Tag Archives: kids

Eat More Leftovers!

Let’s face it. You meal plan so you don’t waste food. You make a grocery list so you don’t overspend, as much. You meal prep and pre-package school lunches and after school snacks so the whole house doesn’t get eaten within 36 hours of purchase.

Give yourself a break!

Eat more leftovers! I actually put ‘Leftovers’ on my meal plan for the week. If I haven’t been feeling well lately I may put it on the list every three days. There is nothing wrong with expecting your family to reheat yesterdays dinner. Sometimes you can reconfigure it into a different type of meal but sometimes you can’t. Trust me, they can suck it up and it will save you all the stress of ‘witching hour.’ Take it a step further and serve it on paper plates. That way you’ve saved yourself from having to cook dinner that night and do the dishes. Voila!

Another thing I do to make sure suppers don’t go to waste is pre-package them for future use. My family is more likely to eat the leftovers (or take them to work for lunch) if I go ahead and cut portions to place into plastic containers. That way they are easy to grab and pop into the microwave. Sometimes I don’t even tell the hubs that leftovers are in the fridge. I just mix the containers in with his prepackaged lunch items and he automatically just grabs whatever. Let’s face it, most men don’t look anyway. Toddlers, on the other hand, are tiny health inspectors. They should be paid by the Food and Drug Administration. Nothing slips by a toddler. Nothing. If yours is anything like mine, he’s so paranoid he literally smells everything single thing before it goes into his mouth. Drinks are no exception.

So give yourself a break Mama. It’s Monday. Let them eat leftovers.

Saving you the dishes,

Your Mediocre Mom

Verse of the Week: Isaiah 40:11

Mommin’ ain’t easy – and we need all the encouragement we can get. Sometimes the encouragement only comes from above. And we should be okay and expectant in that because He is all-sufficient for us. Focus on this verse this week as we tend to our ‘flocks.’

“He tends his flock like a shepard: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40″11 NIV

Amen. …”He gently leads those that have young.” Please and thank you, Jesus.

 

In His Name,

Your Mediocre Mom

 

The Cock-Block Toddler

Hi there. If you’ve kept up with my blog you are already aware that I am a mom of two toddlers. They rock. Sometimes. Other times they down right suck. But in this post I will share with you 5 ways they are so very thoughtful.

  1. Sexy Time – Nothing says, “You’re welcome mom,” quite like ALWAYS ruining a little romantic time with the hubs. The little one is going through a bit of a sleep regression…thoughtful, I know. And the older one has a habit of wanting to sleep in ‘momma bed.’ No matter how many times I take him back to his room, he always ends up back in our bed. And when he’s not, his sister decides it’s time to party all night. I love how they rescue me from the same old excuses. He may actually believe me if I say I have a headache. Wink wink. So thoughtful.
  2. Answered Prayers – For years I have prayed for patience.  Since having children I have learned that they hear my prayers and have decided to help me with them. You see, they thoughtfully create situations that would allow me to practice my patience. Lots and lots and lots of situations. As a matter of fact, I should be the most patient person that exists. So thoughtful of them.
  3. Tidiness – This is one of my favorites. The kids ever so thoughtfully throw their toys about the house to give me more practice in tidying. They are really good too. Like, when I pick up an entire set of Lincoln Logs and put them away….I find one piece at a time in several areas of the house- the dirty laundry, the toilet, the kitchen floor, on the train table…anywhere but in the box where it belongs. So sweet that they were thinking of me. They see me constantly tidying and thought I would like a few more to do. I enjoy it so much. So thoughtful!
  4. Uneaten Meals – I regularly let them both sit on the kitchen counter as I am preparing and cooking meals. If it’s a step they can handle I let them help. Add ingredients, stir, pour, etc. They enjoy watching and participating. I also heard that getting them involved makes them more likely to eat it or try new things. I call bullshit on that one, but they enjoy the process. They are so sweet to think of me when they leave an entire meal that they just asked me to fix sitting uneaten. They know how much I enjoy cooking, and just wanted to allow me the opportunity to get into the kitchen for a little ‘me’ time. So thoughtful!
  5. Reminders – I never would have thought my children would be so smart and thoughtful with this one. I mean, my husband hasn’t even figured this one out. When we are low on diapers and/or wipes and I need to remember to go buy some they have 9 poops between the two of them….in one day.  They normally poop once a day, each. And as soon as I buy them they return to normal.  But when mama needs to be reminded of that to-do list they are eager to jump in! So thoughtful!

