Change

WAMbuildthelife

Change can happen over time without even realizing it’s happening. It’s like when your hair and nails grow. All of a sudden you just notice them and can’t believe how long they’ve gotten.

When I stop and think about how I’ve changed in the last ten years, I feel like I’m a completely different person. I think it’s exciting to be a different person. What I feel is a better person. Still the same Lauren, just a new version. Over the last ten years or so, it’s as if I had a slow software update and some of the bugs got fixed.

I used to talk a lot and listen a little. Now I am often one of the quiet people in the group. I prefer to just hang back and listen to what others say.

I used to be a taker. A “what’s in it for me?” and “who’s going to buy it for me?” kind of a thing. Now, I try to be a giver. What can I do for you? What will brighten your day?

I used to avoid wearing shorts. I know it sounds silly, but for years I felt like they just wouldn’t look good on me. One day I tried them on and couldn’t believe how great they were. Seriously, anyone who doesn’t wear shorts in Arizona should have an intervention.  Now, the thought of having to wear pants makes me cringe.

I used to be a night owl who absolutely loved to drive around when the moon was out and everyone else was in bed. The thought of an open road late at night was a beautiful thing. Now, I’m too tired and honestly, my eyes just don’t see as well when I drive at night. Yes, I’m only thirty, even though this sentence make me sound like I’m eligible for the senior discount.

I never thought I would ever want to be a stay at home mom. Teaching was my profession, my calling,  and the only thing I had ever wanted to do since before I could remember. If I had babies, I would return to work. That’s just how I always assumed it would go. Until I held my first little boy in my arms and I suddenly knew there was no where I wanted to be but with him. Then, double that feeling when little mister number two came along.

One of the most important ways that I’ve changed is that I realized I needed to change. I realized that I could be a better person. I realized that when I made changes to the person I was, it made me a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend.

Turning thirty is hard for some people. For me, it was as if the lens on my life clicked into focus. I feel more confident, more free, and simply more ME.

Embrace every day. Try to make the changes you want to see in yourself. Remember that it’s OK to cry for both the happy times and the sad ones, in front of people and alone. Life can be so short, let’s hug more and criticize less. Be proud of yourself and happy for others. Everyone makes mistakes. Never sell yourself short. And in the words of Nike…just do it.

“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”      -Unknown

 

Breastfeeding 101

WAM Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding the second time around has been completely different than what I experienced as a newbie.  Not only did it just seem easier, but I now know what works and what I can live without.

The MOST important thing to remember when it comes to breastfeeding is that it’s OK if you can’t or don’t do it. All too often, a mom gets her heart set on breastfeeding, and then it just doesn’t work out for any number of reasons. After wanting so badly to successfully breastfeed your baby, and trying so hard, just know that the first time you give your baby formula, you will cry. You will feel defeated. You will feel like you can’t provide for your own baby. Wrong. You are providing for your baby by giving them the nutrients they need. Once you realize that it is completely alright for you to feed your baby formula, you will begin to feel much better. Whether it be breastmilk or formula, you are feeding your baby in the best way you can and you have to do what will work for you.

