Dec 18, 2013

Dance Party!

This year I started a new tradition!  I got the stellar idea from here (at IHeartOrganizing).  I wanted to do it last year...but of course....I got too busy and put it aside for another year.  Well this is the year I finally started it.  I printed off her cute FREE printables because I loved ALL of her activity ideas.  The other night was "Pajama Dance Party".  To make it even more fun for the kids, I turned out the lights and busted out the glow sticks.  The kiddies LOVED it and didn't want to stop.  We had so much fun!  Another plus, the kids were out like a light once bedtime rolled around!   

Even baby Jax got excited!  He was shrieking with delight!

 Okay, and these pics have nothing to do with the dance party....but I had to add them in!  Look at my little troll!  He's so cute!  This is what happens when Jax feeds himself (which is ALWAYS nowadays because he can't stand it if he isn't holding the spoon).  I have to wipe his head down with a wet cloth to remove most of the chunks before throwing him in the bath!  Enter: CRAZY hair!

I have to say, this whole activity advent thing has been a LOT of fun, and not too much work.  We have skipped a few days here and there when it gets too busy, but the activities are simple, which makes it completely do-able for me! :)  I need easy, or I get overwhelmed, and don't do any of it.

What about you?  Do you have any fun traditions?  Do share!


Dec 12, 2013

Magical Moment

A little miracle occurred tonight!  I have to blog about it!  So in my previous post, I had mentioned that I have been struggling with my skills as a mother.  So of course, I find a book to tell me how to be better.  No joke.  I love reading, and I also read a lot about ways to improve myself.  You know....self help books.
Well, I'm reading a very interesting book right now, called "Christlike Parenting" by Dr. Glenn Latham.  It started off a little crazy.  One of the scenarios blew my mind.  Near the beginning of the book, I was on the fence about his ideas of how to parent an unruly child.  But the deeper I delve into the book....the more I am on board with his ideas.  Basically, his whole premise, is to parent like Christ does....with love.  Only with love.  You are never to yell, say hurtful things or show anger.  You are to stay in control at all times.  Now before you stop reading right here and now....listen to this scenario that just occurred.  Miracle I tell you!!!
I took my kids out to a big birthday party at a roller skating rink.  When it was time to go, my daughter (6 yrs old) had a meltdown.  Crying hysterically.  She wanted to stay and skate longer with her friend, but I needed to get the boys home to bed.  So, I finally made it out to our car, and started driving home.  My daughter did not stop crying the WHOLE 15 minute drive home.  She went on and on about how unfair it was that she had to leave, and how she never gets to do anything she wants.  She continued on with things like, "no one ever loves me, no one cares about me, I hate myself".  By this point I knew she had all out lost it and had no control over her emotions.  My first initial impulse was to start arguing with her, and harping on her about how she was being over dramatic and ridiculous.  My blood was starting to boil, and I could feel myself starting to get angry and frustrated.  In times like these, as of late, I've been known to go off on a tangent about how ridiculous she sounded and to stop crying right this instant!  In that moment, I decided to try and apply one of the skills taught in my book.
I kept my mouth shut.  I did not want to lose control of my emotions.  So I didn't say anything at all.  There were many different times in that 15 minutes that I wanted to start in on her, and tell her to be quiet.  I spoke maybe once or twice....when I knew I had complete composure, softly explaining that she needed to stop crying and that I wouldn't be talking to her until she was in control of her emotions.  She tried many times to engage me, by saying ridiculous things, just to get a response from me.  But I stayed quiet (that in itself is an amazing feat!).
But the miracle occurred once we got home.  As I was standing in the kitchen I felt a tight hug from behind.  At first, I thought it was my son Lincoln, because he is a doll like that.  Giving hugs for no reason.  But upon closer inspection, I realized it was my daughter.  Just like that, she had stopped crying, and she said, "I love you mom.  I'm sorry I said all of those things".  WHAT?!  In total shock here, people.  My daughter felt remorse, and realized that she was in the wrong.  I sat her down on my lap and squeezed her tightly, right there on the kitchen floor.  I told her how much her apology meant to me, and told her how much I loved her.

This was a magical moment.  Now, if only I can do this ALL of the time. 

P.S.  As a side note, I read something about a woman trying to go 365 days without yelling at her children.  She is now on day 400 and something....I think.  Wouldn't that be an interesting experiment.  I'm considering it.

What do you think about that?  Do you think it's possible to go without yelling?  Also, do you agree with the concept of parenting with love, and never using anger either physically or verbally? 



