An Uncomplicated Life Blog: 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

BLOG BREAK!

Hey guys, just like I took a two week break last year to soak up the rest of summer, I'm doing so again! I know many of y'all are cramming these last few weeks of summer in with family vacations, last minute weekend getaways and getting that summer bucket list as marked off as possible. Me too! So go enjoy the weather and I'll see you back here with TONS of awesome content (and some really cool collaborations) on August 24 - just in time for those kids to go back to school.

See you Thursday, August 24! 

This is what we'll be up to! And by we, I actually mean the boys, because I hate fishing. So gross and boring.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Easy Back To School Morning Routine

Get back into the easy, stress free school morning routine with General Mills and Costco AND help raise money for your child's school!

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Who's excited about back to school time?! While I love having my kids in preschool three days a week so that I have more time to devote to my blog and business, I am NOT a fan of how hectic mornings can be. Our school doesn't start until 9am so we don't have to wake up at a completely terrible hour, but in two years when Henry starts kindergarten, it's going to be insanely early. I'm not a morning person, so insanely early translates to insanely last minute and insanely last minute translates to hectic for this type A planner. But it doesn't *have* to be that way! I'm rounding up my best tips for calm, stress free and efficient back to school morning routines. Oh, and there's also an awesome sweepstakes for you to enter with Costco!

Have you ever heard/been annoyed by that saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail"? Yeah, well it's true. Fail might be a bit extreme, but it will result in more stress and more chaos. Like I mentioned, I'm NOT a fan of mornings, and I want things to be as seamless and smooth as possible. I'm not one for talking, especially prior to coffee, and I don't want any power struggles, last minute meltdowns (that's not just from the kids - it includes me too!) or too much going on in the mornings. The older I get, the longer it seems to take my brain to "turn on" and having all that nonsense so early in the morning just gets my day off to a bad start.

So, what can be done to improve your back to school morning routine? Here's what I do to ensure things are as easy as possible for the kids AND for me:

1) Make lunches the night before. Yes. Just do it. Before you sit on the couch, before you pour an evening glass of wine, make those lunches! If you build it into your nighttime kitchen cleaning practices, it will become habit. It's so nice to just throw those lunches into the kids backpacks in the morning! Oh, and when my kids get to first grade? They'll start to help me make their lunches and I plan on having them entirely make their lunches by second grade. Don't think that will happen? Watch me. It's how I grew up, and it's how they'll grow up too.


2)  Make sure backpacks are packed and all paperwork/homework is in place the night before. Whether it be tuition checks, field trip waivers, diapers, or other various supplies your child might need or your school requires your child to have, make sure it's all in there and ready to go the night before! Then all you'll have to do is add those lunches (that you already packed).


3) Check the weather and plan outfits the night before. This works really well with my littlest child since he's too young to care what he wears. It's slightly trickier with my oldest. I usually look at the weather so I know what I'm working with, then give him two options on what to wear. This way, he feels like he has autonomy over his wardrobe but I still have the ability to plan ahead. Win-win.


4) Make breakfast easier. I don't allow my kids to eat in my car, but they can walk about the house while they eat breakfast (it's the only meal I let them walk about for, and really it's so I can get stuff done while they eat and therefore everyone can sleep longer! #protip from a woman who likes to sleep) Ziplock bags make Cheerios on the go so easy, and I love to throw a granola bar in my purse so I can eat it on the way home after school drop off. No, I'm not that mean mom who doesn't allow the kids to eat in the car, but eats in front of her kids! That's just rude.
Speaking of breakfasts, did you know Costco has all these General Mills products stocked at affordable prices? Yeah, go stock up wholesale style and you'll have easy breakfasts for weeks! Or if your kids eat like mine do, days. The thing that's extra cool about these products is that you can simultaneously fund raise for your child's school by saving the Box Tops logo on the box. As a bonus for some back to school inspiration, Costco is hosting a sweepstakes where you could win extra box tops for your kid's school! Let me translate that for you: win money for your child's school. Here's how to enter:


How to Enter Costco Sweeps:
  • Take a photo about how Box Tops for Education inspires imagination in your kid
  • Preferred ways of entry: Instagram or Twitter
  • Can upload to microsite as well but is not the preferred way of entry
  • Follow @BTFE on Twitter or Instagram (this is how winner will be notified so must follow this handle)
  • Share and use hashtag: #InspireContest
  • Prize: 3,000 Costco members will win. Each winner will win 100 Box Tops for their school
  • Sweeps will not include/do not engage in e-box tops
Sweepstakes fine print:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years or older. Ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on 9/30/17. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions visit www.costcobtfe.com. Void where prohibited by law. Use of “#InspireContest” when posting entry constitutes entrant’s agreement to Official Rules. Sponsor: General Mills.
Each box top is worth 10 cents to redeeming school when clipped from box tops products and sent to the redeeming school. Only BTFE registered schools can redeem box tops. Limit $20,000 per school per year for box tops redeemed through the clip program. See www.boxtopsforeducation.comfor program details.
Box tops for education makes raising funds for your child's school so easy!
I hope my pointers help make your back to school morning routine a tad easier for everyone! Remember, planning ahead is the key to a successful, less stress morning. General Mills products make my life easier by providing nutritious convenience foods to eat on the go (or, to eat wandering around the house, as my kids like to do.) Costco makes them super affordable, and their sweepstakes could help you raise some cash for your child's school. How awesome is that?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Dear Moms, You CAN Do This

