I Mom So Hard Interview

Hello there mommas and makers! If you’re like me, you spend some of your downtime on social media watching funny videos. Several months ago I stumbled upon two moms who were putting out totally relatable, totally hilarious videos on YouTube and Facebook (my favorite is the one about Spanx!). So immediately I started following along with the imomsohard gals and watching them grow, each video funnier than the next. All stuff us moms deal with on the regular… just made funny! You can imagine my excitement when I heard they would be performing in my hometown, Phoenix, at the same comedy theater my husband and crew performed at the week before! I immediately texted my mom gal pal and told her we had a date to see the imomsohard girls at Stand Up Live… and let me tell you ladies, it was one of the BEST stand up shows I’ve ever seen. Not only was it a sold out crowd of moms, but Kristin and Jen had the whole place rolling in laughter. It was the BEST moms’ night out. And guess what else…. I got to hang out with Kristin and Jen after the show for a little Q&A sesh. I’m pretty sure we are besties now. See for yourself…

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Told ya! Besties for the resties. Check out the interview with the imomsohard gals… I love how real and down to earth they are. 

 

Don’t you just love Kristin and Jen?! They crack me up! And let’s face it… if we don’t laugh at momming, we would be crying into our wine glasses or chocolate bars far too often. And life is much too short to take too seriously. So let’s laugh it up with our other mom friends while watching more imomsohard videos. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Don’t forget to check out their website for tour dates too…. grab your mom friends and have the best night out with imomsohard live on stage!

Embrace Motherhood In This Season

I remember that from a very young age I wanted to be a mother. At 5, I knew I was going to have lots of children and by 8 I knew that I also wanted to adopt. I had a plan, y’all. And it was to be the very best mother I could possibly be. Now as an adult, I have come to find that your life doesn’t always go according to your plan. In fact, most times it doesn’t go at all the way you had planned. And that’s okay.

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Throughout my 8 years of being a mom, I am finally starting to embrace motherhood in this season. I think this means something different for every mother. We are all in different seasons of motherhood, and I am coming to find that they don’t last very long. The seasons of motherhood move rather quickly. Sometimes while we are in the rough, sleepless seasons, we don’t realize how fast they really go until we are looking back on them.

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For a long time, if things didn’t go according to my plan, I would be devastated, annoyed, angry, stressed, worrisome… anything but happy. As a little girl making my lifelong plans, I had no idea that having babies would be such a struggle for me. The thought of infertility didn’t even cross my mind.  So going through multiple miscarriages was a shock. And it certainly wasn’t a part of my plan.

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Over the years, I put a lot of pressure on myself… for multiple things but mostly due to the fact that my womanly parts weren’t working the way I wanted them to. I wanted lots of babies… all close in age. Why couldn’t I have that? Any time I saw pregnancy announcements, I would secretly wish that it were me announcing a new bundle of joy. I’ve cried a lot of tears. I’ve mumbled lots of angry words. I’ve questioned God. I’ve even yelled at Him a few times. “I’m a great mother, God! Why does this keep happening to me?!” And through all of that sadness and anger and confusion, I was missing something super important.

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Gratefulness. I was missing the whole point. Gratefulness that I AM a mother. That I was able to experience pregnancy and child birth and all the firsts. And that I’m not defined by how many earthy babies I have. And I’m not defined by my fertility journey. And I’m not even defined by my broken plans. I am a mother to a beautiful, smart, healthy, passionate, creative, funny, loving little girl. And I need to embrace that… and be grateful.

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I need to embrace that I am her momma. Embrace that she is at such a fun and quirky age. Embrace that I know more now than I did as a new mom. Embrace that we get to share in this journey together. So instead of focusing on how my life isn’t going according to my original plan, this life I have is still so good. This life I have is still so sweet and full of blessings. That needs to be my focus. Because if I am busy being upset about what I don’t have, I will miss out on what I do have. And I have a whole lot, y’all. This sweet girl made me a mother. My heart is so full because of her.

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Embrace the season you are in, mommas. We are so blessed to play this role. Remember that this time we have with our babies is fleeting. Embrace the moments. Be present. Breathe it all in. And be grateful.

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Photo credit: Hovering Heart Photography

Dresses/Jewelry: Forever 21

 

Where Does Sugar Hide?

Sugar is an added ingredient in almost all of our foods in one way or another.  There are also natural sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables.  So what do we need to be concerned about and what do we need to look for when shopping and looking for a healthier life style?  Sugar can be dangerous and harmful to our bodies if we at least don’t try using it in moderation. So you are probably asking, Where does sugar hide?

