My Kids’ Summer Wish List

  
It’s finally summertime! One more week and school will be out. When I think of summer I always think of staying up late outside, splashing in the pool, running barefoot on the hot ground, drinking homemade sangria and the smells of sunscreen and cilantro.

There’s nothing quite like summer. 

I started thinking about all the things I want to accomplish this summer to make it absolutely amazing, but then I realized that I really want the summer to be amazing for my kids so that they’ll always look back on the summer days of their childhoods with the same nostalgia that I do. 

So, with the help of my Explorer (age 6) and my Little Warrior (age 3), I have put together our 2015 summer wish list:

  • My Explorer wants to make it to the top of the climbing wall. A new climbing wall course opened near our home and he’s been practicing. He’s focused, but he’s inherited my fear of heights. His goal is to make it all the way to the top by summer’s end. 
  • Little Warrior wants to learn to swim like his big brother. He’s all signed up for swimming lessons and cannot wait to be making splashes with his own cannonballs in the pool. I, too, cannot wait for him to be able to swim independently. 
  • I want to go on more picnics and watch more beach sunsets than ever before! 
  • We all want to have a bonfire. The wild ones also want to roast hotdogs and eat marshmallows. 
  • My Explorer wants to finally catch a fish. He spent last summer perfecting casting his line and says he’s now ready for the big time. 
  • Little Warrior wants to go on his first zip line. Weight-limit permitting, he’ll have a chance in August. 
  • We’re all looking forward to our annual retreat in the mountains – beyond the reaches of wi-fi or 4G!
  • I want our Fearless Leader to build a new swing set in the yard. 

Mostly I want us to laugh. I want us to run and play and laugh until we’re exhausted, winding down hot days with homemade popsicles on the patio. 

I want us all to look back on this summer and say it was the best!

What does your summer wish list look like?

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Summer Days
Mums' Days

Creating Small Spaces of Rest: Tidepool Escape

  
Most days, life is pretty busy. With a full-time job and three kids, moments of quiet reflection and solitude are precious, and often exceedingly hard to come by. As a life-long introvert, I need these moments of peace, and solitude and tranquility, however brief they may be, in order to recharge. 

I’ve discovered that while I can’t be on vacation every day, I can create small places of rest in my day – quick moments to breathe deeply and release the stress and tension of everyday. Each year, as life seems to get busier and busier, I try to be more intentional about pursuing these moments of respite. A couple deep breaths while I listen to birds chirping while I play outside with the kids. A glass of wine and a favorite song on in the kitchen while I make dinner, quietly rocking the baby on the patio swing before bed. It all contributes to a more calm, more centered, more joy-filled me, which I know benefits not only my own well-being, but my family as well when I have more energy to engage and laugh and play.

I don’t believe we were meant to function at top speed all day long, running this way and that way. I know for certain I’m not designed to. I think we all need to stop. To be slow sometimes. To be still. To meditate. To be at rest. 

I recently took a vacation day from work. I usually spend vacation days running around with my kids, but I knew I had been stressed and exhausted lately and needed a few moments alone. I left the kids with their nanny and escaped to the nearby tide pools for a couple hours, where I sat and read and prayed and just looked at the water. There is something meditative about watching waves break and breathing deep of salty ocean air.

It was beautiful. 

   
   I came back home refreshed and refueled. My kids had a fantastic day with their nanny as well. It was the perfect escape. A perfect moment of rest to allow me to experience the calm I crave before jumping back in to the daily chaos of motherhood. 

So be sure to seek those moments. Pursue them. Be intentional about taking some time to relax – for an hour, a minute, even a few quick seconds. In the midst of a hectic life, each small moment can bring renewal. 

I’d love to hear how you create small spaces of rest in your life. 

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Domestic Momster

Letting Kids Partner in the Small Moments

My kids love to help. They love to be included in the process of whatever I’m doing, no matter how small the task. Ever since he was young, my Explorer has loved to wash dishes, vacuum floors and help his dad in the yard. His little brother has followed in his footsteps.

I have to confess that sometimes (perhaps too often) I’m eager to get through one task and onto the next and don’t always feel like welcoming the little helping hands that will inevitably slow my progress. I have much to do, I tell myself. I need to get dinner in the oven quickly because the baby wants to be held, and there are dishes to do, and homework assignments to check, and we’re already behind schedule and will never get to bed on time…..

But when I have the discipline to stop and welcome those curious, eager little helpers into my tasks, there is connection, and teamwork and we all experience lessons learned through living. The kids grow in confidence and enthusiasm and I’m able to engage with them while getting things done. Because laundry and dishes can wait – but not forever. What my kids really want most of all is time with mom and dad, regardless of whether we’re playing with robots or sweeping the patio.

This is a lesson I’m learning. To stop. To welcome. To invest. To live in that moment of connection without hurry or impatience or stress.

