A Jar of Mommy Kisses

WAM MommyKisses

In our house, Mommy kisses are pretty important. They can make an bump, scratch, bruise, or any other type of owie feel all better. Instantly. When I was leaving for 5 days without my little boys I knew I had to come up with something that would work in place of a real live Mommy kiss.

I decided to make a jar of Mommy kisses. I filled a mason jar with cotton balls and sat my 3 year old down to let him know how they would work. My husband and I had been telling him for a week or two that I was going to be going on vacation, so it wasn’t a surprise to him. We sat together and he watched me put a mommy kiss on each of the cotton balls. He decided he needed to add a kiss too, which made it even sweeter. Then, I told him that anytime he got hurt, missed me, or needed a Mommy kiss for any reason, all he had to do was get one of them and touch it to the spot where he needed the kiss. I also told him that when he uses a kiss it goes right back in the jar because thats where we keep the Mommy kisses and he can use it again. Really, this was only so he wouldn’t be taking them out and leaving them everywhere and driving my husband crazy with pulled apart cotton balls all over the house!

It’s not that Daddy kisses don’t work or aren’t good enough, it’s just that sometimes a little boy (or girl) just needs a Mommy kiss. I left knowing that there was a way I could comfort him even though I was on the other side of the country.

It worked like a charm and the jar still sits out in our kitchen. Occasionally, he’ll use it when he needs a Mommy kiss and I can’t do it right away, or if I’m not home. What an easy way to let your children know you’re there for them, when you might not be able to be there physically! You can use this for grandparents houses, military parents who might be deployed far away, send a little baggie of kisses to summer camp, wherever they might need a little kiss.

Any sweet things you do for your kiddos when you have to travel and can’t be with them? Leave them in the comments!

Favorite Things: Summer Edition

Summer is here! The weather is hot and the pools are warm! Even though I’m originally from New York, I’m a west coast girl down to my bones now and I really don’t loathe the heat as do so many other Arizonans. Summer means tank tops, flip flops, the beach, and fun!

Here’s some of my favorite things for summer!

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1. China Mist Passion Fruit Iced Tea- Today just happened to be National Iced Tea Day so it seemed fitting for it to show up on my favorite things for summer. Although, I love it all year, not just during the hot months. This is the same tropical tea you can get at AJ’s and at Pita Jungle. Just hook me right up to an IV of it, because it’s that good. When you buy it to make at home you can save so much money. Plus, you get to drink it whenever you want. Win, win. You can pick it up at Walmart and other grocery stores in the coffee/tea section.

2. Merona A-Line/Easy Waist Dresses from Target- These dresses…I can’t even describe how amazing they are. Comfortable, cute, inexpensive, PERFECT for summer! I {may} have it in 5 different patterns. I just couldn’t help myself! Find it at Target for $19.99.

3. ChapStick Watermelon Splash- This chapstick smells so good and who doesn’t need a good chapstick for summer? I found mine at Walmart in a 3 pack along with coconut and mango too. They’re all perfect for the beach!

4. Amir Argan Oil Touch of Tan Moisturizer- I got this lotion on Amazon because I wanted a moisturizer that would gradually darken to give me a natural, sun kissed glow. I love it. It leaves my skin so hydrated and gives me a great little bit of color. Plus, it goes on like regular lotion so theres nothing to worry about when applying it like there is with actual sunless tanners. It smells good too!

5. James Michelle Necklaces- These necklaces are gorgeous and perfect for the beachy summer look. I have quite a few of her pieces and I love them all. My favorite is the engraved bar which I had made with our anniversary in Roman numerals. My second favorite is the Karma boomerang necklace. They’re simple, sweet, and chic. Check out her website here: http://www.jamesmichelle.com.

As always, tell me some of your favorite things! I love hearing about new products, shows, places, anything!

The Easy List of Chores Your Toddler Can and Should Do

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Most of the time, when a toddler wants to “help” the go to instinct is to roll our eyes and accept the fact that whatever we’re doing is going to take three times as long and still probably not be done correctly. This list of chores won’t get you out of the times when your tiny human will want to be your special helper, but it will give you some ideas of what your toddler CAN and SHOULD do at home!

I don’t like to give my toddler chores that have to be done in a certain way, such as folding laundry or “organizing” anything. Instead, I choose to give chores that can be completed easily and are truly a help to me!

