An Uncomplicated Life Blog: April 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

4 Tips For Sunburn Relief

Summer is full of fun... And sunburn! Use these tips and tricks for fast sunburn relief 

Nobody was more surprised than me when on a 70 degree day on April 19 in Texas, I sat outside for lunch with a friend for an hour and twenty minutes and later that night found myself sunburned. In April. After an hour in the sun! I was blessed with olive skin that rarely ever burns (I've had fewer than 10 sunburns in my entire life, and I worked at an outdoor community pool from high school through college!) I'm the skin tone that gets a beautiful tan in the summer. I was shocked that an hour outside in April could do this to me! Yet, my skin hadn't seen sunlight since the previous September and I've gotten really good about covering my skin when I'm in the sun (nothing like aging to get you thinking about wrinkle prevention!) I remembered a tip from my old pool working days that the other gals used to do, and added some of my modern knowledge of essential oils to get my sunburn some relief in under 24 hours. Yup, and I have photos to prove it! Here's how you can get sunburn relief too.

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First, the essential oils! Revive oils are my new go-to. Yup, I used to be with Young Living, but the expense of those oils were insane. I asked some of my oily gurus who they got their oils from and learned about Revive. They're therapeutic grade, indigestible essential oils that are NOT a multi-level-marketing structure. You can go on their website and buy them like you'd buy something on Amazon - no need to sign up for some membership! They have packages with diffusers and single essential oils, plus roller bottles and other lifestyle items. Use code Paige10 for 10% off your order and experience the same quality of Young Living or doTERRA without the obnoxious price (and minus the sales people always trying to get you to buy things...)

As we were lunching outside, I could feel that my skin was getting too much sun. I don't know if everyone gets that sensation, but for me I can feel a burn coming on long before it's an actual burn. I should have moved to the shade. By the time I was driving home, I knew for sure I had gotten too much sun on my face and my left shoulder, arm and left side of my chest that was exposed from my shirt. That leads me to tip one:

1) Immediately apply sunscreen to the areas that have received too much sun
This was the tip from my lifeguard days that the girls with fair skin taught me. It doesn't matter if you're not going out in the sun again, it doesn't matter if you just took a shower. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to your assumed burn areas immediately. The sooner you get it on there, the better your results. I use an all natural, mineral based sunscreen but it works with conventional brands too. For the next 24-48 hours, use sunscreen like a lotion on your burned areas.

Day 1: sunburn on my left side, especially chest and shoulder, side of nose and left arm

2) Use calming essential oils known for skin benefits
I used lavender, a natural calming agent, and frankincense, known for increasing cell growth/turnover combined with a moisturizing vegetable based oil. That could be the V6 oil shown or coconut oil, grape seed oil, or any other veggie-based carrier oil of choice. I did about 2-3 drops of each oil to one pump of the carrier oil and it was enough to cover my burned area. I alternated between applying my sunscreen and this blend for 48 hours

About those essential oils! Revive oils are my new go-to. Yup, I used to be with Young Living, but the expense of those oils were insane. I asked some of my oily gurus who they got their oils from and learned about Revive. They're therapeutic grade, indigestible essential oils that are NOT a multi-level-marketing structure. You can go on their website and buy them like you'd buy something on Amazon - no need to sign up for some membership! They have packages with diffusers and single essential oils, plus roller bottles and other lifestyle items. Use code Paige10 for 10% off your order and experience the same quality of Young Living or doTERRA without the obnoxious price (and minus the sales people always trying to get you to buy things...)

The products I actually used on my sunburn

3) Drink more water than normal
Sun burns dehydrate you from the inside out! Not only do you need to moisturize the heck out of the burned skin, you need to hydrate internally too. I normally drink 65-80oz of water a day and after this incident, I aimed for 100 so that I could be sure I was hydrated properly. Skimping on water can lead/contribute to sun poisoning if you got a particularly bad burn! Skip dehydrating cocktails and have a night of water if you're on vacation so that you can be sure to have a great remainder of your trip. And be sure to cover your burn when you're out in the sun so you don't do more damage!

Exactly 24 hours after the first picture was taken

4) Take an anti-inflammatory for painful sunburns
If it hurts to lie down, sit down, take a shower or is keeping you awake at night, take an anti-inflammatory OTC drug like Advil or Ibuprofen. Not only do these help with pain levels, they reduce swelling and inflammation to the burn site, unlike other pain meds. As always, consult your doctor before taking any drug, OTC or not. Some drugs interact with others, so if you're on prescriptions, be extra cautious and check with your doctor.

