A Vacation Rental Is The Way To Go- No More Hotels!

Vacation Rentals Are The Way To Go- No More Hotels!
We were offered a two-night stay for our truthful write up on this amazing vacation rental.

Have you ever stayed somewhere and didn’t want to leave?  ME! Yes, it happened a couple of weeks ago and I still think about this amazing house every day. 

When I go on a vacation I need to relax. Recharge my battery. We usually stay in a hotel but not this time we stayed at a Sanctuary Vacation Rental. After staying there I’m going to have a hard time staying in a hotel ever again. 

Going on a vacation is already stressful but when you arrive at your destination all you want to do is RELAX and I was able to do just that at Sanctuary by the Sea.  

Check out the video of when we walked into the vacation rental.  

Here are some reasons why a vacation rental is a way to go! 

Home Base

It’s a house so think of it as your home base It’s your home away from home. You are able to go and come as you want, no one to check you in or look at you when you enter.  We had plenty of places to eat, drink, and shop in Carmel By The Sea. Oh yeah and no housekeeper knocking on your door at 9 am. We connected with this home and made it ours for a couple of days.  

Love the beach DECOR!

I fell in love with the DECOR!  My daughter and I decided we want our house to have the beach colors like Sanctuary by the Sea.  So many cool things all around the rental. 

Just like HOME!

We had a huge closet area and I hung up everyone’s clothes, put clothes in drawers and created a living area for us. I hate living out of a suitcase so this was a blessing.  

My daughter even took pictures of her room because she loved how they had it set up.  She unpacked and made it her room for the days we were there. We can’t do that in a hotel room. 

Morning Coffee

We had coffee on the deck outside and that was a wonderful start to a morning. It was so amazing to enjoy the nature around us- even the birds.

The ROOMS!  

There was so much room (well compared to our 900 sq ft home). The upstairs was amazing- a huge room, bathroom, reading room, and another small bedroom. We enjoyed our space a lot but the kitchen and family room were the areas we hung out the most in. 

My husband sat outside on the deck most of the time we were there- he enjoyed how quiet it was. Having that time outside and the quiet let him get back on track with his business.  Back home he isn’t able to relax so this was quite helpful for him! 

My favorite place!

Relaxing in the claw tub was my favorite thing to do.  I enjoyed a bath before bed every night and I swear it took away all my anxiety and tension that I had the best sleep in years.  Plus the bed was so comfortable. 

Save Money- No Eating Out!

We saved a lot of money by buying groceries and cooking in the vacation rental. A full kitchen and yes they have pots/pans plus everything you need to cook even a BBQ outside.

We then took that money we would have spent eating out for 3 meals and enjoyed our time shopping and doing things like a day at the state park. I made sandwiches for our hike too.  In the morning we would sit at the table and enjoy our breakfast.   

Flexibility. 

We didn’t have to plan everything in one day!  We were able to break up our plans and just enjoy our time. I really felt this would be a great place for a family reunion or even a girls retreat.  I want to plan one soon! No rushing for us- just relaxing. 

I feel vacation rentals give you more options than a hotel room, plus you can rent based on your needs.  There are small cottages to huge mansions- it is based on what you need and want. I highly recommend Sanctuary by the Sea vacation rental but please check out all the rentals that are offered. I’m a big fan of Carmel by the Sea. 

About Sanctuary Vacation Rentals

They have 100 homes across the Monterey Peninsula, including Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel proper, Carmel Highlands, Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Marina, Seaside, Carmel Valley and the Highway 68 corridor near the airport and Laguna Seca. Plus most of the homes are within walking distance to the area’s beaches, restaurants, shopping, and tourist attractions. 

Sanctuary homes all invoke a sense of peace and harmony, allowing guests to relax, revitalize their lives, reconnect with one another, and above all, have fun. Sanctuary’s goal is to provide guests with a sanctuary from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Its vision is to inspire and nurture the hearts and souls of guests with the beauty and magic of the Monterey Peninsula while staying in one of its vacation homes.

I don’t think I can ever do a hotel again- knowing there are other options out there like Sanctuary Vacation Rentals.  We highly recommend looking into these vacation rentals in the Monterey area because it is one of the most beautiful areas in California. 

Check out my last post- What Makes Me Happy- Coffee, Cleaning, and Face Cream. I know weird huh!

Ballerina Dreamer Dancing Doll Giveaway

Welcome to the Ballerina Dreamer Dancing Doll Giveaway!

We have teamed up with Everything Mommyhood and a few other bloggers for a fun giveaway just in time for the upcoming holidays.

