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Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Holiday in Pictures

Here's a review of our family holiday this year: 
Enjoy! :)

We made our own candlesticks while we hosted Thanksgiving again this year

We made Advent bags this year filled with the story cards of Jesus' birth and some treats of course, for the season of Advent

the kids had fun opening the bags each day to see what was inside <3 

Spiderman and Baby A enjoyed making their annual Gingerbread house

and this year they both got to color wooden Christmas trees they got at Family Appreciation Night

We even found some wooden ornaments at Target (20 for only $5) and the kids had a blast coloring them and putting them on the tree! 

Baby B, myself, and my friend Ali got to spend some time scoping out local crafts at the annual South Berwick Holiday Stroll!

Spiderman, Baby A, and Sissy did an excellent job decorating the tree...

....and showing off their favorite ornaments! 

baby A and auntie Shell, from The Economical Eater, baked Christmas cookies

and the 3 youngest participated in this years' Christmas pageant at our church. Baby B was baby Jesus, Spiderman (front RIGHT) was a shepard, and Baby A (far RIGHT) was an angel (who refused to wear her halo lol) 
then we hosted Christmas Eve for the rest of the Sirois clan L-R: auntie Cortney, Amma, Baby A, Pepe, Baby B, and cousin Phi

they LOVE family time <3 L-R: Phi, Baby A & Baby B 
Even Sissy and Daddy had some fun! :) 


Santa and the grandparents spoiled the kids this year! Santa brought the kids 3 presents each this year instead of one- they got totally spoiled!

daddy and Spiderman even got to build a tow truck together! He was so proud of it!! 

Overall a blessed holiday, and we look forward to MANY MANY more <3 
 Happy Holidays and Happy New Year
from our family here at NurturingtheNaturalMama!

Bring on 2013! Why I am NOT making any resolutions this year...

2012 has been a year, not unlike many before it. Filled with countless fabulous moments, blessings, and other not-so-great moments.

hubby and me, photo credit Keith Sirois

But as the saying goes, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. And this year I feel like I have grown in a most important way. I have realized... like, truly realized... had an epiphany of sorts in fact, that my happiness, self worth, and "purpose" in this life is not going to be found in the pages of self help books, at a workplace, a University, inundating my calendar with volunteer activities, or even in my kids faces.

Nope, after 32 years I think I have it figured out. Now to some, this will sound sappy and a bit cliche. But a plethora of tiny, seemingly insignificant events have been occurring over the last few years that finally got so LOUD I could no longer ignore them. The resounding message was that God has GOT this.

photo from Etsy

I've been trying it on my own for too long. I certainly believe I'm where I am supposed to be, but I've been trying too hard. I am emotionally exhausted. My body shows it's physical exhaustion and needs to be refreshed. This year will be a year of focus. No resolutions, because I do not need them.

While this post is beginning to sound like a jumble of old sayings; "My body is my temple" ;) I will only be fueling it with what will make it work at optimum capacity. I am not going to pretend that suddenly I'll make it to the gym 5- 7 days per week, we have 4 kids. But 3 days a week I will be sure to spend a minimum of 30 minutes making sure my body burns off some of the fuel I've put in <3

Most days you will find me in my jammies on the floor playing with my kids. My house will be messy. Most days the dishes will pile up, and dinner probably won't be ready when hubby gets home. But I am ok with that.

I will continue to volunteer my time at the library for Infant Storytime, and I will spend even more time participating in church events. The more I can give to God, the more he will guide me.

photo from Pinterest

He will guide me, if I continue to move forward. And 2013, will be the year of FORWARD momentum.

It will be a year of FOCUS. Focus on my blessings, focus on prayer, focus on teaching my kids to pray, true focus on my kids, focus on achieving true forgiveness- so that I can move forward and stop looking back.

Using focus, prayer, and God to remind myself everyday that I am enough. I will do my best everyday to improve where I can at continuing to be the best wife and mother and self I can be <3

What is YOUR plan for 2013?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Help the kids in Connecticut. It's easy and free.

Want to help the kids of Sandy Hook Elementary as they return to school?

Something we can do for the Students of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Welcome Students to a Winter Wonderland

When school resumes for Sandy Hook, it will be in a new building. Parent-volunteers are working to ensure that the students are welcomed back by a winter wonderland with the entire school decorated with as many unique snowflakes as possible. We encourage senders to be as creative as possible, remembering that no two snowflakes are alike. Please make and send snowflakes by January 12, 2013 to the Connecticut PTA address:

Connecticut PTA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

Please share.

Day 12 #12DaysofChristmas #SeasonofGiving: Pandora's Project

Pandora's Project
Compliments of Jennifer Blair

Hi, my name is Jennifer, and I’m going to start my post with some tough statistics.
One out of six.  This is the number of women in the United States who has been the victim of rape or attempted rape.  (17.7 million women)*

One out of 33.  This is the number of men in the United States who has been the victim of rape or attempted rape. (2.78 million men)
207,754. This is the number of sexual assaults that occur in the United States each year.

