Taking Back My Home (Re-Embracing My Inner Neat Freak…)

Taking Back my Home Tidy Living Room

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee... *perpetually messy house*!"  I believe I've officially reached my breaking point with my never tidy house.   For the sake of my sanity, I've decided that it's time I take back my home! I know certain things about myself, like the fact that I lean towards being a perfectionist, and harbor neat freak tendencies.  But I didn't want my kids to grow up in fear of their mom's obsessive compulsive need to have everything exactly in its precise place, at all times. So around the time when our children entered the scene, I slowly but deliberately let go of any presumptions of being house proud.  "It's no longer realistic, nor practical", I told myself.  "To be a Good Mom, you need to be more laid back, and not care about things like the house being a disaster.  That's just your family's life happening around you." These are the things I'd try and reassure myself with.  And yet recently I've found my nerves more and more frayed by … [Read more...]

Huggies MomInspired $15,000 Grant for Entrepreneurs

Huggies MomInspired Grant

Just wanted to pass along this cool opportunity to my readers!  Do any of you have one of those great ideas for an innovative business or product, that just needs a little starter money?   Huggies will be selecting up to 12 people to be awarded a $15,000 grant, to use towards pursuing their idea which will "make parents lives easier".   I love this! Note that this program is NOT limited to moms, or even women.  Here are the details on how to apply, and to those who do...  GREAT JOB!  I wish you all the best! *o*     *o*     *o* Huggies MomInspired Grant Program is conducting their annual search for Best New Products Inspired by Parents and Babies. Is your little bundle of joy your greatest source of inspiration? Huggies is encouraging innovative parents to apply for the Huggies® MomInspired® Grant Program. The Huggies MomInspired Grant Program – now in its fourth year – is here to help turn those dreams into a reality. Applications are being accepted at … [Read more...]

Exasperating Conversations With My 2nd Grader

Baby Feet Baby Names

So I picked my 2nd grader up from the school the other day, and this is the conversation we had on the way home... *o*     *o*     *o* Daughter (accusingly):  Mom, why didn't you name me "Sage"? Me:  Because it wasn't my favorite name, at the time.  It's a pretty name, though. Daughter:  So why couldn't you have just named me "Sage"? Me:  Because I never even thought of the name "Sage" when I was picking baby names.  There's a lot of good girl names out there. Daughter:  But I love the name "Sage"! Me:  We have some friends in South Dakota who named their baby girl "Sage". Daughter:  (She is neither impressed, nor deterred, by my little anecdote)  Why didn't you name me "Sage"? Me:  How could I possibly know, when you were born 8 years ago, that one day when you were in the 2nd grade, you'd hear the name "Sage" and decide that's what you wanted to be called? Daughter:  (Processes this logic.  It actually sinks in.  Moves on to another angle.)  Well, can you … [Read more...]

Taylor Swift’s RED ~ Mom Approved Music

Taylor Swift Red Album

As I paid for my pound of espresso beans at the Starbucks store counter, one of the four "these are the current cool CD's" albums propped up by the cash register caught my eye. Lo and behold, the very next day I had that very same CD in my mailbox - sent by a little PR birdie at Big Machine Records (which is apparently Taylor's record label company).   What a delightful coincidence.  Curiosity soon to be satisfied, I popped it right in and gave it a listen. Now, County Music isn't my first choice, but I'm sure you all realize Taylor Swift has crossed over to the Pop genre as well.  A light-hearted album that's pleasant and easy to listen to, I liked it right away.  But that's not why I love it. Taylor Swift RED ~ Mom Approved, No Censoring Needed What I love about the Taylor Swift RED album, is that it's clean and innocent enough for my young, music loving daughter to take into her room, put on her CD player, and dance and sing away to her little heart's content.  In a day and … [Read more...]

Traveling Without Your Kids

Traveling mom with girl at beach

With our impending 10th Wedding Anniversary just around the corner, I've been in full travel dreaming-and-planning mode.  As part of our celebration, my husband and I plan to take advantage of my parents offer to stay with our two kids, ages 2 and 7, and take our first trip sans-kiddos, since having kids. Traveling Without Kids - Should You Feel Guilty? We have friends who have traveled without their kids starting when the children were quite young, who appear to do so regularly, effortlessly, and seemingly without guilt or any second thoughts whatsoever.   In the spirit of brutal blogging honesty, I will tell you that I find myself judging them for this, just a bit. But when I dig a little deeper... I know that it's primarily stemming from my own jealousy.  Partial jealousy of their circumstances which enable them to do so, but also jealousy that they can pull this off emotionally. Because of my own excessive, typically daily guilt which I feel as a grown mom and wife (I … [Read more...]

