Meal Planning 101

Hey everyone! I just wanted to share how meal planning has seriously changed my family’s life recently, and I hope it can change yours too. Meal planning is simply planning out your meals (I do it every Sunday for the week) and prepping some items for easy access throughout the week.

Being a mom to two small children has taught me how to multitask to the fullest and meal planning has helped me keep my nutrition on track, as well as my family’s. It’s easy to grab an unhealthy snack or swing through the drive-through when things get crazy with the kids, but if I have pre-portioned snacks and meals already made, I can simply grab them instead.

You have to take care of yourself as a mommy before you can expect to be a good mommy to those little ones! I’ve really tried to get my nutrition back on track recently, and it feels so good to eat healthy and exercise.

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How Having Two Kids Changes You as a Mom

If you are a mom of two, you understand the way that you evolve as a mom when your second child is born.

If you’re wondering whether you should have another baby or planning on it, you should know that you do change as a person and as a mom; but if you’re anything like me, you will become more relaxed and able to enjoy the little, sometimes crazy, never perfect, things in life when your second makes their appearance.

Your life all of a sudden becomes busier and more full, but your heart becomes more full at the same time. It’s a crazy experience, especially when your kids are as close in age as mine are – 13 months. I never thought I could love another child as much as my first, but I quickly learned that I was very, very wrong.

Having two babies has made me a more confident mom, a more peaceful mom, and my attitude as a mom has evolved as well. They don’t lie when they say, “A baby changes everything.” Having two babies just means that things keep changing!

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Spring Bucket List for a Toddler and Baby

This afternoon while I was eating lunch in peace (during nap time of course), I realized a few things. I could hear multiple cars’ radios as they drove by, which means their windows were open, the sun was shining brightly through my curtains, the heat hadn’t kicked on in a few days, and I saw people walking by with no coats. This can only mean one thing – SPRING is in the air!

I know this is a little premature since it’s only February, but the 60 degree temps we’re hitting this week are getting me SO excited for spring, and it will be here before we know it!

Since James will be older this year and able to enjoy the nice weather a lot more, I put together a quick list of things I can’t wait to do with him!

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My College Degrees Were Worth It, Even Though I’m Not Using Them

 

This article was originally published in The Odyssey Online. You can find it by clicking here!

You may find yourself down a path that you didn’t plan on years ago, and that’s totally fine!

One day while I was cleaning spit-up off the floor while simultaneously fixing one of my son’s broken toy trucks and holding the baby, I thought to myself, how did I end up here?! I was a career-driven teacher who worked hard to get my Bachelors in Education and Masters in Literacy, while planning a wedding and buying a house by age 24. Although I always wanted a big family and my husband and I had been together since high school, I had a deep passion for teaching and I was very devoted to my career. I never really thought about not working.

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Turkey Chili

This is by far the best turkey chili recipe I have ever tried! I don’t exactly know where it came from, but I think it’s one of those wonderful recipes that has been handed down through a bunch of women in my family for years. It’s not a fancy or complicated recipe, and it’s so family friendly. My mom always used it and perfected it to her liking, then gave me the recipe for my bridal shower in a huge cookbook she put together for me.

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Oh Friday, Let Me Hug You

What could be better than a Friday when you’re working?! A Friday when you’re a mom! I know, I know it seems crazy to say that because I’m always home right? Well, the days sometimes blend together when you don’t work, and when I realize that it’s Friday and the weekend is basically here, I want to jump for joy!

For some reason I feel like Friday is kind of an excuse to relax and take a deep breath. Maybe it’s how our brains are wired – as a teacher, I was definitely in a better mood on Friday, and it seemed to be a more casual day for everyone too. I think it goes to show that when you are in a good mood and thinking positively about the weekend, you are a happier person overall!

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The Importance of Choice to a Child

Being a kid is tough. There are so many things you aren’t allowed to do, so many things you don’t understand, and so many choices that adults make for you.

Transitioning from my job as a teacher to being a full-time mom in the past couple of years has taught me so much. I realize that I probably judged some of my students’ parents and families without really having a clue when I wasn’t a parent, and I realize that I have some beliefs that are firmly grounded deeply in me.

Giving kids choices is one of those non-negotiable beliefs of mine, and here’s why.