An encouragement letter to moms during the final weeks of summer break


Dear mom, 

You're tense. You're tired. You've cleaned up the kitchen for the fifth (sixth? tenth?) time today. You've been asked the same questions all day, and have asked your children to do the same things all day. "Mom, I'm hungry, what are you making to eat?" "Sweetheart, please, please please go make your bed!"

Feel like your kids are going to drown you this summer, mamas? 

You're going on month three of this. Your right eye is twitching and your shoulders are tense. You're not getting nearly as much done around the house as you'd like, and all your side projects are on hold. If you work part time, your work has suffered. Your "side hustle" has come to all but a grinding halt.

Back in June, you had grand plans for the summer. You even prepared a bucket list of ideas so that nobody could get bored or complacent. At first the community pool or splash pad was a luxury. Driving out to a berry farm was an adventure. But all that June glory has given way to the August heat. Heat that's full of boredom, whines, questions, and perhaps most importantly of all, a complete lack of time for yourself and YOUR interests.

Oh mama, I want you to know I KNOW. I know. It's not just you. You're not a bad mom because you're counting down the seconds until your children go back to school. You're not a bad mom because while June made the community pool seem so fresh and refreshing, it now smells bad and grosses you out. You're not a bad mom because driving to the berry farm seems like a waste of gas money, and after all, it's so dang hot to be outside, picking berries and being attacked by bugs.

You're not a bad mom because the bucket list got pushed by the wayside. What was planned to be a grand time has given way to running through the sprinkler, playing with the same old toys, heck - maybe even a movie at 2pm in the afternoon, because a few extra hours of screen time today won't kill anyone, right?

My summer has devolved to the kids eating bubbles and screaming, too. But we CAN do this!

Dear mom, you CAN do this! You can make it to fall. You can weather another day of nonstop questions and obnoxious requests. Your side hustle, your work, your personal interests WILL all bounce back again this fall. Your brain will return to normal and it will get used again! Odds are you'll even miss those kiddos as they disappear off to school. And I bet you by December, you'll be longing for these slow summer days again.

You can do it mamas. There's not much summer left now. The finish line is in sight. You're not a bad mom or a failure if you didn't do anything particularly special this summer, or if you threw out all romantic ideas of summer break back in July. You're a hero to your kids. You're a hero to your spouse. Dear moms, you CAN do this!

Love, 
Paige aka another SAHM with a suffering side hustle 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thursday Confessions

Deep, possibly dark, usually embarrassing thoughts


I know I wrote a "Currently" post last week and now I'm changing up Wednesday Confessions to a Thursday, but here's the truth: I have a few sponsored posts in draft form that I thought would get approved but haven't yet. So I can't publish those. We're headed on vacation in one week and the boys are off from school, so developing "real" blogger content has been, ummmmmmm, challenging. Have you ever tried to stage a photo shoot with toddlers around? Either they tear into it, ask you what you're doing seven million effing times, or start fighting/tearing up the house. It's impossible. So, I'm getting personal with you with some of my (possibly snarky) confessions today so that I don't have to do any photo shoots/editing. 

I confess that:

I have a BIG "influencer" crush. Hasan Piker is a political reporter and super leftist, but is tall, dark,  handsome, seven years younger than me and loves the f-bomb as much as I do. True love? Yeah, probably not, but his Instagram stories make me laugh and I love all his videos on Facebook. Crushin' that cradle rob so hard right now.

Oh, hai Hasan. Image source

I'm absolutely DREADING flying with two toddlers this month. Henry will have his own seat but Otto will be a lap baby. He's squirmy and HATES being confined, so this 2.5 hour flight will be a freaking delight for us and everyone around us. It's right about the time he takes his nap, so he'll either be kind to us and sleep or a complete terror and not sleep until we get in the car, which will then throw off bedtime and be a nice 15 hour day from hell. I'm betting he's a complete terror. For those of you who have well behaved children on flights, good for you. Every time we fly with our kids, I say NEVER AGAIN. Yet here we are, about to fly... Shoot me. 

Look at these faces! Flying with these two will just be a TREAT.

I've actually eaten enough tacos this summer to get "taco'd out." Yeah, I don't know how that happened, but it did. I need a solid week or two off from taco consumption, so it's a good thing we're headed to the land of Worst Mexican Food Ever, aka the Upper Midwest. 

I've forgotten what it's like to step outside and NOT get donkey-kicked in the face with heat, so I'm pretty excited to regain some memories of pleasant summers in Minnesota. Oh, and see water that is actually clear, and not a radioactive green like the "lakes" (all man made reservoirs) here in Dallas.

