Celebrating Mother’s Day With 10 Iconic TV/Movie Matriarchs.

Young Ones!

Parental Units!

We Summon You!

The next best thing to my own mom are the TV and movie moms I grew up knowing and loving as a kid. Woman who so strongly made an impression on how I should live my life, that their motto’s and lectures have not only stuck with me but are now shining through when it comes to my own style of motherhood.¬†Some are humorous, some overbearing, some are young, some old-fashioned, some are religious, some business woman and others, stay-at-home moms. Even so these iconic onscreen mothers come together to create the ultimate handbook of life lessons for our children; the good, the bad and the ugly. Lessons for moms and more importantly lessons for kids.

Thanks to these matriarchs, our families will grow together.

To be smarter, stronger, kinder and more loving.

1.¬†Prymaat Conehead from Coneheads. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 26 years and have never seen this classic of the aliens who “come from France” – get your priorities straight. Under her alias Mary Margaret, momma Conehead is a walking encyclopedia for life lessons, for her daughter Connie. Not only because she’s protective of her offspring as a natural instinct but more importantly to safeguard her from human teenage boys. Biggest life lesson she shares with her daughter – essentially don’t put your sex ring on your head until you’re old enough, otherwise ladies, your body is a temple.¬†

2. Karen Barclay aka the single mother from 1988’s classic Child’s Play. Catherine Hicks portrays a trying mom who just wants to please her son by getting him the chucky¬†ultimate birthday present. As luck would have it though the doll she buys cheap behind the mall from the homeless man with the carriage of goodies – is actually not a Good Guy but a doll now named Chucky who is a possessed soul of a serial killer. #1 lesson here, when it comes to your kids don’t take the cheap way out. If you buy cheap toys at the dollar store they break within minutes of arriving home. If you buy cheap diapers your baby’s bum develops diaper rash. If you buy batteries for your kids toys at Harbor Freight they’ll last a day. Just, spend your money well on the things that matter.

3.¬†Mrs. March aka Marmee from Little Women is the queen of being the glue that holds a family together. One of my all time favorite movie (but book first!) mothers! The greatest lesson thats been instilled in me from Marmee is to be charitable, to always give back when you can. My daughters birthday is seven days before Christmas and rather than getting even more toys that we don’t necessarily need – we asked for donations for our local animal shelter. Its a selfless yet easy and inspiring thing for my girl to continue to do through her childhood and adult years.

4. Morticia Addams from The Addams Family. Whether played by Angelica Houston or Carolyn Jones, Mrs. Addams¬†always kept her morticia¬†cool, no matter what Wednesday or Pugsley’s antics were. More importantly she taught her children to think outside the box and be kooky!¬†

5. Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. The young, hip and best friend of her daughter Rory, Lorelai sends countless messages to mother daughter relationships. Her ultimate memo though, moms should always be listened to and rarely questioned. Well this may not apply to her and Mrs. Emily Gilmore, but it does when it comes to her and Rory! As it should with every healthy mother daughter duo. 

6. Roseanne Conner, formally from Roseanne and The Conners. Plain and simple, honesty and humiliation are important in life, especially with yourself.

7. Peggy Boggs from Edward Scissorhands. It doesn’t matter who you are. What you look peggy¬†life. If your father is rich but won’t buy you a car. If you continuously slam the door in her face when you’re trying to sell Avon, or if you have no hands or scissors for hands – Peg’s rule among compassion is acceptance and it’s not polite to stare.¬†

8. The Other Mother aka the Beldam (meaning witch) from Coraline.¬†Despite her stylish appearance and warm smile and tone (at first!), the other mother shows her true colors when Coraline starts to become defiant and stubborn because she won’t let buttons get sewn into her eyes. It’s a dark plot but it teaches a valuable lesson that unfortunately people can be two faced and you can’t trust everyone.

9. Kitty Forman from That 70’s Show. kitty I’m not going to beat around the bush here… Kitty teaches us that it’s ok to have a freaking drink!

