February Happiness Challenge

I have always thought of February as the Love Month.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not huge into expectations on Valentines Day!  For me it’s just a fun holiday to celebrate love.  Nothing wrong with that.  Even if you hate Valentines Day, I think February is a great month to think about the people we love for our Happiness Challenge.

Let’s take last month’s gratefulness to a new level.  Think about the people you are grateful for.  A lot of the time we take them for granted and the sad fact of life is we could lose them at any time, and there’s no going back.

So this month I challenge you to take the time for each person you love, each person who brightens your life a little bit or a lot.  For one thing, forgive them.  Forgive them for taking you for granted, for not being perfect, for whatever they did to you.  Let go of anger and resentment, because it’s stealing your happiness.  And for the people you love, tell them.  Visit them, give them a hug, do something nice.  Tell them something you want them to know but didn’t want to be awkward, so you haven’t told them.  None of that matters when you lose a loved one.

And think about the way you treat others, too.  You don’t have to be a ray of sunshine all the time, but one nice word can really make a world of difference to someone.

Just make the effort to show some love!

#RockingMotherhood

I was challenged by https://bodyafterbaby.blog to make a list of reasons why I’m Rocking Motherhood.  It’s time we all let go of some of that guilt and judgment and recognize that being a mom is AWESOME.  It’s the most amazing, beautiful, difficult, heartbreaking job in the world.  Let’s show a little love!!!

So here are my 10 reasons why I’m Rocking Motherhood 🙂

  1. I’m not perfect… but I’m doing my best!!
  2. I follow my heart in how I raise them, instead of letting other people tell me what I should be doing… but sometimes I wonder if I’m messing up.
  3. Some days I play Legos in the floor… and some days I turn on a movie for them.
  4. I let them eat pizza.
  5. I’m trying to teach them common sense and life skills – which is not to be taken for granted these days, in my opinion.
  6. I hug them every day.
  7. I try to really listen when they talk, and really explain why they are in trouble.  And sometimes I say, “because I said so!”
  8. At 8 months pregnant, I still have my patience and sanity… just maybe not very much of it.
  9. I am rocking motherhood especially now that we went minimalist and got rid of most of the clutter and unnecessary cleaning that was keeping me stressed out!
  10. I always try not to judge other moms, no matter what.  Whether you work, stay home, dress expensively, wear yoga pants, co-sleep, cry it out, drink wine, work out, eat the hell out of those donuts, breastfeed, bottle feed, or let them eat cheerios off the floor of your mini van… I know that being a mom is hard work, and we are all just trying to do the best we can!  I know that we are all supermoms.  And none of us are perfect.

Those are not the only reasons I’m rocking motherhood.  I make mistakes every day.  And it’s time we all realized that it’s going to be okay… So I challenge all of you awesome moms out there to list 10 reasons why you’re rocking motherhood too!  🙂

25 Kid Lunches – Back to the basics

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“Lunch time!  What do ya’ll want to eat?”

3 yo: “Spaghetti”

5 yo: “Sandwich”

This is basically every day.  I’ve told my daughter I’m not making spaghetti every day… If we do anything it’s usually spaghettios.  And my son must take after his daddy because he seems totally fine with eating a sandwich every single day.  But that’s beside the point.  I think they would appreciate a little variation in the menu… If I could think of anything!

Am I the only mom who draws a total freaking blank when I try to think of food ideas?  Seriously.  I have so many pins on Pinterest about food… But it feels like we eat the same thing every day!

So, I’ve decided to make a basic list of food ideas.  I didn’t include recipes because this is just a kind of reference that you can print and look at when you can’t think of anything.  Then you can look up “fancy PB&J” or whatever floats your boat, and go from there!  There are literally ideas for every item on here, that I’ve never even thought of.

