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    I Have Summer Camp Mom Guilt

    Do you have summer camp mom guilt? It is hard to send your kids out on their own, but it is so worth it.

    Thousands of kids are already anticipating what summer will bring for them. And many of these kids are hoping they will be heading off to a summer camp with their friends. Whether it is a day camp or sleepover camp, summer camps are awesome for kids (and parents!) But if you are anything like me, you might have some summer camp mom guilt.

    Why Summer Camp Mom Guilt?

    I am a work from home mom. That means even though my oldest is in school all day, my youngest is still home with me while I am working. So even though I am at home with him all day, I am also working most of the day. Juggling his demands with work demands becomes, well, demanding!

    When school lets out, I’ll be adding my soon-to-be first grader into the mix. Luckily, she is entertainment to my youngest, but you know the fights will ensue. She will want my attention too. So I feel guilty for not always being able to give both of them 100% of my attention all of the time. And then the major guilt kicks in because I feel like I am shipping them off to summer camp to get out them of my hair.

    It boils down to me having FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. I don’t want to miss out on these memories and nice summer days with my kids, but I have to let go! We all experience it, I am sure.

    Summer Camp Schedules Are Hard

    Parents who work outside of the home might have a harder time with scheduling summer day camps and may feel some guilt about that. Since I can just stop working to do drop-off or pick-up, it is easy for me to work around my schedule for summer camps. But then I feel guilty because I can do this and others can’t. I can see this working out a couple of different ways:

    • Parents find a work around and are able to do drop-off/pick-ups for camps
    • Can work out a summer camp schedule with whoever would be watching their kids during the day
    • Find a sleepover camp so they don’t have to worry about it at all
    • And there is always the possibility that they have to tell their kids that they can’t do a summer camp just because of scheduling/babysitting conflicts. Uhg.

    And again, I feel guilty because my kids CAN do summer camps and maybe their friend is missing out on the fun. So I try to offer up my carpooling abilities but I can only do so much.

    Do you have summer camp mom guilt? It is hard to send your kids out on their own, but it is so worth it.

    Summer Camp Isn’t Cheap

    My oldest is excited to go to summer day camp and see her friends, especially the ones that she doesn’t go to school with. It doesn’t bother her like it does me that she won’t be home all day. But we had to put a restriction on how many summer camp activities she could sign up for because they aren’t cheap! Our local gym has different summer camps each week and of course she wants to do all of them. She also wants to do soccer camp. Talk about a boat load of money for all of those camps. So we had to tell her she could choose one summer camp at the gym and she could also do soccer camp.

    “But so-and-so is doing ABC camp, and so-and-so is doing XYZ camp. I can’t choose what camp to do.”

    It is hard trying to figure out which camp will be best because of cost restrictions.

    Summer Camp is Well Worth It All

    Even though I may miss my kids during the day, I know that they are having a ton of fun without me. Plus I can keep them on a schedule and not let them sleep in until 10:00 AM every day (because I am sure my daughter would).

    My guilt most certainly will kick in because I am not there to experience all the summer things they are doing. But sending them to a summer camp is a learning experience for me too. I don’t have to always be there for everything they do. And it is good for them to grow and experience life without their mom around! Summer camps are about:

    • Gaining independence
    • Learning new things outside of the regular classroom setting
    • Enjoying your summer with friends – not your mom.

    And summer camps are straight up FUN! Camp is something that kids want to go to and there isn’t a daily fight about attending. I can already feel the anxiety leaving my body because I know they are excited to go. It would be much harder if it was the other way around.

    I highly suggest that you find a summer camp for your children to be involved with. Don’t feel guilty about it. The memories that are made at these camps will be thought of for a lifetime. And I know this from experience. I am still friends with people I met at summer camp. Plus, I don’t remember missing my mom at all. That makes me sad since I am a mom now, but it helps too. I know that my kids will come home and be happy to spend the rest of the summer with me regardless. They will also be happy that they are getting to experience something else at summer camp.

    What are your summer plans? Do your kids attend any kind of summer camp? Do you ever feel guilty about sending them to a camp without you being around?

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    #NationalSmallBusinessWeek: Say Yes To You

    Everyone knows someone is real estate. There’s a very low barrier to entry and when done correctly, it’s such a profitable business. In Georgia, you take a 75 hour course either in person or online; take a test; find a broker. I completed the entire process in six weeks and paid less than $1,000. Competing with thousands of other agents who were much more experienced than I was intimidating but back in 2013, I was single and without a child so taking a chance on myself was a no brainer. Two months after decided to go full time as an agent, I found out I was expecting and the inconsistency I was working my business was not an asset to my young family so I put my dream career on hold.

