family life · kids · story telling

THIS is my Motherhood

This is my Motherhood
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I saw this picture on Facebook in October. It has really stuck with me. In fact, every time I read it, I feel like the breath has been knocked from my lungs. The days are long.. they are SOO long. The years just keep flying by. I just looked at baby pictures of my girls. How did they become 7, 6, and 3 so fast?

I follow a lady named Ralphie on Instagram. GO FOLLOWER HER. She did an #Iamthiskindofmom hashtag where moms shared what their STRENGTHS are. Too often we focus on our shortcomings as mothers, which I believe robs us of a lot of the joy in motherhood. I often think about how I am not a patient enough mom. I’m not creative enough. I’m not fun enough. Her movement shifted my thinking. What kind of mom am I? That is the only way to not miss out on your children’s childhood; and your own motherhood. Focus on the good.

It is absolutely insane to think that my motherhood only has approx. 11 years left for Chloe. In 11 years (or more) she could be moving out of our house and starting her own life. ELEVEN YEARS. Seven years have gone by in the blink of an eye. I know I have fallen short in SO MANY areas. I have messed up and have regrets. But there is a lot that I hope my kids remember.

I AM the kind of mother who loves having my kids join me in the kitchen. I love baking with them and teaching them the life skills of preparing a meal. I am the kind of mother who tells my kids “the best chefs are the messiest chefs” so that they don’t feel bad about making a mess.. or me making a mess.

I am the kind of mother whose kids ask for their vitamins and probiotics daily. I teach them the best ways to take care of their bodies; because they only get this one.

I am the kind of mother who spreads paper, markers, stickers, etc. all over the table and lets her kids be creative. There is always a massive mess to clean up afterwards, but I love seeing what my girls create with some paper scraps.

I am also the kind of mom who teaches her kids to clean up after themselves. It’s important that they learn they are not “cleaning up for mom”, but they are cleaning up for themselves. We are a family unit, and everyone needs to do their part in order for us to function.

I am the kind of mom who lets her kids play in the tub until they look like raisins.

I am the kind of mom who gets festive like crazy for all of the Holidays. Food must be festive. Decorations must be festive. Colors must be festive. I’m completely bananas about any holiday.

I am the kind of mom who lets my kids get dirty. They can play in the dirt and throw leaves in their hair. The can jump in puddles and play hard. They learn best that way. Sensory play is my favorite.

 

We, as mothers (and fathers also), need to slow down. We need to realize that this is our one shot with our kids. What kind of parent are you? Make a list of all of your good traits. Don’t focus on your shortcomings. Focus on ALL of the good that you do!

 

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baby · holiday · kids · recommendations

Holly Jolly Kids Outfits

Holly Jolly Outfits

Santa Hat Dress // polka dot santa dress // striped deer shirt and pants // knitted deer romper // You Serious Clark? // Fair Isle leggings and ruffle shirt // CC beanie // Dinosaur shirt // earflap hat // cloth diaper // Christmas socks // hoodie outfit // bandana bibs //

Hopefully there is something there for everyone. If that Santa hat dress came in my size, I’d wear it all December long.

Someone better put their babe in that YOU SERIOUS CLARK? outfit. Mine are all too big, and it’s too good.

Happy Wednesday!! We are halfway to the weekend!

family life · kids · story telling

Harper Says

This little stinker is so full of funny words, phrases, and actions. She’s always saying or doing something silly and fills our home with loads of laughter.. and frustration.

 

The other day, Scott  had drawn a heart on me. I asked her who did it.
H: “I dunno”
Me: “Did Rocci do it?” (FYI: Rocci is our puppy)
H: “No, him don’t have hands!”

We are in the potty training trenches… candy is our bribery.
H: *sits on potty* ” Me go pee and me get CANDY!!!

She has been singing Elsa’s “Let it Go” at super speed.
“Let it go let it go can’t hold anymoooore”

Me: Harper, I love you.
H: I like you.

Again, potty training… She walks around with a bare booty most of the time. Rocci sniffs her rear with his cold, wet nose.
H “EW YUCKY DOG!”

After Mom had her knee surgery, Harper used her cane as a microphone singing “Sussa weens sussa weens” (super wings super wings)

Pointing to my belly “Mommy, you big”
Me “Yeah?”
H “Yeah. And Daddy big.”
Me “Is your belly big?”
H “No. It wittwe.”

