CURRENTLY – a July life, blog, and all else update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, which I hate! I’m working to alleviate that. In the meantime, here’s a quick update of life right now, which might explain why I haven’t been as diligent in posting as I would like to be.

SCHOOL!

A person recently reminded me that if you aren’t doing what you love in life, change it. I’ve heard it years before, and I’ve always brushed it off thinking that not everyone can have a job doing what they like to do, because I’d really like to get paid to read books all day. Continue reading

Dinner Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope (please??)

Pizza NightAww – family pizza night. Don’t let this picture fool you. While preparing dinner may be fun for my 4 year old, eating the meal is a whole different story.

I’m going to let you new parents of 1 year olds in on something – your kid may be special to you, and you may think that you lucked out because your child eats everything and you don’t have one of those picky eaters. But you just haven’t gotten there yet. Trust me. Your perfect little angel just hasn’t really developed those taste buds fully yet. Your eater that will eat the delicious healthy meals that you prepare now is going to take a turn. They all do. Mine sure did. I was that parent that said that my perfect child wasn’t a picky eater, and was never going to be since I exposed her to all sorts of foods and made healthy meals and even made my own baby food and didn’t make “kid food” for her.

Didn’t matter. Ages 2, 3, and 4 are all about the struggle. The struggle is real.

She’s STARVING when we get home and begging for snacks while I’m making dinner. Once I’m finally able to put it on the table, after begging her countless times to go play toys or read a book or watch TV for three minutes so that I can actually step through the kitchen and open the oven without her underfoot, she all of a sudden isn’t hungry. It doesn’t matter if it’s mac & cheese & hot dogs or chicken nuggets or grilled cheese. Getting her to eat one bite is a struggle. And when dinner is finally over, after spending an hour arguing with a child to eat even two bites, all of a sudden, she’s hungry again.

I’ve tried the starve method. Doesn’t make a difference. I’ve tried making her sit at the table until she eats ONE BITE – which after she puts it in her mouth she practically gags from all of that mental buildup. Her record is one hour and 15 minutes.

And so far, I am still standing firm on my refusal to either make kid only meals (she will not eat chicken nuggets every day of her life) or to make her a separate meal. I may adapt a meal I am making for her, or let her eat an applesauce & yogurt dinner combo after she’s tried what I have made and didn’t like it, but I’m not giving any more inches on this one.

Here are the methods that I’ve tried that have kind of worked… Let me know if you have a different child dinner war method that has worked for you.

1 – Eat it or starve.

I mentioned this method briefly above. If you don’t eat what I make for you, you don’t eat. Well, normally how that turns out is the child just doesn’t eat. Prepare to be really strong for when they are hungry later. I don’t find that I’m really winning with this method – it never actually teaches my daughter to try the food, and it usually ends up with bedtime being an absolute bear because she’s hungry. I just end up feeling guilty about it, and then I know she fills up on the less than healthy breakfast at school the next day.

2 – Try one bite and if you don’t like it, you can grab something from the pantry.

I don’t recommend this one unless you are trying some brand new food and the kid truly does give it a try. This can quickly turn into the child playing mind games – if they know what is in the pantry that they will be offered as an alternative, they can use this to their advantage. It does reward them, however, for giving foods a good try. So use this sparingly.

3 – Roll the Dice

This was a suggestion of a friend of mine that works better than I had anticipated the majority of the time. On our dinner table, we have a large foam dice. For each portion of her meal – main dish, veggies, and side – she has to roll the dice and eat the number of bites that she rolled. Seems simple, and since it’s a game, she loves it.

The added bonus – and the bonus that I had not seen coming – is that after she eats the bites necessary, SHE ROLLS AGAIN! I felt a pretty big mom win in that moment. I figured dinner time was over. But no – she had so much fun playing the game that she wanted to play again!!! SCORE!

This is a great method – the only risk you run is that they will get away with only eating one bite. But – if it avoids dinnertime battles, it’s worth it.

4 – Number of bites = Number of Years

This is another method that was introduced to me by a friend of mine. Five bites if you are five, three bites if you are three, and so on… The nice thing about this is that the child knows each day what to expect. “I have to eat four bites.” Consistency can pay off with this one.

I don’t know if this method alone worked, or if it’s the fact that my daughter’s peer talked about it, so it works because it’s cool since her friend does it. But regardless – the consistency pays off, and the child feels in control of their own destiny. And really – isn’t control what it is all about?

5 – Let the child help make the meal

So I’ve read this one a lot, and I’ve got to say, I personally think it’s crap. I have let my daughter help me prepare meals, and she still won’t eat them. But she does like to “help!” While it’s good to get your kids into the kitchen, it can often be more trouble than it’s worth. So by all means – include them as much as possible if for nothing else than to teach them and expose them to new things. But don’t expect it to work miracles. And be ready to try all of your patience…

6 – Just give in. It feels good.

