Motherhood

Three Ways to Recover From the Holidays

Finally, the Holidays are over it is the beginning of a new year. As a mom you likely just spent the last few months cleaning, shopping, cooking, more cleaning, and chasing of little ones all over the house. As a welcome to the New Year I provide you a list of three ways to relax and recover the Holidays.

lemon-1578370_1920Detox:

Holidays are often filled with heavy carbs and sugar intake. Help your body recover from all the stress of the holidays. My favorite detox is water flavored with lemon, mint, and cucumber.

Another thing I like to do is add powdered ginger to my soups. This helps with arthritis and inflammation. Hot lemon water with ginger and honey is also great for healing a sore throat.

Finally take a 20 minute bath in a tub mixed with lavender oil, Epsom salt, and baking soda. This will help clear your body of any toxins that are sitting in your pores. It will also relax your aching muscles and help you sleep.

plank-1327256_1280Do Something you Enjoy/Love:

Whether it is getting a pedicure or a massage, maybe you enjoy yoga or kick boxing. Choose something that you really like to do, but haven’t done in awhile. Basically take at least one or two hours to yourself this week to do something just for you. If you can, do that everyday this week, because it will really help you to start off the new year fresh.

target-1747236_1920Set Goals:

If you haven’t made your new years resolutions yet, it isn’t too late. If you have then get started working towards them. New goals are great for rejuvenating and getting yourself going again. The holidays may have derailed your diet or maybe you spent a little too much money on those Christmas presents. When you set goals it is important to also create a plan of action for reaching each of those goals. Consider all aspects of your life to determine where you can improve.

Wishing you a happy New Year. Share in the comments ways you relax once the holidays are all said and done.

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Motherhood, Organizing, Social

Christmas Gift Ideas

Babies cannot tell you what their wants are, so trying to decide on Christmas presents might prove difficult. A good rule of thumb at any age is want, need, read, wear. Find an item for each and you have at least four good presents.

Newborn- 1 year:

Read: Hard books or cloth books are good for little ones all the way to age 3. Baby might be little, but its good to start reading early. Find a few hard covers that were your favorites when you were a kid and start reading.

Wear: Babies grow out of clothes quick, buy baby a few articles of clothing that are one or two sizes bigger than he/she is currently.

Newborn-3 months:

Want: At this stage they are really just laying there sleeping, eating, and pooping. Get them some tummy time toys, a key ring, stuffed animal, or o-ball are all good options for this stage.

Need: Is there something that would make taking care of baby easier i.e a swing, bouncer, play mat that you did not get at your baby shower. Go ahead and get it now, even if its something like a play pen which you probably won’t be needing until babies mobile. Baby proofing supplies like a baby gate and cupboard locks are good options too.

3-6 months:

Want: At this point your little one is probably rolling from back to belly. This was my little one last year. They are probably also getting used to sitting and have some head control. Last year we got our little one a kids singing piano, and a singing farm. Friends bought him a slide with a car that slides down it. He also got one of those weird balls with all the different sliding things on it. He was also given books, and clothes.

Need: Last year we had not yet purchased a high chair by the time Christmas came along. He was just a few weeks away from being ready to eat other foods besides just breast milk, we went ahead and bought Wesley a high chair at that point. If you don’t already have one this might be the time to purchase one. I also came across a really good deal on a bob stroller at a Pawn shop. We already had a stroller, but this stroller worked out way better than the one we had originally purchased. If you don’t have a stroller, or a baby carrier and feel its a necessity this Christmas may be the excuse you need to splurge a little on your new little one.

6-9 months

Want: By now your little is likely crawling and if not they will be soon. Your child is already fascinated by their world, pay attention to what captures their attention. You will be amazed at the kid friendly toys available out their. My son for instance was fascinated with the remote around this point and so I went and I bought him a kids remote. He is pretty good now about keeping his hands off mine. Its a great distraction away from what it yours. Does your little have a fascination with your laptop, phone, purse, shoes? Get them something similar that they can play with safely. Amazon has an amazing collection with a ton of ideas.