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The sugar in fruit is naturally occurring and is a monosaccharide called fructose, which is a carbohydrate.  This differs from table sugar, which is a disaccharide known as sucrose.  The sugar in fruits contains vitamins, minerals, and has health benefits, compared to the sugar we consume in a candy, crackers, juice, cereal, protein bars, soda, yogurt, etc. Too much sugar can aid in diabetes, obesity, addiction, cancer, raise your cholesterol and is full of empty calories.  

sugar3 So when looking at our food labels, be proactive and try to avoid buying a lot of foods that have high amounts of Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup.  You will be surprised when you start looking at all the foods you typically buy and how much Sugar and High Fructose Corn syrup is hiding in them… even foods that we think are healthier options.  Here are a group of items and you may be surprised by which ones have high amounts of sugar and/or High Fructose Corn Syrup in them.  Try to live a healthier life style by consuming sugary foods in moderation.

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Shannon {Fitness Food Diva}

 

Three Tips for Drinking More Water

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and DripDrop®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DrinkDripDrop #DripDropHydrates http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

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Friends. I have a confession. I don’t drink nearly enough water. I am a HUGE soda drinker (Diet Coke with ice and a cute straw please!) and I know that it’s time to cut it out of my diet. But guys. It’s really hard for me. So I’ve decided to focus on my soda-kicking goal a little differently. Instead of focusing on cutting soda out, I’m focusing on adding more water in. And I wanted to share these three tips for drinking more water, which has really helped me cut the soda out. 

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1. Add DripDrop to your water.

I have ruined my tongue with soda. It’s true. Water just seems so boring to me now (rude, I know). So I add a packet of DripDrop to my water bottle and it adds a delicious lemon (or berry!) flavor that helps me chug that water a bit faster. Plus, DripDrop has 2-3 times the electrolytes and half the calories as sports drinks, hydrating you 34% better than water. Win-win for me (and you)! Find it in your local CVS Pharmacy in the baby aisle. Use this coupon for $1 off while supplies last (1/25/15-2/29/15). 

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It’s even safe for kids (over one) and my daughter can add the DripDrop packet to her water all on her own. Encouraging health and independence… #momwin. 

2. It’s all about the bottle.

I know, I know. You heard it’s all about the ‘base’… but actually, my friends, it’s all about the bottle. Get yourself a water bottle (and everyone else in your family for that matter) and keep it full and with you all the time. Let me tell you that drinking water is no big thang for my daughter now that she’s got a Frozen water bottle.

Going to the grocery store? Take the water bottle. Running out the door for a playdate? Don’t forget the water bottle. Leaving for work? Grab that water bottle! You are less likely to pull through the drive-thru or stop at a convenience store for a soda or other sugary drink if you have your drink on you already. 

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3. Add fruit to your water.

Not only does adding fruit to your water make it pretty, but it also infuses it with nutrients and yummy flavor. It’s easy to toss in a couple lemon, lime, or cucumber slices! I even love strawberries or raspberries in my water.

I fill up a pitcher of water and ice and fruit each morning and keep it in the fridge to refill my water bottle throughout the day. Then I add some DripDrop to my drink and BAM! I’ve got a pretty, nutritious, hydrating beverage. Soda shmoda, am I right?

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 I’m really hoping that in a few weeks, it’s no big thang and I have soda kicked to the curb. Let’s face it… us busy mommas need to take the time to take care of ourselves too. And one thing we can surely do to be more healthy is drink more water and to encourage our family to do so as well. 

Anyone want to join me in drinking more water?! I hope these three tips help you!

Five Steps to a Healthier You

Good morning mommas! I am so excited to introduce you to our new Fitness and Health Contributor here at Mine for the Making. Shannon of Fitness Food Diva has a passion for healthy foods and healthy life choices and it shines through on her blog. I am so happy she is apart of our Creative Team this year!

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Five steps to a healthier YOU starts by getting the idea out of your head that you need to DIET to get healthy and/or loose weight.  “Diets”, as it has been said over and over are so restrictive.  As soon as I here the word “diet” I cringe.  No one wants to omit everything in life that is good and puts a smile on your face while you eat it.  Those moments must exist.  Food is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, so do not deprive yourself.  Being healthy consists of setting goals, making good choices (not perfect), getting rest, staying active, and incorporating more water into your day.  These simple yet attainable steps can be accomplished in making a healthier you.