48 hours after the first picture was taken. The burn has completely transitioned to tan.
Obviously, everyone's results will vary based on skin type and severity of the burn. Mine was not severe, and I have olive skin that tans easily, so my burn was easy to treat. Your skin and your burn will be different. These are just the things that I did, that I've learned over the years, and that help me recover from too much sun. If you went and got yourself a serious sunburn, please get off the internet and call your doctor!

I haven't been out in the sun since my lunch date, but it served as a great reminder that even olive toned gals like me are susceptible to sunburns, especially as we head into the first nice few days/months of the summer season. The beginning of the summer season is especially important to cover up and use sunscreen to avoid burning skin that's been hiding all winter long. If you do get a burn, even a mild one, use these tips for sunburn relief. They take the sting out of a burn and turn it into a tan more quickly than doing nothing at all!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Why Are Moms So Guilt Ridden Over Leaving Their Kids?

It's en vogue to complain about motherhood and finish it with, "but I wouldn't have it any other way!" and when a mom gets a night away, she makes a point of expressing her guilt at leaving. Well, I call bulls**t. 

There's an old saying that goes something like 'when you do or buy something, you notice everyone else doing/buying the same thing too.' Obviously that's paraphrased because the original quote is far more clever, but you get the idea. Two weekends ago, I went to Nashville for a girlfriend's bachelorette, this weekend I'm headed to Boston to host my sister's baby shower and the weekend after that, we're headed to Richmond for a wedding. Lots of kid free weekends for me this spring! Which got me noticing... Moms sure do like to spew a lot of BS about guilt and their kids when they get a chance to get away. Let me explain.

I know I'm missing boccie ball backyard shenanigans when I leave my kids for a long weekend

Have you ever noticed how some moms go out of their way to tell the world on social media how hard it is to leave their kids when they actually get a weekend away. It always goes something like this: "Just got dropped off at the airport for my girls trip in Miami. Sobbed like crazy leaving these two little ones but thankfully it's only for a weekend! I feel so guilty leaving them. Mommy loves you!" Oooooooook. Let me tell you the f what. Buckle up kids, because I'm about to call out the fake mom guilt feelers.

First, you're not sobbing. You're dancing a jig. You're RUNNING into that airport and you're going to get a mimosa before your flight. Hell, you're probably getting two. You're immediately texting your girlfriends "I'M FREE B**CHES, HERE I COME!" You're not wallowing in a corner of the airport, sulking over the fact that you're finally getting a weekend away from your kids. And you're dang sure wishing it was longer than a weekend.

Throughout the weekend, you'll update social media with beautiful pictures of all the things you're up to - great food shots of amazing restaurants (that you'd never get to go to with your kids in tow), beach shots (where you're actually resting and sunbathing, something that never happens with your kids are along), and night out photos of you dressed up, makeup on, and feet strapped in heels (which you had to dust off because heels with kids is a death wish). All your friends are happy to see you getting some "me time." But they're also insanely annoyed by the fact that you qualify each photo with how much you're missing your family, which in reality, you haven't thought about all day. Or you did briefly, but you FaceTime'd them and got the scoop of what they're up to and what you're doing is dramatically more awesome. So why are you blasting social media with your made-up guilt?

I know I'm missing priceless faces when I leave for a weekend. That's ok. There's no shortage of personality in this family

Here's why: Because your guilt is REAL. But it's not guilt over missing your kids. It's guilt over showing the world that you miss who you were before you had kids and are THRILLED at the prospect of getting a weekend to be the non-mom version of yourself. The woman you knew before kids entered the picture and began dominating not only your life, but your very identity.

Once women become moms, they're just expected to give up everything for their kids. They're defined by being a mom. When you meet someone new, one of the first polite questions asked is, "Oh, do you have kids?" I'm always (yes, always!) asked if I have kids before I'm asked what I do for a living. My husband is always (yes, always!) asked what he does for a living before he's asked if he has kids. This issue is something that distinctly affects MOMS and rarely, if ever, affects dads. Which is why women are so annoying with displaying their "guilt" over leaving their families, something that's absent from any posts about guys' trips. When was the last time you saw a group of guys posing for a pic at hole 8 with a couple of beers in hand with a caption that reads, "Golfing with the boys! Perfect day for 18 holes, great beers, but man I wish the wife and kids were here! I miss them so much and can't wait to get home to them. I hope they're doing ok and know that daddy misses them!"