10. Sally Owens from Practical Magic. Growing up being bullied for “being different” and being referred to as a witch, well she dabbled in magic but it was said¬†with a negative connotation!¬†Sandra Bullock’s character tries to hide her family’s secrets with the hope that her children will be accepted and protected and not have to deal with the pain of other kids and the heartbreak magic can cause. As the story wraps up and the glamour ghouls jump off their roofs in uniform, we learn that you can’t protect your children from everything and you have to let them grow up and live.

Happy Mother’s Day Moms! Fiction or not you deserve recognition too.¬†

Frugal Food For The Soul; Shop Aldi

Aldi'sWhen deciding between eating well and saving money, always choose both.

Basically if you aren’t shopping at Aldi, you’re spending too much money on groceries.

Shop vegan, organic, keto, whole 30 or gluten free, your Aldi haul possibilities are literally endless for you and your family.

Whether you want to step up your smoothie game, restock on household basics or looking to try something new – Aldi is the place for you.

Just incase you’ve been living under a rock let me clarify their backstory. There’s a lot of misconception that since Aldi is a discount grocery store, “that’s where the poor people shop” or that the food is a lower quality. WRONG! Aldi¬†teams up with local farmers to provide us with the yummiest and most inexpensive produce – fruits, veggies, meats, you name it! $150 gets my family two weeks worth of groceries. Woahh saving money and getting quality food!¬†

My personal list of perks could go on and on but here are my top 7 favorite reasons to visit my local Aldi’s and why you should too!

  • Prices, prices, prices:¬†$2.99 for a case of seltzers, a gallon of whole milk for under $2, flax/chia/hemp seeds for only $4 a bag (double the price anywhere else). If you’re a beer drinker like me then Aldi’s should be your new spot to pick up some brew, for example, a 6 pack of their version of Blue Moon is only $5.99 and it tastes the same, maybe even better! Produce is 1/2 the price if not more than Stop&Shop or other grocers! The all around savings on everything you buy is insane.¬†
  • Aldi’s twice as nice policy: Although Aldi does carry “name brand” items such as Gold Fish, Coke and a handful more, most of their inventory is their own specific brand. (Which I’m a sucker for!) Literally anything and everything I’ve ever consumed from there is so tasty and fresh, no matter which Aldi I’m shopping at. BUT if you find yourself with a product you aren’t too keen on Aldi is literally twice as nice; they replace your item within reason and refund your money 100%.
  • Unique finds: Going along with their twice as nice policy and getting a refund if you buy something you don’t like — that’s never happened to me,¬†I love the new things I try from there, always! A few of my favorites include their organic Coconut Chia Granola Cereal, organic Antioxidant Power pomegranate, tart cherry, purple carrot, blueberry 100% juice! Their German coffee is one of the yummiest cups of coffee I’ve ever had (and as a mom of a toddler I run on a lot of coffee!), the list is endless I swear it, but those are my top three at the moment.
  • Little Journeys Section: Although I am a Pampers mom and don’t buy Aldi’s brand of diapers, I have heard good things and I’ve seen the price tags, SO CHEAP! Specifically I purchase their baby juice and snacks for my little one. They have a pretty wide selection for a small store, of baby products for moms who are looking to save some money; from diapers, wipes, bath products, formula, snacks and drinks. My Aldi trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip down the baby aisle to take a peak.
  • Family owned: The thousands of Aldi stores across the globe are all family owned and I genuinely feel like the cofounders and the employees care about my family and what we eat – whether it’s during our shopping experience or at home.
  • Ibotta: As you can see from this post, and from tons of my other posts, I am a stay-at-home mom on a tight budget so I’m looking to cut corners and save pennies anyway and everywhere I can. Although Aldi doesn’t except manufacturer coupons, Ibotta still excepts your receipts and items on your receipts for cash back, heck yes!¬†
  • Green Initiative: As I’m sure you’ve heard by now Aldi is unique in their ways by requiring a quarter to borrow a shopping cart (which you get back at the end of your trip) and they also do not have bags for your groceries – you bring your own bags and/or boxes. I love this. Not only is it 2019 and everyone should have a reusable tote(s), I find most people do actually, but people “forget” to use them in their day to day lives,¬†Aldi is special in that way. The store(s) train you to use your reusable totes on all of your outings, no matter what store you’re shopping at!

My list of perks could go on and on, but I won’t keep you.