    Saying Yes in Business is Uncomfortable

    Fast forward four years, I received a call from a potential client looking to buy a home within a month. He asked if I could represent him and I said yes without hesitation even though I was not as prepared to take on the work as I appeared to be. At the time, my bank account said he was a God-sent…it was also saying you do NOT have the funds to reactivate your license and pay brokerage fees.

    Yeah! with Confetti

    As small business owners, this is the daily management see-saw we ride. We are constantly determined the best use for limited resources. As a mompreneur, there’s an additional Maslow’s Hierarchy effect. Family always comes first because they are at the base; the basic needs that need to be met. Launching or expanding the business may be viewed as a “self-fulfillment need” or an afterthought. What do you think would happen if you said yes to you this one time before saying yes to your family?

    Saying Yes Is Rewarding

    For me, saying yes to my client and my business equated to a $4,000 commission check. I could have held on to that $200 I used to reactive my license and spent it on about ten different things for my daughter but look at the greater opportunity I would have missed. Sure my story had a happy ending but doing this transaction also provided valuable lessons to represent future clients. We were all placed on this earth with dreams, talents and ambitions. It’s Small Business Week and a time to celebrate who you are and all that you could be in your business. I challenge you to say yes to one thing this week you have be deferring. Invest in you, invest in your business. I truly believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

    Are you a Small Business owner? What are you “Saying Yes” to?

    Say Yes To You

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    You Know What You Need? To #TreatYoSelf This Mother’s Day

    Mom friends. Mother's Day is around the corner. Don't beg and wish upon a star to get what you REALLY want this year. Nope. #TreatYoSelf and love up on you this day!

    Every Mother’s Day arrives and most of us are all like “I don’t want anything“. And you know what? We do want things. We want our kids to behave. We want to feel appreciated. We want to be nurtured with spa days that we didn’t have to ask for because our loved ones feel like we’re doing THAT great of a job that they surprise us with them. But you know what happens most Mother’s Days? We get handmade cards (which I personally love), kids that give zero effs about us wanting to feel appreciated, and spouses that are consistently questioning what to get us–if we have them.

    Well, enough is enough. I’m declaring this Mother’s Day the National #TreatYoSelf Day for moms. So ladies, figure out what you want for yourselves this Mother’s Day and let’s make it happen FOR US!

    Stop Talking About Self Care And Be About It

    Seriously.

    I feel like we’ve all been on this huge self-care movement but we aren’t really doing it. And by we, I also mean me. I have post after post after post (yes, all of these are clickable so go ahead and get click happy) on self-care and do you know I’m terrible at even just giving myself a little bit of grace in life? Wait. Let me amend that statement. I WAS terrible but listen, I’m subscribing to this whole #treatyoself movement hardcore.

    You know why?

    Because I deserve it. And so do you.

    Mom friends. Mother's Day is around the corner. Don't beg and wish upon a star to get what you REALLY want this year. Nope. #TreatYoSelf and love up on you this day!

    What Does This #TreatYoSelf Even Look Like?

    Excellent question.

    Mom friends. Mother's Day is around the corner. Don't beg and wish upon a star to get what you REALLY want this year. Nope. #TreatYoSelf and love up on you this day!

    This is the Classic Spa Gift Basket from GourmetGiftBaskets.com. They have great stuff. Check them out.

    For some it’s taking long vacations by yourself while exploring places you’ve never been. For others, it’s sleeping in or doing their own nails. The important thing with #TreatYoSelf is doing something that makes YOU feel loved and nurtured. Forget what works for everyone else–do you boo boo, do you.

    This Mother's Day, #TreatYoSelf. Really. Take care of you. Do the things you want to do. Lay in the sun all day sipping these CrunchyMomMosa's. Relax. Unwind. Appreciate you and the work that you do for your family. No one is going to love you like you!Click To Tweet

    I asked the new contributors to TCM (aren’t they pretty awesome?) what this looked like to them and these were there responses:

    For me, self care is getting to spend time away from my kids. My husband owns a business so he works every day except Sunday and looooong hours. So I really need that alone time. Going to the gym for an hour every day and a hot bath are my two favorite options.

    Christine

    To me, self care as a mom is making sure that I separate myself from the kids and enjoy time alone to recharge and do what I love. Often times, we find ourselves so attached to our children that we forget who are individually. We’ve got to make sure we recharge every now and then so we have the energy to keep up with our little ones. Moms are the glue that keep our small worlds spinning. Without us, there would be chaos.

