A Chum Mom Life

My thoughts and ideas being a mom, wife and child of God.

Slumber Parties- How to have a blast

Since our kids were preschoolers we have thrown big sleepovers. That’s what they call them too-Big Sleepover. We have at least one a year, usually two. They invite all their friends and usually about 10 can show up. Thinking about throwing your own sleepover for your kids? Learn from my experience with these tips and suggestions.

Cost– No need to spend a lot of money. We always have something food wise to share but we also ask our guests to bring a snack or breakfast item to share too. We always have had plenty.

Time– From trial and error I have found 7pm drop off and a 10 am pick up are perfect. This ensures everyone has had dinner before drop off and gives you several hours of fun before you insist they go to bed, but not so many hours that you want to rip your hair out. Most of the kids will sleep till at least nine and even those that do get up early won’t have much time to get rambunctious. It also ensures that parents can sleep in a little, but that no one is left for lunch, even if a few parents are late.

Invitations– Print something up with all the info for your kids to hand out, but also text or message all the parents. Also send reminder texts the day of. Nothing is worse than having dissapointed kids because people forgot. Plan your party a month ahead so people can get it on their calendars.

Activities– 2 max. And keep it simple. At our last party we had some flavored bubbles that I just had and didn’t know what to do with so that became an activity and the kids had a blast. You can also set out arts and crafts that never seem to get used. Balloons, some markers and stickers make for a great time, kids can decorate the balloons and then chase them around the house! If they don’t pop they can even take them home! Decorate your own cupcakes or other food related crafts are always a crowd pleaser as well.

Wait until the kids are at a lull or starting to argue to introduce an activity. DO NOT interrupt well behaved, playing nicely kids to introduce your activity. Leave them alone when everything is going good!

Morning-Don’t plan any activities for the AM. Just feed them if they get hungry, turn on a kids show and help them find their stuff.

Themes– Sometimes it’s fun to have a theme. Here are some themes we have done and a few details about them.

New Years Party– This is one we do almost every year. Parents can go out on a date and the kids are at our house having a blast! We always have a good turn out for this one. We watch the count down and then make lots of noise for the New Years. When they were younger we would celebrate at 11:00 instead.

Camping in the backyard– We just did this one. The kids are old enough now that it worked. We set up tents and had a fire and smores.

Costume party– This doesn’t have to be near Halloween. Give awards for each costume!

Mardi Gras– This was always a fun one to do when my husband would be out celebrating Mardi Gras and I was home with the kids. We had beads and made masks and had a parade!

Tell me about your kids sleepovers? Do you have them or do they sound like too much work? What themes have you used?


If You’re Going Through Hell

One of my favorite songs and one that pops in my head often is By Rodney Atkins; If You’re Going Through Hell.

A few years after my dad committed suicide I heard this song for the first time. I was still having a really hard time dealing with the suicide and this song encouraged me to go on. Since then I have healed from that hurt but of course I have had other hard times. During those times this song gets stuck in my head on a continual loop. Like a constant mantra to keep working towards fixing things.

I just wanted to share this song with you because I get so much from it. Years ago I was in a bible study and one of the questions asked was what song comes to mind when your going through hardships. Most people said the name of a church song and I said this one! I didn’t grow up going to church so my reference points are different from those that did. Very similar to how lots of kids get sung lullaby’s at night, my parents sang me rock songs and a country song about if I die before I wake, feed Jake(the dog.) But that’s a song for another time.

Mono Mommy

Mono Mommy is how my husband or our friends jokingly refer to me sometimes. I have had mono twice. Actually, I will always have it in my body, but more about that later. I want to tell you about my two rounds of mono, how it effected my life, what we did to treat it, and how it could effect me in the future.

I first got mono several years ago when my kids were kindergarten/preschool ages. We were already homeschooling. I got a cold that just never went away. It lasted for over a month, I was preparing to be the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding and we had just come back from a big vacation in Wisconsin, which is where we thought I got the cold.

I didn’t have time to go to the doctor before the wedding. I was so tired all the time and I was focusing on the wedding and homeschool. After the wedding I finally saw the doctor who told me I had mono and that it could last weeks or months and the only thing I could do for it was to rest. So I went home and rested. I was sick with mono, which caused the most horrible fatigue I had ever had, for 15 months.