1.  Clear the table after meals– Chances are, if you’ve got a toddler, you’re not usually eating on fancy China or beautiful and heavy ceramic dishes. Have your child carry their plate and silverware to the counter or sink and then come back for additional items. They can carry the salad bowl to the sink, put napkins in the trash, and even put condiment items back into the fridge. It really helps decrease the amount of trips I have to make clearing the table!

2.  Put away clean silverware– You probably want to take away the large knives, but otherwise, what a fun game it can be for your toddler to match where the spoons, forks, and butter knives go! Show them where wooden and serving spoons go too and just keep expanding the amount of items they are in charge of putting away.

3.  Clean up their toys– There are plenty of times during the day that I put away my childrens’ toys. I don’t think it’s realistic for toddlers to put everything away all the time, but I do think they need to help clean up toys before getting new ones out, before leaving the house, and before going to bed at night.

4. Wipe down the table and bathroom countertop– Give your child a wet rag or paper towel and give them the task of wiping down the table after a meal, the bathroom counter, or a coffee table they may play on. Even if you have to wipe the table after them, it’s still showing them that they will be responsible for cleaning the mess they made while eating.

5.  Put dirty clothes in their hamper– This shouldn’t really be considered a chore, but since most children tend to leave their clothes EVERYWHERE, it’s a good one to work on, even if it just means that YOU don’t go around the house and collect their dirty clothes, they do!

6.  Dust– Give a kid a feather duster and watch the excitement!

This list is what we try to have our toddler do fairly regularly. Of course, it doesn’t happen every single day, and most of them definitely do not happen without having to remind and tell him to them. I think that’s ok! It’s important that he begins to learn what is expected. Every time he does something automatially, I know it’s working!

I’d love to hear what you have your littles do for chores!

It’s My Superpower.

I’m a worrier. It’s practically my superpower at this point. I know I’m a worrier and I also know that my worrying only got more intense after having children. It’s just how it is when you’re a mom! Anything can happen in a split second and we need to make sure we’re staying on top of the situations we CAN control. Now hear me out- I’m not over protective. I let my boys take risks, seek adventure, and have rough and tumble fun, but when we’re in a situation where my actions determine their safety, I try my best to be on top of it.

The other day, just as I was pulling into the parking lot of the grocery store, my little guy fell asleep.  I decided to let him take a little snoozer while I just sat in the car and looked over my list.  As I was sitting there, I saw a woman with a few children walking to her car. She had three children trailing behind her and she was on the phone. No hands were being held, no children were in her eye sight, and my “jump to the worst scenario” sensors were going crazy. The youngest was about 3 or 4 years old and he stopped to look at some rocks on the ground. He bent down, took a couple seconds to look, and then continued to trail after his mom. But what if he didn’t? What if he stepped the other way into cars going by, what if he ran behind a car backing out? He’s a very young child who acts on impulse and as parents it’s OUR job to make sure they are safe!  The mother didn’t notice and seemed to be completely focused on her conversation. Yes, nothing bad happened and no one else in the world is probably thinking about that mom walking to her car, but I am.  It’s time we put our greatest distractions, our cell phones, down when we should be focusing on the most precious things in our lives.

The Splash Pad: This Mom’s Best Friend

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We love the splash pad. Like LOVE it. I’m not sure if everywhere has jumped on this trend, but here in the greater Phoenix area, they’re everywhere and it’s down right terrific.

There are so many good things about splash pads.

First of all, they’re free. Located in parks, malls, the zoo, and neighborhoods, they are easy to find and don’t cost you anything to get in just to have your toddler run around and stay cool!

Second, they’re free! Just kidding, but it’s a pretty good selling point.

Second, (I feel) they’re pretty safe. The only thing you really have to worry about is your child, who is running full speed through spraying water with their eyes closed, running into another child doing the same thing. For the most part, they can’t really drown, there’s not usually anything to climb up on to fall off of, and I’ve always seen them kept clean.

Third, going to the splash pad completely counts as that day’s bath. Judge if you choose, but it counts.

Fourth, it’s great exercise for kiddos! My little guy can run around like crazy and he doesn’t come home sweaty and smelly. Win!

Also, splash pads get extra bonus points from me if they have shade where the parents can sit, and even more points if it’s all shade so I don’t have to worry about remembering to put sunscreen on my kids.

It’s not even summer yet and we’ve already been enjoying Arizona splash pads! Text some friends with kids, pack some snacks, meet at the splash pad, and have fun while you try to beat the heat! And if you really don’t have good splash pads where you live, maybe it’s time to come visit us in AZ!