Aren’t they awesome? I just love a considerate thoughtful child.  Tell me, how are your kids ‘thoughtful?’

Grateful,

Your Mediocre Mom

The Ultimate SAHM Checklist

Maybe you have one child. Maybe you have six. Maybe you are pregnant with your first, but already know you will stay home with the baby. Our tasks are never ending, and our homes are never spotless. Let us pause for a moment and give praise to God for the blessing of being at home with our babies. It doesn’t matter if your family makes enough money so that you are at home and comfortable or if your family makes great sacrifices, we are all blessed to be able to personally witness each and every milestone our children make. Maybe this is not an “ultimate” list.  Nonetheless, it is a list of things I deem necessary to keeping a happy home, and my sanity, as a stay-at-home-mom.

 

1. To-Do Lists

This is a given, but let’s evaluate it’s importance in the home. Currently, I have a dry-erase calendar on my fridge, a small pocket calendar in my purse, and written to-do list on my kitchen counter. The dry-erase calendar is, by far, the family’s communication hub. Let’s face it, we are way too busy. Even on the days when we don’t leave the house we are just busy. I will often forget to tell my husband about plans made or upcoming events. This way, we can all see what’s planned and what’s coming up. He has often said, “I see we have such-and-such on Wednesday night, do I need to ask my mom to keep the kids?” Having everything in one central place allows us to keep tabs on helping one another. Also, don’t be afraid to put common household items on there. One or two, or four, weeks of house cleaning have gotten away from me, before. When that happens I will literally pencil in “CLEAN HOUSE” on a day we don’t have anything planned. That way we actually make a plan to get it done.

My pocket/purse calendar is just a carbon copy of the main calendar. The only reason I keep it is for when I am out and about and make an appointment. That way I can just transfer it over to the fridge when I get home.  It has also come in handy when I am out of the house and my husband calls to ask if we have plans for a particular date. I can quickly check to see….with the disclaimer that, “I will double check the fridge when I get home, but my pocket calendar says No.”

The written to-do list is already a household basic. My life revolves around lists. I have literally made a list of all the lists I need to make. With that said, be sure to take a few moments to mentally organize what you would like to accomplish for the day and WRITE IT DOWN! I find that the best time, for me, to do this is at night right before bed. Writing the list before bed helps me do two things: include items that I didn’t complete the current day; and empty my ever-running mental to-do list before going to sleep. I don’t know about you but there are always items that I never had the time to do and cross off my daily to-do list. I usually evaluate if it’s something I really need to do, versus just wanted to do. If it’s something I actually need to do I will put it on the next days list. (Side note: Don’t be afraid to put small detailed items on your list. If you were supposed to call your best friend three days ago to catch up, make it a priority and put them on the list! I always get too busy and forget to make tea. When that happens I’ll put it on the list. You get the point.) Making the list at night really helps me sleep better. Have you ever lay awake at night thinking of all the things you need to do the next day? You, too? For some reason, I have found that writing those things down helps tell my mind that I have prepared to tackle them and can now not think about them. It seriously eases my mind. I highly recommend making your to-do lists before bed.

