The Day the Butterflies Went Away

There are certain expected milestones in your child’s life that make you happy, sad, and sometimes a little bit of both. First steps, first words, first days of schools…they’re all pretty much lumped together and spark a flutter of emotions.

But, it’s the unique milestones that really hit you right in the mommy gut. They’re often ones you thought would have no significance at all.

For me, it’s the day the butterflies went away.

When my youngest daughter was born we decorated her nursery in a butterfly theme.  There were butterflies all around her room; purple and pink, everything matched, from the crib sheet to the curtains. The butterflies never seemed to bother her…not like she had a say in the matter anyway.

As my daughter started growing and developing her own little personality, I could immediately tell she wasn’t the purple and pink butterfly kind of girl. She was the one to chase them away, not to admire their beauty.  Nevertheless, the butterflies stayed where they were. It was their home after all. Even as she moved from the crib to a “big girl bed”, the butterflies hung on.

When she turned four and was waist-deep into “My Little Pony”, we changed her bedspread and curtains to match her current obsession.

But, the butterflies remained on the wall. She didn’t seem to care as long as her ponies were around.

From the ponies we added “Shopkins” decals on the walls…next to the butterflies. The “Shopkins”, ponies, and butterflies all seemed to live in perfect harmony, although they had nothing in common except for the fact they shared a room.

Then a couple of months ago, my then 5-year-old daughter said, “Mommy, I want to take the butterflies off. They’re babyish. I’m a big girl.”

What? No more butterflies? What did they ever do to you?

As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew she had a point. She was growing up whether I wanted to face it or not. When my older daughter changed her room décor, it didn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I welcomed it. But, when it’s your youngest, it’s just different…at least for me.

Since the butterflies were going bye-bye, I figured we might as well get rid of the ponies too. So I suggested buying new bedding for her sixth birthday. She immediately jumped aboard that train adding, “something for big girls”. I agreed to that. It would be nice to choose a bedding theme that could last the test of time…or at least through her little phases and fads.

She chose a zebra rainbow pattern. I have to admit, it is very nice and is “something for big girls”. While we’re still making the transition and adding decorations here and there, the butterflies are gone.

They have a new home, in her closet, along with toys that aren’t exactly for “big girls” anymore.

While I can’t hold on to the butterflies, I’ll still grab onto those mommy hugs and snuggles whenever I can get them before they fly away.

Did You Get Your “Mommy 10” Today?

As a mom, any quiet time you get to yourself is better than gold. Between work, the kids, activities, and everything else life throws at you, you look forward to your quiet time even more than a new season of “Fuller House” on Netflix. At least I do.

That’s why I need my “Mommy 10”.

What’s the “Mommy 10”? Well, I’m glad you asked. The “Mommy 10” is that precious time (usually about 10 minutes) in the morning after you’ve gotten up and ready for the day and before your kids get up.

It’s the time before the daily arguments about what to wear although outfits are picked out the night before.

It’s the time before needing to explain why Cheetos and Doritos are not good snack options, even if sanitizer is used afterwards.

It’s the time before explaining for the 100th time why sanitizer won’t get that cheesy stuff off fingers.

It’s the time before the first argument about whose Barbie is going to use the car and which one will have to walk.

It’s the time all moms need.

It’s ten minutes of quiet in the morning to use any way you’d like. Whether it’s to sit down and enjoy a few sips of coffee before it gets cold or scroll through your Facebook feed to see what everyone else was doing while you were sleeping, or even watching TV; it’s your time.

I need this time at the beginning of my day to just set the tone for what’s ahead. I look at my planner to see what assignments I have to complete. I look at the calendar to see what’s going on for the day and mentally prepare myself, especially when it’s back-to-back soccer practices at dinner time when I don’t want to use the crockpot.

Getting my “Mommy 10” means not hitting the snooze button and walking like a ninja through my house so I don’t wake the kids. Annoying…yes.

Well worth it…absolutely.

Then there are the mornings I hit the lottery.

Those are the mornings when I get the “Mommy 60”. Those are the days when I get really crazy and hit the gym even before the garbage men are out. It’s nutty, but truth be told those are the mornings I feel phenomenal, even if I’m ready to crash after dinner!