With that said, here’s what I’ve learned about boob to baby feeding…

  1. It hurts at first. I’ve had a few people tell me that it never once hurt for them. Ok. Just not the case for me, so this is worth sharing. For about the first month, every single time your baby latches on, you’ll think, “OW, OW, OW, OW, OW!” And then after about five seconds, baby is suckling nicely with a deep latch and everything is great. But those first few seconds, man…painful! Think of it as an intense workout for your nipples. You’ll be sore, but the more you do it, the more in shape they become.
  2. Drinking a ton of water makes an unbelievable difference in your milk production! The first time around, I was working all day and never made myself drink enough water. Like, not even close. The end of the day would roll around and I wouldn’t have even finished half of my water cup. NOT OK! If you drink a ton of water throughout the day and especially before bed, you will definitely increase your milk supply. Getting good rest helps production too, but let’s be real, who is getting good rest with a newborn!?
  3. If you’re a working mom, PUMP, PUMP, PUMP! With my first little guy I was still teaching. The school day isn’t all that long, so I assumed I could pump once before lunch and that would be enough. WRONG! I would feed Mason before we left the house, then pump in the late morning, and then I would feed him again when I picked him up around 4 or 5pm. I was thinking, “He can go 4 hours between feedings, so I really only need to pump once during the day. If your baby is not eating from you, you should pump more like every three hours. Every time your nipples get that stimulation to get the milk flowing, it encourages more milk production. After a few months, I would only get 2 ounces when I would pump. That’s not nearly enough to cover a feeding, not to mention wanting to build up a freezer supply. It began to feel like it wasn’t even worth it to go through the process to get so little. *Enter: supplementing with formula and the tears that came along with it. I should have been pumping WAY more to ensure my milk supply stayed where I needed it to be. Whether working or not, I highly recommend pumping every morning, about 30 minutes after you feed your baby. This is what I am doing now and I have created a great freezer supply! Or as I like to call it, “liquid freedom.”
  4. Get a GOOD pump. I’ve had numerous friends tell me they had problems with maintaining a good milk supply because their pump just wasn’t doing what it should have. Saving the extra money isn’t worth it. Just think how much you’ll save by not buying formula! Check into what your insurance covers too. After doing research and asking friends, my top choice for a quality breast pump is Medela. The Pump In Style Advanced (see photo below) comes with everything you need in a handy black tote bag or backpack. I could discreetly grab my backpack and no one questioned a thing. Check into them. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.Backpack_Front_500x500
  5. There’s plenty of great items out there to help with sore nipples. My favorite is the Medela Tender Care Lanolin. I use it a lot at the beginning, after every feeding, but then I gradually move to just putting it on before bed. However, the BEST, and when I say best, I mean THE BEST thing you can put on your nipples to soothe them is your breastmilk! At first it’s a little bit like, “um,what?” But it’s sooooo nice. I would keep a small little container of expressed breastmilk in the fridge and after a feeding, just dip your finger in and apply it to your sore nipples. It’s cold, you don’t have to rub it in, and it heals them and helps soothe so much quicker than the other stuff. Oh, and it’s free!
  6. There’s no hunger like breastfeeding hunger! Or thirst for that matter. Before you sit down to feed your baby, get a nice big cup of water. I’m a lover of Tervis cups (if you aren’t familiar, please google them. They’re amazing!) so with my first round of breastfeeding, when I was at home I would have this cup filled with ice water by my side at all times. As soon as your baby latches on, it’s as if your boobs are directly linked to your thirst indicator and the light goes off. It’s nuts, but happens every time. Also, do yourself a favor and get some healthy little snacks you can keep handy such as almonds, yogurt, granola bars, peanut butter. When you wake up in the middle of then night to feed, the hunger that sneaks up on you can be crazy! Keep those snacks by your bed or wherever you do nighttime feedings. You’ll be much happier to be awake at 3am with your bundle of joy if you’re munching away on something delicious and sipping nice cool water.
  7. I never found nursing pillows to be convenient or comfortable. They never fit on my lap the way they should. They were often too thick and made my baby too high up. Both times, I preferred to use a regular standard pillow. It’s big enough that it can lay across your entire lap and support your baby’s whole body, even when they begin to grow. You can go to Target or Walmart and get a couple of pillows for just a few bucks. Grab some cute pillowcases while you’re there and you’re set! You just saved a ton of money. Plus, when your baby spits up or poops on the pillow, (because it WILL happen) you can grab a new pillow or pillowcase easily.
  8. Try feeding your baby in different positions. When you find the ones that work for you, stick with them! When baby seems fussy, try a different one. It sounds simple, but when a baby is crying and not latching on, it can be easy to forget this. Turn them every which way until they seem comfortable and can get a good latch. And try to be patient.
  9. The last thing I’ll say is that breastfeeding is not for wimps! A breastfeeding mom makes many sacrifices and it takes a lot of discipline to do everything involved. The pain, the pumping, getting up early, staying up late to wash and sanitize all your pump things, engorged boobies, mastitis, and the list goes on. So why do people do it? Because it can be so rewarding. The extra snuggle and bonding time, the fact that it’s FREE, the nutrients you pass to your growing baby, the fact that it helps you drop baby weight quicker!, and many more.