As soon as she refuses allllll the food at any meal.
“Me want chiiiiiips.”

Good thing she is so snuggly and cute. 😉 She’s ornery as can be, but I am so thankful to have this girl in my life!

family life · kids · Uncategorized

Happy Spring

Oooorrrrr Summer..

It is currently 84 degrees and the temperature keeps climbing.

We are soaking up as much sunscreen covered sunshine as we can. Everyone is covered in dirt and enjoying quiet time now.

We went to visit Scott’s parents yesterday so that Scott could help set some things up for them. The girls love their dog, Sierra. She is such a sweet girl. Harper wasn’t too sure what to think of her at first, but was hugging her by the time we were leaving. haha! 

Papa even took the girls for a ride on his golf cart, which is always a favorite activity of theirs. I love that his purple golf cart has traveled all across the country with them. lol

We also made a trip down to Whole Foods. I had some coupons for a free product that is only sold at Whole Foods in our area. We also stocked up on some sale produce. I love looking in my fridge and seeing all of this goodness. This is probably the best part of Spring/Summer.. sunshine and fresh fruits!!! 

I really cannot wait to plant a garden of my own. In our area, the end of March/early April are the best times to plant; or so I have read. I have some seeds that I will plant, and have a flat of veggies/herbs that I am going to do some container gardening with. We will see if I have a green thumb. I sure hope so!

I am loving all of the spring colors that have been popping up in the stores. I can’t believe that Easter is less than a month away. We are getting all geared up at church for the egg hunt and our incredible Easter service. I just love this time of year.

 

I hope that you are having a wonderful first day of Spring; and that you are at least getting a glimpse of warmer temperatures wherever you are.

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family life · kids · recipes · Uncategorized

Gluten Free/Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookies

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?! I love them. I also love oatmeal raisin cookies. Just kidding. I hate raisins. I love oatmeal, however, so I decided to marry the two and see how it went. YUM!

Here is the recipe:

2 1/2 C All Purpose GF flour (I used this brand– this recipe is adapted from the back of the package)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
16 TBSP Vegan Butter (I used earth balance sticks)
1/2 C white sugar
1 C packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla (make sure its GF)
2 flax eggs (I use this brand– 1 TBSP flax + 3 TBSP water= 1 egg)
2 cups GF/DF chocolate chips (This is the only brand I have found.)
1 cup GF oats

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While your oven preheats, cream your butter, sugars, and vanilla. Once creamy, beat in your flax eggs. Slowly add in your dry ingredients (except for chocolate chips and oatmeal). Once this is incorporated well, add in your chocolate chips and oats. Mix until everything is completely incorporated.

Drop your cookies 1 TBSP at a time (Get one of these and you will not regret it!). Bake for approx. 12 minutes until the edges start to brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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This cookies could definitely be made without the oats if you are not an oatmeal fan, I just really like the texture. You can also use regular butter and 2 eggs, but they obviously would not be vegan.

I already am eating way too many of these cookies, and all three of my girls are big fans! Let me know if you make these!

I love incorporating baking into our homeschool day. Our kitchen gets extra messy with three little bakers, but I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

My brother-in-law lives in another country. He said that the women there do not let their children cook with them because it is too messy. I was a little shocked by that, because I grew up helping my mom in the kitchen, but I am finding that it is more common.

How is it in your house? Do you prefer to do it all yourself? Do you have a crazy messy kitchen?

baby · family life · kids · natural living · recommendations · Uncategorized

5 Sustainable Baby/Toddler Options

My passion for sustainability started at a strange time. After Scott and I first got married, I was taking Interior Design classes at Missouri State University. (HIGHLY recommend them, if that is your passion.) I remember a professor saying that part of being a designer was being responsibility. Re-using furniture and decor whenever possible; or repurposing it. Another thing she mentioned was starting off using things that were made to last. It really struck a chord with me, and I was hooked.

For some reason, you tend to get laughed out of town for being a “tree hugger”. As a Christian, did God not call us to be good stewards? Wouldn’t that include this beautiful earth that he created for us to care for and enjoy? (Here is a good list to help answer that.)

If we make wise decisions from the beginning, we will waste so much less money and resources.

