I Surrender the War on Meal Time

I was struggling with what to share today when the topic just naturally appeared to me in the form of a cheese quesadilla. I know I’ve shared a lot about the insanity of having two picky eaters. But none of my words can articulate the drama that comes along with our meal times. One has to experience the hour-long fits of rage from my children to get the full effect of the mealtime madness at my house.

This picky “phase” began just before age three (my kids are almost six). It isn’t just the food choices they complain about, they also complain about the size and the shape of their food. They let me know their disdain for the color plate touching their food, or which side of the table they are served on. I simply cannot win.

I have done everything you are not supposed to do, and I’ve done everything by the book. I have consulted our doctor, and more than one Registered Dietitian. I have spent many mornings adding organic fresh berries and fruits to a smoothie just for one sip to send my kid into hysterics. They help me cook meals and snacks in the kitchen all the time and they still won’t eat any of it. I have tried everything to end the pickiness. Given all my hard work it stings when people make comments about my kids food choices, or posts those #proudmom moments on Facebook because their kid ate a new vegetable. My kids ate all of their organic veggies once too.

So what about the quesadilla? Well, last night I was pretty proud of myself for making enchiladas. I had no idea how easy these are to make. Thinking ahead I knew my kids would not even consider a bite of an enchilada, so I gave into making cheese quesadillas. If you have never had a cheese quesadilla, it is simply shredded cheese sandwiched between two tortillas and heated up to create a melty, gooey cheesy sensation. You can add things like chicken or veggies, but not in my house. My children are purists when it comes to their cheese quesadillas.

F A I L

I call the kids to the table expecting them to recognize one of their favorite foods and begin eating without complaint. Instead: (actual conversation in the Whatever household):

Child: “I can’t eat that.”

Me: “What do you mean you can’t eat that? You asked me to make it for you.”

Child: “I don’t eat round foods.”

Me: “You don’t eat round foods?”

Child: “No.”

Me: “Since when?” (Knowing she has eaten plain cheese quesadillas most of her life).

Child: “Since right now.”

Me: “So, mommy just made you a cheese quesadilla that you asked for and now you won’t eat it it because it is round?”

Child: “Yes. I can only eat triangles.”

Me: {blink} {blink} {blink} Stare. “Are you asking me to cut this into triangles?”

Child: “Yes. But only if they are small triangles.”

I CAN’T WIN.

Now this is the point where other parents suggest I not give into the demands, she either eats or she doesn’t. But other parents do not live my struggle. I could refuse to cut the triangles and spend the next 30-60 minutes listening to my kid scream about how awful her life is, or I can just give her triangles and move on peacefully. I can’t count of the number of meals I miss because I spend so much time disciplining my kids through theirs. It is a complicated tango we dance at least three times a day, every day.

My daughter accepts the quesadilla in triangles. Then opens each triangle and peels out the cheese. I leave the table to wash the dishes already resenting the bedtime snack she is going to beg me for later. I feel like I have tragically failed this part of parenting. Then I realize I need to dig deep and listen to my own advice, “Do whatever it takes to make it through this, Rox. You have fought a good long fight. You have hung in there longer than most folks would. You still feed them the good stuff and allow just the right amount of treats. You have remained faithful in your belief in good food. So what’s going to work to make your meal times less stressful?”

LET THEM WIN.

After nearly 4 years of battling against two strong wills, arguing, threatening, bargaining, yelling and digging my heals in, I give up. I GIVE UP! I raise the white flag and concede the war. I am no longer going to spend extra time in the kitchen crafting meals with hidden veggies, just for them to be rejected over and over. I am no longer going to worry about buying up the organic chicken nuggets when my kids won’t even come to the table if those are on the plate. I am no longer going to recreate healthier versions of Alfredo sauce just for my kid to splatter across my kitchen cupboards.

My kids are healthy and they are strong. So I will let them eat fish sticks and chicken nuggets every single night. I will let them eat their cheesy topped cheese with a side of cheese. I will let them have a small bedtime snack even when they skip refuse dinner. Most of all, I won’t let it bother me anymore when people say things like, “I would never let my kid get away with that.” OR “I guess I’m lucky my kids just eat everything.” OR “I better train my kids now so they don’t act like that later.” From now on, I will accept that this is what our “whatever” looks like. And this is what works for me. #proudmom

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

Friday Favorites: Three Sisters Herbals

3 sisters collage

This week I am introducing you all to one of my family’s favorites, Three Sisters Herbals. These handcrafted organic products are made right here in the USA (Hyde Park, NY), are eco-friendly and can be customized to accommodate particular sensitivities. There are vegan and animal friendly products too. Yep, you can even use most of these products on the family pet. High quality organic products, handcrafted in small batches, at an affordable price is the trifecta of sustainability.