I could go on and on. I’ll plan on another post soon about nursing covers and tips for nursing in public.

I’d love to hear any tips you have about breastfeeding.  Also, are there any questions you have about it? Leave a comment and ask! I’d love to chat about it!

How to Make a Woman Smile

WAMmakeawomansmile

I reached out and asked the experts a very important question:

“What does your significant other do for you that brings a smile to your face?”

These are some of their responses.

Ladies, feel free to bookmark this page, email it to your husband, boyfriend, boss (Just kidding! That’s probably not a good idea!), or print it and highlight your favorites, tape it to the TV, leave it on the table, you get the idea.

MEN, keep this list and read it often! Unless you like being married to, dating, or living with a woman who never gets any of this treatment. If that’s the case, I’d have to say, good luck. These are things most women will just love. These gestures will remind the lady in your life why they chose you! Some are big, some are small, many are FREE! All are worth it to see your honey smile. You don’t need to do all of them, all the time. Just use it as a guide. Also, please be aware, it is not romantic to print this list and ask your wife or girlfriend (hopefully you don’t have both) to “pick a couple.” Do them on your own and surprise her, man!

Here you go…

  • kiss her hello
  • clean something without her asking
  • bring her flowers
  • write her a {nice} note and leave it somewhere for her to find
  • dance with her, even when there’s no music
  • kiss her nose or forehead
  • unload the dishwasher
  • tell her that her hair looks nice
  • compliment her on a meal she made
  • wake up before her and make her coffee
  • compliment her on how great of a mom she is
  • cook her dinner
  • tell her she’s smart
  • bring her a little treat from the store or a trip you take so she knows you were thinking of her
  • get up with the baby/children and let her sleep
  • wash her car
  • spoil her diet (every once in a while) with treats you know she’ll love
  • text her during the day, just to say you miss her
  • remember the brands or items she likes
  • say nice things about her to others
  • say nice things about her to your children
  • tell her she’s beautiful, especially when she may not feel like it
  • kiss her goodbye
  • remember dates like her birthday and your anniversary
  • buy or make her a card for no reason
  • let her pick the movie
  • let her pick out your outfit once in a while
  • surprise her for lunch
  • try new things
  • get along with her family
  • get her car door  get every door, all the time
  • hug her tight
  • let her pick the music
  • send her articles or pictures (not THOSE kind!) you think she’d like
  • ask her how her day was
  • give her a massage
  • draw her a bath
  • tell her you appreciate all she does for you

Is there anything you would add to the list?  And ladies, don’t forget…you can do most of these for your guy, too!

Now go out there and start making those smiles happen!

Pogo Pass

pogo

Have you heard of Pogo Pass? It’s awesome. Pogo Pass is a membership that provides you 12 months of access to the best entertainment venues in Phoenix . Whether you’re a parent with one kid or five, single, married, dating, or just anyone who likes to go out and have fun, the Pogo Pass is something to check out. One pass, one price, 17 different venues! That’s right, SEVENTEEN! And many allow multiple uses. We’ve purchased Pogo Passes for the past couple of years and even though we don’t use everything, it pays for itself after just a few uses. Here’s the details…

For one price per person, you get your Pogo Pass which is valid for one full year. The regular price of the Pogo Pass is $99.95. Think that’s too much? Me too! That’s why you can now enter promo code AWIFEANDMOM to get each pass for only $39.98!

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There’s great venues for families with children such as Makutu’s Island, Enchanted Island, Skateland, Castles and Coasters, Sunspash, IDEA Museum, Phoenix Zoo, Fat Cats, Pump It Up, and Stratum Laser Tag.

There’s also great venues for date nights such as AZ Rattlers games, ASU sports events, Phoenix National Comedy Theater, Paintball, and the Phoenix Rock Gym.

The new Fat Cats in Mesa gives you ONE FREE GAME OF BOWLING PER WEEK with your pass!

One trip to the IDEA Museum costs $8 per person. A family of four will almost pay for one entire Pogo Pass, AND you still get all the other venues.