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Pura Insulated Bottle– These bottles are so great!! They are made from stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about the chemicals in plastic. It does have a hefty price tag, but you can replace the nipple with a soft sippy tip, a straw, and a flip top. It lasts FOREVER and grows with your child. If you have multiples, or just want some extra padding, you can purchase silicone sleeves to customize your bottle/cup some more.

Re-Play Recyled– This brand has EVERYTHING! Sippy cups, plates, bowls, flatware, you name it. There is even more than I realized! I have these snack containers and love them. It’s nice to stack a snack for each girl when we all go out, or just have individual snacks during the rare one on one outing. You can read more about their company here.

Cloth Diapers– Cloth diapering is not only earth friendly, but SO budget friendly. I was really intimidated by the idea of cloth diapering, but now I wish I had done it sooner. Don’t let it be intimidating. I love my bum-genius diapers the most, but I also have Alva baby and really like them also. (Babies R Us usually has coupons for Bum Genius.) You can check out my pinterest board if you need some information to help you get started, because it can certainly be overwhelming in the beginning. (My younger sister even made her own wipes, so you can even go as far as that!)

Green Toys– I love this brand! Everything is so cute and well-made. The toys are made from 100% recycled plastic, which is awesome. (Image source) You can see more about how they make their products here.

Refillable Baby Food Pouches– These are amazing! I own a different brand, but the zipper is extremely difficult to zip. These have really good reviews, plus there are lots of others out there. I loved making my own baby food. I knew exactly what was going into it, it was a huge money saver, and I could make a wider variety for my babies to try. I still fill these pouches with applesauce for outings, and they come in very handy when a stomach bug has invaded your home and no one has the strength to sit up.

Another great tip is to buy quality. I have said this before, so I may sound like a broken record. Buy items that will last. Check re-sale shops and B/S/T pages on Facebook and you can find quality items at a much lower price. You don’t HAVE TO pay full price. Check for deals! Amazon sometimes has products that have been opened before for significantly cheaper, even though they are still in perfect condition. That is how we got our high chair for such a steal!!

I have loved this journey of finding sustainability; especially as a family of five. If we can reduce our footprint, even by a fraction, then I will be pleased.

What are some things that I could add to this list?

family life · holiday · kids · Ramblings · story telling · Uncategorized

Catching Up

Hello, friends! I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were able to spend time with my entire family for the first time in 6 years. It was crowded and chaotic, but oh so fun! I spent 12 hours in the car yesterday with Harper throwing up the entire way. All of the girls got it overnight and now all have high fevers. Please pray for them to get well.

We had a full week of “vacation”. I use that term loosely because with kids there is no such thing as vacation. It’s all work! haha! The first half of the week was pretty low-key. Tuesday, we went shopping for the last of the items needed for family photos. It basically ended up being an item for each girl. We went to Target where I drooled over Christmas decorations for as long as the girls let me. Then we went to the mall and my dad met us for lunch. (Look at the cute deer at Target!)

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We hung out at my OLD.. I mean, older..sister’s house on Wednesday. We found out just how allergic Scott is to cats. Oops. It was a lot of fun to get to spend time with her catching up on life. We were so busy talking that the only pictures I really have are of her dog. HAHA! I brought her a coffee and she bought us pizza. It was pretty great team work.

We had our Thanksgiving on Friday since my younger sister was with her husband’s side of the family on Thursday. We did a lot of prep work on Thanksgiving Day. Chloe got to make merengue with my mom for a coconut cream pie (my dad’s request) and Harper got lots of Papa snuggles. He would probably disagree on the word “lots” being used, but for a two year old he got pretty lucky. haha!

Friday morning I went out for Black Friday with my mom and older sister. We ate a super delicious breakfast and Amy made coffee for me. I pulled an all-nighter and really needed it. We had our huge and delicious meal. I may have blacked out because I don’t really remember eating, but I remember it being GOOD. After everything was cleaned up we played Watch Ya Mouth and laughed (and drooled) a ton!!

On Saturday, the family all went to a Reindeer Ranch. We ate “lunch” there. We all agreed that it was more of a snack (an expensive snack) than a true lunch. Then, we got to go on a reindeer tour and feed them! Addison was too afraid to feed them, but Chloe jumped right in. Look how beautiful they are! Harper seemed to enjoy it as well. They had a playground for the kiddos to play on also, so they all had a blast.