Kim Mule created Three Sisters Herbals salves and tinctures for family use and with family budgets in mind. Many of her products are multi-use and can easily extend to the family pet. Talk about economical! It all began with a DIY salve kit and Kim’s passions were lit. After the birth of her third child she knew her next “baby” would arrive at the birth of her business. Kim combines her passions for herbal remedies and a natural lifestyle with her degree in Graphic Design to make life as a mom work for her. She works from her home studio so she can be available when her kids get off the bus. And, she provides great products that work for other families.

Here are my family’s personal favorites:

Three Sisters Herbal Magic Salve

You can never ever, ever have too much Magic Salve! In fact, here are 25 different ways to use it! We have used it for diaper rash treatment, and to prevent diaper rash when our girls were babies. Now we use it for cuts, scrapes and minor burns. Use this to treat under eye puffiness and you might agree that there is literally magic in this container! You can even use it on dry cracked lips. If you happen to be a pet owner you can apply this to your furry loves little feet too! The salve moisturizes, heals and soothes skin without chemicals, perfumes or petroleum. It is also handcrafted with organic herbs and safe to use on all skin types. Through the month of August get an extra 20% off with the Magic Salve stock up sale!

Three Sisters Herbal Hand Sanitizer

Kim gave me a bottle of Hand Sanitizer to sample for this review. It is crafted with a natural base of Aloe Vera Gel, and the Four Thieves blend has been proven to ward off germs, flues and viruses.  I have tried mixing my own hand sanitizer and it doesn’t feel like enough. This non-sticky formula isn’t overpowering to the senses and you only need a few drops.  I carry this in our car to apply to our hands after a day at the park, the library, a trip to the store or other places kids climb all over and sneeze on. This is my new favorite!

Three Sisters Herbal Bug Away

Bug Away is an absolute summer must have. Actually we use it spring through fall to ward off the ticks. We live in an area overrun with ticks and Lyme disease. We recently had a couple of tick invasions in our own yard. This natural hand crafted organic blend of essential oils is effective on ticks, mosquitoes and flies. It is safe enough to use on babies, children and even dogs and farm animals. I like that it is Deet free and it is does not irritate my kids skin. We spray directly on our skin and clothes when we are playing in the yard or at the park; and on our back packs and shoes before going on a hike. This is also available in a lotion stick which is great to use on toddlers.

I love Kim’s mission to provide healthy, family safe products, and I also love the meaning behind the name. Kim chose the name Three Sisters Herbal in honor of the bond her mother had with her two sisters. It represents the power to uplift through love and respect. As a mom advocating for love and respect among the mom community, this philosophy epitomizes my own mission. Three Sisters Herbals products are healthy and effective too, which seems like a perfect fit for my family.

Stop by threesistersherbals.com to order, or check out the other products Kim offers. You can also find Three Sisters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

No financial compensation was received for this review. Promotional products provided by Three Sisters Herbals for testing in exchange for review. All opinions are genuine and solely belong to The Whatever Mom.

 

Back to School Prep: Homeschool vs. Traditional School

Back To School Prep

When our oldest daughter was wrestling with some emotional struggles half way through third grade, my husband and I decided that homeschooling might be a better fit for her. We finished out the year at home and happily witnessed a jump in her self-confidence and enjoyment in learning. Yes! We knew we made the right choice for her.

But what about her little sister? Kids’ personalities and needs at different stages are so unique, and choices about their education have to be unique, too. We’ve found that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for any family. As a social butterfly with a teacher she adores and a need to have some space from her overshadowing big sister, public school is where our middle kid is headed for first grade.

This untypical situation leaves us with a back-to-school prep season unlike any we’ve experienced before. Some things have stayed the same: the thrill of starting something new, an eagerness to get back to routine, wanting to pull my hair out from nonstop sibling bickering and “I’m bored” complaints. But the school year preparations – those are very different.

Where The Dough Goes

We’ve spent more money on books than clothes for our homeschooler. We’re just not as concerned about switching out her faded, well-loved summer grubs for a shiny new look. Instead, most of the back-to-school budget goes towards carefully chosen curriculum that fits our daughter’s interests, subject level and learning style. We’ll fill in the wardrobe gaps as needed with the changing seasons (and probably pay less doing it), but for now, her grass-stained knees are welcomed in class.  Our younger daughter, however, will look a little more polished come September.

