Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's Resolutions (Some Which I Probably Won't Keep)

New Year’s Resolutions!  It’s a few days before 2015, so I suppose it’s time to make some.  I’m not very good at keeping them but here are a few I’d like to try for this year.  
Buy White Socks Only
It would make sense to buy all white socks that are exactly the same.  This would make my life so much easier.  And, I’m sure I would have fewer ‘stray’ socks and fewer times when I wear mismatched socks to drop my daughter off at school to bed.   But no, I won’t do this because I’ll go shopping and see the cute patterned socks that would look so cute with this or that.  Then, I’ll pick up some Valentine’s Day socks in the Target dollar bin for the kids.  Not practical at all, but fun!
Go to Sleep Earlier
Honestly, this is hard for me.  I always stay up later than I should.  However, lately, I have been passing out from exhaustion falling asleep a few days a week at the same time that my kids go to bed.   Part of me thinks I need to go get a physical because I can't stay up as late as I used to. And, part of me is scared because I wonder if it’s just because I’m getting older.  
I Will Keep My Cool
When the kids drop cereal all over the ground and then step in it, I will keep my cool.  When my kids start fighting over an Elsa doll, I won’t run over to them like a mad woman and demand they stop arguing.  When my son refuses to get into his car seat,  I will not drown my stress in a pint of Ben and Jerrys.  I will be a more relaxed mom in 2015.  Really.
Exercise More
I exercise.  However, with the low So Cal temperatures lately (yes to me 50 degrees is cold, please don’t throw virtual snowballs at me), I haven’t been getting out to run as often.  Instead, I’ve been going on my treadmill and walking at speed 3.0, sometimes 3.5, while I watch some show on Netflix. In my defense, I try to walk for at least an hour.  I guess that still counts as exercise.  Still, I really need to pick up the pace if I want to do that mud run in April.
I Will Savor the Moments More
But, if I’m being serious, this year, I want to relish the moments.  When my daughter helps my son put on his new Batman robe or his socks and shoes, I will admire her kindness.  When my son snuggles next to me during bedtime stories, I will remember how blessed I am.  I will hug my kids tighter and longer.  I will tuck their laughter into a special place in my heart.  I will try to remember that they are not perfect, and neither am I.  

And then there's this: Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they’re already asleep.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr. …….This is one I know I can keep because it's easy to love my kids.
It’s a New Year!  I’m going to try to be better, but I also realize, I’ve already got it pretty good.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Greatest Christmas Gifts of All

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other”-Burton Hill

Someone once asked me what big gift I was getting my kids for Christmas.  At the time, I had a baby and a four year old who would be happy with a jar of playdoh, because they didn’t know any better.  I shrugged and said ‘Blocks?”  

I almost felt like I was doing something wrong!  

However, since moving from two incomes to one main income, most years, Christmas had to be small because I didn’t want to go into debt over "big gifts."  And, even when we had more money, I kept the gifts small because I didn’t want my kids to expect too much.

This year, we got the kids bikes for Christmas.  Nice ones.  My kids spend a lot of time riding bikes and skateboarding so we figured this would be a gift that would keep giving for years to come.  Plus, my daughter had outgrown her bike.  

In my mind, these are “big gifts.”  But, I’m praying that the best presents this season will not be the bikes.

I’m hoping my children’s best gifts will be memories of decorating sugar cookies, driving around to look at Christmas lights, giving to others, snuggling by the fireplace, and ice skating for the first time.

I’m hoping my kids will have rich memories of singing Christmas songs, cutting out snowflakes,  gathering with loved ones, and learning about God’s greatest gift: Jesus Christ.

And, even though I don’t want presents to be the focus of the Christmas Day, I do enjoy that moment when we gather around our Christmas tree;  the one covered with felt and foam ornaments (because  I have a toddler and two cats, and I don’t want anything to come crashing down).   I love to watch their eyes light up as they open their gifts.  But even more, I love those moments because we are all together without any distractions and all the worldly chaos.

It is these moments where the joy and grace of Christmas rises and overflows.  And any holiday stress that I might have been feeling melts away.  

I’m to the point where I don’t care a whole lot about getting presents...because my greatest gifts are not wrapped up under a tree; they are inside of my heart. 

What are your greatest gifts this holiday season?

