Have I ever told you…

Have I ever told you that I have a side job??

Yes I am a mom first, and a wife second.

Third I am an Insurance Agent.

But about a year ago I made the decision to join a fabulous company that allows me to work extremely part time hours, have the best skin of my life, and bring home a pretty awesome paycheck for our family!

Let me tell you a little bit more about this company…

I’m sure you’ve heard of Proactive…everyone has…in fact if you are like ME you’ve probably used it!

Well the same great, amazing, world renowned Dermatologists Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields who created Proactive have created an amazing company for anti-aging…

RODAN AND FIELDS!!

These ladies have truly figured out the way to make you look younger, without the expensive cost, or the invasive procedures!

I don’t think its any secret…we are ALL aging, ALL the time.

Why not reverse those signs of aging if we can?

Not happy with your current skin care regimen?

Perhaps you don’t have a current skin care regimen, and are looking to start one?

Or are you looking to fight those signs of aging?

Send me an email mominthemiddle4 {at} gmail {dot} com

And let me help you get the BEST skin of your life 🙂

This Week

This week we all survived our first full week of back to school.
We celebrated our youngest going off to preschool.
We celebrated having a 1st and 3rd grader.
Lots and lots of changes have happened in our house this summer and the changes are continuing into this fall season.
Normally I don’t do well with change-AT ALL, however I am trying more than ever to embrace the changes because they mean our family is growing and that is always a great thing!

How was your first week back at school??

Are You Prepared?

Are You Prepared for a Disaster? National Preparedness Month This month is National Preparedness Month for disasters, a month set aside for preparing the family for emergency situations. Given after what has happened in California last month I thought it might be helpful that I share some tips about how, as a family, we can prepare for the unexpected. This is more than having a radio or extra batteries around the house. Some situations require a plan. Disasters strike without any warning, and family members may not all be in the same place. It’s important to make a plan now so that you will know what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in an emergency. Here are steps on How to be Prepared for an Unexpected Disaster -Start with holding a family meeting to discuss and make a plan. Remember everyone needs to be on the same page. Although disasters can be scary remaining calm and knowing you have a plan is important. -The first thing you should do is make a communication plan. How will your family connect? How will you get in touch with each other? Pick one designated person to get a check in with. A family member that lives out of state will be a perfect person who will be able to keep communication with. Talk about phones being out of service. Discourage tying up phone lines for emergency workers and encourage using text messaging. -To this generation it is important to take some time to have all household numbers memorized. Do not rely on cell phone contacts to store all of your numbers. Encourage children and teens to still memorize numbers to essential people that are part of your plan. Although we live in a digital age, cell phones can get damaged in water and batteries can die. -Where will you reunite? Depending on the disaster the location can vary. Agree mutually on one place to meet that is out of the neighborhood in case your home or apartment is unable to be traveled to. Agree to save cell phone batteries after time and turn phones off. Before doing this create disaster check in times so when traveling family members can be assured of your safety and/or needs along the way. Pick a time to touch base again with the same person for each family member to call. Consider email as an option. Visit Ready Gov Disasters may strike. The rain may come down. The world may be crazy at times but remind everyone to remain calm and stick to the plan.

Elizabeth Norton is admin of NJ Digital Moms and is a believer in people and in change!

Campus Book Rentals

It’s officially September!
I was reminded of this fact while in the grocery store this past weekend with all of my little’s and I could overhear conversation after conversation between all of our local college kids who just finished moving onto campus.
Of course it brought back all of my move in day memories….
Making new friends, orientation, finding out which fraternity was hosting a party what night, and the list goes on and on.
My not-so-favorite part of the start of each semester was heading to the dreaded book store and waiting in line with alllllll the other students who were waiting in line as well to pay for overpriced text books.
I wish all those years ago I would have know about Campus Book Rentals and their amazing website, and programs!
Campus Book Rentals is a website that allows:
-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices
-free shipping both ways
-can highlight in the textbooks
-flexible renting periods
-they donate to Operation Smile with each textbook rented

A new feature of the site is called Rent Back which allows students to rent out their current books to other students.
This is a great way to make a little side money in school each semester because it allows students to make 2-4 times the amount of money they would just selling their books back to their college bookstore.

