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Snack Thirty

Lemme just preface by saying this post isn’t about my snacking habits.

This time.

Before this summer, my kids weren’t super snack-y.  I mean, sure — from time to time they’d request gummies or an apple.  Nothing out of the ordinary and not super often.  Little did I know that dark days were upon our household.  Enter Summer 2018: the two and a half month period where my kids asked for snacks literally every ten minutes (no kidding — my oldest just came in and asked for a donut.  UH, NO).  I didn’t mind for about the first week.  I’d simply throw them a banana or give them a bowl of grapes and some water and send them on their way.  Then week two reared its ugly head; it was then that I realized my kitchen, nay, our LIVES would never be the same.

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Now, in case the obvious has escaped you, my parenting style is “sasshole”.   I haven’t always been this way, though.  No, there was a time when you could see me frolicking through the tulips, singing songs from The Sound of Music.  I’m done making apologies for that.  My kids are great, but they’re challenging.  It’s either be a sasshole or rock back and forth in a padded cell, and my insurance doesn’t cover that.  My kids, on the flip side, are newbie SNACKholes.  I mean, they could own Snickers commercials guys.  “Hungry?  Grab a case of Snickers.”  Except don’t, because: diabeetus.

My boys could have feasibly rivaled any hongry, hormonal woman during her monthly visit from Aunt Flo this summer.  Things got ugly, FAST.  You’d think that after almost 5 and 9 years of me being their mom that they’d know better.  Well, my children are smart, but no one has ever accused them of being Mensa smart.  And so the Battle of the (Mom’s Trying to Keep You From Developing a Stomach) Bulge began.  There were survivors — but only because I don’t do orange jumpsuits.  Also, I’m not mentally prepared to be anyone’s cell wife.

Listen, I’m no skinny-Minnie.  I’ve struggled with weight since I was a kid, partially because of a (legit) thyroid issue.  And I say “legit” thyroid issue because it’s just that — legit.  Not a, “I ate ten pies and a cake, and I don’t understand why my pants don’t fit” issue.  But because thyroid issues run through my family (as well as diabetes), I try really hard to make sure my kids understand that it’s okay to enjoy themselves but to believe in portion control and self-restraint.  My goal isn’t to be a party pooper, but for them to live their best lives — and part of that means self-control where eating is concerned.  My boys are healthy and active, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change those qualities one day down the road.

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It occurred to me that they could actually be hungry — they will be five and nine in the next week, after all.  Of course, they could also be bored (unlikely) or dehydrated (more likely).  So we agreed that they could have snacks if they A) had been largely active prior to eating a snack and B) had consumed x-amount of water prior to snacks.  This wasn’t a huge deal for either of them because they are pretty much constantly active and they both drink water without complaint.  I also told them that large amounts of junk food were out of the question and that our snack choices would be healthy.  At first, they were worried that snacks would be gross.  I distinctly remember Gabe saying, “Are we just going to eat lettuce all day?  Because we don’t like lettuce.”  And I get it — snacks are a part of childhood memories.  I assured him he wouldn’t eat lettuce 24/7 and that I would find fun, healthy alternatives.  He didn’t believe me.

Enter KidFresh Triple Cheese Pizza Bites.  They’re packed with hidden veggies which include pureed carrots and spinach (joke’s on you, bud!) and made with whole wheat flour.  There’s no high fructose corn syrup and nothing chemically engineered, so I feel totally cool with letting my kids nom on these!  Bonus: my kids love them and never believe me when I tell them about the “hidden” veggies.  And while KidFresh Pizza bites are considered a snack, I’ve even given them to my kids as lunch with a not-so-hidden vegetable and cup of applesauce.  Winning!

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My oldest starts school tomorrow and Connor begins a week after.  I’ve already promised them that these will be in our freezer ready for a school-afternoon-snack the minute they walk in the door — give or take fifteen minutes.

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photo courtesy: me. illustrations courtesy: kidfresh website.

Disclosure: The above opinions are those of my own; I am receiving no compensation from KidFresh brand, nor have I been approached by them to advertise.  This is simply a product that we, as a family, have tried and have enjoyed.  Any opinions given are given purely as personal recommendations to other parents and/or anyone interested in healthier snack options for little ones.  The above image is linked to the KidFresh website; illustrations are not my own.

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Poop & Circumstance

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” – Mary Poppins

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There’s a reason her name wasn’t Mary Poopins, y’all, and clearly, she never had to deal with one of Jane or Michael’s poop diapers. Sometimes there simply isn’t a big enough spoonful of sugar to make those BM explosions go away.

You’ll find a common theme in my posts among the rest of my Disney references that involve Miss Poppins. Girl had it going on, y’all, and I’d kill for that bag (in an updated fabric, of course). But, as is characteristic of opinions, I have to disagree with one of my favorite fictional characters on her “element of fun” mantra. I just can’t see myself gettin’ jiggy with a poop disaster. Sorry, lady — “A” for effort!