Home school curriculum  sara hm school4

It should be noted that there’s a wide variety of teaching methods and philosophies when it comes to homeschooling. Many parents choose to piece together their own unit studies or lessons using mostly free resources (libraries and the internet are godsends), field trips, projects and more.  That has been my own approach in the past, but this year I’m hoping to scale back my lesson-planning time and embrace a little more structure. So while our family’s back-to-school budget needs to accommodate curriculum supplies, many homeschooling parents spend next to nothing this time of year.

Supply Checklists

Pencils and erasers can be found on both of our kids’ lists this year, but that’s about where the similarity ends.  Instead of traditional items like crayons, folders and tissues, our homeschooled fourth grader will get a re-stash of craft and science experiment supplies, along with copy paper for the printer.  No need for a new backpack and lunchbox, but a magnifying glass and some graduated cylinders? Yes, please!

Planning and Organizing

This is where the biggest difference lies. There’s not much to it with a traditional student: make sure their hair is neat, fill their backpacks and then get them to the bus stop on time (although that is admittedly a challenge in itself). But as part of the legal requirements of homeschooling, every student needs a plan of instruction for the year. That means that the bulk of my back to school prep isn’t revolved around spending, but planning. What does my kid need and want to learn this year? How will I teach each subject? Should we join local classes or meet-ups? What field trips should we plan? All of these questions and more run are on my mind while I piece together a yearly plan and a daily/weekly routine that works for everyone.

 sara hm school sara hm school1

I also look back on the past year to make note of what worked and what didn’t, and then make changes accordingly. For example, this year we’re setting up a dedicated workspace for those times when my daughter needs a retreat from her two-year-old, wanna-be-rockstar brother to give an assignment her full focus. We’re also going to try a four-day schedule, leaving a full weekday open for field trips, projects, cooking and other hands-on fun.

sarah hm school3 sara hm school2

Just like a teacher spends time setting up their classroom in the days before their students walk in, I’ll be working on getting everything organized to make the transition out of summer vacation as smooth as possible. A little effort now will make a big difference in our daily routines. As a work-at-home mom and teach-at-home mom, organization is essential.

Despite the work involved, I’m excited to get the ball rolling! Homeschooling is just one of those things in life that isn’t always a walk in the park, but ultimately worth every bit of time and effort it takes. I’m looking forward to a fun year of learning for all of my kids!

 

Sara HVM EditSarah Coppola is a wife, mom of three, Hudson Valley native and adventure-seeker. She founded Family Friendly Hudson Valley to discover and share all the great stuff for families found in our own backyard.

Friday Favorites- NAK Hair Accessories {Giveaway}

Friday Favorites{Giveaway}

Raise your hand if you are counting down the days until the kids go back to school? I know some of my friends in the south sent the kids back weeks ago. And some moms are still waiting to see their little ones on that bus. At the start of the summer I was having a really hard time accepting my babies are growing up. I felt like I had wished away our years together. Now, I am a little anxious but, I am truly excited to see my newly minted Kindergartner’s ready for their first day.

We have already selected our new back packs and planned our first day of school outfits, right down to the hair bows. My friend Tammy at NAK Products makes these super cute hair bows for every holiday and in just about any theme you could wish for. All her bows and headbands are hand made in small quantities with quality materials. I like that my girls will have one of a kind hair bows. These bows are created individually and are not mass produced. So not everyone will have one!

NAK stands for Need A Kitchen. It’s a funny name, but that is truly the reason Tammy began her business. This mom of three loves to cook, but has never had a dishwasher in her pre-1860’s kitchen! She decided to start NAK Products to earn money to fund her kitchen renovations. Tammy has a love for all things crafty so this just felt like the best way for her spend her time earning extra money. And it turns out she’s really good!

This particular bow is a replica of the bows girls get at the American Girl store. Tammy and her daughter had tea with the American Girls and there were similar bows used for the napkin rings. Little girls attending tea can take them home to use for themselves or their dolls. She recreated them for her daughter to have plenty of options to choose from.

nak 3

nak 4

Just when you think you can’t have enough Frozen accessories in your home, there’s this! My little Frozen fan LOVES this bow!! She has already coordinated her favorite Frozen themed dress with this bow. It is hanging in her closet ready for the days ahead in her new school.

nak 2

Nak 1

You can find dozens of adorable bows on the NAK Products Facebook page, or at Craftsman by Design in the Poughkeepsie Plaza. Tammy also sets up at local craft fairs, so be sure to like her Facebook page so you can find her! You can also win one of your very own unique hair bows from NAK Products! I guarantee your kid will move to the head of the class in either one of these one of a kind bows.

Nak bow 1

OR

nak bow 2

Just enter below by midnight Sunday and watch The Whatever Mom Facebook page for the winner! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(One winner per bow) Comment below with which bow you like best!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

The Whatever Mom did not receive financial compensation for this review. Promotional product received in exchange for this review and provided by NAK Products. All genuine opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. 