    Erin

    Mom friends. Mother's Day is around the corner. Don't beg and wish upon a star to get what you REALLY want this year. Nope. #TreatYoSelf and love up on you this day!

    This Mother’s Day, #TreatYoSelf. Really. Take care of you. Do the things you want to do. Lay in the sun all day sipping these CrunchyMomMosa’s. Relax. Unwind. Appreciate you and the work that you do for your family. No one is going to love you like you!

    Ready for a new twist on the Mimosa? Grab a bottle of Mionetto Rose, some Kombucha, Coconut Water and meet me in the kitchen.

    The CrunchyMomMosa

    Ready for a unique twist on a traditional breakfast drink? I know you are!

    Course Drinks
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 5 minutes
    Servings 4 people

    Ingredients

    • 1 bottle Rose I used (and highly recommend) Mionetto
    • 1 bottle Kombucha
    • 8 oz Coconut Water
    • 1 handful Frozen Cherries

    Instructions

    1. Pop the bottle for the Rose. 

    2. Add cherries. 

    3. Add 2 oz of Kombucha. 

    4. Add 2 oz of Coconut Water. 

    5. Pour desired amount into glass.

    6. Sit back and enjoy.

    Spill it: How do you plan to #TreatYoSelf this Mother’s Day?

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    How I Lost Weight By Slimming Down My Mindset

    As we get older, weight loss gets harder and harder. But it's totally doable as is evidenced by the pants that now slide over my hips with ease. Want to know how I lost weight? Read on.

    So, my old slacks fit me again.  Can we just have a moment of silence for this major accomplishment?  These weren’t even normal slacks. They were the ones with the zipper on the side and they actually slid all the way over my hips.  I did the most uncoordinated happy dance in the mirror and it felt great to make some major progress. The common question is how I lost weight. I didn’t starve myself or purchase any frivolous products that promote weight loss.  It all started with a major change in my mindset first and putting in the work for myself and no one else.

    As we get older, weight loss gets harder and harder. But it's totally doable as is evidenced by the pants that now slide over my hips with ease. Want to know how I lost weight? Read on.

    Learning To Accept

    Over the years, I struggled with accepting my body for what it was and what it was slowly becoming.  Between health issues, child birth, and the scrapes and scars that reveal my life’s story, it became overwhelmingly difficult to fall in love with my personal beauty.  I didn’t have the confidence to boldly proclaim that I accepted who I was inside and out.

    I struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle for myself.  As a result, I lost several pounds to the point of looking and feeling very sick.  I also gained several pounds while emotional eating through bouts of depression and stress.  I was a complete mess. For years I watched other people’s health journeys while not even making my own conscious decisions.  I spent so much time scrolling timelines wishing I could wear someone else’s shoes that I didn’t even know my own size.

    Changing My Mindset

    Drinking flat tummy tea or wrapping my stomach up for 45 minutes just didn’t seem realistic to me.  I eventually learned that I had to do what was best for me and I mean that in every way. My decisions didn’t have to be difficult or conflicting, but just true to who I was as a person.

    How I Lost Weight

    I changed my way of thinking and became more intentional about the way I live my life.  I’m now to the point that my only goal is to just be healthy. That’s it. No matter what it may look like to others, that’s my goal and I’m sticking to it. So, I pace myself and do what I can when I can for Me…no one else.

    I listen to my body. I don’t over exude myself past my limits. I don’t confine my beauty or self-worth to a scale or the latest weight loss trends.  I do what is best for Erin and I’ve found this way to be most effective. I love who I’ve become from every angle and that to me is the healthiest place I could be in.

    Have you won the battle with weight-loss? What tips do you have?

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    How I Beat Thrush Naturally

    Thrush. It's literally the worst ailment that afflicts both mom and baby. Ok, so maybe it's not THE worst but it certainly felt that way when BC and I had it! Here's how I beat thrust naturally despite a doctor telling me it wasn't possible.

    At BC’s 6 month check up we were diagnosed with thrush. My first response to the doctor telling me this was,

    But my boobs don’t hurt!

    And literally as soon as that statement left my mouth, they started hurting. After nursing for more than two and a half years with two previous babies, I now have thrush. I did what any responsible mom would do–I hit up Google to see what fellow moms were saying about thrush.

    I Found Great Information

    There was great information out there. I felt really prepared to heal this thrush naturally, especially after my the doctor scoffed at my notion of healing him without medicine. The combination of other mom blogs, Facebook friends, and my Instagram stories, I was ready to get this party started and the thrush gone.

