An Uncomplicated Life Blog: 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

How To Dry Your Own Herbs

Drying herbs is easy, fun and cost-effective


While I sometimes struggle with getting a yield from my vegetable garden, I do not - for what reason I can't discern - have an issue growing herbs. I have lavender, sage and rosemary growing in my veggie garden, and I tell you what, nothing will kill these plants! Nothing. Two winters ago it was about 20 degrees for two solid months (a rarity here in Dallas). I thought for sure that would kill them. Nope, the herbs came back stronger than ever! So much so that I had to do some serious trimming back this spring. I couldn't stand to just throw all these herbs away (I mean, organic herbs go for $7 a bottle at Whole Foods!) so I decided to dry them myself. This, friends, is how to dry your own herbs. Perfect for when they're in season and you have far more than you can use fresh.


First things first, you absolutely need a pair of sharp garden shears. I tried to do this with my sharpest pair of scissors and while I *could* cut through the thick stems of rosemary, I couldn't get through the sage. So do yourself a favor and invest (probably the wrong word choice, as they're not expensive!) in a sharp set of garden shears and watch how much easier your life is. Just do it. Not sponsored by Nike.

Ok, now that we got that settled, back to herb-drying. Honestly, I was feeling a little dismayed at how well my rosemary and sage were doing. They started to over-run my raised veggie garden. I had just planted tomatoes in the next row and thought, well shoot, there's already barely enough room for these tomatoes! In another month, these plants would easily be taking up a third of my garden bed. I use the rosemary year round, but the sage is almost exclusively used at Thanksgiving. I'm working on coming up with a fresh, summery recipe featuring fresh sage so keep an eye out for that (I'll link it here once it's live later this spring) but even so, I just have SO much sage I knew I had to do some serious trimming.



I began trimming and my garden looked instantly better. I looked at all the herbs I had cut and thought, what a waste! Then I thought, wait a minute. Why would I toss these?! I have tons of baby food jars to put the dried herbs in - why don't I just DIY this? Herbs are expensive and the best part of drying your own is you know how they were grown and handled, so you know what fertilizer was used, which pest control sprays need to be washed off, etc. That's a win! Plus, I learned it's super easy. Here's how to dry your own herbs:



1) Cut back your herbs at the base of the stem, where it either connects to the main plant stem or where it branches off in a Y. This will result in better growth of the plant in the future, believe it or not!
2) Wash the herb(s) to get any dirt or pest control sprays you use off while the leaves are still hydrated
3) Use string to hang the herbs upside down. You can do this inside or outside. Since it's nice here already, I decided to do it outside and let the sun help me (that will help the drying process go faster, provided it isn't humid and doesn't rain!)
4) Once the herbs are FULLY dry (brittle to the touch), remove the leaves from the stems and store in a glass airtight container. You want to make sure the the herbs are fully dry - any moisture will mold/rot the whole batch, so make sure that the herbs are dry from both internally and externally. I used baby food jars for storage because I had them, but any glass container will work. I like smaller batches (aka, I wouldn't use a mason jar) because you'll be able to use them before they go bad. Dried herbs last about 6 months, provided you waited until they were fully dry before storing them. For reference, in Dallas, with temps regularly in the mid to upper 70's and sunshine on the herbs with low humidity, I waited a week and a half before I took the herbs down to store them.

It's so easy to dry your own herbs, using everything from your garden and saving money
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Super easy, right? The hardest part is waiting until the herbs are fully dry before storing them. Also, be prepared for your herbs to explode after you do some trimming! While I did a pretty solid trim to get these herbs, not even two weeks later, I needed to trim back the plant AGAIN because it had such explosive growth after the first trim (and our weather finally was consistently sunny and nice, promoting further growth)! Fresh herbs are delicious, but when you have more than you can use, here's how to dry your own herbs so that you can enjoy them year-round. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What It Feels Like To Know You're Done Having Babies

It's a weird time when you're still fertile, but you know you're done having children. Here's some thoughts on it

Before I was even pregnant with the twins, or even knew they were twins, I wrote this post on contemplating having more children. I didn't know or understand the answer to the proverbial question "how do you know you're done having children"? I learned along the way that if there's a question of if you want more, you're not done yet! This, of course, is assuming that you're able to get pregnant relatively easily and in full control of your fertility - which, thankfully, I have always been. Now that I'm on the other side of deciding IF I were to have a third child (that quickly turned into a fourth, too!), and I'm safely on the other side of ever being pregnant again or having another baby, I wanted to take a retrospective look back, and talk about what it feels like to know that you're done having babies. Because it's a weird, weird place to be, quite frankly.

Homecoming with baby Henry. 5 pounds 12oz of sweetness... And I was so clueless!

I've never been a massive fan of pregnancy. I hate all the rules that come along with it, all the restrictions. But there are some really, really precious parts of carrying a child. One of my favorite parts is getting the positive pregnancy test. For a few moments, minutes, hours, or days, you are the ONLY one in the world that knows you're creating new life. You see the two lines on the test and you're the only one who's cued into the secret. And if you're like me, you immediately start texting/calling your best friends and family members because you're so overjoyed, you just can't keep it a secret! I don't think I can describe the feeling you get when you see on your pregnancy test that you are, indeed, carrying new life. It's shocking and thrilling and terrifying and enlightening. And that's independent of if the baby is a surprise or you've been trying for months to get pregnant. It's the same feeling, either way.

It's insane to me to know I'm never going to see a positive pregnancy test again. I'm never going to have that weird feeling of extreme joy and fear again. Joy of the pregnancy and future baby; fear of something going wrong or miscarrying. I'm never going to go to Target or Walmart or a pharmacy, either if I'm "late" or if I'm hoping to be "late", buying a pack of tests, hoping that nobody sees me. I'm never going to try to open the shrink wrap off those tests again, getting frustrated with how hard it is to break through the plastic when I'm so anxious to see the result. I'm never going to sit alone on a toilet again - lies, I haven't sat alone on a toilet since late 2014 - I won't sit on a toilet with my toddlers surrounding me again, asking why I'm peeing on a white piece of plastic. And I won't sit on my knees in the bathroom, waiting for the three minutes to pass, obsessively waiting for a line to show up.

With Henry, I was so regular, I knew what HOUR my period would show up. It didn't show at it's scheduled time. The next day, I had an insanely early (like 4am) flight to Houston for work, since I was still the director of grants for a huge nonprofit here. After only half-assing my attention to the conferences I was supposed to report back on, I got a crappy boarding number on Southwest for my flight home (a C boarding group! But I did move my flight up by three hours, so I guess I was lucky to just make it on the flight) and my husband, who's on a first-name basis with Southwest I swear, had given me two drink tickets. Now, it's a 45 minute flight from Houston to Dallas, so I only had time to take advantage of one of those tickets, but I remember this: ordering a white wine, and thinking, "this is probably the last time I'm going to be able to drink on a flight... Unless this damn period shows!" I landed early, and my husband and I went to a Mexican place for dinner. I had a margarita. And I remember thinking, "enjoy this - this is the last marg for a long time!" The next morning I took a pregnancy test, just one day late on my period. The test line turned positive before the pee even reached the control line! As weird as it sounds, I knew that baby was a boy and that, despite a previous miscarriage, he'd be our first born.

