Zarbee’s Naturals-Children’s Sleep

A Product Review based on my own experiences

As a mom of (2) boys loaded with energy and armed with ADHD, there is no such thing as “winding” down for the night. The only way my boys are quite, is if they are being hypnotized by the tv or tablets; which of course is unacceptable at night because once they are off they are still charged more than ever.

It wasn’t so bad before COVID because they would go to school then after school was a health and fitness place where they did a lot of running and exercises. By the time I picked them up after work and brought them home, homework, dinner, they were tired. Sometimes they would have a hard time falling asleep, but it wasn’t so bad the I needed to seek help.

In March, about 1 week into the “new normal” COVID world, is when we started having problems getting to sleep every.single.night! I didn’t automatically think sleep aids, I started making them exercise following along to YOU TUBE workout videos for kids, running on the treadmill, locking them outside in the backyard….did I say locking, I meant encouraging them to play. It helped some, but it still wasn’t enough. They were still getting out of bed every hour until midnight-1:00 am. You can imagine how tired I was as I still had to wake up and work from home and make them get up and deal with their bad attitudes because they were tired, do school work with them, feed them, and try and keep the house clean enough that it wasn’t inviting roaches to visit. Oh yeah, and not loose my mind in the process. Am I painting a familiar picture here?

When they are sick with a bad cough or runny nose, I give them the Zarbee’s Cough syrup with melatonin, it knocks them out fast and helps clear up the nose and throat. I have used it for years, luckily they don’t need it much, I am blessed with pretty healthy kiddos. That being said, at this point I got to wondering what other melatonin products were out there. I have come to find out there is quite a few, being that Zarbee’s have already proven effective and safe to this point I decided to try there Children’s Sleep vitamins.

As with everything, there are a lot of different reviews. Some people loved it and other hated it. I fall into the category of love. The recommend serving for their age is 2 yummy gummy vitamins, for us two is too much! They went to sleep really fast, but they would wake up in the middle of the night super thirsty. I tried it out and even I would wake up thirsty, which is very uncommon for me unless I have had to much grown up juice that night. I cut them back to just 1 yummy gummy melatonin vitamin and we have a wonderful nights rest.

It’s now September, we are still home living the “new normal”. We all exercise, now that school is back unfortunately I don’t get what I need in that area, but that’s a different story. They still run and are locked, I mean encouraged to play outside as much as possible. They are limited to only 1-2 hours of video/games a day. All of those things help, but the fact is they can outlast the energizer rabbit. On school nights, taking our “night time vitamins” has become part of the routine just before story time. Once the story is over they are more than ready for bedtime. On the weekends, I usually let them stay up really late and watch family movies or we play the Wii dance revolution or mario cart. Yes. I said Wii as in Nintendo Wii. That’s the last game console I have purchased.

I purchase this on Amazon, I haven’t seen it at any local stores like Walmart or Target. If your child has a hard time falling a sleep at night and you want to try a natural effective sleep aid, I highly suggest this one. Like mine, the recommended dosage might be to much which works out better because the bottle will last longer.

I hope this helps parents who are looking for natural safe sleep aids for their little ones.

I wasn’t paid or given free product to do this review. These are my own honest opinions and real results from our family. I just wanted to share our experience.

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, and Successful Day!

When We Believed in Mermaids- by: Barbara O’Neal

Usually when I read fiction I read something in the Scify-fantasy realm. I decided to venture out and try something different. Broaden my horizons!

Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s being a mom, maybe it’s being on locked down with the kids for 6 months and I’m going somewhat insane. I have been drawn to more sentimental type stories. So I googled popular books and this one came up, not going to lie, the title grabbed my attention more than anything as I have always loved mermaids.

When I was little we lived in South Florida and my grandparents had a boat that we use to go out on. We would snorkel and swim between fishing sessions ( in different spots of course). I had always felt out of place and sad as a child. I never felt like I quite fit in anywhere. I wasn’t really bullied in school and I had a good home, it wasn’t perfect, but my parents provided everything we needed. I was the sweet and quite girl; because of that other kids assumed I was smart. After “The Little Mermaid” was released from Disney, I wished more than anything I could turn into a mermaid and always pretended to be one when we were at the pool or in the ocean. I think it’s all of those memories that drew me to the title.

Once I got started with this book, I couldn’t put it down. It was very well written and I didn’t get bored with the characters because the chapters bounced from Kit to her sister Josie. Showing different perspectives to the same story.