Yeah, never. You've never seen that because it's totally ok for men to get away, to not be defined by their role as a father. They can go on trips (work or personal) and tell everyone what an awesome time they're having with zero qualifiers regarding their family life. Women, on the other hand, feel the need to tell everyone that they're currently away but absolutely can't wait to get back to their life with kids. And I call BS on that.

I'm missing sweet moments they play well together but that's ok too, because there will be more sweet times and memories made

Women want and need to get away just as much as men do, and no - we don't always miss our kids. We don't think about them nonstop. We miss who we were before we had kids, an identity society made us ditch the moment a child entered our life. It's ok to get away and not have disclaimers or caveats about your family, moms! It's ok to say heck yes I got away, I ate great food and drank great coffee and slept through the night for once, and it was amazing. You should be able to say this without the fear of judgement!

Why are moms so guilt ridden over leaving their kids? It's not because they're actually guilt ridden over leaving their kids (and if they are, I hope they're working with an excellent therapist on their codependency!) It's because society judges a mom harshly when she escapes her mom role and focuses on herself. How about we all work together to change this judgement and let moms get out, get away and for the love of all that's holy, STOP the "oh I can't live without my kids" qualifiers on social media posts!

Monday, April 23, 2018

How To Use Essential Oils

A great resource on some of my best posts, tips and DIY's on how to use essential oils in your everyday life

I've written a whole slew of essential oils posts over the years. When I started writing about them years ago, a few friends were said, "Well that will be great for your blog, because oils are so trendy right now! Just make sure you have a backup for when they're no longer en vogue." To which I laughed. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years. They predate biblical times, and are actually referenced in the Bible itself. They are not new. They are not trendy. Instead, they're some of the building blocks of wellness. They're becoming popular again because people are sick, are sick of Big Pharma prices, are sick of taking pills to fix a symptom of a larger problem and are looking for simple ways to get and stay healthy. Enter essential oils! Ok cool - but just how exactly does one use them for a maintained healthy lifestyle? Here's how to use essential oils. I've rounded up some of my favorite and most viewed posts in one spot for a single resource as an intro on how to incorporate oils into your everyday life.

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First, the best thing to do is invest in a starter kit so you get a number of oils. Revive oils are my new go-to! Yup, I used to be with Young Living, but the expense of those oils were insane. I asked some of my oily gurus who they got their oils from and learned about Revive. They're therapeutic grade, indigestible essential oils that are NOT a multi-level-marketing structure. You can go on their website and buy them like you'd buy something on Amazon - no need to sign up for some membership! They have packages with diffusers and single essential oils, plus roller bottles and other lifestyle items. Use code Paige10 for 10% off your order and experience the same quality of Young Living or doTERRA without the obnoxious price (and minus the sales people always trying to get you to buy things...)

Now that you've got your oils, you need to store them correctly. Of course I have a post on that! Here's the best way to store your oils. There's info on what light and heat conditions oils can take and methods in organizing them. This applies to ALL oils, high end or not!

Essential oils can literally be used in just about every facet of your life. I've grouped my posts into categories to make it easier to find what you're looking for. This is not an exhaustive list either - there are SO many more ways to use oils in your life! This is just what I've posted about (not even all of them in fact - search my blog if there's something you're curious about or send me a personal email!) If you have an essential oil skeptic in your life, make them one of the DIY gifts and bring them over to the enlightened side. I bet they'll LOVE the oily life once they get familiar with the products and oils!

Skincare/Personal care

Room Sprays

Diffuser blends 

Product Swap Outs 

DIY gifts

Thursday, April 19, 2018

My Worst Habits

Everyone has a series of bad habits. Here are some of my worst!

I'm a normal human being with a ton of annoying habits, just like you. Yeah, you read that right. I'm annoying. And so are you. Hopefully, you're aware of what habits you have that are totally annoying all the people around you who see you often or interact with you daily. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like when we're aware of what are annoying habits are, admit it and own it, they instantly become less annoying. At least, that's how I hope it works. That's definitely how it works in my own mind! In that spirit then, I'm going to divulge some of my worst habits. Enjoy! And uh, hope this makes me less annoying (looking at you, hubby and close friends who see me regularly!)

- It can take me hours to text back. And sometimes, I just never do.
Here's the thing: If I'm at my desk and see a text, I will reply instantly. If I have my phone and have a spare hand, I'll reply instantly. But if I see and and one of my kids acts out or I don't have a free hand or I'm driving, it will be HOURS before I remember that you texted me and HOURS before you get a return text. Even worse, if it clears from my phone as a notification (like I actually opened the text, with every intention of replying...) and I formed the reply in my head but never typed it or hit "send" then guess what? You're likely not ever going to get a response. Best case scenario it takes several days for me to respond. Dear friends and family, I am sooooo sorry about this habit! I blame having kids. 