During those 15 months there were whole weeks where I hardly ever left the couch and it felt like a jail cell I couldn’t get out of. I held onto walls or furniture when I walked. I lost all muscle definition and had a hard time holding my head up, especially in the car. My friend told me I walked like an 80 year old. My eyes closed while talking to people because it took too much energy to listen and keep my eyes open at the same time. We did school with me on the couch reading to the kids and them sitting on the floor around me.

Finally I got better. It was slow and I had many days where I overdid it and it took days to recover. But eventually I regained my previous energy levels for the most part and was starting to resume working out and jogging again, which was an activity I had just started enjoying before I got mono. And I sold that couch that had made me feel like a prisoner.

I was well for about a year or so. I had resumed previous activities and my husband was happy I could go places with him again. His friends and he had planned a float trip and he wanted me to come along. I had missed many float trips and activities while I had been sick, so even though I had a bad feeling about it, I let him talk me into it and we went.

I bet you can guess that something on this float trip caused my mono to come back. We went on the river, the water was down, we had to pull the raft, our friends got into a fight or something and refused or couldn’t help much respectively. By the end of the float I felt like I was going to die on that river if I didn’t get off it soon. I left the raft and our friends and walked to the end. My husband and I decided not to spend the night again with how awful I was feeling and when the raft and our friends finally arrived we told them we were going home.

We went back to the camping area and my husband started packing all of our stuff while I tried to re-hydrate. Luckily one of our friends had been a former EMT and realized I had the symptoms of going into heat stroke. They packed ice around my body and I think they saved me.

We knew it would take awhile for me to recover from being over heated. It is a major affront to your immune system and I had taken longer than most to get well from any kind of cold ever since the mono. But I was really ill. I couldn’t brush my hair, I slept all the time, my speech was blurred. I knew my mono had come back, but no one believed me at first. We finally went to the doctor and although he was skeptical of my idea at first, blood tests confirmed it. My mono was back, and I had shingles too, lovely. He gave me something to keep the shingles from breaking out since we caught it early and he sent me home saying there is nothing you can do for mono except wait and rest.

Well my first round of mono actively lasted for 15 months. My kids were older now and needed more instruction for homeschool and I was not willing to do nothing but rest this time. I knew I needed to actively help my body get well.

I was even worse than I had been the first time. My body hurt when I need to pee or have bowel movement. I had to be assisted to walk. My spleen was inflamed, which is the only truly dangerous possibility when it comes to mono, your spleen could burst. We had to buy a recliner, which I practically lived in. We started looking for ways to treat the mono.

We found a nutritional therapist. When I first went to her I needed help getting into the office or to stand up from a sitting position. I would fall asleep during the visits which involved laying down on a doctors table. My husband or my mother would drive me to all visits and come in with me. My memory was bad and my brain didn’t understand things very well so they would have to help me tell her my current symptoms and then tell me later what she had said because I forgot.

She treated me with all natural supplements which she tested with my body to see if it liked it or not. I don’t explain it well, all I can tell you is that a large amount of your immune system is in your skin. By holding the pills in my hand or putting them on my body she could tell by the resistance in my outstretched arm whether my body needed that and which parts of my body needed the most help. We fed the body the supplements it needed.

She also changed my diet drastically. I still follow this healthy diet today. I do not eat wheat, anything artificial, dairy or unnatural sugar. I don’t eat very much soy or natural sugar either and I limit myself on grains in general. I eat grass fed beef, chicken without antibiotics and free range eggs. I eat mostly organic produce. I got rid of my microwave and bought a convection/toaster oven instead to keep the radiation out of my food after I started realizing that I would fell worse after eating anything that came out of the microwave. I also stopped using any synthetic medicines or vitamins.

It took me over two years to recover from mono the second time. I still have days and even weeks where I am worn out. The mono is now dormant in my body but could come back whenever I have a distress to my immune system. I live life to the fullest because I never know when I might have another round of mono. I also rest regularly, watch my diet, and have an earlier bedtime. I rarely set an alarm clock and let my body sleep as long as it wants and I take naps when needed.