I just wanted to share one of my absolute favorite grocery stores, one in which I 100% trust to feed not only myself but my 1 yr. old daughter and my pets.

I hope I’ve inspired you to check out your local Aldi store – whether you’re a returning customer or a new customer. I’m sure they’ll be glad to serve.

Don’t forget, when deciding between eating well and saving money — always choose both, shop Aldi, and bring along your quarter and reusable totes!

 

 

 

 

Eco-Friendly Momma; 10 Manageable Tweaks To Save The Planet For Our Children.

“Humans have a unique ability to alter our natural environment, and by making simple Eco-Friendlychanges to the things you do every day, you can protect the planet now, and make a real difference for the future.”

Simple acts of eco-friendliness really do add up to big changes. If you aren’t sure where to start I 100% recommend and dare you to pick up¬†Simple Acts To Save Our PLanet¬†500 Ways to Make A Difference by¬†Michelle Neff. Until then though, here are 10 simple acts that I have been practicing, striving to be eco-friendly. They may seem small, but they’re manageable and will definitely have a¬†butterfly effect, especially if more people contribute to the well-being of our planet. I promise you that.

As an advocate for Mother Earth I try my best to do all I can to make sure our planet will still be here for my daughter. For her future children, their future children and so on. I was pleased to have gotten my hands on this book to learn even more ways to improve my lifestyle and better our world. Among my 10 tips, I’ll share my favorite snippets from Neff and the new Earth saving tips I intend on adopting for my day to day life.

  1. Use Reusable Totes: C’mon guys it’s 2019. Acquire yourself some reusable tote bags, most stores sell them for only $0.99 sometimes even less.¬†(My personal favorites are the totes from HomeGoods / TJ Maxx, they’re big and sturdy!) Plus did you know that when you shop at Target, for every reusable tote you fill, you get $0.05 off of your purchase. So not only are you helping our planet by skipping out on the plastic bags, but you’re also saving yourself some money.¬†The more you know! Extra tip: Keep the totes in your car so they’re always on hand.
  2. Bee Kind: Put up a wooden bee house! I put up a bee house this past summer and am looking forward to using it again, and putting up more. Please h e l p provide our little pollinators with a Beesafe and quiet space to lay their larva — away from harsh weather, predators, chemicals, etc. Did you know that unlike most bees who hive together, there are those who actually prefer solidarity? My kind of bee, haha! Bee houses are a wonderful invention to help save our bees, to help save our planet. You can¬†DIY¬†one yourself or if you aren’t so crafty, checkout your local hardware store or Amazon. I picked mine up from Home Depot for about $10.
  3. Cruelty free beauty products: Animal testing and palm oil (which leads to SO MUCH rainforest devastation…) are just two of the many reasons in which I’ve switched to wearing / using cruelty free. It can be time consuming to find the right CF item for you, but I promise it’s not as tricky as you think. As of two days ago I’ve officially switched 100% of my beauty products to cruelty free, thanks to Humble’s Brand of deodorant. Interested in my¬†cruelty free mom face¬†and other CF beauty routines, don’t be shy to ask!
  4. Reusable water bottles: I can’t tell you how many plastic water bottles I see when I’m walking along with my baby and dog, or the countless crinkled half empty dirty bottles that are scattered amongst the park not even a block from our home. I do clean up after strangers as much as possible but I can’t do it all, especially when my hands are already full with little ones. I’m not on litter duty! Again, people it’s 2019, S T O P L I T T E R I N G and while you’re at it buy yourself a reusable water bottle. Keep plastic out of our woods, off our streets, out of our oceans.! Plus as a bonus, Neff adds in her book, decorate your new sidekick with an eco-friendly point of view decal. Spreading awareness truly is half the battle.
  5. Stop using K-cups: Trust me I lalalalove convenience. I’ll be honest when the Keurig and K-cups made their appearance I jumped on that band wagon..fast. But after throwing countless plastic pods in the trash, I realized how much waste that’ll now sit in a landfill for hundreds of years, thanks to me! I’m not naive but actually afraid to picture all of the pods that 10 people would produce, or 50, or 100 or 1000 or 100,000! I quickly made a trip to Target and picked up their single serving gadget that would allow me to still use my Keurig, but with ground coffee, phew! Even if you’re against the extra minute or two that it takes to use ground coffee vs. a plastic pod, you can shop at Trader Joe’s and buy their coffee pods! Less plastic is essential in saving our planet. Say bye bye to k-cups!¬†In addition when it comes to ground coffee, you certainly get more bang for your buck on that precious liquid gold.
  6. Biodegradable sponges: Such an easy transition, you can even pick them up at Target! They’re made of earthly fibers and coconut.¬†Another alternative are bamboo dish brushes as well. I’ve even acquired a bathroom bamboo cleaning brush from Amazon for $6 to clean my bathroom tile, tub and floors!
  7. Recycle: Cardboard, plastic, glass! Check the back or bottom of your boxes, bottles and cans — if they can be recycled please dispose of them properly! But be sure to check the recycling limitations for your town and when you’re out and about read the recycling bins clearly!¬†
  8. Thrifting (donating & shopping): what better way to re-home your undesired items that would otherwise end up in a dump? Donate! And the same goes for the one buying said unwanted items. Another mans trash is another mans treasure, right? Plus if you’re a DIY, creative type you’ll be able to take an old piece of furniture and up-cycle it into something grand and new. (Oh come on, tell me you don’t love Flea Market Flip!)¬†Neff reminded me, you’re usually also saving at least 50% on normal retail prices by shopping at places such as Savers and Goodwill.
  9. Plant-based cleaning products: After my¬†scare¬†with Target’s “Smartly” line I really looked into my cleaning products. All of the vile chemicals that I’m not just surrounding myself with, but my child and pets. UGH DISGUSTING. After some research & using the app ThinkDirty, I’ve narrowed down my best options and switch my cleaning products – dish soap, floor cleaner, all purpose cleaner, etc.
  10. Emailed receipts: s a v e p a p e r . I understand that not every store offers this luxury but when they do, opt for an emailed receipt.