The story is about sisters who grew up on the coast of California. Their parents owned a restaurant and were not very involved with their daughters. The girls were allowed to sleep on the beach and run wild and on their own until an runaway boy came to live with them and took on the responsibility of looking out and caring for them. The three kids loved one another and would to anything for each other.

A broken family, as they grew the problems grew and the kids couldn’t hold on to one another as they became adults. While Kit was is college, Josie became a party girl and disappeared. Fifteen years later, Kit goes on a mission to find her sister and while doing so finds a happier version of herself.

It’s a beautiful story of overcoming the tragedies that life sometimes gives and about letting go of the hurt and giving yourself permission to forgive. In so doing, finding love and acceptance. Families may be living in the same story, however we see from different perspectives and still experience different circumstances.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for inspiration to let go of their hurt, find love, and who want a good cry at the end.

Flex It Pink-Virtual Run & Fitness Motivation

Talk about Woman Power!!!

Flex it Pink or FIP is an amazing website that provides fun fitness motivation for all women. They have a variety of options available that will work with just about any budget. You can buy individual products and virtual races or subscribe to receive fun monthly motivation.

I have only been subscribed for a couple of months now, but I really do love the product and the can tell that these ladies are passionate about what they do. They offer videos and monthly work out challenges to help keep you focus on your fitness goals.

This is the package I received for August. It was full of fun stuff and really yummy samples for energy water and coffee. The shirts are comfortable and well made, I love fitness shirts and tanks!!

If you’re looking for a program to help you stay motivated, you should definitely check out Flex It Pink!

Books For Successful Minds

A few years ago I was really into reading my horoscope daily. On one of the readings, there was a quote:

“Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.” Jim Rohn

I really liked the quote so I posted it on social media. But then I got to wondering about Jim Rohn and figured I better know who he is if I’m going to be sharing quotes from him. So I googled and learned a little about him. During the research, I decided to buy this book. It’s a small book, I finished it in a couple of days but it confirmed everything I always thought to be true and led me to other books that re-enforced my belief in the power of the mind.

I haven’t met many people who have inspired and encouraged me to be better. Let alone gave unconditional support. Usually I summon strength within myself to see life as an optimist. That energy was sustained mostly because of positive reactions I received from the people and the world by being this way.

There was a point where I became overwhelmed by challenges, life, and pessimistic views from others. I was consumed by fault and guilt that was not completely my own and I didn’t have anyone to help me see life as an optimist, I became very sad and discouraged. After years of falling deeper and deeper into this hole a life changing event happened and I woke up. This happens to a lot of people, I thought through the years that I was fighting to be better but as it turned out, I was just fighting. I didn’t have the right frame of mind. I was torn between what to do, never really taking steps forward. Until something happened and I realized that I’m not going to live with all of this negativity, I was going to live the best and happiest life possible. When I made that decision, the world automatically started me down a new path. On this new path I met someone who is a true leader. He inspired, encouraged, and supported me; even when I was over the top emotional and self destructive. He never fed the negative or insecure image of myself, he ALWAYS encouraged my more positive qualities. When you have fallen into a deep hole and been there a while, you don’t automatically get out of the hole just because you decided to. You have to fight, climb, look for foot holds,hand placements, and sometimes you slip back down. I am very thankful to this person for shining a flash light down that hole and waiting so I could see better how to get out.

I was drawn to this book and the books below; even though they were published 1930-1980s time frame (more or less) and for the most part are directed towards men in the workforce, I got a lot of valuable and solid information from them. I know this year has been overwhelming and a lot of people are falling on hard times and becoming discouraged. For those people I hope that you are able to summon faith and determination to keep moving towards success and if you loose your flashlight, I hope that someone is kind enough to offer theirs to help you find your way again.

In a nut shell, what I received from these books was the same thing I was told by my flashlight holder, “You just need to make up your mind and go for it”.

Running Thru 2020

It has definitely been a year to reflect and reinvent. Well, for most. For me, it’s just another year full of challenges. Helping my boys who have more learning challenges than most kids their age in the general population; every year is a year for me to acquire a new level of patience, understanding, and to continuously try to think outside the box to find solutions that will help them but also to find balance between “Career/Work Time”, “Family Time”, “Husband Time, Troubleshoot problems at School time”, and most importantly “Me Time”.

Successful people often say: “You need to prioritize. You can do everything, you just can’t do everything at once.” Well, all of those things I have listed are top priorities and I really have no choice but to do everything at once. What am I saying?, there is always a choice. I choose to put energy into all of those categories because if I don’t now, I’m going to be to far behind later. I may not be getting as far as I would like, but being able to move an inch is better than not moving at all.

