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Friday, October 14, 2016

GP: Fun Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

Today's post is a guest post by one of our favorite guest writers. I hope you all enjoy it!

Fun Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Fall
By: Aleksandre McMannamin

Fall is one of the most delightful seasons of the year, one that usually provides a relaxing change of pace from the hustle and heat of summer. As a homeowner or property owner, this means that there are several responsibilities that you have to get ready for the colder months. However, these chores don’t have to be all business. This time of year also provides an opportunity to have fun with the aesthetics of the season, as you can outfit your home with decor that is fitting for the many festivities that fall provides. If you need some help getting started with these ideas, here are some fun ways to get your home ready for fall...

Seal and decorate windows and doors

Your doors and windows are a great place to start, when it comes to getting your home up to energy efficient standards after summer. Having to replace these in your home can be incredibly expensive. However, simply using non-expanding foam to update the seals on your windows and doors will prevent leaks in your homes heating, and save you plenty of money in energy costs. This doesn’t have to be all business, though. The holidays in fall make it a great time to let your spooky side out and reflect that when you decorate your home. Decorating your windows with fake cobwebs and candles will put your home in time with the season, and you can always make a homemade Halloween wreath with your kids to hang on your front door.

Clean out gutters and spruce up your roof

The changing of leaves is probably the most gorgeous aspect of fall scenery. As they begin to transform into various shades of orange and yellow, the world begins to soften up with a golden glow. However, eventually these leaves will begin to trickle down from their respective tree branches and fill our yards with piles of organic material. One aspect of this beautiful process can be quite damaging to your home, however, and that is when the leaves begin to fill your gutter. If it rains, this can create pools of sitting water on your roof, which can cause leaks and structural issues to develop. For this reason, now is the perfect time to get up on the roof, before the cold season hits, and make sure that your gutters are all in working order. Clear out anything that could cause a problem later, and you could be saving thousands of dollars in repair costs. While you are up there, this also creates a perfect opportunity to adorn your roof with lights and decorations for the holiday season, as it will be much easier to do this before the snow falls

Transition to a fall garage, and get festive!

One piece of homeowner maintenance that always needs to be taken care of, once the summer ends, is getting your garage ready for the colder months. For example, many garages tend to get chaotic and messy during the summer, as tons of activities are happening that require travel. However, if you live in a snowy climate, you are going to need to have space to store your vehicle from the elements. Getting a garage organized and efficient is something that is inherently a fall-time responsibility (if you’re looking for more ideas on how to do this effectively, check out this informative article here). Again, though, this doesn’t all have to be business. Plenty of households utilize their garage to help celebrate the scary season. A garage makes the perfect place to set up your own makeshift haunted house for trick-or-treaters, or even a great room to set up fun activities for a Halloween party. Either way, you’re going to want to do some work on your garage come fall.

Store your summer playthings

When summer ends, it’s time to put all of the sunny playtime tools away until next year. This includes things like camping trailers, hammocks, even sidewalk chalk. Storing your things nicely, according to the season, will keep them nice and useable for next year, and many years after that. Indeed, this is part of the maintenance that comes with being a homeowner. Some of these responsibilities may be more difficult, however. Larger summer fun amenities, such as swimming pools or gardens, take a little knowledge to know how to put away properly (here's an article that has some great tips on how to do this with a swimming pool). However, some things can last for the fall and winter! For example, although a swimming pool would need to be closed, a spa or hot tub can be a great addition to any home during the colder months, as the hot water will feel even better.


Aleksander enjoys wandering the great outdoors and thinking about the ailments that bring ill upon society. A typical day in his life may include learning a dead language, teaching unfortunate children to paint their feelings on canvas, or wiping the sweat from his brow as he finishes work in an immaculate garden. Currently, Aleksandre enjoys writing on a variety of topics for various sites around the interwebs.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Believing In Miracles

Believing In Miracles
Written By Renee Arbia

Imogen is now almost three months old. Many have been asking us how she is doing, what is next for her and what has been going on? Turner Syndrome is a fairly complex syndrome in the fact that no two girls with it are the same. 

