FYI


Hello everyone.  I’m sure you noticed there was no Quick Tip Tuesday.  You’re probably thinking, she’s late… again.  But actually, I thought about it a lot and really just wasn’t up to it.  It is hard to think of much else lately other than family.

A few weeks ago my father in law was admitted to the hospital.  He is very sick.  My husband and I have spent 4 nights at the hospital and finally slept at home last night.  I expect the coming weeks to be very crazy with many emotional ups and downs.

Please keep our family in your prayers.  There are so many complex emotions felt by everyone in times like this.  Difficult decisions, sleepless nights, time away from babies, sweet memories, etc.  Your good vibes, thoughts and prayers are SO appreciated.  Prayer works and God is good.

Advertisements

Pink or Blue: Does it matter to you?


[I wrote this piece a few years ago and found it and have reread it and wanted to post.  I love it because I’ve been able to see how I’ve experienced more and grown as a parent.  My son is certainly “all boy,” as they say but he also loves to wear bows in his hair because that is what his sister does.  He’s tried on my bra because it looks interesting.  He picks out kitty cat valentines instead of Ninja Turtles. Guess what? I love every single bit of it.  He is amazing to me.  He is creative, accepting and loving.  Lets encourage our kids to be exactly who they are– because they’re beautiful!]

When you find out you’re expecting it is such an exciting time.  Your mind is clouded with a million thoughts at once.  When I found out I was expecting I could almost feel the thoughts surging through my body… physically.  It was so much at once.  It was fear.  It was excitement.  It was overwhelming!  When the news settled with me, the fear and excitement  turned to complete curiosity!  This little baby inside of me… was it a boy or a girl?

I imagined a pink room with big monograms and pearls and butterflies and sweet sayings.  I imagined a room with dinosaurs and trucks and dark blue hues.  I wondered if I was carrying a boy or a girl.  I wondered if a boy would like dinosaurs or sailboats… or if a girl might love princesses or kittens!  All I knew was, I couldn’t wait to find out the gender so I could decorate “accordingly.”

In the news lately it seems that there is a lot of praise for “gender neutral.”  I certainly understand what the fuss is all about.  Recently someone tweeted that Target had signage that indicated there were building sets and “girls’ building sets.”  I assume that means there are building sets, and then there are pink building sets.  I understand that Target was just distinguishing between the two.  However, I also get that someone could take offense to this verbiage.  I have found myself in the toy aisle lamenting about how all the kitten toys have pink bows!  Why can’t cats be for boys?  We love cats in this house and I would love to find a “boy” kitty toy.

With this being a hot topic in the news, I’ve wondered recently… am I wrong to want to decorate a daughters room with pink and pearls?  Am I wrong to assume that my son wants dinosaur sheets and a train bed?  Am I wrong to wish that they had “boy” plush kitty toys?

Yes, and no.

I believe that once a child is old enough to tell you what they want and what they prefer, then by all means, indulge them! (within reason of course).  If my son tells me he wants the kitty with the pink bow and the diamond collar that is typically marketed for girls– he will get the kitty!  Even if I was secretly wishing there was a more masculine kitty option, I didn’t hesitate at all because underneath it all, it is a toy cat!  Whether it is a boy cat or a girl cat– it is a cat that makes my son happy and that is ALL that matters.  If my daughter told me that she wanted a train set with little boys playing on the cover of the box– give her the train set! This does not bother me.  I would buy them what they desired and would not make them feel ashamed for it or embarrassed by it.  There is nothing embarrassing about wanting these things.  A child’s interests should be encouraged.

With that being said, what I do have a problem with is the people that “hate” on those that hear they’re having a boy or a girl and decorate the nursery traditionally.  By traditionally I mean, a blue room for boys and a pink room for girls.  They are babies.  They can’t talk yet, they can’t tell you that they hate pink or that they love blue!  They are your sweet bundle of joy and you want the absolute best for them.  You want a room that you believe makes them happy and makes you happy.  If you have a beautiful little girl and you want to paint the entire room with Disney princesses, I think that should be encouraged and not looked down on.  You are not limiting this child and restricting what they are allowed to love.  You are painting a picture of what you think is fun/fitting for your child and what you think they would enjoy (and what you enjoy!).  You care enough to give them a festive room that they may grow up to love and they may not.  But for now, embrace this time.  Decorate, celebrate and love.  They are only babies for such a small amount of time.  Try not to overthink things.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Target Red Perks & Cartwheel


I am addicted to Target.  There, I said it.  Admitting it is the first step right? hahaha.  My first job was at Target, so this has been a long obsession.  As for me, I didn’t need any reason to go there more often… but good o’l Target is always looking out for me and they developed a few really good reasons to shop there… for everything.