- I wake up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, multiple times... And I don't flush.
I flush during the day, don't worry! But at night? Why? It's just pee and odds are I'm getting up again in a few hours to do it again anyway. I'll just do one big flush when I get up for good in the morning! I realize this might be gross to some, but why waste the water for night pees? I can't remember a time in my life where I slept through the night - I've always been a light sleeper who wakes multiple times - so to me, this is just some energy and cash savings. Sorry to gross you out.

- I have an extremely expressive face... That doesn't hold back judgement.
I'd love to tell you that I'm nonjudgmental and welcoming to all walks of life, but my face gives me away. One look at my face, and there's no doubt what I'm thinking. I don't even try to make these faces! They just happen. Kinda like some people have "resting b*tch face", I have "I'm judging your life choices harshly" face. Do something stupid that affects other people or use poor grammar, and I literally can't with you.

Imagine me pounding away on these keys... I'm doing it right now!

- I'm a loud typer. Reeeeeal loud.
I remember my sophomore year of college, my roommate and I got along fabulously. We were really well suited to live together, especially in a rather small dorm room. Except her pet peeve was loud typing. I, at the time, was totally unaware that I was a loud typer. Additionally, I had one of those old school desktop computers from the late 1990's with the extra plush keyboards that I'm sure made a ridiculous amount of noise even for the most quiet, efficient typer. Also additionally, I was a communications major and was ALWAYS writing papers. My poor roomie informed me of my bad habit, and I really tried to become a better typer... But to this day, I just HAMMER on my keyboard. Maybe it's because I'm passionate about what I'm writing, maybe it's because I try to write in the very few, short hours I have that are kid-free a week or maybe it's because I have long fingers and therefore more power to hammer on the keyboard, but the ironic thing is, sometimes I even annoy myself I get so loud typing!

Thankfully, I now have my own office space and can get away with being a loud typer. A loud typer with absolutely zero plans on attempting to change it.

- I rarely, if ever, empty the dishwasher.
The kitchen is absolutely my "realm" of the house. I do all the cooking (minus the pancakes my husband makes for the kids on Saturday mornings), all the baking, all the meal planning and grocery shopping, I wash the pots and pans, all of it - it's my spot in the house and I'm happy it's all mine. Except that damn dishwasher. Unloading it is the devil! I leave that for my husband. When he travels and I HAVE to do it, I save it for the last day before he gets back and just wash all our dishes by hand, that's how much I hate it.

And if you're wondering what my husband does in terms of housework, he does the laundry and pays our housekeeper :)

I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface of my worst habits with this post. There are undoubtedly many, many more. These were the first that came to mind! I'm sure if I sent out a poll to friends and family, I'd learn new ones that even I wasn't aware of. That'd be eye opening, wouldn't it? Hey look, we're all annoying and all have bad habits. If you can't change it, just accept it and own it, right?

Monday, April 16, 2018

How To Grow A Prosperous Garden From Seeds

After harvesting my first batch of vegetables from my veggie garden, these are the lessons I learned and what I'm doing differently for my summer garden

FINALLY, I'm harvesting my vegetables from my fall garden. Well, some of them! I enjoyed several massive salads from my arugula and those plants got pulled before our first frost. I left the root veggies in the ground to see how long they'd make it... Never expecting it to be the longest, coldest winter we've had in ages with basically half of December, all of January and February well below freezing. The frost did kill off the radishes, but my carrots, leeks and cauliflower grew on! I didn't even cover the raised veggie garden bed, thinking it was all a lost cause because of our horrific weather. As you can see from the photos, I was wrong! I did learn some important lessons from this first garden though, and am sharing those in the forms of tips for how you can grow a prosperous garden from seeds.

1) Start your seeds in a seeder or small cup
I started my first garden right in the bed, dumping all the seeds in the packet right into the soil. I did manage to keep them in nice rows, but didn't follow the spacing directions on the plants because I knew not all the seeds would sprout. This resulted in some funny spacing - especially for my cauliflower! The better way to go about this is to start your seeds in a seeder or in small cups (I used egg cartons) so that you can re-plant the seedlings that sprout and get your spacing right in your actual garden.

