Category: Uncategorized

Helping Kids Develop their Leadership Potential with Cool Cats

Do you ever worry if your child will be a leader or a follower? When I was growing up my parents always told me to be a leader and inspire other people to do the right thing. If I just followed along with the crowd I’d miss the chance to be my own person. Being a leader is the one characteristic that has helped me walk away from bad friendships and pushed me through promotions while climbing the corporate ladder. I actually had two amazing careers before I started my third career as a mom all because I learned early on to follow my own lead.

One of the most important things for me to instill in my kids is the ability to be be a leader, not a follower. I want them to follow their own desires vs. following along with the crowd. Leadership doesn’t always mean becoming a CEO, or high level manager, but rather thinking for oneself and making wise choices with confidence. That requires learning to lead. So, when I received this unique leadership playing deck from Cool Cats, I was thrilled to introduce it to my kids. Each card defines a special characteristic for kids to understand. It isn’t about memorizing the definitions; it’s about exposure to leadership language. These cards label each characteristic for success and defines them in short, kid friendly sentences. As kids read them over and over, they begin to internalize these characteristics. As they see themselves as being successful the language now becomes the script for how they describe themselves.

My kids are only in the 1st grade so their attention span for going through the entire deck of cards at once is minimal. To incorporate some fun into our morning routine, we like to select one card at a time to read aloud and talk about as we walk to our bus stop. My kids like to play card dealer and suggest, “Draw a card mom, any card!” then we carry it with us while we walk and discuss. This is a really great way to introduce things like integrity, perseverance and patience. It sets a great tone for the day and sets my kids up for a positive mind set. They may be learning math and reading at school, but at home (and bus stop) they are developing character and values.

I love how the definitions are short and the key concepts are highlighted in yellow. This makes it easy to sprinkle learning moments throughout the day; whether we are running errands, talking at the dinner table or on our way to catch the bus- these cards get the conversation started!

Using the cards at the beginning of a new school year is perfect for us. My kids are starting over at an entirely new school with new teachers and new peers. They need now more than ever to recognize their own strengths, courage and confidence. They need to receive the message that they are capable and can do great things even at their young ages. Reviewing a new card each morning fills their emotional back packs for the day.

Cool Cats playing cards were created by Judith Addington who has an impressive amount of degrees and experience working in childhood development. It is her vision to help kids recognize their own talents and strengths as early as they can, to be our strong leaders of tomorrow. Addington created a variety of tools to help parents and teachers cultivate leadership skills that help children to thrive and grow. The Cool Cats award winning team is comprised of skilled childhood development specialists, brain development specialists, cutting edge media designers and family and child counselors. A lot of expertise goes into creating these tools with parents in mind.

You can find additional Cool Cats leadership products available to use at home, or in the classroom on their website or on Amazon.

I did not receive financial compensation for this review. All honest opinions are my own and are given in exchange for a sample product of Cool Cats playing cards. The links below are affiliate links that provide me with a small commission when used to purchase these products. #affiliates #Amazon


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 

 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:

Building Confident Kids One Project at a Time

I can’t believe we are half way through August and winding down our summer already. Before I know it I’ll be sending the kids off on the bus again. This summer didn’t go exactly as planned, but I am glad that we are able to slow down a bit and enjoy so many new things. I wish we could take a splashy vacation or spend more time traveling, but we are more focused on projects around the home. This is what works for us this year. And even though summer is flying by, I feel like this is the most connected we have been during a summer break.

This year we included our kids in finishing our home projects. Now to be fair, we didn’t crack the whip. We let them work beside us for as long as they could focus, which isn’t super long at age 6. But they helped us for a significant amount of time and there was a good mix of play time in between all their hard work. They helped us install a pool, trim the hedges in our yard and repaint furniture. I know it may sound crazy to hand your 6 year old hedge clippers and say have at it, but that’s kind of what we did. We didn’t just give them free range we gave them a lesson first, and then hung out with them while they trimmed. Instantly, I could see their confidence soar. Knowing that we trusted them to do “grown up work” gave them a tremendous confidence boost. And by treating them like they are capable of doing things that require skill and patience, helps them see those qualities in themselves.