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keeping my Family Healthy with "Farm Fresh to You"

After having our first child, my husband and I began to reevaluate how we ate.  As a result, we began eating a mostly organic diet and increased the amount of whole foods we ate.   I wanted to be healthier for my kids and I also didn’t want my children to be exposed to the additives, chemicals, and hormones in a lot of conventional foods.

That was over six years ago, and we never looked back.

Overall, I feel like my family of four doesn’t get sick very much.  Both my husband and I are thinner than we were 10 years ago.

When the weather is bad or my toddler is acting up, I sometimes I want to go through a fast food drive thru.  When you eat mostly organic, there are fewer choices for dinner.  Our suburban neighborhood has about five restaurants with organic or ‘natural’ items on the menu.   So, I find myself going to our local natural grocery store….a lot.

This is why I was so happy to be introduced to Farm Fresh to You!

Farm Fresh to You is a delivery subscription service that provides organic produce to homes and offices in both Northern and Southern California. This Community Supported Agriculture service is based in Capay Valley, California.  To assure a wide and fresh variety of produce, the company partners with several other local farms.

So, how does it work?

The great thing about this service is that it is customizable.

You are able to choose the size and type of box, along with the frequency that it is delivered.  First, you can choose what type of box you want.

  • * Mixed Fruit and Veggie
  • * No Cooking
  • * Fruit Only
  • * Veggie Only
  • * Traditional CSA

Then, choose a size:

  • * Small for 1-2 people
  • * Regular for 3-4 people
  • * More for 4-6 people
  • * Monster for 6 plus people (for the fruit and veggie box)
  • * There are also Organic Snack packs, designed for offices,  that come in mini, small, medium, and large sizes.

Finally, you can decide if you want a box to be delivered weekly, monthly or every two or three weeks.

Since we are a household with two adults and two kids, I chose the regular fruit and veggie box.  A few days before my box was supposed to arrive, I went onto the website to customize it.  The box came with amarosa fingerling potatoes, apples, pears, navel oranges, satsuma tangerines, fresh herbs, broccoli, butternut squash, a meyer lemon, assorted lettuces and nantes carrots.  I decided to switch out some of the tangerines for some bananas and the butternut squash for some sweet potatoes.   You can also go to your exclusion page and mark off certain items that you never want to receive.

After I chose what was in my box, I was taken to a page with items to add-on.  You don’t have to order anything.  However, everything looked so good I couldn’t resist. I decided to get some roasted and salted pistachios.  However, some delicious tomato sauce and maple syrup also caught my eye.  Maybe next time.  I also saw olive oil, organic eggs, and granola on the list.  These are great options for those weeks when the weather is bad and I don’t feel like going to the store.

After I customized my box, I eagerly anticipated its arrival.

So, what was in my box?

Everything was delicious and fresh.  After washing my produce, I enjoyed some nantes carrots.  They were sweet and better than most carrots I purchased in the stores.  The navel oranges were juicy and refreshing.

For dinner, I decided to make roasted carrots, sweet potatoes and amarosa fingerling potatoes with fresh herbs.  Here is the recipe:

Roasted Potatoes and Carrots with Fresh Herbs

Serves 2-4 people


2 medium sized sweet potatoes
½ pound of fingerling potatoes (I used amarosa)
4 medium carrots (I used nantes)
1 T of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 sprigs of both thyme and rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  You can peel the potatoes or leave the skins on.  Cut sweet potatoes and fingerlings into one centimeter cubes (it doesn’t have to be perfect).  Slice carrots into coins.   Then take your sprigs of thyme and rosemary and slide your fingers from the top to the bottom, stripping off the leaves and “needles”.  Toss vegetables and herbs with olive oil.   Next, spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet in one even layer.  Cook for 25-30 minutes.  Every ten minutes, use a spatula to stir the mixture around.  Allow it to cool and enjoy!

My family enjoyed this flavorful dish!  The fresh herbs were a nice touch.

Overall, I am enjoying this service.  It is so convenient and helps my family and I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.   In addition, I love waking up to fresh produce on my doorstep.

If you’re interested in this great service, I have a special offer for you!  Farm Fresh to You has a ‘refer-a-friend’ program.  For each referral, your friends are given $10 off their first box and the account holder is given a ‘$25 credit applied to their account.’  A great deal for both parties involved.  See more of the terms and conditions here.  If you’re interested in this deal, my referral code is MELI6372.  Sign up here.