The days I don’t get my “Mommy 10 ” or “Mommy 60” and wake up when my kids do or even slightly after are about as fun as watching a Caillou marathon. I honestly feel the difference of not having my “Mommy 10”.

I know a lot of women who get their “Mommy 10” at night once everyone goes to sleep. While this time has its perks too, there’s just something about getting time to yourself first thing in the morning, even if you’re not a morning person.

Laugh all you want, but once you try it, you won’t knock it!

So did you get your “Mommy 10” today?

 

 

Can we stop putting labels on parenting?

When I became a parent eight years ago, I knew I would be getting the new title of “Mom” or “Momeeee” as my kids like to scream. I knew there were a lot of responsibilities and expectations that came along with that prestigious name. I was ready to take it on, and that I did, some days better than others, but you get the idea.

What I didn’t know was that there was a chance I would be labeled as a certain type of parent. I thought a parent was a parent and that was that. That’s the way it was for my momma. She was my mom. That was pretty much where it ended.

Fast forward a few decades where parents of my generation have the pleasure to be categorized into certain parent molds. I’m sure by now you’ve heard of them all.

You have the helicopter parents. Those are the ones who apparently are overprotective and take an obsessive role in their kids’ lives.

Then you have the lawnmower parents. Those are the ones who stop at nothing to make sure everything goes smoothly for their kids and there are no obstacles in the way.

Don’t forget the “free-range” parents who let their kids explore the world. I thought only chickens could be “free-range”? Who knew?

On the opposite end is the “tiger” parent who doesn’t let their kids explore anything. They’re pretty strict and lay down the law 24/7.

Then there are the attachment parents. They love, love, love to be with their kids 24/7, some even at bedtime.

The list goes on and on…and on. Am I the only one who finds this type of parenting labeling downright annoying? I’m still confused as to how we got to this point, but I wish it would all go away.

If you’re like me, you take a little chapter out of each of these parenting styles.

Do I tend to hover over my kids at times like those so-called helicopter parents? Sure.

Do I try to make things easy for my kids? Sometimes.

Do I let my kids explore and do their own thing? Absolutely! Especially on days when I’ve heard “mommy” for about the 100th time and my head is ready to explode. Explore all you want my young Dora…explore…and take your sister with you!

Am I strict with my kids? You bet. They call me “mean” at times, but it’s all good. They’ll thank me later. I used to think my parents were mean but now I get it. They’re lucky that all they had to worry about was me wanting “total phone” so I could have a conversation with more than one of my friends at the same time. That was technology at its best in the ’80’s! I think if my parents had to deal with all the pitfalls of cell phones and social media their heads would explode.

Am I attached to my kids? Of course? Just not at bedtime.

So would that make me an attached helicopter, lawnmower, free-range tiger momma?

If you want to classify yourself as a certain “type” of parent, knock yourself out. I’ll take a time out on that one. There are already so many self-imposed and society pressures on parents these days without throwing parenting labels into the mix. Like I tell my kids, I don’t care what everyone else does, I only care what you do. I just wish we could all make it a little easier on one another.

As parents, I think we’re all constantly trying to figure this thing out and wonder if we’re doing it right so we don’t screw it up. But, what’s right for you may not be right for me and vice versa.

I think if everyone just tries to be the best parent they can, we’ll all be better for it. Let’s leave the helicopters and the lawnmowers out of it.

 

 

Review: Red Gate Beauty LipSense & Lip Gloss

*This is a review of Red Gate Beauty products. I was provided the product to complete this review. All opinions are my own.

How many times have you put on lipstick in the morning only to have it completely erased before lunch? It’s rather annoying because no one has time to constantly reapply; yet you want to keep your lipstick on for more than an hour.  Did I mention the fact that cosmetics aren’t cheap? So when you do invest in products, you want them to get the job done.

That’s where Red Gate Beauty products come in. I recently had the opportunity to try out LipSense by Red Gate as well as the moisturizing shea butter based gloss. With 40 warm, cool and neutral colors to choose from there is something for every facial tone. I chose the “Bella” shade as well as the “glossy” lip gloss. The color is guaranteed to last 4-18 hours, so I put it to the test.