I swear this company just gets better and better as time goes on!
They really know and understand the needs of college students, and are constantly working to make college life easier!
Below is a video to show just how easy the process  is 🙂





Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own

Review: Summer Sleep-Away

I recently was sent a copy of Summer Sleep-Away to review.
The book is a  a young adult novel by local Short Hills, NJ author Ofer Aronskind.
I have to say even though it was a young adult book I really enjoyed it!
It is the perfect time of year too, being summer and all.
Plus, the author made the main character Mattie Kleinfield completely relate-able.
Mattie is a shy boy whose parents send him to sleep away camp one summer.
On the bus ride there, and the first few weeks, he wants nothing more than his parents to come pick him up and get out of that place.
Which I think is pretty typical considering he is kind of a loaner at school and in his neighborhood.
Then in a turn of events, it turns out THIS is Mattie’s summer.
Everything goes his way!
From becoming a sports star, to a camp hero, to securing the camp’s cutest girl as his girlfriend!
In the end he enjoys camp so much that he doesn’t want summer to end.
I particularly loved this book because I am a mom to three boys.
I loved the way the author told the book from a pre-teenage boy’s view.
I will definitely be giving a copy of this book to my children when they are older and have already gifted a copy to a few of our pre-teen male cousins in the family.
Ofer Aronskind does a fabulous job of maintaining Mattie’s innocence all the while sharing and showing you just how much he is growing and maturing at camp-and it is all done very tastefully.
I also think there is a bit of nostalgia in the book as well…at least for me there was.
As a young, pre-teen girl, I wanted nothing more than to spend a summer at sleep away camp bonding with my bunk mates, doing each others hair, making friends, competing against other bunks, singing camp songs, and drinking “bug juice” aka a container of homemade juice supplied at breakfast, lunch, and dinner on every table in the dining hall!
This book was able to bring me right back to that point in my childhood and made me really, really enjoy it!
Ofer Aronskin is on Social Media as well.
 received a copy of Summer Sleep-Away as well as compensation. All opinions in this review are my own.

Can you DIG it?

I attended the Activation/Digger press conference and to celebrate their partner ship I was invited to stay the day at no charge.  All opinions are my own.
This past weekend a special group of ladies and I, along with our families, were lucky enough to be a part of two amazing organizations coming together for the greater good of their communities.
DiggerlandUSA and ActivationReact have officially partnered with one another to help those in their communities, in need, when disaster happens.
Yesterday my family spent the day at DiggerlandUSA and I have to say it certainly was a highlight of the summer for not just my boys, but me too!
As a mom of little boys my life for the past  8 years has revolved all things boy-including tucks, machinery, etc.
Dump trucks, diggers, backhoes, you name it my kids knew the name of the vehicle and what it was used for.
Well at DiggerlandUSA my boys got to live out their childhood dreams by actually driving-yes driving! a few of these amazing construction vehicles, and ride on the others. 
The way their eye’s lit up, I know this is a memory they will hold onto for the rest of their lives. 
I even saw some of the dad’s who were with their sons having the time of their lives as well!
Construction trucks and dirt….what little boy doesn’t love that?!
I was also impressed with the cleanliness of the park, the attentiveness and up beat personalities of the park employees (who all dress like construction workers-its so cute!), and the short lines!
DiggerlandUSA isn’t like every other amusement park that lets a crazy number of people in, to the point where the park literally is bursting at the seams and you are waiting 2 hours to get on a ride.
 Rather, they only let a certain number of people into the park, which is great because their is virtually no wait for any of the rides!
This is a HUGE plus in my book!
The day we went was 85 degrees and sunny….I’m talking so sunny there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
But not to worry-DiggerlandUSA has you covered-literally!
At almost every attraction their is a huge beach umbrella by the line, and there are many, many picnic tables spread all throughout the park that also have umbrellas.
So while it was really, really hot they make sure to provide as many places for shade as possible-which was key for my family!
The one and only thing I think DiggerlandUSA could improve upon is their snack stand.
The park opens at 10, but the snack stand doesn’t open until 11. 
So if you have thristy/hungry girls and guys (like I did-especially on such a hot day),
there is only one soda machine located in the middle of the park-and it wasn’t in service 😦
Luckily one of the attentive workers called over a manager who could tell we were desperately in need of some hydration and he was kind enough to pop open the machine and hand us two bottles of water to hold us over until we hit the concession stand!
Honestly, I was really impressed with the way they handled this situation.
The highlight of the trip for my oldest (8) was the ropes course- which happens to be the WORLD’S tallest rope course at
 4 stories tall! 
My middle son (5) enjoyed their craziest ride called the spin dizzy, and my youngest guy (3) loved the toddler play park with all of the crazy slides!  
I left DiggerlandUSA this past weekend with my heart just about exploding!
My kids genuinely enoyed themselves and every attraction at DiggerlandUSA.
DiggerlandUSA allowed my boys to live out their childhood dreams, and in my book that is Priceless!
Regular admission to the park is $34.95 (walk up) and $29.95 (online).
I have a coupon code for $5 off ticket price through 8/31 by using coupon code
DIGREACT5 