Simple acts I plan to adopt starting asap — completely riding myself of products that include micro beads in their ingredients. I hardly use them but I find myself from time to time coming across a long lost product in my cabinet with those devious plastic balls! Crap!¬†Reading Simple Acts To Save Our Planet, Neff taught me some pretty critical facts about micro beads. Did you know that there are as many as 100,000 micro beads in just one squeeze of face wash? Next is to switch to biodegradable poop bags for my pups and switch to biodegradable trash bags. (I’m looking in¬†Bio-bag!) Lastly, my biggest wish is to come across the perfect compostable bamboo toothbrush. I’m a hard brusher, haha and every review I read say that the bristles tend to fall out very fast, so if anyone has any recommendations, please send them my way! Any recommendations for a bamboo toothbrush, or any other tips to help improve our planets sustainability!

I hope this snippet into my eco-friendly ways has opened up your eyes to either new or different ways — and perhaps you’ll be motivated to do your part to save our planet too.¬†“Remember little acts really do add up to big changes.”¬†We will all benefit.

 

Momma of Multiples (Someday)

gapUnpopular opinion: my children will have a wide age gap.

Did you know that you don’t have to have three kids under the age of three? Or two kids under the age of two? If that’s what you want(ed) and chose then all the power to you. Frankly though I’m sick of being scrutinized for going against the “millennial¬†norm”, having one baby after another, and I’ll tell you why.

I wasn’t even 6 months pregnant, yet numerous times a day I’d be asked the infamous question, “when’s baby #2?” Not only by friends and family, but strangers.What? Mmmm okay. I know baby’s are cute and adorable but hold your horses, this little blueberry isn’t even half way to being ripe! Didn’t these auditors consider that I’m literally pregnant in that moment or how once they’re born, how expensive kids are? Did they even understand what it takes to make a baby, grow a baby and then bring that bundle of joy into the world? Not even 6 months in¬†and I’m already being interrogated about when I’ll be pregnant again. K.

(It only gets worse…) Now being a first time mom to a 14 month old baby girl I hear the question even more. “When’s baby #2?”¬†

Let me lay it out for you.