One of the things I like about my daughter’s pediatrician is how down to earth and realistic she is. Her piece of advice when Lucy became “that age” is that dinner time should be a nice family time. It doesn’t have to be a war. Enjoy yourself. Children are not going to starve themselves, and if they don’t get 100% of their nutrients today, they will get them tomorrow.

I do think that you should have a time when you aren’t battling, and you are talking and laughing and bonding. It doesn’t always happen in my home, but when it does, it sure feels good.

It seems to all come down to choices. Kids want to feel that they have some sort of control in their lives, and choices give them that control.

This morning, I made egg sandwiches for breakfast. English muffins, a slice of cheese, and an egg. All of those things separately my daughter likes. But for some reason, combined, they create a poison that is deadly to four year olds. After first getting frustrated that she wiped the egg yolk that got on her finger onto her chair because it was acky, we started the battle of “I’m not eating this.” I got to the desperate parent stage after about 10 minutes this morning and went into bargaining.

I gave her three choices. She immediately perked up after she heard the word “choices.”

Choice 1 – Eat one bite and then if you don’t like it you can be done.

Choice 2 – Roll the dice and eat the number of bites that you roll.

Choice 3 – 4 bites for 4 years old.

I then told her that i know what choice I’d make if I were her, and I’d choose to eat just one bite.

Much to my surprise, though, she chose number 3 – 4 bites for 4 years old. Hey – a win is a win, and I’ll take it. Parenting isn’t about logic, it’s about taking whatever wins you can get and holding onto that feeling.

So she enthusiastically ate 4 bites – because she was being cool like her friend – and even said that she liked the sandwich. “It’s just eggs, bread, and cheese, Mom.” Yeah, kid, I know. Granted, she didn’t want to eat any after her four bites, but that doesn’t matter. We both won, and the day moved on.

Kids.

 

 

101 Ways to be Happy

Friends, my heart hurts. My heart is often heavy, but it’s positively crushed lately with all of the bad news that’s going on. What makes it even worse is how everyone treats the news – all of a sudden, everyone is an expert on what should be done to fix the problem, which leads to more anger and frustration when people don’t see eye to eye. We’ve forgotten how to sit and have civil discourse, or how to use empathy, or just to acknowledge that others have opinions and are just as allowed to have them as we are. I don’t think social media has helped us get better, but worse. But, it’s not going anywhere, and I think it is used for good from time to time…

Anger is a living thing – if you feed it, it gets bigger and badder. But happiness is the same way – if you feed into it, it will get bigger and better and overtake other emotions. This is why one of my goals in life is to put happiness out there (especially after making the mistake of sharing an opinion on facebook – one that I will not be making again).

I was inspired by a recent post on the Happiest Little Pixel’s blog here that challenged everyone to come up with a list of 101 things that make them happy. This is great for me, because every once in a while, I need a reminder of the good things out there to pull me back from the horrible news that takes place daily. So here is my list of things to focus on in life:

101 things that make me happy:

  • 1 – my family
  • 2 – being a mom
  • 3 – being a wife
  • 4 – Loess Hills based wines
  • 5 – music
  • 6 – coloring
  • 7 – sleeping in
  • 8 – a good walk in cool weather
  • 9 – coffee
  • 10 – a clean home
  • 11 – cherries
  • 12 – Iced tea & lemonade
  • 13 – bomb pops
  • 14 – kitties
  • 15 – hedgies
  • 16 – pictures/videos of adorable animals doing adorable things
  • 17 – reading
  • 18 – looking at photographs
  • 19 – getting packages in the mail
  • 20 – the scalp massage you get when you get your hair washed at the salon