You are probably thinking including the kids in home projects sounds strange, or even dangerous, but it feels perfectly natural to me. I was around age 6 when I was enlisted to help paint and wallpaper in our home. By the time I was 10 I was learning to refinish furniture and how to do simple landscaping. That is what my family did for fun, we renovated together. By the time I was 19, I was so super confident in my abilities that I surprised my mother by repainting her dining room. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she came home from work and stepped into her new putrid rosy pink dining room. She tried really hard to shelter me from her horror and to look thankful, but looking back I think a small piece of her soul cracked that day. It was a horrible color, but she didn’t want to squelch my good deed. I was clearly very proud of my work. But my point is my mother gave me the space to learn new things and to practice them, even at the expense of losing the sanctity of her own space. Learning to complete these kinds of projects made me feel confident and capable. (And I think I learned a lot about color selection that day).

Working on homeowner and DIY projects with my kids helped me realize I am a good teacher, and that I can be patient. I can offer guidance without being demanding. As a mom I typically bark commands and set the rules. But home projects by nature require patience. By slowing down and taking the time to guide vs. demand really created a joyful experience. I hope when my kids look back they remember how patient I can be, and how hard I work to teach them so many different things.

My number one goal as a parent is to raise kids who become confident, self-sufficient and capable adults. So I am delighted they accepted these new challenges. Whether or not they continue to enjoy doing DIY projects when they grow up is entirely up to them. But for now, there is much deeper learning happening than learning the skill itself. Now they will get to reap the rewards of their hard work by swimming in the pool they helped build and sitting in the dining room chairs they helped paint. I hope they remember they can do anything they set their minds to; except when it comes to repainting my dining room in an unauthorized color


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 

 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

 

.

 

 

Sharing is Caring:

When You Have a Less Than Perfect Summer

 

You probably saw this meme (or some version of it) pop up in your news feed. All moms start out excited for the laid back summer months and with wide eyed optimism declare that this will be the BEST summer ever! We make “summer bucket lists” and plan big magical vacations. We hit the ground running with so much enthusiasm that if it were a ball it would choke a horse. Then we run out of crafts, take all the trips, the kids eat all the good snacks and we lose every ounce of patience. That’s when the count down to school drop off begins again.

I had a very simple (perfect) plan for this summer. The girls would attend a summer program for six weeks. And in that six weeks I would complete every neglected home project, automate my blog posts, organize all my meals and buy all the school supplies. I’d be so far ahead of the game come September I’d be taking time off for massages and pedicures! All those perfect plans came to a screeching halt when I got the call the night before our summer program was scheduled to begin that it is cancelled. Also cancelled are my hopes and dreams. I do not have a plan B. There is no plan B when you already have a perfect plan A. All the slots for other camps are either taken or we cannot afford them. As a result I am left scrambling. I quickly realize I got this, I’ll just keep doing what we do every summer. I schlep, the kids whine. It’s how we do.

Except this summer. 

 

 

 

This summer I decided to embrace this less than perfect plan. Not because I am #blessed with one more summer with my kids. Not because I am going to turn this around and still make it the #bestsummerever. I decided to embrace the chaos this summer because I am tired. Just so darned tired of holding us all together. Holding my household together and holding my blogging life together. I’m just plain tired. And ya know what? So are my kids. They are tired of my drill sergeant antics pushing them out the door to be perfectly on time for activities. They are tired of getting in the car every single morning to venture off to someplace they did not pick, or to go do a craft they could care less about. None of these activities are for them. They are for me.

I chose to be a stay at home mom nearly 7 years ago (it was supposed to be only 1 year. Another plan that didn’t go accordingly). It has taken nearly all 7 years to discover my kids and I are different people. I just sort of assumed we are a package deal. We spend so much of our waking hours (sometimes our sleeping hours) together that we call ourselves, “the three amigas!” It never occurred to me until this summer that we are nothing alike. We have much in common, but we are so completely different. I am extroverted and I need people. My kids are introverts and they need to be home. Staying home too long can drive me crazy. And so I plan things to do outside the house and force my kids into all kinds of activities. I scream. They cry. We all cry. Rinse, lather, repeat.

