The Friday Five v.15

Meet The Man Responsible For Creating The Wax Figures At Madame Tussauds If  you've never been to the wax museum in NYC, it really is creepy how much the statues look real. 

Paid Parental Leave: Why the US Falls Behind Some historical background. 

Look for These Celestial Wonders in the Night Sky Through the Rest of March

How Working At Hooters Made Me A Feminist

Come stop by THIS yard sale this weekend if you're local. It supports The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network AND there will be on site math games for ALL ages to enjoy by the Sum One Cares tutoring program from math specialists. Free! 

Virginia Beach Speech Therapy on Why Your Baby Should Learn To Sign

So excited to welcome Andrea from Virginia Beach Speech Therapy to the blog today. She is an expert on all things signing and with the toddler tantrums starting for me, I reached out to her to get the details on baby signing! Thanks Andrea!

Why should I teach my baby sign language?

  1. Because they can!

Babies are born ready to communicate! As infants, they stare at you and smile when you look at them. Their eyes light up and their legs start kicking- this is one of the earliest forms of communication a baby has. It's like they’re saying, “Hi, Mom! Thanks for looking at me! I’m so excited to see your face!” As they get a little older, they develop gestures. The arms go up for “pick me up!” They can point to things that are new and exciting, they wave “bye-bye” when Mama goes to work. Babies have the capacity to use movements and gestures to communicate long before verbal speech develops. 

  1. Promote Language Development

Reinforce the powerful feeling of playing an active role in your relationship. Each time your baby signs “milk” and you acknowledge it (even if to say, “not now, milk will be later”), you’re giving them a voice.

  1. Reduce frustration 

Toddlers are ready and capable of doing much more than they are able to tell you. You know, the strong-willed tot who will move a stool to reach the tallest cabinet where his favorite snack is, only to kick, scream, and throw himself to the floor when you put the stool back where it was. Tantrums are often the result of a toddler knowing what they want and being frustrated that you just don’t get it! Having sign language allows him to say “Cookie please!...Thank you, Mama!”

But, will teaching my baby sign language make her not want or need to speak?

Nope! But you’re not alone, this is the first question everyone asks. 

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that early sign language use inhibits speech development. In fact, research has consistently shown that teaching sign language facilitates speech and language development, and that children who have learned signs tend to start reading at an earlier age and have higher IQ scores. 

First signs you can teach your baby:

Milk - open and close your fist 

All done- hands turn in and out

More - touch your fingertips together

Andrea is a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist and the owner of Virginia Beach Speech Therapy. She received her Master of Science in Communication Disorders from Emerson College in Boston, MA and has been practicing since 2015. She lives in Virginia Beach with her husband and two little girls, who have developed a love for signing as much as their mama. Virginia Beach Speech Therapy is proud to offer private, individualized speech therapy and baby sign classes in-home and via telehealth. Some insurances are accepted. For more information check out!

A Beautiful Planet: Virginia Air and Space Science Center Imax

The Virginia Air and Space Science Center (used to be the Air and Space Museum if you missed the name change!) has a new Imax movie, A Beautiful Planet. See views of Earth from the International Space Station on the largest screen in Hampton Roads. My oldest was studying a little about the Space Station in school, so we loved making the connection and seeing how they recycle water and are even starting to grow their own food. Our favorite part was seeing the different cities of Earth lit up at night, a reminder to be mindful of both the electrical power we use, and the humanity's power to protect the planet. 

A Beautiful Planet is showing Wednesday-Saturday, 10, 12, and 2 and Sundays at 12 and 2. Times are subject to change without notice. We love that at the Virginia Air and Space Science Center Imax movies are always included with admission! 

10 Mom Tips for Cleaning Floors and More!

Kids are messy. Chocolate milk, spit up, crayons, paint, waffles, syrup, it all ends up on our floors. That doesn't even take into account the wear and tear from all of the fire trucks, Barbie mini vans, or the dogs running around. Mess gives me anxiety, so I'm constantly battling to try and keep it clean.