I went out and bought a card for my future husband, telling him he was going to be a daddy. We had been engaged for 9 months, and were going to get married in another 4 months. We had planned on starting a family right away, so we while we were both surprised, we were both overjoyed. I think about this now and think, "Man, I'm never going to have the surprise of a positive pregnancy test again! The "holy s**t, are you serious?!" thoughts and the joy of an impending baby.

Since I had gotten such an early positive with Henry, I was completely bamboozled with Otto. It was our second month trying and I took a pregnancy test on day 29, just like I had with Henry. It was a bit, fat NEGATIVE. My sister had planned a visit just a few days later, so I shrugged it off and thought, "well hell, at least I can enjoy some time drinking wine with my sister! And hey, that means we won't have a Christmas baby, so that's a plus too. Moving on to focusing on getting pregnant next month!" I mean, my test was negative, right?

Look at our old bathroom! And this dress has weathered many pregnancies... 5 months pregnant with Otto here
A few months later with a different, partially finished bathroom! Pro tip: don't remodel your bathroom while pregnant, and need to pee all night long


But then my period never showed. On day 36, I took another test - just entirely annoyed that my period hadn't shown yet, wanting to get it over with so that my husband and I could try again for the next month. I took the test while Henry napped in the next room. I sat on the toilet, waiting for my response. As I watched it, again, the test line turned pink before the pee even reached the control line! I literally sat on the toilet and laughed out loud at how crazy it was that I had already gotten over the fact that I wasn't pregnant when indeed I was. How I was kind of glad we wouldn't have a baby right at Christmas when indeed we would (and did - my due date was Dec 29 but he came Dec 18, and we got home from the hospital just in time on Dec 21!) After laughing about it, I immediately started texting my best friends the amazing, blessed news.

My husband found out later that night, when he got home. We were thrilled Henry would have a bestie so close in age. I knew Otto was a boy from the second I saw those pink lines on my pregnancy test. I wanted him to be a boy. I wanted him to be a boy so he and Henry could grow up to be the best of friends. So far, they are! Henry might not say it, but the best gift we've ever given him is Otto. They're thick as thieves.

It's so weird that I'll never have a planned but surprise late pregnancy pregnancy test again.

Same dress, same bathroom, both with a new look! No wonder we gutted that thing, right?! And this dress was one of the only things to fit me all the way to the end of a twin pregnancy. 33 weeks pregnant with twins here!

When I took the pregnancy test for the twins, I suspected I was pregnant. We had been trying for three months. It was the longest it had ever taken us to get pregnant! On day 31 (because I was sick of testing early and wasting all my pregnancy tests) I decided it was time to test. I picked Henry and Otto up from school, then poured a glass of wine, convinced I'd wait it out at least another day (I mean, pregnancy tests are expensive and testing early is annoying and disheartening). After I finished the glass, I couldn't stand it anymore. It made me *just* brave enough to decide to do it, negative test be damned! I grabbed a test from the box, and I went into the toilet room in our master bath, followed by two little toddlers. There's no testing/peeing alone after you've already got two toddlers.

The test line showed up as positive before the pee even hit the control line. But honestly, I had already known I was pregnant. I breathed a sigh of relief (because it had taken us THREE FRIGGIN MONTHS to conceive, which was a record for us. I feel for all my friends for whom this takes months or years to achieve. The wait is AWFUL) and then Henry and Otto asked why I was crying. I told them they would have a brother or sister in the fall. They were both excited! And then, because I've had a miscarriage before, I had all 3 of us get down on our knees, and we each prayed for the baby. That he or she would be healthy and full term, and that we would have the privilege of knowing that baby earth-side. That is, without a doubt, one of my most precious memories of Henry and Otto - both of them praying for a future baby brother or sister, so happy for mommy and so happy to add to the clan. And little did we know, it would be TWO more babies!

I think about that sweet memory, and think about how nothing like that will ever happen again.

One of my favorite parts of having a baby is the time I get to spend with my husband at the hospital. It's seriously the best! I don't know why people are in such a rush to get home - I'd love to stay there for a week, maybe two. You've got nurses who help you, doctors at the ready if anything goes wrong, and if you've got more children at home, it's the only time you're ever going to have with just the babies and your spouse. Oh, not to mention catering is a call away (hello hot meals!), there's nurses aids changing your sheets daily, a lactation consultant is there to help you around the clock, and insurance is footing most of the bill. It's like a vacation!

With all of my children, staying in the hospital is a great memory. Even though I had two surprise, emergency c sections. I've delivered at two different hospitals in Dallas, and both had the most amazing nurses. It was so wonderful to be cared for with so much love, and to have so much support right after delivering a baby. The twins were probably my favorite post-birth experience. My OB switched to a new hospital with a brand new mother-baby unit. We decided to upgrade to a suite (NOT covered by insurance, but worth every cent of the $900 cash it cost us) and it was so nice to have the extra room for two bassinets of baby, a bed for my husband to sleep in, and a room with a table and TV for my older boys when they came to visit. The nursing staff there was just fantastic! It was the first time we decided to take advantage of a nursery (because with multiples, you'll never sleep if you don't send them away for a little bit, trust me) and the nurses did it in a way that was pro-breastfeeding. We agreed on a time for the babies to come back to me, but if they got fussy before that, they'd bring them back to me, changed and ready to nurse. They were so compassionate about me getting rest to recover from the debauchery of the birth I had, but also respecting my wishes to exclusively breastfeed. That hospital and those nurses should serve as a national model for how to have compassionate care for new moms, I swear! It was THAT good.

As silly as it sounds, it makes me sad that I won't ever have another post birth hospital stay. Even my stay at my first hospital was nothing but great with fabulous nurses! VBAC or C section, my hospital stays have been one of my favorite times after having every single one of my children. It's such a sweet bonding time, surrounded by caring staff, alone time with my husband, and food on call. What's not to love about that?!

Hospital hanging with the twins. It was a great time!

While all of these are weird feelings that are hard to describe, and sad to know I'll never experience again, it's not all bad. I think about the first month or two of having a baby at home, and how stressful it is. How little sleep you get, how annoyed with your significant other you are, how figuring out the "new normal" is so much work with other young kids at home. I'm totally ok if I never have to do that part of it again! While I enjoy babies and love toddlers, I don't like newborns. I think that stage is so, so hard.