Need: My beautiful son grew out of his carseat around this time, thank goodness tax returns came otherwise I don’t know how we would have been able to afford the carseat upgrade we had to make. Now all children grow at different rates so very likely this is not an issue yet. However, consider your future finances. Is their something your child is going to need down the line here soon?

9-12 months:

Want: Your child likely is not walking yet, but they are certainly working their way around and getting into everything. By now you can see a quirk or two emerging. My little one loves music and sound. For his birthday we got him bongos, and a bag of blocks as he seemed to enjoy playing with them at our neighbors. We also got him a big fire engine that your can build the large lego blocks on. It was super cheap at a local thrift store. Don’t be afraid to buy the toys used, especially since many of the toys you get might be played with for a short period of time, before they become boring.

Need: If you are looking forward to your little person walking their are many different types of walker options out their. Now this is less of a need and more of a parenting choice. Some feel walkers are unsafe. I did not purchase my son his walker until he was 15 months, because I was unsure if it was worth it. Within three days he was walking on his own. I got it because I knew from experience that my son can be a little lazy. He refused to crawl at first preferring to roll everywhere, until my husband put pillows in his way making him realizing he couldn’t always get around like that. My little one is a walking machine now.

12-18 months:

Want: This year my son is getting a fake children’s smart phone, and some stacking blocks. I’m considering a few other toys as well, but they are mainly educational. His one want for this year is the children’s phone.

Need: We have covered most of the needs at this point, but with him beginning to walk I’m thinking the next need is going to be shoes, especially for when we take him to the park and little rocks and glass are sometimes littered on the ground.

Motherhood, News, Social

Christmas Tree Safety

There are multiple ways to have a safe Christmas tree. Some people create a two  dimensional one on the wall that children are able to move the ornaments around on.

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Check out this cool sample from Cheryl Spagenberg’s blog “that’s what she said.”

 

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Others put a small one on an out of the way table. There are a number of options on amazon. Some come decorated, others without decoration allowing you to personalize it to your personal style. The best part about this option is when your kids are old enough to trust around a large Christmas tree you can use this little one for the kids bedroom or playroom.

christmas-1044474_1280

There are of course individuals like myself who keep with the big tree tradition. A few options for keeping your baby safe around the traditional Christmas tree.

#1: A fake tree is safer, as needles won’t be all over the house for the baby to find and attempt to eat.

#2 Keep all breakable/glass ornaments off the bottom of the tree (better yet invest in some shatter proof ornaments).

#3 Make sure all wires are protected and safely put away where baby can’t grab them.

#4 Never leave baby alone in the room with the tree. If you must leave the room, make sure baby is in a play pen or other safe place that they can not escape from. (High chair, bouncer, or swing are all good examples of a safe place for baby. Properly strapped in of course.)

Wishing you a happy holiday season. Please let me know of any other holiday hazard concerns and how you protect your little one in the comments below.

Motherhood, Social

National Oatmeal Month

Oatmeal is an essential to every breastfeeding mama’s diet, and it just so happens that January is National Oatmeal month. So whether you  eat your oatmeal with brown sugar, berries, fish, or eggs eat up all the oatmeal this month.Even if you are not breastfeeding oatmeal is a great quick, and easy breakfast to jump start your morning. It’s also great for lunch or dinner, or as a post work out snack.

Looking for a new way to spice up your oatmeal try out my favorite lactation cookie recipe below. The recipe combines oatmeal with flax seed to create a deliciously yummy cookie that even your children and significant other will love. The recipe calls for brewers yeast, but if you can’t find it or don’t have any the recipe turns out great even without it.

 

Motherhood, Organizing

Keeping the House Clean Durring the Holidays

The holidays are a busy time of year, people are visiting, you are traveling, working, and taking care of the children. Meanwhile somewhere in all the activity you still have to find the time to clean the house and shop for gifts. When it comes to cleaning here are 6 tips and tricks to make it faster and keep it maintained.

chaos-227972_1920#1 To keep your house looking clean this holiday season maintain surface clutter don’t allow piles of stuff to take over your coffee table, dining room table, desk space, and kitchen counters.