2) Know your direction of sunlight 
When I planted my first garden, I didn't think about how tall plants get and what order they should be in. I just lined up rows, threw in seeds and hoped something would end up growing. A much better, more planned way to go about it is to consider what direction your light is coming from and plant the tallest plants in the back, shortest plants in the front. This way your tall plants won't shade out your short ones! I put my carrots in the rows that the sunlight hits first, and they got so tall by the end that my leeks were nearly always shaded, and it stumped their growth. If I'd have planned better, I'd have put them on the other side of the garden bed so that they didn't shade any other plant with their height. Now I know!

Carrots overrunning my leeks! I'll know better next time

3) Prepare for critters
I had researched a pest control spray for any bug that might have invaded my garden (a mixture of apple cider vinegar, peppermint and clove essential oils) but I was totally unprepared for squirrels! They didn't want my produce, they just wanted a place to bury their nuts, but their digging ruined a solid 10 to 15% of my garden. Once I noticed it in my veggie garden, I noticed they dug in my potted plants too. Outside of completely caging in my raised veggie garden bed, I'm not sure how to stop that, so for my next planting, I'm just leaving them space around the edges to dig (they seem to like the edges best). If you can't beat 'em, at least learn to live with them, right?! I'm sure I'll have a follow up to how this plan worked; in the meantime if you know how to deal with aggressively digging squirrels, leave me a comment.

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Growing your own garden is a ton of fun! Especially if you have kids, it's great to teach them about where their food comes from and how plants grow. My kids love helping in the garden with watering and weeding, and looking for bugs. Growing your garden from seeds takes a bit more work and thought than simply buying the plants at a garden center and replanting them, but if you plan ahead, it's even more fun because you watch those seedlings grow and turn into your food.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

What 4 Years Of Blogging Has Taught Me

Despite only blogging for four years, the profession (or hobby) has changed dramatically. Here are my biggest and best takeaways.

When I think back to my very first month blogging, which is exactly four years ago now, I laugh. I started this blog from the breakfast bar of the crappy rental house we had for a year. It was literally the only space we had in that 1600 sq foot home. A dang breakfast bar! I had no editorial calendar (didn't even know what one was!), I was clueless about SEO (I thought funny or clever titles would draw readers in better!), and I could barely aim my iPhone 5 camera straight for the one or two photos I'd include in my post (and I never edited them!) Wow, things have come a long way here. Some hard lessons have been learned to boot. In honor of my 4 year bloggerversary, I thought I'd share some of the things blogging has taught me over the years.

1) There are ALWAYS going to be bloggers who are bigger and better than you
Eat your humble pie right now girlfriend, because the second you start to think you're the best in your niche, you've gotten too big for your britches. When you're starting out, it's easy to think, "Man, if I could just get a thousand followers on Facebook or if I could just get my Instagram to that proverbial 10k mark, I'll have made it!" The thing is, if you're of a growth mindset, by the time you've hit those goals, you're already thinking about the next milestone you want to hit. If you're going to blog seriously, you're never satisfied with one number, but focusing on continuous growth. 

The same goes for the qualitative stuff too - your blog post ideas. I'm always thinking of ways to be entertaining, of ways to tell stories. Reading other blog and thinking about how creative that person is, or looking at her Instagram and thinking about what a great photographer she is. It's not just a numbers game, it's an ideas game too, and you've got to constantly be reaching for new ways to engage with people and deliver content. 

This also means that, yes, there will always be other bloggers who are bigger and better than you. It's ok! Get inspired by them.

2) Let go of the fake relationships
One of the coolest parts of blogging is the community of people you "meet" via the internet. SO many people are really, truly awesome. But there are also some duds out there. One of my first blogging friends and I started about the same time. She grew rapidly! I thought it was so great, because I could learn from her. Once we got to the point of texting each other, I noticed she was always negative about every other blogger. Seriously, had something bad to say about everyone -which of course meant that she had something bad to say about me to all the other bloggers she talked with, right? 

She'd text me snarky comments about brands she was working with too, and say, "Oh well, at least I'm getting paid for this!" She was just such a killjoy. We had a falling out about a year ago, and (thankfully) lost touch. I still read her blog occasionally just to see what she's up to and low and behold, she's up to the same fake crap. She had a post about why she'd never be a "full time blogger" and it was all about how working provides her to be selective with what brands she partners with because she doesn't "need to blog for money." I legit LOL'd at that, and had to hold myself back from publishing screenshots of her texts about how crappy a brand was, but it was buying her a new designer bag that month so she didn't care.

The people who spend all their time talking about how authentic they are are usually the LEAST authentic people. Don't be scared to let go of the fake ones. You'll be glad you did!