This year has actually been less stressful than most. We as a family are in a better place emotionally, we all get along better. That in itself is a big relief and accomplishment that allows me to be able to balance better. Because I have to work from home, I transferred to a different department that allows me to be more flexible with my daily schedule, thus enabling me to help the kids with school (cry. sob. drink.) and for me to get on a better exercise routine.

Exercise is Essential. If I don’t run or at the very least walk daily, I feel absolutely miserable. Running has been a positive attitude life saver for me and has probably saved my kids from a Mommy Monster on a few occasions. Not to say that I haven’t lost my shit a few times this year, but running has alleviated and dissolved some of the chaos. I am getting a little pissed off that I haven’t lost any weight though. I have ran about 200 miles this year and cut out fast food but have only lost a few pounds. Another thing I have had to learn to be “ok” with to be happy. I feel better however. That’s the important part.

I have joined several running groups on Facebook and follow many runners/walkers on Instagram some of whom I chat with. Since I have started the blog site and joined runners on social media, I have come to believe that runners are the happiest most positive people on this planet. Seriously, they are so encouraging, supportive, adventurous, and for the most part, SUPER HAPPY people. I absolutely love it. The days that I feel drained and worn down, all I have to do is scroll through my social media pages for 5 minutes, it’s enough to make me say “Fine. I will get off my ass and give it a go”. 4-5 miles later, drenched in sweat, I’m feeling re-energized and happy I did it.

I’ve also taken a like to virtual runs. I don’t really care for the ones where I just get a medal. I usually join the ones where I get a tank top or t-shirt instead. the medals are beautiful, but they just end up in a box. My kids also like to do the virtual runs, but honestly they would rather have YouTube Minecraft Video time as a reward. Whatever gets them moving.

Getting into a running routine has been the biggest benefit for me so far in 2020, I am going to keep running thru 2020 and into 2021 with the goal of completing at least one half marathon next year.

We have each other. And we are making the best of a “lock down” situation. 2020 is only 365 days. It won’t last forever, as with everything in life.

Embrace the good and take note of the bad or Embrace the bad and criticize the good. I choose the to Embrace the Good.

Just some fun

Chattanooga, TN

Tennessee is blessed to have so many wonderful family destinations. I hope to be able to visit Nashville, Memphis, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Lynchburg when this crazy pandemic is over. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to take 2 weeks and just drive around Tennessee seeing all of these places. Hmmmmm, I’m going to look into that.

Where I have been is Chattanooga. I have been to Ruby Falls, Tennessee Aquarium, and Rock City/Look Out Mountain a few times in my life. I have visited them as a child and now with my children. Both times really fun, just from different perspectives. Well, it was a little better when I was kid. I didn’t have to buy the souvenirs! At that time I was a kid the internet was non-existent which made a big difference. Especially with Ruby Falls. It wasn’t so commercialized and crowded.

We visited Ruby Falls and the Tennessee Aquarium when my boys were about 5 years old, so it’s been a few years but I remember it like it was just a few weeks ago. We started the adventure at the Tennessee Aquarium. We have been to several aquariums, Georgia, Miami, SeaWorld, and Tennessee. Tennessee is unique from the others as it’s a fresh water aquarium and focuses on the critters and fishies of the Mississippi River. I really enjoy this museum as did my kids and husband. You start by walking through a butterfly garden where you become basically a moving tree for all of the butterflies. They made me a little jealous because they were all over my husband while we were in there. They thought they could just flutter their pretty wings and take him over. You are aloud to linger in these area for a long as you want; they have a really nice set up and they also show the different style of cocoons for each of the species that flutter there.

When you walk out, you begin your journey through the aquarium on the top floor and as you walk you wined down back down to the bottom. There is a lot of space so it doesn’t feel crowded and little ones can go at their own pace and see all the cool fish. There are a lot of interactive stations and things to see and do here. This is a must do when in Chattanooga and won’t be disappointed. Unless you are expecting dolphins and orca shows, then you might be. My husband was expecting it to be more salt water and it took him a few to get into it, my bad for not warning him.

Ruby Falls.

Ruby Falls is beautiful and unique and something that I feel should be experienced once in your life. If you didn’t get to experience it before the internet then you won’t feel as disappointed as I did when you visit now. I will explain why.

In the 90’s was the first time I went to Ruby Falls and all of the other attractions of Chattanooga. The tour starts by getting in an elevator and descending 26 stories or 1,120 feet into the Earth. When you get down there you are guided through some pretty awesome caverns until you eventually reach the very beautiful and amazing underground waterfall, Ruby Falls. That part hasn’t changed at all. The difference is the amount of people and it feels very commercialized now and no where near as personable. Yes they have cheesy tour guides still, but there is section of the tour where the cavern opens up and everyone can gather around, in the 90’s the tour guide would tell you the story of Ruby Falls and how it came to be. Today they use televisions all over and pre-recorded movies.