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A Children’s Gift that Keeps Giving

A Children's Gift that Keeps Giving with Text
Beauty Brite Disclosure

It’s only August and the holidays aren’t quite upon us yet BUT getting your list ready for this holiday season can never begin too early. Especially if you have a list like mine. Countless nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. The list goes on and on. Today, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite items on my children’s gift list. This is a gift with endless potential and can also be given year-round. Birthdays, Winter holidays, Valentine’s day, whenever. Even as a just because this gift is perfect.

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3 Back To School Essentials For The House

It’s Back To School time! We all know school supplies are mostly for school, but we have some fresh ideas for back to school essentials for the house. Sure do, things you probably wouldn’t think about or have on your list.

Beauty Brite Disclosure

Let There Be LIGHT-Healthy Light that is! 

Teens will have a lot of homework and if they have a desk they will need a lamp. Just in case they are working in the wee of the night or early morning. So we want to introduce you to the Ottlite LED Desk Lamp which is a healthy light option for your kids. Eye strain is no joke so yes this is a back to school essential.

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Summer 2019 Must-Read List

We share our Summer 2019 Reading List!

Now that the kids out for the summer, its nice to relax in the evening with a good book. Tell us what books you enjoy reading!

We share our Summer 2019 Reading List!

Summer is in full spring, and since Chicago has been getting hit with lots of rain, I decided to use the unfortunate weather as a reason to get caught up on reading. Work has been crazy, which means I don’t have as much time as I would like to devote to reading a book. It’s my goal to allow myself at least one hour each to read a book

Because of my schedule, I’m choosing three books to read this summer. So, what’s on my must-have summer reading list?

Summer 2019 Reading List

Crashing the A-List

Crashing the A List by Summer Heacock

To kick off the summer, I always enjoy something light, funny, and easy to read. Summer Heacock’s Crashing the A-List is a perfect choice. It’s a romantic comedy that made me laugh out loud a few times. The story is about Clara Montgomery, a former book editor who has been unemployed for several months. She’s stuck sleeping on her brother’s ugly couch in Queens while trying to find a new editorial job. She has a temporary gig cleaning out abandoned storage units, and she comes across one that was once owned by an escort service. While going through things, she finds the “resume” of a younger Caspian Tiddleswich, a famous actor. She says his secret is safe, he’s convinced she’s a blackmailer, and the tabloids think she’s his new girlfriend. Like any true rom-com, she’s starting to find charms more irresistible.

DIY Beauty

My goal this summer is to finally revamp my blog and get it back up and running. One of the topics that I want to do more of is DIY Beauty. These are great videos, and I want to create DIY beauty projects. If you aspire to do the same, then get this book! You are getting easy, all-natural recipes based on favorite products from Lush, Kiehl’s, Burt’s Bees, Bumble and Bumble, Laura Mercier, and more. DIY projects include a glimmer body spray, mystic mud masks, and beauty products that are affordable to create and can be done right at home.

Pride & Prejudice

While I was selling a ton of books and movies, I came across an end shelf that had a bunch of Jane Austin books. So, course, I picked up Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion. For the summer, I’m going with a classic, and a personal favorite, Pride & Prejudice. If you’re unfamiliar, this is the story the Bennet family and Mrs. Bennet looking to find a good match for all of her five daughters. Set in 1813, the story centers around the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, who learns what can happen when you make rash judgments and later learns appreciates the difference between the superficial and the essential.

Search for more books to read? We share a few books you will love and even adult coloring books to check out!

What books are you reading this summer? What should we add to our Summer 2019 Reading List?

Autism and Teaching Our Children What That Means

Autism and Teaching Our Children What That Means

April is coming to an end which means Autism Awareness Month is also drawing to a close. Don’t let that stop you from teaching your child what Autism means.
As a parent, I am always looking for great ways to introduce ideas on how to teach acceptance to my children. Acceptance of cultures, adversity, those with disabilities, and even those with Autism.

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Winter Is Here – My First Game of Thrones KAL (Week Two)

Winter Is Here - My First Game of Thrones KAL-Marinade Designs Game of Thrones Season 8 Ice & Embers Shawl KAL

Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones through the current episode, Season 8 Episode 2, then you may not want to continue reading this article. There may be spoilers contained within. Also, this is not a sponsored post. I am participating in a Marinade Designs GoT KAL at my own expense and just want to share my progress with our readers. No compensation is being received from the KAL designer.

Previous GoT Show Thoughts/KAL Progress Posts:

Week One

So, winter is here. The Night King and his undead army loom large on the horizon. And I know many people have expressed some concerns about the first two episodes of this final season being slow. Well, I for one, am really digging all the characters coming together again. Many of them have been flung to the far reaches of the landscape for multiple seasons and have gone through a lot of growing and changing. So, I think it’s good to see them come back together again.