3) Trends & Fads come and go... Quickly
When I started, Instagram wasn't even a blogging thing. Within a year, it was critical to have one and to have your aesthetic figured out with a content calendar strategy. Now people are already sick of styled and perfect photos, and InstaStories is essential to bloggers. Trends and fads come up quickly, so you've got to adopt to them! Remember when Periscope was a thing? It was supposed to revolutionize blogging... But didn't. Embrace the changes but don't throw all your eggs into one basket. Being well rounded and not focusing too much on one facet of blogging is essential to success. If you don't, you'll never know what will come into fashion next (that you won't be ready for) or what trend you currently excel at that will dissipate (and you'll be left trying to figure out your next, crisis-mode steps).

I mean, remember when blog buttons and "sponsoring" other blogs was a thing?!

4) Comparison is truly the thief of joy and more importantly, SUCCESS
I run in a few blogging groups where we bounce ideas off each other and whatnot, and I feel like we have this conversation every three months or so. It's painful. It annoys me to no end. I want to take a tattoo pen (don't know what those are actually called because I have zero tattoos...) and permanently write this on their minds and hearts: Stop comparing yourself to other bloggers! Stop looking at what they "have" and comparing it to what you "don't have." That could be number of followers, a sweet to site design, the cutest baby who always cooperates for photos, the perfect home, whatever. Just stop it. If you can't stop comparing yourself to her, unfollow and MAKE yourself stop.

The obvious answer to this is that you'll make yourself unhappy by doing this. And that's absolutely true! What a miserable way to live. But the thing you probably haven't thought about is that it hurts YOUR blog/brand. When you're wrapped up in everyone else, you can't be yourself. When you're wrapped up in what other people have, you can't properly pitch/"sell" yourself well to brands because you're focusing so much on the negatives. Focus on your strengths, on what you do well and what you love, and you'll be successful. You don't need 50k Instagram followers to be a great business woman and make full time income blogging, so let go of your stupid follower count. What you do need is confidence, a strong sense of self, and a great pitch.

Who cares what others are doing! Do you. The second you stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and thinking and start concentrating on your strengths and what you add to the blogosphere is the second you're far more happy and in turn, far more successful. And in case you're wondering about how my first point works with this last one, yes. You can still acknowledge that others are bigger and have some better ideas than you without it having a negative impact on you and your blog.

It's been a crazy ride, starting this blog for "something to do" outside of being home with kids all day, blogging from a too-small breakfast bar on my husband's old laptop to now having my own desk, official "work" laptop, an editorial calendar, and frankly - a friggin clue. Well some days I'm still pretty clueless, and that's ok. It's all a constant learning process because technology is constantly changing. Enjoy the ride!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Healthy Weeknight Meals

Easy to make, fast and healthy meals are a breeze with Kroger's Prep+Pared meals

This post is sponsored by Kroger. All opinions are my own. 

Sometimes I feel like I blink, and within that time frame (we're talking about .06 seconds here) I've gone from Monday morning, rushing to get the kids out the door to preschool, to Thursday night, making the kids' last school lunch of the week. It is no joke that the older you get, the faster time flies! I've been in a particularly busy season lately - mostly with managing this blog - and I found myself looking for any way to make my life a tad easier, especially when it comes to meals. There's only so much takeout I can eat before I'm sick of it! Enter Kroger's Prep+Pared meals. I've tried meal delivery services before. You know, the ones that deliver a meal kit to your door for an insane amount of money and you end up spending an hour in the kitchen cooking it to boot?! Yeah, those aren't for me. Kroger's Prep+Pared meals are actually a time saver, actually a bargain, actually healthy and actually taste good!

And y'all know I know my way around a kitchen. I've been cooking since I was six years old. When it comes to prepared meals, I judge with a harsh eye on my wallet and critical taste buds!

First, the wallet issue. My objection to some of the other meal delivery services out there is the price per head. It's just as much, if not more, than takeout. AND you have to do the cooking, including the chopping, cutting and sometimes even measuring yourself. You've got to wash your dishes and clean up your counters. If I'm spending what takeout costs me, I want LESS work, not equal work to preparing my own meal! Kroger's Prep+Pared is all pre-measured, pre-cut and ready to go. You don't need measuring cups or spoons. And at $14 per kit (serves two adults), you're looking at $7 a person. In fact, I was able to feed two adults and two toddlers with my meal, so it was even less per head!

