Monday Minute

Happy Monday! It’s absolutely gorgeous here (a little hot, but I won’t dare complain) and we are enjoying the outdoors and soaking up the sun as much as we can lately. We had a very productive weekend packing and moving some things and threw in a little fun too by taking a trip to a local zoo.

Here’s what’s going on here this week!

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But First, Coffee. How to Really Enjoy Summer With Your Kids This Year

Every. single. morning. I have the same routine. When I hear one of the kids wake up, I throw some clothes on and put on my glasses. I get both of them downstairs, change diapers, give the toddler a drink and fruit, feed the baby if she needs to be fed, and I turn on PBS. (Yes, the baby watches way more TV than my toddler did, and no, the tv is not on all day.) I choose this time wisely to make our tv time, because ya know what I always do next?

Drink my coffee. 

Yes, I realize that a great portion of America drinks their coffee in the morning before really starting their day, but this ritual is more than just “waking up.” It’s not really about the coffee, but more about the me time. Yes, it may seem selfish that I want to enjoy a hot cup of coffee while my kids watch tv, but they are also playing, overjoyed to see one another, and just waking up themselves and this is an absolutely necessary routine we have grown to love. I believe in the importance of independent play with supervision and this is a great way to practice too :).  Plus it only ever lasts about 10 minutes, trust me!

As a stay-at-home mom, my kids need me ALL DAY LONG. I am always there for them. It’s the most amazing thing in the world. Also the hardest. Every mom needs a minute to herself, and I choose to take this minute right when we wake up. It refuels me. It gives me strength. It allows me to take a deep breath before starting the day so that I can reflect on how to be the best mom I can be, before I let myself feel upset or defeated. It’s everything.

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Ella is 9 Months Old!

This baby girl is 9 months old today! I can’t believe that in just 3 short months Ella will be a year old. The first year really does fly. Well, they all do! I couldn’t be more in love with our sweet little ball of energy, and although she drives me crazy sometimes, she also makes me the happiest mommy in the world <3.

We’ve been so busy lately with organizing for our move in a few weeks, but I just had to come on and share all of the new things Ella has been up to in the last month! She is growing and changing like crazy, and really becoming her own little person.

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Memorial Day Fun

I absolutely love Memorial Day, and I’m so glad that I can share it with my two babies now. We had a fun-filled weekend filled with family and food, and of course remembering and celebrating those who have bravely served our country.

Memorial Day is great because it really marks the beginning of summer, the beginning of grill season, and the beginning of weekends spent outside swimming and having fun! I always like to pause during this time of year because before we know it, summer will be over and we will be wishing it were May again!

I think it would be safe to say that these two had an amazing weekend, despite a small cold for Ella that appeared Sunday, and they are happy just cuddling and relaxing on this rainy, cloudy day today.

I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend too!

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What’s on the Menu Wednesday – How to Stay on Track with Meal Planning

I’m happy to report that we’ve gotten back into clean eating in the past two weeks, now that the craziness of house hunting is done. It feels so good to eat well, and the results are incredible if you stick to a plan. Here are my top 3 tips on living a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Pair eating healthy with working out. For me, the two just go together. If I’m eating well, I have energy and motivation to work out. If I’m seeing physical results, I’m more likely to resist my cravings and eat healthy!
  2. Meal plan weekly and cook your own food! It never fails; if I don’t plan out our meals and have healthy food in the house, we end up ordering out. If I buy healthy and somewhat more expensive food, I cook it and eat it! Simple.
  3. Give yourself a break. This is not a diet. This is a lifestyle. If you cut out the foods that make you happy (like the ice-cream I’m eating right now) you will right back into bad habits. It’s all about moderation and never starving yourself.

This week I’ll share with you our nightly meals plus two recipes we enjoyed! 🙂

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Summer Sensory Play – For Toddlers and Babies

I’m often on the lookout for fun activities that both my children can enjoy. As they get older, it’s much easier to find developmentally and safe things they both like. They even “play together” now sometimes, which I love of course! Toddlers are naturally more independent than babies, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy some sensory play this summer with both of your children, which in my case are both under two years old!

I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to my kids. I love buying things for them, but I almost always get rid of something when we get something new, usually in the form of toys ;). I promote good, old-fashioned fun, and you wont see a ton of complicated homemade Pinterest devices here on the blog. I’ve been there, done that, especially as an elementary teacher. But over the years I’ve realized that kids will probably have more fun with a bin of recycled materials that I already had than an ornate sensory bin that I made myself. Just speaking from my experiences.

Therefore, below you will find some of our favorite, simple, inexpensive ways to ignite your child’s senses, practice motor skills, and have a lot of fun while doing so. Good old outside summer fun. Enjoy!

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In Honor of All The Moms in Our life – How I Became a Better Mom by Learning from Them

Being a mom can be tough sometimes. We not only compare ourselves to other moms around us and on social media, but we are our own biggest critics. It’s easy to feel inadequate when your only “job” is taking care of your children, but it’s also easy to feel on top of the world with a small hug or kiss from your baby.

While I was relaxing yesterday during nap time, I found myself scrolling through the photos on my phone. I was overwhelmed with wonderful memories and simple moments with the people I love. Many of these photos included all of the beautiful moms in our life, who love our family so much and are always here for us. I realized that although I often thank these women for dinner, or help with babysitting, or other small acts of kindness, I never really thought about how deeply they have impacted me as a mom.

I truly would not be the mom I am today without learning from the moms around me, and I am sincerely thankful for their love and support. Here are the ways I have become a better mom by learning from the special moms in my life.

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What’s on the Menu Wednesday

 

Spicy Chipotle Salmon with Garlic Zoodles! 

This week we are getting back into the swing of healthy eating, a few recipes at a time!

Monday night I made shells with peas and butter, a toddler favorite and comfort food for sure.

Tuesday I made Spicy Chipotle Salmon with Garlic Zoodles, “recipe” below!

Tonight we are having healthy pulled pork wraps. You can find the recipe here.

Tomorrow night we are having my “birthday dinner” at my in-laws and my mother-in-law is making eggplant parm! Can’t wait 😉

Friday we have chicken to use, but I have a feeling we may opt for takeout of some sort! If you have any favorite chicken recipes, feel free to drop them below.

Enjoy what’s on our menu this week!

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Monday Minute

Happy Monday! ^ That’s what we’ve been up to!! ^ It’s been tough to write recently with everything going on, but I’ve really missed my little corner of the Internet, so I’m going to make a conscious effort to put more time into my blog. Now that the weather is changing (very slowly 😉 ) we have been out and about more and James is loving it. In the past few weeks we’ve gone on hikes, played outside a lot, visited farms and played with baby animals, and spent lots of time with Nonnie (my mom) who is home from work after her hip surgery. Here’s what’s going on with me and my two under two!

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