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We also helped my mom put up one of her Christmas trees. Once again, I’m not sure how much help our crazy crew was, but we tried. haha! Sunday was the usual- church, lunch, and re-packing all of our junk. The girls also got to open their presents from Mimi and Papa. Christmas is going to be SO fun this year!!!

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Even though our car ride was pretty rough on Monday, I feel really blessed. My grandparents are in a nursing home that is just slightly off our path home. We were able to stop and visit them. I left Harper with Scott. I honestly thought she was just car sick, but kept her out to be safe. I feel terrible that everyone was harboring this bug. Hugging my grandma and grandpa is one of the best feelings. They are two incredible people who I love so dearly.

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There is one more thing though! My best friend from High School was able to take some family pictures for us! We had initially planned on Wednesday, but it rained all day. It was a huge blessing (for us anyway) because we got them done on Friday. Our whole crew was together. So, we got our family photos, and then the rest of the family met us and we were able to take our first group shot in years. They turned out so beautifully!!! Meredith Michelle Photos has all of the credit for these beauties below:

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They are so stunning. I could just stare all day. Thank you, Lord, for a week full of blessings and for whoever invented the washing machine.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you get any good deals over the weekend?

family life · holiday · home · kids · Ramblings · Uncategorized

This is Halloween

I cannot even believe that Halloween is just 12 days away!! Where has the time gone? October seems to be flying by, and I’m a little disappointed. October is my favorite month, but the dramatic shifts in temperature have left me feeling pretty lousy through most of it. Pull it together, Oklahoma!!

Anyway, twelve days away, and my children will not make up their minds about costumes. For months now, Addi has wanted to be an elephant and Chloe has wanted to be a bunny. Awesome. That’s not too hard other than making an elephant nose mask. Yikes. This month, however, everyone keeps changing their minds. Addison wants to be Marshall (from Paw Patrol), then a cat, then back to an elephant, well maybe elephant ears/cat face/marshall paws, just an elephant, OH WAIT I WANT TO BE A WITCH! Chloe has mostly stuck with a bunny, but then will pick other random things. They have to decide today so that I can get their costumes started and done.

Harper still can’t say what she wants to be, but LOVES puppies. Seriously, the kid is saying “woof” instead of words to other people. Scott had the really awesome idea for her to be Skye from Paw Patrol since she already has the pink glasses. (Skye wears pink goggles if you don’t know.) She is easy, and currently my favorite child. I’m just kidding.. she’s always the favorite. 😉

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I pulled out our decorations from the van today. Yes, our beat up white van is a storage area. (Just 23 days until our hopefully move-in-the-house date). The girls lost their minds. Everyone was so excited. I always let them pick where to put the pumpkins. I really don’t have a whole lot of Halloween decorations. I love decorating for Holidays, but usually end up buying fall things so they can be out for several months. Anyway, most of what I have is from Dollar Tree or the clearance section of Target post-Halloween. I always wanted to hang witch hats from the ceiling so it looked like they were floating. I finally found some for VERY cheap a couple of years ago after Halloween, and I love it.

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I wrapped cobwebs around the wooden map that is hanging up year-round. (I won this beauty in a giveaway, and it is my favorite piece of art that we own.)

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The girls love that our lamp now glows purple. What could be better?

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I also filled our giant pumpkin with candy. I saw these at Target several years ago and thought “I must have one!” It went on clearance and I bought it; immediately wondering what on earth I would do with a MASSIVE plastic pumpkin. Usually I put huge rocks inside of it so it decorates the outside. This year, we will actually get to hand out candy at home so it has a real purpose.

Am I the only one whose kids won’t decide on a costume? Do any of you parents dress up? My mom always took us out trick-or-treating and I don’t remember her dressing up, so I have just never planned on it. This is our first year actually going, and I’m out of my mind excited! Maybe we should dress up though? Let me know in the comments!

family life · kids · Ramblings · story telling · Uncategorized

Weekending

We had a pretty special weekend!!!

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Scott’s parents came to spend the weekend with us, and it was lovely. As you can see, it got really cool outside on Friday. Addison was dying to take Mimi and Papa to see the fountains that she visits each week. So, that is what we did. Chloe had not seen them either, so she was pretty excited to go! As we were walking, we discovered a Starbucks kidding inside one of the buildings. WE stopped in for some hot chocolate (or chocolate milk) and cookies. God bless my mother-in-law for getting me a PSL! What I love about this is that Denise knows Harper’s food allergies and made sure that she got a treat, too. She got hummus and pretzels, which makes her dip-loving heart happy. 🙂

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Mimi also brought cowboy hats for the girls to wear. Addi wore hers the most often.