This is what it feels like to know you're done having babies. I'll miss some of the most precious parts about pregnancy; the most obvious of which is the sacred time when you're the ONLY person in the world who knows a new life is coming and the feeling that brings you. The cute baby bump and all the attention you get is another big plus. Knowing your baby before anyone else is another (I knew Henry was a night owl, Otto was a good sleeper, Knox was an active nutjob and Teddy was a chill baby that liked to eat from just my pregnancies) is another thing I love about pregnancy. And those glorious hospital stays! I'd do that again for sure. But babies are hard. And I have four of them. I'll miss the good parts but gladly be though the challenges of bringing new life into the world.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Patio Decoration Tips

As the weather warms up, use these patio or courtyard decoration tips to brighten and liven up your outdoor living space


I think the single most life-changing, life-GIVING thing about re-locating to the South is our ability to be outside 12 months out of the year. Yes, we have winters here and yes, it can some days be too cold to be outside, although most likely, it's just going to be too rainy. Even on our coldest winter days, it's still in the 40's (there's only the very rare day that doesn't get out of the 30's). I'm a big enforcer/encourager of daily outdoor time. I mean, have you seen my Instagram?! We're outdoors every. single. day. The fresh air is good for everyone, even our baby twins. However, I can totally relate to not wanting to spend time outside when it's not a pretty or pleasant place to spend time at. So, I thought I'd share some of my best tips to decorating your patio (or general outdoor space), making it more livable and enjoyable, and actually using it to your benefit and the best design of the space. *affiliate links used*

Courtyard view out to the yard. Having paved space in the backyard has been GREAT - the kids play here year round

First up, our covered space. We have a small patio that's covered from the awning of our roof. See, Dallas homes are built to keep the sun out. We're like the opposite of everyone else - sun in our homes means high energy bills. So we have over sized-awnings and soffets, and light reflective windows. Ever notice how most my photos are taken outside? Yeah, that's because even though we have floor to ceiling windows in just about every room, the light doesn't come in because of the design of the house. I appreciate our low energy bills, but it does get annoying to have such a dark house. Just another reason to make sure and get outside everyday! The first stop on my patio or courtyard decoration tips is my patio, that's covered by an awning from our living room. This is a small space; just enough for a long and lean table or a table for four or even potentially a small couch and coffee table, if it was positioned correctly. 

Our covered space is perfect for a table and chairs. I recommend steel (aluminum gets blown over easily) and woven seats like ours so that you don't have to bring cushions in and out nonstop - or clean them!

Ok, so how do we deal with making the most of this small space? We've decided that since it's covered, always shaded and has a ceiling fan (which is SO great for warmer climates) we'd make it our eating space. We currently have a table for four (we'll need to expand that to 6 soon enough - this one is close to what we have for an AMAZING price) and some flowers and herbs growing nearby. If you have a pleasant space that's near a door, like ours is for easy bringing food out entertaining, I'd suggest making it your dining space. We have steel framed table and chairs so that winds won't blow anything over. I also recommend woven chairs, like what I linked and is pictured here. This way you don't have to bring cushions in and out of the home, you won't forget them when it rains and then plop your butt down on a wet cushion, there's nothing to clean but it's still comfortable. Low maintenance but comfy? I'll take that over the most stylish outdoor furniture any day!

Put an herb garden right outside your back door for easy access to fresh herbs all summer long

I like having an herb garden planter like this one nearby so that I don't need to go on a pilgrimage for my herbs when I'm cooking (just right outside the back door!) and so that you can also plant things that are bug-deterrent. I've planted rosemary and mosquito grass in my planters near the covered patio before. We also have citronella candles that we light (get a soy based candle with essential oils like this one), and wear lemongrass-based bug spray. You have to take all the precautions when you live where there is West Nile Virus and Zika! I'm not sure if the bug-deterrents or the bug spray does a better job, but all of those plus the ceiling fan on keeps it fairly pleasant, even in one of the worst mosquito states in the U.S.

Hanging plants in the courtyard

Moving on down the way from the covered patio is the courtyard. We use this space CONSTANTLY. It's actually one of my favorite parts about the house. The boys can ride their bikes on it without getting stuck in the grass or the mud. We can easily set up the pool without ruining grass (like this one you see on my Instagram all summer long - we love this thing!) It helps keeps bugs away. And it creates stable spaces for chairs and tables. We've decided to have Adirondack chairs with side tables line the courtyard for spaces to sit and to warm up the space. This link has them in nearly every color - we chose green but I love just about all of them! We have Japanese Yews lining the space to bring green in, and then have potted plants to bring in color. We plant our pots in March and they usually last all the way through November! Although I know many people in Dallas who re-plant things because our growing season is so long, and the summers get so hot, you've got to plant different plants that can "weather" the weather, as it were. In our courtyard space we have decorative planters on the ground, hanging baskets, bird houses and table plants in decorative pots. Want a cute luminary DIY? Check out this post I made to give your space a cute lighting touch for a party!

Seating area in the courtyard - perfect for sitting and watching the kids splash in the blow up pool 

Onward out to the yard, we have a decent size grass space. Out here we have a swing for the boys (also featured heavily on my Instagram - here is the exact swing we have!), our raised veggie garden, three large potted plants, and landscaping on the side of the house. My goal is to leave this space as grass-heavy as possible so my kids have room to run, bike and move. When it's really hot, we set up the sprinkler out here for them to run through it. It's also where we experiment with growing our own vegetables in my raised veggie garden. Want to learn more about my veggie garden? Check out this post about growing veggies from seeds and this cute DIY I made to keep it organized!

The grassy area of the yard where we have a swing, the kids' table, the veggie garden (not pictured) and the grill

Decorating outdoors is one of the best parts of home ownership. I've surprised myself with how much I enjoy gardening and planting. We spend time outside every single day because of our year-round nice weather, so having a well decorated and pleasant outdoor space has been crucial for our enjoyment. Use these patio decorating tips to make your outdoor space a beautiful, useful and fun place to be, too.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

I Tried CBD Oil Everyday For A Month. Here's What Happened.

CBD oil is all over the news, being cited as the cure-all for just about any ailment. It's legal in all 50 states to buy. Here's what I experienced with it.


CBD oil is all over the news. People tout it as a cure all for dang near everything - anxiety, sleep issues, pain, depression, addiction - if you've got an ailment of any variety, CBD oil is there to cure it! If you saw this post I wrote on apple cider vinegar, you'd know how blown away I was with the results of drinking it every day for a month. I really saw the benefits from it. CBD is hyped even more than ACV, so I was really excited to give it a try and tell you about all the amazing benefits I noticed from it. Except... That didn't happen this time. Read on to find out what happened when I tried CBD oil everyday for a month.