The hilarious IMPROV shows at the Phoenix National Comedy Theater cost $14 per show. With the Pogo Pass you get TWO FREE shows. Again, that almost pays for your pass and that’s just one venue!

The savings with the Pogo Pass are so worth it. Maybe you want to be able to have family fun on a budget. Maybe you just like doing new things. Either way, this is a great deal.

Visit pogopass.com to purchase your passes or read more about the venues.

*If you had Pogo Passes in the past but they’ve expired, you can delete the old passes from your account and then add them again to use the new promo code AWIFEANDMOM!

Go get your passes and then tell me all about how much fun you’re having while using it! And don’t forget to tell your friends so you can all go out and have fun together!

Favorite Apps for Kids

WAMAppsforkids

As much as I’d like to be the mom whose children don’t spend more than a few minutes a day watching TV or staring at an iPad, it’s just not always how it is.  Sometimes, as a mom, dad, or care giver, you just need some quiet, down time. Time to yourself, time to get dinner started, time to feed the baby, etc. and allowing my {almost} three year old to watch shows and play games on his iPad (yes, he has his own, go ahead and judge me) is easy. There are some days when “easy” is the best you can do.  Mason uses his iPad to practice his letters, numbers, fine motor skills, colors, shapes, to learn songs, animals,…a ton of great things. So when he watches Paw Patrol or Curious George, I have to know that’s OK too.

We go outside, we play with toys, we build forts, we get creative with art supplies, and we watch TV. It’s just part of what we do.

So, I decided to put together a list of our favorite apps for babies, toddlers, and children. Many are free, and some are not. I know these are all on the AppStore, but I can’t say if they’re on Android as well. You’ll have to let me know if you’re an Android user.

endless-reader-1-l-280x2801. and 2.  Endless Numbers and Endless Reader– These apps are great. Endless numbers works on number recognition, counting, fine motor skills as you child “catches” the number and drags it to where it belongs. It also incorporates addition. Endless Reader is the same format, but children become familiar with words and the letters that make up each word. They also incorporate sentence structure, not just isolated words. If I remember correctly, you can start off with a small amount of numbers for free, but then you have to purchase additional numbers. Definitely worth it though.

icon180x1803. Pretty much all of the Fisher Price apps – These are all free and awesome for babies and toddlers. They have storybook ones that include nursery rhymes such as Pat a Cake, Hickory Dickory Dock, The Animal Fair, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Buckle My Shoe, and Itsy Bitsy Spider. They also have a counting one called “Let’s Count” that incorporate animals and their sounds as they cover the numbers 1-10. All of these apps also have fun bright colors and sounds to engage and peak the interest of babies and toddlers.

the-wheels-on-the-bus-100-l-280x2804. The Wheels On The Bus – This app has grown with us. You can listen to and sign along with the song, play a memory matching game, drive the bus on a racing type game, and more. At first I thought it was cheesy, but Mason has always enjoyed it and the fact that theres multiple things to do within it.

88x88xICON_Disney.png.pagespeed.ic.YiuVVfaRS85. Disney Junior Appisodes – This app is free, but you have to purchase any “appisodes” that you want to actually play. They have Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, etc. You are watching an episode, but it becomes interactive and your child gets to help the characters, click on stuff, and play little games as part of the episode. You can get the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally Appisode for free. Honestly, I think they’re too expensive, but they are fun. I have purchased one or two for Mason after we got iTunes gift cards, but they’re not something we purchase often.

These are just a few of our favorite apps, in addition to the regulars like Netflix and NickJr. Mason also watches anything that involves big trucks, buses, firetrucks, and trains. If you have boys and want to know more about our favorite truck apps and shows, just let me know.

Maybe the next time you’re stuck in the car or doctor’s office and your kiddos are trying really hard to be good, you’ll give one of these apps a try.  Share your favorites too! I’d love to hear what apps your children are loving right now!

*These opinions are entirely my own and were not sponsored in any way. 