    Here are some of the links that I found that were helpful:

    Mama Natural
    eMedicine
    Candida Specialists

    Here’s What Those Handy Dandy Links Didn’t Tell Me

    I want you to know this:

    Thrush. Hurts. Like. Hell. 

    No one really talked about how when your milk comes down and you’re nursing it feels like a million little needles are trying to make their way out of your milk ducts. I’ve had THREE unmedicated births that I feel like I handled like a champ. But guys. I want you to really feel me when I say this:

    Thrush almost broke me. 

    via GIPHY

    This was going to be it. I was tapping out of one of my favorite parts of motherhood–breastfeeding. Surely something that is so good for both BC and I shouldn’t hurt me this way, right? Anytime he latched, I flinched. There were tears–not from him as he was completely unbothered. Oh, but did I mention that he was cutting his top teeth at the same time?

    Yeah, there’s a special place in heaven for me because I didn’t let the fact that I had BLOODY, bruised, and what felt like permanently damaged nipples stop me from nurturing this last little bundle my body had created. So how did I thrive despite thrush’s attempts to destroy me? This is what I did.

    Thrush. It's literally the worst ailment that afflicts both mom and baby. Ok, so maybe it's not THE worst but it certainly felt that way when BC and I had it! Here's how I beat thrust naturally despite a doctor telling me it wasn't possible.

    How I Beat Thrush Naturally

    For the first 3 days I put Just Thrive probiotics directly on his thrush two times per day. After each nursing, I wiped out his mouth with the Jack N’ Jill Mouth Wipes. This helped A LOT. I was watching the white gunk come out of his mouth–super gross but whatever. During these 3 days, I also doubled up on taking my probiotic as well.

    Because I’m not a glutton for punishment, after suffering that first day through the pain, I started taking 800 mg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours–yes, just like when I gave birth. I also made some natural antibiotic and anti-fungal wipes using this recipe:

    1 c of water
    1/2 c of Apple Cider Vinegar
    1/2 c of melted Coconut Oil
    10 paper towels cut in half

    Put all of the paper towels in a tupperware container. Mix ingredients together and pour over the paper towels. Cover them and shake to make sure all the solution gets in there. Use these wipes after every nursing.

    Ok so by day 3 we still had thrush. Mine was going away as was evidence by the lessening of the pain in my boobs but he still had the white lesions in his mouth. I had ordered some Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) from Amazon (bae) and I created a solution daily for the next 3 days that had 10 drops of GSE with 1 oz of distilled water. I used Q-tips and swabbed this in his mouth 3 times daily. During this 3 day period we tried the medicine the doctor prescribed and he vomited it all over my bed so we were done with that.

    So now we’re 6 days in and I see a huuuuuuge difference in the lesions. It’s completely gone from his tongue and most of it is gone from his cheeks. For the next couple of days I let it ride as I waited for the Gentian Violet to come in the mail from Amazon. This was the most highly recommended remedy. But we were nervous about trying this because it would turn his mouth purple–like all of it.

    We tried it. I gave him two doses of it two nights in a row. Once the purple cleared I saw that his lesions had cleared as well.

    Yes, I danced and sang and almost cried tears of joy.

    via GIPHY

    So yeah, that’s how I beat thrush naturally.

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    5 Pro-Tips To Traveling With Kids

    Traveling with kids can be pretty difficult but there are some tips and tricks to make it easier. I've been traveling with mine since my youngest of three was four weeks old. Here's what I've learned.
    This post contains affiliate links. For more details on what that means, please check my PR & Disclosure page.

    I don’t think that traveling with kids will ever be labeled as easy. Ok, when Mini was little, traveling with her was super easy. She was easy. When she was a baby, I would wear her on the flights. She would nurse and sleep through the flight only to wake up and be pleasant. When she started to walk, she would pull her own car seat to the gate. She’s a pro.

    But now I have THREE children so traveling isn’t that easy breezy. But there are some tips that I’ve picked up along the way to streamline this as much as possible.

    Traveling with kids can be pretty difficult but there are some tips and tricks to make it easier. I've been traveling with mine since my youngest of three was four weeks old. Here's what I've learned.

    5 Pro-Tips To Traveling With Kids

    1. Pack snacks. Lots of snacks.

    This is super important whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile. When flying, this can be tricky because of all the regulations so make sure you check those first but cars? I love the idea of filling the craft box with snacks. Some people hate the idea but it works for us since we have some serious snackers.

