Dear Mama I’ve Got Your Back

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Dear Mama letters are meant to be encouraging, and they are, but only to a certain extent. Empathy without relationship is lonely. We live in a time of the easily offended. Furious posts referencing the horrible people who stopped by unannounced and woke our newborns; the never ending diets which make baked goodies seem pointless if no one will eat them; people posting just enough information on Facebook to let you know how miserable they are but will chastise you for asking what’s wrong because it’s none of your business.

It’s scary to be vulnerable! We put up walls and block people out, we shut down, afraid to offend or are we the people being hurtful? What happened to a support system of women? We are consumed by technology and no one wants to answer the phone, let alone pick up the phone and call someone.

We hide behind texting, blogs, Facebook. We say we don’t need each other but then slowly shrivel up inside. We live dull, unsatisfied lives pining for future us but letting present us down. I mean let’s be honest here… Do we have dirty dishes, sticky floors and piles of unfolded laundry because we are living an intentional, loving, joyful existence as mothers or is it because scrolling through Facebook and binge watching Netflix steals our productivity? What will our children remember us for? “My mom…hmm… well she was always on her phone but yes, I guess she gave me the occasional hug growing up.”

Are we actually “raising” our children, teaching them morals and how to behave? Are we providing them with the tools to be good hard working men and women or are we leaving it to chance and plopping them down in front of TV’s and phones so we don’t have to do the work of teaching them?

We need a change! We need empathy AND friendship, an accountability to be the best mothers, wives and women we can be. We were meant to enjoy this life, it’s our gift from God. May we not let it go to waste. Let’s build each other up with our words, actions and availability. Meal plan, budget, go on walks, make a call, mutually check in to make sure we are OK. I want friends who check in on me when I start to slip through the painful chasms in life. I don’t want to be forgotten when the going gets tough and I don’t want to forget others who are struggling through difficult seasons. Life is HARD and not always fair. We need each other.

Let’s reach out here but then move beyond social media and reach out to real women in our communities. We need friends who say no to gossip and yes to uplifting, edifying, genuine conversation meant to help us thrive and build a community. Dear Mama’s let’s have each others back.

12 Mom Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Clean

You know what I disagree with? These signs…


My kids might be happy but I’m probably not. I don’t need perfection but when my home is a mess, I start to feel like a mess! 

Good mom’s can also have clean floors, clean kitchens, clean laundry, clean ovens and happy kids. You can have a clean kitchen, clean oven and dirty laundry… Or any variety. It doesn’t all have to be clean but it doesn’t all have to be dirty either. 

It may not seem possible but it is. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old and 10 month old to prove it. 

Here are some cleaning hacks to get you started.

How to keep your kitchen clean:

1) Start your morning by unloading the dishwasher. 

2) Clean as you cook or prepare meals and snacks.

3) Wash pans right away.

4) Keep cupboards and drawers closed.  

5) Keep the dishwasher loaded and then unloaded. If it’s full then stack dishes next to the sink until they can be loaded. Or keep them stacked until you can handwash them.

6) Try decreasing the amount of dishes you have to one plate and one bowl per person.  This limits the amount of dishes piling up.

7) Keep Clorox wipes on hand. If a spill is made toss one on the floor and scrub with your foot… To avoid sticky floors. Or use them for a quick counter wipe down.

8)To limit messes throughout other areas of the house, make your kids eat at the table. Baby Bjorn bibs are my favorite for keeping my boys clean and crumb free. 

9)Have your kids bring their dishes to the sink and wipe down the table when they are done (even my two year does this). 

10) Keep chairs pushed in at the table. 

11) If crumbs are made, do a quick sweep under the table. 

12) Wipe down your appliances once a week

Whether you like to cook or not, the kitchen and dining area is the center of the home, because everyone eats (especially our messy kiddos). Keep up on the kitchen and it’s the start of avoiding sticky floors and messy kitchens. It’s very important to teach our kids at a young age to clean. 

Let me know how it goes and stay tuned for some more cleaning hacks. 

Love, 

Another mom, just trying to keep things neat. 

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I am happy to say we are expecting the arrival of baby #3 on the tentative due date of April 2nd.