In girls with Turner Syndrome they are born with only one X. Boys are always XY and Girls are XX,  but with Turner Syndrome the person is missing one X. That is why around 99% of people with Turner Syndrome are girls. 

Due to lacking chromosomes girls with Turners Syndrome can have a host of medical issues, but thankfully nothing that modern medicine cannot fix. However, each girl is different because it is a spectrum disorder. Most of the time Turner Syndrome is not even discovered in girls until they reach puberty and they do not ovulate, it is rare to be diagnosed earlier than age nine in the Turner Syndrome Community.

As I wrote in Imogen’s Birth Story giving birth to a Turner Syndrome baby is very heart wrenching. 98% of baby girls with Turner Syndrome do not make it to birth. Imogen is part of that 2% that survived the pregnancy. She is a rare butterfly in the medical community and in our hearts.

Imogen has a form of Turner Syndrome called non-mosaicism which means every cell in her body is missing a chromosome. In mosaicism only some cells are missing a chromosome and some are not. However, we are told that the type of Turners she has is very textbook. Yet, Turner Syndrome is a spectrum disorder. So there is a big sliding scale as to what to expect. Basically we were literally handed a sheet that tells us at what age she needs certain body parts and systems checked to make sure she is not prone to any issues.

When Imogen was born she had a host of ultrasounds and blood drawn for analysis. We were scheduled to meet with all of her specialists to get an initial rundown of any medical problems we may be facing with her. Right now Imogen has a regular Pediatrician, Endocrinologist, Cardiologist and Urologist. Turner Syndrome girls are at very high risk for problems with their heart and kidneys. Our pediatrician does what he does for Xavier with regular check ups and just keeps tabs on her progress with all of the specialists. Imogen’s Endocrinologist is a big part of her life. She will be responsible for watching all of her levels, and for helping her with growth hormones and hormone therapy. She also helped us to find out her exact type of chromosomal abnormality and informed us all about Turner Syndrome, support groups, summer camps, etc.

Imogen received two more ultrasounds of her heart and kidneys since she has been born. Both of those ultrasounds came back seeing all of her organs working the way they should. We are proud to say that we are specialist doctor visit free for six months which is super big for us to celebrate!

To say that our girl is a miracle is not even half of the amazing spirit she is. When we go to doctor’s appointments we get a lot of doctors, interns and students who want to see the Turner Syndrome baby who defeated the odds against her and is extremely healthy. I was annoyed at the medical community when I was pregnant because they would warn me of the many things that could be wrong with my little girl. I knew in my heart that she was strong and healthy; I just had no way to prove it. Now, she is here and she is proving everyday that miracles exist because she is strong and healthy. For once the medical community is marveling at what I know is a girl made strong and healthy by faith.

We had faith the moment we saw our little girl on the ultra sound, no matter what the doctors told us. We had faith in the weeks of pregnancy that doctors gave us worrisome news. We had faith when we had to have an emergency cesarean due to her heart rate dropping. We had faith when they added a spine ultrasound because they were afraid there was an issue. We had faith when they made doctor appointments with specialist after specialist. We had faith when we were told that although our baby girl has a very rare chromosomal syndrome, she is incredibly strong and healthy.

Our little family has made it through quite a big storm. Right now we are on the other side where the sun is shining and a rainbow has come out. We are spending the next few months celebrating our strong and healthy baby girl and our new family of four!

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #inspirational, #parenting, #TurnerSyndrome, #TurnerSyndromeAwareness, #newbornwithTurnerSyndrome, #specialneedsparenting, #Imogen

Friday, September 30, 2016

Kick Off Fall with Hubb's "Corn" Maze

Kick Off Fall with Hubb’s “Corn” Maze
Written By Renee Arbia

Having a baby in the summer time was actually a slight plan for us. We intended to try to have a baby born in the summer months when it is too hot to go outside for very long. Imogen was born in July and our “nesting with newborn” time was during the very hot south weather and we were fortunate enough to enjoy it in the air conditioning.

With Imogen two months old and the weather cooling off we are excited to show her our favorite time of year. Xavier loves the fall just as much as Nick and I. September, October and November are our big season of fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving fun. This is when we try to soak up as much of fall as we possibly can. Although we will be much more relaxed in “soaking up” with a newborn this year; we are excited to show Imogen around this world that we love during our favorite time of year.