list

  • 31 – road trips
  • 32 – finding a new fun restaurant
  • 33 – seeing my daughter laugh
  • 34 – soft serve ice cream
  • 36 – Monet
  • 37 – flying a kite
  • 38 – bubbles!
  • 39 – other people’s puppies
  • 40 – putting on flip flops for the first time after winter
  • 41 – London
  • 42 – champagne
  • 43 – pretty handwriting
  • 44 – good book to movie adaptations
  • 45 – reading the book before the movie adaptation
  • 46 – book covers that are NOT the movie adaptation
  • 47 – crock pot cooking
  • 48 – internet memes
  • 49 – gardens
  • 50 – making things myself
  • 51 – throwing parties
  • 52 – THEME parties!
  • 53 – Kawaii
  • 54 – puns
  • 55 – finding a perfect gift for someone
  • 56 – when people are thinking of me
  • 57 – Harry Potter
  • 58 – mythology/folklore
  • 59 – traditions
  • 60 – tiny baby head smells (you know what I mean if you’ve held a little tiny baby and gave their head a good sniff)
  • 61 – manners
  • 62 – good grammar
  • 63 – an empty email inbox
  • 64 – things that are color coded/sorted
  • 65 – mittens & hats in the winter
  • 66 – finding constellations
  • 67 – apple cider
  • 68 – good makeup days
  • 69 – messy hair days
  • 70 – taking a really, really, really hot bath
  • 71 – with a really, really, really yummy smelling bath bomb in it
  • 72 – making a meal from scratch for others
  • 73 – organizing a space
  • 74 – dessert
  • 75 – handwritten letters
  • 76 – shopping local & supporting local businesses
  • 77 – junkin (antiquing)
  • 78 – when I have more recyclables than trash for the weekly pickup
  • 79 – finding the perfect pair of shoes on sale
  • 80 – cute purses
  • 81 – that feeling you get when you leave the office Friday afternoon
  • 82 – learning new skills
  • 83 – carnivals
  • 84 – carnival games
  • 85 – bonfires
  • 86 – costumes
  • 87 – planning trips
  • 88 – before & after home shows
  • 89 – vintage ads
  • 90 – learning about strong women in history
  • 91 – finishing a project
  • 92 – fresh pastries from French bakeries
  • 93 – nature walks (though they are rare since I am like crack to mosquitos and can get 100 bites while the people with me get none)
  • 94 – decluttering
  • 95 – getting into a freshly made bed with clean sheets and fluffy pillows
  • 96 – wedding cake
  • 97 – playing card games
  • 98 – listening to my daughter learn how to read
  • 99 – getting a song un-stuck from my head
  • 100 – being in a class – which is why I’m happy to announce that I’ll be starting courses to finish my bachelor’s degree at the end of August. I will be getting my degree in GRAPHIC DESIGN, which is a change from what I’ve worked toward in the past, but after a lot of self reflection, I feel is more in line with what I want to be doing
  • 101 – when people read my blog (even if most of you only come here looking for a coupon for a planner – I hope you stay!)

There you have it! 101 things that make me happy to reflect back on when I’m getting too sad from current events.

Spread the happiness – create your own list and encourage others to do the same. Even just trying to come up with the list will lighten your mood!

 

Beauty from the Kitchen – strengthen your hair with a quick trip to the fridge

Hair Mask Titled

I blinked, and it’s nearly the middle of June – meaning more than half of 2016 has passed (nearly). Holy cow! Why is summer always the busiest month?

My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary at the beginning of the month. 10 years of marriage, and 14 years of being together. Sheesh! So we decided to go big and went to Jamaica!

Jamaica

Like that photo? I hope so – I had to pay the resort $15 for it (ugh).

This is the first time I’ve gone to a resort/beach vacation like this, unless you count the time that we drove across the country to spend a day in the frigid Atlantic ocean. Or the time I was 13 and spent 2 days in Florida with my church’s youth group. It was nice to spend some days just lying on the beach in the sun, but I was glad to come home. I missed my kiddo, and if I had to spend another day with sand everywhere – including my hotel room bed – I was going to freak out.

Beach Bound

Ahh – my little trip to paradise. I may have enjoyed the sun and the salt water and the ocean breezes, but my hair did not. My hair wasn’t in the best of shape from being colored, but it was absolutely wretched after that trip. I would brush it and hear all of the strands snap as my brush got stuck in the snags. My hair is thin enough as it is – I can’t afford to lose any hair to unnecessary breakage! Even using my deep conditioner and Olaplex formula did not help.

I was pleased last night to try out this hair mask I’ve had on my to-do list, and was so happy with the results! My hair is soft again, and I can brush it with minimal tangles and breaks. The protein helps to build stronger hairs, and the oil is so moisturizing. The best thing is that this took about 3 minutes to prepare using ingredients I had in the kitchen.

Hair Mask Titled

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey

 

Whisk these ingredients together and apply them to wet hair. Leave in for 30 minutes, and then wash out and follow up with your normal conditioning ritual.

That’s it. It truly is that simple & easy. My husband would point out that while I was letting it rest, not only had I put a grocery bag over my hair to keep it all contained, but I was unaware that the receipt was still in the bag and didn’t realize it until seconds before getting into the shower… You may choose to leave the receipt out of your mix – it is optional😉

If you have long hair, or very thick hair, I would recommend doubling the batch. I used the amounts above, and for my thin, mid-back length hair, it worked out well.

I will definitely be making this a part of my hair care routine – anything that is as natural and simple as this really makes my day!

As for life in general, I like to say I’m going through a 1/3rd life crisis. Look for some changes to happen – including an option to shop for some of the homemade bath & body products I’ve been having a blast making lately!