#2 Maintain your floors. Leave shoes by the door to prevent the tracking in of dirt, snow, and mud. Sweep, mop, and/or vacuum every day to every other day. (If you have multiple types of floor surfaces, pick one to do.) For example maybe Monday you sweep, Tuesday you vacuum, and Wednesday you mop.

#3 Wash dishes as you cook or immediately after eating. dishes-691541_1280

#4 After returning from travel immediately unpack. Sort and put away, Don’t wait till “tomorrow.”

#5 Get a head start on your New Years Resolutions make a daily, weekly, and monthly chore schedule and stick to it.

Items you do daily: Dishes, sweep, mop, vacuum

Items you should do weekly: Laundry, bathrooms

Items you should do monthly: Dusting, and wiping of base boards

#6 Designate an out of the way space for gift wrapping or put it away when you’ve finished wrapping for the day.

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For related posts please see:

Kitchen Organization

Deep Cleaning Your Kitchen

Single Tasking Day

Clean Out Your Computer Day

Surviving Life with a Baby Part 5: Chore Chart

Spring Cleaning: Tips and Tricks to a fresh Start of the Year

 

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Motherhood, Uncategorized, Year One

Aiming towards my 25th Year

I have always been a person of self reflection. Yesterday was my 24th birthday and since my 23rd so much has changed I am a mother. I have started my own writing business and tomorrow I begin working part time for a 3rd party company who is contracted with Google. I allowed too much of myself to get lost this last year as I dealt with the changes of existing in the real world outside of college. Looking forward I am going to be more proactive in my health and in my career that I have created for myself. I deserve to be happy with where I am and I know what I need to do in order to be happy.

 

My goals as I start working towards my 25th year.

 

[  ]Drink more water

[  ]Start dancing again

[  ]Visit the gym minimum once a week

[  ]Shower daily or at least every other day  (having a baby makes this hard)

[  ]Keep up my blog

[  ]Grow my writing business

[  ]Get on a schedule

[  ]Keep up with my chores around the house

 
I need to have balance in my life. I am a great mulitasker, but I am always slow starting out when knew stuff is added. A few months ago a baby was brought into my life. I have since adjusted to his needs. I now need to balance and include the rest of my responsibilities. Including taking care of myself, helping with finances, and following my writing dreams. Recently I have been so focused on taking care of the baby and my husband that I have been completely ignoring myself. To be happy I need more financial stability as well as a healthy body and clean house. I have done very little to make myself happy since the baby was born and my husband looked at me the other day and said he was tired of looking at a shell. He told me I needed to start taking care of myself more because he wanted his wife back. It has taken me a few days to realize what he really meant. He as always woke me up and showed me the mirror of who I am. Currently I am an empty pitcher, but next year I will be full, because I will dedicate myself towards having a better future and a better year next year. My dreams didn’t end with my son’s birth they just got clearer and more possible because I now have a bigger reason to accomplish them. My son needs to know that he can accomplish his dreams. For him to know that I need to accomplish mine.

Motherhood

Did you Adult today?

I’m 23 years old expecting my first baby in the next month (Only 4 weeks left till my due date!!!) and though I’ve had my moments where I was like hey I’m an adult it never truly hit home for me until these last few days. Recently I started looking around and realizing all of the different “adult” things that I was doing to prepare. I picked up outlet plugs, washcloths, and toothbrushes at the local dollar store. I packed the hospital bag complete with stuff for mom, baby, and dad. Made homemade baby wipes ( I did the math and the average cost of name brand baby wipes even on sale is about 1-2 cents per wipe vs. making the wipes yourself for less than a half a cent each). In addition, I got my baby bag together and made a list of things that would be needed in the future for on the go transport. Finally, I found a pediatrician for my little bundle of joy to visit once he is born. Going through these different steps and thinking about all that is involved with a little baby and a newborn life, which is soon to be my full responsibility, I couldn’t help but think wow I’m the adult here.