  5 Steps to a Healthier You

1. Setting goals:  This is such an important part of everyday life, from setting simple daily goals like; reading every night to your kids, paying your bills, calling a friend, etc.  Goals are meant to be reached and acquire a feeling of accomplishment.  Each goal needs to be obtainable and realistic wether it is personal or family oriented.  If you are looking to set goal for a healthier you, make them real to your character.  Write them down, look at them and hold yourself accountable for them.  If you are setting goals for working out, then start with something simple like, join a gym, get familiar with the equipment by asking one of the employees to show you around (if you don’t have a personal trainer).  Try to go to the gym a few times a week and then set another goal for more.  Goals are meant to be set, worked towards and accomplished, which in turn provide us a sense of happiness and accomplishment and a healthier you.

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2. Making Good Choices:  This is a hard step and I understand that.  Making good (healthier) choices when it come to food and snacks is not always easy.  We think it is, but when you are in a hurry fast food is always so much easier than going to the store and making dinner but, this is where setting goals can help.  Plan out what you need for the week to provide yourself the healthier choices in meals and snacks so you are less tempted for the fast food or sugary snacks.  Instead of eating out every night, choose to eat in and make a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner a several times a week.  Try to avoid the high calorie snacks that spike your sugar levels and then leave you crashing, they are not your friend.  Snacking needs to turn into “GRAZING”, eating something “good”every three hours.  For example choose a Quest Protein bar instead of a candy bar or granola bar.  Eat pretzels in place of chips, choose whole wheat crackers rather than white flour cracker.  Replace white rice with quinoa or brown rice.  Drink lemon water or crystal light rather than reaching for high sugar sodas or sports drinks.   Try more fruits and vegetables in lieu of candy or cookies.  Staying away from high fructose corn syrup, which is in a lot of foods is a really simple choice that will help towards a healthier you.

3. Getting Rest:  We always here “we need eight hours of sleep” to be fully rested.  I admit, it is hard to go bed at night especially when there are only so many hours in the day to get things done.  I know I am always trying to fit a million things in after I get off work before going to bed and my night continue to get longer and the morning begins to come quicker.  Sleep is so important to our recovery from the day and how we are able to attack the next day.  When we feel tired and sluggish that is when we start to slip on our goals and go for the bad food choices rather than the good, which really often make us feel worse.  Eight hours is hard and sometimes just unrealistic, but it is essential to rebooting our bodies to a healthier you.

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4. Staying Active:  Getting out everyday and just moving can make us feel better and keep our heart and mind strong.  Wearing a pedometer can help you set goals to move a certain amount of steps each day, which can be at home or work.  If you sit at a computer all day it is good to step away and relax your eyes and stretch your body out.  Staying active doesn’t mean you have to run 5 miles everyday or do hours of yoga, it simply means “move!”  Play with your kids, wash your car, vacuum, walk the dog.  Being sedentary is not an option, we must find a way to get our bodies moving to provide a healthier you. 

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5. Drinking more water:   Water is truly a big must for me.  I try to drink a gallon of water a day ( a bit obsessive), but trying to drink one 8 ounce glass of water every hour is not unreasonable.  Again, it comes back to setting goals, making smart choices, avoiding fatigue, and staying active.  Drinking water is essential to our health.  It helps us to control calories, if we drink more water we feel fuller and will eat a little less.  Water helps us push through those final sets at the gym by providing energy to our muscles and helps replenish the water we loose when we sweat.  I like to put a little amino acids in my water at the gym to help retain muscle mass . Water helps us have clearer skin by flushing out toxins in our body, it helps avoid muscle cramps from dehydration.  Water keeps all things flowing through our bodies and is a large step in becoming a healthier YOU. 

I hope these tips make it a bit easier for you to becoming a healthier YOU this year! I’d love for you to head over to my blog for great workouts and yummy, healthy recipes.

Shannon {Fitness Food Diva}

 

Mommy Tell All Monday: Teaching Your Kids to Give

Christmas is only 10 days away friends! Can you believe it? Sara, our parenting and motherhood contributor, is here today to share her thoughts on Teaching Your Kids to Give. This is something that is near and dear to my heart, and I love that Sara has so many great tips and resources for us in today’s post!

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A few months ago we learned that one of our neighbors was in need of a bed. They have three children, two boys and one girl. The girl being the baby of the family was able to sleep on one bed but the two large boys that are over the age of ten shared the other twin size bed. Here’s the thing, we had a bed that wasn’t being used. It’s the bed that our 14 year old used to sleep on before she moved out. We have sleepovers with her but not often enough where we would need a bed instead of an air mattress.

