. I got the idea from the pin and site below:

Pin: B2S Reading Countdown

Website: Hands On As We Grow

We started when there were 10 days until school. I chose 10 because it was a good solid, even number (I’m OCD. EVERYTHING MUST BE EVEN!!!) and I thought I could manage to round up 10 books about B2S. I cut out circles out of notebook paper and wrote numbers 1-10 on them and taped them to the front of the books. Any books about school will do.

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I also printed off the graphic below to make a gift tag for the teachers’ gifts:

Pin: Colorable Teacher Card

Website: Simply Designing

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 I glued the printable onto an index card and let the kids write their names on the back. I attached them with ribbon to a wooden ruler that I decorated for each teacher (decorations not shown on ruler because I didn’t want to share last names). It was the perfect final touch! I asked B & L if they approved of the pins. Their response, “Uh-huh.” So I asked why and was given “Because.” Is it too late to sign them up for Interpersonal Communication at the college?