 

 

It’s now August. I’ve embraced this chaos for a month which feels like much longer. As a result I made zero blog posts for July. I have made zero business contacts and I have only completed 0.02% of my home projects. We haven’t done very many crafts and we skipped taking a summer vacation. But we have a (bitty) pool and a new basket ball hoop. I’ve read two books and I took an overnight getaway to the beach with a friend. The kids are happier picking out their own daily activities which typically includes playing in the back yard, pool time and playing video games or watching TV. The biggest ventures away from the house have been berry picking, visiting our library and meeting friends at the park.

My memories of summer include TV watching, making up my own things to do and spending time with my friends. My childhood is probably the last time I had any unstructured down time. Kids grow up fast. They won’t remember all the museums we visit, or all the hotels we stay in. But they will remember the tranquil feeling of swinging for hours under their favorite tree in the back yard.

I am enjoying watching them play and reading for myself again. For my extrovert time I escape to dinners with friends, or I invite friends over for dinner more and I make completely un-necessary Target runs. No camps. No travels. No big events. Just “the three amigas” enjoying being their own less than perfect people. Maybe this is the perfect summer after all.

 

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 

 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

 

 

 

Sharing is Caring:

Moms to Kids Everywhere: Make Your Own Damned Sammiches!

So here we are, school is out, the lazy days of summer are upon us and my kids think they have scored it big: they have a personal chef, a maid and a chauffeur. It’s summer time and the living is easy with no homework, no remembering which letter day it is and expecting ice cream for lunch every day. We are only 3 days into summer vacation and I’m already exhausted by the volume of sandwich making! Actually, I’m more exhausted by the volume (watch for the pun) of the whining for sandwiches.

I have been beyond lucky to spend every summer with my kids since they were born. I get what a luxury that is. But I feel like I spend most of my day in the kitchen making snacks and meals, and then cleaning up after all the snacks and the meals. I’ve let the kids help me before and it takes twice as long and actually elicits more whining, “Like, peanut butter and jelly is just so harrrrrd!” I don’t mind feeding my kids. It’s just I can do without all the whining about how I make their food. And if you’re playing along at home right now, feel free to take a shot of whatever you have within reach each time I mention the words “whining” or “sandwich.”

It’s only day 3 and I am ready to break from all the whining! {Shot!} Until I had the spectacular idea that everyone is going to make their own damned sandwiches for dinner. It’s a classic sandwich bar concept most commonly found at social gatherings, parties and picnics. Why not make it feel like a party on a Monday night?

I mean just look at this amazing selection of ham and cheese!

There’s even lettuce to give the illusion of vegetables!

If you’re gonna go full sandwich bar you’ve gotta include the chips! (Potatoes are vegetables too).

Unfortunately, dad ate all the pickles the day before so that left the party feeling a little flat. But that’s OK we’ll be sure to include even more pickles next time!

Also, I served our sandwiches on real plates to show I put a little effort into dinner.

I was so delighted to throw it all on the table and proclaim, “Tonight dear family, you can make your own damned sammiches! Mom is taking a break!” After they accepted this offering, I had a moment of sheer brilliance. I realize I could make an entire week of DIY dinners!! But wait. . . Could I actually get away with filling our entire summer with DIY demands?

Want a drink of water? Do It Yourself!

Want a snack? Do It Yourself!

Want a Popsicle? Do It Yourself!

Want a sandwich? Do It Yourself!! (Yes, you can! I just watched you make one!).

Want a band aid for that microscopic/non-existent scratch? Do It Yourself!

Overall, my kids are good kids. And like most kids they just need constant reminders that they can and they will do things for themselves (including serving themselves).  I’m sure your kids (and maybe your husband) are little like mine. So gather round moms and practice saying it with me, “Do It YOURSELF!!”

 

** BONUS PRINTABLE  Sample SummerDIYDinner Menu

Here are some of my kids favorite things you can get on Amazon:

 

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

 

 

Sharing is Caring:

This Overachiever Is Learning to Slack Off

I didn’t get to write a post last week because life is just incredibly busy. I always feel like I should start my make up blogs with, “forgive me father, it has been 12 days since my last post.” That might just be leftover guilt from my own childhood. But seriously life has been busy! It seems the nights and weekends go by in a blur and still somehow my to-do list gets longer and longer.