    2. Make sure all electronics are charged.

    Sure, we don’t want our kids to have crazy amounts of screen time but listen, if you have a choice between your kids terrorizing other travelers what are you choosing? My choice is Peppa Pig. But make sure that those electronics are fully charged AND you have headphones made for children. I love the Amazon Kindle and these here headphones since they’re cute and the girls look so cute wearing them.

    3. Make sure you have age appropriate entertainment packed.

    As much as we wish the kids would sit and watch whatever entertainment is available for them on their tablets, they won’t because, well, kids. Inside of their travel bags make sure to have back up games and forms of entertainment.

    Babies:

    This age range is pretty easy. They typically want to be held or snuggled or nursed. But they do like to be entertained and like to chew things—especially when teething. We love this rattle and it keeps BC entertained.

    Toddlers & Preschoolers

    These guys are the hardest to entertain. I mean, at my age it’s super hard to sit still for all the time it takes traveling so for them I know it’s really difficult–and they make sure we know. But since we homeschool it’s also a pretty good time to get some quality learning in. I love the Highlight’s Activity Book for ABC. It’s colorful and makes it easy for me to make sure she’s getting some learning done. These also come in different age ranges so it’s available for others.

     If you have a preschooler plus an older one <insert my current set up> having the older one play games with them is a great way to distract them. I love this sneaky game that also teaches kids to look out for patterns while they play.

    Ages 5 and up

    If I’m being completely honest, I think they should already have their bags packed with the things they need to entertain themselves–right? But I do like introducing new and fun educational games to my kids while we’re on the go. One of the newest ones that Mini has are these Mental Blox. It works their critical thinking skills which is really one of those life long skills they need to make sure are properly honed.

    If you’re kids have tablets that are compatible with either Google Play or the Apple App Store, they’ll love this interactive coloring book. This is NOT your basic coloring book!! My kids creations come to life and they love it.

    4. Set proper expectations for travel.

    Yes, this means be proactive with the “Are we there yet?” questions. Let them know how long the trip will take, how you’re getting there, and give frequent updates. When I roadtripped with all the kids to go speak at Blog Life University 4 weeks after giving birth, I shared with Mini how nervous I was about the drive with the 3 of them by myself. Do you know that was the easiest road trip ever? Share with your kids any emotions surrounding travel as well so they can help if they’re old enough to.

    5. Pack treats for yourself.

    I know this is about making travel easier with kids but let’s be real here, if the parentals aren’t 100% ready to tackle the trip, all hell will break loose. Travel is stressful so make sure you take the edge off by packing snacks that are just for you and making sure you have your activities as well. I just finished downloading my audio books to my phone so I don’t have to worry about whether I can stream or not. I also have a wireless earbud so that I can listen freely while still keeping an ear out for my minions.

    Do you travel with your kids often? What tips do you have?

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    How To Handle Being The Least Favorite Parent

    Favorites. We all have them in life. Favorite colors. Favorite kids. Favorite parents. But what if you’re the least favorite parent?

    A little after Evie turned one-year-old, she started demonstrating a preference for Dad. It wasn’t that noticeable, just showing a little more excitement when he came to play or change her diaper.

    Fast forward to now being over two-years-old and she is still clearly fixated on Dad, and as a mom that hurts- a lot.

    I’m officially the least favorite parent. 

    Mom As The Least Favorite Parent Though?

    Mothers and daughters are supposed to have this incredible bond, so when that isn’t the case it is easy to feel like a failure. I knew I was busy going to school full time, coaching, and working occasionally. I didn’t get to spend as much time with her as I did when I was a full-time SAHM, and it made sense that the less time we had the more distant our relationship became. But Tyler was also busy working from sun up until past sun down, and she wasn’t showing him the same frustrations as I was getting. What gives?

    A little googling and you will come across plenty of articles discussing favoritism and its developmental roots. “It is just a phase, don’t take it personally, they will get past it,” etc.

    Favorites. We all have them. And that was cool until I realized I wasn't the favorite. Click To Tweet

    Really though– I can read that over and over and still feel like a guilty, frustrated, and jealous parent. Why does she always cry with me when it is just us two? How come she wants to sit in dad’s lap and snuggle but I can’t touch her? What gives that she is a total different child when it is both parents with her versus just me?

    The Toddler Cycle Of Doom

    Favorites. We all have them. Favorite foods. Favorite colors. Favorite books. And let's be honest, we even have a favorite parent. This is cool until you realize you're the least favorite parent--then it's not cool, ha!

    It starts a vicious cycle: toddler acts appropriately (and this is key to note: it is NOT a toddler’s fault. This is 100% normal behavior and they should not be demeaned for it and/or blamed). The un-favored parent feels neglected and gets frustrated. The longer this cycle goes, the more frustrated and distant the parent begins to feel to their child. At one point you may even get to the point of feeling, “Why do I bother?”