Two minutes.  A sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the United States.

54% of rape victims don’t report their assault, meaning some of the other statistics presented might not be completely accurate.  The numbers are likely higher. 

73% of rape victims know their attacker.

Being raped by a stranger is much less likely, though not completely rare. When rape is discussed the image that often comes to mind is someone jumping out of the bushes in the dark, or a woman being dragged into an alley.  These attacks can happen, but it’s even more likely for someone to be taken advantage of by a date or an acquaintance or a neighbor.  The assailant may be a relative or even a spouse. 

Now here’s a better number:

60%.  This is the amount by which sexual assault in the United States has decreased since 1991

A really important way to reduce sexual assault is to educate people about it.

In 2001, then 22-year-old rape survivor Shannon Lambert started hosting a message board with her Tori Amos-inspired blog that served to assure rape survivors that they were not alone (Lambert’s blog no longer exists, but many still do.  You can find a link to the blogs below).    

She started a publicly hosted message board when she and her blog were featured on the program 20/20 in 1999.  She got many emails and had people reaching out to her often, so the message board was created to give people a way to connect to each other as she recognized the need for community, and knew her site would get a lot more traffic upon being featured on television.

In 2001, the message board had approximately 250 members, a number that has grown considerably over the years.  In 2002, a moderated chat room was made available, giving an opportunity for survivors to speak to each other in real time.  More and more sections were added to the message board to meet the needs of the members: there’s a section for just male survivors, as well as one for just female survivors.  There’s a section for secondary survivors, who are people in our lives who support us and who are also affected by the aftermath of rape.  There’s a place for survivors to tell their stories, and then there are places to share recipes and pictures of our pets.   

With over 35,000 members today, Pandora’s Aquarium (or “Pandy’s” as we often call it) is still the name of the message board, but it is only a part of the whole site, now named Pandora’s Project.

Pandora’s Project is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and is the largest online support group for survivors of sexual assault on the internet.  In addition to housing a message board, there is a lending library, national and international crisis hotlines, a newsletter, access to a whole network of blogs, and more.   We have guest speakers chats presented  to the community via the chat room, speakers such as well known sex therapist and author of The Sexual Healing Journey: AGuide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse,  Wendy Maltz, and Jaime P, the founder and director of An Infinite Mind, a resource that educates people about Dissociative Identity Disorder.  (Transcripts for all the chats may be found under the drop-down “library” menu .)   

Pandora’s Project has hosted a healing retreat, and plans to host more in the future.

Pandy’s creates a safe environment for any survivor, male or female, over the age of 16, as well as for secondary survivors.  It takes a lot of people to keep such a large community running safely.  In addition to the board administrators, there are moderators of the message board, as well as section moderators, who help forums related to specific aspects of healing. Keep in mind, everyone can see the site at, but only  registered members can see the whole message board.  There are some public forums accessible by guests who want to see what the message board is about, but if you want to participate in the community, you must register to see the complete board.  Registrations  are approved by the board moderators, and are always looked at to keep the board as safe as possible. Some forums aren’t visible to the entire population to maintain  privacy of specific groups.  For example, male members don’t have access to the specifically female  forum, and vice versa.  A safe, caring, supportive environment is what everybody wants  and what the staff strives to maintain.

Keeping up with such a large community costs money, though.  The board software, the chat software, postage for the Lending Library, payment for guest speakers, materials for retreats…these are just a few expenses off the top of my head.  Although Lambert was nominated for and won the L’Oreal Women of Worth Award and a grant along with it, almost all funding comes from donations.   There are a number of ways to donate!

·         Visit their DONATION page. This gives you the option to use a credit card, PayPal, or snail mail.  Since  Pandora’s Project is a 501(c)(3) organization, donations you make will be tax-deductable.

·         OR you can use their Amazon  link and Pandy’s will get a portion of the money you spend while shopping at Amazon.  Nothing extra is required by you, and you don’t have to pay any extra.  

·         By using the search engine, Goodsearch  , Pandy’s will get a cent for every search made. (You will have to search for and select “Pandora’s Aquarium")

·         Also, once you have selected “Pandora’s Aquarium ,  check out “GoodShop” from the top menu and then select one of 500 online retailers (including Zappos, Best Buy, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Target, and many more!). Pandy's receives a commission up to 30% whenever you follow GoodShop links to your favorite retailers.  For example, Best Buy will then donate 0.5-3% of your total amount spent to Pandora’s Project.  (I always use it when I wish to buy something from Best Buy…no matter how big or small.  Then, instead of having the item shipped, I select the in-store pickup.  I recommend this method!)  “GoodDining” works the same way once you register.  Up to 6% of what you spend at a participating restaurant will be donated.