1- Red perks.
2- Cartwheel.

So if you’re a Target regular you may already know about these sweet treats… but if you’re only there every now and then, you may want to take advantage of these offers and visit more often.

My first obsession was Cartwheel.  Cartwheel is a money saving app at Target.  You get a certain number of “free spots” and you can add featured products for the week and save a certain percent off on these items when shopping.  You download the app to your phone and the cashier scans it at checkout.  Your discount is applied right there.  Now, you can even scan the items in your cart before you get to the checkout to see if anything you bought is featured on cartwheel.  I love it!  If you’re not brand specific in your purchases, it can show you similar items that are on cartwheel if your selected item isn’t featured.  I’ve had Cartwheel for a 2 years or so… and have saved over $400!  I’ll take it!

In the same app as cartwheel, is Red perks.  Previously, these were different apps but Target made it convenient by putting them together! Basically red perks is a way to earn points for every dollar spent.  10 points for every dollar.  Once you reach 5000 points you can choose from a list of freebies!  Let me tell you something about Red Perks.  I haven’t bought a package of baby wipes in months.  One of the freebies is any brand wipes up to $10.  (This used to be 20, so I was bummed when they bumped it down to $10, but hey, you can’t have it all I guess).  Anyway, I shop at Target so often that I get to the 5000 pts fairly quickly and always choose wipes!! Other examples of featured freebies are:  free pajamas, sunglasses, laundry detergent, movie/cds/books, coffee, pet item, etc.   At one point I know that this feature was only available in certain markets.  I’m not sure if this is still the case… but if so, come on Target!  Give it to everyone! Its awesome!  And if you’re listening, my store could really use a Starbucks– and a babysitter.

Okay, so …there you go.  My tip for today.  If you’re going to go to Target and spend money anyway, may as well find ways to save! Right?   Do you enjoy money saving perks at other stores?  Share your favorites in the comments!

Parenting during stressful life events:  7 things to remember. 


This week has been a whirlwind.  We planned out our dinners on Sunday, made it through school drop off on Monday and I even got a walk in at the lake with my friend Emily!  It seemed that the week was starting off nicely (aside from an extremely hard drop off at school Monday morning– oh Mondays.)  Then we got a text to come to the hospital an hour away to see a family member.  The week has been an emotional rollercoaster.  I’ve found it extremely hard to parent, get my work done, be there for my husband and also have my own worries and sadness on top of everything.  Thankfully my mom helped us out and things seem to be on the upswing.  Well, aside from the ton of work I need to get done that is not currently getting done because my hospital wifi won’t connect to my work desktop! ahhhhhh!! stress.

I guess since I can’t do my actual work I will share a few thoughts I’ve had on making it through a stressful time.

1- Take it as it comes.  There is no need for speculation in hard times, it is going to be how it is.  Simply making it from one moment to the next is all that is expected of you.  Going with the flow is kind of necessary.

2- Vent.  I don’t know how many friends I’ve vented to this week.  I just needed to tell someone how I felt.  My fears, my sadness, being overwhelmed.  I needed a listening ear, and thankfully, I’ve had quite a few.

3- Kids.  I think it is easy to think in situations like this, ahhhh HOW am I going to possibly handle my children right now?  There is so much expected.  We have to travel and stay up late and not have real meals…but they need routines.  It is especially hard to have a little one with food allergies (that means no pick up McDonalds) and another one with serious anxiety and OCD.  BUT…this week I’ve not focused on these things.  I’ve had help from my mom, offers to help from my friends, and family members that helped calm them and keep them entertained.  Kids are go with the flow, especially when you take the time to appreciate them, comfort them and love them.  Its great for them, and really great for you.  Kids can always make you smile and always make you laugh.  They are such blessings.

4- Keeping the kids entertained.  If you have to take the kids to the hospital… it is important to pack an entertainment bag!  My kids are 4 and 1.  I packed blocks, books, kumon writing books, pencils, toy cars, the ipad, chargers (so necessary), snacks, a baby doll for my little girl, etc.  For the most part, they stayed pretty entertained.  Do not, I repeat, do not go to the hospital without these things haha.  You think you’ll be there for an hour or two but you are there for 6.  It happens.  Be prepared.

5- Ask for help.  If you need help with anything, ask.  It takes a village and your village is there to help you when you need them.  Whether it be with work (which I’ve definitely needed help with– and amazing coworkers have stepped up to help with that), childcare, or running errands.  Sometimes you can’t do it all and you need that helping hand.  Reach for it.

6- Prayer.  Spending time to reflect on the events of the day and pray that all will be taken care of and trusting that, is essential.  God has shown us miracles this week and we are so grateful.  Prayer changes things, and us.