For the first 18years of life we depend on our parents for everything: food in our bellies, a roof above our head, socialization, education, and entertainment. We become accustomed to them fixing our mistakes, and cleaning up our messes until one day they don’t do that anymore and we go off to get our own roofs, create our own social groups, buy our own food, pay for our own educational pursuits, and our own entertainment. Of course even as we slowly start doing all of these things it doesn’t really occur to us that this is what adults do. At first we do these things because we want to, we want to live and we want to care for ourselves. We no longer want the help of our parents as we become our own individuals. We form relationships with a significant other and then we have a shared dependence upon one another sometimes perhaps often times finding ourselves playing the parental figure or having the other play the parent role for us. These are the stepping stones to becoming a true adult. Stepping stones we may not even realize before we turn around and oops!!! We are now the parents of a little baby fully in charge of all the things our parents before us were in charge of.

I finally had my adult moment, I woke up and I looked around to find that I live in an apartment with bills in my name. I have a baby growing inside my belly and eventually here in the next few weeks or so he is going to grace us with his presence and he will be my full responsibility.

When was your adult moment? At what point did you stop and look around to realize you were the adult in the house or an adult in the situation?

Employment, Motherhood

The big decision: SAHM vs Working Mom

Its pretty common knowledge that a chef doesn’t make a lot of money. My husband does well to cover all of our necessities, but with a baby on the way his single income with my meager writing pay isn’t going to work long term. I had planned to go back to the office once our son was a year old. However, he isn’t even here yet and its looking more and more like I will need to return to the real world just a few months after he’s born. How does one make this decision,  what are the pros and cons for choosing to be a working mother vs. a stay a home mom (SAHM)?

SAHM (Pros)
• Don’t have to pay for day care
• See every part of your child’s life
• Sleep when the baby sleeps
• More time to clean the house
• Do things on your own schedule
Working Mom (Pros)
• Get out of the house
• Adult Interaction
• Can afford diapers and groceries
• Are not fully dependent on Husband
• More structured daily routine

As much as I enjoy getting to make my own schedule right now, I feel I’m one of those people who needs at least part of their day to be structured by a set routine. I feel I could be achieving so much more if I was required to be somewhere at certain parts of the day. I miss interacting with adults on a regular basis and my baby is not even here yet, I think I’ve been hermit-ting/nesting for too long. Currently my husband and I are doing ok, but I know when the baby gets here and we have a third mouth to feed, that story is very likely going to change. Even though I plan to breastfeed that’s more food I’m going to have to eat in order to make sure I can produce the essentials necessary for baby. If I get a part time I estimate I can make about $2000 a month, that money would easily cover diapers/groceries and begging my friends are as awesome as they claim to be it would cover “day care”. In addition to covering diapers, groceries, and day care I should also be able to put somewhere around $500 a month towards the debt my husband and I had accumulated before we married one another.
SAHM (CONS)
• Can’t afford to pay off debts
• Budget will be very tight
• Little structure in routine
• Husband will likely have to get a second job (80+ hrs)
• Will never get to see my husband
Working Mom (CONS)
• Have to pay for day care
• Loose time with my baby
• Less sleep
• Won’t get to see my husband as often
• Have to deal with people

My husband and I do not have overly expensive bills, our issues stem mostly from previous debt. We can’t move forward from where we are because we have a history that has yet to be fixed. We didn’t plan for this baby, but we are taking responsibility for him. Currently as a writer I’m making between $200 and $300 a month, this covers the cost of gas and car insurance every month. With $2000 extra coming in every month my husband and I could finally afford to get out of debt as well as pay all of our bills. In addition, I could also afford to give my friends something for their generosity in helping to watch my baby. I can’t afford to work full time, because day care is way too expensive and I would lose money doing so. However, I can afford to work part time and help cover the shortcomings of our budget. It’s likely I won’t get to see my husband as often as I would like, but I will get to see him more than if he was the one who had to get another job. In addition, he is less likely to get burnt out if I’m the one to get a job.