 In-kind donations are appreciated, and help  monetary donations be directed straight to programming, rather than to overhead. We especially appreciate the following types of in-kind donations if you need some ideas:
·         U.S. postage stamps in any denomination (used for general purposes and to ship books for the lending library)
·         Target and Wal-Mart gift cards (for office supplies and retreat supplies)
·         Best Buy gift cards (for technology needs, such as software)
· e-certificates (for lending library materials and software)
·         Office Max and Office Depot gift cards (for envelopes, printing paper, and general office supplies)
·         Books & DVDs in good condition for the lending library (see this page for our wishlist)

As with monetary donations, the value of in-kind donations is tax deductible as allowed under law. If you'd like to make an in-kind donation, here is our address:

Pandora's Project           
3109 W. 50th St.
Suite #320
Minneapolis, MN 55410-2102

Questions??? Contact us by EMAIL

Follow Pandora’s Project on Twitter and like us on Facebook!  

*Statistics courtesy of RAINN

Monday, December 17, 2012

#12DaysofChristmas #SeasonofGiving GIVEAWAYS Recap

Ok, PAY ATTENTION people ;) 

photo found at

There are STILL Giveaways going on NOW: 

Day 1 Visalus Neuro Drink Giveaway                      **** CLOSED**** Winner: Lori Costigan 

        also, Visalus Shake Sampler Giveaway           **** CLOSED*** Winner: Rebecca Pastor

Day 2 gdiaper coupon Giveaway                           OPEN 1st 5 Comments on the blog WIN

Day 6 Arbonne ABC Hair & Body Wash Giveaway     **** CLOSED**** WINNER: Sarah Jacob

Day 8 The Economical Eater Veggie Chop Giveaway **** CLOSED*** WINNER: Chelsea A. 

Day 10 The Clean Bedroom  $50 Gift Card Giveaway **** CLOSED**** WINNER: Chelsea Anderson

Day 11 Educate with Toys Bebe au Lait Bib Giveaway ****CLOSED*** Pending winner resp

ENTER to WIN these giveaways via the blog, Facebook , or  Twitter


Day 11 #12DaysofChristmas #SeasonofGiving: Educate with Toys

Want to know why I created EDUCATE WITH TOYS?

photo courtesy of Educate with Toys
In the past two decades, I have been blessed to be a mother of six, a teacher for junior high teens, and a parent educator for hundreds of parents. And in my years of teaching, I have learned two important things: 



I think every child deserves a fun learning experience. So I combined these two things together to create a one-of-a-kind educational resource site. Empower the little stars in your life. CHECK US OUT, AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!

photo courtesy of

When you were a kid, the worst part of going to the toy store was figuring out what to choose. Today, as an adult, you’re smarter, richer (hopefully), and more decisive. And you still can’t decide. In fact, today, the choices are more complicated. You’re not gambling your $1.50 allowance on a novelty item that might break on the way home from the store, or aiming to outdo the most popular kid on the block with the most dazzling gizmo. You’re aiming for much more… 

You’re thinking EDUCATIONAL, SKILLS-BUILDING, DURABLE, and KID-FRIENDLY. The choices are endless and the potential is limitless. Feeling paralyzed with power? 

Make one educated choice, and see all the great things follow. Check us out at
We specialize in educating parents and teachers to choose the best educational products out there.

Educate with Toys is an EDUCATIONAL TOY STORE – With the lady behind the counter that really knows. What goes. What works. And what pays.

No need to TRY and TEST and RESEARCH and EVALUATE. We’ve already done the legwork. Just key in your educational goals and our knowledgeable TOY SPECIALISTS will show you how to help your child reach this goal in a FUN, FORWARD THINKING way. 

 OR enter a category, such as MATH, READING, SCIENCE, OT, PT, CRITICAL THINKING – or whatever. We have what it takes to cultivate your precious imp into the next Einstein. And we know how to make the process fun! 

Oh, and P.S. This service is absolutely FREE. Our prices are great. We just believe in educating our parents and teachers – because we care.

Reach out to us TODAY: 

Visit our WEBSITE
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Follow our BLOG

Happy Shopping!! 

***** GIVEAWAY*****

It wouldn't be the #12DaysofChristmas #SeasonofGiving without a GIVEAWAY! 

So, "Like" Educate with Toys on Facebook
and "Like" NurturingtheNaturalMama on Facebook    AND comment that you've LIKED Educate with toys.  
* Print shown is not necessarily the print you will win. 

WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN VIA RANDOM.ORG based on # of entries on Wednesday at 5pm, EST. 

Additional Entries: 

You can score additional entries daily by following Educate with Toys & NurturingtheNaturalMama on Twitter and #12DaysofChristmas #SeasonofGiving #bibgiveaway