Recently I read a post from a blog I just started reading about women/mothers being AMAZING.  I loved the post.  It is truth.
Then today, I went out for lunch with a neighbor, and she half jokingly said that I was her "idol" as a mom.  "HUH!  WHAT on earth are you SMOKING?", was my first thought.
Funny thing is, I've been struggling lately with my role as mother, and feeling extremely bad about my mothering skills! 
I remember when I was a new mother, and I would go walking with a group of mothers in the morning for exercise.  I remember listening to them talk about how bad they felt as a mother and how guilty they always felt.  I thought it strange, since I had never encountered that feeling as a mother (my baby was about 6 or 8 months old).  At that time in my life, I felt like I gave EVERYTHING up, and gave, and gave and gave some more.  There was nothing left to give, so I couldn't comprehend how these mothers could even say they felt guilty.  It was beyond me. 
But I GET IT now!  It seems the older the children get, the guiltier I feel.  My weaknesses and shortcomings are more and more apparent.  I often get fearful that I am ruining my children with my crappy communication skills, and lack of patience.
Being a mother is definitely a journey.  It is helping me grow in ways I never knew possible.  I think we get better with time, all of us!  We learn new skills, and improve our whole life because of it.  I think that is one of the reasons why God intended for us to be that we could grow and learn and improve ourselves.
It's easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others.  It seems we base our weaknesses off of other people's strengths.  In my case, I do it with my mothering skills (and I'm sure MANY other areas of my life...HA!).  I see these unbelievably patient mothers, and wish so badly I could have that kind of patience.  I see other mothers who keep their home immaculate, and wish that could be me every single minute of the day.  I see other families praying and reading scriptures every. single. night, without fail, and wish I could keep to that schedule.  Basically, there are a lot of things I wish I could be better at.  And I really do believe that one day.....I any area I put my focus in.  Thank goodness I don't have to be perfect now.  All I can do is try. 
And like this post states, we are AMAZING, because we keep trying.  We keep going and we don't give up, no matter what!
These children are worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. 


Dec 5, 2013

5 Acres and a Dream


I've mentioned before that I'm very interested in learning and acquiring skills to become more self-sufficient.  One of the first blogs that I started reading was 5 Acres and a Dream.  I LOVE her (Leigh's) site.  She is an amazing writer, and has lots of useful information to help anyone interested in homesteading.  Well, it just so happens that she just published her first book, all about her homesteading successes and failures......AND she is offering a FREE copy of her book, to one lucky winner. 

If you are interested in entering, go here.  I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Nov 9, 2013

OOTD: Sunday Best

One of my favorite things about fall is that I can start bringing out my flat, tall boots for church on Sundays.  They are so comfortable, and if I forget to shave my legs....oh well, nobody can tell anyways! :)  I love it!  


Nov 1, 2013

Organic? GMO's?

My Aunt was recently talking to me about organic foods and recommended some sites to visit.  I've researched and read countless articles online about the food we eat, all the pesticides, chemicals, and genetically modified organisms (GMO's) that are in the foods we the past.  I've also read a few articles stating that organic food is no better than regular produce at the grocery stores.  I've always kind of been on the fence about the whole thing.  Mostly because I didn't want to fork out the extra money for organic food.  I've always felt that I couldn't afford to pay extra.
Also, I've wondered about GMO's.  The FDA and USDA has stated that the pesticides, and GMO crops are safe for consumption.  Of course, there are other scientists that state differently and say that GMO's have been linked to a host of diseases and ailments, even cancer.  I often have felt frustrated not knowing which side to believe....until I read THIS article. 
Another friend of mine shared his opinion on GMO's and related it to the idea of survival of the fittest.  He feels that, sure, many people will adapt to the GMO's they consume and will not have any side effects, because their bodies are strong, and then also at the same time, that many will have side effects because their bodies were not strong enough.
I tend to agree with this.  I obviously don't think everybody is going to become sterile, but I believe that there is the potential for some to be affected this way based on the studies that Dr. Hubert conducted and countless other articles that I've read.
How can putting anything (glyphosate in GMO crops) poison into your body, ever be good for you?  I'd rather not risk it.
With that said....changing the way my family eats feels overwhelming, almost like an impossible feat.  If I remember correctly, the soy produced in the US is  up to 95% genetically modified to be round up resistant.  There are all sorts of differing stats, so go look them up if you are interested.  This stat (95%) tends to be on the higher end.
Anyways, back to soy.  Soy is found in SO MANY products at the grocery store.  Read THIS article to find out what other names soy goes by in the ingredient list on your products label.  If I were to cut out soy from my family's diet, we would have almost nothing to eat!!
As any loving mom does, I worry about my children and what they eat.  I try to limit the amount of crap that they consume.  Sometimes I fail miserably.  Pre-packaged snacks (almost all of which contain soy) are an easy choice for busy mamas.  When my children were a bit younger, and my life was a LITTLE bit slower, I used to watch other moms shove that pre-packaged crap at their kids, and wonder how they could feed them so much crap.  Hahaha!  The jokes on me.  I fell into that same trap.  When you feel overwhelmed, and you are so tired of fighting with your kids to eat healthy, you start to think....ah, let them have a snack that they enjoy!  And when your kids start school, it is just too easy to throw in a bag of chips, pre-packaged apple sauce and sandwich and send them on their way.
After evaluating what we eat at my house....I think a couple of the biggest problems we have (considering GMO's) are cold cereal (for my son who asks for cold cereal at least 10 times per day), and snacks (graham crackers and tortilla chips are big at our house).
So my goal is going to be to start small.  I always run faster than I can, and end up falling flat on my face.  I am looking for alternatives to cold cereal and snacks to start off....SLOW.
I went to Trader Joe's the other day and bought a TON of organic stuff, including 3 bags of corn tortilla chips.  As far as the cold cereal goes, I think I just have to "wean" my son off of it.  He has at least 1 bowl every single day.  But if there is no cereal in the house, he'll have to find something else to beg for, right? 
Right now, I have the urge to throw everything out that contains soy, but I will refrain.  In reality, I'm too cheap to do that.  We will finish up our food, and start out slowly modifying our diets and what we buy.
Keep in mind that soy, corn and cotton are some of the highest GMO offenders out there.  Read your labels (if you care to do so), and do your own research.  You'll be amazed at all the information out there.  Some of which is ridiculous, of course.  You'll have to study it out for yourself.  As for me, I feel content with my opinion on GMO's....finally. 
Now if I could only decide if raw or homogenized, pasteurized milk is better for you?!  Got any input?