Both DiggerlandUSA and ActivationReact are both very active on social media and can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
 

 Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post but as always, all opinions are my own.

A Different Place

This week our kids attended camp.
This was a first for our family.
I knew our oldest would flourish as large groups of people, less rules than usual, and platforms to express himself are right up his alley.
Our middle son didn’t quite have the same experience-which totally suits his persona.
He had a harder time adjusting as we very well expected.
But on the very last day he showed us just what he was capable of!

This post probably isn’t going where you think.
Yes my kids loved camp.
Yes they made lots of new friends, learned to play new games, felt self sufficient as they were forced to go out of their comfort zones, but most importantly they renewed and developed their relationship with Jesus.

Our family has really been in a rut the past few months.
Our church home has been in transition for about a year now.
Our young, amazing, fearless, welcoming, Pastor whom we loved, cherished, and who MARRIED us (hello!! that’s a big one!) felt the calling to move to another church home in OHIO 😦
And while our family was downright devastated by this news we decided we were going to stick it out.
We were going to stand strong, and continue to grow with our already centered church family.
The same church family where 2/3 children were baptised, who came together and got our family through my stroke, and where my husband took communion for the very first time-ever!
But a few weeks after our amazing pastor left….we could feel a piece of our hearts had left too.
It just wasn’t the same. The sermons weren’t the same, the service wasn’t the same, and most of all the connection wasn’t the same.
That fire that once was burned inside of me to completey devote our lifes work to our church and His word had gone out.
The passion and empowerment I once felt waking up and getting our family ready, heading out the door, and pulling into that parking lot no longer existed.
Something had changed. Shifted.
For the past couple of months I haven’t been able to put my finger on what exactly it is, but there has been a huge void.
A void in my heart, in my head, in our family.
This week all that changed.

Each night that I came home from work and walked in the door I was flooded by overly excited, eager children who couldn’t wait to tell me all about their day at camp.
They proudly told me all about their counselors, the games they played, the lessons they learned, and the friends they made.
But mostly what made my momma heart skip a beat happened probably on day #2 of camp.
I could hear them upstairs proudly singing a song at the top of their lungs….together….in unison.
At first I listened very quietly, not wanting them to know I was listening for fear of them stopping 🙂
This is what I heard:

“Whatever is true, whatever is right,
whatever it pure, whatever is light
lead me in your wayeverlasting
 don’t ever stop, don’t ever stop”