I applied it as recommended; one thin layer at a time for a total of three layers (waiting a few seconds in between each one). I noticed a big of a tingling sensation, but that’s normal with this product because of the denatured alcohol that creates a bacteria free environment in the tube. If you have dry lips, like me, you tend to feel it a little bit more. It does diminish within a few seconds, so don’t get scared.

The color went on smooth and I really liked it. It’s horrible when you like a shade in the store or online and then once you get it home, you’re disappointed. But, this was not the case with the LipSense. Since I liked the color, I went ahead and applied the gloss. What I loved about the gloss is that while it made my lips shine, it didn’t leave them feeling gooey. I’ve tried other lip glosses that have left my lips feeling sticky and actually on the gross side. But, not with the LipSense products.

After the products were applied, it was time to put them to the test. That meant a normal day of eating, drinking, wiping my mouth, etc. Through lunch and even through dinner time, the color did not disappear. While the gloss factor diminished, the color was still visible. There was no need to reapply. By the time I was ready to wash my face for bed (about 15 hours after applying); I could still see trace amounts of color! This was easily removable with some oil based makeup remover.

If you’re looking for a long-lasting lip product, give Red Gate’s LipSense products a try. Get a 15% discount when ordering online by using the coupon code bloggymoms15 at the checkout. You won’t be disappointed!

10 Things I’ve Learned After the First Week Back to School

School has been in session for a little over a week now. It feels like they’ve been back for four months already. Anyone else feel that way too? It’s weird.

Even though this is not my first time at the rodeo, I always feel like the new school year teaches me something new…besides how to do common core math, which by the way is ridiculous.

It doesn’t take long to be reminded why I actually look forward to the summer and days off. Between work, school, activities, and meetings…it feels like it should be wine o’clock all day long!

So, what have I learned since we hit the play button on the new school year?

  1. I hate making school lunches. If the school lunch menu gods would understand that my kids don’t eat pancakes and French toast sticks for lunch then maybe I wouldn’t have to make sandwiches that I hate to make and I know they hate eating.
  2. There is no “fun” in fundraisers. Yes, I know they idea is to raise “funds” and not have “fun”, but I still find the name deceiving. It’s no fun seeing family members cringe when your child walks up to them with their trusty little sheet and book of “goodies”.
  3. Realizing you’re giving up half your day on Saturdays to sports. I proudly wear the title of soccer mom, but when you have two kids on two different teams, that’s your Saturday in a nutshell. The bigger problem is realizing you’ll have to use the porta potty if you opt for the medium coffee over the small.
  4. Apparently a closet full of clothes=nothing to wear. Funny how I was ready to poke my eyes out with a  spork while doing back-to-school clothes shopping, yet my kids tell me they have nothing to wear. My wallet tells me otherwise. Perhaps I need to get their eyes checked. By the way, uniforms were so much easier.
  5. My kids are allergic to waking up early. That is the only explanation. Riddle me this…in the summer they were ready to jump in the pool by 8 a.m., yet we can’t get up at 7 a.m. no matter how early we’ve gone to sleep.
  6. I don’t care where everyone in class sits. While I love to know who is in my kids’ classes and who they’re having lunch with, I don’t need to know where everyone sits and how many feet away they are from the door. If Jenny sits directly across from Michael who sits next to Thomas, that’s great, but I don’t care.
  7. I can’t keep every worksheet my kids do at school. I love seeing what my kids do at school, but am I supposed to keep every piece of work? Who has the space for all that paper? Why in creation do my kids think we need to keep everything? Yes, I know it’s special because they did it, but that work can still be special somewhere else…like not all over my house.
  8. My car is a disaster. All of a sudden, my car is full of soccer cleats, socks, shin guards and half-empty water bottles (okay, a lot of those are mine). It’s chaos in the car. I’d much rather go back to when sand in the car was public enemy number one.
  9. Getting to bed on time must be an Olympic sport. It seems like we’re jumping through hoops to try to get to bed on time every night. It’s a 100 meter dash that we are desperately losing. It seems that everyone is dehydrated or needs to give me the answer to a question I asked five hours ago just as we’re going trying to get to bed. In this event, we’re barely getting the bronze.
  10. I can’t do third grade math “right”. If my daughter has a question about her homework, I’ve tried to help but I’m told I’m not doing it “right”. Hmmm…but I know the answer is right! It’s downright annoying.