‘Farm Fresh to You’ makes it easy to include more healthy foods in your family’s diet.

*Disclosure:  To inform my review, I was given my “Farm Fresh to You” box for free.  In addition, I was compensated for my evaluation of the service.  All opinions are my own and I only endorse products and services that I believe in.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Saving Money Through Coupons

Today, I have a guest post for you from Kate from Stay at Home Mom with Money Saving Tips! 

Hello, I am so excited to do a guest post for Wading Through Motherhood!  To introduce myself, my name is Kate Corcoran, I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past three years and have been a "couponer" for the past four.  While my husband works full time outside of the home, I work inside the home raising our two beautiful children, and saving money any way that I can.  I hope by the time you finish reading my post, you are inspired to start saving money as well!

On average I save about $50-$75 a week with coupons, and finding the best deals at grocery stores.  We are a family of four, with two little ones still in diapers, and I find myself spending about $150 a week on groceries, diapers, and personal care items.  My grocery bill is definitely cheaper in the summer, because I can get better prices on produce and fruit at local farmer markets.  Right now a large portion of my grocery money is spent on fruit, vegetables and meat (things there are typically not coupons for).

Every Sunday I get about 5-10 newspapers. I used to purchase them, however, I have made friends will the clerk at a local convenience store, and he saves me all of the inserts from the papers. When a store doesn't sell their papers, they only give back a portion of the paper, and they get to keep the rest of it.  I encourage others to ask when they go somewhere - it can't hurt!

I organize my coupons in a filing system, by date.  I have a folder, dated, with each week’s coupons, and cut them as I need them.  (The picture below is very messy, because my one year-old finds it fun to rip all of the inserts out, and my three year-old thought it would be fun to play with play-dough on the carpet!)

Once I have all of my coupons organized, and an idea of what I need for the week, I ALWAYS check my favorite coupon matchup site, You can check almost any store, and it will give you a list of what is on sale and the coupon(s) that matches that item.  I typically do my "big" grocery shopping at ShopRite, and then go to Stop and Shop, CVS and RiteAid (since these are the stores closest to me) during the week;  if I can find good deals that is!

A couple months ago I had the idea to start my own website and FaceBook page, called Stay at Home Mom with Money Saving Tips. I share my coupon tips, online deals, crafts, and other inspiring quotes and articles for moms and dads.  I have had so much fun doing it, and have met some incredible people helping me along the way, including Melissa from Wading through Motherhood!  If you are interested in following my site, check out my Facebook page.

I hope you have found this information helpful.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on couponing; I am learning something new every day, and am so happy to share with you what I have learned so far.  Happy couponing! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Parenting isn’t all about sacrifice

Being a mother is not about what you gave up to have a child, but what you've gained from having one ~Unknown

It’s Christmas time: the season that’s supposed to be about love, giving, and sacrifice.  

Yet, sometimes that season is muddled with stress, commercialism, and meltdowns.  And, I find it funny, that during this time that is supposed to be filled with joy, that by the time Christmas break rolls around, I feel a little lackluster. 

Being a parent is about giving.  You can’t just give a part of yourself to your children.  You have to jump in and give it your all.  It is a 24 hour a day job.  There aren’t any sick days.  

Giving it your all can be exhausting, and messy, and frustrating. 

When I’m really tired, I sometimes start thinking about what I have sacrificed in order to be a parent. 

You give your time.  Your money.  You give away your sleep.  And, sometimes you have to do things you don’t want like watch ‘Frozen’ for the 10th time.

It’s easy for me to get stuck in a pity party for myself.  Yet, then I remember that Jesus gave up everything for us on the cross, without getting anything in return. 

HE wasn’t given anything.  

When I think about it that way, I remind myself to focus on the positive.   

And, even though parenting is about sacrifice, I am given plenty in return.

What have I been given as a parent?

Morning cuddles.  

The gift of being more patient. 

Unexpected ‘I love you's’ whispered in my ear.

Effervescent laughter.

Tiny hands wrapped around my finger.

The way my toddler inches closer to me when he is scared.  

Reminders to be silly and carefree

Watching my children stand in wide-eyed wonder at rainbows, a butterfly and all the other little things.

Brutal honesty.  