I do have some great recipes and ideas saved on my Pinterest board here, if you’re interested!  🙂

Anyway, I’ve including everything here that I can think of… You can keep all of these extremely simple or try to health-ify them.  Let’s be real.  I do buy pizza rolls and lunchables.  But my kids usually eat some of their veggies every night.  Parenting is about balance…

25 Lunch Ideas – Back to the Basics

  1. Pizza rolls!  Or Hot Pockets!
  2. Lunchables
  3. Ham and cheese sandwich
  4. Grilled cheese
  5. PB&J
  6. Turkey and cheese wrap – easy: melt shredded cheese on a tortilla for 30 seconds in microwave… Add lunch meat and roll it up
  7. Chicken nuggets
  8. Pizza – could do the lunchable type, the frozen ones, or make your own little personal ones
  9. Hot Dogs
  10. Corn Dogs
  11. Mac n cheese
  12. Pasta – keep it simple or add some sort of easy sauce
  13. Nachos
  14. Fish sticks
  15. Tuna & crackers – mine like theirs just tuna mixed with mayo.  Keep it simple if they are picky!
  16. Taquitos
  17. Cheese & crackers, with any kind of sliced meat – turkey, bologna, pepperoni, etc.
  18. Kabobs – even just turkey and cheese
  19. Spaghettios
  20. Ravioli
  21. Chicken noodle soup
  22. Peanut butter & banana sandwich
  23. Baked potato
  24. Popcorn chicken
  25. Leftovers

Another thing… I have found that changing things up in a simple way can make it a new favorite lunch that they wouldn’t have eaten before!  Kids are funny that way.  Here are a few simple tips.

  • Cookie cutters – if your kids are pre-school age and they are not going to eat the whole sandwich anyway, grab a cookie cutter and use it on the sandwich.  This is how I got my kids to start eating sandwiches!
  • Roll ups – It seems like there is a “roll up” idea on Pinterest for most of the ideas on this list!  (A good few of them, anyway).  Just flatten out the bread with a glass, put the PB&J or whatever on there and… roll it up.  Simple, but kids love it.
  • Food coloring – it grosses me out, but it’s worth a try.  My daughter would probably eat anything I put in front of her if it’s “blue like Elsa” and my son would eat anything if it’s “black like Batman” (even though that sounds disgusting).  Anyway, a few moms have had success with food coloring, so give it some thought if you’re desperate!
  • Get creative – You don’t have to go all out and make Reindeer pancakes or whatever, but consider adding a ketchup smiley face or something.  Kids love that kind of stuff.  It doesn’t have to be beautiful or take much time.  Just something to catch their interest.
  • Add fruit, cheese, crackers, yogurt, etc. – I give them fruit all day.  It’s extremely healthy and it makes me feel a little better about those pizza rolls… Take any of the simple ideas above and add one or two sides to make it a better meal.
  • Eat it in front of them – Seriously.  I have lost track of how many times my kids have only tried something because they caught me eating it… Like the baked potato.  Or tuna fish.  They refused to eat it in the past, but when mommy eats it, it’s a different story.  Just don’t make it obvious.  They can smell fear.

Anyway, I hope this list was helpful!  Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other ideas, or particular favorites… And don’t forget to check out my Kid Food board on Pinterest!

Pregnancy tips to feel better… Because growing a human is hard

Pregnancy Tips that might help... Because sometimes growing a human sucks (2).png

Don’t get me wrong.  I am very blessed to have been able to have my babies.  Beyond measure.  Pregnancy is amazing and wonderful, and there are really no words for it.  That being said, it’s not always rainbows and sunshine every day.  That’s just a fact of life.  It’s painful and scary and sometimes you just want someone to say “want me to rub your feet?”.  And sometimes you just want to be grumpy and complain about what hurts.  So this post is my way of showing support, from one pregnant mom to another.  Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about those aches and pains, nausea and hormones, but here are some things that might help more than the typical “this too shall pass” response…

  1. Chocolate.  It will make you feel better if you let it.  Forget all that BS about “don’t use this as an excuse to eat for two”.  Go get you a cookie.  You’re growing another eyeball in there.
  2. Hot bath.  Don’t get it scalding hot… use some common sense.  But throw some epsom salts in there and relax.  Water makes you feel weightless, for one thing.  Hot baths normally help me with aches and pains – even if it’s only temporary.
  3. Coffee.  Don’t freak out.  You can have one cup every morning.  And then you can drink decaf and pretend it’s the real thing.  It’s better than nothing!
  4. Cry.  Pregnancy is the only time you actually have an excuse to cry and throw a fit whenever you want.  It’s his fault for getting the wrong brand of cereal anyway. Go ahead and let it out, and then take a nap. You’re growing tiny fingernails.
  5. Did I mention taking a nap?  I know this isn’t always an option, but if you do get a chance, TAKE A NAP.  You’re growing a second heart inside of your body.  Take a freaking nap.
  6. Me time.  Sit down, read a book or something.  Paint your nails if it makes you feel better, or not.  Scroll on Facebook for a while.  But enjoy some peace and quiet where you don’t have to do anything.
  7. Quit listening to everybody else.  Follow the doc’s list of do’s and don’t’s, follow your own mother’s instinct (yes, you have it already) and stay off the Internet.  You’ve got this.
  8. Relax and let shit go.  By that I mean quit stressing so much about cleaning and trying to do everything and be perfect.  You’re growing a baby!  Another brain.  A whole respiratory system.  Tiny fingers and tiny toes.  You probably can’t sleep, you’re often uncomfortable.  And all the painful and crappy symptoms that nobody understands.  On top of it you walk like a penguin and you can’t drink.  If you want a piece of cake, you deserve it!