As the year progresses I’m sure I’ll learn many more life lessons! For now, it’s time to pack lunches and secretly hide all of those worksheets that have wallpapered my home!

10 Signs That It’s Back to School Time

It’s here.

The time kids have dreaded since the middle of June and the time that parents have been counting down since the middle of June.

It’s back to school time people.

In my house, 50% of my children (that would be one), are actually excited about going back to school, while the other 50% (the other child), would be happy if summer vacation was a year round thing.

As for me, I fall somewhat in the middle. At the beginning of their vacation I was ready to poke my eyes out with a spork after one day of hearing them argue which Barbie would get to date the Kristoff doll. Sure he’s cute, but for the love of Elsa, I don’t care!!! Anyway, I digress. Slowly, and I mean like shopping by yourself in Target slowly, I began to embrace the fact they were home. I learned how to get my work done with them home (bribery, lots of bribery!) and we got to spend a lot of time together doing fun things. In the end, a bonus.

Now that it’s their last week of vacation, I admit I’m actually going to miss the little divas, although it will be nice to get back to a schedule that includes a steady wine time, I mean bedtime!

Besides the obvious indicator on the calendar, here are 10 signs that it’s back to school time.

  1. You have enough sunscreen left for one more beach day. There’s no way you’re going to buy another bottle. Why can’t they clearance these things like they do beach chairs in the middle of July? Hmmm…
  2. You see the ads for pumpkin spice everything. Let’s drink a piping hot cup of pumpkin spice coffee at the end of August when you’re still putting deodorant on twice a day because of the humidity. That sounds like fun. By the way, I’m not a big pumpkin spice fan if you couldn’t tell.
  3. Your car has more sand than the beach. No matter how hard you tried, your car is full of sand. It’s time for a deep clean.
  4. You have dreams about shopping at Target…alone. Momma has to get her Target on and doing that with the kids is no fun. Those dollar bins end up being anything but when the kids are around.
  5. Dust bunnies have taken refuge in your home. Let’s face it, cleaning the house takes a back seat during the summer months. When you’re aboard the fun train, there’s no room for the Swiffer. Now, it’s time to get down and dirty.
  6. You’ve memorized the entire order of the Kidz Bop CD & sing it more than your kids. I’m guilty of this one. One day my kids told me to stop. I was apparently embarrassing them while belting out “Hand Clap” when it was just the three of us in the car.
  7. You fall asleep before your kids. Being the head counselor at “Camp Mom” is exhausting. You can’t help but fall asleep by 9…ok 8:30!
  8. You can’t remember the last time you used the words “bed” and “time” in the same breath. Let’s face it no matter how much you love your kids knowing that they’re off to bed in two hours gives you hope that you will get to binge watch some of your shows. Thank-you back to school time!
  9. All of the flips have flopped. The kids lived in their flip flops all summer and they have the broken shoes to show for it. Sure it’s still warm out but there’s no way you’re buying another pair now. That would be silly. That’s why they created duct tape.
  10. Your kids are arguing for the tenth time in one hour & you could care less. As a mother you learn to block things out that other normal humans can’t. With that said,you can also hear your child call your name in the middle of a Bon Jovi concert. It’s a skill. But, there comes a point when hearing your children argue again doesn’t phase you in the least. Quite frankly, you don’t care. The neighbors may be yelling at them to stop but you don’t hear a thing. Not one.

What are your tell-tale signs that it’s time to hop back on the school bus?

Time to raise your glass to another school year! Cheers!

Review: Cave Tools Fish Grill Basket

*This is a sponsored post for Cave Tools. All opinions are mine.

Cooking fish on the grill is a totally different experience than cooking meat. I’ve found with different kinds of meat you can usually just put it on the grill and not worry too much about pieces falling off or getting caught on the grill.

Depending on what types of fish you cook and whether it has skin on it or not, cooking fish can become a little tricky. That’s where the Cave Tools Fish Grill Basket comes in handy.

I love to cook salmon so I decided to give my new gadget a try.

 

After seasoning it with garlic, salt, and pepper, I lightly sprayed the grill basket and put my salmon in. It was easy to get into the basket which snapped tightly so I knew the fish wasn’t going to fall out and spill out into the grill.