I stopped by my local Kroger after I dropped the kids off at school, which is on my way home. If you live in the South, odds are extremely high there's a Kroger near you, too! The Prep+Pared meals were right in the front of the deli section - no need to wander the store trying to find! I literally went in, picked out my meal of choice, paid for it at the self check out line and was back in my car in under 3 minutes. Faster than a drive thru line.

I was extremely impressed with my meal choice options! Carne asada steak, chicken curry, black bean burgers, the list goes on! There were two chicken choices, two beef choices, a fish option and two vegetarian choices. Some were gluten free, too. The fettuccine and tomato cream sauce sold me at "cream sauce" so I snatched that one right up!

I initially pulled out a pan to boil water, assuming I'd need to cook that myself, but guys! It was already cooked! I literally needed one pan. And the only ingredient I needed to add myself was a little oil for the pan and salt and pepper. The recipe card was easy to follow with just four steps. One pan, four steps, and under 15 minutes. That was it. It was done before I could even get the table set!

The veggies were fresh, the pasta was al dente, I didn't have to chop onions or mince garlic and the toasted pine nuts provided to garnish it were what made the dish! There was plenty of sauce (how I despise dry pasta aka too little sauce!) I had the kitchen clean in under 5 minutes because I only had the one pan to wash by hand. 

If you're in a busy season of life like I am, and don't want to sacrifice quality weeknight meals for cheap drive thru convenience or you don't want to have to take out a second mortgage on your home to swing a meal delivery service, Kroger Prep+Pared meals are right up your alley! They're right in the front of the deli section so they're easy to find. Start to finish, my meal choice was less than 15 minutes of cooking time. The ingredients were quality and fresh, and the end product was super tasty!  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Bad Mom Screenshots

In a world where everyone airs their dirty laundry online, here are the best bad mom moments from mom groups on the internet

The internet is a funny place, no? It supposedly connects the world together, yet we're living in a time where people have never felt more lonely. We're supposed to use discretion on what we post online, yet so many post inflammatory things just to garner attention. I mean, even our own president does that, almost daily. I'm in very few mom groups on the internet - I ditched most of them because most are just too much - yet, even though I'm in the sanest ones I can find, the internet crazies still come out of the woodwork and make sure they're the center of controversial attention. I've screenshot some of the dumbest/most bizarre/most self-centered posts I've seen recently. I don't mean this to be an insanely snarky post, but all of these made me think, "C'mon! You're reproducing, you've got to be better than this!" Behold, internet friends: My bad mom screenshots.

I've edited out the names, photos and group they were taken from because I don't want to shame a particular person. It's more about what they're saying or the idea (or lack of idea) behind their post. It's also about what people are willing to put on the internet... And what that says about our society in general. Let's begin!

Is this woman even serious?! Who told her being a mom means a mandatory one piece suit?! Or that a two piece is only ok if you workout and don't have stretch marks?! How was this woman raised?! I have so many questions. Maybe she's just doing this for attention - like she knows this is America, not Saudi Arabia, and she can dang sure wear whatever she chooses, but just wanted a little internet conversation starter? Worse yet, perhaps she's an a compliment fisher and permission seeker. She needs a bunch of women she doesn't know to give her the gumption to wear the suit she wants. And she's raising three kids. Lordy, the therapy bill on that one will be steep. 

Ahhhhh, sexism. It's so ingrained into society, women still love to blame other women for sexual misconduct. Who knows if the story she cited is true or not (I'm guessing not) but the important thing is she'll teach her son sexism just in the way she processed information and talks about it. It will be subtle but the dominant idea behind the way she teaches her son to think critically. And the cycle will go on and on. High five. I bet she has no idea she even came off this way (unless some of the commenters gave her insight... Also doubtful!)

And this, dear reader, is why we have (and will continue to have) not only an obesity epidemic but also a lesser talked about oral decay epidemic as well. Say it with me guys: YOUR KIDS ONLY CONSUME WHAT YOU GIVE THEM. YOU ARE THE PARENT. YOU MAKE THE CHOICES. I don't understand why parents don't get this. If she's letting her toddler run the show now, Godspeed to her when he's a teenager. If she's constantly disregarding the advice of her pediatrician, any future health issues of her child are directly on her shoulders. Of course, she won't see it that way, she'll blame her toddler. Where's that face palm emjoi?