My baby sister was born exactly seven days after my 8th birthday. Up until that point I was an only child; a little girl who begged her parents for a sister and constantly dreamt of having those live in best friends. When my sister was born my world stood still. I was so proud and excited to be a big sister, a helper and protecter of this tiny little newborn. I’m grateful for her and honestly can’t even imagine my life without her, although growing up I’ve caught myself pondering what it would have been like to have had a sibling closer in age.

Like every subject there are pros and cons of having children who are close in age or have a wider age gap. I always thought my kids would be close in age but growing up 8 years ahead of my sister, and now having friends and in-laws who have a handful of little ones all under the age of 5, I’ve concluded to have my children farther apart.

I’m not just doing it for me, but I’m doing it for them.

Certainly there are cons for having children so far apart but in my opinion the pros for having a wider age gap wins by a long shot. 

For starters I won’t have 2 kids in college at the same time! BOOM.

I’m lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom with my daughter. When we’re snuggling, or if she’s throwing a tantrum, or we’re reading a book, or my favorite…running around on our hands and knees chasing, playing and laughing until she’s about to throw up.. I love these tiny moments, whether they’re good or bad. These are the moments I live for.

Sometimes though I can’t help but stop and picture what all of this would be like if I had another little one, another tiny human to make our duo a trio. I can’t imagine keeping up with my toddler as well as caring for an infant. Or caring for 2 toddlers, or 3 in some cases! I don’t think it’s fair to have to divide your attention, because let’s be honest, (NOT ALL) but most moms can’t divide it evenly whether its done intentionally or unconsciously.

Don’t get me wrong, I think socialization is fantastic at that age, so I understand why some moms have Irish Twins, but that’s why I have a mommy bestie and her daughter, and my daughters cousins, and soon we’ll start gymnastics and library time. I feel my baby needs one on one attention that she wouldn’t be able to get if I had another baby so close in age. Verbatim, countless times I’ve been told, “we’ll I had a second to occupy the first.” What??¬†In some aspects I get it but….

I want to wait at least 5 years from the day my Maxly was born to have a second child. I feel at that point she’ll start school, and have a better understanding of what it means to “grow up”. She’ll have had my undivided attention for years and maybe she’ll be ready to not only have a sibling but understand the value and importance of having a brother or sister and will love them even more. At that point she’ll be old enough to be an actual helper and be able to practice the compassion that mommy has been instilling in her all those years. I want her to feel important because she is important. My hope is that she won’t feel jealous or replaced but truly blessed to be a big sister. Because it’s an important job that really is much more than a title.

The biggest con is that obviously your children will be at different stages of life at different times. When I was going through my pre-teen stage or my teenage angst; entering my 20’s thinking I was “supposed to have it all together” — I wish I had a big sister to give me advice like I’m able to do for my little sister. (She doesn’t always like it but I’ve been there and I’ve done it.) It would have been a game changer for sure.

I’ve always been a mother figure to her — but more of the cool aunt hahaha.

Honestly my list does go on and on on why I want to wait to have another baby. Maxly is growing so fast and learning so much everyday that I just want to take it all in, and truly enjoy it the best to my ability.

DISCLAIMER; I don’t judge those who have baby after baby — I just wished people would stop scrutinizing & questioning me on why I’m not having baby after baby! I am doing what’s best for my family. Everything will fall in place in the future, but for the time being please, please just let me adore my daughter while she’s still small.¬†

 

 