First, a tad on why I decided to try it. I've had pretty bad (as in, you know, really bad) insomnia since I had Henry. He was a terrible sleeper and I think my body just got used to having to wake up every two hours. Then we had Otto just 19 months after him, and the twins two and a half years after Otto. So, granted, I haven't had the ability to sleep through the night in over 5 years. Add in a traveling husband and it magnifies the sleep issues - I'm the only adult to respond to a child, so I sleep with one eye and one ear open, always. After Otto was born, and I was done nursing him, I went to my doctor about it and she prescribed me a non-narcotic sleeping pill. It didn't work. 

After the prescription ran out, I decided to try melatonin. While that would help me fall asleep, it wouldn't help me stay asleep. I've tried herbal supplements, I've tried cutting off all screen time an hour before bed, I read for a half hour before I go to sleep to help me relax. I've even taken Ambien, which I don't have a prescription for so don't ask me how I got my hands on that, but even THAT wouldn't knock me out! It was so hard trying to function with very young kids everyday when I would be awake for at least 4-6 hours at night. It was infuriating to lay in bed awake, for no known reason, even though my babies were sleeping. 

Fast forward to my pregnancy with the twins. Low and behold, I'd never slept as well as I did when I was pregnant! I'd wake up to pee, sure, but I'd go right back to sleep. It was amazing. And then I had the babies, and for the first few weeks all was well - I'd wake up to feed them, but fall right back asleep after they went down. That lasted for about a month, and then the dreaded insomnia started back up again. 

By this time, CBD oil has come into fashion. It's all over the news as an AMAZING product, with so many health benefits that help or outright cure nearly any ailment. This is a great source on the science behind how it works. I also read so many testimonials on how it helped people with insomnia, I decided to give it a try. I mean, I'm not into scarfing up prescription drugs, and my natural remedies (lavender essential oil, Epsom salt baths, magnesium supplements, Melatonin, etc) all weren't working for me. I did some research on legitimate companies who supply the oil. Because it's an herbal supplement, CBD oil is largely unregulated so I wanted to find a legitimate source of CBD oil to try for my insomnia.


Now, I live in Texas. While THC-free CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, marijuana isn't legal here in any form. Technically, medical marijuana IS legal here, but it has such a narrow window of legalization, it's basically a joke. So the CBD oil I was able to purchase was a THC-free CBD oil. I started with the lowest dose, 500mg for a 1oz bottle. Young Living, from whom I purchase all my essential oils, started a partnership with Nature's Ultra and I not only trust Young Living for their quality, I trust the partnership they created because YL doesn't mess around with quality. I started there for my low-dose CBD oil.

First, this stuff is expensive! it was $85 for the lowest dose bottle of CBD oil. I asked a few friends how they took it, and they said straight under the tongue. So I got a lemon-lime flavored bottle. It tasted great! It was easy to use the dropper and apply the oil under my tongue. I did it once a day around 5pm.

Aaaaand... I noticed NO difference in my sleep. None. After a month, I decided to try to skip nights to see if I'd notice a difference then. Nope. Nothing. I felt nothing different, did not sleep differently in any capacity and noticed no benefits to the oil. I didn't fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, or generally feel more rested after ingesting the THC-free oil for a month. It was SO disappointing! 

I spoke to a few of my friends about my disappointment, and a few of them recommended that I try to ingest the oil twice a day for maximum benefits. I started that the same day I heard the advice! I put a dose under my tongue in the mid-morning (between 10-11am) and about two hours before I went to bed (roughly 7-8pm). Aaaaaand... I still noticed NO difference, even after trying that for a solid month. Two months in, and I noticed zero effect on my sleep. I was so disappointed. I really wanted to be able to write a post on the benefits I noticed, even if they were small. I'd love to join the thousands of testimonials on what a great product CBD oil is. But I experienced no benefits - not even one.

What are the benefits of CBD oil and where you can get it
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I'm not saying CBD oil is a load of crap. Or that it won't work for you. Or that it won't work for a different ailment, like anxiety, or pain. Or maybe I needed a higher mg bottle, therefore creating a stronger dose. I've also heard that it's best to get it with a little THC in it, but that's not legal for me to buy here in Texas, so that's a no-go. That's the thing about unregulated products like CBD oil; there are many companies that make it at different strengths and a million different people telling you how it *should be* taken to assist whatever ailment you're experiencing. Because of the lack of regulation and the lack of knowledge the person telling/prescribing how you should take it may have, it could reasonably take you months and thousands of dollars to find what works for you - IF it ever does work for you.

I tried CBD oil everyday for a month. Did it help my chronic insomnia? Absolutely not. There was literally no change to my sleep with the addition of the CBD oil. Will I buy another bottle in a higher mg dose to try it again? Also no. If I develop some other health issue that may benefit from the oil, I'd try it again for that, but I'm not going to waste hundreds to thousands of dollars on CBD oil that had absolutely ZERO impact on helping me sleep better at night. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

DIY Makeup Remover Wipes

Makeup remover is expensive and full of things you don't want sitting on your skin! Make these wipes yourself, affordable and toxin-free


Admittedly, I don't wear much makeup. For starters, I don't have the time to make myself up like I used to in my 20's. Then there's the issue that I work from home, and there isn't really a need to make myself up. Additionally, in my 30's I've become more and more comfortable in my own skin, therefore feeling less and less a need to hide under the guise of a fully made up face. And finally, I've become woke enough to all the crap that's in makeup, how it ages your skin and seeps into your blood stream, and I'm not interested in all that mess! Now that I've disqualified myself from making a makeup remover wipe, I will say that I regularly wear blush and mascara and I usually wear a thin line of eyeliner too. Just enough to feel human while out and about in public (especially in the South - all these women are so made up all the time!) What goes on must come off, but just like I'm not interested in the toxins and chemicals in traditional makeup, I don't want to use a conventional makeup remover, many of which feature mineral oil. Here's an easy, EFFECTIVE DIY makeup remover wipe that won't prematurely age your skin or cost you an arm and a leg, like traditional makeup removing wipes.


Here's the thing: making these makeup remover wipes almost could not be more simple. It literally took me less than two minutes to make about a month's supply. Mason jars are sold in just the right size for this item, and it's still a pretty enough jar to store on your vanity, if you're one to store these things in plain sight like me. If not, it's smaller than having both a bottle of traditional makeup remover and the cotton pads under your sink, so no matter what you're winning here.

Don't even get me started on the traditional chemicals and garbage that's in over the counter makeup remover. Did you know there are tons of chemicals in your "anti aging" products that actually AGE the skin?! I don't use any of those products, and I don't do Botox or fillers. And people regularly think I'm in my 20's. All I use are natural products and most importantly, a natural mineral sunscreen daily, and I've escaped the aging machine! You know, for now. I'm sure it will hit eventually. Now everyone's genes are different, but it absolutely will not hurt you (or your pocketbook) to knock off the expensive makeup, makeup remover they sell you in conjunction, and the general over-flux of products to try to keep you looking young. The best looking people I know don't use any of it. None.