I'm already designing my custom planner for 2018. What's that, you say? We still have half of 2017 left? Whatevs, there's no time like the present, or so they say. Whoever the hell "they" are.

I'm reading Little Big Lies, and the book is better than the HBO series, if you watched that. I always tend to do things backwards, and watch the movie/series first, then read the book if I loved the movie. If you were into the series, get the book and read it! If you read the book, watch the series! 

I'm getting a little tired of Game Of Thrones. There's one more season after this and I think it's time they called it a day. Don't get me wrong, it's still great... I'm just a little "dragon and warfare and magic saturated" right now. SciFi has never really been my thang. And when it goes mainstream, it kinda loses it's appeal, amirite? I dunno, I watch it and I'm just like put the Mother of Dragons on the throne already and be done with it! How many more raunchy sex scenes and fake blood squirts do I need to watch here, dang. 

Y'all, I DIED at this meme

That's what has been lingering in the dark corners of my mind lately! Sorry I don't have a bunch of beautiful pics for you to check out. Don't worry, I'll have tons after our trip to the scenic lake lands of Minnesota. I was planning a blog break for that time, but inevitably that's when I'll get approval for these sponsored posts, so I'll be around. I'll certainly be around on my Instagram and IG stories (checking out Mr. Piker, duh, and likely posting stupid rants after a few glasses of wine, oops.)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Fall Sniffles Relief Roller

Blending these essential oils into a roller ball applicator can help with the sniffles associated with the season change!


Growing up in Minnesota, I never had seasonal sniffles. And I mean never! I was so so lucky. I moved to Georgia for graduate school, and low and behold, not even a month later I had a persistent runny nose and itchy eyes. My car got covered in a yellow-green film as fall slowly moved it's way in. My fall sniffles had struck! Now that I'm in Texas, every spring and fall for about a month, those sniffles come back and plague me for about a month each season. And that's where this fall sniffles relief roller comes in handy. Affiliate links used, full disclosure here.


I think the best thing about this roller is that all the oils in it are extremely popular and versatile. Meaning, you probably have them on hand, and if you don't, you should invest in keeping them stocked because you'll use them for everything. The number of good uses for lavender knows no limits, I swear. I use this oil every single day. Every one!

If you get seasonal congestion like I do, make this roller and keep it in your purse. That way you have it on hand when those sniffles strike! And bonus, it's good to use on children, too. I would start by applying it on the bottoms of their feet to make sure there isn't any adverse reactions. For adults, I like to apply it to the back of my neck, wrists and temples. There's nothing more refreshing than the peppermint oil when you're congested and smelling the lemon is invigorating when you're experiencing seasonal sniffles/head aches.



Here's how to make my fall sniffles relief roller:
- 1 roller ball applicator (like these - get more than one so you can keep them in multiple places like by your bed, your purse, your car, etc)
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
- pinch of epsom salts
- distilled water OR carrier oil such as Grape Seed Oil

Pop the roller off the top of the roller ball applicator and add the pinch of salt. Add the oils to the salt and shake it, covering the opening with your finger so it doesn't spill out. This will evenly distribute the essential oils over the salt. This step is important because oils and water don't mix, and this will help keep the oils suspended in the water. Top off with distilled water. Shake well before each use.

OR

Pop the roller off ball off the top of the applicator and add the essential oils. Fill the remainder with your carrier oil of choice. Shake well before each use.

Here's the difference between using water and carrier oils: Carrier oils DILUTE the essential oils, so if you have sensitive skin or are using this blend on children, I recommend a carrier oil. Water STRENGTHENS the oils because the water allows it to penetrate the skin faster, so if you're only going to use this on non-sensitive skin areas of adults, or have particularly bad seasonal sniffles, I'd go this route.

Make this easy roller with essential oils to combat seasonal allergies

To piggy-back off that last paragraph, if you ever have a reaction to an essential oil or an essential oil based product, don't attempt to wash it off! Add oil to the affected spot. When I first got a blue spruce oil, I rubbed it all over my neck so I'd smell it constantly (that smell reminds me of Minnesota and I'm in love with it. I was also pregnant and not thinking clearly at the time!) After about 30 seconds, I started to break out in a rash from applying so much of the oil neat to my skin. I attempted to wash it off, which only made the rash worse! I should have just started coating myself in coconut oil so that it would have become diluted on my skin. Now I know better, and you do too.

Putting together a fall sniffles relief roller is that easy! The blend smells great and promotes your seasonal wellness. Make several and keep them around your house for easy access.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Life Currently

Ramblings from a semi crazy blogger on a semi crazy life in absolutely insanely hot Texas


Hey friends! Just wanted to take today and get you all caught up on my thoughts. Mostly because they're all over the place, and it's too hot here to get my brain to function and actually get some photography together with a decent blog post idea, DIY, etc etc. So I'm relying on my good ol' standby: The Currently post, July Heat Edition.

