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 

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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 

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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 

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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 

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4 Reasons You Can and You Will Get a Cleaning Lady

Years ago a friend of mine, newly married and about to have her first child, said “I have to get a cleaning lady. Working 40 hours a week and having a kid AND cleaning my house- it can’t be done.” I remember judging her so hard. I admit before kids I was the judgey single girl who slept as long as she wanted and had no idea how much work (and house cleaning) goes into parenting. My immediate thought was, “do you know how many single moms are raising several children at once, working two jobs and still cleaning their own house? It CAN be done.”

Now that I am a mom, and I know other moms, you know what we want? A cleaning lady. I can’t count how many moms answer this question, “what would you do if you won a million dollars?” with “HIRE A CLEANING LADY!” Why? Because our families don’t stop with the messes! I spent an hour and a half cleaning the house the other day. I scrubbed two bathrooms, vacuumed AND mopped the floors and finished a couple loads of laundry. Just as I was patting myself on my back for a job well done I looked back to the kitchen table now filled with crumbles of the snacks I let the kids eat to keep them occupied, and then I tripped over the trail of toys they pulled from the four corners of the earth to play with while I CLEANED THE HOUSE! GAH!

When you tell people you are hiring a cleaning lady they are thinking one of two things:

  1. You must be rich.
  2. You are being lazy.

Turns out you don’t need to be rich to afford a little extra help, and it actually makes you smart not lazy. Here’s why you should hire a cleaning lady, even if you have to sell a pint of blood to pay for her. Kidding. But I’ll totally do it if I have to!

You save your time. It is actually very rare for moms to get time enough to clean everything that needs to be cleaned in a day without a child asking for a snack, or complaining about the atrocity their sibling just committed. You can’t focus on both things at once. But a cleaning lady is there to JUST clean your house. Her attention isn’t divided so the whole cleaning process goes smoother and faster. What might take you two hours may only take her an hour. That means one more hour of your time to spend it the way you want. Play outside with the kids; sip a beverage on the deck, read a book! Just don’t feel guilty you aren’t the one inside scrubbing out the toilet.

You save your energy. The big misconception of hiring a cleaning lady is that you need her to come to your house every week. Not true! I actually hire someone just to do the bigger cleaning. The summer months are the hardest for me to manage. I can just about keep up with the bare minimum, but having a pro come in twice a month to do the bigger clean is a huge help to my stress level. I feel more energized to do more with the kids like watch them run through the sprinkler while I sip my iced coffee on the deck.

You won’t have to break the bank. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on hiring cleaning help. Just pick out a few hot spots in the house that are difficult for you to keep up with and find someone willing to do those specific tasks. For me I can’t keep up with the bathrooms and the floors in the summer. The kids bring in so much water and dirt from playing outside, and bath time happens every night. It always looks like a show at Sea World after bathing two kids. Hiring someone to mop my floors and scrub down two bathrooms every two weeks costs less than having someone come every week. And so worth the extra time I get back! You can also hire someone to come do a deep cleaning once or twice a year. No harm in asking Santa for a little extra help during the Christmas season!

You can help another mom. Hiring a cleaning company is going to be more expensive than hiring an individual who cleans homes. I found another mom who started cleaning houses so she could have extra cash to be home with her child. She selected when she wanted to work and how much to charge. I was happy to help another local mom provide for her family, and I got shiny floors in return! Total win-win!

You can definitely make having a cleaning lady more affordable by limiting the amount of cleaning hours needed. For example, I make sure my kids pick up all the toys beforehand so vacuuming and mopping are a breeze. I also make sure things are put away in the bathrooms so there isn’t anything to clear out of the tub. Before your help starts they will assess the size of your home and go over everything you’d like to have cleaned before giving you a time frame. Once you agree on a plan they know exactly where to clean and waste no time in getting it finished. Everything is negotiable, so knowing what you want help with really counts.

I only hire extra cleaning help during the summer to maximize my time with my family. Otherwise I couldn’t afford it. I am deeply grateful for the extra help every couple of weeks. The rest of the year I am on my own. Oh and one more bonus, I am less likely to get upset about a new mess in the bathroom after it’s just been cleaned when I wasn’t the one that “just cleaned that!”