I am just stating to be able to jog very short distances and only occasionally. I have to be very careful when it comes to the heat, always staying very  hydrated or not going out on hot days. Any straying from my diet causes extreme fatigue, stomach aches and poor health for days. Any cold or affront to my immune system is extreme on my body compared to others. I keep a cold for over a month, and a tick bite made me so sick that it set me back on recovery for months.

I am extremely sensitive to any chemical such as unnatural cleaners. I have had to change every product in our house to a completely natural one. In later posts I will tell you about the cleaning products, body products and other things I have found that I love and are safe for you and your family. I have learned so much about the things that we use daily that can eventually harm our health, and in  later posts I will share what I have learned. Keep in mind that I am not a technical person. I rarely remember the exact name of a disease or chemical. I can only share my own thoughts, experiences and opinions in my own words.

You might wonder why I continue to keep my diet(which is expensive) and still continue to live in a non conventional way in reference to the products I will buy or allow in my home. I am still, and always will  be living with the effects of mono. My immune system is permanently compromised. I have to give it the best in order to have semi normal health. I usually have some sort of pain every day, either from my shingles, muscle fatigue, headaches or random other things. I now have extreme allergies which I never had before mono.

I do have my life back though. I am actually glad I had mono in a way. I think it taught me and my husband to cherish each other even more. He had to take care of me almost completely while I was sick. We grew even closer together and now we really don’t like to be away from each other when we don’t have to. We rarely go to something without the other, which used to be a normal event. We love staying home and being together doing nothing just as much as going out. We both grew and evolved in so many ways during and after the mono that I am extremely thankful for.

My kids also had to take on more responsibility for the house and for their school work as a result of my mono. They are responsible, caring children and I think the mono had a part to play in that. Now that I’m well this means that I have kids that can work hard so that we have time to play hard! We love going places and doing things now that I’m well and can enjoy them again. My kids are happy to have a healthy mom again and we never take it for granted.


There is very little info out there about long term mono. And the causes of mono are actually being rethought as well the effects. Have you or someone you know experienced mono? I would love to hear your story.

P.S.-The picture that accompanies this post is on one of my bad days. I am drinking a vegan protein shake which is one of the few things I have the energy to make when I’m sick. Not one of the worst days, but one after I started to recover and had a set back. My husband would regularly ask me to send him a selfie so he could see how I was doing that day. I am pretty sure I deleted most of the pictures because I looked so awful and they made me feel depressed. If I find one though I will share it. I want to people who are going through similar things to know they are not alone.

I have looked through all of my pictures and can’t find one of those selfies. I only shared them with my husband I think. I want to also note that people who saw me during those days always mentioned how good I looked. I felt like death and those compliments made me feel like they thought I was faking or something. Remember, just because a person looks normal, doesn’t mean that’s how they feel.

Mintvine- a great way to make some extra money

I am a stay at home, homeschool mom. As hard as it would be to fit in a job with that schedule, I do know moms that do. I also have health problems that will keep me from ever having a regular job again. That doesn’t mean I don’t contribute financially to our family. My husband works hard to provide for us, but I think it is important for moms to contribute too. Over the years I have done many, many odd jobs (I’ll tell you about the others later, promise.) We don’t rely on my money for the bills or everyday expenses. We just use it on fun things mostly or extra things we didn’t really HAVE to have but are very nice to have all the same. And if we are low on money, it’s so nice to have a little backup.

One of my newer ways to make money is working out really well and I want to share the scoop so you can use it too. What is it? Mintvine! It’s a survey app I can use on my phone, tablet or computer. And, it actually makes money and works!

What you do- Surveys, surveys and more surveys. So every day there is a daily poll you can take. It just asks some random question and you pick your favorite choice. That gives you five points (I’ll explain points soon.) Then you go to survey street where they will find a bunch of surveys for you to try. Sometimes you wont qualify. But they often give you 2, 5 or even 30 points just for trying. If I at least try all available surveys I normally get around 100 points a day on average.