All that aside, if you're a budget shopper, this is a really great way to get an amazing product at a great price point. It's so easy to make, and you can refill it whenever you need it - no need to wait for Amazon to deliver more to you, or when you have the funds to buy your high end $75 makeup remover that lasts a whopping month. Nope. Get the ingredients once and it will last you a solid 6-12 months, you've just got to throw them together every now and again to have them at the ready.



Super simple. Here's what you'll need:

- 1/2 cup grape seed oil
- 3 tablespoons lavender witch hazel
- 5 drops frankincense essential oil
- round cotton facial pads
- glass mason jar for storage/other small glass container

In a small bowl or cup, mix together the grape seed oil (which is AMAZING for sensitive skin, especially for the sensitive skin around the eyes), witch hazel (the lavender variety is great for sensitive skin too) and the frankincense essential oil. Mix together well. Put half the cotton pad into the mason jar, and pour half the mixture over the cotton pads. Allow to settle down, gently shaking the jar as needed, and then add the second half of the cotton pads and pour the remaining oil/witch hazel/essential oil over them. Shake the jar with the lid on to distribute the essential oil/grape seed oil mixture evenly over the cotton pads. Store with a tight lid away from direct sunlight.




I like using grape seed oil because it's so gentile on the skin. I know some people complain of coconut oil clogging their pores (I've never experienced this myself) but grape seed oil is perfect for all skin types, especially sensitive skin - exactly where you're using it most to get eye makeup off. Frankincense essential oil has been used to nourish and enhance the skin for thousands (yes, thousands!) of years, and helps to keep skin looking healthy and youthful. Finally, the lavender witch hazel works to help the oil absorb into the cotton pads, works as a very mild, natural astringent on the face to help dissolve makeup, and the lavender adds calming (read: anti-redness, anti-irritant) properties to the makeup remover wipes.

It's easy to make your own makeup remover wipes that don't contain harsh chemicals

Making your own makeup remover wipes is great for your skin because you control what goes in them! You can tailor the DIY to what suits your particular skin type - switch out grape seed oil for sunflower oil, use more frankincense essential oil, add lavender essential oil, use more or less witch hazel and so on. Not only are these DIY makeup remover wipes good for your skin, they're good for your pocketbook too, as they're incredibly cost effective.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

What It's Like To Be A Professional Blogger

This month, my blog turns 5 years old. Here's what it's like to have been blogging for 5 years: lessons learned, tips, and the general experience 'living the dream' as an Influencer


Holy heck, I've held this down for five straight years. Every week, without fail, I've delivered content 1, 2, or 3 times a week. Mostly two and three, as I only took a four month "break" of delivering content once a week after the twins were born and I had 4 kids aged 4 and under at home. Phew! So! What's it like being an influencer (a term that didn't even exist when I started) and putting your life on the internet for five straight years? What are some unsold truths of this profession, that actually wasn't even considered a legit profession until 2015-16? Oh my friends, I'm so glad you asked. Here's what it's REALLY like to be an experienced, professional blogger.

What you need to know before pursuing blogging as a career

- It's the DREAM job. Mostly.
It takes a certain kind of person who can be self-employed. Yes, you can set your schedule, yes you can work when you want to. Those are two huge bonuses. But that also means you've got to pull yourself together, get motivated, and work when you *could be* doing other things. You have to consistently show up. You have to consistently produce posts, ideas, photos, and engage on social media. You have to power through writer's block, you've got to get creative when the natural lighting is terrible for your photo shoot, and you've got to thicken your skin to deal with social media. See below for details on that.

Anyway, one of my driving forces for consistently showing up is that I think blogging is really fun! I love to write. I love to interact with people. And I've enjoyed learning about photography and honing in on my artistic side. Those are all the really enjoyable aspects of being a blogger. But perhaps the best part of being self employed is that I get to work on my own time. I create to-do lists on Sunday's or Monday's, and each day I get to decide how much of that I want to get done. Some days I spend the entire time I have a nanny (6 hours) working and other days I go to yoga or get my nails done. My schedule is all up to me! One of the things I hated the worst about a 9-5 desk job was the fact I had to be there the whole 8-9 hours, when I usually didn't have 8 hours of work to do. I'd sit and think about how I could be doing laundry or getting my hair done instead of sitting, wasting time at a desk. It drove me nuts! But when you're self employed, you can do as you please as long as you're motivated and disciplined enough to accomplish your to-do list. Someone once told me that if you enjoy your job 80% of the time or more, you've found your dream job, and I definitely enjoy 80% of blogging. However...

- 5 years later, I still think about quitting. Regularly.
I've been called a b***h. I've been called arrogant. I've been called a know-it-all. I've been called an a**hole. Someone even once told me that me and my ideas were dangerous! Those are just the words I can put on my website without Google punishing me - the cuss words I'm leaving off. I've basically been called all the negative words, and had all sorts of negative comments towards various posts or ideas. The internet can be a super fun place!

You know what I've NEVER been called? Fake. People get real brave with their comments on the internet, not having to spit their negativity in person, but despite what anyone's assessment of what I may/may not be, my readers can see that I'm true to my word and a real, authentic person. Even if they don't like that person, they see it. THAT is what keeps me going. You're never going to see me do a "Instagram vs. in real life" photo montage because my Instagram IS my real life. No staging, no preset filters to make it pretty, no overly-made-up-Paige modeling some outfit that's not realistic to wear anyway. That's not what I'm about. My favorite comment to get is, "Hey you don't know me, but we're best friends!" That comment absolutely makes my day! It means I'm coming off as real and relatable, which is what I strive for. Being people's internet BFF is what keeps me going even through the negative comments. 

- As long as you're YOU, you'll be great.
There's definitely pressure to be the stereotypical blogger. You know, the one with the long hair that's always curled, perfect lips and eyebrows. She loves fashion and is all sunshine and rainbows in the name of "lifting women up." A lot of women have become that blogger, and they've been very successful with it - and that's great. But it's not me. And here's the thing: there is a market for every type of blogger out there! You don't have to be "her" you can just be you, and people will find you and engage with you. Trust me, there are plenty of hers out there. The market is a tad saturated with them, in fact. Be true to you; own your truth, tell the story as you see it and people will like you for you. And the ones that don't? Meh. They'll drive up your views just the same as the ones who like you!\

Makeup-free, hair-undone selfies are a regular part of my Instagram, because it's the REAL me

- Don't buy into trends too much. 
Sometime in 2016, everyone was saying that blogs were dead, and that you only needed social media, specifically Instagram, to survive. People started pouring their hearts and souls into IG - and their pocketbooks, doing anything to become InstaFamous. What a load of bunk. Some ended up faking their engagement, people bought followers, and all the photos were staged, filtered and fake AF - and it all turned Instagram into a big hot mess. Not to mention, you didn't actually own your IG site, so your account could be suspended, taken down, or otherwise compromised at the whim of the IG algorithm gods. I still maintain that the accounts that put up overly edited photos and drive engagement in false ways will, in the long run, will fall out of favor because Instagram is a current trend (that, in my opinion, is already waning). What will be the next big trend? I don't know, but I wouldn't invest too much into it. Participate in it, but don't let it consume you. Instagram was an all-consuming trend, which is why I think we're currently seeing it crash and burn.