Do you ever hire extra cleaning help?

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 

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Taking The Night Off

 

Taking time for myself.

So I am coming at you surrounded by my favorite friends. My pillows. No one comforts me like they do, and I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with them.

I am typically in bed around midnight and up for the day by 6 am. I still cannot fit in everything I need to in a day. So as a result of never getting enough sleep, and resisting down time, the exhaustion has caught up with me. If you look closely you will see the extra baggage under each eye. You don’t get a matching set like that from sitting around the spa eating bon-bons. Those are like hard earned badges awarded after years of surviving never ending tantrums and fevers and bed wetting (the kids not me).

Normally I’d push myself hard to make the invisible blogging deadline I create for myself, but tonight, I am taking the night off. I am slathered head to toe with linaments and ointments that promise a restful night’s sleep. I have my cozy cup of tea and my over due library book I keep meaning to read. I am ready for some peace and quiet.

Until next week when I bring you something much wittier and with better spell check, I bid you adieu.

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 

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Self Care Happens While Driving 60 Miles Per Hour

As your kids get older folks will tell you how much easier things get. There are less tantrums and physical demands than a toddler, or a new born. But what no one tells you is that life is just never easy with kids. Life will throw you curve balls and you may find your kids still tantruming at age 5 and you’re making calls to various doctors for answers. You might find yourself in the principals office for the very first time because your Kindergartner kicked over a chair at school. And even though you were never once in trouble ever in school, you’ll suddenly sweat bullets like you are the kid in the hot seat. Nothing is easy as a parent. There are just no simple hacks for getting through the day with a houseful of people people making demands of your time. In my world, it seems I have very little time to myself to enjoy anything. It can take grand efforts and tremendous planning just to get a little time alone to myself.

Fun fact, I started typing this blog at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Usually I like to write days, or weeks in advance, but life has been hectic. We have had appointments and started traveling for swim lessons. I am not a morning person AT ALL but 6:00 a.m. tends to be the only time of day I am not being asked 20 questions about why the dinosaurs “went extinct?” or “how many miles is it to the moon?” Those early morning hours are all mine to think groggy thoughts and count down to that first sip of coffee salvation. Then the day just spirals into chaotic motion from there. It could be hours, or days before I get back in front of my computer to type up a blog post for ya’ll. It is now 7:00 p.m. and I am praying I get this done before the kids bed time so I can veg out in front of the T.V. later.

So are you wondering how an over worked mom with zero extra hands finds a little “me time?” Well, first I am learning to drop the expectations for a perfect amount of time, or the perfect set up for relaxation. Instead of putting parameters on what is the perfect way to spend my time, I am learning to take what I can get whenever I can get it. Besides early mornings, I often steal away while the kids are playing to read an article on Facebook, or to read a few pages of a good book, or phone a friend. It’s nothing special, or huge, but it’s just a few minutes to plug into something else and I am learning to let that be enough.

The other evening I noticed my kindness wearing thin, so I told my husband I was going for a drive. What I really wanted was to run away to Mexico, change my name to Rosita and live on the beach. Instead I drove to the local gas station and filled up my gas tank. After that I had no idea what was next. Five minutes later, I found myself driving as far away from my home as I could get. I took very scenic twists and turns over the mountains. I turned up the music, opened the windows and let the wind mess up my hair. As I drove toward the sunset at 60 miles per hour I saw a rainbow up ahead. I took a deep breath and soaked in the final minutes of the sunset. I spent the next thirty minutes belting out a tune at the top of my lungs, then I decided to head back home. After an hour of doing just nothing productive I felt recharged. It was exactly what I needed to “get away” from the stress of being a mom that day.

Although my me time used to look like an hour long yoga class and shopping with friends, I find simple, small ways to just be alone invigorating now. These stolen moments driving fast and alone is what helped me unplug for a moment before heading back home. I’ve noticed when I unplug from the stress, everyone else in my family unplugs too. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

How do you find stolen moments of me time?