Currently, I'm:

Having weird dreams. No, I'm not pregnant, but I am taking a new herbal sleep aid and it makes me dream like I'm pregnant! Have you ever had a dream about someone from your past, whom you haven't thought about in AGES and then you find yourself thinking about that person nonstop all the next day? That happened to me last weekend. I had a dream about a former boss, then thought about said former boss all day the next day like, "Gee, I wonder where they're living now" and "I wonder if they still have that hilarious dry sense of humor" and "I hope they didn't get fat. That person was far too attractive to end up fat." I even went on Facebook and creeped DEEP on this person's profile. And then I realized how psycho I was getting after this dream and was like whoooooa Nelly, slow your stalker roll here sweetheart, you're halfway to the loony bin.


Winning at Instagram Stories. When I posted that doorbell rant, I'm not sure I could have gotten more responses! I'm glad y'all like my rants. Maybe I'll stop posting pictures since my engagement there is complete crap but I'm absolutely crushing this Stories business. Haven't seen them? You're missing out, follow me here! Even my ex-boyfriends and their new girlfriends watch them.

Peeing in my pants. Well not really, but I just got off a call with a brand who wants to do extended work with me through the holidays and into 2018, and I'm pretty sure we're a match made in heaven, and I'm so pumped about this potential opportunity! Here's what I've learned over the last few weeks (and it's especially true given the success of my Instagram Stories): The more you are genuinely YOU - not trying to be anyone else, but rather being your own person with your own personality and your own quirks and your own strengths and your own faults - the more you're YOU, the more success you'll have. Not just in business or blogging, but in life in general. And certainly in your personal happiness.


Waiting for August break. We're headed to my parent's lake home like we did last year again, and I'm certainly ready to get the f up out of the Texas summer time! I've forgotten what it's like to step outside and not be miserable and instantly sweaty. Summer break, I'm ready for you! Alllllllllso, post August break means I can officially start to blog about fall and Halloween things, and if you've been around these parts for any length of time you know Halloween is my JAM.

Slightly ashamed. Nah, not really, but yeah, kinda. I absolutely did NOT hit up the Nsale, because a) it's really only good if you have the store card, which we do not have because if you know anything about credit scores, you know that store cards are NO BUENO, b) I don't like to shop that much and c) I actually hate sales because nothing is ever in my size. Buuuuuuut, I did head to Nordstrom Rack, and I did get some new shoes. Three pairs for $150. Not bad! Hypocritical? Meh, you decide, I'll be over here enjoying my new kicks.

Having allergic reactions. Allergic might be a strong word, but all of a sudden, when I drink red wine I wake up totally puffy and swollen. WHY? My eyes are puffy and my hands are so swollen my rings won't fit. It's weird. This never used to happen. Maybe it's the heat? Please tell me red wine won't do this to me for the rest of my life? Pretty please? And no, I'm not posting a photo of the red wine aftermath, it's BAD.

That's what's going on around here! What are y'all up to currently?

Monday, July 24, 2017

How To Get The STINK Out Of Your Clothes

Whether it's workout apparel or you left a load in the washer for a day too long, use this method to get odors out of your clothes

I made a huge mistake a few weeks ago. I started a load of my laundry (as in, MY clothes only, not the kids nor the husbands) on a Friday night and forgot about it until Sunday afternoon. Why I thought I'd want to do laundry on a Friday is beyond me. Like I was actually going to remember I threw in a load, put it in the dryer and fold it all on a Friday night, right? Foolish. Anyway, I remembered it on Sunday afternoon. It smelled horrible, as I predicted. I ran the wash again, put it in the dryer in a timely fashion and... The clothes STILL stunk! Has this ever happened to you? Or have you been in a workout class when you smell something, and realize it's the "old sweat" in your workout clothes that just never seems to come out? Yeah, I've been her too. Read on for the perfect way to get that stink out of your clothes, whether it's from the gym or a forgotten load that went funky in the washer.


I had been told from my crunchy friends that vinegar gets that smell out, but I wasn't sure how to do it. I crowd sourced on my Facebook page how people use vinegar to de-stink clothes, and the responses were all about the same. Yes, use vinegar, but also use baking soda. Of course! Seriously, is there anything that stuff isn't good for?! I use it in my homemade face wash (that has completely cleared my hormonal acne - I don't wear any foundation or concealer anymore!) and it gets the smell out of your fridge if you put a box in it, so of course it'd clear out stinky clothes.

Now, my clothes smelled BAD. Not only were they forgotten in the wash but they were also mostly my workout clothes, some of which I've had for ages (because when you invest in amazing yoga pants like these, you get to keep them for 10 years and they still look great). Most people said they let it soak in their washer, but I wanted a good 24 hour soak on these stink bombs so I did mine in a bucket, because leaving clothes that long in a front loading washer has left me a little leery, and rightfully so.

