My Daughter’s Birthday During COVID-19

About 6 weeks ago I was tossing around the idea of my daughter having a friend birthday party for her birthday which is March 26. In the end, I decided not to. I’m so glad I did. My daughter has been talking about her birthday since probably the end of January. If we would have planned a friend party somewhere exciting she would have been crushed if we would have had to cancel it. So that was at least a silver lining in this.

We always have a family party for the kids though. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins come over and we have a nice party with cake, candles, gifts, and the kids all play together. We weighed the pros and cons of having the family party last week. In the end, we decided, it probably wasn’t the best idea.

On Friday, while at work (I’m a healthcare workers), I got info from several different sources that more shut downs are expected with all this COVID-19 stuff including our local Walmart. I didn’t know how true it was. We had been talking to my daughter about letting her pick out a bike and helmet for her birthday. She loved looking at the bikes and had an idea what she wanted. I talked to my husband and decided we better go get it since there’s so much uncertainty.

So yesterday I took my daughter to Walmart and let her pick out whatever bike and helmet she wanted. It was too big to fit in the cart. I told her to push it, but she wanted to ride it. (It did have training wheels on it). I expected people to be annoyed. But so many people smiled at her and were very patient with her. She was smiling ear to ear through the store while I picked up some last minute necessities. She’d tell people at random that she was getting the bike for her birthday. People wished her Happy Birthday.

I told her that we probably weren’t going to be able to get the Reese’s cake from the bakery that she really wanted but she could pick out any cake mix and icing she wanted at the store and I would make it for her. She chose a brownie mix with some glitter gel icing.

We ran into a mother with her teenage daughter. While my daughter was picking out the icing the mother said “Is it her birthday too?” I said it wasn’t until March 26 but since we didn’t know what was going to happen we’re preparing for it now. The mother told me her daughter’s birthday was Sunday and the girls wished each other a Happy Birthday. Then my daughter said “Mom this is one of the best days of my life”. Imagine, amidst the the stress I was feeling with trying to prepare, telling her her birthday wasn’t going to be like it usually is, she thought everything was great. That really turned my perspective around.

Then later that evening she started talking about her birthday again and about how pappap and the girls (her cousins) were going to come over. I had to remind her that they weren’t and why. She said “oh” and her lip quivered a little. I told her we could face time everyone in to sing happy birthday and maybe we could drop a brownie off for everyone. That seemed to perk her up a little.

I decided to post on facebook that if anyone was bored, if they’d like to send my daughter a card for her birthday that it might help make her birthday special. I’ve had at least 10 responses already.

It’s amazing how things can change so fast. While we’re trying to make the best of it and make her birthday as special as we can, I realize that things could be much worse. We’re counting our blessings and trying to keep a smile and positive attitude for the kids.


Best Way SleepLux Mattress Review

So about a month ago, my mother in law asked me if she could stay over night at our house to spend some time with the kids. She said her husband was working late shift and she didn’t really want to be by herself anyway. So I said, of course. I figured she could sleep in my one son’s room since he wasn’t there that night anyway. Well my two youngest told her they wanted to stay to all sleep in the living room. My mother in law ended up having to sleep on the love seat, my youngest son slept on the floor in a sleeping bag. My daughter tried to sleep on the couch with grandma but didn’t make it and ended up going upstairs to her own bed. I had thought a few times before that we needed an air mattress but this really did it.

Then about a week later my son had friend sleep over. We had received the SleepLux 22 ” Queen mattress and the SleepLux 15″ twin mattress to review. The kids got to try out the mattress that night.

I could not believe how easy they were to set up. If I can go back about a decade or so ago, we had an air mattress but we had to pump it up with a bicycle pump and it was a real PIA to set up. It ended up getting a hole it in it, we tossed it out and hadn’t had one since. BUT the Bestway SleepLux ones are AMAZING. You just plug them in to the wall with a little plug that is attached and tucks away in it’s own compartment. You turn the little knob to the right and it pumps itself up! Less than 5 min y’all!

You would not believe how excited our guests were to try it out too. The adults wanted to try it out, the kid wanted to try it out, you name it. Well The kids ended up sleeping on it for the slumber party. They all told me it was really comfortable and asked if we could leave the up for a while.