If you’re looking for an in-depth analysis, this ain’t the place. I love the show, but I certainly do not portend to be the most knowledgeable. For crying out loud, I haven’t even read the books! Not that I won’t. I have them. But, I didn’t hear about them in time to delve in before the TV series started. So, I decided to wait a while before reading them so that I wouldn’t get the book events confused with the series events, since they quite often can differ.

Now that the end of the series is near, I will be picking up the books and having a grand old time rediscovering the characters all over again.

So, what do you all think of the final season so far? Brienne got knighted! Yay! Jamie was forgiven (sort of?) for tossing Bran out the window. (Meh. Ok.) Arya became a woman, all the way. (Some viewers are confused by this turn of events — and I mean, it was a tiny bit awkward, I guess. But, in my view if you are developed enough to become a world-class assassin, you go get yours girl!) And Pod can SING; who knew???

Sansa’s backbone is steel in the face of Dany’s thirst for the throne. (I always knew it would be.) And Dany is …finally… thrown off kilter by learning Jon has a stronger claim to the throne than she does, should he choose to pursue it. Confusion isn’t becoming to Dany as a potential kingdom ruler, but they do love each other so if they survive the Night King (and Cersei) I think they’ll work it out to rule together. I really do.

Tyrion is clever and intelligent. But, annoying, too. Let the Night King have him. (gasp, my husband would be mortified to hear that. He loves Tyrion!) And then there’s Theon. Theon, Theon, Theon… I’ve loved him, I’ve hated him, and I’ve pitied him. But, he’s here to defend Winterfell (after everything he did to destroy it) and I think I like him all the more for it.

I’m totally with many others when it comes to Bran. He’s creepy now. Way creepy. And NO ONE uses his gifts in a way that is helpful or strategic or intelligent. Like, no one. Maybe he creeps them out, too, but damn, dude! The Night King. Human annihilation. The end of the Seven Kingdoms as we know it. Get over yourselves people and use this guy to your advantage!!!

I can not wait for the battle to end all battles to begin in the next episode. Who will rise to the occasion and who will wimp out? One theory I’ve not heard mentioned is one that has crossed my mind a time or two. Will Jamie deserting Cersei change her mind about joining the battle? Will she ride in to lend her army to everyone at the last minute like the Knights of the Vale did in the Battle of the Bastards? I doubt it. But, it could happen, right?

I don’t even want to think about who’s going to die and who (if anyone) might survive. It’s massively overwhelming to think that even if our heroes win the battle and vanquish the Night King and his army, the landscape of the power dynamic is likely to be forever changed by which people survive.

So, I (like every other GoT fan) wait with bated breath to see what happens next. I have high hopes and expectations for the remaining episodes.

Marinade Designs Game of Thrones Season 8 Ice & Embers Shawl KAL

On to the knit along I’ve been participating in that is themed for the final season of GoT. It’s the Ice & Embers Shawl from Marinade Designs. The above pic is from the article I posted last week about episode 1 of GoT and shows the very beginning little bit I’d completed of the shawl. It’s not much, but I had to do some prep work to ball up the yarn from hanks, knit the gauge swatch to make sure I had chosen the correct size knitting needles, etc.

Also, during that week, I’d been dealing with having the stomach flu. So, I’d been pretty well sidelined in terms of having energy and frame of mind to get much done on it.

This past week, immediately on the heals of getting over the stomach flu, I was slammed with a fierce sinus infection. I mean, come… on… ! For someone who doesn’t get physically ill much, this has been a crappy month healthwise for me.

Still, I did manage to get some more work done on the shawl.

Marinade Designs Game of Thrones Season 8 Ice & Embers Shawl KAL-week two
Marinade Designs Game of Thrones Season 8 Ice & Embers Shawl, week two progress

Even with being sick and also working on a few handmade knitting and crochet items for my daughter for Easter gifts, I’m pretty pleased with the progress I made overall.

Marinade Designs Game of Thrones Season 8 Ice & Embers Shawl KAL-week two

I really love the edging of the shawl that is created with Make 1 Left stitches. I think it really sets it off with this line of V’s along the edge like that.

Still got a long way to go on the shawl, but it’s introducing me to a new project type and some new stitch skills. Plus, it’s just fun. And I think that’s the most important thing.

So, share! What are your thoughts about the final season of Game of Thrones so far? How do you think it’ll all turn out? What fun activities are you doing to make the most of it? Are you crafting GoT-themed items, attending GoT watch parties, gnawing your fingers to the bone in anticipation? Let us all know!!!