Here's how I got the stink out of my clothes! You'll need:
- medium to large size bucket (like this one)
- 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 10 drops of essential oil (I used a blend called Purification because that one helps de-stink things, but any non-citrus oil would work)
- warm water


Start filling the bucket with warm to hot water. Add the drops of essential oil to your baking soda so that it will evenly distribute in the water. Oil and water don't mix, so you have to add the essential oil to something that will carry it through the water to evenly reach all your clothes. Add the vinegar and baking soda (it will foam up). Only fill the bucket about halfway, so you have room to add your clothes.




Let clothes soak for up to 24 hours, but at least two hours. Make sure to store away from children so they don't spill it everywhere! Then, put the clothes in a normal wash cycle with detergent like you typically would. My clothes didn't smell like vinegar, nor did they smell strongly of the essential oil I added - they just smelled like clean, fresh laundry!

If you've ever left your clothes in the washer too long or have stinky workout clothes, use this simple trick to get them smelling fresh again

It's pretty easy to get the stink out of your clothes, although it is a bit time consuming with the soak time. Hopefully I wont forget a load in my laundry for that long again. But if I do (and let's be honest, I will) forget and my clothes get stinky, I've got this easy way to de-stink them!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Girl Time Activities

Painting With A Twist is a great way to break the "dinner and a movie" mold of date night and is a blast for girls night!



My sister was in town over the weekend because my husband had an irregularly long work trip that spanned the whole weekend in addition to the regular work week. So he did me a solid and flew my sister out to Dallas to help me manage my rascals I mean sons keep me company. A few days before she arrived, I found out I'd have the opportunity to partner with Painting With A Twist and I thought hey! This could be a fun night out with my sister. She's artsy. I'm wanna be artsy. So I scheduled my nanny to come for an evening and we got some quality time together with paint and wine.


Are you a blogger who wants to get PAID to blog? Sign up with Linqia here and start earning a living by blogging!

The schedule at the Dallas location was full of different themes and events we could attend. They even had children-friendly classes, although paint + my children = a hot mess, therefore, I opted for a child-free event. And, I think the kid events start at age 5 or 8, so we're still a bit too young for it. Anyway, since my life revolves around childcare, it just so happened that the event we could attend was called "Stormy Night." We'd be painting a cloudy city line with a bridge over water.

We were the first to arrive and introduced ourselves. Quickly, we learned this was a BYOB event and we hadn't brought any wine. Boo! My sister isn't a big drinker, and I was driving, so we settled for water. As everyone else rolled in, we realized that we were the sober minority. Our leaders, David and Victoria, were extremely outgoing and welcoming.


Victoria had a unique accent that wasn't quite German but definitely wasn't from a romance language. Later, we learned that she was born in Brazil but moved to Sweden and served on the Swedish army for years. How one goes from the Swedish army to a painter I'll never know (side note- I thought they were such a neutral-based country, I wasn't even aware they had an army! I mean, every country has one but... It's Sweden! They never fight because they're so passive aggressive, right?!)

Victoria got on the stage and began leading us through the steps on how to paint our backgrounds. I got so into it, I splattered paint all over my DSLR camera! Thankfully, the lens cap was on. I even got a little on my iPhone. That's when I decided I'd better put away the expensive electronics. My sister, on the other hand, leaned over and was like, "You know what would make this more fun? WINE." Fortunately, there was a gas station across the street and she's an advanced painter. So while everyone else finished up their backgrounds, she went on a booze run and came back with the finest Pinot Grigio to be found at a convenience store.

Blank canvas
Completed background
After the backgrounds were done, we used chalk to outline how the city line should look, and where we should put the pillars of the bridge. Then we went to town filling in our lines with acrylic paint. Turns out, painting straight lines isn't my forte. My bridge turned out a little more abstract than I intended... Or, perhaps that was the wine, it's hard to say.

We wrapped up a little later than the class was planned for, but they told us that would happen at the beginning. I guess we were supposed to use a stencil for the bridge, but our instructor wanted to teach us how to free hand it. No wonder my lines were so shaky! I needed a dang stencil. That's my story, anyway.



The finished product! Mine is on the left and my sister's on the right.
This was a super fun and unique way to spend an evening! I'd say there were more people on date nights there than women together having an outing, but it would be fun either way. All too often we get caught in the "dinner and a movie" trap for date night, and "dinner and wine" night for girl night. Break the mold and do something different for your girl time activities! We were able to chat the whole time, laugh at each other, enjoy some fine gas station wine and get out of the house at Painting With A Twist. They have a bajillion locations around the country, so click that link to check them out!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Preschool Drop Off Tips and Tricks

Dropping your child off at preschool can be traumatizing for both parent and child. Use these tips for an easier school drop off!





It feels weird to be writing this in the middle of July. Especially since I've just dropped my kids off for one of the remaining weeks of their summer preschool camps. Down here in Texas, the school year starts back up in August and goes until May, and I wanted to get this out there before the first wave of kiddos goes back! Ahhh, preschool drop off. This may even apply to older students, but since my kids are just in preschool I don't have experience with that yet. I do, however, have a great system down for dropping HAPPY (read: no screaming and no crying!) kids off at school and have seen plenty of parents make mistakes that only makes the situation worse. Read on for some funny tales of preschool drop off, and my tips and tricks for making it easier on EVERYONE (including you, your kids, your kid's classmates and other parents). 