I think bloggers and influencers are always thought of as having the best job around. We get paid to play with new products and talk about experiences and post our thoughts on the internet in various capacities. But it's not quite all fun and games! There's a darker, harder side to putting yourself and your life out for the public to read. And the pressure to be picture perfect constantly is intense. But as long as you stay true to yourself, don't apply to many filters to your life (or your photos) and speak in a REAL, authentic and relatable tone, blogging can be a fun way to earn a living - and to meet new people in an online space.. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Breastfeeding Success Tips

I've learned a lot breastfeeding four kids, including a set of twins. Here are the best tips I've got for breastfeeding success, backed by research and industry professionals


I've can't believe I've breastfed four kids, all with various levels of success. My most successful? TWINS. They're nearly six months old and exclusively breastfed. I'm not sure when we'll stop, and we're still going strong. Four kids later, I have a good amount of breastfeeding knowledge and experience that is leading to this success. I definitely was not as successful with my first child, and only moderately more successful with the second. Here are some of the best breastfeeding success tips I've learned along the way, along with some of the research I've found to be really helpful.

- 'Pump and Dump' IS NOT A THING. 
This is what wrecked me the first time around, nursing Henry. I thought that anytime I had a glass of wine, I had to pump my supply and dump it down the drain. NOOOOOOO!!! Breast milk is like your blood; your liver, kidneys and other organs will detox it. If you want a glass (or two, or three!) of wine, go for it. If you're good to drive, you're good to nurse. If you're not good to drive, wait a few hours and your milk will be fine. Just like your BAC (blood alcohol content) will return to normal, so will your breast milk. There's also fascinating research that shows just how little alcohol is transferred to your milk as well.

First baby: covered nursing in the hospital. Like the nurses had never seen a breast before. Foolish!

- Don't join any breastfeeding support groups online outside of research backed groups 
May I repeat: do NOT join "breastfeeding support" groups that aren't backed my Le Leche League or the research of Kellymom. These groups let other moms - other INEXPERIENCED moms - comment incorrect information. I was a part of a large one, some 16,000 members, when I mom asked how many ounces of pumped milk her 5 month old should be drinking. A woman commented that she gives her baby 6-8oz of pumped milk. She also mentioned she was an over-supplier and that her son had health issues (so basically, she no business commenting on a woman's question with a full term healthy child and a normal response to a breast pump, which is closer to 2-4oz TOTAL per pump session, not 8oz). I commented that breastfed babies should be pace fed and typically not more than 4-5oz per bottle total, which is research backed and accurate information for breastfed babies. This mom overtook my comment about how her pediatrician told her she was doing great and that babies need more milk the older they get, and that 4oz bottle would starve a 5 month old baby. Ha.

In fact, breastfed babies don't keep taking more and more milk. They max out at about 4-5oz per session at 4-6 months of age, and then their milk consumption decreases as they begin solid food. Breast milk isn't formula; you don't continue to increase ounces. Breast milk is more nutrient-dense than formula, so less of it is needed. (This is all in the link I've provided, in case you want to read it straight from the source!) All of this is to say, so much of what I've read in these breastfeeding support groups have moms who are sharing not only WRONG information, but information or advice that if heeded, will ruin your ability to breastfeed. The average woman will not be able to pump and feed her baby 8oz of milk four to five times a day; you will not produce that much. That doesn't mean you didn't make enough for your baby, it means you're over-feeding your child based on legitimate, scientific research! So please, don't listen to the average internet mom (I realize the irony there...) and only join research backed groups, like Le Leche League, who have trained leaders who regularly monitor responses and chime in with science-backed, lactation consultant-backed information to help you.

- Pump as little as you can; put the baby to your breast as often as you can
The thing about pumping, even if you get a hospital grade pump and even if you enjoy pumping (which I admittedly do not), a pump is never going extract the milk as well as your baby. Babies have both the suction and a caressing motion of their tongue that extracts the milk. Pumps only have the suction. The second issue is that you want the saliva exchange between the baby's mouth and your nipple. It's that communication that "tells" your body what kind of milk to make. Fattier milk for older babies to make it more calorie-dense, more antibodies if your baby has a cold and so on. Latching your baby to your breast is key to get your body producing the correct milk. It will also ensure that your breasts are completely emptied, which helps keep your supply up. Not to mention, the more your baby feeds from the breast, the less you have to pump, so it's basically a win-win. Have issues getting the baby to latch? Contact a lactation consultant and have her help you. Those women can work wonders!

With baby Otto, I was barely covered the whole hospital stay, ha!

- Trust your body, trust the process
It's ok to not know how much or how many ounces your baby just got. It's ok to feed on demand, whether that's every hour or every four hours. It's ok to go all night long without nursing (you'll probably need to pump for your own comfort though!) and it's ok to nurse every two hours around the clock. It's ok to let your fussy baby nurse just because he's grumpy and it makes him happy. Whenever you put that baby to your breast, you maintain (or even increase) a healthy, adequate supply for your baby. Or, babies, if you're breastfeeding more than one, like I am currently. The less you worry about it, the less you think about it and the more you simply latch your baby, the better off you'll be in terms of not only supply, but your body making the correct milk for your child.

Jaelan from Making Mrs M, a Birth Doula and Certified Birth Educator (not to mention one of my dearest friends), supports my tips, too. She says one of the best ways to establish your supply is to do lots of skin to skin, feed on demand, and don't worry that you can't measure a feed at the breast like you can pumped ounces. She's got a great post about how breastfeeding didn't come easily to her - if you need encouragement, check it out!

