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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.

Birth, Birthdays, Entertaining, Family, Holidays, Humor, Links, Lists, Mom blog, Mom Life, Motherhood, Parenting, Relatable, Uncategorized, Writing

30.

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Today, I am thirty.

….sooo…. why do I feel no different today than I did yesterday, at 29?

Probably because my kids went to bed squabbling and woke up squabbling.  Thanks for keeping it real, kids.  You da real MVP.

But I digress.  Today isn’t just that huge of a deal for me.  It is what it is.  My best friend made a valid point this morning — 40 will probably be my epic meltdown birthday.  So, there’s that.  Ten additional years to prepare for being a complete basket case.  She also told me to party like a rockstar — little did she know that I woke up laying in puke that wasn’t my own (thanks, Mason!) and to an unwelcome foot down my pants (thanks, Connor!).  So while I’ll likely not party like a rockstar, I certainly woke up like one.  Same difference, right?

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I’m pretty sure my body is just in shock that I’ve made it thirty years through three c-sections, a slew of super-stupid life choices, and a nearly completely pickled liver.  The “dirty thirty” birthday bonanza will probably hit me like a semi-truck later when I’m kicking children out of the bathroom so I can just take a damn shower.  So for now, I’m going to leave you with thirty things about myself that, like ’em or not, have made me who I am today.

  1. I was born May 30th, 1988 at 8:15 AM.  I only know the time because my sweet mother has hammered that into my memory for, oh, thirty years.
  2. I have three siblings (two brothers and a sister), all of whom I am extremely proud of.  No, their accomplishments are not my own.  But they make me proud to be their sister.
  3. I have always rooted for the underdog.  That hasn’t always worked out in my favor.
  4. I am a momma to three beautiful and slightly deranged little boys.  They are my reasons to get up every morning — largely because they wake me up at the buttcrack of dawn every. damn. day.
  5. I love Diet Coke and would drink it by the case if I didn’t think it would kill me on the spot.
  6. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer.  …that clearly didn’t pan out.
  7. I also wanted to be a pilot and an interior designer.  I don’t mean to brag, but I chauffeur my kids around like nobody’s business and I can feng shui the hell out of some Legos.
  8. My most favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
  9. love murder-mysteries in any form — except for in real life.  Don’t nobody got time for that.
    • Murder, She Wrote is my JAM.
  10. I love to explore and would pack my family up to become adventurers if given the chance.
  11. Ireland is on the top of my “Places to Go” bucketlist.
  12. I talk with my hands.
  13. I’m a hugger (comes with that Southern territory — sorry, not sorry).
  14. Daisies are my favorite flower with tulips following at a close second.
  15. I love all things history, emphasis on Early American and European history.
  16. I am fascinated by the lives of people from the past.  I think I romanticise it all and get it in my head that they lived these super intriguing lives when, in reality, they were probably pretty ordinary for the times.
  17. I romanticise a lot of things, come to think of it.
  18. I was a single mom for two years.  Not a very long time at all by most standards, but it taught me a lot and helped me really appreciate life and, more importantly, my son’s life.  On a more serious note, he truly did save me from myself.
  19. I met my husband through my ex-brother-in-law via Facebook.  Truth be told, I only met Evan to shut Jake up.  Little did I know…
  20. My abhorrent punctuation skills aside, my favorite subject in school was English.
  21. I plan on taking the leap one day and writing a book.  God bless the editor that is assigned to that hot mess!
  22. I am terrified of deep water.
  23. I wish I were a bit bolder.
  24. Sometimes I feel altogether useless as an adult and parent.  But don’t we all?
  25. I really love deep conversations.  I know that’s not a super popular thing these days, so I have to censor myself lest I become a real buzz kill.
  26. My mouth is absolutely horrid.  Seriously, I don’t even realize I swear half the time.  I’m working on it.
  27. One day I hope to explore an old house and find a secret passageway.  That would be the equivalent of finding gold for me.
  28. I have no idea what I’m doing most days.
  29. Writing this list made me realize how little I really know about myself, which is oddly scary.
  30. And finally, I hope to lose minimally thirty pounds by the end of the year.  Not just for myself, but for my kids as well.

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So there you have it.  If you made it through that somewhat redundant list, then bless your heart.  I’m off to celebrate the morning at IHOP with my kiddos, because prying sticky pancake off of my four-year-old is the best thing EVAH.

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A SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse
 wearing monkeys who live there.

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Education, Holidays, Kids, Mom blog, Mom Life, Motherhood, Parenting, Teacher Appreciation, Uncategorized, Writing

And Chances Are, If You Give a Teacher Some Appreciation…,

…she’ll want some pencils to go with it.  

All too often these days, our educators are ignored, bullied, and passed over.  They are the forgotten link in our kids’ success stories.  To be in such full view, they are certainly kept behind the scenes.  I really, really hate that.