Oct 29, 2013

Grandparents and the Sugar Challenge

I love my parents!  They just came out to visit us/HELP me out for 2 WEEKS!  It was such a nice break for me.  My mom and dad played with the kids from sun up to sun down
The kids were in heaven.  They also were so wore out from all the playing....both my kids and my parents! haha!  I don't know how my parents did know....expend that much energy day in and day out.  But they did.  I feel so blessed to have had them stay.  I can never have that much energy nowadays.  I'm so wore out.  In fact, I kept telling my parents that I felt so tired.  Never in my life have I felt THIS tired.  I guess 3 kids will do that to you...especially if 2 of them were keeping you up every 2 hours for months on end. 
These pictures were taken while they were here visiting.  We all had so much fun!

Thank you Mom and Dad!!!  I seriously feel rejuvenated.  You were such a HUGE help to me, and the kids loved every single second of it.  We miss you so much already.

On a side note, I know in the past I was posting about weight loss.  I haven't given up....although I fell off the wagon there for a good solid 6 weeks....YIKES!  Gained 7 whopping pounds.  I ate horribly, and only worked out twice a week.  Well, I'm on a new kick!  Get used to it.  I do stuff like this all the time.  Ups and downs....but never give up!  Anyways, here's what I'm up to! 
NO SUGAR until Thanksgiving.  I know, I know....Halloween is right around the corner!  I'm doing it with a couple of friends.  My friends and I have decided to allow some sugar...such as flavored greek yogurt, honey, and even hot chocolate and apple cider.  I like allowing some sugar in the beginning to help curb my CRAZY cravings.  I love sugar soooo much.  My kids call me the sugar monster.  The plan is that once Thanksgiving hits, I will step it up a notch and take out the above mentioned sugars until Christmas.  I'm also counting calories.  No more than 1700 cals/day.  My other goals include doing cardio 5 times/wk (30 to 45 mins), and lifting 3-4 times/wk.  I do crossfit twice a week with some girlfriends, so I will include that as cardio, instead of lifting.  I always struggle with working crossfit into my workout plan.  I never know if I should include it as weights or cardio.  A lot of time, I am so tired and my muscles feel like jelly afterwards, that I couldn't possibly think of lifting a weight.  But I have been feeling stronger in the crossfit department.  So I am going to push myself beyond what I think I'm capable of.  Hopefully the results will show it.

Feel free to join me on the NO Sugar challenge.  This is the perfect time of year to know...right before the holidays!!  I would love to hear from you in the comments, and we can talk about our progress together for motivation throughout the challenge.  Have a great day!


Oct 23, 2013


I love fall weather!  It means I can drink hot apple cider every night!  Last year I was on a hot chocolate kick, but this year it's spiced apple cider.  Also, with the crisp cold mornings, come the big, cozy sweaters that I LOVE so much.  I got this one for $20.  Can you believe it?!  Ooooh, I LOVE a good deal!