Last weekend our friends won some tickets to Hubb’s CornMaze in Clinton, NC. They invited us along with them. It was our first time going. Clinton, NC is about an hour and a half away from where we live. Imogen did really well on her first car ride. Right away we were very impressed with Hubb’s Corn Maze. They had easy and free parking. Their pricing options for the farm are a little complicated to figure out, but it makes it easier for you to pick a package to fit your family’s individual needs and they are very knowledgeable and friendly. Xavier found what he loved best right away. He loved the gigantic sand box with nothing but huge construction trucks. What is not to love about that?

Next it was onto the giant tube slides. I loved that they also accommodated Dada along for the ride.

Hubb’s did not just have “bouncy houses” they had two giant bounce pads to jump and play on. One was so big Xavier was a scared of it. However, the other one was one of his favorite things.

When we were ready for some sit down fun we had fun watching Xavier on the barrel train and anyone can ride the big train around the farm. They even have Cranky the Combine giving rides. The family hay ride was lots of fun, it even accommodated Imogen’s stroller.

I was extremely impressed with the facilities of Hubb’s Corn Maze. They have extra large outhouse bathrooms that are very clean, which you definitely appreciate after the long ride to the farm. Imogen is still nursing and will not take a bottle. I first nursed her on the bench watching the animatronics chicken show. (Yes, you read that correctly) However, it was hot outside and nursing in the heat is not something easily done for us. We luckily found a building called “Baby Hubb’s” which is a changing station and has two rocking chairs, curtains and a fan. It was an actual blissful stop of the day when I took Imogen to change her diaper and nurse her in front of the fan in the rocking chair.

We enjoyed the simple fun playground and giant lawn games and seeing the animals. Best of all we enjoyed the Corn Maze. I have no idea why I thought I would be good at a corn maze. I mean I’m good at the ones on paper, but you can easily see your way out. You have three choices of corn maze, hard, medium, and easy. We chose easy, because being stuck in a large corn maze with a two month old and a four year old is not my idea of fun. You are provided a map. However, I could not figure out the map. All you are surrounded by is actual corn taller than you. I was waiting for an alien to appear out of the corn while they are making a crop circle. Luckily, our friends are corn maze masters and got us out. If you have older kids they will love this part of the farm and it is beautiful walking through it.

It was great to spend the whole day at Hubb’s Corn Maze. It was beautiful outside, we got to relax and the kid’s had a fun day. It was the perfect start to our favorite time of year.

Start the Fall off right by visiting Hubb’s Corn Maze in Clinton, NC. Find out more by visiting their website at you can even win tickets by liking their Facebook page and sharing contest posts.

A special thanks to our friends for inviting us and for the awesome pictures!

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #HubbsCornMaze, #reviews, #fallfun, #funforkids, #familyfun, #reviewofplaces, #thingstodo

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Be Prepared for Anything with Parenthood Ops

Be Prepared for Anything with Parenthood Ops
Written By Renee Arbia

Sponsor ParenthoodOps
I wrote this post while participating in a campaign and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.


With two months under our belt with our second child we are starting to venture out more and more as a new family of four. One of the biggest tricks I have found that helped with my first son and now with our daughter is to always try to be prepared. I try to always make sure we are ready for anything as much as possible. That way it minimizes how long it takes to leave the house. Don’t get me wrong, we run late all the time, but it is more likely because of a diaper change than I forgot to put diapers in the diaper bag. 

A fully stocked and ready to go diaper bag at all times is a must have. This way I know it is always ready to grab and go. My husband and I tend to disagree when it comes to diaper bags. I just want one that has a ton of pockets for things. He likes one more rugged and durable and not too much baby in its looks.

We were excited to try out the new EDC Diaper Bag fromParenthood Ops. Parenthood Ops is baby gear inspired by dads. Their diaper bag is all about function and fashion so that dads are excited to help carry the diaper bag or even have their own. The EDC Diaper Bag is ruggedly built to last and is versatile for everyday use. It has a wide variety of pockets in different places and even a hidden back pocket. I loved that there are “TAC-DAD” and “TAC-MOM” patches that come off and stick on with Velcro so you can change it no matter who is using the diaper bag.