But that’s not my biggest disappointment. There isn’t much space 26 stories down inside the Earth. Before there was a small group of people 20-30 at most at scheduled intervals. These tours (back then) were scheduled so 1 group had enough time to get to the end and start working back before the second group came down. This way you really go to enjoy the different structures, ask questions, kind of take your time. Plus, when you got to Ruby Falls, you were able to spend 10 minutes just walking around it. We were able to go behind the waterfall and had plenty of time to get amazing pictures. No, they still do about 20 people in a group, but the groups descend every 15-20 minutes. There are so many people down in the caverns that you are constantly having to stop and move to the side so previous groups can get out. You can’t stop and enjoy the stalactites, and stalagmites because there is an army behind you and another army trying to pass you. When we reached the falls, they closed off the walk ways that went around the waterfalls and you are only allowed 5 minutes. You have to contend with 20-40 other people for the perfect picture and soak in the moment and beauty of what you are trying to get a picture of before the tour guide takes off. Because there are so many groups down there, it’s not just yours at the waterfall. Then you make the rushed journey back squeezing around people.

Like I said, if you didn’t know it then, you will probably be more impressed than I am with Ruby Falls. I still think you should see it, it’s still interesting and beautiful. I just don’t think it’s worth another visit. Unless they start limiting how many tours happen simultaneously.

Rock City Gardens and Look Out Mountain

The best for last. This is my favorite place in Chattanooga. We recently went back this past January. We were there January 1st, 2020. I thought that by spending the first day of the year having fun and traveling as a family, meant that’s how I would spend the year. Guess 2020 didn’t get the memo.

It’s magical. More magical than Disney World. I’m probably one of the few who have that opinion, but Disney has a lot of people and long lines and is overpriced and usually super hot. Anyway, that is a different post. Rock City Gardens has a fairy tale theme to it. As you walk the path to Look Out Mountain and then back around to the beginning you will see sneaky gnomes, Rainbow Hall, and story book characters hiding in the walls. When you reach the top of Look Out Mountain you will see seven different states and have all of the time in the world to take in the moment. It’s not over crowded or maybe it’s just open enough it doesn’t feel that way. My whole family agrees that this is the best place in Chattanooga. I will let the pictures do my talking for this one. Save this one for last if you go and see these 3 family fun places. Also before you go, check and see if they have any special events. I would really really like to go back and see their winter fantasy of lights. Being there at night though makes me nervous because it’s on a mountain. Driving down a mountain at night sounds deadly for this South Florida momma. Hotel arrangements and uber with be necessary if we ever do that.

Oh, also all of these places are near each other so driving is very minimal and they are easy to find.

Getting My Kids to Exercise

Like the rest of y’all, our house is trying to get along and make the best of the over abundance of family time we have had the last few months. In between the murder hornets, COVID-19, hurricanes, riots, and every else that happens, we get out to nature or a park to get some vitamin D via sunshine. But we are in the house a lot. My kitchen table is my office and my kids school desk, I set up my mobile gym right next to me so I can stop and exercise for a few minutes or do some stretches. My gym is a jump rope, (2) 10lb weights, exercise ball, and a yoga mat. After i serve dinner I run on my treadmill, which has been one of my best purchases ever!!!

The problem is my kids are getting lazy. Well, lazy until I make them stop watching Netflix or Minecraft videos. Then all of the pent up energy comes out and usually turns into them trying to kill each other, then my blood pressure goes up and de-escalating becomes tricky at this point. I know I should not have been letting them watch so much, but I still have to work and if they aren’t watching something they are very literally making me crazy because being Mom and outstanding employee takes 2 different mind sets and skill sets. Trying to do both simultaneously for 8-10 hours a day has been a headache to say the very least.

So as a solution I tried having them do exercise videos on YouTube, which they enjoy and there is a lot of cool videos for kid work outs. But after a few weeks they started getting tired with it. So I tried to get them to do at least a mile on the treadmill, and that was a battle because they got bored after a quarter mile and start wining. Then I came up with, “so you want to watch Minecraft videos, ok. But you are going to watch it while walking on the treadmill.”

It has been a beautiful compromise. They walk 1.5-2 miles before they realize how far they went. No more fighting to get them to move and they go to sleep easier too. It has been a WIN WIN. Now they ask me if they can walk /run on the treadmill during the week because that’s the only way they get YouTube time now.