Sometimes I think about giving up the blog to have one less thing to do in a day, but then I realize it is the only thing I have that is truly my own. It gives me time to myself and the chance to use my brain. I can often forget that I have space in my head for more than dinosaur facts and menu planning. I don’t get to connect with co-workers in an office anymore, but I really do enjoy connecting with moms from all over who “get it” that life with kids is a whole different thing. It makes the stress of parenting a little more tolerable when you know you’re not alone.

Speaking of alone time, I keep trying to focus more on scheduling time for myself in each day. It truly makes a difference, but that means my day starts at 5:30 or 6:00. My human body was not designed to be awake and functioning at that hour, but I get up and fake it til I make it anyway. It is the only time of the day that there is quiet, and a battle royale doesn’t erupt while I take a shower. Without that one hour by myself in the morning I feel like I start my day being shot out of a cannon. Which I haven’t done in real life, but I can only assume it would give me a heart attack.

Besides being so busy with the kids, and trying not to get shot out of a cannon, I have a few projects I am working on to grow my blog a bit bigger. I am hoping to offer some free guides very soon and I hope to have time to work on some even bigger projects to announce in the future. If I got paid just for the ideas in my head I’d never have to work again. But this all requires being organized and proficient which can often tip off my need for perfection and feeling productive.  That’s how I used to love my life to feel: productive. Ticking off items on my to-do list was pure bliss.

After practicing letting go and minimizing my need for perfection, I kind of like when I have nothing to do. I like not having to get up and rush. The luxurious feeling of sleeping in until 7:00 a.m. has won out a few times this week (which I regret after the heart attack begins). Last week I finished an amazing book and over the weekend I went out with friends. Sorry dear readers but that meant you took a backseat for the week. I hope there’s no hard feelings! Just trying to practice what I preach. Let go and take time to live the less than perfect life.

So now I feel like I’ve experienced both worlds, the struggle to be perfect and the struggle to do less. It’s time to find the balance. I think I’ll schedule that for tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. Eh, maybe next week. Whatever, I’ll figure it out eventually.

Until next week, may you all have time to do nothing!

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:

Friday Favorites – My Best Lip Balm Picks

Anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for a good lip balm. I have one stashed in nearly every room of my house. Being that I have so many favorites, I thought I’d share them with you. Growing up my favorite was a cherry flavored name brand. Since that has just too many things I can’t ingest, I’ve switched to organic brands using only essential oils and vitamin E instead of lengthy, unpronounceable preservatives. All of the lip balms listed are cruelty free and are made by companies with an eye on caring for the earth, or contribute to greater causes.

Lasting Smiles Lip Balm

Not only does the peach balm taste perfectly peachy without overpowering, but every purchase helps fund cleft palate surgeries for children in need. The balms are organic, vegetarian, cruelty free and free from harmful chemicals commonly used in cosmetics. I keep this one in my desk drawer to apply during my late night writing sessions.

Kiss My Face Lip TreatMint

This is my go-to lip balm to wear while outside in the sun. I keep it in my purse so I am ready to combat those UVA/UVB rays while running errands, or playing at the park. This is the best lip balm with SPF I have ever used. Everything else tastes like sunscreen, or contains so much fragrance to cover up the sunscreen scent. Kiss My Face is vegetarian, preservative free, it is also gluten free, and does not contain artificial colors.


Poofy Organics Lip Balm

The Cherry Vanilla is my favorite. It reminds me of being a kid and getting a cherry lip balm as a treat. But this one tastes better, feels better and is better for my body! This balm is vegetarian and certified organic. I keep this one in my medicine cabinet to use as part of my day/night time routine. I put it on right after brushing!

Savor Beauty Organic Lip Balm

Created with organic essential oils, this balm comes in five different flavors. It glides on so smooth and the flavor isn’t perfumey or over powering. I keep this one in the drawer of my night stand to apply just before bed. My lips are still moisture rich by morning. One of my absolute favorites!