7- Sleep.  Don’t be dumb and stay up late catching up on TV.  (guilty.)  Sleep really is essential.  Sitting in waiting rooms isn’t physically exhausting, but stress is very mentally exhausting.  Your body wants you to sleep… when you get the time, do it.  Seriously… do it.  Your body needs to relax and recharge.

Through a very stressful week I’ve found peace in quiet moments, tickle fights with my kids, sweet embraces from my husband, and the love that is so present in serious times.  Family is so very special.  I am grateful for mine.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Calm down app for kids


Today’s quick tip Tuesday is coming at you on Wednesday, again.  I’m sorry.  This week has not been what we expected.  A close family member is sick and in the hospital.  We’ve been hanging out there this week and I haven’t had much time for blogging.  I haven’t even thought about it really.  But, I’m here now and I’m excited to share this tip with you…& if you wouldn’t mind sparing a bit of time to say a prayer for our family that would be pretty amazing and greatly appreciated.

So! For the tip… it is an app download.  My son is very anxious.  He is also prone to tantrums or meltdowns.  I think he’s growing out of them, but when kids are young… it happens.  One thing I found to be really helpful is an app called “Settle Your Glitter”  Basically, it is a glitter jar… but in your phone– which is actually super convenient because sometimes you don’t have a glitter jar, but you usually always have your phone.  At least that is the case for me.

This app starts by asking how you’re feeling.  It has silly faces and choices and you can select the best description (mad, sad, silly, worried…).  My son is very responsive to this and seems to like that he can put a label on how he feels at the moment.   Once you select your feeling it asks how intense the feeling is.  (a little, very, extremely) …then you shake your phone (which is kind of awesome in itself… it puts the focus on something else and lets your child get rid of some of that built up anger and anxiety.)   You then see the “glitter” swirling around in the circle and a little character practices mindful breathing with you!  We’ve used this multiple times and it usually does the trick! 🙂

Anyone know of any other great mindfulness, calming apps for kids?  I would love to find more!  Leave suggestions in the comments– and check out the app!

Blogger Recognition Award!

To my surprise I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award!! I’m so excited.  I’ve been blogging for a few years but just recently started my “mom blog.”  I love it!  Blogging is a wonderful release! (Accidentally typed Clogging at first and that image made me lol) I love sharing my tips and tricks, recommendations, opinions and life with you all!  Thank you so much to Kali of Oak City Mama for the nomination!

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated me and provide a link to their blog. ✔

  • Write a post to show the award. ✔

  • Write a brief story of how my blog started. ✔

  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers. ✔

How My Blog Started:

Since 2015 (Maybe before…?) I was blogging at another site.  I blogged about parenting with OCD/anxiety and then started blogging about my postpartum experiences.  With my second child being born I decided to start a “mom” blog.  I wanted to write upbeat pieces about parenthood as well as share recommendations, tips, tricks, etc.  I also wanted to bring awareness to postpartum issues such as anxiety, OCD, hair loss and D-MER.  I’ve experienced a lot and wanted to share that with other moms.  I love meeting new people and want to reach out to other moms in the blogging community!

Advice for New Bloggers:

1.  Write at least once a week

If you’re like me, you are BUSY.  I work part time and keep my babies full time.  I barely have time to shower, much less write.  I discovered, however, that I need this time for myself.  Motherhood can be lonely at times and sometimes it is good to write and get those feelings out there!  I love writing.  I was an English major in college and I love words.  I make sure to at least write once a week no matter what! It gives me something to look forward to and I feel accomplished when I post 🙂

2.  Join blogging Facebook groups

Reach out to others in the blogging community!  Follow hashtags on Instagram, join Facebook groups, join Pinterest boards.  I LOVE the blogs I’ve been able to find through searches and have really met some great people.  One of my favorite Facebook groups at the moment is Mom Bloggers Tribe.  The ladies are so nice and helpful!  I love reading their blogs.

Nominees

1. Emily & Sherry of foreveryoungmoms.com – They just recently did a compilation post of various mom blogger’s favorite items!  I was so excited to contribute and loved the products the moms chose!

2.  Pam at Wine and Lavender.  I love her blog!  Wine and Lavender are two of my favorite things so that it was initially attracted me to this blog.  I love her Wine of the Week feature.  Her content is great and I look forward to reading new posts.

3.  Bert at firsttimemommn.com.  This blogger has been featured on Huffington post parents and her content is exceptional.  I love the layout of her site and find her pieces to be very informative.

4.   Jessie at hello-my-love.com .  I found this blog through Instagram and think it is great!  Her recent post about placenta encapsulation was REALLY informative and interesting.  I’ve always wanted to know more about the process and this post really answered a lot of questions.