I noticed their moods have improved since we started this compromise also. 🥳

The Sword of Truth Series by: Terry Goodkind

When I was 24 years old I walked into a Barnes & Noble with a Starbucks in hand, just kinda wondering around wasting time. I liked to read, but I wasn’t really into reading. I enjoyed going to book stores because it always felt like there was possibility of finding something spectacular in them.

My thing was walking the rows of books (all genres), browsing the titles, waiting for something to just jump out at me and whisk me away on an adventure. On this particular trip, I remember going through the store and not really finding anything of real interest, so I started to head out and I noticed a collection of books on the Science Fiction end cap that I had missed. I studied it for a moment from several feet away, debating if I should check them out, took the last gulp of my cinnamon dolce latte and wondered over. (It’s hard to imagine now that there was a time when this was the biggest decision I had to make in a day. Go check out the books or don’t check out the books, hmmmm)

I walked out of Barnes & Noble that day with the first book of the Sword of Truth Series, Wizards First Rule and 14 years and 24 books later am still hooked. There is actually more than 24 books related to Sword of Truth series, I am 2-3 behind waiting for the price to drop. Needless to say, I am now a dedicated citizen of the world he created in these books.

I feel like anything I say about these books and about the world he created just won’t do him justice. It’s a world where magics are used instead of technology, there’s forbidden love, fighting for human rights, sick and twisted power hungry people trying to take over the world, unbreakable friendships, and most importantly, lessons to learn from. It’s the whole package.

I will admit, there were 1 or 2 books in the middle of the series, up till now, that I found a little repetitive and had a hard time getting through. I won’t say that every single one had me on the edge of my seat, but most of them do. The first 6 books of the series are by far my favorites, I listen to them on audible now while I work, and I encourage anyone looking to start a wonderful adventure to go on this one.

“The Last Kids on Earth” by: Max Braillier

I liked it. I thought it was a fun action packed story where kids who normally don’t “hang out” became best friends as they fight to survive their new normal world filled with zombies, dozers, winged wretches, and vine thingies, among others.

When we started this book, I had the boys reading it to me, and they did ok with it. My boys are 7, are are a little behind on the reading level, but more than that they are a little behind on the maturity level also. They weren’t really understanding the dialogue between the characters and the witty sense of humor Jack Sullivan (the main character) has. So I decided to make it our bed time story book, where I read to them. After a few chapters I realized it wasn’t helping much for calming down and going to bed but I enjoyed the book so much I just kept on reading. When I read to them, I typically get really into the story with cheesy character voices, sound effects, and emotion. Not to mention its an action pack monster bashing adventure. Not really the right ingredients for bed time. Anyway, once I took over the reading they enjoyed it more but I had to constantly explain the sarcasm. Which isn’t a negative towards the book or the author, I loved it, it’s just something to consider if your kiddos are seven and take words very literally.

I bought the trilogy, so we will be eventually reading the second book to see what kind of new big bad tries to destroy the rest of the world and what this monster bashing team of friends does to stop it.

What the kids have to say:

Ninja D: ” I liked it because it had a lot of action in it, and I love action.”

Robo D: “I didn’t like it that much. I didn’t really understand what they were talking about most of the time. But I like the cartoon on Netflix.”

Disclaimer: All opinions and context are my own and are not influenced by any other parties. I was not paid or compensated for this review, this was only me sharing some thoughts about the book.

“Ninja Farts- Silent But Deadly”

I have yet to meet a boy who doesn’t want to be a ninja at some point in their life or think that farts are the funniest thing on this Earth. So what better combination for a kids book?

My 7 year old twin boys love Ninja Farts by JB O’Neil. It’s one of the few books that they will read over and over, of course they prefer me to read it because I get the crazy sound effects and voice character voices going, but regardless it’s one that never gets old.

Milo is very relatable for young boys as he finds school extremely boring and often finds himself dreaming about fun adventures using the power of the fart to do good in the world. Even though weirdly gross, there is a moral at the end of the story for kids to learn from.

There are several books in the “Fart” collection from JB O’Neil, I have ordered some of the other adventures for us to go on and can’t wait to share them with you!

We highly recommend going on these stinky fun adventures with Milo Snotrocket, they are fun and entertaining, and extremely gross. All of the major ingredients for fun in a boys mind.

Though my kids are not one for words, this is what they have to say about this story.

Robo D: “I like Ninja Farts because they are farty and it’s funny to fart while reading Ninja Farts! LOL

Ninja D: “I like Ninja Farts because I am Ninja too and farts are funny!