 

 

 

9 Truths I Learned Baby’s First Year

9 Truths I Learned My Daughter's First Year

I thought I knew what I was getting into when I became a mom. I felt pretty prepared because I have always had kids in my home. I have fostered children and I have watched and loved kids as my own for years. I was not ready for the realism of being a full time parent of two. Let me share with you some of the things I have learned from my baby’s first year.

DON’T BUY EXPENSIVE TOYS

Yes new is great and in your new parent excitement you will buy that ridiculously priced contraption. Then once it is setup at home, you will find out the hard way that your baby hates it! Oh, and baby will only use it for three months. There are usually floor displays so you can try it before you buy it. Put your baby in it. Let them explore it. Take the time to examine it. My husband and I realized this after oohing and ahhing over a Jumperoo. We put our daughter in it and she freaked out as if she was going to seriously have a heart attack if we left her in it. We found out she prefers to wander freely. Her favorite toys are the walk behind and ride on toys we were given by family and friends.

Baby's 1st Birthday

THE RULES ARE ALWAYS CHANGING

What works the first few nights to soothe your baby will not work three nights later, nor will it work in another week. Babies are the rule makers. No matter how much you think you are going to set the rules and they are going to be on your schedule it very rarely works that way. Surrender right now! The moment that little bundle of frustrating joy is born it owns you! You will no longer have control over what time you wake up or go to sleep. You will no longer be out of the door on time and you most certainly will never be able to think the same again.

I CAN TUNE ANYTHING OUT

First time parents are typically on high alert for any little sound baby makes. During those early months my husband could hear the rustle of our baby’s crib sheets two rooms away. But as our baby grows we are learning to filter out the unnecessary noise. While on a call with a business associate, I was able to tune out an episode of Dinosaur Train playing on the TV, my baby screaming at her brother, her brother screaming back, and my husband getting the dog to bark on command while the washer and dryer were doing their jobs. My associate actually asked me to call her back because she was getting a headache from all the “background noise” in my home. When on the phone with non-parents go to a room as far away from the noise as possible. Folks without kids cannot tune out the commotion of your daily life the same way you can.

Skylers 1st fam

MY MARRIAGE CAN WITHSTAND ANYTHING

Just before the birth of my daughter, my family endured a lot of big changes. The week before she was born, my husband was seriously injured when a drunk driver hit him. Then within a month, we unexpectedly gained full custody of my stepson. Together we were struggling to adjust to full time parenthood with a newborn and a four year old. Neither of us were able to work. He was trying to heal from his injuries, and I was still healing from pregnancy on bed rest and child birth. I started to feel like a single parent of two while my husband was limited physically in what he could do to help. This all took a huge toll on us as a couple. Somehow, we made it through. Talk, Talk, Talk especially during the times you do not want to. Becoming a new parent is life changing in its self and when life adds those extra struggles, the situation feels almost impossible.

I AM INVINCIBLE

After becoming a mom, I completely fell apart. I struggled with the lack of sleep, the lack of help and lack of knowledge. However, I found an inner strength I never knew I had. Suddenly, I was able to feed a newborn with one arm while making a bowl of cereal for a toddler. I learned to multitask like a boss. I was able to keep a floundering family together and I was able to become me again.

On those really tough days, give yourself credit for even the small things you accomplish each day. Eventually you will start to see the bigger things you accomplish. When feeling like you cannot possibly take one more thing thrown at you, look in the mirror and tell yourself “you got this.” Be your own cheerleader because there will be times when others just do not understand what you are dealing with. You will overcome!

skylers 1st moments

I TREASURE EVEN THE TINY MOMENTS

During the struggles of this first year as a mom,  it has been the tiny moments that kept me going. A simple brush of my husband’s hand across mine reminds me that the man I married is still in there somewhere. Seeing my baby sleeping on her daddy’s chest reminds me of why I fell in love with him. Hearing my baby’s first giggle refreshes my weary soul. Watching my two children play together reminds me how blessed I truly am. When life is at its toughest keep looking for those tiny moments until you find a glimpse of joy. The tiniest moment can be the glue you need to mend that broken heart or those frayed emotions.

HUGS ARE SOOTHING

When children are hurt,  or scared, unsure or happy they look for a hug. We can do the same! Hugs can be comforting and assure us we are safe. I personally have always enjoyed a good hug from a special cousin. I’ve even driven to her job just to get a hug. This last year I learned to accept hugs from others who could see me struggling but had no words to console me. HUG! It is that simple. Sometimes we just need to feel a little human connection. A hug is the simplest way to connect. Did I mention HUG!?