5.  Katie at thejetsettingmama.com.  This blog is a great resource for traveling with littles!  She is also documenting her pregnancy with her second in a week by week feature.  Fun to follow along!

6. Maria at imommy.co  Maria is such a sweet person.  She is encouraging and comments on a lot of my blog posts/social media posts.  I checked out her blog recently and really enjoy it.  I especially enjoyed her focus on May being Mental Health Awareness Month.

7.  Kristen and Amanda at kandyapplemama.com  What an interesting blog!  It is run by Kristen and Amanda who are a mom and stepmom!  They work together to make this phenomenal blog.  They focus on co-parenting while featuring  posts on food, learning, shopping, adulating and more.

8. Diandra at omshelife.com.  This is such an aesthetically pleasing blog.  A clean layout full of great content.  I recently took note of a Sweet Potato bisque recipe she posted and plan to try it out soon! I am always on the lookout for recipes for my FPIES baby and sweet potatoes are a go to! She also includes medicinal information for the ingredients!

9. Katherine at Welcome to the Nursery.  This blog features all sorts of great content.  Anywhere from opinion pieces to blurbs from her little ones.  (Check out the Toddler Talk Tuesdays!)  I enjoy Katherine’s updates.

10. Meg at Nocturnal Mom Talks .  I started following Meg’s blog a while ago now.   She blogs about just about everything mom related!  I’ve seen posts about date nights, being a teenage mother, parenting workshops and more.  A great blogging find 🙂

11. Bailey of Simply Mom Bailey, I found Bailey’s blog through social media.  She blogs about cloth diapers, projects, travel and more.  She isn’t afraid to get real on her blog and I like that.  Head to her blog to read her posts.

12. Kayla of Adventures of a Young MotherA blog full of all things mommy. Pregnancy announcements, weight loss, relationship changes after birth, etc.  She has some good recipes too!

13. Chelsea of Pause Reflect Learn Grow I am so happy to recognize this blog because 1) it is awesome and 2) the lady behind it is one of a kind!  I am honored to call Chelsea my family!  She is a wonderful person and fantastic mother to exceptional kids! Head to her blog to read about projects, life, homeschooling, etc.

14. Dedreanna of Adventures At Home. She blogs about DIY projects, fun things to do, her personal experiences and more.  She also has a great post about Car Seat Safety that is definitely a must read.

15. Ferren of artcre.am.  I’m saving the best for last here, though I may be a bit biased.  Ferren is my best friend!  She lives in England and she is fabulous in just about every area a person can be fabulous in.  Her blog is beautiful and is full of great content.  She is an amazing mother and very talented.  She sings, makes baby clothes, etc.  I love her products, her vision and her blog! Check out her site, you will love it!

So there you go, 15 blogs I love.  I read a billion blogs all the time so these are just a few.  If you want to share your blog drop a link in the comments.  I would love to check it out.  And again, thanks to Kali for recognizing my blog!  I’ve only been blogging since the end of February on mommyisexhausted.com but am really loving it.  Thank you all for the encouragement 🙂

Recipe: Perfect baked chicken

Last week was long.  Last week was difficult.  Last week, we ate out 5 times.  Every single night of the work week we got take out.  It is awful.  I’m ashamed.  So… yesterday I was determined to cook this weekend!  I went to the store and bought a pack of chicken with 0 plans on what to do with it.  I walked into my kitchen at 5:30 pm and stared blankly at the chicken and then started frantically googling “easy, fast baked chicken.”  I stumbled upon a recipe that was very appealing because it didn’t involve any grains or dairy.  My 14 month old has FPIES so she could actually eat from the table.  This would be her first time doing so!  (Poor kid is so tired of sweet potatoes, avocados, etc.)

(my sweet FPIES baby eating the same dinner we had!)

I decided to do a blog post on this recipe because my family and I found it to be very delicious.  I was so excited to make something my daughter could share with us and I made it very quickly.  Dinner was ready 30 minutes later.  That is a win!! Easy, fast, inexpensive… I can easily make this on a weeknight rather than grab takeout.  This is just as easy!

Perfect Baked Chicken Recipe

I made a few adjustments to the recipe.  When I make this again  I will probably use less salt because I try to limit salt when cooking, but otherwise I liked this!  I suggest coating the spices on very thick.  20 minutes later your chicken is done and you can pair with a side of veggies and fruit!  We had cauliflower and broccoli and cantaloupe!  Delicious 🙂

What recipes do you have on hand that are quick (30 minutes or under), easy, and inexpensive?  I would love to build up a go-to for great weeknight recipes (with normal ingredients… no, I do not keep heavy cream, fresh ginger, etc. just on the ready in my house).  Also, if they’re dairy/grain free- even better!