What made you decide whether staying at home or going back to the office was a better choice for you and your family?

Motherhood, Organizing

Preparing the Grocery List: Mom Style

For one of my first posts back in January I discussed the making of a grocery list for college students. For those interested you can check that out here. Today I bring you a similar post on how to create a Grocery List for your family, after all there are going to be some major differences between the two, on the other hand however there are a lot of similarities as well. First things first when creating any type of grocery list you want to think of cost, what does your budget look like for this week, the next two weeks, and/or the next month. In my household we generally do big grocery shopping twice a month buying enough supplies to last us two weeks, if we can we may do a minor run for perishables in between though we try not to have to do this. To keep yourself in budget for that shopping trip do yourself a favor and write the dollar amount at the top.

For the second step you need to think about your families nutritional needs, what items are important for your family to keep around. What snacks do you tend to go through pretty quickly, what items are you running low on in the home, do you want to buy organic and if so which items are a must for organic shopping? Also will you need to shop multiple stores to get all of the items you are going to need? If you plan to shop multiple stores keep in mind whether you will have cold or hot foods that will need to be refrigerated and plan out the best course of action for the order of shops you will visit make two separate lists one for each store and give each store its own budget.

Making the list:

Step1:

Write down all of the non-food items you need to purchase in order to get your through the next week or two. This includes items such as toilet paper, paper towels, any cleaning supplies etc. This immediately gets the easy stuff off your mind to keep yourself focused slowly on the grocery portion of your budget.

Step2:

If you do not pre-plan your weekly dinner menu (I often don’t though I am really hoping to get better about this soon) think about at least three meals your family is likely to enjoy eating in the next week or two. Write down the ingredients for these meals (also if your family has its go to’s this is a good place to start in terms of writing down items you will be needing in the next week or so. If your having a hard time figuring out what to include in terms of meal prep look in the weekly paper and see what items are on sale at your local store, or check out this website here for meal ideas it will give you a list of all the ingredients needed, plus tell you what ingredients from the recipe are on sale at your specific grocery store. (If your short for time, and don’t have the energy to make your own grocery list this website can even make one for you just pick out which meals you want to make for dinner this week.)

Step3:

After choosing a few dinner meals write down the ingredients needed or if using the pre-created list from readyseteat cross off the items you already have in your pantry, spice cabinet, freezer, and fridge.

Step4:

Organize the items by grocery section this will decrease the amount of time you spend in the grocery store especially if you record the items in order from top to bottom in the order by which you plan to buy.

This is what your grocery list should look like by the time your done.

Grocery List (2 weeks) Budget: $150

Non-Food:

Trash bags

Paper Towels

Toilet Paper

Dish Soap

Vegetables/Fruit:

Lettuce

Cucumber

Bell Pepper

Potatoes

Onions

Cilantro

Bananas

Pick 3 pieces of fruit that are on sale

Meat:

Chicken

See what meat is on sale/weekly HEB Meal Deal

Dairy:

Milk

Cheese

Yogurt

Eggs

Dry Goods:

Canned beans

Canned Vegetables (pick 3)

Canned Fruit

Cereal

Rotell

Tortilla Chips

Pickles

Frozen Goods:

Pizza

*Note this is just a sample of what one of my lists may look like on any given month it could change or be different. This is a very basic list. Keep in mind your families favorites. Currently my family is made up of two adults with a little one on the way.

It is most important to remember to write down all ingredients you will need to make any meal you are planning to create. In addition, in order to assure you don’t forget anything when going through the store to put your items in order that you should be picking them up. Keep in mind the layout of your local grocery store to determine the best course of action.

Happy Shopping!!!