Time Machine

If you could go back in time and do anything differently, would you?  Everyone always says, “I wouldn’t change a thing! Everything that happened in my past has made me who I am today!” I get that, but let’s just pretend for a second that nothing would ultimately be changed in the outcome of your life (unless you want it to change) and you can just go back in time and do or not do certain things.  What would you change?

I would change a few things…

First of all, I would definitely not date the same guy for three years in high school.  It wasn’t a good relationship and I know I missed out on fun social things in high school because of it. Did it allow me to have my eyes wide open and to know true love when I met Josh? Sure, but the three years up to then could have been way more fun!

Also, I probably would have learned to play the piano. I’ve always wanted to have that talent, but sadly, I am 100% musically challenged. It’s like when Joey tries to speak French on Friends…except with piano playing.

Now, if we’re getting totally crazy, and could really go back and change things, I would probably stand up for myself all the times I should have, and maybe I would have eaten a little healthier. Meh, there’s still time (as I’m seriously eating a piece of cake while typing, I’m not kidding you!).

People say turning thirty is awesome because by that time you know who you are. I get it. It’s like you instantly receive membership to the “I’m awesome and don’t care what others think!” club. If you’re not there yet, you’ve got a lot to look forward to. If you’re there already and you don’t agree, then it’s time to love yourself and know that you are awesome and it really doesn’t matter what others think.

With life changing every day, you’ve got to make sure you are making the most of it! Grab life by the horns, and all that. Honestly, while I was an elementary school teacher I always felt like I had to fit a mold. I felt like I could never put a purple streak in my hair, or have really visible tattoos. I felt like it wouldn’t be the best example for young children. Maybe that’s silly, but it’s how I felt. I’ve secretly always wanted to have lots of tattoos. Like all over my arms. Will it ever happen? Who knows. Probably not, but it gives me something to think about! And now, if I ever do, you’ll be able to say, “Wow, she finally did it!”

Leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe now’s the time!

Who knows, maybe five years from now I won’t only be a stay at home mom, I’ll be a crazy tattooed, piano playing stay at home mom!

 

Sticky Biscuits

WAMstickybiscuitstitle

So in the middle of all the noodle recipes I’m trying out, I decided to give a sweet one a try. You may have seen this recipe floating around on Facebook or Pinterest. I found it on Pinterest from a great little blog called The Jones Way. You can read about their recipe here, but I’ll tell you the real deal on how it tasted and how I made it.

Before I begin, you should know that this recipe was PURE HEAVEN. Since it’s similar to monkey bread (but a thousand times better), we started out calling it monkey biscuits. I think the name “sticky biscuits” fits best. It pretty much tasted like candy. Seriously…candy that you get to make and eat for breakfast! It doesn’t get much better than that. Maybe we should call them candy biscuits…ok, the name is still up for debate.

WAMStickyBiscuits

Here’s what you need:

2 tubes of grands buttermilk biscuits (these are the big ones) – You’ll only use 1 and a half tubes, just wing it on how much fits best in your pan.

4 or 5 tablespoons of butter (melted) – I love butter so I used about 5

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

Melt the butter and whisk the maple syrup into it. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray and pour  about half of the butter/syrup mixture in the bottom. (I used a spoon so I didn’t pour too much).

Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle about half of that on top of the butter/syrup in the pan.

Lay your biscuits around the pan standing up so they lay on each other just a little. It should look a little bit like a wreath as you can see in my photos.

Pour the remaining butter/syrup mixture over the biscuits and then top with the rest of the brown sugar/cinnamon.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Maybe 30 minutes depending on your oven. You want it golden brown.

When it comes out, let it sit for a minute and then flip it onto a plate. It will be glazed with the most delicious caramel-y, sweet, sticky coating. I was expecting for it to taste really maple flavored, but it didn’t at all.

Like I said, it was like a caramel or toffee type of flavor. Amazing.

The original recipe says you can include 1/3 cup chopped almonds or pecans to the brown sugar/cinnamon, but we’re not all about nuts in our baked goods. If you are, go for it.

Also, this is SO sticky and gooey when it comes out, but it hardened fairly quickly.  You’d definitely want to call everyone to the table before you flip it onto a plate so it can be eaten right away. After about 15 minutes of sitting out, the glaze was hard (like a candy apple) and I don’t think it would have been the same to eat it then.