We never know how much those moments will mean to our children. Recently, my husband had to make a trip to the dump. It was the last place he wanted to have to go. He considered it a tedious chore… but it was the coolest thing our son had ever seen.

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

A Mama’s Story

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What I learned in my first week of blogging

ArrowsWatercolour_09I started this blog about a week ago and it’s been super fun! It’s given me a little bit of sanity while on my maternity leave with my Tiny Princess (baby #3) and I’m excited to continue to chronicle the adventures of my wild little brood here.

I was pretty clueless when I started (and honestly still am), but I feel like I’ve already made some pretty big strides.

Here are a few of the things I learned right away:

  • The blogging community is amazing! Everyone is incredibly helpful and encouraging and supportive. I’ve received really awesome instructions and feedback and am tremendously grateful. #bloggerlove
  • I learned about linkys! I would have never figured this out on my own – but it’s so simple! I’ve received some traffic to my blog and made some great connections and, in turn, I’ve found some other great blogs & bloggers to follow and have read some really amazing posts. As a life-long introvert, blog link ups are quite possibly my new favorite form of social engagement.
  • I’m finding my voice. It might sound cliché or simple, but there have been some “free to be me” moments when looking at my family this week and thinking about what my perspective on life really is when I’m challenged to sum it up in words. It’s therapeutic. It’s cathartic. In many ways it’s just what I needed.
  • I love my life! Really. I’m just so unbelievably blessed. My house is messy and our lives are wild – but living in the midst of these moments of energy and life lived loud is beautiful. It’s so joy-filled. I want to be present in each of these moments and be fully awake to the amazing gifts in each new day.

Thanks for reading! Let’s keep the adventure going!

ArrowsWatercolour_07

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Mums' Days

Fun DIY Foam Bath Paints

  I started making these fluffy foam bath paints a few years ago and my kids ask for them all the time. I’ve tried buying some of the bath crayons and bath paints you can buy in stores – but my kids use them up too fast and the crayons can be tough to wash off (you really have to scrub!).  These are quick and easy to make. All you need is:

  • foaming shave gel (I prefer unscented)
  • food coloring
  • a bowl, cup or other jar to hold the paint
  • a paint brush
  • a spoon for mixing (optional)

Directions:

  • Put a couple small drops of food coloring in the bottom of a small cup or bowl (I like to use muffin tins!).
  • Add in some shave gel (it will foam up as you mix it)
  • Whip it up together with a spoon or paint brush

That’s it. Now you’re ready to paint! You can mix up the food dye to make as many colors as you want to.  The first time I made these I was worried the food coloring might stain the tub or the grout or even the kids – but the paints wash clean with absolutely no effort!

Give it a try and add some art to bath time!  Stay wild & have fun!

 

 

what katy said

Easy DIY Outdoor Chalkboard

One of the features of our backyard I’ve received a lot of comments on and questions about is our outdoor chalkboard fence. Out near their sandbox play area, the kids have an area of the fence where they have free reign to doodle, draw & draft chalkboard masterpieces. It’s tons of fun! I love having them play outside and I love celebrating their creativity! The outdoor chalkboard fence is the perfect blend of outdoor play and artistic expression.

There are two oh-so-very-simple ways to set this up:

Option 1:

Grab some chalkboard paint from your local paint or hardware store. You’ll want to make sure your fence has a nice, smooth texture before applying the paint, so you may want to sand or prime the surface first. Once the paint has dried, start drawing away!

Option 2:

Draw right on your fence as-is! If you have an older wooden fence that’s either crafted from dark wood or already painted to a darker color, you may find chalk will stick to it without even repainting. If this is the case, grab some chalk and start drawing.

You’ll want to be sure to use either blackboard or sidewalk chalk, and it should rinse off easily with your garden hose (or, as we discovered, a little bit of rain). You can usually find plenty of chalk at the dollar store to keep stocked up on your art supplies for cheap!

Have fun with this project! And stay wild!

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Our Three Peas
Summer Days
Home Etc
Life Unexpected

Why I’m a Lamaze Class Drop-Out


I’m the type of person who likes to over-prepare. I like to expect the unexpected. I hate surprises. I want to be in control of my circumstances and to have a good idea of what life is going to throw at me. This is NOT how pregnancy works. You basically lose complete control of even your own body, as it’s entirely at the mercy of your hormones (which is good prep for parenthood, when you end up desperately clawing at life for a modicum of sanity, with no control of the chaos whatsoever)!

During my first pregnancy I bought every book I could find – and I read them over and over, cover to cover, making sure there wasn’t one thing I had missed. I wanted to know everything about those nine months, what to expect in labor and delivery and what life with a newborn would be like.