    You Aren’t Alone

    I feel you. I have been there.

    I have had days where I cry on the way home because I walk in to pick my sweet girl up from daycare,
    and she runs away the second she sees me, followed by throwing a fit to leave, and screaming the whole way home.

    She has cried tearfully “don’t like mom” when it comes to me attempting to do bedtime.

    I’ve sat across the room from her as she has played, wishing I could just be next to her without being told to “go mom!”

    But, for every one of those instances where I have been at my wits end calling Tyler demanding that he return home because I cannot take anymore of her whining (hello, mommy mental breakdown), there has been indefinitely more instances where I forget all of those ugly mom moments.

    Favorites. We all have them. Favorite foods. Favorite colors. Favorite books. And let's be honest, we even have a favorite parent. This is cool until you realize you're the least favorite parent--then it's not cool, ha!

    I’ve walked into daycare to pick her up and she sprints across the gym and thrusts herself in my arms, wrapping me in the biggest toddler hug claiming “miss you mom!”

    She has whispered in my ear “don’t leave mom” and thrown her arms around my neck to keep me snuggled with her at bedtime.

    I’ve been pulled to sit down so she can crawl in my lap to play Legos, read a book, or just talk.

    I try to remind myself of all those endless articles about her ever growing mind, and remember that they are right. She will get beyond this stage; I get her tantrums because she is emotionally comfortable to express herself; she is learning her limits. This too shall pass.

    So, here are some tips I have found to help guide me to be patient and loving when I am feeling rejected by my toddler!

    How To Handle Being The Least Favorite Parent

    Take a cheat moment.

    We all try to be those “great” moms that limit junk food and screen time, plan activities, and engage their child outdoors. If you’re feeling toddler-jected do what you can to calm the situation. If that means throwing on a movie so mommy can breathe and just take a second to reset, then do it.

    Don’t cave in

    If your toddler is having a bratty moment and throwing a fit because s/he wants something (and you’re saying no), then hold your ground! It is okay to be frustrated and to want to give in for the sake of being on your child’s “good side,” but all it will get you is deeper into a power struggle.

    Instead, try gently suggesting they take a minute to calm down. I recently read an article about the benefits of having a “calming corner” in your home. When a child is about to emotionally erupt, they can go to the calming area to read a book, play with some soft toys, or just be alone. This usually resets them and then they are in a better state when they have to re-confront the issue.

    Favorites. We all have them. Favorite foods. Favorite colors. Favorite books. And let's be honest, we even have a favorite parent. This is cool until you realize you're the least favorite parent--then it's not cool, ha!

    I tried this with Evie’s toddler-sized couch; she was upset about not getting to help with something I was doing and I asked her if she wanted to go to the “calming couch” to read. Reluctantly, she walked over with me and things de-escalated quickly after that!

    Stay Involved

    Try to make an extra effort to do a special activity every week. For me, I chose to take Evie to an indoor gym with inflatables (think the bouncy houses kids have at birthday parties). She has a blast each time, and it is nice that she sometimes needs my help to climb some of the obstacles! Other times we go to the Children’s Museum or the Zoo; even something like going on a picnic (if you don’t live somewhere with perpetual winter like Minnesota…) or taking them to the pool would be a fun outing!

    At the end of the day, just remember: take it one cup of coffee at a time, and try to enjoy even the hard parts since they’ll grow up and past this stage and one day you will miss it!

    Favorites. We all have them. Favorite foods. Favorite colors. Favorite books. And let's be honest, we even have a favorite parent. This is cool until you realize you're the least favorite parent--then it's not cool, ha!

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    Ready For Summer With Kids? Get Ready With These Tips

    Are you ready for summer with kids? As the school year comes to an end, not all of us are able to afford summer camps and some of us just don't want to go that route. If you're in need of some tips on how to thrive, we've got you covered.

    As this school year begins to dwindle away, those of us who don’t have the deep pockets for camp will be experiencing a home with empty pantries, high electric bills and a summer with kids pretty soon. The addition of children in the house full time can throw anyone’s routine upside down. I’ll be honest and say that I’m nowhere near being the perfect parent.  I can be quick to associate any extended time off from school with my children with my patience level being at an all-time low.