The EDC Diaper Bag is one of our favorites; in fact my husband uses it all the time. We love all the different size pockets. I was surprised all the things it is able to hold with room to spare. Also, we love how easy it is to adjust and carry. It is very strong and durable yet lightweight which is hard to find in a diaper bag. We also like that it is a pretty neutral bag and not everyone even knows it is a diaper bag at first glance.

Having a diaper bag that is reliable and ready to go is what helps us to have fun new experiences as a family. It also lets us be able to share the fun with Imogen and take turns taking her to new places.

Be sure to have a diaper bag you love!

You can order the Parenthood Ops EDC Diaper Bag from Amazon!

#parenthoodops, #sponsored, #reviews, #diaperbag, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Perfect Temperature

The Perfect Temperature
Written By Renee Arbia

Sponsored by MaxxElite
I wrote this post while participating in a campaign and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.

We have been adjusting slowly to having a new member of our household. Now that Imogen is two months old we are starting to venture out of the house more with her. We are trying to get her to drink from bottles in case I have to be separated from her. She was not very excited about the idea at all. We tried a bunch of different bottles, nipples and even rotating between my husband and me trying to get her to eat.

When Xavier was a baby, he would eat from my breast and from a bottle. He did not care if the milk was warm or just out of the fridge. Imogen insists feedings only come from the breast. Determined to get her to at least take a bottle once in a while, we decided to get a bottle warmer. We never bothered with a bottle warmer with my son the couple times we tried one, when you left the bottle in the warmer too long it would scorch the milk and make it too hot to drink.

I decided to try the Maxx Elite Double Bottle Warmer. I love the size of this bottle warmer better than the single because it can also be used as a sterilizer. Since I pump I like to sterilize my pump parts a long with sterilizing bottles so the bigger size comes in handy. Also, the Maxx Elite Double Bottle Warmer can hold up to two feedings at a time and get the bottles warm and keep them “steady warm” for two feedings. It is so awesome to be able to set up two bottle feedings before bed and have them ready to grab when I need them. After I take the last bottle we can then load another two. I only feed Imogen breastmilk so I can only speak for that but it worked perfectly.

Maxx Elite Bottle Warmers have the ability to hold any type of bottle, no matter how tall or wide. They can also keep your bottle warm until your baby is ready for it without scorching the milk. Both bottle warmers have a digital display and easy one touch button operation, perfect for when you doing a 3am feeding. 

If you need a basic and fast bottle warmer. Maxx Elite also makes the Maxx Elite “Digital Gentle Warm” Bottle Warmer which gently warms your baby’s milk in 8 minutes; you can even watch it count down. Just like the Maxx Elite Double the Maxx Elite “Digital Gentle Warm” Bottle Warmer will keep the bottle warm until the feeding without scorching, and it can also be used as a baby food warmer, and sterilizer. 

Maxx Elite also makes a line of baby bottles that minimize air consumption that creates gas for babies. Their bottles are great for babies who transition from breast to bottle. Maxx Elite bottle warmers are a new digital all-in-one device; which is much more practical and efficient than multiple devices, or old fashioned advice.

Gently warming your formula or breastmilk is extremely important when you are feeding your little one because it preserves vital nutrients and antibiotics. You want to make sure your baby is always getting the most nutrition possible at every feeding. Be sure to heat it properly for the best digestion with a quality bottle warmer and sterilizer for sanitation.

Check out all Maxx Elite has to offer with their line of blue and orange bottle warmers and bottles. You can purchase the Maxx EliteDouble Bottle Warmer, Maxx Elite “Digital Gentle Warm” Bottle Warmer and MaxxElite Bottles on Amazon.Get one for yourself or as a gift for the new mom in your life.

Check out our video of the Maxx Elite Double Bottle Warmer in action!

#MaxxEliteMaxxDoube, #8MinSmartWarming, #sponsored, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #reviews, #bottlewarmer, #bottlesterilizer, #babybottle

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