I spoke with Lee Anne at Caliber Flooring Inc., who gave me all the cleaning facts...and I learned a ton. 


1. Carpets can be stain resistant.

Most luxury carpet now comes with a 15 year warranty and is stain resistant. That’s perfect for the growing family. Here's to hoping that by the time they are 15 they wont be spilling anymore.

2. Avoid Spray Cleaner on Carpet

Unless it is urine, you shouldn't actually be using a spray cleaner on the carpet. A white rag and warm water will do the trick. Also, it is important to have your carpets cleaned, but they say to only do it once a year, and to hold on to your receipts. More than that can void your warranty. 

3. Avoid the High Powered Vacuum Cleaner

This is the shocker - Caliber Flooring guidelines say we should not be using a high powered vacuum on our carpet. A tough beater bar on a vacuum is an absolute no go! The beater bar can pull on the fibers and cause excessive frizz or unraveling. She says to vacuum more often, rather than using a more high powered vacuum. This is particularly important if you have allergies.


carpet install virginia beach


4. LVP = little to no work!

Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP) is so popular right now. It's waterproof, low maintenance and highly durable. A protective coating, also known as the wear layer, offers added protection to stand up against kids toys, the dog running around, and just the everyday wear and tear. Seems like this is the product us parents should be installing in our homes. 

caliber flooring virginia beach

5. Avoid the Steam Mop

While there isn't much care, Lee Anne did tell me that the protective coating on the floor can wear off. Be sure to get a thick one, and never, ever use a steam mop. I was shocked, as I thought steam mops were *the* trend last fall. Lee Anne says never use one because the heat from the steamers can delaminate the floors and remove the top protective layer. When that’s gone, vinyl has no protection and the quality deteriorates. Instead, stick to the faithful microfiber mops.

install lvp in hampton roads


6. Warm Water and a Rag - That's it.

Hardwood needs to be swept and spot cleaned with warm water and a rag. Again, never a steam mop. Just like vinyl plank, a simple microfiber type mop works well for the high traffic areas that need a little more attention. Just make sure to wring out the excess water so that the mop is damp.

caliber flooring virginia beach


7. Grout has to be resealed annually

If you don't want to deal with this, Caliber can install an additive that will last way longer and help with spots. 

8. Avoid Bleach and Baking Soda

Yep, turns out the experts at Caliber Flooring, Inc recommend using a neutral ph cleaner that can be found on the shelves at just about any grocery or home improvement store. The key is to stay away from any acidic, waxy, oil based, or abrasive cleaners. 

9. Grays are on the out, naturals are back in!

Although I love my gray, deep browns as well as accent tiles with bright colors and patterns are trending. People are looking for natural, simple, comfortable, and functional. 

norfolk floor specialist

10. DIY it

If you're looking to do it yourself, floating floors are the easiest to install, but Lee Anne says to remember to leave a quarter of an inch expansion gap around the edges. She also reminded me that while the floor itself is waterproof, the subfloor that you have underneath isn't. The last tip she gave me was to ensure that the subfloor is a hundred percent flat before starting. 

Learn more about Caliber Flooring

Caliber Flooring is a local company based in Virginia Beach, that also has a mobile showroom and will come to you. Caliber will visit you, take measurements, and discuss the best fit for your home before giving you a FREE quote. Military discounts and financing are available. 

Check out Caliber Flooring here or follow them on social - Instagram / Facebook

The Friday Five v. 14

Happy Women's History Month! For this week's Friday Five I've got links all about women.... because who run the world? 

Why March?

NASA Director For the Mars Rover

I Know How Meghan Markle Feels. All Black Women Do.

5 women-led food brands you should have in your kitchen

Ruth Bader Ginsburg statue unveiled in Brooklyn to mark her birthday, Women's History Month

I hope this week you feel empowered and inspired. We are moving the needle, but there is always room to help move it faster. In the meantime, get out and enjoy this weekend weather, they are calling for rain this week! 