    As adults, we have our schedules and routines already together.  For those that work from home, we have our special time to get work done and complete chores.  I’m sure it would be easy just to allow our children to become couch potatoes during their summer break and fry their brains over video games and cartoons, but that’s just not the way to do it.  Learning how to apply patience to having children home for an extended period of time is never an easy thing to do.  Here are a few things that I’ve learned over the years to keep my sanity and peace in the household.

    Relieve stress

    It’s pretty easy for us to lose our patience with our children when we allow ourselves to become stressed and don’t take time for ourselves.  Make sure to take a few minutes of your day to relieve stress the best way you know how.  This could be done with some type of physical activity, reading a book, or even a little quiet time alone in the bathroom.  Get it in when you can and where you can just as long you don’t take it out on the kids.

    Let them have some fresh air

    Being stuck inside all day can take a toll on anyone who’s got the wiggles.  Kids need some time to let their inner super hero out to play.  They can easily become restless and just plain unruly when confined inside for too long.  I read a statistic once that said people in prison get more time outside than children do.  Just hearing that, whether true or not, pushed me to make playtime outside a necessity.  Let them get all the wiggles out.  Allow them to run, jump, scream, do whatever their little heart’s desire so that it doesn’t happen inside the house.

    Are you ready for summer with kids? As the school year comes to an end, not all of us are able to afford summer camps and some of us just don't want to go that route. If you're in need of some tips on how to thrive, we've got you covered.

    Photo credit: Unsplash.com

    Create a loose schedule

    This schedule does not have to be strict by any means.  Just make sure you have a road map to go by to keep the day organized for not only the kids, but yourself as well.  Understand that while they’re home, you may not get as much done around the house or for work.  More of your time is going to be devoted to keeping little humans alive which is pretty important.

    Schedule times through the day to complete chores, educational tasks, fun art projects and family outings.  Sticking to a regular flow of tasks will make things just a little bit easier and a lot less frustrating.  I use to go crazy trying to complete work while helping my five year-old trace letters and make her a snack at the same time.  Now I create a block of time for my work and a separate block for hers so that we aren’t both frustrated at the same time.

     

    Are you ready for summer with kids? As the school year comes to an end, not all of us are able to afford summer camps and some of us just don't want to go that route. If you're in need of some tips on how to thrive, we've got you covered.

    Spend time with them

    There may be a list of things that you could be doing this summer, but it’s not often that you get the opportunity to spend the entire day with your kids.  I know that in my house, it’s usually dinner, homework, and then the bed time routine.  We miss out on watching our children grow right before our eyes.  Our patience can wear thin and being home with the little ones can become frustrating, but they won’t be little for long.  Take some time to play dress up or hide and seek.  Listen to their imaginative stories they like to tell.  Stop using the phrases, “not right now,” “I’m busy,” or “maybe later.”  Stop what you’re doing to actually listen and interact with your little humans.  Read books to them and don’t omit the extremely animated voices for each character.

    However you decide to spend your summer with the family, make sure that you are intentional about exercising patience.  Understand that kids will be kids.  Their tolerance levels for stress and frustration will never amount to yours.  Ensure that both of you are in an environment that allows you to express yourselves peacefully.  Work together to make the best of the summer and every day after.

    Are you ready for the summer with kids? How do you take advantage of your kids being out of school?  What tools do you use to exercise patience during chaotic times?

    Are you ready for summer with kids? As the school year comes to an end, not all of us are able to afford summer camps and some of us just don't want to go that route. If you're in need of some tips on how to thrive, we've got you covered.

     

     

     

     

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    Easy Ways To Start A Garden With Kids

    Prior to having children, you only had to answer to yourself (well sometimes your parents, I suppose). But you were an adult and you did what you wanted to do. So if you wanted to grow a garden, you went ahead and did it! But now, as a parent, you probably have kids that will question your every move. They will ask “how” and “why” maybe 10,000 times a day and sometimes the answers are too hard to explain (or you are just too tired – I get it). But I’m here for you! I’m about to break down gardening with your kids so it’s easy breezy. Growing a garden from start to finish with your kids is a great family bonding experience and will allow everyone to appreciate what is on the dinner table each night a little more.

    It Takes a Village

    There are lessons to be learned throughout the whole process of growing a garden. The first thing to learn is that sometimes it takes a village for the garden to come to life. Every family member involved plays their own role. There are many jobs to be passed out, so start with these:

    Designer: Someone has to figure out the exact place where the garden will grow. Somewhere that has good soil (or will be able to place something to hold the good soil), where sun is most of the time and a place where you can easily get water to for helping the plants grow. The designer could also be the engineer if you need to build a garden box.