Before taking the bed to our neighbor’s house we had the conversation with our 16 year old that her sister’s bed was needed elsewhere. This was a hard thing to talk about, fragile that her sister was no longer living with her and also that she hasn’t “owned” much in her life, giving something away was a hard concept. After our discussion, whether she understood why we needed to give a bed to someone who needed it more than us or not, we logically walked it over to our neighbor’s house.

Considering the time she has spent in foster care and various things that she has experienced in life, I did not expect our daughter to grasp the idea that someone might be more in need than she was. But it opened my eyes to the fact that I had to start teaching my children to understand the meaning of giving if I wanted them to become givers. I personally know adults who would give the shirts off their back to people on the street. Even my grandmother once took my dad’s only pair of shoes because a homeless man was barefoot; she knew my dad could afford to buy another pair! I admire the people who have giving hearts, who so naturally consider others’ needs before their own.

I recently found myself walking down the aisles of Target trying to explain to my three and four year old that we are picking out a toy for another child. My son gets whiny and likes to become a noodle that falls to the ground when he’s mad and my daughter just cries out of sadness that the shopping trip isn’t for her. It would be so very easy to just not include them while I’m purchasing a gift for a child in need but I’ve decided it’s a battle I’ll choose. Even at their young and naturally selfish age I want my kids to see what giving looks like. I want them to see that mom can provide for someone else’s tangible needs. I don’t want everything to be about whether you celebrate Christmas or not, blessing someone can happen all year long. Fortunately this time of year provides you with many opportunities to give as organizations are trying to keep people warm and fed. My kids are still very young, especially my one and two year olds, but if our family “adopts” a family each year to bless it will become a tradition to shop for another family. And year after year as my kids practice giving, my prayer is that their desire to give flows over into the rest of the year. Thinking of other’s needs before your own is countercultural, so I know that it’s my responsibility to teach my children to be givers.

Are you thinking about giving something a little extra this season? Maybe you are looking for ways to include your children in a service project? Contact some local homeless shelters or group homes to see how you can serve or what they are in need of this season. Find some churches around you; they are often doing projects that serve people in their community. Talk to the principal of your children’s school to see if there is a family in need that you could be a “Secret Santa” for.

And if you need some other ideas, here are some organizations that do huge Christmas operations:

Food for the hungry

Compassion International

Operation Christmas Child

The Angel Tree for Prison Fellowship

The Salvation Army

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Do you live in Phoenix?

Phoenix Rescue Mission

Phoenix Dream Center

Andre House of Hospitality

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If you’re a Momma like I am I’m sure that putting someone else’s needs before your own is what you do all day every day. You’re already modeling that for your kids, but don’t forget to talk about it as well. We are raising up the next generation, which is kind of a big deal right?!? Let’s turn our little humans into loving, responsible and compassionate adults.

Sara (A Mom’s Battle of the Selfie)

 

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Mommy Tell All Monday: 6 Health Tips for Mom

Thanks for joining us for Mommy Tell All Monday! Grab your mug of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate and kick your feet up. Sara, our health and fitness contributor, is back today to share 6 health tips for mom during the busy holiday season. I know this is something I definitely need to read!

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You can sense the change in the air. People are busier; the days are going by quicker as are the hours and minutes. We find ourselves rushing to check items off of our to-do list and, if you’re like me, you sit down at the end of the day unable to remember the last time you ate anything. We feel like we are being pulled in a million directions and one of the first things to get tossed aside is the focus on our own health.

Guess what?

That doesn’t benefit anyone, especially not us.

When life gets busy, don’t toss your health aside. How do you expect to be supermom when you’re not functioning at your optimal level?

Here are some helpful tips for when life gets busy:

1. Whatever you do, eat breakfast. 

I know, I know. You’ve got kids to get ready, lunches to pack, babies to tend to, work to rush to, and coffee to make. (Okay, maybe not coffee, but in my world I can’t function until after coffee o’clock.) Quite often, people skip breakfast because it’s inconvenient and/or they ‘aren’t breakfast people.’ Did you know that people who do not eat breakfast are more likely to be overweight/obese versus those who do eat breakfast? Eating breakfast helps to reduce hunger throughout the day and you’re more likely to make better choices throughout the day. There are many easy and on-the-go options to make breakfast more manageable: homemade smoothies, veggie omelet and whole wheat toast, whole grain cereal with fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit, and even a homemade breakfast sandwich (1/2 english muffin, scrambled egg, low-fat cheese, and a tomato). Breakfast really is one of the most important meals of the day.