IT IS OK TO CRY

We are born with the natural ability to cry and yet we are taught that it is not OK to do it as we grow up. During some of my toughest moments the only thing that made me feel better was crying. Sometimes tears would just roll down my face without me realizing it. There is no shame in crying. It is like cleaning our emotional chalkboard of stress. Crying can lead to sleeping and sleeping equals silence. I am not just talking about babies. Sometimes all we really need is a good cry and a nap.

skylers 1st

I AM NEVER ALONE

It is strange but when you become a new mom it feels like you are suddenly alone and nobody understands what you are going through. The reality is once you have children you will never be alone again! Even though I wasn’t really alone, there were still times I felt like I was drowning in loneliness. Don’t be afraid to invite friends and family to visit. Get out of the house and find community events to enjoy.

In this past year, I had to find what worked for me and my family to survive the curve balls thrown at us. We made it! Our struggles have given us a new understanding of our relationships with each other and our friends. If you are struggling too, just know that you will overcome the first year, and the second year, and the third year and so on!

deb editDebra is a first time mom to her beautiful rainbow baby Skyler, a wife, a blogger and an ordained minister. She enjoys crafting and creating educational fun for her step sons and decorating her home. Find Debra at Crossing New Bridges on Facebook and on Twitter.

Friday Favorites – My New Breakfast Routine

Breakfast Just Got Easier

Oh boy do I hate breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like eating breakfast; it’s just that I have two picky eaters who protest everything I make. The amount of time it takes me to cater to their morning desires and get them to actually eat, I have very little time left to make my own nutritious breakfast. With school starting in just a few weeks I am already worried about making sure everyone has enough time to eat a healthy breakfast before the bus arrives. Including me!

I have some crazy food sensitivities so now I have to watch everything I eat. I often make all my food from scratch (not requesting any medals here moms. I’d quickly give up having to grill my own chicken for a fast food chicken sandwich any night). Not being able to eat gluten, dairy, soy and eggs makes breakfast a big challenge for me. I have the best luck with whole food smoothies, but oh man that takes a bit more time than I have in the morning. Yes, I can prep ahead at night for the entire week, but that is another to-do on my already lengthy list. What I need is simple, quick, easy and nutritious.

When Kathy from Kick Ass Healthy Moms contacted me directly to sample some gluten free, dairy, soy and egg free products I was super excited to give them a try! It is everything I am looking for- fiber, protein, vitamins, free from my trigger allergens and very convenient to use. There is very little prep time involved which is key for me!

isalean shake

Kathy and I spoke over the phone for a quick no pressure consultation to discuss my dietary needs and my lifestyle. I joined her Facebook welcome group so I could meet other moms like me and get some tips about including healthy eating in my busy day. Together we came up with a plan to get a healthy breakfast and pump up my energy! We agreed to keep in touch via email. It was reassuring to have Kathy available at any time to ask questions.

I’m not big into weight loss shakes, but if that is your thing then trust me these products will work for you. I lost 8 lbs. in the first month by following the weight loss methods (and not a lot of exercise). I replaced two meals a day and ate two snacks. I love how low maintenance it makes my breakfast routine! I just rip open a packet and whirl in my drink blender with water and ice and I am done. I can drink it while I’m making breakfast for the kids.

isalean shake mix

Each shake packet carries 250 calories and is packed with over 20 grams of plant based protein and 8 grams of fiber. As much as I love my whole fruit and berry smoothies- these shake packs keep me feeling fuller for longer; which is exactly what I need to keep up with two busy kids. I also notice I have less sugar cravings (you know that gotta have afternoon treat). I plan to continue with the shakes simply because they are such a quick way to get a nutritious breakfast together for me in the morning. All the ingredients are non-gmo and there is nothing I can’t pronounce.

Isalean greens

Kathy also sent me the Greens powder. On its own it tastes…well, wild. As in I am eating from the wild. When I consulted with her about my disappointment in the taste she suggested adding a half a scoop to my morning shake. So much better!!! The point of the greens is to help supplement the amount of green veggies you get in a day. Adding into my morning shake gives me one veggie serving at the start of the day. On those days I am running around crazy and I forget to eat, or I don’t have enough time to plan, I am covered with my initial serving of greens. A friend of mine shares that she even puts it in her kids smoothies on the days they are especially picky about eating.

isalean supreme

This right here is my liquid gold and I love it! If I drink this one alone as a 1 oz. shot it is also has a potent taste. Pouring it over ice and adding cold water creates a slightly sweet green drink that I actually like. I savor this as my mid-morning treat. It is also a great way to ensure I am drinking enough water in my day.  (Something I am always working on).