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 

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Defining Moments In Parenting Not Found on Social Media

Easter will be here in two more days. That’s when the slurry of pictures crop up on social media and the judging starts. Not that we are judging others because we are Whatever Moms, and Whatever Moms don’t judge other parents right? But how often are we judging ourselves? We wonder if our efforts stack up to be enough compared to everyone else’s. We start to compare how we show our love and measure it against how other parent’s show theirs. Maybe you’ll see pictures from a mom who handmade her kids baskets, or a mom who made all her kids candy from scratch, or maybe from a dad who assembled a bike for his kids. Now you are looking at your offerings with scrutiny and worry it’s not enough.

I’ve been there. Actually I’m there right now. I haven’t even started shopping for my kids baskets yet. I have a working idea of what I want to put in them. There simply wasn’t enough hours in the day this week to sneak away to buy everything. We were busy enjoying our break and having fun. We spent our days outside in the sun and taking each of our kids on special date days. Now I’m feeling the time crunch and I see all these pictures of great baskets popping up in my news feed. I’ve even posted a blog for “non-candy” ideas and yet, I have not picked up anything for my kids’ baskets. Does this mean I love my kids less? Nope.

The defining moments of being a parent do not come neatly packed with pretty bows and delivered on time. The material things we supply our kids with do not reflect how much we care. Being a loving parent happens when your kid dumps an entire glass of milk across the table and you don’t scream at them. You calmly help them sop it up with a towel and explain it’s OK accidents happen. Even if it is the third time in the same meal. There’s nothing pretty, or neat about that. Love for our kids shows up in the every day moments when we bandage up the scraped knees, or teach our kids hitting isn’t nice. None of those things are unwrapped once a year with eager anticipation. When our kids grow up they will look back at how much fun they had during the holiday, but that holiday fun won’t be what defines how much we love them. Our value as a parent can’t be counted out in exquisitely colored Easter eggs and giant baskets of gifts.

So, as we head into the Easter weekend know that everything you have to give is enough. All the time you spent pouring over the details of kid baskets and the meal you’ll prepare is enough. Being present with your children is enough. Set aside the worry and self doubt and just know you are enough.

Happy Easter All, and if you do not celebrate Easter Happy Weekend 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 

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Friday Favorites- Little Blueberryy Giveaway

Happy Friday! You know by now I only share the things I truly love and use in my own life with you, right? That’s what my Friday Favorites segments are all about. Today, I am sharing my new favorite jewelry designer- Brooke Michaels! She is the owner and designer at Little Blueberryy. Brooke herself is as energetic and fashionable as her original creations! She is the sole designer, creator, marketer and brand originator. She is an entrepreneur on the go and she creates stylish pieces to fit an energetic lifestyle.

Brooke began designing jewelry as a hobby when she was just 13 years old. Being creative just comes natural to Brooke, which is easy to see in her t-shirt and jewelry designs. She also creates jewelry with crystals, dream catchers and original wall art. When she graduated from college and returned home she realized that building a business is something she has to do fulfill her creative passions.

What I love most is that Little Bluberryy designs are simple statement pieces that provide fashion on the go.  The adjustable metal bracelets are perfect to wear to the gym, while chasing toddlers, to the grocery store, or for a night out with friends. Using pure metals in copper, brass and aluminum affords comfortable style and intrinsic health benefits. Every piece is uniquely hand crafted and stamped and packaged by Brooke personally. You can read more about the benefits of each metal on her Etsy page.

All of the metals used in the metal bracelets are sourced in the U.S.A. and are completely customizable. If you want a special birth date, or coordinates of a special location, or you want a personal mantra stamped into the metal for all of eternity Brooke can do that! Kid sizes are also available! How cute would it be to get a mommy and me matching set customized with their birth date, or your affectionate pet names for each other? She also crafts hand stamped necklaces that are super trendy right now. You can have your child’s name, or special poetic phrase you both love stamped onto a keepsake you will wear for a very long time!

Little Blueberryy designs also offers gorgeous crystal jewelry to suit every mood. Maybe you need to relax, or just ward of negative vibes, Brooke has a crystal for that! You can find her beautiful creations on the Little Blueberryy website.