2. Remember your water.

Not only does water provide hydration to your body, it also helps with hunger. A good tip before eating a meal or when you feel like you’re ‘starving’: drink 1 full glass of water. Not only will you feel refreshed, you will help ease hunger and fill your stomach. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t like the taste of water.” Okay, so, if we are talking actual flavor, water doesn’t have a flavor. (You may prefer one brand to another and I totally get ya on that.) Transform your boring ‘flavorless’ water into fancy water by adding some lemon slices, pieces of fruit, cucumber, or berries. Sweetened beverages deliver an estimated 75 to 150 calories a day; switching the water can save you up to 15 pounds a year!

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{Great recipes for fruit infused water at I Heart Nap Time}

3. Don’t forget your fiber.

By focusing on high-fiber foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains you can help maintain your weight. These types of foods are low in calories, but high in nutrients. High-fiber foods also take time to digest helping you feel fuller longer and easing hunger. I know snacking on carrot sticks and celery isn’t as fun as those chips, crackers, or chocolates, but in the long run you’re body will thank you. When it’s time to eat, go for the veggies first. Having a salad before a meal helps you fill-up on nutrients that help you feel full which then help you eat less at dinner.

4. Grab a plate.

I know your calendar is quickly filling up with holiday parties and family functions. I often find myself saying, ‘Yay, snacks!’ (I love snacks, like way too much). If you’re like me, you might find yourself camping out at the food table, catching up with people and your brain keeps telling you ‘eat all the snacks’. Hanging out near the snack table is quite possibly one of the worst things you can do. (Well, okay, I’m sure there are worse things you could do at a party, but that’s a topic for a totally different post.) When we stand near the snack table we lose count of just how much we’ve consumed therefore, causing us to consume a bucket load more calories than we should have. So, next time you’re at a party, grab a plate. It will help you control how much food you take and how often you go back for seconds. (Or thirds or fifths) You know someone at the party is tracking every morsel you put into your mouth (and wondering how you keep your girlish figure), make sure that someone is you.

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5. Get moving.

When schedules get full fitness is usually the first thing we begin to skip out on. People say, ‘I don’t have to go to the gym’ or ‘I don’t have enough time to workout’. And you know what, that might very well be true. However, you do have time to move. It is recommended that adults get 60 minutes of physical activity everyday. On days you may not have to time to hit the weights or gym there are other things you can do to get your booty moving: park in the farthest spot from the entrance to Target, take the stairs, go for a walk with the family, play with the kids at the park, turn on some tunes and dance while doing laundry (trust me, it helps the task of laundry suck a lot less). One of the best things you can do for yourself on the day of a special event is to get moving first thing in the morning. Physical activity helps to curb appetite caused by boredom, helps you burn calories, reduces stress, and it helps improve your self-esteem.

6. Moderation is key.

When the weather gets cooler (which is never in Arizona, but we like to pretend) one of the first things that comes to my mind is, ‘Pumpkin flavored everything!’ and I’m pretty sure I get more excited about a Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino than the average person should. Not to mention the holiday breads, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cakes, muffins, and eggnog. For me, giving up my favorite ridiculously calorie filled drinks or holiday snack items is not an option, but I also know that I can’t have them everyday. (I don’t even want to know how burpees it takes to work off a cookie from Paradise Bakery.) My motto becomes moderation. In reality, this is my motto year-round. I know when I feel deprived of something ‘good’ I can get grumpy and resentful of that cookie (how dare they taste so good, but be so bad) so enjoying things in moderation is a staple to my healthy life. If I know I want a Frappucino, I make it a special ‘date’ with myself. Seriously, I do. I normally take time every week, grab a drink, and go wander Target by myself enjoying every single calorie. When I know I have a date with my calories later in the week it helps me be more conscious of my food and fitness choices throughout the week. The same thing applies with other functions in the week: date night, parties, football games, etc. If I know something special is coming up and I know I will ‘let loose’ more than normal, I make better choices throughout the week. Unfortunately, it’s not good for our hips or thighs to eat ALL the cookies, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them in moderation with balanced diet. {P.S. A cookie from Paradise Bakery contains upward of 280 calories which equates to approximately 275+ burpees.} 

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Life gets busy.

Life gets hard.

Don’t lose focus on what’s important: you and your health.