To take them down, you just turn the knob the other way and wait for it to deflate. Once deflated you can fold them up and put them into their own convenient storage/carrying bag. The bags are actually pretty sturdy and have a strap on them so they are easy to take with you on a camping trip, for a sleepover, or wherever you might need to use it.

Unfortunately, some of our guests couldn’t make it. The flu has been going around something fierce in our area. I just had my son off of school last week due to some flu-like symptoms. But that brings me to another point, these mattresses are easy to clean too.

Bestway SleepLux air mattresses are surprisingly affordable for the value!

You can find Bestway SleepLux air mattresses at Walmart

I received the above mentioned products at no cost from Tryazon. This post also contains affiliate links.


Science Resource for Homeschooling: Greg Landry Homeschool Science

This post is sponsored by College Prep Science.

My kids love science. It’s one of their favorite classes in school. Homeschoolers don’t have to miss out on the science projects and education. Greg Landry is a veteran in the homeschool science subject.

Greg Landry is a homeschool science pioneer and offers online classes (for science leaning students and “non-science” students, science labs, ACT prep, a podcast for homeschool moms, and homeschool student-produced print publications.

Greg says he is first and foremost grateful. “The Lord has made me very aware of my need for a grateful heart. I’m grateful for a God who knows me and loves me (with all of my faults), for my family, for the thousands of homeschooling families I’ve had the privilege of  working with over the past 20 years, for the magnificence of His Creation, and for the trials in my life (James 1:2-4 ) that shape and mold me, humble me, produce perseverance, and mature me in my faith.”

Greg is a husband to his bride of 30+ years, a homeschool dad, and a former college professor. He and his wife homeschooled their two daughters. Both of them have graduated from college, and Greg says, “most importantly, both of them love Jesus. For that, we are very grateful.”  He grew up in French / Acadian South Louisiana (three of his grandparents were French speakers) and he loves the South Louisiana culture. At age 18 was invited to tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies baseball organization. He played baseball and football in college and holds a master of science degree from LSU (Louisiana State University).

He has a heart for students and a passion for science… but more specifically a passion for teaching students to see God’s hand in every aspect of His creation that surrounds us. His goal is to help them see that God’s creation didn’t just happen by chance – it wasn’t an accident, a fluke of nature.

Greg has spent the past 20+ years teaching science. He taught at a university, taught thousands of homeschooled students, has mentored students planning to pursue science / pre-med degrees, has designed and directed a university anatomy and physiology/biology cadaver lab, has published and presented scientific research, has academically counseled hundreds of college pre-professional (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, etc.) sophomores and juniors, has designed science labs for homeschooled students, and has written science lab manuals. 

Ten years ago he originated the “pre” classes (Pre-Biology, Pre-Anatomy & Physiology, Pre-Chemistry, and Pre-Physics) as a means of minimizing the intimidation of high school level science and preparing middle school age students for specific high school level classes. As one homeschool mom described it, “Greg has a unique ability to pull out the most important information and present it in a way that’s interesting and easy to understand.”

The thrust of Greg Landry homeschool science is to give homeschooled students access to Christian Worldview science that is focused on scientific inquiry, critical thinking, process reasoning, data collection, and the graphical and written representation of research. Greg says, “we want to prepare competent, confident students for their remaining high school years, their college years, and life. 

Greg and his wife live near Nashville, TN. His desire is to follow the Lord’s leading in teaching students to illuminate the incredible creation the Lord has put all around us. It reveals His glory!

​Homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry, offers live, online homeschool science classes, Homeschool ACT Prep Bootcamp, the Homeschool Mom’s Science Podcast, in-person two-day science lab intensives nationwide, freebies for homeschool moms, and student-produced homeschool print publications.


Why Choose Extended Stay America?

When searching for family friendly, pet friendly, affordable accommodations for a trip or vacation it seems like it can be a lot to ask for. We’re a family of 6. Most hotels can’t accommodate all 6 of us so we’d have to book 2 rooms at least. I feel like often time we have to give up amenities just to keep the cost down. In the end it really doesn’t help anyway because most hotel rooms don’t have a way to cook in the room other than a microwave if you’re lucky. Which runs into money eating out for all the meals with a family of 6. If you can find a room with decent amenities to accomodate a family then asking if you can take Fido or mittens along too, you may as well forget it. Then you have to look at hiring a pet sitter or boarding your pet which…again…runs into more money.