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I’m not necessarily complaining about diaper changes, guys. It comes with the territory, after all, and truth be told I’d rather deal with having to hose my kid down than having a little one with constipation issues. On that note, however, a spoonful of sugar ain’t gonna help that issue, either.

Being a mom of three, I feel like I can confidently say I’ve seen my fair share of different tummy and booty-cover nightmares. All three of my guys have had varied tummy issues, all of which have been a chore to sort out. Gabe was lactose intolerant until pre-k and, thankfully, we figured that out relatively quickly. He took to almond milk products really well and still likes them even now. Connor was my easiest to figure out as far as gastrointestinal fun goes, but even now his tummy can’t hold much of anything which leaves him as a “grazer”; no lie, it takes him an hour to eat dinner — or anything, for that matter — and even then he becomes full quickly. Mason has occasional bouts of constipation, which can be normal for his age, but Lord when he is experiencing constipation it’s a doozy. He has been harder to figure out as far as formula goes because he also deals with moderate acid reflux from time-to-time.

When he hit six months he was able to begin eating small amounts of whole milk yogurt. I bought a brand that I’d been eyeing since he was a newborn and was so excited to give it a go. I was a little nervous giving it to him as sometimes yogurt can be a little sour, but I was determined to try it anyway and hopeful that it would grow on him eventually. As luck would have it, he loved it and, bonus!, his tummy loves it, as well. The probiotics in HappyFamilyOrganics have done wonders with helping regulate his digestive system and the taste is absolutely on point. They aren’t limited to just yogurt for babies though, guys! Their products begin with mommas (breastfeeding bars!), and move on to babies, toddlers, and kiddos!

Listen, I’m in no way getting paid or otherwise reimbursed for my opinions. This may be a no-no in the blogosphere, but I just really felt like other moms and dads out there might need a recharge for baby tummies. I sure did! You all should also note that this product is being used in addition to small amounts of gripe water (when needed!). I try really hard not to give in to gas drops and gripe water unless absolutely necessary, although neither hurt him (gripe water is 100% natural! — here is the brand we use for drops and GW).

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I’ll be so glad once we are all finally past the baby tummy ache stage — I hate it when they hurt! But I am relieved to know that there are products out there that help keep everything moving as they should. What are some remedies or products you use or have used? Hit me up! Like this post? Sharing is caring!

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What is This “Effortless” You Speak Of?

What is with all of these “effortless” families I’m seeing on Instagram lately? Like, seriously. There is no way on Earth that you always look like you’re ready for an impromptu photo shoot.

I mean, we get it. You like for everyone to think that you have it all together as though you’ve stepped out from the pages of a Nordstrom catalog. And it really helps brand your creative image. But just like those effortless buns, that, again, let’s face it, we all know took you 2 hours and a 1/2 a can of dry shampoo to put together, we know all about the righteous chaos that is your life. Why? Oh, honey. Because we’re there, too.

Embrace it. Accept it. Life with children, although a wonderful thought, is not a fanciful, whimsical world. It is chaotic, loud, and often a muddy mess. Even Princess Kate has her off-days — even though, thanks to royal protocol, her kiddos kind of have to always look put-together. But don’t be fooled! She’s definitely the kind of mom I’d want to have triple shot mimosas with.

Listen, I’m not mom shaming or even being judgmental. I’d love to be “that mom” who color coordinates with her kids and has matching (but not matchy-matchy) tee shirts. I’d also love for my own messy-yet-effortless bun to be less Miss Trunchbull and more sexy, exotic Pinterest board, but that’s just not my life. But I digress. Like I said, I’m not mom shaming. I’m inviting you to the ease of letting kids pick out their own outfits (within reason and season), pull on some leggings, and come sit amongst my laundry pile fort and have a margarita with me. It’s five o’clock somewhere, and even if it isn’t I’ll toast up some frozen waffles and we’ll call it brunch.

You can go back to your regularly scheduled programming of fake-it-or-make-it after you’ve ugly cried and even uglier laughed during a Boy Meets World/chips and salsa marathon if you want. I won’t mind. But come sit with us hot mess moms for a second. You may hate it — but I’m betting you won’t.

Just a heads up — we wear pink on Wednesdays. But only because Karen left a red sock in with her whites a few weeks back and, well, we still haven’t beaten that joke to death yet.

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The Safeword is “Paw Patrol”

“I need you,” he sighs.

Don’t lock your doors and switch your browser to Incognito yet, y’all.  It’s just my four-year-old on the other side of the bathroom door, needing me to poke a straw in his millionth juice box.