Oct 17, 2013

The Wicked Witch of the West

Do you ever have those days, where your patience dwindles, and you feel like you are losing control of yourself?  Well I do.  I've been on a 3 day bender!  I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West!  My poor kids.  On days like these, I recognize that it is usually because I am sleep deprived.  No matter how hard I try to find my patience...I just can't get it!  I know when I feel this way, I just need to take a deep breath and appreciate what I have.  Instead of being agitated that my son won't stop whining and screaming, I should treasure his angelic little voice...because I know it will change one day waaaaaaay too soon.  Instead of feeling frustrated when my daughter is having a dramatic melt down (that I can't even comprehend), I should be grateful that she comes to me to cry about it....because one day, she may decide to go to someone else.  And instead of feeling annoyed when my sweet little baby won't stop crying the SECOND I put him down, I should cherish this time that I get to hold and cuddle him, because one day he will outgrow me and won't need my snuggles as much.
When I put things into perspective, it softens my heart.  I realize that these moments are so precious.  I don't want to waste a minute of my time with my children being angry or frustrated.  I want to cherish every. single. minute. 
Of course, I know this is impossible.  I am human.  I will get frustrated from time to time.  But when I feel like I am losing control....I like to use this perspective to bring me back down to reality.  The time we have with our children really is so short in the grand scheme of things.  I can't even tell you how many times I have heard older Mothers talk about how precious and short the moments were with their young children.
Even on my hardest day (I've had a few!), I wouldn't change it for the world.  I wanted to be a wife and mother from the time that I was a little girl.  That's all I wanted out of this life.  And I got it.  My dream came true. 


So, here's to perspective, and realizing what true joy is (even in the midst of chaos....ex. screaming, crying and fighting)!  I know being a Mother is one of the hardest things I have done, and will EVER do in my life, but it is oh so worth it.  I recognize that I am a better person because of it.  God knew I needed to be a mother so that I could become a better person.  I love Him for giving me the chance to change and grow.  And I LOVE being a mother, even if that means enduring the hard times.  Please remind me of this on my next bad day...okay?! :)


Oct 14, 2013

A boy and his bat

Lincoln at the breakfast table: "mom, I spy with my eye something purple!".  This is Lincoln's favorite new game and he tries to play it a bijillion times a day!
I adore this little man!  He is so full of life and laughter, and he has a pretty good swing!

Do you see little Jax crawling in the rocks???  I've come a long way.  My first child never even touched the ground (outside) until after a year old.  I was so paranoid that she would eat something gross, get bitten by some bug, or get dirt on her outfit or skin.  But now with my third.....oh geez!  I've relaxed a lot.  I figure a little dirt can't hurt too much right?!


Oct 11, 2013

Dollar Store

Hi!  Just thought I'd share a few things that I found at the Dollar Tree!  I love that place.  Seriously.  Back in September, I found these birds and skeletons:

I love it....and a big part of the reason for that is because it's a dollar!  I often find myself dragging my feet over home décor, or even holiday décor because I want to find the perfect pieces....because I HATE spending gobs of money on it, only later to find out that I hate it.  I'm really indecisive like that. 
Yesterday I hit up the dollar tree again and spent $25!  I got that little glitter pumpkin, and obviously, a ton of other things.
I've realized that I also struggle in the organization department.  I hate to spend money on something and then find out later that it wasn't functional, or the BEST option out there.  Dollar Tree to the rescue again.  I snagged a bunch of cute little baskets (all plastic), and am finding all sorts of things that I can organize and make more space for myself.  Here is a picture of 3 of those cute blue baskets:

Keep in mind that this is my master bathroom, and not one that guests will use often, so my big basket of tampons, although an eye sore, is functional for me.  Also, as I've mentioned before, I live in a rental, so I got the CHEAPEST metal shelf that I could find to create extra storage. This does not necessarily reflect my personal style....but what can you do!  I needed something fast and this is what I got!
I spend time thinking of my dream home.....often.  I can't even wait.  I'm too cheap to spend money on this rental.  I have pink, blue, white, and black blinds throughout the house (that were here before us), ugly kitchen cupboards, hideous kitchen counters, oh, and I could go on and on about all the things I want to change.  But I won't spend our hard earned money on it, even if it's a cheap things like blinds (or not so cheap depending on what you would replace it with).  I can't stand to spend money on something that isn't mine.  I'd rather save all my money, and use it for my DREAM home! :)
What about you?  What do you think about spending a LITTLE money to make things aesthetically pleasing...even if it's not yours???  And....what do you guys do for tampons???  I'm sure you hide them under the counter like any normal person should! haha!  But I can't help it.  I love when I find ideas to make it more functional.  Maybe I'll put them up in that large pink box up high on the shelf, and put something else in the blue basket....that way nobody can see them! :)