Spontaneous hugs between my children.

The moments are unlimited.

Yes, being a parent is about giving...our love, our time, and our energy.   Likewise, selflessness is an important aspect of love….a love that gives but doesn’t expect things in return.  

And, I’m not talking about being a doormat, giving your children too many material things, or not teaching them to do things for themselves.   I’m also not saying that parents shouldn’t take time for themselves.  

I’m talking about giving them our undivided attention when they really need someone to listen. 

I’m talking about appreciating our children for their shortcomings, their idiosyncrasies and their ‘I tried my best.” 

No one said being a parent was easy.  And giving is a big part of the job description. 

But, isn’t it great when our children return our love, notice the little things we do, and let us into their world? 

I think so.

By being a parent, what have you been given?

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to Prevent Your Kids From Having a Holiday Meltdown

During the holidays, my family and I often travel more. The kids might get to stay up a little bit later. Of course, there are more sweets, more chaos, and an overall less predictable schedule. This can all lead to tired and cranky kids. The good news is that the holidays don't have to be stressful. Here are a few steps I take to prevent my kids from having a holiday meltdown.
Set a Precedent
At our house, we have never bought expensive gifts for my kids on Christmas. Thus, they are pretty happy with whatever they get. As kids get older, sometimes their expectations get higher. Setting a strong precedent of "less is more" is important to keep everyone merry. Even better, make generosity and giving the themes of the season.
Be Clear
Your 8-year-old might want an iPhone. However, this doesn't mean he or she will be getting one. If you know your child is wishing for a certain big-ticket item for Christmas, it is best to set the record straight before the big day.
Don't Overschedule
The amount of holiday activities available is neverending. Parties, tree lightings, church services, school plays, and shopping can quickly overwhelm your calendar. It's OK if you don't go to every festivity. We have had times where my daughter was invited to a party almost every weekend. Sometimes, we just had to say no.
Keep Shopping With the Kids to a Minimum
Sometimes it's better to shop online than to drag your kids from store to store. Bringing your toddler to Black Friday, last-minute Christmas Eve shopping, and the "After-Christmas" sale is just asking for it. I do a lot of my holiday shopping online. This is more convenient for everyone.
Eat Healthy
Left to her own devices, my kids would probably eat cake pops and apple pie for dinner. It's especially hard when we go to someone else's house and there are more sweets than real food. It's fine for kids to indulge a bit. However, I always make sure my kids eat a good meal first. Too much sugar in an empty stomach can lead to upset tummies.
Do Something Unexpected
I like having traditions. For instance, every year we walk or drive to the same street to see Christmas lights. I also like doing something unexpected for my kids. A surprise trip to the zoo or a beach trip makes everyone in our family happy.
Be Flexible
In my family, most of the cousins are six and under.  In addition, most of us live far apart. This means we all need to be flexible. Christmas can't be at 5 o'clock sharp. Any time you travel with young kids, there needs to be time allocated for bathroom and snack breaks. Personally, I would rather have a holiday car trip take a little longer than have my kids upset by the time we reach our destination.

Kids can be unpredictable. I can't promise your child won't have a meltdown in the candy aisle of the grocery store (Did I mention you should avoid that during the holidays?). However, I hope these tips help.
How do you prevent holiday meltdowns?

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Photo credit: Morguefile: greyerbaby

Monday, December 8, 2014

20 Reasons You Might be Tired Today: The Parenting Edition

I’ve come to realize that I’m not one of the parents that can run on five or less hours of sleep. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done it, plenty of times but I’m not happy about it. I’m cranky. Lethargic.  And, you better not take the last cookie or you’ll be on my list (yes, I’m talking to the hubby here). As I inch closer to 40, I’m a little more tired or perhaps my kids are simply wearing me out.  As much as I try not to stay up too late, those days of 8 hours of sleep are far and few between.  Here are 20 reasons you might be tired today. 

1. You have a newborn baby (enough said)

2. Your child is going through an I’m scared stage.  Monsters under the bed? Spooky sounds?  Even a teddy bear can cast a scary shadow on the wall.   (Daniel Tiger says..See what it is, you might feel better!)

3. Your co-sleeping child (or little one who crept into your bed in the middle of the night) kicked you in the face, more than once. I’m always amazed how a tiny body can take up so much room in a king bed. 