 

From there I gently placed it on the grill and waited for the magic to happen. The trick was to place the basket in the right direction so that the handles didn’t get stuck in the grill grates. The fish never fell out and cooked evenly. But, when it came when it came to turning over the fish, you need to be careful that the basket doesn’t get caught in the grates; no matter what kind of tongs or over mitts you use.

Once the fish was cooked, I took the basket off the grill and got it ready to serve. The fish was cooked perfectly. Although I had used cooking spray on the basket before putting the salmon in it, it did stick a bit as I tried to get it out. This was really the only issue I had besides figuring out how to turn over the basket without it getting stuck in the grill.

The Fish Grill Basket from Cave Tools is a great catch if you cook fish regularly and don’t want to get that fishy smell all over your grill. It’s also easy to clean and dish washer safe, so you won’t be scrubbing forever. If you want to order a basket from Cave Tools be sure to use the coupon code FISH15 to get 15% off a small fish grill basket.

 

 

Finding the Perfect Family Car with Cars.com

This is a sponsored post for Cars.com. All opinions are my own.

Whether you’re in the market for a new or used car, safety is priority number one when toting around your most precious cargo…your family. While we all know we want a safe car, what does that really mean? One that performs well in crash tests? One that has a good track record when it comes to repairs? Everyone looks for different traits when it comes to finding a safe vehicle, but I think everyone can agree on the fact that we wouldn’t put our family in any car that was deemed dangerous. That’s why finding information you can trust is so important.

When you’re looking for accurate information that is easy to digest, cars.com is a great resource. It provides clear and concise information that will help you find the best choice when it comes to deciding on the safest car for your family.

Searching the site is easy; just choose the make, model, and year you’re interested in from the drop down menu. You’ll immediately see how well it ranked from customer reviews, based on a best 5-star rating system. From there you can read up on all the specs of the vehicle as well as reviews from people who have bought and used it. For many people in the market to buy a car, reviews are key. They rely on hearing the honest opinions of people who have hands-on experience with the vehicle, not just information from someone trying to sell a car.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of cars you have decided rank best for safety, it’s time to see how much it’s going to cost you. Budgeting is a big part of family life for any mother, so breaking down the dollars and cents is just common sense, don’t you agree? You can estimate your payments to see if the car you want is affordable. If it is, then great! If not, you can go back and research as many vehicles as you wish until you find the right fit for your family’s safety and your wallet. Finding a new car has never been so easy thanks to cars.com!

Our First Summer Camp Experience

I’ll admit, I was never a big fan of summer camps. I didn’t go to one as a kid because my grandmother watched me while my parents worked. As a parent myself, I’ve always been around during the summer so I didn’t necessarily need a camp for childcare. I work from home, so in the summer I can usually manage things enough to get my jobs done…usually. My solution is waiting for my kids to go to sleep to get things done, kind of like right now as I’m writing this.

But, this summer, a one-week soccer camp peaked our interest. Well, really my interest and that of my 5-year-old. My 7-year-old wanted no part of it. She was “Camp Mom” all the way and let everyone know it. But, I could tell the idea intrigued my little one because she truly loves the game. Quite frankly, she’s pretty darn good at it for a 5-year-old. But, she wanted her big sister to go along with her. I could tell that wasn’t going to happen.

I sat on the whole camp idea the weeks leading up to the registration. When it came down to saving a few bucks to register early, I needed a final answer. Momma doesn’t play around when there’s money to be saved! My older daughter still wasn’t budging, but my little soccer beast was all in! I was also curious to know more about this camp thing that everyone raves about all the time.

It was all soccer goals and smiles until the first morning. The idea of getting up like it was a school day was anything less than exciting. The fact that it was only for five mornings was my biggest motivator. During the drive there, I could smell hesitation in the air when my little asked her sister if she was sure she didn’t want to come. After a definite “no”, my little knew she was on her own. When we got there she didn’t leave my side for the first few minutes but when I told her I couldn’t stay and would be back in three short hours, she ran off and started to play with the familiar faces she saw.