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All my life, I grew up loving school (with a few years exceptions, of course).  All my life, I had amazing teachers.  I also had amazing parents who never blamed my teachers for my own shortcomings, and they never let me not accept my own blame.  My parents, my very first teachers, taught me to love and respect the people who would shape my mind for many years to come.  My aunt, a teacher for many years, unknowingly taught me to admire and listen to those who had lived a life before my own.  As is such, I have the utmost respect for quality education and the fine women (and men!) who provide it to my own little ones.

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As most of you know, Gabe has had some learning struggles along his admittedly short school path. I am glad to say that we’ve had some, for lack of a better term, crappy teachers. I am thankful for them because those women gave me the sight to see what AMAZING teachers he has also been exposed to. Women (and men!) who have fought tooth and nail for my stubborn, hard-learning little guy. They have loved and fussed, held up and nailed down my Gabe in a way that I so appreciate. Their sticktoitiveness and gumption have made more of a difference in Gabe’s life (and that of my own!) than I’m afraid they’ll never fully know.

Connor began his first year of “big boy school” this year.  He has loved everything about this new experience and is so eager to learn.  While he will not face the struggles that our Gabe faces, he will one day fight his own battles.  I am so hopeful that he will have awesome relationships with his teachers in the same way his big brother has been blessed with.  So far he, himself, has gotten to know and love the people who surround him at school, and I am so happy that he will get to spend his days in a learning environment where little guys are not only taught but lifted up, as well.

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I have grown to not only respect these people but also treasure them. They are special people with some of the most enlightened souls I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. In addition to their own very busy, hectic lives, they choose to take on my, what some would call “hard” (hell, what I would sometimes call hard), kiddos with the gusto that I cannot fathom. And not just mine, but countless others. Today, in the world we live in, so many parents place blame where blame is not called for. Our teachers catch the brunt of lazy parenting and, by due course, ill-behaved children. It is unfair, hard work. But they attend to it with grace and their own brand of stubbornness and make their way home with heads, and red pens, held high.

A simple thank you seems insufficient but for now, that is all I have. So thank you, ladies. Thank you so much for reaching out to my boys. Thank you for your time, your patience, your encouragement, and most of all, your care. From the bottom of my heart, I am eternally grateful for all you have done.

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To all you other teachers out there whom we’ve not yet met, apologies and thanks in advance. I am sure we will encounter our fair share of even more mediocre individuals attempting to pass as teachers, but I do so look forward to meeting you nurturers. The soul seekers. The up-lifting, no-nonsense, believe in you-ers. The mind shapers. The EDUCATORS.

Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week. You are SO needed.

*I originally posted this on my very first blog about a year ago.  You can find it here.

Decor, Entertaining, Family, Gifts, Heirlooms, Holidays, Links, Lists, Mom blog, Mom Life, Mood Boards, Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized

Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 4

Hey, y’all!  So sorry for the long absence; the past few days have been absolutely crazy.  However, I’m back with our fourth edition of the Mother’s Day Gift Guide.  Today, I’m going to share with you two of my favorite brands from two of my favorite leading ladies: Joanna Gaines & Ree Drummond.  I love these two mommas’ charming personalities and am constantly impressed by their moral compasses — even in the face of their individual fame.

Joanna’s line “Hearth & Hand” (a Target exclusive) is simple yet stunning; her attention to detail is absolutely exquisite.  Ree’s “Pioneer Woman” takes a different approach, but is equally charming and detail oriented.  I have provided two separate boards each complete with links to the products.

What momma wouldn’t love getting some new decor inspiration?!  I know I sure would.  Here’s to finding some beautiful ideas for mom that I just know she’ll enjoy for years to come.

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Joanna Gaines’ “Hearth & Hand”
  1. Stoneware Trays: Set of 2
  2. Stoneware Pedestal Bowl
  3. Covered Cake Stand
  4. Magnolia Table Cookbook
  5. 2-Tier Cake Stand

 

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Ree Drummond’s “Pioneer Woman”
  1. Cookbook Stand
  2. Batter Bowl
  3. Pioneer Woman 2-Quart Pitcher
  4. Pioneer Woman “Food From My Frontier Cookbook”
  5. Jade Cake Stand

 


Previous Posts
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 1
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 2
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 3

Family, Gifts, Holidays, Kids, Links, Lists, Mom blog, Mom Life, Mood Boards, Motherhood, Parenting, Women's health

Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 2

We’re back for the second part of the Mother’s Day gift guide.  Most moms these days are either into fitness for fitness’ sake or, if they’re like me, are into fitness because: toddlers.  Either way, there are so many great gift options available that encompass fitness and health.  You don’t have to weigh mom down with dumbells and gym memberships in order to meet her interests (although if she’s into that, the what the hell).  Today you can find neat water bottles that infuse natural fruit flavoring, punny tops that motivate, fitness trackers, etc., etc.  I’ve rounded up a few of my personal favorites to show y’all today.  I hope you find something for mom so she can have her cake and eat it too — so to speak.