You may not think it is a big deal to use organic, or chemical free products on your lips but here’s a fun fact: we swallow approximately 6 pounds of lipstick/lip balm in our life time. Are you sure you want it to be full of things you can’t pronounce? It may be too pricey to keep one in every room (each balm lasts me nearly a year), but it is definitely worth investing in one good one to carry with you.

Some other brands I’m excited to try:

Disclosure: Contains #Amazonaffiliate links. Links are safe to use and shop with. When you purchase using the above links I receive a very small commission. Just enough to keep me in lip balms for a little while. No financial compensation received for writing this review. All the opinions expressed belong solely to The Whatever Mom. 

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:

The Challenge of Parenting A Sensitive Child in The Toy Aisle

So last week I shared about how hard it is for me to ditch the to-do list and let go of completing it with precision. I have been working really hard since I published that post to stay in the moment and just let the day go where it goes. Today, I am really proud of how my day went with my kids. Mostly.

It’s Saturday and my husband is gearing up for his busy season at work which means he is working another full day today. He was away from home last week for 3 whole days. Now this week he is working 6 days straight. I know a lot of parents live like this, but it is stressful living like that week after week, year after year with zero back up. No family member around the corner to offer help. No one to call so I can run to get milk. I have to schelp both kids every where I go for the smallest of reasons. It’s just me loading two kids into the car, two kids with very big opinions, and very big emotions that can drop like a bomb at any time.

Anyway I am really proud of myself for not losing my shit in the store with my two adorable, yet whiny and demanding kids today. No really when they want something (and not simply toys) I can’t always redirect. I have to spend at least 5 minutes explaining the why portion of it or it blows up to be a huge meltdown demanding my attention (and anyone else passing by). It isn’t always easy to let go of the feeling of annoyance while running on empty myself.

Today, I simply needed two items from Target.

TWO.

ITEMS.

It turned into the longest 45 minutes of my life. I promised the kids they could have one little toy puppy for their doll set. They earned it, I just picked the prize. They picked out these little pups weeks ago and I said, “some day.” But when it came time to deliver on my promise suddenly these little stuffies weren’t what they wanted. So, now we are in the dollar section playing eenie meenie minie mo to decide on lesser prizes. Then last minute my one girl came to her senses and realized she really wanted that little puppy dog. So, we put her junky prize back and she clutched her little prize with deep affection.

My kids were just so overwhelmed by picking just ONE thing. They are so deeply emotional with their purchases that selecting just the one BEST thing makes them over think with worry they’ll make the wrong choice. I remember having moments like that as a kid. And the parenting instinct is to just rush them through. Tell them they get one thing, or nothing; or we say chose or I’ll chose for you. But there is a greater lesson to be learned. They need to learn how to make a decision, and I need to learn patience with their process. I am a pretty quick decision maker. I know what I want and I get it. If I am torn I walk away and think about it before coming back. But my kids are super smart and they want to know exactly why they can’t have both before they can move on and settle for just the one thing.

As my daughter stood on the verge of tears choosing between two small toys I decided to meet her where she was instead of powering her through this. I explained to her the benefits and consequences of her choices. I gave her a moment to process and offered a solution to come back for the other prize later.

After walking back and forth in each department for what felt like forever, she finally made a decision. She chose a stationary set in a cute matching pouch. Then she happily ran it through the scanner at the check out line. She opened it in the car and was so excited by what was inside. She was happy with her choice. And I was happy this didn’t end with me carrying a screaming child through the parking lot.

I can hear the other parents saying, “I’d never let my kid get away with that.” “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” “I would never have taken that long to help my kid decide on a toy.” Well, thankfully she isn’t your kid she is mine, and I’m the one that has to live with her. I’m the one that needs to teach her these lessons of letting go and understanding how the world works. It isn’t up to anyone else to decide the teaching method.

In a perfect world I would have parked the car ran into the store for my two little items and left in under 5 minutes. In the not so perfect world there is usually tears and tantrums. This time though I am proud of all of us for keeping it together. But most of all I am really proud of me. Leaving behind that agenda for perfection, and making good time to get in and out of the store as my sole mission, left room for the bigger mission of being there for my kid emotionally. That’s what she’ll remember more.