Employment, Motherhood

Time Doesn’t Wait on Dreams

travel-420011_1280I am taking a break from talking about food today to share more of a personal thought or realization. Every blogger knows that the act of blogging is itself a journey, a journey filled with highs, lows, and all around new experiences thoughts, ideas, and realizations. However, the choice to begin blogging is also usually the result of some life altering decision, experience, or choice. Some of us got into this activity after we realized that though we love to write we weren’t doing any writing excluding perhaps the one sentence idea that we would jot down planning to revisit later. In that instance we made a choice to start writing. Others of us made the decision to do it with the hope that one day we might be able to see some amount of success, just for doing an act that we love doing. Then of course you have those of us bloggers who experienced something in our life that showed us we won’t always have the chance to do this, at some point we won’t be able to create words, we won’t be able to come up with new ideas, and we won’t be here to keyboard-648447_1280even try.

My decision to begin blogging was a combination of all three in December of 2014 I learned that I was pregnant with my first child, after I had just made the decision to leave a job without having another as back up in the wings. It was my plan to find a new job that didn’t conflict so much with my husbands after all him and I only have one car between us and he was making more money at his job than I was at mine. So there was the life altering decision that would lead up to my being here. Despite being pregnant I spent six weeks of my time looking for a job that’s schedule did not conflict with my husbands and that paid better than the previous company I had been working for. This was a daunting task and left me at the end of six weeks feeling nothing but disappointment after all my husband had been able to locate a job within three days of leaving his previous one and prior to that had found the job he left within a two or three hour search. I was left with a choice to either A) Tough it out, and take my pregnant self on foot door to door trying to sell myself as a minimum wage employee despite my college educated background, or B) I needed to put forth the time and effort online creating a business and job for myself. The life altering experience of a new baby on the way sealed the fate for what my choice would be. I created a blog, and began researching freelance writing, locating jobs and slowly I was making money for my writing. Though it wasn’t near what I needed to be making in order for my family to have a sound future it was at the very least a start.

clock-439147_1280The first thing I love about pregnancy as unplanned and uncomfortable all of this has been is getting the chance to feel a beautiful life growing inside of me. The second is having the courage to follow my dreams and reach and achieve my goals. Even before becoming pregnant and jobless I had wanted to be a writer. In fact it is what I’ve wanted to do for the majority of my life. However, just like so many others I was daunted by the task of publication. There was no way I could abide by the stuffy rules of journalism to write for a paper or in my mind even a magazine. And the long wait of a book publication and the unknown return of the investment. I believed that I needed a day job while waiting to have any success as a writer. Well as being pregnant with a baby will teach you, time doesn’t wait for you to make your dreams come true. Instead, only you can make your dreams come true. I’m lucky to have been gifted with the patience to sit and write and research for hours at a time. I’m lucky to have a husband who is willing to work and figure out a way to make the bills work out every month. If I didn’t have these two things its likely that I would not have managed to get as far as I have in the last few months. As far as my current standing as a freelancer is concerned I’m having some relatively good success, I have two consistent gigs that I could potentially continue and grow with for the rest of my freelancing career. Plus a pending contract that would potentially provide me with a regular source of income (of course I’mwoman-446670_1280 trying not to hold my breath and count my chickens before they have hatched).

Being pregnant has opened my eyes to the immediate future, and making my dreams and goals a reality now rather than tomorrow. I want my son to know that no matter what you dream about doing with a lot of hard work and determination you can make it happen. I want his life to be filled with fun and adventure as well as many different experiences. I want him to feel and see the love of two parents who are willing to do whatever it take to make each others dreams come true. My husband has been with my through every step, he stood by me as I finished my college degree, and he is standing by me now as I slowly develop my career as a writer. One day it will be my turn to stand by him as he opens his own restaurant. Our son will see his parents dreams come true Daniel with his restaurant and me with my book on Barnes and Noble Book Shelves. In addition, our son will have the full embodiment of  that which only two parents who love and support each other as much as my husband and I do can give.

Time doesn’t wait when it comes to the achievement of dreams, tell me what dreams having you been waiting on to come true?