When my doctor suggested signing up for a Lamaze class at the hospital, I did so without hesitation and my husband and I showed up with pillows dutifully in tow, ready to practice our obligatory breathing exercises. My hubby and I have very different learning styles. I am the straight A student, who wants the teacher to know it from the get-go. I have to look smart, focused and try to communicate, “I’m incredibly intelligent” with my direct stare. My husband is the class clown, who instantly begins to exude obnoxiousness the second he enters a classroom setting, asking questions like, “Is there pain medication available for the dads dealing with nine months of a pregnant wife?” as he gets death-glares from all the pregnant women in the room, most of all me, who at this point cannot believe I’m pregnant with his child.

The class had all the typical childbirth videos to introduce you to the birthing process and the stages of labor, and then we got about practicing the Lamaze breathing techniques. The “birth coaches” learned how to count slowly, and the moms-to-be learned how to breathe to release tension and relax into the contractions. We learned a few gentle massage techniques and then it was thankfully time to break for lunch because no matter how many pillows you bring, there is nothing comfortable about sitting on the floor all morning while you’re pregnant.

Over lunch we reviewed what we had learned in the class. My husband was hung up on how graphic the birthing videos had been (when it came time for our son to be born, he was front and center for the delivery and thought it was so awesome he shares the story in way too much detail with everyone to this day). I shared that I honestly thought the birth coaching techniques were awkward. It didn’t feel like “us.” I was expecting labor to be painful and I prefer to deal with things independently and head-on. I knew that if I was in pain and my husband was slowly counting or making the waterfall patterns on my back we had learned, I would punch him in the face. If that works for you, great, but that’s just not for me.

When you’re preparing for childbirth, like so many other things in life, you have to know yourself. And you have to know who you are as a couple too. Lamaze is great for some people. For some, it’s the perfect birth coaching plan and works wonders for them during labor and delivery. Some rave about the Bradley Method. Some love hypno-birthing (tried that too and it wasn’t for me either).  What I discovered really matters is that you find what works for you and know how what YOU need to cope. Check it all out, but don’t feel pressured to fit into a box if it’s not working for you. Childbirth is going to be hard – don’t make it more difficult by adding any extra stress or going with anything that feels unnatur to you.

So we dropped out of Lamaze class and never went back. When it came time for our son to be born, there was a moment when my poor, helpless husband walked up next to me and asked “do you want me to count?” and I assured him I did NOT.

The Twinkle Diaries
Modern Dad Pages

No-Bake Chia Seed Granola Bites

I’m always looking for healthy snacks to feed my family. And lately I’m also looking for ways to sneak things like chia seeds into our meals. My kids absolutely love granola bars & I’ve been obsessed with making our own granola bars lately with all sorts of good stuff added in. This afternoon we made some Chia Seed Granola Bites that the kids absolutely loved. The best things about these – you can make them with all-organic ingredients, they’re sugar-free, they only take a few minutes to make & you can add whatever you want to make your own flavors & varieties! Oh… and they’re delicious an it’s an easy recipe the kids can help with (and snack as they go)! Here was our spin on them:

Ingredients:

1 cup oats

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup almond butter

3 tbsp chia seeds

add ins — a handful of mixed dried fruit & dried shredded coconut (feel free to add whatever you want! nuts, seeds, raisins… etc.)
  
Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl (depending on the amount of add-ins you add, you may want to add an extra spoonful of the almond butter to hold everything together).

Form into balls & place on a plate lined with parchment paper

Cool in refrigerator until set (approx. 30min)

That’s it! Easy! Fast! And you know exactly what your kids are eating! Oh… and did I mention they’re delicious?!
You can store them in the fridge for up to a week. They are perfect for school lunches too – and it’s a great recipe to have the kids help with! As a variation, you can also press the mix into a parchment paper-lined pan, cool & then slice into granola bars once set.

Enjoy!

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday
Beau Twins

Tots and Me

Funniest Things My Kids Said This Week

 One of my favorite parts of motherhood is the absolutely hilarious and completely nonsensical things that come of my kids’ mouths on a daily basis. I keep journals of the best of the best of the best – but figured I would post some of the funniest things they say each week to share the giggles.

So here are some of the craziest & silliest things my kiddos said this week. Enjoy!

  • 6 year old: If I built a dungeon for my brother it would have a snack machine that only served poop!
  • 3 year old: Let’s call the baby “Bones ‘n Blood” because that’s what she’s made of.
  • 6 year old: Dad’s pooping again. He never pees. He’s ALWAYS popping.
  • 3 year old (as I put vegetables on his plate at a dinner party): Effing dang it!!!
  • 6 year old: You know, when the dinosaurs went extinct, I think they actually survived.
  • 3 year old: Why can’t you be a bad mommy who says things like ‘eat candy until you’re strong.’?
  • 3 year old: You can’t handle this that’s about to be done!
  • 3 year old: Ugh. Mommy. I forgot that you’re always right.

My goofy little guys always manage to brighten my day!

The Twinkle Diaries
Little Hearts, Big Love