Social Media Tips for New Bloggers

Writer Old Letters and Quill

So you'd like to start blogging, and have a pretty good idea of what you'd like to write.  Now you just have to figure out:  How do I get people to start reading my new blog? A friend in this situation recently asked me for some social media and promotion tips.  I've only been blogging for one year, but I've experienced some fun successes and have definitely learned a few things along the way.  Here is my best advice to new bloggers. Social Media Tips for New Bloggers Things I Did (or Wish I Had Done), When I Was Getting Started as a Blogger: 1. Find and Interview a Blogging Mentor Something I did right out of the chute which was extremely helpful, was email a few existing bloggers I admired with some specific questions.  Any advice for me?  How did you grow?  Is trying to build Google GFC numbers a waste of time (retro, year-old question now...)?  Do you prefer Blogger or WordPress?  How did you get hooked up with Disney Movie PR information?!  You get the idea. To this day, … [Read more...]

Little Brother to the Rescue

Little Brother to the Rescue

Brushing my 7 year old daughter’s long, fine, naturally curly hair each morning is easily the worst moment of the day. For us both. Add the rush of getting ready for school, and it only increases the adrenaline and adds an additional layer of stress (and therefore drama) to the scene. She prefers me to comb it out, versus her father. I remember the days of knots at the base of my neck, and how painful it can be to comb out long, tangled hair. So I douse her with de-tangle spray, and try to take my time. But tug too firmly just once, and she correspondingly kicks the drama up a notch and really starts to holler. There was even a stray tear out of her right eye on this particular morning. As her protests increased in intensity and volume, even her baby brother toddled in to the bathroom to investigate the ruckus. Natural empathy and an inborn tendency to imitate his older sibling combined in him, and he aligned himself next to this poor, tortured sister. He scrunched his … [Read more...]

Imagination Library ~ Free Monthly Book for Preschoolers

Dolly Partons imagination Library

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library offers to help your preschooler start off on the right foot with a love of reading.  How?  By providing them with their own personal library, at no cost to you. Started in 1996, initially to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA, Dolly's vision was to foster a love of reading in young kids and their families.  Her idea was to mail a gift - a specially selected, high quality and age appropriate book - to kids once per month.   Her hope was that this would foster excitement about books.  She wanted every child to able to own their very own library, regardless of their family's income. Both of my children have benefited from the Imagination Library, and I can't say enough good things about this wonderful program!  I believe that a love for books and reading is a beautiful gift to pass on to our kids, and is something that will serve them well in life. The program has been a huge success, and has now spread throughout the … [Read more...]

Skin Cancer Is Not My Friend

cow creek Lake Oahe South Dakota

Raised on the sparkling blue waters of Lake Oahe in South Dakota, and being somewhat on the fair end of the spectrum, I received countless sunburns on my unprotected skin while growing up.  Most of it semi-deliberate, as a teen and 20 something. By age 27, I was diagnosed with Basil Cell Carcinoma on my forehead.  In the words of my doctor, "This is the type of cancer I see 80 year old farmers in here with.  It's 100% caused by sun damage.  Shame on you." It's that wonderful time of year again, when we all want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.  This is my cautionary tale of woe. I Know What Skin Cancer Looks Like, Don't I? At least I thought I did.  It's when a mole or coloration on your skin changes in shape, size, or color.  Right? For just over a year, I had a shiny red circle on my forehead, close to my hairline, with three bumps in it.  I actually had a friend tell me, "You should probably get that looked at". My exact response?  "Why?  It's not like it's skin … [Read more...]

Moms Guide to Wearing Baby On a Hike

Baby in Backpack with Mom 1

I am a firm believer in "Baby in a Backpack".  Babies and toddlers are generally very content when they are outside and in motion. Plus it gives mom the opportunity to release a little stress and get some beneficial, and oftentimes much needed, exercise.  Great combination, wouldn't you agree? When I was pregnant with my first child, I was thrilled to find a used child carrier backpack at a second hand store.  To this day, I don't know what brand it was.  But it was, by far, the best spent $30 baby gear purchase I ever made. If you'd like more information on child carriers, check out my post Hiking With Babies and Toddlers - Child Carrier Tips.  But here I'd like to talk about the business of mom hiking alone with a child carrier. Mom Hiking Alone With a Child Carrier - My Best Tips When my daughter was a baby (my first and only child at the time) - I was a stay at home mom, and frequently took her on hikes alone.  There were some challenges to this, for which I'd be happy … [Read more...]