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Here’s How to Keep Your Relationship Strong After Kids

It’s important to make time for yourself, too!

With Valentine’s day coming up, it seems only fitting to think about my marriage, and how we still manage to like each other after having two kids in just two years…most of the time! 

Between the lack of sleep and the baby stuff everywhere, to the chaos of everyday life, it’s difficult to get any alone time, let alone put in the effort to make each other a priority.

Sometimes I have to sit back and remember that at the start of this, it was just my husband and I. As young parents, I often think how exciting our life was before kids, how much we’ve been through together, and how proud I am of us! Our relationship was able to withstand college 10 years ago, marriage, moving twice, the ups and downs along the way, as well as two babies so far, and I can still say that we are best friends. Here are some of the things that have worked for us over the past couple of years, before and after kids, and may work for you too!

1. Enjoy and appreciate the little things

We’re not romantic people and we don’t like to spend a ton of money on each other, in fact we probably won’t even get each other anything for Valentine’s Day this year. Even greeting cards are about $5 each now!! Instead, we choose to do things together and do nice things for each other. The importance of small gestures is explained perfectly in this article written by Chrissy Roussel. The little things make the biggest difference. For example, my husband and I enjoy having some alone time after the kids are asleep. I might buy his favorite ice cream and he might empty the dishwasher for me! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is. It really is.

2. Make time for each other, in and outside of the house

You’ve heard the experts say that date night is the key to any long-term relationship, right? That does not have to stop just because kids come into the picture. Make date night a priority because it is important. We also do date days because they’re easier, and we love getting out and doing something outdoors as well. A good hike, a nice glass of wine, and good conversation can go a long way. When you’re home, find time to unplug. No one wants to talk to you with your face in a phone. Listen, and show your significant other that they’re still important.

3. Stay true to who you are as individuals

This is a big one for us. We’re not one of those couples who spend time at the bar together, and you won’t find us watching a chick flick or the big game together on Sunday. We have our own interests, and they happen to be very different. I like getting my nails done alone or with my mom, and getting drinks with my girlfriends once in a while. He likes playing on a softball team and going to happy hour with work friends. One of the best things you can do once you have kids is to make time for yourself. Do the things that make you happy, and don’t lose your identity just because you’ve gained the title of “wife” or “mom.”

4. Communicate

This goes without saying but sometimes in the thick of things and when your mind is on the kids, you forget how to speak to each other! You may not agree on every parenting decision, but if you discuss it, you can come to a decision together. Set a good example of treating each other with respect for your kids. Say thank you. Take a breath before speaking if you’re upset. Agree to disagree sometimes. I realize that life is not just about us anymore, and we need to rally together sometimes to make it through. This is made possible through communication!

5. Live, Laugh, Love

One of my favorite things to do is to sit in our living room and play, just the four of us. The baby and I are cuddling while she watches her big brother in awe and my husband and son are wrestling and laughing on the ground. Laughter has a power of making you grateful for what you have, and turning any bad day into a good one. Live life to the fullest, laugh with your kids together, and love with everything you have.

I think of any relationship like a new house. You build it together, and over time it develops character, but also imperfections. You need to put in work to keep it strong. You’ve built a life together, added more people to it, and in order to stay together and strong you need to put work into it as well. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Moon Sand! A Fun Craft on a Snowy Day (Plus an Easy Dinner Recipe!)

We have been stuck inside for a whole day now, and it is starting to get to us! This winter may or may not kill me! I’m SO ready for Spring. One way to make the long days inside not so long is to try new and exciting craft and science activities with your kids. Thanks to my sister-in-law for suggesting this awesome moon sand that we made today. It’s so easy, fun, and something different!

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18 Months Already!

My baby is 18 months old today! There’s something so sentimental about your firstborn meeting their milestones and growing up. It feels like yesterday that I first held him in my arms and how he is old enough to run into my arms.

James has grown into such a curious, smart, funny toddler and has such a strong personality already. He brightens my days with his smile and laugh, and challenges me to be a better mommy as well, as we hit the wonderful toddler years of power struggles :).

He really is a great kid to be around! He’s so kind and gentle towards his baby sister, and loves to perform and sing in front of his family. Here’s a look back at his first 18 months.

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