Friday Five v. 13

Y'all.... a weekend without rain! Praiseeeeeee!!! Get outside and enjoy your time, and if you need ideas of where, check out our place to go index! In the meantime, check out these five links. Enjoy!

 37 Photos That Show How Hilariously Bad Little Kids Are At Hiding

Media Time Calculator

14 Indoor Plants For Low Light

21 Parents Who Have Totally Given Up On Winning "Parent Of The Year"

112 Bra Problems That Men Will Not Understand

Chesterfield: Children's Museum of Richmond

I always like to look for ways to break up trips, particularly on the ride home when everyone might be a little sad to come back to reality. It gives us something to look forward to while we are packing up from our family fun. On our way home from Wintergreen, we stopped at the Chesterfield location of the Children's Museum of Richmond. 
If you have a membership to the Children's Museum of Virginia, you get free admission!  (You may remember we went to the other location a few years ago and had some issues with our pass from our Children's Museum. The woman claimed there was no such program despite its being on the website... but at this location we had zero problems!) It was a perfect way to break up the trip and give the boys some time to run around and play.

I was so impressed with the constant cleaning from volunteers from their Children's Hospital. I've never seen anything like it. Each family is given a two hour time slot to enter with limited tickets sold. There is a bus and a fire truck, berry and apple picking, a grocery store, a bank, water play and more. Items in the grocery store and restaurant were prebagged for play with each individual family. Once done you bagged them back up and put them into a bin for cleaning. A few things were closed including the indoor play place, and we could tell that there were some things like weighing fish at their bait and tackle shop that had been taken out, but overall we had a blast and I'm so glad that they were open.


A quick tip, this museum is literally inside of a strip mall. We thought for sure that our GPS had taken us the wrong way when we pulled into a back parking lot facing a dumpster, but sure enough one turn later it was right in front of us! We checked out their gift shop too and found a few things for upcoming birthdays at a reasonable price. I also loved all of the quotes and facts about children and play on the walls throughout the building. Check it out if you are in the area! 

Wintergreen Resort

Saying that my dad loved to ski is an understatement. He went every chance he could get, often spending long chunks of the winter in a ski cabin with our friends and family. I started at age 3 and then added in snowboarding at age 13. I have so many positive memories of bonding with him while sliding down a mountain or sipping hot chocolate after a day of skiing. He loved it so much he never wanted to stop for lunch; he carried nabs (Nabisco crackers) in his pocket to eat on the lift, and bathroom breaks were few and far between. We traveled to Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, and more together chasing the perfect fresh powder. 

As soon as he learned I was pregnant, he started talking about taking his future grandchild skiing. Before his birth, this kid had a spot in ski school, and I was so excited for us to create new memories together. Pancreatic Cancer had other plans. Once my dad died, I didn't ski or snowboard for three years. I just couldn't face it. This year I finally got the nerve to go, and promptly cried for twenty minutes on the lift and at the top of the mountain. But this trip, I had my oldest with me, and I was focused on enjoying the day with him. 

At Wintergreen kids under 5 ski with the purchase of a $5.00 lift ticket card. While Ski School isn't in session right now due to Covid, private lessons still are. I'd always recommend everyone take one, even if you've been skiing or snowboarding for years. A note, the resort is at limited capacity, masks must be worn (and I was glad to see there were employees carefully watching), and lift lines are spaced out to every other line. Families ride together on the lift chairs. This did mean longer lift lines than normal. 
I can't say enough about the power of making memories. Honestly, it was the hardest day of skiing I've ever done. Between my friend Chelsea and I picking him up, lots of encouraging words from dad who was also learning, moving very, very slowly down the mountain, and taking many breaks, we only skied five runs. But he loved it and is already asking to go back... and I can't wait to take him. 
One tip, if you're visiting Wintergreen be sure to check out the Blue Toad Cidery. Not only do they have delicious ciders, but they offer a play area for kids. I always love supporting businesses who think of families with children!