It’s an age-old story that we moms know all too well.  I’m sure if you go back in obscure history you’d see that even the cave-mommas were subjected to their offspring rushing to the designated toilet-tree just to ask if they could ride the family sabertooth.  Nevermind that cave-daddy was sitting on a nearby rock, scratching his backside and watching grass grow.  Because, obviously, mom grunts, “YES, GET OUT OF MY FACE,” BETTER.

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To be honest, I’m not really sure where to place the bathroom creeper blame.  Is it my fault for dragging their baby swing into the bathroom with me just so I could shower when they were small?  Is it the obligatory, “Herd all the children into the bathroom so they don’t flood the joint” mentality?  Actually, that second one is pretty legit.  They’ve both been known to flood bathrooms.  THANKS, KIDS.

Lately, I blame my eight-year-old who has become an expert bathroom lock picker.  No, he’s not creepin’ on people who are using the facilities.  He only does it to me and only when Connor has been whining for 2+ minutes about aforementioned juice boxes — or anything else, for that matter.  “Moooom.  He just won’t quit whiniiiing,” he, himself, whines.  But that’s another post for another day.

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In the way of motherhood privacy, there is no such thing as “privacy”.  The only me time I get these days is when a child’s nose is pressed into the corner of our bathroom or a fitting room.  “If they can’t see me, I can’t see them.”  (Yes, I know that’s not the saying and, yes, I know that doesn’t actually work.  But I’m doin’ what I got to do.)  For the past approaching nine years, I have been watched closer than a Russian spy.  My kids know no boundaries, and if one of them doesn’t one day have a career in the FBI, then I’ll be sorely disappointed steamed.

I don’t know when bathroom visitation ends, but I’m not seeing a clear end in sight.  I’ve got minimally four years left (Mason) until my privacy probation ends with no chance of parole.  What I don’t understand is why this glorious potty booty call doesn’t happen to my husband.  IT NEVER HAPPENS TO HIM.  No one ever busts up in the bathroom when homeboy is taking a shower.  No one slides notes under the door for him asking when he’ll be done.  No one goes in full Kramer-style with a mango and the TV remote asking for a hamburger (that actually happened).  They leave him the hell alone.  There have been no threats issued.  No discussion.  They just… leave him to his devices (read: cell phone).

I gave birth to these children.  My dignity has long since gone down the toilet.  My body has gone to crap.  My patience has been washed down the drain.  AND I JUST WANT TO URINATE IN PEACE, DAMNIT.

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“Safeword is, ‘Paw Patrol’,” she mumbles to herself, as she zips up her pants and shuffles, defeated, to the living room.

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If Moms Put in Resumes

I’ve been a stay at home mom for going on three years now. Let me tell you — it isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. In fact, just being completely honest, it’s flipping hard. I went into my current “gig” thinking it would be a cinch; that I would be able to get SO MUCH DONE with all that FREE TIME I’D HAVE. Pftttttt. What is free time?! And y’all, I’m getting next to nothing done these days. Do you want to know when I’ve actually been able to achieve any of my housework/me-time goals? It was the three-month span between Connor starting pre-k in August and Mason’s birth in December of 2017.

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I got SO MUCH DONE. No, seriously. My house was clean. The baby’s room had (relatively) effortlessly come together. My laundry was largely kept up with. I SHOWERED DAILY. Hell, I even made it to the gym almost every day in those three months. It was amazing. And it all ended as quickly as it began. I don’t know what sparked my post-partum baby blues faster: the fact that my productivity levels would abruptly stop or the crashing hormones. In truth? Probably knowing that my house would, once again, be on permanent upheaval.

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I’m going to be real with you guys right now: I’m not a Mary Poppins, spoonful-of-sugar kind of mom. Nope. I’m definitely a weird mixture of Roseanne and Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond (minus the awful in-laws. I legitimately love my in-laws). My kids can attest to the fact that I put the “bear” in “momma bear”. With that said, three years in and I’m still not adjusted to this SAHM lifestyle. It’s just not something my personality type knows how to handle. And you know what? I’ve come to realize that’s okay.

Anyway, I’ve said all that to get to this: I’m very much looking for a job. Any job. I don’t care if it’s Hobby Lobby’s day-shift, I’ve got to have some Sarah-time, adult interaction before I blow a fuse. Unfortunately, my search has turned up a whole lot of nothing. I had an interview a few weeks ago for a school secretarial position, but the job was given to someone else with prior experience in that particular “field”, which — I get it. Really, I do. Total bummer and hit on the ego, but I understand why the decision had been made.

But that got me to thinking about maybe fixing up my resume, which got me to thinking, “What if moms put in resumes? What might that look like?”