Tips and information on how to successfully breastfeed for as long as you and baby want or need
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Breastfeeding is hard. One of the hardest parts is just blindly trusting that it's all going well, which is only second to the physical toll of latching your baby to your breast as often as you can. Latching consistently and just accepting that my body is making enough milk for TWINS, who are still exclusively breastfed six months later, has driven my success with breastfeeding this go around. While all four of my kids have been breastfed to some extent, with each child, I've learned more and gotten better (and honestly, more confident) with it. Five years and four kids later, these are my best breastfeeding success tips, backed by scientific research, industry professionals, other moms, Le Leche League and Kellymom. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Early Spring Raised Vegetable Garden

Vegetable varieties that do well in Southern climates for raised or in-ground vegetable gardens


I have to be honest with you: my summer veggie garden was a massive flop! I had pumpkins, since my kids love Halloween as much as I do and I thought it'd be fun to grow our own, cauliflower that was still growing from the previous winter garden, leeks and an assortment of herbs. My herbs flourished! My leeks suffered in the enormous heat we have here in Texas (they're better suited for a fall or winter garden) and my pumpkins? Well, I learned around early October that you need to hand fertilize the flowers yourself to actually get pumpkins. They don't just grow on the vines by themselves. My cauliflower? Never actually sprouted cauliflower! All I got were tall, woody stems that bloomed... But never produced fruit. You know what else flopped? Me starting this early spring raised vegetable garden from seeds. We had the longest, rainiest, darkest winter I've experienced to date in Texas, and it drowned out two batches of seeds I started. So I changed my pace and planted my raised vegetable garden from plants from the nursery instead! When you want an early yield, getting seedlings from a nursery is the way to go, especially with unpredictable spring weather. Here's what I ultimately planted in my early spring raised vegetable garden plot.


I'm learning this whole gardening thing via trial and error. Check out this post about my first lesson on my first garden. This is what I had PLANNED on planting from seeds in my raised garden bed, all of which are good options for when it's still cool (or even cold) outside:

- Corn: I was surprised to see corn listed as a hearty plant that's good to be planted as soon as the last frost is over. Our last day of frost in Dallas is listed as March 15, which seems super late to me. I can't remember a frost in March as long as I've lived here... But I digress. Corn is a hardier plant and I thought it'd be fun for the boys to see it get super tall. Corn on the cob is also a vegetable they'll both eat (couldn't be all the butter I put on it for them, right?!) so win-win.

- Carrots: Since carrots are under ground, they're perfect almost year round where I live. In fact, my carrots last year survived the whole winter, and we had a solid month of below freezing temps! If you saw this recipe, which you should totally make, I used the carrots from my veggie garden for them. Anytime you can turn a vegetable into a dessert, my kids love it. In fact, with planting these, Henry asked if I was going to make a cake!

- Beets: Much like the carrots, beets are below ground and perfect for cooler weather. I've just gotten into eating beets! For years, they were the only veggie I didn't really care for. They do taste a tad like dirt to me still, but the color is so pretty and the nutritional value so great that I can get over it. Do I expect my children to eat them? No, but they will enjoy the vibrant colors when we harvest them. Maybe because of that color, they'll try a bite. Here's to hoping!

The corn was the only seed to survive our brutal February 
We started the seeds in an old egg carton container in late February. While we have a mid-March frost line, I thought it'd be easy to pull them inside if we got a bout of cold weather, and I wanted them in the ground as close to March 15 as possible so that we could harvest the vegetables before the real heat of summer sets in in June-July.

Well, those were good thoughts but a massive FAIL! I planted the seeds and we proceeded to have about 20 straight days of rain and no sunshine. All the seedlings sprouted but only the corn was hardy enough to tolerate all that rain. The beets and carrots got drowned out. I *could* have replanted some seeds, but decided to get plants at the nursery instead, because I didn't get these things in the ground until after March 15 due to all the poor weather we had. Live, learn, adapt and change the plan as necessary, right?! Good words to live by for life, and gardening too.

Tomatoes!

Cucumbers!

Changing directions, I decided to head to my local nursery and pick up some plants to simply put directly in my garden bed, no more messing around with seeds. I picked up two varieties of tomatoes: heirloom and cherry tomatoes. I got some cucumbers too, because I know they're low profile - they grow on vine-like plants that won't block the sun to the rest of my garden, so they'd be a good option to plant in the most forward part of the garden that gets light first. I learned this last year: Don't plant your tallest plants in the part of the garden that gets sunlight first, or the rest of your plants won't get any! Seems obvious, but I made that mistake just by not considering what direction my light came from. Since I wanted to avoid this again, I planted the corn in the periphery of the yard and planted arugula directly into the dirt of the garden bed. It grows super fast here, so no need to sprout the seeds. I threw those seeds directly into the garden in two neat rows.

A note about cucumbers, I've read they attract a ton of garden pests, both animals and insects. We have an 8ft privacy fence that goes to the ground, so the only furry animals in the yard are squirrels and my dog. As far as insects, I'm planning a post in a few weeks on what works (and doesn't) for insect control on a veggie garden! If it can work to keep bugs away from cuc's, then it will work in just about any garden situation.

Hardier plants to select when planning an early spring vegetable garden
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Spring is hard anywhere because of wild weather changes, but especially here in Texas. Both February and March can be 30 degrees one day and 82 the next. I thought I had waited long enough to sprout my seeds but our crazy wet winter had other plans, and rained out all my seeds. No matter though, because I learned that getting plants from the nursery is super easy and those plants can go directly into your raised garden beds. Now that it's nearly April, I'm no longer concerned about any frost, but I do hope that the sun comes out more often to help my budding tomatoes turn into fruit and not drown out my arugula seeds before I even get a salad from my early spring raised vegetable garden!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Easter Basket Ideas For Infants and Babies

If your child is too young for candy, these are some great ideas to fill your baby's Easter basket


We're in a hybrid-type season: the older boys are loving candy and small toys, yet the twins are wayyyyy too young for candy and are even too young for most toys commonly sold for Easter baskets. When I went out and went shopping for this, most things I found were for ages 3+, which is great for my older kids, but what the heck do you do with the babies?! Furthermore, I can't give out tiny toys that my older sons might mistakenly give to one of the twins, or that might end up on the playroom floor, and quickly wind up in a baby's mouth. So if you're like me, and you've got babies to figure out this Easter, check out these Easter basket ideas for babies and infants. *affiliate links used*


Real quick, if you've got toddlers too, check out this post I wrote a while back on non candy Easter basket ideas for tots. Lots of fun stuff in there! We don't do "big gifts" for Easter, although I know some families do. For us, it's more about the fun of discovering the basket, and small, simple gift ideas that help celebrate the renewal of spring.