The Perfect (Mom) Jeans

jeansOnce you’re a Mama, aren’t all jeans mom jeans? Perturbed about finding the perfect denim? I’m a jeans and tee girl at heart, but I truly have a love / hate relationship with the jeans part of that duo. Grief, always grief.¬† I thought shopping for pants was hard before, well after having a baby and doing day-to-day “mom¬†activities” it’s even harder, well, was harder. A¬†couple of months ago I realized that when it comes to buying pants, the only thing that should be distressed are my jeans!¬†Celebrity Pink¬†is a wardrobe game changer. I’m now the proud owner of three pairs! Shout-out to these makers of these amazing high rise jeans; Love me and probably love all moms everywhere. CPJ’s are basic, but with a lovely touch of chic. Finally finding a pair(s) of jeans that flatter that mum tum area, and¬†mom jeans that won’t have you feeling like you’re stuck in the 90’s, has seriously been a relief and a serious boost of confidence. Being a stay-at-home mom, when I leave the house or catch up with friends, wearing jeans is the one thing that really helps me not only look put together but feel put together. Celebrity Pink fits like a glove. CPJ’s hug your curves just right and are 100% true to size, which c’mon ladies we know that’s a rare find in itself! The fabric is thinner than your average denim jeans but they’re softer than most. Mmmm so cozy! And the best part is they don’t stretch out after you wear them only once! Holla holla! Want to get your hands on CPJ’s comfortable, affordable and confidence raising dark denim, pastel denim, burgundies, ripped jeans and basically anything you could want in a pair of pants? They’re available all over. Amazon, Bobs Stores, Macy’s (where I buy mine) and more!¬†According to Lambeth Hochwald, in her article 7 Rules to Finding the Perfect Jeans, “nearly 70 percent of Motherboard Moms said that they have to try on four or more pairs before they find a pair that fits.” I used to binge shows like What Not To Wear, and some women don’t just try on a handful of pants but dozens and dozens of jeans before finding a winner. Do yourself a favor ladies, get yourself some Celebrity Pink Jeans.¬†

Momma Self-Care Mantras 101

Nourish Flourish

Self-care is and should be for everyone – especially if you’re a mommy, stay-at-home or working! My ¬†#1 pledge is my daughter, but in order to be the best I can be for my mini me – I must too be good to myself.

Along with being a mother, I’m a sensitive person, so I really need my time to unwind. I need to re-set periodically throughout the day. You know, from the toddler tantrums, the constant spam calls that send my phone into an endless cuckoo clock song that eventually freezes my screen so I can’t even decline and block said calls; you know, those bright florescent lights that give me an everlasting migraine whilst I running my many mommy errands, and even from the TV volume just being up by 1 more than I’m comfortable with…

I’ll admit some days I forget this, but since the start of the new year I’ve been focusing more on self-care, self-improvement and self love. Not only will I benefit, but so will my baby girl in the now, and long term. If you’re stuck in a rut of new ideas for your pampering, or developing your own self-care routine, or want to compare list’s and relaxation methods, then please read on.

Want so slay your anxiety? Need some peace of mind? Need to manage your depression? Want to make today your b****? Do you want to be the best version of yourself?