This inquiry resulted in a surprisingly difficult-to-answer response. What makes moms tick? What makes us special? What makes us the so-called “glue” of the family? I don’t know about y’all, but I have a super hard time coming up with adjectives for myself — even those that are somewhat obvious. I also have a hard time giving myself credit where it is due. I’m the poster-child for being one’s worst critic. What I came up with was slightly humorous (not guffaw-worthy, obviously) and a little cliche. Okay, a lot cliche. But this little accidental exercise also helped me realize and remember some of my pre-mom self-worth. I was definitely given pause towards the end of my quick-ish presentation.

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Long story short: it’s hard being any kind of mom. At least, it’s hard if the mom in question is actually doing the “momming”. For me, personally, it’s hard because most of my mom friends work, live out of town, or have conflicting schedules. Sure, I have a tribe — but it’s a busy one. I can’t expect them to slow down to keep up with my pace. It’s also because my husband is gone Monday through Friday practically every week; the boys take that so hard and I really believe a lot of our week-to-week issues are because they just miss their dad. It’s because I went from being an independent, 3-job-working, college student to being a full-fledged mom. Obviously, this wasn’t an overnight occurrence, but y’all know how time flies. Gabe will be nine in August, and Connor five. I still vividly remember the days they were born. To further frost that cake, Mason will have his first birthday in December. My caboose baby is definitely not tee-tiny anymore and that hurts. It’s because I have literally craved peer-interaction since I was a toddler; it’s a weakness, I know — but that’s just part of my personality. Finally, I need to feel productive and worthwhile. I need to feel like I’m contributing to the cause and like I’m not just a glorified butt-wiper and toilet cleaner.

Is being a momma important? Absolutely. I love my boys; they are my heart. I’ve long-fought this, shall we say “demon”, of mine for a long time. Being a mom is part of who I am, now. And I love that. But this feeling that maybe I can find part of my old self in the chaotic toy-bin that is my head these days? That gives me some hope.

What would your mom resume look like?

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While in Biloxi

I’ve been MIA for awhile because, well, life has been unusually hectic. Our schedules could be likened to the Twister sequel, so I haven’t had much time to update much of anything. If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know where we vacationed over the weekend. If not, this past Wednesday we decided enough was enough and that we all needed a change of scenery. We didn’t have much room in our budget for a huge vacation, but we still wanted to do something that all of us would enjoy. A beach trip sounded like the ticket and, with that, off to Biloxi we went.

The boys had a blast on the beach and they love “camping out” in hotels. Mason did surprisingly well even though he did battle “travelers tummy”. Luckily, we found a Walmart near our hotel for a remedy and that seemed to fix his tummy woes.

 

 

We hit up some great new-to-us restaurants (Slap Ya Mommas BBQ) and some family favorites (lookin’ at you, Waffle House) and took in the sights over the pier. Evan even found a train & Lego museum just outside of Biloxi in Gulfport and the boys were in love.

 

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After a long but enjoyable couple of days, we headed back home for The Boot. It was a nice, much needed break and the little guys can’t stop asking when we’re going back.

Family vacay for the win!

Hit me up with all of your family adventures below! I’d love to hear from you.

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My Favorite Gifts for Kiddos

I’m a mom of three boys — invites to kids’ birthday parties come with the territory. Ditto on my own boys’ parties. There’s not a month that we don’t have at least one shindig to attend, and I’m totally fine with that. I need the socializing as much as my kids do, and what better place to connect with other mom friends than at a place where there’s guiltless cake and probably wine of some sort? (I’m in the south — don’t judge.)

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Because I’ve got three kids with ages ranging from 6 months to 8 years, I’ve definitely got my favorite “go-to” gifts for other kids. I try to stray from trendy items because:

A) Often times, they already have those toys, or

B) I’m not 100% sure what he or she is into.

Look, we all want our kids to enjoy themselves. And it is totally fine for our littles to be drawn to the latest, greatest, & loudest. But coming from a mom whose children are surrounded by loud toy guns, trucks, video games, and Legos (if you think Legos can’t be loud, then clearly you’ve never been around a boy with Legos), sometimes I prefer to give other kids fun activities (with minimal mess) and their moms a much-deserved break from all things battery operated.

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The things I’ve got in store for you today still allow kids to be kids, but it also provides an opportunity for fun family experiences. I hope you find something cool for your little guy or gal’s next birthday party adventure!

  1. Zoo passesgift1
  2. Fun subscription boxes

    *The above boxes are from Kiwi & Co. I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving any sort of compensation from Kiwi & Co.

  3. Movie passes with enough for drink/snack
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    Image found here: https://www.etsy.com/market/movie_ticket
  4. Age appropriate arts & crafts sets.

    *Brit+Co Metal Stamp Necklace Kit

    *Discovery Kids Crane Tower Set

  5. Board games

    *The Oregon Trail

    *Where in the World is Carmen San Diego

    Speak Out: Kids vs. Parents

I also love incorporating books of some sort into my gift, especially for little ones. What are some of your go-to gifts for kids? I’m always game to add to my list of ideas.