Friday night, Scott’s mom offered to watch the girls for us while we went out and spent the night at a hotel. It was glorious. We went on a double date with some friends of ours, and ate really delicious food with great company. Sleeping through the night without a child waking us up was also really amazing… plus I am a huge fan of continental breakfasts. Scott went downstairs and brought breakfast up for me while I was still asleep. Did I mention that he is the greatest husband in the world?

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On Saturday, we went to the park and even got Mimi to climb the tower! Chloe serenaded us with her stick guitar and a song that she made up. I love her imagination.

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I can’t forget to mention that Addison’s 5th birthday is later this month, and Mimi brought a huge present for her! This treehouse has been a source of constant entertainment, and is so darn cute!!

I really love having company come to visit. Living far away from family makes you really appreciate the time that you get to spend with them. I am really grateful that they were able to come.

My sister and her family will be here on Wednesday, and I am completely giddy because it has been a YEAR since I have seen them!!! Blessings upon blessings, I tell you!!!

Happy Monday, friends!!! How was your weekend?

family life · kids · recommendations · Uncategorized

5 Favorite Diaper Bags

Mamas, we carry a diaper bag FOR-EVER. Even when your child is done with diapers it seems that you are carrying their stuff.. well, Chloe is six and I’m still carrying things for her.. So, forever. In my opinion, diaper bags need to be functional (obviously) and it’s a huge bonus if they are pretty. When you just have a baby, you typically don’t feel at your most beautiful. (You just gave birth to a human, you ARE  a rockstar.) It can get old to carry a gross looking diaper bag around. You are a mom, but you are still a woman.

My first diaper bag screamed MOM and I loved it at first because I was a new mom. I wanted the world to know. But, the baby does that for you and I really couldn’t wait to carry a pretty bag again. Well, when you find out that you are pregnant again with a 6 month old baby, you realize you will never carry anything pretty (besides your babes) again.

Enter: the diaper bags in disguise. I feel like many of these bags don’t scream “I’M A DIAPER BAG” but are still super functional and will last well beyond the baby years. (sob) Obviously, do not break the bank to buy a diaper bag. Maybe add a nice one to your baby registry. There is typically someone who is willing to spend more for a baby shower. If not, gift cards and those handy coupons they give you to spend on what remains on your registry. Bingo!

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  1. Lily Jade You really can’t go wrong with any style that they have. I won a bag in a giveaway earlier this year. I picked the Shaylee because it was in stock. Seriously, it is beautiful. But, the function for me just never quite fit. I found a buy, sell, trade group on Facebook and was able to trade for an Elizabeth. It has been a match made in heaven. Functional pockets galore, and it’s beautiful!

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2. Petunia Pickle Bottom Altogether Tote This tote may be the most fun bag on the planet. I wear pretty much all neutrals. Black, grey, and white with dark blue or black denim with a little chambray pretty much sum up my wardrobe. A fun pop of color is great. If a bright color isn’t your thing, it comes in many other colors; including neutrals.

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3. Skip Hop- Grand Central I saw a mama carrying this bag a few weeks ago. It caught my eye and I think it is so cute!! Outer pockets are a huge bonus! They can carry bottles and sippy cups without spilling all over the contents of your bag!

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4. Skip Hop Chelsea Skip Hop is really an awesome brand that last without completely breaking the bank! This bag easily will last through the baby years and beyond!! The color is so beautiful and classic (and also comes in black if you are worried about stains). Look at allllllllllll of those pockets!

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5. Timi & Leslie Charlie Y’all, this is a SEVEN piece set. I have heard nothing but good things about these bags, though I have personally never tried them. It is one that I drooled over while I was pregnant with Harper, but never ended up deciding on a bag. This bag is huge and an obviously hold a ton! The added stroller clips are just a huge bonus to me. I love being able to easily attach my diaper bag to the stroller (or shopping cart) and go.

**For the record, I use Think King stroller hooks and LOVE them.

 

 

This post is not sponsored by any of the above brands. All Amazon links are affiliate links, and you can see my full disclosure statement on the “referral links” page. Thank you for supporting me while I help support my family.