First, don't you love it when people start with, "sorry"?! You're not sorry, why are you starting with an apology? Second, is the world so sexualized that a dang stranger can't tell you that you have a cute kid?! What on earth? I get told my kids are cute, handsome, attractive, etc all the time by men and women alike. Never does my mind wander to a sexual place... Because THEY'RE CHILDREN. It's a compliment. Take it and move on! Thankfully the commenters were with me on this one. Strangers, know that it's completely ok to compliment someone's beautiful child. Most of us love hearing anything positive about our children! This woman is the odd mom out. 

You've got to love it when, in all caps, a post starts out with don't shame this post! It's like you're screaming to the world, I WANT ATTENTION! As a mom of boys, I don't understand why posters in mom groups keep posting about circumcision. People on all sides are REALLY passionate about it, and it always ends up in an online fight. Here's the deal: It's a medical issue that's between you and your family. It should be kept there. No mom in this mom group is going to be able to tell you what the pain level is like, lady. What a stupid question! Also, she's already done the procedure. Why go to a mom group and post about it?! Ask your pediatrician or midwife or whomever did the procedure what to expect and how to care for it and move forward. Why post that in a mom group when you KNOW you're going to get shamed for it? I just don't get the oversharing bad moms. (To be clear, I don't think she's bad for the circ - I think she's ridiculous for posting about it!)

Generally, I'm against calling anyone a "bad mom." Truly, being a mom is exhausting and grueling work. Often, there is no right answer and there sure as heck isn't a handbook written for us to read when we have children! But some online posts cross the boundary of sincere or plain funny and moves into bad mom territory. Not everything belongs on the internet! And should you indeed put it out there, don't be surprised when other moms jaws drop or eyes roll because what you wrote was so ridiculous, we can't hide our discontent. There's someone out there taking a screenshot of what you do and say... Bad moms be warned! Heck, someone probably screen shot this and is calling me a bad mom ;)

Monday, April 2, 2018

How To Have A Successful Play Date With Poise

Play dates with toddlers is action packed. Here's how to stay in it when you're a mom!

One of the most important things I do as a part time work from home mom (seriously, how long is that title?!) is schedule my kids play dates in the afternoons. Mornings are either preschool three days a week or time at home with the nanny twice a week. Afternoons? Those are for us and for play! On Tuesdays and Thursdays when they've spent the morning at home with the nanny, I really try and get us out of the house so that they can see friends and expel some of their pent up energy. This means I too have to have energy to keep up with them! Not only do moms need energy for play dates, but they can't be held up by LBL, or light bladder leakage. Yup, if you've had kids, odds are you've got some level of LBL and there's no room for that nonsense to get in the way of having a successful play date!

When your kids are ready to play, plan ahead for some fun play dates
One of the keys to success of a great play date that I've learned over the years is packing enough snacks. Whatever you think your kid might eat, or whatever he/she normally eats, double it. There's something about play dates that always make my children ravenous! It's weird, but it's true. Then there are the other kids that will be at the play date. They'll want whatever snacks your kids are eating too, so make sure to pack enough for them or at least enough to share. Think of it this way - your kids are going to expel a lot of energy, so they'll need to re-consume it.

You'll also want to plan for emergencies. If your child is potty trained, make sure to pack another pair of underwear and a spare pair of pants or shorts, just in case. I know my oldest sometimes gets so wrapped up in playing that he forgets to pay attention to the signals his body is sending him about bathroom breaks and you don't want to have to end the fun early! If your kiddo is still in diapers, bring a few extra. Not just for him or her - I can't tell you how many times a mom has looked defeated when we're out and says, "Oh my gosh you guys - I don't have any diapers with me! What's wrong with me!?" Those spares can be given out in a time of need, and guess what moms. It's only a matter of time before you're the one in need!

Moms make sure to plan for your own needs while on play dates, too!
Speaking of emergencies, you also have to care for yourself on play dates. Ever laughed too hard, moved too fast or even just sneezed unexpectedly? Don't be embarrassed. A full third of women experience LBL. What I like about Poise® is that they've got you protected no matter how big or little your problem is, from liner to thin pad to heavy leakage protection. Their super absorbent material keeps you 5x drier than typical pads, and the thin flex® technology moves with you so no matter what your play date holds, you can keep up with your littles! Want a $2 OFF COUPON for your next Poise® purchase? Click the link! Good through April 7. And here's a link of continuing Poise® discounts and offers in case you're reading this after 04/07/2018.

Play dates are one of the best things about having toddlers. You get to get together with your mom friends, enjoy some laughs and let your children burn off some energy. Use these tips to have a successful play date, making sure both your children's and YOUR needs are met so that everyone has fun. Laugh and play without the fear of a LBL accident.