2. Have-Done List

Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of this. Actually, scratch that. I hope you haven’t heard of the have-done list. That way you will have learned something from this blog. I’ve already mentioned how much I love lists.  The have-done list is my very very favorite. No matter how much I support and understand the to-do list, the have-done list will be the one that saves my sanity at the end of the day. My husband is amazing. He works so hard so that I can stay at home with our children. I try, but let’s be honest, I could never repay him for that. Yes, I sacrifice a lot (my time, my multiple degrees, my career, myself, etc.) but I cannot put a price tag on this season of being home with my children. But…I am willing to bet that your spouse has come home from a long day’s work and ask you “what you did today.” Nothing would get under my skin more, than this question. I immediately wanted to respond with, “What did I do all day?! Keep your children alive, clean up spill after spill, fight a kicking and screaming child while changing their soiled diaper, watch Elmo all-freaking-day, etc. etc.” But I choose not to. Instead, I would usually respond with, “Oh, you know, I was a mommy all day.” After a while of wanting to claw my husband’s face off, in response to this daily question, I started realizing that he was just being polite. He was just asking me how my day was. It’s not the way I prefer he ask, but still.  Why was I being so defensive? Why didn’t I have a list of things that I felt were significant enough to tell him? I think it’s because I didn’t feel like the torture of watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ten times in a row was enough to satisfy his request when he had been at a “real job” satisfying a boss and leading a team as a manager. And to be honest, I couldn’t remember what I really did all day…..I mean, what DID I do? So one day, I quit letting my to-do list stare me in the face, at the end of the day, with only one or two items crossed off.  Instead, I put a sheet of paper on the refrigerator and started writing down everything I did. I still had a to-do list to help guide me throughout the day, but I found that the list of what I was actually doing was MUCH longer than the list of things I had planned to do. I think my first have-done list had almost 25 items on it.

My husband came home that afternoon with his usual question and, with a smile on my face, I got to point him to a list. I can’t describe to you the feeling of hearing him say, “Are you serious? You really did all this today? While watching the kids?” Success! It had some really silly stuff on it, like : made tea, unloaded dishwasher, loaded dishwasher, wiped down all door knobs and light switches, changed diaper geanie, organized children’s books/puzzles, etc. Looking at a list of what all kept me busy throughout the day was liberating. No matter how insignificant it was. It gave light to “what I did all day.” I will never spend another day without a running have-done list. I highly recommend you make it part of your daily routine. Speaking of routine…

3. Schedule-Schedule-Schedule

I have a confession to make. This is my current weak spot. God blessed us with a beautiful new tax deduction a couple of months ago. She is simply amazing. Since she was born I have yet to get back to a permanent routine. I am trying. But, for purposes of this blog, I cannot express how important a schedule is. Children thrive on them! You don’t have to be so regimented that they panic at the slightest off-set. As a matter of fact, I recommend routine non-routine days in your schedule. Pick a day of the week where you and the kids all know there is no time-flow to their activities for the day (with the exception of things that always need to be at a specific time- meals, naps, bedtime- whatever applies to your family). Think of your day like a kid’s school day: there is a specific time they need to wake up in order to be ready and at school on time, they have specific times for certain subjects/activities, there is a specific snack time, more subject time, lunch time, play time, nap time, go home time, snack time, homework time, chore time, reading time, family time, bedtime. You get the idea. Having a schedule keeps your days from slipping away from you.

There have been plenty days that I have looked up at the clock only to see that it’s 3:30 p.m. and my kids are still running a muck in their pajamas, with appropriate bed-heads. Ugh. Thirty minutes ago it was just 9:00 a.m. When I first started scheduling my day, I quickly learned the art of setting alarms. They didn’t include the sound of an obnoxious morning alarm clock, but instead sounded like a pleasant reminder that it was time for a change of scenery. (Tip: Scroll through the many alarm sound options on your phone and choose one that is pleasant.) After I started setting alarms for my schedule I figured out that I needed a warning alarm, with a different sound, to help tell me that it was time to wrap up what we were doing, because the next item was just 5-10 minutes away. Some kids actually need this transitional warning. It’s like hearing a teacher say, “In five minutes we’re going to the lunch room, be sure to start wrapping up your projects.”

 

……Okay, HUGE confession time here. I wrote everything you just read back in February of 2016. Almost an entire year ago. And I’m here to tell you one thing.

You. Need. Alcohol.

List complete.

 

Love in the real world,

Your Mediocre Mom

You Need People

There is an old phrase that has stuck with me, “The older you get the more you need the people you knew when you were younger.” I searched for an authentic author but came up empty handed. I first heard it in a slide show labeled, ‘Wear Sunscreen.’ I haven’t thought about the phrase for a while. We just celebrated Christmas 2016 and it proved to be in interesting one. My husband and I, along with our children, moved 7 hours away from everything we knew about six months ago. We still don’t regret it. It was the best decision we’ve made so far. The holiday season proved to be different. I’ve personally been traveling back and forth a lot to allow the grandparents to visit with the children and allow the children to visit with cousins, etc. We even drove back to celebrate the baby’s first birthday, there. You get the picture. My toddler asks for and misses his grandparents daily. Especially his cousin Abby. So we were excited to visit for the holidays.