Light and Love,

Sara

Mommy Tell All Monday: Party Pressure

Hello mommas and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday! An *almost* weekly series where we share ALL things MOTHERHOOD. Because let’s face it, motherhood is not easy….but it sure is rewarding! Our parenting and motherhood contributor, Sara, is here to talk about some serious business today, ladies… Party Pressure. Do you ever feel pressured into throwing a Pinterest-style party?! I know I feel weak in the knees for an adorably styled party…but sometimes the stress and the pressure can take out some of the fun. Let’s read what Sara has to say on the topic…

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My husband and I both turned the big 3-0 this year! I’ll never forget the conversation that I had with him six weeks prior to his birthday. We were talking with my sister-in-law and when his approaching celebration was mentioned I asked him what he wanted to do. His response was something similar to “You don’t have anything planned yet? I thought you would throw me a surprise party.” Apparently with a 3 month-old baby and a house full of kids I was expected to plan the party of the year, a fabulous surprise party that included a DJ in our backyard along with everyone we know. I had already disappointed him and we were weeks away!

Now moving on to the children . . .

I have quite the list of birthdays. After my husband kicks us off in April my son Gavin’s birthday is in June, and we have a birthday each month from June until November. It’s pretty overwhelming to plan five birthday parties. If I was sticking to a Pinterest idea and planning crafts for each themed party, I would literally be working on “birthday party projects” for approximately 24 weeks in a row. After each celebration I would move on to projects for the next birthday and it would be this cycle of party prep that would lead me directly into the stress of the holidays.

Sounds exciting huh?

Some women get life from creating and planning parties and I’m just over here trying to keep my head above the water and survive my house. At night when everyone is asleep the last thing that I want to do is start crafting and working.

From 7pm on I actually have time to sit with my husband and watch one of our shows or some nights I enjoy a bath with a magazine. Kudos to the Momma’s who plan amazing parties. Seriously, I love that others love to throw beautiful parties for their kids but I recognize that I am not that mom and I own it. I can’t feel guilty because if I let that guilt get to me I would be constantly working on a party and I’ve made a commitment to looking at the larger picture of where my time is spent.

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My kids will survive a birthday party where the food is not labeled. They won’t remember the fancy way that I set the dishes up; they’ll just want to eat. Sometimes I leave chips in the bag and don’t even pour them into a bowl, crazy right? And who started this party favors craze? I remember the bags that our parents used to stuff with candy and cheap toys and now I have to come up with something really creative that fits with the theme for kids to take when they leave. My solution is happiness; they can take home some happiness from the party they just enjoyed.

Here are some of the ways that I’ve lightened the load on myself for parties in our home:

• I have combined birthdays that were close, my 3 year-old son Gavin and 16 year- old daughter Pima shared a party in July. I know what you’re thinking, “How do you plan a theme for a 3 year-old and 16 year-old?” You don’t. No theme, just a party.

• Our little D just turned 2 and actually shared a celebration with a cousin the same age and even his Nana & Papa. A four-way birthday celebration and there WAS a theme! It was “Pirates” and the kids “treasure hunted” for rocks around the house. It was the most thrilling thing for preschoolers, especially following their papa around who was wearing an eye patch and talking most of the night in his pirate voice.

• We have limited the number of attendees. My husband and I know and LOVE a ton of people. Unfortunately we can’t always invite everyone to parties, but I don’t think feelings have been hurt and if they are I don’t care. I care that my kids have a great time, and I can’t stress over feeding more people than I can afford.

• I’ve never rented something for a party. If we have used bounce houses, they are ones friends own or we have borrowed from our church. Have you ever made a list of items that you needed for a party and then asked friends if they had those items before actually purchasing them? I bet you might find yourself saving some money! Table clothes, serving dishes, drink dispensers, silverware and decorations are all things that I have borrowed for parties before!

• I cut myself some slack when things don’t go the way I planned. I have pinned some crafts or displays before that I’ve wanted to use at parties. If I only got around to making one of the five things that I pinned- I give myself a pat on the back. One is better than none and your guests don’t walk around your party thinking of things that you could have made, they’re enjoying the free drinks and food!

• When my family members or friends offer to bring something to a birthday party I let them. Most often my mom and mother-in-law bring things to pitch in and although I want to do everything on my own I force myself to take their offers because you know what- this Momma doesn’t want to stay up until midnight baking cupcakes.

• If I do have some extra money for the party, I try to choose ONE thing to spend it on. Like I’ll purchase treats instead of baking them. Or I’ll purchase decorations but will make my own food. I might decide to buy invitations and stamps instead of sending out an evite. It all depends on the party and where I’m feeling like that money would be helpful to me at the time.

• Finally, since I have so many kids to cover (and this isn’t for everyone) we don’t do much for our one-year-olds. You can “boo” me if you want to but I just don’t have it in me to create a large celebration for my baby who won’t remember it. Often those parties are for parents and if I’m going to party, it’s going to be over cocktails with friends, not with cake and a bunch of infants. Again, no offense to the parents who have the large bash for the one-year-old, I had one for Brooklyn but now I’m on my fourth one year-old and he will be happy simply having a cupcake over dinner.