“I saw the light
I saw the light
No more darkness
No more night”

When I tell you my momma heart was bursting at the seams….boy oh boy was it!!!
It straight up exploded!
My children. Our family. We NEEDED this.
We needed this connection. A refresher of our faith.
To see their little faces light up, hands in the air praising our Lord like that?! OH MY!!
There simply are no words for just how I felt. 
There is only tears.
Big ole hot tears welled up in my momma eyes.
Partly because it has been so long since I have been moved by a church service.
Partly because I finally had that calling, that pulling, that notion saying, “you’re right where you are supposed to be”
and partly because it was one of those moments where every part of my heart and soul, all of my momma being, that I spend day in and day out pouring into these little ones of mine, is finally coming to fruition.
Right before my eyes.

I don’t want their faith to be fleeting.
I don’t want their faith to be this inconsistent-only use it when you need it-thing.
I don’t want their faith to be uncomfortable and awkward.

I want them to be completly comfortable in their faith.
I want their faith to be second nature…an extension of who they are.
I want their faith to be the first thing they run to when they have a problem, and the first thing they go to, to give praise and thanks.

I want them to realize that all of our blessings come from above.
They come from Him.
And this week…..I saw that. 

I am a Peacekeeper

I was recently asked to be a part of a group for a new company called I am a Peacekeeper.
You can visit their site here
Peacekeeper Cause-metic is a woman owned cosmetic line.
The company produces lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms and nail polish.
After all is said and done ALL proceeds go to charities that empower women right here in the US and across the world!
How amazing is that?!
Fun cause-metics for us and empowering other women?
Sounds like a great combination to me!
 #kissmom
I received 3 different lip balms, 1 lipgloss, and 1 lipstick.
The lipbalms were all FABULOUS in my opinion….and I am a lipbalm JUNKIE!
They get my stamp of approval-my favorite was the 
“Perfect as is balm”
which smells GREAT and gives your lips a tiny shimmer of pink!
Find it here.
Lets talk about the lip gloss I was given…first off its called Yum-Balm and its pretty amazing!
For me, I am not a fan of gunky, goopy, lip gloss at all and I thought this was a great combination of coverage, and gloss plus it lasted a good while on my lips-even at the office!
Find it here. 
Last I leave you with this tip:
All of the causemetics made by Peacekeeper are certified organic!
The lip balms are 93%organic, and the lip gloss is 95% organic!
It’s always nice to know what we are putting in our bodys, and on our skin.
So for me that was a HUGE bonus!
So head over to Peacekeeper and enjoy using coupon code: KISSMOM at checkout for a great discount!
Leave a comment below to be entered to win your very own set of Peacekeeper Lip Balms!
A winner will be chosen at the end of the week via random.org
 



*****Disclaimer: I was compensated with products by the Company to try out various products from their merchandise. All opinions stated in this post as always, are my own.

Dear 8 year old boy of mine…

Tomorrow our oldest turns 8.
E-I-G-H-T!!!!
Where has the time gone?
Seriously I feel like I blinked my eyes and in a flash he’s almost double digits.
Making the decision to have children early in life, hasn’t always been easy.
Making the decision to have 3 children in 4 years, hasn’t always been a walk in the park…in fact most days I look around at all of the messes, the fighting, the piles of laundry, and dirty bathrooms and I think to myself, “what the heck was I thinking?!”
Making the decision to pour all of who we are, to shape and influence our children, and raise up our 3 boys to be men…that is what makes it all worth it!
 I couldn’t decide exactly how I wanted to get my feelings out on our first born turning 8 and then it hit me…
I should write a letter to him.
Something he can look back on one day and know that, if nothing else, exactly how loved he is and always has been.
Something that would give him a tiny peek into his life at just 8 years old .
A letter that reassures him that even though we may not have always seen eye to eye I truly did always want the best for him.
So here it goes…