As always I love to shop a brand with a love for charitable giving. Brooke’s pet passion is helping animals. She creates unique dog tags and donates 10% of every purchase to the ASPCA, an organization that advocates for animal welfare and adopting pets into good homes. I love that you can shop Little Blueberryy for such unique personalized gifts for every member of your household!

It wouldn’t be a Friday Favorites giveaway if I wasn’t giving away one of my favorite things right?! Out of all of Brooke’s designs my most favorite is the customizable metal bracelets! It is such an affordable way to custom design a gift for a friend, yourself,  your mom, a co-worker or a favorite teacher. It’s a really easy go-to gift that you can be a part of designing. You can stack different metals for a unique look and to soak up all the healing properties at once.

Not that you need an excuse to shop with Brooke, but Mother’s Day is right around the corner! What mom wouldn’t love to wear something customized just for her? Well here is your chance to win ONE customized bracelet in a metal of your choice! Pick from pure copper, brass or aluminum and you pick what you’d like Brooke to hand stamp! She does her magic and ships it off to you!! Easy peasy!! She ships all over the country, so you don’t have to worry about where you live! What are you waiting for? Go enter!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure notice: This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission if you purchase through the Amazon links below for the products pictured. All social media links are safe and free to use.

If you sign up to follow Little Blueberryy’s newsletter you can keep up with sales alerts and receive 10% off of your very first order. Through the month of April all Birds Nest necklaces are 10% off! These are gorgeous symbols of family and strength- perfect for your mom or grandmother, or other favorite mom.

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Photo credit: All photos contained in this post belong to Brooke Michaels of Little Blueberryy Designs.

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 

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If You Give Your Mom An Attitude

I remember the day I was standing in the hot shower, shampoo lather in my hair, and one thought stopped me in my tracks, “In just a few weeks the girls will be three! The terrible twos will be over!!” I was almost too over joyed upon thinking of this. Later, when I shared it on Facebook, someone had the audacity to tell me about the “Trying Threes.” It totally crushed my hopes and dreams of compliant, happy little kids. Thankfully, I survived living with two ‘threenagers’ and can tell the tale.

Here we are at age six and if I had to give it a name I’d call it ‘Sassy Six.’ Oh my word the sass. The strong opinions and the absolute knowing mom is just plain wrong. Ya know, the mom who went to college and had a career for over a decade before they were born? She is just dumb and wrong about EVERYTHING. Six is really feeling a whole lot like SIXTEEN! I am sure this too shall pass, but I can’t say with certainty which one of us will make it out alive. (Kidding of course).

In order to deal with it all I use a planned ignoring technique. It goes like this: when my child is listing all the reasons why she can’t do something, like I just don’t know the struggle, I do the dishes and pretend she isn’t having a fit right now. Then, I repeat my instructions to do what I’ve asked as calmly as I can. As if she never lost her mind in the first place. After using this technique for the 14th time in a day on more than one child, a mom could go a little insane. And that’s when I write things like this in my head:

If You Give Your Mom An Attitude

by Roxanne Ferber

If you give your mom an attitude, chances are she will send you to your room. Then she’ll want you to clean it. She’ll tell you to pick up all the toys and put away that pile of clothes. Then she’ll say, “make your bed if you want to go out to play.”

If you give your mom an attitude, chances are you’ll have to go to bed without any dessert. She’ll tell you, “you can’t have any” because her feelings are hurt.

If you give your mom an attitude, chances are you’ll start to feel bad. You’ll wish you never said that and wish you hadn’t made her mad.

If you give your mom an attitude, chances are she’ll love you just the same. She’ll hug you and squeeze you and call you by name. And, chances are you’ll tell her your sister is to blame.

You may notice this is a loose parody of a familiar childhood series (and one of my personal favorites). Obviously, keeping a sense of humor helps when dealing with kid drama. If you missed it, that’s my one tried and true way of coping with the stress of motherhood- humor. I’ve read the If You Give … series a million times to my kids, so naturally it’s easy to recall while I am rage cleaning. Rewording these stories in my head to mimic my reality makes it easier to deal with the brash accusations that I am THE WORST MOM EVER!

How do you survive the kid tantrums at your house?

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 

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