Just remember, it really is more than worth it.  And even though you feel like you’ve been pregnant for 10 years, it will be over before you know it.  Just give yourself some credit and cut yourself some slack… You’re growing a baby and it’s hard work.  🙂

Why my family of 5 went Minimalist – and we are never going back

Let me start by saying this.  Before I watched the Minimalism documentary (which btw, I normally really don’t like documentaries and refuse to watch them with my husband) I didn’t know much about minimalism besides a few things I’ve seen on the internet… Which made it seem more like a style and a fad (white walls, modern expensive furniture) than anything else.  I thought it sounded dumb.

But by the 1st 20 minutes of the video, I was hooked, and we had already made our decision.

Very basic summary:  Minimalism is about focusing less on materialistic things and more on family and experiences.  That’s really the point.  You can actually keep whatever you want, and there’s no set rules you have to follow.  It’s not about the label.  It’s just about intentionally thinking about everything you have, and asking yourself how much value each thing actually has to you.  If it’s something that brings you joy, or you actually need it, keep it.  But if you only have it because you would feel guilty getting rid of it, or because “it’s a set”, or because society has told you that you need it… Toss it.

You’d be surprised how much crap you have that you don’t really care about.  And also how much impact that one thing might be having on your life.

Think of how much money you could save… Not just on impulse spending, but on subscriptions, DEBT, even monthly bills and utilities… Do you really need “unlimited everything”?  Or that storage unit?  Or DirecTV?

All of this stuff is designed to keep you inside.  Entertained.  Sheep.

Imagine if you got rid of everything… You would spend more time outside.  Doing stuff!  Isn’t that exactly what you want for your kids anyway?

Moms… Think of how much CLEANING you could cut out of your day… I know you’re scared to even let that tiny ray of hope enter your mind, but I’m being serious.  If you could just cut your dishes and laundry in HALF, wouldn’t you jump on that?  We’ve kept everything we need, and what we actually want to wear.  We got rid of the things we only wore because they were there.  We cut down on dishes by only keeping what we need for the day… Which means rinsing your cup and using it all day.  Most of your dishes are in the sink because something else was already dirty.  Think about that.

Also, the toys and clutter… At 7 months pregnant, I had really gotten fed up with picking stuff up off the floor.  All.  Day.  Long.  But since we have gotten rid of everything they don’t actually play with often, and everything else we didn’t need in the house… I have so much less to straighten up around the house.  And it’s easier to get the kids to clean up their messes, too.

Not to mention, my house looks cleaner.  It took a little while to get used to it looking so empty (compared to before)… But now it’s so relaxing.  My office is bare, except for my desk and lamp (and the window).  It’s my favorite room in the house.  I’m taking that as a good sign.

A big problem today is, we live our lives looking too much at everyone else, and what they have… Instead of being content with what we have.  We look at popular styles, home décor shows, how big our neighbors’ houses are… And we feel less because we don’t have what they have.  We see buying new stuff and having MORE as a sign of success.  And I’m tired of it.  I don’t even like decorations… All the clutter on my counters has always bugged me.  I’m finally giving myself permission to feel that way and get rid of it.

As for “minimalism”.  It’s a lifestyle that lets you focus on what YOU want out of life, and not what anyone else says you should want.  It’s more about experiences, teaching your kids what’s important in life.  Letting them know that it’s okay to have hopes and dreams.  It’s about LESS STRESS and less feeling so overwhelmed… And as a mom, with two kids and about to have a newborn baby… That’s the biggest thing for me.