These sticky biscuits were so much better than any tube of cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. Josh is a crazy lover of cinnamon rolls and he even said these were amazing.

Now that you’re probably planning on making them, because let’s be honest, how could you not!? I want you to know that they are extremely sweet. After loving them so much, I decided that they really can’t be something to just make every weekend. Not for us, anyway. I’m thinking maybe Christmas morning and just a handful of other times throughout the year.

Don’t deprive yourself and your family of these, they’re THAT good.

Let me know how you like them!

Favorite Things Friday

Everyone has their favorite things. I thought I would share a few of mine! Some are oldies but goodies and others are new loves. All are amazing!

WAM Favthings1

1. Whish Deodorant Swipes– I have absolutely loved these since the moment I tried them.  I got them in my Birchbox a couple years ago and my life has not been the same since. They are little deodorant wipes that look like a wet-nap. They fit in your purse or gym bag easily, they don’t melt like a stick of deodorant, and they don’t dry out in the heat. Plus, the company is pretty awesome. Here’s how these amazing little wipes are described on their website. “Whish Deodorant Swipes are made in the USA with Earth friendly packaging and ingredients. Paraben free, sulfate free, DEA & TEA free, petrochemical free, phthalate free. Tested on us, not animals™. All natural with organic ingredients. 

I like to use them when I am wearing a black dress or tank top so I don’t have to worry about deodorant marks on my clothing for the world to see. Because honestly, deodorant marks for a tank top lover like myself, really bother me. It’s $22 for a box of 30 swipes and worth every penny.

2. They’re Real Beyond Mascara by Benefit– A friend of mine recommended this mascara and even gave me a sample to try. She’s got great taste when it comes to makeup and fashion, so I knew I had to try it. Boy, am I glad I did! It separates each lash and makes them look so long! Also, it goes on smoothly with no clumps. It’s $24 at Ulta and Sephora and comes in black, brown, and blue. The next time you run out of mascara, I’d recommend giving this one a try.

You know what, just throw yours away and go buy this one!

3. Oatmeal– I know, how boring…but I love eating oatmeal for breakfast. I was always the one who would buy the boxes with the little packets of oatmeal that never made enough and were full of freeze dried fruit. I don’t even know if I had ever had plain oatmeal. Then, when I was in the hospital after H was born, they brought me plain old oatmeal with my breakfast. At first I was like, “umm, no thanks.” But for some reason, as it sat there, it started to look really good. (Probably because of the crazy amount of hormones running through me!) So I sprinkled a little sugar on it, opened up the little container of pancake syrup, drizzled some on top, and gave it a try. The rest is history, because I eat it multiple times a week now for breakfast.  It’s so budget friendly to buy the big container of {generic brand, because let’s be honest, they’re all the same} quick oats, and it’s time friendly because it only takes a minute or two in the microwave. Then I sprinkle on some brown sugar (probably more than I should), and give it a drizzle of syrup. So. Good.

4. DoTerra Lip Balm with Peppermint and Wild Orange– Another friend of mine gave me this heavenly lip balm as a gift earlier in the year. It’s got a great minty scent, tastes good, and makes my lips so smooth. Just one of the many things I love from DoTerra! You can purchase it through a local consultant near you. If you need a consultant, just leave a comment letting me know and I’ll get you connected with one!

5. Egg Steamer– Being that I don’t eat or cook with meat, eggs are an important source of protein for my family. We eat them a lot and hard boiled are such a great snack to have in the fridge.  I know it’s not supposed to be hard to boil eggs, but I just never felt like I could get the perfect hard boiled egg by just boiling them in a pot of water. Enter the Cuisinart Egg Central! This thing is 100% fool proof. You use the tool to poke a little hole in each egg, you can fit up to 10 eggs in it, you pour some water in the bottom, and you turn it on. When it beeps, you have the most perfect hard boiled eggs every single time! Plus, its safer for people with children, or clumsy adults that live with you, because you don’t have to keep a big pot of boiling water on the stove. It can also be used to make poached eggs and omelets, but we’ve only ever used it for hard boiled. After you get one for yourself, this item would be a great gift for someone moving into their first home!