Kindergarten Preparation with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Kindergarten Preparation with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 

Hello there!

With April here and my oldest just turning 5, we have been on the hunt for fun ways to prepare for Kindergarten. We have all of the basics down but you can never spend too much time reminding young children about the things they already know or other ways to use their knowledge. Board games are fun and with the right games, perfect for working on skills for Kindergarten.

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Preparing for Kindergarten through Reading

Preparing for Kindergarten Through Reading jpeg

 

 

March is here which means it’s time to start submitting the enrollment forms for Kindergarten. At least in my area, that’s the case. Over the past year, we have really buckled down and began preparing for kindergarten when it comes to my oldest who just turned 5 last month. Reading has been a huge help for prepping with kindergarten.

Now I know you are probably asking yourself, how? How does reading really help with preparing for Kindergarten? It all comes down to the way you introduce books to your children. There is more to reading than just the words on the page.

When you read a book to your child and you make reading an interactive experience, it feeds young imaginations as well as their problem-solving skills, communication skills, and even their ability to understand what the intent or purpose of something is. My end goal with every book we read is to leave a lasting impression. This may not always work of course but I do put the effort in to make the story worthwhile.

 

Work on the W Questions

 

When we truly began introducing books, and not in the I bought these because they were cute and in all of the nursery decor sections of Pinterest, we started with just looking at the pictures of the book. I worked on W questions which help with one’s receptive language skills as well as critical thinking skills. Who, What, Where, Why? What do you see? Why do you think “insert person, animal, object, etc” is doing that? What colors are on the page? Where do you think they are going? Etc. Take this time to let your child think for themselves but also as an opportunity to explain the W questions back. This allows your child to see that not only is there an agenda with the story but that there is more to the story than words on a page.

 

Leo's Moon and These Are My Faces

 

 

One other extremely important topic we have addressed with reading is our emotions as well as how their actions/choices matter. I wanted my children to understand how they are feeling, why they are feeling that way, how someone else is feeling, how actions or events might make someone feel, etc.

We really enjoyed reading The Boy Without a Friend by Bruce Jassett, These Are My Faces by Bret J. Ludwick and Leo’s Moon by Cinthia del Grosso. Now, these books aren’t crazy popular like other books and that is really what I liked most about them. When preparing for Kindergarten, a variety is best when it comes to reading. Just like you and I, children will have different tastes in books. My 5-year-old is on the more serious side and he enjoys books that are more realistic. My 4 year still enjoys the bright colorful books you find in every book section. That’s okay!

 

Make reading fun!

Get silly with the books you read and plan some fun activities to go along with them. Coloring pages, crafts, recipes (If You Give A Mouse A Cookie), and anything else I can find. Eric Carle has always been a favorite of ours and there is an endless amount of ideas on activities to go with his work. Pinterest is an amazing resource for finding ideas and I know if you are anything like me, most Pinterest ideas are a fail. However, this has not been the case so far when it comes to finding activities to go with the books we read.

 

Preparing for Kindergarten

 

These ideas don’t just apply with preparing for Kindergarten but it is one way we have chosen in our home to help prepare. You also don’t have to use the most popular books on the shelves to make reading interactive for your child. Let’s face it, some children mature far beyond their physical age. Use magazines, read chapter books, whatever you have to do to gain their attention. Reading is such a crucial part of education and you can never go wrong with using it as a step to prepare for kindergarten.

I also wanted to take a moment to point out to those with children under the age of 5 that Dolly Parton runs an Imagination Library. When you sign up for this program, and it is determined on where you live if the program is available, every month from birth until age 5 you receive a free book in the mail. We have quickly been able to build up our mini library simply by participating in Dolly Partons Imagination Library.

Another great option for building your book stash is through The Book Bundler. This company bundles gently used books and sells them at a fraction of the cost. For example, a stack of 100 books for approximately $50 (this does change based on promotions and other variables such as age group, types of books, etc). That is an amazing deal! Their customer service is also on point.

Keep an eye out on the blog for other ways I am preparing for Kindergarten with my little ones.

Would you be interested in a Pinterest board or even a separate blog post sharing books we enjoyed as well as the activities we enjoyed with them? Let me know with a comment on this post or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram.

How Harry Potter Changed The Way We Read

How Harry Potter Changed the Way We Read

Beauty Brite Disclosure

Who would have ever thought that the story of “The boy who lived” would have become the worldwide phenomenon that it is known as today? The Harry Potter franchise has sold over 400 million copies and continues to sell. As J.K. Rowling continues to dominate the printed and film world.

Harry Potter Madness!  [read more]