If you've been to a preschool drop off, you know what I'm talking about. It's like a war zone those first few weeks of school. Complete chaos. Screaming kids, clueless parents, everyone is in the way, nobody can hear anyone else. Seriously, a baby-infused war zone. I absolutely dread the first few weeks of school because it's such a zoo getting my kids into their classrooms!

Preschool drop off doesn't have to be a nightmare of tantrums and crying if you follow these easy tips

There's the "frantic mom" who woke up late, doesn't know where her purse is, doesn't understand how to take a lunchbox out of a backpack and hang it on her child's hook, loses her older child because shes's taking so long trying to get everything together, doesn't understand how to use an iPad for signing in, doesn't know if she's paid tuition, lost her shot record sheets, and on and on. This mom annoys me, but I feel for her, since she looks so frazzled and frantic. I want to slip her a Xanax and say, "Go home and pour yourself a big glass of wine and take this. It's ok. School is a whopping 5 hours long. Your child WILL be ok without you for five hours!"

Then there's the "explaining mom." Ohhhhh, this one gets me! I don't even feel for this mom. She holds up the whole line by monopolizing the teacher's time with every small, mundane and unnecessary detail about HER child. There's 12-16 kids in the classroom sweetheart, I promise you the teacher isn't going to pay that much attention to your kid, remember what you're telling them, or really - care about that level of detail. They have a system down. Let them be the teacher! Let them be the leader! Shut up about your kid already! You're making every other parent and child wait while you give your speech about your child. You create hallway backups and add to the anxiety of other kids. You are a figgin problem!

The next mom I see often is the "clingy mom." She can't seem to walk away after she's dropped off her child. She hugs him or her several times, reminds the child that she loves them very much, and right as she's about to walk away so the next family can deposit their kid in class, she steps over you to go back into the classroom and kiss the kid again. This usually (no, ALWAYS) results in that kid losing their sh*t, screaming and crying for mom. This mom makes a big deal of her exit and in turn causes a total scene. I'm convinced this mom loves drama and all eyes on her. Once she has everyone (rolling) their eyes at her, she has to put on a show of how much she loves her child and how hard it is to leave.

Then, friends, there's the moms like me. I've got the lunch box out, backpack on the hook, and kid signed in on the iPad in less than 30 seconds. I give my child a high give or a quick kiss on the cheek, and immediately leave the scene. I trust the the teachers have got the situation under control. And guess what? If they don't, I know I'll get a phone call! Efficient, quick, in and out is my style. And guess what? My kids are the ones who don't cry at drop off, are self assured and confident. No be mistaken, I wasn't always this mom! I had a learning curve - even with each kid. I've been the clingy mom and I've been the frantic mom. It's because of my mistakes that I'm able to confidently give you these tips.

My sweet peanut on his first day of preschool last year

Here's the thing: The longer you drag preschool drop off on, the worse it is for your child. They have time to understand that mommy is leaving. It builds anxiety. They cling to you as opposed to getting interested in a toy or activity the teachers have out, ready for their arrival. The longer you make preschool drop off and the more anxious YOU are, the worse THEY'RE going to be. And once you have a crying kid, other kids start to cry, and you've created a whole mess of preschool drop off. So here are some tips, mamas and daddies:

1) Do your research. Email the teacher, headmaster, principal, or parent coordinator a few(ish) weeks in advance so you know what they expect of parents at drop off. This will prevent you from being the frantic mom! If they don't allow juice (our school doesn't) then you'll know not to pack it. If they want your child's lunches out and placed somewhere, you'll know to have that ready. You'll be familiar with the sign in procedure and have a heads up on the general process. The more you know, the calmer you are and in turn, the calmer your child is. Win-win.

2) Make it fast. Whatever the protocol is at your school, learn it fast and do it efficiently. At our school, parents are responsible for hanging backpacks on their child's hook and getting lunches out and placed on a shelf, then signing their kid in. There's a rhythm to it. Learn it and make your life easier.

3) Don't block the hallways. As soon as your child is dropped off, get out of people's way! Our school is a small church school, so any parent that assumes a conversation in the hallway is in EVERYONE'S way. I'm not saying don't say hi to parents you know or don't socialize, just move it to a location where kids aren't waiting to be dropped off or picked up. Also, probably not at the top or bottom of stairs, either. Man, people love to stop there and chat! No. Don't do that.

If you've got a kid headed to preschool this fall, congrats! You've just gained a few more hours of freedom and are providing them foundation skills they'll use for the rest of their educational career. Early childhood learning has been proven essential for future success in and out of the classroom. High five to you, parents! Just please... Don't be any of the "moms" I listed (at least, don't be her for long - we all make mistakes!) Use these preschool drop off tips for non-crying success this fall! 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet

Easy to make and customizable, these DIY bracelets diffuse your favorite essential oils all day long!