4. Your entire house was hit with the dreaded norovirus/rotovirus (who cares they’re both horrible).

5. Some stupid singing toy or doll was going off in the middle of the night. When I was a child, I loved talking dolls, but now they just scare me. I'm always amazed how some of these talking dolls do not have on and off buttons.  

6. You forgot about the bake sale fundraiser for your child’s basketball team tomorrow.  You spend some time debating whether or not to go to the store and buy some cookies or be even more tired and make some goodies from scratch.  

7. You decided to stay up to catch up on the last two episodes of _________! Right now, for me, it’s Season 9 of 'Criminal Minds'.

8. You were blogging/reading parenting blogs/commenting on parenting blogs/on social media posting pictures of your children.

9. Your boobs are leaking! Again. You need thicker nursing pads.

10. The dog barked, woke up the baby, who woke up your other child/ren and it took a long time to get everyone back to bed.

11. Your baby decided to get up, and stay up at 3:00 am.  Your toddler decided to get up at 4:00 am and so on and so forth.

12. You went out and tried to live it up like you did in college.  Staying out until 2 am really hurts in the morning. 

13. Your boss needs you to come in early to have a meeting about the meeting.  (No joke, I have had more than one of these)! 

14. Your child had a sport’s tournament all weekend long, three hours away, the last game ended at 6 pm. You can't believe you're paying money to do this. 

15.  You were reading a book about how to get your baby to sleep through the night.  Well, that's ironic!

16.   Someone wet the bed.  Oh, where or where did those piddle pads go?  Oh where or where could they be?

17.  You're enjoying the silence, alone time, too much to go to sleep.  You say you'll go to bed earlier tomorrow…but you know you won't.

18.  You're determined to have a laundry hamper free of dirty clothes.  At midnight, you realize the pile of clothes is going to win, yet again.  

19.  You're attempting to purge your kids old toys and baby clothes.  Every time you hold up a different article of clothing, you reminisce about what your child did in that onesie.  You're not sure if you can give these memories away. 

20.  You're out of coffee, or just didn't have time to drink it yet.

Why are you tired today?  

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Monday, December 1, 2014

I Will Never Leave You

If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever.” - Winnie the Pooh

I made my daughter cry last week. 

We were at the park for some after-school play time.

She was playing with her friends when my son decided he wanted a drink.  Being the toddler that he is, he jumped up and made a beeline for the drinking fountain.  Before bolting after him, I looked and saw my daughter happily chatting with her friend in the “sand box.”

Moments later, after my son got a drink, we came back to the play area.   

It was then that I saw my daughter standing in the middle of the sand area crying.

I thought she was hurt or someone had upset her.  How did I miss that….I was right there!

What’s wrong?  I asked her. 

I thought you left…….my friend told me you went home. Her lip quivered. 

Then, I realized it was me that had upset her.  

Oh sweetie, of course not….I would never leave you….I will never leave you!  I told her.

I had been only a dozen yards away but she couldn’t see me at the drinking fountain.   Of course, hearing her friend say ‘They left’ probably added to her feelings of fear.  

I felt horrible that my daughter, even though momentarily, had felt abandoned, scared, alone.  

Typically, she is so wrapped up with her friends that she hardly even looks to see where I’m at….even though I’m always watching her.   However, maybe she IS looking at me….at least sometimes.  Just as I watch her to make sure she is safe and making good choices, I realize she's probably scanning the crowd for me to make her feel safe and loved. I now know my presence at the park is comforting to her.  

As our children get older, we want to give them space and independence.

However, I’m starting to realize that older children need their parents just as much as younger children. 

They may not need us to help them get dressed or brush their teeth.  However, they need us for guidance.  They need us to be there when they feel sad or hurt.   When they are playing in a soccer game, they need to be able to look into the crowd, make eye contact with us, and see us smile.  When they are teens, they need us...even when they think they don’t.  

I'm also realizing that, once kids go to school, time seems to start flying by. It's hard to say goodbye to the baby years. It's hard to let go a little. And, there's a fine line between supervising our kids and smothering them.  

My daughter’s growing up rapidly before my eyes.   

Yet, she’s still very much my little girl.  

I know I can't be there every second of the day. Hopefully, my love and my words will stick with her when I'm not around.  

Do you think older children need their parents just as much as younger children do? 


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