As exciting as it is I have had a completely opposite pregnancy than I had with my boys (fingers crossed for a girl but will be just as thrilled with another boy)… nausea, vomiting, heartburn and exhaustion…topped with two adorable and energetic 3 and 1 year olds.

It has been HARD getting myself to make dinner or fold laundry let alone write on this blog. I do enjoy writing though and hope, as I hit my 17 week mark tomorrow, that this “all day” morning sickness fades away SOON.

I started working on the post a month or two ago so it’s given me an easy post for today… as well as reminding me Jeffrey needs a haircut – his hair has definitely grown since I took these photos.

I thought I would share a yummy and HEALTHY treat my mom came up with. I planned to freeze the extras only there ended up being no extras after we ate them all…

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On special Grandma weekends Jeffrey stays at MeMa’s and they came up with this excellent Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin. I was so impressed! I love treats and the thought of whole wheat goodies just doesn’t compare to white flour goodies… but these I LOVE!

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Nice and thick… filled with chocolate chips and walnuts…

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Getting our muffin tin ready with a chin showing traces of the chocolate chips he snuck (the best part of baking)…

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Jack may have had a few too… he had the hard work of looking cute and stacking tuna cans…

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Filled just so and ready for the oven…DSC_0955 (2)

And fresh out of the oven…

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup banana
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup chocolate chips
walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients. Combine. Add chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into greased muffin tins or use cupcake liners as I did. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Yum!

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National Corn Fritter Day

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The boys and I figured it was about time we celebrated a holiday, lucky for us it was National Corn Fritter Day – something new to try.

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This boy is a ball of energy and always so excited to help me cook but as soon as it’s picture time I get this bored expression… hmm…

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Thankfully Jack helped me out – we all need a good smile to make our day!

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Frying up some corn fritters – the ones I baked didn’t turn out so fried they stay.

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Look at this crispy beauty!

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Jeffrey really liked them but of course gave me a non-committal face…

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And Jack refused to eat anything but Mango so maybe it’s just me who likes to try new things?

I loved mine with avocado. I bet sour cream would taste great too!

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Corn Fritters
Adapted from Food.com

Directions
  1. Boil corn for 3 minutes. Remove corn and set aside.
  2. Put eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl and beat.
  3. Add flour and baking powder, whisk until smooth.
  4. Add corn and cheese.
  5. Stir.
  6. Put butter and oil in fry pan. Heat until bubbly over medium heat.
  7. Drop corn mixture in spoonful lots into fry pan.
  8. When golden turn and cook other side.
  9. Drain on absorbent paper and serve.

Dear Little Boy

Dear Little Boy I love So much,

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You are taking a morning nap as I sit here writing my apology.

I have already yelled enough by 10am to last us for the week.

I had a full nights sleep, breakfast, I exercised, I prayed, read my Bible, my house is decently clean, the sun is shining, I’m not mad at anyone (except now myself) – this day that should have been fun and joyous has already been ruined (up to this point) as I sit here with tears in my eyes realizing how I’ve let you down again.

I am so sorry honey.

I let you down when I am impatient with my 10 year old for doing something wrong but you’re only 3!

I let you down when I stop you from messing up your little brother’s toys but don’t do the same for you when you’re trying to build a train track and they keep getting pulled apart.

I let you down when the combination of your tiredness and need for cuddles cause you to be naughty but all I can see is the naughty.

I let you down when I hug and kiss you less because I’m so frustrated with you.

I let you down every time I use harsh words and am quick to yell.

Today I have let you down repeatedly but I want you to know I won’t give up. This is not who I want to be. I don’t enjoy these faults. I don’t like to make you sad.

I can’t suddenly be a different person but I will never stop working toward being a better me, a better Mommy.

I will not give up fighting to be the person I need and want to be. To respond with more patience and love so you can grow up having learned a better way to express your anger.

You are my boy and I adore you. I will always say sorry when I’ve done wrong and fight to be the best Mommy I can be, to raise you to be a good man just like you are a GOOD boy!

Love Mommy

“…when we are fully engaged in parenting regardless of how imperfect, vulnerable, and messy it is, we are creating something sacred.” – Jimmy Grace

Daring Greatly

“Nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I am standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”Brené Brown

When we step outside of our comfort zone is when the magic happens and we are able to dare greatly!