It's been a minute since I posted anything essential oils related. It was a massive bummer to have to take all those posts down since they were, by far, my post popular posts, and frankly, it made me not want to talk about essential oils at all anymore. But I'l licking my battle wounds/destroyed page views and moving forward! Something cool that I know that I can talk about is making your own diffuser bracelet. What I like about this is that it doesn't look any different than a regular mala bead-type bracelet so the diffusing part is under wraps, but your body heat and the lava rock keep those oils coming at you all day long. Affiliate links used.



Another cool thing about this is that you can make it to reflect your style. I loved the amber and jade combination, but you could literally do any color combo, size of bead, shape of bead, etc etc that fit your style. The key part, if you want to use these as an essential oil diffuser too, is to include a porous rock that will absorb the essential oil and react to your body heat to keep it "activated" (or diffusing) on you for as long as you wear the bracelet. I went with a lava rock because it's extremely porous and the essential oil I used soaked right in. In fact, I added the oil three days ago and it's still going strong (I have the bracelets sitting right next to me as I type this).


I threaded mine on elastic, and working with elastic takes a little getting used to. I learned a few tricks as I went, so no - this DIY isn't as easy as picking out beads, cutting string the length of the circumference of your wrist, beading and tying a knot. Read on for the tips so you don't get frustrated!


DIY Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet  
- Porous rock bead (like these)
- Other stone or glass beads of choice (I used these and these)
- Elastic threading
- scissor

Cut the elastic MUCH larger than what you'll need to fit around your wrist. I wanted these to fit right at my wrist (no bangle effect - that drives me nuts!) but not so tight it would leave imprints. I ended up doubling the length I initially measured for my wrist, and that made the process so much easier.

Tie a small knot on one end of the elastic. This will prevent the beads from falling off the other end. Pick a pattern for your bracelet: I did one that alternated the three beads I selected; one that did three of one separated by one of the amber beads; and on that doubled the amber and surrounded the lava rock with a jade bead. Whatever your pattern, make sure that there's a start and a finish to the design so that when you tie the bracelet together, the pattern is seamless. Example: I started the 3:1 jade/amber design with an amber bead, and ended with three jade beads. This way, when I tied it together, the pattern is the same all the way around.


After you've threaded your beads, pull them to the center of your overly large elastic. Make sure the bead pattern is the right length for your wrist by wrapping it around to double check. Then use the long length of the extra elastic to tie three knots. You'll want to pull the elastic extremely tight to tighten the knot properly! As in, I thought I might break the thread.  But this way, it wont come undone!


After you're done with all your designs, use a small plate and add about three drops of whatever essential oil you want diffused on you all day. Roll the lava bead (or whatever porous bead you decided to use) in the oil.  The three drops of oil covered all three of my bracelets.


Wear and enjoy the smell! I used Peace and Calming essential oil on mine, and was told by two people later that day that I smelled amazing. Which is hysterical to me, because I shower about twice a week... If you need a boost, you can lift the bracelets to your nose and smell directly. Some other great oils to use would be lavender and cedarwood for relaxation, lemon and peppermint for energy, or orange for a mood boost.

Like it?Pin it! DIY Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet

Monday, July 10, 2017

How Blogging Is Like A High School Lunchroom

The popular girls run the show and everyone tries to be like them


Why don't we sit down and have a little chat, mmk? I'll just pretend like you're here with me, so amuse my make believe for a sec. I think this post is going to be a mini rant and therapy session. And dang it if writing a blog post isn't a whole hell of a lot cheaper than therapy, right?! Anyway, I've been struggling lately. I've been struggling with this blog, and with the blog community in general. No, this isn't going to be a whole post dissing bloggers - there's some really great ones out there! More discussing why I'm struggling with this whole "influencer marketing" thing. And making an accurate comparison of influencer marketing to a high school lunch room. Seriously.


It seems like people now understand that blogging can be a legit career where you make actual money and can do it on your own time and from home in your pajamas. This week alone (I kid you not) three people wanted to grab drinks or coffee so that I could "counsel" them on how to get a blog started and help them up their social media game. And that's cool. There's a big market out there for that, and lots of opportunities to be had.

But is anyone else tired - I mean EXHAUSTED - of their favorite bloggers "going to the dark side" and posting nonstop sponsored content? Their Instagram feeds are full of "like it to know it" photos, meaning you'll get an obnoxious email sent to you if you like their photos with affiliate links to buy whatever is in said photo. Or they're posting about the free crap they got from some brand. Basically, every photo has "#ad" in it, if they're properly disclosing their photos. I'm talking at least 80 percent of their content is branded crap. Yeah, I calculated that statistic. Real numbers, right there.

Even their Instagram stories are full of sponsored content where all they do is link brands and add required hashtags. I'm sorry, but is it just me that finds that SO INSANELY boring?! Instagram stories kinda took over Snapchat because of the much better reach you get on them, and I see so much branded stuff it's actually more entertaining to watch commercials on TV. Because at least those are well-lit and have actors who legitimately know how to act, unlike an influencer on Instagram stories pretending to love a product they're rep'ping.