Note: Some kids are more sensitive than others. Being a sensitive kid doesn’t make them spoiled or cause them to misbehave. They just require an extraordinary amount of patience and empathy. Unless you know a child personally please don’t assume to know them. Or that you could do a better job raising them. 

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

 

 

Sharing is Caring:

Friday Favorites – Koala-T-Time Subscription Box

With the busyness of modern life do you ever find yourself looking for a new way to connect with your kids? Sometimes I feel like we rush through dinner, and our night time routine, and before we know it we are closing the lid on our day when we close the last book at story time. It all goes by in such a flash before I even realize that we didn’t get to chat about any of life’s bigger lessons.

That’s why I am so grateful that Elianis Guevara, CEO of Koala-T-Time subscription boxes, reached out to me with the opportunity to review a Garden Box! My girls love everything about this little box, and I love sharing it with them! Each box comes with a theme, ours was a Garden Box. Inside the box is weekly activities packaged individually to include everything you need to play. From the instructions, to the tiny little game pieces, to questions to ask your kids.

Here’s what our box included:

Week 1 …. Earn & Spend. Live the life of a farmer on a mini board game and learn that working hard brings rewards.

Week 2 …. Save. Work, live, and play while hopping through different seasons. make sure to save for winter!

Week 3 …. Grow. think about the future and learn the benefit of saving for the long-term.

Week 4 …. Give. Be inspired to help those in need as you learn the true story of a 9 year old girls who decided to make a difference.

Special Koala-T-Time Activity– creating a garden in a glove!

The second my girls found this box on the front steps they were thrilled and wasted no time getting a look at what’s inside. We played the very first game of Earn & Spend which included tokens earned for work. This really ties in beautifully with lessons we are trying to teach them about earning. If you are a regular reader of my blog you know we are working on creating a money genius.

The list of conversation starters helps open a dialog about a particular life lesson outside the board game experience. Then parents are encouraged to make it real by sharing their own scenarios with their kids. We like to play board games before bed most nights so this is a great way share our own values and important lessons before sending the kids to bed.

Each game is designed to last around 15 minutes, or less (time is noted in each set of instructions) and give parents some extra time focusing on something that isn’t just homework and chores. After schleping kids to activities and racing to get dinner on the table how many of us have time to create a fully planned out, unique and fun activity inspired by a different theme every month? This little box shows up on your door step and does the work for you! That’s what I call winning!

Select a one time box to see how it works for you and your family, or prepay a 3 month or a 6 month subscription box (free shipping on the 3 and 6 month packages). It’s that easy! Trust me your kids will love getting fun mail just for them, and you will love getting to share extra Koala-T-Time with them! (See how that works?).

If you want to catch a glimpse of other fun boxes to share with your kiddos visit Koala-T-Time at their website, on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received a complimentary subscription box in exchange for my honest review. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. #Amazonaffiliate links contained above. These are safe to use and when you shop using the link I receive a very small commission. 

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:

Taking A Break From Being Perfect

Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not really perfect. I do spend a lot of time trying to make things perfect though. I am always in a rush to get places on time or earlier than on time. I’m in a hurry most days to check things off my list. I try to out best myself the next day to see just how many things I can actually finish in one day. As much as I feel like I’m in control of things, I’m really not. It feels like being busy is the same as being productive. But being busy, and checking things off on paper doesn’t equal a quality life.

While I’m busy and rushing I’m not really living in the moment, or enjoying the simple pleasures of life. In fact I most often don’t even notice them. That is until one of my kids stops to point them out. While I’m rushing us from one errand to the next, or trying to make better time than our last shopping trip, one or both girls want to stop to pick dandelions. It never fails as I am ushering everyone out of the door because NOW WE ARE RUNNING LATE, one or both of my girls will stop to notice the puffy clouds shaped like a puppy, or maybe they’ll stop to talk to a neighbor. I have not left any time in my agenda to participate in any of these things. I read off my list and move at a quick pace that will get us perfectly from point A to point B in the mot efficient manner.

That isn’t living.