They also often tell you about how long a survey should take and how many points you will get if you complete it. You can skip rather long ones if you don’t have the time. Almost every morning I do a survey about what I watched yesterday. They ask me questions about the episode I said I watched and the commercials. I never do very good on the commercial questions. I have actually begun to ask my husband to not fast forward through the commercials so that I can try to get a few answers right on my survey the next day! There have also been a couple surveys that are actually picture tasks, so if you’re someone that takes a million pictures and keeps them all on your phone or computer, you might have exactly what you need and can collect those points with almost no effort!

Points- I promised to explain points and it’s pretty easy. You earn points for everything you do on Mintvine. Basically 1 point equals 1 penny. When your account gets to 1000  points ($10.00) you can cash out. When you cash out you choose to send your money to paypal or get an electronic gift card to a number of stores, the one I paid attention to was amazon because I get everything from amazon! Currently I’m using my earnings to pad my paypal account. One thing to note is that it does take awhile for your points to clear and the deposit to be final. It seems to be about 10 days. So this is not fast cash, it’s something to do on a regular basis. Cash out at every ten dollars so the money is transferring and can be there when you want it in the future.

One other thing I have to say about points is that several of the survey makers have to wait for the all clear before they can officially pay you. These points are in yellow until they clear and are called pending. They seem to be pending for about two weeks from the time you earn them. So be patient. If you’re doing surveys every day points will also be clearing every day.

MVP program- on Mintvine you will see a MVP section on the menu header. In this section you can find your referral code and share it with anyone who is looking to make extra money. If they use that code to sign up you will get a referral bonus of 50 points and 15% of all points they make on surveys forever. This slowly adds up over time. And it’s always nice to share your good fortune. I also like seeing those few points that show up every couple days to see that my friends are making money too and I’m happy for them! I’m going to share my referral code here, if you use it I would love to hear how you like mintvine.

Basically I have changed my daily habits to include Mintvine. Instead of checking Facebook and getting sucked into that vortex first thing in the morning before I get out of bed, I do surveys. Wen all the surveys are done, I get up. Voila, no Facebook vortex that suddenly turns minutes into an hour. I also check it and do a couple surveys when the kids are eating lunch and I need a mommy break. I take my lunch outside to my porch swing and do some surveys. I feel positive about it too, I’m not just vegging out, I’m working!

Occasionally there is a survey that they want kids opinions on. My son loves to do the surveys with me that are often about toys. We sit and snuggle together on the couch while I help him with any brand names he doesn’t recognize.

I have been doing it a few weeks and love Mintvine. I’m making about $10 a week so far. It might not sound like much, but this is very much in my free time that I would have spent unwinding with a game on my phone or social media. This takes no time out of my normal schedule. I’m a person who always likes to be productive so it’s perfect for my feelings about myself, I don’t have to think of myself as lazy or wasting time when I’m doing this. It’s also a great way to gobble up the time when I’m waiting somewhere like at the doctor’s office.

$10 a week is $40 a month into my pay pal. Or $500 a year into my amazon account! In reality it will probably be a mix of both. I plan to use some for Christmas presents. I also just like having money in my paypal account. Lots of little extras that don’t exactly fit into the budget but that are really helpful are easily paid for with paypal, such as my essential oils. And if the bank account is looking a little too low for comfort, I can send money from my paypal to my bank account. My husband loves it when I tell him I paid this bill or bought this thing we needed without touching the main money account. It’s like getting it free because we don’t ever count that money into our budget.

I really love Mintvine and hope you do too. Have you found other survey sites that work well and pay well? Share in the comments!

A Chum Mom Life

I want to share with the world all my random thoughts, ideas and inspiration. I am a very random person. The teenage mom who was determined to be the very best mom I could be. Which led me to a play group. Which led me to homeschool. Which led me to even more friends a lots more interests!

I want to blog for so many reasons but mainly I want to share my ideas that I think could benefit others. Some things I plan to blog about soon include:

Mechanical turk

mint vine

What you can do with socks that have lost their matches, plastic store pant hangers, and the waist bands of your kids old clothes

Mono and it’s effect on our family

the search for the perfect B&B for our anniversary

a review of Sadie Robertson’s book

the how to for a perfect camping in the backyard slumber party

I know this is just a little blog on some obscure part of the internet. But I have to start somewhere, and I am happy to claim my tiny little spot. If you happen to find my blog please comment! I would love to hear from you. And let me know if there is anything you would like me to blog about!


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