Here's the truth on the matter: I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated because I'm writing posts from my heart, that actually have things to say about things, and I'm watching other bloggers who only do sponsored work make so much more money than I do and get more opportunities than I do. Their blogs aren't entertaining or providing useful information. It's literally just a dumping ground of public relations nonsense. And these bloggers are growing and exploding and it's BLOWING MY MIND. Am I jealous? Sure. While I wouldn't post nonstop sponsored content here, I'd love to increase my income. I'd love more followers, especially if these followers engaged in pre-planned, pre-bought content.


I don't understand what people find relateable about this content. How does a photo of a protein shake get 2k likes?! How do these bloggers grow when they're basically shoving paid advertising down their followers throats nonstop? Basically, I don't get how THEY'RE growing and I'm remaining stagnant. And it's driving me nuts. Yes, comparison is the thief of joy and clearly I'm comparing myself to them and feeling bummed out. But it's mind-boggling.

In June, I resolved to blog again about the things that matter to me. To focus on a good mix of content of DIYs, recipes, thoughts and ramblings, topics in motherhood and so on. Now that we're in the second week of July, and I don't have a single sponsored post planned for this month, I'm just annoyed. I'm annoyed at the growth of the influencers who (to me) seem so fake and bought and unrelateble and frankly - unlikable. But they're growing like mad. 

My attitude is clearly a problem. I could work a little harder. And I know that the summer months are sloooowwwww for bloggers. But I wanted to start a discussion, with both non-bloggers and bloggers alike: What are your thoughts on influencers who post nonstop branded content? Are you engaged with them and liking their social media posts to have it help you in some capactiy? Are you personally friends with these people? Do you genuinely like their work? Let's discuss! Am I just in desperate need of an attitude adjustment or is this something we all find annoying? 

If I'm being totally honest, I feel like it's kinda a popularity contest where people are engaging with these bloggers because they're the "popular girls" in the lunchroom, and other bloggers desperately want to sit at their popular girl table. They don't really like said popular girl, but they want a piece of the popular girl pie. Am I wrong here?

Help a sister out. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Zesty Summer Hummus Recipe

It's SO easy to make your own hummus and so much cheaper than store bought!


I always thought people who made their own hummus were weirdos. It's so easy to just grab a container at the store, why would I go through the trouble of pulling out my food processor, getting garlic and lemon and chickpeas and making my own? And then I was trying to think of a good appetizer or snack to have out side while the boys play in the pool and I thought, heck, let me try to make some of my own so that I can control the garlic in it, and maybe just mayyyyyyybe my picky toddler will eat it. Lo and behold, he did! Not much, but he sure tried it, and that's a win in my book. Also lo and behold, it's super cost effective to make your own. Lo and behold x3, I put together this zesty summer hummus recipe in less than a minute and a half. Seriously. Post contains affiliate links.


Like I said, I wanted to control the garlic in this hummus to appeal to little taste buds. Plus, ever since I had Henry, I just don't like garlic-y foods! It doesn't taste right and it doesn't sit well after it's eaten. Pregnancy, right? Anyway, I've found some store bought stuff that isn't too dry (Grandma's Hummus which is at Whole Foods) but it's really sharp with heavy lemon and garlic. So, you know, the kids won't touch it.

This recipe gets a little zest from the one clove I included, and a big hit of flavor from the whole lemon. The sweet paprika balances out the flavor, and the navy beans add a smooth texture. If you're looking for a crowd-pleaser to serve at your next party, make this! Little and big taste buds will enjoy it, and there's nothing in it to spoil, so you can leave it out for a few hours if you're hosting a party.


Zesty Summer Hummus Recipe:
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 can navy beans
- juice from one whole lemon
- 1 clove garlic (don't use that pre-chopped crap. Get a real clove of fresh garlic!)
- 1-2 teaspoons sea salt (start with one and add more if desired after tasting)
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika 
- olive oil

In a food processor (and seriously, if you don't have one of these, invest in your kitchen and get one! It has come in so handy, so many times. If that price point turns you off, here's a mini one by the same amazing brand) put the salt and the garlic and pulse until finely chopped. The salt will help grind down the garlic so you don't get a huge chunk in your mouth, choke at your party and then offend everyone with your breath the next day!



Drain and rinse the beans and chickpeas and add to the food processor. Add half the paprika and juice the lemon (did you get this juicer yet?! I told you I use it ALL. THE. TIME) Turn the food processor on, and drizzle the olive oil in through the top until you reach your desired consistency. Since you're using half navy beans, you'll use far less oil than you would if you use all chickpeas. Yay, lower calories!



Like it? Pin it!

Taste the hummus and decide if you want to add more salt. Transfer it to a serving bowl and dust with the remaining paprika. This zesty summer hummus recipe is great with fresh veggies, pretzels, rice crackers or tortilla chips. Enjoy!