Living is in the slow moments. It’s in the time we take to create a magical bouquet of flowers in our front yard while our groceries warm a bit in the car. Living is in the time we take to watch clouds roll into different shapes, or wait for the kids to pick the perfect stuffed lovey to bring in the car. Those are memories we carry with us. In another week I won’t remember the 20 things I was able to finish in a day. But I will remember the way my kids’ faces light up when they hand me a bunch of tiny flowers. And my kids will remember that I took the time to smell each one with them.

I think this week I’ll trim my to-do list and task myself with living a little slower. Here’s to getting one step closer to letting go of perfection.

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:

Friday Favorites Mason JarJackets Review and Giveaway

Almost as a right of passage into parenthood, our house has become overrun with plastic toys, plastic dishes and plastic cups. Even our kid care products come wrapped in plastic packaging. It’s just too much! So, we’ve decided to downsize the amount of plastic we have in our house, and we are starting with our kids dishware. I feel like this is a perfect opportunity to get rid of the 1,000 plastic cups that spill out of the cupboard whenever my kids go in search of just the right one.

Glass is definitely the cleanest and healthiest option for drinking and eating. Not only is it sustainable and reusable, but glass is safe from leaching chemicals into our food and beverages. Making the switch to mason jars for drinking is eco-friendly and economical. Here’s why:

  • Mason Jars are composed of all-natural, sustainable raw materials and are 100% recyclable. They can be reused endlessly!
  • Because they are made of glass, mason jars won’t leach harmful chemicals like BPA/BPS and phthalates into contents.
  • Mason jars are dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe  and have endless uses in the kitchen, your home and beyond.
  • Mason jars cost approximately $1.00 per jar (when purchased by the case).

As much I love mason jars for just about everything, we found the two piece lids difficult for little hands to use and we can’t take them on the go. And once the jars get “sweaty” they become slippery. That is until we discovered JarJackets! Super mom and founder, Sacha Laustsen wasn’t thrilled by the plastic cup options for her daughter to drink out of, so she began using mason jars but made them safer by adding a silicone jar jacket to fit. The removable silicone sleeve provides enough shock absorption to withstand the rugged pace of a tiny human. After nearly two years of testing and and revising, Sacha introduced the JarJackets sippy to the world! The sippy lid is all one piece with proper air flow, and is designed to snugly fit the 12 oz mason “jelly” jar. Because mason jar mouths are universally sized, the sippy lids are interchangeable with any regular mouthed mason jar.

The JarJacket sippy is designed to help eliminate chemical exposure, reduce waste and declutter your cupboards! No need to store a bunch of tiny valve pieces and waste time matching the tops. Just store your clean jars with the food grade silicone tops already on. No clutter, and no toxins going into your child’s mouth. The most amazing feature is once your child transitions out of the sippy cup phase, they can continue to use the mason jar with the colorful sleeve on as a drinking glass. No plastic to toss when your child grows out of the sippy cup phase!

Even though my kids are older than the sippy cup crowd these bad boys really come in handy on the go! We enjoy taking our morning smoothie in the car with us. We simply add a straw through the top before leaving the house. The girls carry them back and forth with ease and I don’t worry about leaving the jars in the hot car while we run errands. We rinse them clean to reuse throughout the day for our water and iced tea. The lids come in handy while we are outside in the yard by keeping our drinks safe from insects. I am in love with the simplicity of the design, and how easy it is to take our mason jars with us wherever we go!

If you follow JarJackets on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube you’ll get access to some awesome recipes and mason jar lunch hacks. I am completely hooked on using our JarJackets for more than just sipping! Did you know you can bake a chicken pot pie in a mason jar? Seriously, go watch the video!

As always I am EXCITED to share my love of my favorite things with a giveaway!! Sacha has generously offered to send one lucky winner a 2 PACK of JarJackets + the lids in their choice of color! To enter just comment below and tell us what you put in your mason jars! Unlock extra chances to win by following all the options!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received complimentary JarJackets in exchange for my honest review. All opinions (and mason jar obsession) belong solely to The Whatever Mom. #Amazonaffiliate links contained above. These are safe to use and when you shop using the link I receive a very small commission. 

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)