Isalean supreme shot

The b-vitamins, herbal blend; juice and fruit extracts give an extra anti-oxidant boost as well a natural energy boost. There is no caffeine added to this, but I am telling you it gives me a better energy boost than a cup of coffee.  If I have a really draining day I drink a second around 3:00 p.m. to get me through the rest of our crazy day.

There were some other goodies included in my sample pack like the 5 hour energy shot full of b-vitamins. After drinking it I felt more awake and alert. My mental fog wasn’t as thick. I’m not saying that’s a cure for mommy brain, but I definitely noticed some of that lift. Kathy also shared some dark chocolate and Isalean bars that were so good!

After only a few days I had more energy to keep up. I felt more alert and less mental fog. And after two weeks I started to release weight and just felt good overall. I still really love eating whole foods, but the shakes, the greens and the Ionix Supreme are exactly what I need to supplement those difficult mornings with. As a mom I often neglect my own needs, like eating a meal, to satisfy the needs of my family. I don’t have to do that now!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

No financial compensation was made for this review. Promotional products provided with compliments by Kathy LaMarr and not Isagenix directly, in exchange for this review. All thoughts and honest opinions are solely my own. 

 

Sometimes I’m Jealous of Moms with One Kid

Yup. I said it. While I love my kids, and I wouldn’t do anything to change this crazy chaos of having four kids 5 and under, sometimes I look at the mom with just one kid and wish it were me.

How amazing would it be to completely focus on one child for more than 10 minutes straight? Sometimes one of my older girls wants to tell me a story, or build a Lego castle, and after a few minutes her little brother has gotten into something or one of the other kids starts crying. Even though I tell her I’ll be back, I know I’ve lost the moment.

Swim lessons? It would be awesome to do mommy and me, but there’s only one me and always at least 2 of them. The library for circle time? Nope. The library is the worst. They all have to sit and be quiet while someone reads a book; I can do that at home and not stress about how much of a trainrweck we look like when it’s time to go. The park? We tried to go to the park once when there was a field trip happening. I turned right around and went home. There’s no way I can keep track of my four kids in a sea of 40 other kids.

IMG_4075

I discovered I can fit three kids on my lap at once, but that means one is always left out. At every meal it’s a negotiation for which two kids get to sit next to me. I feel like every day is an intricate balancing act of everyones emotional, physical, and mental demands, and most days I’m failing.

IMG_2994

I’ve started thinking about the financial aspect too. Not the bigger issues of putting four kids through college, but the smaller impact having four kids can put on my budget. Souvenirs when we’re on vacation, treats when we’re at the store, uniform and activity fees in sports, even taking four kids to a fair. With tickets, food, rides, games, etc it adds up. Our tooth fairy needs to get a side job because it’s going to get expensive paying for four kids teeth!

Even something as simple as running errands; if I’m at the house and I discover I don’t have an ingredient that I need for dinner, there’s no running to the store really quick if my husband isn’t home. I’m making a different dinner. It’s at least an hour ordeal to get everyone ready, shoes on, in the car, buckled, to the store, in the cart, items found and purchased, then back in the car, buckled, and unloaded at the house.

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How much easier would it be if I could just focus on one kid? Getting their shoes on. Getting them buckled. Shopping with one kid in the cart. Buckling one back into the car. Back to the house.

And taking one kid to the fair; going on rides wouldn’t be a problem because no one would have to stay back with the kids that were too small. I could cuddle one kid in my lap and no one would feel left out. You want to go to the park today? Sure! I only have to keep track of one kid; perfect!

Realistically I know it’s not that simple. If I really only had one kid I wouldn’t feel this way, because I wouldn’t know how crazy it is to have four. And I would never wish any of my kids away; they’re all amazing little people who I couldn’t imagine living without. But sometimes, I look at the mom who says she’s tired from chasing her one kid around all day, or that it’s hard to go anywhere with a kid in tow, and I’m jealous.

 

Jennifer at Sweet DiscordJennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.

 

Friday Favorites -LuLaRoe {Giveway}

Friday FavoritesLuLaRoe

I am a little late to the LuLaRoe party. I was very hesitant to get started with these pricey leggings in bold prints that I could never see myself in. That is until my friend Heather Bunch invited me over to one of her pop up shops for some personalized shopping. I went alone without kids and really took my time getting to know more about the company and the clothing line. It turns out LuLaRoe has way more than just leggings!

I confess, I am a recovering (self) body basher and trying on clothes is a trigger for me. It takes me back to a time in my life when I was so self loathing and hated looking in the mirror. I am accustomed to hating the whole experience of clothes shopping and the body shaming that follows.