Babies are a bit harder than toddlers for Easter baskets. They clearly can't have candy yet, and so many of the fun nic-knacky items are meant for ages 2 or 3+. I'm a big fan of keeping it simple (uncomplicated, you might say!) so here's what we're doing for the twins:

White wicker Easter basket, similar to the one pictured

Sparkly Easter eggs

Stuffed bunny 

Easter Sunday outfit (this one is adorable for boys, this one is similar to what I have pictured and this one *would be* what I'd get if I had a girl)

Carrot teether

Hardcover book about Easter

What to put in an Easter basket for a baby or infant
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Easter baskets are a fun tradition I started with my kids. Growing up, my parents/the Easter bunny hid candy around the house and we'd take a basket and find it all. We'd get new dresses to wear to church, that usually got covered up with thick coats because we lived in Minneapolis, and it's still the dead of winter there through April. Maybe when my boys are a tad older we'll start to do that, but for now, the dog would get into the candy piles and my husband and Otto would eat all the candy, as Henry doesn't like it that much (nor do I) and the twins don't even have teeth yet. It's really fun to start holiday traditions with your own immediate family! Doing these Easter baskets for the babies is a fun way to get them acclimated to what our family does and celebrates for the spring holiday.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

When You Don’t Identify With PopMom Culture

Ever see a meme or something trending about motherhood and just think, "man, that's WAY off - I so don't understand that"? This is what it's like when you don't identify with popular mom culture


There's only been a few times in my life where everything aligns at exactly the same time. In this case, I had some internet friends and some real life friends talk about the exact same thing on the exact same day. And then it happened again with a different set of internet friends and a different set of IRL friends! In every instance, it elicited the same response from me: huh?! There are some things that are really trendy or popular to talk about, especially while in a group of other moms. There's quite a few of them that I just don't identify with, and stand there awkwardly, unsure of how to participate in the conversation. This post is all about those things; when you simply don't identify with popmom culture.

The headline is indeed funny... But this meme reflects a larger community of moms who husband-complain NONSTOP

The first thing I can't get behind? The constant husband complaining. Y'all, this one is BAD. Bad in what people say about their husbands, and bad as in this topic dominates mom groups. The complaining is incessant. For my mom friends with infants at home, they constantly complain about how they're the only one that gets up with the baby. That their husband sleeps all night, and then sits on the couch all morning complaining of being tired. I don't understand that - why don't you ask him for help? If he doesn't know what to do, why don't you show him? Why are you sitting around being a miserable, tired mommy martyr?! You didn't make these kids by yourself, why aren't you first asking for the help you need, and if you don't get it, demand the help you need?! 

For my friends with kids who sleep through the night, the moms have found new ways to complain about their spouses. Their husbands don't play with their kids enough, they don't do any cleaning/laundry/housework, and they don't help out with homework. One friend even commented that her husband doesn't notice when his daughter needs help tying her shoe! Shoe laces. It's devolved to the point of a shoe lace being a point of contention with husbands. For the love...

This gem is a 2-4-1! Husband bitching and Target loving. See below for my thoughts on Target

It's so hard when this becomes the topic of conversation because I just don't identify with it. My husband is up with me with the twins EVERY SINGLE TIME (partially because two babies is a two person ordeal!) even though he's the one with the job that pays all our bills. He takes all four boys for a couple hours on the weekend so that I can get some alone time. He changes all the diapers on the weekends. Hell, he'd probably lactate if he could just to lend me a hand! He does travel extensively for work, so when he is home, he pulls more than 50% of the weight so that I can catch a break. He doesn't sit around being "tired" from his workweek. When you're a parent, your workweek never ends. Five pm on a Friday doesn't mean he gets to sit back and crack a beer while I continue to do everything with the kids, and he knows that. Because he's a parent. He helped me make these kids, he helps me raise them. End of story. Yes, I've had to show him how to do certain things. Yes, he asks me questions if he doesn't know. But he still shows up and helps. Daily. 

It's popular culture to complain about how easy your husband has it, how lazy he is or how "bad" he is with your children and therefore how hard your job is, but why? If moms spent a quarter of the time they spent complaining  asking their husband for help and showing him how to be helpful, they'd be a lot happier! It's so prevalent in pop culture that I've left conversation circles and I've unfollowed mom groups just to get away from the toxicity of it. My closest friends, my sister and sister-in-law, we all spend our time talking about how awesome our husbands are with our kids. That's the type of conversation I would love to see become the norm in popmom culture.

Because all parents drink away their kids and their problems... Look at how many shares this got!

The next thing that I struggle with in popmom culture is the amount of wine people talk about consuming. It's like functional-alcoholic-levels of wine that are either talked about or actually being consumed by moms. Now, don't get me wrong! I do enjoy wine. I have no problem with a mom who wants to enjoy a glass or two (or three - get it!) It's more the culture of moms and wine. Like, bad day with the kids? Wine time! 5pm? Wine time! Toddler tantrum? Wine time! Overly tired from doing all the things your husband doesn't help you with? Wine time! I mean, c'mon. How are you even functioning? Do you have any coping skills besides alcohol? Is your life really that bad that it drives you to drink daily?! I just don't understand the constant wine consumption (or the talk of it) in popmom culture.

This one is enough to take away my mom AND blogger card: moms, why are you ALWAYS talking about Target?! Never once have I had a "spare hour" and thought, you know what? I'm just going to go cruise the aisles of Target and buy things I don't need with money I probably don't have. I have never once walked the aisles there "just to see what's there" and to look at crap. Not once. I have my list, I get what's on the list, I usually see one or two more items that should have been on my list but weren't, I check out, I leave. I don't go to the in-store Starbucks to spend $7 on a coffee that has over 500 calories in it. I don't cruise the aisles. Have you noticed Target now plays obnoxious music? They do. It makes me dislike that store even more. It used to be so quiet and peaceful... Now it's full of bright fluorescent lights and bad music.
Memes and posts like this get a big ol eye roll from me at best, and an unfollow at worst. I just don't get Target-mom-culture!

Fortunately, Target shopping doesn't dominate the conversations of my IRL friends. Boutiques and higher end shopping can, if shopping is talked about at all. Typically it's just a quick mention of where someone got something cute, and we move on. Thank God. But online and in the blogosphere? This is a regular topic of convo, everyone voices their love for killing time at the retailer and friggin memes are created about a mom and her love for Target! I secretly think it's all a marketing ploy from the corporate headquarters of the chain. Trust me, I'm from Minneapolis where it's HQ'd and know tons of people who work there. They'd totally do it. Jokes on you! Anyway, I just don't get why this one particular store is constantly, incessantly talked about in popmom culture. It's an obsession I just don't identify with. If I'm being really honest with you, I unlike mom blog pages that talk about or post Target memes. That's how much I don't identify with it.

In some ways, not identifying with these popmom culture items makes me feel like an odd mom out. When it becomes the topic of conversation in various online groups, I usually just keep scrolling. I unfollow if it's a particularly atrocious conversation. And in real life? I stand there, unsure of how to join in. Everyone would hate me if I piped up with how awesome I think my husband is, or how I dread going to Target, or how I've stopped all mid-week wine consumption because it was ruining my sleep. Misery loves company, and that's not being a team player! But I'm here to tell you that if you don't identify will all the aspects of popular mom culture, it's ok! You're still a cool mom in my eyes. And I'm totally here for any of you who want to talk about amazing husbands, the dreadful way Target clothes fit, or taking up a tea habit over alcohol.