The week we were packing up to leave the stomach virus hit our house. First it was the toddler….then my husband. Luckily, me and the baby did not catch it. When the time came for us to leave everyone was feeling much better. Off we went. We stay at my Mother-in-Law’s house when we travel. She is very hospitable and gracious with the mess the children make along with any arrangements that need to be changed in order for us to be comfortable. We can sleep upstairs, downstairs, in her bed, in the guest bed, wherever we need to be so that the kids are okay. And that means the world to me. It’s difficult to travel with very small children. Having a host that loves your kids as much as you do really helps!

I’ve also learned that your friends will fade and wither as you move and visit. There will be some that make an effort to plan to see you even before you start traveling back. There will be some that want a heads up when you are in town to see what they can swing. And still there will be some that won’t even bother when you are in town celebrating something really important to you. And that’s okay. All friendships have their seasons. This experience has me pondering that old quote I came across a while back.

Yeah. I believe that. The older I get the more I tend to look back on experiences of when I was young. For example, I think all parents have learned to have a new appreciation of their own parents. I have two small children so I am always thinking back to how things were with my own parents. How I was disciplined. How I was encouraged.  I wonder how I measure up sometimes. Other times I look back on experiences with friends. Have we really been in a sparse season for a while now and I’m just noticing? Am I giving her as much effort as she’s giving me? Are my efforts being matched? Again, how am I measuring up?

Since we’ve moved I haven’t made any new ‘friends.’ I stay at home with the kids so other than taking them on outings (which I never see other moms at) I don’t really have an opportunity to meet new people. My husband has met a few people at work, and the kids have adjusted well. My toddler LOVES his little school. So I was thinking….what if I didn’t have any friends back home either…what would that be like? And that’s when the quote popped into my head. “…the more you need the people you knew when you were younger.” And I do. Something about hanging onto them helps me hang onto my past. I like my past. Most of it. What would it feel like to really let go of the friendships that are just lingering because it’s too awkward to break the ties? What would you have left to connect you to your past? Memories aren’t warm tangible breathing links.

Once we got to my Mother-In-Law’s my toddler starting screaming in pain. He had be treated for an ear infection 4-5 days earlier and was pulling at his ear a lot. I took him to his old pediatrician in our old home town for a check. His full physical exam turned up clean but his blood work showed a little trace of the viral infection he had earlier that week. Since one of my parents doesn’t have an immune system we couldn’t take him to my family’s house for Christmas. And since my stomach started hurting later, I couldn’t go either.  Damnit. Well, that night my little man slept terrible. He was cranky all the next day, too.  And sure enough when it came time for bed he was screaming so bad that he was actually biting his pillow in pain. Literally. He kept screaming, “Momma my ear!” So at 9:30 PM on Christmas Eve me and my husband took him to Lebonheur Children’s Hospital. They, too, found NOTHING wrong. We asked every question about anything even remotely related to what it COULD be. I know he was hurting, I saw him with my own eyes.

Fast forward, we get him home with no treatment and finally to sleep. Santa Claus showed up, Christmas Day was perfect and you never would have known we were even at the hospital hours before. Because we were possibly harboring a virus we never could go visit with my family. My dad came over to see us for 2 hours to play with the kids, etc. but it wasn’t the same. I feel bad for saying it but it was a bad Christmas for me. It just sucked. I missed just being with the people I love and know.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about why it weighs so heavy on my heart. And it’s true…..I need the people I knew when I was younger. I need that connection. I need that warm-bodied reminder that I existed in another time period with someone, anyone. And that I was still considered a priority to exist with them now, too. Yes, I need my friends back ‘home.’ I need them to need me too. And I think they do. Some are in a quiet season with me and there’s a mutual understanding that comes with that. We are raising babies, fulfilling dreams with our spouses and doing our best to prevent/rid wrinkles and cellulite. All with a plate of tacos and a monster margarita. Missing my family and friends this holiday season really brought to light how much I will always need them. No matter who moves away or stays safely nestled in the ‘what-I’ve-always-known’ zone. No matter who is healthy as ever or walking through a valley. And most importantly no matter how old we get. Because we are, after all, getting older.

 

Happy New Year,

Your Mediocre Mom