But let me tell you, this experience is trans-formative. It isn’t simply because the clothes are magical, but the LuLaRoe clothing line is designed to accommodate all body types. It enhances what you do like about yourself and smooths out the rest. It also helps that Heather is on a mission to make women feel good about themselves. She says after all, “I’m not just selling clothes, I’m selling confidence.” The in-home shopping experience is way more personal than shopping at the mall. And Heather is not only there helping coordinate outfits, but she is there telling me how to be kind to myself.

The first thing I try on is the Azure skirt. You can see in this picture I’m still really skeptical about this whole process.

LLR Azure HB

I am traditionally anti-skirts. I don’t like the fussiness of having to sit still, or the way every skirt rides up over my hips. Thankfully, the yoga band at the top keeps the skirt in place and makes it oh so comfortable. I can sit tall and still breathe. It is also a very versatile piece that can be worn as a strapless dress, or turned upside down and tied at the ends to create a scoop neck top.

Next, I try on is the classic T with the beloved Cassie skirt. I am starting to warm up a bit more.

LLR Cassie HB

My typical mom uniform is a t-shirt and blue jeans. It’s quick, it’s easy and I don’t have to think about it. It requires very little effort on my part, and I’m starting to think maybe I want to look like I put in a little effort. Wearing clothes that are tailored to fit my body type and style, gives me a little more freedom to feel like myself.

The Cassie skirt is form fitting like a pencil skirt, but it is flattering to many different body types.

Then, I try the Nicole dress. As you can see I am much more comfortable with trying on new things.

LLR Nicole HB

I would never pick this out for myself. On the hanger it looks too form fitting. But it is actually very roomy. It is also very comfortable, light weight and easy to change the look with accessories. I can wear with leggings or without leggings, or dress it up with a belt and a chunky necklace. I am starting to see the possibilities!

The more tops and skirts Heather hands to me to try on the more comfortable I become with getting dressed and undressed. I am not so worried about the mirror. This experience becomes less about my body and more about finding comfort and joy in what I am wearing. Suddenly I want to find prints that I like. There are classic prints, fun and whimsical prints and some very unique prints. There is quite literally something for every style and taste.

After two pop up sessions of trying things on and learning what I love, I am now hooked. As a mom I often feel uncomfortable spending money on myself. But I work really hard and I deserve nice things. Most of all I deserve to feel good about myself.

As you can see by the pictures below, Heather is right. She DOES sell confidence!

BEFORE LULAROE

LLR before HB

AFTER LULAROE

LLR Gloria

Giveaway Heather is giving away $25.00 LuLaRoe Cash to ONE lucky winner!!! Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That’s not all! Visit Heather at one of her pop up shops and tell her The Whatever Mom sent ya! You get a 10% discount just for mentioning my name! Pop up shops are Friday’s 10 am – 2 pm and by appointment only. Located at 164 Linderman Ave. Kingston. Call Heather directly to set up your appointment 845-532-9373 or email BunchofLuLaRoe@gmail.com

Join Heather’s exclusive Facebook VIP Boutique to hear about all her sales and upcoming parties!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

The Whatever Mom did receive complimentary LuLaRoe product in exchange for this review. However, all thoughts and opinions are solely my own. This transformation really did take place and my experience is genuine.

When There Is No Space For Mom

No Space for a Mom

Before I dive right into my blog topic for today, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to my contributors that have helped me get through summer this far! Thank you Jennifer, Debbie, Amber, Gloria and Diedre! Without each of you I wouldn’t have had the extra time to spend with my kids and work on my blog. I am taking some workshops and training courses to learn how to convert this blog into a business! As exciting as that sounds it isn’t easy to fit it all into my day of being a mom. It is especially difficult when there is no space for me.

I thought working from home is  a dream come true. Until I started actually working from home… and the kids are here. Having the kids home while I’m trying to works is even harder than actually going to work. Yes, it saves me in day care. Yes, it saves me from schlepping and we can keep our own schedule. But at what price? My sanity. My sanity is the price.

Without a break from the care taking and the constant demands of sandwiches and laundry a mom could go insane. I am literally one person taking care of three other humans. I am all there is. I don’t have a mom close by that can help me take the kids to the park, or a sister two towns over who can take my kids to the movies one day. I have a husband who works a lot and two kids who demand a lot. That’s it. We see extended family once a year when I pack up the kids and drive home by myself. My life as a mom is so overwhelming.

I try to find space for myself in the small parts of the day not occupied by my kids and husband. I get up earlier than everyone else so I can sit outside and listen to the birds and drink my coffee. But I am usually interrupted with a screeching howl of, “MAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHM.”