Oh my goodness I could go on forever. Our materialistic culture has created an expectation for larger-than-life birthday parties and let me tell you I have been to some and they are amazing! I wish my budget and time allowed me to throw large parties for all of my kids every year, but unfortunately I can’t afford that.

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Even if I could afford it, I think it would add more stress the following year to try to outdo the previous birthday party. It could easily turn into a crazy cycle for me. So for now I stay out of that cycle, I ask for help and put more of my focus into the love that people feel when they walk into my door rather than the expensive food they are tasting or the goodies that they’ll leave with.

PS- A little confession. The picture at the top of this post that includes my husband, son and daughter is from the most expensive party that I’ve ever thrown. However, I had combined Gavin’s second birthday party (of course there wasn’t one for his first) along with his ADOPTION party. So we had a HUGE reason to celebrate.

Adoption is really a gift from God and we were happy to party for that reason! 

 

So, let’ here it. Have you ever felt Party Pressure? Are you aHUGE party thrower, or do you like a small simple party like Sara?

Mommy Tell All Monday: Fit Moms Have to Eat

Good morning and happy Monday mommas! Sara is back again this month with more Mommy Fitness tips and tricks for us! Today’s topic is all about one of my favorite things… FOOD! Sara is sharing that Fit Moms Have to Eat in order to lose unwanted weight/gain muscle. Sara shares some great tips and go-to recipes for the busy mom who is trying to stay fit. 

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When you bring a new baby home everything changes instantly. When I became a new mom, I found that it was a crash course in time management. Here I was with my thoughts of, “I can get so much done when the baby is sleeping or playing or –fill-in the blank–.” Don’t worry, I can hear you giggling now as you read this because you know what I didn’t know, having a brand-new baby takes so much time.

Now, for the most part I figured it out the tricks for finding tid-bits of time to get things done here and there.

What I didn’t have figured out was something pretty essential to sustaining life (and sanity): eating.

Seriously, eating.

There would be evenings my husband and I would say, “Gosh, we are so hungry” and then try to recount the last actual meal we had eaten. Sometimes, we wouldn’t have eaten since breakfast and others it would be the night prior.

For someone who loves food, not eating really doesn’t bode well for the body or mind (you know you’ve all reached a point of being ‘hangry’ before). Also, when you’re trying to lose the baby weight (that was supposed to magically go away because you’re breastfeeding, but it didn’t so now you actually have to work at it) not eating makes losing weight really difficult.

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Did you know that when you skip meals it makes it more difficult for your body to sustain enough energy to properly function? Your body actually goes into starvation mode and takes whatever you eat (healthy or not) and stores it as fat to be later used as energy because it has no idea when it will be fed again.

Yeah, so, not eating = not a good weight loss trick.

For the first three months postpartum when I figured out eating actually helped, a lot, I lost a bit of the baby weight.

And then, nothing.

For two months.

Not a single pound.

Eating is one thing, but eating the right foods is a whole other thing. (Doughnuts aren’t healthy, say what?)

For me, I knew I had to clean it up. (Seriously, why can’t doughnuts be healthy?)

Now, if you know me, you know I don’t cook. I bake…. Which of course is completely counterproductive to losing weight.

In our household, my husband is the cook, but he is also a fireman which meant that for forty-eight hours I was on my own for meals. Six meals to be exact. For a girl who doesn’t cook and can’t cook very well, that’s too much thinking and too much work. Add a brand-new baby in the mix and that makes the task of cooking a meal daunting.

To solve that problem we began to prepare meals that were very simple for him to prepare ahead of time, easily re-heatable, and versatile. This included meats, veggies, and breakfast pancakes. (C’mon, if doughnuts were out of the picture I needed something to take its place.)

I am a master at re-heating foods.

I’m also a master at eating really healthy if someone else does the work. (Thank you, husband.)

The plan worked. Within a matter of months, I dropped the baby weight and by the time my daughter was eight months old I was in my pre-baby jeans. (My goal was to be in them by twelve months so eight was stellar in my book.)

One of our go-to recipes that is part of our weekly menu is Mexican-style shredded chicken. It’s so simple and easy to prepare that even I can do it. (Can we get a cheer for crock-pot meals?!) Plus, it is super versatile and can be used on a salad, tacos, healthy tex-mex burritos, healthy enchiladas, or, if time is really tight, heaped on a plate with a side of sweet potato.