This is how I imagine my life – just a little too uncomfortable with myself to experience the magic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m crazy blessed and happy BUT I sure need to loosen up a bit a lot!

This afternoon, as I was thinking of who I want to be as a person, I looked up and saw Brené Brown’s book on vulnerability, Daring Greatly. Suddenly, the title had a whole new meaning to me.

That’s the kind of woman I want to be – I want to Dare Greatly – not only in vulnerability but in all areas of my life. I want to move out of my comfort zone and start taking the steps I need to become the person I want to be!

I always doubt. Am always unsure. Can’t quite wrap my mind around any direction or path I am supposed to be taking. In limbo is a good description of how I perceive myself as a person.

I dwell so much on what other people think of me. Do they like my writing? My art? Me? I always have guilt and get so uptight and stressed I unconsciously clench my teeth until my head hurts and my back is a bunch of painful knots.

The constant inner reflection of guilt, awkwardness, being scared, etc. is not the person I want to be. I want to embrace myself as I am, put all these fears on the shelf and be brave instead.

I want to Dare Greatly!

I want to call more and text less (I’ve always thought it was awkward to talk on the phone so I tend to avoid it).

I want to be a good friend even when I’m unsure where our relationship stands.

I want to do art whether I or anyone else think it’s beautiful or not.

I want to get out and water my garden even though my natural inclination is to let Caleb do it.

I want to eat healthy because I know I am capable! I know how to cook which solves a lot of problems.

I want to be active! I rode my bike across the U.S. and summited Mt. Hood so I know I am fully capable of pushing myself hard – even if it’s to get off my bum and take a walk.

I want to encourage other people with their goals and help them when I can.

I want to create the feeling of home no matter where we live.

I want to volunteer somewhere and serve.

I want to find God’s purpose for my life.

I want to be a better wife and mother.

I want to be more generous.

I want to be more loving and patient.

I want to laugh more and stress less.

These are all attributes I want my children to have – but how will they learn if I don’t teach them.

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“…who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.” Brené Brown.

I want to be an example to my sons so they too can lead a good life. I want to LIVE while I’m alive because there are so many who don’t get this opportunity.

I need to get out of the rut I am stuck in and stop dwelling on what I can’t do… and JUST DO what I can so I can BE who I want.

If I Want To Be, I Have To Do

No one changes without effort. So I choose to Dare Greatly.

“…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” -Theodore Roosevelt

Being Intentional: Sleep

I am TIRED!

Bet you haven’t said that before… ha!

This is my daily mantra – maybe even my hourly one.

The problem is as soon as my boys are in bed I get a second wind. I am FREE! To read, to write, to watch a movie, play a board game, to clean in peace (OK this is one is a lie).

Then when I start to fade I’m practically taping my eyelids open so I can finish the last page 200 pages of whatever book I’m reading.

If only my body stored sleep reserves like it does fat, I'd be sorted! (Or maybe not as it's 1am and I'm on Pinterest instead of in bed asleep, hmmm)

According to my Fitbit, my average night of sleep is 4 hours 59 minutes to about 6 hours. That’s not good…

I am more irritable, fatigued and discouraged just about every day following a too late night (99% of the time). Then I don’t have any desire to leave my house or socialize – which in turn makes me not want to leave ever – until I’m pretty much a crabby hermit.

So… the other night I stayed up nice and late reading the book Living with Intent by Mallika Chopra.

And it hit me – I need to be intentional not only in filling myself with words of wisdom and biblical truths, eating healthy, exercising and doing art but also in getting rest! I need SLEEP! Even if it means going to bed at 9:30pm to be up with my early rising boys by 6am.

No this does not thrill me BUT if I’m more energized and a better mother (less irritable) then I know it will be worth it. It could be the key to a little more joy and peace in my life. Also I’ve read it helps you lose weight which would be a nice bonus too…

In the theme of Chopra’s book I will state my intent: For the next few weeks – starting Sunday (since we will be off visiting family) – I am going to take my sleep life more seriously! I hope to see quick results because it’s going to be a tough road and I just may fall off the bandwagon… wish me luck!

Lol....I remember this time. But I'm blessed with a baby that enjoyed sleep as much as the hubby did. But those for couple months were rough. Gotta love this quote though :)