I try to exercise to get the good energy flowing. But then I have to stop short because the kids are fighting over the TV.

I try to get to the gym so the kids can be the daycare providers problem and I can zone out on the treadmill and watch TV. But no one wants to cooperate to get out the door.

I try to read a book while the kids are quiet. But then I have to stop every other paragraph to make a snack, or change a channel, or end a dispute.

I try to enjoy a good home cooked meal. I miss connecting with my kitchen. I used to pour a glass of wine, light some candles, turn on the music and whip up a meal with fresh ingredients. Now I am tied to the toaster oven reheating frozen chicken nuggets.

I wake up early to get some blog writing done in those “fringe hours.” But suddenly one child is awake and crying. It is like I have an alarm button on the bottom of my feet that alerts I am upright and ready to accept their commands.

I attempt a moms night out and get a text from hubby we are out of over night underwear. I have to leave my friends early to go to the store and bring them home.

Nearly every day it is a struggle to find a space for just me. I can’t finish a sentence, a phone call a blog post or even check Facebook from my phone without a constant barrage of noise. My kids are almost six years old and I still don’t get to take a shower every day. It feels like every moment in my day is interrupted.

But then, in the moment just before I crack. Just as my tears start to well a little arm goes around my shoulders and a tiny voice says, “I love you mama.” The tension eases away. My jaw starts to release and the tears calm. “I love you too sweet heart.” This is the space where I belong. Right here in the comfort of little arms snuggling me tight. I belong right here in the little hearts who think I am the safest place on earth.

There is no space for me to exist any more without my beautiful, wonderful children. I am learning to let that space be big enough.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

 

Friday Favorites- Limelight by Alcone {Giveaway}

I’ve already shared with you my favorite Summer Sun Skin Care items I use all summer long. But today I am excited to share with you some new products I’ve found through LimeLight by Alcone. I am always on the hunt for great makeup and skin care products. I have found a line that I truly love and look forward to using!

I met with my friend Tenaya who is now a Beauty Guide for LimeLight by Alcone. She treated me to a make over with skin care and make up products that are all manufactured with your health and the health of the planet in mind. I was excited to spend the day outside on her deck enjoying the beautiful day kid free, and getting some extra pampering.

Alcone Chemical Free

The first thing I tried is the Dream Clean set which is a basic starter collection. I could feel my skin immediately hydrate and it felt really clean. My skin felt smooth after using all of the products which is key for me. I loved the feel of the masque of zen. All of these products are plant based and smell amazing.

Alcone set

Next up Tenaya matched me up with a foundation color. I will say this was the most perfectly smooth foundation I have ever tried. Not only did it go on easily but it made my skin absolutely flawless- no redness, no freckles it was all covered. I am not a fan of foundations that have a strong “plastic” smell. This cream foundation had none of that. It felt light and was totally fragrance free.

Alcone foundation

I learned that this makeup line is used by Hollywood makeup artists. In fact, the family owned company has been the number one makeup supplier for generations. Adding in a plant based skin care line and removing non essential chemicals from the makeup formula is what gives this company it’s modern edge.

The Alcone product I am most in love with right now is the Make-Off make up remover cloth. It is gentle enough to use every day and will take off your make up in one swipe. With the summer heat here I’ve started carrying these little prepackaged cloths in my bag and even in my beach cooler. As soon as I am done with a day of sun with the kids I pull out one of these cloths. The rosewater is refreshing and hydrating and I can feel my hot skin start to calm. Super convenient!

Alcone MakeOff Cloth

All of the Alcone products come with a 100% happiness guarantee, so if you don’t love your products you get your money back. Oh I almost forgot to share with you the best part about the packaging! Not only is it gorgeous, but it is 100% recyclable. The color pallets and the foundation pallets all pop out of the cardboard case; all of which can be tossed into your recycle bin. Each one is small enough to carry in your purse or add to your makeup bag!

Alcone package

If you want to learn more about LimeLight by Alcone stop by Tenaya’s personal shopping site, or ask to join her exclusive PRIVATE Facebook group. You can ask any questions there and get all the details on new products and upcoming sales promos. If you are local and would like to have your own make over and foundation color match you can schedule one with Tenaya through her group.

Alcone Tenaya

* * * *  GIVEAWAY TIME * * * * *

 

Alcone giveaway

Three lucky winners are going to get a $25.00 gift certificate to shop with!! How exciting is that? If you haven’t tried Alcone products before this is your chance! Simply follow the link to Tenaya’s closed Facebook group and request to join. Then like and share the group for extra entries! You are entered for your chance to win! (Contest open now through Sunday 7/24/16. Winners announced on Monday 7/25/16).

Happy shopping!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.