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Mexican-style Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:

3 lbs. Chicken

Dash of garlic salt, cumin, Spanish seasoning of your choice

1 large can of Mexican stewed tomatoes

1 can of Rotel

1 small diced onion

1 can of green chilies

Directions:

Chuck it all in the crock-pot and let it cook. Our timing depends on how quickly we want to eat it; we put it on high if we need it within a few hours or on low when we want it after a workday. Once the chicken is ready, shred it and enjoy.

For breakfast, I am a fan of easy-peasy. I normally scramble four egg whites and one whole egg to be enjoyed with a side of healthy pancakes. The pancakes my husband throws together are amazing, but he literally throws them together so I have no idea what the ‘recipe’ is. Maybe someday he will actually come up with a recipe for me to share. Until that day, however, you’ll just have to enjoy this photo of said delicious pancakes.

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Finding time to cook is difficult when you have a new baby (or have kids, or a job, or a life) at home.

It’s easy to just go through a drive-thru or pick-up something that can be thrown in the microwave. But, with a little planning you can make really healthy and really yummy food that you can use throughout the week.

Don’t let all of your hard work in the gym and in life get sabotaged by what does (or lets be real, does not) in the kitchen.

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Light and Love,

Sara

Mommy Tell All Monday: Daydreamer

Happy Monday, mommas! Mommy Tell All Monday is our weekly meet-up to discuss all things *motherhood.* Grab a cup of tea, infused water, soda, coffee…and kick back for another awesome read from our Parenting/Motherhood contributor, Sara of A Mom’s Battle of the Selfie. Today she’s discussing the importance of being a daydreamer… 

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Live in the moment.

Be present with your kids.

Live each day to the fullest.

These are all common sayings that I’ve heard. They are themes that fit well into our present time with the amount of social media at our fingertips. I believe that statements like these could apply to anyone, and maybe parents need to hear them as reminders often.

I know that some moms keep their phones in a different room, or even on silent to not distract from time with their kids. For myself, my distraction is not my phone but my mind.

I’m a daydreamer.

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I let my mind wander to places often. When I’m working out I put fun dance and hip hop music in my ears and I take my mind back to my college days dancing with best friends. There was one year that we went out at least once a weekend and would dance our hearts out to the music, I think about those moments when I’m running and it makes time fly. I hate running, so anything that helps to make it go faster is worth it.

I daydream about the day that I met my husband. The times that we had together as friends, the hours we spent talking and laughing. I think back to the first time he admitted his feelings to me and even the first time we kissed. My mind wanders to the night he proposed, the butterflies that I always felt in my stomach when I was around him. Daydreaming about him reminds me of where we started and then it makes me smile to know how far we’ve come.

Sometimes I daydream about what my life will be like when all of my kids are in school. Oh my goodness, the possibilities are endless as to what I could do! Am I volunteering in classrooms? Will I have extra time to meal plan and serve healthier choices to our family? Maybe I will start ironing our clothes again, no probably not enough time for that. There might be some time to reconnect myself spiritually, something that I can’t find much time for now.

On really long days I often daydream about any upcoming vacations. Our family headed to Disneyland and the sparkle that shines in my children’s eyes when we’re there. Or my best friend’s wedding weekend that will be like a mini getaway; something that I’ve been looking forward to for years. I also dream back to my time spent in India with a ministry that my family loves and supports. I think about the children there and I pray for them. That daydream quickly brings me back to how blessed I am in my current reality.

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My absolute favorite thing to daydream about is decorating! I think about the next spot that I can move my couches to, or what old piece of furniture I would like to find to complete a specific room. If we ever had a chunk of money to renovate a part of our home I think about the changes I would make. Or I dream about the day that all of the large plastic toys are out of our backyard and the different things we could do with that space.

Clearly, I daydream all day long. My mind is not something that I can turn off or place in the other room. In some ways I think that it’s just as distracting as a phone, however I don’t think that it’s all that bad. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m on the border of always looking to what’s next and not reflecting on the good in the present. But I also don’t think its bad to hope, have ideas or even dream a little about things to come. And in some ways, it’s neat to reminisce about events of the past; times that will forever be special and even molded me into the woman, wife and mother that I am today.

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Let your mind wander. Whether your kids are next to you playing or in their room taking naps, go ahead and daydream a little. Dream about them, your spouse, your friends or the future. Maybe you’ll have some inspiration. Maybe you’ll feel blessed to think about your personal journey. Maybe some of your daydreams will turn into reality.

*All photos were taken by Michele Lundborg Photography, LLC