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  1. Ellie Activewear Subscription Box
  2. Qalo Stackable Silicone Wedding Band
  3. Avocardio Gym Bag
  4. Drink More Water (make more milk) Water Bottle
  5. MisFit Smart Watch ($199.99)

 

Come back tomorrow for more great Mother’s Day goodies!

Previous Posts
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 1

Family, Gifts, Holidays, Links, Lists, Mom Life, Mood Boards, Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering where in the world the time has gone.  How is it already late April?!  Per usual, time has a way of making itself into an epic whirlwind.  With that said, Mother’s Day is upon us.  Hell, most you ARE mommas, so that isn’t exactly news to you.  But some of you might be wondering what on earth to get for that special ladies (or several special ladies) in your life to show them your appreciation.  I absolutely fall into that category; I could give my own mom a stick tied with a string and she’d manage to not only find a use for it, but she would also genuinely appreciate the “thought”.

Contrary to popular belief, people like this are not easy to buy for (I’m lookin’ at you, Elizabeth).  In fact, the desire to find the perfect thing for that person only intensifies itself.  Now, I’m lucky in that I know my mom pretty well and know what she likes, what she loves, and what she says she likes but really hates.  But sometimes a brain fart squeaks its way into the forefront of the old brain box and *poof* you’re lost.  This is where a gift guide comes in handy.  I have compiled various lists of possible Mother’s Day gift items that might strike your fancy.  If not, hopefully, it can point you in the right direction.  Come back every day to see a different category!

Today we’re starting off with an old standby: jewelry.  I love jewelry, but I’m not super keen on over-the-top, fancy stuff.  I do have little ones, after all, and no nanny, so expensive baubles just aren’t my cup of tea.  I adore sentimental jewelry, however.  Below are a few of my absolute favorites — with links included!

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  1. Lisa Leonard Rose Gold Stacking Rings
  2. Sierra Metal Raising My Tribe Cuff
  3. Lisa Leonard Open Circle Pearl Necklace
  4. SM Mama Bear Necklace
  5. SM Outnumbered (#boymom) Necklace

 

Hope you find something wonderful from these suggestions and come back tomorrow for more gift ideas!

Family, Holidays, Humor, Kids, Motherhood, Parenting

End of Spring Break for the Win

Yesterday ended our school’s spring break, or as I like to call it, “Summer Vacation Rehearsal”.  Y’all, I need all the drinks.

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Was it all bad?  No.  But my boys have both reached those spectacular ages that leave them arguing with one another incessantly.  These days they even argue over the attention of the baby!  Sounds cute, right?  Wrong!  More like infuriating.  Add to the arguing the time change and a full moon over spring break, and it’s really a small wonder that my liver has not been fully pickled.

courtesy of: yourtango.com
yourtango.com

Our first day of the holiday went off relatively well but quickly spiraled into the abyss not-so-fondly known as “sibling rivalry”.  In an effort to keep my sanity, I took the boys bowling this past Wednesday.  Our local lanes offer great discounts during school holidays, so we took advantage of the lower prices.  I’d be lying if I said that the day didn’t go by smoothly.  We ran our errands, grabbed a bite to eat, and finally made our way to the bowling alley.  Gabe and Connor were beyond excited (this was Con’s first time ever bowling) and were eager to start our frame as soon as we got there.  Connor was so excited, in fact, that he took off for a lane and nearly slid all the way down.  Luckily, my momma Puma-like reflexes caught up with him.  I explained to him the importance of staying behind the line, but of course, he is my button-pusher and line-crosser so I had to reiterate several times that his head would get stuck in the ball return and that I’d rather not make our monthly trip to the ER over spring break, so if he could please just stick to rolling balls down the aisle instead of his body that would be swell.

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We had a great time once we finally got to the activity at hand.  My boys had a blast and for one hour there was no arguing, “he-said-he-said”, or jabs to the eyeballs.  Because I don’t agree with just letting kids win for the sake of keeping whining to a minimum, mama came away with the high score.  Was it a fair game?  Not really.  But I feel like it is my job as their mom to teach them good sportsmanship in winning as well as in losing.  I’m no bowling rockstar, though, and I didn’t win by a landslide; Connor was a mere four points behind me.  Gabe, bless him, rolled a 65.  He could have scored higher had he not insisted on using a fifteen-pound bowling ball.  I tried telling him that the 9 or 10 pound would probably be a better fit, but he let me know in no uncertain terms that he was, in his words, “strong enough for a man-sized ball”, so I let him have the damn thing.  Naturally, after all was said and done and once Connor was out of earshot, he asked why I let him use such a heavy ball.  Freaking really, kid?

All in all, I enjoyed my day out with my boys.  It was nice to get out with all three of them (even though Mason slept the entire time), and that one day made our relatively hellish spring break worthwhile.

With that said, I am certainly mom and woman enough to admit that I was relieved to drip their little butts off at school this morning.  Have I missed them?  Please.  I’ve gotten more done today than I did in the five days they were home.  I love them, but my cleaning routine needed to get back into a routine.  I will see them tonight with their homework stations (and a ginormous margarita) at the ready.