For you, for your kids…

  • Make your bed:¬†I get it I get it, what’s the point of fixing something that’s going to just get messed up later on that same day? Let’s be real though, no one can deny that getting into a well made bed feels so cozy, so inviting and so¬†right! Along with those key factors, a made bed just gives your room a “pulled together” look and feel. But when it comes down to it, it just makes me happy. Happy that it looks nice. Happy that making my bed first thing in the morning is actually an accomplishment. Happy that my sleep zone neat and tidy. Happy that making the bed helps give me the motivation to remain productive and do more chores first thing in the AM!
  • Work towards a realistic goal: I’m not a New Years resolution type of gal. I believe that if you want to do something new, or make a change in your life, you can do that any time, any season. But this year I decided to take advantage of the 365 opportunities that 2019 could bring – this year I am going to read 100 books. (Currently, I’m on book number 12 by the way!) I read during baby’s nap time, at night before bed and basically whenever I can, waiting rooms, weekends, etc.
  • Play with your kids: Get on the floor! Roll around! Chase them in those endless circles around the kitchen table! Squeeze into their tiny toy castle! Talk to them! Laugh with them! Have a dance party! Go for a walk! Just let go! Let them climb all over you and you pretend to climb all over them! Imagine! Be a kid again!¬†Heck the other day I had my 1 year old laughing so hard she literally threw up in my hand!¬†(I’m not kidding!) Ironically enough my daughter takes me more seriously when I get on her level and just be a kid again.
  • Be creative: Creativity as self-care – yes please! It may be crazy but I literally have 3 different journals, that I write in everyday. I’ve got a 5 Year Q&A Mom Journal that was gifted to me when I gave birth, a writing prompt journal that I picked up at Five Below and a personal journal that I keep for my daughter to have when she’s older. Writing is my escape. Writing is my most creative outlet. Writing is my greatest form of self-care. Hence getting a BA in journalism.¬†Hence this blog!
  • Retail therapy: I lalalalove to shop! BUT now, being a stay-at-home mom, our household runs only on 1 income – so that can and usually does leave for very little extra money. But when the stars, or our finances, align, I can get my dose of retail therapy in! I make sure I really only wander around a place where my wallet can get some relaxation as well. For example, if I’m on the hunt for new books I’ll cruise around Savers where you can buy 3 or 4 books and get the next one completely free! Next best thing is Goodwill, or even just borrowing from the local library! Want to kill two birds with one stone? Retail therapy and being creative… walk around the craft store or even the dollar store. Buy your own materials to make home decor that would cost you dozen of dollars at TJ Maxx or HomeGoods. Yes our household runs on 1 income, but I was a bargain hunter before I was a mommy!¬†
  • Eat better: True Life: I can’t stop eating avocados. No seriously I can’t!¬†I’m eating them with 2 meals a day, sometimes even all 3! I’m eating fruits and veggies with hummus if I feel the urge to snack, and I’ve been drinking fruit infused water nonstop everyday; versus sugared up peach and raspberry iced teas. (Psh let’s be honest though, I’m still drinking my coffee because hey, probably like you, I’m a slave to caffeine. Whoops!) Every night I’m making salad with dinner, full of all the colors! Not only am I hoping to drop some pounds, but I honestly just feel better on the inside. Plus these ingredients are all foods and drinks (minus the coffee) that my toddler can consume and enjoy as well. Being healthier is something I’m striving for in hopes that my daughter will pick up on healthy eating too. Don’t get me wrong she loves her mac and cheese, but her other favorites include spinach and peppers, and she’s coming around to avocados now too!
  • ¬†Acquire a sacred space: For me, my hallowed space is not necessarily my bedroom, but specifically my bed. The environment is complete zen. For instance I’m laying in it now writing this piece. Surrounded by layers of comfy and visually pleasing pillows and blankets, my green plant babies; a border of round bulbs softly lighting the perimeter of my room, sound machine on in the background *tonight it’s raining, last night it was a pleasant flowing stream*, nag champa assaulting my senses (in a good way!), and all the other nostalgia that fills my room and makes it mine. Do you want to know what makes this place even more sacred than it’s material contents? The fact that my daughter is not in it. She’s in her crib – in her own sacred space, in which she’s slept since her first night home from the hospital. Despite the infamous co-sleeping debate I chose to have her in her room and me in mine and goodness do we both need that time apart, and that time to ourselves.¬†
  • Start your day without your phone: Yes, I roll over to check the time when I hear my young one mocking a rooster signaling that she’s up so I need to be up too. Although I already know it’s the butt crack of dawn, heck the sun is barely up and the rest of the house is quiet….¬†Yes, I notice that I have notifications, whether it be a late night text from my mommy bestie, or an anxious opponent letting me know it’s still my turn on Word With Friends.. but I dismiss them. They’ll still be there in a few hours.¬†Nearly 90% of the time I don’t even attempt to log onto social media until around 11 a.m. when the baby goes down for her nap. Having a few hours free of screen time is just liberating. I can go into my day with a clear and stress free mind. Plus being able to have quality mommy and me time with my girl is the best way to spend my morning.¬†
  • Learn something new: Pick up a new hobby! Or, work to improve on something you can already do but want to improve on. Going along with my eating better self-care, my self-care of learning something new is to cook! Yes I know I’m a woman. Yes I know I’m a homemaker. Yes I know I’m a mom. But I’m not the greatest cook… by any means.. but I’m working on learning and cooking good, hearty and healthy meals for my family. Pinterest recipes here I come!
  • De-clutter your home:¬†Marie Kondo, need I say more?
  • Rearrange your furniture: Swap paintings and other art from wall to wall, from room to room. Switch up the throw rugs from the kitchen to the bathroom or between bedrooms and living room. Reposition your knick knacks, color code your books. Doing things like this will make you feel like you’ve bought new decor, new accessories, without spending a penny! Am I the only one who rearranges their furniture from room to room once a month? Yeah? Ok, great.