There is one place though that will save you all the hassles while being surprisingly affordable. Extended Stay America.

With Extended Stay America you can enjoy the benefits that you’d expect to find in a hotel like housekeeping services, clean rooms, convenient locations, and wifi, mixed with things you’d expect to see more in a condo or vacation rental like: a kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave, and stove top, on-site guest laundry.

Think of the money you’d save not having to eat all your meals out. Oh speaking of which, many Extended Stay America locations also offer FREE grab-and-go breakfast so there’s one of your meals taken care of already!

There are flat screen tv’s in all rooms so after a long day of having fun and exploring you can relax with your favorite show before bed or catch the news to plan your next day’s adventures.

While you’re relaxing you’ll notice the upgraded bedding with extra pillows to help ensure a good night sleep. So comfortable you might forget you’re not at home especially when Fido is whining to be taken outside. Which brings me to another point.

Extended Stay America knows a vacation just isn’t a vacation if you fur babies aren’t with you. Or if your staying temporarily until your new home is ready. That’s why Extended Stay America allows up to 2 pets per room at just $25 extra per pet to stay for cleaning service. Even at that, still a lot cheaper than boarding your pet.

With so many locations you can find one close to your destination. I saw there is one in Wilmington, NC. We keep thinking about visiting Wilmington again to check out the beaches. I’d love to go back to the plantation house in Wilmington again. They offer blacksmithing classes that my husband is interested in.

Rooms start at just $65 per night! Honestly I just did a search for June for the Wilmington area and was surprised to see there are still several room choices available and the most expensive one I saw was $114/night but that will all the bells and whistles of daily full service housekeeping and a sleeper sofa in addition to the 2 beds in the room.

Check out Extended Stay America for your upcoming vacation or business trip and book here:

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission from sales made through my links. Any opinions expressed are my own.


KiwiCo Box Review: Tinker Crate for Ages 9 – 16+

KiwiCo has been around for a while. I remember subscribing to Kiwicrate when my oldest boys were pretty young. They were great to do on rainy or cold days. It was also a nice option to have when we had unplug time. I am not the mom that comes up with all these creative ideas. I’m the mom that searches Pinterest for ideas with materials I have.

KiwiCo subscription boxes come with the instructions and materials you need for each project. KiwiCo has grown quite a bit and has so much to offer now. When I got it for my older boys it was just craft. Craft boxes are still available but so are: Atlas Crates for Geography and Culture, Eureka Crates for Engineering and Design, Koala Crates for Play and Learn, Tinker Crates for Science and Engineering and more.

I let my youngest son (10 yrs old) handle this review. He chose the Tinker Crate for ages 9 – 16+. He was so excited when it came in, he couldn’t wait to get cracking on it. This particular box gave him the opportunity to build a moving robot!

He started taking everything out of his KiwiCo Tinkercrate methodically. Once he found the directions he started there (I knew he was smart). He sorted through and found each pack of pieces and spread them out on the table. Once he was sure everything was there he begun his project.

He worked so diligently putting his robot together. He carefully punched out pieces, connected wires, realized when he made a mistake and fixed it. It was enjoyable watching him work.

What I liked about it is it seemed to take just the right amount of time. It was challenging enough that he had to figure out how the parts went. But it was not above his level that he was getting frustrated. I waited for him to ask me for help but he didn’t. There was one part where he wasn’t sure about something. Instead of telling him how to fix it I asked him a question “Do you think you have that facing the right direction?” It was then that he realized he didn’t and was able to correct it.

I know I talked a lot about my thoughts here so I want to share some of my son’s thoughts. He told me he really liked the Tinker Crate and said “I wouldn’t mind subscribing to that”. I asked him “So you must have liked it then huh?” He said “yep!” He was so proud of his creation that he made by himself.

There are KiwiCo crates available for all ages and interests. There’s a box for 0 – 24 months called Panda Crate all about Explore and Discover. They go all the way up to Eureka Crate for Engineering and Design and Maker Crate for Art & Design for ages 14 – 104 so yea mom and dad, you could even get one. I love the variety and the quality of the projects. Choosing an age appropriate crate is the key. Some age levels have multiple interests to choose from.

Order your KiwiCo Crate HERE

I received a promotional sample to complete this review. Any opinions expressed are my own. This post does contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission from transactions are completed through my links.