Dear 8 year old boy of mine,

Do you know how much we love you? We love you to the moon and back!
I can remember the day you were born like it was yesterday.
Mommy had two very special people with her in the delivery room-Daddy and Kristie.
Your whole ENTIRE family was patiently waiting outside for you to be born…
and the moment you were, you instantly sealed our two families together as one.
You are the one special little person who made me a momma.
8 years later you have lost 6 teeth.
You enjoy playing baseball, basketball, and video games.
Your biggest obsession at 8 years old is WWE.
You know all of the characters names, their story lines, and their rivalries.
You still believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny- and I secretly hope you do for a little while longer.
You are certainly an outgoing, people person who is not afraid to try new things, and you are always the life of the party-in fact you never want them to stop!
You are a party animal 🙂
You have this voice. A loud, resounding, boisterous voice. A voice I sometimes wish would learn to speak quieter and too often I have a tendency to hush…but I know you were given that voice for a reason.
I hope someday you find that reason.
You recently had your first sleepover and I think it was much easier for you than it was for me!
You have always been and continue to be our most independent child-a skill that will lead you far in life, but for now I have to remind you that you are not as old as you may think.
I admire the amount of self confidence you have at your age…nothing and no one can stop you…
Yet at the same time I love seeing how gentle and caring you are with your brothers-when you WANT to be of course!
And as far as other people’s opinions are concerned you already know who’s opinion matters and how to let the others roll off your back.
You have a genuine love for your entire family and I can see the way your eyes light up when there’s a family gathering.
I admire the way you are able to mentor your younger brothers, always and forever sticking up for them and showing them the way to do things.
You also do the same for your friends.
You know right from wrong, and while at only 8 years old you don’t always make the right decision at the end of the day you make your rounds and say your apologies.
The relationship you have with your youngest brother Aaron is unlike anything I have ever witnessed and is the exact reason I knew I wanted a big family!
I know a day will come when you will no longer want to be called “baby angel” but for now you still like it and so does my momma heart.
 Every single night when daddy comes home from work he still walks in and checks on you and your brothers.
He makes sure to cover you back up with your favorite Mario Kart Blanket.
Your room is also blue and covered in Super Mario Brothers 🙂
Your favorite foods are: chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, and McDonalds.
You also inherited your sweet tooth from me!
While it hasn’t always been the case, you are my pickiest eater…in fact I have had to re-name certain foods just to get you to eat them! When you are in college and find out “noodles” are and always have been called Spaghetti by everyone else I am sure I will be getting a phone call from you!
As the oldest of three I do hold you to a higher standard than your brothers, and I am sorry if you feel that is sometimes unfair, but I truly do want the best for you and I know that you have capabilities beyond anything we could ever imagine.
 I want to make sure I am molding and shaping you into the very best person you can be.
Someone your future wife will be thankful for.
You are smart…so,so smart! You are in second grade and Mrs. Silver is your teacher.
While English and reading haven’t always been your favorite, or easiest subjects, I can tell the steady progress you are making and seeing you grow to have a love for reading and finishing chapter books just warms my heart!

When it comes to math you are basically a whiz-you must get that from your Daddy!
You can add, and subtract numbers in your head, solve word problems, and are steadily working on multiplication and division.
You are learning and growing by leaps and bounds.
You weigh 58 pounds, half my height and are officially out of a car seat of any kind!
While I don’t know exactly what the future holds for you, I know what I wish for you:
I wish that you will always stay true to who you are…
I wish that you will do whatever it is that speaks to you.
I hope that you never settle.
I wish that you will fulfill every single dream you have, even if those dreams may take you far away from me.
I wish that you will always hold onto a tiny bit of your innocence because that too makes you who you are.
But most of all, and more than anything, I wish you all the happiness in the world!
As a momma nothing makes my heart pitter-patter more than hearing your laugh, seeing your face light up, and the genuineness of your soul.
You have got a great, great soul.

Thank you for allowing me to call you mine.
Love,
Your momma