    Earth Mover: The Earth movers either till up the ground so you are able to plant in nice dirt, or they are the people who move dirt into your garden box area. Dirt is heavy, but it is also great to play in. This could be an “everyone job” and everyone in the family could chip in with moving dirt around.

    Seeders: The seeders dig the row for the seeds to be place and bury them deep into the soil. They need to space out the seeds to give the plants enough room to grow, but they also have to be aware of just how big of a space they are working with.

    Artist:  The artist could make plant markers so you know where you planted your seeds. They could be made out of painted rocks, colored wooden spoons or even sticks with special markings on it. Whatever is chosen, just make sure it can withstand the weather and water.

    Water Team:  This team has an important job and I believe it should be an everyone duty. The water team makes sure the plants get the right amount of water to help them grow. Not too much or too little. Without water, the seeds won’t spout into yummy fruits and/or vegetables. Everyone needs to communicate who is watering and when so you don’t over water the plants.

    Weed Pullers: The weed pullers have to keep the garden area free of unwanted growth. Sometimes grass, flowers or other weeds will want to grow in your garden too so it is best to pull those out so your produce has room to grow.

    Produce Picker: This is an awesome job. They get to pick the final result of what you have grown from the plant. They should also bring it in the house and wash it so it is ready to go for lunch or dinner!

    Growing a garden might be intimidating but doing it with kids may be even more scarier! Follow these tips on how to make growing a garden a family event.

    Growing a Garden is Not a Race

    After your garden is put into the ground, it may take some time for your family to see the first sprout of a plant. Patience is often hard to teach but gardening can be a great example. Use your garden to show how plants live, from seed to plant to produce and seed again. Share these moments with every member of your family, no matter the age, because gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed for years. When you do finally have your produce, of course eat, store or freeze whatever you harvest but remember that your village may like to have some extras too. Share your produce with neighbors or swap with other gardeners. Someone may have something that you like to eat that you didn’t plant or your children may want to try something new (yay!).

    Enjoy the Time Together

    When you have something that your whole family is involved in, at home, it is wonderful. There are no long car rides or practices. It is just getting down and dirty, in the soil, in your yard. Your kids will cherish the memories they have of your garden and you will enjoy the time you have together. And don’t forget, they may enjoy their home-grown produce more than store bought since they grew it themselves!

    Do you garden with your kids? What’s your favorite tip to making it fun and interactive with them?

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    Are You Coming? The 2018 Atlanta Baby & Child Expo

    **This post contains affiliate links.

    It’s that time of year again! That’s right–it’s baby time!

    The 2018 Atlanta Baby & Child Expo

    The 2018 Atlanta Baby & Child Expo is happening this weekend, April 21, 2018, and it’s the place to be for all the mamas and budding mamas in the Atlanta area. From 11am until 2pm in the Fox Theater Ballrooms, moms, babies, and kids will have the run of the place. If you’ve never been to one of these before, you’re in for a treat. The 2018 Atlanta Baby & Child Expo is the place to be for pregnancy preparation and parenting products.

    This event offers the following:

    • Sweet swag bags awarded randomly to celebrate our fabulous attendees!
    • Experts sharing their wisdom on all things baby!
    • Door prizes worth thousands of dollars (including car seats, strollers, and many of the products on display at the event!)
    • The opportunity to find out about new products you won’t see in the bigger stores!

    –From their website

    Why The Atlanta Baby & Child Expo?

    This event is put together by Desiree Miller of StressFreeBaby.com–a local to the Atlanta area. She’s been putting this expo on for the past 8 years. As a mom herself, she knows many of the things that pregnant and already moms need. The Atlanta Baby & Child Expo has also been recognized as “Atlanta’s Best of” for Event Planning for 2016, 2017, and 2018.

    It's here! The 2018 Atlanta Baby & Child Expo is happening this weekend and you'll want to be in the mix once you see the list of vendors that will be there! Check them out here and then grab your tickets.

    So Who’s Going To Be There?

    That’s the real question, right?

    WSB-TV is a media partner so they’ll be there. MumbelliBRITAX and BBox are sponsoring the event. The vendors list is pretty long but it includes the following:

    Oh, and of course I’ll be there!!!

    Fun piece of information: When I started my first mommy blog The Mommy Memoirs, it was pediped that gave me my first sponsored posting. I had no idea you could make money blogging until I was approached by a woman in the bank I used to manage. She sent me a pair for Mini who was just about 1 at the time and I reviewed them for her!

    I know you’ll want to be in the mix with ALL these amazing vendors so be sure to grab your tickets here ASAP:

    2018 Atlanta Baby & Child Expo

    I’ll see you guys this weekend!

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