Check out this link for a great list of splash pads in Phoenix: Phoenix Splash Pads

Muffles for Breakfast!

Have you ever had a muffle? Let me tell you, it’s quite possibly the easiest and most delicious breakfast you can make that looks like it took you a lot of time and effort.

Now, I’ll begin by saying that I’m completely OK with using quick and easy, prepackaged things. Ya, I make homemade things from scratch too, but there’s not always time or the desire to. These Betty Crocker muffin mixes are great because they require only water and some stirring. They come in different varieties such as blueberry, chocolate chip, and triple berry, which is what I used. Oh, and they’re inexpensive. We used 2 pouches and got 3 large waffles, so you almost need a pack per person.

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Grab a few bags of these babies, mix em up, and pour them into your waffle maker.  MUFFLES! They’re SO good and SO easy and I like them even better than making them into actual muffins. We ate them so quickly that I didn’t even stop to take a photo of how pretty they turned out!

Top with fresh berries, maybe some powdered sugar or whipped cream, and you’ve got an amazing breakfast that only took a few minutes! Plus, my toddler loves to help make waffles muffles in the Belgian waffle maker, so it’s fun and keeps him involved too! Ours is the kind that you get to flip over, so it’s pretty much the best thing in the world if you’re three years old. If you don’t have one, it’s not a bad thing to get. You can pick one up right at Walmart.

Enjoy your muffles!

*The opinions in this post are entirely my own and are not influenced or endorsed in any way by Betty Crocker or any products or stores mentioned. 

Momfessions

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No one is perfect and sometimes we need to hear the things other people do in order to feel better about ourselves.No, it’s not that we NEED to feel better about ourselves. It’s just that it’s nice to know we’re not alone! It’s nice to know that we’re normal!

I’ve asked other moms what their mom confession (momfession) would be. As you read them, I hope that maybe not only do they make you feel better about the things you do (or don’t do!) as a mom, but maybe you’ll read a few and realize that sometimes it’s OK to do these things by choice! They’re harmless and it makes life fun and interesting!

Here’s their momfessions…

Sometimes I skip bath time…for a couple of days!

Cookies or cake for breakfast if I’m especially lazy or they’re especially good…or whiny.

Bribing! You name it, I’ve bribed for it. Trying new food, going to bed, leaving the house, going potty, getting dressed, being quiet, the list goes on and on!

Letting my kids watch TV, just so I can shower…or read an entire book!

I throw away toys that they like but that I find really annoying!

I eat the good snacks after they go to bed. It’s like they taste even better.

I let my kids eat snacks in bed one night, just so they would stay there while I watched The Bachelor.

I let my kids climb in bed with me so I can sleep longer in the morning.

I don’t stop my children from using the doggy door to go in and out. It’s just easier!

I tell my kids that a monster will eat their toys if they’re left out at night. -Ya, that’s one of mine…Read about the Toy Eaters HERE if you missed that post. I’m telling you, it works!

If I’m too tired to clean up, I just clear a path in their room and leave it a mess.

I taught my toddler to rub my shoulders and make it sound like it’s a lot of fun for her. It’s really just because I know that’ll benefit me in the long run!

What would your harmless momfession be?  Leave a comment below!

Why I Became a Stay At Home Mom

I read this article, where Danielle, of the blog Today’s The Best Day, tells why she decided to stay home. The long version is a great read, and I’ll tell you my long version below, but the short version is simple…I became a stay at home mom because I couldn’t stand being away from my babies.

As Danielle says as well, a lot of women don’t WANT to stay home and that doesn’t mean they don’t love their children or don’t want to spend time with them. It just means that they have other reasons, their own reasons, for working outside the home. Maybe it’s financial, maybe its because they love what they do, it doesn’t matter why, it just matters that they’re doing what’s right for them. I know how hard it is to be a working mom and they are true superheroes.

I NEVER thought I’d stay home. I was the kid who had a life plan and I stuck to it. I had ALWAYS known I wanted to teach. I planned for that all through high school. I started college with a set plan in mind and I stuck to my plan. It looked like this: 4 years of college, no more, no less. Two years of general requirements. Then, being accepted into the College of Education and spending the next two years prepping for the profession I was born to do! Graduating with my degree in Elementary Education, passing the Arizona state teaching exams, getting a job in the SAME elementary school that I attended, teaching for 30 years, and retiring. I also got married, bought a house, and had an hour commute each way during that time. It didn’t matter because I had my plan. I knew where I was going and what I had to do to get there. EASY!