Let me know if you give any of these favorites a try. Also, leave a comment and share one of your favorite things with me!

 

Spinach & Artichoke Baked Pasta

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It’s no secret that I love noodles. Which means it should be no surprise that the three new recipes I plan to try in the next couple of weeks are all made with noodles. Seriously. I’m not even sorry. They’re just my favorite!

The most recent new {noodle} recipe I tried was from Budget Savvy Diva. Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta. Picture this: Cream cheese, sour cream, sautéed onions, parmesan, lemon juice and zest, gooey mozzarella. C’mon, how could all of those ingredients not be good together? Well, it was really good and I definitely plan on making it again. Plus, it was pretty simple.

You can check out her whole recipe here.

Here’s what I changed: I used a whole pound of noodles, I used rotini noodles (we call them curly q’s)  and I also used marinated artichoke hearts from a jar instead of plain from a can. Also, I had a bigger bag of frozen spinach than the recipe called for so mine was extra spinachy and it was delicious. I may or may not have completely forgotten to save some of the pasta water when I drained the noodles so I just added some regular water to help make it smoother.  I’m sure you could make any changes to make it work for you and it would still be just as good.

Josh and I both had a large serving and there was still half left. We ate it later in the week, but you could probably freeze it and have an instant freezer meal ready to go for another day!

This one’s definitely worth trying! Let me know if you do and if you make any other yummy changes! Enjoy!

Yes Mom

WAM YesMom

Many years ago, before I had babies, I read something about being a “Yes Mom.”  I don’t remember where I even read it, but it has stuck with me all these years.

The author said that she found herself saying no to her children just because that was the usual response that had become habit. When she stopped and thought about it, she realized most of the time there was no reason she couldn’t say yes. Being a yes mom means that you let go a little bit. You push aside the feelings of being in complete control of everything and you just say yes.

“Can we have lunch in the living room like a picnic?”    Yes!

“Can I pick out a shirt to wear today?”    Yes!

“Can we ride the elevator again?”    Yes!

“Can we bring this {sandy} shovel in the house?”    Yes!

“Can I bring my {not super tiny} tool bench in the car with me?”   Umm, ok…Yes!

You get the idea. Our children are so used to hearing us tell them no, but why?  Is it something that is going to hurt them or someone else? Are they making a mess that would ruin something like the carpet, walls, etc.? Is there somewhere else you are expected to be right now like an appointment?  If the answer to all of these questions is no, then why not say yes?

The first time your child asks to ride the elevator again after you just got off, and you say yes, they will be ecstatic! And why not?  Are those two minutes going to cause a problem? If so, then don’t do it, but most of the time we can afford to make their day by doing something so small.

Without fail, every single time I get excited about an outfit that I really want Mason to wear, that’s the day he wants to choose for himself. Now, if we’re heading to family pictures or somewhere fancy, of course I don’t let him wear whatever he wants! Most days, however, we’re just playing with friends or running errands and there’s no reason he can’t wear the shirt that makes him happy, even if he looks a little mismatched.

Sometimes I don’t want to clean up the mess that I know painting will make, but I also know that it’s awesome that he wants to be creative.

Does a little bit of sand on the floor drive me nuts? Of course, but it’ll get vacuumed up. Why not let him use that simple plastic shovel and his imagination to keep him entertained for the next hour?

Please be aware that this is in a whole different boat than spoiling your child.  When Mason asks for a new toy at the store, the answer is not automatically yes. When he asks to have chocolate for breakfast, yes is not the first thing that comes out of my mouth. (There’s a time and place to have candy for breakfast!)  He doesn’t get whatever he wants whenever he wants it. It’s about the harmless things that have you saying, “Why not?” It’s about giving him new and fun experiences and making memories.

It makes my day to be able to say, “Yes!”  because the smile I get in return is SO worth it!

Are you a Yes Mom? What’s the most fun thing you’ve let your kids do, even if it drove you crazy!?