Although these are just 11 practices that I throw into my own self-care routine, the possibilities are truly endless. And fun fact: you can do most or all of these self-care rituals with your children. It’s a win win all around and you’ll be able to instill self-care within your kin at an early age.

Motherhood, A Spiritual Practice; A Crash Course In Wisdom

momma zen

Momma Zen, a memoir by Karen Maezen Miller, a wife, mother, writer and Buddhist Priest, is not a parenting book.

It’s a book about motherhood, about being a mother. It’s a book about being.

Within the first few chapters I wasn’t too keene to continue because Miller was very self-focused. Very negative. When Miller became a mom, she felt her life was over. As a mom, I am well aware there are hard parts, sad parts and frustrating parts. But from a zen teacher’s point of view, I was expecting more positivity mixed in with her stories of struggle.

But I suppose life isn’t all peaches and cupcakes — so onward I read.¬†

As the pages turned and my highlighter was running out of ink, I started to see the book morph into a mirror – that’s how much Miller’s experiences were resonating with my own journey through the first year(s) of motherhood.

“I was jealous. I was jealous that he could respond, so agile and free, to his own urge. I was jealous that he could walk even one foot in any direction without dragging a chain. I was jealous that he could begin the day, eat a meal, leave a room, have a plan, and mind his own business. But mostly, I was jealous that he could go to the bathroom whenever he wanted. It seems to me that a huge part of motherhood is spent looking for a parking space. Not a parking space for the car. For the kid. Let me just find a place to put this, you say to yourself.”

I read this passage in my head. And then again. Then one more time. I looked up at my fiance, rolled my eyes, and then read it aloud to him. BOOM. SOMEONE GETS IT. I am a stay-at-home mom with a baby waddling at my ankles every second of everyday. Literally my daughter follows me closer than my own shadow, everywhere I go. She’s even starting to try to climb the baby gates when I go room to room. And she’s sticking her tiny little fingers under the bathroom door if I dare attempt to go pee- she truly is my mini me whom I go everywhere with. I don’t really have a choice haha! I stay home with my daughter by choice, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a break too. I get envious when my partner is home sitting on the couch “occupying the baby” while I’m making dinner, yet she’s still at my feet trying to turn off the knobs on the stove. Or really, like Miller said, that he can just get up and go to the bathroom whenever he damn well pleases. She’s right, I’m always looking for a place to put the baby haha.

All jokes aside though, through her genuineness, worry, lack of sleep and then even boosts in confidence in her own ability, I was reminded by Miller that my everyday experiences are more than just that. Perhaps it is actually spiritual growth.

Let’s start at the very beginning of becoming a mom – well not conception and those long nine months of nausea and kicking, but when you’re bringing that beautiful baby into the world.

“When you go into labor, you see that you are not the captain of the ship. You are the ship. There is no captain. There are only waves.”

So many women, myself included, have this idea of a “birth plan” or at least an idea of what they think should happen – or what they want to happen. Fortunately for you, I’ll spare the gory details of my 36+ hour labor/delivery, but as for most women. It did not go as planned. In fact my delivery nurses and doctor were trying to keep me out of the loop in hopes to keep my calm and my baby stable. UGH. I like to know every detail and¬†I like to be in control. Oops. Being able to let go of the fact I wasn’t actually Captain Morgan, but just a ship about to be capsized- I had to let it be. Let it happen as it was going to happen. Hell that was a great lesson and a great introduction into the scariest hood in the world – motherhood.

Second lesson: your child is a tireless teacher.

Now that my daughter is just over a year old, and having read Zen Momma, I’ve discovered that yes, children really are examples of the art of being. Flipping their picture book pages, feeding their baby dolls from miniature bottles, putting the puzzle pieces back on a completely different puzzle, exploring rooms, singing, dancing, watching Sesame Street. Wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. They are completely immersed in it.

I won’t delve too much more into this book, because I want to save some for you mommas too!

Momma Zen’s chapters are short, to the point but enlightening. Miller helps how you handle everyday experiences, to put them in perspective and how to just be what you are. If you’re tired by tired. If you’re feeling defeated, feel defeated.

You need to bring peace not only to yourself but within yourself.

Peace in your own life equals peace in your child’s life.