The plan was moving along beautifully! I landed my perfect job and got to work along side some of my best friends for 6 years.  Then, I became a mom.

I will never forget a specific time when M was a couple of months old and we were having dinner at Outback.  He was fussing so I began to nurse him. As he was quiet and soothed at that moment, I looked across the table at Josh and began crying. I knew I was going to have to go back to work in just a week or two and it was all I could think about. I didn’t want to leave my baby and be away from him for hours and hours a day. But I did.

I went back to work. I was excited to see my teammates every day, I was ready to haul my breast pump back and forth each day. Again, I had a plan and I was going to see it through.

I worked for a 7th year and began my 8th. Then we found out I was pregnant again. My thoughts instantly turned to the fact that I was now going to be leaving TWO sweet babies every single day. I knew I would worry about them all day and miss them so much. I knew I would get home too late in the evenings, stressed out, and mostly thinking about what I had to do for work the next day. I knew I couldn’t do it again.

I decided I wanted to stay home and then all sorts of new worries and stresses flooded my mind. Would Josh think it was a good idea? Would we be able to afford it? Will my parents be disappointed in me for quitting teaching? Would I like staying home? Will I still talk to my teaching friends? And so on, and so forth.

Well, as I worried if it would work, many people told me the same thing, “You make it work.”

The money doesn’t matter, you hang on to the relationships you’re afraid of losing, you make new memories, and you take it a day a time. Adjust as you go.

I am with my boys every single day. I am soaking up the moments because I know it goes by too fast. I can honestly say that I love my job. It has long hours, but pays in hugs, kisses, smiles, giggles, and my heart is fuller than I ever imagined it could be.

Life is too short to NOT do what makes you happy. And BOY, am I happy.

 

An Easy Game To Play With Your Toddler

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In between playing with cars, trucks, planes, helicopters, 6 different firetrucks, and a variety of bouncy balls in varying sizes, I try to squeeze in a game that makes my little guy really think! I love his imagination games and I encourage him to be (most of the time) loud and all over the place, but I also love it when he sits, focuses, and learns new things. Today we played a seek-and-find type of game that requires no prep, no materials, and pretty much no effort! Sounds good right?

While sitting in our living room, I started to ask him to find different types of things around the room. Here’s some of the questions I asked…

Can you find something purple?
Can you find something soft?
Can you find something tall?
Can you find something hard?
Can you find something that’s a circle?
Can you find something skinny?
Can you find something tiny?
Can you find something really big?
Can you find something bumpy?
Can you find something that is really smooth?

You get the idea. You can use any colors or shapes, but I really enjoyed including words that may have been a little less known to him. It allowed us to have some great conversations and do some compare/contrast with opposites. The bumpy/smooth and tiny/really big were fun and I could keep asking him to find something even tinier than what he previously found! We had a great time and it took pretty much zero effort on my part!

Just think about how much fun this game would be in different rooms or places! The garage, backyard, in the car, at the grocery store, at a restaurant! And if your children are a little older, teach them how to play it together in more of an “I Spy” fashion and you just might get to sneak out of the room and go pee with no one looking for you!

Share one of your favorite quick games you like to play with your kiddos! I’d love to hear them!

I Love You, Hydro Flask

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Welcome to the best water bottle ever. The Hydro Flask keeps hot things hot and cold things cold forever! Up to 24 hours and your water is still cold! I can fill it up with ice and water before bed and then it’s still icy in the morning! Pretty much everyone in Arizona needs one, but no matter where you live, I bet you’ll love it. Here’s the beauty I got…

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You can get the amazing Hydro Flask at Dick’s Sporting Goods, but also on Amazon. If you decide to get one, you might want to also throw a straw lid in your cart. That way you don’t have to unscrew the lid, you can just open it up and hydrate!

As you can see, I’m a little smitten. Ok, not a little. I’m in love! I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!

They’re a little pricy, but I promise, it’s worth it. Mine was the first thing on my Christmas list. If you’ve got a birthday coming up, it’s a great thing to ask for. Bat those eye lashes and work some magic!

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try one out!

 

The opinions in this post are entirely my own. I have not received any compensation for this review.  All images are property of Hydro Flask.