When those three short hours were over (and I mean short, there’s no way you can get anything done in that time) she as all smiles at pick-up time. During the drive home when I asked her what she did, she gave me a complete rundown of all the skills she learned and the scrimmage that was played. It felt like a win-win all around until she admitted she cried. When she told me it was because she missed me, my heart sank. Did I do the right thing sending her? Should I have kept her home? As much as I felt like the world’s worst mom, I got over it quick! I knew deep down that this was good for her. Besides learning soccer skills, she was also learning how to manage on her own without relying on her big sister. Did I mention the fact that she was pooped everyday and slept like a rock star each night?

As the week progressed, the wake-ups didn’t get any easier, but the drop-offs and pick-ups did. She was having fun and learning new things and meeting new kids. I guess that’s what this camp thing is all about, right? As much as I was a camp skeptic, I can see now why so many kids and parents love it. It sure does keep the kids busy and is a lifesaver during the summer for many working parents.

Who knows, in the future we may trying out different summer camps, but for now it’s still “Camp Mom” for most of the time, and truthfully I’m okay with that!

End of the School Year Checklist for Moms

It’s the end of the school year. You knew it was coming sooner or later. Whether you’re getting ready to send your kids off to camp or preparing “Camp Mom” for the troops there are a few things that need to get done before summer vacation kicks in.

  • End of the Year Teacher Gifts. You may look forward to this as much as teachers look forward to expanding their “best teacher” mug collection. I’ll admit I’ve given a few mugs in my day…and candles, and lotions, and coffee gift cards. It gets boring. As much as every ounce of creativity may have been sucked out of you by all of the projects you’ve helped your kids with this year, try to at least put in a “C” effort for the teacher’s gift. They deserve it for all they put up with through the year. I’ve actually come up with a semi-creative idea that I’m excited about. I’ll share it with you…after I give it!
  • Plan to Keep in Touch with Your Kids’ School Friends…Some of Them. My daughter’s birthday is in the summer. She wants me to start planning her birthday party now so that she can hand out invitations the last day of school. She must have used too many glue sticks this year if she thinks that’s going to happen. I explained to her that’s the joy of having a summer birthday. You don’t have to invite the whole class. That rule goes out the window once the end of June rolls around. I did tell her to get the info of a couple of friends she’d like to invite. We’ll see how that goes. If there are friends your kids want to hang out with over the summer (that you approve of) make an effort to get their info. You never know when you may need to phone a friend.
  • Check out Free Events. If it’s free, it’s for me. That’s my motto. Check out what free events are available for the summer. Many local libraries offer free passes to museums and zoos. Take advantage of these. Make a list and take it out for those days when you hear “Mom, I’m bored”, because you know they’re coming.
  • Pre-summer Cleaning. If you didn’t get around to actual spring cleaning (like me), try some pre-summer cleaning. It’s really the same thing if you think about it. With the kids home, you know your house is going to look like a bomb exploded all summer long. The chances of you giving it a deep clean when the kids are around 24/7 are about as good as you getting front row tickets at a Bon Jovi concert. So clean now, have fun later.
  • Make Your Last Solo Target Run. Moms you know what I’m talking about. Shopping alone at Target has a certain charm to it that you can’t explain unless you’re a mom who’s had to shop at Target with your kids. Those $1 bins turn into $5 bins when you take your kids. It’s inevitable. But, when you shop alone you can look around at all the stuff you really don’t need but end up buying anyway for some reason. It’s a beautiful thing.
  • Pencil in Some Me Time. Let’s face it, summer is wonderful but finding time just for yourself without having the kids around can be a challenge. Before the final school bell rings, try to schedule a mani/pedi or whatever you like to relax. This will help set the tone for the summer. If you can’t tell, this is definitely on my “to-do” list over the next week and a half. That and maybe a massage! If you really want to go crazy, take yourself shopping too! You needed a new pair of sandals, right?
  • Make a Liquor Store Run. Yep, I said it. There are only so many amusement parks, zoos, and playdates you can take over the summer. Momma will need a break so plan ahead. Once the kids finally conk out for the night, you may want to treat yourself to a nice glass of wine. Better yet, send the kids off to grandma’s house and have some friends over for grown-up beverages!

Amid all the camps, playdates, and cotton candy induced carnivals, try to have fun with your kids this summer. As much as we may complain about our kids, we all know they grow up too fast!